The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Ru007's picture

 Hello friends! 

This weekend, I tried to make my toasted oat SD using spelt instead of whole wheat, I’ve never used spelt before, so I don’t really know what the rules are. All I know is what I’ve read here, so feel free to give your feedback. 

The main thing I changed was lower the hydration (because spelt needs less what than regular wheat, right?) Although, the hydration below is 75%, the final dough had a lower hydration than my regular loaf because I used way less water to soak the oats. I wanted to get an upfront feel for what the dough would feel like and not add too much wetness with the soaker. 














Unbleached white bread flour




Whole grain spelt








Oat soaker








1. The levain was mad from 15g NMNF rye starte, 40g whole grain spelt flour and 32g water. So the final loaf actually had about 27% spelt.


2. Soak 68g rolled oats in 80g boiling water, I usually like to toast my oats, but I wanted to taste spelt. Leave to cool. 

3. Premix the flours, salt and water, chill for a couple of hours and leave to come to room temp overnight. I shouldn’t have done this; the dough didn’t feel right in the morning, it felt a tiny bit on the goopy side. Is this a spelt thing? Next time, I’m going with a short(ish) autolyse.

4. In the morning, mix the dough, levain and oat soaker. Leave to rest for 60 mins and then do as many stretch and folds as needed to strengthen the dough. I needed to do 4, I every hour. The dough did feel better at this point, but still not as nice as it does when I use whole wheat. 

5. Let the dough bulk ferment undisturbed for 2.5 hours (or for however long it needs to start looking bubbly).

Pre-shape, rest for 30mins and then shape. I left the dough to proof on the counter before putting it in the fridge for 8 hours.

6. Bake at 250dC with steam for 20 minutes with steam and then for another 25mins. 

Here is the result:

And the crumb....


I;m fairly pleased with the final product, because its so yummy! Its tangier than my regular oat sourdough, and I like it! I would have liked the crumb to be a tiny bit more open... I’ll try this again next week, and shorten the amount of the time the flour stays wet. I think that’s what I need to do. 

I’ve been making my (mostly) white SD every week, here’s the latest version.

 and the crumb...

 I think the shaping technique I used (which involves rolling the dough when I shape is giving my crumb the swirly effect). Its more pronounced in the shot below, reminds me of a croissant! 

Changes: Slightly higher hydration 78%, shorter bulk, longer shaped proof and shorter cold retardation.

This has become my “blank canvas” loaf, I’m experimenting with different, proofing times, hydration levels, mixing methods shaping techniques, scoring designs, you name it, i'll try it on this loaf! This is maybe my favourite version so far.

Have a lovey week everyone and happy baking!! 





Elsie_iu's picture

There were plenty of chocolate sourdough posts recently. I was a bit hesitant in baking my own because, you know, the idea of chocolate bread is just a bit…boring… Cherries, raisins, cranberries, hazelnuts, coffee and not much else. It’s also conventional to pair chocolate with rye or spelt flour. Really, there’s not much creativity to speak of.

If you know anything about me, you understand that I’ve to put my own spin on every bread I bake. Not long ago, I made use of the sweetness of milk chocolate to compliment the strong flavour of goat cheese in bread. However, for this bake, it’s the chocolate that takes the centre stage.

Darjeeling Tea Chocolate Orange Sourdough with Masa Harina and Buckwheat Flour


Dough flour:

210g       70%       Whole red wheat flour

60g         20%       Masa Harina

30g         10%       Buckwheat flour (raise to 15% for more pronounced flavour)


For leaven:

10g        3.3%       Starter

10g        3.3%       Bran sifted out from dough flour

10g        3.3%       Water


For tea:

10g         3.3%       Darjeeling tea leaves

50g       16.7%       Hot water


For dough:

290g     93.3%       Dough flour excluding bran for leaven

206g     68.7%       Water

64g       21.3%       Whey

50g       16.7%       Darjeeling tea

30g         10%        Leaven

30g         10%        Unsweetened cocoa powder

20g         6.7%       Maple syrup (tastes a bit bitter at this %, feel free to increase up to 15%)

9g             3%        Vital Wheat Gluten

6g             2%        Dark barley malt powder

5g          1.7%        Salt




9g             3%       Candied orange peels (might be better at 6%)

33g         11%       Chopped dark chocolate



305g       100%      Whole grain

335g     109.8%     Total hydration (still felt a tad stiff because of the addition of cocoa powder, I suggest upping it further to 112%)


Sift out the coarse bran from the dough flour, reserve 10g for leaven. Soak the rest  in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, about 4 hours.

