Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread

My baking to-do list is rather long, as you might imagine, but I finally had the chance to cross off an item that’s been patiently lingering: working with sprouted grain flour. With my recent successful endeavor into sprouting my own buckwheat groats, and the eye-opening taste and texture they brought to my Sprouted Buckwheat Sourdough, I was keen on venturing further down the same path. My intention was to sprout my own wheat berries, dehydrate the sprouts, and then pass them through my grain mill to produce a fine flour to be used as a percentage in a bread formula. Instead, I was happy to discover that King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour offers a sprouted and milled wheat flour. Just perfect for this sprouted grain sourdough bread.

When working with a completely new flour there’s always this dichotomy between excitement and uncertainty. Questions arise when creating a new bread formula: will the flour have ample protein and hold up well to increased hydration and extended fermentation or will it be more delicate? What kind of aroma and taste will it bring to my sourdough? What other flour should I utilize to bring out the best qualities it has to offer? The thing is, it’s through testing, tweaking and the discovery of answers to these questions that I find enjoyment. Well, that and actually eating the resulting bread with butter — can you blame me though?

The first thing to strike me with this flour was how it smelled. The aroma was mild but reminiscent of fresh milled wheat I’ve worked with in the past. When I mixed the first test batch the aroma was amplified as the water hit the flour–this is where I usually get the first inkling of how the resulting bread might smell and taste. If you’ve never paused at this point of the process to take a big whiff of freshly hydrated flour give it a try, after which you’ll surely have a grin on your face.
Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect Loaf

In subsequent bakes I worked to bring out those mild and creamy notes by pairing the sprouted grain with other flour I knew would support a lofty loaf but at the same time not be overpowering. I found the flour to be soft, not only before mixing with water but also once incorporated as dough, so I chose a mix of bread and all purpose flour to help add strength without too much strength.

During the first test bake I saw ample fermentation activity, boosted no doubt by the sprouted wheat flour, and so I adjusted to accommodate this in later bakes. I reduced my overall levain percentage added to the final dough mix to help compensate but still, do keep an eye on this dough during bulk fermentation and make the call to divide when you notice the dough is ready1.
Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafGoing into this bake I knew the sprouted grain was made from white whole wheat berries, which have a mellow flavor profile and soft quality to them — these were evident in the sprouted wheat flour in addition to a subtle, nutty sweet flavor. I thought it might be nice to add some additional texture to each bite by rolling the exterior of the dough in raw barley flakes, similar to my use of raw rolled oats in the past. Barley is a wonderful grain that has a slightly nutty flavor, crunchy texture when toasted, and high fiber content — a few things I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t want more of.

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread Formula

Vitals

Total Dough Weight 2000 grams
Pre-fermented Flour 4.60%
Hydration 86.00%
Yield 2 x 1000 gram loaves

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafThe image above is a snapshot of my ongoing sourdough starter and the level of activity it’s typically at right before I use it to build my levain. You can see how it’s extremely mature, well fermented, and ready to go. As always, if you’re having trouble keeping your starter maintained at a state similar to this have a look at my starter maintenance guide for some simple tips to help.

Levain Build

Weight Ingredient Baker’s Percentage
60g Mature liquid starter (100% hydration) 100%
30g King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour 50%
30g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 50%
60g H2O @ 90ºF 100%

Dough Formula

Target final dough temperature (FDT) is 78ºF.

Note that the baker’s percentages listed below are with respect to the final dough ingredients and do not take into account the levain.

Weight Ingredient Baker’s Percentage
467g King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour 47.17%
287g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 29.04%
236g King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour 23.79%
845g H2O @ 90ºF 85.32%
22g Salt 2.20%
143g Mature, 100% hydration liquid levain 14.47%

Method

1. Make the Levain – 9:00 a.m.

Make the liquid levain (everything listed in the Levain Build section above) in the morning and store somewhere around 75ºF – 80ºF ambient.

