Monday, 30 September 2013

Sourdough Rye & Cranberry Loaf

The Bread of the Month (BOM) for the Artisan Bread Bakers is Sourdough Rye with Raisins and Cranberries.

David, the host for the Artisan Bread Bakers for September, described the bread as, “… a wonderful bread for this time of year, delightful on its own, with a pleasant chew, a tender crumb and a nice crust! You will find it rather joyful!”



Unfortunately, the first time I made this bread, the experience wasn’t very joyful. It was a flop!  The dough fermented too long, the loaf didn’t rise very well in the oven and the inside was gummy (see photo below). Needless to say, I was pretty bummed about it. I had decided to move on, but it kept beckoning me to give it another chance.



I waited a couple of weeks and tried it again after I got my new kitchen floor. This time, the loaf came out singing and so did I. I took a peek in the oven while it was baking. It was rising beautifully so I did a little gig and said, “That’s what I’m talking about!”



The issue with the first loaf was mostly due to timing. I was trying to get things ready before I got my new flooring installed. I was baking in between moving things out of the way. I ran out of time so I let the dough ferment in the refrigerator twice. It didn’t take too kindly to that. I also think my rye sourdough was a bit lazy, but that was not it’s fault.

I gave it some motivation the second time around by adding a little instant yeast. I wanted to make the bread without the added yeast, but this loaf performed better with a little help from a friend – the yeast.

I had a ball baking this bread on my new kitchen floor. Well, I didn’t bake it on the floor, but I stood on the floor and danced around while I was preparing the bread.  All the rooms downstairs have bamboo flooring now so I have a huge dance floor to practice on. I’m loving it!


Sourdough Rye with Cranberries & Walnuts

Makes: 1 loaf

I ran out of raisins, so for my second attempt at making this bread, I only used dried cranberries. I really like the flavor with just the cranberries and the walnuts.

The Build:

  • 4.8 oz whole rye flour
  • 3.85 oz water
  • 1 tablespoon mature rye sourdough culture

The Soaker:

  • 2 oz dried cranberries
  • Enough warm water to cover

Final Dough:

  • All the build
  • 10.4 oz bread flour
  • 0.8 oz rye flour
  • 7 oz water
  • 0.3 oz salt
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • All of soaker
  • 1.4 oz (1/3 cup) Walnuts, toasted (or not)



1. Prepare the build 14-16 hours prior to baking.


2. Prepare the soaker 30 minutes before mixing the dough.

After about twenty minutes, drain the soaker. Save the water to use in the bread for extra flavor. Just subtract the amount of soaker water from the total water to get a total of 7 ounces.



3. Combine the build and water in the mixing bowl and stir for about twenty seconds.  Isn’t the water a pretty color!



4. Add the flour, salt, yeast, and mix on first speed for three minutes and then on second speed for two minutes. Add the drained soaker and mix on first speed until combined.


5. Let the dough bulk ferment for one hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.

Shape the dough into a round or batard and proof for forty five minutes or until ready to bake, depending on the room temperature. I shaped my loaf into a batard and placed it on parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal to proof.  The batard shape is one of my favorites.



7. Score the batard down the middle using a lame or serrated knife. If you’re making a round loaf, score it in the pattern of your choice.



8. Slide the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the preheated baking stone and fill the steam pan with 1 cup of hot water. Spritz the oven with water several times at 30 second intervals to create steam. Bake the loaf at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper, rotate the loaf, and reduce the oven to 425 degrees. Continue baking until the loaf is done, about 20-30 more minutes.

9. Cool the loaf on a wire rack.


10. Slice and enjoy!

No gumminess here. Just a beautiful and delicious loaf that tastes great with almond butter or regular butter.



Happy Baking!


Friday, 27 September 2013

Crunchy Sprouted Wheat Crackers

The Bread Baking Babes decided to make crackers this month. It seems that everyone is catching the cracker bug. This was fine by me. I’m always up to trying different types of crackers.

These crackers are called Crunchy Crackers and boy are they ever crunchy!   They are filled with seeds on the inside and studded with additional seeds on the outside. This makes for a delightful crunch.