Soak the orange peels in enough hot water to rehydrate. Set aside until needed.

Steep the tea by pouring the hot water over the tea leaves. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the tea leaves.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt, leaven and soaked bran, autolyse for 15 minutes. Knead in the reserved ingredients and ferment for 30 minutes. Fold in the add-ins then ferment for 6.5 hours longer.

Preshape the dough then let it rest for 20 minutes. Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Leave to proof for 12 minutes before retarding for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven at 230°C/446°F. Remove the dough from the fridge to warm up at room temperature for 40 minutes. Spray the dough with water and sprinkle the poppy seeds onto its surface.

Score the dough and bake at 230°C/446°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 3 hours before slicing.


This bread bloomed well in the oven. It’s also a rare occasion that I got the scoring right. The crust is pleasingly shiny and crispy.

It was a bit shocking when I cut the bread open. Despite the fact that the dough was properly proofed and carefully handled, the crumb was not as open as I had hoped for. I think the cocoa powder added some significant weight to the dough which resulted in the rather close crumb. The crumb is by no mean dry but could definitely be moister. It might be a wise decision to up the hydration next time I work with cocoa powder.  Nevertheless, the dough structure achieved is pretty decent.

I like the corn and Darjeeling tea flavour in the background of this bread. However, the buckwheat is somewhat masked by the cocoa powder. Increasing the percentage of maple syrup and candied orange peels would help in achieving a better balance between sweetness and bitterness.

My first bake with white flour (yes, really) was dedicated to txfarmer’s sourdough ciabatta


stephen.c's picture

Hi There,

I am glad to share with you my latest baking experience.

I have tried to revise a bread recipe from my own country, Sardinia. In particular the Ricotta Cheese Rolls. Spelt is not so popular in Sardinia but I fell in love with this flour hence could not resist to try to make my Spelt Ricotta Cheese Sourdough Rolls :)

The Ricotta Rolls have a delicious ricotta flavor and have a very thin and crunchy crust. They are also very soft. Some people also add Saffron to the dough but I probably prefer to add it when I use normal wheat flour to give it more character and taste indeed.

Here he final result :)


150gr Semolina flour

350gr White Spelt Flour

50gr Vital Gluten 

500gr Ricotta Cheese (drain it before adding to the dough)

260gr Water + 40gr for the Salt

12gr Salt

200gr Spelt Starter (100% Hydration)


- Mix together the flour, the semolina and the VWG and 260gr of water and autolyse for 30 min/1hour

- Add the 40gr water with 10gr salt and the starter and the ricotta cheese to the dough and knead for 10/20 min till all the ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be crazy sticky but no worries, keep kneading till the gluten structure builds up and it will be easier to manage ;)

- Bulk Ferment for 2/3 hours depending on the room temperature etc (I BF for 2 hours @25 Celcius)

- Divide your dough into 4 or 6 parts and shape it to form 4/6 nice rolls. Put them to proof on a baking try. You can either cover the try with some cling film or just put it to proof into the oven making sure it is switched off ;)

- After 2/3 hours just before doubling in size or passing the poke test, remove them from the oven and preheat the oven @250 Celcius

- Score the rolls, put a pot of boiling water in the bottom of your oven, bake the rolls for 30/35 minutes @ 220 Celcius till they sound hollow when  tapping at the bottom.

