The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Kiseger's picture

A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.

Rumi - The Secret Turning

And so it came to pass that I ended up on "gardening leave" from my job, waiting for a release date so that I could start my new job.  It was, in fact, "baking leave" but only a handful of my colleagues understood this!!  On my first day home, as I tried to read through the overnight posts on TFL while recovering some sort of humanity via a cup of coffee, The Husband was wandering around the house in his sports kit, minus a sock, frantically looking for said sock, as one does.  I take comfort in the hope that I am not alone and that somewhere, out there, live many happy ladies whose beloveds run around looking in kitchen cabinets for a missing sock.  I have also wondered whether, perhaps, my parents pay The Husband a monthly stipend to do things like this.  Maybe he even has a blog somewhere called "Inexplicable Oddities and Bizarre Behaviours I have invented to drive my wife nuts".  Having duly ascertained that no stray socks lurked in our kitchen (cabinets or elsewhere), he stopped to ask me whether I really planned to spend my entire time off work making bread.   Hearing the answer, he nods briefly and says "OK.  Have you considered that you may need some form of counselling when you pick up your new job, I am worried about the withdrawal symptoms when you have to sit at your desk instead of baking…..".   It was too early for a glass of wine, so I gave him That Look and had another coffee.

I loved the SJSD so much, I wanted to try again.  Between the odd calls from "old work" and from "new work", mainly trying to find out what my news was, I pulled out my large mixing bowl and flour and set to it.  At this point, Mother calls.  After establishing that I am not at work, she offers up: "I hope you're not going to spend the whole time making bread!"  In lieu of an answer, I ask if she has been paying The Husband to do weird stuff around the house.  Silence.  More silence.  "Do you want to speak to your father?" she says.   And so, on with the SJSD.

A few small changes in the formula below, what with the Great Sock Palaver, I was distracted and added 50g each of rye and whole wheat, as opposed to 25g each.  As a result, I winged it a bit and added some more water to a total of 390g.  I also didn't have 100%n hydration levain to hand, so used the 80% hydration I had ready.

Bread Flour  450g
Rye  50g
Whole Wheat  50g
Water  390g
Salt 12g
Levain 150g (80% hydration, 50% bread flour, 50% whole wheat, 8hrs build)

1. Autolyse all flour and 350g water, 2hrs
2. Mix 40g water, 12g salt and 150g Levain
3. S&F 4 times at 30min. intervals, total time on counter is 3.5hrs
4. Cold Bulk Ferment - set in fridge for 22hrs
5. Preshape and bench rest for 20min
6. Shape and proof for a wee snippet over 1hr
7. Bake in DO, oven at 250C for 20min then reduce temp to 230C and remove lid at 25mins and continue to bake for another 15-20min


I got my courage together and decided to try for a swirly whirly scoring pattern, which led me to think of whirling and dervishes and therefore Rumi again, hence the turning poem.  This one was slightly more sour than my first attempt at SJSD, and again a delicious "universal" bread.  As expected, it passes The Husband test, and is declared to be tastier because it has a bit more tang.  He was terribly nice all evening, there was no mention of socks and he even offered to wash the dishes.   He got a little reward by way of a stray sock (discovered in the sock drawer, of all places), rolled up and tied with a big red ribbon, on his pillow.   

The lover's food is the love of the bread;
no bread need be at hand:
no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.

Rumi - The Interest without The Capital

nmygarden's picture

Okay, so I'm here often, looking, reading, comparing, commenting, but mostly, mostly learning as much as I can as quickly as I can, and putting that knowledge to work. I'm grateful for the skill and generosity of the members - even when thoughts or advice presents differing experience or opinion, even controversy, it's offered in good faith and helpful to so many. Thank you all.

My work and commute combine and leave me with mere shreds of time in the evenings, so practicing and baking are pretty much confined to the weekends. But I'm making progress in a real way, learning to feel the dough, sensing its development, understanding the science and applying principles, judging and adjusting to influence the outcome. Among my most challenging lessons are gluten development and assessing proofing status. I struggle with each of them.

 Like so many here, my focus is artisan style breads made with natural sourdough starter, and though I truly respect those who dedicate themselves to mastering one or a few recipes before expanding to others, I can't do it... must experiment, must create, must make mistakes along the way. It's my nature.

This past week's bake was a two-fer, with one of them revisiting a past failure and the other following inspiration gathered here.

