The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dabrownman's blog

dabrownman's picture

With Lucy being on strike this week after she found out the FBI was surveilling both Hilary and Trump during and after the last presidential campaign.  She wanted to know if I was surveilling her and she did not like it, not one little bit, when I said I could not confirm or deny any ongoing investigations by the Master just like the FBI’s director James Comey can’t talk about his investigations or confirm or deny they are even going on.

She then said,that usually, that is the FBI rule but it seems Comey broke it by telling congress he was investing both of them at the same time while they were running for president.  I didn’t believe her at first.  I was thinking such a thing would be impossible and really stupid for an FBI director to do but all I do is bake bread once a week.

Since she seemed up on these things, I asked her who would have the power and authority to order the FBI director to do such a thing.   She said he worked under the Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  She went on to say both Lynch and Comey were appointed by President Obama so, he too could tell Comey to investigate anyone he wanted by any means.  I told Lucy I really didn’t care about spies, political intrigue and dirty tricks …… but I would be sticking to my rule of telling no one if I was investigating them or not and play Sargent Schultz by claiming to know nothing about anything .......which would right most of the time.

Lucy immediately went on strike by refusing to give me any help at all in the kitchen or provide me recipes and started to picket her pantry to keep me out.  The last straw was she hid my new Cox Contour TV remote control which I just got and don’t really know much about or how to use either. 

Now I was starting to get a little hot because it looked like she had been planning this for some time.   To be so organized and ready to make my life more difficult than she normally did looked premeditated if you ask me.  But, I cooled off just enough to tell her that my investigation wasn’t so important, nor likely to destroy completely, the possible first women ever president’s campaign - right before the election – twice.  That had to surprise everyone - especially Hilary.  Nor was it anywhere close to trying to bring down a newly elected president’s administration 50 days in the FBI seems to be doing right now.  I am forced to pay attention to such nonsense and can't help but to notice it since it is as plain as the big honking nose on Lucy's face.


This really ticked her off.  Being totally brazened by the FBI, she started a hunger strike, refusing all food llike she was some kind oif prisoner or something.  Well now, this brought a smile to my face.   I told her we were out of her food anyway so her timing for me not needing her food anymore was perfect........ and made my life easier by far…… at least twice a day.

Now she is threatening to riot and burn the house down.  Jeeze!  I thought her mother was a nutso, knife wielding Sweed but her bone didn’t fall far enough from the badger hole it seems.  Now I have to sleep with 1 eye open and one hand on her backside just to make sure she doesn’t torch the place killing us all out of a misguided moral compass - or just plain spite.

That is where we are now so it is time to get on to this week’s baking.   Needless to say, this week’s bread had to be easy since I had to figure it out on my own.   My brain hasn’t worked at all since I retired 8 years ago and is quite muddled after all the beer, wine, shots and margaritas over those years - especially today.

So, if you were expecting something ‘Lucy like’ this week….. you are as out of your mind as James Comey.  He has to having bad dreams about Leavenworth prison since he is the low guy on the totem pole and the likely scapegoat since somone has greased it up pretty well.  After being in Lucy’s doghouse all week ……I can relate – poor guy. Sorry,  I digress


The bread is what Lucy would call a simple 13.  No sprouts, 100% hydration, 13% pre-fermented, bran, 5 grain, 3 stage levain built from 10 g of NMNF rye starter.  Since I am a doofus when it comes to these things and pretty used to just doing as Lucy tells me, I didn’t even start this levain until 8 PM yesterday.  The 2nd stage at midnight was followed by 3rd stage at 7 AM this morning.  Instead of using this levain fully ripe, I put it into the autolyse 2 hours after the 3rd feeding.  It was very young for us old timers but in it went when it had risen about 25% or so.

The 5 whole grains were also a whopping 13% and made up of equal parts of Kamut, red and white wheat, rye and spelt.  These are our 5 go to grains for just about any bread as a starting point but this one was especially light and more white than usual.

Since I couldn’t get my act together, the autolyse, with the pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top, was only 30 minutes.  There wasn’t any bran and little whole grains to begin with and 30 minutes I thoiught was plenty but what do I know .......and Lucy isn’t barking orders for once in her life.  All of the rest of the flour was Albertson’s bread flour - including the non bran in the levain.

We did s3 ets of slap and folds and 3 sets if stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals, pre-shaped and shaped the dough into a squat oval and paced into a rice floured basket, seam side up.  We bagged it in a new trash can liner and left it for 2 ½ hours on the counter to final proof. With the oven pre-heated to 500 F and the combo cooker inside.  See, I’ve learned something useful from Lucy over the last 5 years!

Unmolded onto parchment on a peel, slashed once down the middle and into the CC it went and right back into the 450 F oven between the two stones for 18 minutes of steam.  Then the top came off for 12 minutes of dry convection heat at a further reduced 425 F.

When it was done to 210 F on the inside, the bread had bloomed and sprang well enough but for some reason it wasn’t as dark as usual for a 210 F bread of this size, bake temperature and time in the heat.  We will have to wait for breakfast tomorrow to see the inside.

