The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hamelman multigrain levain

Mebake's picture

I've blogged about this bread many times before, however, this time i wanted to stay true to the spirit of Hamelman. Mixing instructions for this recipe, as with most recipes in BREAD call for moderate gluten development, and i have lately deviated from his mixing instructions by applying hybrid mixing, where french slap and fold, Laurel's kneading using a bench scraper, and other mixing techniques. What i wanted was to have a well developed soft dough that raises well in the oven. Not applicable to all breads! I should not have overlooked the significance of mixing instructions of hamelman.

I mixed the ingredients slowly, adding a batch of flour at a time, to avoid lumps. I increased the hydration by 108 grams. then, when everything was incorporated (including yeast), i scraped the dough down to a work surface, and kneaded using the conventional way for 5 minutes, rested for 5 minutes, and then kneaded for another 5 minutes. I then oiled a bowl, insterted the dough, and covered for a 2 hour fermentation. I folded (letter fold) half way through, and placed the dough back, i was surprised at how silky and smooth the dough became after such a minimal initial mixing.

At the end of final fermentation, the dough was very smooth, extensible, and pliable. While preshaping and shaping , i made sure not to aggressively form the dough, to retain as much gases as possible.

Here is the result: The tallest crumb profile i achieved for a wholewheat multigrain, with superb flavor.


 The aroma of the bread was very sweet as a result of the the multigrain soaker (cracked wheat, flax seeds, buckwheat, rolled oats). The crust was crunchy, and the crumb tender, yet intact. Toasting will take the flavor up to another level of excellence.

The moral of this post is, (note to self), never underestimate the mixing instructions.







scootlaroo's picture

I've been a long time viewer of this wonderful bread site and after much consideration I thought I'd post my own message. The bread bug has bitten me hard and I've been afflicted for the last 3 years attempting to make beautiful and tasty bread. The bread in this post is made in my backyard oven on wheels.  It's a Mugnaini oven put on a trailer which my uncle and I built about a year ago (Mar 2010).  Since building, I've thoroughly enjoyed the process of bread baking or pizza making as well as roasting delicious chickens, legs of lamb, and standing rib roasts.  After building the oven, my significant other and I attended a hearth bread making school at Quillisascut Farm in the state of Washington. It was a wonderful experience with great people and instructor that stepped us through the art of breadmaking in an Alan Scott design wood fired oven. 

I've attached a picture of the oven in backyard.

The bread made was adapted from Hamelman's Multigrain Sourdough, using sesame, flax, and sunflower seeds.  I've made this bread a couple of times and baked in my kitchen oven using a pan filled with lava rocks to create.  In this case, I doubled the home recipe, and baked outdoors, using a hot wet towel in a roasting pan, with hot water poured in the pan to create steam.  Met an artisan baker at the huge bread conference last fall in Las Vegas who recommended this technique.

This is picture of steam rolling out of oven after about 10 minutes prior to baking.


After loading oven with bread, I had to take a peak.  I know I should've waited, but it didn't seem to affect the bread.

Picture of loaves.  Roasting pan with wet towel seen on right side of loaves. Dark spot on left side of photo.

I baked the loaves approximately 30 minutes.  The oven floor was 500-550 degrees when I started.  The last two pictures are the finished products.  I share a lot of the bread I make with my Mom and Dad, neighbors, or other family members.  When I finished I had two construction guys at the house and after cooling the bread for an hour or so, shared with them.  I always get excited to cut into the bread to smell the aroma and taste.  The work crew and I love this bread's nutty flavor and aroma.

Hope you enjoyed looking.  Question?  I left the wet towel in for entire 30 minutes.  Can you over-steam bread?  I know from many of the books about baking bread, it states to steam first 15 minutes.  I didn't want to open oven again, so I left inside.  Thanks for viewing.






Mebake's picture

This is a late bake from Hamelman's WW levain, only with yeast being left out. I have done bulk dough retardation for the first time, and it was successful, though it took 8 hours to be reeady to bake following its exit from the 18 hour refrigeration.

The result: The sweetness the recipe usually produces was reduced, and a slightly sour tang replaced. Yummy.

Mebake's picture

This is the most successful Wholewheat multigrain i have baked so far. The Steaming technique this time was different. I drilled a whole through the roaster Lid and purchased a steamer cleaner to push steam through the hole. This was adapted from The baker steamer set that was marketed in TFL years back, but with much cheaper components.

The result was spectacular: the loaf gained color so fast, and the crust was crispy out of the oven. Oven spring was very good too. I left the loaf in the roaster for 20 minutes (should have been less: the bottom got charred).

If it wasn't for the charred bottom, i'd say , this is the one best tasting / looking bread i have ever tasted in my life.


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