The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farro Hard Cider Multi-grain Sourdough

isand66's picture

Farro Hard Cider Multi-grain Sourdough

After reading about how much better freshly ground flour is compared to store-bought I finally decided to wiggle a couple of toes in the water and try grinding some of my own.  I used my Krupps coffee grinder to make some Farro flour and also some Hard Red Wheat from grains I had purchased at Whole Foods previously.

To make it interesting I used a portion of my standard AP starter along with a much larger portion of a Farro starter I prepared.

I didn't have enough whole grains to grind all my own flour so I used King Arthur flour for the rest of the ingredients.

I also made a soaker using some cracked wheat.

I have to say I made a mistake by thinking the extra liquid from the soaker would increase the hydration of the dough which only comes in at 57%.  Since the freshly milled flour also sucks up more water than store-bought the final dough ended up much drier than I would have liked and the crumb was denser than my usual multi-grain bakes.  Next time I will increase the liquid amount probably another 15-20%.

I think I shall have to invest in an attachment for my wife's Kitchen Aid to mill my own flour which should be much easier to do larger batches than the Krupps.

In any case the final bread while not being one of my favorites still tasted very earthy with a nice sour flavor and nutty undertones from the Farro and Wheat Germ.

Farro Starter

184 grams Farro Flour ground from fresh kernels

71 grams AP Starter

117 grams Water at Room Temperature (80-90 degrees F.)

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 10 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  You can either mix in final dough or put in refrigerator for at most 1 day before using.  If your kitchen is warmer than mine which is usually about 70-72 degrees with my air-conditioning you can proceed sooner.


90 grams Cracked Wheat

280 grams Boiling Water

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and cover.  Let rest for 30 minutes or longer until ready to use.

Drain the liquid before mixing in the final dough.

Main Dough Ingredients

75 grams Refreshed AP Starter (65% hydration)

351 grams Farro Starter from above (should be all of it)

90 grams Cracked Wheat Soaker from above

75 grams Quinoa Flour

70 grams Wheat Germ

40 grams Potato Flour

200 grams French Style Flour (You can substitute AP flour)

195 grams Freshly Ground Hard Red Wheat Flour

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour (Dark Rye or Course Rye Flour)

50 grams Molasses

16 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt

430 grams Hard Cider


Mix the flours with the Hard Cider and molasses in your mixer or by hand for 1 minute.  Next cut the starters into small pieces and put in bowl and mix for 1 minute to incorporate all the ingredients.  Let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes to an hour in your bowl and make sure to cover it.  Next add in the salt, and the soaker and mix on speed #1 for 3 minutes or by hand and on speed #2 for 2 minutes.  The dough should have come together in a ball and be tacky but not too sticky.

Next take the dough out of the bowl and place it on your work surface.  Do a stretch and fold and rest the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  After the rest do another stretch and fold and cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Do one more stretch and fold and put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit at room temperature covered for 2 hours.  After 2 hours you can put the dough into the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days before baking.  Feel free to do some additional S & F's if you feel it is necessary.  I baked the bread about 24 hours later.

The next day (or when ready to bake) let the dough sit out at room temperature for 1.5 - 2  hours.  Next, form the dough into your desired shape and put them in floured bannetons, bowls or on a baking sheet and let them rise covered for 2 hours or until they pass the poke test.  Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 30 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.  Since these loaves were a little lower in hydration and were not cooking as quickly as normal, I lowered the temperature to 430 degrees.  The total baking time was around 45 minutes.  When both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove them from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 6 hours or so before eating as desired.

The crust the next day was very hard and the crumb like I said before was much denser than I would have hoped but this bread still makes some nice pastrami or corned beef sandwiches for sure along with a nice sour pickle.  Now I have to go get some to eat for lunch!


wassisname's picture

Looks like a good, hearty bread, Ian.  So, is this a burr coffee grinder you are using?  I have been sorely tempted to try using mine to make some cracked grains, if not actual flour, but so far I haven’t worked up the nerve (my wife would kill me if I messed-up the coffee grinder!).  One of these days, though…


isand66's picture

Thanks Marcus.  Yes it is burr coffee grinder.  Haven't broke mine yet!

