Crusty 10-Grain Sourdough Bread Loaves... It was one of those days when I needed a break... what better way than to relax in the kitchen:). Love to bring out the flour and bake bread.
I confess I wasn't planning on making this particular bread... nor posting it. It was just that I really needed to use my starter as I was going on vacation for a few weeks... wanted to use most of it, if I could. I hoped the rest of the sourdough starter would somehow survive in the back of the fridge until I came back.
As I looked at my starter sitting on the counter from the night before, all fed and ready to be used, I thought of all the possible ways I could use it. I could of course make bread. But what kind of bread? I suppose the possibilities were endless... rolls would be easy to do, as well as flatbreads, or pizza doughs... even sweet breads could be made. But you see, I had this 10-grain hot cereal mix sitting in my fridge... could I possibly use it? It would be fun to come up with a new recipe. I really wanted to experiment... didn't want to rely on a specific recipe from a bread book. Sort of wanted to be on my own...
Truth be told, I wasn't expecting a stellar end-product... neither was I expecting something fabulous. At least most times when I experiment, the end result isn't always something to be proud of. But I knew the worst that could happen was to have some really dense flat breads with a crumbly, coarse crumb. I wasn't really worried as I could always turn it into breadcrumbs:)... but deep down I wanted my loaves to be successful. So I forged ahead and combined the ideas/techniques I learned from the Almost No Knead Bread, the Multigrain Sandwich Bread, and the Sourdough Walnut Bread to bake bread.
As I started getting all my ingredients out, I decided to get a pen and paper, along with my camera:)... just in case the loaves would be a success. I've made plenty of other recipes where I didn't write down measurements... and wished I had! Needless to say, I was thrilled with the final result....the bread loaves were fantastic! I could hardly wait to cut through it and see how the crumb was... springy, soft and well, you can see it in the photos. The crust was nice and crispy with a nice crunch. Wonderful for making hot or cold sandwiches, or next to a soup or saucy entree... or simply topped with some butter and jam. Loved the sunflower seeds and the various grains throughout the bread. Interestingly enough, I was planning on adding a bit more whole wheat flour to the dough...but found out last minute, that I only had 1 cup of spelt flour in the house. Ended up making the bread with what I had in the house. Next time, I'll add more whole wheat flour.
Years ago, I received quite a few Corningware casserole dishes as wedding gifts... at the time, I thought, "When would I ever use them all?".... How thankful I am for those dishes! They really come in handy... especially when baking bread. I know other folks use dutch ovens for baking bread, but I like to use the Corningware. I can make smaller loaves, and freeze some for later. Plus, the bread gets just the right kind of crust...golden and not too crusty.
In any case, I am posting the recipe for my own personal reference...and for those of you who care to try it. By the way, the sourdough starter survived in the back of the fridge until I came back... ended up making this bread again, except a sundried tomato/basil version. Hope you enjoy...
Note: While I used a 10-Grain Hot Cereal( Bob's Red Mill), you can easily use a 7 or 8-Grain Hot cereal.
Tip: You can use any baking dish/es that are oven-proof to at least 450 deg F(just decrease the pre-heating temp).... the lids must be oven-proof as well.
You will need:
2 1/4 cups sourdough starter, fed from the night before
1 cup 10-grain cereal
2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 tsps kosher salt
2 TBS honey
1/4 cup olive oil( or meted butter)
1 cup whole grain spelt flour
3 1/2-4 cups bread flour, or as needed
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds( or other seeds of choice)
1. In a medium pot, boil water, remove from heat and add 10-grain cereal, honey, and oil,(or butter if using). Mix and set aside until mixture reaches 120 deg F. I just stir the mixture continuously so that I speed the cooling.
2. To a mixing bowl(with a kneading hook), add the sourdough starter, salt, the cooled 10-Grain mixture, the spelt flour, and 3 1/2 cups bread flour.
3. Knead mixture using a dough hook for 5-6 minutes...at this time check to see that the dough isn't overly wet...it should release from the sides of the bowl as it is kneading, but stick to the bottom. The dough will start out very sticky, then gradually start to come away from the sides of the bowl. You can stop midway through, scraping the sticky dough off the sides, and then continue kneading. The dough should climb the hook for the most part. If it is still sticking to the sides, continue adding more flour, 1 TBS at a time, until the dough releases from the sides... I needed the whole 4 cups. But be careful as you don't want to add too much flour.
4. Continue kneading for an additional 3-4 minutes for a total of 9- 10 minutes. During the last minute of kneading, add the sunflower seeds and knead to combine.
Note: The dough is still a tacky sort of dough, expect it to stick to the sides as you stop the mixer from kneading.
5. Oil your hands and divide dough in 3 equal parts... shape the dough in 3 balls.
6. Place each dough ball on it's own parchment paper( you will need the parchment paper to help you place the dough in the baking dish...) and lightly cover with an oiled plastic wrap.
7. Allow to proof for 2 hours...
8. After 1 1/2 hours of proofing time, place 3 Corningware casserole dishes(with lids) in oven( big enough to allow the bread to rise inside when baking)....and pre-heat oven to 475 for 30 minutes.... the Corningware is in the oven during the preheating of the oven...the full 30 minutes.
9. After 2 hours of proofing(and 30 minutes of preheating) slash the loaves( 1/2 in deep)... you can make one slash in the middle or 2 as I have done.
10.Using oven mitts, remove the corningware from the oven. Remove lid and place proofed bread loaves(along with the parchment paper) in each of the 3 Corningwares. Cover with lids and place in hot oven.
Decrease oven to 450 Degs F
11. Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Remove lids and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes...or until the inside of the bread registers about 205-210 Deg F. You may need to cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the loaves from burning.
12. Allow bread to cool completely(preferably 1- 2 hours) before slicing... Wrap well and freeze, if you like.