Sourdough Boule with Parmesan and Fresh Rosemary

I am excited to share this boule with you!  I have been working on gluten free sourdough bread as I still miss that nice crusty hearty tangy loaf.  Thanks to Jeanne Sauvage of Art of Gluten-Free Baking for making my search for great sourdough easier.


I sometimes like to wing it.  Just plain make something totally from scratch no recipe no measurements no rules.  I usually fail but I get really excited during the process, so maybe it’s worth it.  I decided to do that with some sourdough.  I made a starter by throwing together a combo of flours I don’t even remember and then added a dash of yeast.  I let it sit on the counter for days, feeding it occasionally.  Once I thought it was properly sour, I added some more flours and maybe some xanthan gum and probably a dash of olive oil   Then defying all the gluten free rules, I decided to knead the dough. So I did, then I let it rise.  It didn’t rise much but I baked it anyway.  It was a nice sour lump of rock.  I added far too much gf flour in the attempt to make it kneadable.  Gluten free breads almost always start out as a stiff batter, but I was in baking denial.  However, the attempt did get me baking again and it’s been quite a while.

So I searched for recipes.  I felt like I had cheated using yeast to begin with even though it did sour over time.  I found this great starter/poolish recipe also from Jeanne.  So I started another starter to compare.

Of course I didn’t have any cabbage on hand so I just started it on the counter hoping that the yeast gods would be kind to me.  Three days later after showing some sign of bubbling but no sour smell, I did add some cabbage leaves to a small portion of the starter, left it for a day and then added it to the rest of the batch.  It was nice and sour tasting.

sourdough with parmesan and rosemary

Here is what I did for my starter:


1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup navy bean flour ( i did try a batch with garbanzo/besan/chickpea flour but for me the bitterness came through in a non appealing way)

1.5 cups of water

a couple of red cabbage leaves torn into large pieces – mine were not organic

You want a mixture of a higher protein flour to better replicate wheat flour, thus the navy bean flour which is full of protein.


Mix the flours and water together, this will be pretty liquidy batter like.  Pour into your fermenting container of choice.  I used a 2 quart glass mason jar as then I can see the action.  Stir in your cabbage leaves.  I left mine open and stirred it ever so often.  If this were summer time, I would probably cover it, but no flies are out and about in Michigan right now.  I was hoping for some wild yeast to help the process.

Jeanne recommends adding more flour and water every 12 hours, I forgot and added it each morning.  Then mix it up.  Once you see the bubbling your yeast has arrived, so give it another day or two to fully develop.  Then remove the cabbage leaves.  They do leave a bit of a purple tinge, but that will get diluted once you add more ingredients to your starter.

From there I strictly follow Jeanne’s recipe so I won’t post it since you should go to her page and read all her research on the project.  I did use King Arthur’s Gluten Free flour mix for my flour mixture.  I really like it although it is expensive.  It seems to be a well thought out combination of flours and starches. By strictly I mean I follow her proportions and directions.  Of course I add things to it but we will get to that in a minute. Once the dough is in the parchment paper and rising bowl, I sprinkle a bit of rice flour on top and smooth it over. After the dough has risen and just before plopping it into the heated dutch oven, I slash a pattern into the dough.  Adding the rice flour makes the pattern much more distinctive and easier to slice without pulling the dough.

bread in a dutch oven

Since I don’t eat a lot of bread and my hubby is only here every third weekend, I choose to make a half batch.  One small boule using my 2 quart Staub dutch oven. That is what is pictured above.

Things I have added to my loaves of bread:

Parmesan chunks, rosemary, garlic powder and black pepper, sometimes slices of green olive too

Caraway seed, dehydrated onion and a dash of cocoa powder to make a “rye” style.

Gluten free rye style sourdough

If you are experimenting with sourdough too, please let me know your success and tips!

i’m out

Spelt (wheat free not gluten free) Sourdough loaf

I made a loaf of sourdough spelt yesterday. I usually have a starter going, but it had been a long time since I baked a loaf of sourdough so I threw it out (it had been in the fridge for a couple of months, unfed) and started over with a new starter. I really don’t eat bread very often and this made a huge loaf, 1/2 of which is already in the freezer wrapped in foil and a zip bag. I never was much of a sandwich person. But I do like some nice cheese with a slice of crusty sourdough bread.
I basically followed Chez Pim’s recipe converting it for spelt.  I am on the search for the perfect loaf of spelt sourdough.

100% spelt sourdough

Here are my alterations (luckily I have a scale!):
510g spelt flour
2 tsp kosher salt (about 10g)
8.5oz (240g) starter (my starter is 1/2 white spelt and 1/2 whole spelt)
9oz (255g) water
1tbsp molasses (I am out of honey and wanted a darker browning on the crust)

100% spelt sourdough

I let it rise for 7 hours as 12 is too long for spelt. The rise time needs to be shorter and the knead time needs to be less than 1/2 too. I then placed my dough in a small colander (not having a banneton – yet) with a well floured towel in it. Next time I need to use 2 times more flour on the towel. The banneton is to help the dough hold it’s shape while rising. Spelt dough seems to go a bit flatter than wheat, so I am willing to try anything for a nice tall loaf. This one is about 3 inches high. Once in my converted banneton, I let it rise again for only 1.5 hours and then dumped the colander and towel directly onto my baking stone. As you can guess from my need to add more flour stated above, some of the dough stuck to the towel. I had to twist the towel to get the dough to separate, but it resulted in a nice little button on the top. I had a cast iron pan on the rack below that had been heating up and threw in about 6 large ice cubes to help create a steamy oven and form a crust.  The dough immediately spread out on the baking stone and created it’s own shape.  Oh well, perhaps a bit more spelt flour in the dough next time. Spelt is really water soluble and you have to either add 1/4 more spelt or 10-15% less water. Adding more spelt is easier math for me!
I think the molasses worked nicely and gave the loaf a great color and a bit of flavor, not at all any sweetness.

100% spelt sourdough

100% spelt sourdough

I will definitely use this recipe again, tweaking it again. More flour, 1/2 a batch, use 1/2 whole spelt, honey, or try sorghum or rice malt to boost the loaf and add color. I buy my spelt 25 lbs at a time from Vita Spelt, via my local food co-op. Lucky for me, their office is about 6 miles from my house and so it the co-op.

spelt sourdough with boursin cheese

100% spelt sourdough

Starters are our friends! Oh, I forgot to mention that this was/is a great loaf of bread, nice and tangy, moist and not too dense. My starter was only a week old. They just get better with time, as long as you keep feeding them. I used some of the bread to make some croutons and put them on the French Onion soup I made for lunch.

i’m out