The author had years of experience baking multi-grain bread, but couldn't get it to rise that high until she observed this method.
Four delicious loaves of multi-grain bread. Don't expect them to last long.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
I baked my first loaf of whole-grain bread over 30 years ago, and I've tried a passel of recipes in the decades that have followed, but I've never been able to make a batch that would rise more than half an inch above the pans even when I used one packet of yeast for each and every two-pound loaf!
On the other hand, my friend Eva Knausenberger uses only three yeast packs to bake the equivalent of 10 two-pound loaves, and her bread always rises to delicious heights!
Naturally, I demanded her secret recipe. Eva, however, is a "dump cook"— using a "little" of this, and a "certain amount" of that—as her ingredients vary with supply and with her baking-day whims. She agreed to let me watch her bake, though, and I was able to record just how Eva turns out her beautiful batches of multi-grain bread (eight grains, in this example). Here's the procedure:
 Soak 12 cups of mixed grains overnight (rice, millet, wheat, barley, groated oats, rye, buckwheat, and triticale in equal amounts), then macerate them in a blender.
 Use a flour mill to grind up 8 pounds of whole wheat, 1 pound of triticale, and 1/2 pound of rye into flour. Hand-mix these ingredients with the blended grains.
 Add 1/2 cup of oil (olive, safflower, or corn oil), 1 cup of unsulfured molasses, 4 to 6 eggs, 3/4 cup of corn flour, 1 cup of buttermilk powder (sometimes sour cream), and 3 packets of dry yeast (soaked—until it "proofs"—in a little of the grain water) to the grain and flour mixture.
 Knead the dough vigorously by hand for 15 minutes or until the dough is very stiff. Cover it with a moist towel, let it stand at room temperature for two hours, then knead the bread-to-be thoroughly again.
 Finally, separate the dough into loaves and bake in a 350°F oven for approximately two hours (the second rise takes place in the oven).
 You probably won't be able to wait the recommended 24 hours of "curing time" before you sample your huge loaves because they're as tummy-titillating as the aroma promises. Eight-grain bread is definitely a treat to taste... and a healthful one as well!
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