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Our site's Best Bread

Our site's Best Bread

This bread has a nutty flavor and intense chew; it makes toast that’s a wholesome meal unto itself. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Ingredients

Poolish

  • ⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 117 grams (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole wheat flour
  • 75 grams (⅔ cup) rye flour
  • 42 grams (6 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, preferably high protein (around 11%; such as King Arthur)

Dough

  • 103 grams (¾ cup) whole wheat flour
  • 412 grams (3 cups plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour, preferably high protein (around 11%; such as King Arthur), plus more for dusting
  • 17 grams (2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal) kosher salt
  • Rice flour or a 50/50 mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch (for dusting)

Recipe Preparation

Poolish

  • Combine yeast and 300 g (1¼ cups) room-temperature water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Take the temperature of your kitchen—between 72° and 74° is ideal for fermentation. If your kitchen is running hot, use cool water. If it’s a bit colder, use warm water. Add all the flours and mix with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until poolish is mature (surface will be very bubbly), 14–18 hours.

  • Drop a pinch of poolish into a small bowl of room-temperature water. If it floats, it’s mature, and you’re good to go. If it sinks, wait 30 minutes and test again.

Dough

  • Combine 300 g (1¼ cups) room-temperature water into poolish with a sturdy wooden spoon. Add whole wheat flour and 412 g (3 cups plus 1 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour and mix until no dry spots remain. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit 2 hours. (This ­process, called autolysis, starts to develop the all-important gluten, giving the dough structure and chew.)

  • Evenly sprinkle salt over dough, then add 65 g (¼ cup plus 1 tsp.) room-temperature water and mix with dough hook on medium-low speed. The dough should start to develop a shape and cling to hook after a minute or two. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until almost all the dough clings to hook and clears the sides of the bowl, 8–12 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 15 minutes to let dough relax.

  • Turn out dough on a clean surface. Holding a flexible bench scraper in one hand, quickly lift dough eye-level then slap it down on surface in one swift, deliberate motion. As you propel dough downward, let it fall off the ends of your hands and fold over onto itself; the dough will be sticky, but it will want to stick to itself more than your hands. Start slowly to avoid flying dough bits, then increase the intensity of your motion as the dough starts to firm up. Slap and fold 10–12 ­minutes, occasionally scraping bits of dough from surface with bench scraper. (If you’re not slightly winded by the time the dough is ready, you’re doing it wrong.) This important step builds gluten and strengthens the dough, which helps give the ­finished loaf a nice open crumb.

  • Pinch off a small piece of dough and stretch it between your thumbs and index fingers on both hands. The dough should be able to stretch thin enough to let light through without breaking. If it splits or tears, the gluten is not yet developed enough. Continue slapping and folding another 2 minutes and test again.

  • Place dough in a large clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit 30 minutes. Starting from one side, use a bench scraper to lift edge of dough, stretching it up and out of the bowl at least 12" and shaking back and forth to encourage lengthening, then fold back onto itself. Rotate the bowl 90°. Repeat stretching process 3 more times, rotating the bowl after each turn. Cover and rest another 30 minutes. Repeat process 2 more times, resting dough 30 minutes in between each full turn. (This rebuilds gluten and feeds the yeast during fermentation.) Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size, 30–60 minutes. Dough should look puffed and bubbly on the surface.

  • To test if your dough is fermented, poke it with an oiled finger. The dough should spring back slowly but still hold a slight indentation.

  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured (use all-purpose) surface and do a final series of 4 folds, bringing edges into the center. Turn dough over, using bench scraper to help you, so seam side is down. Lightly dust with more flour and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest until dough is puffed and surface is dotted with a few bubbles, 20–50 minutes.

  • Line a 9" round colander with a clean kitchen towel and dust towel with an even layer of rice flour.

