This Week’s Bread Experiment

Thanks to for a lovely Wheat-Rye Sourdough recipe this week, which is in turn from Chad Robertson’s Tartine No. 3. I didn’t have coriander on hand and wanted to have more than caraway so I added some fennel and cumin, all toasted. The cumin gives it an interesting flavor that probably is too strong for most (I’m on a cumin kick right now so I may not be a great judge, I liked it), the fennel however is a mellow underlying flavor. I have never toasted and crushed my caraway before adding it to the dough, but I would definitely recommend that.

I don’t have dutch ovens so I use my cast iron pans, they aren’t deep enough to use lids with bread so I skipped the covering part and sprayed the loaves with water instead. If might be good to spray them againhalf way through, which I didn’t do, but will next time. When I cut into the loaf this  morning I thought it was a little undercooked–it was a little sticky inside–but this afternoon it looks just right. I will definitely make this recipe again.


Ingredient Amount Percentage
Whole Wheat Flour 225 g 45%
Bread Flour 225 g 45%
Rye Flour 50 g 10%
Active Sourdough Leaven 75 g 15%
Water 400+25 g 85%
Caraway Seeds, Toasted/Ground 10 g 2%
Coriander Seeds, Toasted/Ground 10 g 2%
Salt 10 g 2%


The night before (or at least 7-8 hours) you make your dough combine 2 tablespoons of unfed sourdough starter with 100 g of water, 50 g of all purpose flour, and 50 g of whole wheat flour.  Still until there are no dry bits of flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit out overnight.  This will be your active starter the next morning.  A drop of the starter will float in water when it is ready.

When ready, disperse the starter in 400 g of water in a large bowl.  Add all flour and mix by hand until there are no dry bits.  Cover and let rest for one hour.

After the hour is up add salt and remaining 25 g of beer/water.  Mix well and cover the dough again.

For the next two hours ‘turn’ the dough every 30 minutes.  This means grabbing the underside of the dough, and stretching it up and over the rest of the dough.  Perform a few of these turns each time you handle the dough.  After the first turn work in the coriander and caraway seeds.  After two hours is up, let the dough rest for another hour before you turn it again.

After the third hour, let the dough rest another 30 minutes.  Then turn it out onto an unfloured surface.  Flour the top of the dough and flip it over.  Work into a round shape and let rest for 30 minutes.

Following the bench rest flour the top of the dough again, flipping it over after so the flour side is face down.  Fold the third of the dough closest to you inward, and then stretch the dough out to the sides.  Fold the right, and then left, sides in toward the center.  Fold the top of the dough inward, and then wrap the bottom part of the dough over it all.  Work this into a round shape, and place seam side up in a proofing basket lined well with flour.

Let rise for 3-4 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).  One hour before baking place a dutch oven, with the lid on, in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  Once hot, drop the dough into the pan and score the loaf.  Immediately place the top back on and return to the oven.  Turn the heat down to 450 degrees and cook for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes remove the top of the dutch oven and rotate the pan.  Continue to bake the bread for another 20-25 minutes, until the crust is deeply caramelized.  Enjoy!


One thought on “This Week’s Bread Experiment

  1. I’m so glad you liked it! I love the idea of adding fennel, that is probably my favorite herb and I try to incorporate it whenever I can. I think I’ll give your combination of fennel, caraway, and cumin a try this weekend.

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