Friday, July 12, 2013

Potato Sourdough Bread with Spelt and White Whole Wheat Flour

potato sourdough bread with spelt and white whole wheat flour

This bread is big, soft and airy with a chewy crust, and a mellow sourdough flavor. The ingredient list includes freshly ground spelt and white whole wheat flours because I enjoy their less assertive flavor. I find that when I bake with all whole wheat flour it is overpowering.

Ever since I began to maintain a sourdough starter I've been working on improving my "artisan" loaves. I've found that I really prefer the taste of my starter to others and making your own artisan bread is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than buying bakery bread. In Anchorage, Alaska I have spent $9 on a single loaf of artisan bread. It really does not take a whole lot of effort to make bread; you just have to plan ahead and show up every few hours and lay your hands on it.

Soudough bread making tips and tricks that work for me:
1) The texture of sourdough bread is improved if it has baked potato or even baked yams included in the list of ingredients.

2) A very active starter. My starter had been fed once a day, for 3 days in a row.

3) Include a resting period of 15 minutes after the ingredients are mixed.

4) Resist the urge to add too much flour.

5) Use a heavy duty stand mixer.

Potato Sourdough Bread with Spelt and White Whole Wheat Flour
This recipe is a very bastardized version of Potato Bread from Ed and Jean Woods' "Classic Sourdoughs" book. The original recipe uses all purpose flour, milk, and butter which have been replaced with non-dairy milk, extra olive oil and whole grains. Makes one large loaf.

1 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration, AP flour)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 medium baked potato, crumbled, skin included
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 TB vital wheat gluten plus enough organic all purpose flour to equal 1 cup (16 TB total)
extra flour for dusting or added if too wet

Add starter, non-dairy milk, and extra virgin olive oil into mixer bowl. Mix. Add salt and crumbled potato. Add all three flours and mix well, using dough hook. After it's mixed, let it sit for about 15 minutes. This lets it absorb the flours.

Mix on medium speed for about 6-10 minutes until dough passes the "window pane" test and is smooth and satiny. It will be sticky! Try not to add extra flour unless it is hopelessly wet. There is a happy medium in regards to flour and it depends on how humid it is, the flours, etc., etc. This is why I like to use a mixer, it can be a bit wet and sticky and I don't have to handle it.

Put in lightly oiled bowl or container; cover and let rise until double. Rising time will depend on how warm it is in your kitchen and how active the starter. I put my dough on top of the refrigerator and it was doubled in about 5 hours. You could let it rise overnight. The longer it rises the more pronounced the sourdough flavor will be.

After it has doubled, use a spatula to gently ease the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. If it gets REALLY flat, knead in additional flour before shaping.

Flatten the rested dough slightly, then lift each side to the center, turn and do it again to form a ball. Gently pinch closed. Place the shaped loaf seam side UP in a proofing basket that has been sprinkled with flour. Cover, and let rise for 2 to 4 hours until it doubles in bulk. I like to bake my artisan loafs in a La Cloche, that has been preheated for an hour in a 450 degree oven. Bake for 25 minutes, take off the lid, and bake 15 more minutes to brown. Cool on wire rack. DO NOT cut into the loaf for at least an hour.


This is how I make my bread. If you continue to bake your own bread, you will end up using methods that suit YOU and that is the beauty of baking bread. There are many different ways to do it and who's to say which is the right way? I say the right way, is the one that works for YOU.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I will be making this one soon. I am anxious to see how the potato does with the whole grains. I've made potato breads in the past, but that was before I ventured into sourdough and whole grains. And it's timely because I have lots of potatoes from the garden right about now.

    1. Let me know how your bread turns out. Please be sure to use your instinct when it comes to adding the flour. The original recipe called for 3-1/2 cups AP flour. I grind my own flour so it's kind of a crap shoot on how much to add (at least for me). This loaf just turned out so good, so light for a bread with whole grains, very pleasing.