The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
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victoriamc's picture

So my spelt phase continues and this is one of my best yet, I think, but then again i am a BIG fan of nut breads.

This is a sourdough bread made with whole spelt flour, roasted hazelnuts and honey.  The flavor and texture are both pretty complex, but very enjoyable.

for details check out

Cher504's picture

SOS!! Gas in the building has been turned off

April 14, 2015 - 7:59am -- Cher504

just as my dough began the bulk ferment! I'm making Eric's favorite rye today. As it turns out, they're doing some (unexpected) work in my apartment building today on the gas lines and it's supposed to be off until 5PM. EEK! 

I began the bulk ferment at 10;20 AM and it's already starting to grow. I put it by an open window hoping to slow things down, but...

(I must learn how to turn the photos around!)

Mebake's picture

Been quite busy for the last months, but I have some news for you all.  First, I would like to share some pictures of my latest participation in ARTE (Arts and crafts market, or Artisans of the emirates). Things have been evolving gradually for me, and I have become more confident with higher production volume; I’m now capable of baking 12 loaves at a time in my new oven : Giorik – Magnifico,  a countertop convection oven with humidifier, pretty much similar to Varda and Janet’s Cadco.

The oven bakes well, and I’m beginning to learn ways to generate enough steam while keeping the heat in.  I’ve baked three loaves for the last market: A rye sourdough with sprouted rye, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; a Whole Wheat levain, and a Vermont sourdough with whole wheat. The Rye was baked in pans, while the oven was shut off for the first 15 minutes (steam towels in). The Whole wheat levain, and the Vermont were baked free form on trays. The difference between the whole wheat levain and the Vermont was in the duration of bake with the oven off. The whole wheat levain were baked in a preheated oven that was switched off during the first 15 minutes (all with steam towels in), while the Vermont was baked in a preheated oven that was switched off for only 10 minutes. The result was quite obviously in favor of the latter: the 10 minutes off. The oven spring was improved and cuts opened evenly, and resulted in a better crust overall. I don’t claim that this is a conclusive controlled test, as the whole wheat levain was slightly under proofed, and thus exploded somewhat in the oven; and thus the crust was hard and thick. The Vermont sourdough was retarded (shaped ) and baked after two hours of countertop warm up time.

The sprouted Rye sourdough, my new recipe, is loosely adapted from Hamleman’s 80% Rye with rye flour soaker. It was sliced on the Market day, scaled to 600 gr loaves , then wrapped in paper bag and tied with a craft twine. In hind sight, I should have left a whole unsliced loaf for display. The rye was also a success . The slowest selling bread was the whole wheat levain. The crust was thick, and the flavor was slightly sour, which did not appeal to some clients.  One client thought that the dough was flavored with lemon juice!



Whole Rye flour40217grams
Light rye flour60326grams
Sprouted rye berries843grams
Toasted sunflower seeds5.530grams
Toaseted Pumpkin Seeds5.530grams
Sea salt211grams
Whole Rye flour100217grams
Light Rye flour 326grams
Water 190grams
Sprouted Rye berries 43grams
Sourdough 424grams
Soaker 163grams
Toasted Sunflower seeds 30grams
Toasted Pumpkin seeds 30grams
Sea Salt 11grams
Total 1,216grams

The day at the Market was crawling in terms of visitors’ flow. The sale peaked at noon, as soon as the market started at 12:00 pm. Not surprisingly, the Vermont sourdough was a instant hit, and sold out within an hour. I’ve only baked eight loaves of the Vermont, due to my limited refrigerator capacity, but I’m planning to purchase another tub to retard my dough in bulk. Furthermore, the Vermont sourdough , or “Country White”, was baked early in the morning of the Market day, and was fresh.

Yet, I’m still the only, lonely, bread baker in the Market. I’m puzzled by the lack of awareness for Artisanal breads, especially for Sourdough; quite few of the customers appreciate the flavor. About a month ago,  I had been to Kuwait on a personal trip and visited a sourdough baker at her stall in a local Market called: The secret garden project. It is such a nice community Market, lead by organic farming enthusiasts and foodies. The lady’s alias on Instagram is :  Auntmarie’s bakery, and she makes Delicious , and attractive sourdoughs. Other vendors at the event make sourdough bread as well and sell Tartines , and it seems as though Artisan bread culture has quite caught up with the local foodie scene in Kuwait. What struck me even more is that The lady sold out her entire thirty loaves, mostly sourdoughs, in an hour! The price tag for a 1 Kg Miche was not cheap, but the bread was spectacular ( I have purchased two loaves myself ). I wondered why this was not the case back in Dubai, even though it is touted for being a sophisticated multicultural destination in the middle east.

On another cheerful note, I’ve signed up for Artisan II bread classes in June 15th at SFBI !  I feel I need the hands on experience and the professional training, now that I’m beginning to switch into a new career in baking.  The reviews on the courses from renown TFL members like Dmsnyder and several others on, in addition to the recommendations by the auntmarie’s, (who has attended both Artisan I, and II), were more than convincing.

That is all for now,

Best wishes to all, and Happy baking!






FrugalBaker's picture

Hi everybody, I have a 4 month old,non yeasted levain and had been baking sourdough bread ever since. It was cultured from the scratech with organic rye flour. Though of late,my loaves are getting fluffier and on some occasion,they looked like yeasted bread? What gives? Appreciate some pointers,thank you!

rgreenberg2000's picture

Rye Sourdough (PiP's 40%)

April 13, 2015 - 7:34pm -- rgreenberg2000

Needed a change from my regular bread, so made a sourdough rye this time.  Followed PiP's 40% rye process from his blog post, with a few modifications to the bulk/final fermentation schedule to suit my timing.  Turned out nice....would have liked a bit more loft to the loaf, but I think I rushed the final fermentation a bit....

Some additional photos:

fupjack's picture

Making lots and lots of cookies

April 13, 2015 - 7:29pm -- fupjack

My daughter loves it when I make animal crackers.  (really just lemon-vanilla-oatmeal cookies)  I make a lot when I make them, since they go fast, her friends love them too, and animal crackers seem like something you should have in bulk.

However, it's a real pain in the rear to cut out the individual cookies, especially in animal shapes.  I thought about trying to find some sort of roller, like ones for springerle or croissant triangles.  Most of the ones out there are either very expensive, or sorta cheesy.

poilane breadlover's picture

Having trouble signing in with password each time.

April 13, 2015 - 6:16pm -- poilane breadlover


I learned about this website reading one of my Peter Reinhart books.

Am excited to get started purusing the Forum, Blog and of course Recipes. Lived near Poilane's bakery on Cherch-Midi in Paris for a year. Looking for breads like his i.e. European breads, primarily whole wheat breads. Live in Oregon now.

Thank you to the person who replied to my question last week in the Forum regarding where I could buy willow bread baskets.

signed, Poilane breadlover

Jbock220's picture

Retarding each sourdough starter refreshment...

April 13, 2015 - 5:59pm -- Jbock220

If retarding primary ferment develops beneficial flavored, why not retard each refreshment of a sourdough starter?

In beer brewing, ferment control was the key.  Part of which was keeping temps from swinging rapidly. It may have been desirable to change temps, but advised to do so slowly.  Do bread yeasts desire the same kind of controlled influence, is there more to it?

I'm wondering if anyone has any leads to the bio-science regarding the bread yeasts and why a cold ferment does what it does?





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