The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's 5-grain levain

dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain levain

This is certainly one of the most delicious breads I've ever tasted. It is amazing for its complex, wholesome taste. It also has always had astonishing oven spring and bloom for me. I'm not sure why.

I suppose I need to acknowledge that brother  Glenn recently posted his beautiful bake of this bread, if only to claim another instance of Snyder Bros. Synchronicity and deny competitiveness. I did watch out for pixies. They played no role in the baking of this bread. They may be responsible for how much of it my wife ate at dinner, but I do believe that was attributable to how delicious this bread is. 

And, from last week's bake of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW, here's a point for Varda:

Happy baking!



evonlim's picture

wow, you baked great breads. have not try this formula yet. your crumb look so delicious. 



Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

As always, beautiful bread.

I need to put that on my baking to-do-list.

dabrownman's picture

is the kind of bread than makes bread haters swoon and eat a whole loaf at one sitting.  Breads with whole grain soakers are our favorites around here.

Very nice baking David. 

hansjoakim's picture

...and what a stellar crumb to go with it!

Is this the definitive version, David? I'm lost for words.

pmccool's picture

I've only baked two breads from the book and here you are, waving another drool-inducing bread in my face!  So many breads, so little time.

Spectacular bake!


varda's picture

is positively petrifying.   Lovely bake as always.   Reminding me to go back to Hamelman.  -Varda

dmsnyder's picture

Anyone who has not baked this bread owes it to themself. It is really an outstanding formula. If possible, it tastes even better than it looks.

This was the first time I baked it using rye chops, as called for in the formula. Before, I've used pumpernickel flour. The flavor is subtley different - "mellower" is the way I would describe it.

I need more rye chops!


Floydm's picture

Fabulous, David.

podrunner's picture

You've  convinced me to try this. Loaves are now in the fridge for retarding. I can only find rye flakes here, and used RT  water for the soaker. 

I've just checked the loaves in the fridge, (only 2 hours) and they seem to be proofing very fast, eventhough I did not use instant yeast. I am a bit worried about them over proofing at this stage, if I retard 8 hours.  I live in Malaysia, and average temperature is around  84F, so that may be a contributing factor. 

Should I bake after 4 hours retard? 

thanks in advance.

dmsnyder's picture


I imagine you have decided what to do by now. 

Anyway, loaves will continue to develop for a while when placed in the fridge, until they cool down. So I would do the full time to develop the flavor fully. This bread is good without the retardation, but it is much tastier when retarded for 12 hours or more.


podrunner's picture

I baked 2 loaves after 5 hours, and the other two after 16 hours. The latter trumps, and I was never a fan of loaves or seeded loaves. Love this one though!

many thanks, David.