Babcia’s Bread experiment, part 2; the beginning

Photo heavy post ahead. 🙂

Okay, here it is! My very first attempt at slowly recreating my grandmother’s bread, with her use of “old dough” yeast that she kept stored in flour in between baking day. (Part 1: the story)

The first goal is to create the bread dough yeast starter, and for that, I need to make a yeast bread.

Here are the ingredients.

Water, yeast, salt and flour.

That’s it!

I used Kosher salt, as I figured that was more like what my grandmother had available to her.

For a 2 loaf recipe, I used 2 cups water, 2 tsp salt, about 2 tsp yeast, and between 5 and 6 cups of flour.

The yeast is my “cheat”. Back in the spring, when everyone started panic buying, yeast was among those things that became hard to find. One of our local grocery stores now not only stocks lots of the usual big name brand or two, but a wide variety of brands and types of yeast. When I spotted a “sourdough” yeast, I grabbed a packet, just to try it.

Since some of the dough from this batch will become the “mother” of future batched, I thought it was appropriate to use it.

The ingredients list is interesting. Both wheat and rye is used.

If you’re wondering about the sorbitan monpstearate, this is what I found:

“Sorbitan monostearate (abbreviation SMS), or Span 60, is an emulsifier esterified from sorbitol and stearic acid with the European food additive number E491. This ingredient is mostly used in baking yeast by improving the activity of instant dry yeast when the yeast is rehydrated before use. “

Speaking of rehydrating…

For the 2 cups of water, I boiled it first, because I have doubts about our well water. We really need to get the water tested, but a full test is really expensive, so… boiling it is.

I measured out half a cup of water into another measuring cup to rehydrate the yeast. I could have done it in the full 2 cups, but the half cup cooled down to a safer temperature for the yeast faster.

The inclusion of rye in this really changes the colour!

I let it proof for 5 minutes. I don’t know if I should have proofed it longer – I have recipes that call for anything from 5 to 15 minutes. It’s bubbled up, though, so I decided to go ahead.

While it was proofing, I mixed the salt into about 2-3 cups of flour. Without a wood bread bowl, I decided not to use a plastic one, and tried “dump your liquids into a well in the flour” method.

That looks…


The next while was spent with very messy, sticky hands, incorporating the rest of the flour and water in.

Thankfully, my daughter came down to give me a hand, adding the flour and water as I kneaded it in.

Once it was all mixed in, I kneaded the dough for about 15 minutes.

I may have used too much flour. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time.

I did notice a difference in texture from my usual bread. Although I kneaded the dough until it felt smooth and satiny, it never looked smooth.

In fact, the longer I kneaded, the rougher it began to appear!

So I went by feel rather than appearances when it came time to set it aside for a first rising.

It went into an oiled plastic bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. After covering the bowl with a tea towel, it went into a warm oven to rise.

Earlier in the day, I had prepped a baking stone and was curing it with oil in the oven. The oven was off but still warm; prefect for proofing the dough.

Once it was in the oven and rising, I set a timer to check it in an hour while my daughter started a batch of French bread. Checking it at an hour, I decided it needed more time, by my daughter’s bread was rising by the, too. So I took the bowl out and put my daughter’s dough in the warm warm oven, and set my timer for another hour.

This is the dough, after 2 hours.

After turning the dough out to prepare the loaves, I had to make sure to do that most important part.

Collect a dough egg! 😀

This humble little lump of dough is what it’s all about.

Into our flour canister it went!

I almost forget to get a picture before burying it!

My other daughter labeled the container for me.

She is a hoot! 😀

The ball of dough will now dry out until the next time we bake this bread.

After dividing the dough, I decided to form it into round loaves.

By this time, my daughter’s loaves were in the oven.

Where she forgot to take out my curing baking stone.

So they got to have their second rise on a normal baking pa, instead.

In kneading and shaping the dough, once again, the dough got rougher rather than smoother! You can really tell in the one of the left.

I then left them to rise, checking them after about half an hour.

My daughter’s French bread was done well before my second rising was done!

The ended up needing another hour of rising time.

The baking stone had cooled down quite a bit by then, but was warm enough that I transferred the loaves over, and I think that residual warmth helped them rise even more. The above photo was taken just before they went into a 400F oven.

All done!

I am not sure how long they took to back. I set my timer for half and hour, then kept peaking and resetting the time for another 5 minutes, over and over. I think it took about an hour to bake.

