Red River Sourdough Recipe

I started making this bread 12 years ago, as I wanted to incorporate more grains into my bread while adding texture and crunch.  Red River Cereal is made with a blend of cracked wheat, rye, and brown flaxseeds that was first created in 1924 in Manitoba Canada. The cereal takes its name from the Red River of the North, more specifically the valley surrounding Winnipeg. 

Mise en Place

100 gr sourdough starter or levain*
350 gr of warm water (38 degrees Celsius)
400 gr unbleached flour
​100 gr whole grain flour
50 gr buckwheat
37 gr Red River Cereal or use Wildly Canadian 12 Grain Cereal, now available in cowgirls & bourbon Baker's Pantry; do not cook or soak)
10 gr sea salt (Nova Scotia Sea Salt available in cowgirls & bourbon Baker's Pantry)

Sourdough starter or levain works best at room temp, so if it's in the fridge, remove two hours before you begin assembling your ingredients.  *If you do not have a sourdough starter, you can use 1.5 tsp of instant yeast.
Add 350 gr of warm water to sourdough starter and stir gently.  Let sit for 10 minutes, giving starter time to fully absorb water. Add 100 gr of whole wheat flour, stir gently.  Let sit for 10 minutes so starter/ water mixture has time to absorb whole wheat flour.  Add 50 gr of buckwheat and 400 gr of unbleached flour ,100 gr at a time, until fully incorporated.  Pull dough into shaggy mass with plastic bowl scraper.  Let rest for 30 minutes.  

This is called the autolyse stage.  The purpose of the autolyse stage is so all the flour has time to be fully absorbed by the water.  It also is the beginning stage of gluten development, which gives your dough strength and the ability to hold carbon dioxide (formed as an off-gas when yeast consumes natural sugars found in wheat, a carbohydrate).  The gluten structure is like a matrix or web of protein strands helping give your dough rise or lift when it hits the heat of the oven.

 After 30 minutes of resting, flour your work surface and with bowl scraper, turn dough onto work surface, gently spread dough out.  At this point, add 75 gr Red River Cereal grains and 10 gr sea salt (2 tsp).  With plastic bowl scraper, fold grains and salt into dough.  Use a four-way fold motion, work from the top and then to your right, then bottom, then left. 
​Gently flour work surface again and begin to knead dough, resting a few minutes after 100 strokes.  After 5-7 minutes of hand kneading, form a tight ball with the dough.  The surface should be supple and have a bit of spring.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled mixing bowl.  Cover with Bread Proofing Linen or tea towel, keep in warm, 23 degree Celsius, area.  Let rise 2-3 hours, depending on how active your starter is.  Dough should double.  

After first rise, stretch and fold dough, similar to the four-way fold motion: start a the top or north, stretch dough and fold in on itself.  Repeat three more times, east, south, west.  Its the easiest way to remember this step:). Let rise another 2-3 hours.  Repeat stretch and fold again.
Lightly flour work surface and gently release dough from bowl.  Form a round, cover with Bread Proofing Linen and let rest 20 minutes.  After rest, shape into loaf.  There are many techniques used to shape a loaf, use the technique you feel most comfortable with.  

If you have a banneton or basket, line with Bread Proofing Linen or tea towel and flour liberally; dough seam side up, place loaf into basket for final proofing, 45 minutes.  At this point, place Dutch Oven with lid on, into oven, middle rack.  Turn oven on to 435 degrees Fahrenheit or 225 degrees Celsius and let heat up for 45 minutes.  When dough has risen and gently springs back when pressed, dust bottom of dough with cornmeal.  Place piece of parchment on dough, then a plate and in one motion turn basket and dough onto parchment lined plate.  Remove Bread Proofing Linen and gently score bread using a sharp knife or baker's lame (blade).  A simple cross will help release steam and allow dough to rise up, called oven spring.  

Remove Dutch Oven from hot oven, using heat resistant gloves, remove lid, quickly and very carefully, lift dough from plate and set in Dutch Oven.  The dough will be resting on the parchment in the Dutch Oven.  Replace lid and set Dutch Oven back into hot oven.  After 30 minutes, remove lid, bake another 30 minutes or until bread reaches 193 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 Celsius, internal temperature.  Remove bread from Dutch Oven using parchment paper as lifter.  Slide bread off parchment onto cooling rack and let cool overnight or for at least 12 hours before storing.  

Slice and enjoy with butter, cheese or homemade preserves.  This recipe makes a 900 gr loaf.  Loaf ( photo below) was a double recipe, hence a 1.8 kg loaf.  If you have any questions, send them my way 

Hope You Enjoy This Recipe!

One of my favourite books is by Daniel Leader, Founder of Bread Alone Bakery

Local Breads Sourdough And Whole-Grain Recipes From Europe's Best Artisan Bakers. It's a fantastic resource for sourdough and old-world breads.  Dan guides you through different countries in Europe; you get to know the people who have been baking bread a certain way for hundreds of years.   He teaches technique and includes personal stories of his travels and experiences on his bread baking journey.

​I wrote to Dan asking if I could share his recipe for Baguette à l'ancienne, a recipe I've used for years with consistent results each and every time.  He said yes!  I am humbled and honoured.  It isn't everyday that one of the greatest bakers of our time returns your email.  This is the kind of giving attitude that goes on in the bread baking community.  Recipes and sharing will keep our noble craft alive for generations to come.

If you would like a copy of Dan's recipe for Baguette à l'ancienne
(Old World Baguette Redux), please email me at
You can also purchase "Local Breads" and Dan's latest
"Living Bread" Winner of the 2020 James Beard Award
​both available at your favourite book store or at
Follow him on Instagram @danmakesbread