Lucy had built a new fig yeast water 3 weeks ago using rehydration liquid but I built another one from scratch last week too.  The new one is what was used to make this batch of YW cinnamon rolls or, as they say in England - Chelsea Buns.  The preferment was 25% preferment flour at 100% hydration using the fig yeast water that was allowed to sit for 6 hours. 

The dough was enriched with 10% butter and sugar each but it was unusual because no milk or egg was in the mix.  The softened, room temperature butter was not added until the dough was hydrated and the sugar mixed in using slap and folds. All the flour was Lafma AP.  After 2 more sets of slap and folds, all on 30 minute intervals, the dough was rolled out and 20% softened butter was spread on first followed by brown sugar, chocolate chips walnuts and dried cranberries.  No snockered fruits this time,

After rolling up and cutting it into 8 pieces, they were put into a sprayed Pyrex pan for proofing.  In 5 hours they were fully proofed, Yeast water is pretty slow and new ones are even slower.  The tops were brushed with milk and put into a 350 F oven for 22 minutes until brown.  I brushed them again with milk when they came out of the oven and then spread on a cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze.

These were killer if you ask me but one of the girls didn’t like the walnuts and the other didn’t like cranberries  - even though the other one asked for each of them to be in the middle.  Lucy didn’t get any because she was on her hunger strike.  Not getting her treat  haced her off even more so there is no telling what she is upt o now.  The girls only had one each since they didn't like what th other wanted.  That left me with 6….. and they were gone in a flash.

I’m not having much luck with any of the girls this week even with cinnamon buns as bait.   Very high maintenance -  all of them but, if I get 6 of these sweet buns as a result, we will try to make it the norm around here.  Happy baking.


dabrownman's picture

With a corned beef; making, soaking and smoking going on for the big day, we don’t have a lot of time to mess around with this week’s sprouted sourdough.  Lucy wanted to do Ballymaloe’s SD brown bread  which would have been perfect and we really like it, but that takes more time than I wanted to spend rounding up all the stuff that goes into it.  Plus, what we need in the freezer is a white bread.

So, we whipped up a 20% sprouted 5 grain SD at 78% hydration using a 10% pre-fermented bran and high extraction sprouted, 2 stage, 100% hydration, levain where the sprouted bran was the first stage.  The 5 sprouted grains were red and white wheat, Kamut, spelt and rye.

We didn’t have time to retard the levain once I was built and it went straight into the 1 hour autolyzed dough flour made up of equal parts of LaFama AP and Albertson’s bread flour that had the 2% pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top.

We immediately did 50 slap and folds to get everything mixed together and then did 2 more sets of 6 slap and folds and 3 more sets of 4 stretch and folds al over 30 minute intervals.  We just left the dough in the counter and covered with a stainless-steel mixing bowl between sets.


After a pre-shape and final shape, we dropped the dough into a rice floured basket for a 12 hour overnight retard in the fridge.  We took the dough out of the fridge and fired up the oven to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.  When the oven was ready we unmolded the dough onto parchment, on a peel, slashed it tic tack toe style, dropped it in the CC and then put into the oven between the two stones.

We baked it at 450 F for 18 minutes under steam and then removed the lid and continued to bake for another 6 minutes at 425 F convection before removing the bread entirely from the CC and placing it on the bottom stone to finish baking – about another 6 minutes until it hit 208 F in the inside.

It had risen bloomed and browned well in the oven but we will have to wait in the crumb shot when we make some kind of  sandwich for lunch.  Well no sandwich for lunch but we did have some Irish stew that needed sopping up and this bread was perfect.for doing so.

The crumb was so soft we almost couldn't cut it at all.  We really had to squish it down to get the bread knife to take hold.  The crust was still crispy and had not gone soft yet so it was still warm in the middle.  This bread is delicious and the perfect SFSD white bread to sop up some fish stew made famous there.  You an't go wrong with this recipe.



10% pre-fermented sprouted bran and high extraction, 2 stage, 100% hydration levain


10% High extraction sprouted 5 grain

40% Lafama AP

40% Albertson’s bread flour

78% overall hydration

2% pink Himalayan sea salt

dabrownman's picture

Steven Hawking came out this week to say that humanity is doomed.  He says that we will kill ourselves by letting our future robots, that we create, take over the world and kill us off because……. we are too stupid to stop it.  My question is - Where has he been?  People have been predicting this and writing extensively about it for decades – not to mention all the movies made about it.

This morning I was watching a burger flipping robot in Japan on the business channel and a concrete house being 3D printed in 24 hours in Russia.  Just think what jobs those fools in Silicon Valley are working so hard at doing away with next.  I predict that the very first Trans Humans will be found in Silicon Valley.

Oddly, once all the jobs have been replaced by robots and people dwindle away…. there will be no need for the human job doing robots we created – unless the robots think of something else for them to do.  Something nefarious I am sure.  Maybe they will save other worlds from living beings who are destroying their plants too.  Aliens everywhere better watch out for our robots….. who will be searching the galaxy looking for them …….to save their planet from them.  