This is a really fast and warm levain. It will be mature and ready to go after about 3 hours given the high percentage of mature starter used and the warm water. Check in on it after about 2-2.5 hours and make sure it’s moving along. If it looks like it’s ready, proceed to mixing. Conversely, if it needs a bit more time to mature give it the time it needs.

At the same time you make the levain, also mix flour and water for the autolyse. See the next step.

2. Autolyse – 9:00 a.m.

Mix flour and water (reserve 100g water for mix, later) in a bowl until all dry bits are hydrated. Cover bowl and store somewhere warm (around 75-80ºF) for 3 hours, the same amount of time it takes for the levain to mature.

Why such a long autolyse? When I use a high percentage of bread flour, or whole wheat flour, I like to increase the autolyse period to help soften the resulting dough. During this time you’ll notice the dough mixture becomes more extensible, much easier to stretch out and mix.

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect Loaf3. Mix – 12:00 p.m.

Add the called for levain and about half of the reserved water to the mixing bowl with the autolysed dough and hand mix until well combined.

Dump the dough onto the counter and slap and fold the dough (French fold) for about 5 minutes, just until the dough starts to show signs of a smooth surface. If you aren’t comfortable with the slap/fold method, or don’t like it, you can do stretch and folds in the bowl until the dough tightens up and becomes harder to stretch out and fold over. For me this is usually 30-40 folds.

Let the dough rest 15 minutes.

When finished with the initial mix and rest, sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and use the remaining water to help dissolve. Pinch through a few times and fold the dough over itself to help incorporate. Perform an additional 3 minutes of slap and fold to build even more strength in the dough. It should come together and be slightly smooth but still a tad sticky. Medium development.

Transfer dough to a tub or thick-walled bowl for bulk fermentation.

4. Bulk Fermentation – 12:20 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

At 75-80ºF ambient temperature bulk fermentation should go for about 3 hours and 45 minutes. If it’s colder in your kitchen 2 it might take longer than this; give the dough the time it needs.

Perform a total of 2 sets of stretch and folds during bulk, spaced out by 30 minutes. I found this dough to be quite strong so I stopped after two sets, but if after the last set of stretch and folds the dough feels overly slack give it another set for a total of three. After the final set let the dough rest for the remainder of bulk.Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafThe dough pictured above is when I decided to end bulk. It felt like perhaps it could have gone another 15-20 minutes without harm but the domed edges where the dough meet the bowl, the bubbles on top and just below the surface, and the tension in the dough felt when tugging on it indicated to me it was time.

5. Divide & Preshape – 4:00 p.m.

Dump the dough from the bulk container to an unfloured work surface. The dough will be a little sticky so rely on a bench knife and floured hand to gently preshape the dough into two round boules after dividing the mass in two.

Let the dough rest 25 minutes uncovered.

6. Shape – 4:25 p.m.

Flour the work surface and the top of each rested round. Working with one at a time, flip the resting round over onto the floured surface and fold the top half up and over down to the middle and the bottom half up and over to the recently folded top. You’ll have a long horizontal rectangle sitting in front of you. Turn the rectangle 90º and grab a small portion of the top, pull up and fold down and over a little bit, pressing to seal. Take the rolled top and continue to gently roll it downward toward your body with two hands working together. As you do each roll and work your way down the vertical rectangle, use your thumbs to gently press the dough into itself.

You can see a video of me performing this batard shaping method on my Instagram feed.Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafTo coat your dough in raw barley flakes or oats, spread the flakes out in a thin layer on a towel. Then, prepare another towel next to it that’s lightly moist. Once your dough is shaped, gently roll the top of the loaf (with the seam still facing up) on the moist towel and then transfer to the layer of barley flakes, gently rocking it back and forth to adhere as many flakes as possible. From there, transfer the dough to a proofing basket with the seam side still facing up.

