A little over a year ago, I inherited a bread maker. I'd never made homemade bread before and thought it would be fun to try (especially since the bread maker was free!). I tried one or two of the basic recipes included in the instruction manual, but I honestly wasn't that impressed. And then we got busy with wedding plans and house buying - so bread making kind of went by the way side.
But this fall, I pulled the bread maker back out and started experimenting with some of my own recipes. I hadn't been able to find or come up with a good multigrain recipe - until now. This recipe comes out soft and light - not dense and heavy like many whole grain breads. I use the bread machine dough cycle to have the machine do the kneading for me, but you can make this recipe by hand, too (see the notes at the end of recipe for those instructions).
1 c. warm water (it should just be warm enough so when you feel it on your skin, you don't feel a temperature difference - too hot and you'll kill the yeast)
1/3 c. milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat bread flour
2/3 c. oat bran
4 Tbsp. cornmeal
4 tsp. vital wheat gluten
2 tsp. yeast
1-2 Tbsp. oats
Put ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order listed (or as directed by your bread machine).
Set the machine to the dough cycle and start. After a few minutes, open the bread machine to check the dough consistency. If it looks too sticky and loose, add a little extra all-purpose flour (about 1 tsp. at a time). If it's too dry, add a little extra water (again, about 1 tsp. at a time).
When it's the right consistency, the dough should form a soft ball around the paddle of the machine.
When the dough cycle is done, remove the dough. Punch the dough down and form it into a football-like shape by tucking the long sides underneath and pinching each end underneath. Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet or pizza stone and lightly sprinkle with oats.
Cover dough with wet towel and let rise about 30 minutes until dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once oven is preheated, bake bread for 35-40 minutes until crust is browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
-This is equivalent to a 1 1/2 lb. loaf recipe - so make sure your bread machine can accommodate that size (or reduce the recipe).
- To make by hand, proof the yeast by adding it to 2 Tbsp. of the warm water and mixing in about 1/2 tsp. sugar. Let sit 5-10 minutes until frothy. Then mix in the salt, water, milk and honey and stir well. In a separate bowl, mix together your grains. Then start mixing the grains into the liquid. Continue adding grains until the dough holds together well, but isn't crackly or dry (you may not use all of the grains). Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes until smooth. Let rise 30 minutes, punch down and follow instructions above from the point of taking the dough out of the bread machine.
-If you want, you can bake the bread in the bread machine. This works especially well if you want to make bread that's shaped just right for sandwiches. Baking by hand on a pizza stone gives it a more artisanal look.