Mixed-Grain Swiss Country Loaf

Author: Canadian Living

In Switzerland, mixed grain breads are usually half white flour with differing amounts of rye, whole wheat and spelt. The loaves have rich flavour and a texture halfway between the lighter, airier loaves of France and Italy and the heavier, dense loaves of German bakers. This bread uses levain, a French sourdough starter, and requires two separate overnight risings. It's worth the time. To prevent the dough from taking on any odours when rising, you can place the covered bowl in a plastic bag.

  • Portion size 20 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: October 2011


  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon wheat malt syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups white bread flour (approx)
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 2/3 cups whole rye flour (dark)
  • 2/3 cups white bread flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour


Levain: In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water and milk; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in rye flour, white bread flour and whole wheat flour until smooth. With wooden spoon, beat 100 strokes in same direction until gluey. Scrape down side of bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand at cool room temperature in draft-free place for at least 12 hours or for up to 24 hours.

In large bowl, stir 2/3 cup warm water with malt syrup; sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in spelt flour and salt. Scrape in levain; beat until combined. Stir in white bread flour to form wet, shaggy dough. Knead until supple and smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour as necessary, 12 to 15 minutes in stand mixer with dough hook on medium-slow speed or about 20 minutes by hand. Transfer to greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.

Bring dough to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Lightly push down to deflate; knead lightly for 1 minute. Shape into smooth ball by pulling down edge and pinching together underneath. Cover with tea towel; let rest for 15 minutes.

Flatten dough into 12- x 8-inch (30 x 20 cm) rectangle; fold long sides to centre, pinching together seam and ends.

Cut 20-inch (50 cm) length thin kitchen string and lay across middle of parchment paper–lined or rye flour–dusted peel or baking sheet. Place loaf, seam side down, on string, with string crosswise under middle, both ends exposed. Cover with tea towel; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

With razor or sharp serrated knife, score 1/2-inch (1 cm) deep slash lengthwise down centre of loaf; bring string around centre to cut through middle, removing string. Bake on preheated baking stone or on baking sheet in 425°F (220°C) convection or 450°F (230°C) conventional oven for 20 minutes, sprinkling bottom of oven with a couple of handfuls of water when putting loaf in oven and again after 3 minutes of baking.

Reduce heat to 375°F (190°C) in convection oven or 400°F (200°C) in conventional oven; bake until crust is hard, bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom and internal temperature reaches 200°F (99°C), about 20 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Nutritional facts Per each of 20 slices: about

  • Sodium 231 mg
  • Protein 4 g
  • Calories 109.0
  • Total fat 1 g
  • Potassium 67 mg
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Saturated fat trace
  • Total carbohydrate 22 g


  • Iron 9.0
  • Fibre 0.0
  • Folate 13.0
  • Sodium 0.0
  • Sugars 0.0
  • Calcium 1.0
  • Protein 0.0
  • Calories 0.0
  • Total fat 0.0
  • Vitamin A 0.0
  • Vitamin C 0.0
  • Potassium 0.0
  • Cholesterol 0.0
  • Saturated fat 0.0
  • Total carbohydrate 0.0
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Mixed-Grain Swiss Country Loaf