The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Here are some pictures of a batch of Hamelman's light rye that I made using a couple of dutch ovens simultaneously.  I did the entire mixing/kneading process by hand just to be able to get a good feel for the dough.  I doubled Hamelman's recipe and made 2 three pound loaves using 2 dutch ovens. We're talking "serious workout" by hand :-)  I also did a a couple of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation (20 minute intervals).  He calls for dividing the dough for a single batch into two 1 1/2 pound loaves but I decided, since I had doubled his recipe, I would bake 2 large 3 pound boules using 2 dutch ovens.  I used 2 large parchment lined skillets to proof the loaves under 2 large clear plastic bins (Walmart), then holding each end of the parchment I lifted each loaf into a preheated 500 deg. F. dutch oven (oven mittens highly recommended for this procedure), put on the lids on placed them into the oven and immediately lowered the oven temp. to 450 deg. F.  Baked them for 25 minutes, took off the lid and let them top brown for about 10-12 minutes.  Then shut off the oven and cracked the door for another five minutes before removing them from the oven.  At the end of the baking cycle the intermal temp. of the loaves was 205 deg. F.

I did not use carraway seeds in this interatation.  I wanted to compare Hamelman's light rye with Leader's Pierre Nury light rye to see the difference.  Hamelman's loaves turned out to be a very good without the carraway seeds.  But without the carraway seeds it didn't have the pronounced taste that you get with good Jewish rye, which the carraway seeds impart.  This recipe is slightly different from Leader's recipe, but very good.  I think Leader's Nury rye has a bit more flavor as a result of the process and the ovenight retardation in the fridge for 12-18 hours.  But overall they're both great recipes, only slightly different in taste and texture.  The Hamelman recipe is somewhat easier and quicker (uses a bit of yeast in the dough) but I still think it's near impossible to top the Nury rye.

Anyway, that's my experiment for the week. I recently bought a couple of bags of King Arthur whole grain with my last flour order, which have been sitting in the refrigerator waiting for some "action".  So, later this week I'm going to make some whole grain.  Haven't done the soaker thing yet but after seeing Eric Hanner's beautiful whole grain loaves he recently posted I'm anxious to try Mark Sinclair's recipe.

P.S. The memory stick on my camera filled up and I couldn't get a photo of the crumb (yeah, likely story) but it was nice and open. Not as nice and open, with large holes, as Leader's Nury rye but still a very nice crumb.

 Hamelman's light rye no. 1

Hamelman's light rye baked in a dutch oven: Hamelman's light rye no. 1


 Hamelman's light rye no. 2

Hamelman's light rye baked in a dutch oven: Hamelman's light rye no. 2

 Hamelman's light rye no. 3

Hamelman's light rye baked in a dutch oven: Hamelman's light rye no. 3

 Hamelman's light rye no. 4

Hamelman's light rye baked in a dutch oven: Hamelman's light rye no. 4

holds99's picture

I had baked this bread and posted some pics of this recipe (from Daniel Leader's Local Breads book) a week or so ago.  The crumb on the previous post was not as open as it should have been and the loaf, as MiniOven said, was not nearly "ugly" enough.  So, a couple of days ago I decided that the problem I was having was a result of my starter not being active enough before introducing it into the dough mixture, and I had not baked it long enough.  Anyway, I received some good critiques from a number of TFLer's and greatly appreciate the advice and suggestions I received.  I gave it another try a couple of days ago with better results.  It could, as MiniOven and Jane said, use some more "ugly" but I believe I'm making progress.  I doubled the recipe. I divided it into 3 pieces, 2 smaller loaves and one larger loaf.  Here's pics of the larger loaf.  I froze the 2 smaller ones without cutting them but assume they're fairly similar to this one in crumb. They look about the same as far as crust and color.

I left my K.A. on the shelf and mixed it completely by hand, as MiniOven suggested, in a large bowl using a large rubber spatula with more of a folding technique than a mixing action and followed Mr. Leader's recipe to the letter.  I retarded it for 18 hours before baking.  That, I think, gave it greater flavor. It tasted really good.