Another option is to use a handheld spray bottle to lightly moisten the top of the dough after it’s shaped, then turn it over onto the towel with the barley flakes.

7. Rest & Proof – 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Cover each basket with plastic and then place in the refrigerator at 38ºF for 15 hours.

8. Bake – Next Morning: Preheat oven at 6:30 a.m., Bake at 7:30 a.m.

Preheat oven for one hour at 500ºF.

Take out both of the baskets from the fridge and cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit over the top of each; quickly invert each basket onto each piece of parchment. Using a lame score the top of each at a shallow angle to the dough and just deep enough to cut below the top skin of the dough. Start at the top of the loaf and with a single decisive stroke cut from top to bottom with a slight outward bend in the middle.Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafIt can be challenging to score this dough with the barley flakes on top. Make the first long slash with a repeat slash on the same line if you notice the blade did not go deep enough.

Using a pizza peel slide the two pieces of parchment with dough into the oven. Bake the loaves at 500ºF for 20 minutes with steam, then remove the steaming pans from inside the oven. Bake the loaves for an additional 5 minutes at 500ºF, then turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for an additional 15-25 minutes or until done to your liking.

Please see here for my method for steaming a home oven to bake bread.

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafConclusion

This bread is a welcome shift from some of the heartier breads I’ve been baking lately. It has a subdued, gentle flavor profile and, according to King Arthur Flour’s sprouted wheat guide, the sprouted whole grain has high fiber content and it’s packed with added nutrition. When baking my way through several bags of this flour in testing I found each bag to perform consistently from bake to bake (they have a patent-pending process to ensure this)-always a welcome thing. I feel like this flour would be perfect in some of my other sourdough recipes, perhaps as a substitute directly for whole wheat flour (as in red whole wheat) or even half the total white flour in a formula. I do know one thing, I can’t wait to try this out with my mostly whole wheat sandwich bread.

Crust

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafThe beautiful, elegant golden crust at the score’s opening catches the eye while the darker sides ground it with a certain rustic slant. I think this crust would be equally appealing sans the flakes, or coated with raw oats instead, but I find their crunch brings further interest and mouthfeel to this wonderful bread. It’s a small touch but one that’s a happy surprise as one quickly makes their way through slice after slice.

Sure, cutting this bread with those barely-hanging-on flakes means a slightly messier kitchen, but it’s totally worth it.

Crumb

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafThe soft and creamy crumb is wonderful against the backdrop of a thin, brittle crust studded with crunchy barley flakes. The two work well together, a dance of two opposites, creating a balanced loaf that is neither too soft nor too rigid. The ability for the sprouted grain to handle a slightly increased hydration adds to the overall tenderness of the crumb while the strength provided by the all purpose and bread flour makes for a light loaf in the hand. The open structure of this bread is right at the sweet spot between a light crumb and tight enough for use in just about any setting.

Taste

Sprouted Grain Sourdough Bread @ The Perfect LoafThis is a wonderfully mild tasting bread. I can pick out delicate nutty flavors in the crust & crumb and the distinct, but not overpowering, sweetness inherent in the sprouted grain adds complexity and depth. I find this bread can be used for a variety of purposes from soups to sandwiches to plain old toast with butter and jam. Because the flavor of this sprouted flour is so mild I feel like the percentage of whole grains in this bread could be increased even further without overpowering any of the other flavors present. Just an all around versatile and delicious bread.


Buon appetito!

Thanks so much to King Arthur Flour for sponsoring this sprouted grain sourdough bread post! As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.





  1. I know “ready” is a nebulous term, try to use the pictures here and my description for when to end bulk.

  2. You can always use your oven (turned off) with the light on inside to create a nice, warm environment

  • Ana Sofia Rocha

    Beautiful. I bet it’s delicious too 🙂
    Ana

    • Thank you! Yes, quite an awesome flavor in this bread 🙂

  • Gorgeous crust and crumb! May I ask you a question about starters? Have you ever had to resuscitate a starter and what flour would you recommend? I have starter in the fridge and I’m hoping to revive it. I have Sir Lancelot four, and the KA whole wheat and white wheat. I’m thinking that perhaps it needs something heartier. I can’t wait to get started back to my baking.

