Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread Made in a Breadmaker

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Fresh homemade bread is so much better than store-bought, unless you are happy enough to live near an artisanal bakery that bakes bread several times a day. As we both eat at the office on weekdays, I usually only bake bread once or twice a week: multi-grain bread for the weekend, and white Italian bread for a dinner party with company. When I am cooking for a dinner party, it is no trouble to make the dough with my stand mixer, allow it to rise, and then bake the bread in the oven. Fresh homemade bread takes a dinner party to the next level. If only because everyone can smell it when they enter.

I like to have fresh multi-grain bread for breakfast in the weekend. For a dinner party it is important to bake the bread in the oven so it will look nice, but for personal use a breadmaker is a great help so you don’t have to work and wait before you can eat. The night before you put all the ingredients into the breadmaker, you set the timer, and the next morning fresh bread is ready at the scheduled time. If you have a good breadmaker such as Panasonic and you use good flour and a good recipe, the bread will be very good. Except for the rectangular shape and the hole in the bottom, but who cares?

This has been my bread routine for several years. But then something changed, because I switched from commercial fresh yeast to using my own sourdough starter. I have been maintaining it for 8 months by now and I really like the bread. However, the breadmaker does not have a program for sourdough bread. So at first I kept making multi-grain bread using commercial yeast. But then I did some experiments and found out that I could get good sourdough bread out of my breadmaker!  This bread has great flavor and is all natural because the ingredients of this bread are only flour, water, and salt (considering that sourdough is made from flour and water as well). The bread is more compact than bread from commercial yeast, but it is certainly no ‘brick’, nor is it too dense or too sour. The only drawback is that the top of the bread isn’t browned as nicely, but the crust is excellent anyway. So again, as bread from a breadmaker is for personal use anyway, who cares?

Baking bread this way once a week is also a great way to maintain your sourdough starter, which needs to be refreshed (‘fed’, it’s like a pet…) once a week anyway. Since I maintain a ‘white’ starter that I can use for both the multigrain bread and white bread, I do not add any white flour to the multigrain bread like I do in the regular recipe.

So how to make sourdough bread in a breadmaker? The trick is to mix the dough about 12 hours before the bread should be finished, and then use the timer to allow it to rise before the regular baking program of the breadmaker begins. Use a program with a long proofing time. It depends on your breadmaker whether this will work for you too. On my Panasonic, I use the ‘French bread’ program. It takes me about 15 minutes altogether to refresh the starter and prep the dough for the breadmaker (including waiting while the stand mixer is kneading), and it is well worth the effort.

Ingredients

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For a 900 gram (2 lb) loaf

300 grams sourdough starter

200 grams wholemeal flour

175 grams multigrain flour

225 grams lukewarm water

15 grams (2 tsp) salt

For refreshing the starter

200 grams flour

100 grams water

Preparation

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If you maintain 500 grams of starter, each time you can take 300 grams of it to bake bread, and feed the remaining 200 grams of starter with 200 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. This will give you 500 grams of starter for the next time. Allow the starter to grow for 24 hours at room temperature or at least 96 hours in the refrigerator before using it again. It should quadruple in size. The photo above shows the starter just after it has been fed. If you compare it to the ingredient shot, you can see how much it will grow.

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Mix the dough about 12 hours before the bread should be finished (i.e. the night before). If you don’t own a stand mixer, you could use the ‘pizza dough’ program on the breadmaker to mix the dough. I use my standmixer. First I put 300 grams of sourdough starter in the bowl.

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Then I add 200 grams of wholemeal flour…

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…and 175 grams of multigrain flour…

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…and 2 teaspoons of salt…

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…and 225 grams of water. The water should be about 27°C (80°F).

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Then I fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment…

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…and I allow the machine to run until the dough comes together. I start on slow speed (so the flour doesn’t go everywhere) and then increase to medium-slow speed.

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When the dough has come together, I switch over to the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

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I then transfer the dough to the pan of the breadmaker.

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I select the ‘French bread’ program and set the timer for 12 hours.

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Before I went to sleep, I checked and could see that the dough was already rising.

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The following morning, the bread was ready.

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Allow the bread to cool on a rack for at least half an hour before cutting it.

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As the bread is all-natural, it is best on the same day.

Flashback

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Two years ago the International Shanghai Chicken project was inspired by Clayton. Several bloggers created dishes based on one of his favorite dishes, chicken with sambal, pine nuts and crispy deep-fried chinese cabbage.

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21 thoughts on “Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread Made in a Breadmaker

  1. Stefan, you tickle me. 😀 Me, I would use a bread maker if I baked bread mainly because I am not a baker. It’s not that I don’t bake because I do. It’s the time commitment and the necessity to be precise. With LOTS of practice you become proficient and have a “feel” for the dough whether it is cookies, cakes, bread, biscuits, scones, etc. It’s somewhat similar to pasta. I am not at that point and probably never will be. So a bread maker is perfect for me. I have looked at several but never bought one due to the carbs. Wine vs carbs = wine wins. 😄
    I have seen your cookies, breads, muffins, etc. and they are always impeccable. You even have a pizza oven for the Dex! So, I am surprised you have a bread maker but not nearly as surprised by your comment that it’s for personal use so who cares. You have a very critical, discriminating palate with truly professional culinary skills. It’s always refreshing to hear bold, unpretentious honesty from serious gourmets. We feed ourselves for sustenance yet we love to play with our food. The ONLY difference is time.
    Now, with that said, Baby Lady kept a local sourdough starter for 2 years. Not all sourdough starters are sour as most people think when they hear sourdough bread. Her starter was a sweet, friendship bread provided to her from a family friend. Also, like any serious beer drinker knows (ask Kees) local yeasts have their own flavor profile. So, the sourdough starter in DFW is different in flavor from the starter in Dublin which is different than the starter in Wormer. Fascinating stuff given yeast is everywhere on Earth.
    Where did you get your starter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Richard, thanks for tickling me back 😉 as well as for the nice implied compliments. I should have clarified in the post (and I will do so in a minute) that that it is only the *appearance* of the bread that is aversely affected by using the bread maker. The flavor and texture (including the crust) are great and I would feel comfortable about serving bread with the same flavor and texture to guests. It is only the appearance that makes it more suitable for personal use. By the way, the brand of the bread maker makes a huge difference. Bread from a cheap bread maker is usually not good enough at all.
      There is also a substantial difference between this sourdough bread and the usual bread making with a bread maker, which would just involve loading in the ingredients. In this case, I’ve already done most of the work (albeit using a stand mixer), and the ‘feel’ for the dough that I have developed over the year does come into play. I use the bread maker mainly for baking the bread.
      If, like me, you want to have fresh homemade bread for breakfast (i.e. within one hour of waking up) and there is no-one else in the household who will make it for you, the choice is bread maker vs no homemade bread at all.
      I made my own sourdough starter from scratch, starting with flour and water. I did a post on that (just follow the link). I believe that besides the local flavor profile, also the flour is important. I used flour that I had brought from Italy from the starter, but by now I have run out of that so I have been feeding it with the same white flour that I use to bake bread.
      I used to think that all sourdough bread was like German sourdough bread (which is sour, dense, and tough), which for a long time has put me off it. Now I know better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stefan, if you have a car (or one you can use every now and then), take a couple of hours to go to the Korenmolen De Zandhaas in Santpoort. It’s a bit of a pain to go by public transport from Amsterdam (I’ve done it a couple of times and ugh, never again if I can avoid it) but their flour is *amazing*. The molenmeester can even tell you where each batch has been cultivated in The Netherlands (he keeps that kind of log for his production) and the quality of their flours and grains is excellent. The couple that runs the Weekend Bakery blog did a test with gluten content for Dutch flours and theirs came as the best in NL. They also do great work in promoting old Dutch “forgotten grains” by keeping their production alive such as emmer or buckwheat.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for the tip. I used to get flour from flour mill Roode Hert in Alkmaar. Dutch flour is usually too low in gluten for proper bread baking, so the test you refer to is interesting as well.

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          1. A couple of links that I believe you’ll find interesting:

            https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/a-flour-experiment-part-2-comparing-flour-from-different-mills/

            https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/a-flour-experiment-part-1/

            I use De Zandhaas bio wheat and whole wheat (volkoren) and I am very happy with the results. The Demeter flour from Natuurwinkel/ Ekoplaza is OK-ish but I get better and more consistent results (in terms of oven spring, crumb, etc) with De Zandhaas. For pasta, I only use Italian though. Incidentally, if you don’t know them, I think you’ll love the Weekend Bakery blog. They are as thorough (and generous) as you are sharing your experiences with sous vide only with baking and very focused on research and experimentation with local ingredients.

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  2. So glad I never bought one of those! I would be even fatter than I already am 😉 Lovely post though. I’ll forward it to my cousin who uses her bread maker every day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess you’re right. You would absolutely LOVE my baker. He makes the best baguettes I have ever had in my life… My cousin (the one with the bread maker) makes an incredible walnut bread. I could eat a whole loaf over one single meal. I have actually…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. With dinner parties I always make ‘plain’ bread so it doesn’t interfere with any of the flavors of the meal. As it comes fresh out of the oven, I always have to warn my dinner guests not to eat too much of it with the appetizer, because there are many more courses to follow. Without the warning, many would eat a whole loaf.

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  3. This bread looks great Stefan 🙂 There is nothing that beats the smell of fresh baked bread. I love the smell so much my sister even bought me a candle last year call “Fresh Baked Bread” and it actually does smell just like baking bread.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Stefan, I have been working on this recipe for some time. I had some spelt sourdough in the freezer. When I refreshed it with flour and water it was quite vigorous. I made bread with it using your method and a mixture of white and wholemeal bread flour. It turned out a bit too dense for my taste and teeth however, although otherwise delicious. Next time I tried using white flour and kneading it in the morning and putting it in the bread maker at night. It was a little lighter. I wondered if the substrate was in danger of running out before the second knead in the machine. So the last time I added a couple of tablespoons of honey and kneaded it at night. It was certainly the lightest I have managed so far. Perhaps next time I will try refreshing the starter a day or two before using it to get it to the peak of vigour. There are obviously a few variables here. I would be grateful for any thoughts.

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    1. Result! I refreshed the starter I had made the previous week (with the remains of the sourdough and 100g water and 200g strong white flour) with another 200g water and 400g flour on the morning before and used 200g of this with strong white flour as per your instructions at night in the bread maker. No honey this time. The result was wonderfully light. I now feel I can be more adventurous with the flours next time and using your method making sourdough bread is something I can easily do weekly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Martin, glad it worked for you. I saw your first comment on the train on my phone and put off responding until I could type on a proper keyboard. But you seemed to have solved it already. The timing of the refreshing and the first proof are indeed important. Although I have been making the multigrain bread in the breadmaker on a weekly basis for months now, the white sourdough bread I make without a breadmaker for dinner parties is still very inconsistent. It is never bad, just always different and the dough is often difficult to handle (too sticky).

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