Pierre Nury's light rye no. 1

Pierre Nury's light rye no. 1

Pierre Nury's light rye no. 2

Pierre Nury's light rye no. 2

Thanks to:

Mike Avery for his refreshment/feeding instructions for my starter.

Janedo for her suggestions about handling the dough and baking.

MiniOven for her advice on mixing by hand and making them more "ugly".

David Snyder for his numerous posts showing what it should really look like.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


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This is my latest attempt at Maggie Glezer's Acme baguette recipe.  I used scrap dough and poolish as she specifies and the taste was very good.  I used K.A. First Clear flour for the scrap dough and K.A. French Style flour for the poolish and dough.  Still needs work on shaping technique. 

 Dough divided for 2 baguettes and 1 batard after bulk fermentationGlezer's Acme baguette recipe dough divided:

Dough divided for 2 baguettes and 1 batard after bulk fermentation


 Primary shapingGlezer's Acme baguette recipe primary shaping:

Primary shaping

 Final shapingGlezer's Acme baguette recipe final shaping:

Final shaping

 2 baguettes, 1 batardGlezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batard:

2 baguettes, 1 batard

Glezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batardGlezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batard

holds99's picture

These are pictures of the process beginning after mixing.  I made Jeffrey Hammelman’s Light Rye Bread from his book BREAD, A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes (page 197)albeit a slightly modified version.  I would have to say that this recipe is wonderful and very easy to make.  His recipe ingredients consist of 2 parts.  (1) SOURDOUGH, (2) FINAL DOUGH.  He makes what I would call a sponge, which he calls “Sourdough” as the first step in his recipe.  This takes 14-16 hours to ferment.  Then he mixes the SOURDOUGH with the FINAL DOUGH ingredients.  That’s it! The 5 basic steps of the process consists of:

SOURDOUGH:  (sponge/levain)

MIXING: 7-10 minutes



FINAL FERMENTATION: 50-60 minutes at 78-80 deg. F

BAKING: 35-40 minutes

I made a couple of minor changes to his recipe:

For his SOURDOUGH (sponge) he calls for Medium Rye Flour.  Instead I used K.A. First Clear Flour.  I did this because K.A. says it works well with sourdough starters.  After 16 hours I had a terrific sponge.

In his FINAL DOUGH, He does use some yeast (1 ½ tsp.)  For the flour I incorporated  4.8 ounces of medium rye flour (called for in the sponge) with the high gluten flour.  I used K.A. Bread Flour with Arrowhead Mills rye flour and added 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.

Caraway Seeds:  He calls for 2 ½ tablespoons.  I recently purchased a bottle of McCormack which smelled very fresh and pungent.  At first I thought maybe they were a bit too strong.  But after my second bite I think they’re fine.  My wife really likes this bread very, very much and she’s a very tough critic.  Anyway, there you have it, and here are the photos.


 Mixed Dough Photo No. 1

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Mixed Dough Photo No. 1


 Folding Photo No. 2

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Folding Photo No. 2

 Folding - Photo No. 3

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Folding - Photo No. 3

 Bulk Fermentation - Photo No. 4

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Bulk Fermentation - Photo No. 4

 Ready for Final Fermentation - Photo No. 5

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Ready for Final Fermentation - Photo No. 5

 Final Fermentation Complete - Photo No. 6

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Final Fermentation Complete - Photo No. 6

 Ready for scoring - Photo No. 7

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Ready for scoring - Photo No. 7

 Scoring complete - Photo No. 8

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Scoring complete - Photo No. 8

 Light Rye Loaves - Photo No. 9

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Light Rye Loaves - Photo No. 9