I didn’t have any milled white winter wheat flour (as the original recipe suggested) so I went to my freezer to look for an alternative. The sprouted wheat flour jumped out at me (literally) so that’s what I used in addition to the all-purpose flour.

Tanna of MyKitchenHalfCups is the host for the BBBs this month. You’ll want to check out her Cracker Post to learn some new tips and see all of the nifty gadgets she uses for making crackers.


Crunchy Crackers

Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

This recipe mimics an extra-crunchy, seed-topped whole-gain cracker you may find at your supermarket. These are great for spreads and dips of all kinds.



Cracker Dough:

  • 198 g lukewarm water
  • 170 g Sprouted Wheat Flour
  • 120 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 g ground flax seed
  • 14 g sesame seeds


  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds (I used sesame seeds, golden flax seeds, poppy seeds and black sesame seeds)
  • sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, optional



1. Mix the Cracker Dough

Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.

My dough wasn’t dry, but it was really stiff.  I didn’t find it to be a sticky dough at all, but I only used 198 grams of water and you can use up to 227 grams. I also think the sprouted wheat flour soaks up a bit more water than the white winter wheat flour.



2.  Knead in the seeds

I just kneaded in the seeds right in the bowl, but you can knead them on the counter if you prefer.



3. Overnight Fermentation in Refrigerator

At this point, I took Tanna’s suggestion and refrigerated the dough overnight. You can skip the overnight fermentation and go directly to Step 4 below if you prefer.



4. Bulk Fermentation at Room Temperature

Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s expanded a bit.

Tanna cautioned not to expect a large rise here. ”Expand a bit” did not translate into doubling as you often expect with doughs.



5. Rolling the Dough

Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 14″ x 9″, a generous 1/8″ thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.


Even though I let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight, it still wanted to fight back so I just took a deep breath and let both of us rest and then rolled it some more. It was almost like rolling a thick pizza dough.  Kind of fun, actually. 

I rolled mine out onto greased parchment paper like I normally do with crackers, but I’m not sure this dough needed it. This dough is stiff so it was pretty easy to lift and move without tearing.  However, I would recommend that you place it on parchment paper before adding the seeds and cutting the crackers.

Next time I make these crackers, I will divide the dough into 3 balls instead of 2 because it didn’t get rolled out thin enough due to the size of my parchment paper and baking sheet.  I used the parchment paper sheets from KAF which worked great, but there was just a bit too much dough.



6. Adding the Seed Topping

Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle the dough with seeds and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. This was so cool!  I had spritzed the rolling pin with water as well so I didn’t use an extra sheet of parchment paper between the pin and the seeded dough.  It worked really well.  The dough didn’t stick to the rolling pin and this helped to keep most of the seeds on the crackers instead of falling off after being baked.  I’ll have to remember this little trick the next time I make crackers. I only added seeds to one side of the dough, but you can roll them on both sides if you want extra crunch.



7. Cutting the Crackers

Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired.  Prick the dough with a fork all over and cut it into rectangles or squares, whatever size you like.  

You can pull the crackers apart just a bit if you like, but mine separated on their own so I didn’t bother.  Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they’ll get just a bit puffy.



8. Bake the Crackers

My crackers weren’t as thin as I would’ve liked so I pricked them again with a fork prior to baking to get rid of some of the puffiness.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they’re completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.

See, most of the seeds stayed on.  Yea!



Thanks Tanna of MyKitchenHalfCups for hosting the Babes and Buddies this month. It was fun!



Happy Baking!


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Rosemary Fig & Onion Flatbread #TwelveLoaves

The baking mission for Twelve Loaves for September was to bake bread with something sweet or savory from the Farmers Market. My Farmers Market Bread is a sweet and savory, crispy delight.

The inspiration for this Rosemary, Fig & Onion Flatbread came across my inbox a few weeks ago and I’ve had it on my list to make ever since.



The original version, called Figgy Focaccia, uses a basic bakery pizza dough, but I used a Spelt and olive oil pizza dough made with home milled spelt flour.

The figs came from a local farmer’s market called the Heirloom Living Market. This was the first time I had visited this market. I’ll definitely be visiting it again and again. I got some great vegetables, fruit and other neat items, and had fun chatting with the Market Directors – both of whom are bakers. How cool is that! They even offer a spelt pizza dough, but of course, I wanted to make my own.

