Five Grain Bread with Pâte Fermentée

I felt like a real baker the other day. I was up at 4:00 am because I couldn’t sleep so I decided to make the best of it and start the pre-ferment for this Five-Grain Bread. This multigrain bread utilizes a Pâte Fermentée (pre-ferment) that takes 12 – 16 hours to do it’s thing so starting it at 4:00 am gave me just enough time to get the bread made in one day.

I really enjoy working with bread dough made with pre-ferments, particularly, Pâte Fermentée.  It makes the dough more pliable and adds a wonderful flavor and texture.  I agree with Jeffrey Hamelman in his assessment of this bread, “…this multigrain bread is a pleasure to make, a pleasure to look at…and a pleasure to eat!”

This is one of the breads the Mellow Bakers have been working on in May. I’ve been really mellow about baking with this group for the past several weeks so I was excited to find time to make this wonderful bread.

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Five-Grain Bread with Sunflower Seeds

This is my adapted version of the Five-Grain Bread with Pâte Fermentée from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread.

Yield: 3 Medium Loaves


Pâte Fermentée

  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon, instant dry yeast


  • 2 1/8 cups Bob’s Red Mill 5-Grain Hot Cereal Mix *
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups water

* Contains whole grain oats,wheat, rye, barley, triticale and flaxseed.

Final Dough:

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • Soaker 1 lb (all of the above)
  • Pâte Fermentée 1 lb (all of the above)


  1. Pâte Fermentée.  Add the yeast to the water, then add the flour and salt and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand for 12 to 16 hours.five-grain-bread 001
  2. Soaker. Add the grain mix to a mixing bowl and pour the water over the grains. Mix to incorporate, then let it soak for at least 4 hours before mixing the final dough so the grains have time to absorb the water.five-grain-bread 002
  3. Final Dough. Place all of the ingredients, except the Pâte Fermentée, in the mixing bowl.  Using a heavy duty stand mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes to incorporate the ingredients, then add the Pâte Fermentée in chunks and finish mixing on second speed for another 3 minutes. Add flour or water as necessary to correct the hydration of the dough. The dough will be somewhat loose, but the gluten development should be strong.five-grain-bread 004
  4. Bulk Fermentation. Let the dough bulk ferment for 2 hours and fold the dough after 1 hour. I fudged on this part.  I let the dough bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours because I went out to dinner. I folded the dough when I got back, then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  I ran out of energy and time.five-grain-bread 007
  5. Dividing and Shaping. The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide it into three 1.5 pound pieces.  Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured surface, seams up.  Cover the rounds with plastic.five-grain-bread 009
  6. Final Shaping. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves and place them in floured bannetons and cover with plastic.  I have one oval-shaped and one round-shaped banneton so I used them both.five-grain-bread 013 I made a regular loaf out of the third ball of dough.

    five-grain-bread 014

    five-grain-bread 015


  7. Final Fermentation. Let the loaves rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Baking. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone and a steam pan underneath. Place the loaves on parchment paper and score them as desired.five-grain-bread 021

    five-grain-bread 022

    After the oven has preheated sufficiently, place the loaves (on the parchment paper) on the preheated baking stone, then add 1 cup of hot water to the steam pan.  Close the oven door and bake the loaves.  Lower the oven temperature by 10 to 20 degrees if the loaves color too strongly. The loaves should bake in approximately 40 minutes.

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Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog.  This bread has been YeastSpotted.

The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.



Owner/Blogger at Bread Experience
Hello, I’m Cathy, the face behind the Bread Experience. I'm a project manager by profession. My job can be very stressful at times and I've found that baking bread is a wonderful stress reliever.

I especially enjoy baking bread on the weekends and allowing the dough to slow ferment to bring out the flavor and nutritional properties of the bread.

Over the years, I've become enamored with grains.So you'll find me experimenting using different types of heritage and ancients grains.Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't, but it's all part of the experience.I invite you to join me on this bread-baking journey.


  1. says

    Cathy can you help me out here. I like this bread and would like to bake it too. But, I don’t understand the list of ingredients. I see the ingredients for the Pâte Fermentée and for the soaker. But, where are the ingredients for the final dough. Or it says: Pâte Fermentée and the ingredients for the final dough. Than my question is: what do I put in the Pâte Fermentée?

  2. says

    Hi Connie! No wonder you’re confused. I left off the ingredients for the final dough. Don’t know where my head was when I posted this bread. I just added the rest of ingredients. Hopefully, this version will make more sense.

    Happy Baking! :)

  3. says

    In the list of ingredients for the Pate Fermentee, the third one just says 1 teaspoon. One teaspoon of what? Can I used whole wheat flour for this, as I love the whole wheat taste?

    • says

      CherryCola,Thank you so much for catching that omission. It’s supposed to be 1 tsp of salt – a pretty important ingredient.

      If you’re asking if you can use whole wheat instead of the bread flour, I would say yes if you want a dense bread. Another option would be to sift out some of the bran from the whole wheat flour using a strainer. You will still get the whole wheat flavor, but the sifted flour would rise a little better.

      If you do try it with whole wheat, let me know how it goes.

      Happy Baking!

  4. Anonymous says

    I am interested in trying these artisan breads. However, wondering how the recipe will work with other flours such as rye or chick pea or barley?

    • says

      If you are referring to this bread, you could probably use any of those flours in the soaker, but chick pea is gluten-free so it couldn’t be substituted for the bread flour.

      You could substitute rye one-for-one for some of the bread flour. Or barley for some of the bread flour in the ratio of one-to-five, meaning one cup of barley for every five cups of bread flour. You’ll also need to reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees if you use barley to make sure it bakes evenly.

      Happy Baking!

    • Anonymous says

      Another question: Why do you need the ‘soaker’ mix? Can you use just flours instead?

      Your use of Bob’s Mills is a problem as I don’t have it on hand and many of their products are not certified organic.

    • says

      The soaker mix is used to add flavor, texture and additional grains to the bread. Feel free to use any mixture of grains/seeds you prefer for the soaker. The original recipe called for rye chops, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds and oats. I just used what I had on hand. The total amount used should equal 9.6 oz (2 1/8 cups).

  5. Anonymous says

    Just finished making this bread, haven’t baked in a while and it turned out great. I baked two of the loaves in a preheated cast iron skillet and they wound up with a wonderful crust. I did have to add a lot more water to my recipe though!

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