Monday, November 3, 2008

more grains! more seeds!

bread with grains and seeds is fast becoming a favourite here. it's nutritious, packed with fiber and because we use so much grains/seeds, it screams "premium". you know for sure it can't be store bought as it's just too expensive to do it commercially.

baking this bread was very eventful too. more on that later.

first of all, i bought this "organic ancient grain mix" by radiant whole food from hock choon. the description on the package says

"ancient grain mix is nutritious and has not undergone modern technology of hybrid nor genetically engineered. grown mainly in the andes in south america, africa and central asia, ancient grains can be referred as "super grains" or "mother of all grains"."

interesting eh? i can't vouch much for the above as i have not been around for THAT long ok? but this package is said to contain organic buckwheat, organic millet, organic quiona and organic amaranth.

spot the grains!

can you identify which is buckwheat, millet, quiona and amaranth?

neither could i!

well, i know buckwheat is the largest fella in the group. millet is the tiny yellow colour grain. not sure about quiona and amaranth though.

let's face it, these grains are generally nutty flavour... like wheat and rye so they don't stand out in your bread. so for added flavour, fun and texture, i mixed in sunflower and pumpkin seeds (bought from bake with yen).

  • 4 cups of bread flour (i used 2 white + 1 wholemeal + 1 rye. going all out for grains.)
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 or 1.5 cup of grain mix (here we have buckwheat, millet, quiona, amaranth, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • adequate amount of water

as before, boil/simmer the grain mix for about 5 minutes to soften them up first. soaking overnight doesn't soften them enough.

i'll advise to stir in the grain mix into the flour first. i didn't make an attempt to drain them dry and just let the flour soak up the excess water. after i mixed in the yeast mixture (i used dry yeast so if you use instant, your procedure should be different from mine), then i mixed them up well and only added water as required.

then knead as usual until you get that ubiquitous "dough feel" --- smooth like a baby's bottom but yet a little sticky.

then we wait!

however, this time my "waiting" period got pretty eventful. i waited for 4 hours but the dough hasn't risen much. it did a little but too little. as it was already 10.30pm and i was already feeling sleepy (i have no idea what i did the whole day), i thus put the dough into the fridge for a slow slow rise. after all, slow rise makes better bread.

i woke up at 2.30am (body clock has gone all haywire), took out the dough (hasn't risen much either) then waited for it to rise. while waiting, i read paulo coelho's the alchemist, a book recommended by a friend. so who says men can't multi-task?

5am and still the dough looks the same to me! alright, time for "dough express"! heated up the oven to 60c and put in the dough. 6.30am, still the dough looks the same.

it is then i realized something is SERIOUSLY wrong. SERIOUS.

i recalled the last few bread baking sessions... they worked but the dough was having trouble rising and i had to resort to "dough express" couple of times. the only possibility is the yeast is bad...

well, i bought a packet of instant yeast a week ago so seems like this is the time to salvage my dough!

mixed a teaspoon of instant yeast into 3 tablespoons of flour + water. then spread out flat the "almost dead" dough and spread the new yeast mixture on the dough as evenly as possible. then roll out everything like a swiss roll. knead for a few minutes.

put back oven and set to 60c again.

2 hours later... signs of life! the dough has risen somewhat.

so proof the dough, and let it rise for another 2 hours. then bake!

so what's the conclusion here?

reading is not recommended while baking bread?

i think you need to take care of your yeast. for this new packet, i took out aboout a quarter and stored in a small jam jar. the rest, i packed it nicely, sealed it into a plastic bag, then kept it in the freezer.

i doubled above recipe. so about 2 cups of flour per boule.
(i onced baked without dividing into smaller boules. the bread looked impressive but the center was gummy. so go for smaller boules.)

we ate one. gave 3 away to friends and relatives.

no wonder everyone loves us!


  1. Am I time travelling or is this post way way ahead of time? It's only 29 Oct! I thought my flu was playing tricks on my eyes....and thought I better get some rest! I made bread using your basic bread recipe. Yum! It turned out great...though Nic says the bread should be lighter instead of this dense, bread-like thing. Is your bread dense and chewy or soft and light?

  2. heee.... i was supposed to publish to a later date but accidentally clicked on "publish now".

    why are you baking bread even when down with flu? and nic has the temerity to complain the bread isn't light enough? i suggest you shove the bread into his mouth!

    ha ha!

    seriously, to get a light bread, 2 things you could do :

    1. knead a lot. A LOT. most folks use a food processor or a stand mixer. i used a food processor once but the cleaning part pissed me off. it was more work to clean it than to knead the dough!

    2. use a pre-ferment, like sour dough or biga method.

    however, if you favour rich bread (you know, full of goodies), then the bread most likely will be rich, dense and heavy. guess you know from my blog which type i prefer!

    well, over the weekend, i'll either revisit the "no knead" bread or i'll try out the biga method.

    my wife says she needs a break from all the bread!