- Let the rolls to cool down and enjoy your Ricotta Cheese Rolls ;)

I hope you like this recipe and please let me know how you get on with it ;)

Happy Baking 



isand66's picture

    I finally had a chance to use the blue pea flowers I bought a month or so ago after seeing several people on the Facebook bread groups as well as here recently post their versions.  Naturally I had to try and put my own spin on it.

For my first attempt it came out pretty good, but I almost had a disaster in the making.  The formula below is not 100% accurate since I forgot that I used extra water to soak the flowers in and in my haste to mix up the 2 dough's needed and cook dinner at the same time I never re-weighed the water :(.  This caused me to add some extra French flour and a bit of Rye flour so I didn't end up with soup.  The dough was still very slack but I think if you follow my formula below it should be fine.

I made 2 different dough's using one starter.  The blue dough was mostly made with the KAF French style flour with a bit of rye per above and yellow roasted carrots.  The second dough was fresh milled whole wheat with fresh milled rye and purple roasted carrots.  I made a few rolls as well as you can see in the photos.

I think all in all, the bread turned out beautiful and it tasted great.  The roasted carrots add a bit of sweetness and extra color.  The whole wheat and rye part actually turned orange looking for some reason.

Note: use 50% of the Levain for each dough.

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Blue Water Directions

Soak the pea flowers in boiling water for an hour or longer.  Strain flowers out before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Peel and cut the carrots into medium to small size pieces and toss in some olive oil.  Place on a sheet pan and roast at 425 F until soft and slightly charred.  Let cool until ready to use and cut them up into small pieces.

Blue Dough Directions

Mix the French Style flour or AP or Bread Flour with the Blue water and let rest for 30 minutes.  Next add the starter (see note above) and mix on low for 5 minutes.  Add the carrot pieces (50% of total amount listed) and mix for one more minute until incorporated.  Place in oiled bowl and cover.  Do some stretch and folds every 15-20 minutes 3 times.  After 90 minutes place in refrigerator overnight.

Whole Wheat/Rye Dough Directions

Mix the flours with regular water and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.  Next add the starter and mix on low for 5 minutes.  Now add the other 50% of the carrots and and mix for about a minute until incorporated.  Per above, place in bowl, do S & F's and place in refrigerator when done.

The next day, let the 2 bowls sit at room temperature for around 1.5 hours or if you have a proofer or it's hot in your house you can let it sit for an hour or less ( I set my proofer at 78 degrees).  Take both dough's out and form into a rough rectangle.  Place the blue dough on top of the brown dough and then shape into a ball and place into your basket to proof.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 535 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

Below are some photos of the echinacea starting to bloom in the gardens.


cfraenkel's picture

Oh if only I had some stout...I had a bunch of cherries that were staring at me, and have been watching all the breads appearing with cherries in them and drooling, so I decided to make one of my favorite desserts in bread form.  Black forest bread was born.  Hopefully this is going to work. Can you tell school's out for summer? 
  • 650 g AP flour
  • 200 g Whole Wheat flour
  • 100 g Whole Dark Rye Flour
  • 50 g Milled Flax seed
  • 15 g Cocoa Powder
  • 700 g water

Autolyse for a while - as long as it took me to pit the cherries and weigh the other add ins:

  • 60 g sunflower seeds
  • 57 g pecans (all I had left)
  • 150 g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 50 g unsweetened coconut

Mix in to autolyse:

  • 30 g unsweetened greek yogurt
  • 20 g salt
  • 268 g levain (this ended up being a 4 stage build)

After 30 mins do Stretch and fold in the tub

Wait another 30 mins - mix in add ins and do another SF - one more SF at +30 mins

Bulk ferment until double

Divide and shape - rest overnight in fridge

In the morning I will bake in Dutch Ovens

The dough smells divine....hoping the bread will be. 


Elsie_iu's picture

It’s been a while since some strong-flavoured bread came out from my oven. I decided it’s the time for the comeback of my most-loved bread type.

