bread · French recipe · German recipe · Italian recipe · sourdough

Experimenting with Sourdough Bread

There will be three recipes of sourdough bread in this post from France, Italy and Germany – presented in the order I made them – and all are a definite experiment and no-doubt experience! I thank all the authors first of all – for giving me the pleasure of baking your own bread and then eating it and taking hundreds of photos and sharing them. Isn’t it wonderful? But I have to admit that as a lazy perfectionist, I’m always lazy to get back to the blogs where I got the recipe from to thank them and write my comments – as I’m baking on the roll, almost each day, I just simply do not have time to recognize each and every recipe source. But this time I was so impressed with the long life and super texture of one sourdough bread recipe and the flavour and taste of another that I finally posted my ‘thank you‘ notes in the comments.

It’s interesting, that a year ago I made a post about… sourdough bread. This is my therapy, I guess. BREAD.

A year ago with crusty & soft Sour Rye pictured with lemon 🙂

Pain de Meteil au citron

A French recipe…

That was already long ago that I baked this first bread, the 100% French recipe for the méteil bread – which means a mixture of wheat and rye flour. I found some a bit too-Frenchy (I mean, super-exquisite and sophisticated…) recipes on the web page of Les Nouvelles de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie (The News of you-know-what-lovely-things). Not that I read this magazine, I just somehow came across it while searching for bread baking courses in France… Dropped the idea but preserved the recipe for some sunny day – which finally arrived – the bread is moreover made with sunny lemon zest and juice:

lemon zest

Pain de méteil au citron (Wheat & Rye Lemon Bread) adapted from will make lots of lemmmmmmony buns!

As the original recipe suggests, this sort of bread spread with salted butter is associated with fish and shellfish (not for me). The recipe comes from the book Petits pains et viennoiseries des quatre saisons by Thierry Dany. I hope the author will be only glad to have the recipe translated into English (which taught me lots of new bread-related words – I will share them with you) and let go on the Internet! (my remarks in italics)

Pain de Meteil au citron

{so tiny as the rolls were, we somehow managed to slice them THAT big}


  • 650 g rye flour (T 130 for those of you in France)
  • 350 g flour (T 65) – I used all-purpose + wheat & rye bran + sprouted wheat & rye… well, you know me!
  • 25 g of salt
  • 10 g yeast – I used active dry yeast, and activated it first in warm water
  • 250 g of firm sourdough starter or old dough (levain dur / pâte fermentée) – I have been feeding my rye sourdough baby for 2 days, last refreshment was with more flour than water to simulate levain dur (which is made with fruit juice, actually…)
  • 650 g water
  • zest and juice from 3 lemons – I used just a half of a lemon and that already gave a perceptible result!


Frasage (first stage of kneading) – mix all the ingredients (1st speed). – No mixer, no 1st speed, only one speed – that of my hands! 😉

Pétrissage (mixing/ kneading) – beating 3-4 minutes at 2nd speed

Pointage (first rise) – bulk rise for 1 hour – I left it rising longer

Pesage (weighing) – originally 25 X 80 g rolls – but they would have been too small! so I made just 20

Façonnage (shaping) – Façonnage says the recipe =) well, I just made round rolls – I advise you to really shape them well as those that I were too lazy with got quite flat.

Apprêt (second rise) – 45 minutes to 1 hour, on a floured couche, la tourne à clair (seam down).

Cuisson (baking) – at 250-260°C, about 15 minutes. With steam at first, then at falling temperature and open door. There’s no slashing of the top as the tourne à clair (placing them seam down) permits their top cracking (éclatement is a finer word…) in the oven. – Forgot about that and made 1 slash on each, also baked them longer than 15 minutes, diminishing the temperature and then leaving them for some minutes with the door ajar – definitely more than 15 mins in total.

Pain de Meteil au citron

{this very éclatement!}

Result: You’ll get a whole bag of small rolls, crunchy crust and chewy crumb. The rolls get quite hard as the days go by – but the distinct lemon flavour remains! which is their most definite feature.

Pain de Meteil au citron

{rolls in a bag}

Pain de Meteil au citron

Do you see the specks of lemon yellow in the crumb?

Pain de Meteil au citron

The experiment here was in following a rather restrained recipe in French – and adding lemon : )


An Italian recipe (o quasi)…

I had some pea flour which I used mostly to thicken soups – mixing it with hot melted butter and some water and then adding this kind of roux to the soup. And this flour was definitely in need of using, being kept in the pantry for a year already… Just at the time I thought how on earth I was going to use about 300 g of come on, pea flour!? I stumbled upon this very recipe:


Chickpea Pea Sourdough Loaf (Pane di Ceci Piselli) adapted from – will make – simply – one of the best sourdough bread recipes I’ve tried recently. See further for more details. Thanks, Barbara!

