The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Hamelman 5 Grain Levain

Filomatic's picture

Hamelman 5 Grain Levain

It seems like forever since I baked bread that wasn't rye.  This bake had the most explosive oven rise I have ever had, and I'm not sure why.  These were shaped oval, but almost grew round.  I used 50-50 Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft and 85 Extraction Wheat, both malted.  I'm not sure what the equivalent percentage WW in this recipe would be.  The recipe is 75-25 bread flour to WW, so my experiment seemed low risk.

In place of the cracked rye called for in this recipe I used an old rye bread soaker, now a third generation, since the old bread I used itself had included an old rye bread soaker.  I also upped the hydration during the mix by almost a cup.  The dough was sticky, but after working with rye the last couple months, handling seemed easy by comparison.  The Central Milling flour also has beautiful extensibility.

I regret taking the loaf on the left out too soon, but it had reached 209F.  The one on the right required about 10 extra minutes to get to temperature, thankfully.  I used only natural leaven and cold retarded the shaped loaves about 20 hours, baking straight from the fridge on stone.


leslieruf's picture

I bet they taste great

Happy baking


dabrownman's picture

just as tasty too. Looking grand!  Well done and happy baking 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Looks delicious and what a fine crumb.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Those are really lovely, and I would probably eat a whole loaf in a day if I had one! It's amazing how one can imagine the taste of a bread without being able to even smell it, based just on a picture. :)

hreik's picture

favorites of his.  And yours looks gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!


Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Those are gorgeous. If they taste half as good as they look they'll be phenomenal.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one imaging how good that would be for a night lunch right about now.

Nice job!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I'm especially interested how the rye bread soaker tastes like in this kind of bread.

Filomatic's picture

It's unclear to me how much flavor or texture the old bread contributed this time, in part because of so many sunflower and flax seeds.  So that probably means not a lot.  It was clearly noticeable in the prior loaf, in large part because the bread was toasted.  That flavor was a deep, long finish.  I should have toasted this one, but I got lazy.

Ru007's picture

You got great oven spring and a beautiful crumb. 

Very nice bake.

Well done.

dmsnyder's picture

My bake of this bread always turns out a lot darker though.

I get a more exuberant oven spring with this formula than any other I bake. Every time. I really don't know why. Maybe it's something in the oats. Now, if it had spinach, I'd call it "the Popeye effect."

Happy baking!


Filomatic's picture

Interesting.  I was surprised how long it took to darken, especially considering my use of malted flour.  Perhaps the added hydration made a significant difference.  Also odd was how one loaf took much longer to bake.  I rotated them halfway through.  My rolled grains were a combo of oats, barley, wheat, and rye.

dmsnyder's picture

The variables that most often result in a pale crust are 1) Low baking temperature, 2) Short bake and 3) Over-fermentation (leading to free sugar depletion.) Looking at your crumb and the oven spring, over-fermentaion is very unlikely. I would guess your oven temperature was too low. Have you checked it with an oven thermometer?


Filomatic's picture

Well, my loaves tend, if anything, to need to come out early, and I used the same setting as always.  So my guess is still that this recipe has more buik, and my upping the hydration probably kept it moist longer, which slowed the browning.  To wit, the big rise did not occur until about 1/2 hour of baking, which is longer than usual.  I refrigerated directly after shaping, and our fridge is pretty cool, although the total retard was close to 22 hours.

A couple years ago we had a guy come to "calibrate" our oven.  He told us that for gas ovens anything within 25 degrees was considered accurate.  This was a shock, since I was baking cakes then and assumed I could get much more precision than that.

He also said that without getting quite expensive, professional equipment, you will not get an accurate temperature reading.  It turned out that there was nothing wrong with the oven temperature.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Great bake on this favourite bread of mine...always nice to see this one get done...and done well.  Enjoy it!