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Almost 7 Grain Bread - Six Whole Grains in One Bread

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Sechskorn Brot - German Whole Grain Bread

Sechskorn Brot - German Whole Grain Bread

J.McGavin

Six grain bread is very popular in Germany and found in almost every bakery. The reason is that a name-brand firm sells this popular mixture as "Das Echte Sechskorn Brot" with a very official-looking seal for the baked loaves. When a mix is sold like this, the baker simply adds water and yeast, lets it rise for an hour, and bakes it (see recipe, in German).

The ingredients for this bread include dried sourdough extract, glucose, barley malt extract, wheat malt extract, whey proteins, vegetable oil, ascorbic acid and unnamed flavorings. These are all valuable ingredients for quick, yeast breads but go against the "Slow Baking Association" guidelines, which are to apply the dimension of time to yeast breads to create flavor instead of artificial flavors or preservatives. For us, the more practical purpose to slow baking is accessibility to the ingredients, rather than the mix, which is not sold in all parts of the world.

This recipe is adapted from Baecker Suepke's recipe for "Sechskorn Brot" which is baked with a fresh sourdough and requires an overnight fermentation.

Makes 2, one pound loaves.

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Overnight rest: 16 hours

Total Time: 18 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • ***Soaker***
  • 1/4 c. cracked rye (45 g.)
  • 1/4 c. cracked wheat (45 g.)
  • 2 T. pearled barley (35 g.)
  • 3 T. polenta (35 g.)
  • 2 T. millet (35 g.)
  • 1/3 c. rolled oats (35 g.)
  • 1 T. flax seed (11 g.)
  • 1 T. sesame seed (11 g.)
  • 1 T. diastatic malt flour (14 g.) (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt (11 g.)
  • 15 T. water (210 g. or 9/10 of a cup)
  • ***Sourdough Starter***
  • 1 c. + 1 T. light rye flour (110 g.)
  • 2/5 c. water (90 g.)
  • 1 T. sourdough starter (10 g.)
  • ***Sponge***
  • 1 c. bread flour (120 g.)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (1 g.)
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast or 1 gram fresh
  • 5 T. + 2 tsp. water (80 g.)
  • ***Final Dough***
  • All of the soaker, sourdough starter and sponge
  • 1 c. bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (2 g.)
  • 1/5 c. cold water (50 g.)

Preparation:

Tip: How to substitute fresh or active dry yeast for instant yeast.

The Day Before You Want to Bake Your Bread

Sometime in the afternoon or early evening of the day before you bake bread, mix together the soaker ingredients, refresh the sourdough by mixing flour water and sourdough starter, and mix the sponge in separate bowls.

You may leave the cracked grain and seeds soaking overnight on the counter top. Cover the rye sourdough airtight and leave at room temperature overnight as well.

After two hours at room temperature, wrap the sponge (a ball of dough) in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight as well.

Bread Baking Day

About 16 - 18 hours after mixing the sourdough, soaker and sponge and about 2 hours before baking, place all the Final Dough ingredients together in a bowl.

Mix for 8 minutes on the slowest speed of the mixer with a dough hook. Turn the mixer up one notch and mix for another 4 minutes.

If you are mixing by hand, mix in the bowl with a spoon until the dough comes together in a ball, then knead on a bread board for 10 to 15 minutes with a little flour. Dough should be firm but slightly tacky.

A dough temperature of 77°F (25°C) is ideal.

First Proof or Rest

Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes at 75 - 85°F (the inside of a microwave or conventional oven with the light turned on is a good place).

Shaping and Decorating the Bread

Divide the dough in half (about 1.2 pounds or 600 grams each). Form into a batard or long, oval shape.

Quickly dunk in water or brush with water and then roll in a mixture of oats, cracked grains and seeds (or just rolled oats, if that’s what you have).

If you wish, use scissors to make six to eight cuts down the length of the loaf to resemble a sheaf of wheat (see picture). You may also choose to slash the loaf conventionally in any pattern you want.

Second Proof

Place loaf on a cornmeal-strewn piece of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise for 50 to 60 minutes.

Baking the Bread

Preheat oven for one hour to 450°F (230°C). Use a baking stone if you have one.

Place the bread directly on the hot stone, if possible. Otherwise, bake on parchment on a cookie sheet.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 450°F, using steam for the first 5 to 10 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 360°F (190°C) and bake for a further 40 - 60 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 200 - 210°F (about 95°C).

This bread is very moist because of the soaked grains and seeds and you will need to bake it longer than you think. If it gets too dark, cover the bread with foil the last part of baking.

Let it cool 2 hours before slicing.

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