The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Knead Sprouted Spelt, Barley & Potato Sourdough

dabrownman's picture

No Knead Sprouted Spelt, Barley & Potato Sourdough

It has been forever since Lucy and I baked a no knead bread but emkay baked a beautiful one earlier this week so Lucy was all hot to trot to make one too.  We have been messing around with sprouted multigrain flour for the past 3 bakes and wanted to continue along those lines with a high % of whole and sprouted grains.


This week Lucy chose to sprout spelt, wheat and barley in equal amounts and take the same amount of each un-sprouted  to come up with another 58% whole grain bread with the remaining flour King Arthur bread flour.  We used the sprouting liquid for part of the dough liquid, some red malt and for a new twist added some potato flakes to the mix. 


We didn’t think that the spelt and sprouted grain would make it for Mary’s 72 hour retard that she used.  But we though it might go 24- 48 hours.  We started the sprouts early Monday morning.   After 24 hours they were fully chatted and we dried them in the AZ sun.  We ground the sprouted grain and the whole grains together and sifted out the hard bits getting a 17% extraction.


 We got out our 10 week fridge stored starter and took 6 g of it to build the 106 g  levain over 3 stages throwing nothing away.  Once it rose 50% after the 3rd feeding, we refrigerated it overnight.  Wednesday morning we got the retarded levain out of the fridge to warm up on the counter and finishing its 3rd stage doubling while autolysing the dough flour, dough liquid, red malt and potato flakes with the salt sprinkled on top for 2 hours.


We mixed the levain into the dough with a spoon and then did 1 minute of slap and folds to get it thoroughly incorporated.  That was it for gluten development.  Mary left her dough on the counter for 9 hours but we cut it back to 6 hours since our kitchen is 15 F warmer than hers.  Still, it doubled in volume.


We then chucked it in the fridge for a 24 hour bulk ferment.  The next day it had kept on rising in the fridge and as now tripled.  Breaking from Mary’s method, we then shaped the dough cold, put it in a floured basket, bagged it and put it back in the fridge for another 24 hour retard.


By Friday the dough had risen 50% in the fridge again.  We took it out to warm up and  finish proofing on the counter.  Lucy was happy that the dough didn’t look like it was going to turn to goo.  We let it proof for 2 hours before firing up Big Old Betsy to 550 F with Mega Steam installed when it hit that temperature.


The dough had proofed on the counter for 2 ¾ hours before it was un-molded, no slash required as it was baked seam side up and hit the heat and steam.  We steamed it for 2 minutes and turned the oven down to 500 F.  After another 2 minutes we turned the oven down to 475 F and continued to steam another 11 minutes – 15 minutes total.


Once the steam came out we baked the bread for another 15 minutes at 425 F - convection this time.  We turned off the oven at 205 F and removed the bread from the oven when it hit 208 F.  It sprang, bloomed at the seams and browned up nicely. It came out of the oven very crispy -  rustic looking loaf for sure.  Will cut it for today’s lunch sandwich to see how the crumb came out and, more importantly, get a taste since it smelled so delicious.


We are hoping the sour is pumped up with the 48 hr retard.  Why do a 3 day or 4 day bake when there is nothing like a 5 day bake?   I don’t think a commercial bakery is going to do this 5 day process……. and make money at it.  My daughter is home and we are back from the airport so I can finish this post.  The bread is the most sour and tangy we have ever managed.;  The 10 week retarded starter, the 24 hour retarded 3 stage levain and the 48 hour retard of the dough really did their magic.  We go for tang all the time and our bread is pretty tang most always but ......this is in a league of its own.

Last Friday's sprouted rye bake with salmon herb Allouette with salad, fruit veggies and melon. a bacon and egg breakfast .

And a smoked rib and chicken dinner.

The crumb ended up soft, very moist and open.  We could have let this bake to 210 F without problem - thanks to the sprouted grains.  It is delicious.  We love spelt and mixed with the barley sprouted and whole grains makes for an earthy, hearty and healthy loaf.  Just delicious !  Now we will have to see if it gets even more tangy tomorrow or whether it mellows out some.  Either way it is a loaf well worth spending 5 days making :-)

Lucy says never forget the salad to go with  that roasted onion and peppers with pepper jack cheese, chipotle, tomatillo and red pepper sauced  quesadilla.


