The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian Country Style Sourdough

isand66's picture

Italian Country Style Sourdough

I really did intend to make one of the 100 recipes I have saved from assorted websites and blogs or one of the 1000 recipes from one of my bread books.....really...I did.  Well this recipe is kind of adapted from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I started with the recipe for Italian Bread and changed the biga to using  my sourdough starter or levain and used European style flour, rye, barley and whole wheat flour instead of bread flour.  I also added some organic cracked wheat bran to make it interesting and used molasses instead of sugar.  Oh...and I used buttermilk instead of water...but other than that it's like I copied the recipe from the book!

The bread is rising in 2 bannetons as I write this, so I will let you know how it comes out at the end of this post....or if it doesn't turn out very well you may never read this  :).


15.5 ounces 65% Hydration Starter Refreshed

6 ounces European Style Flour from KAF (you can use bread flour in place of this)

3 ounces Medium Rye Flour

2 ounces Barley Flour

2 ounces Whole Wheat Flour

2 ounces Organic Cracked Wheat Bran

11 ounces Luke warm buttermilk, 90 - 95 degrees Fahrenheit

1  2/3 Teaspoons Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Molasses


Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the buttermilk with the starter to break up the starter.

Add the flours, salt, olive oil, and molasses and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes

Mix for 4 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form a ball.

Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Leave the covered dough in your bowl at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours and then put it in your refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread, take the bowl out of your refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.  After 2 hours shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.  Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

I do have to say the crust came out excellent on this bake and the bread had a nice flavor with a slight sour and nutty overtone.  The crumb could have been a bit more open but overall I would consider this one a success.

Please visit the Yeast Spotting Site here: for lots of cool recipes


dabrownman's picture

fine Ian original. Nice crust, scoring and crumb.  You are getting pretty good at this :-)  I hope it tastes as good as it looks!  Nice job once again.  Thanks for your adapted, modified and improved, nearly original recipe too.

isand66's picture

Appreciate the kind actually does taste as good as it looks!  I made a boule and I'm not sure what to call the other shape---semi batard?  I used my elongated banneton and tried some different scoring on it. It's hard to tell by the photo which is the first one on the bottom left, but it actually opened up a bit too much for my liking.  All in all, I was very happy with the outcome.  I'm have been surprised in some cases by how good some of my experiments have turned out, but I guess by baking enough bread and reading yours and all the other fellow bake-heads it's starting to rub off and look like I almost know what I'm doing!

Next up....I have some onion rolls I have rising using a sourdough starter, ricotta cheese and durum flour.  The dough actually came out very smooth and velvety and smells good enough to eat....I hope the finished rolls taste as good.....made some without the onion mixture to see the difference....will post tomorrow if I can.

dabrownman's picture

build going for a shot at Rye and WW Bialy's with caramelized onion and home made smoked chorizo centers.  Takes a couple of days to build the YW so it will be at least Thursday.  I've got another homemade surprise, non miniature, stove for you too.  It is rocket powered!  

isand66's picture

Those Bialy's sound fantastic.  I look forward to seeing how them come out.  I want to make some bialy's and bagels soon, so yours could make it on my list!

Your rocket stove sounds intriguing.

dabrownman's picture

What are you slashing with?  I'm not at all happy wth my single edge utility razor blade and your slashes are very distictive.

isand66's picture

I use a simple plastic lame I bought from King Arthur flour.  It's about $6.95.  I have had this for a couple of years and still haven't had to replace it.  I wish the blade was replaceable but for how long its lasted I can't complain.

dabrownman's picture

even you, on your most creative bread day, can put anything into bread that could cause a steel blade to dull much,  If you exclude iron enriched bread - as in real iron :-)  Nice tool too!

FlourChild's picture

Looks great- I laughed when I read the extent of your changes to the recipe :)

isand66's picture

Thanks for the comment....glad I gave you a chuckle!