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dmsnyder's picture

Sour Rye Bread from George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker”

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb


Back in May, 2007, there was an extended discussion about Greenstein's book and how come he provided only volume and not any weight measurements for ingredients. For anyone interested in that discussion, the link is:

I have made Jewish Sour Rye from Greenstein's recipe many times. It's one of my favorite breads. But, although I always weigh ingredients when the recipe gives weights, I have always made this bread according to the volume measurements in the book – that is, with adjustments to achieve the desired dough characteristics.

Today, I actually weighed the ingredients and can provide them for those who get all upset when they encounter a recipe that instructs them to use, for example, “4 to 5 cups of flour.” By the way, if you make this bread using ingredient weights, and the dough doesn't seem right, I advise you to add a little bit more water or flour accordingly. (Irony intended.)


750 gms Rye Sour

480 gms First Clear Flour

240 gms Warm Water (80-100F)

12 gms Sea Salt

7 gms Instant Yeast

½ cup Altus (optional but recommended)

1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds

Cornmeal for dusting the parchment or peel.

Cornstarch glaze for brushing the breads before and after baking.


  1. If you have a white rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with white rye flour over 2-3 days.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  3. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  7. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  9. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 375F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  11. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  12. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  13. After 5 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more.

  14. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.


  • Comparing Greenstein's recipe to Norm's, the former is a wetter dough and also has a higher proportion of rye sour to clear flour. Both recipes make outstanding sour rye bread. Interestingly, Greenstein says, if you want a less sour bread, use less rye sour.
  • Having never weighed Greenstein's ingredients before, I've never even thought about baker's percentages and the like. FYI, the rye sour is 156% of the clear flour. A rough calculation of the ratio of rye to clear flour indicates that this bread is a "50% rye."



dmsnyder's picture

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads"

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Instant yeast     Disolve 1/4 tsp in 1 cup of 110F water. Use 1/4 cup of the resulting suspension.
Water               135 gms (in addition to the above 1/4 cup)
Flour                 150 gms of King Arthur AP (or 75 gms lower-gluten AP and 75 gms Bread Flour)

Durum Flour           250 gms
AP Flour                 50 gms
Water                    205 gms
Instant Yeast         1/4 tsp
Poolish                  All of the above
Salt                      9 gms
Sesame seeds       About 2 cups

The night before baking, mix the poolish and ferment 8 hours, covered tightly.

The day of baking, combine the flours and water, mix and autolyse, covered, for 15-60 minutes. Mix the yeast with the poolish and add to the autolysed dough for 5 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of a stand mixer, according to Glezer. (But it didn't, even with 3-4 T of added AP flour.) Sprinkle the salt on the dough and mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky but not "gloppy." (The dough was what I'd call "gloppy," even with mixing another 10 minutes at Speed 3 on my KitchenAid. I decided to proceed anyway.)

Scrape the dough into a bowl 3 times its volume, cover and ferment for 2-3 hours, folding every 20 minutes for the first hour. (The dough started coming together better after a short time and was still sticky but smooth and puffy after 2 hours in a 75F kitchen.) Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare your steaming apparatus of choice. Scrape the dough onto your bench and preform it into a boule. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the dough, then form it into a batard.

Roll the loaf in seseme seeds and place it, seam side up, in a linen or parchment couche. If using a parchment couch you will bake on, place the batard seam side down.) Cover it well and allow it to expand until quite puffy. (Glezer says this should take 30-60 minutes. My dough was very puffy, and I shaped it very gently to retain the bubbles. I let it proof for 20 minutes only before proceeding.)

Roll the batard onto parchment (If using a linen couche). Spray with water and score with one cut from end to end. (I cut holding the knife at and angle to get a nice "ear" and "grigne.")

Transfer the batard to the oven and bake with steam for 15 minutes, then continue to bake another 30 minutes or so until the bread is well-cooked. (Golden-brown color, hollow thump on the bottom and internal temperature of 205F.

Cool completely before slicing.

I have made 3 other semolina breads, but this was the first time I used fine-ground Durum Flour. The recipe is Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads."

