Sourdough with mixed flours | The Fresh Loaf

The other day, while looking for rye flour at my local Whole Foods, I came across spelt flour, made by the same company, Farmer Ground I used their organic rye flour before, and while I am still very new to baking a good, mostly rye loaf, I liked the taste the rye flour gave to my wheat loaves when it was added in moderation. 

I have heard about spelt and spelt flour before, and decided to give it a try.  Initially, I thought about adding just a small amount of spelt to replace all-purpose flour in my trusted go-to recipe for sourdough.  I simply wanted to see how it would taste. When it came time to bake, however, I suddenly became very “inspired”, and figured “Why not just see what else I can do?”  With all of my bread-baking attempts, the loaves always come out edible, even if terribly looking, so I was not particularly afraid of a failure. As the result, I present to you a loaf baked with not just two, but four flours: all-purpose wheat, whole wheat, medium rye, and spelt.  The dough was a pleasure to work with, nice and pliable, not too dry and not too wet, albeit a bit sticky, even given the relatively low moisture amount. I suspect the “stickiness” was the result of rye flour being present, as I have experienced that before (to the point where once I had to literally scrape my loaf out of banneton where it was placed for final proofing).

I must admit I didn’t start with any specific proportion in mind, and at first was planning to use much more of “other” flours, but then I became concerned that they will alter the overall behavior of the dough too much, so I reduced their amounts to some arbitrary low numbers.

Here’s my final recipe:

Levain (100% hydration, white AP flour) – 150 g
Water – 290 g 
Medium rye flour – 50 g
Whole wheat flour – 50 g
Spelt flour – 100 g
King Arthur AP flour – 285 g
Salt – 11 g

Baker’s math:

AP flour – 360 g (64%)
Rye flour – 50 g (9%)
WW flour – 50 g (9%)
Spelt flour – 100 g (18%)
Total flour – 560 g (100%)
Water – 365 g (65%)
Salt – 11 g (1.95%)

I built my levain in the morning, as usual, using my refrigerated starter, filtered water, and all-purpose flour. The proportion is 50 g / 50 g / 50 g, which makes 150 g of levain that I use later. I warm up the water a little, to quickly bring the mix to the room temperature, and then let it rise for approx. 6 hours, depending on the temperature in the kitchen.  Once the mixture is bubbly, smells of bread yeast, and has roughly doubled in volume, I consider it ready to go.   

For the dough, I start with warm water, so the yeasts start working fast. I mixed all of the ingredients, except for salt, in a stand mixer on low speed until everything seemed to be well integrated (about 2 min), and then let it autolyse for 45 min in an oven that was first warmed-up on Bread Proof setting.  For my regular loaves, I have also done it in a cold oven, and simply increased the autolyse time to 60 min.  Then I added salt, and mixed the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook for about 7-8 min on speed 2.  Then the dough was moved to a glass bowl and covered with plastic (here, I use a shower cap).

I let the dough sit for 30 min, then did 4 rounds of stretch-n-fold (or is it pinch-n-fold? 🙂 ), with 30 min rest intervals in-between.  Finally, I let the dough rise undisturbed for approx. 2 hrs. The loaf was formed as usual, placed into a banneton with linen cloth insert (because I was afraid the dough with rye would stick again), and refrigerated overnight, about 12 hours.

In the morning I preheated the oven to 500F, along with my cast aluminum cover inside, placed the loaf on a cookie sheet lined with silicone pad, and baked as follows: covered for 20 min @ 475F, then uncover, bake 15 min @ 460F, then 15 min @ 450F.  When done, internal temperature of the loaf was 207F, and I felt it was a bit too low, so turned off the oven and left my bread inside for 5 more min. This resulted in internal temperature going up by only 0.5F, and was perhaps a bit detrimental to the crust (although I am not completely certain about that part).

The resulting loaf, just out of the oven:


The crust was crunchy and tasty, with a distinct rye flavor, but I thought it came out just a tad bit too “tough”, and slightly bitter in places, although it was definitely not burned.  Perhaps those last 5 minutes inside the cooling oven were not needed?

The crumb:

Overall, I rate this bake as a relative success, and will definitely try making it again.  As always, I appreciate all of your thoughts, comments, and questions.

Happy baking!


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