The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

20 Percent Sprouted 4 Grain SFSD

dabrownman's picture

20 Percent Sprouted 4 Grain SFSD

After my future son in law brought me a beautiful loaf of Acme SD from SF this week. Lucy decided to make one of her own that she thought would look better on the inside and taste lot better too – the two areas the Acee bread was a bit lacking.

Wow you can really tell the 4 different grains here!

I also missed Lucy’s 13th birthday the week before when I was visiting my Dad after his knee surgery.  She was not happy about me being gone but life gets in the way of celebrations sometimes and I am happy to note that my Dad’s recovery remains on track.

The bran levain is s much darker than the dough flour.

Lucy was hoping I would bring her a pet raccoon from the Ozark mountains of Southern Missouri but we couldn’t quite get the one living under his shed trapped and every time it came out I wasn’t quick enough getting to the .22 rifle to bring Lucy home a pelt either.  So poor Lucy didn’t get a present this year except for this bread and she doesn’t get any of it to eat either!

This is a simple formula, as far as formulas go with Lucy, like most SFSD breads tend to be.  The levain was a 2 stage, 12 hour. 100% hydration, 12% pre-fermented sprouted grain one where all the bran from the sprouted grain was used for the first stage and the high extraction sprouted grain was used for the 2nd stage.   Once the levain doubled after the 2nd stage, it was retarded for 24 hours to bring out more sour notes.The 4 sprouted grains were rye, red wheat, spelt and Kamut and the overall sprouted grains came in at 20% making it a healthier and heartier SFSD white bread variety.  The overall hydration was 80% with the 80% white flour being LaFama AP and Albertson’s bread flour both of which were on sale this week for $1.49 and $1.79 for 5# bags at the grocery store. The 2% salt was pink Himalayan sea salt.

We did a 1 hour autolyse with the salt sprinkled on top and we did a double hydration with 2% water going in with the levain before the first set of 40 slap and folds.  We then did 2 sets of 10 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 gentle slap and folds all on 230 minute intervals.  The dough has risen about 40% when we pre-shaped it and then shaped it into a squat oval.

We plopped it seam side up into a rice floured basket and bagged it in a new trash can liner for 14 hours of retard overnight.  When we took it out of the fridge we fired up the oven to 500 F with the Combo cooker inside.  Once hot we un-molded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed it 6 times, cross hatch style, like the Acme bread and put it into the oven as we turned it down to 425 F – the supposed temperature used at Larraburu.

Killer bruschetta using heirloom cherry tomatoes from the back yard and that Acme Sourdough bread.

It helps to have a nice sourdough blueberry pancake breakfast on bake day

Since the dough was cold I upped the stem period to 24 minutes from our usual 18 to make sure that the dough had enough time under steam to spring.  We were hoping, since it was a whitish bread, high hydration and cold, that it would blister nicely under steam as the crust gelatinized it would trap the water vapor from below to cause blisters right under the skin.  That is Lucy’s thinking at any rate and she is sticking to it!

It did spring and bloom explosively under stream, showing it was a bit under proofed and there were quite a few blisters too.  Once the lid came off we turned the oven to 425 F convection to brown it up which it did nicely.  We took it out of the oven when it read 209 F on the inside.  We will have to wait to see what it looks like inside but the outside was not quite as nice as Acme’s perfect 10 score that we gave it earlier this week but this one was close at a 9.

The inside of this bread is what SFSD is all about.  Even though it had 20% whole sprouted grain the crumb was very open.  It was also glossy, soft and moist.  The best part is that this bread tastes terrific - fantastically delicious.  My future son in law says that this bread is hands down way better than the Acme loaf he brought me - even when it was as fresh as this one. We ate a quarter of the loaf straight away as part part of cheese, tomato, bread, fruit and melon plate as an appetizer with a nice glass of red wine.



12% pre-fermented 4 sprouted grain flour, 2 stage, 100% hydration, bran levain retarded for 24 hours.


8% high extraction sprouted 4 grain – Rye, spelt, Kamut and red wheat

40% LaFama APp

40% Albertson’s bread flour

80% water - overall hydration

2% PH Sea Salt

Lucy reminds us to never for get the salad!


IceDemeter's picture

when you have Lucy there to make sure that you do everything just right for maximum enjoyment and healthfulness!

