Tag Archives: seeds

Absurdly wholesome multigrain, multiseed bread

Multigrain, multiseed wholesome bread
I had a load of cooked farro grains left over, and needed some bread, so this came into being. It wasn’t an entirely happy experience. The dough was very moist and sticky, and I’ve really lost my moulding mojo recently, so there was a bit of a (one-man) scene in the kitchen. Then it didn’t really have much in the way of oven spring*, hence the slightly sad shape. BUT, and here’s the important thing, it tastes great.

It’s a ridiculously wholesome loaf that would make a spongey British “Granary” go and hang its head in shame. It’s firm, moist, with a good crust and eminently satisfying to bite. Great with cheese or for a peanut butter sarnie.

And yes, I might be a food blogger based Rome, but this isn’t a Roman bread. I made it up, in part inspired by Dan Lepard‘s Five-grain loaf (in The Handmade Loaf). As Mr Lepard spent a lot of time in Italy learning his trade, I suspect he took his inspiration for that loaf in part from Italian multicereali (multigrain) breads. So this is a distant cousin to, say, the wonderful multicereali that you can get from Roscioli, or the multicereali I got last week from the Testaccio Ex-Mattatoio farmers market, which the baker called Pane di brigante. He explained he called it that as his area, in the hills south of Rome, used to be full of brandits, brigands.

As I made it up on the fly, these quantities can’t pretend to be exact. You want a nice moisty dough, but don’t get yourself in a lather (like I did). If it feels too wet, add some more flour. And use whatever seeds you have to hand.

400g cooked spelt grains (Dry grain simmered in water until soft, then drained – reserving the cooking water. I used farro perlato.)

Mix in a large bowl:
300g white spelt flour. I used stoneground organic farina di farro bianco.
300g fine durum wheat flour. I used a stoneground organic farina di grano duro.
10g sea salt

Combine in another bowl:
15g fresh yeast, crumbled
100g leaven (100% hydration. I’ve done it with leavens fed on emmer, spelt or modern wheat)
50g honey
350g grain cooking water (tepid, not hot), made up with ordinary water if necessary

Combine in small bowl and add a little water (to soften):
20g linseed (broken up slighty with a pestle and mortar or in a coffee grinder)
20g  poppyseeds
20g  sunflower seeds
20g pumpkin seeds
20g sesame seeds

1 Make the dough by adding the ferment (yeast, water, leaven etc) to the flours and salt mix.
2 Mix well with a spatula or spoon, then turn out on to worksurface.
3 Knead until well combined.
4 Stretch the dough, add the grain and seeds.
5 Fold over the dough, then gently kneed again to combine the grain and seeds.
6 Adjust the dough if it’s too wet or indeed too dry by adding more flour or liquid accordingly.
7 Form into a ball, then leave to rest in a bowl covered with a moist tea towel.
8 After 10 minutes, give it another knead.
9 Rest another 10 minutes.
10 Give it another gentle knead.
11 Return to the bowl, cover and prove until doubled in volume.
12 Turn out the dough, and press it out to equalise the gas pockets. (We always called this “knocking back” in British baking, but that encourages unnecessary violence towards your tender dough.)
13 Weigh dough and divide into two equal portions, each around 850g.
14 Shape each portion into a ball, then leave to rest for 10 minutes, covered.
15 Shape as you like. I was planning batons, but after my tantrum I went with the easy option: tin loaves.
16 Preheat oven to 220C.
17 Prove again until ready to bake: the dough should be wobbly, plump and soft.
18 Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with seeds. Cut along the length (my cut was pathetic).
19 Bake 20 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200C.
20 Remove from the tins then retun to the oven for another 10 minutes or so. (As the dough was damp, and contained the moist farro grains, I reasoned it could do with a little more time to bake through.)
21 Cool on a wire rack.
22 Enjoy.

(Part of the reason I’m pleased with this one is that it reminds me of the bread made by my friend and sometime cooking mentor Nadia, all the way over there in New Zealand. It looks quite similar to her bread, and even tastes similar despite the distance and different provenance of the ingredients. Arohanui to Nadia and all the Aotearoa whanau!)

