Monday, 26 October 2015

Multi-grain sandwich loaf

I've been struggling with sandwich loaves for a while - trying to get the softness and texture of a pure  refined flour loaf, using the whole grains I love.

I had just begun to wonder if I was being unrealistic when this loaf happened.

The outside was rough and crusty, but the inside is a totally different story. The crumb was denser than its refined version, but it was very very soft, to the extent that it flopped over like a noodle if held at one end.

Over half the flour went into making a sponge or preferment in the hope of making a traditionally mild flavoured bread form more flavourful. I used four kinds of flours, two of which added nothing to the gluten kitty.  And of course, my new trusty food thermometer did its job perfectly, pronouncing the insides done at 94.5ºC.

Ingredients (for one 9"x 4.5"x4 .75" loaf)

For the sponge

340 g flour
5 g sugar
5 g fresh yeast (or 2.5 g active dry yeast)
400 ml water

For the dough

100 g wholewheat flour
60 g ragi or finger millet flour
50 g coarse semolina
50 g quick oats
30 g vegetable oil
12 g salt

Beat together the sponge ingredients until homogenous and fluffy. Leave covered in a cool place. (cool is a relative term, with a hot dry spell invading my city, the back of a dark cupboard where the temperature was 24ºC was heavenly).

When bubbly, add in the dough ingredients. Knead until smooth and elastic. I kneaded the dough by hand, and it took a little under 10 minutes for the dough to stretch thin enough to let light through.

Leave covered for a nap. When the dough doubles in volume, shape into a loaf and lower gently into a 9 X 4.5" loaf tin. (I find that using parchment sheets to line the bottom and lengths of the bread makes for stress-free baking).

When the dough rises a couple of inches above the loaf tin, score and spray with water. Add seeds or other topping if desired at this stage.

Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 180ºC for approximately 50 minutes or until the temperature in the middle of the loaf registers 94.5ºC.

Do remember to turn the loaf pan by 180ºC halfway through the baking or the heat spots in your oven may leave your loaf looking like this.

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