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dmsnyder's picture

We were in Portland, OR last week. While I was in meetings, my wife bounced between Powell's (the biggest book store in the US of A) and the Pearl Bakery. I got to taste a number of their breads in sandwiches my wife brought back to the hotel, but I didn't taste their "multigrain roll," which my wife had one day and really liked.

Susan often asks me to make rolls for her lunch sandwiches, so with her description of the Pearl's roll in mind I went looking for a multigrain roll to make. I've made several of Hamelman's multigrain breads and liked them all. I think any of the ones I've made would make good rolls, but I wanted to try something new. Reading through "Bread," I found the "Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker." (Pg. 126) It is a 50% bread flour/50% whole wheat dough with a soaker of cracked wheat, coarse corn meal, millet and oats. I had all the ingredients but for the millet. I substituted flax seeds.

This is one heavy dough. I added quite a bit of water, which Hamelman says is often needed, to get the consistency I thought was "right." I formed the 4+ lbs of dough into 2 bâtards and a half dozen 3 oz rolls.

Whole-Wheat Bread with Multigrain Soaker bâtard crumb

I baked the rolls at 450ºF for 15 minutes. The bâtards baked at 450ºF with steam for 12 minutes, then at 440ºF for another 15 minutes followed by 7 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

The crust was crunchy. The crumb was tender but chewy. The flavor is assertively honey whole wheat, mellowed somewhat by the soaker ingredients. It's outstanding with a thin spread of sweet butter.

My wife liked it but says it's nothing like the Pearl Bakery's multigrain rolls. Hee hee. An excuse to bake more rolls.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

txfarmer's picture

I think it worked out well despite all my changes to the recipe:

- I didn't make a preferment, simply used the same porportion of starter directly, adjusted for my 100% starter so the same percentage of flour came from the starter.

- my starter is whole wheat, so the final product has some WW flavor in it.

- I added <1oz of extra water, due to the WW flour I think

- I eliminated the instant yeast, relied on the starter only. Dallas went from summer to fall in one day, so my kitchen went from 80F to barely 70F, fermentation took nearly 5 hours to expand to a little less than double, with a lot of visible bubbles in the dough. Last weekend when I made the seeded sourdough with similar formula, the fermentation was less than 3 hours at 80F, temperature makes such a huge difference for sourdough dough.

- I retarted the dough during proofing, at <40F, for 13 hours. It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish proofing, while last weekend the seeded sourdough only took 1 hour, again, I think it's the lower temperature in my kitchen.

Got very good oven spring, and cheese on the surface made lovely blisters

Pretty open crumb, there are melted cheese in those big holes!

It's a very fragrant bread, crust is pretty thick, love the chewy and tasty crumb


dmsnyder's picture

I haven't made my San Joaquin Sourdough for quite a while. It is one of my favorites, so I made a couple loaves today. I used KAF European Artisan Style flour and Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye. The "variation" of note is that I used a bit less rye (5%) and put all the rye flour in the starter feeding. I also decreased the overall dough hydration just a bit to 70%.

The bread had a thin crust and very chewy crumb. It is mildly sour. It's still a really good bread.

You can find the basic formula and method here: San Joaquin Sourdough 1


Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

     When I started baking a few years ago, I was a strict adherent to recipes.  I still do not deviate much as results are then unpredictable.  One area in which I do deviate is in the amount of flour.  I measure (weigh, if possible) all other ingredients, but since flour is the largest single component, and the one most affected by outside influences (humidity, temperature), I find that adding flour by the cup (less as the dough comes together) gives me a much better finished product.  I am not advocating that new bakers do this, but as you see the results differ from batch to batch of a given recipe, you will develop a feel for when the dough has incorporated all of the flour necessary for a great loaf.  This has probably been obvious to everyone else, but I am in the slow learner class.

     As a home baker, I cast envious eyes at the professional's proofing box and its reliable second rise.  I have taken a suggestion I found online and modified it to work for me.  I acquired two clear plastic storage bins (Wally World) a couple of feet deep.  I marked the lower one where the bottom of the other fell and filled the lower one with hot water to the mark.  The second is placed in the first one and breads to be proofed are placed in the (dry) bin.  I also use quarter sheet baking pans for rolls and such.  One goes on the bottom and a wire cooling rack suports another.  This setup will maintain a 78 - 80 degree temperature for up to 45 minutes.  Tme loaves in the top nay be misted and/or rotated as needed and the water may be changed in the lower one if a longer proof is needed.

