Five-Grain Levain – Hamelman

Five-Grain Levain – Hamelman

This is Hamelman’s Five-Grain Levain. I used the same grains as per the formula; cracked rye, flaxseeds (sold here as linseed), Sunflower seeds and oats. I made the cracked rye by milling the rye very coarsely, then sifting with a 40# mesh sieve.

I recalculated for a 750-gram dough (to suit my banneton) and have included the formula below.

I mixed the final build of the levain about 5 pm the day before and made the soaker at the same time. The levain and at its peak by 7 am the next morning.

The flours are bread flour (11.5% protein) and home-milled whole-wheat. The overall hydration is 98%! I mixed and kneaded by hand and tried not to add too much extra flour, but it was a struggle not to as I had to keep flouring my hands to keep them dry. The dough was very sticky but became less so after 15 minutes of stretch and folds.

I was not intending to retard the proof, so I chose to bulk ferment for 1 ½ hour with a fold at 45 mins. Shaped into an oblong and proofed for 1 hour at 25C/76F.

I scored the dough laterally with a serrated knife and baked. The dough held up reasonably well when moved from the couche to the peel and scored.

The bake went well with a good oven spring and the loaf took on a nice rich colour. I allowed the loaf to cool before slicing.

Tasting: Hamelman states “This is one of the most delectable breads I have ever eaten”. A big statement which is why I wanted to bake this. I was not disappointed, the flavour from the overnight levain added a lovely character and combined well with the choice of grains. The small amount of IDY did not detract and helped to create a medium-light crumb. The aroma when slicing was enticing.