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Shiao-Ping's picture

Chocolate Sourdough - Chad Robertson's way

Chad Roberson's Tartine Bakery doesn't do chocolate sourdough (if they do, I haven't had the fortune of tasting it).  We did Pane Cioccolata (chocolate bread) at Artisan III, SFBI, and it was very good.  Everybody loved it but at the time I was thinking to myself if I were to make it at home I would make some changes for the following reasons: 

First of all, I feel really uneasy about "double hydration" method, which is supposed to be good whenever you have any "add-ins" for your dough, be it dried fruits, nuts, seeds or soakers, or in this case, chocolate chips.  The procedure is: you mix your dough with only 80 - 85%% of the recipe water in the first and 2nd speed as usual until a slightly stronger than normal gluten development has achieved, then turn the mixer back to first speed, slowly incorporate the reserved water and finish off on 2nd speed, then, add the seeds and nuts (or whatever add-ins you have) in the first speed initially for incorporation, and finish off, again, in 2nd speed.  The reasoning for this method is it is easier to develop dough strength with a stiffer dough than a wet dough and so the purpose is to build up the strength before you incorporate any add-ins.  Because of the longer mixing time, the temperature of water you use with this method is lower than for other doughs. 

I remember we mixed the dough for nearly 20 minutes in the spiral mixer.  I am not confident that I could do such a long mixing time with the mixer I have at home.  I always feel "traumatized," looking at the dried fruits or nuts being beaten up and chopped up while they try to be mixed in to the dough after the latter's gluten structure has already been formed; it really takes time to break the gluten bond.

Secondly, after the dough was bulk fermented, it was scored then proofed. One other type of bread where we scored first then proofed was rye bread.  It was said that because of the delicate gluten structure in both of these cases, if you were to score after the dough is proofed, you may destroy the gases that were produced.  While this makes sense to me, I don't care for the look when it's baked.

Thirdly, the Pane Cioccolata formula we used at Artisan III has only 20% levain (in baker's percentages) and therefore it also has a small percentage of dry instant yeast (DIY).  If I increase levain to 100% I wouldn't have to have DIY!  Also, chocolate chips used were only 12% of total flour, I know my son would just LOVE more chocolate chips. 

So here is my Chocolate Sourdough inspired by Chad Robertson's method all by hand (timeline as described in Daniel Wing and Alan Scott's The Bread Builder) in my previous post.







Formula for My Chocolate Sourdough 

Two nights before bake day - first stage of levain build-up

  • 61 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 121 g bread flour (i.e. two times starter amount for me; I do not know what ratio Chad Robertson uses.)

  • 91 g water

Mix and ferment for 6 - 8 hours at 18C / 65 F (depending on your room temperature, you may need shorter or longer fermentation time for your starter to mature)

The morning before bake day - second (and final) stage of levain expansion

  • 273 g starter @ 75% hydration (all from above)

  • 273 g bread flour (I use one time starter amount in flour but I do not know what amount Chad Robertson uses)

  • 204 g water

Mix and ferment for two hours only

Formula for final dough

  • 750 g starter (all from above)

  • 650 g bread flour

  • 100 g cocoa powder (8.5% of total flours*verses 5% in SFBI recipe)

  • 86 g honey (7% of total flours verses 15% in SFBI recipe)

  • 250 g chocolate chips (21% of total flour verses 12.6% in SBFI recipe)

  • 433 g water (note: with every 12 g extra water, your total dough hydration will increase by 1%. If you wish, you can increase up to 5% more hydration. See step 10 below.)

  • 1 to 2 vanilla pods (optional but really worth it)

  • 20 g salt

Total dough weight 2.3 kg and total dough hydration 73%

*Total flour calculation takes into account the flour in starter. 

  1. In a big bowl, first put in water then put in the starter.  Break up the starter thoroughly in the water with your hands.

  2. Then put in honey; scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods and put it in, and stir to combine

  3. Put in all the remaining ingredients except choc. chips

  4. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine for 1 - 2 minutes. (Take down the time when this is done, this will be your start time.  Starting from this time, your dough is fermenting.  From this start time to the time when the dough is divided and shaped, it will be 4 hours; i.e., bulk fermentation is 4 hours.  The preferred room temperature is 18 - 21C / 65 - 70F.  You may need to adjust your dough temperature by using cooler or warmer water.)

