Annie’s Bread

I have a good friend named Annie. Our dinners together usually involve making a big pot of soup  while eating crusty bread, sipping on wine, and catching up on our lives. I bring the bread and she provides the wine. It is really quite lovely.annies-bread

Annie appreciates good bread, but is especially fond of those loaves that are grainy with a hearty crust. (I must admit I am partial to those myself…) The other day I made a recipe that I adapted from Nancy Silverton’s ‘Multigrain Bread’ in Breads from La Brea Bakery. Upon biting into the first slice, I thought to myself, ‘This is a bread for Annie.’ I liked the crunchiness of the millet and flax seeds in the pleasantly light crumb for a whole-grain bread. I also liked the tangy sourness that the wet rye starter gave the bread. It crust was crunchy, but not too thick or too chewy.

Annie hasn’t tried this bread yet, but I decided to name the recipe after her anyway because she will be the person I think of when I bake it. We do have a dinner date coming up though and I am planning on baking this recipe. I’m looking forward to breaking this bread with her. I hope that there will be many more loaves shared between us in the years to come.

Annie’s Bread
Yield: ~2100 g (two large or four small-medium loaves)

370 g rye starter (150% hydration)
315 g water (room temperature)
30 g barley malt syrup
330 g white all-purpose flour
5 g sea salt

Loosen the rye starter in the water. Add the other ingredients and stir until thoroughly combine. Leave the sponge at room temperature for 2 hours and then refrigerate overnight or for 8-12 hours.

Final Dough:
285 g cool water
4 g instant dry yeast
310 g white all-purpose flour
200 g whole-wheat flour
140 g multigrain cereal (Use whatever blend of grains you like, but the texture should be like coarse grits.)
60 g flax seeds
50 g millet
10 g sea salt

Pour the water over the sponge and stir to loosen the mixture. Add the multigrain cereal, flax seeds, and millet. Stir to combine. Then add the flours and yeast. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Then add salt and continue kneading for 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled container and allow to ferment for 1.5 hours at room temperature.

Divide the dough into 2 or 4 pieces and shape into loose balls (the baking time/temperatures below are for 2 large(!) loaves). Allow the dough pieces to rest for 15 minutes. Then shape the dough into boules or into long oval loaves.

Allow the loaves to proof for 1 hour at room temperature. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 475ºF with a baking stone and steam pan.

When the loaves are ready place them in the oven using a peel. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 ºF and bake the loaves for 20 minutes with steam. Then bake for 30 minutes without. Turn off the oven, crack door, and leave the loaves in for 5-10 more minutes. Allow the loaves to cool completely before cutting into.


I am delighted to be part of this week’s YeastSpotting at the Wild Yeast Blog. Also, if you have a chance, I’d recommend reading this entry at the Wild Yeast Blog. It is beautifully written, succinct, and conveys the importance of bread and the experience of making it beyond being merely a source of nourishment.

7 Responses to “Annie’s Bread”

  1. I will bet your friend is thrilled you named a bread after her and I’m sure she will love ti when she gets to try it.

  2. PS, thank you for the link to my recent post.

  3. You have really made me want to bake up this bread right away. It sounds like the flavor is very complex, which I love in a bread. Nice job, I will bookmark this recipe to try.

  4. What a beautiful post, both in sentiment conveyed and in the gorgeous bread you baked! I want to try this one ASAP!

  5. Claire, that’s a wonderfully hearty-looking loaf. I hope this means Annie will name a bottle of wine after you! 🙂

  6. Such a nice thing to share thoughts and spend time with close friends in this way.

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