It should come as no surprise to you that I need to lose weight. My weight-loss regimen is not from a book. No one would buy a book called “New Diet Secret: Eat Less, Exercise More and Lose Weight!” This diet along with a crazy busy work life has kept me from baking much lately. And when I bake, I experiment with “healthy breads”. I figure I’m not consuming empty calories if my bread has millet or whole oats or cracked wheat. Plus, some of these more nutritious breads taste really great.
Today I baked a batch of Professor Hamelman’s “Five-Grain Levain”. The formula includes bread flour and whole wheat flour and calls for a soaker of cracked rye, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and oats. I may be missing something, but I only count three grains there: wheat, rye and oats. Maybe he’s including the seeds in the grain count. He is a professor, so he must be right.
Anyway…I couldn’t find any cracked rye and my rye-cracker is in the shop. So I substituted cracked wheat, thus producing a two-grain levain with seeds. Otherwise, I followed the formula. I made two batards, one about 1.5 pounds and one about 1.8 pounds, and a few rolls. The rolls were semi-retarded at 55 F (San Francisco November) while the loaves baked and the oven re-heated. Here’s a family photo:
This bread is very moist and light of crumb, with a crispy crust. Tons of flavor….as you can see below:
So lets talk about multigranularity. I think the rye would have added a nice touch to this bread. But I couldn’t tell you why. I have made others of Hamelman’s multigrain breads and enjoyed them to varying degrees. I have a sense of the flavor of each of the common multigrain bread ingredients. But I haven’t experimented enough to know what combinations of grains and seeds I like best. That is a project for the future.
Meanwhile, one question: is there any reason why I couldn’t take this Five-Grain Levain formula and substitute other whole grains and seeds in the soaker?
Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker (a bread with a yeasted pre-ferment) calls for cracked wheat, coarse cornmeal, millet and oats in the soaker. And I like that bread a lot. It has an overall hydration of 78% (plus 5% honey), while the Five-Grain Levain has an overall hydration of 98%. So, of course, I’d need to adjust the hydration to reflect the thirstiness of the ingredients. But other than that, are there any issues with grain/seed combos in sourdough I should take into account.