As you all know, my lovely readers, I have been on a sourdough binge. It’s been over a year since we’ve purchased ANY store-bought bread products and I’m very proud of this fact! I didn’t have any kind of agenda when it came to ditching commercial bread products but I am very happy to be able to provide my family with whole grain, home-cooked fresh bread every week. Cooking is something I’ve been passionate about since a young age, and as a natural progression of moving back to the country (and into my role as a full-time parent) nutrition has become a large focus in my daily life. As an added benefit, cooking from scratch is and always will be more affordable than purchasing pre-prepared food, and in this time of drastically increased cost of living it’s the least I can do as a stay-at-home mom to help lessen the burden on my hardworking husband’s income. I have the time, the energy and the sourdough starter, so why not?
I have been on such a mission to make EVERYTHING leavened with sourdough that the last time I went to bake a loaf deliciously seedy multigrain bread I discovered my commercial yeast had gone bad! After dozens of loaves of bread coming out of the oven perfectly baked, hugely risen and delightfully fluffy, I could hardly believe my eyes – a failure?? I had mixed up a generous 1.5lb loaf of bread, greatly looking forward to enjoying it, and after being left for hours to rise it showed absolutely no activity. So the last of my languishing granulated yeast went in the compost and I’m not even sad about it. With my sourdough starter hanging around day and night I thought there’s no reason I can’t use it to make a delicious, multigrain nut & seed bread. Right?
As is the trend of late, after searching online for a sourdough recipe that incorporated the traditional components of a whole wheat seed and nut bread but used a starter (and added no additional yeast) I came up empty-handed – or rather, perhaps a little dissatisfied with the few results I did find. So, as per usual, I took to the kitchen to concoct a recipe of my own.
After just one prototype I have produced what my husband believes to be the perfect loaf of bread: it’s dense and chewy as a whole wheat multigrain bread should be, with the crispy, perfectly crunchy exterior characteristic of a classic loaf of sourdough. But don’t take his word for it – try for yourself and see what you think. I would love to hear your about your results in the comments.
Hearty Sourdough Multigrain Bread
Hearty Sourdough Multigrain Bread
Do you love the sweet and nutty chewiness of a whole wheat loaf of bread, but want to leaven it with sourdough? Look no further. While I use a homemade seed mix, Bob’s Red Mill makes a nut & seed mix that can be added to any bread recipe for a hearty dose of heart-healthy grains and seeds.
Prep the pre-soak
Combine the multigrain/nut & seed mix and the boiling water. Stir to combine and cover to cool until ready to incorporate.
Prepare the dough
In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix the flours together. Add slowly to the wet ingredients, mixing as you go. A wet, shaggy dough will form but may not come together just yet. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Add the soaked grains to the bread dough, dimpling and then folding it in until it’s thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed. Cover again and allow to rest for another 15 minutes.
Begin a series of stretches or coil folds. Inside the bowl, reach under the dough and grasp it loosely; pull the edge to the center and press down to seal. Work around the edges until the whole loaf has been folded in about 4-6 times. I like to start at 15-minutes intervals for the first hour and then perform at least 2 more at 30 minutes. Performing at least two rounds is recommended.
After sufficient gluten has formed (or windowpane is achieved) allow to rest for bulk fermentation. This can vary in time, normally between 8 and 16 hours, but requires dough to increase in size at least 1.5x.
After dough has risen sufficiently, preheat your oven to 425° with your lidded baking vessel inside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface to shape. Gather the edges under the loaf and pull it toward you, turning and shaping into a ball to form tension. Turn into a floured banneton or other bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes before baking. Dough should increase in size but should not double again prior to baking.
When ready to bake, turn the dough out of the banneton onto a piece of parchment paper. Score as desired and immediately put into the baking vessel and cover with lid. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 400° to finish baking, around 40 to 60 minutes total. To achieve a darker crust, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove the bread from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Allow to rest for an hour minimum before slicing.