Monday, November 3, 2014

Multigrain Sourdough (#2)

Autumn is such a lovely season! But it is also the beginning of the rainy season. What can you do to deal with the rain?  You stay home and bake!

I did some changes to the previous formula.  What I wanted to do was to up the amount of whole wheat flour and introduce a hint of sweetness.  I chose malt syrup this time and I loved the result. Here is the modified formula:
15g 100% hydration starter  
69g whole wheat flour  
69g water  
Final Dough    
124g 7 or 8 grains Bob’s Red Mill Hot Cereal  
168g boiling water for soaker  
325g bread flour  
150g whole wheat flour (plus 1 to 2 Tbsp)  
168g water for soaking grains  
224g water  
10g salt  
22g malt syrup  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Multigrain Sourdough

Would it be great to have a bread that combine this magnificent whole wheat sourdough and this multigrain loaf that I love so much?   After searching high and low on the internet for an exact recipe, I realized the only way to do it is my way! So, with this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini as the starting point, using an excel spreadsheet, I converted the recipe to formula and changed up a bit to incorporate the 7 or 8 grains hot cereal to the formula.  Applying the autolyse and stretch and fold method that I learnt, I baked up this multigrain sourdough.  What a satisfying experience.  The bread turned out great and I can really call this My Bread! 

Here is the recipe:
15g 100% hydration starter
69g whole wheat flour
69g water

Final Dough
124g 7 or 8 grains Bob’s Red Mill Hot Cereal
138g boiling water for soaking the hot cereal
375g bread flour
39g whole wheat flour
207g water
8g kosher salt
Here is a brief timeline and steps that I followed:
Day 1 10:20 p.m. Mix starter ingredients thoroughly, cover with cling wrap, leave it overnight on counter
Day 2 7:10 a.m. Soak cereal in boiling water, leave it to cool down for an hour to around 100F, stir occasionally
  8:10 a.m. Mix final dough ingredients with the soaker, except salt, by using either a mixer with dough hook, or your hands, until the mixture forms a shaggy mess, cover and leave the dough for 20 to 30mins.
  8:43 a.m. Add salt.  Mix for 6 – 8mins at low speed.  The dough should be quite tacky and clear the side of the mixing bowl, adjust amount of flour and water if necessary. 
  8:56 a.m. Finish mixing.  Rest for 45mins. (I did not wait for the exact amount of time sometimes, I might do the S&F sooner or later, depends on whether there were other stuff I was doing at that time)
  9:40 a.m. First stretch and fold.  Followed by 35 - 45mins rest.
  10:15a.m. Second stretch and fold.  Followed by 35-45mins rest.
  11:08a.m. Third stretch and fold. Followed by 35-45mins rest.
  12:00a.m. Shaping to a batard and start proofing.  The proofing time I originally planned for was 2 to 2.5 hrs.
  1:00p.m. Preheat oven to 500F, with pizza stone in the middle rack and steam tray in the lower rack
  1:30p.m. After doing finger poking test for a few times during proofing, I decided that the loaf was ready to bake much earlier than planned.
Just before baking, remember to slash the loaf.
The loaf was baked at 500F for 5mins, with steam induced by boiling water and water spray. Then lowered the temperature to 450F for 20mins, and again lowered to 425F for 10mins. The loaf is done when the internal temperature reaches 205F.
  2:05p.m. Done.

Notes for next time:

  • would like to increase the percentage of whole wheat flour
  • may increase the amount salt
  • The bottom part of the loaf is a bit dense this time.  It may be the result of the pizza stone not heated up long enough. So, watch out next time.  Should preheat the oven sooner!
  • There is a a bit of a bite to the texture of the bread.  I personally love it. But if a smoother texture is preferred, you should consider using more water to soak the grains overnight instead of the 1 hour the recipe asked for.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Light Whole Wheat Pretzels



Recipe source:  Artisan Bread Every Day by Peter Reinharts P.128


  • Adjusted ingredients to incorporate 25% whole wheat flour.  The resulting ingredients for the dough:
    • 425g Roger’s bread flour
    • 142g Anita’s whole wheat flour
    • 24g brown sugar (next time should use honey)
    • 3g yeast
    • 375g water
    • 11g sea salt
    • 28.5g melted butter
  • No need to adjust flour and water content when mixing and kneading
  • Very easy and convenient recipe.  Mix the dough at night, put in the fridge for overnight rise, shape and bake the next morning.
  • The pretzels came up soft and tasty.
  • Next time should try using more whole wheat flour and using honey instead of brown sugar

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Whole Wheat (65%) Sourdough


Recipe source:  Weekend Bakery

A lovely loaf!  I’m really glad that I picked this recipe as my first experiment on sourdough bread.  The steps are easy to follow and the result is rewarding!  Bread is tasty, texture is superb!


