The fermentation time for this recipe is quite short, only an hour total, unlike any of the recipes so far. So it's entirely possible to have a freshly baked loaf of multigrain bread in less than 4 hours.
The recipe gives instructions and measurements for both bâtards and demi baguettes, so you can choose which shape to make, or make both! The bâtard lends itself better to sandwich-sized slices, but the baguette is great for just snacking. At the end of the recipe, there's a note for fried eggs on toasted multigrain, which sounds just amazing, and would be a perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I spent the last week overindulging while my family was visiting, so it was a welcome change of pace to make this super healthy bread. I could eat it and feel good about myself. I mean, it has flax seeds!
While I was entertaining, I put my levain in the fridge, so I wouldn't have to worry about it. To my relief, it bounced back with a vengeance after only one feeding, bubbling and alive as ever.
I decided once again to make both recipes this week, bâtards and demi baguettes. I find it interesting that the weights and measurements are much smaller for the demi baguettes, even though the end yield is 3 demis to 2 bâtards.
First, the soaker. Soaking the oats and grains in a bit of water for an hour before adding it to the dough hydrates the grains and releases their flavor. I will say, the mixture smelled amazing! The only trick was to get it evenly incorporated in the dough. When I divided the dough, it could have been a little more even.
After baking the bâtards, I realized that my oven has hot spots. The loaf I placed towards the back of the oven on the baking stone got a lot darker on one side than the loaf in the front. Unfortunately, there's no way to rotate them halfway through, like I would with cookies or cupcakes.
I've also started adding steam a few times throughout the baking process, usually every 2-3 minutes during the first half of the baking time. I just can't seem to generate enough steam all at once to make a good crust. I try not to let too much heat escape when opening the door, but I know it's a trade-off.
Both versions of this bread came out lovely! I think I prefer the shape of the bâtards, but the demi baguettes would be tasty too split lengthwise and made into sandwiches. They taste so good, rustic and healthy and delicious. I'm usually the first one to grab the white bread from a bread basket, but this would make me think twice about that. Slathered with butter or peanut butter, this is even better toasted.
I even made the recipe at the end of the recipe, fried eggs on toasted multigrain. We couldn't decide what to have for dinner, and the bread had just cooled, so we had bacon, eggs, and toast as an open-faced sandwich. With a little side salad of arugula and balsamic vinegar, this would be the most amazing meal. My husband said I could charge $8 for that plate at a hip diner or cafe.
So now I have lots of multigrain bread in my freezer for whenever I feel the urge for a fried egg and bacon sandwich. Yum! Side note- I have defrosted and re-warmed a few of the breads from previous weeks, and the texture is really amazing, and dare I say, improved! As long as you re-heat it or toast it in the oven, it's just as great as the day it was baked.
Guest Baker: Amanda
I love the nutty taste of this bread. It makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and is also a perfect complement to scrambled eggs in the morning as it toasts up quite nice. I baked these in a convection oven, on a stone, with a cast iron pan under for steam as I have yet to bring myself to wash a bunch of river rocks and get out a super soaker… haha..