  • Uncover dough and dust with a bit more all-purpose flour. Use bench scraper to push edges of dough toward the center to gather into a ball. Cup scraper and free hand around far side of dough and gently pull ball toward you, dragging dough several inches across work ­surface and rotating slightly. Repeat dragging motion several times, occasionally moving dough back to center of surface. The friction against the surface will help tighten the gluten over the dough, creating a smooth dome. Lightly flour top of dough, turn over with bench scraper, and quickly transfer, seam side up, to prepared colander; cover with ­plastic. Chill 1–2 days. The ­longer the bread sits, the more complex the flavor will be, but don’t chill longer or the yeast may die.

  • Place an oven rack in lower third of oven and set a 3½–5½-qt. Dutch oven in center of rack. Set your oven as high as it will go (you want it between 450° and 500°). Let pot preheat at least 40 minutes. (If the handle on the lid is made of ­plastic, unscrew, remove, and plug hole with a small piece of foil.)

  • Uncover dough and dust surface with rice flour. Cut a round of parchment paper so it’s slightly larger than dough; place over top. Remove pot from oven and set on stovetop.

  • Working on stove next to Dutch oven, invert dough onto a plate (parchment side will be down). Use a lame or a razor blade taped to an ice-pop stick to slash dough in desired pattern, using swift and deliberate strokes to cut at least ½" deep into dough. Working quickly and wearing mitts on both hands, slide dough and parchment into center of pot. Cover pot and bake bread 15 minutes. Remove lid and ­continue to bake, rotating pot halfway through, until crust is very well done—approaching the edge of burnt—30–40 minutes. Carefully ­transfer bread to a wire rack. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove parchment.

  • Resist the temptation to cut into that just-out-of-the-oven loaf. Trust us. You want to wait at least a couple of hours so the starches in the bread have time to set. This gives the bread a better texture. If you’re dead set on eating it warm, reheat part of the loaf in a 300° oven (which will also revive the crust), then slice.

,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

For 12 servings: Calories (kcal) 220 Fat (g) 1 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 47 Dietary Fiber (g) 3 Total Sugars (g) 0 Protein (g) 7 Sodium (mg) 570