    • Thanks so much Marisa! From time to time when my starter needs a bit of a kickstart I’ll use a percentage of rye flour (whole rye, pumpernickel) along with white flour — rye flour has tons of nutrients and really helps get some nice activity. Additionally, try to keep your starter warm (around 75ºF would be great) which also helps quite a bit.

      Hope this helps!

  • mutantsubhuman

    Wow

  • Gina Wallace

    Oh so pretty Maurizio! And congrats on Avi! He is beautiful!

    I have tried using sprouted wheat flour in my loaves before, knowing it’s another layer of making the sourdough breads more digestible in hopes it would help my gf peeps. I found it to make the dough very sticky, but that was before I discovered you and the methods that help to develop the dough.

    I just pulled out 2 gorgeous loaves from my oven of your half whole wheat recipe (I hadn’t milled enough wheat, so I decided to go with that recipe this week). It’s taking everything I have to not cut into them to see how they’ve turned out because this dough acted just as you described and my steps looked just like your pictures! They are just a little burnt on the tops…not sure still how to combat that. I don’t have the whole set up for steam that you use. I just have the towels in a pan of water and I spritzed them liberally before they went in.

    Back to my kitchen to deal with the Einkorn dough now. It will be going in to the oven in a few hours. Have a great weekend! We have unseasonably WARM weather…late Spring-like. Weird!

    • Thanks so much Gina, and thank you for the kind words about Avi! 🙂

      Really happy to hear about that 50/50 bake! I love that versatile bread and it sounds like you nailed it. That waiting to cut part… gets me every time 🙂 Depending on your oven, you could move the baking rack down further from the top if you find they are burning a bit before everything is done. A top stone does help regular this heat just a bit, but you might be able to figure something else out if you don’t want to invest in another piece of equipment.

      Yes, it’s super warm here as well, makes me want to get outside and do some work out there! Well, after mixing some dough of course 🙂 Happy baking!

  • Savvas

    Amazing bread. You are a constant inspiration to lots of people out there including myself.
    The question I have is a general one and does not concern this particular bake exclusively.
    Reading your posts, I’ve noticed that your retarded proofing times are not constant although I guess the temperature of your fridge is. Instead they vary from bake to bake.
    Are there any particular dough signs you observe (like the ones you describe for ending bulk fermentation) that apply to proofing?
    Or is it just a guess estimate according to the type of flours you use in any particular bake (more whole grain, shorter proofing times for instance)?
    Or even there is a proofing time window, say between 12-18 hours, within which it doesn’t really make any difference when one decides to go ahead and bake?
    Or is it a matter of trial and error for any particular bread recipe?
    Or is it something else I miss?

    • Thanks so much, really appreciate that!

      All the comments you’ve made are actually what go into the final proof time. First, I start with an intuitive call based on the type & quantity of flour used. For example, I know if I have a higher percentage of whole grains I’ll probably have to reduce my final proof time OR reduce my levain percentage in the formula (there are other things that can be done as well). After that, I see how the dough looks, feels and smells at the end of bulk fermentation when I preshape and shape. If the dough looks super active and feels a little on the weak side I’ll get them into the fridge ASAP and cut the proof in the fridge as much as possible. If the dough looks sluggish I can either leave them in their proofing baskets on the counter before retarding them or plan to extend the proof in the fridge by several hours.

      I usually push my fermentation pretty far through bulk so for me there is a significant difference between 12-18 hours in your example.

      I hope this helps!

