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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Multigrain Pan Bread -the new favorite bread

After last week’s super crusty bread, we decided to give our jaw a break with pan bread this week. Don’t get me wrong. I love crusty artisan bread but from time to time, you can’t help craving softer pan bread.

I’ve got Michel Suas’s Advance Bread and Pastry cookbook for a while now but haven’t made many things from it. So far, I have only made wholewheat croissant. I think I’m addicted to buying cookbooks. I bought too many books and don’t have enough time to read or use them. And still, I keep on buying more.

Flipping through Suas’s book, I came across Multigrain Pan Bread. Instantly, I was attracted to it for two reasons, multigrain and pan bread. I love multigrain bread for its flavour and texture (and also the health benefits). The recipe has interesting technique and flour mixture.  It used both pre-ferment (with yeast) and stiff-sourdough starter in the recipe. Both are at the same hydration as the final dough, which was very practical and easier to work with. 

I also like Suas’ approach on preparing soaker. The amount of water that go into the soaker was just enough and fully absorbed into the grains & seeds. Soaker was then incorporated into the dough when gluten was developed. The soaker didn’t introduce much liquid, if any, to the dough. I found it worked better for me comparing to:

-         Grain soaker with lots of water that needs to be mixed with other ingredients at the beginning of the kneading. This method is a bit of challenge for kneading by hand and to achieve a proper gluten development.

-         Grain soaker that needs to be drained and incorporated into the dough after the gluten has developed.  In my opinion, one can never totally drain the water out of soaker. As a result, you incorporate some more liquid into the already developed dough, which could be a bit of a challenge when kneading by hand. Not to mention trying to incorporate seeds and grain into the already-developed dough.

Another interesting thing with the recipe was that it used 5 different flours in the formula; bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, semolina flour and rice flour. I also included soy flour in the formula as well, so the bread ended up with six types of flour. I never baked with rice flour before and I wasn’t sure what the effect it would deliver. I was also curious to find out the end product of this different flour mixture.

Grain mixture in the formula was typical flaxseeds, sesame seeds, oats and sunflower seeds. I replaced sesame seeds with cooked rice. I can’t help comparing this recipe to Peter Reinhart’s multigrain extraordinaire. This recipe produced equally nice and tastiest bread with less honey and sugar (it has no sugar at all in this recipe comparing to 2% in PR’s). Using pre-ferment and sourdough starter was a clever way to enhance the bread flavour (in addition to grain and seeds) without any additional sugar. I wasn’t sure if the mixture of the flour also played the part in the exceptional flavour of this bread.

I knead the dough really well to get extreme full gluten development in order to achieve soft bread texture. I am also happy to report that it is totally doable to achieve this level of gluten development by hand-kneading (it took me around 20 – 25 minutes and it was a good workout.

This is great tasting and healthy (at least, I’d like to think so) bread. The bread was soft and delicious. There could be many factors contributing to such a wonderful flavour that it was hard to pinpoint which. It could be the clever techniques of using preferment and sourdough starter. It could be the mixed seeds and grains. Or it could be the mixture of the flour. One thing I know is that this recipe will be my go-to panned multigrain bread from now on.

I adjusted Suas’s recipe to suit the size of my bread pan (L27 x W10.5 x D10 cm).

The bottom of the bread was a little soft after I took the bread out of the tin. I put it (without pan) on the baking stone (after the oven was off) for another 5 minutes to crisp it up and it worked well.

Grain soaker was only incorporated after the strong gluten was developed.

Multigrain Pan Bread
Adapted from Michel Suas’ Advance Bread and Pastry

make 1 large loaf


Bread flour 124 g
Water 78 g
Salt 4 g
Yeast 1/8 teaspoon

Stiff-levain built
Bread flour 24 g
Whole wheat flour 24 g
Water 33 g
Sourdough starter (stiff) 20 g

Grain soaker
Flax seeds 29 g
Sunflower seeds 29 g
Cooked rice 29 g
Rolled oats 43 g
Water (room temperature) 76 g