 Light Rye Crumb Photo No. 10

Jeffery Hamelman's Light Rye Bread: Light Rye Crumb Photo No. 10

holds99's picture

These are ciabatta loaves I made using Rose Levy's Bread Bible recipe.  She doesn't call for "stretch and fold" in her recipe but I did 3 very gentle stretch and folds during proofing, then divided the dough into 4 equal pieces and it seemed to give the loaves better rise and crumb.  The dough is very wet so I very lightly floured the work surface and top of the dough when doing "stretch and fold" (be careful with the amount of flour used to dust the dough or it will leave tell tale lines embedded in the interior of final loaf).  I very lightly dusted with flour before each of the 3 "stretch and fold" procedures (at 30 minute intervals).  Some folks use water on the counter and water on their hands but I found this dough to be so wet that if you use water you destroy some of the air bubbles that is so important for the light airy texture you're trying to achieve.  Anyway, after final proofing I divided and shaped them (her recipe is for 1 loaf, I made 4 loaves) for final proofing on parchment lined baking pans placed, coveded with a large clear rectangular plastic storage bin that accomodates two baking pans containing the 4 loaves.  I think the "stretch and fold" technique helped produce a better, more open crumb in the ciabatta loaves and gave them better oven spring.


Ciabatta Loaves No 1Ciabatta Loaves No 1



Ciabatta Loaves No 2Ciabatta Loaves No 2

I had mentioned previously, in a response to a question re: getting the ciabatta loaves off the work surface and onto a parchment lined pan or baking stone, that I made a bread board using a legal size clip board with the clip hardware removed.  My wife purchased a pair of panty hose for the project and here's a photo of the front side of the bread board with the panty hose stretched over the surface.  It works well with wet dough, as the dough doesn't stick to the nylon.  I moved the loaves from the work surface onto the nylon covered bread board and then onto parchment lined bread pans for final proofing.  This photo below (Bread Board No 1) is the work side of the board, where the loaf is placed on the board.  It is hard to see but the board is covered with the nylon hose.  If you wanted to make a longer bread board (and have an oven that will accomodate longer loaves) you could use thin plywood cut to the size you need and sanded to take of the rough edges after cutting the shape.


Bread Board No 1Bread Board No 1


The photo below is the back side of the bread board, with the nylon hose tightly pulled across the front side of the board and tied on the back side.  You could, if you wish, tape the back side with packing tape.  I didn't bother and it works fine.  I also use the board for baguettes (up to 18 inches long) and batards, when removing them from the couche and placing them onto parchment lined pans.  During the final 10 minutes of baking they can be removed from the parchment line baking pan(s) and placed directly on the baking stone to finish out the baking phase, if one wishes to use the stone as the preferred method.  After use I let the board dry completely at room temperature, dust off the excess flour and store it in a plastic bag for the next use.

Bread Board No 2Bread Board No 2

holds99's picture


I tried your recipe for the baguttes/batards (using starter) and I had some problems that maybe you can help me understand.  First I refreshed my starter at 6 hours intervals for a day and a half before I started.  It's the Nancy Silverton starter I made years ago and still use when making some of her sourdough recipes.  It was bubbling nicely when I started the recipe.  Anyway, following your recipe I used 167g starter, 375g K.A. French style flour (supposed to be the equivalent of French T55), 225g water, and 10g salt.  Mixed it all together, let it rest for 45 min. did a fold and placed it in a lightly oiled gallon size plastic container, turned it over (smooth side up), covered it and set it aside at room temp. for 12 hours.  After 12 hours I didn't have any rise to speak of in the dough.  So, i left it for another 3 hours, thinking maybe the room temp. was cooler than 78 deg. and after 3 hrs. still very little rise.  At this point I figured I better do something or I'm going to lose it.  So I stretched the dough out on the counter sprinkled 1 tsp. instant yeast over the surface and kneaded it for about 8 minutes giving it a good workout to fully incorporate the yeast.  Then let set it into the fridge for about 3 hours, removed it to room temp. and let it rise until doubled.  Removed it from the container did a couple of folds, returned it to the container for about an hour, then put it on the counter divided it in two and let it rest for 30 min.  I then shaped it and placed it in a well floured couche and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.  Flipped it from the couche onto my floured transport board, placed it on parchment lined pans, scored it and baked it.

