Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

Hamelman's Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

Hamelman's Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

BBD#20 – Multigrain Breads hosted by Tangerine’s Kitchen

Update: the roundup has been posted!

My new favourite multigrain!

I’m not kidding – this is really good bread. The recipe may look complicated but each component can be assembled on a relatively flexible schedule, and you can play around with different combinations of grains in the soaker. I was impressed by how well the loaves kept and tasted – the hearty slices are especially good toasted. The nutty flavour of the whole wheat blends nicely with the other grains, making this recipe a definite keeper.

Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

Makes three medium loaves [I chose to shape the dough as two large loaves in 9″ x 5″ pans]

*Note: I’ve converted the weight measurements, scaled for the home baker, below to metric (g) instead of the avoirdupois system (lb/oz), which just confuses me. ūüėõ Also note that the volume measurements as given by the book are approximate and adjustments may be necessary.

P√Ęte Ferment√©e

– bread flour¬†¬†¬†¬† 317.8 g — 2 1/2 cups
– water¬†¬†¬†¬† 207.1 g — 7/8 cup
– salt¬†¬†¬†¬† 5.7 g — 1 tsp
Рinstant dry yeast     1/8 tsp

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, just until smooth. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 12 to 16 hours at ~70F.

Pate Fermentee

P√Ęte ferment√©e


– cracked wheat¬†¬†¬†¬† 45.4 g — 3/8 cup
– coarse cornmeal¬†¬†¬†¬† 45.4 g — 3/8 cup
– millet¬†¬†¬†¬† 45.4 g — 1/4 cup
– oats (I used old-fashioned, not the quick oats) ¬†¬†¬† 45.4 g — 1/2 cup
– water, boiling¬†¬†¬†¬† 227 g — 1 cup

Put all of the grains into a bowl and the pour the boiling water over them. Stir just enough to make sure the grains are incorporated and then cover the bowl. Let this sit for at least 4 hours before making the final dough to ensure the grains have had sufficiently absorbed the water to soften up.

This is actually the soaker (all of those softened grains) in the final dough.

This is actually the soaker (all of those softened grains) in the final dough.

Final Dough

– whole-wheat flour¬†¬†¬†¬† 454 g — 3 5/8 cups
– bread flour¬†¬†¬†¬† 136.2 g — 1 cup
– water¬†¬†¬†¬† 275.2 g — 1 1/4 cups
– salt¬†¬†¬†¬† 17 g — 1 tbsp
– instant dry yeast¬†¬†¬†¬† 3.7 g — 1 1/4 tsp
– honey¬†¬†¬†¬† 45.4 g — 2 tbsp
– p√Ęte ferment√©e, chopped into pieces ¬† ¬† 530.1 g (all of above)
Рsoaker     408.2 g (all of above)

Mix all of the ingredients, including the soaker but not the p√Ęte ferment√©e in the mixing bowl¬† until incorporated. Gradually add the pieces of p√Ęte ferment√©e and adjust the hydration (how wet or stiff the dough is) by adding flour or water in small amounts at a time. The dough should come together and be slightly tacky but not sticky.


Bulk fermentation: 2 hours, with a stretch and fold after 1 hour

After the fold

Dough after the fold

Dividing and shaping: 3 x ~1.5 lb freeform or pan loaves (I divided the dough into two and placed them in loaf pans)

Shaped as sandwich loaves

Shaped as sandwich loaves

Final fermentation: 1 – 1 1/2 hours at 75F

Just before the bake

Just before the bake

Baking: 450F (with steam at the beginning) for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.


Multigrain - crumb

Multigrain - crumb

Awesome book! I need to get myself a copy.

Awesome book! I need to get myself a copy.

* * *

I’m sending this to Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, Zorra of 1x umr√ľhren bitte, and to Rachel at Tangerine’s Kitchen for Bread Baking Day #20 – Multigrain Breads.

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11 Responses to “Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker”

  1. rachel Says:

    Perfect…..love the gorgeous crumb. Thanks for sending it in!

    • toxobread Says:

      Thanks, Rachel! Great theme for this month’s BBD – I really enjoyed participating. ūüôā

  2. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    I missed this for YeastSpotting last week — maybe something wrong with the submission form? I’ll get it this week though, too good to pass up!

    You mean you don’t have your own copy of that book? You of all people should have it, Ms. bread-baker extraordinaire!

    • toxobread Says:

      Oh! I thought the submission just didn’t make it in time for last week’s YeastSpotting heh heh.

      I do love Hamelman’s Bread. It is hands down my favourite bread book in terms of the way it’s organized and how it reads… and I haven’t even baked any of the loaves that require levain!

      There are only two things that I don’t like as much about it: one, it only gives final dough percentages and not the total formula as well (as you had discussed in the BP tutorial part 4, which I agree would be useful), and two, it gives everything in lbs/oz. When I get my own copy (which I definitely will) I’m going to mark down the equivalents in grams for all of the formulae. That is, right after I stock up on flour. It’s always a sad sight to see the bottom of the bag, isn’t it?

      Ms. Bread-baker extraordinaire? That title belongs to *you*!!

  3. em Says:

    No way! A signed copy especially for UVM? That’s so cool. I wonder if uoft has any signed cook/foodbooks. Maybe signed medical textbooks or science books or something. boo. lol
    We had to learn avoirdupois. But WHY??? Those symbols look *@&^%$#* and no doctors (<80 y.o) appear to use it for scripts, anyway.
    Back to the bread: I like multigrain bread, I like the grit and the texture of the bread – it's not just 'soft' like white bread (which is good for some sandwiches sometimes, I have to admit). Those loaves look perfect – almost too nice to slice, eh? ūüėÄ

    • toxobread Says:

      Em: Yeah! I was really excited to see that autograph. One day I will make a trip to the King Arthur Flour headquarters in Norwich, Vermont (so close, and yet so far!) – maybe by that time I’ll have my own copy of Bread and maybe Hamelman will be there and I will ask him for his autograph!
      I never looked at UofT to see if they had any cookbooks, but you never know, right?
      Multigrains are heartier and more filling, to me, than white sandwich bread. Granted there’s a time and place for white sandwich bread seeing as I was a loyal Wonder Bread fan as a girl (I remember throwing out whole wheat sandwiches :() but I wholeheartedly prefer whole grains these days.

  4. YeastSpotting June 5, 2009 | Wild Yeast Says:

    […] Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker […]

  5. MC Says:

    Beautiful loaves. I love their wholesomeness too. I have the book which I refer to often but haven’t baked from it yet. Like you I deplore the fact that the percentages are not given for the final dough and also that the weights in grams are not given. Oh well! It is a terrific idea to recalculate all the formulas, so that they’ll be ready to use whenever you are.

    • toxobread Says:

      Thanks, MC! I’ve found Bread (the book) gives a good introduction about bread baking in addition to a great collection of recipes; it was a useful read overall even after having gone through other bread baking books.
      I hope you bake from the book soon – let me know how the loaves turn out for you!

  6. Jude Says:

    Had my eye on this recipe for BBD, too. Too bad I couldn’t participate this month. Would’ve loved to compare notes.

    • toxobread Says:

      Jude: it’s a great recipe – you should give it a go sometime. I’m excited to try more of Hamelman’s formulae like the sonnenblumenbrot except I haven’t been able to find rye chops anywhere and will have to order the cracked rye online.

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