Despite the high reaching almost 70 today, my brain has moved to "winter" mode and my cooking urges reflect it. I'm making soups, comfort food casseroles, and baking bread--more than the weekly challah, that is.
Today's bread is from a recent King Arthur Flour blog post (or just see the recipe), which also inspired me to go revive my rather evil looking sourdough starter. After feeding it yesterday I left it out overnight, and today it was very bubbly and ready to go. Don't know if it was the freshly revved up starter or other substitutions I made, but this bread didn't much resemble the description in the KAF writeup.
First let me document the substitutions: I used more whole wheat flour than called for (3 oz. instead of 2), reducing the AP flour. I don't have the "KA Whole-Grain Bread Improver" but added some vital wheat gluten instead--I see on further research that the bread improver is a mix of vital wheat gluten and soy flour, mostly. And I don't have the KA Harvest Grains Blend, so I mixed some poppy, flax, and sunflower seeds into a little Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Cereal blend, which is an oat/wheat based hot cereal. Seemed close enough.
What was different? Well, I needed a good bit less AP flour than the minimum in the recipe, and then added more water during the knead as the dough didn't look nearly as wet as the blog pictures. OK, it's winter, and we're dealing with a sourdough starter with variable water amounts, so I give that a pass. But then it says "Cover the dough, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; it'll become puffy, though it may not double in bulk." Mine was tripled in a little over an hour when I first checked on it. On the second rise I let it get about 1-1/2" above the pan (and again it was much faster than the recipe), and it was over-risen and sank some on baking. Last thing was the texture, but here we're definitely in the subjective realm. They said "chewy texture of an artisan loaf", I'd say it's got a little more structure than a sandwich bread. Or maybe I just don't eat anything but artisan breads these days, if you don't count the whole-wheat challah.
Despite all that, it's a nice loaf of bread. Very light on the "multi-grain" bit, so I'd probably up the whole-wheat flour even more if I make it again, especially as it's clear the loaf has plenty of spring to handle it. The character could be varied quite a lot by using different seeds and grains for the Harvest Grains Blend.