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.


Bread is so forgiving …

As you who have been following the last few posts would know, we stayed at The Lily Dutch windmill just north of the Stirling Ranges both on the way to Esperance and on the way back.

As I mentioned previously, the windmill is a five story 16th Century fully operational replica Dutch windmill. The proprietors produce wholemeal stone-ground spelt flour at the mill.  And of course, I had to buy some.  I had heard about the flour prior to my visit and I wanted to try it.  It is always good to try something new.

I have made spelt bread a few time before.  The spelt flour I use is Schapfen Feinstes Dinkelmehl Spelt wheat flour, type 630 from Germany.  I buy it from Kakulas Sister in Nollamara.   It certainly makes a lovely loaf of bread.  It is a very fine milled spelt flour which I like. I don’t like bread that tastes like its main purpose is to be good for you.

It was time to make bread and try out my new flour.  I had about 300g of my usual spelt flour on hand so I decided to combine it with my wholemeal stone-ground spelt flour and some ordinary bread flour to make my bread. Continue reading

Linseed (flax) sourdough

Hello, everyone.

I know most of you don’t make your own bread and those that do, don’t need a recipe but I decided to prepare this post as I haven’t made bread with exactly these quantities before.  By posting the recipe, if I want to make it again, I will not have to reinvent the wheel.

For those who don’t make your own bread, if you have the time, I implore you to give it a go.  It is the best thing ever. The resultant bread is fantastic and it is so simple and cheap to make.  Once you have tasted home made bread, you will realise how shit commercial bread is and, also, how relatively expensive.

Continue reading

Wholemeal sourdough loaf


I made this bread ages ago.  At the time, I decided to post the recipe but I never got around to it.  I decided to because I don’t have a wholemeal sourdough post and I feel that means my Sourdough category is lacking.  I know there are a few people out there who make their sourdough bread using my technique and I wouldn’t want them to go elsewhere looking for a recipe. 🙂 Continue reading

Chestnut flour bread


Remember my chestnut flour?

At the time, I made some bread but the resultant loaves were a bit dense so I refrained from writing a post.  I did promise, though, when I made another batch, if it was better, I would write a post.  Well, I made another batch and it was equally dense but I have decided to write a post anyway. Continue reading

Hot cross buns


I am sorry there is no crumb shot.  We haven’t eaten the buns yet, they are for tomorrow.  I am a stickler for tradition.  Hot cross buns can only be eaten on Good Friday.  This is not on religious grounds (those who know me know I missed out on the religious gene) but as a protest against supermarkets putting hot cross buns on their shelves just after Christmas. Continue reading

Quinoa spelt sourdough


I haven’t been baking much bread lately.  We don’t seem to eat as much in summer as we do in winter but, the other day, I noticed Maus hogging into some white commercial bread I bought for the stuffing of our Christmas turkey.  The sight made me feel guilty so I resolved to make some bread for her.   Out came the starters. Continue reading