I was quite impressed with how much the loaves rose in the process!

The next part was the hardest.

Waiting for the loaves to cool down!

For all that the loaves rose so much in the oven, they still felt surprisingly dense. I was also a bit surprised by how fine a crumb there was.

I taste tested one piece plain, one with ordinary butter, and one with a garlic herb butter.

I’m having a hard time describing the flavour. It was certainly tastey, but I think I was picking up the rye flavour in the “sourdough” yeast. It did have a “sourdough” tang, but one that is quite different from any sourdough we’ve made ourselves.

The sponge was soft, yet toothsome. The crust was crusty enough to be a good chew, but not so crusty as to cut up the mouth (something I have issues with, when it comes to most “crusty” breads).

The plain slice was tasty, but the buttered slices definitely were better. With no fat in the bread itself, the butter really brought out the flavours that were more muted in the unbuttered slice.

All in all, this very plain, very basic bread was a success.

It is, however, just the first step in the process. It’s purpose was to provide us with some dough to reserve for the next batch. Every batch of bread we make using the bread egg now sitting in the flour canister will be another step closer to recreating my Babcia’s bread.

While my grandmother did her bread baking once a week, we will probably make our first batch using the bread egg in 3 or 4 days.

I am really curious to see how it will look when we fish it out of the flour, and how the overnight soak will turn out! For a first time use, I don’t expect the flavour will be much different, but who knows? I’ve never done this before! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Babcia’s Bread Experiment, part 1: the story

I may have mentioned in past posts, about my mother’s memories of bread baking in pre-WWII Poland. I was fascinated by what she could tell me. With no commercial yeast available, I had thought my Babcia (grandmother) had used a sort of sourdough. I know my father remembers this; a portion of the bread dough would be set aside to continue to ferment, and be used in the next batch of bread.

My grandmother did something different. She allowed her old dough to dry.

We lost our own sourdough starter, the Sourceror this past summer. It almost made it to 2 years, but we had a real problem with fruit flies this year. Somehow, they managed to get into the container and contaminated it.

Having a big bubbling bowl on the counter has been a bit of a problem for other reasons, so the more I heard about how my Babcia saved her dough, the more I wanted to try it.

My mother’s memories go back to the late 1930’s, early 1940’s. Then WWII happened and they eventually ended up in Canada, where commercial yeast was available. After questioning her about it, this is what I’ve been able to piece together.

Babcia would bake bread once a week. She would set aside some of the dough, adding in the scrapings from the wooden dough bowl, form it into a ball, then burying the ball in the flour. The night before she would be baking bread again, she would take out the dried ball of dough, break it up into pieces, and soak it in water overnight. In would get all bubbly, and that would be her yeast for her bread baking, with the cycle continuing each time.

My basic bread recipe includes things like oil, sugar, eggs, milk… all things that I just couldn’t see handling sitting in a bag of flour for a week without going off. On questioning my mother, I learned Babcia used none of these things. It simply wasn’t available. Her bread was flour, water, a bit of salt, and the reconstituted old dough. That’s it.

The flour would have been flour they milled themselves (at least they did until the Nazi’s caught them using an illicit hand mill and destroyed it), using grain they grew themselves. My mother says corn flour was also sometimes used, which they also would have grown themselves. The ingredients may have been few, but my mother remembers it as being the best bread; especially when corn flour was added. She remembers it was light and fluffy, too.

My mother was too young at the time to remember a lot of details, though, so I did some research. I know that bread can be as basic as flour and water, but if salt is used, would that be a problem? I know that sugar feeds yeast, while salt retards it. How would having salt in the dough affect the old dough yeast cake? Also, how much dough was set aside? My mother remembers a “ball”, but as young as she was, her sense of how large that was would be distorted.

In my research, I found quite a bit about “old dough” bread baking. This gave me a lot of the information I was looking for. For some types of old dough baking, dough is set aside before the salt was added, while others were taken out after. Both work. As for how much was taken out, I eventually found a general “about the size of an egg” description.

What I didn’t find was anyone who used old dough that was stored in flour. Nor did I find any that stored the dough for weekly baking. Most described setting the old dough aside in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, at most. In some forums I found, people described using it in their daily baking. Not a single person described using their old dough the way my mother remembers her mother did it. They all used wet dough. None used reconstituted dry dough.

I have decided, instead of getting a sourdough going again (for now), I will try and recreate my Babcia’s bread.

