Saturday, November 24, 2012
Multi-Grain Cinnamon Raisin No-Knead Bread
The weather cooled down one weekend. The need to bake bread took over. The need to use some of the various flours I have stored in the fridge took over as well.
With this batch of no-knead bread, you can make about 5 1 lb loaves. But don't worry. You can either cut the recipe in half or, you can store the dough in your refrigerator for up to 5 days (the egg in the dough prevents it from being stored any longer). During that time frame, you can pull out a glob of dough and within a short time have yourself a fresh loaf of bread made with minimal effort.
(You can also store the dough in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, in 1 pound portions. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours then proceed as usual.)
The egg in the recipe makes this a nice, light bread. The agave gives it a sweetness and the multiple grains that I used give it a lot of flavor. Not to mention the delicious combination of cinnamon and raisins.
Of course the cinnamon and raisins can be left out since they are added just before the 2nd rise so you can just make a nice loaf of bread. Which I did. And used it in my Thanksgiving stuffing.
Multi-Grain Cinnamon Raisin No-Knead Bread
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/4 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 TB yeast (2 packets)
1 TB salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup neutral flavored oil (ie: vegetable oil or unsalted butter)
1/2 c agave syrup (or honey)
3 large eggs
4 tsp barley malt syrup (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar & 1 TB cinnamon. You won't use it all. Save it for cinnamon toast or something)
Handful of raisins
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TB water)
Raw sugar (optional)
In a large container with a lid (about 5 quarts would be good), whisk together the whole wheat flour, bread flour, oat flour, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten.
In a medium bowl, combine the water, oil, agave syrup, eggs, barley malt syrup and vanilla extract.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined. You might need to get your hands (wet them a little first) in there to fully incorporate the flour.
Cover loosely (not airtight...the gases need room to expand) and let set on the counter for about 2 hours. During this time, your dough will rise and begin to collapse a little.
At this point, you can store the dough, lightly covered, in your fridge to use later or you can begin making your bread. However, if you have time...I recommend letting it sit in the fridge for a little while. It's easier to handle this way. This dough is a bit wet and sticky.
When you're ready to get started, sprinkle a good dusting of flour on the dough and grab a grapefruit sized wad (or any desired amount). If needed, dust the piece with a little more flour and shape into a ball by pulling the sides down and around to the bottom, rotating the ball as your go.
Get out a loaf pan, and grease it. Using the pan as a guide, on a floured surface (you may need to flour the surface more as your go along), flatten and roll the dough into a rectangle, making the width just short of being the same size as the length of the pan. (The purpose is to make sure your loaf of bread fits into your pan when you're done rolling it up.)
Sprinkle with your cinnamon sugar mixture and desired amount of raisins.
Now...carefully roll your dough, starting with a short end
Press the finished end of the roll to the dough in order to "seal".
Gently place into your prepared bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.
If you used your dough without refrigerating first, then the rest time will be about 40 minutes. If the dough had been refrigerated, the rest time will be longer....about 90 minutes. I test it buy pressing two wet fingers into the dough a little. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time to rest. If it springs back very slowly, then it's ready to bake.
This would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350' F
Note: your dough may not double in size during this rest period (it's sometimes the nature of the no-knead beast). Often times you will have what's called an "oven spring"...where you will see an increase in volume during the baking process.
Once its done resting, brush the top with an egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar if desired.
Bake in a preheated 350' oven for about 45 minutes or until the inside temperature of your bread is 185' F.
Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a rack.
DO NOT cut into the bread until it has cooled completely. I know...its sooo tempting. It smells so very good and the idea of fresh warm bread is drawing you in. But trust me. The bread needs to cool. If you cut into it while it's still warm, you will end up with a funky texture inside. Allowing the bread to cool completely will give it the best flavor and texture. Plus, it's easier to slice. Btw....an electric knife is a wonderful tool to use for slicing your bread.
Do you want to get a little fancier? Let's do a simple 2 strand braid.
Take the initial ball that you formed in the beginning and divide it in half, rolling each portion into wide ovals.
Sprinkle each oval with cinnamon sugar and raisins then roll, starting from the long end. Press the end to the dough to seal.
Take both "ropes" and carefully place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (seem side down). Pinch together the top ends.
Gently twist the rolls together so they are intertwined then pinch the end together and tuck it underneath.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest (40 minutes if used right away, 90 minutes if the dough had been stored in the fridge).
Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake in a preheated 350' F oven for about 35 minutes, until the inside temperature is 185'.
Allow to cool completely on a rack before slicing.
You don't want to go through all this? You have some dough leftover? Make that initial ball of dough and allow it to rest as is on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Time frames are the same as above. Just before baking, dust the top lightly with flour, score the top with an X (about 1/4 deep slices) and bake as above.
If you want a firmer, crispier crust, put a baking pan in the bottom of your oven during the preheating time. When you put your loaf into the oven, pour 1 cup of hot water in the bottom pan...this will create a nice steam in your oven and give you a more rustic, artisan type of crust.