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*Edited to add formula.  Pretty sure this is what I did.  Now that I look at it again it could probably stand some tinkering.

I’d heard that freshly ground coriander seeds were altogether different from the prepackaged powder, but… Wow!  Now I get it.  And, as for what freshly ground coriander does to a hearty rye, I have not the words.  But I do have the bread.

This is a half whole rye, half whole wheat loaf.  I fed my WW starter with rye to build it up with a long, long fermentation time, leaving it with loads of flavor but not much leavening power.  A bit of instant yeast solved that problem.

The result was just what I’d hoped, a hearty loaf with an aroma that is permanently imprinted on my brain.

Oh, and I generally avoid using traditional names for my bread (I just don’t have the energy to argue over “authenticity”) but since I tested this one on actual Germans, who did seemed pleased with the result, I’m going for it on this occasion. 


Dark Rye Flour150100% Mix 3-4 min
Water11577% Ferment at least 12 hrs
Initial Starter5033%  
Starter31534% autolyse flour and water 20 min
Whole Wheat Flour50054% mix all 
Dark Rye Flour42546% Alternate kneading/resting 10-12 min
Water64069% Ferment 1 1/2 hrs
Salt161.73% shape (2 loaves)
Instant Yeast121.30% Proof 1 hr
Ground Coriander121% bake w/ steam
total1920  475F 8 min
    425F 40 min
Whole Wheat Flour50047%  
Dark Rye Flour57553%  
Ground Coriander        121%  
Initial starter contribution   
Whole Wheat Flour2957%  
% of flour in starter3%  
starter as % of finished dough16%  
salt in tsp2 3/4   
yeast in tsp2 1/4   

wassisname's picture

There will be friends, there will be skiing, there will be beer... there should be pretzels.

The recipe from Local Breads yielded beautiful results - highly recommended.  No mention of  an egg wash in the recipe, but I added one just to pretty them up.  A lump of WW sourdough starter went in too, just because it was there and in need of a home.  I can't wait for another occasion to bake these.  Does Tuesday qualify as an occasion?


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The goal:  A simple, 100% wholegrain, sourdough bread that I can make on an after-work weeknight schedule. 

I've tried a variety of approaches.  As is so often the case, simpler seems to be better.  On past attempts I was making things harder than they needed to be and the bread suffered.  This time I refrained from making any radical changes to the method and focused on a few details, trusting more to feel and less to thinking (and by thinking, I mean over-thinking... and over-thinking, and over-thinking).

Flour.  I switched from a WW bread flour that sounded good but just didn't feel right to a combination of Bob's Red Mill organic WW and Heartland Mills whole white wheat, about a 50/50 mix.  The dough felt better right from the start.

Hydration.  It needed more, so I gave it more.  I was resisting this earlier to keep the math simpler (I know, I know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time) and to keep the loaves from going flat, but the bread wants what the bread wants.

Salt.  Again, I ignored the math and reduced the salt because I was tasting too much of it in previous versions, even though the same amount worked fine using traditional methods.

Steam.  This method tends to produce a heavy crust so... less steam!

Fortune smiled on me and I managed to bake a couple nice loaves of bread.  It still isn't quite at the level of a one-day, Saturday sourdough, but it will certainly get me through when time is tight.  I plan to try this method again without any changes, and a result worth repeating must be a good sign.

The Method - for 2 loaves

Evening 1 - Starter Build - 335g WW flour, 250g water, 100g WW starter @ 75% hydration.  Mix 3-4 minutes.  Ferment @ room temp overnight, refrigerate the next morning.

Evening 2 - Final Dough - All starter, 500g Whole White Wheat flour, 200g WW, 2 tsp sea salt, 600g water.  Cut up starter and mix w/ dry ingredients.  Add water and mix until incorporated.  Knead 5-7 min wetting hands as needed.  Rest 5 min.  Knead 2-3 min.  Ball and refrigerate in closed container immediately.

Evening 3 - Proof and bake - Gently stretch dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick or less and place on floured board.  Cover with plastic wrap and let warm 1 hour.  Shape gently and proof 2 ½ hours.  My microwave functions as my proofing box.  It starts about 70F and will get to about 80F after 1 hour - this helps a lot.

Bake on preheated stone 500F for 5 min w/ steam.  Reduce heat to 460F and bake 45 min.  Place on cooling rack and go to bed.

Percentages (give or take, if you find fault with my math I don't want to hear about it, it's a work in progress [the math as well as the bread] =)) WW flour 52% / White WW flour 48% / Hydration 81% / Salt 1.6% / starter is approx. 35% of finished dough weight.



wassisname's picture

There have been some inspiring and mouthwatering nutty breads posted lately, so how could I resist.  I had to have some.  It's been a long time, and I forgot how good a few walnuts in a loaf of bread could be. 

The bread is a basic sourdough, mostly bolted wheat, a bit of  whole white wheat, and a small amount of WW from my starter.  Hydration was around 75%.  To this I added a handful of walnuts and a spoonful of honey.  Precision was not the priority this particular day, clearly.  I don't usually use sweetner in my sourdoughs so I lowered the oven temp to compensate for the honey, but the crust still went a little dark, darker than the photos make it look.  No complaints about the flavor, though!  I made a batch of cranberry sauce to go with it and now everything is right with the world... until the bread runs out anyway!


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 I love big, crusty, whole wheat, sourdough bread.  I may have mentioned that in a previous post... or two.  That flour, water and salt can transform into something like this never fails to amaze me.  My tired brain particularly appreciates that such simplicity can still produce such wonderful bread - anything more intricate just isn't in the cards right now.

I went with the Whole Grain Breads version this time, leaving out the instant yeast.  The flour was approximately 70% whole wheat / 30% bolted "Turkey" flour.  The bulk ferment was about 4 hrs and the proof was about 2 ½ hrs @ 70F, though it did get gradually warmer for about the last hour.

These loaves were larger, and had a more pronounced sourness than the last pair I made following the Local Breads method.  Crust and crumb were, however, very similar.  I did get my first real crackles in the crust this time.  Learning to trust that the bread won't burn is paying off.

The perfect topping for a hefty slab of this bread turned out to be some nice, ripe avocados I happened to have.  Highly recommended.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. 


wassisname's picture

Winter started with a bang this year and seemed like it would never let up!  After two months of slapdash, subsistence baking I finally managed to find enough time (and energy) to bake some decent sourdough.

A simple miche based on Leader's method in Local Breads seemed like just the thing so I mixed up a double batch using about 75% WW flour and 25% bolted "Turkey" flour.  With my kitchen being nice and cool the dough fermented for about 7.5 hours.  Loads of flavor.  Just what I've been craving.  I feel much better now.


wassisname's picture

Back to basics in my quest for a whole wheat sourdough that doesn't take over my weekend or keep me up half the night.

The method this time is about as conventional as it gets, except for the long, refrigerated pauses.  Some of my previous attempts were so far from my usual routine that simply getting my head around them was a chore, and the bread suffered as a result. My brain will only put up with so much! 

The guiding premise of this attempt did turn out to be "less is more".  The dough sits around for so long that it tends to get worn out by the time it goes in the oven.  So, this batch was subjected to less kneading, less bulk ferment time at room temperature and less final proof time.  And it feels like I'm moving in a better direction.  It's not perfect, but it's something worth tinkering with.

This formula is for 2 loaves - approx. 2 kg total final dough.

Day One - starter build

286g whole wheat bread flour

50g whole rye flour

252g water

110g whole wheat starter @ 75% hydration

Mix everything, knead for 5 min.  Ferment @ room temp (65F) for 12 hrs, then refrigerate 10 hrs.

Day Two - final dough

700g whole wheat bread flour

525g water

All of the starter

2 ½ tsp salt

+20g water for kneading

Mix flour and water. Autolyse 20min

Add starter and salt, knead gently with wet hands 7-8 minutes.

Bulk ferment 1 hr at room temp. then 21 hrs in refrigerator.

Day Three - proof and bake

Flatten out the dough and let it warm (covered) 1hr at room temp.

Divide and shape.

Proof  1 ½ hrs at approx 75F.  Preheat stone to 500F.

Bake 475F 15minutes - 10 minutes covered to steam.

Bake 425F another 40 minutes.


Next steps -

Leave out the rye.  As much as I love a little rye in everything I fear that it may be working against me in this case.  Maybe my reasoning is off, but I'm trying to protect the dough during its long, cold fermentation and rye generally encourages more fermentation, right?  We'll see.

Lower slower bake.  The bread is a little dense and takes while to bake through.  It improves considerably after a day or two on the counter, which makes me think a little more oven time could help.  I'll keep the hot, steamy start then drop the temp a little more and bake a little longer.  I'll give it a bit of drying time with the oven off as well.

I think that will be enough tinkering for one bake.  Except maybe I'll also try... =) 

Side experiment - photos below

As I was shaping the first loaf  I decided to try something different with the second.  The loaf  on the right was shaped in traditional  batard fashion:  flattened into a rectangle, long ends pulled to the middle, then folded in half.  The loaf on the left was shaped along the lines of the boule method described in dmsnyder's excellent tutorial.  I gave it three foldings instead of one (not because I thought it would be better, but because I couldn't quite remember how it went, I just knew there was folding - now it is locked in my brain for next time!) and then gently coaxed it into an oblong shape.  There was no visible difference while proofing, but when they hit the oven they sprang very differently.  The boule shaped loaf clearly tried to return to its original shape, resulting in what I think was a better spring and a more attractive final loaf.  Thank you David!


