Category Archives: sourdough

50% Einkorn Sourdough Bread

Oh ho a bread post!

EinkornloafEinkorn is one of the older forms of wheat that is cultivated in a domestic form to this day.

Once upon a time I hand ground some einkorn grain that my friend Mandy brought me from Germany and made a loaf with it and wrote a little post about it.   That long ago loaf looked like this

The Einkorn Crumb

An early attempt at making einkorn bread

In French this grain is called petit épautre and in English einkorn or little spelt, and in Italian piccolo farro or so Wikipedia tells us. Wikipedia also claims it is not good for making bread but I am currently making a 50/50 regular wheat/einkorn sourdough which rises well enough for me!  It is more expensive to buy than ordinary bread flour, no doubt because the threshing is more difficult and the yields are lower and it is probably not grown in huge quantities for bread making purposes. From a value point of view it is quite a good idea to mix it with some less expensive bread flour and also you will then get a bit of lift from the gluten in the more modern flour. In the UK the easiest place to get hold of einkorn is from a store that stocks Dove Flours or online. Continue reading

Jeffrey Hamelman’s Rye and Flaxseed Bread

Rye and Flaxseed Sourdough Bread copyright Zeb Bakes

Flax or linseed is a wonderful and healthy addition to a good loaf of bread. In the UK we get both golden and brown linseed, I have used golden linseed here as I like the colour. If you soak the seeds overnight before working them into the dough then they release a sticky mucilage that I believe improves the cohesive quality of a high content rye dough and for those of you who are struggling with shaping and slashing it also helps in that department. All the loaves I have ever made using a flaxseed soaker open and spring well.

linseed old bread bread dough copyright zeb bakes

This bread is made following a recipe of Jeffrey Hamelman in the updated edition of Bread. It is made with fermented whole rye flour, strong white (bread flour) linseeds and an old bread soaker. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of an old bread soaker, who are wrinkling your nose and going ewww, an old bread soaker is not made with a green and furry piece of ancient crust, not with a three day old slice of supermarket pap but with a drying piece of a good bread. In this case I used a slice of the sourdough I was currently eating which was about two days old. As I routinely eat my sourdoughs for up to a week after they have been baked, there was nothing scary about this at all.

Like most things you might choose to add to your bread, the secret is not to add too much that it alters the character of the loaf in an undesirable way.

proving loaves in cloth copyright Zeb Bakes

The recipe is given in full on Modern Baking’s website here (it looks like a legal site not one of those horrible rip off places) together with his notes on the bread and his comments on using an old bread soaker for those of you don’t have a copy of the book yet. I scale the recipe down by dividing the metric column numbers by 10 as I do with nearly all his recipes for my use at home. I followed the recipe very closely as I tend to do when I make Hamelman’s breads. I might add a little more or less liquid depending on the absorbency of my particular flours that is the only difference.

If you are trying an old bread soaker you may need to experiment with how you prepare it though. I suggest making sure the bread is a sort of porridgy slurry before you mix it into the dough, so you may need to process it a bit in some way first.

Rye and Linseed sourdough copyright Zeb Bakes

This is a strong and fully flavoured bread which reminds me vividly of German breads. I adore it. It is not one for people who don’t like rye however. I return to bake it ( and variations on this theme )  again and again. It has a lovely mouth feel and bite and a rich complex set of flavours.

I made three easily shapable loaves and put them in between folds of cloth to prove before baking in a hot oven with steam on a baking stone.

Give it a go if you fancy something different, you never know you might like it! There are lots more of Jeffrey Hamelman’s breads buried in the old posts of my blog if you want to get an idea of the range and breadth of what he offers the aspiring bread baker.  I have added a menu page which gives links to these breads  which I baked with the Mellow Bakers project for ease of reference here.   I might revisit baguettes this weekend …. what are you baking?

Related Posts :

Multi seeded bread with an old bread soaker with recipe

Sourdough Mashed Potato Pancakes

25th March 2013

Sourdough Potato Pancakes

I thought I would contribute this small brunch dish to the ‘what shall I do with my old starter’ conversation.

Not everything in life needs a recipe and these are a prime example.

I had some old starter in the fridge from when I had been away and when I stirred it up it had a bit of life in it still. I dipped a finger in and had a taste, sour but not unacceptable.

It was so cold yesterday that I thought we had better have something warm for lunch.

So I dry fried a couple of slices of Lindsays of Cockermouth’s best dry cure middle cut bacon, no nasty white stuff coming out of this like the supermarket rubbish, and not very salty either, a little black pudding for Brian and a few tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar to give them a bit more taste than they have at this time of year.

I then found a small bowl of mashed potatoes from last night’s supper in the fridge and thought oh why not…

So here is the method. Forgive the quantities.

In a large bowl

  • Pour in your old starter
  • Add a couple of large spoonfuls of cold mashed potato
  • A glass or two of milk (skimmed is fine)
  • A couple of spoonfuls of flour
  • Two large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Whisk it all up, but don’t worry too much about the little lumps of mashed potato.
  2. Heat a small pan on the hob.
  3. Put the oven on a keep warm setting and pop a plate in.
  4. Chase a fingernail’s worth of butter round the pan once it is hot.
  5. Tip little ladles of mixture into the pan and swirl them round.
  6. Cook on one side, till nice and golden brown,  flip and cook the other side.
  7. Stack on the warm plate in the oven.

Sourdough Mashed Potato Pancakes with Brown Sauce

Serve your sourdough mashed potato pancakes with optional brown sauce and toppings and a large mug of tea.

That’s it. No added sugar, no added fat. I can’t believe that this is particularly bad for you, but the food police might say it is. I don’t care.

Soft and fluffy and just the thing for a hungry gap.

A bread for a warm spring day

Over the weekend I made yoghurt – I think I overdid something, I used one of those easi yo packets, and it all separated into curds and whey.

So I drained the curds through a muslin square and was left with a big bowl of golden yellow whey which I stuck in the fridge, remembering that there was something about making bread with it.

I have been reading   Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz

Published by Green Books and  reviewed by David Whitehouse here which made me curious so I got the book at the weekend. Only part way through it, but very interesting so far…..

Yesterday I found the whey in the fridge and decided I had better use it.

I looked through the Handmade Loaf and based this loaf on Dan Lepard’s white maize and wheat loaf but used wheat and rye flours.  I used more whey and less leaven, simply because that is what I had to hand and was worried that the whey might go off if I left it another day while I built up the starter.

100 g white leaven (which had been fed a couple of tsp of the new yoghurt the day before and been refreshed and was a bit over excited and smelt sweetly lactic!)
400g or so of yoghurt whey
350g of very strong white flour
100g of whitewholewheat ( American flour)
50g of rye flour
8g  fine sea salt
5g of fresh yeast

I made just over one kilo of dough, which I proved in two oval bannetons.   They were quite slow to rise to start with as I mixed them with the whey from the fridge so it was all quite cold. Plus the initial amount of leaven was smaller so I expected it to take its time.

I mixed the dough at 11 am and popped the shaped loaves into bannetons 3.5 hours later. Finally into the oven at 220 C  with steam at 6.30 pm.

I lowered the temperature after 15 minutes to 200 C  and again to  190 C for the last 15 minutes.

It made a beautiful fragrant loaf with a pale yellow translucent crumb and a dark golden brown crust.

Well worth doing!  Definitely a bread to make again and again!