Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Four Grain Bread


This past Friday I walked past one of the upstairs windows and saw something beautiful outside, out of the corner of my eye. Blossoms! White pear blossoms! Purple plum blossoms! Spring has arrived!!!

That little bit of elation ended, with a screeching halt, yesterday. As I made dinner, snow started to fall. Not a lot of snow, but it was blowing almost horizontally, and those poor flowering trees were actually shivering. No snow through the entire month of March, when we actually still expect it, but now in April…

Again, *sigh*

Today it remained chilly, quite chilly, and I decided to turn on the oven and bake.

During most of the year I bake the sandwich/ toast bread which we consume, although from approximately mid-June through mid-September I need to buy bread because baking heats up the kitchen too much. Not a problem today, since the high was in the mid-30’s ON APRIL 7th! I was cold so, of course, I baked bread.

I found a recipe for 5-Grain Bread with Walnuts posted by Sharon on Cuisine at Home a few weeks ago and decided to make that. Unfortunately, although I was certain that I had a bag of walnuts, a big bag, left from Christmas baking, I was unable to locate it in the freezer. I would have to make 5-Grain Bread, sans the nuts.

Then, another supply issue. I could not find my rice flour (I think that I may have used it to make dog biscuits before Christmas and did not replenish my supply) so I needed to eliminate that. What remained, and yes I had the rest of the ingredients, became 4-Grain Bread! I doubled the amount of oat flour to make up for the missing rice flour.

This was a very good, basic bread recipe that is perfect for toast and sandwiches. The loaves were huge! I’m a big fan of all breads and this one will go into my regular rotation because it was relatively simple and yielded a wonderfully tasty loaf. I subbed white whole wheat flour for the original recipe’s unbleached all-purpose flour and doubled the fiber content per slice. I also added a little brown sugar when proofing the yeast, and vital wheat gluten and olive oil into the dough.

One procedural change. I have found that, when making any bread which contains heavier flours such as oat or whole wheat, it is beneficial to cover the dough and allow it to rest after you mix the dough but before you knead it. This time allows the grains to absorb moisture and I have found that I need to add less flour to the dough as the kneading process goes on. Also, the texture of the baked bread seems to be better.

This was an excellent, basic bread recipe, high in fiber, and even higher in taste. :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Four-Grain Bread

Recipe adapted from Carol Field

Servings: 28

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 3-1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup warm water -- about 100-110F

3 cups water -- 100F

3 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

2 3/4 cups rolled oats -- Using a food processor, grind the oats into a fine powder (or use

2-1/2 cups oat flour).

1 cup rye flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

Stir the yeast into the warm water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3 cups water.

Stir in the flours, wheat gluten, olive oil, and salt with the paddle. Mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Scrape the paddle, and cover the bowl. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Change to the dough hook and knead for 5-6 minutes at medium speed until firm and elastic but still slightly sticky, adding ¼ to ½ cup extra flour if necessary. Finish kneading briefly by hand (about 2 minutes or so) on a surface floured with all-purpose flour.

First Rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shaping and Second Rise: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be moist, firm, and noticeably elastic, if slightly sticky. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into an oval loaf to fit a loaf pan. Place the loaves in the oiled pans (preferably glass)*, cover with a heavy towel, and let rise until truly doubled and fully above the tops of the pans, 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Baking: Preheat oven to 400° F. Slash a pattern in the top of the loaves before baking, if desired.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes.

If using glass loaf pans, you can bake the last 5 to 10 minutes out of the pans on a baking stone or baking sheet to brown the bottoms and sides.

Cool completely on a rack.

* I used my Chicago Metallic 1-pound loaf pans

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 177 Calories (kcal); 2g Total Fat; (10% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 232mg Sodium; 5g Fiber

Food Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

I will eventually try the recipe which Sharon posted, and I look forward to it. If you have walnuts, and the desire to bake bread, try that recipe!


Laura said...

Those are wise words about waiting to knead. Would you believe the other day when we painted those cookies I realized I was out of granulated sugar and powdered sugar, speaking of starting projects thinking you have the right ingredients... ME??? Out of sugar? Blasphemy!

Needless to say that has been corrected.

:) This bread looks good. I am always looking for new sandwich breads to try.

Vicci said...

Laura, a couple of years ago I started my Easter baking one day to discover that I had a cup of flour in the canister and absolutely none in the pantry. Zero! No all-purpose, no wheat, zilch. Odd how that kind of thing can happen to those of us who use the ingredient most often. :)