The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Danni3ll3's picture


I felt it was time to revisit some of the recipes that I have made in the past and Ru’s Polenta Sourdough was one that I really liked and wanted to play around with a bit. So this is my second version of her recipe.




330 g of Selkirk wheat berries (this is a 1950s hard red spring wheat variety)

110 g of cornmeal

300 g of boiling water 

770 g of unbleached flour

50 g ground flax

100 g raw sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan

100 g raw pumpkin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan

575 g water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

35 g kefir

360 g levain (100% hydration)(Instructions included below)


  1. A couple of night before making the dough, mill the Selkirk wheat berries and sift out the bran. Mill the bran again on a finer setting. Reserve all of the bran for the levain. Remove 143 g of the sifted flour for the main dough and reserve the rest of it for the levain.
  2. The morning before making the dough, start building the levain as follows: Build #1: 16 g starter, 31 g water, 31 g bran Let rest 8-10 hours. You won’t see any activity, so don’t worry. Just leave it alone. Build #2: 62 g each of water and sifted flour. Let rest overnight.  Build #3: 94 g each of water and sifted flour. Place in a warm spot. It is ready to use once it doubles. Mine doubled in a couple of hours but I used it after about 4 hours.
  3. The night before, soak the 110 g of cornmeal in 300 g of boiling water. Let rest covered overnight.
  4. A couple of hour before the levain is ready, mix the the 143 g of sifted Selkirk flour with 770 g of unbleached flour, 50 g ground flax seeds, 100 g each of toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Pour 575 g of water into the the soaking polenta and loosen the whole mess with a whisk. This will take some time. There may be a few little lumps left but keep at it until it is all loosened. If you don’t, you will find huge lumps of cornmeal in your dough. Don’t ask me how I know that!
  6. Pour the cornmeal/water mixture into the flour/seed blend and mix well until all of the flour is hydrated. Let autolyse for a couple of hours until the levain is ready.
  7. Add 22 g salt, 35 g kefir and 360 g of levain to the dough. Mix very well and then do 100 stretches and folds in the bowl/bucket. This really is more like kneading in the bowl rather than true stretches and folds but it helps develop the gluten and it distributes the levain and the salt.
  8. Place in a warm spot and give two sets of folds one hour apart. Let rise until 50-60% risen and you can see bubbles at the edge of the bucket. The dough should feel solid but full of air.
  9. Divide into 3 loaves and do a very loose pre-shape. Do not degas the dough. Let rest for 30 minutes. Do a final shape by cinching the dough. Once again, do not degas the dough. Place seam side down in rice/AP floured bannetons and cover. Let rise on counter at room temperature for 45 minutes and then put to bed for the night in the fridge.
  10. The next morning, heat the oven to 475 F with the Dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place parchment rounds on the bottom of the pots and gently drop the boules inside seam side up. Cover and drop the temperature to 450 F, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove lids, and bake for another 20 minutes at 400 F or until the insides measure 205 F. 
  11. Cool for at least a couple of hours before cutting and enjoying!

The oven spring wasn’t what I would wish for. I am guessing that it was slightly over proofed. The photo is deceiving. The loaf doesn't look like that in real life.


Next time, I think I would reduce the rest time to 15 minutes and then skip the room temperature proof and put directly into the fridge. I also retarded it for longer than usual (about 13-14 hours) and the amount of prefermented flour was more than usual as well. So live and learn. I know it will taste good. Crumb shot to come later.


This is a more accurate photo of the oven spring.

Cedarmountain's picture

Marquis Wheat Sourdough

Fresh milled high extraction organic Marquis wheat; young levain; 85% hydration; cold proofed overnight





Bacon Cheddar Caramelized Onion Sourdough

Fresh milled rye, emmer and hard red wheat; young levain; caramelized onions, white cheddar, havarti, parmesan, crisped maple smoked bacon and raw sesame seed coating; 78% hydration; cold proofed overnight




Toasted Ground Seed Porridge Sourdough 

Fresh milled emmer, rye, hard red wheat; young levain; toasted ground seed porridge (millet, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame); 78% hydration; cold proofed overnight



