German Sourdough Whole Grain Bread (Cracked Wheat Sourdough)

December 10, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by Manfred
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Using cracked Einkorn and lots of different seeds makes this bread a typical German wholewheat bread. Usually, the bread made from flour alone even if whole wheat flour is used does not have the hearty bite this bread has. Since it is relatively heavy on ballast but light on calories it will keep hunger away longer than the all flour bread variants you can buy in stores. That is the main reason why I developed this recipe. You can substitute the leaven with dry east, the time for the dough to rise will be much shorter, but the taste will not be as unique and rich in flavor. —Manfred

What You'll Need
  • 300 grams Lightly cracked Einkron berries
  • 150 grams Flax seeds
  • 250 grams Sunflower seeds
  • 60 grams Sesame seeds
  • 500 grams Water (boiling)
  • 380 grams Einkorn flour
  • 220 grams Bread flour
  • 20 grams Salt
  • 20 grams Bread spices (cumin or caraway, fennel or anis, coriander)
  • 380 grams Water (luke warm)
  • 480 grams Buttermilk
  • 200 grams Sourdough Leaven
  • some Butter for the loaf pans
  • rolled oats to sprinkle on bread
  1. Since this bread is made without yeast it requires a bit more preparation. The night before you make the bread prepare the Leaven by using a Sourdough Starter. How to make a Sourdough starter is not described here as part of the recipe. You can find simple recipes online or on YouTube. Make sure the Starter is really active and in healthy condition, otherwise the Leaven will not develop to your satisfaction overnight.
  2. In the morning when you make the bread you bring together the lightly cracked Einkorn berries, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and, sesame seeds into a bowl. I have a flour mill and crack the Einkorn berries right before I add them to the bowl. The berries should be lightly cracked. We don’t want to grind them into flour because the cracked berries will give this bread its unique texture. If you use whole Einkorn berries instead of cracking the berries, you will need to add more time to the soaking process, so they fully soften up. Mix the seeds and berries, boil water and add it into the bowl to start the soaking process. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for a minimum of 4 hrs. The cracked Einkorn and the seeds will take on all the water and after 4 hrs should be soft enough to go to the next step.
  3. Now we mix Einkorn flour, bread flour, salt, and bread spices into a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough so you can easily mix everything together after the liquid and leaven are added. If you don’t have bread spice available, you can easily make some of your own by mixing cumin seeds or caraway seeds with anis or fennel seeds. You can also add a few coriander seeds. I usually add about 20gr of that mixture to my flour mill when grinding the Einkorn berries to flour.
  4. In the next step, you add water, buttermilk, leaven, and the softened mixture of the cracked Einkorn, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds into a large plastic bowl. Mix all ingredients in the bowl with your hand into even mass. This should be an easy process as the dough is rather liquid compared with the usual bread dough. However, there is a sweet spot we want to hit. Now let the bread dough sit for 40 minutes. The water with the flour will develop gluten and the dough should feel thicker after 40 minutes. For the next step, you will need the mixture for about 10 minutes. Since this step is hard labor, I usually transfer the entire mixture into my Kitchen Aid and let the machine knead the dough with a dough hook. After about 5 minutes of kneading, you should see the dough making strings with the wall of the bowl. If that happens you know you got the mixture between liquid content and flower right. At this point, you can still make corrections to the mixture by adding a little bit of water or bread flour. Since my Kitchen Aid has a metal bowl, I transfer the dough back into the large plastic bowl.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at a warm spot for about 4 hrs to allow for the first rise of the dough. The best temperature is a spot with about 75F-80F. After that first rise, you should transfer the bread into two buttered bread pans. Butter the bread pans lightly and it will make your life so much easier when it is time to remove the loaves from the bread pans. Sprinkle rolled oat flakes over the dough. Cover the bread pans with plastic wrap so the dough does not dry out and let sit for another 4 hrs. You should monitor the dough and see when the final rise is done. There are so many variables like temperature and activity of the leaven that can influence the time it takes for the dough to rise. Since it is already late in the day at this point I usually put the bread loaves with the dough immediately after I transferred the dough into the bread pans into the refrigerator and let them sit to the next day morning. This helps to manage the time better and also slows the final rise down and let the yeast develop into a sweeter flavor. After I take them out of the refrigerator in the morning I let them sit outside for 2-3 hrs and then back them. This allows the dough to finish the final rise and warm up to room temperature.
  6. Now bake the bread at 450F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes lower the temperature to 400F. Now it can be another 60-70 minutes to fully bake the bread. The best method is to check with a food thermometer if the internal temperature is above 208F. After backing immediately remove the bread from the bread pans and let sit on a cooling rack.

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