Mixed grain bread

Makes two loaves of 600 grams or 1 1/2 lb, each.

1/2 c. water, lukewarm (under 120 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
1 T. sugar plus 1 pinch
1 1/2 c. milk, lukewarm (80°F)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. molasses
3 c. rye flour, or 315 grams
1 c. white whole wheat flour, or 115 grams
1 c. whole wheat flour, or 115 grams
3 c. all-purpose flour, or 300 grams

1. Mix the water, pinch of sugar and the dry yeast together and set aside until foamy (about 5 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, mix together 1 tablespoon sugar, lukewarm milk, salt and molasses. Add the yeast-water mix and 3 cups of rye flour and stir well.

3. Add the other flours, 1 cup at a time, starting with the whole wheat flours and ending with the all-purpose flour. Towards the end, you will add flour 1/4 cup or so at a time, kneading with your hand to incorporate. Depending on your local weather, you may need more or less white flour. You should end up with a stiff dough which sticks only slightly to the bowl and your hands.
Keep kneading in the bowl or on a lightly floured board for five minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

4. Place it in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm spot (70°F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and knead for 1 minute. Form into a round ball, pulling the dough around towards the bottom to create a smooth crown. Pinch the dough closed at the bottom and place on an oiled cookie sheet. Cover with the kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

5. At 75 minutes, start preheating your oven to 500°F. Place an old aluminum pan on the bottom rack and your baking rack on the next level up. Slash bread with sharp razor blade or very sharp knife.

6. To bake, place cookie sheet in oven, pull bottom rack with old pan out and pour about 2 cups of ice cubes or water into it. Close quickly.

7. If you have a spray bottle with water, open oven after 3 and 6 minutes and give 10 quick squirts onto the walls of the oven. Turn oven down to 450°F after that and bake for 30 to 40 more minutes, or until internal temperature of the bread reaches 200°F.

8. Remove bread and cool on wire rack.