Monday, February 10, 2014

Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine)

Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine)

Multigrain sourdough bread--sounds hard, but use the bread machine to easily make this loaf!

Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts

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Today I am joining with my fellow food bloggers to encourage our readers to donate to The Lunchbox Fund, an organization that provides daily meals to South African children.

Why am I asking you to help feed kids in South Africa when there are hungry kids in our own communities?  It's simple.  I feel everyone who can help has a responsibility to help others.  In my community, I give my time and my food to my local Foodbank.  With 65% of all kids in South Africa living in poverty, nearly 20% of them orphans, it is clear to me that my help is needed outside my own community.  By participating in this campaign with The Giving Table, we are hoping to raise enough funds to provide a daily meal to 100 South African children for a year.

There's strength in numbers, people.

I just donated $10 to help feed kids in South Africa, it took me about 2 minutes, and you know where I coughed up the money from?  I spent the weekend at a sled hockey tournament in snowy Ft Wayne, Indiana.  Instead of picking up drinks and snacks on the road/at the venue, I packed from home.  That saved me easily $10, and other than a bit of planning ahead it was painless. And better for us.

I'll tell you more after the recipe, but first--a bit about this bread.  When Nicole asked me to share a lunch recipe I was stumped.  I mean, more often than not my daughter comes home from school and we eat leftovers for lunch. "Remove container from fridge.  Reheat in microwave." is a pretty short recipe, you know?  Then I started thinking about my son, and how I forced him to he's been making his own lunch this year, which is usually a sandwich.  The foundation of his sandwiches is usually this bread.

Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts

I started making bread 6 months ago after reading Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Amazon Affiliate link) while participating in the summer book club.  Learning about what all goes into a loaf in a Wonderbread factory left me unsettled.  [Not that I'd been buying Wonderbread, mind you.]  I had a packet of dried sourdough starter so I decided to go for it.

Over the months I've tweaked the recipe I started with, from Best Bread Machine Recipes (another Amazon Affiliate Link), adding flax meal and oats, adjusting the amount and kind of flours originally specified.  Because I started making this bread in August, when my kitchen is crazy hot (it's crazy cold in the winter) I chose to dust off my bread machine.
Rant: Some folks may say that this is a cop out, that I am not really baking bread.  You know what?  When I load dirty clothes, washing soda, vinegar, detergent and fabric softener into my washing machine, close the lid, and push the start button I say I'm doing laundry.  And I'm not even controlling the amount of water used to wash the clothes!  Use the tools available to you, if you like.  At the thrift shop where I work, I see bread machines each month--usually in the $10 to $20 range. /rant
Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts

A big note:  I weigh my ingredients, because I've found a huge difference when I am consistent with my amount of flours.  I mean, if I'm just scooping out of the bin I can have up to 20% extra flour in a single cup!  Baking is chemistry, so having the right proportions is key.  I picked up an inexpensive digital scale at Bed Bath and Beyond using a coupon.  Not having to fluff/stir/sift/spoon/level my flour is a timesaver in addition to producing consistent results.
Another big note:  I've done this with recently fed starter and starter that hasn't been fed for days.  Both turn out just fine.
A third note, not so big:  I've used butter, olive oil, and canola oil as fats.  Kristy tells me that butter reduces the crumbliness of the finished loaf, so lately I've been going with that.

Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts
This is totally a parody photo
Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts
Ingredients are not shown in their proper proportions. I just dumped them on the table.

Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) recipe adapted from Best Bread Machine Recipes 

This makes a 2 pound loaf.  I use the Whole Wheat cycle on my machine, and the manufacturer recommends loading the ingredients starting with the liquids and ending with the yeast, so that's how I've listed them here.  Follow your manufacturer's guidelines for your particular machine.


