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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lastest experiment with whole wheat multigrain sourdough

I was intrigued by Peter Reinhart's 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf from Whole Grains Bread cookbook I made couple of weeks ago (details are in my blog) on how soft and open the crumb was for 100% whole wheat bread. I wanted to try adapting Peter Reinhart's WW flour handling into the mutigrain whole wheat sourdough that I made often and see what outcome the WW flour soaker will deliver to the bread that I already know the taste and texture profile.

Whole wheat multigrain sourdough from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook is one of my (and S') all-time favourite. I make it every few weeks. The bread tastes amazingly sweet for just a small amount of honey in it. It has about 50% whole wheat flour. The recipe opens for any grain-mix that  you might like. My grain mix are millet, oats, pearl barley, polenta and flaxseed. Now, come to think about it, I think polenta could also contribute to the sweetness of the loaf.

Well, my curiosity keeps bugging me. I had to try experimenting this. I need to know once and for all:)

My plan was to follow Hamelman's recipe and method with an addition of whole wheat flour soaker. I made the whole wheat flour soaker at the same time I made liquid-levain and grain soaker.

The result? I find that the crumb is much softer and the bread tastes slightly sweeter than it was before. I also think that the WW flour soaker helps the flour to absorb the water better. The dough is much looser and wetter than usual comparing to my previous bakes. I am quite happy with the soaker method and I think I will include it in my future whole-wheat related bake.

Whole wheat multigrain sourdough
make two 800g-loaves

Liquid levain
bread flour 92 g
water 133 ml
mature sourdough culture 20 g

Grain Soaker
(you can use any grain-mix that you like, mine is below)
millet 28 g
oats 28 g
barley 28 g
flaxseeds 28 g
polenta 28 g
hot water 187 ml

Whole wheat flour soaker
whole wheat flour 386g
water 159 ml
milk 30 ml

Final dough
bread flour 295g
water 130ml
salt 1 tablespoon
yeast 3/4 teaspoon
honey 26g
liquid levain   all of the above
grain soaker   all of the above
whole wheat soaker    all of the above

Liquid levain -Mix all the ingredients until combined 12-16 hours before making the final dough. Leave it in covered container at room temperature.

Grain soaker - mix the grains together and pour the boiling water over the grain mixture. Stir to combine and leave it in a covered container at room temperature (I made this at the same time I made the levain).

Whole wheat flour soaker - mix all ingredients together until all combined. Leave it at room temperature (I also made this at the same time of levain and grain soaker)

Final dough - Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mixing on the first speed for 3 mins or 5-10 minutes by hand. Adding more flour or water, if need to, to achieve a sticky and loose dough consistency.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or bag and leave it to autolyse for 30-60 mins.

Return to kneading the dough by the mixer at second speed for further 3 mins or 15-25 mins by hand. The dough should have a moderate gluten development. The dough temperature should be around 76F.

"the first time since I started making bread that I can achieve the dough temperature around 76F without adjusting water temperature. Spring is finally here."

Bulk fermentation for 2 hours. Do one stretch and fold after 1 hour.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into batards or boule.

Proof at room temperature for a further 1-2 hours until almost double in size or retard the dough in the fridge overnight.

If you retard your dough in the fridge, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours while you preheat your oven (this is what I usually do on Saturday morning).

"before and after the proofing"

Bake with normal steam at 235c (460F) for 40  to 45 mins. Rotate the tray half way through the bake. The oven temperature can also be lower 225c (440F) if the loaves are browned too quickly.

You can almost tell when the bread is ready. They'll send a sweet aroma all over the kitchen. It is even more so for this bread. It has a sweet honey aroma that I wish my photos can deliver that to you.

"it's not often I got my scoring right. This time, I did...very happy with the ear:)"

"relatively open crumbs for a high-percentage whole wheat sourdough"

"a yummy lunch with avocado spread"

This bread has always been my favorite and the method using WW flour soaker takes it a step further and make me enjoy the bread even more. This is a wholesome bread with lots of nutritients, fibre and lots of flavours at the same time. I wish you'll give this recipe a go...and love it as I do.

I also submit this post to YeastSpotting at Wild Yeast Blog.


  1. Very nice bread ... Came here through yeast spotting and this bread i just loved to look at.
    I like making my daily bread once a week and healthy multi grain bread is a first choice ... though i have never experimented with sourdough .
    Nice blog !!!

  2. Thank you. I love multigrain bread too, both yeasted and sourdough are nice. They got the nice texture and taste from the grains.