The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dmsnyder's picture

Janedo's "basic bread"

Janedo's "basic bread"

Janedo's basic bread crumb

Janedo's basic bread crumb

Jane ("Janedo") is an American expatriot who has lived in France for 15 years with her husband and children. She has a wonderful blog about her sourdough baking ( ) with a loyal and enthusiastic following. We have been fortunate to have her participation on TFL, and there have been some rather interesting discussions of differences in taste preferences in France versus the U.S., the frustrations of exchanging recipes when the ingredients we use, particularly the flours, are not comparable and other topics.

 Currently, Jane is, I think it's fair to say, struggling to like San Francisco style sourdough bread made from Peter Reinhart's formula in "Crust and Crumb." Of course, we cannot know exactly what she is baking, since we cannot duplicate it with the flours we have. Nor can she know what my baking from this formula produces with King Arthur Bread Flour and Guisto's whole rye flour.

Jane has shared the recipe for what she calls her "basic bread." She says this is the bread her family prefers (and asks her to return to whenever she inflicts San Francisco-style sourdough on them). This was my first attempt to duplicate Jane's bread. She uses a combination of T65 and white spelt flour. I don't have access to T65. I debated as to how I might best approximate it. I'm not at all sure I made the best decision, but the recipe and procedure I used, adapted from Jane's recipe, follows:


150 gms active liquid starter (fed with high extraction flour, 100gms flour to 130 gms of water))
315 ml water

400 gms First Clear flour
140 gms White Spelt flour
7 gms Sea Salt.


I mixed the starter and 300 ml water then added the flours and salt. I mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle for 1.5 minutes at Speed 1, then with the dough hook at Speed 2.  After the first minute, the dough cleaned the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl. This seemed too dry, so I added 1 T (15 ml) water at this point, resulting in the dough still cleaning the sides but sticking to the bottom of the mixer bowl.

The dough made a "window pane" after 9.5 minutes mixing with the dough hook. It was quite tacky. If I pressed on it for a couple of seconds, it was sticky, but with brief contact it did not stick to my (lightly floured) hands. The dough kept its form easily without spreading but was very extensible.

(I am describing the dough in such detail because the differences in flours we use result in such different doughs at the same hydration. I think the behavior of the dough and its feel will give another person better guidance, if they want to reproduce this bread. For that matter, it gives me more guidance if I want to change it next time.)

I put the dough on a lightly floured Silpat mat and, after a brief rest, stretched and folded it a couple of times, then placed the dough in a lightly oiled glass 2 liter measuring cup with a cover to ferment.

The dough doubled in volume in 7 hours. I scraped it onto the Silpat, rounded it gently and let it rest for 15 minutes. I then shaped a boule and placed it, smooth side down, in a linen-lined wicker banneton. I lightly floured the surface of the dough and enclosed the banneton in a plastic bag.

The boule was allowed to expand to 1 1/2 times the original volume (1.75 hours) then transfered to a peel and slid onto a baking stone in a pre-heated 450F oven. 1 cup of boiling water was poured into a pre-heated cast iron skillit, the oven door was closed and the oven was turned down to 410F. After 5 minutes, I removed the skillit and continued to bake for 35 minutes. (The internal temperature of the loaf was 205F after 30 minutes, but I wanted the crust a bit darker and to be sure this large loaf was well-baked.) I then turned off the oven but left the loaf in the oven for another 5 minutes.

The crust was qute hard when the boule came out of the oven, but it softened considerably as the loaf cooled.


The crust was somewhat crunchy, but more chewy. The crumb had a lovely, tender, slightly chewy texture. I could not identify a distinctive flavor I could attribute to the spelt flour (which I had never used before). I thought I should add a little more salt next time - maybe 10 gms rather than 7 gms. The sourness in the bread hit on the 5th chew and became progressively more apparent. I would regard this as a moderately sour sourdough, certainly more sour than the pains au levains I have made from Hamelman or Leader's recipes.

With all levain breads, the flavors seem to fully develop and become better integrated on the second or third day after baking. So, stay tuned.


JMonkey's picture

I've been absent from TFL recently, as work and home have eaten up just about every waking minute, and there have been far too many waking minutes in the past couple of months. I could have stood for a tad more sleeping minutes.

Nevertheless, a family has to eat, so I've still been baking. One thing I learned: Don't double the amount of salt in a bread recipe. I did this by accident, doing the math for 2% in my head and adding 20 grams instead of 10 grams. Not even the birds would eat this stuff. Yuck.

I have had some nice loaves come out of the oven, however. Last week, I made the same doubling error as before, but with the starter. I used a 40% innoculation instead of 20% for this largely white flour sourdough (I added 10% whole wheat). All in all, the loaf was fine, though it wasn't as flavorful as I'd have liked. Rose quickly though, and looked beautiful.

I also revived my rye starter to make a 40-30-30 rye to whole wheat to white flour loaf. I didn't add caraway, and missed it, actually.

Starter is amazingly resiliant stuff. I'd not fed it for months (probably three at least ... maybe even four), and it had acquired a nasty black crust that could have been mold, could have been hoochy gunk (the rye is kept at 100% hydration, but it's still pretty pasty rather than liquid). In any case, it started right back up and made a wonderfully sour rye loaf. The shaped dough stuck a little bit to the baker's linen, so I had to slash it strangely to incorporate the rip and avoid a blown out side. Turned out OK, though, in the end.

And, of course, I regularly make my standby overnight whole grain sourdough hearth loaf (60% whole wheat, 30% whole spelt, 10% whole rye. The secret to getting a good "grigne" I think is not to proof it too long. Two to two-and-one-half hours seems to be just about right.

