This recipe calls for a ratio of 25% whole Kernza flour to 75% bread flour, but you can increase the amount up to 1 to 1, or 520 grams of Kernza to 380 grams of bread flour in the final dough (taking into account the bread flour in the sourdough) – to highlight its sweet, almost nutty taste. And you can also replace whole Kernza flour with sprouted Kernza flour.
To maximize the ecological benefits of your bread, try to source local bread flour made from a variety of durum wheat, such as Glenn, Bolles, Turkey Red or Red Fife. And once you’ve opened a bag of whole grain flour like Kernza, be sure to keep it in your fridge or freezer to store.
This recipe is simple enough to cut in half if two loaves are too much for your household – although an extra loaf of freshly baked bread is one of the best gifts you can give.
Recipe Notes: As with other bread recipes, precision is key. We recommend investing in a kitchen scale and opting for grams to weigh ingredients instead of using volume measurements.
This recipe requires an active sourdough (see this recipe). You will need about 2 days to complete the recipe, although most of the time it is free time. Try to start building the sourdough in the morning and bake the loaves the next morning.
Stored cut side down in a paper bag or bread box, any extra bread will stay relatively fresh on your counter for up to five days. Slice and freeze leftovers after that to grill and eat individually.
- 30 grams (about 2 tablespoons) active sourdough
- 130 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp) water
- 130 grams (about 1 cup) bread flour
- 290 grams sourdough (all from above)
- 700 grams (about 3 cups) water, at room temperature, divided
- 640 grams (5 cups plus 2 tablespoons) bread flour, plus more for shaping and dusting
- 260 grams (about 2 1/3 cups) Kernza flour (whole, unsifted)
- 20 grams (1 generous tablespoon) fine sea or table salt
The day before you want to make the bread (about 8 hours before kneading the final dough), make the leaven: Combine the active leaven, water, and bread flour in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or a flexible spatula, mix well, cover and leave to ferment at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, until it has at least doubled in volume.
Start the Bread Dough: Once the sourdough has fully risen but hasn’t started to crumble yet, it’s time to mix the final dough. A good sign that your sourdough is at its peak is if the bubbles are still protruding from the surface of the mixture, rather than sinking into it.
Add 680 grams of water, bread flour and Kernza flour on top of the sourdough in the large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or a flexible spatula, mix well to hydrate the flour. You should not see any dry pockets of flour.
Pour the salt and the remaining 20 grams of water on top of the dough, but don’t mix just yet. Cover the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature for modified autolysis (this allows the flour to fully hydrate and prevents the salt from firming up the dough too quickly, keeping it easy to stretch).
Begin Kneading: Work the salt and extra water into the dough by pinching and folding the dough until fully incorporated, then give the dough a few kneads or folds to begin to strengthen the dough. When you fold dough, you want to test its elasticity by taking one side of the dough, stretching it as far as you can without tearing it, then folding it over the dough. Turn and repeat three more times, one on each side, to form a series of pleats. The dough will stretch less and less as you turn and repeat; It’s normal. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover and leave to ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.
Repeat the folding and let the dough rest for another hour.
Repeat the folding a third time, followed by another 1 hour rest, for a total of 3 hours of fermentation.
Shaping: At the end of the bulk fermentation, the dough will be less sticky and smoother, with a few bubbles as the sourdough does its job of rising. Lightly flour a clean work surface and place the dough on it. Divide it into two pieces of about 950 grams each.
Taking the first piece, pat it into a rough rectangle (about 7 by 12 inches), without any air pockets. If you’re using oval bannetons or bowls, you’ll want to shape bastards. Stretch the two corners closest to you outward and toward the center of the dough, so it looks like a bicycle saddle. Then, with the short side facing you, roll the dough into a log shape, trying to seal and tuck the roll in as you go to create some tension on the outside of the dough, which will help the form and on the rise. When you’re done rolling, tuck the edges under so the middle is slightly raised. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
If you’re using round banners or bowls, you’ll want to shape into balls. Stretch each corner outward and toward the center of the dough, so it looks like a small packet of dough. Next, fold the dough in half so that the smooth side is up and work your hands in a cupping motion around the bread, your little fingers pressing against the counter and under the bottom of the dough mass, to make it turn in a circle and push the dough into the surface of the table to create tension. You should feel and see the surface of the dough becoming more taut.
Proofing: If using bannetons, lightly flour the baskets, making sure to dust each edge. Next, lightly flour the tops of the loaves and place them in the baskets to rise, seam side up. If you’re using bowls and parchment paper, make sure the parchment pieces hang over the sides of the bowls enough so you can grip and lift them comfortably later. Place the loaves in the parchment-lined bowls seam side down, smooth side up, for easy transfer.
Let rise on the counter for 1 hour, then cover and move the dough to the refrigerator for a final cold rise, for 4 to 24 hours.
Cooking day: Place the cooking rack in the middle of the oven and place a large Dutch oven with a lid on it. Preheat to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the heated dutch oven from the oven. If using a banneton you can either gently flip the bread over in the dutch oven or on an extra piece of parchment paper, with plenty of extra paper around the edges to sear, making sure the smooth top surface is facing you . This can be handy if your dutch oven is particularly tall and you don’t want to bend over to score your bread. Score the loaf by using a lame razor blade or sharp knife to cut three deep slashes parallel to each other in the top of the loaf, allowing for the hot sides of the Dutch oven. Then, if using parchment, carefully grasp the extra paper around the sides like a slingshot and place the parchment-lined loaf in the hot Dutch oven.
Put the lid back on the pot and put it back in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake another 20-25 minutes to set and brown the crust. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven, transfer it to a wire rack and repeat the scoring and baking process with the second loaf.
Let the loaves cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing.
Calories: 156; Total fat: 1 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 236mg; Carbohydrates: 31g; Dietary fiber: 3g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 6g
This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.