I used all King Arthur AP flour, as Glezer says this has the desired gluten level for this formula. I found the dough to be much wetter than I expected. I did add extra flour, as she says one might have to, but it remained a very wet dough. I was concerned it might be quite impossible to form a real batard, but, after the stretch and folds and 2 hours total fermentation, the dough behaved much better than I anticipated. It did have to be handled very gently, but I'm learning to do that.

I was also surprised how well this soft, puffy, wet dough took my cut,and the oven spring and bloom were phenomenal.

I think the result was a quite attractive loaf, and the crumb was even more open than I expected - a real "rustic"-type crumb. The texture and taste of this bread are both outstanding. The crust is crunchy with a prominant hit of toasted sesame seeds. The crumb is very soft and tender with a cool, creamy mouth feel. it has a definite semolina flavor that is most often described as "nutty." I don't know what kind of nut it's supposed to taste like, but it tastes really good.

I have been a little disappointed in the taste and texture of the other semolina breads I've made. I've not made any of them more than once. Maybe the durum flour makes the difference. Maybe it's Tom Cat's recipe. Maybe my skills in handling dough have advanced. Whatever. I'll be making this one again, for sure!


dmsnyder's picture

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

Eagleswings' struggles with a rye starter and the current interest in Jewish sour rye and corn bread have prompted me to re-post my response regarding the care and feeding of rye sour. After making sour rye breads last weekend, I took some photos of my rye sour refreshment which might be helpful to those undertaking rye bread baking for the first time.

 The photos that follow illustrate the progression of each stage's ripening. The volume of the sour is, of course, increased with each stage.


DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:

There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. You can refrigerate overnight after any of the stages. If you do refrigerate it, use warm water in the next build. The mature sour will probaby be okay to use for a couple of days, but I try to time it to spend no longer that 12 hours since the last feeding. If you have kept it longer under refrigeration, it should be refreshed.


Stage 1:

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour, mixed into a paste, scraped down and smoothed over.



Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface.

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface. This prevents drying out. Cover airtight (more or less) to ripen.



Ripening refreshed rye sour, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 3 hours or so, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour. Keep covered. Be patient.



Ripening refreshed rye sour. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 4-5 hours. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour. 


Fully ripe rye sour. This should be used immediately. If you are not ready for it, I have refrigerated it overnight. What you don't want is for fermentation to continue until the sour collapses.

Stage 2:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rye flour

Mix thoroughly into a thick paste. Scrape down and smooth the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of rye flour all over the surface. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-8 hours or untile the dry rye on the surface has spread into "continents" and the surface has domed. Don't wait until it collapses.

Stage 3:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour.

You may have to transfer this to a larger bowl. Mix thoroughly into a thicker paste - It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it. If it is too thin, you can add more rye flour until it is more "dough-like." Cover the starter and let it rise 4-8 hours. It should nearly double in volume and be bubbly.

It's now ready to use to make rye bread.

Greenstein advises to keep the starter refrigerated and stir the starter every 3-4 days and refresh it every 10-12 days by throwing out half of it and mixing in "equal amounts of flour and water."

Greenstein says, if you are going to refrigerate the sour for any length of time, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and float a layer of water over it. (I don't generally do the water cover trick.)

I hope this helps some one.


zolablue's picture

Sourdough Challah (photos & recipe)

I baked my first challah last Thursday and wanted to share.

I was unsure what to expect but it was so much fun. I’d been meaning for some time to bake a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s book, A Blessing of Bread, which is a wonderful compilation of traditional Jewish recipes from around the world. Floyd has written a very nice review of the book here.

I decided to start with Glezer’s own personal recipe for sourdough challah. I love making sourdough and was interested to see what the texture of this bread would be compared to a yeasted challah which I have eaten only a couple times.

The recipe seemed easy to me despite the fact Glezer calls it expert. I’m not sure why but, again, I’m new to challah. The dough was so easy to mix together and then, as Glezer puts it, the time involved is mostly waiting after that.

She says to bake it to a dark brown which I did. I’m not sure if it is considered too dark or not but it was really a beautiful color and I do typically bake my bread darker as she instructs in Artisan Baking.

The crumb was amazing to me. It was very creamy and soft and almost reminded me of an angel food cake. It has remained moist to this day (5 days later) as there are only two of us to eat and can’t quite get rid of all the bread I bake. I am going to cut very thick slices of what is remaining to freeze and later use to make French toast.

