Lisa’s multi-grain wholemeal no-knead bread

Easy to make and with no kneading

No knead whole grain bread

Lisa is one of my lovely daughters. She’s also a great cook. This recipe is hers, tweaked just a little by One Wild Kiwi. It was inspired by Busy People’s Bread from Annabel Langbein‘s outstanding TV series and book, The Free Range Cook.

Annabel’s recipe’s great, but it uses too much yeast and for my money Lisa’s is even better.

For the many Kiwis–especially deprived expats–who love Vogel’s bread but not the price, this is the answer. I think this bread’s better than Vogels and other commercial whole grain loaves: it’s even healthier, it’s about 10% of the price and it’s easy to make.

Ingredients for 2 1400g loaves

  1. ½ a cup kibbled mixed grains. I use kibbled rye and kibbled wheat from my local bulk bin discount shop (Bin Inn or Bulk Barn).
  2. ½ a cup of 7-grain mix. Also available from The Bin Inn. Don’t lose any sleep over this. Any mixed grains with a bit of oats and/or barley will do the job. Here’s a 7-grain mix description.
  3. 4¾ cups of water.
  4. 2 Tbsp of raw sugar, honey, agave nectar or similar.
  5. 3½ tsp of active dried yeast.
  6. 4 cups of high grade flour.
  7. 4 ½ cups of wholemeal flour (stoneground is the healthiest option, but it’s expensive).
  8. 1 Tbsp of salt.
  9. 1 cup of sunflower seeds.
  10. An optional extra à la Annabel’s recipe: sprinkle a tablespoon or two of pumpkin seeds on the top of each loaf before they go in the oven.

Method

Preheat the oven to 80°C.
In a small saucepan or Pyrex bowl bring the kibbled grains to the boil in plenty of water. Then add the 7 grain mix and boil again. Lisa does it on a hob. I’m lazy and do it in the microwave. Tip the grains into a sieve to drain.

In a big bowl dissolve the sugar in 2½ cups of boiling water. Then add the remaining 2¼ cups of cold water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to start doing its thing then whisk it and add the kibbled grains.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands. It’s less messy if you just use one hand, but if you’re too pernickity use a wooden spoon–it’s hard yakka but at least you don’t have to knead it. You should end up with a very sticky dough, stringy from the yeast action but almost spoonable.

Divide it into 2 large loaf pans. These will have to be well-greased with butter or margarine. I usually put baking paper on the bottom and I do it on a scale to get an even split.

Bake at 80°C for 20 minutes. The bread should rise to nearly double its original volume.

Turn the oven up to 220°C and bake for another 35-40 minutes.

The usual method of knocking the bread to see if it’s done isn’t very reliable with this robust loaf, so make sure it’s good and brown on the top and poke a needle in to ensure that it’s not sticky.

Notes

Depending upon your oven you may need to experiment a bit. If your bread’s a little too moist, toast your slices and they’ll be perfect.

The water content is critical to a good result. Flours vary in the amount of water required to get the desired mix, some bread experts recommend weighing the flour rather than measuring by volume.

If you check the ingredients on commercial multi-grain breads–at least here in New Zealand–they invariably don’t mention wholemeal flour. I suspect that’s because, although the breads contain plenty of grains, they’re kept lighter by using only white flour. This recipe has plenty of wholemeal in it. I suspect it will be just as good with 100% wholemeal and I’ll get around to testing increased proportions soon.

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