Personally, I'd rank the look of your crust higher than the Acme one, since I'm not a huge fan of the almost industrial symmetry of their loaf. They obviously have made a lot of the same recipe over the years, and have achieved an admirable consistency of appearance, but something about it just looked too "processed" to me.  I like a bit of asymmetry and variations in colour and the little blisters and all of the little imperfections that make it unique and obviously hand-crafted.  It's nice that your wonderful bruschetta was able to over-ride the lack of flavour of their loaf, which you definitely won't need to worry about with the lovely mix of grains and timing in Lucy's bake!

Belated happy birthday to Lucy!  Please give her many belly scritches and treats to make up for missing her celebration (and especially for being so irresponsible as to not even have the rifle ready to get rid of that vermin for your Dad and bring her home a gift at the same time). 

Glad to hear that your Dad is recovering well, and that you are home and back to baking happy!

PS - I can skip the pancake, but the rest of your breakfast is calling out to me... definitely on the menu for tomorrow!

dabrownman's picture

pretty good for you.  Lucy is back to normal just a bit older and her face is starting to go gray - pretty spry though.  Since this one was under proofed it just exploded so the scoring was a destroyed in the process:-) That's the thing about home made bread it does look home made most often. Glad you liked it and

Happy baking ID

isand66's picture

Happy Birthday to Lucy Bug!  Max and Lexi wish they could come over and celebrate but they will have to wish her a belated birthday from afar :(.  Glad your Dad is doing better and on track.

The bread looks perfect and has your signature look all over it.  Those tomatoes look amazing as well as the other goodies.  I have to try and get my tomatoes and cucumbers in the ground this weekend along with pulling out a bunch of shrubs and planting a bunch of perennial and assorted plants.

Happy Baking and Eating!

dabrownman's picture

I am trying to keep mine from stewing on the vine:-)  They did very well this year and have been producing enough cheery tomatoes for salad every day since Thanksgiving.  Heirloom cherry tomatoes do better than the regular sized ones for sure.  Lucy sends her best to the black ones and hopes they can get to the dog park to romp around.

Happy baking Ian

IceDemeter's picture

there truly is no way to buy results like that.

The appetizer plate, and especially the sharing of it with those you love --- well, really, that is what it's all about.  Thanks for sharing, and all best to you and yours


dabrownman's picture

The young ones went off to dinner and I was left to my strip steak on the grill which is one of the dinners that I have when the wife is out of town:-)  She isn't a steak eater.  

You would like this bread.  It is what made SF famous for bread - only better:-). We like it a lot too,

Happy baking ID

alfanso's picture

On our 2nd trip to New Zealand we returned with a possum pelt for Castagna to get high on, sniffing and cuddling with it.  N.Z. is overrun with these critters and eradication efforts have been underway for decades at this point.  Although our hunting of the invasive import consisted of nothing more than picking one off of a pile of them in some store around Te Anau as I recall, it was still a fun and certainly not an extravagant purchase.  Anticipated issues at Customs never materialized.  And wouldn't ya know it?  Our homebody little beast probably gave one quick sniff to it and never again.

The cheese board looks dynamite!.  And as someone else recently stated about the whole Acme / Semifreddi / Parisian / Boudin thang, way back then homemade "artisan" bread was not nearly the craft that it is today, and memories of prior tastes remain strong - as memories.  Even if the reality is that we might well bake a better product at home these days.  As you have just proven.  Nice bake!

dabrownman's picture

some 45 years ago.  The dogs always loved to snooze on them.  I saw one of them at my Dad's the other day and thought Lucy would love to nap on it.  Possums and raccoons are thick as thieves at my Dad's place and he has 10 traps just sitting in the shed ready to thin them out!

I'm not sure my memories from 45 years ago are very good when it comes to SFSD.  I liked all of them but Colombo was the one I got the most because that was the bakery close to where I lived and I wasn't going to across town for a loaf of bread:-) I know that my SFSD is way better than what I remember though.  They weren't retarding bran levain and shaped dough or using 20% sprouted 4 grain either so it really isn't a fair comparison but the sour of the old days was much closer to what I make today ......rather than the non sour bread they make in SF today - with the possible exception of Boudin - which I haven't haven't had for many years.

You would make a fine baguette out of this recipe for sure even with the 80% hydration.

Happy baking Alan


Danni3ll3's picture

I miss making my own bread. Work has been totally insane and it is wiping me out! I have 7 more days to go and then I can go back to retirement. I can't wait to get my hands into dough once more!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

You got me drooling! That crumb looks so luscious, I want to grab it from the screen! I think I know exactly how it feels and tastes to eat that. That goodies spread is killer!

Happy birthday to Lucy! I hope she is well. Bimbo just recovered from a cold too and it's difficult when they are sick..