Using a soaker is the prefect method for incorporating heathy and tasty seeds and grains into the bread that you are making.
Adding such a method to naturally leavened bread is even better. A long slow fermentation brings out the best of the flour and makes the bread more digestible. It improves the taste and combined with a soaker it results in a delicious and nutritious bread for every day.
You can use any seeds and grains that you like in the soaker.
There are hot and cold soakers. Hot water is used for hard grains and cold is used for seeds and softer grains. Millet is quite hard, so the soaker in this recipe is hot. You must leave it to cool down to room temperature before proceeding to make the dough.
This loaf is for the people who like their sourdough bread to taste nice and sour. Its flavour is quite intense because of the long slow fermentation at room temperature. Only a small amount of starter is used to begin with, but the dough is left to bulk ferment for around 12 hours at room temperature.
It is one of those set it and forget it recipes. Kneading only takes about 4 minutes. Mostly to distribute the ingredients evenly throughout the dough. The loaf is proofed and baked in a tin, so that makes life easier too.
This time I did not make a leaven out of my starter. I simply used the starter when it was nice and active. It was late in the evening, and I would not have had time to make a leaven anyway. Normally I keep a small amount of starter and that is why I usually must build a leaven since there may not be enough for a particular recipe. Here I only needed 25g (0.9oz).
This recipe makes one standard 900g (2lb) loaf.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the soaker –
60g (2.1oz) millet
20g (0.7oz) oats
30g (1oz) cornmeal
5g (0.17oz) ground fennel seeds
120g (4.2oz) boiling water
For the dough –
200g (7oz) white bread flour
200g (7oz) whole wheat flour
10g (0.35oz) salt
230g (8oz) water
25g (0.9oz) active sourdough starter
To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
The four I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration.
- Make the soaker. In a large bowl combine the millet, oats, cornmeal, and ground fennel seeds. Pour in the boiling water and stir well. Cover and leave to sit for 1 hour.
- Make the dough. Add the water, salt, and starter to the soaker. Mix well to dissolve the salt. Add both the white and whole wheat flours. Use the scraper to mix to a dough.
- Tip the dough out on the table and knead using the slap & fold method for 4 minutes. It will be sticky. To make life slightly easier you can leave the dough to sit for 20 minutes before kneading it. *Desired dough temperature 25C – 26C (77F – 79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer.
- Place into a bowl and leave to ferment for 10 – 12 hours. I made it in the evening, and it was ready the next morning.
- Pre-shape the dough. Use a generous dusting of flour as the dough may be quite sticky.
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Final shaping. Place in a loaf tin.
- Cover and proof for 2 – 3 hours or until it just starts peeking above the rim of the tin. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 210C (410F) fan off.
- Bake the loaf for 40 minutes.
Leave to cool down and enjoy!
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.
Watch the video here