Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

As a kid I recall more often than not eating baguettes brought home from my Dad’s restaurant, usually procured through a late night call asking for “some bread for tomorrow”. On the weekends my Mom and Grandmother would slice these baguettes at a super slanted angle and make French toast, probably one of the perfect breads for such a thing, but aside from these baguettes we also had a sack of pre-sliced whole wheat bread — which coincidentally also makes great French toast in a different sort of way. It was always whole wheat (even before that was the in thing to buy) and it was mostly just a vehicle for peanut butter & jelly, cinnamon & sugar, straight butter, or whatever other clever things kids can dream up. I always preferred the baguette (and especially these baguettes) with its wonderfully crunchy crust, but there’s a special place for a PB & J sandwich that has so much peanut butter when dropped it would always land on the peanut butter side (imagine a cat always landing on its feet).

“Why don’t we ever have good ol’ sandwich bread?”, I heard my wife recently whisper to herself in the kitchen. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard such a statement and scattered comments like these got me thinking back about that sliced bread1 I had as a kid. Nostalgia turned to motivation as I felt urged to develop a pan loaf with many of the same characteristics but 100% sourdough, and with somewhere around 98% fewer ingredients — you know, just flour, water, salt and yeast. Continue reading


  1. And baguettes too, and I just posted a recipe for baguettes!

Spelt Sourdough

Having just recently devoured every episode of the inspirational Michael Pollan series Cooked on Netflix1, I came away with a sudden urge to drop everything and get some fresh dough between my fingers. Throughout the entire series he was on screen rallying behind slow food, especially so in the “Air” episode where Pollan points out that humanity really lost something when we transitioned from quality, slow food to abundant, fast food — most significantly when it comes to bread. There’s truth to the old saying that all good things take time, right? I agree.

With this amped up baking gusto I’ve been baking more and more this past month, not only baking my staple weekly bread but also milling fresh spelt flour and testing a spelt sourdough formula. Chances are you’ve heard of spelt, a very old species of wheat that has been used since long ago and as Pollan alluded to, you feel a sort of connection with ancient bakers when baking bread this way, and especially for me with this ancient grain.

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  1. I just picked up the book and can’t wait to get further into it, more information on fermentation and bread!

Fresh Milled Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough

Winter time for me means soup, soup and more soup. But wait! It also means walnuts. “You silly, walnuts aren’t in season right now”, I hear you say. Well that’s true, but I say hey why not use those bagged, shelled walnuts from the market or if necessary, order a sack online? When it comes to walnuts I don’t need much convincing, just a slight nudge or the faintest craving. And so yes, I made fresh milled whole wheat walnut sourdough with roasted walnut oil. I also made soup, but I think you’re here for the bread.

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Rye Sourdough and Smørrebrød

It’s been cold here in New Mexico, like really, really cold. When it’s ten degrees Fahrenheit outside you only want to do one of a few things: 1) have a cup of hot coffee and light the fireplace, 2) make a big bowl of homemade minestrone with a nice crunchy slice of sourdough bread, or 3) go outside for approximately 2 minutes while the dog runs through the snow, be thankful for a warm home, and promptly return indoors. Don’t get me wrong, I love snowboarding (and we have excellent snowboarding nearby), snowshoeing, and dog walks with 3-plus jackets on, but a day inside with hot coffee and comfort food is a wonderful thing.

The cold weather had me motivated to look at traditional foods made in colder regions, and thus my recent acquisition of The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson (in case you’re wondering, yes, I have more baking and cookbooks than I know what to do with. There’s something amazing about cookbooks: they instantly transport you to the kitchen of another cook and are filled with endless potential for exquisite new food). When they say it’s a tome they are not exaggerating. Upon opening I immediately paged to the section titled smørrebrød, which literally translates to “butter and bread”, but represents the daily ritual of “open sandwiches” in Nordic cultures. Placed on a slice of rugbrød, or sourdough rye bread, these open sandwiches are miniature works of art with delicately placed meats, cheeses, butter, vegetables, pickles and greens. One can easily get lost in the research of smörgås, as the Swedish call them, there are endless variations with a myriad of delicious ingredients. Continue reading

White Sonora Sourdough

I ordered white Sonora wheat berries on a whim. I was already ordering some flour from Hayden Flour Mills in Arizona and I decided to just add a bag to my order. I’m so glad I did. This white Sonora sourdough recipe is comprised of a good chunk of whole grain wheat flour and yet doesn’t taste anything like like it.

White Sonora is a soft white wheat that is not typically used for hearth loaves but used more frequently as a basis for food like tortillas. However, there are some bakers, namely Josey Baker in California, making some excellent bread from this wheat. Early in my trials with this flour I made some unexpectedly fantastic loaves, and these early bakes tipped me off to what would ultimately be my focus for this bread: the crust.

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