All I can say is, I can’t wait to see the robot that can handle a 70% rye, 30% sprouted 6 grain dough at 90% hydration – no more Lucy or any other Baking Apprentice 2nd Class needed ever again.  I told Lucy that no people means - no pets.  You can bet that pets are going to be gone long before we are once robots refuse to feed us.  Now I feel a lot better leaving a $20 trillion national debt to my 25 year old daughter with no job to pay it off – Whew!  It was keeping me up at night.  Off to bread baking this week.

With Purim coming up Lucy whipped up a few hamemtashen using an enriched bread dough found here that was retarded for 48 hours.  Inside the Jewish Bakery has a.  We made 3 kinds. Black raspberry, blueberry and ginger, strawberry and banana and finally fig spread.  These are not the pie dough kind of hamentashen.   Using half the dough, we made a fig, pistachio and pepita roll up cocktail loaf that we plan on using for French toast this weekend.

We also made the Westphalian rye bread described above.  It has a bran 6 grain, 2 stage levain made from 10 g of NMNF starter.  The sprouted grains were: red and white wheat, rye, spelt, Kamut and barley.  It also had Black Toad beer, a whole 12 fl oz bottle for most of the dough liquid.  For additional dark color Lucy added some espresso powder, cocoa, molasses and barley malt syrup.  Ahe also put in some walnuts, figs, prunes and caraway seeds.

We autolyzed the dough flour and liquid for 1 hour and then did folding in the bowl and slap and folds on half hour increments to get the add ins mixed in well.  2 ½ hours after mixing by hand we dumped it into an oiled Oriental Pullman pan and let it rest for an hour before putting it into the fridge for an 8 hour cold retard.

When we took it out of the fridge it had not risen one iota since it hit the pan 9 hours before.  We figured it would be a very long day waiting on this bread to rise after being so cold for so long.  Once it was warmer outside than in the kitchen, we took the bread there to warm up faster and finish proofing it was supposed to be over 80 F today.

After 8 hours of warming up and proofing we had to get it in the oven before the wife got home so in it went ready or not.  I estimated it had risen about 80% - not too bad but it wasn’t cracking on the top either.


We decided that we would bake this one a bit different.  We brushed the top with the rehydration liquid to stick some pepita seeds to it, slid the lid on and put it into a cold oven and then turned it on to 450 F.  Instead of steaming for 20 minutes we steamed for 15 minutes after the oven hit temperature.  Then we took the lid off and continued baking 50 minutes at 385 F.  Then we took the bread out of the an and baked it on the rack for another 10 minutes until the temperature read 202 F.

We will have to wait for 24 hours to see what the inside looks like.  This is some kind of yummy rye bread.  Open and moist on the inside and powerfully delicious.  A slight sweetness and subtle caraway aroma and taste.  Tis bread can stand upt to any powerful filling or be perfect toasted with a schmear for breakfast.  It is a meal in itself.

Nothing like a nice grilled shrimp, grilled: red onion, orange and red bell pepper, poblano pepper, crimini and button mushrooms, green bean, broccoli, asparagus, grey squash, sausage, bacon, hot pepper jack, Parmesan and goat cheese fritatta.



SD Levain

100% hydration, fresh milled, 12% sprouted, pre-fermented bran & high extraction, 6 grain flour, 2 stage levain using 10g of NMNF rye starter that was retarded for many weeks


18% sprouted, 6 grain high extraction flour

70% Fresh milled, whole grain rye.

90% Black Toad beer, 1 bottle, and a splash of water to get it to 90%

10% each black mission figs and prunes dry weight -  rehydrated and water squeezed put

10% walnuts

4% caraway seeds

2% each cocoa, espresso, barley malt syrup and molasses

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt.

This bread is 30% sprouted whole grain, 100% whole grain and 76% rye.

Lucy reminds us to have a salad now and again - like every day!

She is a cutie!

dabrownman's picture

Lucy wanted to get back to her roots this week and she wanted to use something that has been on her pantry for a while collecting dust.  She was particularly upset about environmentalists saying that pets are totally not necessary and all they do is contribute greatly to global warming for no justifiable reason.

She really was really ticked off that pets, unlike livestock, don’t feed people, outside of North Korea, so they have no environmental redeeming quality at all – nada – zero.  So, she wanted to get back in her comfort zone before environmentalist rounded up all the pets and shipped them off to North Korea to await their environmental payback from the truly hungry.

I told her that I had heard that large pets like horses and St Bernard’s would be the first to go so she had at least a couple of more weeks of happy time before she was ground up into people food that the poor children of North Korea need so badly.  Knowing that her bread ingredient hoarding time was limited, she finally coughed up some of her more expensive add ins like dried cherries and pecans.  Next week I might get some gold foil and foie gras!

Back to this week’s bake.  Lucy specified 11 sprouted grains that amounted to 50% of the flour in the mix with the rest being Albertson’s bread flour – no less expensive LaFama AP this week.  The 11 sprouted grains were the usual suspects; red and white wheat. buckwheat, barley, oat, spelt, rye, emmer, einkorn, Kamut and quinoa.

