High Rise, Multi-Grain Bread

The author had years of experience baking multi-grain bread, but couldn't get it to rise that high until she observed this method.
By Alden Stahr
November/December 1979
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Step 1: In a blender, macerate 12 cups of mixed grains you've soaked overnight.

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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:

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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).

[6] 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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