Multigrain Bread

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Brown flours make better loaves than rolls, so shape this dough into cigar-shaped baguettes – I mean fat, expensive cigars, not those unwanted panatellas you got as a Christmas present Slice the bread at the last moment before serving, after another trip to the oven for reheating.

Ingredients

  • 125g (oz/1 stick) butter
  • 400ml (14fl oz/ cups) milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 40g (oz) fresh yeast (1½ × 1oz cakes)
  • 1kg (2lb 4oz) multigrain flour such as Granary flour (3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + 3 cups stoneground whole wheat flour + 1 cup malted wheat flakes)
  • 2 medium eggs (2 large eggs)
  • 1 level tablespoon salt

Method

Melt the butter. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat 100ml ( fl oz/½ cup) of the milk to lukewarm. Dissolve the honey in the milk, then mix in the yeast Leave for 15 minutes, until it bubbles.

Mix the flour, eggs, salt, and melted butter together in a large bowl. Add the yeasty milk, plus all the remaining milk, and mix to a dough. Knead for 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove until doubled in bulk.

Knock back the dough and shape into six cigar-like loaves. Lay them on an oiled baking tray and leave to prove. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).

When the loaves have doubled in volume they are ready to bake – this should take around 20 minutes depending on their thickness. Tap the bases for the hollow sound that shows they are done. Place on a wire rack or a cool baking tray to cool.

Variations

For excellent walnut bread to go with cheese, make around half the quantity above and replace the honey with 50g (2oz/ cup) brown sugar. Heat the butter with a sprig of rosemary and add 50g (2oz/½ cup) of chopped walnuts to the dry ingredients. Otherwise, proceed in exactly the same manner.

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