The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Peter Reinharts Mother Starter and Whole Grain Struan Formula for a Loaf of Sourdough

homemadeisalwayshealthy's picture

Using Peter Reinharts Mother Starter and Whole Grain Struan Formula for a Loaf of Sourdough

Hello everyone, i am new to sourdough and want to attempt a sourdough version of Peter Reinharts Struan bread and would like your opinion on the method i came up with.



  • 198g Water
  • 60g Hodgeson Mills Rye Flour
  • 35g Arrowhead Mills Kamut Flour
  • 45g Sunflower Seed Flour
  • 40g Rolled Oats
  • 56.5g King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
  • 8g Salt


  • 32g Refreshed Whole Wheat Mother Starter
  • 95g KA White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 71g Water

Final Dough

  • All of the Soaker and Starter
  • 56.5g KA Whole Wheat Flour
  • 110g KA White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 88g Water
  • 14g Walnut Oil
  • 21g Molasses


Proposed Method

  • Evening of Day 1: Assemble the soaker and place it in the fridge. Then assemble the starter and leave it out overnight to ripen.
  • Morning of Day2: Combine the soaker with the starter and the rest of the flour and allow to autolyse for 20 minutes before adding the Oil and the Molasses. Then perform three series of stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals before placing the dough in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • Morning of Day 3: Take the dough out of the fridge and shape it into a sandwich loaf and allow to properly proof before baking acoording to Reinharts instructions.

I would like to know if this sounds like a good method before i proceed because I would really like to not waste my ingredients.

hanseata's picture

are you using? The one from the "Whole Grain Breads"? To me the ratios seem a bit off. My thoughts - I bake the Whole Grain Struan from WGB all the time with sourdough starter - are these:

You don't have to refrigerate the soaker, you can leave it out at room temperature for 24 hrs. I would not put all the salt in the soaker, only half of it, and add the rest to the final dough.

Why making such a small amount of starter? I would prepare the double (with the whole wheat flour), and deduct the flour and water from the final dough.

I usually prepare the pre-doughs in the morning, assemble the final dough in the evening (with more starter) and leave it to ferment in the refrigerator overnight to bake it the next morning.




homemadeisalwayshealthy's picture

Can you please post your exact recipe with the hydration levels, types of flour and grains used in the starter, soaker and final dough?

LindyD's picture

That way no copyright issues will pop up.  I'll bet your library can get a copy for you.

hanseata's picture

also the procedure, therefore I think I can post my version:


57 g whole wheat flour                (7 tbsp.)
3 g wheat bran                           (1 tbsp.)
10 g millet                                 (2 1/4 tsp.)
10 g sesame seeds                     (2 1/4 tsp.)
10 g flaxseeds                            (2 1/4 tsp.)
20 g corn meal                           (4 1/2 tsp.)
117 g 5-grain mixture                 (* see note)
4 g salt                                       (1/2 tsp.)
170 g buttermilk                          (3/4 cup)


63 g whole wheat mother starter  (5 tbsp.)
191 g whole wheat flour               (1 1/2 cups)
142 g water                                 (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp.)


57 g whole wheat flour                 (7 tbsp.)
5 g salt                                       (5/8 tsp.)
5 g instant yeast                          (1 1/2 tsp. + 1/8 tsp.)
19 g honey                                  (1 tbsp.)
14 g canola oil or melted butter     (1 tbsp.)
egg white, for brushing
poppy seeds, for topping



In the morning, prepare soaker and starter.

In the evening, prepare final dough  and refrigerate overnight.


Shape de-chilled dough into a batard, place bread on parchment lined baking sheet, brush with egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Score lengthwise (I like the scoring to open wide, it looks pretty with the poppy seeds)

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C, including steam pan.

Proof bread for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size.

Bake struan at 350 F/175 C for 20 minutes (with steam), rotate 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and continue baking for another 25 - 30 minutes (in my oven 27 min.). Internal temperature at least 195 F.


*for the soaker the recipe lists a total of 1 1/3 cups cooked or uncooked whole grains (not including the 57 g whole wheat flour). I use grains I like (millet, sesame, flax, cornmeal) or have in larger amounts (7-grain mix).


- Updated 2/27/11 to include volume measures -

lhowemt's picture

I'm really interested in your recipe, and am wondering if anyone can help translate  those weights to volume measurements?  Preferrably US?




hanseata's picture

Laura, I put in the volume measures for you. But I would really advise you to buy a scale (with ounces and grams) for exact measuring, because, for example, flour volumes differ a lot.

I measured the volume of my organic flours (bought in bulk), and compared them with volume/weight equivalents from "Cooks Illustrated" and some of my baking books. I found that the difference between all those was really striking!

You should alway go by the description of how the dough should feel like, anyway, not only by amounts, like adjusting the final dough with more water or flour so that it's "tacky, but not sticky" etc.

Happy baking,


Whole Grain Struan made with a sourdough starter


lhowemt's picture

Thanks Karin-


Would you answer a couple more questions?

I have a nice sourdough starter that I've had going for a few months.  I've been making bread with it, without yeat, with varying results.  I thought sourdough bread was made without yeast, so why is there yeast in the Struan?  I expect it will solve my varying rising problem!


I'm also curious about the method for struan.  Why the multi step process (including refrigeration vs proofing) vs "regular" sourdough where you proof your starter, mix the dough, let that proof, then shape/rise again and bake.


Thanks again,


sparklebritches's picture

Oh wow, I loved the Struan from ABED.  Can't wait to try this!

hanseata's picture

Laura, in all of Peter Reinhart's recipes (BBA, WGB and ABED) he suggests adding instant yeast to the final dough. The reason for that is the greater predictability of rising times.

With the addition of instant yeast (I reduced his amount from 2 1/4 tsp./7 g to 1 1/2 plus 1/8 tsp./5 g) the bulk fermentation time is about 45 - 60 minutes (if you don't retard it in the fridge) and the rising time for the shaped loaf is the same (at room temperature).

There will be no difference in taste, but if you don't add the yeast, rising times will be more like 3 - 4 hours, or more, depending on the room temperature. I sell my breads, and therefore having reliable times for the breads to be done is very helpful.

In the same way it's much more practical to do most of the work in the evening before the baking day. I make the final doughs, divide them into individual portions for the breads, and let them rise in the fridge overnight.

At baking day I only have to remove the containers from the refrigerator 2 hours before using to come to room temperature. I do that when I first wake up in the morning around 4:00 am, go back to sleep, and start shaping the first breads while making breakfast at about 6:00. At 11:00 am I'm done with 4 different types of breads - without having to get up in the wee hours.

One of my favorite breads, "Feinbrot", a German everyday bread, I make entirely with sourdough (though with a larger portion), without any additional yeast. Here the sourdough adds a more distinctive flavor than in Reinhart's milder sourdoughs. "Feinbrot" is a wonderful bread, but I don't sell it - because it needs much longer rising times. If you'd like to try it, here's the link:

Happy baking,



lhowemt's picture

I'm finally going to go mix up my first batch right now.  I read in Cooks Illustrated something that made me decide to try this more in-depth method.  They were trying to make a whole wheat that they were satisfied with and found that soaking some of the ww flour overnight in the fridge improved the flavor.  So I'll give it a shot.


PS, I also added yeast to my last batch of mix/rise/bake ww struan-type bread, and it rose much nicer, I think I'll be sticking with that.