Whole-Grain Apple-Blueberry Spelt Sourdough with Chia Seeds

Blueberry Sourdough

This post could easily be called “Ode to Farine”. There is so much about the person behind the bread blog Farine, our beloved MC, that I would like to say, that this post could easily become a poem. But since people reading are mostly interested in recipes and formulas, I will instead stick to this particular loaf, based on MC’s recipe (or “formula”, like bakers and bread nerds call it).

I have been longing to make this bread for a whole year and now that is August again, and blueberries are abundant, I finally resolved in making it. What is special about this loaf is the addition of fresh berries to the dough. And since blueberries can be on the tangy side, applesauce and dry milk are also added to the dough, thing I would never ever have thought of doing before MC beautiful article on Farine. This loaf is made for the most by spelt flour, which gives a particular consistency, taste, and color to the bread. And to complete the already fascinating combination, chia seeds are added, too.

The dough is highly hydrated (there is a high percentage of water) and requires manual handling with several folds. In the original version, fermentation started at room temperature and was completed in the fridge.

Blueberry Sourdough

I had to make things a little different from the original, for necessity rather than will to change something which was already perfect.

First, the flours: here in Sweden we have a very coarse, dark, whole-grain spelt flour and a more finely ground whole-grain spelt flour. Indeed the “white spelt” we have is sifted whole-grain, not a real white flour. I used 30% of the heavy whole-grain spelt and 45% of the sifted whole-grain spelt. Therefore, this bread is made for 75% of whole-grain spelt, but it is heavier than a 75% whole grain made entirely with finely ground flours (easily found in US) and definitely heavier than a spelt bread made with real white spelt. That is why I added some bread flour to the dough, because a 100% spelt bread like that of MC, given the flours I had at hand, would not have had the open crumb I was after.

Second, I made a longer than planned autolysis (had to do home chores rather than mixing), and after finally combining remaining ingredients (salt, applesauce and fresh blueberries) I had to leave the dough and go out because of one unexpected sunny day. Seeing my disappointment, our 4 and 1/2 year old said “I know why you don’t like the sun! It’s because when the sun is out you can’t stay home and if you are not home you can’t make bread!”. So I did the cool fermentation in the fridge at the beginning instead. Once back home, I took the dough out and started to fold frantically to give structure. The dough was a monster: sticky and not at all elastic. It needed some heavy strokes but the fresh blueberries were making the task very difficult. My berries were probably too ripe and tended to break easily during the folds. I added more water to the already wet dough because I could feel that parts of it were not fully hydrated (and also MC suggested to add water during the folds, following a system called “incremental hydration”). Seriously, I was almost ready to throw the all sticky thing in the garbage bin. But… I perseverated. And after the final proofing in heavily floured baskets the dough was looking firm, keeping its shape. Oh how I love bread!

Blueberry Sourdough

More changes to the original recipe: I used a dutch oven method for baking. I did that considering the high percentage of whole wheat, which made me want an extra boost for the final rising (the dutch oven method makes for increased oven spring). I also cooked the loaves for much longer than the in the original method. The bread was so heavy and moist, just like a Danish bread, and did not become lighter when cooked through. Also, I sliced and took pictures in the morning, just a few hours after the evening baking. The crumb was still too wet. Only in the evening the bread reached perfection, therefore I recommend not cutting the loaves before 24 hours have elapsed. Anyway… the bread turned out beautiful, and the taste is out of this world. I enjoyed it with honey, salted butter, fig jam, and cream cheese (each at different times and on different slices). Thank you MC for this absolutely unique and wonderful bread (complete recipe below).

Blueberry Sourdough

Blueberry Sourdough

Blueberry Sourdough

Blueberry Sourdough

Blueberry Sourdough

Whole-Grain Apple-Blueberry Spelt Sourdough with Chia Seeds

Meal type Bread
Region American
By author based on an original MC Farine's recipe


  • 450g sifted or finely ground whole-grain spelt flour
  • 300g coarse whole-grain spelt flour
  • 250g bread flour
  • 300g mature 100% hydration wheat sourdough starter
  • 710(+more)g water
  • 100g dry milk
  • 300g low sugar apple sauce
  • 340g fresh American-type blueberries
  • 100g chia seeds
  • 22g marine salt


