Post script Date Kefir Loaves

This is the same bread as the previous date kefir bread post but I have reduced the quantities to help my kefir buddies. I would have tacked this onto the end of the old post but it would get a bit long. So forgive me doing it this way. Please read the other post for full method etc. This makes two loaves which should fit in a domestic oven if you shape into ovals like this:-


Numbers for a smaller quantity of dough which should give you two good sized medium loaves of approx 630g each (baked weight) or 1 and a half lbs – and thus less likely to make a mixer struggle.

For the preferment

115 g room temp water
150g fresh live kefir
187g strong bread flour
35g date syrup

mix well and leave in covered bowl for 18 hours

Final Dough

all of the above preferment plus…

225g – 275g water, hold back on some of the water till you see how dough comes together
640g bread flour – the final shape and lift of the loaf will depend in part on the type of flour you use, I tend to use about 50% very strong flour to get the crumb that Brian likes amd vary the other half to use stone milled flours.
12-15g of salt, depending on your preferences
20-30g of melted butter. I thnk it improves keeping quality and softness but you can leave this out or experiment with an oil you like instead.

Dough takes between three to four hours to develop to the point at which you shape it. I suspect it would start to get more sourdough like in taste if you retard it and that is not my goal with this bread. My aim is to get it baked roughly 6-8 hours after the final mix.

You can divide this into two and shape and bake in tins or shape free style, or make rolls, stuffed breads etc. If you mix with more water and maybe olive oil you could try for a foccacio type bread too. Possibilities!

I used new Herbert Birnbaum 750g oval banettons with wooden bottoms for these loaves, like my very first ones from Germany, where I ended up sending Euros in an envelope, not a method I would recommend! These ones were purchased from The Weekend Bakery using PayPal (see Friends and Inspirations page for links) who offer excellent customer service and have a wonderful site packed with bready knowledge. You don’t need banettons to make this, you can shape freeform or use tins or improvise with a colander and an old well floured teatowel, or buy a florist’s wicker basket and line with a cloth.


Fran (aka Narf7)  has just sent me photos of her uber cool home made organic soya kefir bread! Hoping she will write a post soon so I can link to it.  Link here now! I love the way bread brings people together across the world. Waves madly at Tasmania!

Abby has made the bread here on her Magic Ingredient post

Of bread and quinces’ has blogged here about ‘milk kefir bread and what we have in common’  and here on a water kefir hazlenut sage bread!

and my friend Fran M (aka Fancybake who lives in the North of England) has been busy making kefir bread too, she doesn’t blog so here is a picture that she sent me of her raisin kefir bread. She is a wonderful home baker who I met in Yorkshire.

and Pete in Swindon has made a formidable loaf topped with sesame seeds – read his delightful  blogpost  by clicking on the link.

kefir bread with raisins by Fran M

FancyBake’s  (Fran M’s) raisin kefir bread

If you have a go and don’t blog and want me to add a photo here let me know in a comment or if you want me to link to your blog post I will add it in here.

20 thoughts on “Post script Date Kefir Loaves

  1. Misky

    Gorgeous loaves! Truly. Banettons are something I’ve yet to try. I think I’m afraid that dough will stick to it, and ruin all my effort. Maybe it’s time that I dive into one? Maybe?

    1. Joanna Post author

      They rarely stick, do you think a set of pics on using one would be useful? You can also get them on ebay. from Bakery Bits, from Sous Chef Co UK, lots of shopping choices. I will give it a go one day. The most foolproof way to do is to use a) flour when shaping and then when you are happy with your shape extra flour on the shaped dough itself. B) rub flour into banneton ridges etc first, particularly when new, then sieve sprinkle flour again into banneton. Rye flour is particularly good, but can use rice or potato flour. Then when you tip the dough out if it just looks too too floury for words, take a clean old soft paint brush and gently brush the excess away from the top. Be generous, even to excess with the flour xx

      1. Misky

        I think a set of photos would be great fun to see … but only if you have the time and want to. Those two tips I’ve not read before; excessive flouring after shaping the loaves. I am determined to try this now. Might totter over to Bakery Bits this week for a browse. Thanks, Joanna. :)

        1. Joanna Post author

          I used the word excessive where food writers would say ‘generous’ maybe, if the dough is very wet and loose it could break through the flour coating but I don’t usually make much over 68-70 % hydration these days. Try Carrs bread flour for an easy non tacky dough, add some wholemeal or rye to give depth of flavour.. (Dan Lepard demonstrated the ‘use loads of flour principle’ to me when I did his workshop (several years ago now) on a very loose dough indeed,it works.

