The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker from Hamelman's "Bread"

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dmsnyder's picture

Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker from Hamelman's "Bread"

We were in Portland, OR last week. While I was in meetings, my wife bounced between Powell's (the biggest book store in the US of A) and the Pearl Bakery. I got to taste a number of their breads in sandwiches my wife brought back to the hotel, but I didn't taste their "multigrain roll," which my wife had one day and really liked.

Susan often asks me to make rolls for her lunch sandwiches, so with her description of the Pearl's roll in mind I went looking for a multigrain roll to make. I've made several of Hamelman's multigrain breads and liked them all. I think any of the ones I've made would make good rolls, but I wanted to try something new. Reading through "Bread," I found the "Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker." (Pg. 126) It is a 50% bread flour/50% whole wheat dough with a soaker of cracked wheat, coarse corn meal, millet and oats. I had all the ingredients but for the millet. I substituted flax seeds.

This is one heavy dough. I added quite a bit of water, which Hamelman says is often needed, to get the consistency I thought was "right." I formed the 4+ lbs of dough into 2 bâtards and a half dozen 3 oz rolls.

Whole-Wheat Bread with Multigrain Soaker bâtard crumb

I baked the rolls at 450ºF for 15 minutes. The bâtards baked at 450ºF with steam for 12 minutes, then at 440ºF for another 15 minutes followed by 7 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

The crust was crunchy. The crumb was tender but chewy. The flavor is assertively honey whole wheat, mellowed somewhat by the soaker ingredients. It's outstanding with a thin spread of sweet butter.

My wife liked it but says it's nothing like the Pearl Bakery's multigrain rolls. Hee hee. An excuse to bake more rolls.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


LindyD's picture

Gosh that's pretty, David.  

TeaIV's picture

They look very nice, as usual. I do find that multi-grain soaker have a distinct taste.

proth5's picture

As usual...

Hey, I'm headed to Portland, OR this weekend.  Any other travel tips?  I've spent some time there but tend to run on narrow tracks.  I'll admit to a weakness for Jake's Famous Crawfish...

dmsnyder's picture

Hmmm ... Portland is a great city for food, art, gardens, coffee. Public transportation is also exceptional (speaking of narrow tracks).

Jake's is a favorite. In the downtown area, for fine food Higgens and the restaurant in the Heathman Hotel are great. Cafe Mongo has outstanding Italianoid food. There are many fine Asian restaurants, depending on what you like. Portland is a foodie paradise. There are really too many fine restaurants to mention.

If you are into coffee, Stumptown roasts some of the best in the Country. Their espresso drinks are stellar. They have several locations.

If you are a book person, you must visit Powell's. (A short walk from Jake's) Be prepared to be overwhelmed. Note: They have an additional location for technical books, which happens to be around the block from the Pearl Bakery.

The Chinese Garden (near downtown), the Rose Garden (not the best season), the zoo, the Japanese Garden are all worth visiting. OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is good, especially for kids.

I have a special bias towards the Cooley Gallery at Reed College. (I'm an alumnus, and my daughter-in-law is the gallery director and curator.) They currently have an exhibit of rare old master nude drawings on display.

There are a number of Portlanders and other Oregonians on TFL (Floyd, Pattyscakes, JMonkey) who may have other suggestions. These are just the ones that come immediately to mind.

Have a great time in Portland!



proth5's picture

for the suggestions.  You've actually covered some of my favorites!

I am a longtime fan of the Chinese Garden in Portland. Being an urban gardener, I love urban gardens.

Perhaps I meant to say that I am a big fan of the martinis at Jake's.  I've eaten at Higgins in the past and it is a great restaurant, but the martinis were not the same...:>)  But I'm always on the lookout for a good place where I can get a wee drop.

Of course, as a Denver resident, I can be labled a traitor for going to Powell's - after all, we have the Tattered Cover!

The other thing I will never forget about Portland is the constantly running water fountains (do they still have those?) because coming from the land of no water I can't believe they let those things run all the time!

I'll try some of your other suggestions, though...

SylviaH's picture

Beautiful baking, David!


dmsnyder's picture


breitbaker's picture

I've spent the last few days in Glezer's ABAA and would LOVE for the chance to try breads from the Pearl!! the chapter with their breads especially had caught my attention and I always think it would be interesting to try theirs after trying to recreate them at home :) ...beautiful rolls by the way.....they made my stomach rumble.......methinks it must be lunchtime.....leek soup and fresh sourdough await! :)

dmsnyder's picture

Thanks, breitbaker!

The cool thing about the Pearl Bakery besides their wonderful breads and pastries and good coffee is that it is really a neighborhood bakery. The coolest scene was when I was there once at about 3 pm. There was a steady stream of parents with kids who, I assume, had just gotten out of school stopping in for an after-school snack.

I never got after-school snack like that! Talk about jealous!


MommaT's picture

These look fantastic!  I wish I could shape all my rolls so evenly!

I've grown very fond, lately, of all these multigrain breads in JH's "Bread".  Yesterday I branched out and tried the 5 grain Levain.  It was VERY well received by the folks at the dinner party it was donated to.  The only complaint was from my kids who have started to reject bread upon sight of flax seeds.  Wish I had taken pics!  

This recipe said that you have to be careful that it bakes thoroughly because it has a tendency to stay gummy in the middle, but I did not have any experience like this - it was very evenly baked throughout and a nice, even texture.  Give it a try!


dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain levain is one of the best tasting breads ever! I've made it several times. "Bread" has a rye version which is even better, if possible.


mredwood's picture

One of the most outstanding breads Pearl makes is an olive ciabbata oh pardon the spelling. Other bakeries make one but the best is Pearl. I could be obsessed  wanting to duplicate but I know I can't. Another fine bread is a fig and anise roll. The best. Both breads are chewy, crunchy crust and incredible flavor. 

The best Thai restaurant outside of Thailand is Pok Pok in Portland. It is worth the sometime an hour wait.