The 100% hydration, 2 stage, 12 hour levain was made from 10 g of NMNF starter with the bran from the sprouted grains being the first stage.  The 2nd stage was the HE sprouted 11 grain.  Total pre-fermented flour came in at 12%.  The levain was not retarded this time but the dough flour was autolysed for 45 minutes with enough water to get the overall hydration up to 85% - and the PH sea salt sprinkled on top.

Once everything came together we did our usual 3 sets of Slap and folds and 3 sets of stretch and folds on 30 minute intervals with the add ins going in during the 1 set of stretch and folds.  The dough was pre shaped and shaped into an oval and placed in a rice floured basket and into the frode for a 12 hour retard.

When the dough came out of the fridge the next day, we let it sit on the counter for 1 hour before heating up the oven to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.  When the oven was at temperature plus 15 minutes.  We unmolded the dough onto parchment on a peel slashed it twice and slid into the combo cooker for 18 minutes of steam after turning the oven down to 460 F.

The lid came off and the bread was baked for 6 more minutes at 425 F convection.  The bread was then taken off the bottom if the CC and placed on the bottom stone for 11 more minutes of baking.  The bread read 207.5 F when it was removed to the cooling rack.

It bloomed, browned and sprang well enough but we will have to wait on the crumb shot till later.  The cherries really come through with a bit of tartness to go with the background.  Very soft moist and fairly open for a bread like this one.   Just delicious.  Made some fine toast with a schmear of salmon, onion cream cheese.  Have another salad with this fine loaf of bread


Levain–100% hydration, 2 stage, 12 % pre-fermented 11 sprouted flour, bran levain using 10m g of NMNF starter


38% HE 11 grain sprouted grain flour

50% Albertson’s bread flour

Water to bring the overall hydration to 85%

2% PH sea salt

12.5% Dried Cherries

10.4% Pepitas

10.4% Pecans

dabrownman's picture

This week’s smoked meats included the usual sausage, chicken thighs and pork ribs but Lucy threw in a 3 pound chuck roast that was on the thick side too. Normally we would smoke a pastrami, corned beef or brisket but they are ridiculously expensive and Chuck roast is half the price.  She wanted to see if this usually slow braised meat could be smoked and pulled like a pork shoulder

She also wanted something to celebrate the Dow crushing 21,000, which it did this morning – about a month after it crossed 20,000 on January 25th.  This the fastest 1,000 point rise in Dow history – quite an achievement although a 1,000 point rise was only 5% and quit unlike the % rise it took to go from 1000 to 2,000.  Some of us are old enough to remember the Dow closing at 837 in 1974 and then 10 years later also closing at 837 in 1984.  Those were not great investing years and called ‘The Lost Decade.’

But we are celebrating today because the pulled beef turned out great and it on[y took half the time in the smoker as the brisket too at 6 hours to h=get to 195 F!  So, we needed some buns quickly and they had to be good so instant yeast, sugar, butter and Half and Half seemed to be the way to go in Lucy’s mind bit then she tossed in some potato flakes to make them potato buns.

After a slap and fold mix per the recipe below, we did the usual slap and folds to get it all incorporated and then did 2 more sets of 8 all on 30 minute intervals.  Then we did 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds,  We let the dough ferment for a while to let it puff up before shaping into thin buns and letting them proof for about an hour  We washed them with half and half and then slid them on the bottom stone at 400 F for 12 minutes before turning the oven down to 350 F for another 12 minutes.

They browned up very nice and we brushed them with half and half when they came out of the oven to keep them soft and put a shine on them.   It was 5 hours from start to finished baking.  These rolls are delicious and were perfect for the pulled beef sandwiches.  These are our go to fast buns and we make them in SD too using 15% pre-fermented flour in the 3 stage, 12 hour NMNF levain – if you want them to be done in 5 -6 hours you have to use 30% pre-fermented flour and have the levain built before you start counting the hours.

Mix everything except the salt & butter for 30 minutes before adding in the left outs.

100% LaFama AP with 2 pinches of instant yeast

14% egg

10% Potato flakes

10% Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder

17% unsalted Butter

65% Half and Half

2% salt




dabrownman's picture

Lucy started off to do a more complicated bread by getting the 5 grain sprouts going on Wednesday but we forgot about the new Fig Yeast Water we started last Friday from the re-hydration soaking water left over from last week’s bake.  We wanted to include it in a SD / YW combo bake but it took a day longer than planned to get up to full ramming speed.

It was also very cold again with the house hovering at 62 F overnight.  We were too lazy to get the heating pad out till this morning for the dough so both of the overnight levains were very slow with the SD one the worse for the cold.  Now I was worried the bread wouldn’t get out of the oven before the wife got home to yell at me again:-)   I only had 8 hours total from mix to cooling rack and it is still 62 F in the kitchen.

The YW levain had managed to double overnight but the SD one only managed 50%.  The levain mix was 30% whole sprouted rye, spelt, Kamut, red and white wheat in equal amounts.  The bran from the sprouted flour was used for the SD levain's first build since it is SD LAB that really benefit from the buffering effect of the bran and there isn’t any LAB in yeast water. All of the whole sprouted grains were in the two levains.

