One of the ways we’ve been trying to simplify our life is by making all of our own bread. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but we’ve done pretty well in terms of mostly eating bread that came from our kitchen or someone else’s. Obviously this type of “living simply” isn’t the time-saving kind, since it’s much quicker to buy a loaf of pre-sliced bread at the store. Instead, our goal in this case is to eat better and more naturally, and to be proud of being more self-sufficient. Store-bought bread in all its fluffiness is a confusing mixture of dozens of ingredients, and although not all of them are weird, it’s still a little concerning. This bread on the other hand has about the longest ingredient list of any I’ve made, and it still only has 10.
The way you can recover some time in the equation when you’re making your own bread is to make a lot at once, and freeze it. Especially with sandwich bread, I usually make 3 or 4 loaves at once, and that will usually be enough to get us through a few weeks of lunches or whatever else. It takes around the same time to mix, rise, and bake 4 loaves as it does 1, so this ends up not being too much of a burden on your schedule if you’re smart about it.
This bread is a slack (sticky) dough, leavened by sourdough only, and I’d like to sometime make some tutorials on both of those elements so you can start improvising yourself. For now, just follow along, and if you can’t do the sourdough part right now you can just substitute regular yeast.
This sourdough bread is tons of fun. It’s soft and chewy, with lots of interesting grains and seeds and textures throughout, all accented by that classic sourdough flavor and multigrain heartiness. You can easily substitute in lots of other fun things like quinoa or poppy seeds if you have them around, but I would remove an equivalent amount of one of the other grains or seeds since the dough is pretty crowded already. If you improvise at all, let me know what you try and how it turns out!
Grains and Seeds Sourdough Bread – The Recipe:
2.5 cups bread flour
1.5 cups water
1/4 cup sourdough mother starter
3 cups flour, 1.5 cups water, and 1/4 tsp yeast (if you’re not using sourdough)
All of the starter
3 cups water
1/2 cup barley grain
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
5.5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil would probably work fine as well)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
14 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Makes 3 loaves
Make the pre-ferment:The night before you assemble the dough, mix the ingredients for the pre-ferment and stir thoroughly. It will look like a thick batter. Leave in a covered bowl at room temperature overnight or for at least 6 hours. You’re look for it to become bubbly and fairly expanded.
Assemble the dough: Mix water and the barley, oats, rye and whole wheat flours, and stir. Add all of the preferment and stir until mixed together pretty well. Mix in the oil, sugar, salt, and seeds.
Add half the bread flour and stir until integrated thoroughly. Continue to add the rest of the flour until all has been mixed in. The dough should be way too thick to stir very well, but too wet and sticky to knead. Allow the dough to rest 10 minutes.
Stretch and fold: With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scoop under one side of the dough and stretch it upward, folding it over the top of the dough. Repeat from the opposite side. Repeat this procedure two more times over 1o minute intervals.
At this point you can either put the dough in the fridge overnight (recommended), or let it rise on your counter at room temperature. The benefit of the fridge is that the gluten of the dough continues to develop, as does the flavor from the sourdough and the various grains in the dough. If you’re in a baking mood today though, it’s totally okay to let it rise at room temperature.
Let the dough rise until doubled in size (this may take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature and how your yeast is feeling).
Scoop the dough onto the counter and divide evenly into 3 portions. Form into loaf shapes and place in lightly-oiled loaf pans to rise again.
When the dough has risen above the rim of the pans, it’s time to bake. For sandwich bread I bake around 350-375°F. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden or until the internal temperature reads 180-190°F.
Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes or so, then remove from pans to continue cooling.
Store at room temperature or freeze in plastic bags. Excellent for sandwiches.
Let me know what you think!
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