The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


HungryShots's picture

Sour bran bread

This is a bread with a special ingredient, fermented bran and cornflour. It is what remains from making borsh. This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. Romania has a tradition in using it for diets, traditional home medicine and even for beauty treatments. Why not adding it in bread then?

First, this is the recipe for making borsh and sour bran/husti:

So, when you make the borsh you use the liquid. That is the borsh. To get the liquid, you strain the entire mixture and what it remains is a fermented mixture of wheat bran, cornflour and pieces of rye bread. 

This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. But you'll only keep a jar of it for the next batch and the rest you can discard.

I started then thinking about what this mixture is and how it will affect my dough. First thought was on humidity. First, it needed to be squeezed well well. Even squeezed, but it will add humidity to my dough. So the amount of water added initially in the dough needs to be kept low.

Then, this is bran and cornflour. Bran is a barrier in gluten network development, so it should be added a bit later in the dough. The best moment for this is the lamination phase. Bran is also already hydrated so this is already good. The cornflour, with its grainy structure, has no gluten. The bran as well, it should be added in the dough at a later stage.

This mixture also contains sourdough bacteria. This means that when added in the dough it will increase its population.

With this in mind, I prepared a recipe using white strong wheat flour with hydration of ~70%. The moment of adding the sour bran was for sure no earlier than the lamination phase.

The plan was made, so it only remained to put it into practice.


  • 150g rye sourdough (100% hydration)

  • 700g strong wheat flour (93.3%)

  • 50g rye flour (6.7%)

  • 500g water (66.7%)

  • 15g salt (2.0%)

  • 200g sour bran (26.7%)

I published the full recipe on my blog and for those preferring to watch instead of reading, here is the video of the entire bread:


The idea of using borsh ingredients to bake bread I have it from the amazing lady, Irina Georgescu.

agres's picture

I think most sourdough recipes/ methods/ techniques come from professional bakers or people writing books that are baking so much bread that they might as well be professional bakers. I am not sure these folks are writing to solve my needs. I want a nice loaf of sourdough bread every couple of days, with minimum effort.

My current solution is to take a bit (~100 grams) of the dough from my current batch of dough, and put it in a storage container in the refrigerator before setting the dough to bulk ferment.

Then, a couple of days later, I put 400 gm of flour, 8 gm salt, 4 gm yeast in to my mixing tub, make a well, where I put the dough from the frig, and pour warm water on it and mix, then knead by hand, gradually adding water until I have the right consistency. Then, I put a ball of dough in a storage container and in the frig. It has salt in it so it does not ferment too fast, and I do not have to adjust hydration.  If I am not going to bake for a while, I feed the dough with flour that contains 2% salt, water, and knead into a firm dough.

I find that I can knead a pound of dough faster than my stand mixer, and the cleanup is faster. And the hydration is more precise. Yes, it has some yeast in it, but mostly I do not care - and I can kill the yeast off to have a "pure sourdough starter" by letting the "starter" sit on the counter for a couple of hours, and then feeding it.

These days, I like the ease, flavor, and texture of the "old dough" approach


Benito's picture

I’ve posted a previous purple sweet potato sandwich loaf which was enriched with brown sugar and butter. I wanted to try making a loaf with the sweet potato but without the animal fat enrichment of the butter and using honey instead of brown sugar. So based on the formula that Maurizio posted on I added mashed purple sweet potatoes to his formula and made adjustments to incorporate the sweet potato.

Total Dough Weight900 grams + sweet potato
Pre-fermented Flour11.00%
Levain in final dough25.96%
Yield1 x 900g Pullman loaf

For 9x4x4 Pullman Loaf Pan

Total Formula

Desired dough temperature: 77°F (25°C). See my post on the importance of dough temperature for more information on dough temperatures.

The rows marked pre-cooked below are the two ingredients cooked (in a water roux, or tangzhong) ahead of time, but they are still counted toward the formula’s overall percentages. In other words, the 8% whole wheat flour is still counted toward the total flour in the formula and is not an “extra” addition.

