Five Grain Levain Bread
I adapted the Hamelman recipe below, as I really wanted to make a multi-grain bread with a soaker. I didn't have any bulghur, so I used cous cous instead. I continue to go for the bold crust, so I allow a little extra time on the bake.
It is just so much fun getting that soaker going, isn't it?
The liquid levain got so bubbly and smelled great. I had to push this a bit, as I indicated in the recipe below.
I love my covered baker and used it for this recipe. I have started using the oblong covered baker a bit more with better results than my early bakes. I never tried this before, but for this bake I proofed the dough in the baker (with a bit of cornmeal underneath) and pre-heated the lid. I have always found it difficult to transfer the proofed dough to the baker, even using parchment paper. This new system worked well, with a nice bake underneath and a bold bake on top. In fact, in the past the bread would be a little overdone underneath, and this was just about perfect, so I think this is my new method for this baker. There was good oven spring as well and decent height.
I am always concerned about the crumb, but it was fine for a dense bread like this.
I got in trouble with my husband as I snatched his sandwich for a photo just as he was getting ready to take a bite! The bread was crusty, tangy and very nutty. Delicious. It's nice to know that you can vary the soaker and still have very good results. Phyllis
Five-Grain Levain Bread
Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
Makes 3 medium loaves
Bread flour 680 g
Whole wheat flour 226 g
Cous cous 82 g (I didn’t have Bulghur as called for in the recipe, so I used the same amount of cous cous)
Flaxseeds 82 g
Sunflower seeds 71 g
Oats 71 g
Water 890 g
Salt 22 g
Total 2.13 kg
Liquid Levain build
Bread flour 226.8 g
Water 283.5 g
Mature culture (liquid) 45 g
Cous cous 82 g
Flaxseeds 82 g
Sunflower seeds 71 g
Oats 71 g
Water, boiling 400 g
Salt 5 g (1 teaspoon)
Bread flour 453 g
Whole-wheat flour 226 g
Water 250 g
Salt 17 g (1 tablespoon)
Soaker all of the above
Levain all less 3 tablespoons
Bread flour 75%
Whole wheat flour 25%
Cous cous 9.2%
Sunflower seeds 7.7%
- Liquid-levain build: Make the final build 12 - 16 hours before the final mix. I ran out of time, so I accelerated this to seven hours, placing the hot soaker on top of the levain build bowl.
- Soaker: Make the soaker at the same time when making levain build. Pour the boiling water over the grain blend and salt, mix thoroughly. Put it in a covered container and sit at room temperature.
3. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the salt. Mix or stir the ingredients together until it becomes a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or plastic bag and let it stand for an autolyse phase for 20 -60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough and mix on a medium speed for 3 -5 minutes until the medium gluten development is achieved.
4. Bulk fermentation: 1 to 1 ½ hours or 2 hours if the dough is retarded overnight. (I bulk fermented for 2 hours with a fold over with my dough scraper at the 1 hour mark).
5. Folding: If the fermentation is 1 ½ hours, fold once after 45 minutes.
6. Dividing and shaping: Divide the dough into three equal pieces, pre-shape the dough into round. Cover the dough with tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. Final-shape the dough into either oblong or round. (I froze the other two loaves, which were a touch smaller than the one I baked. It will be interesting to see how these come out when I bake them later).
7. Final fermentation (proofing): Retard the loaves in the refrigerator over night.
(I baked my loaf in my covered baker. I proofed the loaf in the bottom of the covered baker with cornmeal on the bottom. I preheated the top of the baker at 500 degrees and allowed the loaf to warm up at room temperature while the oven preheated. I baked the loaf with the cover on for 30 minutes at 500 degrees and then took the lid off and lowered the oven to 435 degrees convection. If you don’t have a covered baker, the original recipe instructions follow).
8. Baking: with normal steam, 235C for 40 45 mins, turn the loaves half way through the bake.
Another great bread, Phyllis! With a bold crust and crumb like that, I wouldn't resist. I can almost smell its tantalizing, wheaty, nutty aroma, too.