I decided for my maiden voyage into challah bread I would make an elaborate braid. I used the six-strand braid version and got a lot of help from the video Glezer did showing how to do it. Gosh, the internet is awesome! Just as she said it makes a beautiful, very high loaf.

Braiding ChallahFine Cooking Video, Maggie Glezer

I’m posting the recipe so those of you who are new to challah as I am can have a chance to make it and perhaps will be inspired to buy this lovely book. For those who have made challah for years I’d love it if you tried the recipe and let me know your thoughts on it compared the some of your favorite traditional recipes.

More of my photos can be seen here:

Thank you to each and every one of you on this site that have been such inspirations in baking such as Floyd, Bill Wraith, Susanfnp, Mountaindog, JMonkey, Browndog, Bluezebra, Eric, SDBaker, Mini Oven, Dolf, Qahtan, Zainab and so many others. All you wonderful bakers have helped me incredibly along the way over the past few months that I have been baking so many thanks to all.

My Sourdough Challah - Maggie Glezer's personal recipe from her book, A Blessing of Bread

Sweet sourdough breads are delicious and well worth the time (which is mainly waiting time) if you are a sourdough baker. The sourdough adds a subtle tang to my challah, and the crumb has a moister, creamier texture that keeps even longer than the yeasted version. While it’s true that challah or, for that matter, all bread was at one time sourdough (the Hebrew word for leaven, chametz, means “sour”), challahs have definitely gotten sweeter and richer since the introduction of commercial yeast. To convert such recipes back to 100 percent sourdough, the sugar has to be cut back in order for the dough to rise in a reasonable length of time (sugar that is more than 12 percent of the flour weight inhibits fermentation), so this version will taste slightly less sweet than the yeasted one, a deficit completely overridden by the rich complexity of the sourdough. I have also changed the all-purpose flour to bread flour, which has more gluten, to counteract the starter’s propensity to loosen the gluten (the acids in the starter change the proteins, a natural part of sourdough baking).

Skill Level: Expert

Time: About 20 hours (about 8 1/2 hours on baking day)

Makes: Two 1-pound (450-gram) challahs, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) challah plus three rolls, or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) rolls

Recipe synopsis: Make the sourdough starter and let if ferment overnight for 12 hours. The next day, mix the dough and let it ferment for 2 hours. Shape the dough and let it proof for 5 hours. Bake the breads for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on their size.

For the starter:

2 tablespoons (35 grams/1.2 ounces) very active, fully fermented firm sourdough starter, refreshed 8 to 12 hours earlier

1/3 cup (80 grams/2.8 ounces) warm water

About 1 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) bread flour

For final dough:

1/4 cup (60 grams/2 ounces) warm water

3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams/0.3 ounce) table salt

1/4 cup (55 grams/1.9 ounces) vegetable oil

3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.3 ounces) mild honey or a scant 1/3 cup (60 grams/2.1 ounces) granulated sugar

About 3 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) bread flour

Fully fermented sourdough starter

Evening before baking - mixing the sourdough starter: Knead starter into water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until it is smooth. Remove 1 cup (200grams/7 ounces) of the starter to use in the final dough and place it in a sealed container at least four times its volume. (Place the remaining starter in a sealed container and refrigerate to use in the next bake.) Let the starter ferment until it has tripled in volume and is just starting to deflate, 8 to 12 hours.

Baking day - Mixing the dough:

In a large bowl, beat together the water, the 3 eggs, salt, oil, and honey (measure the oil first, then use the same cup for measuring the honey — the oil will coat the cup and let the honey just slip right out) or sugar until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is fairly well combined. With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix in the bread flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface, add the starter, and knead until the dough is smooth, no more than 10 minutes. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot water now to clean and warm it for fermenting the dough.) This dough is very firm and should feel almost like modeling clay. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tablespoon or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tablespoons flour.

The dough should feel smooth and very firm but be easy to knead.

Fermenting the dough:

Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for about 2 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.