WeightIngredientBaker’s Percentage
37gPre-cooked (tangzhong): Whole wheat flour (Giusto’s Whole Wheat Flour)8.00%
148gPre-cooked (tangzhong): Whole milk32.00%
347gMedium-protein bread flour or All-purpose flour (~11% protein, Central Milling Artisan Baker’s Craft or King Arthur Baking All-Purpose)75.00%
79gWhole wheat flour (Giusto’s Whole Wheat)17.00%
33gOlive oil7.00%
5gSourdough starter1.10%

Total Yield: 194.90%, 900g

Sourdough Sandwich Bread With Pre-Cooked Flour Method

  1. Prepare Levain – Night before mixing, 9:00 p.m. (Day one)

Mix the following ingredients in a container and leave covered to ripen at about 78°F (25°C) for 12 hours overnight.

WeightIngredientBaker’s Percentage
25gMedium protein bread flour or all-purpose flour100.00%
25gWhole wheat flour 
10gRipe sourdough starter10.00%

Prepare Purple Sweet Potato

You can prepare your purple sweet potato several ways, but you want to have in the end a soft mashed sweet potato. Steaming works well and leaves you with a moist mash. You can also microwave pricking the sweet potato and placing it in a microwaveable dish but something this can be dry. You can also roast the sweet potato, pricking it rubbing it with olive oil and then wrapping it in foil and then baking it until soft.

  1. Pre-cook Flour (Tangzhong) – 8:00 a.m. (Day two)

Be sure to do this ahead of time to give the pre-cooked flour time to cool before mixing.

Milk alternative: If you want to avoid using milk in this recipe, substitute out the dairy milk in the roux, below, for water (or something like oat milk).

37gWhole wheat flour
148gWhole milk

To a medium saucepan, add the flour and milk listed above. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste, about 5-8 minutes. In the beginning, whisk vigorously to break up any flour clumps, and be diligent about this near the end to avoid burning. The mixture won’t seem to do anything until it reaches a critical heat point, be patient; it will thicken.

Once it transforms into a viscous paste (something like oatmeal porridge), remove the pan from the heat and spread it out on a small plate to expedite cooling. Set the tangzhong aside until called for when mixing.

  1. Mix – 9:00 a.m.

I used my KitchenAid stand mixer to mix this dough, but it’s possible to make this bread without a stand mixer by mixing everything together by hand in a mixing bowl. To do this, you’ll need to mix for around 10-15 minutes, depending on your technique (slap and fold will work really well!).

AllPre-cooked flour (see Pre-cook Flour, above)
320gMedium protein bread flour
54gWhole wheat flour
33gOlive oil
107gLevain (see Prepare Levain, above)

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the pre-cooked flour, flour, water, ripe levain, honey, olive oil, and salt. Mix on low speed for approximately 2 minutes until the ingredients come together, and no dry bits remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium (2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough starts to clump up around the dough hook. It won’t completely remove from the bottom of the bowl, and it will still be shaggy.

Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

  1. Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

At room temperature, around 72-74°F (22-23°C), bulk should take about 3 1/2 hours.

After 30 mins of bulk do a lamination spreading the purple sweet potato over the laminated dough in thirds. Next slap and fold to combine.

Give this dough two sets of coil folds during bulk fermentation at 30-minute intervals.

After the second set of coil folds, let the dough rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation aim for almost double volume.

  1. Shape – 1:15 p.m.

Prepare a sling of parchment that you can lay your shaped dough onto and then lift to place in the pan. I usually also prepare a length of parchment that goes lengthwise to prevent sticking on the ends of the bread.

I shaped this dough in my typical method for shaping a pan loaf. Check out my guide to shaping pan loaves for detailed instruction.

Once the dough is shaped into a long tube, transfer each to their pan, seam-side-down.

Using either a brush or a spray bottle dampen the top of the dough. At this point, you can sprinkle on any toppings you’d like.

  1. Proof – 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (2 hours room temperature)

Cover the pan with a large, reusable plastic bag and seal shut. Let the dough proof at room temperature, around 72-74°F (22-23°C), for 2 hours.

