The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I decided to try a 50% whole grain mix of several of the grains I had on hand, and ended up with:
    • Red wheat
    • White wheat
    • Rye
    • Spelt
    • Kamut
    • Emmer

I also made a room temp soaker with equal parts flax and toasted sunflower and sesame seeds.  I also used honey and my faux red rye malt.  I sifted the whole grains and used the hard bits in the levain.  It stood up to a 29-hour cold final rise.  I’ve never done a mix of so many grains. It’s noticeably more flavorful than usual, and I couldn't be more pleased.  The dough handled about the same as normal for the Hamelman 50/50 WW recipe this is based on.

My oven as usual is hotter than the dial reads, and these only took 30 minutes at "450 F."  

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This is a pretty bold bake on my Hamelman 50% WW multigrain with freshly home milled kamut in place of WW.  I sifted and used the hard bits in the levain.  My hot soaker was a mix of durum, toasted old bread crumbs from my last batch, brown flax (left whole for a change), mixed rolled grains, and my faux red rye malt.  The cold final rise was about 18 hours.  I was happy that the timing worked for me to give the less bold loaf to my mother for her 81st birthday.  We were both pleased with the taste.

I was hoping for a more open structure, but it's not dense either.  I just read here that you can expect a denser loaf with kamut (

I also read in the latest Breadtopia post  ( that cold final rises result in a denser middle, and mine certainly evidences that.


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I made a quadruple batch of the Borodinsky for half-loaf Xmas gifts.  It was an ordeal that required the assistance of my wife.  Stressful as it was, nothing went wrong, and the results were about as good as my maiden attempt a few weeks earlier.  Scaling up is very difficult in a home kitchen, as the photos show in part.  The dough had to be spooned into the loaf pans, whereas when I made a single loaf I was able to scrape it in the pan neatly in one piece.  All in all, I won't be doing this again anytime soon, but I'm glad it was successful.

Scald and Sponge

Scald-sponge after fermenting for 3 hours--these two barely fit in my Brod & Taylor proofer, bending the sides outward.  Luckily, much of this is air.  The final dough was a bit lower than the preferment, but had to be done twice.

Final dough from the two mix mixes

Proofed dough after 60-75 minutes.

Shaped Loaves


Proofed Loaves

550 F for 10 Minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F

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I've finally gotten around to baking from The Rye Baker.  I made red rye malt powder, so the Borodinsky Rye, which he describes as the national bread of Russia, was in my sights.  I loved the process of making the scald sponge, which (here) means making a hot soaker of coarse (freshly milled of course) rye with ground coriander and red rye malt, and then fermenting it for 3-4 hourse with the overnight sponge the next morning before mixing the final dough.  The final dough includes some molasses, the salt, more medium rye flour, some bread flour, and more red rye malt.

The resulting bread is as tasty as any bread I've ever eaten.  It's complex, at once gently sour and mildly sweet, and the crumb is soft like a typical high percentage rye with a rye sourdough preferment.

The overnight sponge:

The overnight sponge and the scald mixed ("scald-sponge"):

The final dough:

The final shape, with wet hands, sprayed with water:

The risen loaf:

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Acme in San Francisco makes a lot of different breads.  I often pick up their sourdough cheese rolls, and finally decided to attempt them myself.  Hamelman has a cheese bread with 60% hydration stiff levain.  It got very active and stickier than I expected, never having made a stiff levain before.  The dough itself was 60% hydration, considerably lower than I ever make.

Before baking I called Acme to see if I could find anything out about their method, and to my surprise they were an open book.  It seemed that their process is similar to what I was going to do, and they told me what cheeses they use.  The result was mixed.  The rolls overcooked on the bottom, and the dough was drier than Acme's.  Otherwise, the crumb was decent and the flavor quite similar to the model.

They were shaped and cold retarded overnight, and cooked on a sheet pan on parchment at 460 F for about 30 minutes.  Clearly the heat was too high.  If I make these again I'd lower the heat to 400 or 375, up the hydration a bit and the olive oil more than a bit, and possibly add more cheese.  Please let me know your thoughts.

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My parents bought me a Komo mill for my 50th birthday.  These Hamelman WW multigrain loaves used 50% freshly milled whole grains on the finest setting, and included an overnight soaker of cracked wheat/cornmeal/sesame seeds.  

The crumb is as soft as sandwich bread, which is a total surprise.  All other factors were my normal routine, including adding a considerable amount of water during to mix to achieve medium looseness, 4 folds over about 3 hours (more than Hamelman calls for) and a 30 hour cold retard.

Does anyone else find that freshly milled flour yield a softer crumb?

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It seems like forever since I baked bread that wasn't rye.  This bake had the most explosive oven rise I have ever had, and I'm not sure why.  These were shaped oval, but almost grew round.  I used 50-50 Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft and 85 Extraction Wheat, both malted.  I'm not sure what the equivalent percentage WW in this recipe would be.  The recipe is 75-25 bread flour to WW, so my experiment seemed low risk.

In place of the cracked rye called for in this recipe I used an old rye bread soaker, now a third generation, since the old bread I used itself had included an old rye bread soaker.  I also upped the hydration during the mix by almost a cup.  The dough was sticky, but after working with rye the last couple months, handling seemed easy by comparison.  The Central Milling flour also has beautiful extensibility.

I regret taking the loaf on the left out too soon, but it had reached 209F.  The one on the right required about 10 extra minutes to get to temperature, thankfully.  I used only natural leaven and cold retarded the shaped loaves about 20 hours, baking straight from the fridge on stone.

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The latest in my rye series is a Hamelman 70% medium rye with 30% WW, and a sizable pumpernickel soaker.  My cracked rye was bug infested (doesn't move very quickly at the only bulk store that carries it); the pumpernickel was coarse.  San Francisco Bay Area folks, if you know of a local source, please let me know.

All the rye was pre-fermented, and as a result took only 45 minutes to bulk rise and 75 for final rise in a pullman pan.  It was baked uncovered with steam, and had good oven spring; the loaf was about an inch below the pan and rose near 1/2 inch above the pan at the middle.

The result is a pleasing, mildly sweet, faintly sour loaf with soft crumb and a pretty chewy crust.  I'd prefer less chew, but some people like it.  It has the character of what I think of as German bread.  Not an everyday bread for me, but a welcome stop on my rye quest.

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My first Hamelman rye bake.  Someone please explain why I waited so long to start baking Hamelman rye recipes.  This took much less time than a normal bread, with 90-minutes each of bulk and final rise, then into the oven.  I love the mild sweet sourness of the rye, complimented by my non-controversial addition of caraway seeds after shaping.  Next time I will autolyse the WW and bread flour since it didn't occur to me at the time.


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I couldn't wait another day to order Tartine 3, and when I went to buy it, I found a "used like new" copy for under $12.  Must have been my day.  I made the first recipe using starter I had on hand, feeding twice daily preceding the bake, and used a young levain.  I'm not sure why the recipe calls for twice as much levain to be made as the recipe calls for.  Also, dutch ovens always burn the bottoms.

Other than than, I'm overall pleased with the result, and the crumb is pretty open for the percentage of WW used.  I wouldn't describe the crumb as "custardy," though.  I used 50/50 WW/AP for the "high extraction" per Robertson's suggestion.  I would prefer a dabrownman method sifting and pre-ferment of the bran, but I don't really have the setup for that yet (a mill, for instance).

I really enjoyed working with the high hydration dough at high temperature fermentation.  Here it is in stages.


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