Over the past year, I’ve annulled many relationships. I’m done with the deadbeats in my life.
I dumped sugar and sweeteners eight months ago. I’ve successfully been wheat-free for the past couple of months except for the one time I pigged out on pizza (and repented the next day). I’ve signed up for a Gluten-free January. Well, it’s a productive start to what I hope will be a healthy, energy-filled New Year.
So what did wheat do to deserve this estrangement? I’ll save the sordid details for the next post. Suffice to say, our kitchen has been cleared of all gluten – wheat, rye, barley, spelt, emmer (farro), oats. (Well, oats has no gluten per se, but it is often processed in a facility with wheat.) I sold my bread machine and got rid of a couple of baking cookbooks.
Instead of mulling over the missing loaf of bread, I take delight in the new relationships I’ve forged – with whole eggs, butter, ghee and a host of entire food groups I shunned before. If you are a regular here looking for low-fat, mostly vegan nutrition and recipe ideas, you will be disappointed. We’ve moved over to the dark side. Life is fatty and good. We’ve been involved in some fun culinary experiments. Hopefully, we’ll find the time to write about them.
This is the last wheat bread you’ll see here. It’s an incredibly delicious one adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Five-Grain Levain from his book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.
I increased the yeast and adapted it to the no-knead method outlined HERE (under Method II). The recipe makes a truckload of dough. You just pull off grapefruit-sized bits, shape them into loaves and bake them within ten days of making the dough.
MULTIGRAIN SOURDOUGH BREAD
(Makes 2 large or 3 medium loaves.)
IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOURDOUGH STARTER
**I used 1/4 cup of dough left over from the last loaf I made. It acts as a quasi sourdough starter. You don’t need to, but if you remember to save some dough when you make a loaf of bread, refrigerate it in a lidded container and use it in your next loaf within a week.
If you don’t have starter, add an extra 2 tbsps each of water and all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast to the recipe.
Dump in a 5-quart lidded plastic or ceramic container:
2.9 oz (5/8 cup) cracked rye (or cracked wheat)
2.9 oz (5/8 cup) flaxseeds
2.5 oz (half cup) sunflower seeds
2.5 oz (3/4 cup) steel-cut or rolled oats
13 oz (1 and 5/8 cups) boiling water
Let it sit until the water cools down to lukewarm.
2 and 1/3 cup (19 oz) filtered or spring water, lukewarm (between 95 to 105F)
2.5 tsps (around 0.3 oz/8.5 grams) active dry yeast
Let it sit for five minutes until the yeast starts getting bubbly.
1/4 cup sourdough starter (see note above)
22 oz bread flour (or all purpose flour)
2 oz vital wheat gluten
8 oz whole wheat flour
2 tsps (0.4 oz) kosher or sea salt
Stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed. You may need more water. The dough should be a tad stickier than the consistency you require for shaping it into a loaf – which is a loose dough like the kind you need for pizza.
Let it sit on the counter for two hours. It will almost double in volume. Open the lid a crack to release the gases and cover it back tightly. You can shape the dough and bake it now if you wish, but I like to wait at least two days for maximum flavour. Put it in the fridge and leave it alone. You can keep this dough refrigerated for up to ten days.
Take as much dough as you need out of the container, put it on a floured surface and shape quickly into a ball.
Shape the dough quickly into a round or oval shape, tuck the bottom fold in neatly, using a drop of water to seal it if you need to. Do not knead or handle much ‘cos it will release the air inside and create a denser loaf. I placed the loaf in a banneton (or brotform basket), but you could simply place it on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or layered with wax paper.
Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours in a warm place until nearly doubled in volume.
Preheat an oven to 450F with a stone (or inverted baking sheet) on the middle rack. Dust the loaf with flour and slash it on the top a couple of times for the steam to escape.
If you’re using a brotform, invert the loaf on to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or layer it with parchment/silicone.
Pour a cup of hot water into the tray in the oven and slide the loaf onto the stone (with mitts on). Bake for 20 minutes and peel off the wax paper. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees for even baking. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until rich brown and crust on the outside. If the nuts and seeds start getting too brown, loosely cover with a foil tent, shiny side out for the rest of the baking duration. Test with a skewer to see if it’s done inside.
Let it rest on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour.
Our entry for YeastSpotting.