Coincidentally, later today I'll bake a heavily adapted version of Hamelman's 5 grain bread. Rather than 5, it contains 7 different grains and I predict the loaf will be much denser than yours. Hopefully it turns out satisfactory.
Cheers and jolly bakings,
I did enjoy the crusty, nutty taste. I am anxious to hear about your bake and see the photos. Please let us know the recipe. I can see where adding even more grains would be fabulous. This is the first time I have used this recipe, so next time I will probably follow your lead and add in a few more grains. I also froze the other loaves, so it will be interesting to see how they turn out. Good luck with your baking and looking forward to seeing the results. Best, Phyllis
That's a great shape for this loaf. Nice dark crust. Looks great and i know it tastes great.
Will try your recipe and the round shape next time....Best, Phyllis
Beautiful results, Phyllis :)
If you recall, you gave me the idea to use cous cous in the version I made of your rye sourdough with the soaker! Thanks for the advice and support, as always. Best, Phyllis
That's a beauty Phyllis. I love the photos of the cross section. Perfect shape and crumb structure.
I was pleased at the way it came out as I had to rush the levain, but it looked perfectly ready at about 7 hours....Appreciate your comments so much. Best, Phyllis
Wow, another beautiful one. Would you mind if I featured it for a bit?
Thanks so much. Best, Phyllis
How does your husband expect you to make a living if you don't photograph the end product? Sheesh. :)
David: Thanks for helping me out on this. He often asks why we can't just eat rather than take photographs....Best, Phyllis
As long as your conveying my thoughts...
I take the husband's side if he had to make the sandwich himself.
And if you made him the sandwich, I take his side because you should have photographed it before serving.
The best situation here would be for you to have made the sandwich for him and photographed it, and then brought it to him on his lounge chair.
David: I did make the sandwich and handed him his plate, and then snatched it back...he was not in his lounge chair, unfortunately, but I think I do score some points as I made the sandwich! Best, Phyllis
All said tongue in cheek. To continue in that regard, you teased him and that is mean.
On the other cheek, you not only made the sandwich, you made the bread. And he should be groveling at your feet.
You can see why I am a lawyer... arguing either side, just waiting for a client to pay me.
It was right up her alley this week. It is just beautiful inside and out. Well done and happy baking.
dabrownman: This was a lot of fun. It also was exciting for me as it was the first bread I have had featured. I am so honored. I have learned a lot over the last two years, and I have really appreciated your guidance, support and encouragement throughout. It really means a lot. I could not have had any of my breads featured without the advice from you, Syd, David, Khalid, Zita, Ian, and others. Thanks so much. Best, Phyllis
We have all learned a lot from you too that is what the community is all about, plus the fact that those who get their bread featured also have to send me a dollar or a euro if they are not in this country:-) Seriously you still have a week to enter Plotziade 2 and now that you have your Britishers Stiff Upper Lip starters back to normal - all you need is some ancient Grain and England should be full of that - probably in the Tower of London if the ravens haven't stolen it all :-)
Happy Baking Phyllis!
dabrownman: I have seen some things about this competition, but don't know much about it. What are the rules? Also, it should be a pound sterling to you as I am in England! Best, Phyllis
What is this: mature culture (liquid) 45 g ?
I have a nice healthy 100% hydration starter made according to the instructions in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Is this the same thing? (My starter is more like stretchy pancake batter.) If not can I convert it somehow to the liquid starter called for in the recipe?
Steve: When you add the water and flour to make the levain it will be thinner as you see in the photo. I started with a mature culture that was like pancake batter as well. You should be all set. If any one else wants to comment on this question, please do. Happy baking! Phyllis
I believe when he says that, he is referencing 133% hydration. So, if you are using 100% hydration levain you may want to adjust the hydration of the final dough by adding the missing water's weight.
