Sunday, November 9, 2008

multi-grain bread, again? more than that...

remember the multi grain, multi seeds bread? the one where i used the organic ancient grain mix from "radiant whole food"?
it is a favourite here so i baked this again. but it's no fun doing the same thing same way again.

hey, even great bands like led zeppelin don't play the same song the same way twice. i guess this is how we learn, by doing the same thing in different ways, then observing and learning from there.
i varied 2 things differently here. 
first of all, after all that terrible problem with my moisture-contaminated yeast (just chucked it away), i'm using a new packet now. this time it's instant yeast, not dry yeast.  instant yeast is easier to use as you could mix into the flour directly. no need to proof it with warm water to get things going.

[to store instant yeast, pour out into a small container than pack, reseal and air tight the rest into the fridge. next time when you bake, take out from the small container.]
the second thing i tried this time, is the pre-ferment method.
usually we leaven with instant yeast and that's about it but the pre-ferment method consists of 2 parts, the night before and baking day.
the night before, mix a small quantity of yeast into some flour and water. let it sit overnight.
the next morning, you'll find the previous night's dough has risen and collapsed. now mix in the rest of the ingredients and flour to  previous night's mixture. and so on... here has as nice step-by-step tutorial. it so happens that my favourite flour mixture is quite similar to pumpernickel [i love this word!].
i used the method above, but instead of bran flakes, i used almost a cup of grain mixture (consisting of buckwheat, quinoa,  millet, amaranth, flax seed, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed)
i used 2 tablespoons of honey instead of malt extract.
i didn't use any cocoa powder.
for the baking day mixture, i used 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast rather than 1 teaspoon.
well, the dough works much better! much more active!

if before i had to wait for 2 hours for the dough to double, this time it was only an hour and half! second proofing was only 40 minutes but it was an hour with dry yeast before.
and for the first time ever, the dough grew and grew until it almost touched the cover of my plastic container. something that has never happened before.

nah, it's not some mutant yeast here, but more of "yeast on steroids". left to sit overnight, the yeast has grown and multiplied till there's enough of them. then even though you don't add much yeast the following day, as the yeast is already healthy and active, it works a treat.

taste wise, there's some hint of sourdough. don't know about you but i like it.

and i'll be trying more of this method from now on!


  1. Hi BG: I have been so kiasu I actually ferment my yeast, instant yeast haha. I know. I am so mad. But I want to make sure they are happy and growing well before I dumped them into my flour. I made some bread using a recipe I got from this old British cookbook, loaned from my aunt, and the bread was hard. I fed them to the tilapia fish in the USM lake. Nic says maybe a tortoise will break its teeth eating this hard bread. But me, I persevere and never give up. I will knead bread. I don't want to buy a bread making machine because it think that's such a cop out!

  2. hi maya

    there's nothing wrong with your approach. sometimes i tell myself i should do that too, what more as i use organic flour here, which s pretty costly.

    if the dough doesn't rise, then it's most probably the yeast. so go for the pre-ferment method.

    it really rocks. also if left overnight, the dough still hasn't risen, then it's as good as dead. by which you waste only one cup of flour.

    i like it so much, i have baked couple more times the past week with this method.

    oh yeah, it rocks!

    ps: i was told there were lots of happy fishes in the usm lake. mystery solved!