Here is an easy bread recipe utilizing whole grains that does not come out dry. Whole grains are a commonality for Centenarians (individuals over the age of 100) according to the Blue Zone which you can learn more about here and based on their dietary research it sounds like a good idea to consume more whole grans when possible. However, breads with whole grains are often disappointing when you substitute them in a standard recipe. The trick is to soak the course grains first then incorporate them into your dough while maintaining that high hydration level. It is a bit time consuming, but it is incredibly low maintenance, so you have flexibility in how and when making this loaf might fit into your schedule.
· ½ cup of 9 Grain Flour (or whatever your coarse grain flour is going to be)*
· ½ cup if water
Combine these in a bowl and let them rest for 6-8 hours or overnight.
*The flour I used here was given to me by a friend and freshly milled with a consistency that looked more like dry oatmeal than flour. It was extremely coarse but soaking it made it magical. Soaking coarse grains (like corn meal) will really make a difference as the grains soften and absorb water. This will keep the grains from drawing out moisture during baking so you don’t end up with a dry dense loaf.
· ½ cup wet soaker
· 1 cup warm water
· ¼ cup Sorghum Molasses (you could also use honey)
· 1 tsp. salt
· ¼ tsp yeast
· 2 ½ cups flour
In a large bowl combine the soaker, water, molasses, salt and yeast.
Then add the flour and mix until well combined and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky and wet. Use a rubber spatula or bowl scrapper to help combine it. Do not use your hands! I repeat, do not use your hands!
When all the ingredients are combined and you have what looks like a wet, gloopy blob, just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter to rise for 6-8 hours or overnight.
After the dough has rested it should look more like a sponge and have doubled in size.
With a wet hand reach into the bowl and carefully lift and fold the edges into the center, completely loosening the dough from all sides. The dough is so sticky that it can easily be lifted and folded into the middle; just keep your hand wet to keep the dough from sticking to you.
Cover and let rest for another hour.
Preheat your oven along with a deep dutch oven with a lid to 500 degrees.
Carefully remove the dutch oven, spray it with some non-stick spray and with a wet hand gently assist the dough out of the bowl and into the dutch oven.
Cover with the lid and place it into the hot oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and reduce the temperature to 425 degrees and continue cooking for 10-15 more minutes or the internal tempurature reaches 190 degrees.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool the loaf on a wire rack for 20 minutes if not longer before cutting into it. This is the hardest part!