I started out making focaccia but it turned out to be a crispy flatbread.  It provided a delicious base for the figs, onions and rosemary.


Rosemary, Fig & Onion Flatbread

For the list of ingredients for the toppings, refer to the recipe for Figgy Focaccia from All

To make the pizza/focaccia dough, follow the directions below:

Spelt and Olive Oil Pizza Dough

This whole wheat pizza crust utilizes an overnight sponge and a biga.

Adapted from: Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart

Makes: 4 Pizza dough balls



  • 227g (1 3/4 cups) whole grain Spelt flour
  • 4g (1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 198g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water


  • 227g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose Spelt flour
  • 1g (1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 1/2 – 5/8 cups plus 2 T water

Final Dough:

  • Use all of the soaker
  • Use all of the biga
  • 56.5g (7 tablespoons) whole grain spelt flour
  • 5g (5/8 teaspoons) salt
  • 5g (1 1/2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 2  tablespoons Olive oil



1. Making the Soaker:

Mix the soaker ingredients together until the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 12 to 24 hours.



2. Making the Biga:

Mix the biga ingredients together in a bowl until the dough forms a ball.  Knead the dough in the bowl for a couple of minutes to ensure the flour is completely hydrated.  You’ll need to use wet hands for this part because the dough is really tacky.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again using wet hands.  Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate it for at least 8 hours. Take the biga out of the refrigerator about 2 hours before mixing the final dough.



3. Mixing the Final Dough:

Combine the soaker, biga, 7 tablespoons of whole grain spelt flour, salt, yeast, agave nectar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix with a dough whisk or wet hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Add a little more flour if necessary.



4. Kneading the Dough:

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roll the dough in it.  Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough is soft and very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes while you line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then oil it with olive oil.



5. Form the pizza balls

Knead the dough for another minute and make any final adjustments.  The dough will feel soft, supple and very tacky.  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, about 8 ounces each.  Form each piece into a tight ball and place the balls on the prepared pan.  Roll the balls in the oil to coat the entire surface.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.  You can use the dough right away, but I didn’t need it until that evening so I refrigerated it for several hours until it was time to make the focaccia.



6. Preparing the Flatbread and Toppings

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone on the bottom rack.

The original focaccia recipe had you grill the onions on the grill and then bake the focaccia in the oven. Although grilled onions would’ve tasted great, I thought it was rather silly to use the grill just for the onions so I opted not to use the grill at all.

I took one of the dough balls and spread it out into an oval shape onto parchment paper sprayed with olive oil. Then I drizzled olive oil over the dough and placed thinly sliced onions and fig halves on top of it and gently pressed them down.

Next, I added the rosemary leaves and sprinkled a couple of pinches of kosher salt over the top.



7. Baking the Flatbread

Slide the flatbread (on the parchment paper) onto the preheated baking stone. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool slightly, then slice and serve warm for a crispy and satisfying meal or appetizer.  I enjoyed mine with a Caesar salad.



Happy Baking!




For a slightly different whole grain version of this dough, check out my Einkorn and Olive Oil Pizza post.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sourdough Rye Pancakes with Orange Butter

The challenge for the Sourdough Surprises baking group this month was to make pancakes or waffles using a sourdough starter.

As I was thinking about what to make, the October Issue of Cooking Light arrived in the mail. In this edition, they feature Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk & Orange Pancakes. They looked and sounded so good, I used them as my inspiration. They described their pancakes as a Saturday-morning-in-your-jammies breakfast, but my version worked particularly well for dinner.

I had just fed my rye starter to make bread so it only made sense to use it in these pancakes. I added some all-purpose flour to lighten them a bit and included some orange juice for additional flavoring. These Sourdough Rye Pancakes are topped with whipped orange butter made with real butter, orange zest and orange juice.



While I was researching sourdough pancakes, I learned some interesting tidbits. The sourdough starter is used mostly for flavor. The wild yeast won’t be activated unless you feed the yeast again and give it time to ferment.

