High Rise, Multi-Grain Bread

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Four delicious loaves of multi-grain bread. Don't expect them to last long. 

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!