  • Sourdough starter:  I used my bread flour culture. 100% hydration
  • Flour:  Anita’s Whole Wheat Fine Grain and Roger’s Bread Flour
  • I put 5ml (1 tsp) more of water during mixing the final dough. 
  • As my dough was warmer (81F to 85F) than the suggested temp (75F) and the room temp was quite warm (24.5C), I shortened the time between each stretch & fold to 40mins. The dough was firmer than I expected.
  • The time for second proof was slightly less than 2hrs
  • Used steam tray, pizza stone and water spray method for baking.  Not much oven spring – may be second proof for too long?  But the bread ended up with very nice crumbs.
  • Turn oven to 500F.  Reduce to 450F when baking start. Bake for 35mins in total until it reached 205F.
  • Problem: No proofing basket. Used glass bowl, oiled and dust with flour, for proofing. Dough might not be tightly shaped into boule so it split  on top when inversed out from bowl to peel. Did slashing anyway. But when it baked up, all the splits and slashes were gone.  Need to work on shaping next time.  


Poolish after 12hrs on the counter.

After mixing the final dough ingredients for about 3mins with machine and another 3mins by hand.  Dough is rough, quite tacky and a bit shaggy. Dough registered 85F – warmer than recipe suggested. After resting for 40mins.
After 1st s&f. 2nd rest for 40mins. After 2nd s&f.
After 3rd s&f.  Dough gradually becomes smoother and softer, just like after kneading for a long time.
After shaping, put in a oiled bowl lightly dusted with flour. Start of proofing. Around 1 hr. after proofing. Around 2 hr. after.  Dough is ready to bake.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Sourdough Starter


Day 1 4:50pm: Adventure begins.

Day 2 5:39pm: No activities

Day 3 6:57am:  Just 12hrs after adding new ingredients, got a good rise! Feeling happy, I stirred the mixture down!


Day 3 5:17pm:  After stirring it down in the morning, activities subsided. I went ahead to change flour to all-purpose.

Day 4 10:00pm:  Not much activities.  Feeling depressed. Finally decided to feed it once more. This is right after feeding. Day 5 5:20pm:  Hurray! The starter is not dead yet.  It doubles in size!


This is a new adventure.  Combining patience, frustration and excitement.

Instruction source:  Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Conclusion:   Persistence, stick to the plan is the key.  Unsweetened pineapple juice – the only type I can get here is from concentrates.  Don’t know if it worked the way it supposed to.

After Day 5, I fed it once and it spilled over the jar on Day 6.  I cleaned it up, fed it and when it doubled in size, I put it in the fridge.

I planned to feed I every 3 days.  Ration is 1:2:2.  i.e. 2oz starter:  4oz flour: 4oz spring water. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Multigrain Sandwich Batard



Recipe source: Cook’s Illustrated Multigrain Sandwich Bread

Instead of using a loaf pan, I just shaped it into a batard.  I also increased the amount of whole wheat flour and used a bit of vital gluten.  The adjusted recipe:

  • 3 1/8 oz. hot cereal
  • 10 oz. boiling water
  • 6 3/4 oz. bread flour
  • 4 oz. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp vital wheat gluten
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 3/8 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Ratio of vital gluten :  2 to 3 cups (10 to 15oz) of whole wheat flour to 1 Tbsp

Shaping:  Form a batard of 10.5’ x 4.5’

Result:  No problem rising.  Bread is soft and yummy but a little bit sweeter this time because of more honey.  Should reduce honey back to 2 Tbsp next time

No Knead Harvest Bread



Recipe source:  King Arthur No Knead Harvest Bread 

Flour:  Anita’s All-Purpose Flour and Anita’s Whole Wheat Flour


  • Recipe is super easy.  One day mixing –> overnight fermentation at room temperature –> next day shaping and proofing for 2 hrs –> start with cold oven and bake
  • Next time should reduce the amount of nuts and fruit and use bread flour to make texture softer

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Whole Wheat Baguette (~50%)



Recipe source: King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Baguettes by P J Hamel or here with weight measurement

Flour:  Rogers White Bread Flour, Anita’s Whole Wheat Fine Grains

Searched high and low for a french style whole wheat baguette and this one kept showing up on google with nice pictures of the crumb structure and also does not require a sourdough starter. The only down side is that, this is a three days affair.  In reality, it is time consuming, the waiting time I mean, but minimal labor required.