A genuine sourdough pancake is thin and somewhat rubbery. If you don’t mind rubbery pancakes, like the prospectors used to enjoy, you don’t need to add any additional leavening. However, if you prefer a lighter pancake, then you have a couple of options:

1) After you mix the batter, let it sit for an hour to ferment. This will give the wild yeast time to activate and produce a lighter texture.

2) If you don’t have an extra hour, you can use baking soda to produce the same effect. Mix the baking soda with 1 tablespoon of warm water and gently fold it into the batter. Just be sure to use the batter immediately.

Baking soda can also be used as a neutralizer to tone down the tangy sourdough flavor. My rye starter tends to be really sour so I decided to let the batter ferment for an hour and use the baking soda to neutralize the sourdough flavor. In addition, since I used two cups of rye sourdough, I figured these pancakes would be a bit dense so I also folded in a beaten egg white. This might have been overkill, but I enjoyed the flavor and texture of the pancakes.


Sourdough Rye Pancakes with Orange Butter

Makes: About 12 pancakes


Orange Butter:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange juice

Pancake Batter:

  • 2 cups of rye sourdough starter *
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, more to achieve desired consistency
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg white, beaten


* I used recently fed rye starter from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature before mixing the batter.



1) Make the Orange Butter

Combine the softened butter, grated orange zest and orange juice and whip using a wire whisk or fork. Set the mixture aside until ready to use.



2) Mix the batter

Pour the sourdough starter in a large mixing bowl.  Add the beaten egg, butter, orange juice, milk, sugar, and salt and mix well. Add in the all-purpose flour and mix until it is lump-free. Add additional flour if necessary to achieve the desired pancake consistency.



3) Proof the batter

Let the batter proof for an hour in a proof box (85 degrees F.). If you don’t have a proof box, place the bowl in the oven with the light turned on.


4) Fold in the leavening

Beat the egg white in a bowl until medium peaks form.  Mix the baking soda and water in a small bowl.



Gently blend in the baking soda/water mixture and the beaten egg white using a wooden spoon.



5) Bake the pancakes

Preheat a griddle to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Cook 2 to 4 minutes until the edges begin to bubble and the bottom turns brown.  Flip pancakes over and cook an additional 2 minutes. 

Serve warm with orange butter and syrup and the fruit of your choice. I enjoyed mine with blueberries.



My inspiration for these delicious sourdough pancakes came from:


Happy Baking!



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sourdough Spelt & Millet Crackers

I’m continuing my quest to use up the flour in my freezer, and find new ways to incorporate sourdough. It gives me an excuse to experiment with new cracker combinations. So far, my experiments have been successful.

This time I made Spelt and Millet Crackers. I created a spelt levain and paired it with millet, a gluten-free flour. The millet gives the crackers a unique crunch. The tops of the crackers are sprinkled with sesame seeds which adds to the crunchy texture.

Daisy and Perry, my parakeets, would’ve loved these crackers. Alas, they aren’t here to test them so I’ll just have to remember their sweet little chirps while I enjoy these seedy crackers.



Instead of using discarded sourdough in these crackers, I used a tablespoon of a mature starter from the refrigerator and mixed it with flour and water to create a levain. If you prefer to use discarded sourdough, use 2/3 to 1 cup of discarded sourdough and follow the directions below for creating the dough.


Sourdough Spelt and Millet Crackers



  • 1 tablespoon mature starter
  • 50 grams (scant 1/2 cup) all-purpose Spelt flour
  • 50 grams (scant 1/2 cup) whole grain Spelt flour
  • 100 grams (scant 1/2 cup) water

Final Dough:

  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups millet flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon water, more if necessary
  • Seeds for sprinkling on top of crackers (I used sesame seeds)



1) Mix the levain and let it sit overnight at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F.)

2) The next day, add the coconut oil to the levain and mix using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. Add in the flour, salt, and water, and mix well.

3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or up to 24 hours. The dough will become clay-like during it’s rest in the refrigerator. 



4) After 8 hours (or the next day), take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature before using.

5) Once the dough is room temperature and workable, divide it into 2 equal balls.  Place one ball on parchment paper sprayed with olive oil. 



6) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough out onto the parchment paper, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds or the seeds of your choice, and a little kosher salt (optional), and cut the crackers using a pizza wheel. The crackers will separate during baking.