The revisit involved incorporating brown rice in bread. Not so exotic, except rather than cooking the rice, I soaked it in boiling water for a couple of hours. Oops, not good. So this time, the rice was fully cooked and incorporated into a multigrain dough, including 40% BF, 25% each Dark Rye and WW, 5% Polenta and 5% Oat Bran. I paid extra attention to developing the dough and not over-proofing. Made both progress and edible bread!

Here are the bottom and crumb...

With that one in process, it was time to satisfy my creative urge. After seeing a series of fruit-and-nut themed breads here, I wanted to take a turn and assembled my version, Fruited Earl Grey Tea Bread, with dried apricots and cherries soaked in strong Earl Grey Tea (also used as the liquid for the dough), plus toasted walnuts in a dough that included 60% AP flour, 30% Spelt and 10% WW, This one felt risky with all the fruit, so watched closely as it baked, and reduced the temperature in several increments to get a richly colored crust and have it baked through. Alas, the tea is a very faint afternote, but I'm happy with how the bread turned out, far from perfect, but acceptable and encouraging.

Thanks for looking and for your input, they are much appreciated.




dmsnyder's picture

It's been a busy week. I baked these loaves Monday and took some to my Italian class Tuesday evening where it was appreciated. I have tried this bread untoasted plain and with butter and with goat cheese and toasted with butter and with almond butter. All were very nice. The formula is from Hamelman's Bread.

Although my wife and I both enjoyed this bread a lot, among the various dried fruit/toasted nut sourdough breads I've made, I think we liked the sour cherry-pecan San Francisco-style Sourdough the best. But all have been really enjoyable.

Happy Baking!


CAphyl's picture

I am testing this to see if this image looks better than my earlier blog.  ElPanadero mentioned that my photos are faded and yellow (I have been resizing them, as I have struggled to post multiple photos), so I just want to see if this photo looks better than the one I posted on my earlier blog, which has the recipe and other photos.  Phyllis

sunnybunnybread's picture

  The recipe is from Peter Reinhart's <Whole Grain Breads>.


    I use wheat berries, millet, three colors quinoa.



    This is my first time baking sprouted grain bread, is it normal the crust likes paper thin?

CAphyl's picture

It's my husband's birthday, so I wanted to make something special and different. Inspired by so many bakers on this site, I tried something new in making this bread, improvising a bit on the ingredients. I felt a need to incorporate some fresh herbs from the garden, so I decided to alter the Tartine recipe I typically use to add a few ingredients that may be tasty together.

We just had some for lunch, and it was nutty and tangy....really tasty.  The sage wasn't as visible, but we could smell it and spot it in a few places. My husband liked it, so I am pleased.

It's always fun to get the starter going. (Complete recipe is below).

It really popped up overnight.

The dough smelled wonderful during the autolyze phase.

I picked fresh sage from the garden, washed it and let it dry out on the cutting board as I didn't want to add any more wetness to the Tartine dough, which is very wet.  I used California walnuts, of course.

I gently patted the dough down to put the ingredients inside before shaping.

I thought the bread turned out well.  It flattened a bit during the baking, but that may be because I stuffed so many nuts and bits of sage in there. I was hoping for a more open crumb, but it was OK. My husband (engineering background) likes a more uniform crumb.

Tartine Sourdough with Walnuts, Walnut Oil and Fresh Sage


  1. 55g ripe starter (I used a mix of AP, WW and dark rye starter)
  2. 200g water
  3. 200g whole wheat flour (I actually used sprouted whole wheat)

Mix the starter and water together in a medium-sized glass bowl until the starter is fully absorbed.  Add the flour and mix well.  Cover and leave on the counter at room temperature overnight.


  1. 250g (25%) leaven
  2. 500g (53%) white bread flour (I used AP as I thought it was my bread flour!)
  3. 250g (27%) whole wheat bread flour (I used mostly sprouted whole wheat, as I had a bag open. Regular ww is fine)
  4. 150g (16%) dark rye flour
  5. 20g (2%) salt
  6. 730g water plus 50g water in reserve for after you add the salt (step #6 in Method below)
  7. 10g walnut oil
  8. 10-15g fresh sage, sliced in very thin strips, for each loaf; 20-30g total (2.5%)


  1. Add the 250g of the starter to a large mixing bowl
  2. Pour in 730g water and mix until the water and leaven are completely mixed and dissolved
  3. Add all of the flours and mix until all the dry flour is incorporated
  4. Mix in the 10g of walnut oil
  5. Cover your bowl with a towel and let autolyse for 40-50 minutes
  6. After the autolyze phase add 20g salt to the dough and slowly pour your 50g reserved water on top
  7. Use your dough scraper to turn the dough several times.

