Week 3 of Bread: Honey Multigrain

February 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm 25 comments

Honey Multigrain Bread in bowl 

Ye who are faint of heart, step aside.  Ye who love a hefty loaf of bread, come right this way!  If ever there was a bread recipe that could serve as the poster child Slow Food International, this Honey Multigrain Loaf is it.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible.  You see, this meal-in-and-of-itself loaf requires a little advanced planning and time, but it’s well worth it in the end when you’re slowly making your way through a chewy nutty slice of wholesomeness. 

Loaves on the rise

I’m proud to say this recipe is an original creation of yours truly, but I can’t take all the credit.  A coworker and recent bread making convert had asked me to post a recipe for bread using sprouted grains or wheat berries or something with more “umph” than your typical off-the-shelf loaf.  Ironically, she actually beat me to the punch and adapted the Miracle Bread recipe to include wheat berries and chopped walnuts.  Yes, she’s a superstar SFTF pupil!  But by the time I tasted her lovely loaf, I was already too deep in my noodling process to call off the hunt for a really hearty bread recipe. 

uncooked wheat Berries

Internet searches and endless page flipping in my private cookbook collection yielded very little, at least for bread recipes including wheat berries, which I knew I definitely wanted to use.  There is one age-old recipe out there for sprouted grain bread, called Ezekiel Bread for its supposed roots in biblical times.  But frankly, after reading over several recipes for it, I didn’t find the idea of it very appetizing.  The [fruitless] search continued.

Coarsely milled wheat germRolled oatsAlfalfa seedscooked wheat berries

What’s a bread baker to do when she can’t find the right recipe?  First, she takes out a piece of scrap paper, paces back and forth in front of her pantry shelves, and scribbles down a rough inventory of the grains on hand.  Next, she takes that same scribbled piece of paper, flips it over and starts scribbling rough measurements – ratios really – for the available grains.  Then, she decides on a general method for the bread, including proofing the yeast first and the best shape for the loaves. [By the way, proofing the yeast first was very fortuitous as the first three batches failed to show any signs of life, and it would be a real pain in the buttocks to have prepared the wheat berries and wheat germ only to have the bread not rise in the end.]  Finally, she has to find another piece of scrap paper and a pen she doesn’t mind getting covered in flour so she can take notes throughout the assembly process as she adjusts the amounts of this and that, depending on how forgiving the dough turns out to be. 

dough resting after kneading

WA-lah!!  I would say though that I have a little more fine-tuning to do, most of which is reflected in the recipe below.  The honey wasn’t prominent enough so I upped it a bit.  And the wheat berries were just a touch too prominent so I downed them a bit.  And the alfalfa seeds were delightful so I tacked on another tablespoon.  Otherwise though, I wouldn’t change a thing and plan on making this honey multigrain loaf a regular visitor to our dinner table.  I think I’ll also use it for sandwiches in my packed lunches.  It’s so filling that I’ll surely not be hungry again until dinnertime rolls around (I have a chronic problem with getting the “munchies” around 3 o’clock every day). 

Loaves after scouring and sprinkling with oatmeal

Now, a word to the wise for the newbie bread bakers out there: this loaf is a tad tricky to knead so if you’re not comfortable just yet with the kneading process, you might want to practice with a few of the other bread recipes on the blog first.  The dough is sticky, making it very tempting to keep adding flour to it.  Since there is so much “stuff” in the dough already demanding more moisture than normal, you really have to let it just be sticky so the resulting loaf doesn’t turn out disappointingly dry.  Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it! 

Tops of the dough with grains

Oh, and I realize my grains inventory might have been a little more diverse than some folks’ might be.  If you’d like to adapt this recipe to what you have on hand, I’d strongly advise keeping the wheat berries for the chewy texture.   You can get them at Whole Foods, Wegmans, or other stores with a diverse selection of grains (they are often found in the bulk bins near the produce section). If you can’t find the wheat berries, a potentially good alternative would be spelt, although that may be equally scarce.  Trust me though; it’s worth hunting these ingredients out.   Otherwise, you can easily substitute different varieties of grains for what is listed in the recipe; just keep the ratios about the same (approximately 5 cups of flours to 2 cups of other stuff). 

Slices of Honey Multigrain Bread

And remember to chew slowly!  There’s a lot to be savored in a slice!

 

HONEY MULTIGRAIN BREAD
A Straight from the Farm Original

2 c. warm water
1 package (2 ¼ t.) dry active yeast
1 t. sugar
3 c. white bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. rye flour
1 ½ t. salt
3 T. wheat gluten (optional, but recommended)
1/3 c. uncooked wheat berries
½ c. rolled oats
½ c. coarse wheat germ
2 T. alfalfa or flax seeds
3 T. honey
1 t. of salt dissolved in warm water

In advance… 

Prepare the wheat berries by combining with 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Remove from microwave and let sit for at least an hour.  Drain.  This could be done a day in advance – after draining, cover and store in the fridge.

