The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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CAphyl's picture

I have had a lot of fun making a five grain levain recipe over time, and I wanted to add more grains and play around with hydration and fermentation on this bake.  The recipe below is an adaptation of Hamelman's five grain levain.  This time around I added pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds to the other grains: bulgur, sunflower seeds, oats, flax seeds and cous cous. Maybe it's really eight grain; not sure if all the seeds count as grain!

Khalid inspired me to make my first five grain, and Zita got me thinking about adding more grains when he worked for months to perfect his seven grain, which was fabulous. And dabrownman is always baking with many wonderful grains, and his bakes are always inspiring to me!

I really love making the soaker.  It absorbs all the water very well and quicker than you think.

I used a bit more water this time, so the dough had higher hydration.  The crumb turned out OK as a result. My husband enjoys a very crusty crust, and he gave this loaf good reviews.

I used my covered baker, which is different from the recipe below. I baked the loaf with the lid on for 30 minutes at 500 degrees and then 10-12 with the lid off on convection at 435 degrees. I also was a little loose on the gram weights for the seeds.  I bet the final total was a bit higher than the recipe below.

The only other change I made to the recipe below was doing a longer bulk ferment at room temperature and did a bit of a room temperature proof after shaping just before I put the shaped loaf in the refrigerator for the night. I am continuing to bulk ferment the rest of the dough as I only made one loaf today.  I plan to bake the rest tomorrow, so I hope they turn out OK.

Five-Grain Levain Bread (with added grains)

Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes 

Makes 3 medium loaves

Overall formula
Bread flour 680 g
Whole wheat flour 226 g
Cous cous 70 g

Flaxseeds 27 g

Sunflower seeds 56 g

Oats 71 g

Poppy Seeds  15g

Pumpkin Seeds 40g

Sesame Seeds 12g

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 70 g

Flaxseeds 27 g

Sunflower seeds 56 g

Oats 71 g

Poppy Seeds  15g

Pumpkin Seeds 40g

Sesame Seeds 12g

Water, boiling 400 g 

Salt 5 g (1 teaspoon)

Final Dough
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

Baker Percentage

Bread flour 75%

Whole wheat flour 25%

Cous cous  9.2%

Flaxseeds 9.2%

Sunflower seeds 7.7%

Oats 7.7%

Water 98%

Salt 2.5%
Total 235.1%


1. 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.

2.   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 tightly 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 of your stand mixer for 3 -5 minutes until the medium gluten development is achieved. (I have also made this by hand without a mixer).

4.  Bulk fermentation: 1 to 1 ½ hours or 2 hours if the dough is retarded overnight. 

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.

7.  Final fermentation (proofing): Retard the loaves in the refrigerator over night.

8.  Baking: with normal steam, 235C for 40-45 mins, turn the loaves half way through the bake. (I retarded the dough and took it out in the morning. I then let it rest at room temperature for about an hour. In the meantime, I preheated the oven for about an hour to heat up the baking stone.)

hreik's picture

This turned out pretty well for me.  Crumb was delicious and the toast it makes is lovely. I followed recipe to the letter using KA AP flour.  Will do baguettes with this recipe only will use KA French.  Hope pic of crumb loads.


jeano's picture

I decided to fool around a little with the 80%biga recipe from FWSY. Used 50g of my 100% sourdough starter to build the 800g biga, subbed in 25g each of WW and whole rye instead of using all white flour, and despite the whole grain flours ended up with dough so slack that my nerve broke and I added another 21g of AP during the mix. Oh, and in a further departure from protocol all the mixing was done in a Bosch universal. Gave it a lot of stretch and folds in the bowl during the bulk ferment.



Cari Amici, Buon Anno Nuovo a tutti.

Oggi voglio deliziarvi con Una di Quelle produzioni Che io prepararo Spesso per la mia famiglia e il Che molte Volte regalo Agli amci perchè mi viene Richiesto.

Io adoro panificare !!!!

Spero Che vi piaccia, a presto, Anna


leslieruf's picture

The target yesterday was to redo this grain loaf (Multigrain sourdough based on Rose Levy Barenbaum's 10 grain  torpedo) and try to do it better , including the suggestions by several other TFL folk.  Here's how it turned out - 

The Shaped loaf just before slashing (i had issues with shaping)


after baking with steam at 225oC



Crumb shot

In addition made yeasted Baguette with poolish (Hamelman).  I increased hydration to 70% and baked as batard so I had more shaping practise

Crumb shot - this blew me away as I haven't achieved so many random holes before (I have made this lots as small boule at the recipe's 66% hydration)

Lastly I also made pain au levain (Hamelman) in small boules (310gms each)

So thank you Fancy Jim for your great suggestions - I also watched a couple of shaping videos but still find it quite challenging with the high hydration grain bread.  I love the flavour so will keep on trying to get the shape better.  I used finger poke test to decide when they were ready to bake and as I am still waiting for my bannetons to arrive, I proofed the batards on well floured teatowel (rice flour is just brilliant!) with side support from aluminium foil and baking parchment boxes!  seemed to work ok  today.  Bench temperature was about 26oC.


a_warming_trend's picture

I recognized late last fall that my friends and family love receiving yeast breads on special occasions. 

