Before I even start talking about last weekend’s bread, I urge you to visit Joanna’s blog to see her wonderful article about one of my favorite bread baking books, Bread.  Her post is a  must-read for anyone who might feel intimidated by  Hamelman’s masterpiece.  Great job, Joanna!

After the cracked wheat sandwich bread, our cravings for bread with grains incorporated in the dough only intensified.  As usual, on Thursday evenings I start considering the possibilities for baking in the weekend, so I grabbed Hamelman’s book, and opened it at random.  To my delight, the recipe on that particular page read: Five Grain Levain.  Seemed too fitting to ignore.  Plus, for a sourdough bread, the recipe could not be much simpler, the secret behind its simplicity lying in the use of commercial yeast to speed up fermentation.   All I had to do the day before was soak the grains, and give a final feeding to my starter.

(adapted from Hamelman’s Bread)

for the liquid levain
4 oz bread flour
5 oz water
2 Tbs mature sourdough starter

for the grains mixture
1.5 oz cracked rye
1.5 oz flaxseeds
1.2 oz sunflower seeds
1.2 oz oats
6.5 oz boiling water
1/2 tsp salt

for the final dough
8 oz bread flour
4 oz whole-wheat flour
4.2 oz water
1/2 Tbs salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
all soaker prepared
all liquid starter prepared

Prepare the liquid levain 12 to 16 hours before you plan to start the dough.  Let it stand at room temperature, preferably around 70 F.  When you make the levain, prepare the grains too, by pouring boiling water over the grains and the salt in a small bowl.  Leave at room temperature.

Make the dough by adding all the ingredients into the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer, knead on first speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to the second level and mix for 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it ferment for 1.5 hs, folding the dough on itself three times after 45 minutes to increase elasticity.

Shape the dough as a boule or batard, place in a banetton or appropriate container of your choice, and let it rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 460 F for 40 to 45 minutes, generating steam in the beginning, by either covering the dough with an inverted roasting pan, or adding ice cubes to an empty pan at the bottom of your oven.   Allow it to cool completely before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:   This loaf of bread lasted 5 days, and held up pretty well up to its end.  Usually, after the second day we opt for toasting, but this particular loaf was good enough with a very brief warming in our electric oven.  We kept it at room temperature over the cutting board with the cut side down, and sliced only what we were going to consume right away.  It goes well with pretty much anything, from ham to turkey, jam to peanut butter, or butter with paper thin slices of radishes and a little sea salt… delicious!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: The Nano-Kitchen

TWO YEARS AGO:  Kaiser Rolls

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  1. Multi grain! I haven’t made one of those for ages – you have inspired me to make one this weekend. Thanks for the mention, very kind of you. As someone who has done several bread book projects I wonder which are your favourite books in terms of accessibility vs content?


    • Joanna, I think I’d have to pick Lepard’s Handmade Loaf. His book is the one who got me started with sourdough, his explanations are simple, straightforward, and every single recipe I made from his book (or website) has always worked. Second, I’d pick Hamelman’s Bread, but it is not the best book for beginners – unless they read your tutorial first!


  2. Fantastic Sally! I love that you can see the different grains coming through in the slices. Can you taste the crunch of the seeds? Would love a warm slice with butter this morning as I pore over dozens of school forms (boys had their first day yesterday!) cheers, k.


    • Thank you! The bread was not crunchy as you would expect from a dough with that amount of seeds and grains. I guess the overnight soaking makes sure the texture will be smoother. So, if you are hoping for a bread with some “crunch” into it, this would not be it. But, it has a very nice flavor, you can taste the grains as you chew it.


  3. My favorite part about this bread is that it lasts for five days! That is enough of a reason for me to try this one. I need to feed my starter on Friday, so perhaps I’ll tackle this one over the weekend. 🙂


    • Normally I would slice it and freeze the sliced bread on day 2, but this one for some reason escaped my radar, and Phil kept having a couple of slices for his lunch, and commenting how good it still was.


  4. Stunning, Sally, simply stunning. I adore multigrain breads and yours tasted as good as it looks, I know. Five days is an impressively long time for bread to hold up. That loaf is magazine cover worthy, IMHO.


  5. Pingback: Whole Grain Bread Is The Healthiest To Eat | Whole Grain Bread

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