  5. Autolyse 20 - 30 minutes

  6. Sprinkle half of the choc. chips on a work surface (spreading about 30 cm by 30 cm) and stretch or pad the sticky dough thinly to cover the choc. chips.  Then sprinkle the other half of choc. chips over it; press the choc. chips into the dough so they stick.

  7. Gather the dough from the edges to the centre and place the choc. chip dough back into the mixing bowl.

  8. Start the first set of stretch and folds in the bowl by pinching the edges of the dough and fold onto itself to the centre (10 - 20 times).  Rotate the bowl as you go.  As the dough is quite stiff, you may need both hands for the folding.  The hand folding serves as mixing.  I used my left hand to press down the centre, so my right hand can pinch an edge of the dough and fold it to the centre.  As you stretch and fold, try not to tear the dough; only stretch as far as it can go.

  9. After 45 minutes, do a second set of stretch and folds.  At the end of this stage, the dough will already feel silky and smooth.  As the dough is quite stiff, its strength develops very fast.  Be mindful that the bottom of the dough is the right side of the dough; and the right side of the dough always remain at the bottom in the bowl.

  10. After another 45 minutes, do a final set of stretch and folds.  As the dough feels quite strong, no more folding is necessary (unless you choose to increase total dough hydration, in which case, you may need one more set of stretch and folds).

  11. At the end of the 4 hour bulk fermentation, divide the dough to 3 - 4 pieces as you wish.  Be mindful that the bottom of the dough is the right side; sprinkle some flour on your work bench, and place the pieces right side down.

  12. Shape the pieces - gather the edges to the centre, flip it over (so the right side is now up) and shape it to a tight ball with both hands.  (As I find the dough is quite strong, I did not think pre-shaping is necessary.)

  13. Place the shaped boules in dusted baskets or couche, right side down and seam side up to encourage volume expansion.  Cover.

  14. Proof for 2 hours in room temperature of 18 - 21C / 65 - 70F.

  15. Into the refrigerator for retardation at the end of the 2 hour proofing (minimum 8 hours; I did 18 hours).


Bake Day

  1. Bake the boules cold for best result (ie, straight out of refrigerator).  Just before baking, sift flour on the dough and score it.  Bake at 190C / 380F (not higher due to honey) for 40 minutes.  Once the dough is loaded onto the baking stone, steam the oven with no more than 1 cup of boiling hot water.

  2. Note: I find better result when baked cold.  One boule was left at room temp while others were being baked, and it became quite puffy so when I scored, it deflated quite a lot and there was no noticeable oven spring with this bake.          



I sliced one of the boules and went down to the back yard to water the plants.  When I came back up, my son said to me, Mum, the chocolate sourdough was epic.  How I love his choice of words.  Well, you know how to please a growing boy - make a chocolate sourdough!

This is the first time that I made a chocolate sourdough - it is not sour at all because of the chocolate and honey, but it is very chewy.  And the crust!  Very crispy.  The crumb?  Very more-ish.

I don't imagine you find chocolate sourdough made this way in the shops - they would go bankrupt if they do - too much work (but absolutely worth the trouble for home bakers)!


dmsnyder's picture

San Joaquin Sourdough

The "San Joaquin Sourdough" is my own recipe. It evolved through multiple iterations from Anis Bouabsa's formula for baguettes. Most of my deviations developed in discussion here on TFL with Janedo, who first suggested adding sourdough starter and rye, and, then, leaving out the baker's yeast and making it as a "pure" pain au levain.

I got a pretty nice ear and grigne on this one.





Active starter (67% hydration)

100 gms

KAF European Artisan-style flour

450 gms

Giusto's whole rye flour

50 gms


370 gms


10 gms

Note: Whole Wheat flour or White Whole Wheat flour may be substituted for the Whole Rye. Each results in a noticeable difference in flavor. All are good, but you may find you prefer one over the others.





In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using the plastic scraper, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals. 



After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for an hour, then place in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. (In this time, my dough doubles in volume and is full of bubbles. YMMV.)


Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide as desired or leave in one piece to make a 980 gm loaf. To pre-shape for a bâtard, fold the near edge up just past the center of the dough and seal the edge by gently pressing the two layers together with the ulnar (little finger) edge of your hand or the heel of your hand, whichever works best for you. Then, bring the far edge of the dough gently just over the sealed edge and seal the new seam as described.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes, with the seams facing up. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, fold the near edge of the dough and seal the edge, as before. Now, take the far edge of the dough and bring it towards you all the way to the work surface and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Rotate the loaf gently toward you 1/4 turn so the last seam you formed is against the work surface and roll the loaf back and forth, with minimal downward pressure, to further seal the seam. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .


Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and both a cast iron skillet (Mine is filled with lava rocks.) and a metal loaf pan (or equivalent receptacles of your choosing) on the bottom shelf. Heat the oven to 500F. Put a kettle of water to boil 10 minutes before baking.



After shaping the loaf, transfer it to parchment paper liberally dusted with semolina or a linen couche, liberally dusted with flour. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel or a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaf has expanded to about 1-1/2 times it's original size. (30-45 minutes) Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!



Put about a cup full of ice cubes in the loaf pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and close the door.

Slip a peel or cookie sheet under the parchment paper holding the loaf or transfer to a peel, if you used a couche. Score the loaf. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaf and parchment paper to the baking stone, pour one cup of boiling water into the skillet, and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door.

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaf is done, leave it on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry and crisp up the crust.



Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.




Submitted to Wild Yeast Spotting on Wildyeastblog

Yippee's picture

Formula - Japanese Style White Sandwich Bread - Water Roux Starter / Sponge

Formula - Japanese Style White Sandwich Bread - Water Roux Starter / Sponge


From 'The 65 C Bread Doctor" by Yvonne Chen        
Water Roux Starter          
any amount is fine bread flour 50 g    
as long as the 1:5 ratio is followed water  250 g    
  Whisk both until well mixed        
  Heat it up on stove, keep stirring         
  until temperature reaches 65 C or 149 F        
  (Yippee uses the microwave, about 4 minutes, stir halfway.)     
  (Final product should leave a trail when stirred.)      
  Put a plastic wrap directly on top to prevent forming a 'skin'.    
  Must be cooled to at least room temperature before use.    
  Refrigerate up to 3 days.          
  Do not use if turns grey.        
Makes 2 loaves          
Original recipe uses water roux starter only, sponge not necessary.         
Yippee threw in an additional step of developing the sponge out of the total, see side column for her portions.    
          Yippee's Sponge
A. bread flour 540 g   400
  sugar 86 g    
  salt 8 g    
  yeast 11 g   8
B. whole eggs 86 g   86
  whipping cream (can substitute with either half n half or milk) 59 g   59
  milk 54 g   54
  milk (recipe calls for flavor enhancer but Yippee uses milk instead) 9 g   9
  water roux starter 144 g   2 TBSP out of the 144g
C. butter 49 g    
Mix: Combine A. and B. until a ball is formed.         
  Add C. and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.    
  (Yippee says:  use your judgment, each machine is different)    
  (Yippee kneads her dough in her Zojirushi breadmaker for 30 minutes.   
1st Fermentation: About 40 minutes at 28 C or 82.4 F, 75% humidity    
Scale:  into 4 pieces if making twin loaves, each at 265g      
  (Yippee makes 2 log loaves, each at 530g)        
  15 minutes at room temperature        
Shape: For twin loaves:        
  Roll into an oval        
  With the long side facing you:        
  Fold 1/3 from top to bottom, press to seal        
  Fold 1/3 from bottom to top, press to seal        
  Turn seam side down        
  Roll and elongate the dough to about 30cm or 12 "     
  Upside down and roll into a cylindrical shape      
  Seam side down, into the loaf pan        
  For log loaves:        
  Shape like regular sandwich bread        
Final Proof: About 40 minutes at 38 C or 100.4 F, 85% humidity     
  (Yippee lets the dough rise for 20 more minutes to get a taller loaf)    
Bake: Whole egg wash, no water added        
  350 F, 35-40 minutes        



Sponge preparation:


a.                   Use the ingredients listed on the side column, mixed until all are well incorporated

b.                  Leave at room temperature ~ 76-80F for an hour

c.                   Grease a food grade plastic bag, pour dough in, leave enough space to allow the dough to expand to about 160% of its size, reinforce the bag with double or triple bagging before tightening it, retard overnight

d.                  Subtract the above ingredients from the main formula, whatever remaining will be mixed at the 'Mix' stage with the sponge.  Follow the rest of the formula. 


