Sour dough Straun bread

Hello everyone.

In February 2015 I wrote a post on Peter Reinhart’s Straun bread recipe (here is the link). The recipe was from Peter Reinhart’s first book, Brother Juniper’s Bread Book.  As I mentioned in my previous post when the first edition of Brother Juniper’s Bread Book was published, Peter Reinhart was living in a semi-monastic community of Eastern Orthodox Christians running a restaurant and bakery called Brother Juniper’s Cafe.  The most popular item at the café was this Struan bread.

In my 2015 post I said, and I quote, “The next time I make this bread, I am going to convert it to a sour dough (stay tuned for the post).”  Well, in the last few months I have been doing just that.  I have made three sour dough versions of the bread.  The first time was a bit of a shambles because I decided to subtract the amount of flour in my starter from the flour in the recipe but I forgot to corespondingly reduce the amount of water.  I ended up with dough the consistency of pancake batter.  I had to add a significant amount of flour to get the consistency right.  

The next time I thought about what I did the previous time and decided not to reduce the flour content and just play around with the water.  The amount of dough turned out to be perfect for my two medium (24cm long and 10.5cm wide at the top) loaf tins.  So that is what I did this time.  I am now set with a recipe. 

One of the reasons it took so long to make this recipe after the original post is that you need a small amount of a few ingredients.  The cooked brown rice and the buttermilk are the most problematic.  I decided to cook up one cup of rice and buy a 600 mil container of buttermilk.  This was enough to make the recipe three times.  I stored the extra cooked brown rice and buttermilk in little containers in the freezer. 

As I note in my previous post, this bread is less sweet than you would imagine with all that sugar and honey, but there is a sweetness to it.  It is lovely fresh and as breakfast toast.


  • 840g bread flour
  • 340g of active 100% hydration sour dough starter.  If your starter is a different hydration adjust the water accordingly.  (Use whatever type of starter you have.  I used 160g rye starter and 180 wheat starter)
  • approximately 420 mils water (see method)
  • ½ cup* uncooked polenta
  • ½ cup* rolled oats
  • ½ cup* brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup* wheat bran (I used oat bran)
  • 4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup* cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup* honey
  • ¾ cup* buttermilk
  • poppy seeds for the top
  • 1 egg, mixed with some water for the egg wash – or just use milk

*Even though this recipe is based on an American recipe, I used an Australian standard 250 mil cup.


I made the bread the same as I always do.  I will set out the procedure for any one unfamiliar with it.

  1. Put all the ingredients (except the water and salt) in your electric mixer or bowl, if making by hand.
  2. Add about 400 mils (or a bit less) of the water.
  3. Mix the dough on low until just combined. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and knead the dough on a moderate speed for 5 minutes or by hand until it is smooth (about 10 minutes). The dough should clear the sides of the bowl of the mixer and, near the end of the 5 minutes, begin to clear the bottom of the bowl. If it clears the sides and the bottom early in the kneading process, add a bit more water (I ended up needing about 420 mils).
  5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 50 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench and do a stretch and fold.  Return the dough to the oiled bowl.
  7. Cover and leave for 50 minutes.
  8. Do another stretch and fold, return the dough to the oiled bowl and leave for another 50 minutes.
  9. Divide and shape the dough into four balls.
  10. Place two balls seam side down in each 17.5 cm long and 10.5cm wide loaf tin.  If you wish, line your tins with baking paper to guarantee the bread won’t stick.
  11. Cover and leave to rise again until almost doubled in bulk.  In this weather, mine took about 5 hours.  Alternatively, if it is late, place the loaves in the fridge overnight.  Next morning, take them out and leave to rise until almost doubled in bulk.
  12. Place a ceramic tile on a shelf in the bottom third of your oven.
  13. An hour before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 250°C.
  14. When ready to bake, brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash and generously sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  15. Turn the oven down to 220°C and cook for 20 minutes.
  16. Reduce temperature to 200˚C and cook another 20 minutes.
  17. Take loaves out of the oven and release them from their tins. Cool on a cake rack.



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