Braided sourdough struan loaf


When I revive my sourdough starter, I want to make it really worth it, so I bake a loaf (at least) every day for a week, or however long I feel like feeding and caring for it.

This week, I’ve been making loaf after loaf of sourdough and rye, so this was a nice diversion.

It’s basically a struan, using this recipe and this recipe, but molded into a challah shape for communion at my church.  I made some adjustments.

You will need:



3/4 cup grains (I used polenta, wheat bran and oatmeal.  All are quick-cooking (barley and rice, unless already cooked, are not good candidates for this)

57 g whole wheat bread flour (I used white whole wheat)
½ t kosher salt
170 g very hot water

186 g 100% sourdough starter
134 g whole wheat bread flour
77 g water

Final Dough
Soaker, all of above
Biga, all of above
244 g whole wheat bread flour
1 T canola oil
2 T agave nectar
2 t kosher salt

  1. Mix together the soaker ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside until warm but not hot.  If you can stick your finger in the mixture and don’t want to immediately pull it back out again, it’s a safe temperature.dsc03548
  2. You’re supposed to let the biga and soaker sit overnight, but I didn’t.  I figured the starter was active and the hot water cooked the grains.  dsc03536
  3. After an hour, I mixed up the final dough and let it rise. The final dough as written was pretty dry so I added some heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt.dsc03537dsc03539
  4. Then I punched it down and divided it into three strands.  The dough was still pretty sticky.dsc03540dsc03543
  5. Roll out the three strands until they are about 18 inches long.  Then pinch one end together and braid the strands.  Pinch the other end and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover with a tea towel for an additional 45 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.dsc03546Meanwhile your husband/photographer snaps your child doing this:dsc03545
  6. When the oven is ready, brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 40 minutes or so.  When it’s done, let it cool completely before slicing into it.dsc03547I wish I could’ve taken a picture of the crumb, but it was for church so I could not.  It got rave reviews though!  My pastor was really impressed with the braiding, which is so funny because it’s really easy.  Maybe I’ll teach a challah class someday.

One thought on “Braided sourdough struan loaf

  1. Slow Learner says:

    I’m bringing my sour dough starter back to life because I need to make some English muffins for the high bidder at a charity fund-raiser. This bread looks lovely, and I hope to give it a try, too. How do you make a bread every day? Do you let it first-rise overnight and punch it down for a second rise during the workday? Now that the weather is getting cooler baking bread will be easier. :-9


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