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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wheaty Sourdough with cracked wheat, wheat berries and wheat germ

I picked up a bag of bulgur and wheat berries from the grocer few weeks ago and plan to make multigrain bread from it.

Seeing wheat berries somehow made me feel connected to the food source. It was also interesting to see that most grain seeds looks almost identical, to name a few, wheat, rice, barley, etc.

I wanted to make bread with many forms of wheat in it. Wheat products I got in my pantry were wheat berries, wheat germs, bulgur, whole wheat flour, wheat brans (that I didn’t use in this bread). Most of them were included in this recipe. Yes, you’ve got that right, another baking week with toasted wheat germ!

I made bread with bulgur before sometimes ago by soaking them in boiling hot water, which became too mushy in the bread. This time, I soaked bulgur and wheat berries together in lukewarm water as a way to compromise and to have soft enough wheat berries but not too mushy bulgur. It worked out quite well. The wheat berries were soft yet had bite texture to them. Bulgar was disappeared into the bread, texture-wise. Its taste, however, was rather pronounced. It added nutty sweet flavour to the bread.

I also added a little bit of honey into the recipe to lift the wheat flavour. The bread was lovely and moist. It had relatively open crumbs even with over 20% grains in it.

Recipe note:
I toasted wheat germs in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until it was golden brown and very aromatic. Make sure to keep tossing and turning the pan to ensure even browning and prevent burning.

The dough felt slightly stiff at first because of  high percentage of wheat berries and bulgur. However, after an hour or so of bulk fermentation, the dough became supple and soft.

I kneaded the dough by hand and it took me less than 10 minutes to have a medium gluten development.

20% of total flour was in starter. The starter was at 100% hydration (equal amount of flour and water in the starter). It was built in three stages with the feeding 10 – 12 hours in between.

Wheatey Sourdough Bread Recipe
makes 2 large loaves or 3 medium loaves



Wheat Berries 100 g
Bulgur (cracked wheat) 100 g
Water (warm) 270 g

Final dough

Bread flour 621g
Whole wheat flour 143 g
Wheat germ, toasted 25 g
Water 323 g
Honey 19 g
Salt 19 g
Soaker 470 g (all of the above)
Sourdough Starter 380 g (active starter at 100% hydration (190 g bread flour and 190 g water), fed twice before the final mixing)

Overall formula

Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
811 g
Whole wheat flour
143 g
Wheat berry
100 g
100 g
Wheat germ
25 g
783 g
19 g
19 g
2 kg


Preparing soaker: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours (this can be done at the same time during the last feeding of sourdough starter).   

Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, except salt.  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 3 – 4 minutes, until a medium gluten development is achieved (the dough can be stretched gently, stay in piece and doesn’t tear).

I kneaded the dough by hand and it took around 10 minutes to get medium gluten development.

Bulk fermentation: - Leave the dough in a lightly oiled container and cover the bowl with plastic bag or wrap for 2.5 hour until doubled in size. Do stretch-and-fold twice at 50 and 100 minutes (with 50 minutes interval).
Divide the doughs into two or three equal portions. Pre-shape the doughs into rounds and let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes under a tea towel.

Shape the doughs into oblong (batard) or boule (round) and place into proofing baskets/bowls seam side up. Slip the proofing basket into a large plastic bag. Retard the dough in the fridge overnight or proof at room temperature for further 2 hours or until it is almost 1.5 times in size.

Note: I retard the dough at 10 C for 7 hours.

Baking: Preheat the oven to the highest temperature and prepare the oven steaming.

Bake at 235C for 15 minute with steam. Reduce the temperature to 225C and bake for further 25 – 30 minutes until the loaves are well brown.

I usually leave the loaves to dry off in the off-oven with the door slightly open for 5-10 minutes. This helps the crust to brown up a little more and stay crisp for longer.

Submitting this post to YeastSpotting.

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