I’ve tried something new this time. I know I say this a lot but it’s not just new recipes. I’ve made bread with grains. Proper whole grains.
It was also an opportunity to turn half of my rye sourdough starter (Sinbad II) into a wheat starter (Ishmael). That’s also something I’ve found intriguing for some time. You can really see the different colours (from the flours) – the first one is Ishmael, the second one Sinbad II:
Near my dentist is a health food store and every time (well, nearly anyway) I go to the dentist, I pop in there too. They’ve got fantastic hot chocolate bars… among other things, of course. So when I went for a check-up in July, I bought barley, rye and wheat grains. I had no particular use for them in mind, I just remembered that there are a few recipes in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf that require grains. And I like bread with different textures, that give you something to chew. It took me a while to get round to them but I got there in the end and tried out two recipes, the Alsace Loaf with Rye and a Five Grain Loaf.
The grains need to be cooked prior to baking and I found that the time given in the book are not quite long enough. It just about works for the Alsace Loaf but for the other one, they were barely cooked. So this needs a bit more research and experimenting on my part. I used rye, as required, in the Alsace Loaf but a mix of barley, rye and wheat in the Five Grain Loaf. The barley and wheat need longer and I only cooked the for 45 minutes which was fine for the rye.
The doughs for both breads are incredibly sticky which is not something I enjoy working with, particularly when the recipe demands it to be shaped into batons… I deliberately only made two Alsace Loaves instead of five. (They just need a little bit longer in the oven.) They dry out too quickly when they’re that thin. The result was fantastic and the kids loved it. For the first time ever, they’ve actually liked my bread so much that they ate it at mealtimes – and not just when I was slicing it for freezing or for tasting. I’m very pleased with that.
The Five Grain Loaf is fantastic for all the different things that it contains: rye and wheat flour, oat meal and millet grains. More cooked grains are added but what they are is up to the baker. As I’ve said I used rye, wheat and barley. I also ran out of black treacle and replaced the missing bits with malt extract. The loaf might be a tad too sweet but it’s incredibly light and very tasty!
I know in the second picture it looks as if the slices had a green tinge to them. They hadn’t. It must have been the light in my kitchen. I tried to photoshop the green out but it didn’t work (rather, I’m not very good with photoshop). So believe me when I tell you that they had a lovely brown colour and looked rather appetising!