One of my favorite things about fall is my slow cooker. In the past week, I’ve made post-tailgate corn chowder and basic mac and cheese for my boyfriend’s work lunches. (Just to keep you reading for the next few weeks!) But today’s recipe compliments all of my fall soups and stews. It’s a dense and hearty multigrain bread, best served warm from the oven. Because this task is a little labor intensive and requires the tools my kitchen doesn’t possess, it’s a recipe I whip up every time I go home to visit my mom.
You’ll need for the whole wheat lean dough (Pete Fermentee):
12 oz. bread flour
8 oz. whole wheat flour
5 grams yeast
14 oz. warm water (trick: make sure it’s about skin-temperature by judging with your inner wrist)
12.5 grams salt
You’ll need for the multigrain dough soaker:
8 ox. nine-grain mixture
1 3/4 oz. sunflower seeds
1 1/2 ox. flax seeds
10 1/2 oz. water at 90 degrees
You’ll need for the final dough:
1 lb. 7 oz. bread flour
1 lb. 1 oz. whole wheat flour
10 grams yeast
23 1/2 oz. water
1 1/4 oz. salt
1 lb 12 oz. Pete Fermentee (The whole wheat lean dough, listed first here)
You’ll also need:
A mixer with a dough hook
A kitchen scale
Start by making the Pete Fermentee. Combine the flours and yeast, and add the water and salt and mix on low speed for three minutes. Then, switch it to medium speed for three minutes.
You should have sufficient gluten development. (Protip: Grab a piece and slowly pull it apart. It should be thick and shouldn’t have major holes in it.) Place the dough in a greased bowl, grease the top. Let it sit and ferment for 30 minutes until it nearly doubles.Fold gently four times, once on each side, and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Fold again, let it sit for 15 minutes. Fold again, grease the top of the dough again, cover it in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for 24 hours.
Make your soaker. This should sit for eight to 12 hours. We made our Pete Fermentee Saturday morning, made our soaker Saturday night, and then baked our final bread Sunday morning.You don’t have to stick with the aforementioned grains, either. My mom keeps an entire shoebox of various ingredients in her freezer, so she can pick and choose and go with what she feels like.Combine all your soaker ingredients in a plastic tub and soak at room temperature. You can tell it’s finished with the water is absorbed and the mixture is slightly dry.
To make the final dough, combine the flour and yeast in your mixer, and then add the salt and water and mix on low for four minutes, almost exactly how you made the Pete Fermentee. Add the Pete Fermentee in piece by piece (remember, you only need 1 lb. 12 oz. of this- measure it out!), and then add your soaker into the bowl.Mix it all together on low for two minutes, or until the gluten is fully developed and the dough is a little dry and soft with good elasticity. Just like with the Pete Fermentee, move the dough to a greased bowl and let it sit for half an hour. Fold, and let it sit for 20 minutes before dividing.
Divide your dough into 1 lb. pieces and shape it into rounds. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then shape into loaves and top with seeds. (We used oatmeal.) Let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour, and then cut five or six parallel scores.Bake at 475 degrees for half an hour. You can just let the leftover Pete Fermentee rise, and then bake that separately.
And there you have it! It’s a very lengthy process, but if you follow it step-by-step and have the time, it’s an absolutely delicious and customizable recipe. I have friends that beg for loaves of this. The recipe also makes about a dozen loaves, so you’ll have plenty leftover to freeze and use for months. The things you can do with this bread are endless. I’ve eaten it with soup, used it to make Texas toast and grilled cheese, eaten it dipped in olive oil, eaten it with honey butter, peanut butter, jelly, made sandwiches with it… endless.
What recipes would you use this for?