Friday, May 8, 2009

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire [#12]

First of all, let me apologize for anyone who follows this blog in a reader, as last night I mistakenly published (for all of 5 seconds) a very rough draft of this post - sorry you had to wade through all my notes!

Back in March, pinkstripes posted some amazing rolls,made from Peter Reinhart's formula for Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire (adapted recipe, as I make it is at the end of this post). I had a huge queue of yeast bread recipes to try, but this one got to jump the line because of its promise to be "the best toast in the world." If anything, we are all about The Toast in this house.

The first time I made this bread, I cobbled the recipe together from the Google book preview (partial recipe online) and the posts of pinkstripes and various other food bloggers. While the loaf was rising I got on my computer and ordered a copy of the book for myself - I loved what I saw in the preview! (And now that I have the book I can say it is well worth the purchase)

This is the soaker after a day on the counter. See how the quinoa has unwound?

n.o.e.’s notes:

- The formula for this bread gives lots of options of various grains to use, and also gives a choice of liquid. It truly can be customized to your taste preferences. The first time I quinoa + oats + buttermilk. For subsequent loaves, I’ve settled on Bob's 10 grain cereal + oats + buttermilk

- The brown rice is important to this bread. I made half a recipe's worth of brown rice, separated it into 1 oz packets and put them in the freezer for future loaves.

- I use the food processor for mixing the dough. First pulse the dry ingredients to mix them. Initially I added the liquid too slowly, and the dough went past the internal temp range (mine was 84 degrees) and passed the windowpane test before I got all the liquid in. To keep it from getting overheated, I incorporated the rest of the honey by hand. I've now learned to add the liquid ingredients while they are cool to cold, and to pour them steadily. The food processor only needs a minute or so to mix the ingredients.

- The dough is very sticky, so I usually incorporate more flour to get it to a good workable consistency.

- This bread rises like a fiend.

- I don't brush anything on the crust. We're not big seeds-on-bread folks. Figured I'd just brush it with some butter when it was done.

- My only 9x5 loaf pan is pyrex. My first loaf stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan and I had to manhandle the loaf with a spatula to get it out. Luckily the bread is springy - it held together despite lots and lots of prying and it got back in shape fairly well. Now I routinely sprinkle cornmeal or rolled oats in the bottom of the pyrex pan before putting in the dough.

see the "forceps" mark where I had to pry the bread out of the pan?
the verdict:

The bread is surprisingly soft inside. Even though I'd read other bakers' reactions and knew it would be tender I was still startled by the light but not dry texture. This bread is so soft that the bread knife almost tears the bread rather than cutting it. It's nearly fluffy, and quite moist inside. And the taste - a little chewy, a little tender, a little sweet, with a nice complexity from the whole grains.
Although I enjoyed the first version of this bread, my husband found the quinoa to be quite a bitter taste. So I now use a multigrain cereal mixture and everyone is happy!

the toast test:

Is it even possible for toast to taste this good? I literally didn't want to finish my piece of toast; I just wanted to savor every last bit. Peter Reinhart was right: toasted until golden, and spread liberally with butter, this was the perfect toast experience.

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice- this is the way that I make the loaves. See Reinhart's book for more complete instructions and the variety of choices for each ingredient
The formula is for one 2-lb loaf in a 9" x 5" pan.


  • 3 tablespoons (1 ounce) 10-grain cereal mix
  • 3 tablespoons (.75 ounce) rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons (.25 ounces) wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water at room temperature

Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight to initiate enzyme action.


  • 3 cups (13.5 ounces) unbleached bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ounce) cooked brown rice, cool or cold
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 ounce) honey
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) cool water

Pulse the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in bowl of food processor. Add the soaker and rice, and pulse until incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the honey, milk and water in a stream.

Process a minute or two, then knead by hand briefly to make a dough that is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky, and until internal temperature reaches 77 F to 81 F on an instant read thermometer and can pass the window pane test. (This often happens while the dough is still in the food processor. I knead for a minute or two by hand to get a feel for the dough and to adjust the flour and water as necessary)

Lightly oil a bowl and transfer dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 90 minutes or until double in size.

Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, spray top with oil, cover, and let rest for 90 minutes or until doubled.

Turn dough onto counter and press it to rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Form into loaf by rolling the dough, then place into oiled 9x5 loaf pan. Mist with oil and cover dough loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel.

Proof dough for another 90 minutes or so, until dough doubles and crests the pan about 1 inch in the center.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees and then bake an additional 20-40 minutes until the bread temperature registers at least 190F in the center on instant read thermometer, and the loaf is golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped at the bottom.

Remove immediately from pan when done and cool on rack for at least an hour before eating. Enjoy, especially toasted!


pinkstripes said...

Oh, yum. I love this bread. I'm definitely making it again. This time I'll make a loaf.

Nancy--In case you don't know, there is a new group forming to bake their way through the BBA if you want to join (I know, another group--but you do bake a lot of bread). The deadline to sign up is May 10th.

Audrey said...

I love that quinoa knows how to I would be doing right now if I had some of this bread (toast, cup of tea, old movie...) I'm a little obsessed with an (expensive) local bakery 7-grain loaf that I can buy here, but you're inspiring me (again).

Cristine said...

That bread looks great!

Laura said...

I have to try this recipe! I tried a similar one and it was so good. I laughed when you wrote about the toast test. I have a butter and jam test that the bread has to pass for me to file it in the "will make it again" pile. I love your site, I added it to my list.

Di said...

Nice dough bucket! =) I borrowed this cookbook from the library a while back. It looked quite interesting, but I haven't gotten my own copy yet. It's not like I don't have plenty of cookbooks already... Your loaf looks terrific.

TeaLady said...

Nancy. This blog looks like fun. See u back here often..

natalia said...

Nancy this is a faantastic bread ! You should submit it to BBD 20 !!The problem is : when will I open a bakery ?!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Oh I just got this book! Looks complicated though - I am new to yeast.

Fit Chick said...

Nancy, I just found your new blog. I have recently started to make bread and am really having fun. I have Bread Makers Apprentice and Crust and Crumb, plus a handful of other bread books. Do you mill your own flour? I am considering getting a mill, but DH just shakes his head.

Cathy said...

We are all about the toast in our house too, so I clearly must try this bread. I might have to be a rebel and bake this one from BBA out of order, you won't rat me out, will you? The quinoa looks really nice unwinding, but I'll probably go with the multigrain cereal mix. Another beautiful loaf!

Jessica said...

Oh, this bread looks so good. That recipe was the first one that I tagged when I got BBA and I've started making it a couple of times (I got the soaker soaking, that is) only to get distracted, or figure out that I didn't have any cooked rice, and not finish the loaf. Now I really, really want to make this bread!

Fit Chick said...

I just made this bread, OMG it's that good. Wish I had doubled the recipe because it won't last.

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