Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speedy multi-grain Tuscan Bread

Speedy Multi-Grain Tuscan Bread

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons each sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet seeds, & corn grits (plus additional for top of loaf)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast (that’s 1 packet plus an additional 3/4 teaspoon)
oil as needed

1. Combine flours, seeds, grits, yeast, & salt in a large bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups water & stir until mixed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, & let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temp. Meantime, mix about a teaspoon or 2 each of the seeds & grits to use as topping for the bread (I mix a lot of this, put it in an old jam jar, & use for several loaves); set aside until next step.

2. Take plastic wrap off bowl & spread on work counter; lightly oil the plastic wrap. Place dough on it roughly in a rectangle about 5 or 6 inches by 10 or 12 inches. Fold dough in thirds from each end to make a very loose roll (the plastic wrap is most helpful in this endeavor). Spread the mixed seeds & grits over the top; cover with plastic wrap & let rest in a warm still spot for at least 30 minutes more. At the same time, heat the oven to 450F; put heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats. When 30 minutes have passed, carefully remove pot from oven & take the lid off. Roll the dough over on to your hand (plastic wrap again helpful here), & plop it into the hot pot, seam (& seed) side up. Shake the pot a bit, replace the cover, & return covered pot to the oven immediately.

3. Bake with lid on for 30 minutes; remove the lid & bake another 12 to 15 minutes, until loaf is a gorgeous brown & sounds hollow when knocked on bottom.

I hope some will try this–it really is splendid–tasty, fragrant, & altogether satisfying fresh or toasted.
— Leslie Brennan

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