Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Bread That is too Nourishing”

“Bread that must be sliced with an axe is bread that is too nourishing” - Fran Lebowitz

You gotta love Fran's wit, but I have to say I'm not agreeing with her on the boulengerie front. When I ate "store" bread (after growing out of the Wonder Bread years and moving to university), I sought out the bag with the densest, grainiest, darkest loaf inside. I loved the crunch of the different bits in each slice, and even if I had no clue in the world what millet or quinoa was, I knew that they tasted good in my toast and jam before Economics 101. My mother is very much in the same camp - the only time white bread passes her lips is if she has no other viable option - in our house, that means whenever a stew or chili gets made, since my two step-household members refuse to touch anything with a fleck of "whole" in it - excepting whole milk (of course) - and will leave their warm, freshly made dinners on the table while they drive to the grocery for a loaf of crusty "Italian" bread. When we first began sharing a household, I couldn't believe the lack of nutrition they were giving themselves - several fights and wasted loaves of mine later I've given up trying to convince them that a few changes could equal a whole world of difference. As my grandma told me, "they'll realize it on their deathbeds but never admit to it".

So I just sigh, then come on here and bitch. Haha.

Now that I'm baking my mom's regular stash of breads, buns and bagels, the only store-bought bread is the Italian sliced sandwich loaves for *them* and an occasional purchase of cinnamon-raisin Texas toast for my sister's snack attacks. Mom's bagged multigrain breads are gone, in favour of my concoctions. She described my creativity in the kitchen, as she put it, quite well at last weekend's BBQ: "People ask me what kind [the bread] is, saying that it looked so good, and all I can say is 'Sarah made it, I don't know what's in it but it's yummy' and finish it before they can beg for a piece".

Well, mom, I don't know if you'd have time to listen to me list the awesome things I chucked into my interpretation of Reinhart's (you know, the Bread Baker’s Apprentice guy) Multigrain Extraordinaire, but as long as it's all good with you, I'll keep tossing you curve balls (of dough)!

I'm also lobbing these rolls over to YeastSpotting, hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast!

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
Makes 10 "sandwich-sized" buns
1 oz millet
1 oz buckwheat groats
.5 oz quinoa (or amaranth)
2 fl oz hot water

6 oz refreshed whole wheat sourdough starter
1 oz (by weight) honey
1.5 oz whole wheat flour
1 oz skim milk powder
10 oz bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cooked brown rice or polenta
1.5 oz hulled sunflower seeds
1 oz hulled pumpkin seeds
4 fl oz warm buttermilk
Poppy seeds for topping
  1. The night before you want to bake, combine all the "soaker" ingredients in a small bowl. Allow to stand at room temperature for 12 hours.
  2. Combine the sourdough starter, honey, whole wheat flour and skim milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer, mixing well. Cover and let stand 3-4 hours.
  3. Combine the bread flour and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the brown rice, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds into the soaker mixture. Add the buttermilk.
  5. With the mixer running, add half the flour to the starter blend, followed by all the buttermilk mixture.
  6. Add the remaining flour and increase the speed to medium. Knead for 9-12 minutes, until smooth.
  7. Place into an oiled bowl, turning to grease the top.
  8. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, 3-4 hours.
  9. Deflate dough gently and shape into a loaf or individual buns.
  10. Place into a lightly greased 9x5" loaf pan or two lined baking sheets. Cover and allow to rise until almost doubled, 1 1/2-2 hours.
  11. Preheat oven to 350F.
  12. Lightly mist dough with water and sprinkle with seeds.
  13. Bake loaf for 45-50 minutes (buns 20-25 minutes), until hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom.
  14. Cool completely before slicing.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 224.4
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 1.1 mg
Sodium: 101.6 mg
Total Carbs: 41.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 8.1 g


  1. excellent. i have come to love the rich flavors of multi-grain and whole wheat breads. the thought of eating white bread is about as appealing to me as eating a show box. of course I didn't always feel this way but I love healthy breads now -- esp homemade!

  2. Looks fabulous! I'm loving every BBA recipe I try - this one is on my list!

  3. Those are some beautiful rolls! Wow! Awesome!

  4. You have such a lucky mom! Extraordinaire indeed.

  5. These rolls look beautiful... I love multigrain breads now - could never go back to the white stuff.

  6. I'm with you about not liking white bread. It still amazes me when you go to someone's house and that's all they want to eat. Sad for them.

    I have to make these rolls. They look delicious!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. I'm a big fan of throwing things in to the bread dough too


Thanks for the feedback!