Shaping and proofing the dough:

Line one or two large baking sheets, with parchment paper or oil them. Divide the dough into two 1-pound (450-gram) portions for loaves, one 1 1/2 pound (680-gram) portion for a large loaf and three small pieces for rolls (the easiest way to do this without a scale is to divide the dough into quarters and use one quarter for the rolls and the rest for the large loaf), or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) portions for rolls. Braid or shape them as desired, position them on the prepared sheet(s), and cover them well with plastic wrap. Let proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours.

Meanwhile, 30 minutes before baking, arrange the oven racks in the lower and upper third positions if using two baking sheets or arrange one rack in the upper third position if using one sheet, and remove any racks above them. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4). If desired, preheat one or two baking sheets to double with the baking sheet(s) the loaves are on. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the breads.

Baking the loaves:

When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush them with the egg glaze. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, the 1-pound (450-gram) loaves for 25 to 35 minutes, or the 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly; if the large loaf is browning too quickly, tent it with foil. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.

dolfs's picture

Spinach Cheese Boule with Whole Wheat

Many a Sunday my wife and son buy a boule at the local farmer's market which they call Spinach Cheese Bread, even though it has lots of other veggie stuff in it too. They like it, so for last week's baking session I decided to try and make my own.

First problem was no recipe available on the Internet that seemed to make what I wanted. So I had to make my own. I decided to use frozen chopped spinach, mild gouda cheese (what else to expect from a Dutchman), and I also wanted to have a portion of whole wheat flour in it. I've made whole wheat bread before and using a poolish did wonders for my schedule as well as for the dough and overall taste. So, I decided this one was to use a poolish too!

I've also been working on a spreadsheet the allows me to do all baker percentage calculations (helps with recipe scaling and design). While I was at it, I added an ingredient database to it with cost information, hydration information and specific gravity for ingredients so I can correctly convert weight measurements to volumes for those we like to bake that way. You'll find a PDF of this recipe here.

A few words about the spreadsheet

The spreadsheet's yellow cells is where you input your desired values (this includes ingredients). A "Y" in the "Pre" column indicates an ingredient that is part of a preferment. A "P" indicates an ingredient that is a separately created preferment. Although there are different options for baker's percentages when using preferments, I have chosen to express everything as percentages of dough in the overall recipe. Note that tap water temperature, mixer friction and baking loss are specific to my situation (and an estimate I am still refining for each type of bread for the loss, mostly evaporation, and friction).

The component temperatures are to be entered on the bottom, if you want to be precise with final dough temperature. If necessary it will calculate how much ice to add to the water if it needs cooling (rarely the case in my home baking). The spreadsheet automatically adjusts for the number of components that have a temperature specified so if you do not enter a value for the preferment (presumably because you are not using one), the factor will be 3 instead of 4.

Some measurements in the "US Weight" column are given in tablespoons etc. The spreadsheet does this if the actual value as a weight becomes so small that, with most scales, you can not accurately measure. Since I have (pretty accurate) specific gravity values for the ingredients, I can quite reliably (subject to all the fallacies of measuring volumes: packed, spooned, shifted) give the volume. I use a scale accurate to 1 gram myself, but for these small amounts, a small measuring spoon workds great (I have a set for dashes, smidgens, and pinches as well).

Hydration is calculated by computing the water content of all ingredients that are composed 50% or more of water and adding them up. That catches water, milk, eggs etc., but does not count water content in dough. Cost is based on a home baker buying pretty regular ingredients in a super market. The exception is that I use KA prices for my flour as I will not use the cheap stuff.

The recipe

Making the poolish is straightforward. I make it the night before and leave it on the counter (about 68F), and it'll be close enough to ready the next morning around 11AM. The amount of final dough in this recipe is about right for an 8" banneton (scaled up from what I used to make the one in the picture above, which got misshaped whe inverting onto the peel). Nevertheless, it is borderline not enough to knead properly in my KitchenAid so I finish with manual labor.

In the last minute or two of kneading I add the cheese (room temperature, cubed in 1/4" pieces), and spinach. I made the mistake of not squeezing enough water out of the thawed spinach, so my dough got too wet and I had to add flour (not represented in the recipe because you should squeeze it out).

Next bulk ferment, about 90 minutes in my case. I did a fold about half way through. Next degas and preshape. Twenty minutes relaxing and final shaping.

