Having benefited from the collective wisdom of other Fresh Loafers for a while, I thought it was time to make a contribution. This bread is a sourdough adaptation of a straight-dough whole-wheat multigrain loaf with honey and dried malt that my much-loved late father-in-law used to make with a bread machine.
The family always loved it, and when I took up bread baking asked me to replicate it. They claim my version tastes the same, which of course can't be true because the technique has changed. Anyway, I've been tinkering with the recipe for a few years, influenced by the Hamelman whole-wheat multigrain bread and more recently by various bloggers on this site, especially David Snyder. Today's loaf had easily the best oven spring so far and tastes good too. The crackly crust was especially satisfying.
I thought it might be worth sharing the recipe because it has a couple of unusual features for a whole-wheat multigrain both of which are retained from my father-in-law's original formula, namely the high proportion (72%) of whole-wheat flour and the inclusion of the dried malt. Here goes:
Overall Formula (makes two large loaves)
643g whole-wheat flour 72.1%
20g culture whole-wheat flour
257g bread flour 27.9%
64g cracked wheat or rye 7.0%
64g steel-cut oats (or other grain) 7.0%
55g linseed (or other seed) 6.0%
28g dried malt 3.0%
28g honey 3.0%
18g salt 2.0%
723g water 80%
13g culture water
113g whole-wheat flour (+20g culture flour) 72.3%
51g bread flour 27.7%
107g water (+13g culture water) 65.2%
33g stiff whole-wheat culture 20.1%
Prepare the levain around 12 hours before the final mix, and ideally leave it to ferment at 21°C.
183g grains and seeds 100%
183g boiling water 100%
4g salt 2.2%
Prepare the soaker at the same time as the levain, and leave it to stand in a covered bowl at room temperature.
530g whole-wheat flour
206g bread flour
28g dried malt
- Mix without kneading all the final dough flour and water in a bowl until the water has been incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and leave the flour and water to autolyse for up to 60 mins. The target dough temperature is 24.5°C.
- Add the soaker and honey, sprinkle on the salt and dried malt, add the levain, and mix roughly until all the final dough ingredients are loosely incorporated.
- Hand-knead the dough (I don't own a mixer) for 12-15 minutes until it acquires some body and the gluten has developed perceptibly. It will be sloppy and almost unmanageable at first, but starts to settle down after a few minutes.
- Bulk-ferment the dough for 3 hours 20 minutes, folding three times at intervals of 50 mins.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces, then lightly pre-shape them round and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough pieces into boules or batards, optionally coat them with sesame seeds or cracked grain, then place them seam-side up in bannetons covered by plastic or inverted bowls.
- Proof for 2-2½ hours, ideally at 24.5°C. Alternatively, refrigerate the bannetons for 14-18 hours. If retarding in the fridge, leave the bannetons out at room temperature beforehand for up to 1 hour and afterwards for 3-5 hours, depending on the state of the dough.
- Pre-heat the oven well in advance of the bake at 240°C. However, if using a peel and stone, pre-heat the oven at 255°C to allow for the loss of heat when loading the loaves.
- Score the loaves and transfer them to the oven.
- Straight after loading the loaves, steam the oven and, if using a peel and stone, reduce the oven temperature to 240°C.
- After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 225°C and remove your steaming device.
- Bake the loaves for about another 30 (batards)-35 (boules) minutes, until fully baked and crusty.
- Take the loaves out of the oven and leave them to cool thoroughly (six hours or longer) before tasting.
This recipe includes a few innovations compared to my earlier versions of the bread, mainly the high 80% hydration level, the long bake, and above all the long proofing time at room temperature after fridge retardation. The extended final proofing was forced on me because we had to do some shopping in the morning, but the dough had hardly moved in the fridge and I was curious to see what happened. In the end, I left the loaves out for 4 hours 15 minutes and they don't seem to have suffered. I was worried that the sourdough acid aftertaste would be too prominent, but the flavour turned out balanced and wheaty.
It's certainly a denser bread than most, but there's enough expansion to keep the denseness at a pleasant level. And to my taste it's not remotely like the caricature of a whole-wheat brick. I hope you're interested to give it a try.