I've got this recipe in process now. My high hydration starter looks nicely bubbly and stretchy. I didn't have any bulghur or cous cous so I substituted cracked wheat instead. Also, I'm using ground flax seed instead of whole flax seed. I mixed that with the flours instead of putting it in the soaker because it would make soaker slimey. I'll retard the kneaded dough in the fridge overnight and then ferment tomorrow.
What's the reason for removing 3 tblsps of the liquid culture?
Steve: I was following the original recipe. I have seen a number of recipes that call for discarding a bit of the starter, and I suspect it has to do with getting the ratio right of flour/water/starter to get the proper rise....Be sure to post photos when you are done. Sorry for the late reply...I am in the UK currently....Best, Phyllis
Ok, my bread turned out very good. :) The flavor had a little more tang than usual which made me happy because I was starting to believe my starter culture was too boring. I think I just need to do more retarding to get this nice level of sourness. I retarded overnight twice. First retard after initial mixing and kneading and then a second time after two hours bulk rising and forming and then I baked on the third day after 4 hours of rising at room temperature.
I baked 3 loaves, 2 in crock pot inserts with glass lids and one on a baking stone with no covering. I brushed them all with water just before putting them in the oven. I preheated to 500F and then baked at 450F. 25 minutes with lids on and 15 minutes with the lids off. The loaf that was on the tile looked dull and unappetizing but the two loaves baked in the crocks had a much nicer finish as seen in he photo. The crumb turned out nicely chewy and just the right density that I expect from a multigrain loaf. I'll definitely use variations on this recipe in the future! :)
Steve: That looks just beautiful. Love the crust, scoring and crumb. I think the water helped give you that beautiful crust. Good to see those sunflower seeds in there. I am convinced the seeds really help give it that tangy, nutty flavor as well. It's interesting that the crock pot loaves turned out better....kind of like my covered baker loaves always seem to turn out better....I am sure I will make it again with a different soaker combination. That is the fun part. Congratulations and so glad it turn out so well for you. Best, Phyllis
Has anyone ever used steel cut oats? I am trying that next! Great recipes.
I have a bunch of steal cut oats, having purchased them by accident instead of whole oat groats. I don't think it matters much for my purposes since they go into the grinder and get mixed with yogurt for breakfast. But, if you make a good loaf with them, I'd like to see that and maybe give it a try.
Thanks to Paul I am making a loaf today and will let you know. I am really excited about it.
They make a great addition to bread. You can either use a long room temperature soak; overnight, for instance. Or you can cook them as a porridge and, when cooled, incorporate them in the dough. Remember to adjust the water in the dough to account for the additional water that will come with the oats.
Thanks for posting this recipe! I've made it a couple times, altering the soaker slightly. I need to work on the hydration for the alternate soaker ingredients because the dough came out too wet to shape. However the flavor is fantastic!
Soaker I used:
Toasted millet and quinoa for cous cous
Ground flaxseeds for whole flax
Toasted pepitas for sunflower seeds
Rye flakes and some toasted buckwheat groats for oats
LP: Happy it worked for you. I really enjoy making this bread and changing up the soaker! Best, Phyllis
Thanks for the recipe I really want to give it a try. Maybe next week.
May I ask though...
Why the soaker ?
Soaker: Make the soaker at the same time when making levain build. Pour the boiling water over the grain blend and salt, mix thoroughly. Put it in a covered container and sit at room temperature.
Why soak the seeds ?
I mean wouldn't that take away the crunch from the seeds ?
I add seeds to many of my loaves but have never soaked them, this I am eager to try now : )
Stig: There is some controversy on this, so I am sure you can make the bread without soaking. What I have read is that soaking the seeds softens them, makes them easier to digest and allows more of the nutrients to come through. Obviously, there is a lot of water in the seeds, so if you didn't soak, you would have to adjust the liquid in the recipe. I really hope you like it! Best, Phyllis
Easier to digest, now that makes sense. So similar to sprouting say, sunflower seed or buckwheat etc ...
Thank you for the info.
Mahogany Crust - it is my favorite by far. I forgot to tell you about plotzaide. Here is a link