Thanks for the comments.

dabrownman's picture

your ingredient list and soaker for this bread.  The crust especially but the crumb too came out very nice for so much whole grains.  Glad to see you finally grinding away.  Your bread will be so much more tasty.  It is harder to get to the right hydration levels when using home ground grains with a soaker too. I'm thinking anything over 80% hydreation for this bread. 

My rule of thumb is, if the dough feels dry then it is and I add more liquid squeezing the dough through my fingers to get it incorporated no matter how long it takes.    In this case I'm pretty sure that coffee, one of your favorites,  would have been an excellent choice to up the hydro of this bread.

To try to take the soaker out of the hydration equation, I now have my apprentice, after draining the soaker in a strainer, rake a paper towel of two and rub it though the soaker to soak up any excess water that might be hanging out and this to helps tremendously and makes the soaker a known entity that can be accounted for properly in the hydration by calling it neutral.

I have to say that thick dark  crust has me drooling.  I want my slice thicker, toasted with some butter on it  or toasted thinner with some pate or a schmear of cream cheese bagel style.

Nice baking and very creative again Ian - another bread of yours I will give a try sooner rather than later.

isand66's picture

Thanks DA for your comments and feedback. I actually did drain the soaker which is why if I wasn't brain dead I would have upped the hydration. I did add some extra liquid but not enough for my liking. Overall still a tasty bread.

Working on the 36 hour baguettes and hopefully I will have some success baking them tomorrow. I don't make baguettes often so I'm hoping for the best. Had to resist tinkering with this one until I have some success.


dabrownman's picture

can chicken with 20 different kinds of bread to choose from tonight.   We love beer but love beer cab chicken even more - well not really but you know what I mean :-)  Now that I have figured out a way not to get schmaltz on on the roasted veg as the chicken cooks it is much better for us from a health point of view.

I was thinking hard cider and coffee was your ticket for this bread.  I would be tempted to put a little espresso powder and some cocoa.  Not so much you could taste but your Mocha Bread is pretty tough to beat.


isand66's picture

By the away I agree coffee instead of the cider would have worked very well.

Mebake's picture

Nice bread, Ian.. very creative!

I encourage you to take the extra mile and invest in a grain mill. Flavorwise, and nutrition wise, it makes a world of difference.

Just a thought, why no try to tweak and perfect a recipe? this way you bake your favorite, and we get to try your improved recipe :)

isand66's picture

Thanks Kahlid for the feedback.

I am planning in the near future to get a grain mill for sure.

As far as tweaking and perfecting a recipe...I'm trying!  I have the 36 hour baguettes from TXFarmer in the refrigerator to bake tonight.  This is my second attempt at the recipe with the first ending in disaster when transfering from my bakers couche to the bakers stone.

In any  regards, believe it or not once in a while I do make the same recipe twice :).  I know it's rare, as I keep reading about different recipes and techniques that gets my creative juices flowing so it is hard to keep making the same thing over and over.  Also, I have several great bread books that I have barely cracked the cover on like "Bread" and "Internations Breads" as well as several others.

Thanks again for the comments.


dabrownman's picture

Is his name Mac, Jack or Mac Jack ?

isand66's picture

I think I'm starting to lose what's left of my sanity....wait until you see the latest concoction...I couldn't resist the bottle of Peppermint Kahlua in my basement that my wife bought a few months ago.....mixed in some nice combo of whole grains and freshly ground rye....

dabrownman's picture

that sanity is far from you if you put Peppermint  Kahlua in a bread, even one of yours,  and that a mental health specialist should be near your side but, also not on your ingredient list :-)  It's time to break out the Cranberry Schnapps that been hiding in the liquor cabinet for 20 years - just for the Holidays which are still months away!!!  I'm not putting mine in bread though :-)

isand66's picture

All you need are some cranberry sprouts....a shot for you and your apprentice and you're good to go!  :)

I put so many whole grains in this one I don't think I will even taste the Kahlua....I guess we shall see soon.

Bagguettes in oven now after some difficulty getting them off of the couche.  I need to work on a better system for next time.

I'm hoping the crumb looks something like TXFarmer....

isand66's picture

Looks like I should have drank a little less of the Peppermint Kahlua as it seems when I tried to transfer the bagguettes from the couche to my baking peel I flipped them on the wrong side and now they are bursting at the seams!  I am not happy :(....hopefully I will at least get a nice open crumb. 

isand66's picture

Actually his name is Mookie...after his namesake on my other blog

It looks just like him :)