Of course, some things I will simply not be able to recreate; at least not now. We’ll be using plain old AP flour. I won’t be adding corn flour right away. I don’t have a big wooden dough bowl like my Babcia would have had (with a wooden dough bowl, yeast would have gotten into the wood itself, adding its own layer of flavours). I also don’t have a wood burning masonry stove (something similar to this, with a sleeping area on top) like my grandmother would have been baking in.

I found some proportions for ingredients for 2 loaves that I will start with, and I will probably experiment with making some a couple of times a week before I start adjusting quantities for larger batches.

One of the main differences in this experimental process is that I don’t have a yeast “mother.” My mother has no memory of where her mother got hers from. It was always just there. She may well have gotten her first old dough from the family members she was living with (my great grandparents having already gone to Canada to start a homestead, only to not be able to send for their children as they had planned, because of WWI). However, as they saw the warning signs leading to WWII, they abandoned their farm in Eastern Poland, taking nothing but the clothes on their backs and a goat they could milk for food, to settle in Western Poland. At that point, my grandmother likely got another old dough ball from one of their new neighbours.

It’s amazing how much history is intertwined in something so ordinary as how my grandmother leavened her bread!

So this is what I will be doing in my experiment that will possibly span years.

Today, I have started a first batch of plain bread; it’s rising as I write this, and I will post about it separately when it’s done.

I will be using a commercial “sourdough” yeast I happened to find, in this first batch.

After the dough is risen and before I shape it into loaves, I will break off some of the dough and store it in a container of flour, then bake the rest of the dough as usual.

In a few days, I’ll reconstitute what should be a mostly dried ball of dough overnight, make another 2 loaf batch, then continue repeating the process.

What should happen: the flavour of the bread should change and develop over time, just as with a sourdough.

What might happen: I’ll have sucky bread that doesn’t rise properly? The dough ball will start molding? The yeast will die off and I’ll have to start over? I have no idea.

For the first few months, at least, I will stick to the same basic mix of flour, water, salt and the old dough for yeast. Eventually, I will try adding corn flour. If I do decide to modify the recipe in other ways, it will be by doing things like kneading in herbs or shredded cheese or whatever, after the dough ball has been removed. I won’t be adding things to the base recipe, like sugar, milk, oil or eggs.

After I’ve done a few batches, and assuming this works, I plan to give some to my mother to taste. Hopefully, she will remember enough to be able to tell me if I’ve succeeded or not! 😀

The Re-Farmer

No-Knead Focaccia

My daughters were sweethearts and baked the new recipe they found. It’s the Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia from Bon Apetit.

We did make one change in the recipe. We didn’t have any extra virgin olive oil. We did, however, have avocado oil, so we used that, instead.

It worked very well!

We also didn’t have the type of pan they recommended. We have 9×13 pans. Just not with high sides. So we used a slightly smaller glass pan. The dough has a second rising in the pan, and was very close to overflowing before it was vigorously poked at to deflate it.

For a recipe with no oil in the dough, it uses quite a lot of oil! And butter. The baking pan is buttered, first, then oil added, then the dough put in.

Just before putting it in the oven, more oil is drizzled over the top, and sprinkled with Kosher salt. After it’s baked, butter is melted with garlic, which is drizzled on top.

The end result is both beautiful and delicious. That salty, buttery, garlicky topping is sublime! The texture is moist and chewy, and there were some pretty large bubbles in there! Even the bottom crust has a very nice texture, thanks to the butter and oil combination.

I rather like avocado oil better than olive oil in a lot of things, but it’s frightfully expensive stuff. Costco has it at much better prices, at least.

This recipe is definitely worth trying out! It has rising instructions for both an overnight dough and a same day bread.

Now excuse me, while I go back to enjoying this Focaccia!!

The Re-Farmer

Bread Baking Day – all done!

Sometimes, I think we really need to do bread baking more often.

Then I remember how much clean up is involved. 😀

No matter! We now have two kinds of freshly baked bread done.

Here’s how the seedy bread turned out.

This is how it looked after only 1 hour of rising time. The bowl it’s in is pretty huge – too big to fit in our kitchen sink (which makes washing it a bit of a challenge! 😀 ) – with plenty of room for this 4 loaf recipe.