This realization lead me to begin experimenting with fruit, nuts, chocolate, and sweeter-associated spices in my breads. I've tried a pretty expansive range of slightly sweet loaves, from molasses, to cinnamon-brown sugar, to a "sourdough take on fruitcake (with bourbon!)."

Here, I will just post my two favorite variations: Cherry-Walnut Levain and Dark Chocolate Levain. I have baked each of these loaves with a wide variety of levain percentages and fermentation processes. My constants have been flour amount and hydration percentage: 500 grams of flour, always; 80% hydration, always. Beyond that, the sky as been the limit: Different types of flour, anywhere from 50 to 300 grams of levain, autolyse between 2 and 8 hours, short fermentation and long proof, long fermentation and short proof, scoring patterns all over the map.  I will include here only my most recent formulas and processes for each!

Cherry-Walnut Levain

200g 100% hydration starter (however you want to create this levain!)

320g AP fl

80g WW fl

300 g water

11 g salt

20 g brown sugar

70 g dried cherries

70 g walnuts

Mix flour and water, and autolyse for 1 hour. Mix in rest of ingredients until combined. Stretch and fold every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Rest on counter for 2 hours. Place in the refrigerator for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours; I went to 48 last time, with lovely results. Shape into boule, and proof seam-side down for 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 460 with steam for 30 minutes, without for 18-20. 

*I really, really like baking loaves that are dense with nuts or fruit seam-side up; not worrying about slashing through small, dense objects is pretty gratifying. Also, longer bulk ferments involving walnuts lead to more of that beautifully lavender dough--always a good thing, from my perspective. 

Some recent Cherry-Walnut loaves:

On to the next...

Dark Chocolate Levain

50g 100% hydration starter

475 g AP fl

375 g water

11 g salt

140 g dark chocolate chunks 

20 g brown sugar

5 g apple cider vinegar

Mix flour and water, and autolyse for 1 hour. Mix in levain and the rest of the ingredients. Stretch and fold for 3 minutes. Stretch and fold at 20-minute intervals for 2 hours. Rest on the counter for 6 hours. Retard in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Shape into boule, and proof for 1 1/2 hours. 

This is probably my "most requested" loaf. I love giving it to friends for birthdays. Dark chocolate and sourdough...something just really, really works here. 

Some recent loaves:

Here's to more holiday and birthday sourdoughs in 2015!


Floydm's picture

I hope everyone's new year is off to a great start.

Winter weather has lead to winter colds, which unfortunately reduces the sensitivity of my already not terribly refined palate, but I have been baking when I can.  Two of my recent efforts are worth mentioning.

Above and below are pictures of my recent attempts to make something like the Mazowiecka loaf that a local Polish bakery makes.  It has a bit of rye, a tightish crumb, and a sweet, malt-y flavour.

Right now I'm using around 20% rye, with a few tablespoons of malt syrup.  I also tried using a pâte fermenté to give it a bit more depth and longer shelf life.  It is good, though I don't feel like I've totally nailed it yet.


The other one I've been baking regularly is my standard sourdough (72% hydration, 15% whole wheat, 7% rye flour, 2% salt) but also adding 200g (20%) of soaked grains.  I've just picked up a few different cereal mixes, like Bob's 6 Grain, which I soak a cup of overnight in one cup of water, then mix into the final dough.

It's nice. Not a drastic change, but it adds a bit of crunch and texture to my daily bread.

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Happy New Year All!

For Christmas I received a copy of Forkish's "Flour Water Salt Yeast".  This weekend I baked a loaf of the Field Grain #2.  I followed formula and timings pretty much right on.  I haven't cut the loaf yet so no crumb shot.  However despite being a fairly high hydration loaf, it was not too bad to work with.  I am very satisfied with the baked product.

What leaves me scratching my head is why he recommends making that huge bucket of levain and telling one to dump the "spent fuel".  I find it hard to believe that someone whose business is FWS would toss a large quantity of the same.  I almost feel insulted at the suggestion that that's what I should do.  Needless to say I worked with my own starter and built the levain in an amount that did not require a huge sacrifice of flour and water. 

Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

I Learned a lot from Tartine- so much, but I think I need a little departure, a little space from Chad.

Today I learned by taste what I started to suspect. Bump the starter, use more starter.

This loaf is 700 grams starter And 900 grams flour (500 bread flour and 400 all purpose) tastes great, tastes killer. 70% hydration. 


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