Sour bran bread

Not so long ago I published a post about a Borch sourdough starter. As a coincidence (or not), just a few days after, it came to my ears that I could bake bread with it. In fact, it is obvious right? If you can make borsh out of sourdough starter you can also do the other way around, baking sourdough bread with borsh.

The idea looked fantastic! Why I didn't think of it before? I then took the nice advice of a very creative lady and tried it by myself. But my idea went a bit further. She suggested using the amazing borsh liquid to replace the water as an ingredient to the dough while I was thinking of using the remaining borsh starter that you are supposed to discard.

Let me be more clear what is this sour bran that I am referring to.

So, when you make the borsh you use the liquid. That is the borsh. To get the liquid, you strain the entire mixture and what it remains is a fermented mixture of wheat bran, cornflour and pieces of rye bread. 

This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. But you'll only keep a jar of it for the next batch and the rest you can discard.

My dilemma was how to reuse this amazing thick mixture? Of course, you keep 500ml of wet mixture for the next round of borsh but you still remain with a big quantity. 

Most of the time, what remained, this sandy mixture of bran - corn flour was a good meal for my chickens. But what if, I was to add it in bread dough? Why should I through away such an amazing ingredient?

Romania has a tradition in using it for diets, traditional home medicine and even for beauty treatments. 

I had then to come up with a recipe and try it.

I started then thinking about what this mixture is and how it will affect my dough. First thought was on humidity. First, it needed to be squeezed well well. Even squeezed, but it will add humidity to my dough. So the amount of water added initially in the dough needs to be kept low.

Then, this is bran and cornflour. Bran is a barrier in gluten network development, so it should be added a bit later in the dough. The best moment for this is the lamination phase. Bran is also already hydrated so this is already good. The cornflour, with its grainy structure, has no gluten. The bran as well, it should be added in the dough at a later stage.

This mixture also contains sourdough bacteria. This means that when added in the dough it will increase its population.

With this in mind, I prepared a recipe using white strong wheat flour with hydration of ~70%. The moment of adding the sour bran was for sure no earlier than the lamination phase.

The plan was made, so it only remained to put it in practice.

When mixing the white flour with water, I had the feeling of not adding enough water in the dough. I knew this flour, it is an excellent one that accepts easily very high hydrations of 85%, and I was at only 70%. 

First stretch and fold... hmm very thick dough. But then the lamination phase came. The dough felt not so elastic at this hydration but I managed to stretch it and add the mixture inside. Folded back, it went for a nice rest. 

First coil fold.... hmm barely succeeded. Then, a long period of resting for all the water to be absorbed by the dough. A second coil fold and just then, I felt the difference! The dough was easier to coil fold and the texture was grainy. 

At the shaping step, the dough was behaving so strong like no other. A bit of rest after, and then put it to sleep in the fridge overnight.


  • 150g rye sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 700g strong wheat flour (93.3%) 
  • 50g rye flour (6.7%) 
  • 500g water (66.7%) 
  • 15g salt (2.0%) 
  • 200g sour bran (26.7%) 

Dough weight: 1615g
Flour: 825g (75g from the starter)
Fluid: 575g (75g from the starter)
Inoculation: 20%
Salt: 15g (1.8%)
Dough hydration: 69.7%
  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 8:30] Scaling. Start by scaling your ingredients using a balance and put them on the table to ensure there is nothing is forgotten.
  2. Mix water + flours. Mix only the flours with water until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I used warm water heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. The exact temperature is not that important because, during the autolyse, it will arrive at the right temperature. For this recipe, the dough needs to stay during the resting periods at 27ºC. You'll just need to cover the bowl with a lid, to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. I used a bread proofer where the humidity can be controlled, so I didn't need any lid.
  3. [Day 1 Saturday, 10:30] Sourdough starter. Add the preferment over the dough and mix with a standing mixer for 10 minutes.  After mixing, let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 1 Saturday, 11:30] Salt. Add the salt and mix for 5 minutes. Then, let the dough relax again for 30 minutes.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:00] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it into 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 1 hour.
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:00] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowl and do the lamination. At this stage, you add the sour bran. Let the dough rests covered for 30 minutes. 
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:30] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 1 hour.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:30] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 1 hour.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:30] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Let the bannetons still rest at room temperature for 45 minutes before placing them in the fridge overnight. 
  11. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:45] Score. Before scoring, you need to preheat the baking stone and a steaming system inside the oven.
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on baking paper. Score and decorate the bread as you like.  Immediately after, slide the loaves on the baking stone. Then create steam in the first part of the bake.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC for 15 minutes. After these 15 minutes, open the oven ventilator and continue to bake at a reduced temperature of 230ºC for 30 minutes. 
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 10:30] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  14. [Day 2, Sunday, 12:30] Cut. Now is the big moment to enjoy a healthy slice of bread... 

Thank you for the very useful dough calculation tool of Foodgeek. With it, it was easy to create this recipe. You can find the recipe link here.

Also, thank you to Irina Georgescu to give me the inspiration for this bread.

Merry Christmas!

I liked so much this bread, that I made it again:

and again:

and again:


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