The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dab’s Eight Sprouted Grain Three Seed Sourdough 

Danni3ll3's picture

Dab’s Eight Sprouted Grain Three Seed Sourdough 


My brother asked to add him to my bread list on a bi-weekly basis. Diabetes runs in the family and his doctor has told him to give up white bread in order to stay ahead of the game. So who best to emulate and steal recipes from but our very own Dabrownman! Well, while doing that, I discovered that Lucy is truly an evil creature! A four short legged creature, but evil nonetheless! The things that she puts Dab through in order to produce a loaf is nothing short of torture. No wonder his recipes start on Monday and finish on Friday. I spent a good part of each day this week, dealing with a myriad of different steps and discovering a few things along the way:


  1. Dehydrating sprouts takes a lot longer when you have a thick layer of grains. And using the rack that has the plastic liner for fruit leathers isn’t a great idea. I need to get one more piece of window screen to line that particular tray.
  2. Unhulled buckwheat is not the best thing for making sprouted flour. When you milled this, it leaves chunks of hulls that are very unsightly and huge! Remilling these chunks didn’t help at all! I finally sifted them out and gave them to the birds. They probably won’t eat them either!
  3. Using 12% as the amount of bran that will be extracted from the sprouted flour is too low. I was short 25 g so I need to up the amount of grain I sprout and mill.
  4. I hate toasting flax seeds! They start thinking they are Mexican Jumping Beans once the heat hits them and they fly all over the place. Even putting a screen on the frying pan didn’t help much! It makes it hard to ensure that the sunflower and pumpkin seeds that I put in the pan with the flax seeds actually get toasted. 
  5. Next time, I need to grind at least half of the flax seeds to get a better dough and for better nutrition.
  6. I need to use VWG more. Bread flour in the small 5 lbs bags is expensive and I go through them like there is no tomorrow them I am making 4 batches at once. 
  7. I originally dropped the hydration to 78% from Dab’s 85% but the dough felt too stiff so I brought up the hydration to 80% at the first set of folds. Dab had mentioned that this was quite a wet dough so I decided to be more conservative and add if needed. I should have added even more as the dough felt quite heavy in the end.


So here is the recipe:


Makes 3 loaves



261 g of sprouted flour from Red Fife, rye, Spelt, Buckwheat (use hulled, not unhulled like I did, it will save you a lot of grief and agravation), Oats, Kamut, Selkirk wheat (hard red spring wheat variety), and Einkorn berries. (I used 62 g of each grain for sprouting. Next time, I think I would increase this to ~65 g. Process for making this flour explained below.)

355 g unbleached flour

330 g bread flour

700 g of water + 25 g

22 g salt

35 g yogurt

352 g 100% hydration levain (builds explained below)


88 g pumpkin seeds

88 g sunflower seeds

88 g flax seeds


Making the sprouted flour:

  1. Weigh out the berries for sprouting and rinse them well under water. Leave to soak about 6-8 hours, drain well, and leave to sprout, rinsing occasionally, until the rootlets are just visible on the end of most of the berries. Don’t let the roots get too long. They should be about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. Total time from first washing the grains, soaking and then letting sprouts was 33 hours.
  2. Place grains in a dehydrator and dry until they are completely hard when you bite into a seed. If you crack a tooth, they are just right. ;-) The other way to find out if they are dry enough, is to weigh the berries and see if they equal the initial weight. In the past, dehydrating sprouted berries took only 3 hours but because I was making 4 batches and I had a thick layer of grains on each rack, this took about 7 hours.
  3. Put the grains through the grain mill and freak out because there are huge chunks of buckwheat seed coat in the flour. Decide if you want them in the dough or not. I chose “NOT”! To me, they looked like crushed insect exoskeletons. Ewww!
  4. Sift out the bran with a screen, then sift the bran again through a coarse screen to remove the buckwheat hulls but keep the rest of the bran for the first levain build and for dusting the bannetons. (I did this by first hand sifting the flour through a regular kitchen metal sieve to get the coarsest of the bran. I tried running this coarse bran through the mill on extra fine but the flakes still stayed huge. I even tried buzzing them up in a bullet. No luck! So I gave up on the idea of including these in the dough. The flour from the hand sifting was run through the Komo mill fine sifting attachment to get more bran extraction. Then I put the coarsest screen on the attachment and ran the hand sifted bran through. This got rid of those huge hull flakes but still gave me plenty of bran for the levain and dusting the baskets). 
  5. Save 176 g of the sprouted flour for the levain build and reserve the remaining 261 g for the main dough.


  1. Weigh out the needed seeds and toast them in a dry frying pan. Be prepared to have your flax seeds impersonate Mexican Jumping Beans. Your kitchen will need a clean up after this activity!
  2. Reserve the seeds.

