Breads (Sourdough) - Open Crumb

Herbed Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

May 25, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Herbed Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

Herbed Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

I always baked Herbed Sourdough Discard Crackers and found the aroma very pleasing.  So, I tried it with bread and it turned great.  I have make two attempts with different hydration and at different ambient temperature.   

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread 

Total flour:  300g + 30g (from levain)


270g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour - 12.2% protein) - 90%
30 whole wheat flour - 10%
235g water - 80% final hydration 
6g salt - 2%
60g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) – 20%
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 tsp herb de provence (can be replaced with mixture of rosemary, thyme, tarragon, savory, marjoram and oregano)
  • Please refresh  your starter several times before baking day in order to get a better result if you do not feed your starter daily or regularly.
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape
Bulk fermentation temperature at around 26C
Total bulk fermentation: 5 hours and 30 minutes

  1. Feed starter - I fed my starter before go to bed at ratio of 1:10:10 (starter:water:flour) and use the next morning when its peaks (around tripled).  It took about 10 hours.  You may also feed 1:1:1 keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 3 – 4 hours.  
  2. Autolyse 
    1. Mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with a spatula.  Or use a stand mixer with paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes at low speed.  The dough will tear easily when you pull on it. The dough is no extensibility after immediately water is added, gluten is not formed yet. Cover and leave for 1 - 2 hours at room temperature (28C - 30C).   I did this when I woke up while waiting for the starter to get peak about 1 hour - 2 hours. 
    2. After 1 - 2 hours I checked the window pane stage.  The dough was very extensible when I pulled on it.
  3. Levain - Wet your hand, add 60g sourdough to the dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 4 - 5 minutes. Or use a stand mixer with hook attachment and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until window pane stage.  Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Sea Salt - Spread salt on top of the dough, use hand to mix in.  It takes about 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Bench Fold - Lightly mist the counter top with water.  Wet your hand and scrapper.  Transfer dough to the counter top.  Pull and fold the four sides, flip over and round the dough.  Return to the same bowl.  Cover and rest for about 30 minutes or until dough spreads.
  6. Lamination -  Lightly mist the counter top with water and wet your hand.  Pull from centre out to form a rectangle shape.  Sprinkle the fresh and dried herbs evenly. Pick up one edge and fold into the center.  Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section.  Fold the top down half way.  Fold the bottom up.  Put dough in a new dish (square pyrex dish).  The reason to use a square dish is because it is easier to judge how much  the dough has spread.  Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.  
  7. Coil Fold 1 -  At this stage, the dough is weak and extensible.  Fold the dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.
  8. Coil Fold 2 -  At this stage the dough still extensible but stronger compare with the dough  before the 1st coil fold.  Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for about 30 - 50 minutes or until dough spreads.
  9. Coil Fold 3 -  At this stage, the dough is quite strong and not so extensible and will be the last coil fold.  However, I did only half coil fold.  However, if the dough is still quite extensible and spread a lot, then you will need one or two more coil folds.   Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise about 50% in size since you added the levain.  
  10. Shaping -  Flour the counter top.  Shape and transfer to a  flour banneton.  
  11. Proofing - Proof at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes.  I skipped this step as I found my bread rose quite fast.
  12. Retard - Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for 12 - 16 hours.  
  13. Baking -  
    1. Preheat oven with the dutch oven (cast iron) at 250C for 45 - 60 minutes before baking.
    2. Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper and scoring.(Slash the dough approximately 0.5 inches deep at 45-degree angle).  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
    3. Lower the temperature to 230C and bake with cover on for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and  continue bake for another 10 - 15 minutes at 230C.
    4. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  


Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 50% in volume.   The dough should look puffy.  It should jiggling when you slightly shake it.  This is the end of bulk fermentation.  

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 25C - 26C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 25C - 26C.


Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & fold?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  


  1. Hi
    When do you add the herbs .. autolyse or during lamination ?

    1. Hi, Sorry that I missed it. I added in the herbs during lamination.

      Cheers :)

  2. Interesting and informative write up. May I know which brand of Jap flour do you use? Thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this post. I used Japan NIPPON EAGLE Bread Flour and Pan Syokunin.

      Cheers :)

  3. Hi thanks for sharing this. I am using mixer to mix the dough but crumb always denser, any trips or advise for machine mix dough? Thanks in advance 🙏

    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe. Yes, I heard using mixer usually yield smaller crumb. I used hand mix. Maybe try not to mix at low speed and not too long. Don't over mixed the dough.

      Cheers :)

    2. However, under proof or weak dough will yield dense bread too.


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