This recipe is a little more work than some, but it is definitely worth the extra effort. It requires making a starter dough the day before, so it takes some planning. The things I don't like about this recipe, is that it takes forever to make and uses too many bowls. The things I do like about this recipe, is that it is the best homemade bread I've ever had....PERIOD. Nuff said. Enjoy.
2 c cooked whole grains (I used a cooked 5 grain cereal, or you can use plain oats) 2 c water 1/4 c vegetable oil 1 T sea salt 1 T dry yeast 1 c whole wheat flour (more or less)
Blend grains and water in blender or food processor until creamy; pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in oil, salt, and yeast. Add enough flour to make the mixture look like thick cooked cereal. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Once the dough is fermented, it can be refrigerated for up to a week before using to make bread. If you do refrigerate the starter dough, make sure it comes back to room temp before going to the next step.
To Make the Bread
1/4 c sweetener (maple syrup, honey, or raw sugar) 2 c whole wheat flour 3-4 c unbleached white flour or whole wheat flour
After the 12-24 hours, add sweetener to starter and stir. Add whole wheat flour, stirring it in. As you add the white flour the mixture will be too difficult to stir. Knead it by hand in the bowl and continue to add white flour. When dough is less sticky, transfer it to a floured surface and knead 10-15 min or until dough is soft and springy, but not too sticky. (If you have a bigger Kitchenaid, you can just let it go with the dough hook for 10 min) Wash and dry mixing bowl and oil it. Place dough in bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To Make Loaves
Lightly oil 2 loaf pans. Divide dough in half. Punch down and loaf the dough in the following way: -flatten half the dough into a square on your working surface. Press out all air bubbles by slapping dough with the palms of both hands. -Fold the flattened dough into a triangle and press it down again. (think making a paper airplane) -Fold 2 corners into center and press again -Fold top point into the body of the dough and press it down again. -Pick up the dough and begin rolling it into itself. This stretches the dough and creates a tight roll with no air pockets. Seal the seam by flattening it with the heel of your hand. -Shape the dough into a nice loaf and place in the pan seam side down. Repeat punching down and shaping with the other half of the dough.
To bake the bread 1 t water 1 t honey or sugar 1 t vegetable oil 1/4 t salt
Mix water, honey, oil and salt in small cup or bowl and coat the top of each loaf with this mixture. Cover and let rise in pans for 45-60 minutes until the loaves double in size. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 45-50 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, the internal temperature of the bread should be about 200 degrees. Bread will come out of pans after 5 minutes of cooling. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing (if you can wait!)