Updated: Jun 2, 2022
Have you ever wondered whether store-bought, same old bread is inescapable? After all, it is time-consuming to make yeast bread from scratch, right? Not so fast. What if you can spoil your family with a homemade specialty bread in two hours, 75% of which is idle time? Let me put up a warning sign first. Once you try this recipe, there is no going back... I used to buy breakfast bagels at a local bakery. Only until I became quite happy with my rusty home-made bread. A majority of yeast bread you can buy is mostly made of all-purpose flour that has a limited flavor and nutritional profile. But when I became interested in getting the full benefits of whole grains such as oats, rye, millet, buckwheat, kamut, and spelt, I had to learn how to work with them in baking. It was not an easy road though. It took countless failures until I came up with a successful recipe that makes the best use of a variety of whole grains. Now that I came to love this wholesome bread, I'm ready to share the joy of having a tasty and fulfilling breakfast that keeps me full for long hours. For those curious about the picture below, let me explain my humble, yet delicious breakfast. A slice of multi-grain bread gets dressed with sunflower butter and strawberry jam. Then I put some olive halves and pumpkin seeds on top of the sliced bread before toasting it in the oven. While waiting for my toast, I slice a banana and make a cup of espresso. If you love eggs for breakfast, you can certainly add a scrambled or poached egg to the toast, which would make a nice brunch. The only downside with this bread is that you can easily get addicted to it, which means that you may have to make this bread quite often!
This bread also goes very well with tuna salad. If your interest has been piqued, here is how you can make this awesome bread successfully every time!
Recipe for 20 slices of multi-grain bread
On the first day:
To promote a smooth rising of this bread dough, we need to break down complex starches of corn flour, rye flour, and oats. If you skip this part, you will end up with a dense bread. No amount of gluten would fix the inefficient rising issue. I highly recommend that you soak them in a cup of warm water overnight.
12 tsp of rye flour
1.5 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of hot water
On the second day:
You can add the following ingredients to a food processor or mixing bowl: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 8 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp ginger powder 12 tsp gluten (2 tsp of gluten per a cup of flour low in gluten) 4 tsp flaxseeds 2 tsp millet 3 tsp Baker's yeast 1/2 Tsp finely chopped butter 3/4 cup Nature's Path multi-grain cereal or replace it with the following flours: 6 tsp buckwheat flour 9 tsp kamut flour 9 tsp spelt flour
* Of note, you can substitute oats for all the other whole grain flours. But you will need to empirically determine the optimal amount of water to make a light, soft, and pliable dough because different grains absorb different amounts of water. Even humidity will affect the amount of water that goes into the bread dough, which means that less water is needed during summer.
Mix the dry ingredients first for 20 seconds if you use a food processor. Then, add the soaked flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix everything together. Microwave 3/5 cup of water for 30 seconds in a container that has a spout . Then, slowly add this warm water to the mixing bowl while mixing. Using a food processor will save you lots of time and energy during this dough mixing process. Once the bread dough starts to clean the bowl, keep mixing for one full minute in a food processor or until it becomes smooth and soft. You can add more water (2 tablespoons of water at a time) if the dough looks dry, feels heavy, and moves slowly in the processor bowl. If the food processor stops operating, divide the dough into two portions and let the food processor knead one portion at a time.
The most important thing to remember is that the final dough should be SOFT, SMOOTH, and LIGHT, which would ensure an easy rising of the dough. It means a soft, springy, delicious, and nutritious bread that has the texture of a chiffon cake WITHOUT carrying extra calories. Otherwise, you will end up with a dense bread that feels like a brick.
Scrape the dough out onto a floured wood board, as shown above, or clean work bench, knead it several times, and shape the dough into a long flat oval shape. Of note, if you add 1/4 cup of walnuts to the flattened dough before kneading it further on the board, you can make a delicious walnut bread! Transfer the bread dough to a shallow baking dish, whose bottom has been coated with a drop of vegetable oil. It is important not to coat the side of the baking dish. If you do, the bread dough will not climb the baking dish well, resulting in a dense bread. While shaping the bread dough to fill the baking dish evenly, microwave water in two bowls for 2 min. Fill water up to 80% of the bowls so that the baking dish would not touch the hot water directly. Keep the bread dough in a baking dish on top of the warm bowls for 50 min in a closed microwave, as shown in the picture below. This is a neat trick that I came up with to expedite the dough rising without a commercial incubator.
Bake the dough at 300'F for 35 min or until it becomes golden brown in a convection oven. Because there will be an oven spring, place the bread dough on the lowest rack if you use a small oven like mine.
Of note, a convection countertop toaster oven is an awesome workhorse in the kitchen. Mine has completely replaced a regular oven that consumes much more energy. I use this convection countertop toaster oven for toasting bread and baking every day. It would make a thoughtful gift for people on a mission to save space and energy, thus lowering the utility bill and their carbon footprint.
You can check the doneness of the bread by pricking a knife into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, it is done. Let the bread cool down in the baking dish on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then, run your bread knife through the sides of the baking dish to loosen the bread before taking it out onto a cooling rack. You need to cool down the bread completely before cutting it into slices. Otherwise, you will break the bread while slicing it.
There you have it. As long as you successfully adjust the amount of water to make a light, soft, and smooth dough, you can make any kind of bread you fancy. Really the sky is the limit. Please let me know how your bread has turned out and whether you end up making different types of bread with this recipe.