I love to make bread because I love to eat fresh baked bread, I love the way it makes the house smell, I love having the leftovers for sandwiches (PB&J is my guilty pleasure) and also it totally makes me feel like a domestic diva! Several years ago I set out on a mission to learn how to make a great whole-grain sandwich loaf and it took several tries but I have found this to be a great fool-proof recipe! If you follow the instructions you should end up with a beautiful bakery-quality loaf of delicious bread!
If you’re not used to making bread, it’s not difficult and and it doesn’t take a lot of your time but the steps are spread out over several hours.
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. powdered milk
1 Tbs. honey
1 cup + 2 Tbs. water (at room temperature)
1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup multigrain cereal (I use Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 3/4 tsp. salt
To get started you will need 2 bowls because you are going to make a wet mixture and a dry mixture.
For the wet mixture, combine 1/2 cup unbleached flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 tsp. instant yeast, 1/2 Tbs. sugar, powdered milk, honey, and room-temperature water (but not the boiling water).
For the dry mixture, combine 1-1/2 cup unbleached flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 Tbs. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. instant yeast.
(my bowl for wet ingredients is on the right but I haven’t added in the water yet)
Whisk the wet ingredients together for 2 minutes, it will be very runny like cake batter.
Mix the dry ingredients together and pour on-top of the wet mixture.
Let it sit for at least 1-1/2 hours at room temp (the warmer it is the faster the yeast will work). The wet mixture will bubble up through the dry mixture (cool!).
While the wet/dry mixture is doing it’s magic, combine the boiling water with the multigrain cereal and let it sit for about 20 minutes or until the cereal is softened and somewhat cooled.
Next, combine the cereal with the wet/dry mixture and also add the oil. I use a kitchen-aid mixer with the dough-hook attachment for the kneading so I set it on a low speed for about a minute, until it is just starting to form a ball. You could also stir it by hand if you want. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. At this point I go ahead and sprinkle the salt on top so I don’t forget to add it (what a bummer when you make your beautiful loaf of bread and you forgot to add salt so it’s not that great!)
After resting for 20 minutes, I turn my mixer on to speed #4 (medium) for 10 minutes (alternately, you could knead it by hand). The dough should form a ball that feels very elastic and bounces back when you press it with your finger, and it shouldn’t stick to your finger. If it is too dry (not forming a ball) you can add more water (a Tbs. at a time), and if it is too wet (sticks to your finger) you can add more flour until it is the right consistency.
Cover the bowl with plastic.
Allow it to rise for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
Now it’s time to form the loaf! Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured counter-top. Stretch it out into a large rectangle (about 12″x20″). Fold each outside edge into the center.
(this photo shows just the left side folded into the center, the right side is folded in next)
Then press it down a little and roll it up tightly.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and place your loaf inside, seam-side down.
Let it rise for about an hour (or until doubled in size).
Then bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, until the bread is a nice toasty golden color.
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