Something that just about everyone needs is a good, soft, multi-grain bread that can be used in a variety of ways. A bread that kids and adults alike will love and eat, whether for breakfast toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch. This is just such a bread, and that’s what makes it a perfect candidate for November’s Three Loaves.
What is Three Loaves about? The founder of Three Loaves, Jerry James Stone of the vegetarian and vegan cooking blog, Cooking Stoned, says: “Three loaves aims to end the disconnect between people, our food system, and the communities we live in. By signing up, you’ll receive a fresh, seasonal recipe every month, delivered right to your inbox. Each one makes three loaves of bread.” The first loaf is for you, the second loaf is to share with a friend, and the third is to be given to someone in your community who needs it most. Read all about it here and sign up!
This might also be a good time to tell you about the giveaway I’m hosting here and sponsored by my go-to yeast, Red Star! I have used only Red Star yeast for many years – in fact, I buy it in the 2 lb bulk packages – so when they offered a package of goodies for my readers to accompany this post, I was delighted! More about that, after the recipe.
I was flattered to have my Vegan Multigrain Sandwich Bread recipe chosen as the November recipe. It’s not fancy or a complicated crusty loaf descended from generations of old European artisans. To me, it represents everything an everyday bread should be: accessible, tasty, nutritious, and appealing for many different applications. I originally based this recipe on the Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread recipe in George Greenstein’s 1993 James Beard Award-winning book, Secrets of a Jewish Baker. Greenstein’s recipe is – as are so many soft bread recipes – made with powdered milk and sugar or honey. I made quite a lot of changes and additions over the years, retaining the desirable soft texture, while making it entirely vegan and adding nutrition and protein. Vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, and even meat-eaters, have universally loved this bread that I’ve been making and selling at our local Farmers’ Market for a couple of years, now. I’m pleased to be sharing it with you.
Yes, there are quite a few ingredients, but I’d venture a guess that you probably already have them all in your pantry or can get them very easily at your local grocery store. This is a pretty heavy dough, so I use my mixer, fitted with the dough hook. You may certainly make it entirely by hand, but it will take nearly twice the kneading time – and a lot of energy! – to develop the gluten properly, even though vital wheat gluten is one of the ingredients. Let’s have at it, shall we? This recipe will yield – surprise! – 3 loaves of bread, 1-3/4 to 2 lbs (pre-baked weight), each.
Vegan Multigrain Sandwich Bread
For the Sponge:
- 2 packets, or 4-1/2 tsp. Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- 2-1/2 cups plain (unflavored) soy milk, or non-dairy “milk” of your choice, room temperature or between 75ºF – 115ºF
- 1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
- 2 cups unbleached bread flour
Place all ingredients in the bowl of your mixer, fitted with the dough hook, and mix on low speed for about 10-15 seconds, until a smooth slurry is formed. No need to scrape down the sides. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
Alternatively, you can do this step easily by hand in a bowl and using a large mixing spoon or dough whisk. Cover and set aside, as above.
For the Dough:
- 1/4 cup agave nectar (or sugar, or honey)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (your choice)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant or “quick”) – uncooked
- 1/3 cup flax seed meal
- 1/3 cup hulled hemp seed hearts
- 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tsp. salt
- cooking spray for loaf pans
Preheat your oven to 400º F.
Stir down the sponge, which will now be roughly doubled and looks like this:
Add all of the dough ingredients, beginning with the liquids and ending with the salt, giving the mixture a quick stir in between, just to moisten. If your mixer has a bowl cover, now would be a good time to put that in place.
Run the mixer at the first speed to knead the dough, for a total of 8-10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, check the dough. If it looks very dry, add 2 Tbs of warm water, and continue mixing. You can turn it up to the second speed for the last couple of minutes to really develop that gluten. The finished texture of the dough should be just a little bit slack – that is, moist and tacky, but not wet and sticky. Remove the mixer bowl from the machine, and cover the bowl with a cloth for 10 minutes, to rest.
Lightly spray three (3) 1 lb loaf pans with the cooking spray. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions (I like to weigh it to make sure that they’re truly equal, but that’s just me). Form each dough portion into a loaf, and place seam-side down into each pan. Press down on the top of each loaf, making sure that the dough is in the pan evenly. (I find that if I don’t do this, my baked loaves tend to come out shaped a bit like my Prius. Again, maybe that’s just me.)
Cover the pans with a cloth or dishtowel, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes. The loaves should have risen above the edges of the pans.
Uncover the pans, brush the tops with water, and with a very sharp knife or razor, slash the top of each loaf once, down its length.
Place the loaves in your hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, spray the tops of the loaves with additional water, or alternatively (if your oven has a sealed bottom, meaning that the heating element is not exposed), throw a cup of ice onto the oven floor and close the door quickly. This helps ensure even browning and the development of a slightly crispy crust.
Fully-baked loaves should have a lovely dark golden brown exterior, and should sound hollow when thumped with your thumb. An instant-read thermometer should read about 200º F.
Remove the loaves from the pans and allow to cool completely on racks before storing, or slicing and eating.
A little Freakin’ Flamingo jam would be good, right about now, too. 😉
Please check out Three Loaves for information about how you can join us in nourishing your community, three loaves at a time!
And now, for the giveaway!
Red Star Yeast is pleased to give one lucky winner, in either the U.S. or Canada, a leg up on baking this delicious and versatile bread, by sending you everything you see in this package:
That’s a 6-quart, dishwasher-safe, red plastic mixing bowl; dough cloth; dough whisk; silicone spatula; measuring spoons; flexible bowl scraper; 6 packets each of all three of their excellent quality and reliable yeasts (active dry, quick-rise, and stellar platinum); baking book, The Kneaded Loaf; additional holiday recipes; and coupons for more yeast! Just click into the Rafflecopter box below, and leave a comment telling us about your favorite yeasted dough recipe and sharing the baked love!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions: Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Prize package will be sent to the winner directly by the sponsor, Red Star Yeast. One winner will be contacted via email, so a valid email address must be supplied. Please add RJFlamingo@bellsouth.net to your email contacts list so your winning message doesn’t wind up in your spam folder. Winner must respond to email notice within 48 hours, or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.
While I was provided product for photography, I was not compensated to write this post, and all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support – Have fun!