Susan's picture

Same old recipe, tweaked a little for the seeds.  I keep learning more and more, thanks to everybody here.  This one's named Prescott, as we're up the hill in Arizona for a short while. 

Here's the way I did it. It's only one way, so bake how it suits you and your location, temp, flours, etc.

20g whole flaxseed and 55g warm water, soaked for about 30 minutes before starting dough

50g firm starter

175g water

275g KA Bread Flour

25g whole wheat flour

6g salt

Mix starter and water, add all of flaxseed mixture, then add flours and salt.  Mix minimally by hand just until flour is wet, rest for 30 minutes, one Stretch & Fold, two more S&Fs at 1-hour intervals, let rise to double.  Keep the dough temperature in mid-70'sF during fermentation.  Pre-shape, rest 15 minutes, shape, then overturn into linen-lined basket.  Put in plastic bag, then into fridge for overnight.  Out of fridge for two hours before scoring, loading into oven, and covering. Oven preheated to 480F, then lowered to 440F after 3-5 minutes.  Bake 20 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered, 5 minutes in turned-off oven.

Note:  You can retard this dough in an oiled bowl after folding, if you like, and continue in the morning.

Shiao-Ping's picture

At SFBI, we did a 100% Spelt bread using dry instant yeast.  To soften the bitterness taste of spelt flour, we did a poolish as the preferment for this bread.  The result was very pleasing.  Two things about that spelt bread I found worthy of a mention from my own perspective: 

(1) The weak gluten in spelt flour is such that its mixing technique needs a bit of attention.  Its protein may be high (14.2% according to the bag of my organic spelt wholemeal flour), but a lot of it is not gluten forming protein.  However, while it is a weak flour, its gluten will happen fast (sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it); and therefore, we need to mix faster when we are working on the spelt flour.  Towards that end, at SFBI, we used the double hydration method to try to get the gluten developed at an early stage before all recipe water is added.  (For a description of double hydration, please see my post on Chocolate Sourdough)  Also note that to mix faster does not mean that we use a vigorous mixing or kneading motion because spelt is a fragile flour. 

(2) The spelt poolish after it's been fermented shows a lot of foams on the surface.  The froth resulted from the weak flour unable to trap in gasses produced by the yeasts as seen below: 


                                                       Didier Rosada's thumb, Artisan III at SFBI, August 2009  

Theory aside, I have had no luck with the double hydration method using my bread machine.  So, with this 100% Spelt Sourdough, I used my old trusted hand method.  As well, I made another Pain le Levain with 20% Spelt flour that I posted yesterday to practice on my scoring and to see if I could get better grigne.  I suspected that the scoring in that earlier bake was difficult because I inadvertently incorporated too much water into the dough when I was stretching & folding my doughs with wet hands (the dough ended up much higher hydration than Hamelman's 68%).  I have found grigne almost not possible with wetter doughs. 

So, here are the two spelt sourdoughs:




My Formula for 100% Spelt Sourdough  

First levain build - day 1, night or early evening 

  • 3 g starter (I used my usual white starter at 75% hydration, but at this quantity, any starter you have at any hydration will do.)

  • 10 g spelt flour (I used 90% white spelt flour and 10% whole spelt flour)

  • 11 g water

Second levain build - day 2, morning

  • 24 g starter (all from the first levain build)

  • 48 g spelt flour (I used 90% white spelt flour and 10% whole spelt flour)

  • 48 g water

Final levain build - day 2, late night

  • 120 g starter (all from the second levain build)

  • 155 g spelt flour (I used 90% white spelt flour and 10% whole spelt flour)

  • 155 g water

Note: as the ratio of flour to starter is less than 1. 5 times, if your room temperature is very warm, you'll need to do this levain built as late as possible for the next day's dough mixing.

Final dough - day 3, very early morning

  • 430 g Spelt starter @ 100% hydration (all from the final levain build)

  • 224 g water

  • 387 g organic white spelt flour (90% of final dough flours)

  • 43 g organic wholemeal spelt flour (10% of final dough flours)

  • 12 g salt

  • Extra spelt flour for dusting

Total dough weight 1.1 kg and dough hydration 68%

  1. In my big mixing bowl, I first put in the starter, then poured a little of the formula water, stirred to combine, then a little more of the water, stirred to combine, then a little more of the water, and stirred, until all water was thoroughly mixed into the starter.  (I have found this way my starter works very well for me; it is as if all of the little microorganisms are woken up to do their morning aerobics.)

