Hairst Breid


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    large loaves

Appears in

Jim originally created this loaf for the Dunblane Spring Fling in 2010. The idea was to include as many typically Scottish and locally produced ingredients as possible. It’s a dark and dense bread, which emerges from the oven almost black thanks to its honey and egg wash.

FROM MIXING TO OVEN: overnight plus 9 hours, or twice overnight
BAKING TIME: 40–50 minutes


For the Pre-Ferment

  • 400g/14oz/3⅓ cups wholemeal/wholegrain spelt flour
  • 240g/oz/1 cup water
  • 70g/oz/5 tbsp rye sourdough starter

For the Dough

  • 600g/1lb 5oz/5 cups wholemeal/wholegrain spelt flour
  • 300g/10½oz/ cups water
  • 150g/oz/ cup buttermilk
  • 70g/oz/¾ cup barley flakes
  • 70g/oz/¾ cup oat flakes
  • 70g/oz/1 cup wheat bran
  • 70g/oz/ cup oat bran
  • 50g/oz/ cup honey
  • 50g/oz/ tbsp barley malt extract
  • 17g/3 tsp fine/table salt

For the Glaze

  • 1 egg
  • 20g/1 generous tbsp honey
  • butter for greasing or flour for dusting


  1. Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together, cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
  2. Add the dough ingredients to the pre-ferment and mix thoroughly. Knead the dough until it is as smooth and stretchy as it can be, given the inclusion of flakes and bran. Return it to the bowl, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for about 4 hours, or overnight again in the refrigerator if this suits you better.
  3. Grease three loaf tins or dust three proving baskets with flour. Divide the dough into 3 equal-size pieces, shape them to fit and place them seam-side down in tins, but seam-side up in baskets. Cover and leave to prove at room temperature for about 5 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/gas 8–9, with a baking stone or baking sheet in place if using baskets. Whisk the egg and honey together until thoroughly mixed. Brush this glaze over the tops of the loaves if in tins, then place them in the oven. If using baskets, turn the loaves out onto a floured peel, brush with glaze, and slide them onto the baking stone (it may be easier to do this one at a time).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/gas 5 and continue to bake for a further 30–40 minutes. Keep an eye on the loaves, as the glaze is prone to burning. You might need to cover them loosely with foil before the baking time is up.