We incorrectly thought the YW would be slower than the SD so we used the bulk of the high extraction sprouted flour for the YW levain at 18% pre-fermented flour and the bran SD levain came in at 12% pre-fermented flour for a total of 30% pre-fermented flour – a whopping total amount for Lucy ......but it is very cold, the heating pad can only do so much and I’m tired of being yelled at for not getting the bread out of the oven in time!

We autolyzed the LaFama AP dough flour for 30 minutes with the remaining water that brought the overall hydration to 78%.  Once the levains hit the mix, we did 60 slap and folds to get it all incorporated and then did 2 more sets of 10 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds – all on 30 minute intervals.  We let the dough rest for a half an hour before pre-shaping and shaping into a boule for the rice floured basket.

It had risen about 25% during gluten development and bulk ferment stage.  It sat on the heating pad for 1 1/2 hours proofing away before it was time to preheat the oven and combo cooker to 500 F.  We unmolded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed the top tic-tack-toe style and slid it into the CC and then into the oven between the top and bottom stones for 18 minutes of steam.

Yes it is a half pound lamb burger with cheese - only ate half at a time though!

After 5 minutes, we turned the oven down to 450 F.  When the lid came off, the bread had bloomed and sprang well enough and now it was just a matter of 12 more minutes of dry heat at 425 F with the fan on.  It browned up nicely and hit 209 F on the inside when it was removed to the cooling rack.


It was 5 hours from mixing to being out of the oven for this bread.  Can’t wait to taste it and see how it fares for a fast bread without commercial yeast.  We will have to wait on the crumb shots until tonight's gumbo requires sopping up!. It turned out to be what we thought it would be.  Moderately open. very moist and slightly sour bread .

Perfect for sandwiches and sopping up the gumbo.... and the gumbo was killer lots of Swai, shrimp, Andouille and chicken with that dark roux.  We couldn't stop eating it.


12% prefermented flour SD Bran Levain using 5 grain sprouted flour and NMNF rye starter at 100% hydration

18% prefermented High Extraction 5 grain sprouted flour at 100% hydratiom


70% LaFama AP 

enough water for 78% ovderall hydration

2% PH sea salt

Here is the Recipe Queen when she isn't resting.  She wnats to taste that Naan real bad.

Naan Recipe

2 g of Instant yeast

400 g of LaFama AP Four

280 g water with 20 g NFDMP

8 g PH sea salt

25 g of butter - don't incorporate the butter until the dough is fully hydrated.

25 g of sugar

Lucy says to have a salad with that Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan made on the grill - both were fantastic.

dabrownman's picture

Lucy really went to work this week to come up with a bread that would fit the Oriental Pullman pan perfectly – with the lid on!  A more complex kind of bread so she didn’t specify sprouting the whole grains so we got off a bit easy this week.  Every time I turned around she was pulling put another grain, seed or nut long hidden away that pantry she guards with her life.

The whole grains really came in at 11 if you count the wild rice with the red and white wheat, emmer, spelt, rye, oat, barley, Kamut, corn, buckwheat.  We haven’t put corn in bread for a while but we like grinding popcorn for it.  We have been fond of wild rice in bread since hanseata, (Karin), turned Lucy onto it and Maria Speck’s Aroma Bread.   This one is loosely based on a combination of those two fine breads.

The 100% hydration, 3 stage, bran and HEE 10 grain levain used 13% pre-fermented flour built over 12 hours from 10 g if our whole rye NMNF starter.  This time we did not retard the levain which is quite un usual for us.  We did autolyse the dough flour.  The whole grains came in at 30% with the wild rice omitted from this calculation.

Once the salt and levain hit the autolyze we mixed it all together with 50 slap and folds.  We did 2 more sets of 1 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds – all on 30 minute intervals.  The rehydrated figs, toasted seeds, nuts and cooked wild rice were folded in during the 1st set of stretch and folds

 We then pre-shaped and final shaped the dough into a loaf to fit the Pullman and let it proof on the counter for 2 hours before placing it in the fridge for a 20 hour retard – something we rarely do.  The Pullman was covered with oiled plastic but we placed a large pie plate holding an apple and blueberry galette over the top of it to make sure it couldn’t rise over the top of the pan so that we could get the lid on before going to bed.

Since it had already risen to the top of the pan before we went to bed, we decided to bake it straight out if the fridge first thing in the morning, especially since it was oozing out of the top.  We pre-heated the oven to 500 F and when it hit temperature we slid the Pullman into the oven between the two stones and turned it down to 450 F.

After 20 minutes of steam, we slid the lid off and turned the oven down to 425 F convection and continued to bake for 25 minutes before unmolding the bread and finishing baking on the stone – about 15 more minutes.  When the lid came off it looked pretty good even though it stuck a bit and was difficult to slide.  Everything browned up after it came out of the Pullman.  We will have to wait on the crumb shot.