RyeSD Starter Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



10 Week Retarded Rye Starter






16% Ext Sprouted Spelt, Barley & Wheat
























Starter Totals


















Starter Hydration






Levain % of Total Flour












Dough Flour






84% Ext. 1/2 Sprouted Spelt, Barley & Wheat






KA Bread Flour






Total Dough Flour


















Sprout Water 94 & Water






Red Malt






Potato Flakes












Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter






Sprout Water 180 & Water w/ Starter












Hydration with Starter






Total Weight






% Whole Grain - Sprouted Grain






Total Hydration with Starter & Adds









David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

The uncut loaf looks to me like it would have been so dense, but the crumb really looks perfect. I don't understand how you have it sliced up so nicely though, and are only "hoping the sour is pumped up with the 48 hr retard."  You didn't taste it??

dabrownman's picture

to finish the post since my daughter came home from her summer semester at PA school and I was off to the airport.  Lucy was so happy to see her again.  This was about the most sour bread we have ever made for being right out of the oven.  Retarding the starter for 10 weeks,  the built levain for 24 hours and the dough for 48 hours really kicked up the tang!  It is delicious and made a fabulous Bologna sandwich for lunch.  We love the sprouted grain thing more and more.

Happy Baking.

golgi70's picture

Looks and sounds great.  And what's easier than the set and forget it method.  In some ways it makes the "magical" part of bread even more magical.  The dough does all the work.  



dabrownman's picture

the difference in the crust and crumb of this bread to our usual 3 sets of slap and folds and 3 sets of stretch and folds.  The big difference it in the tang.  No wonder no knead is so popular.  it seems like a pretty fool proof way to make some pretty good bread - magic for sure!  We sure like the sprouted grain experiments....that we have been forced to eat:-)  Glad you liked it Josh and

Happy Baking

emkay's picture

Lucy did a great job. There's no goo in sight!  I agree that the tang that comes from the long cold retard is the best part of this "set it and forget it" bread (to use Josh's words). 


dabrownman's picture

 real achievement with sprouted flour and spelt.  I don't think it would make it for 72 hours like yours.  Very tangy indeed just great and cant wait to taste it this morning for breakfast to see if it got tangier overnight like usual.  Pretty easy to make  with the mix and forget it method:-)  We love the spelt and barley mixed with the wheat and sprouted bread id much more complex and deep in taste.  Glad you liked it and thanks for the impetus to give no knead another shot.

Happy baking 

isand66's picture

Max just made a real sourpuss face and said he can taste Lucy's bread all the way from LI.  I think they must have some of the same DNA and are really twins but we just don't know it :).

I'm surprised you couldn't resist the urge to do some Stretch and Folds but it looks like you didn't need it considering how nice your crumb came out.

You just need to add some bacon and cheese like my latest :).

Happy Baking and enjoy your time with your daughter.


dabrownman's picture

with bacon, cheese and bourbon:-)  I did get your potato in there though.  You have to give sprouted grain a shot just to see what the difference is and this no knead method sure makes bread making stupid simple - which is good for us retired folks.  I really can't tell the difference in crust or crumb but the tang is exponential.  We like this bread a lot and don't use barley enough  especially with its low, low low GI of 41.  I will check out your latest bacon & cheese bread bake and Lucy says HI to Max, Lexi and their 5 antagonists.  Glad you liked the bread Ian.

Happy Baking .   

Kiseger's picture

And gorgeous bread, well done Lucy!  This looks like the kind of bake that would fit in with my ridiculous 24/7 job, really keen to try this approach and your bake is inspiring!  Have a super time with your daughter, always such a pleasure to have the young ones back!  Thanks for a great post ... as usual!

dabrownman's picture

was taken looking East as the monsoon was moving West at sunset.  Really poured later with lots of flooding but we need all the flooding we can get around here after 15 years of drought.  This process would work with any schedule.  All you have to do is time the retard at 24, 48 or 72 hours or anything in between.  It makes some great bread with this no muss, no fuss bread making method. Goes great with my no muss no fuss, starter too!  You would love this bread.

My daughter came home with a list of here favorite foods she wants her personal chef to make for here.  Grilled Indian salmon last night and chorizo, chicken tacos tonight but, after i showed her the quesadilla picture, she might change her mind.  We miss our baby but our other baby; Lucy, really misses her sister too.  Glad you liked the post and

Happy baking

Mebake's picture

That is the king of sour bread, DA! I don't like bread so sour, but your example looks inviting. 

Happy baking!


dabrownman's picture

hearty, healthy bread even if a little on the sour side.   We have been wolfing this bread down like wild animals - not that Lucy isn't a wild animal,,,,,especially if you turn your back on her:-)  Glad you like the looks of it Khalid.  Hope the market goes well for you.

Happy baking