          1. Misky

            I prefer the word ‘excessive’ because it’s so descriptive. Generous can mean anything, depending on a person’s frame of mind. I’ve seen Carrs flour at Waitrose. I need some more, as a matter of fact, so I might pop down there today. Not making bread this week though, as I’m trying to recreate Sedrick from sludge. Poor little guy.

              1. Misky

                I had to freeze him when we did the kitchen remodel, and he heaved a sigh of defeat during those 3-months.

  2. Jan

    Hello Joanna, I’m so pleased to see you back in blogland. I’m still making bread at the weekends and still find it thrilling when my Patsy starter welcomes me with froth and bubble. My loaves don’t look as handsome as yours. yesterday the oven wasn’t heating and gave me a few rather long heeby geeby moments during which my dough over proved so I didn’t get the longed for oven spring, however, when I filled my cheek pouches with it, it really wasn’t too bad. I made some labneh this weekend and have saved the whey in the freezer to use for my next adventure with Princess Patsy.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am not really here :) but lovely to hear about your baking and labneh making. I am just making kefir soft cheese today, very similar :) xx

  3. ray@garlicbuddha

    On holiday in Northumbria and just picked up two sourdough loaves at the Berwick Food Festival. Nice. Brought some starter with me so will make my own improvised bread later in the week or we may just have sourdough pizza. Sunny day. Happy as I have just been successful in interview for a new job working in mental health in primary care.

    Your breads look as amazing as ever,

    1. Joanna Post author

      Congratulations Ray! So pleased to hear you have got a new job, enjoy your holiday and have a wonderful new year – September style :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      nothing worse than having bread ready to bake and not being able to squeeze it in the oven and… this is a good shape for freezing too :)

  4. narf77

    I will be posting about it tomorrow with about a hundred links to this post. I have been firing off missives to friends all over the place with your URL in them because this recipe is The BOMB! My sourdough might have died a slow death in the fridge (R.I.P. Audrey) but now “Kid Creole and his Coconuts” (what else would you call a non-dairy kefir power plant? ;) ) can take over where she so sadly left off. This stuff works folks…it not only works it is delicious. I am SO excited to be sharing this with the vegan and non-dairy community as these experiments need to be shared :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Golly, thank you, my kefir in the kitchen is vibrating with excitement and I have just had to feed it twice in one day :) Looking forward to hearing all about the Kid tomorrow xx

  5. Pingback: Narf7 bakes bread and loses a leg | theroadtoserendipity

  6. sallybr

    Another great bread, Joanna!

    I miss baking bread so much, so I sit here admiring your production and dreaming about the taste, the texture of the crust… the crumb…

    oh, well – my kitchen will be back to me at some point, and then WATCH OUT! ;-)

  7. heidiannie

    i feel like I’m listening in to a conversation not really meant for me. But I just wanted to say that I love the picture of the breads so convivually sharing oven space! :)
    I have had an unfortunate series of events that have left me without sourdough at the moment- and I’m not up to starting another habit in the way of kefir- so I am making regular yeasted loaves at the present and enjoying them for their simplicity.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Evening Heidi ! I have been on a bit of a sidetrack with this lately. Regular yeast is wonderful stuff and in fact I have some fresh in the fridge crying for me to make buns with, but I haven’t been baking that much recently. The kefir is one of those projects that if you give it space on the kitchen worktop you have to keep a daily eye on it. I banished it to the freezer at one point as I couldn’t keep up with it :) Will post about something else soon xx jo

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