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I found one lonely six-pack of Oktoberfest at a local market and gave it a home and a higher purpose.  To make it extra festive I threw in a shot of  Jaegermeister, too.  I've made bread with beer and I've made bread with liquor, but this is the first time I've used both.  It began as something of a novelty idea, but it actually works.  The aroma during baking was incredible.  That alone was almost worth it.  And it's loaded with flavor!  A little sweetness from the malty beer and sugary liquor, and a little anise/spice from the liquor, on top of the whole wheat / rye  / sourdough combo - there's a lot going on.  Not a subtle loaf.

Snapshot:  About a 70/30 mix of whole wheat/whole rye.  Sourdough.  Beer and liquor for all the liquid.

The Formula (This is for 2 loaves):

Day One

Soaker:  454g WW bread flour, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 shots of Jaegermeister and enough beer to total 340g liquid.  Mix 2-3 min., place in covered container at room temp. 12 hrs.

Starter:  140g WW starter @ 75% hydration, 300g whole rye flour, 120g WW bread flour, 325g beer.  Combine and knead 3-4 min.  Place in covered container at room temp. 12 hrs.

Day Two

115g WW bread flour, 1 ¼ tsp sea salt, all of the soaker and starter.  Combine and knead gently with wet hands 7-8 min.  Ferment at room temp about 3 hrs.  Shape.  Proof at room temp about 2 hrs.  Preheat stone to 500F. 

Top with caraway seeds if desired.  Bake @ 475F for 10 min. with steam (I covered them with a stainless steel pan).  Bake @ 415F for about another 40 min.  They had an internal temp of 190F.  Turn oven off, open the door and leave loaves in for another 15 min.

 The result:

Critique:  Beautiful, thick, crunchy crust, if you're into that sort of thing (and I am).  The crumb, however, is denser than I was hoping for.  This is going to be sturdy bread under any circumstances, but I think it could have been more open than this. 

The rise was very sluggish compared to when I make this bread with water.  I may have been asking too much of my sourdough to overcome all the booze in the dough.  I don't ever feel like working hard after a shot and a beer either!  Instant yeast in the final dough would, I think, be a big help, and I'll definitely add some next time.


wassisname's picture

 Here's something that doesn't work...

Another attempt at WWSD without a bulk ferment.  It went less well this time.  I had to get these ideas out of my head, and now that that's done I can go back to methods with better odds. 

The formula follows, but I do not recommend it.  It is just there for the record.  And don't be fooled by the photos, they make it look better than it was.  I did eat it, the flavor was good, but the texture was marginal at best.  Really hard crust, really dense, slightly gummy crumb.  After a couple days on the counter all but the biggest holes in the crumb closed-up tight.  It went well with soup after a good toasting, but that was about it. 

STARTER:  288g WW bread flour, 216g water, 58g starter, ¼ tsp salt.  Refrigerated for the first 10 hrs then room temp for the next 10 hrs.

SOAKER:  175g WW flour, 25g whole rye flour, ½ tsp salt.  Room temp for 20 hrs.

FINAL DOUGH:  All of starter and soaker, 25g WW bread flour, 19g water, ¾ tsp salt.  Kneaded 5 min, rest 5 min, shaped.  Proofed 2 ¼ hrs.  Baked 475F w/ steam for 8 min, baked 425F about 40 min.

I'm not even going to get into the "why" of any of this.  Let's just say it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I could actually feel the dough breaking down, which was interesting.  It started to feel almost like a high% rye dough after just a few minutes of kneading even though there was hardly any rye in it.  Nothing makes me appreciate good bread like bad bread.


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 This loaf is my grudging acceptance of the fact that everything can't always be about me - not even bread.  My daughter goes weak in the knees at the sight of square, squishy supermarket white bread.  The stuff gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  I won't buy it, not even for her.  But, instead of digging in my heels and inspiring a whole-grain backlash I decided to expand my horizons a bit. 

I settled on the pain au levain from Leader's Local Breads.  This is the first time I've used white flour in my bread so I was a little outside my comfort zone.  Fortunately, the recipe is spot-on, and I got a nice loaf on the first try.  I added an overnight proof for timing's sake and made one larger loaf instead of the two smaller loaves that the recipe calls for, but otherwise I went by the book. 

And my daughter likes it.  Whew!  Of course, this means I have to save some for her... I'm not sure I have that much will-power.



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