  • Liza S

    I am a new baker but have been trying to make sprouted bread. When shaping higher hydration loaves I find that my dough sometimes suddenly collapses from an ‘elastic fluffy mass’ into a sticky flattened mess. I’m not quite sure what my problem is – is there not enough protein content in the sprouted flour to support it? It feels perfect as I begin to shape and then all of a sudden, wham it falls.

    • Hey, Liza! That’s very interesting. I’ve only really experimented with this flour up to 30% of a total recipe so far and have not had this issue. I do plan to push this even higher here soon (I’m planning a 100% sprouted wheat pan loaf) so I’ll know for sure if that is an issue but I don’t expect it to be.

      Is it possible you’re pushing your dough too far and letting it over proof on you? Have you tried cutting back the levain percentage or the bulk time on your dough to see if that helps? When I see a total collapse in the dough it’s always related to an over proof scenario. I have noticed the sprouted flour does increase fermentation activity so it’s easy to get caught off guard with this!

      Hope that helps!

  • Rosa

    It says that Sprouted wheat flour is red hard winter wheat? ???

    • Hey there! Nope, King Arthur’s sprouted wheat is made from white whole wheat. If you check out their Sprouted Wheat Guide you’ll see there on the right they mention most sprouted wheat is made from red wheat but theirs is made from white wheat.

      Hope that helps!

      • Rosa

        Ok and can I use red hard white wheat….

        • Sure! Your bread will have a different flavor profile than the one I talk about here but it will work out just fine. White wheat is not mandatory.

          • Rosa

            Thank you for your input Chow…

  • Khushi

    Hi Maurizio,

    As always, great recipe! will try this one soon. I have tried your sourdough pizza recipe for the first time today. they are sitting in proofing tray as I type here. 🙂
    Question : where did you get the proofing basket you have used in here?

    Thanks again for the recipes and sharing your knowledge..

    • Thank you! You’re making me want to make pizza (again) this weekend 🙂

      I picked up these proofing baskets at sfbi.com.

      You’re welcome & happy baking!

  • david

    What kind of salt do you use?

  • Elizabeth Clegg

    For you levain, you add 60g 100% hydration starter. That means your starter is equal amounts flour, starter and water, say 50 grams each. Or is your starter made from 75g ap flour, 25g rye flour, 20g starter and 100g water? I am maybe confused on what a 100% hydratioin starter is.

    • My starter is a 100% hydration starter. This means there is equal parts water and flour. Everything is related to flour in baking, so if you have 100g flour and 100g water you have a 100% hydration starter (100g flour / 100g water = 100%). If you had, for example, 100g flour and 65g water you’d have a 65% hydration starter.

      • elizclegg

        So your sourdough maintenance of 75g ap flour, 25g rye flour, 20g starter and 100g water is not what you are using for the 60g Mature liquid starter (100% hydration) for this recipe?
        When I want 100% hydration, I take 50g of my starter and mix it with 50g flour and 50g water, is this correct?

        • The ratio of flour types isn’t mandatory, you can use whatever blend you’d like. The important thing is that it’s 100% hydration: equal water to flour. Currently I’m using 100% type 85 flour to feed my starter, because that’s what I have on hand and it’s an experiment I’ve been running for a while. The apw/rye starter works very well, too!

          100% hydration starter means equal water and flour. It does not say anything about the amount of starter (this can change). For example, your 50g starter and 50g flour feeds mean 100% hydration irrespective of the amount of starter carried over.

          Hope that helps!

          • elizclegg

            Thank you. I understand now. It isn’t the grams of starter, but the flour and water ration. So how did you decide on 20g starter? Is that the minimum amount that works for you to carry over for feedings and to maintain the starter? Why not 100g flour, 50g starter, 100g water. How did you decide on 20g starter?

            • 20g is just what works for me usually, for my schedule and environment. You can change that amount to anything that works for you. The higher the value the shorter the time between feedings, and vice versa.

              In the summer I usually drop that value down to as low as 5g if it’s really warm, in the winter I may bump it up to 30g.

