Power Bread

By • March 22, 2011 30 Comments

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Author Notes: I developed this bread originally using spent grains from a friend who is a gifted and endlessly creative artisan brewer, along with a mix of seeds, depending on what I had on hand. I never knew exactly what the mix would be, but it always made bread so deeply good that people would call ahead on bake day to reserve loaves of it. I adapted it for the Bulk Bin project to replace the mix of spent grains with some of my other most favorite grains and seeds. I still call it Power Bread for the intrinsically wonderful protein, fiber, and EFA qualities of kamut, buckwheat, pearled barley, chia and golden flax seeds. And I always toss in some uncooked polenta for a bit of crunch in every bite. It makes great toast, and a killer grilled cheese sandwich!

As you read through the list of ingredients, if you think the water measurement seems unclear, bear in mind that you're going to cook the whole grains, and though you'll also drain them, they contribute a lot of hydration to the dough, depending on how thoroughly you drain them. Don't press water out of them, in other words. And feel free to add additional water to the dough if need be. - boulangere

Food52 Review: Boulangere's multi-grain bread is hearty and delicious. The combination of grains and seeds makes the bread both flavorful and texturally appealing. I had to use the upper end of the water amount for my dough to have a good consistency. I was unable to find chia seeds, so substituted millet instead. One of the beauties of this recipe is its ability to accommodate different grains and seeds based on what you have in your pantry. It makes 2 pretty huge loaves of bread. I made mine 2 days ago, and have been nibbling on it ever since. I highly recommend giving this bread a try -- you won't regret it! - hardlikearmourhardlikearmour

Serves 2 large loaves

  • 1/2 cup kamut
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 3/4 - 1 1/2 cups tepid water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 ounces canola oil
  • 2 ounces honey
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup polenta
  1. Place barley, kamut, and buckwheat groats in saucepans with ample water to cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until not quite done through. They still want to be a bit toothy when you take them off the heat so that they retain their integrity in the dough. Kamut will take the longest, about 1/2 hour; barley about 15 minutes; and buckwheat groats about 10. When done, strain off water and allow to cool a bit before adding to the dough.
  2. To mix dough, pour water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add yeast and whisk to blend. Add all other ingredients, including slightly cooled grains. Mix on lowest speed until dough comes together and looks homogenous. This will be a sticky and fairly soft dough, but it should generally leave the sides of the bowl, so add some bread flour if necessary; just don't add so much that it is too firm.
  3. When dough comes together, stop the mixer and wrap a piece of plastic wrap around the top of the bowl. Let the dough have an autolyse for 20 minutes. This will allow the whole wheat flour to become fully hydrated, and also allow the water in the grains to settle down. If you overknead this dough, you'll essentially start squeezing water out of the grains.
  4. After the autolyse, remove the plastic and again begin kneading on the lowest speed. Within a few minutes, the dough should come fully together, leaving the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 minutes, then test for a windowpane. It will not be as thin as what you'd expect from a dough without all the grainy content, but it will form a general windowpane.
  5. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl large enough to contain it as it doubles. Turn dough over once, then cover bowl with plastic, not a towel. Let it proof at room temperature until doubled in size.
  6. Flour your work surface - remember, this is a sticky dough! Gently turn dough out onto it. Keep your piece of plastic! Divide dough in half, and shape each as you wish: either shape it for conventional bread pans, or shape as hearth loaves. Dust the top of each with flour (I love that rustic look!), then drape your piece of plastic over them. While your bread is proofing again (and the second proofing goes faster, so keep an eye on it), preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Just before putting bread in oven, decoratively slash the tops a good 1/2" deep. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating loaves halfway through. This bread is deceptive - it tends to look done before it is. When done, an instant read thermometer inserted in the middle should read 180 degrees.
  8. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Because of all those great, moist grains, and a touch of honey, this is an excellent keeper, and also freezes just fine. While it is still warm, cut a slice, butter it, maybe add some honey or your favorite preserves, and get ready to power up!

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