  2. I put in the rest of the ingredients and stirred them just until they were combined and no dry flour was visible; more work than that at this stage was not necessary.

  3. Autolyse 25 minutes

  4. First set of stretch & folds (I did 100 strokes, more than my usual, to try to build up dough strength.  I wet my hands to do the S&F's so the dough doesn't stick to my fingers.)

  5. After 30 - 40 minutes, the 2nd set of S&F's was done (I did another 100 strokes.  The dough felt silky and smooth, and quite elastic (there was good gluten development.)

  6. After another 30 - 40 minutes, I did the 3rd set of S&F's (100 strokes again).

  7. Dusted some spelt flour on the work bench.

  8. 30 minutes from the last S&F's, I pre-shaped the dough by way of a minimalist S&F's so that I could pick up the whole dough easily with one hand and dump it on the floured surface (right side was against the flour, ie, seam side was up).  Cover.

  9. Rest for 15 - 20 minutes.  In the mean time, a linen lined basket was dusted with flour.

  10. Shaped the dough first by gathering the edges of the dough to the centre, turned the dough over (so that the seam side was now down), then shaped it into a very tight ball.  Placed it in the proofing basket.  Up to this point, bulk fermentation had been about 2 and a 1/2 hours.

  11. Proof for another 2 hours (and in the mean time, I planned when the oven was to be turned on for pre-heating).

  12. Bake with steam at 230C / 450 F for 20 minutes and another 25 minutes at 220 - 210 C.






It was quite a cold morning (for a spring time) when the dough was bulk fermenting and proofing.  While I was putting on a sweater to keep myself warm, it never entered into my mind that my dough might need extra flour time because of the low temperature.  It was almost as if that I wanted to behave myself by sticking to a set formula - ie, bulk fermentation 2 and 1/2 hours and proofing 2 hours.  This is the reason why formulas don't always work because there are a lot of details that are not spelled out but which are critical.  A time-table of bulk fermentation of x number of hours and proofing of x number of hours is on the basis of a certain dough temperature and ambient temperature perimeter as well as the amount of the pre-fermented flour as a percentage of the total flours, etc.  While we may know those base temperatures and percentages very well, we may not be quick enough to adjust for our scenarios, which incidentally is never exactly the same as the last one. 

Because of the low temperature, the fermentation should have been at least 1/2 to one hour longer.  The crumb could have been more open, I believe, if the yeasts in the levain had been given a longer time to work.  The effect may be more apparent in the 20% spelt levain bread below (and I would like to come back to this point again).






Despite the above, this 100% spelt levain bread has a lovely crumb flavor.  Because of the way the levain was built up and its hydration, the acidity is very well balanced with the nutty flavour of the spelt flour.  I didn't taste the bitterness, very often associated with spelt.  The sourness is less than medium strength to me.


My formula for the 20% Spelt levain bread - please refer to my post yesterday.

To adjust for the fact that I normally dip my hands in water before I stretch & fold the dough, I did 1% less hydration in this dough.  As well, I did 100 strokes at each set of S & F's, trying to build up more dough strength for the "grigne" that I was looking for (but was unable to get in that last bake).  These two being the only adjustments, see how different the profile and the crust of this bread look compared to those posted yesterday:   



When the dough was loaded onto the baking stone, it was about 3 - 4 cm in height; it rose to about 12 - 13 cm in its oven spring.  I think the 100 strokes of S&F's were doing the trick.






For signs of good fermentation, I look at the cell structure of the crumb, especially the area where there was no visible big holes - I think the parts where there are no holes tell more story about the fermentation than the area where there are a lot of holes.  In the crumb shots above: 

(1) where there are no holes (big or small), you see that the cell structure is quite dense; and

(2) where there are holes, they are not all there to register the presence of yeast fermentation, but they could possibly be there due to the way my hand stretch and folds the dough - it is possible that I had simply folded in too much air than I should have. 

The somewhat dense cell structure (where there are no holes) tells me that the fermentation probably did not happen at the optimum temperature, given the time in which the levain had to work.  From this I learned that, even with the same formula, each bread is a new situation to be assessed independently in terms of its action plans regarding dough strength and fermentation.   

It is a flavorful bread just the same with very mild acidity.  If I could get yesterday's cell structure with today's crust and grigne, it would be a near perfect world for me.



inlovewbread's picture

In addition to the baguettes I made yesterday, I also mixed up my first batch of Susan's Sourdough. I built my firm starter last week and it was ready to go for today's bake. I converted my 80% hydration starter to both a 50% firm starter and a 100% hydration starter. Instead of the 25g white whole wheat called for in the original formula, I used 25g Medium Rye.