It has been a long time since I posted one of Lucy's lunches.  Guacamole, Pico, Gouda, brie and cranberry goat cheeses, a small salad, a couple of strawberries and half sandwich of bologna and smoked turkey, lettuce cheese and tomato.

If you have never had gussied up wild rice, aroma bread you really need get some somehow and give it a go.  It is ine of the great breads in the long list of great breads.  It is just delicious, earthy, healthy, exotic, soft, moist, bread that smells good too.  You won't be disappointed.


13% pre-fermented 10 grain HE flour and  bran levain, 3 stage @ 100% hydration


17% 10 grain HE flour

70% LaFama AP flour

80% overall hydration

15% pecans and pistachios

15% Turkish figs

15% Pepitas and sunflower seeds

10% dry weight wild rice that was then cooked for 1 hour

2% PH Sea Salt

We also made some more poolish reduced sugar brioche buns for hamburgers this week – with sesame seeds on top.  They were also very nice looking and tasty too!


100% LaFama AP

70% NFDMP hydration

2% salt

2.5% sugar

10% butter

10% egg

dabrownman's picture

The name isn’t really all it is cracked up to be.  Yes, it has 3 toasted seeds folded into the mix – squash, sunflower and flax.  But is also has 8 different sprouted seeds and at least 2 unsprouted seeds that were ground into flour.  So, this could be called a 13, some sprouted, seed sourdough too.


No matter what it is called. Sprouted seeded sourdough is one of our favorite breads.  We have so many favorite breads it is hard to rank them but this would be in the top 10 or 20 for sure:-)  Our favorites seem to change based on what we are baking this week.

It has been a big bread week.  Yesterday was national bagel and lox day and it was also national pizza day – three of our favorite foods.  We went to Pizzeria Bianco in Saturday, the Best pizza place in the USA for a decade, the Bagel Man yesterday and we also made pizza last night.  Today was all seeded sourdough.

My daughter said the pizza at Biaco’s was the best she had ever had because his crust is the thinnest, the mushrooms were smoked and the sausage fantastic.  That lasted best tag for Bianco’s lasted less than week- until last night.  She now says my pizza is better than Chris Bianco’s.

Don’t you wish you had such a smart offspring who is always right about everything?   She says my crust is just as thin and crisp but has garlic, rosemary and sundried tomato in it so it tastes better.  I smoked the Italian sausage, onions and mushrooms this time and my tomato sauce is a day long, complex affair instead of plain crushed fresh tomatoes.

My take is that Chris’s WFO gives him a slight edge but my pizzas only cost $3 and his are a $17 minimum-  plus my house wine is better and cheaper too J   I have to admit that I try to make my pizzas using Chris’s as inspiration and guide and have spent 10 years trying to get somewhere close to his level with a 550 F oven at home.  With a WFO and 900 F, I could almost be there!

The Bagel Man is a Valley of the Sun transplant from NYC where he spent 30 years learning to make bagels.  He makes the best bagels in the Phoenix area by far and his lox is as good as you can find.  4 take out bagels, with enough cream cheese and lox to put on them will set you back $25 but they are worth it, just like Chis Bianco’s pizzas.  Needless to say, we have been living well of late!  Now if todays bread was half as good…..

The 8 sprouted grains for the bread were: red and white wheat, rye, spelt, buckwheat oat, barley and Kamut.  The100% hydration levain was a 16% pre-fermented flour, 3 stage bran one where the first stage was the bran from the 8 sprouted grains and the next two was high extraction 8 sprouted grain flour.

The whole sprouted grains were 40% of the flour and the overall hydration was 85% soit was a bit wetter than usual.  We autolyzed the dough flour and water for 1 hour with the 2% PH sea salt sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hit the mix, we did 50 slap and folds and then 2 sets of 6 slap and folds followed by 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds all on 30 minute intervals.

The 8% each of the 3 seeds were toasted and folded in during the first set of stretch and folds.  After shaping we dropped the dough into a tall basket, rice floured basket that we don’t use very often, placed it in a trash can liner and into the fridge for a 20 hour retard.  Once it came out f the cold we let it warm up for 2 hours on the counter.

After unmolding and slashing in a triangle we dropped it into a 550 F preheated combo cooker for 5 minutes of steam at 500 F and 13 minutes more steam at 450 F.  We then took the lid off and continued baking at 425 F convection for 56 minutes before removing the bread from the bottom of the combo cooker and allowed it to finish baking on the bottom stone for another 6 minutes.

The bread was 207 F on the inside when we set it out to cool.  We were kind if worried when we unmolded the dough and slashed it.  It was a bit over proofed and collapsed in the middle when slashed.  But it did recover to spring and bloom in the CI cooker.  It browned to that mahogany color we love so much and the smell of the bread when it came out of the oven was outstanding.

Hopefully the crumb will be nice too!  The crumb came out soft, moist and fairly open for a bread like this one.  The best part is that it is seriously tasty.  My future SIL said 'This is really good!' and I have to agree.  This combination of seeds is just delicious in a SD bread.  Yummy indeed!


50% each Lafama AP and Smart and Final High Gluten

70% water

2% salt

10% pre-fermented polish with a pinch of IDY fermented for 3 hours.

