German Spice Sourdough with a hint of Rye 

German Spice Sourdough with a hint of Rye 

 My daughter noticed a local bakery use this mix of spice in their bread and asked me to make something similar. When I researched this particular mix, I discovered that it was called German Bread spice. So I tweaked the grains in one of my favourite porridge bread recipes (I’m all about porridge bread these days… Thank you to Ian for convincing me!) and tossed in these spices. 




Makes 3 loaves

German Spice Mixture

(Procedure in recipe)

1/2 tsp anise seed

1/2 tsp fennel seed

1/2 tsp caraway seed

1/2 tsp coriander seed



100 g large rolled oats

200 g water

45 g honey

40 g butter



700 g strong bakers unbleached flour

100 g freshly milled wholegrain Red Fife berries 

100 g freshly milled wholegrain Selkirk berries 

100 g freshly milled wholegrain Rye berries 

50 g freshly ground flax seeds

700 g water

23 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g yogurt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

Extra wholegrain and unbleached flour of your choice for feeding the levain



The day before:

1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain flour. Place in a warm spot for about 8 hours. 


The night before:

1. Mill the berries from the various grains. Place the required amounts of each milled flour in a tub. Grind the flax seeds and add to the tub. Add the unbleached flour to the tub as well. Cover and set aside.

  1. Toast the whole spices for the German Spice in a dry frying pan until lightly fragrant. Grind in a spice or coffee mill. Reserve. 
  2. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night. 


Dough Making day:

1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 50 g each of strong baker’s flour and whole grain. Let rise until doubled (about 5-6 hours). 

2. About two hours before the levain is ready, put 700 g filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for at least a couple of hours at room temperature. 

3. Make the porridge: Add the water, the butter, the honey, and the spices to the rolled oats and cook on low until water is absorbed and porridge is creamy. 

4. Once the autolyse is done, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 8 minutes. At the end of the 8 minutes, add the porridge and mix until incorporated.

5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on). 

6. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 more sets at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise 40%. This only took another 15-20 minutes as the kitchen was quite warm. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and  bubbles on top as well. 

7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~800 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 

8. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and cross over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough towards from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.

9. Sprinkle a  mix of rice flour and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover and let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. 

Baking Day

1. The next morning, about 11 hours later, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.


I believe these were a bit underproofed considered the way they split open during baking. Maybe leaving them in a fridge a bit longer might have been beneficial.