Overnight proof option: before the 2 hour counter proof, cover the pans with bags and place them in your home refrigerator to proof overnight. Bake them the next morning as indicated below. Expect a slightly more sour flavor.

  1. Bake – 3:30 p.m. (pre-heat oven at 3:00 p.m.)


Check on your dough: it should have risen just below the top of the Pullman pan and be very light and airy to the touch (see above). If it’s not quite there, give it another 15 minutes and check again.

I steamed the oven for this bake as described on my post on baking with steam in a home oven.

Preheat your oven, with rack at the bottom third to 400°F (205°C).

Place a pan with a Silvia towel filled with boiling water into the oven about 30 mins before the bread will be loaded.

Once your oven is preheated, remove your proofed loaf from its bag, score it and then slide it into the oven.

Take care to bake the loaf fully; if they are under-baked, the interior will be gummy.

Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20 minutes with steam. After this time, vent the oven, remove the steaming pan(s), and close the oven door. Drop temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the top is well-colored and the internal temp is around 205°F, watch the crust very closely as it might colour very quickly. Remove the pan and gently knock out the loaves onto a wire rack. Return the loaves to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes without their pans to add extra color to the bottom and sides.

Let the loaves cool for 2 hours before slicing to ensure the interior is fully set.

Waiting to let the loaf cool before slicing it and making myself a sandwich with it for dinner and I’m starving to it is taking a lot of willpower not to slice it early.



ka-bar's picture

So in a previous blog entry, I copied over a journal I was keeping about trying to start a starter from scratch. Don’t read it, it’s not worth it. 

The long and short of it is:  though I have about a decade of experience baking with sourdough and maintaining a starter, I’d never started a culture from scratch. Oh, I’d tried, but always gave up and bought some or acquired from friends, etc.

Now, I’ve finally done it! I couldn’t be more pleased either. There was some trial and error with flours and water quality issues. It took several failures over the course of about a month, but I learned some things about the process that might be helpful to others with my sort of backwards experience leading me astray.

1.  Use pineapple juice, instead of water, for the first few days. This really helps speed things up. There’s plenty of discussion about it on this forum and elsewhere, so I’ll leave it at that.

2.  If you’re using pineapple juice, and you don’t get any growth in 3 - 5 days, start over with a different brand/type/fresher flour. I tried several iterations with two different bags of a particular brand of whole rye, and didn’t have success until I went with a different brand of whole wheat.

3.  If, when you switch to water, the culture suddenly loses vitality, change your water source. I initially started with 16oz bottles of Crystal Geyser spring water, and my cultures went flat. When I switched to my reverse osmosis filter, good things happened.

4.  This is important:  don’t treat your brand new culture like an established starter. I can’t emphasize this enough. Once you have evidence of yeast activity in your new culture, you have to feed it. Establish a feeding schedule and, as long as there is evidence of activity, feed it. See, I kept waiting for the growth I would expect from an established starter before I wanted to feed. I kept being disappointed. Turns out I was starving the new culture. Things did not turn around for me until I kept to a 12 hour feeding schedule. Once I stopped trying to (improperly) read my culture, and fed on schedule, I immediately saw the growth I wanted. My culture isn’t where I want it yet, but it won’t be long. I am stIll in the process of encouraging it to double at a faster rate. It seems happy enough to bake with now, but I’d probably have to double my fermentation times. Could be good!

It’s completely backwards from waiting to see the growth you want from an established starter before feeding. With a new culture, it seems the more often you feed, the faster and more it grows. I suppose you reach a point of diminishing returns, at which point it is “established” and possibly deserving of a name. 

I know there are plenty of other tips and tricks from people who are way more experienced. These were my stumbling blocks. If you’re having similar trouble, I hope this helps. 

