Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Multigrain bread on the brain

Bread is good for you. Especially when it is homemade, and tastes like Germany. And has lots of whole grains in it. So what are you waiting for? Eat up!

Multi-Grain German Bread
original recipe inspired by the crusty crusts of the Alps

Difficulty level: beginner
Total time: 16 hours from start to finish. Don't let that frighten you, most of that time is rest/rise time. 

4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of flax seeds
1/4 cup of wheat germ
1/4 cup of corn meal
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
2 1/2 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the dough should be wet and sticky. You know it's done when the dough will begin to stick to itself instead of the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 13 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.

Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.

Dust a cotton towel with flour so that the dough will not stick to the towel while it is rising. Place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour.  Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

When you reach the 1.5 hour mark of rising time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. You will need a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, to be in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. The dough will straighten our as it bakes, but if it lands in the pot sideways, give it a slight shake to settle it. 

 Cover and bake for 40-50 minutes. Uncover and continue baking about 5-10 more minutes, until a deep chestnut brown. The internal temp of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired. Another great way to check if bread is done is to give it a good knock/thump. If it sounds hollow; presto finito!

Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. This bread will not rise very high in the oven, but it should bake up with a nice crackly crust nonetheless. 

Delicous as a toasty sandwich with salad. Or just plain with butter.

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