When I was scrolling through Nicole Gulotta’s website Eat This Poem for a bread to pair with the Italian Beef Stew recipe I recently made from her new book, I found this fabulous bread. I couldn’t wait to try it.
This no-knead multi-grain bread is easy to assemble, a few steps to follow, an overnight in the fridge, and oh so worth it! As I was combining the ingredients and working the dough with my hands I was immediately taken back to this Fall when I was doing the same thing (well almost) – baking artesian bread – in Altamura, Italy. There’s just something about bread dough that is soothing to my soul. It IS my form of therapy sometimes. Here’s a link to my day’s adventure of baking bread in Altamura and Matera if you want to read more about it.
Be prepared, there are a few steps to this recipe, none of which are hard, you just need to read the full recipe first so you can gauge your timing. It was easy enough to put together the first step, go off and do something for an hour, return to complete step two and let it sit for two hours or so. I worked on this bread the day I decorated the house for Christmas so it was fun to check in on the progress of the dough between decorating the fireplace mantle and Christmas tree.
I baked it the next day (after the dough spent the night in the fridge) and filled the house with fresh baked bread aroma – in time to be enjoyed by our guests that day.
NOTE: In my oven, it did take longer for the bread to bake thoroughly. I would make sure you check doneness before turning off your oven. I tried to slice a piece off the loaf and discovered it was still a little doughy so I put it back in for another 15 minutes. (note to self: have oven heat calibrated to make sure it is heating at proper temperatures.)
Dough mixed and ready to rest in the fridge overnight.
Dough shaped into loaves – ready for baking.
The loaves turn out to be a nice looking rustic bread. Taste was definitely multi-grain dense and I thought it could have used a teaspoon or so of sugar – but that’s may just be my taste buds.
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup quinoa
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds (I didn't have sunflower seeds so I used pepitas - pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup water
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon active yeast
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup rye flour (I didn't have rye flour so I used oat flour)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Soaking the add-ins (1 hour) In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup oats, ¼ cup quinoa, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, and ¼ cup water. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Mixing the dough and letting it rise (2 hours) In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) combine 3 cups lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon active yeast.
- With a standard mixer paddle (or a large spoon), mix in 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, 4 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup rye flour, 1 cup wheat flour, and the soaked oats and seeds. Mix only enough to combine; do not knead or overwork the dough. If necessary, use your hands to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
- Cover with a towel and allow to the dough to rise and collapse at room temperature. This should take about 2 hours.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. It can be used anytime in the next 2 weeks, but we usually bake two loaves the day after mixing and freeze one loaf.
- Bake the bread (1½ hours) When ready to bake, on a floured surface divide the dough into two balls. Adding a bit of flour as necessary to work with the dough, shape each ball into a loaf by stretching the edges of the dough down and under the loaf.
- Sprinkle a pizza peel or baking sheet with cornmeal and place the loaves on the cornmeal. Allow the loaves to rest for 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450F with a pizza stone on the center rack. In addition, place an old sheet pan on the bottom rack to use for steaming (which creates a nice brown crust on the bread). We use a load our sheet pan with lava rock to assist in the steaming and hold the heat of the oven.
- After the rest, sprinkle each loaf with flour and use a serrated knife to cut several ½" deep slashes along the top of the loaves.
- Slide the loaves onto the pizza stone as far apart as possible (so they don't touch as they rise). Wearing an oven mitt, pour 1 cup of hot water onto the sheet pan and quickly close the oven door to fill the oven with steam.
- Bake for 35 minutes until brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. After cooling, the loaves can be frozen in an airtight bag.
- Adapted from "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Herzberg and Zoë François