The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My next bake: SOTSOT*

idaveindy's picture

My next bake: SOTSOT*

Here's my plan.  This is based on past loaves, where I've measured, and where I've not measured; but this is not an exact duplicate of anything past.  (SOTSOT = some o' this, some o' that.)


A)  3 pounds of dough, to fit in a 5 qt oval enameled cast iron dutch oven, (just happens to be Paula Deen brand). I want a big loaf. I bought this DO  ridiculously cheap at a Tuesday Morning close-out store after she "fell from grace" and her stuff was liquidated. It still didn't sell well, so then Tues Morning discounted it further.  

B) Near 100% whole grain/whole-meal, mostly home-milled, (Gotta practice cooking and eating "prepper food" and use up/rotate what's in storage.)  And I just LIKE home-milled whole-meal bread! 

C) Bulk of flour to be home-milled Prairie Gold, HWSW (Hard white spring wheat), and home-milled Kamut

D) relatively lower salt, as I like to eat bread: 

- - - 1) with toppings/dips. 

- - - 2) to sop up sauces. 

- - - 3) and use toast cubes as my carb ingredient for stews. 

Planned Ingredients:


250 g Prairie Gold. Cracked in a manual Shule 3-roller grain mill, then 30 seconds in a Vitamix blender, highest speed, regular blade, not their grain container. The blender heats up the flour. So cracking it first in the cool Shule prevents/eliminates most of the heat build up in the blender. Putting whole kernals in the blender also scratches up the plastic container. I "blend/mill" 8 ounces of grain at a time, about 1 cup or less of whole kernals.

Only 30 seconds in the Vitamix makes a blend of differing particle sizes in each 8 ounce batch, which I like.  The largest are gritty, but still smaller than average sand.  The long ferment times of sourdough baking overcome this grittiness, and I don't notice it in the final bread, as the large particles eventually get fully hydrated and softened. But the somewhat delayed absorption means that you have to make the dough look and feel wetter initially.  It's not all gritty, nor is it all coarse. Each 8 ounce batch just runs the gamut from fine, medium, coarse, to a little grit.

225 g Kamut. Same as above.

50 g fresh ground* flaxseed, for fiber, for looks, and oil. 

50 g dark rye flour, Bob's Red Mill, for taste, look, and fermentability. 

25 g home ground* millet, from BRM's whole  millet, for flavor, and a little crunch. 

25 g home ground* amaranth, from Market District's whole amaranth. For flavor, and a little crunch. 

 (* = done in small electric coffee grinder.) 

25 g coconut flour, store-bought, for a little extra protien and oil. 

total so far = 650 g. 


200 g Levain @ 100% hydration, from Carl's starter

- - - 50 g Generic store-bought AP flour

- - - 50 g Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry flour.  The starter seems to like this.

- - - 100 g water. 


Additional water: 500 g. 

Salt: 12 gr.  12 / 750 = 1.6%.  Yes, that seems low for near 100% whole grain, but see above. I dip bread in seasoned/spiced oil, or use it to sop up sauces, or toast it and put it in my spicy stews.  The heartiness/robustness of near 100% whole-grain low-salt toast goes well with my highly flavored stew.  This toast and stew combo has a nice macho and frontier-like quality, as if I'm a lumber-jack in the Pacific Northwest, or a grizzled sourdough gold prospector in the Klondike. It would make Tim the Toolman say "Argh! Argh! Argh!"  ... But I digress....


Total flour: 650 g + 100 g from levain: = 750 g

Total water: 500 g + 100 g from levain = 600 g

Hydration: 600 / 750 = 80%.  (Based on past experience, I may have to increase hydration with this home-milled flour.)

Total weight: 750 + 600 + 12 = 1362 g = 2.99 pounds.  

I may have to add some sunflower seeds to the top surface to get the full 3 poinds. ;-)

Counting ground flaxseed and coconut flour as flours (not add-ins) this is a 93.3%  whole-grain loaf, 700 / 750.   Or 92.6%, if you don't, 625 / 675.



- Home-milled whole-grains go well with an autolyse before adding in the levain, so that the bran and the large particles have time to absorb some water. To facilitate mixing, I don't autolyse all the flour, or use all the water. After a short autolyse, I add the remaining water to thin the  levain, and mix the thinned levain into the still overly wet dough; the wetness of both making mixing easier.  I may give it a rest at this point, while it is still moist (it is still lacking the last bit of flour) and still without the salt, to give the yeasties a head start without salt.  Then I slowly add the rest of the flour comingled with salt.  This last mixing takes the form of folding/kneading.  This is usually the final chance to eyeball and feel the dough and make adjustments to hydration by adding more flour or more water.  

I have done so much "on the fly" or "by the seat of my pants" formulas and mixing, without measuring, that I can't give a fixed  hydration percent for my formulas.  I'm going to try to do better, by weighing my final adjustments, so that I can share my formulas, and actually replicate them myself if they turn out well.

If my dough is too wet, I usually adjust with more  AP flour, or bread flour, or BRM Whole Wheat Pastry flour, as they absorb water much more quickly than home-milled or even store bought whole-wheat. That gives quicker feedback, so I can "feel" when the hydration is in the Goldilocks zone of "just right."

If my initial mix is too dry, I work in water with the fold-and-knead method, and the side benefit is some gluten development.

My bulk ferment is not scientific. I just eyeball it.  I line my banneton with a flour-sack towel, or the linen liner it came with, dusted with white rice flour or a mix of white rice flour and AP/Bread flour.  Letter fold, flour,  shape, and flour the dough, put in banneton. Eyeball the final ferment, finger test.

This will be baked in either the 5 qt enameled cast iron oval dutch oven, or if it's not that big, in the 3.2 quart Lodge not-enameled cast iron combo-cooker.

My 2-pound loaves of this formulation (or thereabouts) usually bake in 1 hour, to get the right combo of internal temp (210F), and color of crust.  So this will  take longer.  

I eventually want to get up to 4 pound miches. I'll first see how this 3-pounder fits size-wise in the 5 qt dutch oven, and then see what it takes to outgrow that and have to use the baking stone.