You’ve almost got it, Gingerr. There were so many tips in several messages. Good idea to review them point by point in a single post! Luckily, the process involves a lot less time than it might have seemed from the earlier discussion.
All the following instructions are for half your recipe. I suggested half only because this is an experiment. If it doesn’t produce a result to your liking, you won’t have wasted too many ingredients. If it does produce a bread that you and your family enjoy, subsequent batches can be double or triple or however much you decide to make. Here goes:
1. 8 to 12 hours before mixing, put 1/4 cup each of the 10 grain cereal and millet plus 2 1/2 T polenta in with 1 cup of hot water to soak. Do this step in the a.m. if you plan on mixing the dough at night and retarding overnight for the first rise. Or make the soaker at night, if you’re going to mix the next morning and let your dough rise twice at room temperature.
Basically the timing is entirely governed by whether you want to try the cool dough method. Christine is right that it imparts extra flavour. Being able to retard the dough also gives us some flexibility in our busy lives. And btw, if you ever forget to soak the grains ahead of time and really need to make this bread, just give them a short soak in hot water. Even an hour will help. Add a little extra water to the final dough, too, up to 1/2 cup for the full recipe.
2. Cover the soaker with plastic wrap so you don’t lose too much moisture to evaporation. And yes, if the weather is quite hot right now where you live, throw 1 T of salt in with the grains. (You could even add a little bit more—maybe 1/2 tsp to balance the strong flavours of all those grains.) At other times of year, you could hold the salt back until you mix. Or put some of the total amount in with the soaker and the rest in with the dough.
3. When you’re ready to mix, add your soaker to the other ingredients along with the remaining 2 cups of water. I’d probably use room temperature water. For half the recipe, that would be 3 cups ww flour, 4 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup each of vital wht gluten and potato flakes and last but not least, 1 3/4 tsp of the dry instant yeast.
When I looked more closely at your recipe just now, I realized you were using 3 T instant yeast in the full recipe, not 3 tsp which is what I thought I saw on first reading. Both the salt and the yeast were out of balance. No wonder you noticed a strong yeasty smell during the bake! Try 1 T plus 1/2 tsp yeast when you make your full recipe again, but just 1 3/4 tsp for the half batch.
4. If you’ve soaked the grains overnight and plan to bake the next morning without retarding the dough, all you have to do then is let your dough rise until double in bulk. That will take about 2 hours. Do a fold at the one hour mark. (Folding helps gluten formation, equalizes the temperature within the dough, and it’s a gentle degassing to get rid of excess carbon dioxide.) At the end of the 2 hours, divide, shape, cover and let rise a second time until almost double in bulk. About 1 hour. Bake and enjoy.
5. If you’re retarding the dough overnight with plans to bake the next morning, just knead it a couple of times after the mix to get a nice shape, cover it and put it in the fridge. I use a tupperware box with a lid, greasing the inside lightly first with some canola oil. No need to do a fold after one hour; that’s part of the process if baking the same day.
Take it out of the fridge the next morning, shape into loaves, cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour at room temp). You’ll get 2 to 3 loaves depending on the size of your pans. Mine are 8.5x4.5x3” and I scale the dough at 22 oz. each to get 3 loaves from roughly that amount of flour & grains.
There’s no need to let the dough come to room temperature before starting to work with it. Just degass it gently, divide and shape. I always do a preshape with my loaves now because that’s what I was taught. That is, I take each dough portion, gently knead it into a round shape and set it aside. Once I’ve done that with all the dough portions, I cover them with a plastic bag so they don’t dry out and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s amazing how much more mellow and workable the dough is, when you give the gluten a little rest. Shaping the rounds into loaves is a breeze! You might find this technique especially helpful with cold, retarded dough.
Let us know how you get on. Happy baking!