Mick’s 5-Seed and Spelt Sourdough

5 Seed Spelt Sourdough Mick Hartley Bethesdabakers

It’s been too long…

It’s been too long since I made a seedy loaf and anxious to remedy that I grabbed Monsieur Hartley’s Bethesdabasics and gave his Sourdough Spelt and 5-seed bread a workout yesterday evening. Luckily I had some white starter waiting patiently for an outing so it was meant to be.

I’ve never put poppy seeds in a dough before, usually sprinkling them on the top and in the bottom of the oven, on the floor and so on. I like the adrenalin rush of skidding in my socks on the fine layer of baking debris on the floor, especially carrying a hot tray or a kettle of boiling water; all part of the home baking process.  Sometimes I have to vacuum my feet; the dogs mysteriously vanish as I open the cupboard under the stairs as the vacuum cleaner is one of their sworn enemies.

I confess that I didn’t soak the seeds overnight, only for a mere hour, but the mix of linseed, poppy and other  bird seed (sorry Jackdaw) absorbed nearly all the water in that time so I figured I would get away with it. Linseed has an interesting glutinous quality once soaked which makes the dough a little sticky when you work with it, but also gives the dough a lovely moistness and makes it easy to shape and score.

Mick's 5 Seed with Spelt Sourdough Bethesdabakers

I mixed the dough up at about 5 pm and baked it just after midnight, leaving it to cool while the foxes roamed the garden, calling to each other and the robin sang away in the dark. Did I mention I live in a city?  It’s full of animals out there and they take full advantage of the night.

5 Seed Spelt Sourdough Bethesdabakers

This morning the sun is bright and the temperature has risen to a balmy 6 º C, so I’ve celebrated by dragging the Hartley loaf outside for its photocall and then hastily back indoors as it’s not that warm really.  You can’t beat a breakfast of fresh bread and butter, just delicious!

This is a moist and well fermented bread full of nutty seedy goodness, yet with no sense of crunching on tiny seeds as the soaking has softened them all right down – Brian won’t eat seedy bread, but that’s all right because he has endless loaves of white toast stuffed in the freezer. To each their own!

Not long now till the Bethesda shindig in July when you can meet Mick, marvel at his eyebrows and bake with him and anyone else who chooses to come. It’s not a workshop, but a gathering, a get together, a bake-in, it’s what the participants want it to be and it will be fun! If you fancy stepping off the internet and into a floury environment for a day or a weekend find out more here.

31 thoughts on “Mick’s 5-Seed and Spelt Sourdough

  1. azelias kitchen

    Lovely loaf Joanna. I love seeded loaves. I thought I was the only baker who would stay up til midnight to bake…nice to know next time there’s other households in the same boat.

    At least your Brian is not as dull to feed as my husband.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Az, I wonder if there is a gender divide on the seedy loaf thing? On baking after midnight, there comes a point of no return when you can’t put the dough in the fridge as it is almost but not quite proved. The dogs get most annoyed if I lurk in the kitchen late at night, but I quite like it, I read the papers while waiting for the bread to come out of the oven. I thought your roast pork looked completely delicious yesterday :D

  2. azelias kitchen

    thank you…and hence my frustration…husband doesn’t like pork so would only have a slice!

    Still I have the girls…and the oldest loves pork like me…so not complete loss!

  3. Geraint

    Another great post Joanna.
    I love the description of skidding across the ‘fine layer of baking debris’ (& strongly relate to it!).
    Also baking up to midnight & beyond… I usually catch up with twitter or bread forums as I wait for those late loaves to bake. However organised I try & be, it happens more often than is ideal. Staying awake isn’t a problem as I’m a night owl by nature, but I’d like to feel I was the one in control of the process, not the other way around.
    And if love of seeded bread is a gender thing then I’ll have to be the exception that proves the rule; I find it hard to make a sourdough loaf without seeds.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I leave the dogs’ ears long in the hope that they will somehow sweep the floor and save me the job, but so far it hasn’t worked. Thanks for dropping in Geraint. So much bread is baked at night commercially, maybe it is the bread controlling the baker, years of genetic yeast memory…. #wildsourdoughfancy :)

  4. sallybr

    Gorgeous loaf, I loved the crumb structure! I almost went with a seeded sourdough this past weekend, but would have to buy a lot of seeds and decided against it. My freezer is already packed with flours… ;-)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Can you maybe buy a small bag of mixed seeds in a wholefood store? That would be ideal in your situation Sally. This is a cracking good loaf :)