However, if your dough feels cold after mixing due to the refrigerated sponge, instead of following the time suggested in the formula, watch your dough:


1st Fermentation:           Completes when the dough has risen to about 180% of its size


Final Proof:                   Completes when a dent is formed and very slowly bounces back

                                    when dough is poked with a floured finger



To make rolls:

Scale: 60g each

Bake: 350F, about 15 minutes

rest of the procedures unchanged

Choice of fillings, if preferred: bacon, roast chicken, cheese, red bean, pork, curry and custard cream.

Pictures of assorted buns I made before:

foolishpoolish's picture

Brioche au Levain (recipe)

Brioche Au Levain 

(makes 1 medium or 2 small loaves)   

Firm Starter

100g AP flour
50g (approx) water
50g ripe storage starter (mine is at 100% hydration)

Mix the flour and starter, adding just enough water to make a firm white dough ball.

Proof for 5 hours at room temperature or until well over doubled in volume.


Final Mix

200g all purpose flour 
200g bread flour
80g sugar
7g salt (more if using unsalted butter)
200g firm white starter
100g (approx) milk 
150g butter (soft enough to easily mix)
3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp lemon extract + grated zest of 1 lemon (optional) 

Beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, salt and bread flour together into a smooth paste. Set aside for at least half an hour.

Brioche Au Levain Egg Mixture

Mix the all purpose flour and milk, using just enough milk to make a smooth stiff dough. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

Knead the starter and flour/milk dough together well. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

 Brioche Au Levain Dough 1

Fold the egg mixture into the dough, a little at a time.  This will get very messy but stick with it.  It will come together eventually.  


Using frissage (  incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time.

You will end up with a very slack, shiny dough which barely holds together.

Apply a few french folds ( to increase strength in the dough.  Allow the dough to rest for an hour in a bowl. 


After resting, turn out the dough onto a well floured surface.

Divide and shape as desired (traditional brioche à tête may not be possible with such a slack dough).

Place into appropriate baking tins and cover loosely.

Proof until doubled in bulk (up to 8 hours!)

Brioche Au Levain Ready To Bake 

Preheat the oven to 400F

Very carefully brush the tops with beaten egg and score lengthwise with a serrated blade.

Bake the brioche for 30 minutes (or until a poked skewer comes out clean). If the top crust gets too brown then cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Allow to cool for at least half an hour.  Enjoy!





subfuscpersona's picture

Wheat: Red vs White; Spring vs Winter

Wheat: Red vs White; Spring vs Winter

Home millers have definite preferences when it comes to wheat. Many favor hard spring wheat over winter wheat for it's somewhat higher protein value (and stronger gluten). Furthermore, some prefer the red variety for it's robust flavor while others prefer the milder taste of white.

Some Background: Hard Red Wheat vs Hard White Wheat

Hard white wheat was developed from hard red wheat by eliminating the genes for bran color while preserving other desireable characteristics of red wheat. Depending on variety, red wheat has from one to three genes that give the bran its red cast; in contrast, white wheat has no major genes for bran color. The elimination of these genes results in fewer phenolic compounds and tannins in the bran, significantly reducing the bitter taste that some people experience in flour milled from red wheat. Nutritional composition is the same for red and white wheat.

Spring wheat is planted in April to May, makes a continuous growth and is harvested in August to early September. Winter wheat is planted in the fall. It makes a partial growth, becomes dormant during the cold winter months, resumes growth as the weather warms and is harvested in the early summer (June and July).

Flour from hard red winter wheat is often preferred for artisan breads.

Artisan bread flour, which is milled from hard red winter wheat, resembles French bread flour in its characteristics, that is, it is relatively low in protein (11.5–12.5 percent). The low protein content provides for a crisper crust and a crumb with desirable irregular holes...Artisan bread flour often has a slightly higher ash content than patent flour. This creates a grayish cast on the flour and is thought to improve yeast fermentation and flavor. (source: How Baking Works by Paula I. Figoni)


This photo shows hard red wheat on the left and hard white wheat on the right

(I don't find the color contrast as marked as in this photo, so be sure to keep your grains clearly labeled.)