Smoked Chipotle Onion and Parmesan Sourdough


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

120g     40%       Whole white wheat flour

90g       30%       Whole spelt flour

60g       20%       Whole red wheat flour

30g       10%       Sprouted spelt flour


For leaven:

5g         1.7%       Starter

20g       6.7%       Bran sifted out from dough flour

20g       6.7%       Water


For dough:

280g   93.3%       Dough flour excluding bran for leaven

208g   70.6%       Water

52g     17.3%       Whey

45g       15%        Leaven

9g           3%        Vital Wheat Gluten

6g           2%        Dark barley malt powder

5g        1.7%        Salt

1/4 tsp      -%       Smoked chipotle chili powder

1/2 tsp      -%       Dried thyme



15g         5%       Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

15g         5%       Dehydrated onions


For crust:

3g          1%       Poppy seeds



302.5g      100%       Whole grain

282.5g     93.4%       Total hydration


Sift out the coarse bran from the dough flour, reserve 20g for leaven. Soak the rest (I got 14g) in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, about 5 hours.

Rehydrate the onion in enough hot water. Set aside until needed.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt, leaven and soaked bran, autolyse for 15 minutes. Knead in the reserved ingredients and ferment for 30 minutes. Fold in the add-ins then ferment for 1.5 hours longer.

Preshape the dough then let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Leave to proof for 20 minutes before retarding for 20 hours.

Preheat the oven at 230°C/446°F. Remove the dough from the fridge to warm up at room temperature for 40 minutes. Spray the dough with water and sprinkle the poppy seeds onto its surface.

Score the dough and bake at 230°C/446°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 3 hours before slicing.

There was decent oven spring and the crust even blistered a little. It’s not common for me to a lot of blisters so I was pretty excited about it. However, I obviously have to work harder on my scorings…


Rye is the typical grain to go with onion and cheese. As I happened to have none on hand at the moment, the amount of dark barley malt powder used was doubled as compared to my usual 1% addition. Not only did it give a darker-colour-bread, but also enhanced the flavour profile by contributing some bitterness and toastiness. 

The onion-cheese-smoked-chipotle combo works so well. This bread smelled terrific while baking! Waiting for it to cool long enough before slicing was a arduous task. The spelt imparted some sweetness, adding to the complexity of this bread.



Whole spelt sourdough naan, spice stuffed okra, and mushroom and soya chunk in tomato cashew curry

Corn and black bean enchiladas with onion and pineapple salsa 

Shimeji mushroom, pea and egg tofu saute with oyster sauce 


WatertownNewbie's picture

A week or so ago Ru posted her seeded sourdough, and I felt inspired to give the recipe a try.

The recipe is unusual for me in that with the sole exception of nine grams of salt there are no additional ingredients on the second day.  No more flour.  Not even any new water.

The night before, I combined 20 g of starter, 40 g of whole wheat, and 36 g of water for the levain.  (Ru uses a rye starter; mine is a 50/50 combo of AP and whole wheat fed on a 1:2:2 basis.)  I toasted 15 g of black sesame seeds, 40 g of white sesame seeds, and 25 g of flax seeds and then poured 66 g of boiling water on the mix.  (The 66 g exceeds Ru's 55 g, but seems about right.)  Lastly, I mixed 330 g of bread flour, 80 g of whole wheat, and 296 g of water into a somewhat shaggy mass.  After a little time in the fridge for the seeds and dough mix, all sat out for the overnight.

Just before 9:00 am the next morning, I combined the salt, levain, seeds, and dough and repeated Ru's four sets of mixing (2-3 min.) with ten-minute rest intervals.  After fifty minutes I did a stretch-and-fold, and there were three of those sessions.  After the third S&F the dough sat in my cool kitchen as the afternoon warmed a bit.  Eventually the dough went onto the countertop around 5:45 pm, was pre-shaped, and had a thirty minute bench rest.  After final shaping into a batard, the dough went into a banneton.  I expected a slow rise, but the wee beasties had sprung into action, and by 8:00 pm I sensed the need for refrigeration.  My intent had been to retard overnight, but I could see as the night wore on that waiting until the next morning to bake could be a mistake.  By late evening the dough nearly filled the banneton, and the poke test produced dents that sprung back, but not fully.  Time to heat the oven.