The "Magic Bowl" method is great. I can't believe the oven spring on this little loaf! However, I made quite a few mistakes on this loaf.

First, I started it too late in the day. 6:30pm I think it was, and my dough had not risen enough until about 11pm. I was up anyway, but for future reference I would start in the afternoon.

Second, I folded in the bowl instead of doing using the "stretch and fold" technique. I think it affected the crumb- not as open as I would have liked.

Third, I switched brotforms half way through the cold ferment. This is the first time using my brotforms. I just got a small oval and a 9"round (both from KA). I thought the dough would fit in the larger round but it was actually better suited for the smaller oval. So I switched them this morning and gave it another 2 hours in the fridge and then the 2 hours out.

Fourth, I used too much rice flour in my brotform(s).

Fifth and finally, I need to practice slashing! I did not slash deep enough, especially on the sides, and I think I did too many. I'll try a different pattern next time or modify this one. i also have a batch of AB in 5 dough going so that I can practice slashing on those loaves.

Despite all these errors, I think it still turned out pretty. It tasted great too! The loaf is gone now, so I'll have to make another :-) THis is a great formula to keep though and will probably end up being my go-to for sourdough. Also I think the firm starter really made a difference in the sourness of this bread as compared to a wetter starter. I also really liked using the bowl instead of steam. I keep burning myself with the steam and am so nervous. The bowl method was much easier.

and the crumb, not as open as I would have liked...

...still delicious!

inlovewbread's picture

Today was a good day :-) I made baguettes.

I used the Pain a' l'Ancienne formula as recorded here:à-l039ancienne-according-peter-reinhart-interpretted-dmsnyder-m

The baguettes came out great and the instructions were really easy. It's surprising how little attention this dough needs. What I was struck most with in this baguette was the taste. It was literally "cool and creamy". I was reading in Reinhart's BBA and Reinhart describes a good bread as tasting cool and creamy on the palette. I really experienced that with this bread.

So, pretty good for my first stab at a baguette. Next time I will make a few changes in method:

-The formula here has a smaller quantity of dough than that in Reinhart's book. His formula would make 6 baguettes and this formula calls for dividing into 4 pieces. I believe dmsnyder made 2 of the larger pieces into pain rustiques and the other smaller 2 into baguettes. Instead of compensating for the two larger pieces and the two smaller, I just made 4 equal-sized baguettes and they ended up being too long for both my peel and my stone. There was a bit of arranging I had to do to accomodate the size. So next time I will make probably six small baguettes or 5 medium ones.

-Next time I will also not slash them. I tried two different slashing tools on 3 of the baguettes. Because of the nature of the dough, they both just drag and tore. I also did not slash properly or deep enough. The 4th baguette I left as "rustique" and it was the best looking of the bunch. Incidentally I gave that one away and didn't get a picture. Here are the others:

This is one formula that I will keep trying again and again. I do want to also try Anis' baguettes and Nury's light rye- but I could stop at this baguette and be satisfied. Which is great, because I would choose to eat a baguette over dessert any day.

Shiao-Ping's picture

I find Hamelman's Pain au Levain formula very attractive (page 158 of "Bread").  A friend asked if I could do spelt sourdough for her.  I thought I would try 20% spelt flour to start with.  Essentially I took Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour formula (page 160 of "Bread") and substituted spelt for whole-wheat flour.  But I have no confidence in my bread machine to mix and knead the dough properly, so I made two versions to compare: one by hand, my way; and the other by machine, exactly as detailed in Hamelman's book.   


First levain build - 8 to 12 hours before final levain build 

  • 5 g starter

  • 14 g bread flour

  • 9 g water


Final levain build - 12 hours before final dough mixing 

  • 130 g bread flour

  • 9 g stone-ground organic medium rye flour

  • 85 g water

  • 28 g mature culture from above (@ approx. 60% hydration)


Total levain 252 grams.  Reserve 28 grams for future use; with the balance of 224 grams, I split it by two (ie, 112 grams each), one for the dough to be made by hand, and the other for the dough to be made by my bread machine. 


Final dough - the quantity below is to be split by two as above 

  • 549 g bread flour

  • 37 g stone-ground organic medium rye flour

  • 181 g organic spelt flour (of which 1/2 is wholemeal spelt flour)

  • 532 g water

  • 17 g salt

  • 224 g of levain from above


Total weight 1.54 kg to be split into two of 770 grams each; dough hydration 68%




Major differences in the two methods are as follows:

(1) Autolyse:  With the hand mixing version, I autolyse all ingredients, whereas with the other version, salt and levain are not mixed in until after the autolyse. 

