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Jul 16, 2015

Power Bread

Power Bread got its name from its creator, Peter Reinhart. The bread is high in protein and fiber to "power" you through your day. Ingredients include whole grains, bran, raisins, flax seeds, and sesame seeds.

Flax seeds, in particular, have come into their own as a superfood, as "they are high in alpha-linolenic acid, and essential omega-3 fatty acid" (Reinhart). If you eat them whole, you will miss out on their benefits. In this recipe, they are soaked for several hours to start the germination process and activate their enzymes.

The recipe also includes ground sesame seeds, both for their deliciousness and their nutrition. I used toasted sesame seeds, and I ground them in a mini food processor after freezing them, which helped them to not turn into sesame seed butter. You want a fine powder, not a paste.

I had a couple of thin slices toasted for breakfast this morning, and I was able to last until lunch without a midmorning snack... well... except for a couple of mini Snickers that just happened to be in the bag of candy I had to take to a table display at work. I'm pretty sure that doesn't count though...

The bread requires some planning in advance (I have "occasionally" been guilty of not reading a recipe all of the way through, or not paying enough attention when I do read it). As a public service, I'll spell out a suggested schedule for making this bread (I followed schedule 2):

Suggested schedule 1:

Day 1: Make the pre-soaker
Day 2: Make the soaker and the biga
Day 3: Mix and bake the bread

Suggested schedule 2 (to speed things up, for lousy planners like myself):

Day 1, early morning: Make the pre-soaker
Day 1, evening: Mix the soaker and the biga
Day 2: Mix and bake the bread

This month, the Bread Baking Babes' Kitchen of the Month is Judy of Judy's Gross Eats, and she challenged the Babes with this Power Bread!

Power Bread

Adapted from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads

71 g (or 2.5 oz or 6.5 Tbsp) raisins
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) flaxseeds
170 g (or 6 oz or 3/4 cup) water

Mix all pre-soaker ingredients together in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temp for 8-24 hours.

All of pre-soaker
170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 2 Tbsp) oat bran
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt

Puree the pre-soaker in a blender, and mix with the remaining soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir for about a minute, until everything is thoroughly combined and it forms a ball. Cover the bowl and leave at room temp for 12-24 hours (or, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, but let sit at room temp for 2 hours before mixing the final dough). Go ahead and make the biga now.

Biga (mix at the same time that you mix the soaker)
170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 g (or 0.03 oz or 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
142 g (or 5 oz or 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp) milk, buttermilk, yogurt, soy milk, or rice milk, at room temp

Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a large bowl. Wet your hands, and knead for 2 min. Then let it rest for 5 min and knead again for 1 min. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours to 3 days. Two hours before you're ready to mix the final dough, let the biga sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Final dough
All of soaker (at room temp)
All of biga (at room temp)
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 6 Tbsp) sunflower seeds, ground into a flour
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 7 Tbsp) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
28.5 g (or 1 oz or 3 Tbsp) sesame seeds, whole
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt
7 g (or 0.25 oz or 2.25 tsp) instant yeast
21 g (or 0.75 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) honey or agave nectar or sugar or brown sugar

Cut the soaker and the biga into 12 pieces each. Grind the sunflower seeds into flour in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder (gently pulse or it will turn into sunflower seed butter, not flour). Mix ground seeds with remaining ingredients, including the soaker and biga pieces. Knead the mixture with wet hands for 2 min, or until everything is thoroughly mixed. Dough should be slightly sticky; if it's very tacky, add more flour; if it's very dry and not sticky, add more water. 
If using a stand mixer, put the pre-dough pieces and all of the other ingredients except the extra flour into the mixer with the paddle attachment or dough hook.  Mix on slow speed for 1 minute to bring the ingredients together into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, occasionally scraping down the bowl, for 2-3 minutes, until the pre-doughs become cohesive and combined.  Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

Dust your counter (or whatever you're using) with flour, and roll the dough around in it. Knead it for 3-4 min. Let the dough rest for 5 min, and then knead for another minute. At this point your dough should pass the windowpane test. If not, knead more until it can pass the test. Then form your dough into a ball, place it into a lightly oiled bowl, roll it around in the oil, and let it sit covered at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's about 1.5 times its original size).

Lightly flour your counter again, and form your dough into either a loaf shape or rolls.  Put the loaf-shaped dough into a lightly oiled 8.5" x 4" loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's 1.5 times its original size).  Or, if making rolls, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Preheat the oven and a steam pan (an empty metal pan on the bottom oven rack) to 425. Put bread in the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into steam pan, and reduce oven temp to 350. Bake for 20 min. Then remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees, and bake for another 20-30 min, or until loaf or rolls are brown, have an internal temp of at least 195, and have a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely (at least 1 hour) before serving.

Would you like to comment?

  1. The power bread looks wonderful Karen, I see what you mean, I still have to make this one , and I love all of the breads in the bread book " happy "

  2. That is a fantastic tip to freeze the sesame seeds before grinding them, never would have thought of that! I still see some whole sesame seeds on the crust, that looks great! Wonderful looking loaf (did you use all while ww flour?).

    1. Thanks Lien. I used both. White WW for the soaker, and red for the final dough.

  3. Such a beautiful loaf, Karen!

    1. Thanks so much for jumping in Judy as Kitchen of the Month!

  4. I love how soft your bread and slices look (mine look so different)! Just beautiful.

    1. Aww, thanks Heather! I think yours looks fantastic.

  5. Great looking bread Karen! I like the idea of the ground sesame seeds. May have to try that sometime.

  6. Another lover of your tip of freezing the seeds! Brilliant!

    now if only I remember that next time I need to grind them... (sigh)

    great bread, Karen... another one for my Pinterest board

  7. What?? We were supposed to grind the sesame seeds as well? Oh oh.

    I cannot get over how soft and lofty your bread looks! And how the slices want to bend over. (Even the thin slices of the supposedly same recipe bread that I made would never bend like that).

    I am the opposite of you. I have occasionally managed to completely read a recipe through before plunging in. I have even fewer times managed to retain what I've read....

  8. ooooh! That looks so good. This is going in my to do recipe file...:)

  9. Snickers never count as they have no calories (or nutritional value). And because they're my favorite.
    Oh yes, your bread looks lovely.... great toast! (with cheese, I think)

    1. Amazing with cheese. Agree with you regarding Snicker.

  10. Something about that top photo ... it speaks volumes to the wonder of this bread. Beautiful. This recipe seems to have caused a lot of reading problems. I like your schedule 2;-)

    1. Yes, let's blame the reading problems on the recipe =)

  11. I love a big hearty slice of bread full of nutritional goodness that I can then douse in butter. :) This sounds delicious and filling.

  12. The recipe also includes ground sesame seeds, both for their deliciousness and their nutrition. I used toasted sesame seeds, and I ground them in a mini food processor after freezing them, which helped them to not turn into sesame seed butter. I love this! It would be handy to have on my main floor.


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