The only thing I can figure is that my starter was not working properly.  Can you tell me what you do to your starter in this recipe to bring it up to speed and get the proper rise without having to resort to yeast?  The exterior of the loaves look o.k. but the interior, well it needs "big time" help because it sure doesn't resemble the interior of those lovely loaves you made.  I feel like the gods must be angry :-)    Seriously, I really want to understand where I went wrong. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.




Batard Interior

Batard Interior

holds99's picture

 Petite Pain (rolls) No. 1  - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton

Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls)  - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) Interior - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water.  These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers.  "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference.  Permit it to relax.  Don't rush it or it will get stubborn.  There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively.  Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough.  Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises.  The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs.  The names of famous French line ships were woven into many.  Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage.  I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker.  I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth.  It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside.  The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.” 

Note:  Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under.  And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone.  Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart.  Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great.  I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!”  Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.

On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers.  This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results.  I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior.  I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests.  I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J.   Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls.  I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”.  So, here’s a chance to practice.  The two videos will help you immensely.  So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


holds99's picture

I was thinking about one of the main objectives of TFL (encourage, support and assist new bakers) and with that in mind I decided to attempt a "tried and true" recipe that would perhaps be appealing to bakers just getting into artisan baking. I set out to make a bread that would be easy and as fail-safe as possible for entry-level bakers to produce. I chose the Rustic Country Bread recipe from King Arthur flour. The recipe is available on line at their website. I thought it would be a good recipe to introduce bakers who haven’t used or had experience with using a pre-ferment method (poolish) when making an “artisan” bread and because of its simplicity it’s a good one for new bakers to try. I used a Dutch oven for baking the bread, which pretty much eliminates the problems of moving the fermented loaf onto a stone and running the risk of having it sink or losing it completely. Anyway, here are the steps I followed. I made the dough per K.A. recipe using stretch and fold technique. Instead of dividing the dough into 2 boules, I kept it in 1 piece and made a large boule. After shaping the boule I placed it in large skillet, lined with parchment paper (make your parchment paper long enough so you will be able to have enough overhang on each side to enable you to pick up the boule and lift it up out of the skillet and place it into the Dutch oven without dropping it). I placed the skillet containing the boule in a plastic bag (you can alternatively cover it with film, stainless steel pot...whatever), closed the bag to let it rise until nearly doubled. An hour before baking I put the Dutch oven (empty) with the lid on into the oven and preheated the oven to 500 deg. F. After the boule had doubled in volume my wife helped me lift it out of the skillet (holding the ends of the parchment paper) and place it into the preheated Dutch oven. I scored/slashed the top of the boule with 3 long slashes, put the lid on the Dutch oven, placed it in the oven (be extremely careful here, you’re dealing with a 500 deg. cast iron pot) and closed the oven door.  I immediately turned the oven temp. down to 450 deg. F and let it bake for 30 minutes, then took the top off the Dutch oven for the final 10-15 minutes of baking. Don't forget to remove the lid, so your loaf will brown nicely.  Because this is a double size boule, you’ll have to bake this one about 10 minutes longer than the smaller boule. Using a thermometer inserted into the boule check for an internal temp. of 210 deg. F. If the top is getting too brown and it still hasn’t reach 210 deg. F. internal temp. put the lid back on and let it go for a while longer. Remove boule from Dutch oven, picking up the parchment paper edges, and place it on a wire rack to cool for a couple of hours.  DO NOT cut until completly cool.  So, here are the results.

 Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

Rustic Country Bread - No 1: Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

 Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

Rustic Country Bread - No 2: Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

 Rustic Country Bread - Interior/Crumb.