  • 1+½ cups (12 ounces by volume) sourdough starter (see note above)
  • ½ cup (4 ounces by volume) milk
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce by volume) honey or molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce by weight) butter (see note above)
  • 6 and ⅜ ounces (by weight) whole wheat flour (I use hard winter wheat when I grind my own)
  • 8 and ½ ounces (by weight) bread flour
  • 1 ounce (by weight) rolled oats
  • 1 and ¼ ounces (by weight) cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal
  • 4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoons bread machine yeast


  1. Because I tend to feed my sourdough starter after I pour out some for this bread, I start by measuring out the starter directly into the bread machine pan.  
  2. Then I divert my attention to replenishing the starter before reusing the liquid measuring cup to measure out the milk (my starter is just flour and water).  
  3. After I've added the honey and butter, I place the bread pan onto my scale, zero the scale, and measure out the whole wheat flour.  
  4. Then I re-zero the scale and measure out the bread flour, and again with the oats.  
  5. Finally I add in the rest of the ingredients--taking care to tuck the salt into the corners where it gets absorbed by the liquid and making sure the yeast is on top.
  6. I have started this bread on delay bake mode, to have hot in the morning or at dinnertime.  
  7. I have made this bread on 'fast rise' mode (I don't recommend that).  
  8. Now that I am into the swing of things, it takes me about 5 minutes to assemble and measure out all the ingredients and push the start button--then 3 ¾ hours later, or longer, I've got a loaf ready to eat. And bread is a nourishing part of a lunch.

Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts
Photo Credit:  Erin Alderson

 Will you take a moment to feed hungry children in South Africa? Joining with me, and the food bloggers organized by Nicole to promote this campaign, will take mere moments of your day.  And the impact is HUGE!  Kids get fed, get an education, and that can help change their circumstances for the better.

Thank you for your time! I'll leave you with one of my out takes from last summer.  The bacon, basil, tomato, avocado and mozzarella sandwich was delicious though the bread wasn't quite a success.

Feed South Africa + Multigrain Sourdough Bread (in a bread machine) | Farm Fresh Feasts
I had some spectacular failures in the early months.
This post is shared with the Week In Review at Clean Eats Fast Feets, Fresh Foods Wednesday and What's Cookin' WednesdayTasty TuesdaysFrom the Farm Blog HopClever Chicks Blog Hop


  1. Kirsten,
    Don't let anyone tell you that using a bread machine isn't making bread! You should use whatever tools you have to make your own bread out of good ingredients. I use my stand mixer all the time to make bread, though some think hand-kneading is the only way to go. Right now I am recovering from carpal tunnel release surgery – I might pull out my seldom used bread machine that I bought on Craig's List for $20 and see if I can figure it out. Right now I can only use my left hand, so I need all the help I can get!

    And you are so right about all of us working together to make a difference. If we all do what we can...

    1. Sarah,
      Thank you thank you thank you--and I hope your recovery continues to progress.

  2. I love that you took part in this, and I think bread was the perfect recipe to share. Hopefully next year I'll have my act together...well at least enough to join in because let's be real, I'll never have my act totally together. That'd be boring anyway. What I can do though, is send people your way today to help promote this wonderful and worthy cause. Kudos to you for doing this.

    The ingredient picture was spot on; your caption was my favorite part; I'm still laughing.

    1. Meghan,
      I think Nicole has several campaigns scheduled for this year, and I'll let you know when I hear what the next one is. Glad to make you laugh--you make me snigger daily. Thanks!

  3. Bah - use what you can to make life and the food you are cooking easier. I like to make bread by hand, but as I get older, the stirring is more difficult, so now I use my stand mixer - I'm pretty sure I'm still making bread. This looks pretty spectacular, and I can almost taste that sourdough - yum!

    1. Donalyn,
      Thank you. I think about my grandma, who used a wringer top washing machine, and what she'd think about the fancy appliances we've got these days. I'm sure she'd say the same thing.

  4. Hey,I was always taught that sourdough bread stays fresh longer than normal bread. However, my granny, who taught me this tip, lets her sourdough starter ferment over several days and sometimes months. In fact, every time she makes bread, she keeps a small portion of the dough to serve as the starter when she wants to make sourdough bread again. She also puts a few drops of holy water in it, but I'm not sure how that helps.Thank you so much!!Matthew Stevenson....

    1. Stream,
      Your granny is smart! My starter is currently . . . 10 months old and just keeps getting better. I have no holy water, though . . .

  5. This is really an interesting post. Thanks for sharing

  6. why do you use yeast in your sourdough mixture? Isn't that what the starter is for?

    1. Thanks for your question! The starter provides some of the lift, so I only use a bit more than half the amount I'd use in a regular loaf of bread. If I wanted to make a loaf entirely without yeast, I'd need a longer rising time than the 3 ½ hours of my bread machine cycle.

    2. That should read a bit more than half the amount--of yeast--than I'd use in a regular, yeasted, loaf of bread. (4 cups of flour would call for about 2 teaspoons of yeast)