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1kg Malted Rye Semi-Sour

Yields 1x 1kg loaf, or can be split in to 2x 500g in smaller bannetons

This loaf works well as an overnight loaf, doing its final prove overnight in the fridge for immediate baking in the morning for breakfast. The percentage of rye can be increased, or replaced with wholemeal or spelt.

The basic timetable starts on day 1 in the morning to make the poolish, building the dough day afternoon/evening, baking day 2 morning. Although this sounds a long process it is very unintensive.

Day 1 morning:

Poolish ingredients:

50g Dark or light rye flour

50g Chopped rye or Cut malted rye grains

100g Three Malts and Sunflower Brown Flour

100g White bread flour

300g tepid/warm water

15-20g sourdough starter (can be straight from the fridge as it will ripen during the build)

Make the poolish in a large (mixing) bowl by combining all the poolish ingredients and mixing roughly for 30s. Put a lid on your bowl and leave in a warm place all day for the sourdough starter to develop/activate.

I also take this opportunity to feed the starter and leave it with the poolish to recover.

Day 1 afternoon/evening

Remaining loaf ingredients:

300g white bread flour

125g warm water

12g salt

1-2g instant yeast

Approx 5pm (but the timing is flexible, just give yourself around 2-3 hours to complete the dough from now) the poolish should be very active, with bubbles throughout and a ripe smell. Your refreshed starter can now be returned to the fridge if that is where you keep it.

Add the remaining dough ingredients to the starter, if you wish you can hold back the salt until the dough has had an autolayse for 30mins but it is not essential (and then add it). Mix with dough hook or combine by hand for 6-10 minutes, the goal here is to combine all the ingredients adn start building strength, with a dough that is starting to look silky smooth. If doing by hand, use wet hands to stretch the dough up and over.

At the end of mixing add a splash of olive oil around the outside of the bowl as the mixer stops. Using a scraper clean the sides of the bowl down under the dough, allowing the oil to line the sides of the bowl (to stop some sticking and add flavour). Cover and leave in a warm place again for 20-30 minutes.

The aim is to develop a silky elastic dough with 3 sets of stretch and folder, every 20-30minutes (again the exact timings can be adjusted but give the dough time to relax between stretches). Using a wet hand pull out one side/corner of the dough: up and away, then pull if back over the top to seal. Repeat all the way around the 4 "corners" of the dough. Cover the dough and leave for another 20-30minutes

By the second set of stretch and folds the dough should be smooth and silky, and by the final set cleanly coming away from the bowl. The dough shoudl also be active, with small bubbles forming. If there are no noticeable bubbles, keep in a warm place and leave longer before shaping.


If you have a preferred shape or technique use that, but I aim for a batard in a rectangular banneton.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and then stretch out each corner to form a large thin square or rectangle. Fold over in thirds, to leave a long rectangle, and then roll up. I like to cover with the inverted bowl at this point to relax the dough again, but you could go on to final shaping/tightening the shape with more tension.

Tighten to final shape by stretching out the dough again on a floured surface, fold over the top third, then each top corner down into the middle. Finally roll up the dough, creating some tension in the dough by using your hand or scraper agains the dough as you roll.

Place the shaped dough into a floured banneton, seam side up (rice flour is very good to prevent sticking overnight). Place the entire banneton in a plastic bag and tiw to seal. If your dough was very active (bubbling) place straight in to the fridge, otherwise you can leave it in a warm place for 10-20minutes, but it is not normally necessary.

If you are using a dutch-oven or casserole to bake, think at this point how you can preheat. In my aga I place the casserole in last thing at night for immediate baking. In a conventional oven, you need to pre-heat in the morning.

Day 2 Morning

Pre-heat your oven to maximum temperature (220c or higher), with a casserole/dutch-oven if using for additional steam retention.

Remove the banneton from the fridge, it shoudl have risen to about 1.5x size to fill the banneton to the top. Turn out on to baking parchment or non-stick liner, before scoring with a blade - I prefer a long thin angled slash along the length. Additional decoration can also be added.

Place in to the dutch oven, bake with the lid on or with oven steam for 30 minutes.

After 30m remove the lid (you can completely remove from the casserole or leave in), and bake for another 10-15minutes to your desired degree of crust