Prepare the wheat germ by combing with just enough water to cover in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover and microwave for a minute or until liquid is absorbed.  Allow to cool.  Note: If you are using the finely milled wheat germ that closely resembles flour, you do not have to cook it as directed here. 

Making the bread… 

Proof the yeast by combing it with 1 cup of warm water and the sugar in a small bowl.  Cover with a towel and let rise for 10 minutes or until foamy. 

Mix the white flour, rye flour, rolled oats, salt and wheat gluten in a large mixing bowl.  Add the prepared wheat berries, wheat germ, and alfalfa seeds, tossing to combine and coat with flour.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast mixture and honey.  Begin combining and add about 1 more cup of warm water until a soft dough is formed. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for five minutes until relatively smooth and elastic.  This dough will be somewhat difficult to work with so just knead it as best you can, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking too much. 

Clean out the mixing bowl, spray lightly with non-stick spray and place dough inside.  Cover with a towel, place in a warm spot, and let rise for two hours or until doubled in bulk. 

Turn dough out again onto a floured countertop and knead for a minute or two.  Divide dough in half and form two oval loaves.  Place loaves on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes – the longer it rises, the less dense the loaves will be. 

Preheat oven to 425 F. Using a sharp knife, scour the tops of the loaves for decoration and brush with the salt water.  Sprinkle tops with seeds, oatmeal, wheat germ or all three as desired.  Bake loaves for 10 minutes and then lower heat to 400 F. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom.  Let cool on a wire rack. 

(makes 2 hefty loaves)

Loaves of bread in bowl

Entry filed under: Bread, Recipes. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Week 3 of Bread: Herb Crackers Yeast Primer

25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gintoino  |  February 20, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Ok jennie…. I am drooling over the computer keyboard…it isn’t pretty…
    I am so anxious to bake this bread. I buy a similar bread every day in my baker shop and I just love it. I’m thinking of using just a pinch of cumin seeds mixed with all the grains, just for a bit more flavor…I think it will work very well. Yes, I will definitely bake this in the next few days.😉

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  February 20, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Gintoino – I know I’m evil for making you drool on your keyboard so much!😉 I LOVE the idea of the cumin seeds! I will add them to my next batch too! I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you…how wonderful it would be for you to be able to make your favorite baker shop bread at home. 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. links for 2008-02-21 | Moewes.com  |  February 21, 2008 at 8:23 am

    […] Week 3 of Bread: Honey Multigrain « Straight from the Farm […]

    Reply
  • 4. Christiane  |  February 21, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Wow – this loaf looks positively amazing.The pictures are stunning!

    Reply
  • 5. Jennie  |  February 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Thanks, Christiane! 🙂

    Reply
  • 6. N. & J.  |  February 21, 2008 at 10:37 am

    That looks really good! My fiance and I just started making all our own bread. So far we’ve made white, wheat, cinnamon, parmesan herb and ciabatta but we will have to try this out!

    http://badhuman.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 7. Christine  |  February 22, 2008 at 7:33 am

    This looks amazing. I can also recommend steel-cut oats as a yummy add-in for a hearty bread. You have to soak it first — I think my recipe calls for soaking the oats in warm water, then mixing in the yeast and honey before adding dry ingredients. The resulting bread is nice and chewy.

    If using flaxseeds instead of alfalfa, would you grind them up first? I’ve heard somewhere that you have to grind them to get the nutritional benefit, but have no idea if this is true or not. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  • 8. Jennie  |  February 22, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Christine – you had a recipe all this time you could have been sharing with me?? 😉 Really, we must swap bread ideas more often!

    Flaxseeds are better ground up if you’re after the nutritional value (body won’t digest them otherwise), but I don’t think it would hurt anything if you left them whole in this bread. I have several recipes in my books at home that use whole flax seeds. But getting them broken up a bit isn’t tough so might as well…just put them in a ziplock bag and run your rolling pin over them, pushing down hard. I personally don’t like flax seeds so that’s why I opted for the alfalfa, which I found to be a wonderful substitute.

    Reply
  • 9. Gretchen Noelle  |  February 23, 2008 at 6:56 am

    This looks amazing! I am just starting to love baking bread. I am subscribing to see what else I may find here!

