The Fresh Loaf

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mrjeffmccarthy's blog

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This is a popular flavor I do for our local farmers market. The loaves are packed with pimento cheese (that a friend makes,) and topped with a dutch crunch that uses corn grits instead of rice flour. These things are dang tasty. Please excuse formatting, the formulas are cut and pasted from my recipe spreadsheet. 

Grits Dutch Crunch Recipe (prepare the day before)

60g active sourdough starter 
450g cornmeal grits
70g honey
60g olive oil
8g salt
115-175g (or more) water 

Mix all ingredients and mix to combine. Let ferment at room temp until risen slightly and it looks and smells fermented. The amount of water may vary depending on your grits. Add enough water so make a thick paste, not a stiff batter or dough. Extra crunch paste does ok in the fridge for a day or so but will brown up too dark after that. 

 Pimento Cheese Bread  

1232g bread flour
144g kamut flour
72g spelt flour
44g wheat germ
28g salt
1186g h20
220g active sourdough starter 

2 pints of pimento cheese (I didn't weigh this, I just put in what I had bought. Could go more, could go less)  

Scale the first four ingredients and mix to homogenize.

Scale the salt into a small vessel and set aside.

Scale the water into a large bowl. Ladle a small amount of the water over the salt, and set aside 

Autolyse 30 min to overnight (I do all my dough overnight as I am hand mixing) 

Add the active sourdough starter and mix to incorporate. If you did a short autolyse, develop your dough's gluten in the desired fashion. 

Rest the dough one hour before incorporating the reserved salt and water mixture. Bulk ferment the dough 3-6 hours depending on ambient conditions. Stretch & fold the dough every thirty minutes for the first 2 hours, then as needed throughout bulk. Add the pimento cheese during the second set of folds. 

Scale the dough at 360 g, with the added cheese you should get 8 or 9 pieces. Pre shape, rest 20 minutes,  then shape into little boules. 

Transfer the dough to baskets to proof. I do mine overnight in the fridge. When the loaves are ready, transfer to the dutch oven, sprtiz with water and spread on the pre prepared dutch crunch in a thin layer. I've tried these both slashed and not slashed. I think they look nicer without being slashed. 

Bake your breads in preheated dutch ovens at 550F for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 475, rotate the pans, and bake an additional 10 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake 4-5 minutes more, until the Dutch Crunch is a nice, reddish, golden brown. 

Cool 20 minutes before eating, trust me I burned my mouth. 


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Naturally Leavened seeded sourdough with chia, golden flax, and hemp seeds. Crusted with everything topping. Nutritionally dense and packed with flavor. 


60g hemp seed

60g ground flax seed

60g chia seed

360g h20 @210F


580g bread flour (I used locally milled) 

144g whole wheat (I milled my own hard red winter wheat) 

22g wheat germ 

557g H20 (77%)

17g salt  (2.4%)


110g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) 


Everything Topping 

Combine the following- 

Equal parts dried onion, dried garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds

Salt to taste (A good amount of quality flake salt or coarse kosher salt)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the Soaker: 

Mix the chia, hemp, and ground flax seeds together in a vessel large enough to hold them and the water. Heat the water to 210 F and pour over the seeds. Mix together and let stand 1 hr or overnight. 

Prepare the dough: 

Mix flours and germ to combine. Scale the water and pour 10-20 g of it over the scaled salt. Set salt/water aside. Add remaining water to flour and mix to create a shaggy dough. Autolyse 30 min to 1 hr. 

Add starter to dough and mix to combine. Once the starter is incorporated, add the reserved salt/water mixture. Mix to combine. 

Mix the dough to develop gluten. I use my kitchen aid stand mixer with the hook on medium speed, takes 6-7 minutes to reach full development. 

Bulk ferment for 3-6 hours depending on your temps. Stretch & fold dough every thirty minutes for first 1 1/2 hours. Add seed soaker during second set of folds. Fold once every hour or so until dough has  risen 30-50% 

Scale dough, pre-shape and shape as desired, I do two 950g loaves because that's what fits into my combo-cooker dutch ovens. Pre-shape should sit at least 20 minutes before shaping. You can either evenly sprinkle your tea-towel lined banneton with the everything topping or if you make enough roll the whole loaves in the topping before you place into the banneton. Cold proof loaves overnight in the fridge. 

Next day preheat oven with combo cooker lids (larger part) inside as hot as your oven will go. My goes 550F. Preheat at least 1 hour. When oven is ready take the dough from the fridge, turn it out into the combo cooker base which is lined with parchment or sprinkled with semolina. Slash loaf as desired. Bake covered at 550F for ten minutes. Lower oven temp to 450F and bake additional 15 minutes. Remove lid and bake until desired color is reached and internal temp of loaf is at least 205F. Takes about 5 minutes in my oven. Cool at least 2 hrs before slicing. 



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