7) Repeat the rolling/cutting/sprinkling process with the other dough ball. Slide baking pans underneath the cracker dough on the parchment paper.

8) Place one pan of crackers on the middle rack and the other pan on the bottom rack. Bake the crackers at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. Rotate the pans top-to-bottom, and front-to-back and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until browned. Watch the crackers, particularly during the last few minutes, and remove any browned crackers from the outside. 

9) Remove the pans from the oven and let the crackers cool slightly on a wire rack.



These crackers taste best warm from the oven. 


Happy Baking!



You might also enjoy some Einkorn and Barley Crackers.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Sourdough Einkorn and Barley Crackers

I seem to have developed a ritual of making crackers whenever I feed my sourdough starters. It’s a good way to use up discarded starter and enjoy an easy homemade snack at the same time. Such was the case with these Einkorn and Barley Crackers.


I’ve been making sourdough crackers so much recently you would think I would run out of options; however, it’s just the opposite.   The more crackers I make, the more the ideas keep flowing.

When I fed my Einkorn starter, I knew I wanted to make crackers, but I was in the mood for something different. Instead of making crackers with just Einkorn, I decided to pair the Einkorn sourdough with a non-wheat flour.

I went to my store of flours in the freezer to look for a match.  I came out with some barley flour that had been in the freezer from, well let’s just say it had been in there awhile and it needed to be used.

Like every geeky, I mean good baker, I have way too many different types of flours in my freezer. Each one, just waiting for it’s turn to be used in bread or another baking delight. So with this experiment, I was able to feed my starter, clean out the freezer, and make crackers. Not bad for a day’s work.


Einkorn and Barley Crackers

I like the flavor and the texture of these crackers. The black sesame seeds give them a unique taste and appearance.


  • 1 cup Einkorn sourdough starter
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups barley flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon water, if needed
  • Black sesame seeds for sprinkling (or the seeds of your choice)



Step 1: Mix the sourdough and olive oil and stir well.  Add in 1 cup of barley flour and salt.  Add additional flour, or a little water, as needed to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Step 2: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will become clay-like during the overnight fermentation. 



Step 3:  The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature for a couple of hours before you plan to bake the crackers.  This will create a more workable dough.

Step 4: Once the dough is room temperature and workable, divide it into 3 equal balls.  Place one ball on parchment paper sprayed with olive oil.  Instead of using oil, you can sprinkle the parchment paper with flour or cornmeal if you prefer, but I find it’s easier to roll out the dough if I spray the parchment paper and the rolling pin with olive oil.



Step 5:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough out thinly onto the parchment paper, brush it with olive oil (or spray with water), sprinkle with sesame seeds or the seeds of your choice, and a little kosher salt (optional), and cut the crackers using a pizza wheel. The crackers will separate during baking so there is no need to space them apart on the parchment paper.



Step 6: Repeat the rolling/cutting/sprinkling process with the other dough balls or put one or both of the remaining dough balls back in the refrigerator and bake them the next day.  This way, you can have some now and save some for later.

Step 7: Bake the crackers at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. If you are baking more than one pan of crackers, rotate the pans top-to-bottom, and front-to-back and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until browned. Watch the crackers, particularly during the last few minutes, and remove any browned crackers from the outside.  The ones that are rolled thinner will burn easily if you’re not careful. I usually just remove them and eat them while I’m waiting for the rest of the crackers to finish baking. 

Step 8: Remove the pans from the oven and let the crackers cool slightly on a wire rack. Enjoy them warm or wrap them tightly to enjoy for a couple of days.



Happy Baking!


Monday, 9 September 2013

Seeded Semolina Spelt Tartine

I saw a beautiful photo of a Tartine bread the other day on Facebook. It was made with Spelt and white flour.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made bread using the Tartine method and this photo inspired me to try it again. This time, I made Semolina Bread, but substituted all-purpose Spelt for the all-purpose white flour and adapted the method to suit my schedule and starter.



