The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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It is easy to make one for yourself though using Lucy's variation of Peter Reinhart's whole grain rye method that takes 4 days and makes bread on day 5 with left over starter for storage - without any discard!

Day 1- 30 g of whole grain rye and 25 g of water.  mix cover with plastic wrap and leave for 24 hour

Day 2 add 30 g of WG rye and 25 g of water Mix and let sit for 24 hours covered in plastic

Day 3 - divide in half.  Add 30 g of WG rye and 25 g of water to each half, stir and cover each with plastic

Day 4 Add 30 g of WG Rye and 25 g of waterstir and let sit for 24

Day 5 Make levain for a loaf of bread with one half and divide the other one in half.  Feed one 60 g of flour and 40 g of water for storage in the fridge after it rises 25% and feed the other one 30 g of flour and 25 g of water to make a levain for bread 2 on the next day.

Works every time without fail at 75 - 78 F.

Happy SD baking 

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Here we are in Kansas City for a wedding.  My wife’s very best friend’s son is getting married.  He is the same age as our daughter.  It is very cold and raining here today after a cold but sunny day yesterday.  We hate cold of any kind and are not fond of having to live in it for a few days this weekend. We had to bring their pet tortoise; Sheldon, who is 25 years old, in from the cold of the back yard so he didn’t freeze because tortoises hate the cold even more than we do.  He will call his basement pen home till spring.


I haven’t been baking of late to lose weight, but my daughter is having bruschetta for friends coming over tonight so I got to bake for the first time in weeks - the Community 123 Bake.  This one sounds complicated but it is a one, 2, three.  First off, it is 26.6% whole grains made up of red and white wheat, oat, rye and spelt.

Pre and post retard 

We sifted out the bran and used some of the high extraction flour for the 2 different preferments that added up to the total of the one.  The first one was single stage levain and was twice the size of the 2nd one which was a Yeast Water preferment.  The first one had two different starters in it.  A NMNF rye starter and a NMNF Wild and Forbidden Rice Starter. 

Pre and post final proof

Because it technically had two different rice varieties in the 2nd one, it moved the whole grains up to 7 instead of 5 but, we aren’t counting them, even though we should.  This one was retarded for 24 hours after it doubled.

The other preferment was a YW one that was made up of two different yeast water, apple and fig.  Lucy says why do anything with one of something when you can do it with 2 of something?  Personally, I think she comes up with these complicated things just to make see if I can handle it without replacing her with a tortoise permanently.

Crab Cakes with shrimp and Veggie Kabobs

We also did a 2 stage autolyse, a 1 hour one for the remaining high extraction flour and then we added the white flour to it for an additional half hour with the 2 salts; Pink Himalayan and Mexican sea salt sprinkled on top.  We held back some water so that we could do a double hydration dough and help get the salt mixed in later too – Jeeze!  The white flour was a mix of 3 different ones, LaFama AP, KA Bread and Winco High Gluten with the AP being half of it – triple Jeeze!  But this got Lucy up to 8 different flours in this bread.

Chicken Lettuce wraps for appetizers

Once the 2 preferments hit the mix we had a complicated, conflicting, confab of dough in exponential order- just the way Lucy likes it.  We tried to our usual slap and folds but this dough was too stiff so they ended up being 2 slaps for every one fold.  It really needed another 10-15% more water but we didn’t want to violate the basic rule and just kept on wetting our hands as we did the 3 sets of slap and folds of 125, 40 and 20 on 30 minute intervals.   By the last set, the dough had loosened up enough to only do 1 slap per fold.

Three day fermented Dijon Mustard before the 6 week retard

Then, so Lucy could get her jolly’s off, we did three other kinds of folds.  We tried to do a sleeping ferret fold but the dough was still way too stiff.  So, it was more like a Paralyzed Stiff Ferret Fold.  Then we did stretch and folds and finished off with envelope folds on 30 minute intervals.  This got us to the number 4 that we had previously skipped, of different kinds of folds without having to do a Strutting Peacock Fold at all …….because there were no add ins for this simple recipe for some reason.

