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. 

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  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. 

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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    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.

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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.

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