Here we are with the third bread recipe in this no knead bread series, and it’s a beautiful, more healthy option for you seed and grain lovers out there.
I previously posted on a rustic no knead white bread that you can read back here if you’d like a more comprehensive outline of what this series is about. And the second post was a version of that white bread with the addition of cheddar and jalapenos.
This whole grain version is one I played with a few times to get it just how I like it. I use a combination of white and whole wheat flour in it. We will get into breads made with strictly whole wheat flour soon, but you will notice that the more whole wheat you use, the more dense this type of rustic bread will get. It’s wonderful if you like a dense, firm bread, but if you still want a little softness and a lighter chew, I found a combination works well. Alternately, you could also use just white flour and add the grains to it to maintain that really soft and moist inside.
That’s what is so great about the basic recipe in my first post. Once you understand how it works you can really take liberties with it to make it your own. And you should!
Here’s my simple, and much healthier version of this no knead bread for another great, easy bread recipe!
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry active yeast
¾ cups of whole grain mix of your choice (pre-mix or combination of assorted grains)
1 ¾ cups water at room temperature
In a big bowl, mix the flours, salt and yeast together. Add the mix of whole grains. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. It should be a wet, sticky dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot/similar to the oven as it’s heating and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees. If using a bread cloche, just put the lid in the oven to heat up.
Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. If you want to make sure your bread doesn’t stick to the pot you can sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on the bottom of the pot. (Note – You can also spray with olive oil cooking spray!) If using a cloche, line it with parchment paper.
Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball for a round baking dish, or an oblong shape for a long bake dish. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
If using a bread cloche, bake for 50-55 minutes with the lid on the entire time. Do not remove it.
Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily. Let cool completely before slicing into it and serving.
Here’s how it turns out:
I took a large mixing bowl and combined my all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt.
Then I added in my whole grains.
This is a premix I like to buy. It’s all done for you already so it makes it easy! I used ½ cup of this.
I also added ¼ cup of these three combined – sesame seeds, a chia mix and millet. I buy these sorts of grains from the bulk section in a Co-op market we have near us in a city called Mount Vernon. It’s my dream store for good quality foods and I could live in the imported cheese isle.
Then I added my water. In my last two recipes I only used 1 ½ cups of water but I use a bit more with this recipe. The grains bulk it up and the whole wheat flour is heavier and absorbs it a bit more as well. So you want to start with 1 ¾ cups and if you find that your dough is still not sticky and wet looking, then add a tablespoon at a time until you get that moist texture.
If you leave it too dry, it will still rise and bake well, but it will not be as light and airy and will bake much more dense. A lesson I have learned!
Cover this with plastic wrap and leave it out on your counter overnight for 12-18 hours. Think ahead on this for timing. I like to mix my dough during the afternoon for a morning bake, for example.
The next morning, your dough will have doubled, if not more in size and it should be nice and bubbly and airy and light. It will still be sticky and moist, which is what we want.
Get your oven preheated to 450 degrees. Get out your dutch oven or you can also use one of these – a standard corningware dish. This is what I used for a long time and it worked great.
I am going to use what I always use, which is my bread cloche. I will link to an older post I wrote about what this cloche does here if you would like more information. I love it and I will never use anything else now that I have tried it! I only heat the lid up in the oven with the cloche.
I then line it with parchment paper every time. The dough will stick otherwise and this cloche isn’t something you wash or clean like a normal bake dish.
Then flour your hands and do your best to get that dough out of the bowl without handling it too much. We want to keep all the lightness and bubbles in there as much as possible.
My method is to use both floured hands and sort of scoop the dough on both sides of the bowl, go all the way down and get your hands right around and under the bottom to get the whole thing in the middle of both of your hands. Quickly lift it out, roughly shape it and put it directly into your baking dish. Mine is the oblong cloche so I just sort of pulled it long and dropped it in. I don’t do much to make it pretty. It will do it’s own thing while baking.
I also want to point out the great air bubbles that remained in this particular loaf. I literally scooped it out and placed it in the cloche as fast as I could. The less handling, the more of this you will get, and that’s what you want!
With this recipe I also like to sprinkle a little of my pre-mix grains over the top of the dough and gently pat it in to make her pretty.
Then put the lid back on your baking dish and pop er’ in the oven. If you are using a corningware dish or dutch oven, follow the instructions above. I’m using my cloche, so I will bake it for 55 minutes without taking the lid off.
When it is done, well, come on now. She’s just bursting with texture and flavor and smelling so wonderful you will find it hard to wait an hour or longer to cut into it.
I may not have said this before, but you need some self control with these rustic loaves. It’s so tempting to cut into it right away, but don’t do it. Trust me on this. I have done it and regret it every time. You want that trapped moisture to stay in there until it cools itself. If you cut it and release it, your bread won’t be as soft, it won’t stay fresh as long and the texture will be sort of an odd chewy texture instead of soft and have that spring back feel. Do as your Mama tells you, ok?
Once again, she is crispy and crusty on the outside and if you push down on her a little, it should have that amazing crackling sound that a really great artisan crust makes. I do it every time. It’s so satisfying.
And then like always, once it has completely cooled down, I cut this in half. I wrap half in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for later.
The other half we eat right away over the next day or two. I leave this bread, like the other two, on my counter, cut side down on a cutting board. Don’t wrap this in plastic wrap. It’s tempting to do it, I know, but don’t. The crust will lose it’s crispness and the inside will lose the softness.
And lastly, as I have mentioned before, you really only have 2 days with a bread like this to eat it fresh. That’s why I use only half a loaf at a time. We are only 3 people and won’t eat an entire loaf in that period. Breads with such few and simple ingredients don’t have the preservatives to keep them soft and fresh for two weeks on the counter or in the fridge. Which in a way is sad, I know, but doesn’t it make you stop and think a little bit about what they put in our bread that we buy that makes them last so long?
Even really nice, expensive grain breads that are labelled organic are sometimes very deceiving about the ingredients. We live in an area in the Pacific Northwest where you can find really great Co-op type markets that sell completely natural whole foods that are made simple, like this recipe, but you are also going to pay top dollar for them. Why not give it a shot to try it on your own and see if you can do it? I spent time costing out what it takes me to make a loaf of bread like this and I factored in the parchment paper and saran wrap even, and it literally costs about $1.60 to make. A plain white loaf is even less. So it’s food for thought.
I’m not trying to change your mind, or make you feel bad, or guilty about buying bread from the store. I promise I’m not. This truly is just a hobby of mine that I love and put the time into making. Catch me on a busy weekend and you’ll see me with a Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza. We all have to pick our battles and decide which things we take more time with in life. With a little moderation, I feel like we can do small things to feed ourselves a little more naturally and simply. Our bodies will thank us. And hopefully our waistlines too!
– The Homesteader Wife