Friday, July 8, 2011

Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains

We LOVE this bread. It has a thick crunchy crust and a moist, chewy crumb. The taste is full of flavor; rye, whole wheat and roasted wheat germs. Healthy can be delicious too

There is a difference in taste between baking the loaf the same day and after retard proofing it in the refrigerator. Proofing in the refrigerator gives a little more sour taste. But, when I also added whole wheat and wheat germs this blended the sour taste. The smell of roasted wheat germs is delicious; it really adds, besides being healthy, something to the bread.

For some months I’m baking all kind of bread. Mostly I bake sourdough bread. I started my discovery of .... Here I collect my learning experiences with Tartine. I will also add my experiences with this Vermont Bread. At this moment Vermont Bread with Increased Whole Grains is no. 1 of our favorites.

This bread had a difficult time table for me.
The desired temperature for the liquid-levain is 21˚C. The liquid-levain built needs between 12 – 16 hours. So when I want to start at 9 o’clock, I should prepare the levain between 21.00 – 01.00 hours. My kitchen is a lot warmer at night than the desired temperature. And, we go to bed early. It’s pitch black at 19.00 hours.
When I wake up at 06.00 hours and I see the levain has dropped already. My solution is to give the levain a little snack early in the morning. A little snack helps to get it going until I’m ready to make the dough.
I follow the time table of the recipe, but I look at the dough and feel the temperature in the house. There is no day the same. Rain, sun-shine, shade and humidity influence the dough. And there are days I have to leave the house and go with the time-flow. The refrigerator helps to prevent over-proofing of the dough. It gives the bread a slightly more sour taste. If you choose to bake the Vermont the same day, you have to bake it in the evening.     

Mixing by hand or by machine:
The first Vermont I made forced me to use my hands. A big bug had entered the electrical circuit and the machine made noise but did not move its blades. It took me around 10 minutes to get medium gluten development. The dough felt strong and smooth. 
For the next Vermont I used the machine to mix the ingredients for the dough. I mixed on low speed for 2 minutes and continued mixing on first speed for 1 – 1.5 minutes; until a medium gluten development was achieved (you see pieces of dough when you stretch the dough for the window pane and it doesn’t tear).  

A few weeks ago I bought a new batard and started using it immediately. The first few loaves all sticked to the batard, I needed to push them all down and proof again. That's the reason I used a lot (probably too much!) rice flour. It worked, the dough didn't stick to the batard. But, it left too much flour on the bread.  

The night before I made the liquid-levain built with:
91 gr all purpose flour
113 gr water
20 gr mature sourdough culture

For the final dough I used:
679 gr all purpose flour
57 gr rye flour
57 gr whole wheat bran (home milled; coarse)
23 gr wheat germ (roasted)
476 gr water
18 gr salt
204 gr liquid-levain
This is what I did:
The afternoon before baking day I fed my sourdough starter until it was strong and lively. The evening before baking day I prepared the liquid-levain; mix all ingredients until well combined. Covered and left at room temperature (21˚C).

Baking day: at 06.00 hours in the morning I gave the levain a little snack. At 09.00 hours I was read to mix all ingredients, except salt. I dissolve the levain in the water (temperature 24˚C). Then I add the whole wheat bran that is home milled, so still a bit coarse. And I add the rye and the roasted wheat germs. The kitchen smells nice after roasting the wheat germs. I mix until all ingredients are incorporated. I covered the bowl with a plastic bag for autolyse for 30 minutes.

I sprinkled sea salt over the dough and mixed until medium gluten development is achieved.

Transfer the dough to a lightly with oil greased bowl, cover with plastic and leave for 2.5 hours until it doubled in size. After 45 minutes I stretch-and-fold the dough once.

I divided the dough into two portions. I pre-shaped into rounds and let them rest for 15 minutes under a tea towel.

I shaped the rounds into a batard and placed them into floured proofing baskets. 
I placed them with the proofing basket into a large plastic bag. I retarded one in the refrigerator overnight. The other proofed at room temperature for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
After one hour, pre heat the oven at the highest temperature and prepare the oven for steaming. 
Bake the loaf at 235˚C; 15 minutes with steam and 35 minutes without steam. Take the bread pan with hot stones out of the oven too.  

When the loaf is brown and done, turn the oven off and leave the loaf in. Let the door ajar for about 5 minutes.

I found this at Sue’s blog You Can Do It At Home 
The original recipe is to be found in Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
I send this bread to YeastSpotting and BYOB 


  1. The bread looks great! I love breads with the flavor of whole wheat, too! I like the idea of adding roasted wheat germ to the dough.
    Did you try to cut down the amount of starter in the sourdough to slow it down? I would try something like 9g (10%) instead of 20g to prevent it from riping to fast.

  2. Thanks Stefanie, I hadn't thought of this. I will try it with the next Vermont.
    I just baked two Vermonts, this time with fine whole wheat and multi grains; delicious.

  3. Hi Connie,

    Your sourdough loaf is really fanastic & taste yummy! Would like to know where can i purchase the proofing basket (banneton) in S'pore? Thank you


    1. Hi Lynn, thanks I'm happy you loved it too, all thanks to Jeffrey Hamelman of course. Sorry I've no idea about Singapore. Would be nice to visit it. But, maybe you can send an email to Schmidt at Bangkok, they sell high quality baking products in Thailand for more than 30 years already. The link is:
      I'm not connected to them, but I like their products. I hope to see your next bread from a banneton.

    2. Hi Connie,

      Thank you for the prompt reply, greatly appreciated. I too enjoy KAF video baking demos and their recipes. Sourdough bread is indeed very tasty and flavorful. I've just got to know and start making my own baguette & rustic sourdough bread less than a month ago. And i really enjoy the full flavour in comparison to commercial bread.

      Have a Great Day!