I don’t know about any of you guys out there, but I am finding it difficult to afford to eat better. I have made some changes and found that making my own bread is a huge savings! Not to mention that it tastes so much better than store bought. I try to make this on Sundays and since it makes 2, I trade a loaf with a friend who has chickens and eggs. Easy peasy! I tried a few different recipes but this one from http://www.ourbestbites.com is by far the best. You do need to devote a afternoon to this process but for the most part its just waiting. The stand mixer does almost all the work, which for me is essential since I have very little use of my right hand. There is very little kneading to do, and that small part is done for me by my amazing fiance who has gotten quite good at being my kitchen helper! I really hope you enjoy this recipe. I have not had one person tell me they are not in love with this bread. Have fun and please let me know how it turns out!
Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour (not bread flour, I used white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Optional : 3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (I used 1/4 cup each of slivered almonds, unsalted sunflower seeds and pepita seeds)
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
*If you’re using salted butter, just decrease the additional salt by just a bit.
Place cereal mix in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour. Whisk flours together in separate bowl.
Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, butter, and yeast and mix on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until cohesive mass starts to form (*note: some at high altitudes have noted they have not needed all of the flour, go by look and feel and stop adding flour if you need to!) 1 1/2-2 minutes; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes. Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3-4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2-3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and knead until it does. Don’t add more!) continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes. Add seeds (if using) and knead for another 15 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, round ball. Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.
Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide in half. Press 1 piece of dough into 9×6 inch rectangle, with short side facing you. Roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed. Repeat with second piece of dough. Spray loaves lightly with water or vegetable il spray. Roll each loaf in oats to coat evenly and place seam side down in prepared pans, pressing gently into corners. Cover loaves loosely with greased plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 30-40 minutes. Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.
Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until loaves register 200 degrees, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
Storage: Bread can be wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. Wrapped with additional layer of foil, bread can be frozen for up to a month.
For those without a stand mixer, Cook’s Illustrated recommends: “Stir wet and dry ingredients together with a stiff rubber spatula until the dough comes together and looks shaggy. Transfer the dough to a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, rough ball, 15-25 minutes, adding additional flour, if necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Proceed with recipe as directed.”