I used a different method for creating the leaven than what is outlined in the Tartine Bread book.  If you’re maintaining a starter of 50/50 all-purpose/whole wheat flours, the method in the book works well because you discard a portion,  then feed what’s left.  You’ll only use half of the leaven in the bread and then what’s left over you’ll maintain as the mother starter going forward.

I don’t maintain a 50/50 starter and I didn’t want to end up with unused leaven so I started with a tablespoon of mature starter and added a mixture of bread flour/whole grain spelt flour to make the leaven. This method worked out well.

The dough is 80% hydration which means the amount of water (800 grams) is 80 percent of the weight of the total flour (1000 grams). It was tricky to work with. The dough also includes a good bit of seeds in addition to the flour, but even after the seeds were incorporated, the dough was still really wet. To keep from adding too much additional flour, I ended up placing the dough in the refrigerator twice, once during the bulk fermentation and again after the loaves had been placed in the banneton (proofing) baskets. This affected the oven spring, but the loaf had a delicious texture and flavor.


Seeded Semolina Spelt Loaf

Inspired by Corinne’s Tartine loaf on FB

Adapted from:Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson


  • 1 tablespoon mature starter (I used this one)
  • 100 grams warm water
  • 50 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams whole grain Spelt


Final Dough:

Ingredients Quantity Baker’s Percentage
Leaven 200 grams 20
Water (80 degrees F.) 750 grams, 50 grams 80
Semolina Flour 700 grams 70
All-Purpose Spelt Flour 300 grams 30
Fennel Seeds 75 grams 7.5
Sesame Seeds 75 grams 7.5
Sea Salt 20 grams 2
Mixed seeds for top –
I used a mixture of sesame seeds & poppy seeds
200 grams



Making the Leaven:

The evening before you plan to bake the bread, take 1 tablespoon of starter and mix it with 100 grams warm water.  Stir in 50 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole grain Spelt flour using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk.  Cover the levain with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it sit on the counter overnight at a cool room temperature (65 degrees F.)

The next day, it should be quite active and the volume should have increased by 20 percent. 

When I saw how bubbly this levain was, I thought it was ready, but decided to do the float test to see if it really was ready.



I dropped a spoonful of the leaven into a container of room temperature water and it sunk.  It wasn’t fully ripened. 



I stirred the spoonful back into the rest of the leaven and let it ripen for another hour.  The 2nd time I tried the float test, it worked.  Now, it was time to make the dough.



Mixing the Dough:

Take 750 grams of the water and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the 200 grams of leaven and stir it to disperse. This was fun!  The whole levain floated to the top.  It was definitely ready. 



Add the flours, 700 grams of Semolina and 300 grams all-purpose Spelt and mix thoroughly using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon. 

I started mixing the dough using the dough whisk, but then switched to my hands to make sure everything was incorporated. I love the feel of dough made with Semolina.



Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.  Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes.  Don’t skip this part because the flour starts to absorb the water during the rest which helps develop the gluten.



While the dough is resting, toast the fennel seed and sesame seeds for about 5 minutes in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Let the seeds cool, then coarsely grind them using a mortar and pestle.  Add some poppy seeds to the mixture if you like.



After the dough has rested, add the 20 grams of salt and 50 grams of water.  Squeeze the dough between your fingers to incorporate the salt. Mix thoroughly.



Bulk Fermentation:

Transfer the dough to a clean, large container or clear bucket and let the dough bulk ferment for 3 to 4 hours.  This should be done at a temperature between 78 degrees F. to 82 degrees F.



Fold and Turn the Dough:

This dough is not kneaded. To develop the gluten structure, you’ll do a series of turns and folds in the bowl during the bulk fermentation. During the first 2 hours, give the dough one turn every half hour.

To perform a fold and turn, dip your hand in water to keep it from sticking to the dough.  Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough.  Repeat this a few times to make sure you’ve incorporated all of the dough. This is considered 1 turn.

After the 2nd fold and turn, add in the ground fennel and sesame seeds.  Moisten with a little water if necessary.



Use your hands to mix in the seeds.  This is definitely a hands on bread.  It’s fun to squish the dough between your fingers. After the seeds are thoroughly incorporated, continue the fold and turn process every half hour until you reach the third hour, then do the fold and turns more gently. 