    Reply
  • 10. Jennie  |  February 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Gretchen – There are a total of 15 bread recipes on here (I think) so make sure to look through the “Bread” category (in the righthand sidebar) for lots more ideas. 🙂

    Reply
  • 11. eggsonsunday  |  February 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Jennie,
    This looks absolutely delicious. I’m starting to get into baking my own bread, and multigrain is one of my favorites, but I haven’t yet tried making it. I’ll definitely give this a shot – love all those little seeds and grains poking out!

    –Amy

    Reply
  • 12. eggsonsunday  |  February 26, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Jennie – and one more thing; I tagged you for a meme! I’ve been inspired by all your bread baking!🙂

    Reply
  • 13. Jennie  |  March 12, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Amy – Thanks for the meme tag! You caught me just before I left for Portugal so I’ll try to get something together here before too long. Glad you liked the multi-grain bread! Let me know how it turns – this bread froze really well too, btw. 🙂

    Reply
  • 14. Mari  |  April 10, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    We recently stopped using a microwave because we have been hearing that it kills all the nutrients in anything that you heat. Anyway, how would I prepare the wheat berries and wheat germ in advance without the microwave?

    The bread looks delicious, we can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
  • 15. Jennie  |  April 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Mari – You could easily bypass the microwave… I used that method to save time but you can do both the wheat berries and germ on the stove. Just bring the berries to a boil and let cook for five minutes then remove from heat and let sit as directed. For the wheat germ, just combine with the water and simmer until all the water is absorbed.

    Let me know how you like the bread when you make it! 🙂

    Reply
  • 16. heather  |  April 22, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    OK, i know this is w-a-y late, but I just found you today. If you and/or your readers need grains, I get them from http://www.breadbeckers.com. Not everyone will want to order 6 gallon buckets of wheat berries like I do, but you can get 2 or 7 lb portions of spelt, kamut, barley, rye, flax, millet, and oats. They also do co-ops so save people on shipping.

    I’m going to try this recipe!

    Reply
  • 17. Brady  |  April 22, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    This was my first attempt on bread making and you definitely have me hooked. Thanks for the recipe. It turned out so much better than expected for my first time.
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  • 18. Jake  |  May 31, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Fantastic recipe! I just had the first piece after taking it out of the oven, and not only did it have a hearty, whole grain taste, but also, the kitchen smells great. Filled with ingredients that are nutritious as well as delicious, this recipe is one that I can’t wait to make again in my house. Thanks for a great recipe.

    Reply
  • 19. Jennie  |  May 31, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Heather – Thanks for the website link… I’m planning to order a lot of spelt from them pronto. It’s so great to buy in bulk, both for my wallet and the environment. 🙂

    Brady – Woohoo! First time bread maker in the house!! Kudos for you for going after one of the more challenging recipes on this site for your first time. So glad you liked the process and the outcome. Let me know what other breads you tackle! 🙂

    Jake – Thank you for the great feedback! 🙂 I’m so glad you gave the recipe a try. Enjoy every bite! 🙂

    Reply
  • 20. Jill  |  June 3, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Oh, I am inspired. But hobbled. I live in Japan out in the countryside. One of the things just simply not around almost anywhere is whole wheat flour. Or Rye flour. And figuring out where the gluten is should be fun. And my message scrolls off where I can see it so I don’t know if I’ve made typos. Let’s see… wheat berries. That’s going to take some explaining, I know it. Wheat germ, maybe.

    Reply
  • 21. Carol  |  December 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    OK help – I’m stuck. I have this on its first rise right now. As I was putting away of the ingredients, I realized I had not used the oats. Was that 1/2 cup supposed to go in the dough? I re-read the recipe and don’t see where it is supposed to be used until just before the dough goes into the oven – and then only for decoration. Have I missed something? Would it be too late to add the oats in – maybe on the second knead?

    I feel like I’ve messed something up.😦 -Carol

    Reply
  • 22. Jennie  |  December 26, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Carol – Oh dear, I am sorry. I did forget to put the rolled oats into the recipe directions. I’ve ammended it now. I am sure the bread was still delicious as the rolled oats were only one of many grains. I don’t think kneading them in would have worked anyway. Again, sorry for the mistake in writing the recipe.

    Reply
  • 23. kathleen  |  January 30, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Is wheat berries the same as red wheat or white wheat grains?

    Reply
    • 24. Jennie  |  January 31, 2010 at 11:41 am

      I don’t actually know, Kathleen. I haven’t heard of red or white wheat grains. If anyone else knows, feel free to share!

      Reply
  • 25. Chana  |  February 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I just made the recipe- pretty much as instructed. I think it came out great. The only thing is it’s a little sour- I think it rose a little too long. I let it go 2 hours, and then another 90 minutes. I think next time I’ll just let it rise a second time for 30 minutes. Love the texture of the wheat berries and wheat germ! Thanks so much.

    Reply

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