Oat Spelt Porridge Sourdough

Fresh milled spelt, rye, hard red wheat with rolled oat/flaked spelt porridge; young levain; 80% hydration; coated with oat/spelt flakes and raw sesame seeds; cold proofed overnight



Sprouted Flax and Emmer Sourdough

Fresh milled emmer, rye and hard red wheat; sprouted emmer, sprouted flax; young levain; 85% hydration; cold proofed overnight



Sunflower Flax Sourdough (based on Chad Robertson's Tartine 3 bread)

Fresh milled rye, spelt, hard red wheat; toasted sunflower seeds, soaked flax seeds, sesame seeds; young levain; 85% hydration; cold proofed overnight


leslieruf's picture

After recent bakes I have been a bit disheartened. Earlier this week I got the Red Star Yeast newsletter and they featured “Unbelievable Sweet Orange rolls” - a variation on cinamon rolls.  I followed the recipe exactly (I made a slightly bigger dough and had to bake some rolls seperately) and whilst mine wasn’t as pretty as theirs, it went down a treat with friends tonight. it feels good to have a sucess and the taste was really nice - a combination of orange and cinamon.  yum!

Happy baker tonight


Gill63's picture

Recently we went on a ski holiday, which was great fun, but I managed to slip over on an icy pavement when walking back to the chalet in ski boots. (No falls on the piste!) Landed on my right side, and my elbow hasn’t quite settled down yet. It didn’t interfere with skiing, but now that I’m home it is a good excuse reason to get out of the hoovering!

Before the holiday I’d built my 50% hydration starter up as it was going to be sitting in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. So, on return I had plenty of starter to be going on with. As well as bread I made a batch of sourdough muffins and a double batch of parmesan and herb sourdough crackers. I usually use the Bertinet method of handling/developing my dough as I really enjoy it, but usually then do one or two extra stretch and folds, as I find that and a cold overnight proof in the fridge work well for me.

It was my first use of Shipton Mill cut malted rye grain, and I was pleased with the result.

400g starter/400 white bread flour,75g rye flour,325g wholemeal flour/650g water. 30g cut malted rye grain soaked in 50ml boiling water and 120g mixed seeds added with 3rd (final) stretch and fold.

The dough was soft, but handled well and I loved the flavour. But, although fine at the time, my elbow really ached the next day!

Time to bake again, and its not completely better, so I decided to combine my Bertinet starter and formula with a Dan Lepard type method, and to try and go with the feel of the dough to decide on how many stretch and folds to do.

250g starter/200g white bread flour, 300g Shipton Mill 3 malts and sunflower brown bread/650g water.

It took a long time to get any structure, so I did an extra round of minimal kneading and 5 sets of stretch and folds.

Still a bit sticky after pre-shaping, so I added seeds to one banneton as well as using brown rice flour/bread flour mix in both. I wanted to make sure at least one loaf released well! 3.5 hours rising at room temperature before going in fridge overnight.

No problem with release of either loaf - thanks to TFLers for the tip about using a rice flour mix. That’s the softest/wettest dough I’ve used it with. Whilst lining the banneton with oats or seeds works well it isn't always wanted.

Good oven spring, slashing could be better. Closer crumb than usual, but I’m not particularly bothered by that as it has a very nice flavour.





leslieruf's picture

This week I have had another try at baking Trevor Wilson's Country Champlain bread (a Tartine style loaf).  As well as this I was making the 1:2:3 loaf with flour milled a week ago (ie aged 1 week as opposed to fresh) and the night before decided to make Champlain sourdough to see the difference between these two breads.

I won't go into detail of method as this was the same as last week, ( ) the only difference being a slight drop of 1% in overall hydration and an unintentional smaller amount of levain in the Country Champlain and a corresponding increase in the Champlain.     I used the bran in the early stage of the build this time.

The results:

Country Champlain :  This dough has 24% spelt & 12 % rye

Part way through S & F

After some tension pulls (saw this on Trevor's instagram)

Then preshaped straight afterwards

The dough was left 30 minutes before shaping and it was really slack - better than last week, but still hard to get it  to hold some tension & shape. Retarded overnight in Fridge.  Bulk ferment was 5 hours.

Champlain: this dough has 8% spelt and 4% rye

After 1st set of stretch and folds

After tension pulls - you could really feel the dough firm up.