Related Video

The Best Bread You'll Ever Make at Home

Reviews SectionThere's a lot of palaver involved in this recipe. My poolish never floated, but I forged ahead at the 19 hour mark. My dough also seemed super wet-a lot wetter than in the video. My counter was quite the mess. I can also relate to the reviewer who was reminded of Jabba the Hutt. I might make this again, but I agree with the reviewer who suggests streamlining the process. I'm not convinced it was worth all the work.AnonymousSan Francisco07/31/20This was my first attempt at making bread. Every step of the way I thought I was doing it wrong. My boule looked like Jaba the hut the whole way. My end product was exactly like the picture and tasted amaze balls. If you think your doing it wrong, keep going. Cheers amigos!!For what I’ve read, I am hoping to make this recipe very soon ....if only I’m lucky to find Rye flour here! But as far as I can see, it’s a very careful and detailed recipe, equally for the video. Only for this reason, I’ll give it three stars, to begin. But here’s a little bit of advice, from us who use to cook (by tradition) in metric system: pleeease, list the liquids in milliliters, that’s the usual and correct way to do it. So if you have a quantity under a liter, list it in milliliters (or ml) anything over a liter, goes this way: one (or two, or else) plus xxx milliliters. Ah, if you have 500 milliliters, you can say “500 ml or half a liter”.I made this bread over the last 3 days and we baked it yesterday. It is by far the most successful and excellent bread I've ever made. I'm an experienced baker--I make pizza dough and dinner and cinnamon rolls--but not loaves of bread. This is fantastic bread. The instructions, quite detailed, are spot on, and the video was super helpful. We are big fans of the Bon Appetit videos in general, they're fun. I never dreamed I'd be baking bread at this time, but here it is. Thanks, Claire and Bon Appetit!Mahomet, Illinois04/23/20I'm going to give this another try, but I'm a bit confused. I'm a relatively experienced baker (as in I've worked as a baker professionally, but admittedly have more experience with pastries than with breads), but my poolish isn't getting enough air. I checked after 18 hours, and now it's been much closer to 24, but still the poolish sinks. In my experience, a poolish doesn't require a lot of yeast, but still significantly more than 1/8 teaspoon for this amount of flour. I trusted Claire though, so I followed the recipe exactly, even monitoring the temperature of my kitchen. If in the next hour I can't get it to float (don't see how or why it would at this point), I'll discard and start over, tweaking the amount of yeast to be more in-line with my experience. It just sucks that there's no additional guidance on this in the recipe because flour is kind of a precious commodity right now.AnonymousKansas City, MO04/09/20WOW! This is 100% worth the time and effort. It’s absolutely the best bread I’ve ever made and I’ll certainly be making this again. Especially if this quarantine lasts much longer. I’m not sure how accurate the testing-your-poolish-by-seeing-if-it-floats method is. Mine was super bubbly, I tested it and it still sank. I decided to continue with the recipe anyway because my instincts (and eyes) told me it was ready. This bread turned out better than I could have imagined. I still can’t believe I made this beautiful loaf!This is one of the most challenging recipes I've ever endeavored, but after 72+ hours, I have a beautiful boule that is wheaty and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The best bread I have ever made. This was the perfect project for Week 1 of the 2020 coronavirus quarantine. Now that I've created a boulangerie-worthy loaf, maybe I'll tackle another baking challenge I've never been able to get right -- pie crust. Thank you, Bon Appetit, for your great recipes, wonderful videos and all together terrific contribution to our culture.AnonymousMaine USA03/23/20Sheesh this takes a long time. I normally work with sourdough, and this seemed even more tedious. I followed the recipe almost exactly. I would probably have the dough spend more time in the mixer- I fear perhaps I began the slap and fold too soon. Dough was incredibly sticky and after twenty five minutes, the gluten still didn't seem developed enough. My arms hurt, so I carried on. I let the dough chill in the fridge for a little under 24 hours (two days? I can't wait two days!) and baked it in my Lodge dutch oven. It was a beautiful loaf. The best crust I've ever made- crisp, chewy, beautifully browned. The bread was very good. A bit bland, but lovely texture and versatile enough for a variety of sandwiches, etc. I might zazz it up with dried fruit or savory herbs next time. I recommend despite the effort- the result is very satisfying!this is a great bread recipe for those who have the time - it's a lot of work and concentration, especially the first time. it's a fun project but i'm not sure i want to make this once a week although undoubtedly it's easier than sourdough. a few notes: you can make it without a stand mixer and a bench scraper but it will take slightly more time and effort; dough will get everywhere during the slap and fold stage; the loaf this makes is massive (go for a dutch oven bigger than 3.5qts if you can. i didn't and it was fine but my loaf is extremely tall); the sliding-in part is honestly the hardest part. prepare accordingly. bonne chance!laurabethyOntario10/14/19This is delicious and also very pretty! Definitely a 3 day project but worth it. I used King Arthur Bread Flour instead of all purpose and it made the airiest crumb. Will make it again!AnonymousPhiadelphia08/23/19Wow - this bread was totally worth the work! The process is long, but it was not difficult and not as time-consuming as expected (though day 2 you do need to be attentive for ~6 hours). I never did get the poolish to float, so I just plowed ahead after 18 hrs. And glad I researched the salt (used Morton Kosher so adjusted to 1 Tbsp instead of 2 Tbsp). The bread has a great chew and flavor, stayed fresh for a few days and makes great toast. And the smell from the oven is heavenly....mmmmmm!kbokCincinnati, OH04/15/19The bread was good but not worth the effort. The flavors were a bit bland although the crust was ok. The bottom of my bread also burned.Definitely a lot of work for a bread but it does turn out fantastic. I've done it twice, with the second time increasing all ingredients by 1.5 which produced a much nicer sized loaf, but required much more work when developing gluten with the slapping folding etc process, though it should be mentioned I don't have a dough hook so I was a bit more reliant on force. In any case, I will certainly continue making this recipe, but might try to streamline it for a more efficient process as I would like to make it more regularly and that isn't possible with this amount of maintenance.Is 1/8 tsp correct for the active dry yeast? My poolish never reached the floating state after a whole day and the addition of 1/4 tsp more yeast. It seems too small an amount for a whole loaf.

