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Breakfast Sourdough Bread - mature starter

Breakfast Sourdough Bread - mature starter

This is our favourite baking approach that produces simple and delicious breakfast loaf. Our simple breakfast bread has 90% white bread flour and 10% wholemeal spelt (or rye). Small addition of wholemeal spelt adds slightly sweet and nutty flavour to this bread. Thanks to long fermentation, flour is partially pre-digested and flavour fully developed. A real treat!

As a result of cool 'autolyse' with salt, the dough is easy to work with and gluten partially developed already at the beginning of mixing stage. We are using small portion of levain (10.5%) to allow for slow fermentation. Hydration in this recipe is at 68% (again: easy dough and enjoyable to work with) but there is a scope to add more water at a mixing stage. Thanks to fairly long process and low % of levain you can go up as far as 80% hydration, adding additional 55g water at a mixing stage and 1 or 2 more coil folds during bulk fermentation. In this option, we usually use extra strong white flour (mixed 50:50, 50% of white flour with 12g protein, 50% with 14.9g protein) This process is also very flexible - you can add here up to 20% wholemeal flour (rye, spelt) without major change in timings (see notes in the recipe).

If you are keeping your starer in the fridge - make sure to feed it at least twice, keeping it at room temperature (feeding every 8 or 12 hours at 1:5:5; before building the levain).

At 68% hydration, the crumb is open, airy and light, without massive holes. Perfect breakfast crumb for keeping all that delicious butter on your slice!

On our Instagram (@brunibakery) you can watch video with full baking process - there is a 'how-to' tutorial showing autolyse, how to knead and shape this dough. In the same place, you may also opt to check the list of fantastic sourdough resources: books, IG accounts, youtube channels, bakeries.

Breakfast Sourdough Bread - mature starter

Breakfast Sourdough Bread - recipe for mature starter


- 405g white bread flour (12g protein or more)

- 45g wholemeal spelt or rye flour

- 10g coarse sea salt

- 300g water (21C) + 10g during final mixing

- 50g levain (at peak or up to 1 hr after descent)

Method and timing (mature starter):

  1. Prepare levain (Day 1: 10pm): mix 10g of ripe starter with 100g water (26C), then add 80g white bread flour and 20g wholemeal rye flour. Mix gently until no flour pockets remain. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature (19-21C). We are using here 1:10:10 proportions but adjust to fit your starter. If you want to start baking later than 10am next morning - adjust ratio accordingly. Use levain at its peak or shortly after it started descending. If you are storing your starter in the fridge - make sure to give it 2 feedings (at room temperature), every 12 hours, prior to building the levain.

  2. Cool 'autolyse' with salt (Day 1-2: 10.15pm-10am, 12 hrs in total): In your main mixing bowl mix flours with coarse salt. Add water (21C) and mix until shaggy dough forms. Don’t over-mix. Mix only until no flour pockets remain. The dough should be sticky. Transfer the dough onto work surface, clean the bowl and transfer the dough back into the bowl. Cover your bowl or place in plastic bag (close using elastic band to prevent from drying out). Leave overnight at cool room temperature (14-18C).

  3. Mix the dough (Day 2: 10am): Spread 50g levain on top of the dough (use the rest to replenish your starter). Make few dimples in the dough to gently incorporate the starter and relax the dough. Gently stretch and fold the dough (grabbing from the bottom and pulling up), work your way all around the bowl (5 or 6 S&Fs). Now your dough is ready for mixing - wet your hand and use your favourite mixing technique. We are using a mix of Rubaud method and slap&fold. Mix for 4 minutes. The gluten development is already on the go due to long ‘autolyse’ with salt so you don’t want to over-work the dough. Wet your hand every so often to relax the dough (that’s your +10g water in the recipe). After brief initial mixing, cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes, then knead for another 4-5 minutes. When done, cover the dough and transfer for bulk proof (24-25C is ideal for this dough).

  4. Bulk (Day 2: 10.30am - 4.30pm at 24-25C, 6 hrs in total): 45 minutes after mixing do the first set of stretch and fold. Pull the dough up (grabbing from the bottom up) - stretch, and then fold it on top of itself (don’t push too hard, as much as the dough allows you to, without tearing gluten). Then cover and let rest. In the first 4-4hrs 30min do 4 S&Fs, every 45minutes. I usually do a simple S&F (1) and a set of coil folds (3). Leave the dough untouched for the last 2 hours of bulk fermentation. You will aim for 60-70% increase vs. initial volume. If you go with 20% wholemeal in the recipe - keep bulk closer to 5hr15min-5hr30min.

  5. Shape (Day 2: 4:30 pm, 21-24C): When ready, dust your work surface with flour (less is more), gently release the dough (watch not to degas, let it float slowly and freely, without tearing gluten). I shape this dough without bench rest (you may opt to pre-shape it and leave on the bench for 20min, covered). Shape the dough (the way you shape it will depend on proofing basket you are using - check out our Instagram for simple way to shape your dough). Place in proofing basket, cover. Let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Then transfer to the fridge.

  6. Final proof (Day 2-3: 5pm - 7/10am, 14-17hrs in total): After 30min on the bench transfer your dough to the fridge (3-4C). Proof for anything between 14-17 hours (this window is flexible so make it fit your schedule). It's important you check the real working temperature of your fridge - aim for 3C to 4C.

  7. Bake (Day 3: anytime between 7am and 10am): 1 hour before baking, preheat your oven with Dutch Oven in it (or other dish, pizza stone etc) to 245C (keep fan forced ovens at 245C too!). When ready, take the dough out of the fridge (don't do any additional bench rest), place a piece of parchment paper on top, rotate around so that the parchment paper is at the boom, take off the proofing basket, score the bread and place immediately into hot Dutch Oven. Apply some water mist on top of the dough, place few ice-cubes between the bottom of the pot and parchment paper (watch, as the steam will go right up - wear gloves). Immediately place the lid on and bake for 25minutes at 245C/230C fan (with the lid on) and 15-20 minutes at 230C/215C fan (with the lid off). When baked, transfer your bread to the cooling rack and let it cool for 2-4 hours for the crumb to set.

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