1. Combine the flours, the dry milk and the chia seeds.
2. Combine the starter to the water and add the flour-chia-dry milk mix.
3. Let rest, covered for 1 hour.
4. Add the salt, the applesauce and, after having combined all well, incorporate the blueberries.
5. Let rest covered in the fridge for a few hours (4 in my case).
6. Take out of the fridge and let rest covered for 2 1/2 hours at room temperature, folding frequently. I folded every 20 minutes, also adding extra water.
7. Transfer on a clean surface (I did not add flour) and use two dough scrapers to fold the dough another couple of times, at a 20 minutes interval.
8. Divide the dough in two equal parts and form into 2 rounds.
9. Place the rounds in two proofing baskets lined with kitchen towels and heavily floured.
10. Flour also the surface and let rest, sealed in large plastic bags, for about 2 hours.
11. While the second loaf is resting in the fridge, invert the first loaf on a baker's peel and brush off excess flour, score, and place in a hot combo cooker or directly on the baking stone.
12. Bake in a preheated (at least 1 hour ahead) oven at 250 C/482 F degrees for the first 20-25 minutes. Then gradually lower the temperature to 180 C/356 F and cook for overall 60-65 minutes.
13. Let cool for 24 hours before cutting.

Blueberry Sourdough

With this bread I participate to Panissimo, a monthly bread showcase created by moi and Sandra and hosted this month by moi. Submissions are accepted here until the 31th of August.

And… I am happy to participate to the sparkling monthly showcase of my talented friend Wisla, Sourdough and Yeast.

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  1. This looks better than any bread you can find in any bakery! Beautiful crumb and crust..and I love the add of blueberries.

  2. Wow – this looks gorgeous! I love the idea of adding blueberries to the k
    love. Have to go and buy chia seeds :-)

  3. Chia seeds… never did hear of those but think them very very interesting- as is the whole bread. So maybe I will bake some small loaves, just for me to enjoy….

    • sure, half the doses and make 2 smaller loaves… I had over 2 kg of dough, mostly because I wanted to use my combo cooker and loaves come nicer in there if they wait around 1 kg each, but you don’t need that much dough otherwise :)

  4. Barbara this bread looks stunning, I definitely have to print out the recipe and put in a folder for the next bakes ;)
    And just by chance I bought some chia seeds during my trip to Canada and was wondering if I should try them out for a bread recipe!
    Thank you for sharing :)

  5. It sounds like you worked extra hard on this bread but the result looks wonderful.

  6. Wow, what a labour of love! I’ve never made a mostly spelt bread because I know it can be tricky what with its delicate gluten, so kudos to you. Your daughter’s comment made me laugh, too. Beautiful bread as always Barbara! I am inspired :)

    • hi Korena. thank you. more than the spelt what made the dough crazy to work with was the applesauce, as written in the original recipe (300 gr!). due to it I had to work with an incredible 100% hydration in the dough, but still the dough was not fully hydrated because the applesauce only makes a mess, doesn’t really “feed” the flour :) never again applesauce, I would rather throw in a grated apple. and, yes, my daughter says a lot of funny things (and some of them are true).

  7. I can imagine that this dough was difficult to handle. Applesauce is an ingredient with very variable amounts of water, the blueberries (from the photos Farine used cultured big blueberries and not the wild small ones) have liquid, too.
    Congratulations that you managed to tame the sticky monster! Your bread looks wonderful, and I feel inspired to make it, though I can’t get white spelt, either.
    My favorite Farine bread (so far) is Barley Bread. I made it several times already, and also tried the Hazelnut Cider Loaf.

  8. Beautiful bread! Love the subtle marbling given to it by blueberries. And sooner of later I’ll get to chia seeds. It always takes me a while to approach a new food item.

  9. misericordia divina ragazza: che spettacolo!
    io non credo, anzi ne sono più che sicura, che riuscirei ad aspettare un giorno intero per assaggiarlo…. forse nemmeno dieci minuti fuori dal forno e lo dovrei subito sentire! mi immagino che spettacolo da assaggiare…. brava!!!!
    un bacio

  10. More gorgeous bread but sweet, wholesome and nutritious. Wonderful stuff and truly the staff of life :)

  11. How come your bread is always so great? Love it!

  12. I love the addition of the chia seeds. Lots of energy and delicious bread as well, what more could you want? :)


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