Something new that I’ve tried last week… Use any sourdough recipe you like, I am sharing my default version with a touch of spelt. Once the bread is ready to go into the oven, add some water to a little charcoal powder and brush the surface of the dough. While it’s still wet, place a stencil on top and shower it with white flour (all-purpose is fine). Rub it gently so that the design is as sharp as possible. Carefully lift the stencil, slash the bread and bake.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

480g bread flour
20g spelt flour
10g salt
370g water
80g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
1 tablespoon activated charcoal powder
a little water
all-purpose flour for stencil detail

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, and the salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour, you want the dough to start clearing the sides of the bowl, but still be sticky at the bottom. 

Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the dough over parchment paper, make a paste with the charcoal powder and water, and paint over the surface. Immediately place a stencil on top, and shower white flour over it, rubbing it gently to get the design to stick well. Next, use a brand new razor blade to score around the design, to coach the bread into opening without ruining the pattern.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. Cool completely over a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I know that one should never complain about excessive oven-spring when bread baking, but for some designs it would be better to have a less “explosive” loaf… I intend to play with formulas with higher whole-wheat content to try and tame the loaves with patterns and more elaborate scoring. Still I like the way this turned out, and it is much better than rubbing the powder over the loaf.

You can brush the excess flour once the bread is cold. I need to play a bit with the placement of the stencil and the amount of flour to add to it, but overall I am quite pleased with the overall look.

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A few weeks ago I got smitten once more by a post on Farine’s blog  showcasing a bread made exclusively with whole wheat flour.  She used a mixture of spelt and kamut to bake a pavé style of bread that seemed perfect for a hearty sandwich.   I was quite curious about kamut flour, and thrilled to buy the last bag available in the only grocery store in town that carried it.  My adventure to procure kamut flour involved a phone call to the manager who personally held that bag for me until I could drive to the store later in the day.  That should clarify the title of this post. 😉

(from Farine’s blog, adapted from Thierry Delabre)
247 g whole kamut flour
247 g whole spelt flour
375 g water
148 g levain at 100% hydration
9 g salt
Mix both flours with all the water until no dry flour remains and let rest, covered, 20 to 40 minutes Add the sourdough starter and mix until incorporated Add the salt Cover the dough and let it rest, doing as many folds as necessary to obtain medium soft consistency.  I did five sets of folds, the first three 30 minutes apart, the last two 45 minutes apart.  At that point the dough was rising for 3 hours.  I let it rise undisturbed for 2 and a half hours more, by that time the dough was threatening to reach the top of the bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and fold it once over itself lengthwise, forming a long, non-overlapping rectangle.  Cut the dough into two pieces, and let them proof over heavily floured parchment paper for about 45 minutes, loosely covered.   Heat your oven to 450F and bake the loaves (with initial steam) for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.    Cool on a rack.
to print the recipe, click here
This is the kind of bread that makes you feel healthier with each bite.  It has that wholesome quality of a typical rustic loaf, but a texture with more moisture than you would expect from a bread made exclusively with whole wheat.  I  urge you to read Farine’s original post, as she describes her adaptations from the original recipe in great detail.  I always learn a lot reading her blog, she is an amazing bread baker!
The sourdough taste in this bread was stronger than usual, but the interesting thing is that next day the bread had mellowed down considerably.  Not sure why, but the world of bread leavened with wild yeast is mysterious. And fascinating!
Usually Phil is the master sandwich maker, but this time I hit a jackpot with my concoction:  chipotle-smoked turkey breast, provolone cheese, and a spread of tomatillo-avocado salsa.  A show-stopper!
Farine, thanks for the constant inspiration!  My list of breads to make from your blog only keeps growing and growing… 😉
I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event.