A Happy, Healthy Family

8.05.2016

Homemade Whole Wheat Multigrain Bread




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Okay, let's get it out here: I've been making my own sandwich bread for the past two years. Now, before you think I am some crazy person, here's why. 

Take a look at the ingredients in your store-bought bread, and you'll probably see many that are unfamiliar to you. Just what are you eating??

When I had to go dairy- and soy-free when I was nursing my older two children, it was nearly impossible for me to find compliant loaf bread. I eventually found some at a health food store, but it was about $5 a loaf. Even after I was able to go back to eating "normally," I really wanted to stay away from soy, and by that point I had realized just how terrible processed foods are, so I was still buying $5 bread. I began researching making my own and eventually jumped in with both feet.


I don't have a super-powerful stand mixer, so I use a bread machine for the mixing and initial rise. If you do have a very nice mixer that can handle whole wheat flour, go for it! Mine just couldn't do it. You can find tons of recipes and instructions online for bread made without a machine.

Here is the machine I use. I've made bread it in at least once or twice a week for the past two years, and it's still like new.



Through trial and error and a lot of research, I've also learned some tips about bread-making and bread machines over the years:



1. Although the idea of 100% whole wheat bread sounds great, it makes for a very dense loaf. The 100% whole wheat bread that you can buy in the store still has dough conditioners and other chemicals to make it fluffy. So, this recipe is a mix of whole wheat, multigrain cereal, and a little AP flour. For the wheat flour, I have used regular wheat as well as white wheat. White wheat flour does not mean it is white flour--it means that it comes from white wheat as opposed to red wheat, and it will give you a little bit of a lighter loaf. As for the hot cereal, I use Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal, which is basically just a mix of grains like flaxseed, oats, and barley. I order it by the case here. The tiny bit of all-purpose flour in the recipe just lightens the loaf a tad. I've cut it down about as much as I can before the loaf becomes super-dense.

2. Even with a mix of flours and grains, most whole wheat loaves of bread will still need vital wheat gluten, which is a natural protein made from the wheat berry and which gives wheat breads elasticity (fluffiness). If you look at your store-bought bread's ingredients, you will probably find it there. I order mine here

3. DON'T BAKE YOUR BREAD IN THE MACHINE! I know this sounds counterintuitive, but if you bake your bread in the machine you'll end up with a tiny, dense loaf as opposed to a regular-sized, fluffy one. You'll use your machine for the mixing and initial rises, but then you'll do the final steps manually. Trust me--it's worth it! Keep reading to learn more.

When your dough is done, it will look like this.

4. Don't just plop your dough into your loaf pan. There is a technique!

On a floured surface, stretch (don't roll!!) your dough into a large square.
Roll it up jelly-roll style.

Place it in a greased loaf pan, rub a bit of water on top to make it sticky, and sprinkle with oats and sesame seeds to make it look like bakery bread.
Let it rise for 45 min on the counter (covered with a towel) until it looks like this. Then it's ready to bake!
5. After baking, let the bread cool and then store it in the refrigerator or freezer; this bread has no nasty preservatives like store-bought bread, so it is more perishable. I store my bread in bags like these. As for slicing, I bought a slicing guide when I started making bread but didn't like it; just get a good serrated knife and be patient. You'll get the hang of perfect slicing in no time!


For those of you who are devoted to sprouted grain breads like Ezekiel Bread, I am researching how to make that at home. I love Ezekiel Bread too but don't love the price. Stay tuned for a recipe--I'm hoping to have one soon!

And, by the way, for those of you who are skeptical about whether this is good, it is! I took a loaf of store-bought bread on our last vacation because I didn't want to worry about my chemical-free bread going bad, and when I gave my kids toast in the morning, my daughter said, "What's wrong with this bread?" Who doesn't prefer homemade bread?




print recipe

Homemade Whole Wheat Multigrain Bread
Once you get the hang of making your own bread, you'll never go back to store-bought!
Ingredients
  • 3/4 c 7 grain hot cereal
  • 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c white wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 t vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T raw honey
  • 1 1/4 c warm water (heat in microwave for 30 sec)
  • 1 1/4 t bread machine yeast
  • oats and toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions
1. Place first 8 ingredients in bread machine. Most machines recommend putting dry ingredients in before wet, but read your machine's instructions to be sure.2. Pour yeast into receptacle (read your machine's instructions).3. Set your machine. On mine, I select "multigrain" and "dough." DO NOT BAKE YOUR BREAD IN THE MACHINE. 4. After the dough is done (mine takes 3 hrs 15 min), spray a loaf pan with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray) and flour your countertop. Remove dough from the machine.5. Stretch your dough into a rectangle (do not roll it--just stretch with your hands) then roll it jelly-roll style. Place it into prepared loaf pan.6. Wet your hands and rub them on the top of the bread to make it a little sticky, then sprinkle oats and toasted sesame seeds (or other desired toppings). 7. Cover with a dishtowel and allow to rise for 45 min-1 hr or until doubled in size.8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When dough has doubled, bake bread in oven for 45 minutes.9. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf




Ta-da! Look at that gorgeous bread!



Source: Adapted from Olga's Flavor Factory


Enjoy!


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