1T each of fresh chopped rosemary, sun dried tomato and garlic for half the dough

Slap and folds and stretch and folds over 2 hours and then 24 retard in the fridge.  Each pizza was 253 g of dough.  (2) 13.5” Pizzas were baked at 550 F for 8 minutes.  One was a Margarita Pizza with smoked onions and ricotta added.  The other was the same with additional smoked sausage, smoked mushroom  and very thin pepperoni.


Seed Sourdough

16% pre-fermented 100% hydration bran and HE 8 sprouted grain levain - retarded 12 hours after 3rd stage doubling.


24% High extraction 8 sprouted grains

30% Lafama AP

30% Smart and Final high gluten

85% water overall


8% each toasted; squash, sunflower and flax seeds.

Lucy says to have a great salad with that pizza and sunset



dabrownman's picture

Lucy and I were trying to remember the last time we made an all wheat bread and came up with the thought that it had been a really long, long time.  This week was a good one for several reasons so we decided to celebrate it with something we rarely do – make an all wheat bread.

What made this week great was that yesterday was my birthday and it was a special one – 65.  Wow! I am officially old and on Medicare.  The 2nd milestone happened today.  The Dow crossed over 20,000 for the 2nd time ever…. having hit it for the first-time last week and then retreating back into the 19,000’s.  If it can close over 20,000 today it would be a very good sign indeed.  Yea!  I did close over 20.0000.

Though not as old as so many others, I am still old, especially when my apprentice reminded me that I was investing in the stock market and saw the Dow cross 1,000 for the first time….. and have seen it cross every 1,000 point milestone, some several times, since that time so long ago – 44 odd years now.  It has been 44 years since I left Vietnam for the 2nd time as well.

It took the stock market 156 years to go over 1,000 from its founding in 1817.  The stock markets birthday is in early March and it will be 200 years old.  That isn’t a long time for European standards but the first stock market was formed in London in 1773 when the USA did not even exist.  Oddly, it was only 44 years before the New York stock market opened after the London exchange.  44 looms big this week for me.

It took 156 years for the NY stock market to get over 1,000 but only 44 years for it to get over 20,000 – Wow, what a ride it has been.  I have seen a lot in 44 years of investing but the speed of the markets huge advance over my investing lifetime just reflects the huge changes in wealth of the country over that time. 

In 1817 the few businesses of America, and America itself, just weren’t worth all that much.  The whole country was pretty poor by today’s standards.  Today, the businesses in America are worth astronomical sums of money even though the dollar isn’t worth what it once was in 1973 - not even close.

The US dollar wasn’t created until 1777 but by 1781 it was only worth 1/40th if its original value. The currency collapsed in 1782.  The first bank in the USA was opened in 1782 – the Bank of North America.  But, there was no money to put in it…… so the US borrowed money from France to open it.

Near the end if the Revolutionary War, the country was so broke the government could no longer issue bonds to fund the war.  Superintendent of Finance for the USA, Robert Morris had to issue bonds in his own name, that were financed by his own personal funds, to cover costs for the final months of the war.  Robert was a believer.

 In the 1790’s, US treasury bonds were being traded at 1% of their face value.  The dollar and US bonds were the most horrible investments.  The Revolutionary War had bankrupted the entire country.  We were terribly in debt to France and the country wasn’t worth the paper that was printed to fund it.

For last Sunday's football playoffs we had to have ribs, sausage and chicken from the smoker

Those were the very worst of times the US has ever faced financially.  They were way, way worse than the Depression or having the 20 trillion dollars in debt we have today.  But, if you aren’t a history buff or lived through it, you wouldn’t have a clue what really hard times are like, how far we have come or how blessed we are today because of people like Robert Morris throughout our short history as a country.

Made some smothered breakfast, chorizo, potato, onion and egg smothered burritoes for my daughter to habe during the week.

The moral if the story is clear.  If you are young, disciplined and insightful, learn to invest in yourself and our country's future today…… then there is a very, very good chance you can become very rich by the time you are old.  It has always been so and will always be so….. as long as there are enough people just like you who are willing to sacrifice for all the right reasons to collect the benefits later in life.  It pays to be a believer.

Do not listen to the many around you who say it can’t be done today.  Ninsense!  They are fools and are never to be trusted to do anything at any time.  Keep them far away from you.  If you want to have over $1 million in today’s money by the time you are 65 and you are 21 today, all you have to do is invest $6.41 every day in the S&P 500 index and increase that amount by 3% every year – that’s it.  You don’t have to know or do anything else it is that easy – no worries.  Be a believer.

On to this week’s bake: the levain was a 2 stage, 100% hydration one using a bit less than 12 % pre-fermented flour.  The first stage was half of last week’s rye levain; 38 g of while rye retarded for a week and then adding 12 g of red and white wheat sprouted bran for stage two and letting it rise again 50%.