The dough went into the oven shortly before midnight.  The first twenty minutes were at 475 degrees (F), and then I reduced to 450 degrees.  The total bake time was forty minutes, and the loaf weighed 815 g.

A fun loaf to make, and the seeds definitely add something both in taste and texture.  My wife tends to like seeded loaves, so I am waiting for her reaction when she has a chance to try some tonight.

Adam4SD's picture

At 90% hydration, dough was quite tacky to shape. I thought it was well fermented and expected some elasticity but no such luck.... scoring was ok but couldn’t go deep at all. Quite disappointed to see a muffin top but the crumb was so nice... perfect for my 88 year old mom’s weak teeth. It was very soft and spongy like.  I incorporated natto and black sesame seeds at the second stretch and fold and did lamination expecting huge holes... but that didn’t happen either!!

dabrownman's picture

Lucy loves Haiku and between bakes she thinks up some good ones.   Between bakes I thought we should all give it a try and see if our bread improves.

Just add them on here as comments.  Here is Lucy's first shot and then mine but there will be more as time allows.

Don Baggs makes baguettes

Out of any recipe

 Turns dough into sticks

And mine

Pumpernickel airs

Wafting through the bakery

So few friends remain


leslieruf's picture

This bake was quite a change in method for me.  Normally I mix, bulk ferment and shape during the day, cold retard overnight and bake first thing in the morning.  This time I started late in the day. 

I had some levain left from another bake so just added a bit more flour, some bran and left it to mature.  My formula was a simple white 74% hydration sourdough with 8% prefremented flour.  I made 2 loaves, 1 with a pinch of ascorbic acid (to see if it made a difference) and 1 standard.  This was just something to try after DanAyo had brought this topic up recently.  The loaves were both 550 g. both loaves treated exactly the same.

5:30 pm Mix flour and water for a 1 hour autolyse, Ascorbic acid treated dough felt very wet and I worried a bit.

6:30 pm added salt and levain, gently dimpled levain and did a few stretch and folds followed by 80 slap and folds (I am still working on getting good strength in my doughs).  

7 pm 15 stretch and folds in the bowl followed by 4 of Trevor's coil folds. This was repeated 3 more times and just before 9 pm I placed dough in covered bowls in my conservatory with windows cracked open. Overnight temperature was forecast to be 10 - 11 deg C and I kept my fingers crossed that the bulk ferment would hold till this morning.  Both doughs were very soft but had come together well.

8:15 am this morning I preshaped dough, rested 15 minutes then shaped.  the ascorbic acid treated dough felt and looked a little puffier.  The dough was proofed for about an hour and a half only.  The heating was on in the house so room temperature was probably about 21 deg C,  I prefer scoring cold dough so this was a bit of a challenge and it looked quite flat as it went into the oven.  Standard bake 15 mins lid on in DO and 15 mins lid off at about (230 deg C) 475 deg F.

Left hand loaf is treated with ascorbic acid. 

Ok, they look good, sprang very well in the oven.  Not a great deal between the two in fact.

Late afternoon I cut the loaves to slice and freeze and got quite a surprise.

Top slice is the standard bake, the lower slice is from the Ascorbic acid treated dough.  I am a happy camper. Didn't set out to achieve this but will definitely attempt this again.  Not sure if it was the long long bulk ferment at relatively cool temperatures or the slap and folds or something else all together.  No retardation either.  I don't make many straight white breads anymore and while I don't always want a crumb like this, it is really fun to have achieved it.  

Earlier in the morning I had baked 2 loaves of Trevor Wilson's European Peasant bread a l Danni3113.  I remembered to fix the levain % and this too turned out really well.  I won't write out method etc it is a repeat of an earlier bake.


Must admit this is a very nice bread indeed.  I mucked up the actual weights of the differing grains but I think I got it about right in the end.  It didn't matter, it tastes wonderful and we really had to hold back at lunchtime.

I think I need a rest now, I have "baked up a storm" over the last few days but we have an interesting selection in the freezer.

happy baking everyone



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