Addendum
Making this again today, 6 February 2013, and noticed a few errors, now amended. I also thought it was about time I added bakers’ percentages. So here we go.

Note, the seeds are soaked in water to soften them slightly, but I think the amount is negligible so I’ve not factored it in.

Basic percentages (ie not factoring in the leaven composition)

Ingredient Weight Bakers’ percentage
Spelt grains 400g 67%
Flour 600g 100%
Salt 10g 1.7%
Fresh yeast 15g 2.5%
Leaven (at 100%) 100g 17%
Honey 50g 8.3%
Water 350g 58%
Linseeds 20g 3.3%
Poppyseeds 20g 3.3%
Sunflower seeds 20g 3.3%
Pumpkin seeds 20g 3.3%
Sesame seeds 20g 3.3%

Percentages factoring in the leaven composition (100g at 100%, ie add 50g to water weight, 50g to flour weight)

Ingredient Weight Bakers’ percentage
Spelt grains 400g 62%
Flour 650g 100%
Salt 10g 1.5%
Fresh yeast 15g 2.3%
Honey 50g 7.7%
Water 400g 62%
Linseeds 20g 3%
Poppyseeds 20g 3%
Sunflower seeds 20g 3%
Pumpkin seeds 20g 3%
Sesame seeds 20g 3%

It doesn’t seem like a very high hydration recipe, but bear in mind it contains a lot of cooked spelt grain: and this is very moist.

* Oven spring – the final burst of growth made by bread dough when it goes into the oven. It’s caused by the heat exciting the yeast, which gets all hyperactive, farts out more gas, causing the dough to rise rapidly. Then the yeast dies is killed, when it gets heated over around 60C. Boo hoo. And gets eaten. The horror!You can get better oven spring with steam (it moistens the dough, conducting the heat into it more efficiiently). However, getting reliable steam in a domestic oven is a bit hit and miss, despite what people suggest about pouring boiling water into trays anor using a mister-spray.

2 Comments

Filed under Breads, Recipes

Stevens’ Malted and seeded loaf

Malted and seeded loaf

These are my first loaves based on recipes from Dan Stevens’ River Cottage Handbook No.3: Bread.

In his intro to this recipe, Mr Stevens says it’s a very popular loaf at River Cottage. You really can’t beat a good loaf that uses “Granary”-style flour. “Granary” is trademarked to Hovis, so what we actually mean here is malted grain flour. Mr Stevens’ recipe is one of those fairly flexible ones, and he just talks about adding “2 handfuls of extras” in the form of whatever seeds you fancy, though with a caveat to watch the fennel seeds as they’re so pungent; I’d add “ditto caraway”, as any bread with caraway seeds in it is kinda defined by their flavour.

I made mine with pumpkin, sunflower, sesame (what is a sesame plant? Never occurred to me before but I have no idea), a few poppy seeds and some buckwheat (which I probably should have toasted first).

Unlike Mr Lepard in The Handmade Loaf and M Bertinet in Dough, Mr Stevens gives his water in volume, rather than weight, which suddenly felt a bit odd to me after using the former two books so much lately. Those guys have won be over with their rationale about the accuracy of weighing liquids rather than relying on eye to check mililitres.

Anyway. This uses:
1kg malted grain flour
10g dried easy-blend yeast (not used that for a while!)
20g fine salt
600ml warm water
And some old dough – I used 3T of my white leaven.
2 handfuls of seeds

I mixed all the dry ingredients, then made up the dough with the wet ingredients.

Mr Stevens’ basic dough method involves kneading for around 10 minutes, but my standard method these days, when I’m making a fairly dry dough such as this (and not using a sponge) is to use the Lepard method: knead for a few mins, form a ball, leave for 10 mins, knead for 10 secs or so, leave another 10 mins, knead for 10 secs or so, then again in another 10 mins.

Rested it for an hour and a half (ish), then I divided it 3/5th, 2/5ths, and made a small tin loaf and a large-ish baton. Left them to rise for another hour and a half ish. Brushed them with milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Baking on baking stone for about 20 mins at 240C, then reduced it to about 190 and gave them another 20 mins.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baking