By the end of the third hour, the dough should feel more cohesive, but my dough was still pretty slack (I didn’t take a photo of this part) so I covered it back up and placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  You can extend the bulk fermentation at room temperature, but it was getting late and I was ready to get some sleep.


Dividing and Shaping the Loaves

The next day, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature.  Then I placed the dough on a lightly floured work surface and divided it into two equal pieces using a bench knife.



During this process, you’re supposed to incorporate as little flour as possible and just flour the tops of the top.  I ended up flouring the surface a little bit as well as the tops of the dough. 

Use the bench knife and your hands to form the pieces into rounds.  The tension should start to build.  Let the rounds bench rest on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes. 



Lightly flour the tops of the rounds and cover with a kitchen towel. During the bench rest, make sure there are no drafts that will cool the dough down too much. This meant I had to turn off the fan in my kitchen and it was really hot that day.  The things we do for our bread.



If your dough spreads a lot during the bench rest, this means it needs to be developed further.  Just reshape the rounds again to give them additional structure. I had to reshape mine a couple of times.



Proofing the Loaves:

Place 200 grams of mixed seeds in a shallow pan and have a spray bottle ready for spritzing.  You’ll use this to spray the tops of the loaves before dipping them into the seed mixture.

Shape the loaves into a tight round and dip the tops of the loaves into the seed mixture. To do this, hold one round in one hand and spritz the top of the loaf with water with the other hand.  Then carefully dip the top of the loaf into the seed mixture.

Gently place the loaf seed-side down in a banneton basket that has been dusted with a mixture of white rice flour and all-purpose flour.  Since this dough was so wet, I also used basket liners. I’ve tried this particular bread before without the liners and the dough ended up sticking to the baskets. I did things differently this time and I liked the results.



At this point, you can either let the dough rise at warm room temperature, 75 degrees F. to 80 degrees F., for about 3 to 4 hours before baking or you can retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator, or up to 12 hours.  It was getting late again so I opted to retard the dough overnight.  The slow fermentation will develop a more complex flavor.


Preparing the Loaves for Baking:

The next day, about 20 minutes before you plan to bake the loaves, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and place a Dutch oven combo baker on the bottom rack.  You’ll need to remove the middle rack.

If you retarded your dough overnight, take one of the loaves out of the refrigerator.  Leave the other loaf in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.



Dust the top of the loaf in the basket with rice flour.  When the oven reaches the preheated temperature, remove the heated shallow pan from the oven and place it carefully on the stove. It’s best to use heavy oven mitts because it is really hot. Keep the deep part of the combo baker in the oven.

Being very careful not to burn yourself, invert the loaf onto the shallow pan.  Hopefully, it will release easily. Mine did this time. This was the liner after I removed the loaf.  No dough stuck to the sides. Yea!



Scoring the Loaves:

Score the top of the loaf in a square pattern using 4 cuts. Make the cuts at a very low angle, almost horizontal to the dough. It was a little tricky to cut through all of the seeds.  The pan is very hot so be careful not to don’t touch the sides while you’re scoring the loaves.



Baking the Loaves:

Using heavy oven mitts, carefully return the shallow pan (with the loaf in it) to the preheated oven.  Cover it with the deep pan.  Immediately reduce the oven to 450 degrees F.  Bake the loaf for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, open the oven and carefully remove the top pan using oven mitts. The deep pan is fairly heavy, but I’m happy to say that my tennis elbow has gotten stronger so I was able to lift it.

Steam will be released when you remove the top pan. The color of the crust will be pale and shiny. Continue to bake the bread until it is a deeply caramelized color, about 20 to 25 minutes.



Remove the loaf from the oven once it reaches a golden brown color or darker if you prefer.  Use oven mitts and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.



Baking the 2nd Loaf:

To bake the other loaf, raise the oven temperature back to 500 degrees F.  Wipe out the combo cooker with a kitchen towel and place it back in the oven to reheat for 10 minutes.  Follow the above process to bake the 2nd loaf.


Slice and Enjoy!

This loaf is delicious.  The fennel seed gives it a licorice-type flavor.  It’s chewy and crunchy due to all of the seeds. My friend taste-tested it and he really enjoyed it.



Happy Baking!