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Homemade Bread Recipe [Bread Machine]

Nothing pleases my senses more than the smell of bread baking in my house. It reminds me of my mom serving me homemade bread and jam after getting off the bus as a youngster. My mom was hardcore though – no bread maker – her homemade bread was very “hands on.”

Part of the DIY Natural mantra is keeping things simple and quick. I don’t have the patience for long projects, but still want GOOD food! Homemade bread is just so much tastier than store bought. I haven’t purchased a loaf of bread from the store in about three years. If you think you don’t have time for baking bread, read on…

Time saving benefits of a bread machine

We acquired our bread machine during a visit with some friends a few years back. They received it as a gift and had only used it a few times. (Pretty common with bread makers I think.) We gladly took it off their hands and have put it to good use ever since.

When I’m in a hurry, I can dump all the ingredients into the bread machine in about 4 minutes flat. (I had Matt time me once.) I can go about my business while the bread is doing its thing in the machine, my hands stay clean, and more importantly, my kitchen stays clean. A few hours later I have a hot, tasty loaf just waiting to be cut into. It’s like food magic!

Homemade bread recipe

My standby bread recipe for everyday loaves makes a lightly-sweet, fluffy loaf that we’re in love with. I made a few adjustments to the Honey Grain Bread recipe found in our Oster Bread Machine recipe booklet. It’s a must try!

Honey Grain Bread (1.5 pound loaf)

  • 1 ¼ cups filtered water (find water purification systems here)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (best from pasture-raised cows, or learn how to make butter here)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey (buy raw, unfiltered honey here)
  • 2 ¼ cups white organic pastry flour (buy sprouted flours here)
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour (buy sprouted flours here)
  • ½ cup organic rolled oats (buy organic rolled oats here)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (buy unrefined sea salt here)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (buy active dry yeast here)
  • Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan.
  • Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to pan.
  • Using a spoon or your finger, form a small hole in the flour for the yeast. (DO NOT let yeast come in contact with liquid ingredients.) Carefully pour yeast into the hole.
  • Insert bread pan into bread maker and close lid.
  • Choose the “basic” or “whole wheat” setting, and choose your desired crust color (I use light).
  • Press the START button, go about your day, and a few hours later you’ll enjoy a house that smells like a bakery (this recipe takes 3 hrs. 40 min.).

We love our bread covered with butter, jam, served with eggs in the morning, made into grilled cheese, or piled high into a big fat deli sandwich. This particular loaf has been stored in our refrigerator for up to three weeks with no problems.

In fact, in three years we have never had a loaf go moldy. When it gets too old it just dries out, which we don’t mind because we turn it into croutons or bread crumbs.

Bread machine drawbacks

While bread machines are an awesome convenience, I do have a few complaints.

There’s that pesky little hole in the middle of the finished loaf from the kneading blade. It only affects a few pieces of bread, but I always grumble when I get to the middle of the loaf and have an incomplete piece. Although there is an easy fix for this problem, it dirties up another dish and involves turning on the oven. The owner of a bakery once advised me to let the bread maker do all the dough work, then plop the dough on a baking stone or into bread pans and bake in the oven to eliminate the annoying hole. Great advice, and I really should give it a shot.

My other complaint about my bread maker is the Teflon coated bread pan and non-stick kneading blade. We’re trying to eliminate all Teflon cookware from our kitchen, and this is one of the items we have yet to replace.

Once our machine dies we won’t replace it, unless they have ceramic pan machines out by then. Instead we’ll just work the dough in glass bowls and bake it in glass, stoneware, or cast iron bread pans – old world style.

