Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whole-Wheat Multigrain (Mellow Bakers: March)

Determined to strengthen and give Lucky (my sourdough culture) more practice, I wanted to try one more of the mellow bakers March breads before March ended.  The very next recipe in Hamelman's Bread, on page 169, is the recipe for Whole-Wheat Multigrain.  One of my husband's favorite breads is Peter Reinhart's, Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire from Bread Baker's Apprentice, so this Hamelman recipe looked promising.

I cut the recipe in half this time and the night before the bake, I prepared my liquid levain build with 1 1/2 Tbsp of culture, 1.9 oz of bread flour and 2.4 oz of water.  At the same time I also made the soaker.  Hamleman doesn't tell exactly what grains to use, but gives the weight as 2.9 oz or 82 g for half the recipe.  I chose to use 20 g of cracked wheat, 42 g of rolled oats, and 20 g of coarse cornmeal (Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits).  I like to use the coarse cornmeal in breads because of the teeny golden nuggets deposited throughout the crumb, and the subtle sweetness it lends to the bread.  Since I used the cracked wheat (a harder grain), I used boiling water to cover the grains as opposed to room temp water.

After ~ 14 1/2 hours my liquid levain appeared to be ready.  Definitely showed more signs of activity than the levain from last week.  These looked like the tiny soap bubbles, described by Hamelman, that should cover most of the surface:
and my soaker was ready to go
I added all of the ingredients to my mixing bowl, remembering to put 1 1/2 Tbps of the levain back into my original sourdough culture, and mixed on first speed for 3 minutes.  I added at least several more tablespoons of water to the dough as it seemed dry and the dough kept soaking it up.  I finally stopped though, and called it good.  I mixed the dough on second speed maybe 4 minutes.  I had to keep stopping the mixer to push the dough down off the hook, so it's kind of hard to keep track of the actual mixing time when doing that. 

As usual my sous chef, Tucker, was plopped on the rug right behind me in case he was needed for tasting or to catch some stray bit of ingredient that happened to fall his way.
I put my dough into a lightly greased bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and off to the store I went in search of a sharp tomato knife or a straight razor blade.  I was back in an hour to fold the dough.  I figured since the house was cool (outside temps back into the mid 40's) another hour of fermentation would be beneficial.

I shaped the dough into a batard, thinking I might use this bread for sandwiches and here it is ready to go into the oven:

Once again, I wasn't happy with how the scoring went.  I imagine this is an area that baker's struggle with all the time, trying to get this right.  I was only able to find an inexpensive tomato knife at the store, and as I didn't think it was very sharp, its going to be returned.  I wish I could find just a plain old-fashioned straight razor blade, but henceforth my search hasn't turned one up.

I had no gaping holes open up from the bottom of the loaf and my interior crumb structure didn't look too bad this time.  There's an occasional "bite" from a bit of cracked wheat in the bread, you can see golden cornmeal flecks in the slices and it tastes smooth and tangy.

Overall I was very pleased with my second attempt at sourdough bread.  Hopefully warmer weather will be back soon and April will bring lots more bread!!!

Thank you for visiting my blog this time 'round and stop by Mellow Bakers to see what others have made!


  1. It looks beautiful! This is one of my favorite breads from Bread so far. =) I had NO success with scoring until I finally found straight razor blades...I found them at Walgreens...have you checked there? They may not have been with the normal shaving razors, so ask..... They have made scoring SO much easier (not that I can't still work on it, but...).

  2. I am really impressed with this one! Lovely even crumb even with the soaker. And I love the shape, it's just gorgeous! Maybe I will go down to the kitchen and see if I can have a go. You've inspired me :)

  3. Your's turned out so much nicer than mine did! Nice shaping, made a nice high loaf, and your crumb is really nice! I just had a slice of mine with butter on it, and it does have a nice flavor to it!

  4. Thank you Abby! I found some at Walgreen's. Bet the clerk was wondering what I was buying them for.