The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

request help on adding soakers to recipe

avatrx1's picture

request help on adding soakers to recipe

Somewhere on this site when I first started looking there was a photo of the most wonderful multi-grain bread.  I can't find it and I didn't think to save it at the time.

Can soakers be used in any recipe?  What is the procedure and what exactly do I buy in order to do it?

My every week bread is a standard one consisting of

3-1/2 c bread flour

1/2 c wheat flour

1-1/2 tsp salt

2 cups water

Mix together, sit for 18 hours, fold a little (I'm still working on that part) shape, let rise and bake in cast iron dutch oven, first with lid on and then lid off.  It's a great bread, but I'd like to add some whole grains to it.  I"m just not sure of the technique.

I do have 2 starters to choose from.  One 100% hydration and one about 70% if I need to go that route.

thanks for any and all help


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm a great one for changing recipes and adding things.  (You see I have two kitchen elves that just can't stand plain dough and can't resist the urge to play.  They have yet to discover my weekly recipes taped inside my cabinet door.) 

So my basic way to deal with soakers when "winging it" is rather logical.  I soak stuff.  How much stuff?  Not too much or the wheat gluten can't hold the mass together.  I guess at about 1/3 of my dry flour weight or less.   The bigger the soaking stuff (dried bread, nuts) the more I'm able to add.   Flours and ground seeds are much finer and I tend to use less because they affect the structure of the dough more.   Stuff like mash potatoes & cold breakfast cereals I keep the amounts lower.  Cooked cereals?  I would start out with a cup to the above recipe.  Whole grains and beans expand when they soak often doubling their size.  So one cup may become two.  Just sprouted grains have extra goodness and can be blanched before adding to dough.

I soak stuff long enough to soften kernels or soften dried bread or sprout the grain -- whatever I decide to do.  I drain off or squeeze out any excess water (perhaps using it in the recipe as water, depends) and evaluate my soaker.  I do cross reference expert recipes in deciding to use cold, warm or boiling water.   I like to have it's moisture about the same consistancy as I expect from my final dough (except this may not look like it) before adding to my basic recipe.  This reduces accidents of too much liquid in the dough and subsequent additions of flour.

Although your question is more whole grain, I hope this helps you.  When searching the recipe, type in the year you think the recipe appeared.  That sometimes helps.

Mini O