Another example of a recipe that blew the doors of the competition once I spotted it at The Fresh Loaf forum. They highlighted this bread on their front page, since it is so unique and gorgeous. My starter was eagerly waiting for a chance to shine, I had wheat germ in the freezer, the only departure from the original recipe was the use of sage instead of rosemary.   Not for gastronomic preference, but because a “certain dog” – who used to wander the streets of Hollywood – destroyed our rosemary plant. The dog has a good lawyer, and is presently free on bail.

(adapted from Ross’ recipe at The Fresh Loaf Forum)

150 g starter (white, 80% hydration)
335 g  water
490 g bread flour
20 g toasted wheatgerm
2 Tbs  fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
9 g  salt
Mix all ingredients, except the salt, until they form a shaggy mass, no need to worry with kneading yet.   Let it rest undisturbed for 40 minutes at room temperature.

Place the dough on a lightly oiled surface,  open flatten it out slightly, sprinkle the salt all over, and knead a few times to distribute the salt.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, let it sit for 1 hour.    Knead by stretching and folding a few times –  it will feel very smooth and easy to fold – put back in the bowl and let it rise 1 hour.   Repeat the stretch and fold one more time, cover the dough and let it rise for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, place it in a floured banetton type container, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.

Remove from the fridge 1 hour and 30 minutes before baking.  Bake in a 450F oven, using your favorite method to generate steam.  After 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 425F, and bake for a total of 40-45 minutes. If you baked the bread covering with a roasting pan, remove the cover after 30 minutes.

Let it cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

What a delicious loaf of bread this one turned out to be!  I used very little sage because it is such a strong-tasting herb, so its flavor was barely noticeable.  This bread would be great at a Thanksgiving dinner.  The wheat germ lends a bit of moisture to the crumb, allowing it to last longer than your regular sourdough.

The crust, hearty and crunchy, was covered with those tiny blisters that make the baker very happy.  Inside, the crumb was open, airy, and light. Cannot ask for much more than that…  😉

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting, please make sure to stop by and marvel at her weekly display of breads. I know my Friday is not complete without it!

ONE YEAR AGO: Polenta-Crust Tomato Loaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Watermelon Granita

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    • I guess you haven’t noticed my post on croissants… 🙂 Please, don’t go there, just trust my word, and I promise one day to redeem myself…. croissants are not for the faint of heart


  1. Beautiful again! I like the addition of sage to this one. That reminds me I need to feed my starter again today. 🙂 I’m still trying to get a good loaf…and as always your breads are inspiration!


  2. Beautiful, as always, Sally. We love fresh sage. It’s lovely coated with very little olive oil and roasted on top and around a pork tenderloin. It may need more browning but that depends on your oven. We eat it as a side dish and fight over it, too. Okay, we almost fight over it.


      • Brown butter and sage is a delicious combination. Did you know that sage is deep fried, too? Not for me, but my oven makes it crisp and delicious.
        I doubt it would be redundant served on a piece of your bread with maybe a slice or two of Parma ham.


    • I like to put “healthy” ingredients in bread and other goodies high in calories – you know, the healthy components add a negative sign to the calories, so that they don’t add up 😉


  3. Woweee. I think I’ll make this and eat the entire thing while watching my P90X collection. The best of both worlds!

    It really does look awesome. Amazing crumb (and I don’t say that about just anyone).


  4. Before I even read the whole post, I knew this bread would be a winner for Thanksgiving! I love the idea of replacing rosemary by sage. Thank you so much, Sally! (I also like it that the dog is now free on bail)


  5. I’m relatively new to concerted bread baking and undertook this with my three week old starter and new sage plant. However, I’d had this recipe bookmarked for a couple months, it’s just gorgeous. I didn’t have wheat germ, so replaced with some wheat bran and steel cut oats. I am mostly happy with the results! The bread rose beautifully and came out with a really nice crumb. However, my crust has problems, I’m sure due to poor technique on my part. I’ll have to do some forensic work. But I definitely will make this again. Thanks!


    • Hi, Laureen
      THanks for the feedback! Usually when I have a problem with the crust, it’s my way of generating steam that was not efficient enough.

      Depending on how you created steam in your oven, that could be one point to concentrate on…

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe! And Happy Thanksgiving!


  6. I used cilantro instead of sage and cooked it in a dutch oven, it turned out great! I’ll have to try it with the sage sometime, I was looking at wheat germ recipes since I seemed to have a bottle in the fridge for some strange reason. This is my favorite recipe of the month.


  7. Great recipe. I had seen a lot of nice SOURDOUGH BREAD recipes, but this one is really surprised me. I think it looks traditional and delicious. I will try to make it at home and hope it will be delicious like yours.


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