Levain Builds:

  1. A couple of days before making your dough, take 6 g of your starter and feed it 19 g of water and 19 g of bran. Stir every 8 hours or so. You won’t see much activity if any, but have no fear, the little creatures in there are doing their thing and multiplying like crazy. 
  2. Just before going to bed the night before, add 176 g of water and the 176 g of sprouted flour that was reserved for the levain. Stir down in the morning and refrigerate if you aren’t ready for it. Let rise again.

Main dough:

  1. In the morning, mix all of the flours with the add-ins and the water. Let sit for a couple of hours in a warm place (82F). Add the salt, the yogurt and the levain. Mix well to integrate the salt and the levain. I did 50 folds in the bucket. 
  2. Do 4 sets of folds each a half hour apart. Add the 25 g of water with the first set of folds. Let rise until 80-90% (~4.5 hours). Even though the dough had a lot of bubbles, it still felt quite solid. I don’t know if this was due to the add-ins or to the sprouted flour.
  3. Carefully remove the dough from its container (try to not deflate it), and divide into 3 equal portions of about 780 grams. Loosely shape into a boule and let rest for 45 minutes. Reshape the balls into boules and tighten the skin by spinning each ball like a top on a bare spot of the counter. 
  4. Sprinkle some of the bran into the bannetons and then place the dough seam side down. Cover and place in a cold fridge (37F) for the night. 


  1. Preheat the oven and the pots to 475F for an hour. Place parchment rounds in the bottom of each pot and carefully place the boules seam side up. Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 450F. Uncover and bake for a further 20 minutes at 425F. Final internal temp should be at least 205F.

The boules felt quite firm when I took them out of the bannetons and I had doubts about good oven spring. This was justified as the first batch of six had minimal oven spring.  So I took out the other half dozen out of the fridge and let them warm up about 45 minutes on the counter before baking. The second batch had very slightly better oven rise and I got a deeper colour on the crust for some reason.  


So not a bad bake for Earth Day as I don’t think you can get more earthy than this unless you go for a 100% whole grain loaf!


dabrownman's picture

grains in the winter and spring.  I was amazed at how well they did.  I was so proud of myself being a natural at grain farming until I tried to thresh and de-hull them by hand ....since Lucy doesn't have a threshing machine in her pantry.  Jeez!  What a nightmare.   I had beautiful golden Kamut, rye spelt red and white wheat and even some emmer and einkorn all grown in pots but no way to get them to a point where I could actually use them.  So I stuffed all the heads in plastic bags and put them somewhere in Lucy's pantry to await someone buying me  threshing machine on Amazon or never to found again if I am lucky.

Few Fresh Lofians are crazy enough, like we are, to actually make some of Lucy's home sprouted grain, bran levain breads because they do take 5 days, have a lot of steps, require sifting, a dehydrator and a mill.  But that is the only way you can ever taste a bread like this one or have the satisfaction of actually running Lucy's Gauntlet of Sprouted Bread Making Death and not dying more than once or twice:-)  Lucy was so taken by your fine effort that she printed off your picture. framed it and hung it in her hall of fame inside her pantry right between David Snyder and Rin Tin TIn.  I thought one day she would put me in that favored spot but it was not to be - thanks to you.  She has a few other Fresh Lofians hung up there but not many as wall space is limited.

Hopefully the crumb will be fine and the taste divine!  Sprouted breads are a bit faster and they ted to over proof before you know it.

Happy baking Danni

Danni3ll3's picture

I got a special spot in Lucy's pantry! I had no idea that she had a such a wall of distinction. 

Seriously though,  I got a new appreciation for the amount of work you put in for your bread each week. I really hope that the crumb is nice because I would have hoped for a better oven spring.

There was something a bit odd in that some of the proofed loaves had tears in them. Not big ones, but still that isn't usually something that I see especially when I proof them seam side down. Here is a picture... hopefully you can see what I am talking about.

nmygarden's picture

What a distinction you have earned!  Lucy isn't easily impressed, and continues to raise the bar, so the class remains small and very exclusive.

This week's loaves are rustic and earthy. I hope your brother, and all of those who will receive one, will thoroughly enjoy it.

Happy Earth Day!


Danni3ll3's picture

Yum!!! Unbelievable depth of flavour! 

dabrownman's picture

But it is the taste that drives Lucy to howl at the moon!  Really no bread like it and the only way to get it to make it:-)  I don;e see the tears but accept that they are there.  Probably because of the lower hydration?

Danni3ll3's picture

As for the tears, look at the center. The tears are just above and slightly to the right of the middle. They look like holes or rips in the dough. You might have to enlarge the picture to see them. 

leslieruf's picture

the crumb is lovely - your brother and others are very lucky!  


