The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Five-Grain Levain

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Five-Grain Levain

Since my last post of Chocolate & Praline Almond Sourdough, I have done two posts at Sourdough Companion:


A Taste of Italy - Chilies, Sundried Tomatoes & Butternut Pumpkin Sourdough Baguette, and


Light Rye, Light Wholemeal Rustic Pain au Levain.


With this post, I am doing a Bread Salad using Five-Grain Levain.    


 


My local fruit and vegetable store recently has a few new varieties of pumpkins. I picked up an attractive looking pumpkin (pictured below) when I was there about a week ago and I asked Con the fruiterer where it came from.  He looked at me as if to say, why, Shiao-Ping, it's Australian-grown!  He tells me the name of it, but how am I going to remember all those foreign names?  I bought one, not knowing what to do with it.  As the week progressed, I felt like making some sort of Bread Salad with it!  What sort of sourdough bread would I make to go with roasted pumpkin?!


Pumpkin - pumpkin seeds - grains & seeds bread!!  Haha!


Here it is, Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain from his Bread, page 174.  My second try (the first try was in Polly, our dog's tummy): 


 


                    


 


Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain is an exceptionally moist bread. Depending on how big you make it, a good long bake is normally a good idea, or the moisture retained in the seeds will make the bread dense in the bottom.  I didn't understand it whenever I read bakers commenting on how moist this bread was.   When I studied Hamelman's recipe all that I could ascertain from his formula was that the soakers take the big chunk of the overall hydration (which may initially appear high at 98%) but the hydration for the final dough flour was only 58%!  Now I know the reason why this bread is moist - it is because the moisture retained in the soakers is not easily baked off, as does the flour.  Have you ever noticed that the weights of your dough before bake and after bake are very different? At least a good 12 - 15% difference. That's what I meant, whereas the pre-soaked seeds and grains seem to be able to retain the moisture in the oven better.


Notwithstanding the above, I made the following changes to my bread: 



  • I increased the overall hydration by 5% to 103% (my final dough flour got 64% hydration instead of 58% as in Hamelman's formula).

  • My starter was 75% hydration whereas Hamelman's formula uses a very liquid starter of 125% hydration.  One purpose of the latter, I gather, is to provide some acetic balance to the sourdough as grains and seeds breads tend to be more sour (ie. acidic acid rahter than acetic acid).  

  • I mixed my final dough without the soaker.  I left it until after the final dough had a chance to autolyse before I combined the soaker with the dough.  I did all my mixing and stretch-n-folds by hand.  And,

  • I retarded my dough overnight and I didn't have to put commercial yeast in the dough.


 


    


 


                                                      


 


This moist bread is perfect for a bread salad because so often the bread dries out once it's out in the open air (unless you smear it with butter or oil, which I don't want to do) but this one stays fresh for a lot longer.  It is a pleasing find for me.  


                               


I toasted these slices, broke them into pieces with my hands, then


tossed the pieces in a balsamic/dark brown sugar/olive oil dressing. 


 


                


 


I made the bread salad for lunch yesterday and had to keep part of it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours for my daughter.  She said it was still very fresh and crispy when she ate it, which shows how moist the bread was. 


 


                               


 


With this post, I would like to bid everyone a Happy Holiday Season!  We are going away on our annual beach holiday in the South Coast of Queensland tomorrow.  Much to my delight, there is no internet connection in the place we are staying.  I was looking forward to some beach sourdough baking, but then again blogging can be an all-consuming exercise, and a break can be a welcome recharge.


 


Best to all,


Shiao-Ping

Comments

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Beautiful post! 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Are you back at using your Mini Oven?


Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family.


Shiao-Ping

cfmuirhead's picture
cfmuirhead

Happy Holiday to you and your family and thank you for all your beutiful blogs, advice and wonderful stories.  Your contributions are always sheer pleasure to read and a great incitement to 'give it a try'. Have a great and restful holiday and perhaps we will gets some pics on your return of  sourdough baked on the beach.


PS- I got some japanese pumpkins that I grew myself; I shall definitely try your recipe.  If you like to bake with filo pastry, I have got a great Middle-Eastern pumpkiin (or butternut) recipe I would be happy to share if you are interested.  

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

You must be a discerning pumpkin connoisseur to be growing Japanese pumpkins!  When we were living in Asia, it was only at expensive Japanese supermarkets would I be able to buy their special type of pumpkins, the name of which escapes me now.  What differentiates this particular type of pumpkins is its texture which even after long baking or boiling still retains that firmness of flesh and I so like the contrary sensation to one's expectations in the mouth when I bite into one.  Is this the type you grow?  When we go skiing in Japan, I always look forward to having it in their breakfast buffet


Yes, I would love to try your Middle-Eastern pumpkin (or butternut) recipe.  Thank you.

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Shiao-Ping, the crumb is perfect! Very well developed.


Ciao, Giovanni

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Happy holidays!


Shiao-Ping

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

baking and post, Shiao-Ping!  And Happy Holidays to you and yours!


Sylvia

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... your stollen, panettone, and challah!  I am a big fan of stollen, always have been!


 

salma's picture
salma

Shiao Ping, you are such an inspiration, the most unusual, awe-inspiring breads!  Happy Holidays to you and your family.


Salma

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Happy holidays to you and your family!


Shiao-Ping

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Gosh, you've probably headed out by now. Here's to a relaxed summer break with your family. You put such a lot into your contribution here.


Thank you for your encouraging words to me this year, the inspiration of your creative breads, posts and photos, and for sharing your experiences, in particular I enjoyed my vicarious visit to SFBI through your words and photos. 


I look forward to 'seeing' you again in the New Year.