I preheated oven at 500F, with water for pre-steam added in a baking pan in the last few minutes. Invert the bread out of the banneton onto parchment paper on the peel. Scored in a \ | / pattern, a sprayed with water. Into the over on baking stone, more water in the pan for steaming. Spray oven walls with water twice, 30 seconds apart after putting loaf in the oven. Then reduce to 475F.

Baked for a total of 35 minutes, oven vented for last 10. Here was the result.

bwraith's picture

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

We had a German exchange student stay with us for a couple of weeks recently. Marcel is about 17 years old, and we hit it off great. He shares an interest with me and my oldest son and daughter, who are about the same age as Marcel, in physics, math, computers, and music. He is one of the nicest, most polite young men I've met. One day I was making some sourdough bread in my kitchen, and I noticed Marcel paying very close attention to the process. He then mentioned that his grandmother, who lives with his family in Germany, frequently bakes breads, and he is a big fan of her breads. We quickly discovered that bread was another of our shared interests. He described going to a mill near his village and buying spelt flour and rye flour of a coarseness specified by his grandmother for her breads. What a difference from buying over the internet, as I tend to do here in NJ. So, I asked if he could recite some favorite recipes for me. He then got on the phone with his grandmother, and she emailed us two recipes, one of which is described here, and one will be described in a separate blog entry (spelt bread). We had quite a time translating German baking terminology into English for my use, including struggling with the word edelhefe and with correct translations of some or the names of spices. Also, there was some confusion over methods of handling the dough, but eventually, I felt I had enough information to try these recipes. When Marcel returned to Germany, he also forwarded to me some photos he took of his grandmother's process, although only for the spelt bread, and not for this potato bread recipe.

I have photos of my process for this bread and the spelt bread recipe. Since I did both at the same time, there is an intermingling of the two breads, but I hope it will be clear what is going on with each bread.

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot) Recipe


  • 400 grams whole spelt flour (I used Heartland Mills Spelt Flour)
  • 150 grams whole rye (I used KA Pumpernickel)
  • 300 grams water
  • 400 grams peeled, boiled, mashed potatoes
  • 12 grams salt
  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 egg yokes, stirred up
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1.5 tsp yeast or 30 grams fresh yeast)

Autolyse, Yeast Proof, Prepare Potatoes

Mix the flours and water aside and allow to sit for about 30 minutes (autolyse). Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water warm water, and yeast in a bowl and allow to sit until very frothy (yeast proofing), about 30 minutes. Peel and boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash them up.

I actually had no potatoes in the pantry, so I used some potato flakes mixed with water to about the consistency of mashed potatoes. I realized later in the mixing stage this was probably too much water, though I suspect that potato bread like this should seem very wet, based on reading floydm's recipe.

Mix and Knead

Mix together the results from the autolyse, the yeast proofing, and the mashed potatoes along with the salt, spices, and butter. In this recipe, because I used mashed potatoes made from a box of potato flakes, the dough came out very, very wet. I was finding myself having more difficulty handling this dough than I normally have with my very wet miche doughs. So, I added some flour, trying to compensate for what was probably way too much water, and I ended up adding something like 1.5 cups more flour to the dough. Unfortunately, this means, it's tough for me to tell you what the consistency of the dough as specified in the actual recipe given to me by Marcel's grandmother really is, nor do I have pictures of it from her. Anyway, I worked the dough a little bit using a folding technique that one might use for a very wet dough. After about 3 or 4 minutes, it seemed to come together into a very supple but workable dough.

Bulk Fermentation (about 2 hours)

Place the dough in a rising bucket or covered bowl and allow to rise. I did the bulk fermentation above my coffee machine where the temperature is about 80F. It took a little longer than 1.5 hours to rise by double, as specified by Marcel's grandmother.

Kneading, Shaping, Final Proof (15 minutes), Preheat oven to 400F

Take the dough out of the container onto a bed of flour. Stretch and fold it a few times. Let it rest a few minutes. Stretch and fold again, and let it rest. I did this because Marcel's grandmother says to knead it with some flour a little bit. This was Marcel's translation. It seemed like the opportune moment to fold the dough, given that it had risen and still seemed fairly wet. The folding did help the dough to come back together, so I then formed two long batards. The recipe says "form two long breads", according to Marcel. I did this very similarly, once again, to JMonkey's video on shaping a whole wheat dough. However, I just made them a bit longer and skinnier, based on the instructions. Put them in a couche, similar to what one would do for baguettes and allow to rise for 15 minutes covered with towels.

