Subscribe Now


Pre-Ferment (Starter):

2/3 cup (80 grams) unbleached bread flour

1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) SAF Red instant yeast Available on Amazon

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt

4 tablespoons (52 grams) cold filtered water

Seed Mixture:

3 tablespoons (30 grams) raw flax seeds

3 tablespoons (30 grams) raw sunflower seeds

4 tablespoons (30 grams) raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup (60 grams) cold filtered water

Bread Dough:

2 1/4 cup (300 grams) unbleached bread flour

1/2 cup (65 grams) unbleached whole wheat flour

1/2 cup (50 grams) light rye flour

2 tablespoons (30 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon (2 grams) SAF Red instant yeast Available on Amazon

2 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons (285 grams) ice cold filtered water (about 45 degree F (7 degree C)

Printer Friendly Page



Pre-Ferment: In a bowl stir the flour with the yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. With a bowl scraper or wooden spoon, work the flour into the liquid, until all the flour has been moistened.

Lightly oil a small bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and flip it over so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit (ferment) at room temperature for about one hour. Then place in the refrigerator overnight (12-14 hours).

Seed Mixture: In a bowl combine the seeds and water. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.

Bread Dough: In a large bowl stir the flours with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Remove the Pre-ferment from the refrigerator and cut into small chunks. Pour the cold water into the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Then add the Pre-ferment and the flour mixture. Knead the dough on 1st speed for five minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky. Add the seeds and continue to knead the dough, on 1st speed, for another 5-7 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth and elastic.

Place your dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise (ferment) at room temperature (about 75 degree F) (24 degree C) until almost doubled (approximately 1 1/2 hours). After 45 minutes you need to stretch and fold the dough (this strengthens the dough and equalizes the temperature). Do this by gently taking one edge of the dough and stretching it and then fold it onto the top of the dough. Turn your bowl 180 degrees and stretch the dough in the same way. Then turn your bowl a quarter turn (90 degrees) and stretch the dough in the same way. Then turn your bowl 180 degrees and repeat the process. (See video for how this is done.) After that, flip your dough so the bottom of the dough is now the top, cover, and let the dough sit for the remaining 45 minutes.

Next, turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. You want the top of the dough to now be on the bottom. Lightly flour the top of your dough and with the palms of your hands pat the dough to break any large air bubbles. Then divide the dough into two equal sized pieces (about 500 grams each). When you divide the dough use a pastry scraper or knife and cut, don't pull or stretch the dough. Then, working with one piece of dough at a time, pre-shape the dough. Do this by patting the dough into a 6 x 4 inch (15 x 10 cm) rectangle. Fold over the top third of dough (like you're folding a letter) and gently seal (this also increases the surface tension of the dough.) Then take the top of the dough and fold it to the bottom edge of the dough and seal. Place the palms of your hand on the top of the dough and gently roll it back and forth to seal the dough and create tension. Place the two logs of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet or board and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. (This is to relax the dough.)

At least one hour before baking your bread, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Have your oven racks in the top and bottom third of your oven. On each rack have a pizza stone. Also, place a cast iron skillet on the floor of your oven (we will be placing ice cubes in the frying pan to create steam which gives the bread a nice crust ).

Next, place the logs of dough, upside down, onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Form the dough into a rectangle (4 x 6 inches/10 x 15 cm) and have the short edge closest to you. Start by taking the top edge of the rectangle and fold the dough over about one third and seal. Then take the two top corners of the dough and fold them over to meet in the center of the dough, forming a triangle. Finally, take the top edge of the dough and fold it over to the edge of the dough and seal. (See video for how this is done.) With the palms of your hands gently roll the dough back and forth (to create tension) until it's about 12 inches (30 cm) in length, tapered at the ends. (You want the center of the dough to be thicker than the edges. This shape is called a 'batard'.) Place the batards (seams side up) on a floured cloth (preferably linen), separating the batards by a wrinkle in the cloth. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let proof (ferment) for about 60 minutes at room temperature (the batards should be plump and when you gently press your finger into the batard it should leave a slight indentation).

Have ready a pizza peel (or the back of a baking sheet) that has been lightly sprinkled with fine cornmeal or semolina. Gently transfer the batards to the pizza paddle, placing them seam side down. Then with a razor or sharp knife, held at an angle, score the top center of each batard lengthwise with a long slash. Transfer the batards onto the hot pizza stone, spacing the them several inches (5 - 7 cm) apart. Quickly place about 1 cup (240 ml) of ice cubes into the hot cast iron skillet (this creates steam). Bake the batards for about 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown (if you tap the bottom of the batard it will sound hollow.) Then turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly and leave the bread in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Then remove from oven and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 2 Batards.


The three breads I routinely make are Multigrain Bread, along with French Baguettes and the White Sandwich Bread. Multigrain Bread is a very flavorful bread. It's made with three different flours (bread, whole wheat, and rye) and three different seeds (flax, sunflower, and sesame). It has a lovely golden brown crust that is chewy while inside it's soft and tender. Delicious on its own or topped with butter and maybe a slice of cheese. Also makes great toast and perfect for sandwiches.

When I took a bread making class at the San Francisco Baking Institute, this is one of the breads we made (although I did alter the recipe a bit). Now, a few notes on technique and ingredients. There are two things you need to do about 12 hours before you make this bread dough. First, is to make a pre-ferment, also known as a starter. A pre-ferment is really easy to make, just stir together a small amount of bread flour, yeast, salt, and water, cover, and let it sit for about an hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate overnight. Secondly, the seeds (flax, sunflower, and sesame) need to be soaked in water overnight. This is done to soften the seeds so they won't absorb the moisture from the baked bread, causing it to stale.

As far as ingredients go, for the yeast, I like to use either SAF Red Instant Yeast. This type of yeast is normally used by professionals as it gives a good rise and it doesn't need to be proofed. However, if you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast you need to increase the amount of yeast by about 20%. Also, with active dry yeast you need to first activate the yeast in warm water. To do this, remove about 1/4 cup (60 grams) water from the total amount called for in the recipe and heat it to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. For the salt I like to use kosher salt. Lastly, the temperature of the water is very important when making bread as it determines the temperature of the final dough, which affects the rate of fermentation (proofing). The desired dough temperature (DDT) should be between 74-77 degrees F (23-25 degrees C). Therefore, use ice cold filtered water from the refrigerator (about 45 degrees F (7 degrees C)) as the dough really warms up during the long kneading period.