If we were substantially more fussy we'd call this pain au levain, which is fancypants talk for naturally leavened bread. This loaf has a crunchy but elastic crust, and a stiff, airy interior. A terrific all-around bread.
This bread uses the same flours as the mild white, but also has wheat germ and dark rye. It has a crust and crumb similar to the mild white, but has a somewhat more intense flavor. This is my go-to bread for stinky cheeses. Love me some stinky cheese . . .
Pronounced pool-YEH-zeh. Or something like that. I can say it perfectly well, but trying to spell it phonetically is kinda tricky. In any case, it's a crusty loaf with a soft-ish interior, nominally originating in the Apulia region of southern Italy. Great for dipping in olive oil sprinkled with a little salt and crushed red pepper, or wiping up red sauce from the bottom of the bowl . . .
HEART OF wHEAT
Essentially a whole wheat bread with the bran removed. Bran is fairly bitter, and is the reason many people don't like whole wheat breads. Take out the bran, take out the bitterness. I love this bread - it gives me an excuse to load up on the wheat germ. Taking out the bran also reduces the coloring a fair bit, so this has a lovely off-white crumb. Shamelessly adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible (a book anyone who wants to bake bread should have).
SEMOLINA with FENNEL and POPPY SEEDS
Semolina is a hard wheat flour used to make dried pasta. It has a nutty flavor, and produces a bread that is a vibrant yellow in color. I toast fennel seeds to develop their flavor, grind them to powder, then mix them with poppy seeds and incorporate them into the semolina dough. This is great toasted with salted butter, but it really shines if you can get your hands on some good ricotta -- toast it just a little and give it a thin smear of the ricotta. Yum.
SEMOLINA with SESAME
I toast the sesame seeds, which enhances their characteristic umami flavor. This is a very savory bread; it's one of my favorites.
This is a fairly aggressively flavored bread at 30% rye, a substantially higher proportion than in most rye breads. Although rye has gluten, it cannot support a light, airy crumb structure, so this is a relatively dense bread. It is also full of caraway seeds. Some days I let the starter go a little bit, and the aged starter plus the bran in the rye results in a seriously sour bread. Other days I use the starter when it is young, which results in a less sour bread. This is a great sandwich bread.
Pumpernickel flour is simply coarsely ground rye flour. To make this bread I buy whole rye berries and grind them myself. The cracked berries are then fermented with the sourdough starter; after fermenting they are mixed into a dough, which is then fermented a second time. This produces an extremely flavorful bread that is quite sour, and has a more grainy texture.
Kamut is a primitive form of tetraploid* wheat that is formally known as khoresan. It is believed to have first been farmed in the Fertile Cresent thousands of years ago. Kamut has a lovely nutty taste. I grind whole berries into a coarse flour, which produces a bread with a nubbly texture
* Which is a fancy way of saying it has 28 chromosomes. Modern wheats are hexaploid (42 chromosomes).
This is another double fermented bread. I take steel cut oats and rolled oats and ferment them with the sourdough starter. The fermented mash is then cooked down into a porridge, which is then mixed with a dough made from a blend of whole wheat and bread flours and a bit of molasses. This dough then ferments a second time for close to a full day before being formed into loaves and baked. The bread is dense but not heavy. It makes great sandwiches that have some sweetness, like pbj or honey ham; if you have the patience to make a Monte Cristo sandwich this is the bread for you. It might sound strange, but this pairs really well with a tangy goat cheese . . .
OAT PORRIDGE # 2
This bread is made with the same technique as the original oat porridge bread, but substitutes an alarming quantity of wheat germ for the whole wheat and molasses, resulting in a bread with a completely different texture - lighter and moister.
WHOLE WHEAT with RAISINS and CORIANDER
I lifted the idea for this from Chad Robertson of Tartine in San Francisco. Coriander complements the sweetness of the raisins really well. I like to use this for grilled cheese sandwiches. It's also great for toast with some salted butter, or with a schmear of cream cheese. And plain, too . . .
WHOLE WHEAT/WHOLE WHEAT with HONEY
A very simple bread that goes with just about anything. Except pasta. I have a thing about whole wheat bread with pasta. Use the white or Pugliese for that.
I start with a whole wheat loaf, then add a pile of different grains that I grind or crack myself, and then add some seeds that I leave whole. The cracked grains make for a toothy and highly textured loaf.
SUNFLOWER and FLAX SEED WHOLE WHEAT
I toast the sunflower seeds to give them a nutty, almost peanut taste. The seeds are blended with a medium whole wheat dough to produce a surprisingly light bread.
An alpine bread, made with bread flour, whole wheat, wheat germ and dark rye. I toast caraway and coriander seeds, grind them and mix them into the dough. This is the perfect bread to go with cheese fondue - the various flours and spices are a terrific counterpoint to the tartness of the wine and cheese. On the off chance you are not having cheese fondue in the near future, this is a great for sandwiches with Swiss-type cheeses. Or just with butter . . .
I use a rustic white base for this aromatic bread