Ezekiel Bread (revisited)

"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself."
--Ezekiel 4:9 (NIV)

This is one of my favorite breads..it is not too difficult to make and it is super-nutritious. I've posted on this bread and variations of it in the past (click here, here, and here), and this is a revised version of those recipes. In this recipe I use 100% whole wheat flour (which I did in this recipe as well), but what is really different--and while this may seem insignificant, it is really not--is that I reduced the amount of liquid in the biga (pre-ferment) from 1 cup to 1/2 cup. This makes a somewhat dry starter but it keeps the subsequent dough from being too wet (which was a concern I've heard voiced by readers and bakers who tried the recipe). Another thing is that I added a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. Because whole wheat flour has less gluten than white flour, and the high concentration of grains, I felt this bread would benefit from a bit of added gluten...and it worked great. I had intended on offering metric measurements for this recipe for readers/bakers outside the US (purchased a digital scale recently), but alas time got away from me. I'll do it in the future. Anyhow, if you enjoy baking, or even if you have never baked bread but want to, I hope you try this recipe...it is not as difficult as it may seem at first, but it is really delicious.

To learn more about my views of this bread, with more explicit directions and pictures, click here.

Whole Wheat Ezekiel Bread
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
12 cups water
2 tablespoons white beans
2 tablespoons red beans
2 tablespoons spelt berries
2 tablespoons lentils
2 tablespoons barley
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoons bulgur wheat

cooked beans and grains
½ cup cooking water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups cooking liquid

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
3 teaspoons instant yeast

Boil the grains in the water in logical succession according to cooking times: first the white and red beans (about 60 minutes), when they are soft add the, spelt berries, lentils, and barley (about 30 minutes); lastly, add the millet and bulgar (about 10 minutes). The key is that after each addition the previous grain must be soft enough so that when all of the grains are in the pot they will all be equally soft; undercooked grains (especially the beans) can really ruin this bread. And as the grains cook add more water to the pot as necessary because the cooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of the recipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it's evaporation). After the grains are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to room temperature, refrigerating if necessary. After the grains are cooled drain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon, reserving the cooking liquid.

Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained grains with ½ cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 teaspoons instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not to get yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it's job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, olive oil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Chiempi said…
Love this bread! Searched net for a sensible recipe which didn't involve a flour mill, this was exactly what I wanted. I ended up reading all your Ezekiel bread recipes and amazing clear guides. This came out brilliantly and is just so tasty, will be my regular weekly loaf. Am going to experiment with converting to sourdough as well.