Over the past year, I’ve annulled many relationships. I’m done with the deadbeats in my life.

I dumped sugar and sweeteners eight months ago. I’ve successfully been wheat-free for the past couple of months except for the one time I pigged out on pizza (and repented the next day). I’ve signed up for a Gluten-free January. Well, it’s a productive start to what I hope will be a healthy, energy-filled New Year.

So what did wheat do to deserve this estrangement? I’ll save the sordid details for the next post. Suffice to say, our kitchen has been cleared of all gluten – wheat, rye, barley, spelt, emmer (farro), oats. (Well, oats has no gluten per se, but it is often processed in a facility with wheat.) I sold my bread machine and got rid of a couple of baking cookbooks.

Instead of mulling over the missing loaf of bread, I take delight in the new relationships I’ve forged – with whole eggs, butter, ghee and a host of entire food groups I shunned before. If you are a regular here looking for low-fat, mostly vegan nutrition and recipe ideas, you will be disappointed. We’ve moved over to the dark side. Life is fatty and good. We’ve been involved in some fun culinary experiments. Hopefully, we’ll find the time to write about them.

This is the last wheat bread you’ll see here. It’s an incredibly delicious one adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Five-Grain Levain from his book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

I increased the yeast and adapted it to the no-knead method outlined HERE (under Method II). The recipe makes a truckload of dough. You just pull off grapefruit-sized bits, shape them into loaves and bake them within ten days of making the dough.


(Makes 2 large or 3 medium loaves.)

**I used 1/4 cup of dough left over from the last loaf I made. It acts as a quasi sourdough starter. You don’t need to, but if you remember to save some dough when you make a loaf of bread, refrigerate it in a lidded container and use it in your next loaf within a week.

If you don’t have starter, add an extra 2 tbsps each of water and all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast to the recipe.

Dump in a 5-quart lidded plastic or ceramic container:

2.9 oz (5/8 cup) cracked rye (or cracked wheat)
2.9 oz (5/8 cup) flaxseeds
2.5 oz (half cup) sunflower seeds
2.5 oz (3/4 cup) steel-cut or rolled oats
13 oz (1 and 5/8 cups) boiling water

Let it sit until the water cools down to lukewarm.


2 and 1/3 cup (19 oz) filtered or spring water, lukewarm (between 95 to 105F)
2.5 tsps (around 0.3 oz/8.5 grams) active dry yeast

Let it sit for five minutes until the yeast starts getting bubbly.


1/4 cup sourdough starter (see note above)
22 oz bread flour (or all purpose flour)
2 oz vital wheat gluten
8 oz whole wheat flour
2 tsps (0.4 oz) kosher or sea salt

Stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed. You may need more water. The dough should be a tad stickier than the consistency you require for shaping it into a loaf – which is a loose dough like the kind you need for pizza.

Let it sit on the counter for two hours. It will almost double in volume. Open the lid a crack to release the gases and cover it back tightly. You can shape the dough and bake it now if you wish, but I like to wait at least two days for maximum flavour. Put it in the fridge and leave it alone. You can keep this dough refrigerated for up to ten days.

Take as much dough as you need out of the container, put it on a floured surface and shape quickly into a ball.

Shape the dough quickly into a round or oval shape, tuck the bottom fold in neatly, using a drop of water to seal it if you need to. Do not knead or handle much ‘cos it will release the air inside and create a denser loaf. I placed the loaf in a banneton (or brotform basket), but you could simply place it on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or layered with wax paper.

Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours in a warm place until nearly doubled in volume.

Preheat an oven to 450F with a stone (or inverted baking sheet) on the middle rack. Dust the loaf with flour and slash it on the top a couple of times for the steam to escape.

If you’re using a brotform, invert the loaf on to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or layer it with parchment/silicone.

Pour a cup of hot water into the tray in the oven and slide the loaf onto the stone (with mitts on). Bake for 20 minutes and peel off the wax paper. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees for even baking. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until rich brown and crust on the outside. If the nuts and seeds start getting too brown, loosely cover with a foil tent, shiny side out for the rest of the baking duration. Test with a skewer to see if it’s done inside.

Let it rest on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour.

Our entry for YeastSpotting.

- bee

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  1. Anjali says:

    Hi Bee & Jai

    Merry Christmas! So how are you celebrating Christmas this year? Was missing you guys this season and there you are with this post. One more turning point eh? Never mind what you eat but you can still post and keep this space alive for the blogger community. You can post about anything that goes on your table. I personally miss all your well researched posts, your humor and events. Take Care.

  2. Rosa says:

    A splendid loaf!

    I hope you had a wonderful Xmas.



  3. Mamatha says:

    I “liked” Gluten-Free January on Facebook just a couple of days ago, I’m thinking about signing up. Welcome to the dark side! Looking forward to reading up about your new culinary experiments. Happy Holidays to you, Jai and Delta!

  4. Manasi says:

    A stunning loaf!
    hope u guys have a happy and healthy new year :)
    love to delta, xo!

  5. Jim says:

    Love the writing and love the photos!

    Looks yummy.

  6. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Perfect texture and very healthy loaf! Would certainly love to hop here for your culinary gluten free adventurers.

  7. TexasDeb says:

    A lovely loaf indeed – a fitting farewell to wheat.

    Happiest of holidays to all three of you, however you celebrate (and whatever you eat while doing so!).

    Speaking just for me – I am here for the writing and the photos above all – the recipes take a bit of a back seat. Wherever you are leading/eating blogwise…I’ll follow as a reader/looker.

  8. Happy Cook says:

    A bit late to wish. Merry Christma and hope you had a wonderful day Jai and Bee.

  9. Eco Mama says:

    I just realized you get your flour from Fairhaven–are you in Bellingham?
    Anyway, I’m doing the same with the gluten myself. Your bread is perfection!

  10. Kay says:

    Yayyy! I’m in for the gluten free January too!

    I love all the good fats – Welcome to the dark side! :) May I ask why the transition or what made you change your mind about butter, eggs and so?

  11. Shawna says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I have been making sourdough for about 6 months now and I’ve been looking for a multigrain bread like this one. I made a few small changes with regard to the grains I used. It turned out great! Just a note for others looking at making this bread, it makes a ton of dough!!!

  12. Yayyy! I’m in for the gluten free January too! I love all the good fats – Welcome to the dark side! :) May I ask why the transition or what made you change your mind about butter, eggs and so?

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