Monday, 30 May 2011

Five-Grain Bread with Pâte Fermentée

I felt like a real baker the other day. I was up at 4:00 am because I couldn’t sleep so I decided to make the best of it and start the pre-ferment for this Five-Grain Bread. This multigrain bread utilizes a Pâte Fermentée (pre-ferment) that takes 12 – 16 hours to do it’s thing so starting it at 4:00 am gave me just enough time to get the bread made in one day. 

I really enjoy working with bread dough made with pre-ferments, particularly, Pâte Fermentée.  It makes the dough more pliable and adds a wonderful flavor and texture.  I agree with Jeffrey Hamelman in his assessment of this bread, “…this multigrain bread is a pleasure to make, a pleasure to look at…and a pleasure to eat!”

This is one of the breads the Mellow Bakers have been working on in May. I’ve been really mellow about baking with this group for the past several weeks so I was excited to find time to make this wonderful bread.

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Five-Grain Bread with Sunflower Seeds

This is my adapted version of the Five-Grain Bread with Pâte Fermentée from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread.

Yield: 3 Medium Loaves


Pâte Fermentée

  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon, instant dry yeast 


  • 2 1/8 cups Bob’s Red Mill 5-Grain Hot Cereal Mix *
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups water

* Contains whole grain oats,wheat, rye, barley, triticale and flaxseed.

Final Dough:

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • Soaker 1 lb (all of the above)
  • Pâte Fermentée 1 lb (all of the above)



  1. Pâte Fermentée.  Add the yeast to the water, then add the flour and salt and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand for 12 to 16 hours. 

    five-grain-bread 001

  2. Soaker. Add the grain mix to a mixing bowl and pour the water over the grains. Mix to incorporate, then let it soak for at least 4 hours before mixing the final dough so the grains have time to absorb the water. 

    five-grain-bread 002

  3. Final Dough. Place all of the ingredients, except the Pâte Fermentée, in the mixing bowl.  Using a heavy duty stand mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes to incorporate the ingredients, then add the Pâte Fermentée in chunks and finish mixing on second speed for another 3 minutes. Add flour or water as necessary to correct the hydration of the dough. The dough will be somewhat loose, but the gluten development should be strong.

    five-grain-bread 004

  4. Bulk Fermentation. Let the dough bulk ferment for 2 hours and fold the dough after 1 hour. I fudged on this part.  I let the dough bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours because I went out to dinner. I folded the dough when I got back, then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  I ran out of energy and time.

    five-grain-bread 007

  5. Dividing and Shaping. The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide it into three 1.5 pound pieces.  Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured surface, seams up.  Cover the rounds with plastic.

    five-grain-bread 009

  6. Final Shaping. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves and place them in floured bannetons and cover with plastic.  I have one oval-shaped and one round-shaped banneton so I used them both.

    five-grain-bread 013 I made a regular loaf out of the third ball of dough.

    five-grain-bread 014

    five-grain-bread 015

  7. Final Fermentation. Let the loaves rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Baking. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone and a steam pan underneath. Place the loaves on parchment paper and score them as desired.

    five-grain-bread 021

    five-grain-bread 022

    After the oven has preheated sufficiently, place the loaves (on the parchment paper) on the preheated baking stone, then add 1 cup of hot water to the steam pan.  Close the oven door and bake the loaves.  Lower the oven temperature by 10 to 20 degrees if the loaves color too strongly. The loaves should bake in approximately 40 minutes.

    five-grain-bread 035


Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog.  This bread has been YeastSpotted.

The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Ancient Grains for Modern Meals Cookbook Giveaway

In Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, the author, Maria Speck, expresses her desire to transform the world into one planet of whole grain lovers. Her love of whole grains shines through the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her experiences and learning the history behind some of the recipes.

Read my review of the book here.

ancient-grains-for-modern-mealsSara Remington © 2011

This contest is closed. Congratulations to Rachel of Spice of Life who won the Ancient Grains for Modern Meals cookbook. Refer to this post for more details.

The first recipe I tried from the book was the Floating Sesame Loaf. It was a really fun bread.  There are several other bread recipes and a pizza recipe I plan to try, but this time, I decided to step out of the bread box and try something different.

The next recipe I tested was the Creamy Farro with Honey-Roasted Grapes. It’s really a breakfast or brunch dish, but it sounded so comforting that I served it for dinner the other night. I had some farro grains in my freezer just waiting for me to do something special with them so this was their debut. And debut, they did!

The recipe was really easy to make and the flavors were so unique.  My boyfriend and I really enjoyed the dish.  He said it made him feel really healthy.  The cooked farro grains were delicious and just a little bit chewy.  I loved how the flavors of the farro grains and the roasted grapes blended together. The dish tasted wonderful and satisfying even on a hot Spring night in Georgia.

I didn’t get a photo of the dish because it begged to be eaten right away, but here’s a photo of the roasted grapes.
 roasted-grapes 002
I had never roasted grapes before…it was so cool!  I’ll definitely be making this dish again and again.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve fallen in love with ancient grains myself. That’s why I’m delighted to be able to give away a copy of Maria Speck’s new book.


To enter the giveaway:

  • Please follow @MariaSpeck on twitter 
  • Please follow @breadexperience on twitter
  • Tweet the following: Enter the GIVEAWAY to WIN Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by @MariaSpeck from @breadexperience. Enter here:
  • Please leave a comment about the types of grains you like to cook or bake with (if any), or the types of grains you would like to see featured on the Bread Experience. 


Extra chances to win:

  • Like Ancient Grains for Modern Meals Facebook page here.
  • Like Bread Experience Facebook page here.
  • With each action leave a comment (at the end of this blog post) saying you did so for up to a maximum of five comments per person.
  • Drawing will be done randomly from all comments recorded.  Deadline to enter: Friday, June 3rd at midnight. Lucky winner to be announced by June 5th.
Shipping only in the US or Canada.
Thank you Maria and Ten Speed for providing me with a review copy and a giveaway copy for my readers.

I also want to thank Shulie of FoodWanderings for letting me borrow her creative giveaway ideas.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

BwoB: Help for Tornado victims across the U.S.

Donate to Bloggers without Borders!


Bloggers without Borders (BwoB) is a blogger-based charity whose mission is to help people—bloggers and readers alike—by harnessing the good will of the blogging community. Its founders are Maggy Keet of ThreeManyCooks, Erika Pineda-Ghanny of The Ivory Hut, and Aimee Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites. BwoB officially launches in July 2011.


Maggy, Erika and Aimee of Bloggers without Borders are raising money to help tornado victims across the United States. Sheila from Strawberry Cake’s family has been affected by this tragedy and Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen’s uncle lost the family business when the store was flattened by a tornado. BwoB is raising money for the families in Joplin and Etna/Denning, AR community that have been affected by this tragedy.   Read more about their efforts here.

I wanted to help spread the word so I’m posting this message and the donate badge on my blog.  You can donate via the button on this post and the funds will go directly to Sheila and Kristan so they can distribute the money to the people, organizations or local efforts that need help.

Please give $1, $5 or as much as your financial situation allows. This money will go to people directly affected by the disaster—given to the people who need it by someone from our own community.

BwoB’s goal is to raise at least $2,000 so that we can give each blogger and her community $1,000. Please help us reach that goal!

Thank you for your kindness and generosity.

The Bread Experience


If you would like to help spread the word and help BwoB raise money for Joplin, just E-mail them to get the code for the BwoB badge and donate button.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Floating Sesame Loaf

As I was thumbing through Maria Speck’s new book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, I ran across this Floating Sesame Loaf recipe. I had never heard of a floating loaf before so I was intrigued to say the least.

The head notes to the recipe state, “If you are intimidated by yeast dough, try this surprising technique, which turns bread making into a game and puts an impressive loaf of bread on your table – effortlessly. This method takes all the guesswork out of yeast breads: no need to fuss with rising times, rising volumes, and temperatures.” 

I don’t know about you, but the terms “impressive and effortless” in the same sentence captured my attention. So I decided to try this unique method of making bread. 

Since I’m trying to do things one-handed as much as possible these days to let my injured arm heal, I needed a dough that I could manipulate fairly easily. This method turned out to be fun and easy.  It did require a little bit of shaping, but it was quick and didn’t hurt my arm.  I was able to document most of the steps with my camera so you can try this fun bread for yourself.


Floating Sesame Loaf Recipe

Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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  • 2 1/2 cups regular whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (10 3/4 ounces), plus 3 – 7 tablespoons as needed
  • 5 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see page 37)
  • 2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (90 degrees F to 100 degrees F)
  • Medium or coarse cornmeal for sprinkling



  1. Fill a stockpot or a 4-quart saucepan (about 5 inches high) with cold tap water to 1 inch below the rim.

  2. Whisk together the whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, and the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  floating-sesame-loaf 002

    Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water.

    floating-sesame-loaf 004

    Using a wooden spoon or dough whisk, and starting from the center, gradually stir in the flour until a pretty moist dough forms and all the flour has been incorporated.

    floating-sesame-loaf 005

  3. Scrape the sticky mass onto a well-floured work surface.  Sprinkle with 1 scant tablespoon of flour.  Knead the dough with floured hands, incorporating additional flour by the 1/2 tablespoon just until the dough is supple and smooth with a slight tackiness, about 2 minutes.  I kneaded the dough in the bowl using one hand rather than kneading the dough on the counter using both hands.

    floating-sesame-loaf 007

    Depending on the flour you use and the humidity, you should need only 2 to 5 tablespoons of flour (the dough will continue to absorb more flour at the expense of lightness, but don’t add more!).

