This bread is unique in that it sports nine grains and contains 100% whole wheat flour for the rest of the ingredients which adds a superb flavor and texture not found in many other breads. Baking a bread with both of these features involves a little more effort but I think you'll agree that it's time well spent. This bread differs from a regular bread recipe in two ways: First, the grains are soaked so they soften and integrate into the loaf. Second, since we're using 100% whole wheat flour for the rest of the flour we need to soak it overnight so the bran softens. This softened bran will enable a more efficient rise because the bran won't cut gluten strands. It will also allow for a more supple crumb. These soaked flour and grains are technically referred to as a soaker. I suspect the bread baker who coined this term was having a creativity block the day he used this method.
I know what you're thinking. That's lots of soaking right? But all that soaking has another benefit! The soaking of the grains and flour also enhances the flavor of the bread because during the soaking process, enzymes break out sugar from the grains which produces more flavor complexity.
Since this bread has a large amount of grains displacing the flour, it's a low-flour bread which is healthier because it has a lower glycemic index. Each grain brings it's own characteristics and nutritional benefits to the table. Feel free to swap out any of the six pre-cooked grains with other types you may have on hand. The grains I used in the here is what I was able to find in several health food stores at the time. They should be measured dry. Once you've made this loaf and it's come out to your liking I encourage you to buy an extra loaf pan or three and make this bread in multiple batches to save you time.
1 ½ cups + 2 Tablespoons warm water
1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rolled oats
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon amaranth
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon buckwheat
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon quinoa
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon barley
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon millet
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon spelt
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon kamut
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
Make the pre-ferment or poolish
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and oats.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containg the dry ingredients and mix it with a spoon for about 1 minute so it's just incorporated. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag or a plate and allow the mixture to sit until it has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer the covered bowl to the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. This step helps break out more sugars from the flour that the yeast can use to develop flavor. It also softens the bran on the wheat for a softer crumb.
Soak the grains
Rinse the amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, millet, spelt and kamut. Transfer them to a medium mixing bowl and soak for about 24 hours.
Mix the dough
Remove the grains and flour mixtures from the refrigerator. Drain the grains and add them to the bowl containing the flour and yeast. Sprinkle in the salt and knead in the grains until well incorporated, about 4 minutes. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Proof the dough
Roll the dough out into a square with edges that are the length of your loaf pan. Gently roll up the dough into a cylinder and place it in a lightly oiled loaf pan. Let it sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of its intended size, which should be about 40 to 60 minutes. The dough should now be domed. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it's shape. It's important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.
Bake to perfection
Preheat your oven to 375F (191C). Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes while your oven is preheating. During the baking process, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of its intended size in the process known as oven spring. Bake until the internal temperature of the dough is 180-190F (82-88C) when read by an instant-read thermometer or until the bread sounds hollow when the underside of the loaf pan is tapped with a blunt object such as a rolling pin. This should take about 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees in the oven halfway through the baking duration for even baking.
Remove the bread from the loaf pan after about 15 minutes. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack until it's room temperature. This bread is best stored covered in a cool dark place or pre-sliced and stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. Makes one loaf of Nine Grain Whole Wheat Bread.