The dough white flour was half Smart and Final high gluten from the bins and half LaFama AP, which works out to a bread flour I suppose, and the remaining 76 g of high extraction sprouted red and white wheat.  We autolyzed the dough flour and water with the 2% salt sprinkled on top waiting for the levain to rise – about 2 hours.  The overall hydration was 78% but it could easily have taken 5% more water.

We did 50 slap and folds to get the levain and salt mixed in and 2 more sets of 6 slap and folds all on 30 minute intervals.  Then we did 2 stretch and folds from the compass points only on 45 minute intervals.  We shaped and pre-shaped the dough into a boule, placed the dough seam side up in a rice floured basket and bagged it in a trash can liner for 12 hours of retardation in the fridge.

When the dough came out of the fridge we fired up the oven with the combo cooker inside to the preheat temperature of 550 F.  The dough was unmolded onto parchment, on a peel, slashed tic-tack-toe style and placed in the cooker for 6 minutes of steam at 500 F and 12 more minutes at 450 F.

Once the lid came off we lowered the temperature to 425 F - convection on now.   We then removed the bread from the bottom of the combo cooker after 6 minutes and continued to bake on the bottom stone for another 12 minutes until the bread was nicely brown and 207.5 F on the inside.

It sprang, blistered and bloomed well under steam but we will have to wait to see how the crumb is when we slice it for lunch.  Since it is only 33% whole and sprouted grain, the crumb should be pretty open - fingers crossed.  The crumb came out, soft, moist, and glossy.  But once again, it is the taste that is amazing.  Our new favorite white bread. 

Let's have another salad for Lucy



Levain – 12% prefermented flour, rye and sprouted wheat bran levain – 2 stage and 100% hydration retarded for 1 week after whole rye stage 1 doubled.


21% high extraction red and white sprouted wheat

33.5% Smart and Final high gluten

33.5% LaFama AP

Water to bring the overall hydration to 78%

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt.


dabrownman's picture

Last week we had no time and wanted to see how the yeast affected the flavor of the sourdough bread.  This week Lucy wanted to get some pecans and cranberries in the mix and get the yeast out because we had the time to do it with no worries about the wife coming home in tome to smell the bread baking.  The 7 sprouted grain flour was equal parts of Kamut, rye, oat, buckwheat, red and white hard wheat and barley.

This bran, 3 stage, 100% hydration levain was made on the heating pad from 10 g of our 2 day refreshed rye NMNF starter.  The first two stages were all whole rye and when it doubled we retarded it for 24 hours. We divided the 2 stage levain in half for next week’s bake and the 3rd stage for half was all of the bran from the 50% sprouted 7 grain flour that was added when the 2 stage levain was taken out of the fridge.  The total pre-fermented flour of the levain was a bit less than 14%

When the bran went into the levain we started the autolyze with the dough water (which brought the overall hydration up to 85%), the high extraction sprouted 7 grain flour and the 50% LaFama AP with the 2% pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top.  The 3rd stage of the levain doubled in 2.5 hours so we mixed it into the autolyze and did 50 slap and folds to get it all mixed up.

We then did 2 more sets of 10 slap and folds and 3 sets of stretch and folds.  All gluten development iterations were done on 30 minute intervals.  12% each chopped toasted pecans and dried cranberries were added to the dough during the 1st set of stretch and folds.

We did not rehydrate the cranberries this time to see if it makes a difference, the dough was pretty slack already, they were very fresh and soft plus Lucy forgot to soak them!  The dough started to come together better after the pecans and cranberries went in.  We did a quick pre-shape and then shaped the dough placing it into an oblong basket seam side down so we could bake it seam side up. 

The dough was then bagged in a brand-new trash can liner and placed into the fridge for an 18 hour retard.  When it came out of the fridge this morning we let it warm up on the counter for 2 hours, since it wasn’t fully proofed, before turning on the oven to preheat at 550 F

Once the oven was hot we put in the Mega Steam and waited 5 more minutes for the steam to really get billowing before we unmolded the dough onto parchment on a peel and slid the dough onto the bottom stone and turning the oven down to 500 F.  After 8 minutes, we turned the oven down to 450 F and continued to stream for another 10 minutes.

Salad and Tuna just go together.

We then continued to bake at 425 F convection for another 15 minutes until the bread was 208 F on the inside and brown enough on the outside.  It sprang hardly at all but we will have to wait in the crumb shot till lunch time.  The lack of spring shows it was 100% - about 15% more than it should have been.  I’m guessing the crumb will still be OK.

This bread is fine tasting. Sour for sure, a bit sweet and tart when you bite into a cranberry and nutty too.  The crumb is very soft and moist.  Fairly open as well.  We will like it for French toast and just regular toast with nothing more than butter.  Lucy thought about throwing some sunflower or squash seeds in there too but this bread doesn't miss them.  We like it a lot.  



14% pre-fermented, 3 stage, 7 sprouted grain bran and whole rye levain @ 100% hydration retarded for 24 hours after the 2nd stage. 5% sprouted bran flour and 9% rye

45% high extraction 7 sprouted grain

41% Lafama AP

85% overall hydration

2 % PH sea salt

12% each chopped toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

3 apple, strawberry, blueberry and ginger Galette


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