Chicken Chili Verde with Chicken Veggie Stew

Then rounded it into ball and dropped in into an oiled SS bowl for 2 consecutive - 20 minute rests before hitting the fridge for a 12 hour retard.  I thought about moving it from fridge to fridge on 4 hour intervals to try to keep the momentum building but Lucy said we don’t have but one fridge.  We still don’t have a wine cellar and it isn’t winter time yet so she can’t just chuck it outside overnight either.   We did open the fridge door every so often to make it think we were going to move it though – nothing worse than cold and complacent dough in Lucy’s book.

We took the dough out the then next morning but had to leave for a few hours so I stuck it back in the fridge. It was nearly 1 PM before we got home and it got out of the cold for good to warm up on the kitchen Island.  Lucy did move it from island to next to the sink and then over by the stove every 20 minutes or for an hour.  There is something about a well-traveled dough that makes Lucy sit up and and beg to be noticed.

Denver omelet on bake day

The stiff dough had really puffed itself up in, out and back in the fridge where it easily doubled.   We pre-shaped the dough into a batard and 30 minutes later we really got it batardy and into a rice floured basket, seam side down, for final proofing. In an hour and 45 minutes it had gotten to 90% proof, perfect for a white bread.

We unmolded it onto parchment on a peel and slid it into a 500 F oven and chucked 2 cups of water onto the screaming hot lava rocks of the Mega Steam and closed the door for 16 minutes of steam at 450 F.  Once the steam came out we, turned the oven down to 425 F convection for 18 minutes of dry heat baking with fan. 

It read 208 F when we took it out.  It had browned, bloomed and sprang well enough.  A couple of hours later, I cut off a heel to taste with some butter and then cut it in half to take a look at the crumb.  It was moist and soft and not very open due to its very low hydration for a 26% whole grain bread with HG and bread flour in North America.  It would have been killer with more water for sure.

With AP flour only, it would have been way more open too but this crumb is perfect for bruschetta where big holes are a real no no….and no.   It was delicious with a mild sour due to the effects of the yeast water masking the sourdough.  The YW/ SD combo preferments is perfect for those who do not like really sour bread since a sour bread isn’t possible using both kinds of natural preferments.

A few of the many salads

The dark fig yeast water really gave some color to the crumb too along with the whole grains.  Warm it up in the oven or toast it with some butter, cheese, olives, cured meats and some wine would be a great way to pass an afternoon with friends.  Haven’t heard how the bruschetta was yet but the loaf was so big my daughter only took half of it.  I froze the other half for some bruschetta when we get back home.

And a few more

dabrownman's picture

After not baking bread for weeks – The Houston Miche

This one is a big boy.  It went into the oven at 1,871 g and came out at 1,675 g losing 10.5% of its water weight as it baked.  It turned out with the 3 B’s but we won’t cut into it till Thursday or Friday to see if it is OSM.  We baked it to 208 F, 20 minutes under Mega Lava Steam at 450 F and 36 minutes at 425 F convection.

It smelled terrific as it baked.  This was one of our typical SFSD style breads with a 100% hydration levain made up of 8% pre-fermented flour, all of it whole grains, made up of 2% each rye, white and red Wheat plus oat – all home milled.  We got the levain going with 1% NMNF rye starter and 1% NMNF Wild and Forbidden Black Rice starter. It tripled in 8 hours after a single stage and had started to collapse.

We autolysed the dough flour, half Lafma AP and half KA bread flour at 66 % hydration for 1 hour with the 2% PH Sea Salt sprinkled on top with 2% water sprinkled over the salt.  The overall hydration ended up at 75% - wet but not crazy wet.

Once the salt was mixed in with a spoon and the levain added in and also mixed in with a spoon, we did 150 slap and folds to get everythong, (everything spelled in a sexier way), mixed and gluten development started in earnest.  After 20 minutes we did another 100 slap and folds. By then the dough was really starting to come together nicely.