Preheat oven to 400F while final proof continues. In my case the oven was already hot from the Dinkelbrot bake.

Marcel's grandmother says to let it rise 15 minutes under a towel. I realize this was just the right thing to do. However, being nervous this was not enough time, based on other breads I've made, I let them sit a few more minutes - maybe 25 minutes or so. This was a mistake, as they puffed up so quickly, that the skin on the surface was ripping slightly here and there. So, sticking to the instructions might have been perfect. Darn, but will do better next time.

Place Loaves on Peel

Place the loaves on a peel or upside down jelly roll pan on some parchment. The loaves were big and floppy, and I had let them go too long in final proof, so this was harder than it sounds. Paint the loaves with egg yoke. Slash the loaves.

I suspect the loaves were too wet and allowed to rise too long in final proof. The result is they were spreading out very quickly on the peel, and I took a little too long painting them and slashing them because I ran out of yoke and had a hard time moving the floppy loaves to the peel and whatnot. Again, will hope to do better with a little less water or real potatoes and less final proof next time.


Place loaves in oven preheated to 400F, and bake for about 30 minutes. Internal temperature was 210.

The loaves did spring a little, but mostly they spread. I guess the same notes as above apply - reduce the water to make a little bit stiffer dough and don't let it rise for long in final proof.


Place loaves on rack to cool completely before cutting into them.


Like the Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread, this bread tasted just great. The crust had a nice shine and color as a result of the egg yoke. Marcel says there is a particular look to these loaves, due to the egg yoke coating, that he says is typical of breads from his village in Germany. The spices add a nice touch to the already good flavor of the spelt and rye. I've decided German breads, at least the ones Marcel's grandmother makes, are wonderful after trying her dinkelbrot and kartoffelbrot recipes. Thanks to Marcel and his grandmother for sharing these recipes with me.

dmsnyder's picture

Sourdough Italian Baguettes

Sourdough Italian Demi-Baguettes: Variations on a Theme 

David M. Snyder

May 3, 2015


Last month, I made some Sourdough Italian Rolls, using a formula I had developed and used previously to make bâtards. This week, I continued to play with this formula. I increased the proportion of durum flour in the dough, doubling the amount in the final dough, and I shaped the dough as demi-baguettes. (I wanted to make bâtards. My wife wanted more rolls to use for sandwiches. Demi-Baguettes was the compromise. We use that shape for sandwiches frequently.)


Total Dough




Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

AP flour



Fine Durum flour



WW flour



Whole Rye flour



















Liquid Levain




Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

Liquid starter






AP flour



WW flour



Whole Rye flour






  1. Disperse the liquid starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Ferment at room temperature until expanded and bubbly (8-12 hours). If necessary, refrigerate overnight and let warm up for an hour before using.


Final Dough



Amount (gms)

AP flour


Fine Durum flour








Active liquid levain







  1. In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.

  2. Add the flours and sugar to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.

  6. After 30 minutes, do stretch and folds in the bowl. Repeat 3 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  7. Continue bulk fermentation for another 30-90 minutes, until the dough is puffy. If fermented in a glass bowl, you should see lots of little bubbles throughout the dough. Volume of the dough may have increased by 50% or so.

  8. Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

  9. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds or logs. Cover with a clean towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.

  10. Shape as Demi-Baguettes or Ficelles.

  11. Roll the loaves on damp paper towels, then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  12. Proof for about 45 minutes, seam-side down, on parchment paper pleated to separate the loaves and supported at both long sides by rolled-up dish towels. Cover with a damp towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap.

  13. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. When ready to bake, uncover the loaves. Pull the parchment from both long sides to flatten out the pleats and separate the loaves.

  15. Transfer the loaves, on the parchment, to a peel. Score them as baguettes. Transfer them to the baking stone. 

  16. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  17. After 10-12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 6-8 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before eating.


After cooling, the Italian bread crust was soft. The crumb was nicely aerated, but not as open as expected for this level of hydration. I suspect this is because of the durum flour (higher protein but poorer quality gluten) and the extra handling installing the sesame seeds. The flavor is heavenly. This is a sweet white roll with the nuttiness of durum and sesame seeds, dipped in high quality EVOO. How could that not be delicious?