Warm regards


Robyn


 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

One of the breads that I enjoyed making the most since I started blogging was this one at SFBI.  For a 76% overall hydration dough, the "grigne" was quite respectable.  I still remember the making of it very well - I was firmly in control on that day alongside zillions of little beasties inside the dough; all the gods were aligned (as David sometimes said of his baking), except for the oven god in so far as the heat was concerned (the heat might have been a tad too high for the length of time that the dough was in there, and so the crust was a bit charcoaled).


I bought a beautiful book while I was at the beach during the last two weeks: Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs.  To my utmost astonishment, many chefs in the book were cited to cook from their memories.  Take Dani Garcia, the 2009 Chef of The Year in Spain for an example.  The book says that "He has a unique ability to combine a feeling, in this case his attachment to his [hometown], with highly technical elaboration and preparations."  Another chef, Paolo Lopriore from Siena, Italy, was said to be "a poet who uses his cuisine as his language" and that he "puts a part of himself into each and every dish he composes."


Thank you for your lovely comments and warm regards to you,


Shiao-Ping

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

Shiao Ping,


I am a big fan of this bread....I have baked it and it's cousin...Seeded Sourdough many times and have never gotten the crumb you achieved with this bake...you have really opened my eyes and mind to how I approach making bread...and I think I will be mixing by hand a lot more again...


Happy Holiday,


Judd

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

It's possible that people who only use bread machine to make bread think that bread machine has magical powers.   It's a give and take, as with bread making by hand.  However, I do think the essence of artisan baking is in the hand making.  A piece of garment which is 100% hand-sewn commands a higher price; the issue is whether or not consumers are willing to pay for that pricing.   And so when we are the consumers, I guess we can go that extra mileage to please ourselves if that indeed produces better results for us.  As for your breads, I love each and every one of them that you posted in your blog and do not think hand-making or otherwise would enhance your already stellar baking.   That said, I would love to hear from you and see how you go.   It's always interesting to have feedbacks from experienced bakers trying out what you've tried.


Happy Holidays to you too.

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

I made ceramics...working with clay and my hands...when i first started making bread (a couple of years ago) it was all by hand.... but not the french fold method. Returning to hand work is very satisfying...I really think you can tell the difference when a bread is worked by hand...I t sounds like you had a great vacation...


have a great New Year...


Judd

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

I made ceramics ... not any ceramics, but teapots.  I did that for about two or three months, then lost interest.  This was about 7 or 8 years ago, not all that long ago when I came to think of it but feel like a long time ago.  Among one of the first batch of teapots is this brown one that is a copy of one of my antique Chinese teapots with engravings of a Chinese poem:


                                            


 


                        


 


Frankly I do not know why this bread making excursion has lasted this long for me.  I don't think I make new ones every time to be certain that they did exist.  I think I make new ones because, with every bake, my work disappears into the void (the tummy).  I can afford to make more because it doesn't matter how many I make I am not cluttering my house with useless... stuff.  


What type of ceramics did you do if I may ask?


 

simpleann's picture
simpleann

Have a great holiday. I've always enjoy reading your post. You must have made and baked your bread with tons of passion that explains why they always turn out so beautiful.


Cheers, Annie 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you for enjoying reading my post.  Happy holiday season!


Shiao-Ping

salma's picture
salma

Welcome back Shiao Ping and Happy New Year.


I have made your butternut squash bread 3 X already.  The first time I followed exactly.  Hubby felt the kick from the chillies although I loved it.  The second time I omitted the chillies and sun-dried tomatoes and threw in a dash of ground turmeric which gave a beautiful golden color.  The third time I made it with sweet potatoes instead of the butternut squash.  I have made Nancy Silverton's Pumpkin bread which is actually made with sweet potatoes and a touch of cumin.  This time I made your recipe with these minor substitutions and it was still very good.  Just a hint of cumin brought out the flavor of sweet potatoes.  I have to try the butternut squast with cumin next.  Thanks for your inspirations.  Wish I could figure out how to post some pictures.  My goal for this year.  So far I have not succeeded.


I have been working on the chocolate bread since yesterday and that will be awesome I think and hope!!!


Salma

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

 Hello salma


Thank you for your comment.  I am glad to know that you like the chili and sun-dried tomato butternut bread.   


 


About posting photos onto your TFL comments:


What I do is -


(1) Save the digital photos on My Document in my computer;


(2) Re-size the photos using the "Paint" function at my computer. 



  1. You press "Start" at your computer, then "All Programs", then "Accessories", then "Paint." 

  2. Once you are in the Paint function, press "File", then "Open old file" to retrieve the photo you want, then press "Image" then "Stretch."  Then put in, say, "30%" in "Horizontal" and "30%" in "Vertical" to re-size the photo to 30% of your original size.  You can play with the percentages to find the suitable size for your photo.

  3. Don't forget to save.  You can then go back to My Document to see if the KB size of your photo is what you want.  My photo is normally no more than 100 KB.


(3) Then, use Photobucket (http://photobucket.com/) to upload your photos there.  Start from where it says "Get Started" or "Join Now."   Once photos are uploaded, place your curser on a particular photo that you want to post, you will see that the "IMG Code" of that photo will appear along with many other digital data of your photo.  Move your curser to IMG Code, copy the code, and then go to The Fresh Loaf and paste the code onto the spot in your writing where you want the photo to appear.  When you've done, press "preview" to view your write-up; the picture should show up with your write-up.


See if this works.


Shiao-Ping 

salma's picture
salma

I think after hours of trial and error I just MIGHT have succeeded in posting a picture and of course if it shows up, its the Butternut squash bread.  Thanks Shiao Ping, Posting is a lot more work than baking and baking is a lot more fun too.  Salma

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

They are fine, fine butternut squash breads you've got there!  So good!


Thanks for showing us your bread photo.


Shiao-Ping