Something we hardly ever make - Poblano Chili Rellenos

Then, on 30 minute intervals, we did 3 sets of Sleeping Ferret Folds and then put it into a plastic covered and oiled SS mixing bowl for a 13 hour bulk retard.  It really puffed itself up during its cold time out but since the gluten was strong it went up over the rim by and inch but didn’t spill over the side.  We thought this might happen so we oiled the plastic wrap so it didn’t stick – that’s one shout out to Lucy.

We eat grilled chicken of some kind twice week.  This was Baja spiced with lots of peppers and hot sauces

After sitting on the counter the next morning for an hour to warm up slightly, we did a pre-shape and final shape 10 minutes later before plopping it into our favorite rice floured basket that we never get to use because it so huge – but this one fit perfectly.  It went in seam side up.  I thought about doing a Chacon for a special occasion and it was a give to my brother and SIL in Houston but changed my mind at the last minute.

Turf and Surf Kabobs

We let it proof for 1 hour and 45 minutes, probably 15 minutes too long, before upending it onto parchment on a peel to slash it hopscotch style and get it slid onto the bottom stone.  It sort of stuck to the little used basket so it was somewhat mangled coming out.  It immediately deflated and flattened out, spreading before we could score it.


Smoked ribs, chicken and hot chicken Italian sausage

But it puffed itself right up in the oven again under steam so no harm no foul.  If the oven would have been at 500 F 15 minutes earlier it would have worked out to a 92.5% proof instead of a 97.5% one😊 The levain combo and dough was very fast at every step along the way.  Tomorrow, it’s off to Houston we go – yea!

Lots of Lucy Salads of course  the kitchen sink with Honeydew, carrot, cucumber, grape tomato, red pepper and Romaine

Parmesan, Kale and Romaine with the rest of fixin's

Kale, pepitas, grape tomato, cucumber, mushroom and panella 

It was just a lovely bread.  Not all that open but OSM for sure.  We got in ;at and rather than try to find a place to eat we just went o my brothers place cut the bread into quarters and  then smaller pieces with some summer salami, cheeses and olives and some fine wine and justd noshed away for a couple of hours chit chatting to catch up and getting to know their new rescue dog Daisy a Lab/ greyhound mix who is a sweetie they are training for a family in New York for Joshua Rescue.

My niece makes yeast poolish so she got some some bread to take home to her house.  It's been all about food, wine sand chit chat since we got here and both have been just great.  

dabrownman's picture

Since Lucy and I didn’t die, or even get sick from our new wild and black rice starter we made last week we decoded to keep I around in the fridge for a while and see what we could do with this exotic culture.  Lucy said we need should make some SD noodles, something we haven’t done for a long time and it is too good not to do and so much better than most anything you can buy!


For sure, you won’t be able to buy Black Rice SD, spelt, Kamut, rye and wheat egg noodles – not even from Lucy who thinks that they should sell like hot cakes for Halloween along with the Black SD Bread she made that should have killed us😊  It turns out that folks have been making gluten free SD bread for a long time with brown rice SD starters and they are not dropping like flies.

We have the meat - Bacon, Sopresata, grilled chicken, smoked Italian sausage, smoked pepperoni .

This black rice starter is very active.  Even after a week in the fridge it doubled a single stage, bran levain in 4 hours on the window sill at 82 F.  The levain was 12 g of 100% black rice starter, 10 g of high extraction rye, 10g of wild and forbidden black rice flour and 30 g of bran sifted out from the home milled whole grains at 100% hydration.

Add the meat to the onion, grape tomato, and basil garlic

We added 130 g of high extraction 4 grain flour and used the Biscuit Method to get the levain evenly distributed before adding 1 egg to the starter.  It was so dry that we couldn’t get all the dry incorporated with a spoon so we added another egg.  This came out too wet for a pasta dough that has to have certain feel to it to make noodles, just like bread does.

Single serving - killer delicious!