One of the baguettes was consumed for dinner. 

Panino with roast chicken breast, caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar, sliced dried calmyrna figs, emmenthaler cheese and a light smear of Dijon mustard.

Such a sandwich can only be washed down with good Italian beer, of course. 

I also baked a couple boules based on the "Overnight Country Blonde" from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. Summer has arrived, and my kitchen is running 75 to 78 dF, so fermentation runs faster than the book specifies. The result is that bulk fermentation was complete in 5 hours. I refrigerated the dough overnight and divided and shaped the next morning. Even with the dough starting out cold, proofing was complete in about 2 hours. 

All of the sourdough breads I have made from FWSY have a strong family resemblance but more or less distinctive flavor profiles, depending on the flour mix used, the percentage pre-fermented flour and the fermentation routine. This bread had a crunchy crust and cool, chewy crumb. The flavor had that nice wheaty sweetness and a quite present but mild sourdough tang, with the creamy lactic acid tone dominating. Although this is a higher hydration dough, the flavor profile is very much like the Pain de Campagne from Hamelman's Bread. And that's not bad! Like my San Joaquin Sourdough, it contains mostly AP flour but with about 10% whole grain flours, divided between whole wheat and whole rye. The procedures I used for this bake, with the overnight retardation before dividing and shaping, gave such nice results, I am going to use it for a while and try increasing the whole grain flours, maybe adding some toasted wheat germ for its nutty flavor and who knows what else.

It has been a good bread baking day.

Happy baking!


breadsong's picture

Pumpkin Sourdough Rye - for BBD #62

Hello everyone,

It was lovely see all of the breads bakers around the world contributed for World Bread Day in October –
thank you to Zorra for her work to round all of these up!

BBD #62 - Bread Baking Day meets World Bread Day (last day of sumbission December 1st)

November’s Bread Baking Day (BBD #62) celebrates the breads contributed for World Bread Day,
inviting bakers to bake a World Bread Day bread for BBD #62.

One of the rye breads contributed for World Bread Day really caught my eye:  a Pumpkin Rye Sourdough bread, kindly posted by a Polish baker on the blog ‘The Scent of Bread – Zapach Chleba’.

Wasn't this an incredibly gorgeous rye? The beautiful, airy crumb and glorious color – I had to try making this one! This is my attempt at re-creating this amazing Polish baker’s bread.


I couldn’t find any information on the type 720 flour this baker used, so I used some whole, dark organic rye flour from Nunweiler’s.  This is a really, really nice flour to work with – I was very happy with the fermentation.
My rye levain was very happy, too – this picture was taken just before mixing the dough:


This bread has a fantastic flavor. I used squash and roasted it until it was really caramelized.
The sweetness from the squash is delicious in the baked bread!
                                                  (another picture of the crumb)


Here are the quantities I used for a 9x4x4 Pullman pan:

Thank you Zorra, for providing a venue for bakers around the world to share bread, and thank you to the baker from Zapach Chleba for baking this Pumpkin Sourdough Rye.

Happy baking, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!
:^) breadsong

(submitted to YeastSpotting)



GSnyde's picture

SF Country Sourdough – My Best Ever…Not Sure Why

They say everything happens for a reason, and I believe them.  But I can’t always identify the reasons some things happen.  Why was this bake of the San Francisco Country Sourdough (my version of pain de campagne) the best ever?   This was probably the 7th or 8th time I’ve baked it, but this one had that je-ne-sais-what like my best bakes of Tartine BCB and last week’s bake of Hamelman’s pain au levain.  Beautifully caramelized, golden brown, crispy crust; moist, airy-but-substantial crumb, with nicely gelatinized membranes; complex wheaty flavor with a hint of rye.

I guess I should compare this to other bakes of the same formula.

Here’s what was the same:

  • The ingredients and the basic technique (described below).

Here’s what might have been different:

  • My starter was very active (after last week’s near-death experience).
  • Both the primary ferment (3 ¼ hours) and the proof (2 ¼ hours) were on the long side.
  • My handling/shaping skills are improving, and I got a nice taut sheath.
  • I made a recipe-and-a-half so I could cold retard one loaf’s worth to bake tomorrow for some friends.