The Test

I wanted to see if the slightly higher protein of spring wheat made a signficant difference in gluten development and rising power. A secondary interest was whether there was a marked difference in taste between white and red wheat.

I decided to do a two pronged test of home milled wheat flour: red vs. white wheat and winter vs. spring wheat. I used my tried-'n-true recipe for a fifty percent whole wheat loaf bread. I made the bread four times - twice with home-milled hard red winter wheat and twice with home-milled hard white spring wheat. The baker's percentage was the same for all trials, as were the other ingredients and the procedure followed.

Here are few recipe details...

  • The dough is leavened with instant dry yeast.
  • The recipe uses a biga, which constitutes about 30% of the dough.
  • Flour is 50% home-milled whole wheat flour, 50% commercial (white) unbleached bread flour (including bread flour in biga)
  • total hydration (including water in the biga) is 68%.
  • The recipe includes a small amount of oil (3%) and buckwheat honey (4%) in addition to flour, water, salt and yeast
  • Wheat is milled very fine with a Nutrimill. Flour is used within a few hours of milling.


Fresh Milled Four

I get an equally fine flour from winter and spring hard wheat using my Nutrimill grain mill. As expected, red wheat is more tan than white wheat, though the real life difference is somewhat more obvious than the photo below shows. Bran flecks tend to concentrate in the center of the flour receptacle, which accounts for the darker color in that area.

Final Dough

By the time the final dough is ready for bulk fermentation, the color differences have become more apparent. Since the wheat is finely milled, the bran pretty much disappears into the dough. I made no adjustments in water content for the two different grain flours and could find little difference in water absorption, feel or gluten development. All doughs passed the windowpane test.


For all trials the dough was baked in loaf pans in a 350F oven using the cold start / no preheat method. Total baking time was same same for both kinds of whole wheat flours. There was no difference in oven spring; all loaves rose about one inch during the bake. The photos below show the loaves at the start of baking and after about 15 minutes in the oven.

The Final Product

Doesn't look much different on the outside, does it?

Only way to tell the difference is to cut it. Crumb is virtually identical. The red wheat looks like what most of us think of when we think of whole wheat bread. The white wheat looks a lot more like 100% white bread.


I should have believed the North Dakota Wheat Commission. Their brochure on hard white wheat says...


Before I started this test, I'd never worked with hard white wheat. While others frequently comment on it's mild taste, I wasn't prepared for a fifty percent whole grain bread that tasted like - ummmm - white bread! OK, not exactly like white bread, maybe an eensy bit denser and an eensy bit more taste but close enough to make me question the wisdom of purchasing 25 pounds of hard white spring wheat.

A lot of posters here use only whole grain flour, mixing white and red wheats to get the flavor profile they prefer. When they describe white whole grain as mild, you'd better believe it.

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. I'd give it another hour or two to achieve maximum expansion, but I'd refrigerate it before it starts to collapse, or go on to Stage 2 if you are getting ready to make some rye bread.

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.


ehanner's picture

Columbia with spelt recipe


For the last couple days I have been experimenting with the Columbia recipe from Glezer's book. At first I was trying to get the long cold ferment to work but I decided to try switching out the WW for spelt and take a different tack. I don't care for the flavor of the ww component called for in the original recipe. It could be the KA WW flour I'm using is a little course, I'll come back to that later.

So what I did is eliminate the WW and replace some of the 600g of the KA AP with 150g of spelt. I kept the rye and wheat germ for texture. This is what the component list looks like.

  • 275g levain from active starter as called for. I have been using 45g of starter, 70g water, 160g AP flour mixed and kneaded for inoculation of firm levain.
  • 450g King Arthur AP flour
  • 150g Spelt flour plus I added an extra 25g for the increased ability to absorb water noted here.
  • 15g Rye
  • 20g wheat germ
  • 20g Barley malt syrup
  • 450g warm water
  • 16g salt

I mixed the malt syrup into the final water and added the salt to the flours for better distribution of the salt. Mixing the final dough by hand using a dough whisk took just a few minutes, after which I kneaded maybe three times and did 3 French Folds. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, covered and fermented at room temp until doubled, about 4-5 hours. Gently divided, rested and formed into a 2# and 1# boule and placed into a coiled basket for final proof, about 2 hours.