In this case, it should feel bit like a 53% hydration, whole grain bagel dough but this one was too wet so we starter adding the wild and forbidden black rice flour and kneading it in the old fashioned way until it felt right and then kneaded for 10 minutes until smooth.

Grilled salmon dinner

We left it in a ball on the counter covered by a SS bowl kneading it every hour for 2.5 hours until it had risen 50% after the last kneading.  With no salt, high kitchen temperature and an active SD starter, it really took off after the 2nd hour on the bench.  We then oiled the SS bowl, kneaded the air out of it and chucked the dough into the fridge for a long 24 hour retard. 

There is Lucy's salad!

We let the dough warm up for an hour before dividing it into 4 ths to roll out as thin as we could for the thin noodles we wanted and to let them dry a bit on the counter uncovered.  They sure were weird looking so we decided to do a strange carbonara with them.  Bacon, grilled chicken, soprasata and pepperoni for the meats, a half cup each of Pecorino and Parmesan - the cheese  half in and half on the pasta with some grape tomatoes , green onion and basil to go along with the 2 eggs and a hlaf cup of pasta water to make everything silky.

Ham and cheese heirloom tomato and lettuce sandwidcor lunch with those killer Black rRce baguettes.

Weirdest Carbonara ever ….at least around here anyway😊  But tasty it was, in a weird sort of way!  Even the girls loved it despite its black appearance.

Click the link and vote for Maurizio - every day!

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We have been making a few fruit tarts instead of the more usual galettes of late.  This time to get farther from the French and more toward the Italians we put a small tub of mascarpone in the French Cream Patisserie and we added some lemon zest and vanilla to it too.


We kept the half and half almond and AP crust but upped the butter to 4/5th of a stick, cut the egg out completely and added some vanilla to it too.  We like the no egg version much better.  it isn’t as sturdy but it is much lighter.  With half ground almonds you don’t need any extra almond extract either.

We didn’t cook the Cream Patisserie as long this time to thicken it up as much because we knew the cold mascarpone would be whisked in later to thicken it up and we wanted it to spread easy plus we know this was going to bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to set it really firm eventually.  It came out like a light Italian cheesecake filling so it wasn’t as eggy or sweet either.

Don't make fun of my basil flour decorations.

The fruits were one each: black plums, Bartlett pears, Fuji apple, a stone free yellow peach and half of a nectarine all sliced thin.  We marinated the sliced fruit with some sugar and some warm spices including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and mace. 

Unglazed and no pistachios so you can see the cream. cheese filling.

We par baked the shell for 20 minutes to get it golden and let it cool before the cream/ cheese filling went in.  The fruits were arranged on top and the blue berries added at the last minute.  I would have rather used strawberries for some color but we were out – no worries.

Shrimp and grilled veg taco with cabbage on top - no sauces yet:-)

We reserved the marinating liquid that came out of the fruits to glaze the tart after baking and stick the pistachios to the top of it.  An un-glazed tart looks unfinished and naked.  Once it cools we will put it in the fridge to get cold.  You can also not bake this tart if you prefer it that way and your fruits are ripe.  I prefer a baked one for extra flavor.

Chicken stir fry

Grilled salmon dinner

Green Chili Pork Enchilada

Will have to let you know what it tastes like after dinner tonight but it sure smelled nice near the end of baking.  This is one fine tasting tart.  It is actually better the next day with a basil sprig;-)  The fruits a great but the mascarpone filling is to die for.  A bit of pistachio crunch, with the basil flower savory mixed with the sweet is a typical Italian paring.  Everyone seems to want seconds for some reason!

Lucy reminds us to eat a peach and blueberry loaded salad before the dessert if we want to be around long enough to have more dessert😊  Plus a Monsoon Arizona Sunset.