As usual, go to the original blog for the recipe, here are just my changes:

I used my rye sourdough starter, feeding it for two days to get the required 430 g. That, for starters, gave a certain rye-ish taste to my bread. Instead of chickpea flour which I used up in falafel some months ago, I added a combination of pea flour + rye flour+ rye bran which gave the bread an even more pronounced rye-side. I used less salt.


As for the procedure, I baked the bread for 40 minutes in total and did not bake it at 250 ‘C for the entire half-hour as it was getting too dark, lowering the temperature to about 225 ‘C.


Love how the texture of the linen cloth got reprinted on the top of the loaf! Unfortunately – as I thought when placing it in the oven – the other not that nice topped loaf got stuck to the cloth resulting in this:


It’s nice even thus, heh? OK, just one more shot:


or maybe more…


Those two were clinging to each other in a funny way. And even more shots:


The experiment here was in using the flour I wouldn’t normally use in a bread. Although when the bread got drier the pea flavour got intensified (but there was nothing unpleasant to it), the colour of the crumb seemed totally regular-brown, not greenish against all doubts 😉 Just wonderful with zesty masdaam cheese!


{photo taken when there was no sun, but still the colour is not green 😉 }

Result: The balance between the crust and the crumb, the taste… JUST great! This bread has proved resistant to time, keeps amazingly well, there’s no yeast added to it. And when it got dry as we ate it only as ‘black bread’ with lunch, there was just a wedge of it left and I ate it with tssss apple jam! And also cubed the last piece of the bread was a nice addition to the pureed… Curried Split Pea Soup which wasn’t green in my edition either 😉



At first I thought this post will be about the two breads from above and finally added this one too – did not manage to take a picture of the entire loaf but even it’s third part looks fantastic! This one is still in our bread box but for sure it won’t linger there.

A German recipe… Here I have to agree with the author of the recipe that the German rye bread is probably the best (after the Russian, of course…), judging from all the types of rye bread that I have tasted so far. They just have found a way with rye there, in Germany.


Gerstenbrot (Dark Blackened Sourdough Bread) adapted from – will make a super dense and chewy bread with a trick on its top. Thanks, Yvonne!

My changes:

As our rye flour here in Russia is not that dark, in order to give the bread more colour, I added rye bran (there’s a variety which is almost grey) and scalded rye malt – the latter also increased the flavour of the bread. I had to use much more flour than the recipe stated, perhaps my starter was too liquid or something – I could not have kneaded the dough otherwise, it was too soppy. Instead of sea salt I used table salt.


The experiment here was in blackening the top. I did not manage to perform the correct blackening as my oven refused to broil the top – it rather started baking the bread already, creating a sort of already baked cover. But surely the top came out very unusual – half of it is smooth and the other half, where the dough was desperately trying to get out from the cracks in the ‘cover’ while risisng – very avant-garde, haha.


The smooth rather blackened and crackled part of the crust:


The evening sun – love its warm colour. It’s getting so light every day in the evening, as the white nights are getting closer!


Result: The crust is very thick (VERY) and crunchy and the crumb is just really ryeish! Need a very sharp – better serrated – knife to cut it. This bread doesn’t keep as well as the Pea Flour Experiment, but is a very nice sourdough bread indeed.


{there’s a gap between the top that got already half-baked and the rest of the crumb}

I get so enthusiastic when it comes to bread… and I really want to pass this passion on to people. So, keep baking and don’t get scared of the procedure, it’s worth it just as any other thing which requires time and effort and then pays you back.

Happy experimenting and Victory day!


The recipes of Pain de méteil au citron and Chickpea Pea Sourdough Loaf submitted to Barbara (Bread & Companatico) and Sandra (Indovina chi viene a cena) at Panissimo 


7 thoughts on “Experimenting with Sourdough Bread

  1. look at that crust and that crumb! your pea loaf looks amazing! I love the idea of using rye sourdough, I will have to make YOUR loaf supersoon. and what and interesting post btw. 3 different bread from 3 different traditions… and where did you get your Italian from? ciao! Barbara

  2. @Yvonne, thank you! haha, probably now it’s time to try say, lentil flour? 😉
    @Barbara, thank you! the Italian is from my Italian friends from the Erasmus times and my craze for languages, poi mi piace tanto l’italiano! Grazie per il link, certo vado parteciparci!

  3. great! you can choose two of the breads from the post to enter for the current edition… my favorites are the first 2 but it’s up to you. submissions are open until the 13th.

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