Bread1965's picture

No seriously.. you need to see someone about this.. I can't believe the amount of work you went through for a loaf of bread! That's crazy!! But it looks spectacular.. probably one of your best! Wow.. that is one great looking loaf.. I have bread envy... but I'm too lazy to do all that work! Ok, send me some!! :)



Danni3ll3's picture

But thank goodness I am in good company and not the only one! I seem to remember someone with a certain Swiss Muesli loaf....

I just wish I had gotten a better oven spring. The loaves are small but they feel pretty substantial!

Elsie_iu's picture

I'm still beyond shocked when I see those huge balls of dough lining up on the table. It's like you own a bakery, I'm so impressed!

There's totally no offense but I find your bread flatter and not as open as others' with similar % of white flour. Do you prefer it this way so you lowered the hydration and skipped the vital wheat gluten? Don't get me wrong though, I love your bread!


Danni3ll3's picture

You are totally right about it being flatter and it’s not because I prefer it this way. I continue to struggle getting good oven spring and a more open crumb when I have lots of add-ins in the dough. Some weeks are better than others, and these are very much on the flatter end of things. The crumb is a lot better than I expected considering the outside appearance. I am actually quite happy with that crumb. 

The dough just felt heavy when I was shaping it so I don’t know if the bulk should have been shorter or longer. The dough had risen a good 80% after 4.5 hours.

As well I had some odd tearing during the cold proof. See the picture above. They were in the fridge for about 14 hours. Maybe they overproofed during that time. They didn’t look overproofed though. 

The other thing that might have affected the dough was my levain handling. The levain was very mature when I used it. And I did use a larger percentage than I usually do. 

Who knows, there are so many factors that affect the end product. Either way, it came out to be a super tasty bread and it is one that I will try again. 

Elsie_iu's picture

Using a more mature leaven really speeds thing up, in my limited experience at least. It can reduce the bulk fermentation for my dough by 1/3 (of my usual 12 hour room temperature period) as compared with using a very young leaven. Where do you bulk ferment the dough? Since my dough is much smaller than yours, I ferment it in a large wooden salad bowl and it is very easy to tell if it's really or not. It feels quite puffy to the touch with some small bubbles on top (almost like a not-yet-ready-to-flip pancake).

I have hardly any experience in cold proofing so I can't offer any opinion. But usually the reason for my bread to come out flatter is either over-proofing or over-hydration. It's all the fault of those recipe creators, they always say "resist the urge to add more flour! It's always better wetter than drier!". Now the dough always feels not wet enough to me... The trickiest thing to get right to me is the proofing time. It is very easy to over-proof the dough when it is over-hydrated already.

If you're not opposed to adding vital wheat gluten, I really recommend you giving it a try to recipes with great taste yet weaker dough structure. It can sometimes do wonders. 

I always tell myself taste is more important than looks when my bread turns out flat with failed scoring. We should just enjoy the tasty bread while working out the later part!

Danni3ll3's picture

They just look big in the picture. They are just under 800 g which came out to about 700 g baked. 

I am definitely not opposed to using vwg but because I had bread flour in there, I thought it would have been enough. 

I ferment my dough in Cambro buckets in the oven with the light on. That gives a warm spot of over 82F. I usually wait till I see a bubble or two on the edge of the dough but maybe I should wait till there are bubbles on top of the dough. 

And I have had the same experience as you, if my dough is too wet, I end up with really flat loaves!

Filomatic's picture

You never cease to amaze me with your skill, artistry, and effort.  Well done!

isand66's picture

Im very jealous that after all my accolades about Lucy I still haven’t made her wall of shame...I mean fame 🙄😉.   Anyway,  the crumb looks perfect on this one chock full of goodies.  The things we bakers go through for a loaf of bread!  I don’t think I would ever try un-hulled anything 😬.  Sprouted flour can be challenging but I love the flavor it imparts.  I would suggest upping the hydration next time and it should improve your height and make the dough more extendable.

Any way, great bake!

dabrownman's picture

right next to Abu Simbel Karnack the Egyptian who discovered sourdough fermentation.

AnotherLoaf's picture

for this dough! I'm wondering, other than a few frustrations, did you enjoy this process? Will you use this recipe again? Thanks for all the interesting blog entries. I enjoy the reading, and also understand that it requires a bit of time and skill to put a decent write up together. Keep up the good work, marybeth

Danni3ll3's picture

trying new things. I am a sucker for that! The thing is that once you do it, you know the pitfalls and the process gets easier and more familiar. I will be doing this one again one day. The tastes was totally worth it!

Thanks for your comments about my write ups. I try to include all the silly little things that happen as I think we can all learn from them. Plus it is more fun to write and certainly more fun to read! Also being a former teacher and school administrator, it helps to have the background to write. The funny thing is that although I enjoy writing for here, I hated doing public speaking or spiels. I always kept it super short and to the point!