    Quickly form a round ball, folding any loose ends into the bottom, and gently deposit the dough into the water in the stockpot.

    floating-sesame-loaf 008

  4. Meanwhile, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and place a large baking sheet (or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet) on it. I used a baking stone. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. While you wait for the dough to rise, which typically takes 7 to 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes), sprinkle a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper with cornmeal.  Generously flour your work surface.
  5. Once the dough rises to the surface of the water (it will slowly puff like a balloon before popping up), remove it with both hands, letting excess water drain between your fingers. Transfer the dough – it will feel like wet clay – to the work surface.  Dry and then flour your hands, and dust the wet surface of the dough with 1 scant tablespoon flour.

    floating-sesame-loaf 010

    Working briskly, give the dough not more than a few gentle turns, adding flour by the 1/2 tablespoonful, and then gently stretch the “skin” or surface of the dough from the top to the bottom all around to form a ball with a few loose ends at the bottom.  (This stretching is a handy little step – otherwise your loaf might crack around the sides.) Kneading and shaping should not take longer than 40 seconds and should not incorporate more than 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.  The dough can be quite slack, even stretchy.

    floating-sesame-loaf 011

  6. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper.  It will look somewhat flat.  Cover with a dish towel (not terry cloth) and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.  After that, brush with water and gently press the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds all over the surface. 

    floating-sesame-loaf 013

    Using a sharp knife, make three 1/4-inch-deep cuts across the loaf. 

    floating-sesame-loaf 015

    Transfer the parchment paper with the dough to the baking sheet (or set in the cast-iron pan or on the baking stone).

    floating-sesame-loaf 016

  7. Bake until the loaf is well risen and light golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped (or when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200 degrees F.), 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the parchment paper 10 minutes before the end of baking for a better crust.

    floating-sesame-loaf 017

    Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely – about 2 hours, for best flavor and texture – before cutting.  The loaf might have quite a crust at first, but it will soon soften nicely.

    floating-sesame-loaf 020

    I liked this method of making bread. I thought the bread tasted best toasted with butter or jam.  It reminded me of sesame seed bread sticks.  My main taste tester really liked it!

    floating-sesame-loaf 041


You might also enjoy these variations of the recipe:

Form a sesame ring: At the end of step 5, once you have formed the dough ball, create the ring.  Flour your hands.  Holding the dough in both hands, gently form a hole in the middle by pulling the center apart – first with both your thumbs from the top, and then molding it with the rest of your fingers from the bottom.  The hole should be at least 3 inches wide. 

Make a hazelnut-raisin loaf: Use naturally sweeter white whole wheat flour (instead of regular whole wheat) for a more appealing loaf, and add 1 tablespoon sugar (not 1 teaspoon).  Instead of sesame seeds, measure 1/4 cup dark raisins and 1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts.  Add the raisins and 1/4 cup of the hazelnuts to the dough in step 2 (instead of sesame seeds).  And in step 6, gently press the remaining 1/4 cup hazelnuts (instead of sesame seeds) all over the surface.


Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog.  This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.

 ancient-grains-for-modern-mealsSara Remington © 2011


Be sure to check out the Ancient Grains for Modern Meals Facebook page.

You can read my review of the book here.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Review of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

I met Maria Speck a year ago on Facebook. At that time, she mentioned she was writing a book about whole grains. She also told me that she milled her own grains using a European grain mill. I’ve been milling a lot of my own grains for the past several years so I knew her book would be of special interest to me.

When Maria contacted me to see if I would like to review her new book, I didn’t hesitate. Ancient Grains for Modern Meals is a book about cooking with whole grains, not just bread, but I was delighted to have the opportunity to review it.  If you’ve been following my posts for the past several months, then you probably know that I’ve been featuring a different grain each month on my blog and in my newsletter.  I’ve also been experimenting with ancient grains so the timing of this book was perfect.

 ancient-grains-for-modern-meals Sara Remington © 2011


Ancient Grains for Modern Meals provides whole grain recipes for barley, farro, kamut, polenta, wheat berries, and more, all with a Mediterranean flair.  The author, Maria Speck, grew up in Greece and Germany before she moved to the United States so she brings a unique perspective to dishes made with whole grains.  If I was not already a lover of whole grains, I would be after reading her stories and trying her innovative recipes. 

The book is divided into seven chapters: 1) Breakfast, Brunch, & Breads; 2) Salads & Sides; 3) Soups & Stews; 4) Burgers, Savory Cakes, & More; 5) Pasta; 6) Modern Mains; and 7) Sweet Endings. 

So many of the recipes jumped out at me. I had a hard time deciding which ones to try. I mean, with names like Orange-Scented Scones with Dark Chocolate, Saffron Waffles with Orange Cream, and Pine Nut Bread with Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, what’s not to love! Then there’s the Greek-Style Cornbread with Feta and Thyme, Grain Burgers, Homemade Spelt Fettuccine, and a delicious-sounding Spelt Crust Pizza with Fennel, Prosciutto and Apples.  And, don’t even get me started on the desserts. My mouth has been watering for the Greek Walnut-Barley Cake or the Dark Chocolate Cake with Amaretto. Yum!

I was really tempted to post about the Tangerine-Lavender Coffee Cake. I love coffee cake and the flavors in this one sound divine, but then Maria tempted me further with a method for making bread that I had never heard of before. So I decided to try this unique recipe and method of making bread.  You know me, I’m not one to resist making a new type of bread especially one as fun as this one.

In order to keep this post to a reasonable length, I decided to post the recipe and directions for making it separately from the review.  Click here to learn about this mysterious and fun bread. 

In the meantime, check out Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. 

Maria’s goal is to transform the world into one planet of whole grain lovers.  If this book is any indication, I believe she may have just succeeded in moving that goal forward.  Her love of whole grains shines through the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her experiences and learning the history behind the recipes.

Find out more about the book and interact with Maria on the Ancient Grains for Modern Meals Facebook page.

Monday, 16 May 2011

No Knead Anadama Corn Bread

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve baked with the HBinFive Bakers or the Mellow Bakers.  I’ve looked longingly at the list of breads each month but I just couldn’t seem to get any of the breads made. This was mostly due to my hectic schedule and to a lack of ingredients, which was again due to my crazy schedule.  Then I injured my arm gardening and had to limit most everything, including bread-baking and blogging. 

But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So, I decided rather than letting this injury get the best of me, I would learn how to bake breads one-armed and use ingredients I have on hand.

When I saw Anadama Bread on the list for the HBinFive Bakers this month, I jumped at the chance to bake it. It’s a no knead bread so I knew I could do it. Plus, I had all of the ingredients. Shaping it proved a bit challenging, but I was up for it.

anadama-corn-bread 040

Anadama Bread was the first bread we made in the BBA Challenge and one of my favorites. The Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Anadama Bread includes whole wheat and wheat germ which I like, but in their notes, the authors mentioned that the loaf spreads and bakes flatter than most. A flat bread was not the Anadama Bread I was looking for so I decided to incorporate the best of both worlds. I used the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes list of ingredients (sort of) and the soaker, sponge and dough methods from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  However, rather than kneading the dough, I opted to use the Healthy Bread in Five method of letting the dough rest on the counter for a couple of hours, then ferment in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

So, I give you…


No Knead Anadama Corn Bread BBA-Style

Adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes and The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Makes: Two Medium Loaves

anadama-corn-bread 048




  • 1 cup cornmeal, preferably coarse grind (also known as “polenta”)
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature


  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 3/8 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used butter)
  • 1 cup water, lukewarm (90 degrees to 100 degrees F.)
  • Cornmeal for dusting (optional)



Making the Soaker:

The day before making the bread, make the soaker by mixing the cornmeal and water in a small bowl. 

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Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at room temperature.

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Making the Sponge:

The next day, stir together 2 cups of bread flour, the yeast, soaker, and water in a mixing bowl. 

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Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and ferment for 1 hour, or until the sponge begins to bubble.

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Making the Dough:

Add the remaining 1 cup bread flour, 1 3/8 white whole wheat and 1/8 cup wheat germ, the salt, molasses, and butter and stir until the ingredients form a ball. Add water if necessary to make a soft, sticky mass.

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Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until it doubles in size and then collapses.

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This is what the dough looked like after 1 1/2 hours.  I placed it in the refrigerator at this point because I had to leave for the afternoon.  The dough rose a little bit more in the refrigerator.

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Shaping the Loaves:

The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough into two equal pieces.  My pieces were about 26 ounces each.

Dust the dough with flour (if necessary), then quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

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Let the balls rest on the counter for a little while to relax, then elongate the balls into ovals and place in the loaf pans. I used 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pans.

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Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let them rest for 90 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Place the loaf pans on a baking sheet and remove the plastic wrap. Mist the loaves with water and sprinkle them with cornmeal.

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Just before baking, slash the top of the loaves with 1/4-inch-deep parallel cuts, using a serrated bread knife.

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Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

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Rotate the pan for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown, including along the sides and bottom, and register at least 185 to 190 degrees F. in the center.  The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

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Remove the loaves immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

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I’m happy to report that my experiment produced delicious and moist Anadama Bread.  It tastes great plain with butter or as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I also tried it toasted with cheese.  Yum!


This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog. 

Happy Baking!


About the HBinFive Baking Group


The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the HBinFive baking group, check out BigBlackDog.