Benito's picture

These are a traditional Christmas time dessert from Provence France.  They are a vegan brioche so rather than butter there is olive oil used instead.  This recipe was posted by Melissa over on Breadtopia and I followed her excellent formula.  I did make some changes.  I did not have ground anise so instead used Chinese Five Spice.  Also instead of just orange, I used a combination of Meyer Lemon and a smaller amount of orange.  Pompe å L’Huile recipe


  • Stiff Levain (250g, 56% hydration) 
  • 140g bread or all purpose flour
  • 70g water
  • 40g starter, 100% hydration
  • Final Dough 
  • 80g water (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sugar (½ cup)
  • 12g orange blossom water (1 Tbsp or additional orange juice)
  • 9g salt (1½ tsp)
  • 3g ground anise (1 tsp) (can substitute Chinese 5 Spice ¾-1  tsp)
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 36g orange juice (3 Tbsp)
  • 120g olive oil (½ cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 350g bread flour (2 2/3 cups)
  • 250g stiff levain from above, doubled or tripled in size
  • Optional 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil to brush on the breads when hot from the oven
  • The night before you plan to bake, mix a 56% hydration sourdough starter weighing 250g. Knead it on the counter for 1-2 minutes, and then place it in a jar with room for tripling. Cover and leave it somewhere warm. This stiff starter can be created from a single feed of 40g 100% hydration starter, 140g bread flour, and 70g water.
  • Mixing
  • In a medium bowl (ideally with a pouring spout), measure out the water, sugar, orange blossom water, salt, and ground anise.
  • While the sugar and salt begin dissolving, zest and juice the orange, straining out seeds and pulp.
  • Stir a bit and then add the oil.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, briefly whisk your flour and instant yeast - OR - add the stiff starter in chunks to your flour. If you chose to proof your yeast, you can simply pour the mixture over the flour.
  • Add the orange mixture to your stand mixer bowl and begin mixing using the dough hook attachment.
  • Mix 5-8 minutes, initially on low speed and then low-med. Pause once early on to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and only slightly sticky to the touch toward the end of mixing.  Should come clean off the sides of the bowl.  (Took much longer than 8 mins)
  • If you don't have a stand mixer, mix by hand or with a spatula, and then slap and fold the dough for gluten development. Videos of this technique can be found here.
  • First Rise
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until about doubled. This was 3 1/2 hours with instant yeast, and 8 hours with sourdough.
  • Shaping
  • Scrape the dough onto your countertop. There's no need to flour or oil it. Divide the dough in two pieces and roll them into balls.
  • Cover the dough balls with a large piece of plastic wrap (you'll reuse this) and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. You can also prepare two parchment squares and bake the breads one at a time on a smaller baking sheet.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough balls into circles about 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.
  • Transfer the circles to the parchment paper, and make cuts in the dough as if it were pie but without reaching the center or the edges. Open the cuts a bit with your tool (spatula) or your fingers.
  • Final Proof
  • Cover the dough with your sheet of plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until puffy, almost twice as tall. This was 1 1/2 hours for instant yeast, and 4 hours for sourdough.
  • Baking
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F with a shelf in the center position.
  • Bake the pompe à l'huile for 16-18 minutes or until the internal temp is over 200°F. If your fermentation times were long, the color of the breads may be lighter despite the interior being cooked through.
  • Lightly brush the breads with olive oil to help them stay soft longer.
  • Let the pompe à l'huile cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then sprinkle powdered sugar on them if desired.
  • The breads can be wrapped for storage, and softened through reheating in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

lacoet's picture


I'd like to know if anybody making the wonderful recipes from K Forkish's book Water, Flour,Salt, Yeast has saved the leftovers of the levain, after taking what is needed mixing into the dough, to use it the next day or even 2 or 3 days later.

I've figured out how to reduce the excessive quantities he asks for in his recipes to end up with just enough levain to make a full recipe without any waste, but today I was going to make 1 1/2 recipes and to be safe I prepared the levain with his original quants and I have enough leftover to make another full recipe maybe tomorrow or the day after.

Would it be okay to keep it on the counter? or should I refrigerate it and take it out a few hours before I start the process the day I'm going to bake.

Any input greatly appreciated ;)


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

As I posted the other day, I had some beremeal, flour from an ancient variety of barley, I wanted to try using in a bread. And I also wanted to try Abe's very simple sourdough recipe ( And although combining two unknowns (new ingredient and new process) - what's the worst that could happen? So I just went ahead, but only made one loaf instead of my usual two, just in case it's a disaster, or if it doesn't behave during bulk I could treat is as a preferment and double the recipe with just bread flour. But none of that happened, everything went fine! Here is the formula: Adding water to what I thought was the right consistency took me to just over 78% hydration, but actually I think perhaps I could have gone higher, maybe to 80%.

I've never used barley before, it's interesting: very weak gluten, but not sticky, like rye. So the dough was not particularly strong, but not difficult to work with either. I developed the gluten as much as I could with some slap&folds, and traditional kneading, but it didn't give a windowpane, so I just hoped the overnight bulk would do its magic, but also wasn't sure with 40% bere it would be even possible to have a very strong gluten. Fermented overnight, for around 11 hours, at 21C. It grew a lot, definitely at least doubled (but hard to tell in a mixing bowl). Can't say it gained much additional strength overnight. Shaped into a batard and proofed for 2 hours in a "proofer" set to 27C, but in my woodpulp banneton the dough would warm up quite slowly. With weak gluten was tricky to tell when to end proof using the poke test, but it definitely grew over that time, and I decided it was ready.

Preheated the oven, scored and baked 15 min with steam and until nicely coloured without. Not the most beautiful bread in the world, slightly uneven, and got some cracks.

The crumb is very even though!

The flavour is great. Nutty and slightly sweet. Perfect with butter. Taste-wise definitely reminds me of that bread I had in a restaurant (, but theirs had a much softer, fluffier and lighter crumb. And not as strong taste, but somehow more rounded, if that makes sense. I am sure they had less beremeal in the dough, and probably higher hydration. Something to try next time!

And obviously the VSSDR process works, even with big changes to the dough composition!

idaveindy's picture

Dec. 17, 2020.

Based on previous experiments, I've concluded that "blended" (in a Vitamix blender, as opposed to being milled into flour) wheat berries need to be combined with milled flour to make a decent loaf.

The wheat in this recipe is a combination of 200 grams Prairie Gold (hard white spring wheat)  whole berries soaked for 11 to 12 hours, 25 grams of fine grit semolina, and 22 grams of Gold Medal bread flour.  So the P.G. was 200 / 247 = 81% of the total "flour."

At first I ran the berries through a flimsy "Ambiano" (Aldi) brand food processor, but that had little to no effect on the berries.  Maybe soaking them longer, or in warm water would have made a difference.

The wheat berries were then blended in a Vitamix with enough water to make a slurry, not a "paste" as previously done.

I forgot to weigh the water.

After pouring and scraping the slurry out of the blender into a bowl, I added 30.5 grams of dry quick/minute oat flakes (not Old Fashioned, not instant), 31.5 grams of whole dry chia seeds, and then let it sit a while to hydrate.

Then I added 25 grams of fine grit semolina, and let it hydrate some more. It was "Deep" brand Pani-puri semolina flour (gritty, not true flour, but fine grit) UPC 0-11433-11281-9, from Patel Brothers (same package as this: )

Then I added 6.0 grams of salt, 22 grams of Gold Medal bread flour, 1/16 tsp instant dry yeast, and about 12 grams of sourdough starter at 100% hydration. Starter was made from GM bread flour.

Bulk fermented at about 71 F for 2 hours, including some stretch-and-folds, then shape and put in a banneton.

Proof was approximately 1.5 hours at 70/71 F.

Baked covered, 18 minutes at 430 F.  Uncovered, 20 minutes at 430 F.  Inside temp still not reached. Then uncovered, 9 minutes at 445 F. Inner temp 208.5 F.

The loaf feels heavy for the size, so it's likely to be gummy.

Yup, crumb is too moist and gummy.