Whatever factor(s) made the difference, I hope I can do it again.

And excellent with some early Autumn barbecue.

San Francisco Country Sourdough (Sourdough Pain de Campagne) version 10-8-11

Yield: Two 750g Loaves; or Three Mini-Baguettes (235g each) and one 800g Loaf; or One 1000g loaf and two 250g baguettes; 0r Three 500 gram loaves; or…   



100 grams   AP flour

24 grams  Whole Wheat flour

12 grams  Whole rye flour

170 grams   Water, cool (60 F or so)

28     Mature culture (75% hydration)

FINAL DOUGH (67% hydration, including levain)

640 grams   All-Purpose flour (83%)*

85 grams  Whole wheat flour (11%)**

45 grams   Whole rye flour (6%)

435 grams   Warm water (80 F or so) (56%)

17 grams   Salt (2%)

306     Liquid levain  (48%)   

* used CM Artisan Baker’s Craft (malted)

** used CM Organic Hi-protein fine whole wheat


1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 12 to 15 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F

2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency. 

3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 20-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.  If the dough has not increased in size by 75% or so, let it go a bit longer.

4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):  After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.

5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: [Note: if bulk retarded, let dough come to room temperature for 30-90 minutes before pre-shaping.]  Divide the dough into pieces and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30-45 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.

6. PROOFING: Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.

7. BAKING: Slash loaves.  Bake with steam, on stone.  Turn oven to 450 °F after it hits 500F after loading loaves.  Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes (10 for baguettes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (for 750g loaves; less for smaller loaves).   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.

Happy baking!


Submitted to


dmsnyder's picture

Walnut Raisin Sourdough Bread from SFBI Artisan II



Most of the breads we baked in the Artisan II workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) are found in Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” (AB&P) textbook. A couple of the breads I and the other students enjoyed the most are not, and one of them was a delicious Walnut Raisin bread made with a firm levain and a small amount of instant yeast.

The following is my scaled down version which made two loaves of 563 gms each. (The 26 g by which the dough exceeded the ingredient weights must be due to water absorbed by the raisins.) I incorporated an autolyse in the procedure which we did not use at the SFBI.


Total Formula




Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



KAF Whole Wheat flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Walnuts (toasted)



Raisins (soaked)














Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Stiff Starter






  1. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

  2. Ferment 12 hrs at room temperature.


Final Dough




Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



KAF Whole Wheat flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Yeast (dry instant)



Walnuts (toasted)



Raisins (soaked)













  1. Mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  2. Toast the walnuts, broken into large pieces, for 15 minutes at 325ºF. (Can be done ahead of time)

  3. Soak the raisins in cold water. (Can be done ahead of time)

  4. Add the salt and the levain and mix at Speed 1 until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).

  5. Mix at Speed 2 to moderate gluten development (about 8 minutes).

  6. Add the nuts and raisins (well-drained) and mix at Speed 1 until they are well-distributed in the dough.

  7. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead/fold a few times if necessary to better distribute the nuts and raisins.

  8. Round up the dough and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  9. Ferment for 2 hours at 80ºF.

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape as boules. Let the pieces relax for 20-30 minutes, covered.

  11. Shape as bâtards or boules and place, seam side up. In bannetons or en couche. Cover well.

  12. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  13. An hour before baking, pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them. Transfer to the baking stone.

  15. Turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes with steam, then another 15 minutes in a dry oven. (Boules may take a few more minutes to bake than bâtards.)

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 8-10 minutes.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  18. Cool completely before slicing.


Because of the water in the soaked raisins, The dough was wetter than expected from the 67% hydration given for the total dough. It felt more like a 70-72% hydration dough.

The crust was thinner and got soft faster with this bake than that done in the deck oven at SFBI. I might try baking at 460ºF and also leaving the loaves in the turned off oven for longer. Perhaps a shorter period baking with steam would help get the crunchier crust I would like with this bread.

This bread has a delicious flavor which is exceptionally well-balance between the grains, nuts and raisins. There is a very mild sourdough tang. Definitely a bread I'll be baking frequently.


Submitted to YeastSpotting