Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whole 7 Grain Bread Baked in a Solar Oven

I taught a class at Preparing Wisely today and wanted to share a few of the tips that I shared with the many students who were in attendance.  We focused specifically on whole grain bread.  
Hard Wheat, Soft Wheat, Oats, Rye, Barley, Triticale, and Spelt make up the whole grain mix we used.
It is specifically the  7 grain rolled cereal from Wheat Montana.  It has long been a favorite at our home because of how hearty and flavorful it is. Mildly nutty and just a nice filling cereal.  Cooked it is outstanding.  In this bread...it acts as a moisture retainer.  This recipe makes 4 loaves.
You will need:

Step one:
6 cups rolled 7 grain cereal (or just rolled oats)
5 cups warm water (not too hot)
1 cup honey
1 cupShortening Powder  (or olive oil)
1T plus 1 tsp instant SAF Yeast

Allow yeast to activate and grain the chance to absorb moisture 30 minutes.

In a separate container combine:
6 cups Wheat Montana white wheat flour (I mill mine from prairie gold)
2 tsp Real Salt 
1/2 cup Honeyville Vital Wheat Gluten

Stir 3/4 of the flour mixture into the grain water mixture until a thick paste is made.

The dough will appear very moist.  Wait 5-10 minutes and allow the flour to absorb water before adding any more flour (if any). This will make a very moist bread.

Knead consistently in the same direction for 7 minutes by hand (or 300 strokes).

Kneading dough in a bucket is ideal in that you have a straight sided container to tell when the bread has doubled in volume. Also, if you were in a camping situation or emergency situation where you didn't have access to a kitchen counter it would give you a sanitary place to prepare the dough. After kneading for the 300 turns, take a minute to wash your hands. 

Touch the dough with your clean hands. If it doesn't stick to your fingers, it is done. You may not need to even add more flour.

There will be visible amounts of whole grain throughout the dough.
Roll dough into a ball.  Place lid on the bucket and allow to raise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Open your solar oven and place it in direct sunlight.  Oil two NorPro 10" Loaf Pan  

Divide dough into 4 balls. Again, in a camping situation, this may be done directly in the bucket if the bucket is turned on it's side.

To form a loaf with good structure and nice shape, take the dough and pat it out flat on a surface that has been lightly coated with water. Yes. Water. When working with whole grain, I use water on my counter tops. 
Fold the dough into thirds.

Turn a half turn.

Roll into a tight loaf.

Place in the oiled loaf pan.
Lightly cover the top of the bread with oil. You may also top with seeds if desired. I like to use a combination I use for my "everything" bagels.
It is ready to put into your hot solar oven after raising 45 minutes to an hour.
You can bake it in a regular oven at 375 degrees 40 -45 minutes.

One of the best tricks I've found for knowing this bread is done, is by using an instant meat thermometer. When the dough reads 170 degrees or hotter, it is done.

There you go. Make some whole grain bread in your solar oven...and then send us some pictures! We'd love to add them to our blog!


  1. Oh that looks so good.So does the Preparing Wisely store. Since they don't ship to Alaska or Hawaii, am I right to assume they don't ship to Canada either?

  2. Sorry it took so long to get back on this. We don't ship to Canada. But, Sun Oven International does ship direct from their website to Canada. Hopefully that helps.