  5. Jeannette

    Now that I have Mick’s book I can make this loaf and my pick of any of the others therein, but first I need to buy some spelt flour, I’ve used up all that I had. I’m pleased I got the book, but I still have one little nagging question, perhaps you can answer it for me, Joanne, otherwise I will get in touch with Mick. This is it…. say I want to make just the one loaf, any of them that just use 10g of starter before refreshment, can I take it from my stash of starter in the fridge, and put the rest of the starter back for another time, probably later that week? I usually have about 240g of starter in the fridge between bakings.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi Jeanette! Yes of course you can take a bit from the ‘mother lode’ and use that to refresh – The idea behind keeping some back is that you don’t fall foul of the terrible moment when you realise that you have refreshed and then used your entire stock of starter in a dough. As long as you’ve got a small stash you can refresh it as and when you need it. Mick simply provides a systematic way of doing it with his quantities to help you get in a routine of one lot for the fridge and one lot for the dough. But do ask Mick for any advice on his formulae, he bakes them all the time and I am sure is glad to help :D

  6. Jeannette

    Thanks, Joanna, it makes sense when you see it written down! Funny, how these little details grow into enormous questions when you are starting out on something new. I am contemplating coming to Bethesda for the weekend ‘bake-in’ , does it mean staying overnight or is it just the one day event?

  7. Kenneth

    What an enjoyable post – a surprise as well as I too was up late baking a Mick Hartley loaf. In my case it was the Pain de Campagne. Mick’s book certainly seems to cut away a lot of the stuff that often appears in books yet gets in the way of understanding. I find his photographs useful, they seem to relate well to the text. Even so, I forgot to work out at what time the bread would be baked by. When I did it came as quite a shock.

    The crumb of your loaf looks a lot lighter than anything that I’ve managed with either spelt or seeds. When I’ve made 100% spelt it has been quite solid. Mick’s recipe with a reduced spelt content seems to be a good way to go, I’ll have to search out some seeds! I’m only just returning to expanding my repertoire and the Pain de Campagne was my first sourdough for years. Do you think the 5 seed and spelt would be a good choice as a next loaf?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      The midnight bakers must stick together! What seems reasonable at 4 in the afternoon becomes an exercise in patience and restraint as the clock creeps up to midnight ;)

      I freely admit I am not much good at making great 100% spelt. I find it very heavy and it doesn’t deliver the flavour that say a 100% rye gives. This recipe is a good compromise for me. I don’t know what you should make next…the choice is yours Kenneth!

      My favourite ‘go to’ sourdough is always one with some rye flour, I just prefer the flavour profile of rye above all the other grains.

      Here is a shot of a recent Vermont sd with extra grain. If I was told I could only make one bread for the next year, this would be it
      crumb shot

      1. Kenneth

        I’m pleased that isn’t just me and spelt! Regarding my next bread I was really just wondering whether you’d found anything problematic with the MH recipe in that we have both discovered spelt can make a heavy loaf.

        Interesting you mention the rye. My wife’s favourite bread was a 20% rye that I used to bake. I haven’t baked that for ages. I’ll try that again soon with wild yeast rather than bakers.

        Is the loaf in the picture from a Jeffrey Hamelman recipe? It looks lovely, I can just imagine that right now with some Marmite & a bit of Wensledale. Or perhaps honey? Or just butter. Mmmmm…

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          Ah I misunderstood, no there were no problems with this particular bread! It’s delicious – I’ve been eating it all day :)

          I’d make your wife’s favourite rye and use your starter, that sounds pretty close to the one in the picture to me which is the Vermont Sourdough with Extra Grain, i.e. with extra rye flour, the corrected version of which I’m sure you have seen on Mellow Bakers :)

  8. heidi

    I agree with you on the rye flavor profile. In fact, I made up a quick starter so I could make some rye down here, and came back from three stores empty handed! No rye flour to be had! So I am going to chop up the crusts of the loaf I brought down and feed it to the starter with hopes of more pleasing flavor and make a peasant bread with strong white flour and bastardized rye starter.
    I’ve often been a midnight baker- also one to rise at 3 AM to get something started for dinner. I think bakers must have sleeping disorders.
    Btw- your bread is lovely, just lovely.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      No rye???? Nooooo……that’s not fair….. well then needs must. I’ve also heard of people soaking ryvita (rye crispbreads) with the same effect. If you chop up the crusts and then soak them in hot water and add to the dough as a sort of fine slurry once softened that should work beautifully. The salt in the bread might inhibit the starter if you add it direct, depends how salty the bread is. I am sure bakers have sleeping disorders, dreaming of pillowy mounds of meringue, tarts, croissants, the perfect baguette….