              • elizclegg

                Thank you Maurizio!

  • Fion Lau

    Hi Maurizio
    A great recipe! I like to follow your recipe, in particular on the time schedule listed, good reference to beginner (like me) to keep track the time & steps.

    I have few questions,
    1/ Can I do the pre-shape & sharp after rest & proof for 16 hours from the refrigerator?
    2/ How to adjust the bake time if the dough is smaller than your recipe? Or is it a standard bake time no matter on the size of dough?
    3/ I tried once based on your recipe. The crust on the loaf was a bit thick and the loaf was not soft and airy, but have big holes. How can I to improve it? What if I extend the bake time from 25mins to 30mins (before remove the cover for brown color), does it help to improve the loaf to be light & airy?

    Thanks so much!

    • Thanks!

      1) Yes, you can do what’s called a “cold bulk fermentation” and retard the dough in the refrigerator during that step, all in one mass. I’m working on a post here with a sample schedule for this and hope to have it out here in the next couple weeks!

      2) You shouldn’t really need to adjust the bake time very much. Just keep an eye on the dough near the end to ensure it doesn’t burn.

      3) It sounds like maybe your dough was underproofed (a telltale sign is slightly dense interior with scattered, large holes). Make sure you give your dough enough time during bulk fermentation (and at the right temperatures) and proof! Extending the time when the dough has steam (with the lid on) can only work for so long. If you bake too long with too much steam your crust will end up being excessively soft and pliable. You can play with that 20 minutes to extend it a bit but there is a limit. I’d suggest focusing on fermentation in your dough, make sure it’s not underproofed.

      I hope this helps!

      • Fion Lau

        Thanks so much for your advices!

  • John Graham

    Would there be a negative effect of spraying the loaf with water after scoring and sprinkling the barley flakes on just before going into the oven? Thanks….

    • No, I wouldn’t see any issue with that at all!

  • Sebie Seb

    Good morning Maurizio. I tried your sprouted wheat recipe last weekend and it came out beautiful. I loved the taste of sprouted wheat that reminded me of fresh artisan baguettes called “pains aux cereales”. This week I increased the sprouted wheat to 40% vs 40% all purpose and 20% all wheat. I skipped the autolyse so the dough was wetter and harder to handle on the slap and folds. I proofed for 7 hours at 72 F without being given able to check in-between. As i started the bench I noted the dough expanded massively with a fluffy feel I never experienced before. I was very excited to start baking with it after 12 hours in the fridge. But my loaf barely rose in the oven and my ears failed to open. I believed I have over proofed the dough. Can you give some tips a bit like you did on levain to decide when the dough is at its peak when you proof? Especially for sprouted wheat, i would like to learn more visual clues.
    Can’t wait for your next sprouted wheat posts.
    Thank you for sharing so much with us and hoping to read you soon.

    • Hello and really glad to hear that! That’s quite a long time to proof at that temperature, I’d guess you overproofed as well. I’m assuming you meant you bulked for 7 hours @ 72ºF, that’s a long time at that high of a temperature! You want the dough to still have “energy” left in it by the time you put it in for an overnight proof in the fridge, if fermentation has gone too far then by the time you bake in the morning there won’t be enough left to get the rise you’re after.

      For bulk I look for a dough that’s risen a significant amount (there’s no set percentage I look for), it’s jiggly in the bowl and you’ll see bubbles on top and around the sides. It should look smooth and stronger than when you started bulk. One good indicator for me is the edge where the dough meets the bulk container: it should be domed (convex) downward. This shows there’s strength in the dough and it’s risen properly from enough fermentation. Finally, wet a hand and give the dough a little tug, it should show some resistance to the tug and want to snap back. If it stretches out too easily give the dough more time to ferment.

      I’m looking forward to working more with sprouted wheat as well! I’ve been using it in a ton of different baking applications here in my kitchen and will get back to using it in my sourdough soon.

