Sunday, February 26, 2012

Multigrain Canvas

I was looking to experiment with a new bread recipe that took me beyond the basics of white, whole wheat or rye. I consult my Ruhlman “Bread Baking Basics” app and learn that multigrain recipes offer an infinite number of possibilities. Like the artist in Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George” there is an inherent creative challenge and thrill in “Putting It Together.”

Working off the basic flour formula for two loaves of whole wheat bread – a ratio of bread flour and whole wheat flour – an additional 16 ounces of “other non-wheat grains” are added to the dough. After much consideration, and a trip to the market, I choose Amaranth flour, a whole grain that’s been cultivated for 8000 years, and was used in religious ceremonies by the Aztecs.

I add to this, a more ordinary but no-less-desirable cupful of good old-fashioned oats, along with a couple of tablespoons of honey gathered at Restoration Farm.

The initial texture of the dough is quite sticky compared to other recipes. This may be due to the fact that the Amaranth contains no gluten.

However, after feeling as if my hands have been submerged in wallpaper paste, the dough does begin to smooth out.

I do wonder if the experiment will be successful as I examine the squiggly cylinders of dough in the bottom of each loaf pan.

Patience is rewarded and the loaves blossom. A handful of oats is sprinkled on top for garnish. Perhaps next time, I will roll the dough in oats prior to the second rise as the oats do tend to flake off a bit after baking.

The result is two deep golden loaves flecked with oats.

Look, I’ve made a multigrain loaf! The slices are tender but chewy, and the Amaranth adds a slightly sweet malty taste reminiscent of sourdough.

I’m now contemplating the combinations of grains and the possibilities to explore with future loaves. Bit by bit, putting it together…

©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

12 comments:

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

A multigrain loaf has become one of our favorites. As you know, I'm not much of a baker. I'm afraid I would have hit the panic button when I saw that ball of sticky dough. Thank goodness is smoothed out.

Love that it had a faint sourdough taste.
Sam

~~louise~~ said...

Good morning T.W. and Happy Sunday!

I just realized what I adore about winter. You baking bread! I have never heard of Amaranth flour (love the clothespin by the way, lol:) If it lends a sourdough appeal to the risen dough, I'm sure to like it.

I'm delighted to "see" you experimenting in the kitchen. It sure looks like you have created a couple of heavenly creations. Is that a whiff I'm getting from here? (oh how I wish)

Thank you so much for sharing, T.W. Enjoy your Sunday and that those lovely loaves...

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

There's nothing quite as satisfying as pulling bread from the oven, except perhaps kneading the bread by hand and feeling it come together. How are you going to use this bread? Toasted, for sandwiches?

Helene said...

I made multigrain bread yesterday using the no-knead method. The crust was crunchy, like I like, I find the interior of the bread to be a bit on the wet side even if the bread was baked at 205F. The overall taste was good.

Velva said...

Cheers to baking bread. You make it seem easy. Wouldn't be wonderful to enjoy fresh homemade bread each day rather than that stuff (choosing my words) we buy at the grocery store...

Your loaves look delightful.

Velva

P.S. Restoration Farm will be really coming alive soon with Spring just around the corner. I am looking forward to the posts.

Gloria said...

Look amazing Thomas! I love make bread!! nice!

Kathy said...

You are a bread artist T.W.--your breads always look so wonderful. I noticed the clothespin too because I use lots of them in my kitchen! I didn't realize you were also able to get honey from the Restoration Farm, what a great place that is.

Mary said...

I love the bread recipes you share with us. I also love how you manage to take us off the beaten path and offer something quite out of the ordinary. I really have to be more adventurous. I hope you have a great week. Blessings...Mary

Natalia said...

What a beautiful post! Haven't made bread in years, but perhaps it is time....and I soooooo look forward to seeing you at the farm!

tasteofbeirut said...

I love to experiment with baking breads too; I used amaranth recently and made crêpes; these loaves look just so attractive!

Barbra said...

There' s something about working dough by hand that I just love. You can feel exactly the minute it comes together. Great looking loaf, T.W. You are getting to be a real pro. Like that you used amaranth flour.

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., Good Morning. I am looking at this bread and thinking how beautiful it came out. It looks just picture perfect. I bet it was fun making it, all that sticky goodness. It is like being a kid with play dough.
I must try this one time. I see this flour in the market. If it is still good after 8,000 years and the Aztec's used it, why not?!
Long Island looks like good baking weather today.
Blessings my Long Island neighbor and friend, Catherine