SirSaccCer's picture

Many families have unique holiday traditions, and mine is no exception. I can summon vivid childhood memories of family outings to choose and fell a tree at the farm, then decorating it with "my" ornaments while listening to Manheim Steamroller's version of Deck the Halls (what a classic!). But there is one family tradition that, more than any other, conjures up the vivid smells and tastes of Christmas: the stollen that my German-American grandmother baked yearly, and the baking tradition that she passed to her descendants, wherein we bake loaves of stollen to share with our friends and neighbors during the holidays.

The baking enthusiasts on this site need no explanation for what stollen is, but this year I've looked a little more into its history. The city of Dresden claims to have been baking Christmas stollen from the 15th century, originally with just a few spartan ingredients, in observance of Advent fasting requirements. Over the centuries it's become a richer holiday bread, in a category with panettone and fruitcake, baked with candied fruit and nuts. It's distinguished by a dense, but relatively dry texture, a hearty coating of powdered sugar, and the common addition of marzipan. Otherwise, it seems to be a little more loosely interpreted than more strictly regulated breads like panettone. So what you see here might not be quite true to your vision of stollen, but I'll say it's close to my family's typical loaves, and I'm happy with it for that.

I was motivated to try a sourdough stollen for a few reasons--including, maybe, some 2020 bandwagon hubris. However, the additional complexity and the unique hydration of the sourdough made it possible to eliminate eggs from the original recipe, which in turn made it very easy to convert the ingredients to a fully vegan bake, thus allowing me to share with vegan friends. Also, I was intrigued by the thought that stollen has been a "sourdough" bread for most of its 500-plus year history, since commercial baker's yeast is a recent innovation. So this became a modest experiment in traditional leavening techniques, which have been used to make all kinds of breads for centuries. The dough turns out to be really amenable to wild yeast leavening: a pleasant surprise for my first attempt at converting a traditionally yeasted recipe to one powered by a levain. I'd welcome commentary from those with more experience adapting recipes.

Ahead of time
I was feeling ambitious enough to candy my own orange peel and citron, which I then macerated in brandy for a week or so. Of course, store bought candied fruit would work just as well (but I'd still recommend that boozy soak for flavor). My mom likes to include a "fruit cake mix" in her stollen, for even more colorful candied goodness.

Preparing the levain, baking schedule
Based on the wise words of several TFL members, I began with the presumption that an enriched dough made with a levain would require both a high percentage of pre-fermented flour, and several feeds. I found that for a typical recipe, two feeds spaced 12 hours apart were enough to get mine going. For a larger batch, I added a third feed, for which it only needed about 4 hours to become ripe. I'm using a 60% hydration levain, as I find it much easier to work with as compared to a soupier starter.

As you can see from the table below, it took a substantially long time from start to finish on my latest run, so be forewarned that patience is required. The bulk fermentation is heavily dependent on temperature; on a previous trial run at ~70 F, it was ready for shaping in 8 hours, whereas this latest run at ~60 F fermented for 18 hours.

Here's my current recipe for sourdough stollen, for a 1240 g dough beginning with 220 g of ripe levain (all masses are given in grams).

1. Prepare the 60% hydration levain as described above, with 2-3 feeds over 24-28 hours, until it is vigorously active. And don't forget to soak your candied fruit peel in brandy! Candy is dandy when brandy is handy.

2. When levain is ready, place the required amount in a large bowl. Heat milk to 90 °F and pour onto levain. Add spices, brandy, sugar, and salt, and mix until salt and sugar are dissolved. Then add the flour and work fully into the liquid, until it is a dough of medium consistency with a slight "core" when pinched.

3. Turn the dough onto a countertop, without flour, and knead by stretching and folding for 8-10 minutes, until its texture becomes satiny and it is barely sticking to the counter, if at all. Adding a little flour might be necessary. After kneading, gather into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

4. Turn onto a lightly floured countertop, flatten, gather into a ball and return to bowl. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Remove the butter from the refrigerator at this time. Prepare the dried and candied fruit and almonds (I use pre-sliced, blanched almonds, but if you are using whole almonds, this is the time to chop them).

