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Crocodile Sourdough (by Julio Hevia)

Recipe by Julio Hevia. Nicknamed "Crocodile Bread" on Facebook by Trevor Coates so we kept the name.

This recipe is for committed home bread makers looking to advance their bread-making skills and knowledge. It takes commitment to produce beautiful loaves like this!

4-crocodile-bread - Samantha Livy - TortepaneSourdough Starter(already on the go, or start a week in advance)

You will need a mature sourdough starter for this recipe. Julio uses an active rye/spelt sourdough starter which has been allowed to develop for at least 5-6 days to begin.

How to Make Rye Starter

How to Make a Wheat/Spelt Starter

Or use any sourdough starter recipe from a good baking book, for those of you who have a copy of “Crust” by Richard Bertinet, he has a recipe on p47.

Day 1: Levain

The day before we want to bake the loaf, we need to prepare the pre-ferment or the levain. Mix the ingredients below and leave them mixed in a bowl cover with a clean film at room temperature for at least 8 hours.


1-crocodile-bread-levain-after-8hrs - Samantha Livy - Tortepane

40g organic dark rye flour

40g H2O

30g Starter (rye/spelt)


Mix the ingredients below and leave them mixed in a bowl cover with a clean film at room temperature for at least 8 hours. After 8 hours, the levain should be look like this:

Day 2/3:Final dough


350g organic strong flour (Julio uses Organic Strong Plain White (701)

100g organic dark rye flour

50g organic light rye flour

330g H2O --> 69.3%

110g levain (100% hydration) --> 20%

10g sea salt

2-dough-for-autolyse - Samantha Livy - TortepaneMethod:

Mix very well the water, levain and the flour and leave the dough for 1 hour autolyse. Once the hour has passed then add the salt and make a series of turns every 30 minutes during 3 hours.

Once the three hours have passed; leave the dough in a lightly oiled bowl in the fridge for around 12 hours.

After 12 hours are passed, we need to do the bench-rest for about 30 minutes. Take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball, cover the dough with a well-floured linen cloth or a clean tea towel.

3-crocodile-bread-rest-in-banneton - Samantha Livy - TortepaneAfter 30 minutes, form the loaf in a ball and place it in a clean bowl or floured basket/banneton for 45 minutes covered again.

At the same time, start heating the oven at maximum temperature, put a tray on the bottom line in the oven for water and put another tray / stone / bricks for the bread in the middle of the oven.

After the 45 minutes passed, you need to score it. Remember this is a crocodile!! It needs to be done fast and 3a-crocodile-bread-rested-and-ready-to-score - Samantha Livy - Tortepanenot too deep, you don’t want to destroy the layers of your dough.

Once is scored, you need to put into the hot tray in the middle of the oven. Pour some water in the bottom tray. This will give the steam that your loaf needs to spring. Leave the loaf with this maximum temperature and the water tray for 15 minutes and then remove the tray from the oven and decrease the temperature to 220°C for another 20 minutes, then leave it for another 15 minutes to 190°C.

After this time take the loaf out of the oven and leave the bread to cool down and Enjoy!