The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's 5-Grain Non-Levain.

JOHN01473's picture

Hamelman's 5-Grain Non-Levain.

Hamelman's 5-Grain Non-Levain.

I recently made Hamelman's 5 Grain Levain and was very pleased with the results - nice crumb and crust and good eating which is the whole point,
I used the recipe from my recently acquired 2nd Edition.

I was wondering if I could add all the soaker to a yeast raised loaf, mainly to avoid the Levain build. I thought about the water content in the soaker and thought I would have to reduce the water in the final dough. I turned to the book and saw that actually it contained a yeast raised 5-grain recipe. I noticed that the water of the yeast version was at 90%; whereas the water in the Levain version was 98%, this is as I thought.

I also noticed that the non-Levain recipe had egg in it - I am not sure, but my guess was to add binding. It also had oil to preserve longer.

I looked through the site and saw that back in September there was a blog entry called "Hamelman's 5 Grain Non-Levain" - Submitted by Song Of The Baker. His recipe did not include egg. I am not surprised, as I would not naturally think of egg in this type of recipe.

So I have two questions:

1, how vital is the egg? The reason being I have a friend who would love this bread but she is intolerant to eggs.

2, has anyone made Hamelman's non-Levain with egg?

The Baking Bear.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi John.

I am surprised that the JH book calls for egg.  I wasn't aware that the book had a Non-Levain version of the 5 Grain loaf as I do not own the book.  The recipe I posted in forum some time ago was my own.  Even the name.  I had no idea he had a version. 

At that time, quite new to bread baking, I made many assumptions and un-educated guesses at what would work in excluding the levain.  Luckily, it produced a half decent loaf.  I am glad you tried the recipe and it turned out for you.  I can not comment on the validity of the addition of egg.  I personally would not argue with Mr. Hamelman when it comes to bread, however, I do know it was not needed in my particular formula.

Hope this helps!


JOHN01473's picture

Thanks john.

i really like the look of your loaf and its egg less for my friend.


Janetcook's picture


My guess about egg.   A sd version adds strength due to the acid so I am assuming that the oil was added to keep the bread fresh longer and the egg to add the strength taken away with the sd leaven.  Would  be interesting to bake one with and one without and see what your results are....then bake one using your sd and see how that loaf - many ways to experiment :-)

Have Fun,


jkandell's picture

i bake the Five-Grain bread  (straight dough version, p281 ) fairly often--with egg and without.  It tastes good both ways.  It is a "straight dough", so has a bit of the "grassy" taste you can get sometimes with rye; but with so many ingredients it's still very good. The small amount of egg balances the flavor IMO, but is not crucial. Hamelman recommends retarding the dough, and I've done it both ways.

The soaker has a different mix of five grains than his other "five grain" breads: notably, this one includes 8% bran.  I found this too branny for my tastes, and substitute wheat germ for half the bran portion (cutting back the water a bit), which rounds out the flavors better. 

My sense is that Hamelman got this recipe from someone, since it's so unlike his usual MO (egg, bran, oil, 2.5% yeast).

I actually prefer his other yeasted multigrains (p122, 127) using a pâte fermentée, and I've thought about converting to that.