My schedule and this bread making schedule didn’t mesh, so I could not follow the recipe as written, but I did manage to produce an acceptable loaf. The three grains made a heavy and hearty bread. I used dark rye from the Mennonite grocery store and ground my own wheat berries for the whole wheat with white flour from Trader Joe’s.
The sponge is easy as long as you get the water temperature just right. It rose and fell, as the directions said it would, as it rested in my laundry room for 6 hours. Then I shaped the loaf and put it in the basket I use as a form or banneton. I don’t have a large, heavy-duty mixer, so I kneaded by hand for about 8 minutes. The loaf rested on a towel covered with rice flour which is soft and silky and works best for me. At that point, I had to refrigerate it overnight. By the next morning, it had risen nicely. I brought it back to room temperature and baked it to a bit over 200 degrees internal temperature because I got distracted the last few minutes. A cheap instant-read thermometer is very good for gauging when bread it done.
Cooling is always torture, but I was a good girl and waited patiently for an hour; then I tasted it smeared with good butter and it was delicious. The rye and whole wheat flours give depth of flavor. I was wishing for a slab of really good cheese but that’s for tomorrow. I usually work with a loaf that is more hydrated than this, very soft and moist based on William Alexander’s loaf from the book 52 Loaves. Check the book out of your library – it’s a fun read and you’ll learn a lot about bread baking if you need or want to know more.
I can’t wait to read the comments of others to see if their loaves were dense. I added more water and did not use all the flour called for. At 50 minutes I removed it from the oven.
Bread-baking is one of the most satisfying of all baking experiences for me. My first attempt — about 40 years ago — produced a brick-bat, so I gave up for a while, but ultimately mastered the technique. I taught my daughters to make bread and when my older daughter comes to visit, together we make a bread she loves and one I raised my children on – a whole wheat raisin bread. Anytime I make bread and give it away, it’s appreciated.
Thanks for looking. Marie