Thursday, June 14, 2007

Will the Real 9-Grain Bread Please Stand Up*

The picture is just for fun, to show how different the same quilt pattern can look with a different color arrangement. I call this one Kaleidoscope 4-Leaf Clover.

It's about time I started baking again, and I'm hoping that publishing this recipe will encourage me to do it. I made the same bread recipe the same way for many years, then I started experimenting. Once I tried substituting the ground orange for the melted butter, I never made it any other way. Then my family gave me a bread machine, simultaneously with the flour company's stopping having stone-ground flour, and selling a finer-ground type they called "better for bread". I thought it was the bread machine that made the bread less flavorful, and experimented with substituting things for the water to make it better. It got pretty good, and then I found some stone-ground flour at the health food store, and the bread was better still. Unbleached white also makes a significant difference compared to bleached. You can taste that difference most in the dough, and in a bread with more white flour.

Will the Real 9-Grain Bread Please Stand Up* ©2005Mina Wagner

This is a recipe for a large heavy duty bread machine. Cut it in half if you are not sure. The texture works fine for hand kneading too.

1 c 9-grain cereal (cracked wheat could be substituted)
in microwave container with
2c water . Microwave 1½ min (or 2 min low power), stir, and let soak while other ingredients are prepared. You will then drain most of the water out, reserving some in case the dough needs more liquid.

½ large whole orange, seeds removed if necessary. (approx ½ cup)
grind the orange in a cuisinart or food mill

1/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ c yogurt (very runny and acidy is good, or you might need some extra liquid)

stir in
the mostly drained cereal

Stir together, then add on top in the bread machine, or stir in by hand

1½ c stone ground whole wheat flour
1½ c unbleached white flour
2 T gluten flour
½ t salt**

scant 1½ t yeast** (or slightly rounded 1¼ t or 1 pkg) If kneading by hand, I would proof the yeast first, in ½ c warm water and 1 t sugar.

I usually add 2 – 4 T flour during kneading to get the texture right, but unless the yogurt is runny, some liquid might be needed instead.

Unless it's very hot, I let the bread machine knead and raise the bread, but bake it in the oven.

I bake this in a buttered bread pan in the oven at 325°. Start watching at 20 or 25 minutes to see if it needs a foil hat to keep the top from getting too dark. It usually takes about 40 minutes (35 – 45). Tip the bread out of the pan onto a towel and tap the bottom to see if it sounds done, and if the bottom is golden.

** This is much less yeast than most bread machine recipes use, but it's the amount I was used to using for 3 loaves. The salt is a yeast inhibitor; to reduce one, cut back on both. Most bread machine recipes use lots of both.

CAUTION some bread machines require a much higher liquid to solid ratio. So start with the half recipe, and add liquid if the machine is straining. Or look at the recipes that came with your machine, and count the cups of liquid to cups of flour in the basic white bread recipe. Sugar dissolves, it doesn't count as solid. Also you'll notice that I am counting eggs, ground- up orange, and yogurt as liquid, and the only water is whatever is not drained off the cereal. That's because I substituted flavorful things for all the water.

*This recipe was developed over the course of a year with many tests. After a while, to make the bread, I was looking back through my notebook at several versions, and using parts of each. That's where the name comes from.

VARIATION 9-Grain Cranberry bread

Use ½ c 9-grain cereal, and less water, maybe 1½ c.

Add ½ c dried sweetened cranberries with the sugar

Poke the cranberries down into the dough when the loaf is put into the pan to keep them from burning.

Recipe for the Real 9-Grain Bread ©2005Mina Wagner. You may copy this recipe for your own use, or show it on a web site, as long as you give me credit.

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