The timing of things works out really well. I use half the dough to make buns first, leaving them to rise while I shape a couple of loaves. Once those are done, I star to preheat the oven. By the time it’s heated up, the buns have risen enough to go straight in. Once they’re out, the loaves have had enough time for their second rising. When those are done, the overnight sourdough loaves are ready to go into the oven. No wasted time in between, making for more efficient use of a hot oven.

They came out quite beautifully, too! Such a tasty bread, with a really nice texture. I love the bit of crunch the seeds add to it.

The second rising for the sourdough loaves was probably about 4 – 4 1/2 hours. The first rising was probably about 11 or 12 hours.

This is how they looked, just before I put them in the oven. They definitely rose more than the first time I tried this recipe, so the modifications made quite a difference, but still not rising as high as variations that use added yeast.

Is it worth it?

I think so.

The actual working time to make this bread is low. It’s mixed at night, then kneaded for 10 minutes the next day. It really doesn’t need a lot of attention.

The loaves came out so smooth and gorgeous. None of the cracking you can get when using an added yeast bread, since there’s no sudden rise in height in the oven.

The bread itself has a slightly thicker, sturdier crust, while the crumb is incredibly soft, tender and fine in texture.

Reducing the amount of sugar was definitely a good move. The sourdough flavour was more dominant this time, whereas the last time I tried this recipe, the sweetness was more dominant. I think adding that little bit of baking soda helped with the rising, too.

I’d still prefer a more “sour” sourdough flavour, but that has more to do with our starter than with the recipe. We’ll be making more of this one, that’s for sure. I think I’m satisfied with it enough that, next time I bake it, I’ll post with the tweaked recipe.

Tomorrow is going to be another baking day, though this time for my daughters. I look forward to seeing what they’re planning to make. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Overnight Sourdough Rye Bread


Fresh out of the oven!

This is a bread that needs a LOT of time!  The finished result, with its tangy sourdough flavour, is well worth it.

Begin by preparing the starter the evening before.  We used our rye starter, The Rye of SourOn, but a regular starter can be used as well.

Overnight Sourdough Rye Bread

Overnight starter:
1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 cups rye flour

  1. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and let stand overnight in a warm place, such as the oven with the light on.overnight.sourdough.rye.sliced


Overnight starter
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups rye flour, or 2 1/2 cups rye flour, 1/2 cup flax meal
3 – 5 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup crushed sunflower seeds, to coat top of loaves (optional)
(place roasted, salted sunflower seeds into a slide lock freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin)

The night before: prepare overnight starter

The next morning:

  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and scald.  Add the butter to melt, then stir in salt and sugar. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir yeast and cooled milk mixture into the overnight starter.  Stir well.
  4. Mix in optional flax meal and rye flour.  Beat thoroughly until batter is smooth.
  5. Cover lightly and set in a warm, draft free place to rise until almost doubled in size; about 30-40 minutes.


    Shaped loaves after rising.

  6. Stir down dough.  Add all purpose flour, a little at a time, until a medium stiff dough begins to form.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead in more flour, as needed.  Continue kneading for another 8-10 minutes, or until soft and elastic.
  7. Divide dough in half, cover lightly and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Prepare baking sheet or loaf pans.
  9. Shape the dough into loaves.  Place crushed sunflower seeds onto kneading surface and press tops of the loaves into the seeds before placing on the baking sheet/into loaf pans.
  10. Cover lightly and let rise for about 1 hour in a warm, draft free place.
  11. Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  Note: if the bread is a golden brown at 30 minutes, tend with foil to prevent further browning.
  12. Place baked loaves on cooling racks.



Multi-Grain Bread

Today was a bread baking day.  For the past while, we’ve been making our basic multigrain.bread.slicedsourdough bread, but I felt like experimenting this time.  That’s one of the beauties of a good, basic bread recipe; it’s easy to modify and make interesting!

I actually did two different breads today, with an overnight sourdough rye that I will post the recipe for separately.  I started this one while the sourdough was having its first of 3 risings (not counting the overnight starter).  Even though the other one was started much earlier, this one was finished first!

