The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's 5-Grain (photo)

Glass-Weaver's picture

Hamelman's 5-Grain (photo)

We needed "quick" bread, so I tried Hamelman's 5-Grain, straight dough, with yeast.  Success! (Notes below...)

The soaker phase seemed dry, and I worried I had made a mistake, but when the whole dough came together it was quite sticky.  No mixer, so we (notice the "we", I called in some help) ended up kneading with wet hands to prevent the dough from sticking too much.  The formula calls for flax seed, for which I substituted flax meal.  I think this resulted in a more "crumbly" crumb than intended.  Next time I'll use flax seed, but the bread was nevertheless very good.  When I tried to weigh the yeast it was far too much, so I had to resort to measuring spoons for that.  (More finely calibrated scale on my wish list.)  I proofed on parchment, rather than in bannetons, but still got reasonable height.

Slightly sweet, which was surprising, and much softer than I expected.  The steaming method Jeffrey outlines on pages 26, 27 of Bread worked well.  (I did not use the terracotta bell in the photo.) The recipe is a big batch, two 25-ounce loaves and 16 2-ounce rolls.  This dough makes really good rolls.  (To digress, it turns out that making a pan of rolls served us well.  We had drop-in company and it was really nice to be able to just set out warm rolls, butter and jam, to share fresh baking, without feeling obliged to hack into a too-warm loaf.)

Next time I plan to try the Levain version of this bread, I hear it's even better, but for a straight dough with yeast, I was very pleased.

Terri (Glass-Weaver)

ehanner's picture

Great looking bread Terry. That's one of my favorites.

Couldn't help noticing the stock pot. That a BIG pot!


SylviaH's picture

Terry, your loaves look so lovely and tasty.  Nice job to your La Couche!  Did you bake your loaves under it?


arlo's picture

That looks like a loaf I would kill for to have toasted with almond butter on it for breakfast! Wonderful work!

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Terri.

I've never made the yeasted version, but the sourdough 5-grain breads in Hamelman are almost unbelievably good. The rye version is my current favorite. The seeded levain is also a wonderful bread.

I can confirm arlo's notion that these breads are terrific toasted with almond butter. That's one of my favorite breakfast treats.


Glass-Weaver's picture

Eric, thanks for the nice comments.  Yes, big pot, but I was just using it to boil some sweet corn.  That pot has seen more complicated contents though...

Sylia, thanks.  Yes, I use that clay cover to steam bread.  It's great.  You can see more details on that if you search for a thread, "Devil's in the Details."

Arlo and David, I'll have to give almond butter a try!  Thanks for the tip.


Kroha's picture

Hi Terry and all,

Those loaves are so beautiful!  I am just getting into baking breads, as my son has been diagnosed with a nut allergy and I cannot buy bread from local bakeries (there always could be a piece of a nut stuck in it).  So, I decided to learn to bake good bread myself so he knows what good bread is like.  I am planning on trying this recipe from Hamelman's book tomorrow, and I was wondering if I could get some advice about details that I do not quite understand.

1)  Am I right in thinking that I cannot use a 5-quart mixer to mix the dough because there is too much of it, so I need to hand-knead?

2)  How do you know by feel that gluten network has been "fairly well developed"?

3)  How do I know that the dough "relaxed sufficiently'?

4) If I cannot get the exact temperature of 76F for the final fermentation, do I need to adjust fermentation time?  Also, if my final dough is not 76F, as suggested in the recip,e is that a big problem, and what should I do about it?

5) I have a fairly large stove (36 inches).  Do I need more than two ice cubes to moisten it?  Also, if I do not have iron skillet for water, is that a problem?

6) Would it help to use La Cloche for this bread?

7) Any other advice I should have before I embark on this recipe?

Thank you so much in advance for your advice!  Cant' wait to try this out.



Glass-Weaver's picture

Hi Yulika,

I'm fairly new also, so I hope others will jump in with additional comments.

1) I would advise you to split the recipe in half and go ahead and use your mixer.  Even half a batch will be a big loaf, or a reasonable sized loaf and some rolls.

