Monday, May 18, 2015

Wheat Germ Sour Bread

It took me almost 3 years to make my first attempt at making hard bread. All these while I only concentrated on making the soft fluffy ones based on my hubby's preference. When I do crave for the hard crusty bread, I would normally buy it from outside bakeries. Or I would simply filled my plate with these breads from the hotels' wide selection of bread while I travel. Last week I made my second batch of hard bread to bring over to Malaysia for my bread loving buddies. 

I have adapted the recipe from a book named " Magic Bread" by Elisabeth Siahaja.  This book has been idling longingly for my attention since I bought it 3 years ago - a time when I first started exploring baking through self learning from books, youtube and food blogs. Most of the recipes from this book call for the using of bread improver, an ingredient which I do not have on hand during that time. Being a beginner who took every instructions seriously I wasn't prepared to risk the outcome of the bread by missing the suggested ingredients. Hence I went on to other recipe books for inspirations.

And now, 3 years later, I would still opt to omit using any bread improver as suggested in the recipes. Since I have never actually use bread improvers before, I wouldn't be able to comment much on its effect. However, I prefer to stick to other 'lesser' or simpler ingredients recipes which have worked well for me.  

This dough mixture for the bread is super heavy and hard to knead. My kitchenaid mixer rattled and buckled noisily while dragging the extremely hard and dry dough for 5 minutes before I decided to turn it out onto the worktop and knead by hand. The hand kneading  part for this bread require stamina and arm strength (in my opinion) as it took me longer than usual to get it to pass the window pane test.

Wheat Germ Sour Bread


(A) Sponge
45g Bread Flour
45g Water
2g Instant Yeast

(B) Dough

360g Bread Flour
60g Wheat Germ
50g Instant Oats
6g Instant Dry Yeast
40g Milk Powder
1 Egg
210g Water (or more)

30g Salted Butter


Melon Seeds


  • Mix the sponge ingredients together until it becomes a moist dough. 

  • Ferment for about 3-5 hours at rooms temperature, or, refrigerate the sponge dough overnight or at least 12 hours.


  • Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  • Add liquid ingredients and mic thoroughly. Add in the sponge dough.
  • Add (B) butter and continue kneading for another 20-25 mins, until a smooth window pane effect is formed. 

  • Transfer the dough to a slightly greased bowl, cover bowl with either cling wrap or cloth. Allow the dough to proof for an hour or until the dough doubled in size. 
  • Test the readiness of the dough with a finger lightly dusted with low gluten or cake flour. The dough is ready when the dough remain indented after the finger pokes into it.
  • Punch down the dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions and mould it round. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for another 15 mins.

  • Lightly dust the work top with flour, using a rolling pin, roll out each dough into a  long rectangle. Roll up the the rectangular dough like a roulade and place in a well greased bread loaf pan. Tuck the ends down. I filled 2 portions into a 13x24x7cm bread pan. 
  • I repeat the other portion of the rolled dough into a 9-1/2x15x5cm bread pan.
  • Spray some water over the dough with a fine mist nozzle. Proof the final bread dough in the bread loaf pan lightly cover with plastic covering in a warm place, or until it reaches the brim of the bread pan. 
  • Preheat the oven at 200C degrees 20 minutes before baking. 

  • Egg Wash the top with egg milk mixture and sprinkle some melon seeds on top. 

  • Bake the bread at the lowest rack of the oven at 190C degrees for 30 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover the top with aluminum paper halfway during baking.

  • Remove bread pan from oven. Drop the pan from a height on a foot onto the table top to release the hot air as well as to loosen the bread from the mould.
  • Transfer the bread onto a wire rack for cooling.

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