After visiting my sister-in-law a couple weekends ago, I was inspired to try some new recipes she shared with me. I have been making homemade bread consistently now for the last two months. However, I have been mainly using the bread machine that I got at a garage sale. It is an investment at first to make homemade bread, but once you have all the flour, yeast, and any other ingredients - it can be cost effective, healthy, and delicious.
I decided to try a new approach to making bread instead of just using the bread machine. This approach uses the classic artisan method and is simplified in the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" and "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The best part is that it is easy, healthy (there is no added sugars, milk, etc), and and delicious! (and I think it looks fancy too)
I encourage you to check out the Whole Grain Master recipe from the book...but here are the modifications I made to make the loaf you see pictured. :)
Healthy Multi-Grain Artisan Bread
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 2/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
4 cups luke-warm water (about 100 degrees)
1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or container (a one gallon ice cream pail works well) till there are no dry bits of flour. Put the lid on with a slight opening for air to escape. Let rise 2 hours on countertop.
Either refrigerate* or continue...
2) Place parchment paper and/or cornmeal on large cutting board. Sprinkle dough with flour and pull up a grapefruit size amount. Use more flour so it doesn't stick to your hands. Form a dough ball by pulling the top under, place on cornmeal, and let sit for 40 min (or 90 min. if refrigerated).
3) Preheat oven to 425 with a baking stone or pan on middle shelf, with a broiler pan or shallow pan on lower rack.
4) Before sliding bread in oven, brush water on top of loaf and add salt, seasonings, seeds, etc (I used a blend of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, and minced garlic) and slash loaf 1/4" deep in scallop (or any) design with large serrated knife. Slide loaf onto a baking stone on the middle shelf, then pour 1c water in pan (the steam helps make the crust nice) and bake bread about 30 min at 425.
5) Remove bread from baking stone and set on cooling rack. Wait until cool before cutting into slices.
*The bucket of dough can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks, pulling out dough as needed. It makes about 4 small loaves.
Adapted from: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes