Thursday, June 14, 2012

Team USA's Five Grain Bread

  I love five-grain breads and have been making a lot of them lately two versions of which I've blogged about before (here and here).  This particular one, a version made by Team USA during the 1999 Coup du Monde de la Boulangerieimmediately caught my attention because the generous coating of grains that surrounds the exterior of the loaf made it look so appetizing that my mouth immediately started to water.  I knew just by seeing the pictures of the loaves that they would have incredible flavor especially the coated crust which I expected would turn delightfully crisp and nutty during the bake.  

I certainly wasn't wrong with all of my assumptions about this bread.  It tasted just as good as it looks and the textures of the grains from both the crust and crumb is such a delight on the palate as well.  The crust was perfectly crunchy and the crumb was so moist and tender.  I can even state that this, by far, is the tastiest Five-Grain bread I've ever made.

The formula gave a very useful tip on how to make the grains adhere to the exterior of the loaves --  After the dough has been formed into your shape of choice, pat the loaves gently on top of a damp kitchen towel and immediately roll that surface on a tray filled with the various grains used in the recipe.  I was amazed at how much grains stuck to the loaves!   I'm definitely employing this technique to my other breads that require a coating of some sort.  After doing this I then proofed them on top of linen with the coated side down for about an hour.  The formula never suggested an overnight retardation during the final proofing but I'm assuming it can be done.  Just make sure to omit the yeast called for in the recipe.

I employed the same baking method I used when I made my Hamelman's Cheese Bread which is essentially just covering the loaves with large clay bowls the first 20 minutes of baking.  It did a great job creating the steam required for the breads.

Here is the formula:

Team USA's Five-Grain Bread
(Adapted from the book The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by The French Culinary Institute)

Cold Soaker:

Flaxseeds  39 g
Sesame seeds  39 g
Sunflower seeds 39 g
Pumpkin seeds  39 g
Rolled oats  39 g
Cold water  127 g
TOTAL  322 g

Liquid Levain:

Bread flour  82 g
Water  102 g
Liquid levain culture (125% hydration)  8 g
TOTAL  192 g

Final Dough

Bread flour  254 g
Whole wheat flour  127 g
Dark rye flour  42 g
Water  247 g
Liquid levain  192 g
Instant yeast  1.6 g
Salt  12 g
Soaker  322 g
TOTAL  1200 g


1.  Combine all the grains of the soaker in a bowl.  Add the water, stirring until blended.  Cover with plastic film and let sit in room temperature for 12 hours.

2.  The same time you make the soaker make the levain build.  Place the liquid levain in a large plastic bowl and add the water.  Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk then add the bread flour.  Stir until all the flour has been hydrated.  Cover the bowl with a plastic film and let it ferment at room temperature (75 F) for 14 - 16 hours (mine actually ripened in 12 hours).

3. For the final dough, add all ingredients except for the salt in a large mixing bowl.  Mix until it becomes hydrated and forms a shaggy mass.  Cover and autolyse for 20 minutes.  Add the salt and mix in medium speed (I used my KitchenAid) until moderate gluten development is achieved.

4.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl and bulk ferment for 90 minutes stretching and folding once after the first 45 minutes.

5.  Lightly flour a clean work surface and uncover the dough diving it into two 600-gram rounds.  Rest the doughs for 10 minutes.

6.  Gently degas each dough and shape into batards.  Place a damp kitchen towel beside a tray filled with the grains listed in the soaker (I placed 1/4 cup of each grain).  Roll the dough on top of the towel then immediately roll over the grains.  Place the loaves over an un-floured couche with the coated side up making sure to create divisions between the loaves.  Cover with plastic film and proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

7.  At least an hour before baking, place baking stones inside the oven and whatever items you will be using to create steam inside your oven.  Turn on the oven to pre-heat to 470 F.  

8.  Once the loaves are ready to bake, uncover the dough, invert onto a floured peel then using a lame or razor, slash the middle of the loaf with the lame held at an angle.  Slide the loaves on top of the stones and steam.  This is the time where I cover the loaves with my clay bowls.

9.  After 20 minutes, remove the bowls and continue to bake for another 2- - 25 minutes.  I find it helpful to lower the oven a little bit to prevent the seed coating from burning.  Rotate the loaves when necessary.

10.  Once baked transfer the loaves on a wire rack to cool.

*Submitting this post to YeastSpotting*


  1. Looks like a lot of work but totally worth it!!!

  2. The bread looks great! I'm a huge fan of any kind of multi grain breads.
    To wet the surface of a loaf to get the grains to stick better is very helpful, I tend to do this by dipping my hands into water an then running them over the surface of the loaves.

    1. Thanks Stefanie!! I know, I should've learned this technique a lot sooner! I reckon it'll work really well on rolls too! :-)

  3. When did you say you were opening your bakery? :o) Wow, you're amazing Janis. That bread looks top notch. Great job!!