The formula:

  • Starter:   
    • 21.6% whole wheat flour
    • 21.6% lukewarm water
    • pinch of yeast (1/16tsp for 524g total flour)
  • Final dough: 
    • 27.1% whole wheat flour
    • 51.3% bread flour
    • 48.7% water
    • 1.63% (1 1/2tsp salt for 524g total flour)
    • 0.15% (1/4 tsp instant yeast for 524g total flour)

Modified procedures:

  • Day 1:  Mix starter ingredient, keep at room temperature
  • Day 2: Mix starter with other ingredients –> Hand or machine knead for 5 to 7 mins –> Wait for 40 to 60mins, do first stretch and fold –>Wait for 40 to 60mins, do second s&f –> wait for 40 to 60 mins, do 3rd s&f –> wait for 40mins –> divide dough and pat it down into oval shape –>wait for 15mins –> shape the dough –> wait for 30mins –> put it in the fridge
  • Day 3: Take out dough 1 1/2 hr before baking –> prepare oven with baking stone, steam tray and spritzer –> slash dough –> bake at 425F for 18mins, cover with foil, bake for another 10mins until inside reach 200F


  • The original recipe does not tell you how long the initial kneading is (other than saying 7mins for  bread machine knead), so I hand knead for 7 mins.  Not sure if it require that long the time for the initial mixing.
  • I did s&fs rather than just flipping over the dough on day 2. It just more fun and easier to do it since I have to take the dough out anyway.
  • Did not expect that much with the recipe since I was using different types of flour and I wasn’t sure what the dough should feel like.  But it actually turned out really well. I think this is a very forgiving recipe. 
  • Crumb structure is good with a few big holes, not a lot.  Crust is not as crisp and thick as white baguette but that is expected. Taste not too whole-wheaty, just enough of the nutty flavor with a tangy undertone. Overall it’s a keeper recipe.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (50%) #2

Made this bread the first time here.

Recipe source:  Transitional Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads P.99

Because of using the wrong flour when making the biga, I ended up making two loaves using two different types of flour. One was using Rogers bread flour and Anita’s whole wheat, just like the first time. The other one was using Anita’s all-purpose and whole wheat. Here is what happened with the all-purpose flour loaf:

  • I used buttermilk instead of milk with this loaf, just because there were some in the fridge.  The biga was a bit drier and not as sticky.  I ended up putting more milk (may be 1 tsp to 2 more) in to get the stickiness. 
  • On baking day, I also put in 1 tsp of vital gluten.
  • During hand kneading, I noticed the dough was slightly firmer than the bread flour dough.
  • Because I had to do the mixing separately for the two different loaves with different types of flour, each loaf followed its own proofing time, I ended up had to bake the two loaves separately.  When the first loaf was in oven, the second loaf (all-purpose flour loaf) was in 2nd proof. I had to stop it from rising too quickly and proofing for too long,  so I put it in the fridge for a while.  It did rise a bit higher than the first loaf before baking, but luckily, there was still some oven spring and it did not over-proofed. 
  • The result: The volume, texture and the taste of the two loaves were very similar.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Mix malt syrup, yeast, salt and water together.

Mix at low speed for 3 mins.

Dough is stiff, coarse and barely tacky.

After hand knead for 3 mins.

Before 1st proofing.

After 1 hr. Dough is put into the fridge.

Divide dough into 8 pcs and roll it into balls.



After boiling.

After baking for 17 mins. The bagels are crispy and chewy on the outside and soft but not very dense inside.  A bit disappointed at first. But after cutting it up in half, toasted and buttered it, it was very delicious.  Not sure if the authentic NY bagels are really like this, but as long as it tastes good, that’s all that matters.

Recipe source:  Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day P.74

Flour:  Rogers bread flour, Anita’s whole wheat fine grain

Adjusted recipe to incorporate 1/4 portion of whole wheat flour:

  • 340g bread flour
  • 114g whole wheat flour
  • 283g lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp barley malt syrup
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 10.5g kosher salt


  • Easy recipe
  • With the whole wheat flour and adjusted water amount, the dough turned out to be exactly what the recipe asked for without adding any more water and flour.  The dough was stiff, barely tacky.
  • Not sure why the surface of the baked bagels are not smooth.

Here’s other references: