Artisan 75% Whole Wheat Hybrid Bread

I have always loved baking but I particularly like baking bread. After baking a whole array of breads using commercial yeast I decided to make my own levain or sourdough starter. I started Bubbles (as she was called) a couple months ago. She was active and bubbling for about 2 weeks and I was able to bake soda bread and Baguettes with her. But then she started smelling like nail polish and had to go.

That was when I realized I needed information about how a sourdough starter worked before I could start a new one. I found a Facebook group Artisan Bakers and that changed everything. People in that group were baking the kind of bread I had drooled over. True artisan bread loaves! I started gathering information. I bought Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast on my Kindle app and read it end to end. It has a lot of information about bread making with commercial yeast and homemade starters. I would highly recommend it to anyone venturing into this area.

I started Bubbles II based on instructions in the book. I use King Arthur Flour for baking. After baking a few breads from the book on a baking sheet I invested in a couple of toys, a dutch oven and a pastry blender. Forkish breads in the book are all baked in a dutch oven. This is my first attempt at baking bread in one.

I started my baking cycle on Friday morning. Here is more information about feeding and maintaining your starter if you are interested.

On Saturday morning I fed the starter around 7 am and we all had sourdough pancakes for breakfast with the discarded or spent starter. I kept aside the fed starter for 6 hours.

After 6 hours I mixed the flour and water with the starter.

As per my baking plan I have about 100 gm of starter left over and that goes into the refrigerator until the next baking cycle starts on Friday.

Since this recipe is a Hybrid bread it uses a scant 1/8 tsp. of commercial yeast. I added the yeast along with salt to the bowl with the flour, water and levain and made a sticky dough from it. By this time it was 4 pm. I let the dough rest covered for 5 hours on the kitchen counter.

During the first hour I uncovered and folded the dough a couple times. Folding strengthens the dough.

By 9 pm after 5 hours the dough had risen to more than double the volume.

I transferred the dough to a floured board to be divided and shaped. I placed the shaped dough seam side down in a floured dry bowl, covered it and put it in the refrigerator overnight. I would love a Benetton or a cane proofing basket but that will have to wait. I do not like to buy too many toys at once.

On Sunday morning about 12 hours after the bowl went into the refrigerator I set the oven to preheat to 450 F with the lidded dutch oven inside.

When the oven was hot I removed the dutch oven and placed a parchment paper on the bottom. Next I took out the shaped dough from the refrigerator.

I inverted it and placed it seam side up in the hot dutch oven.

I replaced the lid and returned the dutch oven to the middle rack of the oven. I let it bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. Then I removed the lid and let it bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. When done I slid the bread out to a cooling rack. Inverting the shaped bread puts the seam side up. As the gas build in the bread the seam is ripped open.

This bread has a crispy crust but the crust is so thin that it is never hard to chew. The bread is very soft and very flavorful. I do not believe I could go back to a regular loaf of bread. The ultimate goal is to retain the gas in the dough during the shaping to ensure an open crumb. I got a fairly even crumb but not as open as I would have liked. I am working on getting that right.

This bread is great for sandwiches. For the exact recipe refer to the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish.



  1. Varada, I really wish I was your neighbour, you would have asked me to taste right..:)..such lovely breads..You seem to have had a wonderful adventure and great job in tracking all those details..Bubbles sound bubbly!..:)..looking fwd to your wonderful creations.

  2. Ohh you are fantastic in cooking different types of breads..bread looks yumm.

  3. OH I truly adore your bread making enthusiasm! Lovely bread!

  4. That bread is perfectly baked. First pic is my favorite and nice step by step pictorial instructions too. I don't bake breads that much as both of us are not very fond of breads. This bread with sourdough starter sounds exciting and fun bake, specially if making it for the first time

  5. Making artisan bread at home is a dream for me, have to put myself tediously to make some soon.. Yours came out simply awesome.

  6. Bubbles is a very cute name for the starter :-) I've had my starter for more than 4 years now, but bake with it may be once a month.
    I have been looking for a tried and tested recipe in the dutch oven, will definitely try this one out soon. Bookmarked!!
    Love how perfect the crust has come out and the texture looks awesome.

  7. Miss Bubbles has done an awesome job and I love that bread! I am eyeing an dutch oven for a long time and my husband keeps asking me when I am going to buy one. I am bookmarking this recipe and then I am off to buying the dutch oven. Memorial day weekend sale would be a good time to keep an eye out for it :)

  8. wow - that bread looks so fab and the very few times I have tried doing a starter it did not work - I might invest in that book if I can make breads that look like this - thanks for the tip

  9. Bread have turned out super good.

  10. So fabulous bread and loved your efforts to make that..

  11. The texture of the bread looks awesome, Varada.

  12. Wow what a fabulous bread. Okay Varada I am sold I will try this bread. Coming back to read better. and follow the links. Drooling over the texture of the bread.


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