This is a slightly altered version from Mr. Leader’s “Local Breads” recipe called “pain au levain” but with flax seeds. Coincidence or not, after preparing the preferment, I saw I was out of plain bread flour or high gluten flour! So I had to adapt the formula (or I could of course put the fermented piece back into the fridge but hey, what’s baking bread without a little bit of experimenting?)


  1. 45gr ripe sourdough starter (90% white, I used high gluten flour, and the remaining stone-ground whole wheat flour), at 50% hydratation. Very stiff.
  2. 50gr water
  3. 85gr high gluten wheat flour (bread will also do)
  4. 15gr stone-ground wholewheat flour

Make this 12 hours before you plan on mixing the final dough. I used more wholewheat flour than suggested (only 5 grams) and I like the result.

seed soaker


Make sure you create smaller points at the end of the bâtard!

  1. 100gr flax seeds
  2. 227gr water

Make the same time as you mix the preferment. The seeds will stick and absorb everything, it looks kind of gross!


FInal dough

  1. 230gr water – reduced as the seeds contain some moisture!
  2. 320gr white spelt flour (the book calls for all-purpose wheat flour)
  3. 150gr stone-ground wholewheat flour (30gr more)
  4. 30gr wholerye flour (instead of medium)
  5. 125gr preferment from above
  6. 10gr salt
  7. all of the soaked flax seeds


Out of the oven. I love those “ears”!
Big holes, so spelt flour can also expand quickly…
Slicing at a shallow angle nets nice results.

I did not divert from the baking instructions much – autolyse for about 30 minutes, kneaded using the french fold technique for a minute or 5-6 and folded once after 1 hour of bulk fermenting. The total fermentation time took up to 3 hours because the kitchen temperature was only 20°C and I wanted to make sure they were well risen. After shaping them into bâtards, proofed on the couche for 1,5 hour and baked at 250°C with steam (reduced the heat to 230°C after 10 minutes).

I did not scale the salt and should have added a bit more but apart from that, the bread tasted amazing. We wolfed down a whole bâtard with a baked egg and some salad this evening. Lovely!

Geschreven voor Red Zuurdesem door Wouter .