The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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111 loaves in all. About 16 hours of work prepping and measuring the ingredients, mixing the dough, [overnight rising in my little hippie greenhouse on the deck]




dividing, shaping, proofing and baking.

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I developed this recipe when I was missing my traditional Russian coriander-rye bread but did not yet have enough skills or confidence to try making it in its classic form, which requires both the sourdough starter and the soaker and includes no wheat flour whatsover. However, I was mindful of a different Russian rye bread (we have a few dozen of them), just as sweet and flavorful but made with caraway and wheat flour, a little less coarse, more tender, but still very full-bodied. This recipe combines some properties of both of them (while actually being neither), and has an important advantage: it is simple enough for a novice.

Here is the recipe (makes two ~1-pound loaves), all measurements in grams:

Dark Rye Flour 270
White Bread Flour 80
Whole Wheat Flour (as coarse as you can get) 80
Vital Wheat Gluten 80
Yeast 4
Sea Salt 12
Freshly Ground Coriander Seeds 4
Honey 60
Molasses 60
Water 280-300
Canola Oil 30

This is a direct dough designed for overnight fermentation (hence low yeast content). I measure and mix all my dry ingredients, then add my wet ingredients one by one, with water going in last. If the dough turns out too sticky, add a tad more wholewheat flour. You may want to knead it but I usually get by with 2-3 stretch-and-folds.

If I want my loaves to be sprinkled with flour, I shape the loaves on a heavily floured board. If I want them shiny I shape them on my tiled countertop, lightly sprayed with canola oil to prevent sticking, and spray them with water just before sprinkling them with coriander seeds and putting them in the oven. The baking is as usual: at 475, with steam in the first few minutes, for about 10 minutes, then decrease temperature (I usually turn it down to 325 with convection) and bake until the internal temperature reaches 185-190F.

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Having used this site for ages, and having greatly appreciated and learned from the collective wisdom of my fellow bakers, I finally decided to join the Fl. So now, I figured, is as good a time to introduce myself as ever.

Here's my story. A couple of years ago I did not know how to bake anything. All the foolproof recipes that my more baking-talented friends gave me simply said, "add as much flour as the dough will take" or "knead until the dough would stop sticking" -- but the dough would take as much as I'd give it or will never stop sticking, thought I! I honestly tried baking bread a few times, and failed miserably every time, producing absolutely ugly loaves that were as heavy as a brick, and as raw on the inside as they were burnt on the outside -- in other words, completely and utterly inedible. After a while the word "yeast" would send me into a major panic mode, even though in all other respects I was a very fearless and rather successful cook.

And then some kind soul sent me the link to the youtube no-knead bread recipe. Now THAT seemed totally foolproof. I worked up some courage and decided to try it. It came out! Not to push my luck too far I waited a few days and then tried it again. It came out again! At that point, having gained just the tiniest bit of self-confidence, I started reading cookbooks and trying some "real" recipes. Some came out, some didn't. But my failures ended up being even more educational than my successes -- I started actually "getting it."

One day early this summer I was at a local farmers' market. I had a loaf of my Russian corainder-rye bread that I brought at the request of a friend. Well, the friend couldn't come to the market, so I gave the loaf to the market manager. As soon as the market ended that day, she found me through common friends and asked me if I could become a vendor at the market. Apparently, my bread was different enough from everything else that was available that she wanted to have me join them.

It took me a little time to rework my recipes from cups/spoons into grams and milliliters (my brain works in metric only) and to figure out how to scale up from baking 10-15 loaves a week to over 100 in one day (for the market, I generally make a push and bake all of my 120-150 loaves on Friday, but that would be all of my weekly baking). By mid-July I started selling my breads at the market. I absolutely love it! It is very hard work, it doesn't make a lot of money (although I am not in the red, thank goodness!) but I feel that after a lifetime of working much less "real" kind of jobs I'm finally doing something that makes people happy. At least, my customers' faces make it all worth my while.

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