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If you’ve read any of my story over on my About page you’ll know I started baking bread at the tender age of 11. For those of you who like math that’s 22 years ago, yikes! Here’s what I have learned: there are so many things I don’t yet know about bread making! Did you know that a Master Baker can be knighted? It’s called Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Merite Agricole or Knight in the Order of Agricultural Merit. The French Republic bestows it on individuals such as Dominique Geulin for outstanding contributions to agriculture. Luckily for the rest of us, it’s still quite possible to make a nice loaf or two of bread to devour at breakfast without studying every aspect of bread making first. That’s my goal with this simple Multi-Grain Bread recipe.
Now, this is not an “artisan” bread recipe. I don’t leave it in the fridge or bake it on a stone or use freshly picked wild yeast from the moors of Scotland. This is just a lovely simple bread that’s perfect for home bakers to dip their toes into the deep pool that is bread making. I would try that other stuff though if it meant I got to go to Scotland… Instead we’re going to make and enjoy this pretty loaf that’s a combination of soft and just dense enough to sink your teeth into. Over time we’ll investigate many more ways to make, love, and probably improve our bread. For now this is just what I need in my life, an easy but still healthy Multi-Grain Bread.
To make it healthier and add a nice texture we’re going to add three flours + oats. Whole wheat is easy and an obvious choice, although too much will weigh it down. Spelt is one I latched onto years ago and started substituting into everything with abandon. It is a lovely flour with a great nutritional profile but it has a different type of gluten than wheat flours. This means it won’t rise as much because the gluten breaks down faster during kneading or mixing. The last addition before white flour is oats. Use uncooked old-fashioned oats to give it another boost of fiber and protein. Last but not least is white flour. I personally always use and recommend unbleached which is available at any grocery store. Currently I am buying sapphire unbleached white flour from my local bulk food store because it’s cheaper and I can buy 50lb bags!
Unless you’re checking the freshness of your yeast it’s not necessary to proof your yeast separately in warm water. According to the bread gurus, forcing bread and yeast to rise faster keeps it from developing as much flavor. I’ve been using this Saf Instant Yeast for years and I love it! When you get to the kneading stage you can choose between kneading by hand or in the mixer. Personally I like to knead by hand. I love to feel the dough coming together and it’s also an arm workout, win-win!
Enjoy your fresh Multi-Grain Bread! Top with butter, honey, jam, cinnamon, peanut butter….I’m getting way too hungry right now. Even if you’ve never tackled bread before, try it a few times. Before you know it you’ll be handing out loaves to all your family and friends so they can feel the love too.
Simple Multi-Grain Bread
- 2 cups (450ml) cool/lukewarm water
- 4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup (60ml) canola oil
- 1/2 cup (55g) old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup (70g) spelt flour
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup (125g) whole wheat flour
- 3 1/2 cup (460g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for a quick and easy process.
Pour the water into your mixer bowl. Add yeast, honey and oil.
Next add the oats, spelt flour and salt and mix.
Add the rest of the flour and mix starting on low (to prevent flour flying!) and moving up to medium/high.
Once the dough comes together and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl either take it out to knead by hand or switch to the dough hook and continue mixing on medium/high for another 6-8 minutes.
Toss a small handful of flour onto the counter and start kneading. Once the flour is incorporated pour a little puddle of oil on the counter and continue kneading in that. This way you don't weigh your dough down with too much flour. You can use more oil if you feel you need it, but once the gluten starts developing it should stop sticking to the counter.
Knead for 5-10 minutes and put it into a lightly oiled bowl covered with a clean towel to rise.
Let your dough rise at room temp for 1-2 hours. It should double in size.
After your dough has risen, dump it back onto the counter and bring it together into an oval shape.
Cut the dough into two equal pieces, shape them into an elongated oval and place them into oiled loaf pans.
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) for 20-30 minutes until the top of the loaves has risen to be about even with the top of the pan.
Brush gently with the melted butter and sprinkle with old-fashioned oats if desired.
Pop your loaves into the oven and bake for 40 mins.
Carefully turn them out onto a wire rack. I lay mine on their sides for the first 5 minutes and then stand them up, that way the steam between the counter and the rack doesn't make the bottoms damp.
Your bread should be a medium golden brown and sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
If you can't get spelt flour you can substitute white whole wheat, whole wheat or plain white. This may change the dough a little but bread can stand up to a little substitution! +++ The Teatime Baker - www.teatimebaker.com