I know most of you will look at this post and wonder who on Earth has time to make their own bread, but once you start you won't want to stop. Any time I don't actually have the time to bake our own bread and we have to buy it in the store, we cringe a little. Good bread is hard to find, and expensive! So, I encourage you to buy a couple of cheap loaf pans and try it out at least once. I also encourage you to use a stand mixer as it makes the bread process virtually laborless. I don't have experience with bread machines, so I'm no good to you there.
Anyway, I made this multi-grain bread from my favorite bread book, Artisan Breads Everyday by Peter Reinhart. It's actually a modification of his "Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread." In this recipe you can substitute about 1/5 of the whole wheat flour with the same weight of grains, so I chose Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Cereal. What came out was a hearty, moist, and toothsome loaf with a lot of textural interest. I'd definitely make it again.
My only word of caution is to bake the dough within that 2-3 day time window as after that the yeast really produces some off flavors. One more thing- don't be scared off by the length of this recipe! It's well worth it!
I'll be posting this recipe as I made it, with the cereal. If you want just a straightforward whole wheat loaf, do a straight weight substitution. Also, because of the division of the grain and flour, I am posting this recipe using a combination of weight and volumetric measurements. You will need a kitchen scale.
Multi-grain Sandwich Bread
from Artisan Breads Everyday
22.5 oz whole wheat flour
5.5 oz multigrain cereal (usually found with the oatmeal- you want something that needs to be cooked), such as Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal
1 Tb (.5 oz) Kosher salt or 2 tsp regular salt
5 Tb (2.5 oz) granulated or brown sugar or 3 1/2 Tb. honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup (2 oz) vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) lukewarm milk of any kind
1 1/2 Tb (.5 oz) instant yeast
In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. If you use honey or agave nectar, dissolve it in the water instead. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Combine the water and milk in a separate container and whisk in the yeast until dissolved.
Add the egg mixture and the water mixture to the dry ingredients. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir about 1 minute. The dough should be wet and coarse. Let the dough rest for five minutes to fully hydrate the flour.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on med-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for 2 mintues. The dough will firm up slightly and become smoother. If it's still very wet, add more flour; if it's stiff, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should be very supple and slightly sticky. Continue to mix with the dough hook or by hand 4 minutes more, increasing the speed to med-high or stirring more vigorously for the final 20 seconds to develop and organize the gluten. The dough will still be slightly sticky but will also feel stronger and more elastic.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface with a wet bowl scraper and knead by hand for a final few seconds, working in more flour or water as needed so that the dough is very supple and pliable and slightly sticky; then form the dough into a ball. Do a stretch and fold, either on the work surface or in the bowl, reaching under the front end of the dough, stretching it out, then folding it back onto the top of the dough. Do this from the back end and from each side, then flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this enture process two more times, completing all repetitions within 30 minutes.
Place the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size (I personally had to use two large Pyrex bowls). Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.
After the dough has rested in the fridge, remove the dough from the fridge about 3 hours before you plan to bake. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two equal pieces for loaves or small pieces for rolls (about 2 oz each). For loaves, place the dough into greased 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pans. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap, then let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. In loaf pans, the dough should dome about 1 inch above the rim.
About 15 mintues before baking, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate. Bake 20-35 minutes more. The bread is done when the top and sides are a rich, deep brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom or the internal temperature reaches 185.
Remove from the pans and cool at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.