Multi-Grain Breadmultigrain.bread.fresh.baked


1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 – 1 cup thick cut oatmeal
3/4 – 1 cup flax meal
3/4 – 1 cup rye
4 – 5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, crushed*
1/8 cup sunflower seeds, crushed*

  1. Heat the water and milk together to scalding temperatures.  Add the butter to melt.  Pour into a large bowl, stir in sugar and salt, and let cool slightly.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let soften for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the oatmeal to the milk mixture to soften.  Stir in yeast.
  4. Mix in the flax meal, rye and enough all purpose flour to make about 3 cups total.  Beat thoroughly.   Mix in pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  5. Add more flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough forms.  Turn onto floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until dough is soft and pliable.
  6. Place into well oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover and set in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled; about 1 hour.
  7. Prepare baking sheet or loaf pans by oiling well.  Cornmeal can be added to the baking sheet as well.multigrain.bread.risen.loaves
  8. When doubled, punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly and divide into two pieces.  Form into loaves and place on prepared baking sheet or loaf pans.   Slash the tops of the loaves with a knife, if desired.
  9. Cover and let rise until loaves reach the top of the loaf pans, or about half an hour.
  10. Bake in oven preheated to 375F for about 40 minutes.
  11. Set loaves on racks to cool.  Lightly brush surface with oil for a softer crust.

*Hint: to crush the seeds, put them in a slide lock freezer bag, then use a heavy rolling pin to crush them to the desired amount.  I used roasted and salted seeds, but unsalted can also be used.



Basic Sourdough Rye Bread

The following is the Rogers Basic Rye Bread recipe, modified into a sourdough version.

We have never used lemon juice in bread baking before, but the packaging for our rye flour recommends it as a conditioner for no-additive flour.  In fact, the packaging is very enthusiastic about the use of lemon juice in bread baking! 😀

We did not use the optional caraway seeds.

This time around, I decided to use our pizza stone.  It’s been ages since I used it, and I wanted to see how it worked for bread baking.  The stone cannot be oiled, so the surface is dusted with only corn meal to prevent sticking.

Basic Sourdough Rye Breadsourdough.rye.prep

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp molasses
1 Tbsp Yeast

  1. Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.

2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup rye sourdough starter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups rye flour
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Optional: 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
Optional: egg wash (1 egg beaten in about 1 Tbsp water)

Note: honey can be used in place of molasses

  1. In a large bowl, mix molasses, oil, salt, optional seeds, warm water, lemon juice and starter.  Add the yeast mixture and mix well.
  2. Add the rye flour and beat with an electric mixer on low for 2 minutes, or by hand for about 200 strokes.
  3. Add all purpose flour by the half cup full until a stiff dough is formed.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly, adding more flour as needed.  Knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl, turning the dough to coat all sides with oil.  Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled; about 1 – 2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide into two pieces for regular sized loves, or four pieces for mini loaves.
  7. Lightly knead and shape the pieces into loaves and place onto prepared baking pans.  Cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.  Score the loaves with a sharp knife.  Add optional egg wash.
  8. Place in centre rack of oven preheated to 350F.  Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes for regular sized loaves or about 25-30 minutes for mini-loaves.
  9. Allow finished loaves to cool on rack.


Braided Egg Bread

Today, we made our bread for our traditional Polish Easter basket.  Though paska is usually associated with Easter, this lovely bread is also traditional.

One of the things that’s important for this bread is for the eggs to be at room temperature.

dried blood orange zest

Zest of 2 blood oranges.

This year, we added a new ingredient; dried orange zest.  I like to dry my own zest, and this time I had some from blood oranges.  I deliberately chose the reddest ones to get a much darker coloured zest.

If you have a zester, it makes it really easy to quickly zest your fruit over a paper towel.  Spread the zest thinly and leave to dry.  When dry, store in an air tight container.

Easter Bread

Easter bread ingredients

Not pictured: flour

2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp yeast
saffron; a few threads
optional: orange zest
2 eggs
5-6 cups all purpose flour


  1. Proof the yeast in warm water (about 1/2 – 2/3 cups) in a large bowl for about 10 minutes.
  2. Soften the saffron threads in a small amount of very warm water.
  3. Scald the milk, then add in the butter, sugar and salt.  Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Allow the milk mixture to cool before adding it to the yeast mixture.  While it’s cooling, stir in the saffron and optional orange zest, then add the milk mixture to the proofed yeast.
  5. Stir thoroughly, then mix in the eggs (if the mixture seems too warm still, the eggs can be added after the first cup or two of flour).
  6. Add 3 cups of flour and beat thoroughly with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or by hand for about 200 strokes.
  7. Add more flour by the half cup-full until a stiff dough begins to form.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly, adding more flour as needed.  If kneading by hand, knead for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Clean and oil the large bowl.  Add the kneaded dough to the bowl, turning it to coat all sides with oil.
  9. Cover loosely and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.
  10. Once the dough is doubled in size, turn it onto onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times.  Divide the dough in half, and return one half to the bowl.

