One of the best ways to enjoy bread while maintaining a healthy diet is to make whole wheat seven grain bread. I made a batch this week that turned out amazingly well.
First, the starter I used has been brewing in my fridge for several months, but is actually five years old. I obtained it last summer from a friend who started it in 2014. I’ve made several batches of bread with this starter since I got it, and it has a really good flavor. I have another starter that I began in 2016, and I like the 2014 one better, although they are both good. I was amazed at how well the dough rose this week considering how much whole wheat flour I used. It rose faster than I thought it would, and rose out of the bucket!
I have a large bag of a seven grain blend, which is made up of a variety of whole grains. I soak the grains in boiling water and let it sit for several hours before I use it in the bread. I had planned to make bread a couple weeks ago but neglected to do so, but I had already soaked the grains. I stored the “cooked” grains in the fridge until I could get around to using them. I had also cooked too much oatmeal one morning so I decided to keep the leftovers for the bread. Here is my recipe, this made 3 big loaves. You could add less water, honey, salt, and flour to make smaller or fewer loaves.
1 cup starter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
Mix well in a large bowl, let sit on counter for at least an hour, up to overnight.
6 Tbsp honey (if solid, mix into hot water before adding to starter)
3 tsp salt
2 cups warm (almost hot) water
1 cup cooked oats
2 cups cooked 7 grain blend (boiled in 1 cup water and soaked for several hours)
Mix together well, then add flour:
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour (high gluten bread flour is best – add until dough is nearly not sticky any longer, sometimes you will need less flour than this)
Knead dough until it feels right – should be elastic and just slightly sticky. Place in rising bucket or covered bowl and allow to rise for several hours. In order to get the most out of your sourdough, the dough should be allowed to ferment for several hours (see my page about Sourdough).
Punch dough down and form into loaves. Allow to rise until doubled. Place in hot oven (350-375 degrees) and bake for 50 minutes. Spraying water in the oven when you put the loaves in creates steam which creates a nice crisp crust. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.