This bread closes a personal saga with a long-awaited happy ending.   Since we moved to LA I’ve been searching for a way to bake the bread we enjoy the most:  the rustic sourdough boule.  When you only have a small electric (toaster) oven, baking this bread becomes tricky,  to say the least.  After 11 unsuccessful attempts, I finally conquered my virtual Mt.Everest and stuck my flag  in the summit!

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

235 g active sourdough starter  (75% hydration)
275 ml water at room temperature
400 g bread flour
65 g whole wheat flour
10 g salt

Pour the water into a bowl, add the sourdough starter and dissolve it.  Add the flours and the salt, then roughly mix all the ingredients together to form a shaggy mass.  No need to incorporate it as a smooth dough at this point.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a smooth surface rubbed with a small amount of vegetable oil.    Quickly knead the dough for 20-30 seconds, incorporating all the dried bits of flour that are clinging to it .   Wash the bowl or transfer to another, clean bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, add to the kneading surface (slightly coated with oil if needed), knead for 20 seconds (second kneading cycle).  Place the dough back in the bowl, leave it resting for 45 minutes more.  Proceed with a third kneading cycle, place the dough in the bowl for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl, shape roughly into a ball, let it rest 15 minutes, and form it into the final shape, making sure to generate good surface tension.  Place the ball, seam side up, in a well floured round basket and let it rise at room temperature for 3 hours.  Forty-five minutes before baking,  heat your oven to 450F with a round pizza stone inside.

Invert the dough over a piece of parchment paper on a peel or cookie sheet, slash the top with a razor blade, and place in the oven. Position a Dutch oven inverted on top of it (fill it with very hot water, then dump the water and use it to cover your bread).  Bake covered for 35 minutes, then CAREFULLY uncover the bread and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more (or until internal temperature is over 200F).  If the top browns too much lower the temperature to 425F, and cover the surface with aluminum foil.

Cool for at least one hour before slicing and…


to print the full recipe, click here

to see my timetable for this bread, click here

to print your own timetable for future use, click here

Comments: I’ve baked many breads in the past 3 years, but none gave me the thrill of this one, because it was my very last attempt! I was ready to throw in the towel and conclude that a rustic sourdough cannot be done in the nano-kitchen. What made it possible was creating the correct enclosure to bake the bread for the first 30 minutes.  For our Breville, a round pizza stone and a Le Creuset-wannabe (found at a Ross store  a couple of months ago) served the purpose quite well.

Normally I’d add a small amount of rye flour to the dough, but I couldn’t  find it last weekend, so I used only regular whole-wheat.  This is probably the largest bread you can bake in a Breville, and I intend to try a slightly smaller version in the near future.  I used regular kneading for this bread, but made a second loaf a couple of days later folding the dough instead, with similar results.  You can use whatever technique you feel most comfortable with.

Variation: Follow this recipe to the point of the final shaping as a “boule,” then retard it in the fridge overnight.  Next day, bring it to room temperature 2 hours before baking.

I am excited to send this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGOVienna Bread

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27 thoughts on “TIDY SOURDOUGH

  1. Woo hoo! I take my hat off once again to you Sally! or should that be my dutch oven? Congratulations on that little beauty – I think you should start a group of Nano Bakers 🙂

    xx Joanna


  2. Great! Thanks for posting the details.
    I’ll definitely be trying this.
    You were going to bake one of these as a gift, weren’t you? I hope it was duly appreciated!


    • Hi, Susan!
      I decided to include a photo showing the set up – just uploaded it after your comment.
      The Dutch oven, a brand called “Swiss Pro” that I had never heard about, is 9.5 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall. That comes to about 3.75 quarts.

      One thing I like about being able to bake in this type of oven: no heating the house in the Summer! But it does limit a bit what one can do when it’s the only oven available…


    • Your wish is my command…. 🙂

      Just uploaded a photo, not very good, I’m afraid – but that’s the only one I took, I guess we were too busy enjoying the bread. The second loaf turned out better than this one, the crumb was slightly more open.


  3. I have baked a lot of bread before and many a sourdough loaf…I never saw this method and I can’t wait to try it. I have sour dough “cooking” on the counter as we speak… since it is all wet and icy outside I think I am doing it today.


  4. Congratulations on success in the nano kitchen! It looks beautiful. 11 tries! That inspires me to keep trying with my own Mt Everest. For me, it’s baking a good ciabatta with lots of big holes in the crumb. I’m only on about four attempts at this point though.


  5. @everybody:

    thanks for your comments, nice to have a happy ending for this project, it was a little ordeal to get there, though…

    Lisa, don’t give up on the ciabatta, it is a tricky one, I’ve had plenty of trouble with it too, and there’s room for improvement. I am definitely NOT done with that one 😉


  6. Pingback: Sourdough whole wheat naan recipe « Calogero Mira, Food and Recipes

  7. Absolutely marvelous!
    I followed your thread from TFL over here so I could see the pics. My oven is a GE Profile combination/MW/convection oven on the tabletop, and I’ve been baking bread in it for 3 years now. I’ve had to be satisfied with sandwich bread, after trying steam burned out my inside light. I’ve definitely got room to give this a try!

    A nanobaking thread would be a valuable thing… I’m going to be baking this way at least another 2 years.


    • Nanobaking can be a challenge indeed, but the rewards are awesome! It takes a bit of tweaking around and getting to know your electric oven, but light happens at the end of the tunnel… 😉


  8. I’m looking for a recipe very similar to this one that I made before, but now can’t find. Do you care to share some of your inspiration sources that you adapted the recipe from?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Sourdough for All – Books, Bikes, Bread

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