Make Ahead

Power Bread

March 22, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves 2 large loaves
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 —boulangere

Test Kitchen Notes

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! - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • 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 olive 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MrsPrincess07
  • leslie Franken
    leslie Franken
  • boulangere
  • happyrock76
  • hardlikearmour

30 Reviews

Rhonda R. February 15, 2014
Could this be adapted for a bread machine? It sounds wonderful, but I don't have the room or mixer or time [as a full time student] to make it by hand.
MrsPrincess07 January 1, 2014
What about subbing corn meal for the polenta?
leslie F. September 3, 2013
I love this bread! Do you have the nutritional facts- Protein, Carbs, Fat and Fiber? I am trying to calculate the Weight Watcher's Points for it... Also, My loaves were very dense...not a lot of rising...but awesome flavor. I will try to bake this again and will do more of the process by hand. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Marylou S. February 4, 2012
Yes, it has kept well, however it wasn't 'kept' too long! The first time I made it, I formed 4 small loaves. Gave one to a friend from church who is also looking for whole grain recipes, took another to our prayer group to share, gave one to my sister and kept the other for ourselves! I made another batch yesterday. This time I made two loaves....... and they are all mine! I love making sandwiches with this bread. It truly fills you up. Whereas once I could eat two sandwiches with regular bread, this one is just so filling, there is no thought for a second one. For me, it curbs hunger because it truly satisfies. Don't even get me started on how lovely it toasts! This recipe is a superb one! By the way, your other recipes were exciting as well. You make the recipe come alive when you give a little background of how it came into play. Lost shoes Risotto was my favorite. I'm looking forward to trying it.
boulangere February 5, 2012
How lovely that you shared it around! I'm still struck by how different it is to eat something that fills you up with just enough of it. I agree - the toast is pretty wonderful. We've had lots of fun with Lost Shoes Risotto. I make it often, and laugh about its origin every time. Thanks for your kind words.
Marylou S. February 1, 2012
Wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your Power Bread recipe!! I've been looking a long time for one such as this. Hard to find. But yours....ummmm fits the bill. I read where a bread such as this, with the many grains, seeds, and whole wheat, actually expends calories during the digestive process, unlike white bread which the body quickly assimilates and turns to sugar! This is a bread I can love....and I do! Many thanks for posting this one. I am going to check out your other recipes.
boulangere February 1, 2012
You are so kind. I am delighted that you enjoyed it so much. I do, too. It makes outstanding toast, and sandwiches on it are all the more enriching. You zeroed right in on the impetus behind it in terms of nutrition. It's a good keeper, too, did you find?
boulangere March 29, 2011
I just left you an answer on the Foodpickle page. If you don't get it, or need more info let me know! Quite honestly, spent grains are my preferred combo, but not everyone has access to them, so I adapted it for everyone else. I hope you like it, and please let me know!
Head2Tail March 29, 2011
How do you make this with spent grains? We have plenty!
boulangere March 29, 2011
Sorry, not too electronically adept. Your response is above!
happyrock76 March 28, 2011
What modifications would you make to this recipe for high altitude baking?
boulangere March 28, 2011
Oh, good question! What is your altitude? For yeasted breads, the only modification is to knead it longer. You want a REALLY good, strong windwopane to compensate for your lesser atmospheric pressure.
hardlikearmour March 27, 2011
Is the amount of water correct? I made this today, and had to add way more water. The bread tastes fabulous, and makes 2 pretty huge loaves!
boulangere March 28, 2011
The amount of water is pretty relative to the amount retained by the grains. If you have to add more, do. Mix for consistency. I'm so glad you like it!
boulangere March 28, 2011
Thanks so much - just edited the instructions to reflect this.
hardlikearmour March 28, 2011
Was just munching on a piece of this with peanut butter for breakfast! Yum!
boulangere March 28, 2011
Power up!
Sagegreen March 25, 2011
What a compelling photo! I love kamut flour. Wonderful recipe!
boulangere March 25, 2011
Kamut was a great discovery to me also! Thank you!
ChefMommy March 24, 2011
The picture is gorgeous. We made breads in the class I took they were always great. Looks like I get to try one on my own now.
boulangere March 24, 2011
Just keep chanting.........
TiggyBee March 24, 2011
This bread looks amazing! So, with a deep breath and no more *bread fear*...I'll give this a try!!
boulangere March 23, 2011
Of course you can!
wssmom March 23, 2011
The instructions are so clear I feel I can tackle this!
lapadia March 23, 2011
Love this, saved, and looking forward to trying it...thanks for sharing it :)
boulangere March 23, 2011
Power up!
thirschfeld March 23, 2011
that is a great looking loaf of bread. I love that more bread recipes are showing up here and really good ones to boot. I made bread for a long time and am just starting back at it.
boulangere March 23, 2011
For several years, I left 2 children asleep at home to get to my bakery-restaurant at 3 am in time to get the day's breads started and rising in time to get home, get them up for and to school, then back in time to move everything along towards lunch and dinner. In other words, bread was why I got out of bed. Gladly. Welcome back! If you want to trade ideas or recipes, let me know, by all means!
boulangere March 23, 2011
Thanks, susan g! Let me know how you like it!
susan G. March 23, 2011
I'm excited!