I baked on a dusted cookie sheet preheated to 500f and reduced to 440 after loading/steaming. 15 Minutes of steam vent blocked in my ELECTRIC oven(do not EVER block a gas vent) and 15 minutes of dry heat. I tried propping the oven door open with a steel spatula for the last 3 minutes. I think the crust was perfect, my wife said it was harder to eat and to crispy. Today, the next day, it's dry and clear outside and the crust is no longer crispy. The bread is delicious however.

I would have liked larger holes but certainly the flavor was great anyway. My shaping and slashing were my usual "take a chance" results. I'm still trying to learn how to use the 1# coiled oval basket I recently bought. The round one was slightly better.

I added the spelt because I was interested by all the comments here about the great smooth flavor with nutty undertones and after taste. I'm not disappointed, the flavor is much better to my taste than the original formula with WW. The best way to describe the flavor is that there isn't an overwhelming distinct taste that comes out but rather it's the nutty sort of after taste that grabs you. The crumb is fairly soft and easy to chew with a very pleasant aroma. Keep in mind this is my first try at spelt so I will have to play with percentages and methods now to maximize the best flavors but I'm hooked. This is a keeper! The final cooked weights were 14oz and 1lb 14 oz.

One other thing I want to mention. I have come to learn that my bread tastes better if I cooked longer than I used to when I started this journey. It's NOT like popcorn, where if you burn just one kernel the whole batch tastes foul. The shade of golden or brown may be determined by the malt or sugars in the flour but overall, the bread needs to be started HOT, then reduced some and cooked for appearance as well as internal temp.. I worry less about internal readings than external color these days. If you use reasonable heat for the loaf you are cooking, one takes care of the other.


kjknits's picture

Soft, white-ish sandwich bread

There was a request recently for soft sandwich bread, and I actually have been baking my own soft sandwich bread for several years now. It began as a recipe from my MIL, but I have made some changes to suit our family better. It's a white bread, but there is a pretty hefty amount of wheat bran in the dough, which gives it a pretty appearance and also boosts the fiber content.  Anyway, here it is. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it went for you.

Katie's Sandwich Bread

Makes two 1.5 pound loaves

2 C water
1/4 C butter
2 TBSP sugar
1 package active dry yeast, or 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast, or 2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 C wheat bran
2 tsp kosher salt
about 6 C bread flour

Warm water and butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup in the microwave until just warmed.  The butter doesn't have to be completely melted--it will mix just fine into the dough later on. (My microwave warms the water and butter just enough in 1 minute and 10 seconds on high power. You can also do this in a pan on the stove, if you don't have a microwave.) Place yeast in bowl of stand mixer with 3 cups of flour, wheat bran, sugar, water/butter mixture, and the salt. (See note.) Combine thoroughly with the dough hook. Begin adding remaining flour in 1/2 C increments until a cohesive dough forms. Knead for 5-6 minutes with your stand mixer using the dough hook (mine kneads in this time at speed 2). The dough is fully kneaded when it passes the windowpane test.  Round dough out, then place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I place my bowl in the oven with the light on.

When dough has doubled, punch down dough, divide in half, and form into loaves. I just flatten each piece of dough out to a rectangle, then roll it up, being sure to seal it tightly while rolling to increase the surface tension on the final loaf.  Pinch the seal, turn under the ends, and place loaves in greased pans (I use 9 x 5 heavy metal pans).  Cover (I use the same oiled plastic wrap from the first rise) to rise for another 35 minutes. Bake at 375 for about 27 minutes, or until browned and hollow-sounding when thumped.

Note:  when using active dry yeast, I put it in the mixing bowl with the water/butter and sugar and let it proof for a few minutes, till it gets foamy.  When using instant yeast, I just mix it in with the first addition of dry ingredients and then go on from there.

I have found that greasing my loaf pans with Crisco (I know, but what can I say, it works) provides the best release after baking.  Also, I use a Misto olive oil sprayer to oil the bowls and plastic wrap.

Here are the two batches of bread I baked today:





For some reason these loaves rose a little higher than usual.  The highest one was 5.5 inches!  I don't know what causes the "blowouts" on the sides of the loaves, but I don't mind them.  The bread is mildly-flavored, soft, and moist.  Only caveat is that it stales quickly, so I slice and freeze the loaves on the same day I bake them.  Then we just pull off slices as needed.

