Power Bread

Power Bread
Recipe from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads
Notes: I was excited by all of the things that went into this 100% whole wheat loaf: flaxseeds, raisins (ground up), oat bran, sunflower seeds (I used pumpkin) and sesame seeds. This is definitely not a bread for the amateur: there are four separate components that are made over three days. First up, the pre-soaker: basically, letting the raisins and flaxseeds absorb water so that they will puree more easily. I found that the raisins didn't get completely pulverized and the seeds were still whole, though they got a bit slimy. The next component is the soaker, made by combining the pre-soaker with flour and oat bran. This has to sit for at least half a day, and I let mine rest for a day or two (I can't remember anymore). The biga was next, made from flour, yeast and milk. I believe I used buttermilk, and let this sit in the fridge for two days.

To make the final dough, the soaker and biga are mixed with ground pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, plus the usual stuff that goes into bread like yeast, salt, honey and flour. The dough was quite tacky and wet but I didn't add a lot of additional flour. During the final shaping, I rolled up the dough and made it too long for the pan, so I tucked the excess under. This little step caused the finished bread to be a little sunken in the middle (you can see it in the picture). It's all the little things that really matter when you're baking.

Like many of the other 100% whole wheat loaves in this book, the texture was a little bit crumbly. Slices hold together better if they're thicker, say about 3 or 4 cm (¾") thick. I appreciate that this bread is full of protein and fibre, but I don't feel it's worth the effort.

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