Friday, August 16, 2019

Sunshine for the Babes

It's summer, so lots of sunshine, especially for the Bread Baking Babes. This month our delightful Kitchen of the Month, Cathy of Bread Experience has challenged us with a shaped bread that look like a sun. It uses sourdough starter and I changed things up by using freshly milled barley flour instead of the rye called for. The dough was easy to work with and shaping was fun. The bread was delicious, with both a nice crumb and great crust. I used bread flour, whole wheat flour and the barley flour and then kneaded in a mixture of seeds instead of using caraway. Caraway works well with rye, but since I wasn't doing rye, I went with mixed seeds. Delicious!

Be sure to visit the other Babes to see what they have done with this recipe. It's an easy on to make changes to, so I'll bet there will be variety!

If you would like to be a Bread Baking Babes Buddy...of course you would!...bake the bread, take a photo and email Cathy, including the photo and your experience and a URL if you have one. Deadline is August 29. She will do a round-up early in September.

In a few days I'll be having gallbladder removal surgery, so it may be awhile before I post again. I have a very good doc and lots of support, so I expect things will go well. Sweetie will be doing the cooking for most of a week. Maybe he'll want to guest post?

Be good to yourself until we 'meet' again...and wear sunscreen if you are going to be out in that summer sunshine!

Here is what we started with from Cathy:
Here is the formula for the Sourdough Sunshine Loaf:

Adapted from: BREAD: the breads of the world and how to bake them at home by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter. 

Makes: 1 Large Loaf or 2 Smaller Loaves
The directions below are for shaping one large loaf. Adjust accordingly to shape 2 smaller loaves.

15 grams / 1 scant Tbsp. active sourdough (100% hydration)
60 grams / 4 Tbsp milk, lukewarm
55 grams / 4 Tbsp water, lukewarm
125 grams / 1 cup all-purpose flour

250 grams / 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (I used stone-ground bread flour)
440 grams / 4 cups rye flour (I used freshly milled whole grain rye flour)
480 - 550 grams / 2 cups + water, divided (I started with 2 cups (480 grams) water and gradually added more as I was mixing the dough. The whole grain rye soaked it up.
16-18 grams / 1 Tbsp. salt
Caraway seeds, or the seeds of your choice, for sprinkling
Milk or water for glazing

Day 1Prepare the Starter
Mix the starter ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir thoroughly until there are no dry bits of flour. Cover and let rest on the counter at room temperature overnight until it is well risen, bubbly and starting to collapse; about 8 to 12 hours.  I mixed the starter at 10pm and let it rest at room temperature until noon the next day (14 hours) and it worked fine.  If your kitchen is hot, it may take less time to fully activate.

Day 2: Final Dough
The next day, when the starter is ready, add about half (1 cup / 240 grams) of the water to the starter and stir to break it up. 

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the starter over the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Add in the remaining 240 grams of water and mix thoroughly to incorporate. 

Add in more water (or flour) gradually, if necessary, to achieve a workable dough. It is sticky dough so it’s best to use wet hands. I started the mixing process using a Danish dough whisk, and then switched to using wet hands and a bowl scraper.

Cover and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes.  Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl using wet hands.  I added in a little more water at this point because the dough was tearing.

Cover again and let the dough rest at warm room temperature for 6 hours.  Perform stretch and folds every 45 minutes to an hour (using wet hands) for the first 4 ½ hours. Then let the dough rest undisturbed for the final hour or two. 

Continue with shaping the loaf or place it in the refrigerator overnight to cold ferment for 8-12 hours.  The cold ferment may not be necessary, but it worked better with my schedule.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.  I had 1435 grams of dough so each piece was 287 grams.

Roll one piece into a 20-inch log. Then roll it into a spiral shape.  See notes on shaping middle spiral.

Divide the remaining pieces of dough in half (~143 grams each) and roll each piece into an 8-inch rope.

Place the ropes in a circle on a large baking sheet (See notes on using a greased baking sheet), spaced evenly apart. They should look like rays of sun. Curl the ends around, leaving a slight gap in the middle for the center spiral.

Place the center spiral on top.  Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, bees wrap, or a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place, for 30 minutes.

While the loaf is proofing, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Brush the loaf with milk, or water, and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  I brushed my loaf with melted butter after placing it on the wire rack. See notes about brushing with milk.


I used 4 cups of rye, and it was really sticky.  So I plan to reduce the amount of rye the next time.  I liked the flavor of the rye, but I think 3 cups of whole grain rye and 3 cups of white flour will be easier to work with.  If you use a lighter rye, that will probably help as well.

This is a really big loaf.  I had a hard time figuring out how to fit it on the baking sheet which is why I rolled the rays tighter than the picture. Unless you have a larger baking sheet, I think 2 smaller loaves will be easier to shape. 

Shape it on a greased baking sheet. I tried shaping the loaf on parchment paper, but the dough stuck to it, and the rectangular shape of the parchment didn’t lend itself to the shape of the loaf.  It wasn’t wide enough for the rays to fit on.  I used a greased baking sheet instead and it worked much better. 

Work fast when shaping the loaf. I shaped the pieces straight from the refrigerator and had to work really fast so the pieces didn’t proof too much before I got the loaf put together.  I probably shaped and reshaped it 3 times before I got it right and onto the baking sheet.  

*Shaping the middle spiral. The directions said to shape the middle section first, but I ended up having to reshape it when I transferred it to the baking sheet because it had been proofing the whole time I was shaping the other pieces.  This piece goes on last so I would wait to shape this piece until after shaping the other pieces.

I didn’t like the look of the milk-brushed loaf. I brushed the loaf with milk and sprinkled it with caraway seeds before baking, as the recipe suggested, but it looked pale once I removed it from the oven. So to give it some color, I brushed the warm loaf with melted butter. It looked much better and didn’t affect the flavor.   I used almond milk so perhaps regular milk would work better, but I’ll probably just use water next time. 


  1. Great idea to use barley! I love rye but barley is fun too. I do tend to keep some pearl barley in the freezer that I could grind up...

  2. What a great idea to use barley and mixed seeds. Your loaf looks great and I bet it tasted great as well!

  3. Good luck with your surgery!

  4. Your bread is lovely. I like the idea of barley flour..... Good luck with your surgery!

  5. Wow! The colour of the crust is gorgeous, Elle! And what a beautiful contrast with crumb.

    All the best for your surgery and a very speedy recovery! Take care!