Monday, September 3, 2007

Multigrain Sandwich Loaf

I'm so excited about my new Peter Reinhart cookbook, Whole Grain Breads! This was my first recipe and it really turned out well. It has a wonderful texture and great whole grain flavor. It is just perfect for sandwiches. Whole wheat breads are often too dense and heavy tasting, but this one is very nice!

The recipe starts the day before baking with a biga (starter) and a soaker that contains the whole grains. Reinhart gives the baker options on ingredients, allowing for personal taste and variation. I really like this about his recipes. You can make many slightly different loafs all from the same basic recipe. It does make it important to weigh your ingredients though, instead of measuring by volume--especially with the whole grains. Volumes can differ greatly depending on which grains you use. Weighing is so nice with baking, allowing for much better reproducibility.

I made this loaf largely an oat bread, choosing to use steel cut oats for the cooked grain, along with oat bran and rolled oats. Cornmeal, whole wheat, and flaxseeds rounded out the whole grains and I used buttermilk and brown sugar (also options in the recipe). In the soaker, I used a combination of whole wheat and bread flours. Very nice! I'm excited to try new variations of this loaf soon. Next time I make brown rice, I'll save some for bread! Continue for Multigrain Sandwich Loaf recipe.

Multigrain Sandwich Bread adapted from Whole Grain Breads Makes 1 large loaf

28.25 g whole wheat flour
28.25 g unbleached bread flour
56.5 g cornmeal
56.5 g rolled oats
42.5 g cooked steel cut oats
7 g oat bran
7 g whole flaxseeds
4 g sea salt
170 g buttermilk

Mix all of the soaker ingredients together in a bowl for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a thick, porridge-like dough.
Cover loosely with plastic and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours (I actually moved mine to the fridge the following day and made my bread the next day--it's good for 3 days in the fridge.)

227 g unbleached bread flour
1 g instant yeast
142 g filtered water, at room temperature

Mix all of the biga ingredients together to form a ball of dough. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 min. to be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 min., then knead it again with wet hands for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother but still be tacky.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for a least 8 hrs. and up to 3 days. (I used mine 36 hrs. later).

2 hours before mixing the final dough, remove the biga (and soaker if it's been longer than 1 day) from the fridge.

Final Dough
all of the biga
all of the soaker
28.5 g whole wheat flour
5 g salt
7 g instant yeast
42.5 g brown sugar
1 T unsalted butter, melted

Using a pastry scraper, chop the soaker and the bigan each into 12 smaller pieces. Sprinkle some extra flour over the pre-doughs to deep the pieces from sticking back together.
Combine the soaker and biga pieces with the other ingredients except the extra flour and stir vigorously for about 2 min., until all of the ingredients are evenly integrated. The dough should be solft and slightly sticky.
Dust the counter with flour, then toss the dough in the flour to coat. Knead by hand for 3-4 min., incorporating only as much extra flour as needed, until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky.
Form into a ball and let it rest for 5 min. while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.
Resume kneading the dough for 1 min (I kneaded mine for 5 more min. to pass the windowpane test--gently stretch a piece of dough to see if it will hold a paper-thin, translucent membrane). Dough will have strength yet feel soft, supple, and very tacky.
Form dough into a ball and place in the prepared bowl, spraying lightly with oil. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise 50 min (45-60)--1 1/2 times its original size.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured counter and form it into either a loaf or a batard shape (I made a batard this time but think I like this bread as a loaf).
Coat loaf lightly with a beaten egg white, and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Mist top of dough with pan spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 46-60 min. (50), until it is about 1 1/2 times its original size.
Preheat oven to 425. For my freestanding loaf, I prepared oven for hearth baking: pan of water on the very top rack and preheated baking stone.
When the dough is ready to bake, place it in oven, pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan, lower the temp. to 350, spray sides of oven with water and bake for 20 min., spraying oven walls at 1 and 2 minutes.
Rotate the loaf 180 degrees and continue baking for another 25 min, until the loaf is a rich brown.
Transfer bread to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I love Peter Reinhart's breads, so I'll have to give this one a go. It looks delicious and like it has the perfect sandwich bread texture.