Big Combo Levain Whole Wheat Bread with Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
This is another ‘Post Panettone Levain Build’ bake. It is amazing how much wasted starter you can; will, end up with when making the Italian levain for panettone! Not to worry….we came up with another bake that used up all of left over SD and YW levain; 392 g worth, with the exception of 100 g of SD levain we are saving for the Valentine Rose Vienna Bread bake with the Three Twisted Sister GMA’s on Monday.
These near white levains had been in the fridge for a few days and were a little sleepy so we gave them 108 g of our whole Rye, spelt and WW mix with 125 g of water and let it sit out on the heating pad to warm up and get perky again.
While the huge, now 625 g YW/SD levain. was waking up, we autolysed the dough flour; half WW and half bread flour with the salt, Toadies, VWG, malts, honey, molasses, and Guinness Black Lager for 2 hours. The only thing left out were the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
The huge levain ended up being 45% of the total weight if you discount the 100 g of seeds. This is about 3 times as large as normal for our baking. Ian uses large levains per Peter Reinhart but I’m not sure he has gone this big! We have tried this before but forgot what is was like so my apprentice thought this was the perfect time to continue our 'try it and see if we like it' method - our Mikey Technique of bread discovery.
Once the autolyse and the levain came together, we did 10 minutes of slap and folds to get this 80% hydration dough to come together. I wasn’t at all difficult since we had 60% whole grains, most of it whole wheat, which really soaked up the beer. After 10 minutes the dough had a great feel, was smooth supple and exhibited fine gluten development for higher percentage whole grain bread.
After resting for 15 minutes we did 3 sets of French Folds to incorporate and distribute the seeds and further develop the gluten. We then let the dough ferment on the counter for an hour before retarding it in the fridge for 12 hours. It more than doubled in the fridge just like John01473’s did yesterday.
We allowed the dough to warm up on the heating pad for 2 hours before gently shaping it into a batard, loafish, oval shape that would fit nicely into the non stick sprayed, Romertopf, clay baker we got at Goodwill many months ago but never used it to make bread. It made a fine Sunday Chicken though. We had soaked the Romertopf in a 5 gallon bucket on the patio for a couple of days waiting for a good time to use it.
This bake was also inspired by Raluca’s boldly baked 65% whole wheat bread and lamberta72 buying a Romertopf and Bobkay1022 posting pictures of a very nice bake in his Romertopf that healso got at Goodwill like I did! So it was time to put these additional inspirations together with Ian’s big levain and long bulk retard in the fridge. It is not too odd, as odd things can go, how things can come together for a bake with a little Fresh Lofian help.
After 4 1/2 hours in the Romertopf for final proofing on the heating pad, the bread was ready to be slashed and baked. Slashing was made with my favorite French bread slicing knife, We put the Romertopf in the very cold Old Betsy and fired her up to 460 F. When she beeped that she was at temperature, we set the timer for 20 minutes of steam. After 20 minutes we removed the lid and turned the oven down to 425 F, convection this time.
After another 10 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes, we removed the bread from the Romertopf and placed it on the stone and continued rotating it every 5 minutes to ensure even browning. 15 minutes later we turned the oven down to 400 F; convection and tented the top with aluminum foil to keep it from browning too much. The bread reached 205 F 15 minutes later after a total baking time of exactly 1 hour after the oven beeped when reaching the original 460 F.
There was no reason to crisp the crust on the stone for 10 minutes with the door ajar and the oven off as this bread was very brown and crust crisp as all get out. It was certainly a looker from the outside and the rise and spring were very good indeed. We are impressed with the Romertopf, as much as we are impressed with Ian’s large levain, bulk retard, warm, shape and proof method. If the inside is as good as the outside this should be one of those bakes we look forward to doing again.
The crumb wasn't as open as the rise, spring and bloom would have us believe but the crumb was light and moist with lots of smaller holes that must have added up to the rise and spring we saw on the outside. Sometimes bread can fake you out. It also tastes well rounded and has a deeply flavorful profile. There is a slight SD tang that was muted by the YW. The seeds came though nicely too. All in all, it is a very nice WW sandwich bread which is what we were after. I'm sure my wife will love this for her lunch sandwiches - I know I will. It is good be nearly out of panettone levain too - only 100 g to go:-)
It's a grilled pepper jack, brie with pastrami cheese sandwich. Great bread makes great sandwiches! And don't forget the salad and fresh fruit, citrus, melon and veggies with a home made pickle.
If you eat right you can have some lemon cheese cake with chocolate sandwich cookie crust once in a while.
Big Combo Whole Wheat Multi-grain Bread with Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
WWW & AP SD Starter
White Whole Wheat
Combo Starter Totals
Levain % of Total
Vital Wheat Gluten
Total Dough Flour
Guinness Black Lager
Dough Hydration w/o starter
Add - Ins
Sunflower, Pumpkin 50 ea
Molasses $ Honey
Total Flour w/ Starter
Total Beer & Water w/ Starter
Hydration w/ Starter & Adds
% Whole Grain