ohhh, if I could just send you the smell permeating my nostrils at this moment. ummm-ummm-ummm. Bready, wheaty, toasty smell. I have 2 loaves in the oven this minute of one of my favorite bread recipes from “Cooks Illustrated”. In spite of my camera-idiodyssey, I will try to get a picture for you at least.
This recipe makes 2 loaves. We usually eat the first one in one swoop. The other we share at least some of. Today 1 loaf is going home with my son-in-law Jake, who is carpooling with my son to work these days.
anyway, here is the recipe:
- 1 1/4 cups 7 grain got cereal mix (I always use Bobs Red Mill 7 grain)
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (Bobs or King Arthur are my favs)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled (calls for unsalted. I use whatever I have on hand.)
- 2 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (I was out today, oh well)
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (or quick)
put the cereal in a large bowl and pour your boiling water over it, stirring occasionally, let it sit for about 1 hour or no more that 100 degrees. (use your instant read thermometer of course)
Once it has cooled, you can put the melted and cooled butter and honey in it. I usually put the honey in the melted butter to help cool off the butter. But as the yeast is not in it yet, it is not as important. High heat like that would kill the little yeasties. Anyway, stir the butter and honey into the grain porridge stuff.
In another bowl, mix the flours together. If you are using a mixer, in which case you would be wanting to do step one in that particular bowl, start adding the flour about 1/2 cup at a time and knead until dough forms a ball (1 1/2-2 minutes). Cover and let rest 20 minutes while you answer your emails or wash up the dishes.
Now you add the salt. (thought they forgot this ingredient, huh? salt is a yeast inhibitor and I guess they wanted to give the dough a chance to rise without it. DO NOT leave out this ingredient, or you will be sorry. This is the voice of experience here). Knead the salt into the dough for 3-4 minutes. If using mixer and dough is not leaving side of the bowl and looks too sticky, add a little more flour, 2-3 tbsp at a time and continue mixing. Add the nuts at this time, if you have them and knead for a few more seconds. Transfer to a floured work surface to continue kneading by hand, dispersing the seeds throughout the dough and the dough forms a smooth, taut ball.
Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap. I usually spray the dough with an oil spray first, then cover with plastic or a plate over the bowl. Let it rise about 45-60 minutes, until about double in size.
Now spray 2 -9 x 5 loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the floured board you used earlier and pat into a 12 X 9 rectangle. Cut dough in half crosswise with knife or bench scraper. Roll tautly into a loaf. (hmm, roll tautly. Do you understand? I can’t really show you at this time. But will try next time to get snaps of me doing this)
I like to brush the loaves with egg whites before I roll them in the oats. The recipe does not call for it, but I do it anyway. Brush the tops of the loaves with an egg white that was whipped a little with a fork. Then put the oats in a plate and roll the dough top in the oats. (today I used oat bran just because) Place them into the loaf pans, turn the oven on to 375 to pre heat, cover the loaves again with plastic wrap. (Plates don’t work well teetering on loaf pans). Let them rise 30-40 minutes. Pop into the oven at this point and bake for 35-40 minutes. Do not, I repeat, do not get busy typing on a blog and ignore the timer when it goes off. If you do, you may have over browned loaves. Not the end of the world, but still..
They should read about 200 degrees on your instant read thermometer. (if you do not have one, click on it to see why you can’t live without this) Run a knife around the edges of the loaf and tip them out of the pans, putting them on a rack to cool. Let them cool before slicing or it will mush up when you cut. Most all bread is that way. Let it cool as much as much as you can stand. Then slice, butter and ummm!