The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Date Bread Act 2.2

isand66's picture

Sourdough Date Bread Act 2.2

This is my second and third attempts at making this bread.  I really love the sweetness the dates impart to this bread so I've been meaning to make it again for a while.  Version 2 I made last week and I rushed the dough into the oven and it was definitely under-proofed.  It had some nice fissures and the crumb was much tighter than it should have been.  It still tasted good but I had to make it again the right way.

The third time it came out much better and was worth making it again.

I changed some of the flour from the first bake and used Durum instead of Einkorn Wheat and also added some Spelt.

If you can try to bake this one, I highly recommend it.  The dates add a wonderful sweetness to the bread and create a dark crust.  This a perfect bread with cheese or great for a steak sandwich.

I used a 2 step build for the starter mixing Durum flour with a Hard White Whole Wheat.

I'm still learning the BreadStorm program and I broke out the water and flour in the seed starter separately.  Hopefully it calculated it correctly.

The dates are simmered in part of the water used for the main dough and instead of chopping them up like I did last time, I just mushed them a little in the bowl which worked out fine.


Sour Dough Date Bread Act 2.2 (weights)

Sour Dough Date Bread Act 2.2 (%)


Levain Directions

Step 1

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Step 2

Mix the flour and water with all of the levain from step 1 and let it sit at room temperature again until it is doubled.  At this point you can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator and use it the next 1 to 2 days.

Date Preparation

Make sure there are no pits in the dates and do not trust the package like I did which claimed they were pitted dates.  Simmer the dates in 226 grams of water until they are soft.  After you remove them from the heat, add 100 grams of cold water and let the dates sit until they come back down to room temperature.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the remainder of the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the dates, butter and salt and mix on low for 2 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 1 large Miche for this bake.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




dabrownman's picture

Just beautimous inside and out.  Lucy says Mooshing and Mushing dates are both perfectly good technical terms in bread baking.  I asked what the difference was but she just looked at me like I was nuts and couldn't understand German!  Love the bold bake of this one too.

Lucy says hi to you and your apprentices and wonders what kind of bread you are using to pile corned beef on come St Paddfy's Say for the challenge?  Lucy has a recipe cooked up that may test the core of my Irishness....... 

isand66's picture

Thanks DA...I really do love the way this one turned out.  I actually made a beer bread which I will post tomorrow or Saturday for St. Paddy's Day.  I'm trying to figure out what I want to bake this weekend, but since it's my wife's birthday I may not have much time until next week.

Max, Lexi and the rest of the brood say have a happy St. Paddy's day.


wassisname's picture

Nice, Ian!  The flavor combo of toasty crust and date-sweetened crumb has got to be a winner.  And that crumb looks just perfect!

How noticeable are the dates in the finished bread as far as bits and pieces in the crumb?  Seems like they would breakdown pretty well - maybe even enough that I wouldn't have to tell my daughter that that's how I got the bread so sweet?  I'm liking this idea more and more!



isand66's picture

Thanks Marcus.  I love this bread and your daughter won't even know they are there.  They break down completely and just leave a noticeable sweetness to the bread that is like none other.

Let me know how she likes it if you try it.


trailrunner's picture

I am definitely going to make this. I think I will just leave the date pieces and let them stay intact and add some pecans:) Otherwise that is a definite winner. Love the combination of flours !  Have you changed your shaping to get the neat pattern on top ?? Looks so rustic and pretty. c

isand66's picture

Thank you Caroline.  Make sure you get all the pits out of the don't want to have any surprised later on :).  This bread seems to like to open up that way when scoring.  I didn't do anything special but you get that nice rustic pretty look on top.  I hope you enjoy it.


bakingbadly's picture

Just gorgeous. Really like the visuals of these breads. 

I never had dates in bread but I'm keen to try. I think I saw them in a market around here. I may give it a go when I have the time.

Jolly bakings,


isand66's picture

Thanks Zita.  If you get a chance do try them.  They add a wonderful sweetness to the bread that is different than just adding processed sugar.  I know you will enjoy it and could give you some ideas for your customers.



Wingnut's picture

Nice bold bake! Great crumb and shaping. 

Bang on!



isand66's picture

Thanks Wing.

Appreciate it.



Floydm's picture

Beautiful, Ian. May I feature this for a bit?

isand66's picture

Thanks Floyd...That would be awesome.

Nim's picture

Would it be possible to make a yeast version of this? How would the conversion work?

Looks just sublime...

isand66's picture

Hi Nim, thanks for your comments.  Actually the original recipe was given to me by a fellow TFL member and it was a yeast version.  I can send this to you if you send me a private message. 

dosco's picture


Did I understand that correctly? The dates basically "dissolve" and are incorporated into the dough...? No chunks or pieces in the final bread?




isand66's picture

Hi Dave, that is correct.  I just mushed them a little bit with a big spoon and mixed them in the final dough.  You don't really get any chunks or even notice they are there except for the sweet taste and brown color they impart.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you.