Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
This is a recipe taken from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I have modified it slightly by skipping the overnight fermentation; I also reduced the water content as I find it produces a very wet dough. This is a really delicious, slightly sweet, bread; I am reliably informed that it produces the best toast in the world, and the instructions are so precise that it’s hard to screw this up.
I generally measure by weight rather than volume, but both measures are included for reference. A scale however is pretty important for successful bread-making.
Makes one 2-lb loaf or 6 to 12 rolls.
Update: I have tried this with the overnight fermentation and it does produce a different tasting bread, much stronger flavoured with an almost alcoholic taste. If you have time give it a try!
- 3 tbsp (1 oz.) cornmeal
- 3 tbsp (0.75 oz.) rolled oats
- 2 tbsp (0.25 oz) wheat bran
- 1/4 c (2 oz) water, at room temperature
- 3 c. (13.5 oz.) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
- 3 tbsp (1.5 oz.) brown sugar (packed if measuring by volume)
- 1 1/2 tsp (0.38 oz.) salt
- 1 tbsp (0.33 oz) instant yeast
- 3 tbsp (1 oz) cooked brown rice (or whatever rice you have lying around leftover)
- 1 1/2 tbsp (1 oz) honey
- 1/2 c. (4 oz) milk
- 1/2 c. (4 oz) water, slightly warm
- about 1 tbsp. poppy seeds, for topping
Combine the cornmeal, oats, and bran with the water in a small bowl. The water will just cover the bran, hydrating it slightly. Set aside to soak (Reinhart says overnight, but I just do a few minutes while I do the rest of the dough).
Stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt, yeast in a bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add rice, honey, milk, soaker, and water. Stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients form a ball. Add a few drops of water if any of the flour remains separate.
Sprinkle flour on the countertop and transfer the dough. Begin to knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook). Knead for about 12 minutes (or 8 to 10 in the mixer), sprinkling in flour as needed until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky, and slightly shiny. (If you are using a mixer, hand knead the dough for a minute or two at the end). The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 F.
Windowpane test - mine isn’t really perfect, it should be translucent without opaque areas
Lightly oil a bowl and put the dough in, rolling it around to coat with oil. (I just put it back in the original bowl, don’t bother to wash it). Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the dough moist, and ferment at room temperature or in a warmish place, for 90 mins or until the dough doubles in size and passes the poke test. If gas bubbles begin to form you have gone too far and over-proofed your dough.
The poke test - hole takes several seconds to fill about halfway back
Remove the dough from the bowl and press by hand into a rectangle 3/4 in. thick, 6 in. wide and 8-10 in. long. Working from the short side of the dough, roll up the length of dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with your thumbs with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. The loaf will spread out as you roll it up, eventually extending to a full 8-9 in. Pinch the final seam closed with the back of your hand. (The idea is to create a loaf with a tight surface tension so the loaf will rise UP and not just out). You could also create rolls at this point.
Roll the dough up, pinching the creases tightly as you go to create surface tension
Place the loaf in a lightly oiled loaf pan (the ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan), or onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper if you are making rolls or freestanding loaves. Brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with poppy sheets, pressing the seeds slightly into the dough so they stick. Mist again with spray oil, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof for 90 mins, or until the dough nearly doubles in size. If you are using a loaf pan, the dough should fully crest above the lip of the pan, doming about 1 in above the pan in the centre.
Preheat the oven to 350 F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
Bake for about 20 mins. Small rolls will probably will finished at this point. For everything else, rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for another 15 mins for freestanding loaves and 20-40 mins for loaf pan bread. The bread should register 185 to 190 F in the centre, be golden brown, and make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
Remove to cooling rack.
Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice