Multigrain Bread

Multigrain bread 2

For some people, it’s a good steak. For me, it’s fresh homemade bread. While I buy commercial bread, it rarely lives up to what I think of as a great loaf, especially sandwich bread. I can get a great ciabbata or baguette nowadays, but a really great sandwich bread – well that’s another story.

This recipe makes two multigrain loaves and it uses both a 10-grain cereal as well as whole wheat and all-purpose flours. The loaves are rolled in rolled oats before the last rising which not only gives them a lovely homey look, but it adds a bit of extra texture and flavor. I generally make my breads completely by hand but this recipe called for using my standing mixer and I thought I would give it a try. I wish you could taste the depth of flavor in this bread between the whole wheat flour and 10-grain cereal and the honey – yummmmmmmmmm! You can keep your Paleo diets. Give ME a really great piece of homemade bread, still warm from the oven.

Multigrain Bread adapted from Olga’s Flavor Factory

Yield: 2 9×5 inch loaves


1 1/4 cups  7 or 10-grain hot cereal mix (Bob’s Mill or I bought mine from


2 1/2 cups boiling water

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

4 Tablespoons honey

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

Canola or Grapeseed Oil for the pans


  1. Pour the boiling water over the cereal mix and set aside for about an hour, until it cools to approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can tell if it is the right temperature if you can stick your finger into the cereal and it feels hot but not burning to the touch. During that time, the cereal will hydrate and soften, soaking in all that water.
  2. In another large bowl, combine the two flours and the salt together.
  3. Once the cereal has cooled, add the honey, melted butter and yeast. Mix to combine.
  4. In a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low speed, slowly adding in the mixed flours. You can also do this by hand if you don’t have a standing mixer. using a dough hook2
  5. Mix for about 2 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Return the bowl to the mixer with the dough hook and knead the bread dough for about 7 minutes, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. If you’ve mixed if for 3-5 minutes and it’s still sticking to the bowl, add 3 Tablespoons more flour. I did not need to add any additional flour. You can also knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 8-10 minutes. IMAG0922
  7. Coat the dough lightly in oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2  9×5 inch bread pans with oil. When the dough has doubled in size, cut the dough in half. Flatten each half of dough into a rectangle and then tightly roll the rectangle into a loaf.
  9. Lightly spritz each loaf with water or oil and roll in the oats, just enough for the oats to adhere to the bread. (My dough actually had enough oil on it that I didn’t need to add any additional oil or water.)
  10. Place into the loaf pans and set aside to rise until double in size, for another 40 minutes or so. (If your kitchen isn’t warm, it may take longer.)
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven. When the bread is golden brown on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon, it’s ready. Basically when it looks and smells like it’s ready, it is. Cool the bread in the loaf pans for about 5 minutes before taking them out of the loaf pans and onto a cooling rack. You can freeze the second loaf. Wrap it securely and freeze and then simply thaw and serve when you need more bread.

Multigrain bread3

Oat and Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

The thought of making my own sandwich bread never really occurred to me, and when it did, all I could think was that it would be more effort than it was worth. After all, the local grocery store has quite the panoply of breads to choose from every week.


But then I came across this post from “Smitten Kitchen” and immediately had to try it because it just sounded so healthy and wholesome.  As it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and the result when toasted with a little dollop of butter ended up having a texture and flavor that I would not have dreamed bread could have.  Now the only trouble is that I’m going through it so quickly!  Thank goodness the recipe yield two loaves.


5 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker oats)
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar, honey or agave nectar (I like the honey)
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus a little more to coat bowl
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk, any kind
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

Make bread dough:

  1. In the bottom of large mixing bowl, combine water, milk and sugar or honey, then stir in yeast. Add egg and oil and whisk until combined. Add flour, oats and salt and if mixing with a machine, combine with paddle attachment at the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute. The dough will be wet and coarse, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix the dough on medium-low for 2 more minutes. By hand, do the same with your spoon. The dough will seem firm and more smooth, ideally supple and sticky, but if it’s still very wet, add a bit more flour, a spoonful at a time. If it seems excessively stiff, add a little more water, a spoonful at a time.  Continue to mix with dough hook or by hand for 4 minutes.
  3. Scrape dough out onto lightly floured counter. Knead a few times, then form the dough into a ball. Oil your empty mixing bowl and return dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature for 60 to 70 minutes, or until doubled in buik or transfer to the fridge and let it ferment overnight or up to 5 days. If proofing in the fridge, remove the dough before the fridge about 3 hours before you plan to bake it.

Form loaves:

  1. Turn dough onto a floured counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Press each gently into a rough rectangle-ish shape.
  2. Fold in sides so that the first dough is roughly the width of your bread loaf pan (about 9 inches).
  3. Roll from bottom to top and then put this log into your bread loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough.  (This is really important as otherwise your bread will rise lopsidedly and then you’ll have delicious but highly irregularly sized bread which is not great for sandwiches.)
  4. Let proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of the baking pan. Halfway through, heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake bread:

  1. For 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pans once for even color. (Then again, I forgot to do this and it turned out beautiful anyways.)
  2. The internal temperature should read 190 degrees F. Remove loaves from tins and let cool on a rack. If you’re planning to freeze bread, let it cool completely before slicing it.

From Smitten Kitchen, Oat and wheat sandwich bread.

Farmer Bread

farm bread

Okay – I’ll say it. I LOVE BREAD!! and the crustier the better. Since I had just cooked up a batch of Mushroom Barley Soup which I will post tonight after we eat it, I wanted some great bread to go along with it. This wonderfully fragrant, crusty bread comes form the Jacques Pepin’s Table cookbook and it is fun to make and even better to eat.

Farmer Bread

Yield: One large round free-form loaf


4 cups, unbleached all-pupose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinklin on the loaves

1/2 cup rye flour

1/2 cup wheat bran

1 teaspoon granulated yeast (active dry)

2.5 teaspoons Kosher salt

2.33 cups cool tap water plus 1 Tablespoon to throw on the oven floor

2 Tablespoons cornmeal


  1. Place the flours, salt, yeast and 2.33 cups of water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix at low speed for 3 to 4 minutes to create a smmoth, but slightly sticky dough. If you have a large food processor you could do it in there and it should come together in about a minute.
  2. Transfer the dough to a deep glass or ceramic bowl or a plastic measuring bucket (If you make a lot of bread, these are great!). Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature overnight (12-14 hours).
  3. After the dough has risen, bring the sides of the dough into the center of the bowl, folding it in on itself. It is easier to use a dough spatula than your hands becasue it will be sticky. If you use your hands, lightly flour them first. Press down on the dough to get all of the excess air out and form it into a ball as best you can. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place the dough seam side down in the center of the pan. Invert the bowl or bucket over the dough. It should be bigger than your dough circumferance so it won’t stick.
  4. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for another 1.5 hours.
  5. About 20 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Sprinkle the risen dough with the teaspoon of flour and using a serrated knife, cut some decorative slits across the top. Place the loaf in the hot oven and throw a Tablespoon of tap water into the bottom of the oven – NOT OVER THE DOUGH. Immediately close the oven door and bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 400 degrees F and continue baking for 1 hour more.
  7. Remove the bread from the baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 3 hours before cutting. Wrapped in plastic, the bread will keep for up to 4-5 days and it can be frozen.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

banana bread

When my son was little, like most children, he had a limited palate. He has long since outgrown that and now eats things that I wouldn’t, but one thing he has never outgrown is his love for my banana bread. He and Frances are coming for Thanksgiving and so not only am I getting ready for the holiday, but I want to have some of their favorite treats on hand as well.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Yield: One 9 x 5 inch loaf


2 cups, sifted all-purpose flour OR 1 cup AP flour + 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup amaranth flour (I used to try to get as much nutrition into this as I could without compromising the taste)

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

scant 1 cup granulated sugar

3 large over-ripe bananas mashed (I use bananas that are BLACK! They have the most flavor and have almost started to ferment. Those fruit flies know a thing or two. I mean it – black!)

2 large eggs

1/3 cup of milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of distilled vinegar (any kind of milk will do). You are basically making curdled milk. You could use buttermilk if you have it on-hand, but most people don’t.

12 ounces of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or up to 60% cacao, but no higher) tossed with 2 Tablespoons of the flour (or flour mixture)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lavishly butter (or use a cooking spray like PAM) a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, preferably non stick.
  2. In a mixer (although for years I did this by hand) cream the butter and the sugar, mixing well. Add the eggs and bananas and blend thoroughly.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. If you didn’t toss them with the flour, the taste will be fine, but most will sink to the bottom. The flour prevents this from happening.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1.25 hours. Then turn off the oven, open the door part way and leave the bread in the oven for 10 minutes more.
  6. After the 10 minutes, allow the pan to cool for about 20 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle without oven mitts. Turn the bread out onto the rack to finish cooling completely. This will get even moister over time, especially if you substitute 1/4 cup of the flour for toasted wheat germ. The wheat germ and the black bananas is what gives my banana bread its darker color.

banana bread2

Peasant Bread with Caraway Seeds and Potato

caraway bread

I’m always surprised at how difficult it is to easily buy really good bread in Chicago. Of course you can find it, but I just don’t have the time to go all over the city searching out exactly what I want. The real truth, though, is that there is something so satisfying about baking your own bread. While I could relatively easily give up eating meat, giving up bread would be MUCH harder for me.

This particular bread is Hungarian in in its roots and comes from the Beard on Bread book, a wonderful bread primer and one I go back to often. It was a favorite bread of my father’s and while there is no rye flour used in the recipe, it reminds me of the wonderful caraway rye bread that I grew up with. It’s a gutsy bread that really compliments soups and stews and it also makes great sandwiches.

Potato caraway bread

George Lang’s Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds adapted from Beard on Bread

Yield: One 12 inch rounded bread


3 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold is great)

1 package or 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast

2.5 cups warm water (until it is quite warm to your finger tips but does not burn)

About 7-8 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

1.5 Tablespoons Kosher salt

1/2 Tablespoon caraway seeds

Canola or Grapeseed oil


  1. Scrub the potatoes and boil them whole in their skins until tender. I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit in the hot water, with the heat turned off for 10 minutes. I rinsed them in cold water and removed them to a bowl to cool. When they are cool, peel them and mash them. (Do NOT puree the potatoes.) You want a generous cup.   mashing potatoes
  2. Dissolve the yeast and 3 Tablespoons of the flour in 1/2 cup of the warm water in a large bowl and let it proof for 30 minutes. This is your “starter.”
  3. Add the remaining 2 cups of warm water, the salt and the caraway seeds.     adding caraway to breadAdd the potatoes and add the flour one cup at a time, mixing well until you have a dough that is still a bit sticky but can be handled. The amount of flour that you use will depend on a variety of factors: how much moisture was in the potatoes, whether you use bread flour or all-purpose, the strength in your wrists and the humidity in the room. Even the brand of flour can make a difference. I have carpal tunnel syndrome so I am only able to mix through about 5 cups of flour. I add the remainder of the flour during the kneading process. As I have said before, once you learn what bread dough should feel like, you can make any bread. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps of potato – it just adds to the “peasant” nature of the bread.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes, covered before you knead it. This helps the dough properly absorb the flour and you end up having to add less flour which can make the dough leaden. You want gutsy, but you  want it to have life.
  5. Turn it out onto a floured board or counter and knead the dough for 12-15 minutes or until it is supple and elastic and no longer adhering to your hands. (Add small amounts of flour as you knead to keep the bread from sticking to the surface and your hands.)   bread dough after first kneading
  6. Shape into a ball. Oil a bowl with a neutral oil like Canola or Grapeseed and roll the dough around until it is coated with the oil. This should be a light coating so about a healthy Tablespoon should do it. You want to “coat” the dough – not drown it.
  7. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot for one to two hours to rise until doubled in bulk. Since I like to keep my apartment cool, I warm my oven to 170 degrees F. while I am kneading and as soon as it comes to temperature, I turn it off. I then place my bowl in the oven for the dough to rise.
  8. When the dough has doubled (watch it since it can take more or less time than the 2 hours), remove the dough from the bowl.   dough after first rising Punch it down and knead it for 4-5 minutes more. Shape the dough into a large round loaf and place it in a generously buttered or Criscoed 12-inch oven-proof skillet with slightly rounded sides. My Lodge cast-iron skillet is perfect.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Allow the bread to rise for 30-35 minutes. Brush the loaf with tap water and then with a sharp knife or razor blade, make a deep incision in the form of an “X” in the center.   bread ready for oven
  11. Bake the bread in the oven for about an hour or until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when rapped with your knuckles or a wooden spoon. The baking time can sometimes take as long as 1/25 hours so be patient.
  12. Remove the bread to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting it. You can freeze this bread if it is well-wrapped.   potato bread

Whole Wheat Honey Bread


I’m one of those people who brings lunch almost every day. And since I am making lunch for me, I also make it for my husband. It kills me to spend $12 on a lunch that is neither as good nor as nutritious as what I can bring from home. And once you get used to doing it, you’ll find that it really doesn’t take that much time or effort. When my son was in school, he used to beg me to make lunch for him rather than having him buy it like the other kids. What mother could resist that? I later also found out that his friends used to offer to pay him for parts of his sandwiches! He swears to me that he never actually took advantage of this potential scheme to augment his allowance….

I love to bake bread when I can. Everything about it is appealing. I love the way the dough feels underneath my hands, when I am kneading it (I do NOT use a bread machine, but go ahead if you like) and the smell – oh that smell – and of course, the taste. And for me – it’s relaxing. It just says home to me. And even though I never bake with preservatives, homemade bread actually holds up better than store-bought bread. Go figure.

Today I am making two loaves of honey whole wheat bread. It makes wonderful toast and is also great for sandwiches. You can freeze one of the loaves for later or give it away to what is certain to be a grateful friend.

My recipe comes from the Betty Crocker Bread Book, a slim volume that I have had on my shelf for about 30 years. There is no celebrity chef behind it, but I have made many breads from it over the years and they have all been delicious.  It may be out of print, or replaced by a newer, sexier version. If you can find a good, clean used copy, I think it is worth getting.


Whole Wheat Honey Bread

Yield: Two 9 x 5 inch loaves


2 packages active dry yeast or 4.5 teaspoons loose dry yeast (I buy mine in bulk from

1/2 cup warm water (I run hot tap water and if it feels hot, but not burning to my fingers, then I use it)

1/3 cup honey (any kind – this time I used buckwheat)

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1/4 cup shortening (I use Crisco for this)

1.75 cups warm water

3 cuos stone-ground whole wheat or graham flour (I like King Arthur brand, but other barands are fine)

About 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose or bread flour

Crisco for greasing bowl and pans


  1. Warm your oven to the lowest possible setting (mine is 170 degrees F.) As soon as it comes to temperature, turn it off and leave the door closed. Warm a large bowl with hot water. My bowls always come out of the cabinet cold.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir in the honey and allow it to proof for about 10 minutes. As soon as it smells yeasty and is bubbling, it’s proofed and you know that your yeast is good.  IMAG0767 (1)
  3. Add the shortening, 1.75 cups of warm water, salt and the 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Stir well until the dough is smooth.
  4. Stir in enough all-purpose or bread flour to make the dough easy to handle. This will take a bit of practice and is dependent on temperature, room humidity and flour. Once you learn what it should feel like, you can make any bread. At this point, I like to let my dough rest, covered for about 10-15 minutes. I find that it allows the gluten to form and the flour to be properly absorbed and so you need to add less flour when kneading in the next step. It makes for a finer crumb in my opinion.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface (use the all-purpose or bread flour for this) and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This takes about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Place the dough in a greased large bowl and roll the dough around so that it is covered with the shortening or oil.     bread dough ready for risingCover it with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place the bowl in the warmed oven to rise for about an hour.
  7. Dough is ready when an indentation remains when made with two fingers.  IMAG0771_1
  8. Punch down the dough and using a bread scraper, divide the dough in half. If you must use a knife, use the back side of the knife (the dull side). If you want the loaves to be exactly the same size, use a scale to weigh the pieces. I’m not so inlcined and don’t mind a little difference, so I don’t bother. Flatten each half with your hands or a rolling pin into a rectangle, about 18 x 9 inches. Fold the dough crosswise into thirds, overlapping the two sides. folded bread doughTightly roll the dough towards you, beginning at one of the open ends.    forming loavesPress with your thumbs to seal the dough after each turn. Pinch the edge firmly to seal. With the side of your hand, press each end to seal. Fold the ends under. 
  9. Place the loaves seam sides down in 2 generously greased loaf pans. Brush lightly with melted butter, margarine or Crisco. loaves ready for rising
  10. Lightly cover the loaves with the tea towel or waxed paper and allow to double. This takes about 40 minutes to an hour depending on temperature and other factors. I have so many yeast spores in my apartment that mine rises fairly quickly. loaves ready for bakingAfter 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  11. Place the loaves on the lowest rack so that the tops of th epans are in the center of the oven. Bake until the loaves are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with your knuckles or a wooden spoon – about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and allow them to cool on a wire rack. I wish you could smell my house!