9 Grain Harvest Sourdough or 1-2-3 with Lots of Grain.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and as usual, I have been asked to bring bread to the family dinner. Because it is going to be served with a number of different courses, I needed a rather plain sort of bread. At the same time, the 1-2-3 challenge presented itself. So how to combine the two… well, it is the harvest, might as well use the plethora of grains that are in my pantry as well as some flour from the local miller. He produces 100% wholegrain flour and a partially sifted flour. I bought both at the Farmer’s Market and made sure to include some in my recipe (the levain was made with this). The remaining grains were simply milled into flour and the bran sifted out to also feed the levain.

I must note that I initially thought “Yay, no math!”. But then reality kicked in. I needed to make loaves of a certain weight because I was selling some, I had to make 4 batches, each batch needed to make 3 loaves, I had to figure out the total amount of flour and how to split that between the levain and the main dough to respect the 1-2-3 challenge, the levain had to be multiplied by 4 with a bit extra so I would have enough, then that amount had to be split up to make a 3 stage levain, I had to decide which flour and how much would be used to put into the levain with the sifted bran, and so on and on and on. Just be happy that the math is all done for you in the recipe below.


Makes 3 loaves


70 g Einkorn berries

70 g Spelt berries

70 g Kamut berries

70 g Rye berries

70 g Red Fife berries

70 g Selkirk berries

70 g Buckwheat groats

77 g Brulé Creek whole wheat flour

76 g Brulé Creek partially sifted flour

630 g unbleached flour

720 g water

360 g 3 stage 100% hydration levain (process below)

25 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g local yogurt

The morning before:

  1. In the morning, mill all the grains and sift out the bran. I ended up with 459 g of sifted flour and 29 g of bran. Reserve the bran for the levain. 
  2. Place the sifted flour in a tub. To the tub, add the unbleached flour. Stir, cover and reserve for the next day.
  3. Take 26 g of starter from your fridge and feed it 26 g of water and 26 g of the bran. 

The evening before:

  1. About 12 hours later, feed the levain 52 g water and 52 g bran/wholewheat flour. Let rise overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Do the final feeding of the levain. Add to the levain 104 g each of water and wholewheat/partially sifted flour. This should use up all of the Brûlé Creek flour. Let rise till double. This took about 6.5 hours but mine sat for another couple of hours while the main dough autolysed (life got in the way). Amazingly enough, it hadn’t started receding when I finally got back to it.
  2. A couple of hours before the levain is ready (or in my case, when the levain was ready but I made it wait), add the water to the tub of flour and autolyse for 2 hours. I must note that I had to work a bit harder to get all of the flour hydrated. I do prefer to work with a slightly more hydrated dough but in the spirit of sticking to the 1-2-3 recipe, I didn’t add any water although I was sorely tempted to do so. I added the salt on top of the dough and left it there during the autolyse. 
  3. After the autolyse, add the yogurt and the levain. Mix well and let rest 10 minutes. Do in tub folds until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the tub. Let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Do three sets of French slaps and folds (75/40/10) at 30 minutes intervals. Again on 30 minute intervals, do 2 sets of stretches and folds in the tub. Let rest until you can see bubbles through the walls of the tub, the dough feels a bit jiggly and there are some bubbles along the walls of the tub. The dough should have risen about 20%. I must say that this dough was a lot firmer than what I am used to and the gluten seemed to develop much faster. Total bulk fermentation at 72F was 3.5 hours. 
  5. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~730 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 45 minutes to one hour on the counter.
  6. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice right boule.
  7. Place the dough seam side down in rice floured bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 8 hours. 

These are proofed and ready to go into the oven.

Baking Day:

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside.
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 17 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.

Once again, the shorter bulk and proof are giving me loaves that I am quite happy with!

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Post Author: MNS Master