Now, leave this on the counter covered with a towel for the bulk fermentation phase of about four-five hours with frequent turns. For the first step, let it sit for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the dough several times with your dough scraper. Now, turn the dough with your scraper every 30 minutes for two hours.  After that period, leave the dough to rise untouched for another two hours.


As many of you know, Tartine bread has high hydration and can be tough to handle. I lightly floured my surface and eased the dough on the top of it.  At this point, let the dough rest for 30 minutes.


I used the dough scraper to divide the dough in half before shaping into boules. Try not to add much flour.  I coated my hands with the walnut oil and put a little on the surface. I shaped it twice, letting it rest in between shapings.  Then place the shaped dough into a banneton dusted with brown rice flour and retard in the refrigerator overnight.


Preheat your oven with your covered baker inside at 500 F (260C) degrees.  Remove the tray from the oven, use a bit of cornmeal at the bottom to prevent sticking, place the dough into the tray and score.  I sprayed with just a touch of water to get the nice crust.  Bake with the dome on for 30 minutes at 500 degrees, then remove the dome and bake at 435F (224C) convention for 15 minutes or so; 450F/232C  if you don’t have convection).  I usually bake a bit longer to get the bold crust.  Just check it during this phase and thump the bottom to be sure it is done.

If you don't have a covered baker, place your baking stone in your oven pre-heat to 500F (260C). You can take your loaves out of the fridge to warm up while the oven is preheating.

Place the dough onto the stone, score it, get your steaming apparatus in place and turn the heat down to 450ºF (232C), bake for approximately 45-50 minutes until you have the crust color you desire.

Yesterday, I made one of my husband's favorite breads, the classic sourdough. His birthday celebration goes all week!

I was pleased with the open crumb.

I also made one of my husband's favorite dishes for dinner last night, "no cook" heirloom tomato sauce with homemade pesto and a parmesan crisp. Lots of fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic.  We are lucky in California to still have the tomatoes growing in our garden and heirlooms still at the farmer's market. Yum! (If you want recipes, let me know).

The celebration continues tonight when we go out to dinner and a show. I'll probably bake him another special loaf soon. I enjoyed my Tartine experiment!  Phyllis

dabrownman's picture

Lucy tends to get easily bored and wanted to take up the piano recently to try to be a little more with it and keep herself out of trouble.  I told her no one plays the piano anymore and she should consider taking up the electric guitar…but it turns out electricity scares her as much as lightning and thunder. 


To take her mind off of such things I thought she would enjoy getting the holiday baking schedule going early this year, especially after the GMA’s had done their fruitcakes a couple of  weeks ago now.  Last year Lucy came up with 4 different fruit cakes and we sent some off to friends.


See that little bit of dough peaking through the middle of bowl between the mountain of nuts on one side and snockered fruits on the other?  Not much dough holding thisnall together.

This year, since we are early and still have to bake stollen, I told her to keep it to one fruitcake for now so she upped the size of it to compensate hoping I wouldn’t notice.  You would think she would know who the master is around here by now and no try to hide things like this in the details.


Donlt forget to non stick spray that souffle pan beofre laoding in the dough.

It isn’t often that we get to bake something where the add ins are 800% of the weight of the flour but this one…. is one. Makes one wonder what is actually holding this chock full of stuff thing together and why it doesn’t just explode.  Last year, we didn’t get any rise at all, during proof or in the oven, out of any of those fruit cakes but one was an English version that had no leavening in it at all.


This years Lucy though she would double up on the amount of levain and use both YW and SD to see if any rise would happen.  But, there was none of that to be had.  The only thing is that hopefully the fruitcake will last longer this way – not that it wouldn’t anyway with that much bourbon and brandy in it. 


I know what you’re thinking.  That fruitcake is horrible and there is really only one of them that gets passed around to everyone on the planet hoping some fool will eat it.   Well, this fruitcake is not the one of those.  This one is just plain full of it, what ever it is.


This year the fruits included, pineapple, red and green cherries, orange and lemon peel, citron, prunes, cranberries and 3 kinds of raisins.  All were soaked for days in copious amounts of bourbon and brandy until they soaked all of it up.  The nuts included walnuts and pecans.  The enrichment included; eggs, brown sugar, molasses and butter and the 7 spices used were; cardamom, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.


There is always a place for a 13 hour smoked pork shoulder to make some pulled pork sandwiches.

