The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Della Fattoria Seeded Levain

jkandell's picture

Della Fattoria Seeded Levain

There's been a lot of discussion here about Hamelman's seeded levains (5 Grain Sourdough and Seeded Levain).  Here is an alternative recipe which I find more to my taste-buds and I encourage fans of seeded bread to give it a try.

Although Della Fattoria uses a stiff 49% levain rather than Hamelman's 125%, I think the flavor differences lies more in the mix of ingredients than the method. The flour is half whole wheat (about four times more than Hamelman), with  the remaining flour  "reduced bran" (98% of the germ and 20% of the bran). In other words, this is mostly a wholemeal bread, rather than a white bread augmented with a touch of whole grain.

The following recipe is adapted from Rose Levi Beranbaum's "Sourdough Wheat Bread with Seeds" from her Bread Bible, which she got from Eve Weber of Della Fattoria.  Although you can purchase reduced bran flour from Guisto's, I followed Beranbaum in "recreating" it by adding 2.8% germ and 1.4% bran to 95.8% all purpose flour.  Be careful your whole wheat flour is fresh--not bitter to the taste, and smells fruity when mixed with water. And freeze your germ and bran so they don't go rancid.  With this much whole grain any bitterness will ruin the loaf.

The levain is 49% hydration; the final dough excluding the levain is 79% hydration, with overall hydration of about 76%.  The final dough is tacky.


One Loaf:


bread flour       40  
whole wheat       10
stiff chef
whole wheat

bread flour
germ (half T)


bran (2.5 t)

water       284  
salt       11
honey       14
seeds       73  
stiff levain       100  
SEEDS            grams  
sunflower seeds (toasted)       13  
pumpkin seeds (toasted)       13  
sesame seeds (toasted)       14  
flax seeds
polenta or cornmeal
TOTAL       73  



Starting with about 25g of storage chef, create a mature stiff levain of 100g. (About 12 hours.)

Toast the sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and cool.  Mix with the flax and cornmeal to add later.

Day of baking:

Add all ingredients except salt to bread machine bowl.  Run on dough cycle enough to mix.  Autolease 20 minutes.  Add salt, and run on dough cycle about 7 minutes.  (Because of the bran and seeds, you want to mix a tad less than usual, and do some extra folds to develop the gluten to compensate.)

Bulk Ferment: 3-4 hours @75-80F.  4 stretch and folds half way through, at about 1 1/2 hours.

Loosely Shape. Relax for 20m.  Shape into batard.

Proof 1- 2 1/2 hours.  It is a moist dough and will spread a bit.

Three diagonal slashes.  Bake at 450F for 10 minutes (with steam at 0 and 5 minutes), then reduce heat to 400F for 20 minutes, then finish at 350F for another 10 or 15 minutes until crust is dark orange.  Or bake it Hamelman style hotter and shorter.


joyfulbaker's picture


Sounds like you've got a winner.  BUT--why criticize Hamelman in the process?  I'd appreciate your take much more if it were presented as a positive find.  Both formulae have their place.


jkandell's picture

You are right. I actually didn't intend this to be an insult to Hamelman, just that I liked the Fatorria much better.  I edited my original post to make my intentions clearer. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

ww's picture


have you got any pictures to show? i love hamelan's seeded breads so if you've found somehting to beat that, would love to try (yet another on the endless list...)

also, do you think i could use oat bran and germ instead of wheat? I suppose it's all right since portions are so minute?


jkandell's picture

Although the quantities of germ and bran are minute they make a noticeable change to the color/flavor of the bread.Keep in mind that the 2.4% wheat germ is about the equivalent of what is in whole wheat--it's such a power-house ingredient it really affects the flavor.

I'd personally try it with wheat bran and germ the first time, then experiment away!  In fact, I'm wondering why the amount of bran is so low. If it's supposed to simulating 20% reduced flour, that would be something like 2.5% bran not 1.8%.

I didn't post a photo because it wasn't telegenic; but since you asked I'll post some.


della fattoria seeded levain

ww's picture

thanks for posting the photos. Will have to try it to compare with Hamelman's. This one has quite a bit of wholewheat flour going for it.

saumhain's picture

i just baked hamelman's version and i really enjoyed it

although this sounds so much more wholesome, i'd definitely give it a try!