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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Extraordinaire - converted to sourdough

This is the recipe I love from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker Apprentice. He stated that this bread (yeasted-version) made the best toast in the world. Well, I have to say so too. It is yummiest bread I had for toast so far.

The bread has 16% grains which contribute to the sweetness and fantastic aroma. The bread is very moist from many grains that hold the moisture and contribute to the natural sweetness. 

The recipe also contains brown rice that can be substituted by white rice or wild rice, but brown rice seems to blend in the best. I used white rice as I had some left over frozen from few weeks ago.

The original recipe is a straight dough, i.e. using commercial yeast without any pre-ferment flour. I always wanted to try converting a commercial yeasted bread into sourdough and see what the taste difference it would be. As a relatively novice bread baker, I also wanted to test my baker percentage calculation.

The commercial yeast in original recipe is replaced by sourdough starter in liquid levain form. The original recipe is for 2-pound loaf, which means I need to use the baker's math to calculate recipe for desired final weight, 3.5+ pounds for two large loaves. It was fun using the baker's math. I felt like yelling 'bingo' when I finished the calculation.

I find Peter Reinhart's original recipe is very sticky, almost too sticky to work with.  So, I reduced the hydration to 74%, which is still rather wet to work with. I also substitute 20% of bread flour with whole wheat flour. The original recipe also has honey and brown sugar that I also reduced the amount of both by half as the sourdough version would be naturally sweet by long fermentation and grain soaker.

I just realised that I pretty much changed most of the Reinhart formula. Basically, the ingredients remain the same, but most of the ingredient amounts were changed.

What is the result?, you might ask, after the convertion to sourdough and many ingredient changes. Well, the flavour profile changes substantially which, I believe, is resulted from using sourdough starter. It introduces acidity and tang into the bread which is non-existent in the original version. The sourdough version also has tender and moist crumbs. It is not as sweet as the original. Do I like it enough to do it again? Yes, this recipe is a keeper.

Here is the recipe for Multigrain Extraordinaire Sourdough -
(adapted from Multigrain Extraordinaire in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker Apprentice)

Make 2 large loaves

Recipe note:

1. The dough was retarded overnight in the fridge
2. Two folds, during 2 hours and a half fermentation


Liquid Levain
Bread Flour  108 g
Water  135 g
Mature Culture   28 g

Polenta  62 g
Rolled oats  47 g
Wheat brans  16 g
Water, room temperature 125 g

Final dough
Soaker 250 g
Levain build (all less 2 T) 248 g
Bread flour 549 g
Whole wheat flour 185 g
Brown Sugar  17 g
Salt  17 g
Cooked rice  59 g
Honey  34 g
Milk  85 g
Water, room temperature 364 g

Baker's Percentage
Rolled oats5.6%
Wheat brans1.9%
Bread flour78.0%
Whole Wheat Flour22.0%
Brown sugar2.0%
Cooked rice7.0%

1. Liquid levain: Make the final build 12-16 hours before the final mix and leave it in a convered container at room temperature.

2.  Soaker: Make the soaker when making liquid levain build (12-16 hours before the final mix) and leave in covered container at room temperature.

3. Mixing:  Add all ingredients, except salt, into a large mixing bowl. Mix until all flour is hydrated and it forms a ball.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or bag. Autolyse for 30-60 minutes. Return to mixing after autolyse, sprinkle salt all over the dough,  if knead by hand, knead for 15-30 minutes and adjust water and flour as neccessary. If using mixer, mix on the first speed for 3 mins, followed by second speed for further 3-4 mins. Knead until the dough achieve a moderate gluten development.

 4. Bulk fermentation: in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or bag for 2.5 hours or until double in size

5. Folding: Twice, at 50 minutes interval

 6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Have a bench rest for 10-15 mins to ensure the gluten is relaxed before shaping. Shape into batard or boule (oval or round loaves).

 7. Final fermentation: I retard my loaves in the fridge at this stage, and take it out the next morning for baking. It needs to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to take off the chill, while you preheat the oven. Or you can ferment for 1.5-2 hours at room temperature and continue with the baking without retardation.

8. Baking: with normal steam, 235C (460F) for 40-50 mins. Lower the oven temp to 220C (430F)  after 15 mins to prevent overbrowning.

This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.


  1. This looks like a really nice tweaked version of Reinhart's recipe, Sue. In fact, I've promoted it up to a priority position in my "must-bake" list! Looking forward to trying it, and thanks for the post.


  2. Thank you.

    If you like multigrain bread, you'll love this bread:)


  3. Awesome looking loaves. I must try them. So a regular sourdough starter make into a levain would be fine, you think? Also, wheat bran ... available in natural groceries? Sounds different from wheat germ.

  4. Thank you Roger.

    I believe the regular SD starter should be fine. I used white starter, which is nornally fed at 2:1:1 (starter:flour:water) and used that starter (mature culture)to make a liquid levain.

    I got my wheat bran from local supermarket, in the health food section. They were also stocked around the oats/breakfast area.

    Wheat bran is the flaky particles in the whole wheat flour, I think it comes from the outer wheat kernel whereas wheat germ comes from inside the kernel. To be honest, I never used wheat germ, so I don't know much about them.

    Peter Reinhart suggested that if you can't find wheat bran, you can sift the whole wheat flour to get the brans. The small flakes that won't go through sieve will become your wheat bran, and you can use the sifted-through flour for other bread making.

    Enjoy the bake!