5. After 15 minutes, use a rolling pin to give the cool butter a few hearty whacks, until it is malleable. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and flatten. Dab all of the butter into the surface of the dough, pressing small chunks into its surface. Pile the fruit and nuts on top of this and fold the dough over. Then spend 5-10 minutes working these ingredients into the dough, with stretching and folding. The dough will slacken considerably and feel weaker than before, but don't worry--the gluten will fully develop over the long fermentation. When the ingredients are homogeneously worked into the dough, turn the mass onto a lightly floured countertop, gather into a ball and return to the bowl. Let rest for 30 minutes.

6. After 30 minutes, one last time, turn onto a lightly floured countertop, flatten, gather into a ball and return to bowl. Now the dough is ready for bulk fermentation. In my hands, the bulk fermentation has lasted for anywhere from 8-18 hours, depending on ambient temperature. It should rise considerably, to near double volume. At least once through the fermentation, 4 hours after the final fold, the dough should be turned onto a lightly floured countertop, gently pressed, gathered into a ball and returned to the bowl. If it ferments for longer than 8 hours, do another fold at this point as well.

7. After the bulk ferment, the dough should be glossy and risen to near double volume. Turn onto a lightly floured countertop and divide if desired (I did small, 500 g loaves in this batch, but a family-sized loaf could be a kilo or even more). Gently press to a circle, ~1 inch thick. Then use 2 folds, envelope style, to preshape a rough log. Rest for 15 minutes.

8. Flatten the dough log to a rough rectangle. Grab a hunk of marzipan (40 g per kilo of dough) and roll into a log that is just shorter than the dough's length. Place it in the middle of the dough log, and fold the dough around with 2 folds, envelope style. Then roll the log with a couple of twists on the counter so you have a just slightly tapered cylinder. Proof in a couch, seam-side up, or shape into a crescent and allow to rise in a bowl or banneton. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

9. Allow the dough to proof for 1-1.5 hours. It will not double in size, but it will expand and feel airier. If you rolled logs, shape into a gentle crescent before sliding into the hot oven with no steam. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the crust is a rich golden color.

10. Remove and cool for 15 minutes before dabbing with butter, allowing it to melt over the surface of the loaf. Sprinkle on powdered sugar according to taste (I think more is merrier!). Then allow to cool before serving. Stollen is best served warm and spread with butter, so if it has cooled to room temperature, reheat for 10 minutes at 325 °F before slicing and serving.

I tried a dairy-free version to fine effect as well, by substituting fresh almond milk for the milk, and vegan butter for the butter. What a treat to eat rich, vegan stollen!

Enjoy the bake if you give it a try, and happy holidays to you and yours.

suminandi's picture

I have a stock of organic whole red fife flour purchased from a local farm several months ago. My first runs with it seemed to show that it was too weak to be the only flour in the bread - the dough would start breaking down around the time it was proofed to my eye- it made tasty bread, but the crumb was tighter than hard spring wheat loaves. So I was mixing it with some hard spring wheat and getting good results. Recently, I read that Red Fife is actually a high gluten wheat, so I reconsidered my process and ( after a few adjustments ) got this amazing loaf using only whole red fife, water, salt and starter. 

I think the main key was to let the flour soak for a few hours ( with salt) prior to adding the levain. It let the gluten develop well before the acid-producing cultures were introduced. No dough breakdown and I could let the proofing go longer. A further improvement could be to do shaping a bit later and/or shape tighter. 


400 gr whole red fife flour

340 gr water

6 gr salt

mix and rest 4 hrs

meanwhile make a starter build that will be ready in 4 hrs. 

mix in 100 gr starter with dough at 4 hr mark

knead well. Bulk ferment until small bubbles throughout ( about 5 hrs at current room temp ~68 F ). Preshape, shape. Rest an hr at room temp, fridge overnight. Cook covered in a 450 deg F oven 20 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to 400 F, cook 15 more minutes. 

i cut it before it was fully cool. But as the m&m says “not sorry”


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