Friday, January 14, 2011

Rosie Makes A Multigrain Bread.

One of my favorite things to do is bake bread. The entire procedure is relaxing to me. And comforting. And pleasurable. Then you get the added bonus of an actual reward at the end - an earthy, redolent, and saporous loaf of bread.
The other day I was left at home. Deliciously alone. Mr. Hawthorne was back at work. All three little Hawthornes were back at school. Just me, Dixie, AND Junior here. I convinced Youngest Hawthorne to leave Junior at home for the first week, while he moved all his stuff into his apartment. I thoughtfully cogitated that it would be much easier on him if he didn't have a dog to care for. I stepped forward to lift his burden and offered to keep Junior with me while he was settling in. I'm always thinking out for others. That's just the way I am. It's the way Rosie rolls. So in my exquisite aloneness, finally, I turned to my friend - my kitchen. I love baking bread so I checked out Michael Ruhlman's blog for suggestions and picked out this Multigrain Boule. With adjustments, of course, because, who the hell has flax seeds lying around? Ticky, you'd be so proud!
I have to say this is an interesting loaf. I love all the different grains and flavors, but it's a crunchy bread. Kind of a weird texture - different but likeable.
That's a toasted slice with orange marmalade on the left and Mr. Hawthorne's Sourwood Honey/butter mixture on the right.
My mise en place: 8 ounces bread flour 4 ounces whole wheat flour 3 ounces oats 3 ounces stone-ground corn grits 2 ounces buckwheat flour 1 ounce pumpkin seeds 12 ounces warm water 2 tsps Kosher salt 1 package yeast Additional sunflower seeds and oats to roll the boule in. I first proofed my yeast. Just add the yeast to the warm water with a little sugar and wait. It should get bubbly and poofy. Combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the additional sunflower seeds and oats) and mix well with the yeast mixture, then start kneading on a lightly floured surface. This is a tough dough. Knead away. The instructions said, "You should be able to stretch the dough to translucency without tearing it." Let's just say that ain't happenin' here. Like I said, mine was a tough dough - not at all that elastic. After kneading for about 20 minutes, I rolled it in an oiled bowl, covered it with plastic, and did my Rosie-Trick for assisted rising: Wet a kitchen towel and nuke it for about 90 seconds. Wrap the plastic-wrapped boule bowl in the heated, steamy towel, and set back in the microwave to rise. Let rise until doubled in size. Mine took about 4 hours. At this point it was late afternoon and I wanted to wait for the next day to actually bake the bread. This is totally do-able with bread. After the first rise is complete, I put the dough back in the fridge and waited for the next day before continuing. Be sure to wrap tightly with plastic. I've had numerous doughs continue to rise after cooling off in the refrigerator and have opened the doors to a cascade of crusty dough creeping through the confines of my cooling contraption. I knew this wouldn't be the case with this dough. The next day, bring the dough out and let it come to room temperature. It'll be a very stiff, cold dough. What I did to hasten raising the temperature, was to wet and nuke a kitchen towel and wrap the plastic-wrapped dough in the heated towel and manipulate it, kneading kinda, to warm the bread up. And the bread becomes much more malleable very quickly. You can actually feel the dough softening and becoming more elastic with the heated towel. Knead the dough again, shaping it, spinning it as you do to create a tighter ball. I oiled my dough at this point and pressed the extra sunflower seeds and oatmeal into the surface. Set aside in the microwave with a steamy towel and let it rise again. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce to 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature is 200 degrees. Cool on rack. Here's the process:
I poured my packet of yeast into the 12 ounces of warm water.
Pour a little water into the yeast packet to get out all the granules. Waste not, want not.
Always add a little sugar so the yeast has something to nosh on. If your yeast is active and alive your mixture here will start to foam and get bubbly. This is known as "proofing" the yeast. When it proofs, you know you're good to go. If it doesn't proof, throw it out and try another yeast.
If you do any baking, I've found that scales are indispensable. Here, I've measured out 8 ounces of bread flour.
Four ounces of whole wheat flour.
Three ounces of oats.
Three ounces of stone-ground corn grits.
Two ounces buckwheat flour.
Add all together and add in 2 teaspoons Kosher salt.
I happened to have Vital Wheat Gluten on hand and I added 4 teaspoons. Supposedly, this improves the texture and elasticity of the dough. Gluten provides yeast bread's structure and helps it rise and stay risen. Heavier, whole-grain loaves need the extra gluten which Vital Wheat Gluten provides to rise their highest. Vital Wheat Gluten strengthens the bread's structure while lightening texture and promoting a good rise. Or so I'm told.
One ounce of sunflower seeds.
Add in the sunflowers to the grains and mix all together.
I'm checking out my yeast now, and I notice this is not as poofy and foamy as I would like. By this time (about 15-20 minutes since I mixed the yeast and sugar and water) the mixture should have bunches of different sized bubbles. This mixture is only milky-looking. Since I knew the dough was going to be heavy what with all the grains, I needed to have a good yeast. I didn't throw this batch out, since it is working a tiny bit. What I did was ...
... add another packet of yeast, from a different batch.
I waited a few minutes and was rewarded with bubbly foam. My yeast has "proofed."
The yeast mixture on the left. My multi-grains on the right. In Mama Hawthorne's bowls. I realized today I had these bowls nested in the corner of my kitchen counter, inside my wok. I had forgotten about them and, as you may or may not have noticed, I haven't used my wok in some time. That in itself is unfortunate. When I realized the bowls were there, I used them - my mother's bowls - for the first time today.
Add the mixed grains to the yeast mixture.
Stir to combine.
And turn this shaggy mess onto a lightly floured surface. Start working the dough. I kneaded this for about 20 minutes. Like I've said, it's a tough dough.
And ended up with this little compact, dense ball.
I oiled the bowl and rolled the ball of dough in it.
Cover with plastic and let rise. Do the Rosie-trick with the hot, wet nuked towel, wrapped around the bowl to boost the rising.
Four hours later, my dough has doubled. I know it doesn't look it, but it is. At this point it was about 4 PM. I knew I couldn't get good pictures in florescent lights, so I covered it with plastic and refrigerated it until the next morning.
The next morning I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let it come to room temperature, with some help from a hot towel.
I oiled the dough and pressed in oatmeal and sunflower seeds.
Let rise again.
When the second rise is done, slash the dough several times with a sharp knife.
It's ready for a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then turn it down to 375 degrees and bake about 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200 degrees.
Oh, my kitchen smells so good.
Bread is so wonderful right out of the oven with a spread of butter.
Nice texture.
Mr. Hawthorne mixed some softened butter with his sourwood honey.
That's the right consistency.
Honey butter spread on the right. Orange marmalade spread on the right.
My multigrain loaf. I had mixed feelings about this loaf. I wanted to like it. Really I did. But it was too darn heavy. By heavy, I mean I could use this loaf as a weapon. I pretty much followed the recipe, but I don't think it's supposed to be this heavy. I think it could have used some white flour to lighten it up. Sorry, Ticky. But I tried. Really I did. I want to do a good rye next. And after that, a good whole wheat. I may have to go through several recipes of each until I hit gold, so you might have to suffer through all of that with me.


tortietat said...

Sounds good. My favorite "non white" loaf is an oatmeal bread that has a bit of brown sugar in it. Not sweet, but very good. Will send recipe if you like.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Please send me the recipe, Tortietat. Thanks!