Posts Tagged ‘bake your own bread for flavor and nutrition’

Multigrain Bread

October 27, 2011

One goal of my Chicagoland mission to my family was to bake everyone’s bread. They’d have baguettes, sour dough boules, Irish brown soda, cinnamon rolls, currant scones and even soft sliced loaf bread for peanut butter sandwiches. I stocked the basement with 50-pound bags of flour, plugged in my 12-quart old horse of a Hobart, lined up big crockery bowls and set to work.

All was dandy for a few weeks or maybe even months, but then word seeped out that my granddaughters really didn’t like my bread for PBJs. They preferred the gummy, soft, store-bought stuff. I was devastated.

The next time I was alone in their kitchen, I took out the package of sliced bread, studied the contents and wrote down all the ingredients listed on the label. I checked out a stack of artisan baking books from the library and researched sandwich breads. After several weeks of experiments, I felt certain I had produced a soft, multigrain loaf that could rival any of the store shelf brands. But alas, the girls were not convinced. Although they are still delighted with the cinnamon rolls and pile butter onto thick slices of sourdough at Sunday dinners, when it comes to those sandwiches that go into their lunch boxes, they want bread like everyone else’s. At any rate, here’s a great multigrain loaf that keeps well, makes welcome toast or sandwiches and packs honest nutritional value.

Multigrain Bread

1 ½ oz. raisins (tight fist full)

4 oz. peeled, diced potato (1 scant cup)

2 cups water

¾ teaspoon dry yeast (plus pinch ginger powder)

1 ½ oz. rolled oats (½ cup)

8 oz. flour (half whole wheat, half white bread) (1 ½ cups)

¾ teaspoon dry yeast + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1 tablespoon wheat germ

1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, pure olive oil or canola oil

8-10 oz. flour (half whole wheat, half white bread)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

The night before, simmer the raisins, potato and 2 cups water in covered saucepan until potato is very tender. Cool slightly and puree in a blender. When lukewarm add yeast and ginger. When yeast has softened, add oats, then 8 oz. mixed flours. Beat well, cover and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours. Refrigerate this pre-ferment overnight.

Next morning remove pre-ferment from fridge; let stand at room temperature an hour. Dissolve ¾ teaspoon yeast in 2 tablespoons water. In mixing bowl place pre-ferment, yeast, honey, flax, wheat germ, butter or oil and minimum amount flours. Mix with rubber spatula, sprinkle salt on top, cover and let stand half hour or more. Knead using dough hook or by hand adding little more flour as needed. Cover and let rise until light. If time allows, fold down dough and let rise again 30–45 minutes.

Divide dough into 2 equal lumps, shape in balls and place in a greased 9” by 5” loaf pan. Cover with plastic and let rise until double. Mist with water, dust with oatmeal or oat bran and bake in 400º oven for 30–35 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 if loaf browns too quickly. Bread is done if sounds hollow when knocked with fist. Makes one 2-lb. loaf.

Mary Jo’s cookbook is available at