The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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This loaf was made with CLAS, whey, mashed potatoes, lard, spices (coriander, caraway, and fennel seeds), and 100% home-milled rye flour. 


Thank you, Rus!




CLAS after refreshment, pH 3.4






Straining home-made yogurt to collect the whey






Whey, pH 3.8, from home-made yogurt






100% wholemeal rye loaf






I might not have mixed the dough evenly, as bits of mashed potatoes are still in the crumb. And the sides are a bit mushy. Could it be that I used too much lard to grease the pan? 


Tap to enlarge


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I haven't refreshed my CLAS for almost a month, so this "bake" "forced" me to check on it.  Thankfully, it's doing fine in the fridge; the pH is 3.9 after a brief warm-up in the water bath. 


See my new toy? 


The old one... 


because I "proved" it with the dough in my humid and warm bread machine.  So the new meter has to be waterproof!






The key to success in CLAS is controlling the temperature in every step, and, of course, following Rus' formula and instructions !





Bubbly batter







Crepe made with 33% rye, including my homemade red rye malt, which I want to use whenever I can. 







I made my son's favorite weekend breakfast with Rus' pancake.  Thank you, Rus!






I seldom made pancakes, so some of their shapings looked quite weird. 






Practice makes progress.






 Rus asked why my pancakes were so tiny.  I guess these are tiny no more!






Guess why and how I used this potato to make the pancakes?  It saved my waistline!


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You wouldn't believe these full-flavored, cute little rolls fermented for only about two hours! Amazing CLAS thanks to Rus! 

I used my homemade red rye malt for the first time in this bake, and I'm so proud of myself! 😌😌😌

P.S. How to revive a frozen roll (102g) to get a crispy crust and soft crumb: microwave on power 1 x 30s, then toast @450F x 4-5 mins. Let cool for a minute before serving.















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If you are looking for a quick and fool-proof method to create a starter that has a high concentration of lactic acid, check out Rus' CLAS procedures on YouTube and Blogger. Mind you though, the formula uses commercial yeast ("CY") to boost leavening power because CLAS is yeast-free.  If you're a hard-core purist who does not use CY,  this method is not for you.


Thanks to Rus for sharing this opening technology with us!






 100% Rye





































pH @ 1500 hr







@ 2400 hr






pH @ 2400 hr, it's ready for bread making 






pH after refreshment; acidity continues to increase



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Did you ever wonder why the black bread you made was brownish and not black? Did you know crystal rye malt has only 10% of the required flavor of the red malt, and it's much, much lighter in color than what red malt should be? Did you know the formulae shown on the U.S. sites for making red rye malt are wrong?   


Thanks to Rus, now we can make authentic red rye malt at home❗️❗️❗️


Procedures as follows:


1) Sprout rye berries for 4-5 days, increase the temperature on the last day to 50C. 

If using rye malt, rehydrate it with water 1:1 by weight for 12-16 hours in a cold place (18C). Stir occasionally. 


2) Cover the rehydrated malt and ferment for 48 hours at 65C. Stir occasionally.


3) Dry it for 36-48 hours at 80-85C. 



See how the master does it:





click to enlarge


Before and after






 click to enlarge 

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Don't trust me if I tell you the statement☝☝☝ because I'm just a novice rye baker; but if Rus says so, it's probably true! 


This is the most demanding formula I've ever tackled.   I messed up every stage at least once.  Even the loaves you see below have defects - I forgot to shape them in the typical "submarine" form because I'm so used to shaping the "torpedo" Borodinsky.   And one loaf got that unwanted "scoring."  Otherwise, I would have considered myself done with this bread and move on, but I guess not yet.  I am out of berries so I can only make it again when my 25-lbs order arrives. 


Because of making this bread,  I've started grinding rye berries to get the required whole-grain flour. I'm not crazy about the extra work it adds to my busy schedule, but I'm glad I'm no longer an "outsider" when you guys talk about milling. 


This bread requires a thermophilic starter, which is quite tricky to make due to the specific high-temperature requirement. I bought a BT especially for making this finicky starter. But to my disappointment, I had to work around it to reach the ambient target temperature. Can you imagine my frustration?! 


So with all that "hardship," what do I get eventually? The thermophilic starter/sourdough re-balances the maltiness in the scald. The resulting loaf is a refreshingly fruity, moist, and springy 90% whole-grain rye bread.  My favorite way of eating it is not with butter, not with cold cuts, not with cheese, not with sardine and whatnots, but by itself. I don't even toast it because toasting ruins the moist crumb. I merely nuke a frozen slice for 15-20 seconds on power 1, and I get a warm and aromatic, slightly sweet springy slice of rye bread with a thin, somewhat chewy crust.  So rewarding and satisfying after all the hard work! 😌😌😌  


Give it a try if you're ready for a challenge!  Thanks to Rus for another delicious rye bread!



 20190324 re-bake


Off it goes to 





and 







Misshaped, so I have to re-bake ☝☝☝






My first rye bread using home-milled, whole-grain rye flour












The fussy thermophilic starter








Then you make the thermophilic sourdough





The "scoring" was not supposed to be there.




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Freshly milled coarse rye meal.

Thanks to Brad's reminder, I saved a few hundred bucks because there's no need to buy another mill. 






Stan's 100% rye crispbread. 

I like this one better than the 70% rye crispbread I made last year

because it bakes faster, burns less, and is crispier.

My son finished half sheet pan of crackers within an hour!




My pasta maker was very efficient in producing crackers with even-thickness/thinness.

Baked in a rush this time, so didn't make pretty shapes. 

Ordered some gadgets that hopefully will shape crispbread pretty. We'll see.  







Didn't I tell you I love coconut? 

I ate most of the macaroons here, in a day! 






So I had to re-bake for my son. 





For the birthday boy and his friend



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Tremendous oven spring!






Sliced after cooling for 5 hours. 

I forgot this is a 90% rye, and the crumb was not set yet.

The hardest part of this bake was finding a light-colored medium rye flour.

I used KA's white rye (90%) and Giusto's Ultimate Performer (10%)

With Rus's instructions, the rest of the procedures was a piece of  






Dear food slicer, my hands thank you!


Springy and tangy slices, love them!


Thank you, Rus!






Rus's instructions



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I love rye.  I love it so much that I even use it to make granola bars. 






Using pre-gelatinized flaked rye has yielded the best results. 

These will be my son's snacks during his debate tournament tomorrow. 


I followed Ina Garten's recipe almost exactly...


"almost exactly" = no change to the seasonings


did make the following changes:


brewery flaked rye replaced oats

walnut replaced sliced almond

unsweetened (very important) shredded coconut replaced sweetened one

Chinese organic golden silk red jujubes replaced regular dates

organic raisins replaced cranberries


I used food processor and KA mixer to process and mix ingredients. 


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This is probably the easiest post I've ever written...








One for you, one for him, NONE for me 


Bye Bye babies...

Hope the uncles will treat you well...

At least take a crumb shot that's not out-of-focus and not too fuzzy


I hope these are my graduation loaves for Borodinsky

I really want to move on to Rus's next bread


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