  9. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Aaah, Mick and his eyebrows, now there’s a tempting offer, to fly over and bake with you all in July. Not going to be possible though, so I’ll count on you to post squillions of wonderful photos of the event for us all! The last one led to me baking stottie cakes and cottage loaves, so I can’t wait to see what the next one leads to! :)

    Poppy seeds drive me bonkers. They seem to get into every crack and crevice of my kitchen, and then hide there for weeks. I swear they just carbonise in the oven and disappear, because they’re there after one bake, and gone about four later. Your loaf looks lovely, and the linseed sounds nice – I have some in the fridge – aren’t they supposed to be very good for you? I had sourdough toast for breakfast – a very civilized start to the day indeed.. :) xxx

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Well this is the answer: – put the poppy seeds inside the dough!

      They give linseed to budgies to get them to sing and I think it’s supposed to have some super duper ‘good food’ benefit, but I can’t remember exactly what right now. I almost never eat cereal or granola or that stuff for breakfast, occasionally porridge, usually I’m a straight toast sort of person but I toast anything that I can slice, with the exception of the vollkornbrots :D


  10. drfugawe

    Although I’d love to, I’m afraid I’ll not be making the ‘Bake In’ at Mick’s but I can do the next best thing – I’ll be baking one of his loaves from his book that just arrived here – I’m looking forward to that.

    (What is it about dogs and vacuums?)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      HI there Doc, it would have been great to see you over here, but that’s life !

      Dogs and vacuums, dogs and long cardboard tubes, dogs and black plastic bags rustling behind trees, dogs and fluorescent jackets, dogs and joggers… our list is long….. ;)

  11. Melanie Corley

    Wonderful looking loaf Joanna!!! I wish I could’ve sunk my teeth into some. I imagine its all gone by now, though. Maybe you could make another one for the birds? I bet you’d get some good photos if you piled some more seed on top and set it outside, while you hid behind some bushes to take pics of the birds. I’ve had a pigeon cooing outside my window all morning. He sounds hungry, but I dare not put out my birdseed as its raining & all the seed would get wet and turn moldy. I’ve never heard of linseed. I’ll have to look that up. Wish I could come to the Bethesda shindig, but I would need a loan to afford that. Guess I’ll just have to look forward to the photos and maybe a recipe or two?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Melanie. I’m still eating it in fact, about half way through as I am the sole muncher on this one. But it keeps well – still moist and tender today. Far too good for those greedy birds ;) Linseed is also known as flaxseed I think!

      I wish you could all come to Bethesda. It would be fairly inexpensive once you were here, but it’s the getting here I guess. Maybe something similar happens near where you live? I don’t know how one would find out.

  12. Mariana

    Oh dear. What a shame. My daughter leaves for England late May and we were only discussing at what time should I meet up with her and in which country. I said to her that I really wanted to go to Wales. Can you believe it! My other daughter has a hankering to see Ireland. I will most likely be there early August, otherwise I definitely would of considered the Bethesda shindig.

    The first photo of your bread looks spectacular. I’m jealous. And I had a chuckle about the vacuum cleaner. We have a kangaroo that lives in our yard. She always lies infront of our glass doors during the day and when she sees or hears the vacuum she begins “hissing” and carrying on bigtime. She bounces away for an hour and then returns to further nap without all the noise. Sooo funny. Damn, what a shame about the dates.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hee hee I would think I was hallucinating if there was a kangaroo in the garden! I would love to see her picture sometime. Mariana that is a shame about the dates, what a lovely thought to come and bake here :D

  13. Jeannette

    After receiving Mick’s book last weekend I couldn’t wait to try out one of the loaves and tonight I have just sampled a slice of the Pain de Campagne which I baked earlier this evening, it is delicious! Looks nice and tastes even better!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hey Jeannette that’s great news! Did you take a picture? If you send it to me I can add it here, or better still send one to Mick, I’m sure he’ll be delighted. No turning back now ….. :D :D

        1. Jeannette

          Thank you Joanna, hope you don’t mind me taking up space on your blog. Perhaps others will be inspired to take up sourdough baking, I’m glad I was introduced to it by a friend in Scotland.

Comments are closed.