French Fridays: Multigrain bread from My Paris Kitchen

David Lebovitz multigrain bread on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen was one I’d been looking forward to making for a while. Since I seem to have finally found my groove baking bread (I’m no expert but I’ve come a long way since this post).

To be honest, I’ve been loving different versions of no-knead bread and have been experimenting a lot with that concept so David’s recipe looked like a bit more work (it’s not a huge amount of hands-on time but it did require me to bust out the stand mixer…). I found it a little curious actually – you start with a “starter” (flour, a tiny amount of yeast and water that you mix and let sit in the fridge overnight. It’s supposed to bubble like a real starter by mine remained fairly dough-like (and I know my yeast is active so it’s not that). I proceeded nonetheless and found the dough extremely tough to work with, it definitely feels like a SOLID loaf and it made my stand mixer dance around the countertop!  It’s mostly bread flour with a little whole wheat (pastry) flour and then you add a whole load of seeds (which I LOVE… the multi seed baguette is one of my favourite things in France). I found the dough too dry to properly mix the seeds in so I added about 1/4 extra cup of water to help loosen it up a little, then I had to add a little more flour as I finished kneading by hand so it wasn’t slippery and wet.

Multigrain bread David Lebovitz on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe bread bakes for around 35 minutes in a hot Dutch oven (I checked the internal temperature with a digital thermometer to make sure it was 190˚F and while mine was cooked inside, it was still pale on top so I left it in for a few more minutes to brown up a little more. It was a strange-looking loaf – all craggy and shaggy looking (but with well-developed gluten strands so I know the yeast was working) and I was a little worried because it was so heavy. Would it be like a rock inside?

David Lebovitz multigrain bread image on eatlivetravelwrite.comActually, no. It wasn’t the lightest loaf but it was excellent – loved the seeds (would mix those in from the beginning next time to get more of a better distribution) and it lasted a week – we ate it toasted for breakfast and it toasts up well.

Conclusion: I need to experiment more with seeds in my bread-baking. I’ll also make this again to see about the whole “bubbly starter” thing.

Get the recipe for David Lebovitz’s multigrain bread on p 241 of My Paris Kitchen.


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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “My Paris Kitchen” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.

14 thoughts on “French Fridays: Multigrain bread from My Paris Kitchen”

  1. You made the smart move to add 1/4 cup of water. The recipe needs at least 50-75 ml of water to work properly in my opinion. Your first was better than my first bread. It was a rock, not even edible. I usually look for internal temperature to reach 209°F before I take it out of the oven.

    • I do think it is perhaps because the recipe might have been developed with different flour that it might require tweaking over here… I’m more confident to play with adding extra liquid etc… these days so I managed ok. Wondering why you take the bread an extra 20˚F? Mine was definitely cooked, I just prefer it more golden on top. Re: my first attempt, if you click through you will see a number of inedible rocks too!

  2. Isn’t French flour different than what we have in North America with the ash and gluten content being different among other things. I think Dorie has written about this. After reading the recipe and knowing that our ingredients might be different, I knew that with my additional altitude problems, this wouldn’t work. Frankly I think your bread looks fabulous. I like “craggy and shaggy.” And, the seed thing works for me also.

  3. I’m not sure if it was because I used bread flour and whole wheat pastry flour, or because I left the starter in a warm room overnight, but I didn’t have any issues with this loaf. I just realized when I posted tonight that I forgot to snip an X in the top of the loaf – I didn’t mind the domed top, though – it makes for a nice sandwich bread. I think yours has a very nice crumb – I’d be happy with it!

    • Well I used bread flour as well. Not sure what happened to my starter (though I followed the recipe which said to refrigerate it overnight…). Boo, guess I’ll have to try again!

  4. I had a similar experience mixing up the dough: rocking stand mixer, needing water to mix in the seeds, etc. Though my starter got extra bubbly. I just noticed you mentioned the recipe said to refrigerate the starter. I missed that and left it on the counter. Maybe that’s why mine was more visibly active. I bake my no-knead bread for a full hour at 500F in the dutch oven, so I felt that David’s timing was shy. I don’t think a longer bake would significantly change the inside, but would give you the more-golden crust you wanted. I loved the seeds too.


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