Get a cheap (or FREE) bread maker

If you’re interested in using a bread maker, but don’t currently own one, you don’t have to buy one brand new. Consider these means to acquiring a (nearly) new bread machine:

  • Start by asking around–do any of your friends or family have one collecting dust and taking up valuable space in their kitchen? You might be doing them a favor by taking it! (Promise to gift your first loaf of bread to the donor.)
  • Keep your eyes peeled at garage sales or thrift stores. I once saw an entire SHELF of bread makers at a local thrift store.
  • Check Craigslist or Freecycle. A recent search on Craigslist revealed a brand new machine for $40, used ones for $15 and $30, and many more being sold at reasonable prices.

Note: While we recommend making bread by hand – without teflon bread machine pans – we also know how priceless using a machine can be when you have 100 other things to do but don’t want to sacrifice homemade bread for store bought, which is cooked using nonstick teflon pans anyway.

However you can find time, FIND THE TIME!

Homemade bread is far and away better than what you buy in the bread aisle at the grocery store and much more cost effective than the expensive artisan loaves.

Yes, I’m pushing you to start making homemade bread! Do it, I promise you’ll thank me.

Share your favorite recipe with the community

What is your favorite homemade bread recipe?

Share your recipes below, along with any tips to speed up the process of doing it by hand without the use of nonstick bread machines.


Introducing keto cornbread!

Old school fave gone keto!

Let me tell ya, this tastes pretty close to the traditional cornbread my grandma use to make, it&rsquos that darn good! Traditional cornbread is loaded with carbs and would absolutely kick us out of ketosis. Our keto cornbread clocks in at just 2.4g net carbs per slice! Better yet, it takes all of our amazing keto soups to the next level.


IKEA Meatballs

If you&rsquore missing IKEA&rsquos famous meatballs from regulations forcing some IKEA stores to limit their hours due to the Coronavirus, here&rsquos your chance to DIY them at home! The combination of a flavorful fried then baked meatball alongside this homemade buttery creamy sauce is so darn GOOD.


You'll LOVE This Cookbook.

"Finally. Finally I found a cookbook that truely is SOUTHERN COOKING!

I just got my cookbook last night and I haven't been able to stop talking about it to everyone I come across or put it down. I love the stories you tell. They mean so much to me to read them about your mother and grandmother. My great-grandmother raised me and she was from Greenville, SC. She told me stories of the KKK and other racist groups she had to endure. But she also told me comforting stories of how they cooked to fuel the soul. What they did back then still amazes me and I hope to learn from them every day.

I love the recipes that I've always heard about but could never get. Now I am able to pass tradition down to my son. Thanks so much for putting this together and sharing a piece of your past with us. I will tell all my friends and family to purchase this book.

Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your book brings me joy and I just ecstatic and emotional at reading your personal stories.

Thanks for actually signing the "thank you for purchasing the cookbook" letter. Yes, I noticed that you took the time to do so. What a nice touch in making me feel important.

Overseas orders cost $10 more, due to the added shipping costs.

The cookbook is in an 8 1/2 X 11 format that allows the book to fold flat while you're using it.

Grab several copies today and get a great deal. They make great gifts.


The BEST Chaffle Recipe! – Keto Waffle Bread

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There are a ton of chaffle recipes flooding the interwebs right now. I’ve put off trying them until this week because 1) I don’t like keto bread substitutes in general, and 2) my mini waffle maker has been packed away in our camper from our last trip.

I finally tried a few of the recipes out there and wasn’t really impressed by them, although I do like the idea of a quick sandwich bread substitute that only needs a few ingredients and a couple minutes to make. Some were super eggy and flimsy and some were way too cheesy. (How is too cheesy even a thing? I don’t know, but somehow they were.)

I wanted a good chaffle recipe that was firm enough to hold all of my sammie fixins without falling apart or getting soggy and not so cheesy that the flavor overpowers the toppings.

That’s why I played around with ingredients all day until I came up with THE BEST CHAFFLE RECIPE. It’s

  • Tasty ✔️ – Garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper add a little savory depth, while the confectioner’s erythritol takes the edge off the cheese.
  • Firm ✔️ – Blanched almond flour adds structure to the chaffle, keeping it from falling apart beneath mounds of shaved corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing. (Oh, yes, I did make a Reuben Chaffle, and it was DELISH.)
  • Crispy ✔️- Plenty of mozzarella cheese ensures this chaffle isn’t getting soggy under the marinara sauce when you whip up an impromptu Pizza Chaffle.

