Bread St. Vith

After having to postpone my trip, I was finally able to visit Saint-Vith, Belgium, where Puratos opened its Sourdough Library a few years ago. The library’s goal is to collect sourdough in all its diversity and to preserve related knowledge. I was excited to see what awaited me there and in honor of that occasion, this recipe is for a pure wheat sourdough.

The sourdough is made with Ruch flour and has a hydration level of 200. The Ruch flour makes the sourdough stiff and causes a stronger aroma to develop as it matures. If you don’t have Ruch flour, you can replace it with finely ground whole wheat flour.  


Wheat sourdough:

  • 240g Ruch flour
  • 240g water 
  •   10g starter

Maturation time (RT): 15-18Std    Dough temperature (DT): 26-28°C    Hydration level (TA): 200

Main dough:

  • 490g mature wheat sourdough
  • 380g wheat flour type 700 or 550
  • 120g Ruch flour
  • 300g water (c. 10°C)

Mix the ingredients and let them rest to autolyze for 40 minutes. 

  •   18g salt

After autolyzing, add the salt and mix slowly for 10-12 minutes. As soon as the dough falls away cleanly from the side of the mixing bowl, knead it again quickly. 

But before you switch to the fast speed, you can add an additional 30-50g of water (This water may be added, but it does not have to be. However, if you have flexible fingers, don’t hold back on the water!!) 

Knead the dough until it has absorbed all the water (3-4 minutes). 


  • After kneading, place the dough in an oiled tub and fold after 60 and 120 minutes. 
  • After the second folding, let the dough rise in the tub until its volume has increased by 50%. It is important to judge the dough by how it develops, rather than by time!
  • This rise will mostly likely last 2-3 hours. 
  • Next, divide the dough into two pieces of equal size and fold each one from all its sides. Let the pieces rest, seamside-down and covered, for 30 minutes. 
  • To finish working the dough, turn it over, fold it from left and right into the middle and then roll it up from top to bottom using light tension.  
  • Place it seamside-down into a floured proofing basket and place in the fridge at 4°C for the cold final proof, lasting 12-18 hours. 
  • Bake the loaves with steam at 240-250°C. Lower the oven temperature to 220°C after the first 10 minutes of baking.
  • Total baking time c. 40 minutes.

TIP: To improve the cracks in the crust, the dough seam can be scored with a sharp blade after the dough has been shaped. The scoring improves the oven rise. This bread is also super when baked in a cast iron pot at 250°C!