The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's 5 Grain sourdough Bread

Mebake's picture

Hamelman's 5 Grain sourdough Bread

Once more, reminded by Karin's blog, i bake another recipe out of Hamelman's "BREAD". The recipe, cast away behind Volkornbrot with flaxseeds in Sourdough Breads section, was unintentionally overlooked. Karin (hanseata)has Praised the bread, and i had to bake a mutigrain SD sourdough sometime, so i did.

The Recipe is 75% Bread flour, and 25% Whole rye flour. The hydration was 99% with all the grains, but i felt it needed 100g more water to the final dough. The dough was sticky, as noted by Hamelman. I slaped and folded the dough in 5 minutes intervals for 30 minutes, in order for the dough to have enough strength. At the end of the slap and fold, the dough was finally coherent and held shape. i suspect that such moderately intensive kneading did leach out much flavor from the Bread flour. How could it be avoided?

I adhered to Hamelman's instructions to the word, including final yeast addition. The fermentation with this dough is very fast, with bulk fermentation of 1 hour, and final fermentation of 1 hour. No folding was required.

The crumb was delightfully open, and was soft, not chewy. The crust was crunchy, and full of wholegrain flavor.

However, i would say that i was somewhat disappointed with the flavor, initially. The flavor will develop in time, but i believe that this bread lacked the intense SD flavor associated with the removal of yeast from final dough. God willing, I'll try this next without the yeast. However, i believe this bread excells when toasted!

Added by Edit:

This is a photo of  tweaked steaming method i used for this bread:



dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Khalid.

I was also unimpressed with this bread the first time I baked it. The second (and 3rd and 4th and ...etc) time I thought it was the best tasting bread ever. 

To get the real potential of this delicious bread, do leave out the commercial yeast, and do retard the loaves overnight before baking. I can almost guarantee you will be astonished by the difference retardation makes. 



alldogz's picture

David, i usually follow what you are baking and take your comments /commandments as gospel...i did this just like Khalid did the book...with the slight humble use of yeast and the 1 hour (vs.overnight) retard.  Next time i will try the overnight and reduce the recipe to 2 big loaves instead of 3 (too much for my stone).  And i sort of forgot the bench anxious was i to try to get a decent oblong batard....i think it may have made a "wee bit" of difference that i left it out...but they came out well (even with my confused scoring technique!)...that soaker is wonderful..did a cold soak and the taste is nutty,cruncy...and just delightful. would like to kick up the whole wheat in it  maybe or use rye....

This may be the one bread i bake and bake and bake till i have it down pat....


alldogz's picture

David, Khalid or Occa, maybe you could answer this question about the overnight retard....Khalid inspired me, i did my first batch like he  did, using the yeast...but this is my favorite bread now...Can you retard longer than the 12 hours. I work, so unless i devote the weekend to doing this it won't be that easy to do during the week...was wondering if it could go 18-24 hours?or is that just flat out unreasonable?


PiPs's picture

Hi Khalid,

I don't know this formula at all, does it have any kind of preferment - plus what kind of grains did you use in yours? The crumb looks fantastic ... we are big multi-grain fans in this household :)

Yeah, I think I would prefer a chewier sourdough crumb with the amount of grains I can see there. Lovely looking crust too top it off.

Looking forward to seeing your next version.



Mebake's picture

Thanks, Phil! Yes, Phil, it contains 25% Whole Rye flour all prefermented as a stiff sourdough. I used the grains/seeds called for in the recipe: Flaxseeds, rolled oats, sunflower seed, and cracked rye, all in a boiling water soaker with salt.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

You're right, it is kind of tucked away. I have always baked the five grain levain. This one looks and sounds quite good. Thanks for calling attention to it with this lovely example.

varda's picture

Khalid, I'm amazed that you were able to get the dough to stand up at over 100% hydration.   I guess those grains soak up a lot of water.   It came out very well, and of course from here I can't see what is disappointing you about the flavor.   -Varda

breadforfun's picture

Hi Khalid,

Those are nice looking loaves you've got.  I have overlooked this formula, so thanks for pointing it out.  I have made the 5-grain levain many times and if this behaves similarly, omitting the yeast in the final dough in favor of an overnight retard should do the trick.



ananda's picture

Hi Khalid,

I have found that there are several formulae in Hamelman's book where his inclusion of bakers' yeast can really be taken as optional....and this is definitely one of those.   Take David's advice on the process; it's sound!

Lovely soft and open crumb you have.

Very best wishes



Mebake's picture

Thank you, David!

I will bake this bread once more without the added yeast, as you recommend. I'll also try retarding too. If you say it is stellar than it is stellar.

I had one grilled sandwich of feta cheese mashed with olive oil and topped with two slices of tomato yesterday, and i loved the bread as it is.


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Occa

12 hours bulk, and 12 hours final proofing! you must be living in the arctic! out here it it more like 5 hours from fridge to oven. I don't own a mixer, yet (emphasis on yet), and enjoy doing the mixing by hand.

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Louie.

The bread is very good, actually. Hope you'll like it.

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Varda!

Yes, the grains mix drinks lots of moisture.

I take it back, though, this bread really does well after a couple of hours on the bench. The flavor will develop, though i would want to bake the non-yeasted version for fullest flavor.

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Brad. Yes, do try it out without the yeast.

Mebake's picture

Thanks for the advice, Andy!

sweetbird's picture


This bread looks wonderful and I'm so glad you brought the formula to my attention. It seems to be a favorite here, especially with an overnight retardation. I hope to try it and I hope you enjoy what's left of those loaves!


breadsong's picture

Hi Khalid,
The crumb on your bread looks really, really good, and lots of nice grains in that soaker!
Thanks to the other posters for their comments re: omitting yeast and retarding the dough - looking forward to trying this - made notes in my book :^)
It's good to remember this formula...thanks for posting about this bread.
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Janie!

It does seem to be a favorite.. I have only baked it recently. We'll see how the SD only version fairs.

Not much actually, this bread flies like hot cakes..


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Breadsong!

It is lovely as it is, i can only imagine how the full flavor sd will turn out.


teketeke's picture

Hi Khalid,

Your loaf looks great. But I can understand of the bread that has some luck of flavor.  I like bread that rise slow,which makes flavorful bread.

Happy baking,


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Akiko!