The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Work days - Sourdough country loaf

koffetar's picture

Work days - Sourdough country loaf

For some time I was trying to find a recipe that would fit my working week schedule. Here is the result. This 70% hydration Tartine-based country loaf is made of full spelt flour (T1200) and strong white (T850) with rye starter. 
Aroma and smell of this loaf are simply amazing and I find it will be difficult for me to do something with commercial yeast again.

Full formula
Flour 100%
Water 70%
Salt 1.6%
Starter 3.4%

I. Starter
Feed your rye flour starter 12h before making the levain. It should be very active. I feed my starter everyday on 24h cycles, keeping hydration around 122% and store it at room temperature.

II. Preparing levain in the evening

  • 15g of rye starter
  • 25g of flour (T850)
  • 25g of spelt flour (T1200)
  • 50g of cool water

Ferment for 10-12h on a room temperature (now is winter time and we have around 21°C)

III. Preparing the dough in the morning

  • All levain
  • 340g bread flour
  • 50g spelt flour
  • 240g water[1]
  • 20g water[2]
  • 7g sea salt

Mix with hand all levain, flour and water[1] and autolyse for 30 minutes. 

Add salt and water[2] and mix for couple of minutes with hand until all water is absorbed. If you have time, SAF at least once after 20 minute mark. Cover and then store the dough into refrigerator for 9h. Then you can go to work :)

When you come home preshape the dough and let it rest for 30min. Then do the final shaping and proof for 4h at room temperature (21°C)

I don't have dutch oven so I do this: I bake on a shallow baking pan and I cover my loaf with a large iron pot to keep the steam inside. It makes it much easier to load scored loaf to the oven. But by all means use what works for you best.

Bake in preheated oven at 250°C for 20 minutes.
Uncover your dutch oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes at 230°C.

Here is a shot of the crumb (it's yellow due to Instagram's filter):

That's it. If you have any questions feel free to ask :)
Happy baking!

DavidEF's picture

The crumb shot looks wonderful. How does it taste?

Darwin's picture

A very nice loaf, crust & crumb.

dabrownman's picture

you have a work day winner on your hand.  We make a poolish with a pinch of ADY now and again for pizza dough but have used less than a packet of commercial yeast this past year.  I tend and tend to use YW in the baking that doesn't require  a sour taste like cinnamon rolls. raisin bread and sweeter white breads.  Between SD and Yeast Water, there isn'l much  room for commercial yeast on the bake list

Happy SD baking

koffetar's picture

What is ADY?

dabrownman's picture

ADY as opposed to Instant dry (IDY) or fresh yeast cakes.

koffetar's picture

Taste of this loaf is great, that's all I can say. It smells very sweet, it tastes the same. Very rich taste. Crumb is chewy and there is very, very mild tangy after flavour. But only if you eat it plain. Just the way I like it.

DavidEF's picture

We use so many abbreviations, acronyms, and strange baking terms. ADY is active dry yeast.

koffetar's picture

It would be nice to have a glossary of baking acronyms and abbreviations on this site :)

pmccool's picture

Click on the Handbook link at the top of the page.  When the new page opens, click on the Appendix A link at the right-hand margin.  The glossary probably won't have every term you might see here but it does provide a good starting point.


bread.on.beard's picture

Your bread looks great.  What ratio do you feed your starter?

koffetar's picture

Aprox. 45% rye, 55% water. If I mix 50-50 the batter is too thick. So I go more to the feel... 

DavidEF's picture


I don't know if you're familiar with Bakers' Math. To express your SD mixture in Bakers' Math, you would keep the flour at 100% and the water would be measured as a % compared to the flour. So, you would basically divide the water amount by the flour amount to get the percent value. For the ratio you use it would be 55/45 = 122%. Since we're talking about a liquid and a flour, it is also called the hydration percent, so you have a 122% hydration starter. If you were using more than one kind of flour, the total weight of all the flours would be 100%, and each flour (as well as each other ingredient) would then be measured compared to that.

I just noticed that you have percent values in your formula above, and it calls for 100% hydration starter, but you say you don't keep your starter that way. Which is correct? Do you use 100% starter in the bread, or your starter which is kept at 122%?

koffetar's picture

Hi DavidEF, thanks for reminding me of that. I need to be consistent with bakres' % math :)

You are correct about starter percentage - hydration is at 122%. It's that high due to characteristic of flour that really sucks up water. I'm learning that in bread baking not everything is about percentages - there has to be a lot of observation.

The 100% rye starter refers not to water % but to rye flour. It's just rye. I will edit my initial post.'s picture

YOu and only you have finally been able to describe in laymans terms what t hydration level means?? I cannot thank you enough.. I can go on living now.. thanks, spongehead from carmel, california.   

PetraR's picture

I have a rye starter too, gives the bread an almost nutty flavour I think.

I have a ration of 40g Rye Flour and 60ml of Water.

a 50/50 is to thick, hard to stir.

TorontoFlour's picture

I am new here. What do you mean by SAF? (I am sure you don't mean that instant yeast).

mikes's picture

SAF is stretch and fold, I believe.

ElPanadero's picture

Lovely looking loaf. I notice the ear is burnt so I'm wondering what type of oven you are using. Or is it possible that you toasted the top of the loaf under a grill after the bake?

koffetar's picture

This is my oven, not exactly the same - a bit older model:
The top is not relay burned, it's just more caramelized. It's my favourite part of bread :)

But I do have problem with scoring the dough. The score is not clean, I have small tears. While baking this thin parts dry up fast and thus they get darker and can be burned. I use straight lame, curved one is giving me even more problems.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

550 am yesterday, I made my leaven before work using unfed starter from fridge. 

By 720 pm my leaven was ready so I mixed the dough, autolyzed for 90 minutes or so, added my salt and more water (and beer for one set) and did one stretch and fold at 25 minutes before I put it in the fridge. 

Was not sure what to do next but will follow what you did from here... Pre-shape for 30 min, shape and rise at room temp for 4 hours. That will let me get it all done for a Saturday afternoon. Would not work for a weekday bake, but would be nice to have another option that works. 

Last time time I did this sort of thing I did stretch and fold for 4 hours after the fridge but memory says that was the bread with a crust I could not easily chew. 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

He is saying to mix the levain, etc., and then let it rest for 30 minutes. Replace "rest" for "autolyze" and that sentence makes sense. 

koffetar's picture

T850 is a type of flour, that is how we label it here in Europe. I believe it can also be called bread flour or strong white flour. Higher number means higher bran content.

You don't knead dough. Autolyse:

Secret to air holes is a good starter and proofing time I guess :)

PetraR's picture

Secret to air holes is also less kneading and gently stretch and fold the dough * since I do that my crumb is * holy * lol