I can read Portuguese, English, and French.  Stretching my brains a little I can get by in blogs written in Italian or Spanish, as the grammar and many words are similar to those from my native language.  Reading Romanian is another story altogether, but Codruta’s blog is on my blogroll list and will not be leaving anytime soon! Through Google Translate and a few email exchanges with her, I can profit from the bread masterpieces she regularly posts on “Apa. Faina. Sare”.   Agua. Farinha. Sal.  Water. Flour. Salt.  The basic ingredients for great bread, once you add the magic of wild yeast.

When she posted her own formula for a sourdough bread with flaky oats in the dough, I wanted to make it right away, as it involved a technique new to me: cold fermentation of the starter and dough until final proofing of the shaped bread.  Plus, it combined two different starters, one made with rye flour.  Indeed, not a bread for beginners, but I decided to take a leap of faith and play with the grownups. 😉   What do you think?

(reprinted with permission, from Apa. Faina. Sare)

Makes one very large loaf or two medium-sized loaves.

for pre-ferment:
50 g very active starter made with regular flour (100% hydration)
50 g very active starter made with rye flour (100% hydration)
100 g bread flour
50 g water

for final dough:
all pre-ferment (250g)
450 g white bread flour
150 g whole wheat flour
130 g rolled oats (rolled thick is better)
470 g cold water
17 g salt

Prepare the pre-ferment by dissolving both types of starters in water, then add the flour. Stir and cover the container, placing it immediately in the refrigerator.  It is better to use a tall and narrow pot, transparent, so you can mark the level of your starter mixture as you place it in the fridge. Let it sit there 18-24 hours, until the yeast bubble grows up. You have a margin of a few hours to use for the yeast bubble will remain within, then begins to collapse.  Ideally, you should catch it when it’s almost doubled in bulk, as you can see in this photo.

When the starter is ready to be used, mix in a bowl the flours, rolled oats and cold water, let it sit 40 to 60 min (the autolyse step). Sprinkle salt on top, add the fermented starter straight from the fridge. Blend all ingredients together. Knead by folding directly into the bowl, a few minutes, until the dough comes off the fingers and the vessel walls. The dough will be quite dense, but do not add more water. Cover the pot, wait 15 minutes, and repeat the kneading by folding (one complete rotation of the vessel is sufficient). Cover and wait 15 minutes.

Transfer the dough in a greased rectangular dish with oil, make a set of stretch and fold (SF), wait 45 minutes, repeat the set of SF and place dough in the refrigerator.  Let dough in refrigerator for 15 to 18 hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for 1 hour. Divide the dough in two, and shape each half as a round or oval loaf.  Place the shaped loaves in a banetton or another appropriate container, with the seam up. Cover the pot with a light fabric, and then with plastic wrap. Let the dough proof at room temperature for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Heat your oven 45 minutes before baking time. Have a baking stone inside and your method to generate steam planned. Bake at 460 F  for 45 min, with steam for the initial 15 min. Reduce temp to 440 F  if the bread seems to be browning too much.

Cool it completely before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

With this bread, I tried to work on shaping a batard, but next time I will divide the dough in uneven portions, making a slightly smaller batard and bigger “boule”.  I need a bit more practice with this shape of bread, but I feel I’m slowly making progress…  I was hoping for a shorter bread, with more pointed ends.  It will happen.  I know it will…  😉

The bread was absolutely delicious! The oats, although not previously soaked, more or less disappear into the dough, contributing flavor and a very slight hint of texture. Perfect! More and more I lean towards bread with whole wheat flour and grains or seeds inside, I find that they are very satisfying and more flavorful than white bread.

Unfortunately, I had a small problem with my camera – pilot error – and lost all my photos of the crumb.   Mine was not as perfect as Codruta’s bread, but no one who tried the bread seemed to mind…  Make sure to stop by her blog and marvel at the structure of her bread,  with a beautiful pyramidal shape, which is a sign of perfect handling of the dough.

Codruta, thanks for a great recipe,  I now only have about 8 others from your blog waiting in line!   😉

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO:  Roasted Corn and Tomato Risotto

TWO YEARS AGO: Light Rye Bread

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  1. I love your bread, Sally. I think it looks fantastic. And THANK YOU for all those nice words.
    I have the same position regarding whole wheat breads: they are more flavorful than white breads, involves more skills to make them right, and while white dough is more forgiving and beginner friendly, whole wheat dough requires a refinement that comes with time and experience.
    When you’re making a batard, if you want it to be shorter and fat middle and pointy ends, preshape the dough in a boule, rather than a log. I’m sure you’ll get where you want soon, your batard is very good looking already!
    I like the way you score the boule, perfect in my opinion. Can’t wait to see your next adventures in bread baking!
    hugs and best wishes for you and Phil,
    thank you again


  2. Hummmm… very interesting – so you start from a boule to reach the batard shape… I must try that next time

    one of the things I am afraid of is handling the dough too much and losing the airy structure, but I also know that in the beginning, until you master the moves for a particular type of shaping, there is a natural tendency to do too much. Maybe I should just accept that my first productions won’t be perfect and work harder on the correct shaping.

    I know that making a video is a ton of work, but you are so good at the kneading by stretching/folding, and shaping of your breads, maybe one day you could make a video to show off your talent! Seriously!

    I am now trying to figure out when to attack my croissant project…. this weekend, maybe…. not sure yet. (Codruta, thanks for catching my mistake in the oven instructions, I edited the body of the text, when I have a chance I’ll upload a new PDF file….. sigh)


  3. All I can say is I’m in complete awe of your bread making abilities Sally! Geez, and I thought I was fancy with my bread maker ;-). These loaves look gorgeous and definitely ‘advanced’ :).


    • This was probably the most complex bread I’ve made, maybe second to Poilane miche. Which I must make again using COdruta’s tweaks in the recipe, she has a great post about it.


  4. I’m so impressed with your skills, Sally!! All of those languages AND you can really make a loaf of bread! I’m starting to think I will just leave bread making up to you.. I will just come and gaze at your work of art!! xo Smidge


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    • Well, well, well, dear…. now you can read them all too, and as far as Mandarin goes, mine is pretty much gone, amazing how hard it was to grasp it and how easy to forget once I stopped working daily on it.

      but, we have to dance to the music. Right now it’s not the time for it, unfortunately… 😦


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  7. I have no doubt you will soon master the shaping of the bread. You are after all the bread master. 🙂 This looks so good!!!! I like the cuts on the top of the boule especially. Have a good weekend Sally! Hugs!


    • Here’s what I do: I get my “regular”, white flour starter, and feed it for three days with rye flour instead of white – exactly the same way. I like to do 100% hydration, so that’s what I use. At the end of the third day, it is pretty much all rye, with a very small percentage of white flour (I normally use only about 2 teaspoons to refresh a starter if I want to “convert” it from one type of flour to another

      I hope you try it!

      (by the way, I just made a bread today using 166% white starter, and liked quite a bit the way the dough “felt”)


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    • Sorry to hear that… Maybe there is a difference between the type of oats you used and the one I (and Codruta) used? Hydration sometimes can be pretty tricky, but I know it is frustrating when a recipe doesn’t go as planned 😦


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