Mmmmmm. Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain sourdough hearth bread.

Andy's picture

Success - JMonkey's formula for 100% whole grain sourdough hearth breads

December 12, 2007 - 2:00pm -- Andy

Whole Spelt Hearth BreadWhole Spelt Hearth Bread

I tried JMonkey's 100% Whole Grain Hearth Bread recipe with slight modification.

Here's the recipe I used:

100% Whole Spelt Hearth Bread

50 grams spelt starter at 100% hydration

10 grams salt

350 grams water

500 grams whole spelt

bwraith's picture

Miche with Spelt and Rye Levain

Miche with Spelt and Rye Levain - Closeup

Zolablue, a frequent TFL contributor, encouraged me to try the Thom Leonard Country French recipe in Artisan Baking by Glezer. This recipe is a variation that incorporates some of the things I have liked in other miche recipes. For example, I am using Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour as the main flour, but spelt and rye are added in the levain, and there is some additional whole wheat added with a soaker. The hydration is lower than most of the other miche recipes I've tried or blogged here on TFL, which gives it a slightly more regular, dense crumb that is excellent for sandwiches or for holding honey or any wetter toppings. It is a robust texture, as opposed to a very light, irregular, open structure.

Spreadsheets in xls and html format are posted with weights in ounces, bakers percentages, and other possibly useful information. Some photos of the process are posted, as well.


  • 10g white flour paste consistency starter (I used my 90% hydration white flour starter) Use about 8 grams of 60% hydration firm starter.
  • 58g whole rye flour
  • 119g whole spelt flour
  • 141g water

The levain is designed to rise for about 12 hours at 70F. At 76F, the levain would be ready in about 8 hours. At 65F it would be ready in about 17 hours. You can let the levain rise by double and refrigerate it if you want to make it in advance. It can be used after 1-2 days without changing the results of this recipe very much.


  • 203g whole wheat flour (I used Wheat MT Bronze Chief)
  • 203g water

The soaker was mixed the night before and allowed to sit on the counter overnight at about 70F. Refrigerate unless you plan to use it within 12 hours.


  • 1 tsp diastatic malted barley powder
  • 15g malt syrup
  • 27g salt
  • 721g water
  • 203g AP flour (I used KA Organic AP)
  • 763g high extraction flour (I used Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo)

Mix and Knead

The dough was initially mixed/kneaded in a DLX mixer on low/medium speed for about 8 minutes. It was allowed to rest in the mixing bowl for about 1/2 hour and then kneaded in the mixer for another 5 minutes. The dough was dropped on the counter and folded into a ball and placed in a rising bucket. It was placed in a warm area, about 76F, for the bulk fermentation, which should run about 4.25 hours at 75F. The bulk fermentation should take about 6 hours at 70F or 8.5 hours at 65F.


The dough is fairly firm with the very water absorpent Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo and whole rye at a 79% hydration. At this consistency, the dough is stiff enough that it resists much folding, so it was folded only once about 1.5 hours before shaping.

Shaping and Final Proof

A boule was formed and allowed to sit on the counter for 10 minutes to seal the seams. Note, the loaf doesn't rise by double during bulk fermentation. The loaf was placed upside down in a lined round wicker basket style banneton dusted with a mixture of semolina, rice, and bread flour. The loaf was also dusted with the dusting mixture plus a small amount of bran. The basket and a bowl of warm water was placed in a Ziploc "Big Bag" and allowed to rise for 3.5 hours at 75F. Allow 4.5 hours at 70F for the final proof or 6.5 hours at 65F.

Peeling and Scoring

The boule was turned out on a piece of semolina and corn meal dusted parchment paper on a large peel and slashed with a cross-hatch pattern.


This loaf was baked in a brick oven after some focaccias were baked, as noted in another blog entry recently. The hearth temperature had dropped to about 485F, and the air temperature was about 425F. The oven was steamed using a very fine garden sprayer designed for orchids (1/6 gal/minute, by Foggit) and sealed with a towel covered wooden door for 15 minutes. It was then rotated and sealed with a metal door thereafter for a total bake time of about 1 hour. The hearth temperature dropped to about 445F at the end of the bake.

To do the same thing in the kitchen oven, I would use a stone and preheat the oven to 500F and steamed according to your favorite method. I use a cast iron skillet and place a special can with a small hole drilled in it with about 1 cup of water that dribbles out creating steam in the oven for about 10 minutes. I drop the oven temperature to 450F for the first 15 minutes, immediately after adding the water, and then drop the temperature to about 400F or lower, for the rest of the bake, monitoring the crust color and dropping the temperature further to avoid charred crust.


Allow to fully cool on a rack before cutting.


This is a great loaf for any juicy ingredients, or things like honey, mayo, and whatnot. It's more dense and chewy than other miches I've blogged on TFL. It has a nutty, toasty, and slightly sweet flavor, I believe due to the spelt, and is a little crunchy due to the crisp thick crust that has a little bran encrusted in it, and maybe also from the added whole wheat.

JMonkey's picture

I was concerned that my success with the whole grain hearth bread that I posted about early last month was just a one-hit wonder. Thankfully, it seems I can repeat it. Here's a few loaves that have come out of the oven in the past weeks:

I've also used the same technique for a 60-40 whole wheat to whole rye batard, and it, too, turned out well, though the crumb was, naturally, much tighter than in the loaves pictured here. I'd have taken pictures, but the camera was full and, by the time I got around to downloading them off of the camera's video card, the loaf was just a little nubbin.


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