I am also signed up for the Bake Your Own Bread challenge, where once a month, I am supposed to bake my own and blog about it. Since it's once a month, it should be easier to do, but last year I signed up and never managed to post even once, even though I did bake bread. This year, I am kicking 2012 off right by baking bread AND blogging about it. My January effort is this multigrain bread, based off a Martha Stewart recipe. The first time I ever baked bread that turned out well was one of her recipes, so I often choose Martha first for my first try at a bread before I go off experimenting. I have made a lot of bad bread in my lifetime - loaves that would make great doorstops, dinner rolls that could be used by Justin Verlander for spring training down in Lakeland, FL for his next no hitter, etc.
|That's actually one of my dinner rolls in his hand|
However, this bread came out wonderfully and I have been enjoying eating it in toasted form in the morning for breakfast. It's a great source of fiber - by my math, it's about 5 g fiber per slice for a 10 slice loaf.
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine (a.k.a. instant) yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/3 cup bulgur
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 egg white
Soak 1/3 cup bulgur in 1/2 cup warm water for 20 minutes; set aside. Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups water and 3 tablespoons honey. Whisk flour with salt; add 3 cups to yeast. Mix on low speed until smooth. Mix in soaked bulgur, 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1/4 cup wheat germ. Add remaining 4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from sides of bowl and forms a ragged, slightly sticky ball. Spray a large bowl with non stick cooking spray
Set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap. I like to use my microwave oven as a proofing box, a trick I learned from Christopher Kimball in his great cookbook, the Yellow Farmhouse Kitchen. I put the bowl in my microwave (don't turn it on) with a coffee mug filled with an inch or two of boiling water. The most warm air really makes the bread rise well. Let dough stand until it doubles in volume (it should not spring back when pressed), about 1 hour.
Spray two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Punch down dough; divide in half. Shape 1 dough half into an 8 1/2-inch-long rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick). Fold long sides of dough in to middle, overlapping slightly. Press seam to seal. Transfer dough, seam side down, to pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush tops of loaves with egg wash (beaten egg white mixed with water),and sprinkle with oats. Dab tops with egg wash to help adhere. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drape loaves with plastic. Let stand in the microwave until dough rises about 1 inch above tops of pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake, rotating pans after 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool slightly; turn out loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.