Week 81: Signature Loaf

This is the perfect go-to bread for any occasion. It’s easy enough to be a weekly bake, and makes an impressive contribution to a shared meal. It’s got multiple grains and seeds for flavor, milk and butter for texture, and the overnight fermentation gives both the flavor and the texture an additional boost. If you’re looking for a single grain loaf, with a similar result, check out Week 62’s Low-Knead Bread. You won’t be disappointed!

Step 1: Make pre-ferment (overnight rest)

  • 340g room temp water
  • 3g yeast
  • 180g bread flour
  • 50g rye flour
  1. Mix the sponge ingredients with the handle of a wooden spoon until flour is thoroughly combined with the water.
  2. Cover, and let rest at room temperature, covered, for at least 4 hours, but preferabley overnight.

Step 2: Make dough (2 hour rest)

  • 12g salt
  • 4g sugar
  • 180g bread flour
  • 90g whole wheat flour
  • 30g dry whole milk powder
  • 30g softened butter (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp each sesame, flax, hemp and chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup multi-grain cereal mix
  1. Combine the flours, sugar, salt and sesame seeds/multi-grain cereal mix into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
  2. Empty the biga into the bowl, scraping the sides tof the biga bowl to get it all.
  3. Mix until incorporated, with the handle of a wooden spoon, (or your hand, squeezing the dough between your fingers).
  4. Once it’s all mixed together, place bowl in machine, and knead with dough hook for 5 minutes on speed #2, adding the butter, one little chunck at a time.
  5. Stop to scrape down the sides and the dough hook. Make sure there’s no dry bits on the bottom.
  6. Knead for 5 more minutes, still on #2, until it is sticking to itself more than the bowl. It won’t totally clean off the sides of the bowl and be all stuck on the hook like some doughs.
  1. Scrape down sides with a bowl scraper, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Turn out until a lightly oiled surface. Flatten out a bit, then fold sides over on itself towards the middle to form a circle. Turn over and shape into a ball.
  1. Place the dough in a greased bowl, seam side down, cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  2. Turn out until a lightly oiled surface. Flatten out a bit, Do two envelope folds/ First fold top third down, then bottom third over that. Then fold the left third over, and the right third over that.
  1. Return dough to the greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours (if you kitchen is colder than 72 degrees, warm up an EMPTY microwave, then store it there), until doubled in size.

Step 3: Shape dough (1 hour rest)

  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled countertop, and gently press into a square.
  2. Flatten out a bit, then fold sides over on itself towards the middle to form a circle. Turn over and shape into a ball.
  3. Cup it with your hands and rotate, pulling the sides down a bit to make the surface taut.
  4. Then slide a bit to make the surface taut. See video for shaping dough on the Tips page.
  5. Lightly dust the surface, and smooth with your hand.
  6. Place dough ball, seam side down, into a lined banetton (or a bowl lined with a tea towel) that’s been dusted with flour. Pinch seams together to tighten.
  1. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour. It will continue to rise in the oven, so this second rise does not need to be for as long as the first. Better to be slightly under-proofed, than over-proofed.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat over to 475 degrees, with a Dutch oven inside, and have at the ready a parchment paper sling.

Step 4: Bake dough

  1. Place a the parchment sling on top of the basket/bowl, and flip it over.
  2. Remove bowl from dough, scape off any excessive amounts of flour, and score.
  3. Remove pan from oven, and place dough inside. Cover and put in oven.
  4. Turn oven down to 450 degrees.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, uncover and back 5 more, until crust is dark golden, and internal temperature is 190-200 degrees.
  6. Remove from pot, then place in turned off oven with door open so it can cool down in a dry place.
  7. Cool completely before slicing.

Week 74: 10-Grain Cereal Bread

This healthy loaf is easy to put together, and doesn’t take a lot of time. You can get in the habit of making it on a weekly basis so you’ve always got some bread on hand for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. It makes great toast, is sturdy enough for sandwiches, and can also be made into dinner rolls.

  • 1/2 cup multi-grain hot cereal mix
  • 1-3/4 cups boiling water
  1. Measure cereal mix into the bowl of stand mixer and add boiling water.
  2. Mix, then let stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 110 degrees.
  • 333g bread flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 7g yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
  1. Meanwhile, whisk flours, sugar, salt and yeast together in a medium bowl.
  2. Once grain mixture has cooled, attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  3. With mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture, about a 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until combined.
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • Optional
    • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
    • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  1. Add butter, about one tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing, then add seeds if using.
  2. Knead on medium-low speed until dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. If that’s not happening, add some flour – just one tablespoon at a time. You can use a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides to help it along. But you want it to be in a big ball around the dough hook.
  3. Continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes.
  4. Transfer dough to a very lightly floured work surface and shape it into a smooth, taut ball.
  5. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Lightly oil a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  8. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and pat into a rectangle
  9. Shape into a loaf as shown below:
  1. Place loaf in tin, cover, and let rise until it’s about 1″ above the rim of the tin.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ~ 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  1. Mix the egg white with 1 Tbsp water and lightly brush the top of the loaf and top with oats.
  2. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with oats.
  3. Bake until lightly browned, and the internal temperature registers 200 degrees 35 to 40 minutes. Tent wtih foil if the top starts to brown too much before it’s thoroughly baked.
  4. Remove loaf and cool on wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.

Dinner Rolls: Follow video on Tips page for how to shape rolls. This recipe makes about 15, and they’ll fit in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.