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Here is the combo black rice ground into flour

As many know, Lucy and I have tried to cultivate many different kinds of SD starters over the years but one we have not done is a rice starter.  We were looking at SD starters over the weekend and ran across a rice SD starter from Japan and said we have to do one.   We are on day 4 of a wild and black rice SD starter following or tried and tested rye one we learned from Perter Reinhart.    We will do one of Evon's fantastic breads from Malaysia to test it out.  Her sprouted black rice bread is a classic on The Fresh Loaf for those around at the time.  Last time we PM'd her she was having a bit of a problem with her son and had to stop posting for a while.  Hopefully she will come back one day and surprise us with one of her great breads

Day 1 - We started off on day one 30 g of Wild and Black Forbidden Rice flour mixed 1/3 to 2/3 rds and 30 g of water and letting it sit 24 hours under plastic lid.

Day 2 - We added 30 g each of the rice flour mix and water and let it sit 24 hours.

Day 3 - We tossed half and fed it 30 g each of the rice flour mix and water and let it sit 24 hours.

Day 4 - was just like day 2.

Day 5 - We tossed half and upped the feeding to 40 g each black rice mix flour and water. and let it sit 24 hours.

Day 6 - Perhaps not too oddly , the starter smelled a bit alcoholic - just like Sake - very cool !  We split the starter in half and fed half of it like day 5 - 40 g each of black rice flour and water and the other half we fed 50 g of bread flour and 50 g of water.  4 hours later it looked like this before we put both in the fridge.

Guess which one had half bread flour in it and which one only had black rice flour?  Tough to keep CO2 in one of them:-) Another successful SD starter experiment.  Now what to make with the bread flour levain after 48 hours in the fridge to mellow?  I was going to make Evon's bread above but now am on the community baguette too.  Fat Black Rice SD Baggies have a nice ring to it.  Stay tuned.

Soaked 9% (dry weight) Wild (1/3rd) and Forbidden Rice (2/3 rds) going into the sprouter for 20 hours aafter the 4 hou rsoak - so the baguette mix will have 330 g total of of black rice mixed flour and bread flour in it.  Funny to see the really long Wild Rice and the short stubby Forbidden rice together.

Here it is sprouted

 Overall the hydration ended up right at 80 % and the two black rice lours were 12% and the white flour was half LaFama AP and half KA Bread Flour at 44% each. The leavain was 9% pref-ermented flour total half black and half white at 100% hydration.  It sure looked more black then grey when the hit the white flour before the Biscuit Mix Technique was applied.

After the Biscuit mixing was done with the fingers like you were cutting the butter in to the dry biscuit mix,  we did 40 slap and folds to get the levain and dough water incorporated.  We held back 5% water water and let the whole thing sit for 30 minutes to get the  flour hydrated.  We made a well on top and out the Black Smoked Sea Salt in it with the 5 % water to get it sort of dissolved during the rest.  Smoked salt should up the flavor some - no that the rice levain and flour wouldn't.  Here is the smokey black salt sitting in the well with the reserved water.

Then we mixed the salt in with a spoon and did 3 sets of 100 slap and folds on 10 minute intervals to get everything Kosher.  After the 3rd set there was a nice smokey grey windowpane.

Then we divided the dough in half for (2) 270 g baggies and in one of them we added the 20% black rice sprouts.

We used Strutting Peacock Fan Folds for the first set of folds to get them all in there.

Here is what it looked like after the first set of folds.  These were small enough we could cover both of them with the SS mixing bowl between folds.

We did 2 more sets of Sleeping Ferret Folds all on 40 minute intervals before pre- shaping and shaping - 20 minute later.  We dusted our towels with the black rice mix to j=keep the baggies from sticking and we shaped them fat without any taper on the ends.  We just throw the ends away if they are tapered.  They don't taste as good as smoked burnt ends of pork.  This way the whole loaf can be used for dipping.

We got to use our very cool bamboo fat baggie proof holder too.  Just line it with rolled up towels dusted in black rice flour and away you go.

Thin baggies will soon proof up to fat baggies

 They puffed themselves up nicely.


The parchment half sheet and the peep fit the Fat Baggie Proofing Mold perfectly making for easy flipping over, slasj=hing and sliding on the bottom stone.