(2) The levain: In Hamelman's machine version, the levain is cut up in chunks and spread on top of the dough to mix. With my hand version, I diluted the levain thoroughly with the formula water before adding the flours in to mix.  As a result, the levain in the hand version acts more vigorously.   This means that fermentation happens faster in the hand version (see below).

(3) Fermentation:  Temperature of both of the doughs was roughly 76F as recommended by Hamelman in his book.  Bulk fermentation was 2 and a 1/2 hours and proofing was 2 hours.  An interesting thing was that at the end of this fermentation time, I felt the two doughs with my finger - the one that was mixed and kneaded by bread machine felt just right, however, the hand version dough felt slightly over-proofed, very bubbly, gassy and fragile.

(4) Baking:  I baked the hand version dough first (and placed the other into the refrigerator to wait for its turn).  

(5) Scoring:  My scoring for the hand version dough was shocking; the other one was easier for me as it was in the refrigerator for half an hour.






It is very obvious that that the hand version pain au levain has a more open crumb.  Hamelman says of Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour that "the bread has a clean flavor and a balanced acidity" this would apply to the two Pains au levain here with 20% Spelt as well.  The flavour is really lovely.


It is very easy to over-ferment the dough.  If dough temperature is higher or lower than the recommended 76F (24.5F) due to ambient temperature, fermentation time should be adjusted.



txfarmer's picture

Hi all, I have been lurking, occasionally posting here for a while now, finally decide to bite the bullet and start my blog to make here "home". I was born in China, moved to North America after high school, now working and living in Dallas TX with my husband and our dog. About a year ago I picked up baking, at first just to recreate some of my favorite Asian style desserts, pretty quickly though I started making bread, and it's been an "obsession" ever since. My favorite baking book is Hameman's "Bread", love BBA too which is why I am a part of the BBA challenge. Until now I have been mostly following recipes, with some minor changes here and there. Recently I made several five grain breads and loved their taste. Also made Anis baguette and loved how easy that schedule fit into my busy work week - 2 to 3 hours a night is the most I have on a weekday night. I then decide to combine the two to make a "5 grain weekday bread" so we can have fresh bread for after work! Here's the formula, which is basically Anis's yeast percentage and timing, with everything else modified:

5 Grain Weekday Bread

Bread flour: 80%

Whole wheat/whole rye/or a combo of the two: 20%

5 grain mix (I used flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, wheat bran, and steel cut oats this time): 20%

salt: 2.2% (higher than Anis formula due to the grain mix)

water: 80% (since bread flour, WW flour, and grain mix all absorb more water than the AP flour in Anis formula, I increased the water. It didn't feel wet at all, I think I could've added even more water.)

First night

1.Mix everything, autolyse for 30 minutes, mix in my KA at first speed for 1 minute then 2nd speed for 2 minute for some basic gluten developement, put in bowl to fermentate.

2.fermentate for 1.5 hours total, at every 30 minutes stretch and fold. I didn't have to do the S&F in the bowl, I could S&F on the counter totally fine.

3.Put back into the bowl and put in the fridge (slightly lower than 40F) for 22 hours.

4.Soak the grain in equal amount of water from the total formula.

Second night

5.Take the dough out, it has rised a little, and full of bubbles. Cut into 2 parts, each about 1lb. Preshape and relax for 45 minutes.

6.Shape into boules and put in proofing baskets for 40 minutes.

7.Score and put into 550F oven with usual steaming method (I use a cast iron pan with lava rocks, and pour water into it). Lower the oven temperature to 460, bake for 30 minutes. At 15 minutes, take out the cast iron pan.


As you can see, there's massive oven spring. I got a bit "creative" with the scoring, which is why one of the little boule is wearing a "hat".

Pretty happy with the taste too, crunch crust with chewy crumb, I can taste the grains:

I may add some of my 100% starter to the mix next time just to get that sourdough flavor I love, but I will still keep the yeast since it's a "weekday bread" and I need it to fermentate and proof reliably on schedule.

I am pretty happy with my first attempt to create my own formula, this really opens up a lot of possibilities - I can throw in a lot of flavor combos that I like. One thing I am curious about is whether the relatively closed crumb is due to the grains, or my handling, or maybe it needs more water?



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