Alright everyone. Get out your monogrammed stationery and Cross pen. This is a bread that you simply must write home about.
Up until this point, I’ve not been a real big fan of multigrain bread. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never had the pleasure of sampling a really well-made multigrain loaf. To me, multigrain bread has always conjured up images of heavy, dry and tasteless planks of corrugated cardboard. But with my New Year’s resolution of trying to eat foods that are better for me (no, I won’t totally be giving up the occasional croissant or slice of brioche but I am trying to eat less and include only natural, additive-free foods in my diet), I decided to revisit the world of whole grains.
My main objective was to produce a light crumbed, complex flavored loaf with whole grains. As a starting point, I decided to use the Five-Grain Levain described in Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes as a template. This bread makes use of a soaker consisting of cracked rye, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and oats, and, in addition to the use of whole wheat flour, calls for some high gluten flour to support the structure of such a grain- and seed-laden bread. I ended up using cracked hard red winter wheat instead of cracked rye in the soaker (who would have guessed that rye berries would be so hard to find in both the national chain and local health food stores?) and found that I had to increase the dough hydration substantially from that specified in the original formula to obtain a beautiful dough with just the right balance of elasticity and extensibility. For those mixing by hand, be forewarned that in the early stages of mixing, right after the addition of the soaker, the dough becomes quite sticky and slippery but then becomes much better behaved upon further mixing and full incorporation of the soaker.
Since the first of the year, I’ve been concentrating my efforts on extracting more of the subtle flavors available from a properly formulated and fermented dough and the incredibly rich, nutty and caramel-like flavor of this bread leads me to believe that I may be making some progress.
- 250 g King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
- 315 g Water
- 50 g 100% Hydration Sourdough Starter
- 95 g Cracked Hard Red Winter Wheat
- 95 g Flaxseeds
- 75 g Sunflower Seeds
- 75 g Oat Groats
- 405 g Boiling Water
- 7 g Salt
- 500 g King Arthur Sir Lancelot (high gluten) Flour
- 250 g King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour
- 360 g Water
- 15 g Salt
- 1 tsp Instant Dried Yeast
- 560 g Levain (a small amount of the prepared levain is discarded)
- All of the Soaker
The evening before the bake, the levain is prepared by whisking the mature starter in the water until fully dispersed. The flour is then added and the mixture once again whisked until a smooth, pancake-like batter is obtained. The mixture is then covered and allowed to sit overnight at 72ºF for approximately 12 hours until mature. The soaker is also prepared the preceding evening by mixing together the cracked wheat, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, oats and salt in a heatproof bowl and then pouring the boiling water onto the mixture. This mixture is also covered and allowed to sit overnight at room temperature.
The following morning, the final dough is prepared by adding 560 g of the prepared levain to the water in a stand mixer bowl and the bowl contents are mixed using the whisk attachment at speed 3 for 1 minute. A mixture of the high gluten flour, the whole wheat flour and the instant dried yeast is then added and the bowl contents are mixed using a spiral dough hook at speed 2, just until all the ingredients come together, approximately 2 minutes. The bowl and its contents are then allowed to rest at 72ºF for an autolyse period of 30 minutes. After this time, the salt is added and the dough is mixed at speed 3 for 5 minutes using the spiral dough hook. All of the soaker is then added and the sticky, slippery mixture is mixed at speed 2 until all the ingredients are incorporated. Occasionally, it was found necessary to stop the mixer, manually fold the dough a bit, and then restart the mixer to get all the soaker incorporated. After the incorporation, the dough is then mixed for an additional 5 minutes on speed 3 until the dough just begins to separate from the walls and bottom of the mixing bowl.
The dough is then placed in a lightly oiled container, covered and allowed to ferment for 2 hours, with a fold given halfway through the fermentation period. The dough is then divided into 3 pieces, pre-shaped into rounds and allowed to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. The dough pieces are then shaped into batards, placed in brotformen coated with rice flour, covered and allowed a second fermentation of an additional 2 hours at 72ºF. The batards are then unloaded onto a peel, scored, loaded into a preheated 450ºF oven and baked for 40 minutes, the first 20 minutes being under steam. The loaves are allowed to fully cool to room temperature before slicing.
Submitted to YeastSpotting