The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

four or five grain levain

codruta's picture

four or five grain levain

I don't know why I've waited so long to make this bread, after buying hamelman's book. I've done it before, from intructions giving on this blog, which were very helpful, btw. For grains, I used a mix of fennel seeds, flaxseeds, spelt berries and oat bran. I retarded the dough overnight, omitted the yeast as instructed, and I baked it directly from the fridge. For the final fermentation, the instructions weren't very clear to me... in case I opted for retarding the dough overnight, it still gets an hour of fermentation on room temperature, or after shaping goes directly in the fridge??

Final fermentation. Approximately 1 hour at 76 degrees. [The dough can be retarded for several hours or overnight, which case the bulk fermentation should be 2 hrs with 1 fold, and the yeast left out of the mix.]

Not knowing what to do, I let it stand 45 minutes at room temperature (78F), but I still don't know if that was good, or this step shoud have been skipped. Maybe someone can clarify this.

Also, I don't know if baking directly from the fridge was the right decision, I wonder if it would have risen more if I let it stand 1 hour at room temperature before baking?

Anyway, I'm extremely pleased with the result, the taste is absolutly amazing.

More pictures and the addapted recipe (recipe in romanian, translator on the sidebar) can be found here, at my new blog  Apa.Faina.Sare


ananda's picture

Hi Codruta,

You've clearly mastered the procedures, despite any difficulties interpreting the instructions.

The advice I can offer on cold fermenting is that I have only ever had one difficulty arising from that process.

Sometimes I have had loaves explode, or, blow out at a weak point, usually at some point around the bottom edge of the loaf.   This is obviously due to there being plenty of fermenting power left in the bread, all held back by retarding the dough.

So cutting the loaf well is essential.   Sometimes it is advisable to allow the proved dough to come back to room temperature before baking, just to prevent this sort of rapid burst.

But I can't see evidence of that happening here for you.   Your bread looks absolutely wonderful, and your blog is great.   I hope you keep posting at TFL with news of your baking progress.

Best wishes


codruta's picture

andy, thank you, your answer clarifies my incertitudes.

On the other hand, OF COURSE I'll keep posting at TFL, cause his blog, this comunity, helped me a LOT. In my country, in my passion for baking, I'm alone, no one to talk to, no one to ask advises. So TFL was my major source of information during last years, and continue to be. If I don't comment much or I'm not very active, is because I have difficulties expressing myself in english, but I'm here everyday, searching for information, inspiration and admiring other people's baking products. I stil have much to learn, and even if I bake for 2 years already, I feel my journey have just begun.

So if a great part of my progress it is because of TFL, at least I could do is give it back, by sharing it.

Now, back to work.

best wishes, codruta

Occabeka's picture

Hi codruta,

Whether or not you bake the loaf directly from the fridge or wait an hour depends on the dough being fully proofed.

The finger poke test here is useful. Judging from your picture, it looks perfect!


pmccool's picture

that this loaf could be any better.  I think it is lovely, codruta.


Floydm's picture

That loaf is heavy duty.  Beautifully done.

Janetcook's picture


What a wonderful loaf you made!  I think your proof that you did it 'right' is in the taste and from what you say - it had great taste.....That to me is 'right'  :-)   and the fact that you are enjoying what you are baking.

As for you not posting much because of language - I have no trouble reading what you write so please don't stay away on account of thinking your language skills aren't 'good enough'!!!!  

I speak and understand only 1 language - English - and I admire beyond words the people here whose mother tongue is another language yet they tackle English and post here for all of us to learn about the breads they are making and what the differences are in their countries. For me I like the geography lessons I get here from people like you - so please don't worry about your English!

Take Care,



teketeke's picture

 It is a very nice looking loaf, Codruta.  I like the crumb very much.

Happy baking,



codruta's picture

You are the best! I admire every each one of you, for your dedication, patience and abilities, and your compliments goes to my heart like butter on bread ( In romanian that is an expression, does it sound weird in english?)

best wishes, codruta

teketeke's picture

 Thank you for your big compliment, codruta. :) Thank you!   I am not good at English, so I can't answer it unfortunately. but I  understand your expression very well that is very kind,and touched to my heart, codruta.

Happy baking,


breadsong's picture

Hello codruta,
mmm, fennel seeds...that bread must taste as good as it looks.
Thanks for sharing your photos, and your sweet Romanian expression!
:^) from breadsong