Final Dough
Bread flour 206 g
Whole wheat flour 67 g
Rye flour 33 g
Semolina flour 19 g
Rice flour 19 g
Soy flour 19 g
Water 235 g
Salt 10 g
Yeast 5 g
Honey 19 g
Vegetable oil 19 g
Stiff-levain built 101 g (all of above)
Pre-fermented dough 277 g (all of above)
Grain soaker  206 g (all of above)

Overall Formula
Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
397 g
Whole wheat flour
91 g
Rye flour
33 g
Semolina flour
19 g
Rice flour
19 g
Soy flour
19 g
449 g
14 g
5.5 g
19 g
19 g
29 g
Sunflower seeds
29 g
Cooked rice
29 g
Rolled oats
43 g
1.21 kg

Preparing pre-ferment – mix all the ingredients together until a dough ball is formed. Leave to ferment at room temperature for one hour. After that, keep refrigerate until needed.

Preparing levain built – mix all ingredients together until incorporated. Leave in a covered container for 8 – 12 hours.

Preparing soaker – mix all ingredients together and leave in a covered container at room temperature, approximately 8 hours before final mixing (I usually prepare the soaker at the same time of levain built).

Mixing final dough: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, except salt and grain soaker.  Mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Leave it to autolyze in a bowl covered with plastic bag or wrap for 15 - 30 minutes. Desired dough temperature 24C (76F).

Sprinkle salt over the dough surface and mix on the first speed for 3 minutes. Continue mixing on second speed for further 8 – 10 minutes, until a very strong gluten development is achieved (the dough can be stretched, without tearing, and a thin transparent membrane can be seen).

I kneaded the dough by hand and it took around 20 - 25 minutes to achieve this gluten development. The purpose of this intensive kneading is soft texture bread.

Incorporating grain soaker into the dough by using low speed on electric mixer or by hand.

Bulk fermentation: - Leave the dough in a lightly oiled container and cover the bowl with plastic bag or wrap for 1.5 hour or until doubled in size (at 27C). This will be longer if your room temp was lower.

Shape the dough into sandwich bread and place into bread tin.

Final proofing – proof for 1 hour at 27C or until it is about 1.5 time in size.

Baking – bake at 195 C for 40 minutes or until the loaf is well browned. Turn the pan half way through the bake for even browning.

Submitting this post to YeastSpotting.


  1. hi Sue,

    I think kneading is a good workout too, it should be it's the only exercise I do :D

    This bread sounds wonderful it has everything in it, even rice :)


  2. Thanks ceren.

    I didn't feel so bad missing my power walk when I had a good work out from kneading.

  3. A loaf of healthy bread. Your bread has a very nice texture and I am sure it taste very good.

  4. Thank you for the kind word. Indeed, it tasted really good. It almost converted us to the pan bread forever:)

  5. havent tried bread with sourdough..maybe due to the term "sour", do they actually taste a little sour or yeasty? i sound so dumb asking this question. and what a coincidence, i was trying to look for multigrain yesterday for my bread. The loaf looks really good! btw, just to chk with you..from your blog in my dashboard, it seems not to be able to pull out your lastest's still showing orange macarons which was posted 4 months back. i just followed you 2 days you know why this happened?

  6. Hi Lena

    Sourdough bread doesn't necessary and always equal bread with sour taste. I guess the name can be misleading. Many people, like yourself, have this perception.

    Sour taste is resulted from the acidity from the starter, which you can manipulate to use the sourdough starter before it reaches that acidic state. I, personally, find bread with a little bit of tang is pleasant and gives depth to the flavor. The beauty with sourdough also its natural flavour (lots of it) derived from long fermentation.

    Thanks for letting me know about the feedburner too. I'm new to blogging and this technology and had no idea that my blog was fed automatically (and so automatically lately). I think I figured it out through blog forum and signing onto Feed Burner web much to learn in the blogging world:)

  7. Sue, great post, as allways! I like the crumb of this bread, I bet it taste delicious, too. :) nice gluten developement, too.

  8. Thanks Codruta:)

    Indeed, it was delicious, it has become one of my most loved bread, full of flavor. I also think giving the dough extreme full gluten development enhance its softness and works well with the pan bread.