The 2 separate levains were built in once stage each and left out to ferment for 10 hours before being retarded in the fridge overnight.  We then let them warm up on the counter for an hour and a half.  This is one of those dump and mix recipes that can be done by hand or in the mixer - with one change - the, fruits and nuts are held back and then mixed in last


Smoked pulled pork served with homemadebiuns, slaw and baked wedge fries.

I’m not sure this makes a difference at all though and you could probably just dump the whole mess in at once and mix away.  I used a spoon and it wasn’t too difficult.  I hate cleaning the mixer and Lucy hates cleaning anything. 


Lucy reminds us never to forget that fine salad!

Then it just gets dumped into a 1 ½ quart soufflé dish for 6 hours of bagged proofing on the counter.  It didn’t rise but at least we gave it a chance. Then in the oven it went for a full 2 hours of baking at 350 F until the middle hits 205 F.


There were a couple of nice sunsets this week to highlight the fact we got the garden planted last week and the 11 pots of greens came up this week.  We also plantd 4 tomato plants - all cherry tomatoes - 2 red, one yellow and one black/putple.

An unusual lunch for us...a shell pasta with meatball, green with blue cheese and potato salads, some avocado and a golden delicious apple.

It came out a little risen in the middle and the top was a dark brown and cracked.   We put some watered down apricot glaze on the top to shine it up.  It smelled terrific as it baked.  This one will have to sit quite a while before we can cut into it.  Then we have ti decide of we want to hooch it up some more as it ages.

The crumb came out nice and moist that you could slice in 1/4" slices.  It is chock full of goodies, very aromatic, fruity, boozy, chocolaty..... it tastes great like a high end fruitcake that Lucy would dream up.  Just delicious.  Now for the stollen....



Yeast Water & RyeSD Levain

Build 1

Build 2



8 Week Retarded Rye Starter





AP Flour





Whole Grain Mix





Cherry YW & Water (RyeSD)















Levain Totals















Levain Hydration





Levain % of Total Flour










Dough Flour





Whole Grain Mix










Total Dough Flour

























Dough Hydration





Total Flour w/ Starter





Liquid in Starter










Hydration with Starter





Total Weight





Whole Gtrain %










Total Hydration w/ Starter & Adds










Add Ins















Snockered Fruits





Brown Sugar





Pecans and Walnuts





Mini Chocolate Chips





Egg (2 large)





Total Add Ins










Whole grain mix is: rye, wheat and spelt









1 T of 7 spice mix: allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg,



clove, ginger and cardamom








Kasiaw's picture

We scarfed down half the first loaf in minutes for lunch today.  I am lucky I got a picture of the inside before it was gone!  This is the best bread I have every made, and I've been baking for more than thirty years.  I already have a request for more for this weekend, so now I have to learn how to take out the starter from the fridge and liven it up...  Back to the forum for advice!

golgi70's picture

Still baking.  Pretty much got it down to just my once a week routine and the occasional farmer's market.  Every week I offer two varieties.  One that is a levain bread and retarded in form.  One that is baked in a pullman pan and cut into quarters (usually a rye).  And then when I'm in the mood I'll throw in a baguette, rusitque, focaccia, or ciabatta.  

This week I fiddled around with my 70% Rye with Whole Wheat ( to come up with a Raisin Rye.  I went with a pairing of raisins, toasted sesame, and toasted fennel.  A combo I've seen in levain loaves that I thought might be nice as a denser tinned loaf.  I discarded the Whole Wheat for a stronger white flour and followed a Detmolder approach.   The results are so very good.  Plain it has a lovely tang from the staged fermentation with a lovely sweetness that cuts through from the raisins.  The sesame adds a nice nuttiness and the fennel adds a lovely note.  This one is in the books folks.    

Since I'm here this weeks levain loaf was my "Ode to Rubaud".  I've read much about him, watched the youtube videos, and gave his formula a go some time ago.  My results were good but not great.  I needed to adjust my approach as I retard in form and he does not.  My take is more focused on the blend of fresh milled flours and the three build levain.. This time around I decreased my PF from 15% to 13%, added an extended autolyse (4 hours).  I got pretty good results but they may be a tad over fermented.  The lovely three build levain and extended autolyse makes this loaf mildly acidic, sweet, and earthy from the fresh whole grains.  I'll come back to this one soon to find the proper timing.

Hope all is well in everyone's worlds


And here are some pics of the "Ode to Rubaud" from this past bake




sunnybunnybread's picture

This is my first time making a ciabatta shape





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