Multigrain Bread Recipe

This past weekend I made a variation on the Tassajara Bread recipe. You can mix this dough by hand, or use a stand mixer. If you’re using a mixer, make sure it’s got a strong motor. I have a KitchenAid professional model, and this dough was just about all it could handle. You might want to make a half batch if you’ve got a smaller mixer, or are mixing it by hand.

Multigrain Bread

3 cups filtered water, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 cup dry milk
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup polenta
2 cups high protein whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white bread flour for kneading

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over 1 cup of the water and let it stand about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the honey, dry milk, and remaining water and mix a bit to dissolve the milk powder.
  3. Mix in the pumpernickel flour, oat bran, millet, polenta, and 2 cups of high protein whole wheat flour. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated, but don’t over mix at this stage. You don’t want to develop a lot of gluten yet. Let rest for about 20-30 minutes. You can use either the paddle or dough hook for this stage, but you will probably find that the paddle mixes the sponge together a bit easier than the hook.
  4. Sprinkle the salt on top of the sponge, pour in the melted butter, then turn the mixer on low. You’ll want to use the dough hook at this point.
  5. Just out of the mixer

    When the salt and butter are mostly incorporated, begin adding the flour, about 1 cup at a time. This is going to be a pretty sticky dough, but remember that the millet, polenta, and oat bran will continue to absorb moisture as the dough mixes and proofs. Avoid the temptation to make the dough feel “right” just out of the mixer. It should be pretty soft and a bit sticky.

  6. Mix on low for about 10-15 minutes, then turn the mixer on high for about 2 minutes. Don’t walk away from the mixer at this point, though it might be tempting to do so.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and shape into one large round. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Place in a draft-free area. I prefer to let my dough rise slowly, so I don’t go out of my way to find a warm place in my kitchen to proof the dough.

  8. Allow the dough to rise about 50 minutes or so, until it’s doubled in size.

Ready to "punch down."

To “punch down” the dough, gently push down on the dough to press out the excess gas. Then, gently lift the dough and tuck the sides under. You’ll do this so that you pretty much form a squarish envelope shape. Keep the smooth side up. Gently press down on the dough again with the palms of your hands, to help seal the bottom. Recover with the plastic wrap and towel. Let the dough rise until doubled in size again for 30-45 minutes.

My make-shift "flour sack" couche, dusted with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and polenta.

When the dough has just about doubled in size again, you’ll shape it. I like to shape into a basic loaf shape, sometimes called a “miche.” You can also shape the dough into rounds (“boule”), if you like. Once the dough is shaped, you’ll set it aside for its final rise. Again, times will vary. Since I can only bake at most 3 small loaves at a time, I will shape some a little tighter. These will rise a little slower. That way, I have time to proof and bake the first loaves. They’ll take about 30 minutes to rise, and then another 20-30 to bake.

If you time it just right, the second half will be perfect and ready to go in as you pull out the first loaves.

To bake the dough, use a hot oven (400 to 450 degrees) and preheat it well. For smaller artisan style loaves, use a preheated baking stone or tile. You’ll want a slightly lower temperature for a large loaf baked in a pan. I also like to throw a couple of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven immediately after I put the dough in to bake. Be sure to shut the oven door right away to hold the heat and steam in. This simulates a steam-injected oven that professional bakeries use to create that wonderful crust.

One large loaf, proofed and ready!

Egg wash will give the finished loaf a nice, shiny glaze.

This batch makes enough for two large loaves (9.5 x 5.5 x 2.5-inch loaf pans). I always like to make a few smaller loaves and proof them in towels dusted with polenta and flour. This mimics an artisan loaf that you’ll find in a good bread bakery. You’ll want to use either linen couches or some basic “flour sack” type towels.

I usually make two or three smaller, rustic loaves, and one large loaf. It is important to use a very sharp knife (or better yet, a razor blade) to get nice, even scores on the dough. Scores should be about 1/4 to 3/8-inch deep, depending on the size of the loaf. This will result in a beautiful finished loaf.

Homemade bread may seem intimidating, but this recipe really is pretty forgiving, and is great for bread bakers of every level! Proofing times are estimates and will depend on various factors, including the temperature of the water you use and the room temperature.

You CAN make artisan quality bread at home!

Look at that beautiful glaze!


2 Responses to “Multigrain Bread Recipe”

  1. Cycling Foodie » Blog Archive » Whole Wheat, Oat, Pumpernickel Bread Says:

    […] weather makes me want to bake bread, so I did! I made a multi-grain bread, based on this recipe, but just changed up a few ingredients based on what I had on hand. In place of the oat bran, I […]

  2. Cycling Foodie » Blog Archive » 7 Days & Counting! Says:

    […] had me in the mood to bake some bread and what could be better than some healthy, hearty homemade Multigrain Bread? Whole Wheat with Pumpernickel, Millet, & Oat … Shaped, Proofed, Scored, and Ready to […]

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