Using stone ground flours at The Sidecar Inn has greatly improved the quality of the breads served at The Sidecar Inn. When I started baking bread again five or six years ago I switched to King Arthur flours from my previous brand. It seemed there was an improvement in the taste as well as the texture of finished products. Last summer I was gifted stone ground bread flour from Baker’s Field in Minneapolis that uses locally grown grains. The result was amazing so I started looking for a local supplier of stone ground flours.

The Discovery

Last fall I found Carolina Ground over in Hendersonville NC. As they were in the midst of a move from Asheville to Hendersonville, I had to wait a few months. As I wrote about here, I was able to pick up a book on stone ground flours and recipes written by the owner of Carolina Ground. Two weeks ago I brought home 30 pounds of stone ground flours. Ten pounds each of a 75% extraction bread flour, a whole wheat flour, and a whole rye flour.

Piedmont Loaf using Stone Ground Flours

First recipe up was the Piedmont Loaf from the Southern Ground book. I started the leaven that Sunday evening, and then prepared the dough the following morning. There were no issues and also followed the loaf shaping technique from the book.

The 75% extraction bread flour is not a blinding white as with commercial flours, which use roller mills and throw away nearly all of the wheat germ after milling. With this flour the “75% extraction” denotes the percentage of the grain that is retained.

The leaven rests at room temperature overnight where it doubled in volume. All of the leaven is added to the other ingredients for the dough. In this case a mixture of 70% bread flour and 30% whole wheat, along with salt and water. With this recipe the hydration level, or the ratio of water to flour, is 80%. Whole grain flours absorb more water than commercial flours, and this was evident later in shaping the loaf.

Even though the hydration level was the same as the pain de compagne I have been making using commercial flours, this dough is much easier to handle as it is not as sticky. The final rise, with the dough shaped and in the loaf pan, took about two and a half hours.

Pain de Compagne

My primary sourdough recipe is a Pain de Compagne from King Arthur Baking Company. As mentioned above the hydration level is the same as for the Piedmont loaf, so I tried it using Carolina Ground flours 1:1 in place of the King Arthur flours.

  • All the ingredients and ready to mix
  • after mixing
  • after first stretch & fold
  • after second stretch & fold
  • after third stretch & fold
  • after fourth stretch & fold

Next step is bulk fermentation for 12 hours at room temperature.

Pre-shaping and then shaping the dough, after dividing in two, follows the end of bulk fermentation. The shaped boules go into linen lined baskets, dusted with whole wheat flour, for an overnight proof.

Early the next morning I preheat the oven to 500F with the Lodge double dutch oven. I used to use a conventional dutch oven but I though this design might be easier as well as safer.

Lodge Cast Iron double dutch oven
Lodge double dutch oven

When the oven is ready I pull one of the boules from the refrigerator, place it on parchment paper sprinkled with coarse ground cornmeal, score it, and then place on the pan part of the dutch oven. After misting with water the top goes on and the oven temperature is lowered to 425. After 23 minutes the top is removed and left to bake uncovered for 8 minutes, and then another 16 minutes, or until the internal temperature is above 200F, with aluminum foil on top to prevent the edges from burning.

  • boule ready for scoring and then baking
  • Finished boule using stone ground flours
  • Finished boule #2  using stone ground flours
  • crumb structure  using stone ground flours

A couple of days later I repeated the pain de compagne recipe producing two more beautiful boules.

beautiful boules of sourdough made with stone ground flours