Enjoy, Katie in SC 

Lesson: Glazing

What you put in your loaf has much more to do with the way your loaf turns out than what you put on your loaf, but glazing the exterior of your loaf can definitely help you achieve the effect you were after (i.e., soft, sweet, crusty, etc). It is, literally, the icing on the cake.

I made a batch of rolls and glazed each one with something different before scoring them. Compare:

glazed rolls

Let us look at them one-by-one.

no glaze

First is the control, with no glaze. The color was fairly light, the crust dry but not particularly crusty or crackly. There was not any particular shine to the rolls.

glazed roll with yolk

The one glazed in egg yolk came out the darkest. It stayed relatively soft, had a nice shine to it, and a slightly sweet, rich flavor.

egg white glazed roll

Egg whites also created a nice shiny coat and kept the crust soft. Adding a touch of salt to the egg whites helps break it down so it can be brushed on easier (something I failed to do above and may help account for the bare patches where I failed to glaze it properly).

water glazed roll

Water (above) and milk (below) both kept the crust on the soft side and gave the roll a soft, satiny coat. Milk is supposed to also darken the crust a bit more than water, though I didn't notice a significant difference here. The difference is, I suspect, more pronounced for a loaf that has to bake for 45 minutes than it is for a roll that bakes for 20 to 25 minutes.

milk glazed roll

Cream can also be used to glaze a loaf of bread. It is supposed to give the loaf an even richer, darker glaze.

butter glazed roll

The buttered bun is above. I actually did not apply the melted butter until after the roll was removed from the oven: it was brushed on to the still hot bun. It created a very nice shine, darkened the color noticeably, and gave the roll a moist, rich glaze.

If crispy crust is what you are after, the secret is not to glaze. Instead what you need to do is fill the oven with steam in the first few minutes. Below is a previous batch of rolls I made:

crusty rolls

As you can see, the exterior of them was crusty and crackly. I achieved this by pouring a cup of hot water into a hot baking pan on the shelf below where my rolls were. The water evaporated, filled the oven with steam, and resulted in a wonderful crusty rolls.

There are many other things you can try glazing with: a whole beaten egg, a mixture of egg and milk, juice, and so on.

Glazes also make a good base with which to glue on seeds or grains to the exterior of your loaf.

Continue on to Lesson Five: Ten Tips for Better French Bread.

My basic sourdough bread recipe...

Wartface's picture


Flour, water, salt and sourdough starter... That's it.

500 grams of bread flour...

200 grams of sourdough starter... 100% hydration.

300 grams of water... At 85 derees.

11 grams of salt... 

Works like a champ... 


1 loaf
SourceShasta at NWSD gave this recipe to me....
Prep time
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time30 minutes



Put starter into mixing bowl...

Measure out the water...

Measure out the salt - put into a small bowl... Pour 20 grams of water into the salt. This helps it dissolve and makes it easier to fold in later.

Pour the remainder of the water into bowl with the starter... Stir gently to break it up.

Add the flour... Mix the flour, water and starter just to the shaggy consistency.

Autolyse for 1 hour...

Mix in the salt and remaining water but don't knead it...

Let it rest for an hour...

Stretch and fold every half hour... Usually 4 stretch and folds. You want to get lots of bubbles and some rise but it doesn't have to double in size.


Final shape...

Into the Banneton... Cover with a shower cap

Into the refridgerator for at least 12 hours, 24 hours will give you a better taste and more tang.

Final proofing... About 2 hours. Depends on room temp. 

Preheat oven, pizza or baking stone and mixing bowl or roasting pan for 1 hour to 500 degrees. The mixing bowl or roasting pan will give you really good steam. 

Do the poke test to make sure your boule is ready to bake... Google poke test if you are not familiar with that method.

Score your loaf...

Spray your loaf with water... a mister works fine. That will create steam under the bowl which will give you better oven spring and Ear's...

Put your loaf on the pizza stone or baking stone

Cover with mixing bowl or roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes...

Remove the mixing bowl or roasting pan...

Reduce the heat to 465 and bake for 5 minutes...

Open the oven and rotate the boule 90 degrees so you get even color on loaf...

Close the door and cook to color...another 5 to 8 minutes depending on how dark you want your loaf.

 Try it, you might like it...