      Happy baking and I hope this helps!

      • sebie seb

        Thank you Maurizio for the tips to assessing the state of the dough at the end of the bulk. In this case you get caught starting a bulk fermentation too late, is there a temperature you can shoot for to slow down the bulk and restart at 80C in the morning or have it go really slow for 8 hours? Thank you.
        I am trying a mix between your spelt sourdough (1/3) and sprouted wheat (1/3). I experimented with 50% sprouted, 20% semolina and 30% all purpose. The outcome was tasty but too grainy because of semolina and sprouted and not enough support from all purpose,
        Finally curious if you have tried anything with durum?

        • If you want to do a longer bulk you can try doing a “cold bulk” in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll have to play with temperatures and timing, though, as it’s very different than a warm bulk. I’ve been experimenting with this lately and hope to have a post up here at my website soon!

          I have baked with semolina in the past (you can find recipes here on my Recipes page using coarse semolina) but never straight durum. I’m sure I’ll get there!

          • Sebie Seb

            Thank you Maurizio. Can’t wait for your cold bulk technique when you realize you started your bread way too late but forge ahead because your starter was perfect.
            I redid your sprouted wheat and compared it with your second spelt recipe. I loved sprouted at first but it did not come through this time. Tastewise spelt tasted better than sprouted. Then I went back and realized I bought two different sprouted flours. White wheat and red wheat. The last kind is much more assertive and i prefer it to spelt. However spelt has a great length of taste and your touch of rye was lovely.
            For next week end I am trying your sprouted wheat with red wheat, spelt and 5% rye. How much minimum all purpose do you recommend to get a nice crust? Should I follow your second spelt recipe or your sprouted recipe? Am I staying at 85% hydration?
            Thank you for your advice.

            • I’d start out with at least half of the total flour either all purpose or bread flour. That way you have a good structural base in the bread formula that will also allow you to freely experiment with the other 50% (spelt or sprouted, or both). Once you get a good ratio there (flavor and performance) then branch out with replacing more of the all purpose if you’d like. This way you don’t dive in too deep the first time! That’s my suggestion at least 🙂

              Hope the bake turns out awesome! You’re definitely working with a nice set of flavorful flours here.

              • Sebie Seb

                Thank you for the advice. I kept bread flour and ap at 63% with sprouted wheat, spelt and rye. The flavor combination was amazing, nice chew, beautiful crust with beautiful ears. I assumed 33% of sprouted flour makes thing a bit easier. Pushing to 42% this weekend.
                As I was flipping the loaf, I noticed little veins at the bottom going all the way inside the loaf. My loaf always has a dense crust formation at the bottom with no aeration. The air bubble in this loaf were perfectly even. I used Tartine heavy pan and wok cooking technique. So I am wondering if this something that benefited the bread and this is something I can recreate or control.
                Thank you for all your precious guidance.

                • Using a Dutch oven is a really nice, convenient way to bake that’s for sure. Glad I could help, sounds like you’re baking some awesome bread out there!

  • Susan

    Ok. I have tried this recipe 3 times and each time the dough lacked adequate structure. It was a sticky, blob. It had a little structure early in the slap and fold stage but halfway through slapping and folding, it just lost any structure at all and became blob-like. In my last attempt, I still continued with the recipe. The dough rose but was too loose to shape. King Arthur sprouted wheat flour isn’t available here so I used One Degree Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour. Would the flour difference impact the bread that much? Other thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hey, Susan! Sorry to hear that. It sounds like the One Degree flour you use just isn’t able to take the same hydration percentage as my recipe outlines using the King Arthur flour. I’ve seen this happen many times: during kneading or mixing the dough simply falls apart and doesn’t come back together. This is a classic sign for over-hydration. I’d recommend you reduce the water in my recipe by 10% and try again (I know you’ve tried three times already!). You could even hold some more water back and add it in slowly during mixing if you notice the dough is able to handle it.

