Thursday, 12 January 2012

Five-Grain Levain

Bread is best when it has some chew. White flour gives loft and airiness to a loaf, and whole grains give satisfying chewiness. The best breads are a good balance of each. And if those breads have a sourdough kick to give them a little tang and extended shelf-life? Even better!

Break out the good cheddar, the aged stuff that bites back, and whip up some of this 5-grain bread. You are in for the best cheese sandwiches of your life.

Five-Grain Levain
adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
for the Mellow Bakers
makes 3 loaves

The night before:

Build up your sourdough
8 oz Bread flour
10 oz Water (no chlorine - let water sit out overnight to dissipate)
3 Tbsp Mature sourdough starter

Add sourdough ingredients to a stand mixer bowl, stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter overnight - 12-16 hours.

Make a soaker
2.9 oz Cracked rye
2.9 oz Flaxseeds
2.5 oz Sunflower seeds
2.5 oz Oats
13 oz Boiling water
1 tsp Salt

Add all soaker ingredients into a large, heatproof bowl. Combine, cover and let rest overnight on the counter - 12-16 hours.
Get some sleep!

The next day:

How did you sleep? Have a coffee and some breakfast, maybe a shower too.
Now start making bread!

1 lb Bread flour
8 oz Whole wheat flour
8.4 oz Water
1 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Instant dry yeast
all of the Soaker
all of the Sourdough build (or keep back a couple of Tbsps for your next loaf)

  • Everyone into the pool! With everything in the stand mixer bowl, mix on low for 3 minutes. Turn to medium and mix for 3 minutes - adjusting hydration as necessary. 
  • Turn out onto a floured board and knead into a nice ball. 
  • Place the ball into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. 
  • Let rise 50 minutes. Fold in onto itself and let rise another 50 minutes. 
  • Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into a loaf. 
  • Let loaves rise 1-1½ hours, until nicely puffed. 
  • Preheat oven to 440°F
  • Slash (I didn't but it occurred to me later that they needed it) and let bake for 30 minutes for long loaves, up to 45 for round. Check internal temperature of breads - it should be about 204°-206°F
  • Let cool on racks.
This bread has been YeastSpotted!

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