The Fresh Loaf

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8 Grain Seeded Levain

Danni3ll3's picture

8 Grain Seeded Levain

Yes, I know it is supposed to be a 5 grain levain but I wanted to add a variety of grains and seeds, and since we are pretty flexible with the rules, I used 8 grains (counting flax and oats as grains) and 2 types of seeds. I also adjusted the hydration upwards to be able to mix the flour, water, Levain part of the dough and then add the seed soaker at the end of the mixing time in a KitchenAid mixer. I also always make a bit more levain due to  loss from being stuck to the walls of the container so that’s why I am starting with 70 g rather than 45. To account for this extra starter, I let it rise on the counter (a cool 70 F) for only 11 hours rather than the 12-16 as stated in the original recipe. This recipe is scaled to make three 875 g loaves before baking. 




Makes 3 loaves



100 g cracked rye berries (coarsely mill 100 g of rye berries)

86 g raw sunflower seeds

86 g old fashioned oats (large flake)

25 g black sesame seeds

75 g flax seeds (freshly ground)

7 g salt

448 g boiling water



70 g starter (2 stage refreshment procedure in recipe)

275 g strong baker’s unbleached flour

345 g filtered water



550 g strong baker’s unbleached flour

50 g high extraction Spelt flour (mill and sift 60 g of Spelt berries)

50 g high extraction Kamut flour (mill and sift 60 g of Kamut berries)

50 g high extraction Einkorn flour (mill and sift 60 g of Einkorn berries)

50 g high extraction Rye flour (mill and sift 60 g of Rye berries)

77 g high extraction Durum flour (mill and sift 90 g of Durum berries)

30 g plain yogurt from the local dairy

330 g filtered water

21 g Pink Himalayan salt


Two days before:

  1. Coarsely mill the rye berries to crack them. 
  2. To the rye, add the sunflower seeds, the oats and the black sesame seeds. Toast in a 350 F oven or in a dry frying pan until lightly golden and fragrant.
  3. Grind the flax seeds in a “Bullet” or coffee grinder and add to the toasted seeds. Cover and set aside. 
  4. Mill, sift, and measure out the flours from all the grains needed for the dough. Save the bran for dusting the bannetons and for feeding the starter if you wish. Place the sifted flours in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Reserve. (This step can also be done the day before if you wish. I used some of the leftover high extraction flour and the bran to refresh my starter so I milled the flour two days ahead).
  5. Before bed, take 10 g of your refrigerated starter and refresh it with 10 g of filtered water and 10 g of bran/leftover milled flour, and let it rise overnight.

The morning of the day before:

  1. Feed 20 g of filtered water and 20 g of bran/left over milled flour, to your levain and let rise throughout the day.

The evening the day before:

  1. To the toasted seeds, add the salt and the boiling water. Stir, cover and let cool overnight.
  2. Eleven hours before the the final mixing of the dough, add the 275 g of strong baker’s unbleached flour and the 345 g of water to the levain and keep covered at room temperature (70 F).

Dough making day:

  1. Place the dough water in the bottom of a mixing bowl, add the reserved flours, the yogurt and 620 g of the levain. Using a stand mixer, mix on the lowest speed until you have a shaggy dough with no dry flour. Let sit for one hour.
  2. Add the 21 g of pink salt to the dough and mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Next time, I think I would add an extra 40-50 grams of water. This is not a slack dough!
  3. Add the seed soaker and mix another minute or two on speed 2 until all the seeds are evenly distributed.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a tub. Continue bulk fermentation with 4 sets of stretches and folds 30 minutes apart. 
  5. Place in the fridge for 4-5 hours. I left mine for 5 hours in a 38F fridge. The dough rose about 30%. 
  6. Pour the dough out onto a bare counter and divide into 3 loaves of about 875 g. Lightly flour the top of the portions and gently round into boules using a dough scraper. Let rest one hour on the counter. 
  7. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice right boule.
  8. Sprinkle a mix of rice and AP flour in the bannetons. Then sprinkle with bran and extra seeds  if you wish. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 9-10 hours.


  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475 with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 475 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 17 -20 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.


I think my loaves might have been slightly underproofed since I got pretty explosive oven spring. 


DanAyo's picture

Beautiful Breads!

Thanks for taking the time to photograpgh and document so thoroughly. I’m sure others will benefit from your efforts.

Thanks, Danni!


I hope the recipients of your donated bread have not become complacent with your offerings.Your breads are very special and should be appreciated much more than mere food. These are artful, nutritious, “old school”, a gift from the heart, and eatable love in a slice. 

God Bless you!

Danni3ll3's picture

Thank you for your words. ?

Danni3ll3's picture

It was probably that extra hour and a half in the fridge. 

hreik's picture

They look amazing.  The taste cannot be beat.


Filomatic's picture

I love seeing your process. Such fine work!

pmccool's picture

These stand out even when compared to your usual stellar output. 


Danni3ll3's picture

DesigningWoman's picture


Another beautiful bake!

Elsie_iu's picture

It got to have tons of textures too!

dabrownman's picture

and it did not disappoint!  That is some nice bread all the way around.  Love everything about it except not having some to munch on for breakfast toast!  Very nice indeed and happy baking Danni