After being in the same old bread rut for awhile now (baguettes, dinner rolls, generic sourdough), I was craving something new and different in the bread world. So I set off looking through my library of bread cookbooks hoping for a little inspiration. I found what I was looking for in Nancy Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery". Her recipe for "George's Seeded Sour", combined with the fact that I had recently acquired a bag of "Harvest Grains Blend" from King Arthur Flour had me thinking, "Yeah, sourdough combined with multigrain but not heavy and dense." So I made my own version of Nancy's recipe while utterly, completely, absolutely not following the process she prescribed (due to time constraints and scheduling, it just wasn't possible).
I have to say, this is one of the best breads I've ever made. It's crunchy and full of flavor with just a slight tang of sourdough while also remaining light. It is perfect with a little butter but would also make fantastic sandwich bread. This recipe makes 1 large loaf.
Here's what I did:
6 oz. ripe white sourdough starter at 100% hydration (equal parts regular all-purpose flour and water)
4 oz of white all-purpose flour
4 oz of spring water or tap water
1 oz. milk
1.75 oz. white whole-wheat flour or regular whole-wheat flour.
1 Tablespoon high-gluten or bread flour
Instructions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well-mixed and let sit at room temperature for 5 hours then cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
all of the starter dough
11 oz. of high-gluten or bread flour
5 oz. of spring water or tap water
2 Tablespoons Harvest Grain Blend* or substitute a combination of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds or other grains
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Instructions: Remove starter dough from fridge and add all dough ingredients to the starter. Knead in stand mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. After resting the dough, stretch and fold the dough for 1 minute and then return to a bowl that has been oiled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and cover again with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 3-3.5 hours or until doubled.
Dump dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a boule (ball). Place the boule on a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap or damp tea towel and let rest until doubled again (about another 3 hours). One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Ten minutes before baking the bread, take a loaf pan or other small vessel and place about 1.5 cups water into the pan and place it into the oven to heat up. While the pan is heating, take a tea or dish towel and soak it with water, roll it up and place it in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes or until it is steaming. Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the steaming towel from the microwave with tongs and place the towel into the pan and immediately place it back into the oven to the side of or underneath the baking stone. Let the pan with the towel fill the oven with steam for 5 minutes.
Now that the oven is nice and steamy inside, make a X shape of slashes in the top of the dough using a sharp knife (the cut should be only about 1/4 inch deep) and, using a pizza peal, transfer the dough onto the baking stone and immediately shut the oven door. After 5 minutes, lower the temperature of the oven to 450 degrees. Do not open the oven door for another 10 minutes. Then remove the steaming pan and towel from the oven and let the bread continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is dark brown (total baking time should be about 30 minutes). Turn off the oven, open the oven door an inch or two and let the bread remain inside the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let sit on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
*The Harvest Grain Blend is sold by King Arthur Flour and it contains whole oat groats, wheat flakes, rye flakes, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, poppy seeds and millet.