This chaffle recipe isn’t meant to be used as a waffle substitute. It’s savory and doesn’t have that super fluffy texture you’d want in a sweet breakfast waffle. It’s for all those yummy sandwiches you’ve been missing like BLT Chaffles, Reuben Chaffles, Big Mac Chaffles and Chicken Salad Chaffles. It’s also perfect for Pizza Chaffles, BBQ Chicken Chaffles and Tostada Chaffles.


Nutella Swirl Banana Bread is the Baking Therapy We All Need!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two separate loaf pans.

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and water. Mix in mashed bananas.

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Gradually add that mixture to wet ingredients.

Melt Nutella in a microwave safe dish in 30 second intervals until pourable.

Fill each pan with 1/4 of the batter and add 1/4 cup Nutella to both pans.

Use a knife or toothpick to create swirls in batter. Repeat with the top layer of batter and Nutella.

Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes or until middle is cooked through. Let cool and then run a knife around the edges before removing from pan.

Have some over-ripe bananas and want to do some baking?

If you&rsquore a Nutella fan, try baking some delicious homemade banana bread with a swirl of gooey chocolate Nutella! This bread is simple to compile, comes out of the oven super soft and moist, and has the winning combination of bananas and hazelnut chocolate!

Baking is great therapy, too! If you&rsquore stressed, this recipe is easy and soothing! 😄


Grow your own avocado tree and make this Garlic Butter Avocado Bread

It&rsquos not only fun to bake, friends. Do you know what is also so much fun to do? Grow your own ingredients in the garden.

So there is the small garden at my house and I&rsquove been experimenting with growing some fresh herbs and lovely tomatoes before. You know, all those things that don&rsquot need super much space and time.

Now, I realized that it would be nice to do something else. And when I was making this recipe, I actually started wondering, if I could not also grow my own avocados. We are always up for a challenge, aren&rsquot we?

So I went ahead and tried to learn &ldquoHow to grow your own avocado tree&ldquo. Reading this, it sounds as if it is not a very complicated procedure but a somewhat time consuming one.

First step seems to be to start with a seed and suspending it carefully in water. It takes a couple of weeks until roots and a stem emerge and then it&rsquos time to plant it.

And wait again. I wonder if anyone of you guys has ever tried this before? Does it work? And if so, do you think it is worth it? I&rsquom curious about your experiences and thoughts.

If you give this a Garlic Butter Avocado Bread a try, show me your excitement on Instagram or Facebook. Love seeing all what&rsquos coming all that way around.


MAKERS NOTES

So happy to read y’all are enjoying the bread in the comments below. Keep those tips comin’! Here are a few community notes that may be helpful when making this recipe:

  • Emily Commented: “…used apf (all purpose flour) instead of bread flour, but the result was still stunning, I got a gorgeous rise and soft moistness with a chewy crust.”
  • Dara Said: “I didn’t have all the ingredients the recipe called for so I used a combination of sunflower seeds, oats, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and millet.”
  • Samantha Commented: “I did 3T each of quinoa, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. I did 3 cups all purpose unbleached white flour and 1 cup whole wheat bread flour and 1/2 cup spelt. I also subbed honey for maple syrup.”
  • Robyn Said: “I made a few changes: all quinoa instead of cereal grains, hemp seeds instead of flax and added pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.”
  • Nichole Said: “I’ve taken this one, and increased the proportion of whole grains and it’s so yummy. I use 60 grams whole wheat bread flour, 240 of bread flour, 130 whole wheat flour and 70 of buckwheat. I also halved the maple syrup.”

Looking for an easy sourdough bread recipe to start with? Check out my Everyday Sourdough or Multigrain Gluten Free Sourdough Bread post.