      I hope this helps, let me know if the reduced hydration works out for ya!

      • Susan

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll give the recipe another try.

        • You bet, let me know how it goes!

          • Susan

            Maurizio – I finally got around to trying this again. I am amazed by how much the 10% reduction in water made a difference. The dough was much more manageable-kneaded well and had good structure. Thanks for the tip!

            • So, so glad to hear that, Susan! You’re very welcome, enjoy the bread!

  • Liza S

    This is now my go to loaf of bread. I have made it 6 times, twice it has come out amazing and the other few times… not as much but still wonderful. Part of it is likely my starter not being used optimally as I usually start the levain and autolyse before I go into the lab and gym on the weekends… which can take an un-predictable amount of time. The other part is that my kitchen temp can fluctuate about 10 degrees – it is always really hot in here unless we turn the AC on.

    The first couple of times I made it, it was really slack. The next time I made it and added 10g of vital wheat gluten and kicked up the hydration to 88% and it was great! (at least I think it was 88%, my scale was being a little wonky that day) The crumb was a little bit tighter than I would have liked but the bread stood up nice and tall.

    I am going to keep playing around with it but I love the flavors that come out of the mix of flours.

    • That’s great Liza, glad to hear that! I do like the mix of flours here as well, the sprouted wheat has an awesome taste that really shines through. If the dough is overly slack you could try reducing hydration 5% and see if that helps (I know it seems like a small number but it is significant!).

      One of the challenges all of us home bakers face is consistency. Do your best to keep temps (insulation, bowl-in-a-bowl), times and everything else as consistent between bakes as possible — this way we can really look at what works and what doesnt each bake.

      Beyond that, just have fun and enjoy baking bread at home! Happy baking 🙂

  • Mary

    Thanks for a great tasting recipe, Maurizio. I’m always careful with hydration, realizing that humidity can affect how much liquid any given batch can take. Given that, I reduced the final hydration on this, my first, batch by around 20gm but still found it slightly slack. My only disappointment with this bread is that my final crumb, although beautiful, was strangely chewy (say, compared with a pan levain), as opposed to your description of a “tender” crumb. For that reason I didn’t think I’d make it again until I had it for breakfast with some good sheeps-milk cheese. Oh my goodness, was it delicious! So if you have a comment with regard to the perceived chewiness of my crumb, I’m all ears!

    • Sorry for the late reply, Mary! Usually a chewy interior is attributed to high protein flour (in my experience), if the result was overly chewy for you a reduction of this higher protein flour may help. Also, I like to let me dough ferment quite far, almost to the point of over proofing (or somewhere just before there) as I find this always results in the most tender interior. Have you tried letting the dough proof a bit longer to see if it reduces the chewy texture?

  • Hannah Grajko

    Hi Maurizio, thanks for the awesome recipe! I’ve been using this for a few weeks at home, and the results have been pretty good. However, I had a question about high-altitude baking for this recipe; I live in Boulder, CO (elevation ~5,700 ft), and have been trying to make this bread a little more moist on the inside. I’ve played with slightly lower bulk fermentation, and upped my liquid slightly (as suggested by the internet), but that seems to make loaves that are pretty slack. I’m wondering if you have any advice! Thank you.

    • Glad to hear your bakes have gone well so far! I also live at about that altitude here in Albuquerque, NM. You can definitely up the water but that does indeed slacken the dough out some, which means you’ll have to mix longer to get the dough to the same level of strength. You could try adding in 1-2 more sets of stretch and folds during bulk to see if that helps.

      Typically what I end up doing is after I cut the bread I keep it in a bread box or a paper bag to ensure the loaf doesn’t excessively dry out. Keeping it this way I find the crumb stays softer for much longer!

      • Hannah Grajko

        Awesome, I will try that today for my bake prep! Your site is so helpful 🙂 Thanks.