2) Pay attention to the overall "tension" of the dough ball.  You'll feel it change if you knead by hand.  (I don't have a mixer, so I can't advise you on that.)  When you start it's a big sticky, gooey mass, but as you work the dough it builds internal cohesiveness that you can feel.  It resists your efforts.  Then work it some more.  Since I knead by hand there's no danger of overkneading this dough.  I hear that you can overknead with a mixer, so pay attention to how it feels by stopping the mixer and feeling the dough.  (Some bakers in this forum recommend working solely by hand until you are confident.) 

3) When forming the final loaf "round" the dough and let it rest on the counter for 5-7 minutes.  You'll feel the difference in resistance.  It will be easier to tuck the skin around the bottom to tighten it up, or fold it into shape.  Just pay attention to the texture when rounding, and then see what it's like after 5 minutes.  That's what "relaxed" feels like.

4) Nah, don't sweat this.  Just start with cold water (I keep it in the fridge and add an ice cube  before measuring.)  Make sure your flour is reasonably cool (not stored in a warm place).  If I think my dough is too warm after I've assembled it I put a blue-ice pack on top of my raising vessel (a few inches from the actual dough, don't want to freeze it) and cover the whole she-bang with a doubled bath towel.  That brings the temp down a bit without refrigerating, which is way too cold.  And, as far as time to ferment goes, watch the dough, not the clock.  Bear in mind that Hamelman's book is written from the perspective of a production baker who needs to control work flow and scheduling.

5) Sure, you could put three ice cubes in the oven.  Again, this is not an exact science.  The iron skillet for steaming is good because it won't warp when you hit it with the boiling water.  An alternative would be the bottom of a broiling pan.  You just don't want to use a thin cake pan or a good pan that you care about ruining.  Also, be really careful with this step.  Long sleeve and oven mit.  And I put a dry towel over my glass oven door so I don't splash on it.  Just don't forget to grab the towel before you slam that oven shut.

6) Personally, I think EVERY bread would benefit from a La Cloche (or some kind of steam-trapping cover,) but it doesn't always work out.  (Well, maybe not pita bread, most breads.)

7) My advise is try to relax.  You're going to be making a lot of bread, and each one will teach you something.  I'd guess maybe one of my loaves in a dozen passes my personal standard of perfection, but we eat and enjoy them all!

You make a really important point when you mention that you are trying to teach your son what good bread is.  Bravo!


Kroha's picture

Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement, Terri!  You are right about the relaxed attitude.  I do enjoy baking a lot, but I also feel a sense of responsibility to provide decent bread for my husband and kids, so every time i bake bread I hold my breath for a success.  I went ahead and started the bread yesterday and baked it today.  It is good, but I do not think that it rose as much as it is supposed to.  If I knew how to post pictures here, I would do so, for feedback.  I plan on baking the bread again, and will incorporate all your advice into my process.   While baking, I hit a couple of snags along the way where I wished I could ask someone what to do. 

First, when I kneaded (by hand), the dough was very wet, and the more I kneaded, the stickier it got.  After 5 min, I gave it a 20 min rest, at which point it had a better consistency, but after 5 more min of kneading it became very sticky again.  I was afraid that too much water would get incorporated into the dough from my wet hands, stopped kneading, let the dough sit another 20 min, and put it into the fridge overnight.  Should I have kept kneading?  Should I have added some flour?  Or is there a trick to kneading a dough that is very sticky?

Second, when I folded the dough during the first 3 hours in the fridge, and when I took it out of the fridge in the morning, it had excellent consistency, it was smooth and elastic.  After it came to room temperature (after two hours), I degassed and preshaped it and it became stickier again and I had a hard time shaping it -- it would pull back.  Perhaps I handled the process of retarding incorrectly?

I also did not get a whole lot of an oven spring, even though I baked two loaves in cloches, and the third loaf and two rolls I baked in an oven that was moistened with ice cubes and steamed with boling water.  I can tell from your picture that your loaves rose a lot, as the slits are open, but mine were not open a whole lot.

Overall, the bread is absolutely delicious, soft with a nice crust, and the rolls were great, too.  I will try baking again this weekend, and if someone has pointers for the above issues, I would much appreciate it.

Best, Yulika