Preshape immediately after tension pulls

I was quite happy with this as it went into the banneton and into fridge overnight

1:2:3 repeat using flour I had milled a week ago to see if aging a bit made a difference. This dough is 20% spelt and 10% rye

After 1st Stretch & folds

After tension pulls

Preshaping - sticky and hard to shape into a boule

Retarded overnight.

This morning preheat oven and DOs.  Here are the 2 batards before unmoulding and scoring

Oh dear, a slow careful drop out of the bannetons, they had stuck slightly and this rarely happens for me.

Similarly, Here is the 1:2:3 loaf

All baked 15 minutes lid on at 250 deg C, 15 minutes lid off at 230 deg C

Final result

The country champlain pancaked again, Champlain SD was not too bad, it spread a bit.  The 123 a big pancake.  When I went to put it in the smaller reheated DO to bake, I realised it had spread too much so had to grab the now cooling bigger DO instead.  Darn!!

Here are crumb shots

Country Champlain


Champlain SD - this I am reasonably happy with, not as open as my first try in November though.

So, whereto from here - I really like and prefer the flavour of the Country Champlain but I need some help on what to try next.

Is it the breadflour - should I try a different one? Add more gluten?

More tension pulls?

Less autolyse? 

Shorter bulk ferment?

Help please

Disheartened Leslie 



isand66's picture


This is the first bake since returning from my business trip to Germany.  I had a nice trip, but unfortunately as usual I brought back the "Black Death" with me and it took me a good week to start feeling normal again, not to mention adjust to the East Coast time zone.

My wife has been dying to try making yogurt in the Instant Pot so after she finally made enough yogurt to feed a small army I decided to make use of some of it in a bread.

This bake has almost 70% fresh milled and sifted flour.  I added some rye bran sifted out previously in the levain which really makes my starter go bonkers.

I left the shaped dough go longer than needed and it was slightly over-proofed.  I really expected the crumb to be much more open on this one as the dough was nice and fermented before shaping but alas it was not to be.

The yogurt made for a super soft crumb and added a little extra tang to the flavor profile.  All in all a tasty bread, but due to the over-proofing, not one of my prettiest bakes.  The scoring did not open up like it should have and it may have had something to do with the less open crumb as well.  Did make great bread for a nice chicken salad sandwich I made last night for dinner.


Download the BreadStorm File Here

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.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours , yogurt and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 1 hour.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and olive oil and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  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 550 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 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 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.

thespringoven's picture

I noticed the only videos online showing recipes for sourdough were around 5-10 minutes. So I tried to do it in 3, let me know what you think, and feel free to share. 



Wartface's picture

72% hydration sourdough 2 day bread...


Baked outdoors on my Kamado ceramic oven at 500°F, cold out of the fridge. 


I used a large stainless steel mixing bowl to trap the steam for the first half of the baking process. Then I removed the bowl and turned the temperature down to 450°F.

kendalm's picture

Here's another attempt at crumb embellishment in croissants after an interesting cocoa experiment last week. Note the lower right croissant. The idea here is to have a bit of fun with the beautiful 'honeycomb' crumb that croissants produce (if done well). I wanted to see if a contrasting color could be incorporated into the lamination. The first attempt involved simply coating the dough in cocoa power and then performing the folds. That turned out to just complicate things as cocoa is so dry that nothing sticks. This time (after a suggestion by Leslie) I mixed up a separate dough with cocoa mixed in then added 3 layers to the usual 13 dough layer sheet. This improved the contrast and overall spring but seems to have caused the layers to bond during baking. All on all another fun little project (not sure what do try next though)

suminandi's picture

This weekend’s bread was mostly spelt with a rye starter and some of last week’s leftover bread (altus). 

400 gr whole spelt (fresh ground)

270 gr water

6 gr salt

80 gr refreshed rye starter ( 100% hydration)

100 gr altus*

-autolyse spelt and water about 2hrs

-mix in starter, rest a bit, mix in salt and altus

-bulk ferment with occasional folds about 5 hrs

-preshape,shape proof in fridge overnight

-bake at 475 F covered for 20 min, 425 F uncovered for 20 more mins

*the altus was last week’s ww bread, crust removed, soaked in water and then squeezed out. 


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