    Braided egg bread

    Braided loaves, ready for the oven!

    Braided loaves, after rising and ready for the oven!

  11. To form a braid, divide the remaining half into 3 equal pieces.  Knead each piece a few times, then form into a rope about 12-18 inches.  Join the three lengths together at one end, then braid the dough.  Tuck under the ends to hide them, then transfer the braided loaf onto a well oiled baking sheet.
  12. Repeat with the second half of the dough, or use it to create other shapes.
  13. Cover and allow to rise again for about half an hour.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  14. Optional: glaze the loaves with an egg wash (2 egg beaten with about a tablespoon of water) to get a nicely browned surface.
  15. After the loaves have risen, place into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
  16. When done, allow the bread to cool slightly before carefully removing from the pan to a cooling rack.



Oatmeal Flax Bread

It was bread baking time today.  My younger daughter usually does most of it, but she wasn’t feeling well, so I got to do it this time.

I ended up doing three different 2 loaf recipes. A white sourdough, in loaves, sourdough rye, as 4 smaller rounds, and a new one; two loaves of oatmeal flax bread.

I think it’s the first non-sourdough bread we’ve made since the move!  The only real reason it wasn’t also a sourdough was because the large plastic bowl I have was being used for the plain sourdough to rise, and the only other bowl I had that was large enough was stainless steel.  Not something to use with sourdough!

The recipe I used was modified from Two-Way Oatmeal Bread in Whole Foods for the Whole Family, from La Leche League International.

I am quite pleased with how it turned out!

Here is my modified recipe.

20180309outmeal.flax.bread2 cups boiling water
2 cups rolled oats (thick or steel cut, not quick oats)
1 cup ground flaxseed (sold as Flaxseed Meal)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp yeast
5-7 cups flour


  • Pour boiled water over oats, flaxseed, brown sugar, oil and salt in a large bowl.  Mix and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add to cooled oat mixture.
  • Beat in flour to make a soft dough.  Knead 5-15 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.  (I added only 5 cups of flour total; amount will change based on humidity and temperature.)
  • Let rise until doubles; at least 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough and divide into 2 loaves.  Shape and place in greased loaf pans and let rise until slightly over the edge of the pans.  (Or let rise in the refrigerator overnight.)
  • Bake at 350-375C for about 45 minutes (with my glass loaf pans, I used 350C), or until golden brown.
  • Cool in racks.
  • Recipe can be halved or doubled, but do not double amount of yeast.

As an aside, ground or crushed flax seed soaked in warm water can be used as an egg substitute in some recipes.

I just really like it in bread.

The Re-Farmer


Sourdough Rye Bread

Recently, I was finally able to find a bag of rye flour.  Of all the things I knew would be harder to come by after moving here, rye flour was not one of them!

In anticipation of baking day, I got a rye sourdough starter going last night, using 2 cups rye flour, 2 cups warm water, and about 1/3 cup of our usual starter.

Allow me to introduce you to…

Overnight Rye Sourdough Starter

…The Rye of Sour-on.

My kids are hilarious.

Sourdough starter

Sir Sour Alot is looking good!

Because our original starter has aged so well, it can be shared or used as a base for “overnight starters”, which some recipes call for.

The girls didn’t bother looking up any rye bread recipes.  They just modified their usual Quick and Easy Sourdough recipe (minus the optional garlic and Parmesan with herbs).  With their usual double recipe, they used 2 cups of rye starter, substituted the sugar with molasses, and added 3 cups of rye flour before switching back to all purpose.

Rye sourdoug bread loaves

Rye sourdough bread

The result was a denser bread that didn’t rise as much during backing.  Which is good, because it means they slices will fit completely in the toaster, unlike our usual loaves, which sometimes need to be flipped. 😀

Slices of rye sourdough bread

Still warm from the oven!

Hearty and delicious!

I like the idea of using multiple kinds of flour when baking bread, but that requires having multiple kinds of flour on hand.  Which we really don’t have the space for, anyhow.  So we usually just use all purpose flour, since it gets used for so many other things as well.  I think I’ll make an exception for rye flour – which was only available in a small bag, anyhow.

It looks like we’ll be maintaining two sourdough starters now; Sir Sour Alot and the Rye of Sour-on.

The Re-Farmer