The plane Fat Baggie really popped its top and sprang so big it blew out the scores.  The one with the sprouts add ins was subdued for bloom and spring.  They both blistered up moderately after 12 minutes if Mega Steam with Lava Rocks

The cracks were wide for one and 'Meh' for the other


We have to wait for breakfast to see the crumb.

Above is plan crumb and below is Sprouts added crumb

Now for the bad part.  There is a bacteria that lives on rice called Bacillus Cereus that are harmful to humans and may not be killed by alcohol, heat to 212 F or low pH like a SD starter.  Read here

I ate some of this bread this morning as toast for breakfast and it tasted fine, I am tossing my starter and the bread away so as not to have any problems.  I guess there is a reason people don't make rice starters.  It was still fun and I hope I don't die:-)  Thanks to Mini Oven for the  heads up


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people in jobs with robots within in 10 years........ I would believe them.

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We had not made pizza in some time and it had been way longer since we had made YW/SD combo levain for the dough and even longer since we made it on the gas grill but it is summer and there is no way we are heating up the kitchen  to ramming speed for a couple of hours.

The recipe is easy enough.  9% pre-fermented KA bread fkour levain using 2.2% NMNF starter and YW for the liquid – in our case half FIG and half apple YW.  The dough flour is half LAFama AP and half KA bread flour at 70% overall hydration and 2% PH sea salt.  We added re-hydrated dried rosemary and sun dried tomatoes both chopped medium.  We did not put in any shopped garlic like we normally do for some reason.


Once the levain had tripled we added it to the 20 minute autolyse that had the salt sprinkled on top and then mixed it with a spoon before doing 40 slap and folds.  We then did 2 mores sets of 20 slap and folds and 2 sets of double Sleeping Ferret folds all on 30 minute intervals adding in the rosemary and sun dried tomatoes during the first set of 20 slaps.


We then let it rest for an hour in an oiled SS bowl for an hour before going into the fridge for a 13 hour retard.   Take it out 4 hours before you want to make pies and leave it in the counter for an hour before dividing into, in our case (3) 250 g pies. Shaping into a boule and putting them back into the bowl oiled up a bit so they don’t stick together as they rise over the next 3 hours.


These make large 14”pies which is the largest that will fit on our round stone.  With the 3 hour proof the dough was strong yet very extensible and they formed nice very thin crusts that didn’t tear even with the add ins.  I transfer them to a wood peel that had flour rubbed into it and corn meal for the ball bearings so it will slide off easily before we put the toppings on.


These 3 pizzas were the same in most ways.  DaBrownman’s spicy sauce goes down and spread thinly first, followed by 75 g each of fresh whole mozzarella and part skim mozzarella. Then the chopped smoked onions and crimini onions go down.


The first pie had smoked hot Italian sausage on it, the 2nd one had Guisto’s, a large, thin pepperoni from Whole Foods and a great pepperoni, the 3rd was our version of margarita even though it had smoked veggies on it.  Then we showered each pie with real grated Parmesan.


The margarita had basil leaves dropped on the pie after it came out and all the pies got some additional Parmesan as well.  The grill is the best way to make pizza around here because we can get it up to 650 F with the 4 burners on and the pies take 5 minute to bake on the hot stone instead of the 8 they take in the 550 F oven.


That is a big slice with no bend and no fold - crisp like a potato chip!

These pies came out super crisp and the crust crunched like potato chips – just the way it should be.  The pepperoni was the best in my book because the meat was thin enough to crisp up and it was delicious.  The margarita was second favorite with he hot Italian smoked sausage bringing up the rear - but it was still great.



Sadly my daughter was in surgery until after midnight and missed it.  M y wife and I could only eat 10 of the 24 slices and the remainder hit the freezer for left overs.   After slicing, we have learned to keep then on raised cooling racks so that they stay crisp as opposed to leaving them on a plate where they get soft.  

And Lucy has this thing about salad with ever dinner too!  This one is peach, blueberry, shaved Parmesan, carrot, red pepper, crimini mushroom, green onion, cucumber and tomato slices


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