Rustic Country Bread - No 3: Rustic Country Bread - Baked in Dutch oven - Interior/Crumb.

holds99's picture

 Mexican Bolillos - Oval Rolls

Bolillos - Mexican Oval Rolls - Exterior

 Bolillos - Mexican Oval Rolls - Interior

Bolillos - Mexican Oval Rolls No. 2 - Interior

I was rummaging through some of my baking books, looking for something new to bake, and found this recipe for Bolillos (Mexican oval rolls), and decided to give them a try.  They're close to the ones I remember from traveling in Mexico.  I made the dough a little bit wetter than the recipe called for, trying to get a better interior.  They're slightly sweet as a result of a small amount of honey in the dough and are very good at breakfast... and the dough makes really good hamburger and hot dog rolls.  Of course, the Mexicans would probably want to "shoot the Gringo" if they heard me say that.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the baked goods in Mexico.  They make great rolls and fairly simple but terrific pastries and in the smaller towns the bakeries (and bakers) are quite good.  We think of tortillas as being the staple of Mexico, and they are, but they also make some very good bread, rolls and pastries down there.

These Bolillos were made using the direct method with yeast, no pre-ferment.  Although I did stretch and fold the dough as opposed to punching it down (as the recipe suggested), which, I think, gave me a better interior.  They have a small amount of oil in the dough which makes them slightly softer than French style rolls and, of course, a little sweeter as a result of the honey.  Since I sort of winged it with these, if anyone else out there has made Bolillos I would really appreciate hearing about your recipe, how you made them and how they turned out.


holds99's picture

I recently purchased Daniel Leader's book: LOCAL BREADS.  After reviewing it I decided to try to bake Pain de Compagne (French Country Boule).  I doubled the recipe so I would be able to bake 2 large boules using 2 different baking methods: 1. Using a covered Dutch oven,  2. On a parchment lined baking pan with steam.  I wanted to see if there was any significant difference in the 2 baking methods.  Instead of making his liquid levain I used my sourdough starter to make a liquid levain starter and placed it in a covered plastic container.  I followed the recipe and left the levain starter out for 12 hours at room temp.  At the end of 12 hours the levain starter had not really kicked in the way it should have.  I decided to press on regardless.  I made the bread dough (water, wheat, rye and A.P - K.A. flour) by hand in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid.  It turned into a very dry ball that wouldn't absorb all the flour (I had scaled the flour).  So, I added a bit more water to get a ragged dough that I thought looked right and then I let it rest for 20 minutes per instructions.  When I went back to the dough in the K.A. bowl it was a SERIOUSLY hard, stiff dough (far stiffer than bagel dough).  About this time I was getting a feeling like... I was arranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.  Anyway, I mixed the salt into the, not so vivacious, levain and added it to the K.A. mixing bowl containing the rock of Gibraltar and turned the K.A. on low speed.  Thoughout the next ten minutes i would mix, stop the K.A., scape the dough off the dough hook, and repeat the process.  Finally I got it all mixed into a smooth, sticky dough.  I then spayed a gallon plastic container with cooking oil, placed the dough in the container, marked the outside of the container (top of the dough) with masking tape, put the top on and set it aside for the 2 1/2 to 3 hour rising time.  2 hours into the rising tme there was only about a 20% rise.  At this point it should be 75% risen (now I feel like I'm re-arranging the chairs on Titanic's deck).  So, I empty the dough onto the counter and examine it to see if it is fermenting.  The patient has some vital signs and pulse but at this point it doesn't look good.  I know if I don't take immediate action I may lose the patient. I spread the dough onto the work counter and stretched it into a large rectangle.  I sprinkled 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast over the entire surface of the dough.  I rolled the dough up and hand kneaded it for 10 minutes to evenly distribute the yeast, put it back into the plastic container, covered it and set it aside.  2 3/4 hours later it had doubled in volume.  I returned to the lightly floured work surface and divided it in half.  Shaped both halves into boules and place each in a heavily floured, linen lined banneton.  An hour ahead of baking I pre-heated the oven with the cast iron Dutch oven in it (sitting on the stone).  I placed one boule in the cast iron Dutch oven, covered it and put it into the oven.  I placed the other boule on the parchment lined baking pan and scored it.  After scoring, the boule started dropping fast so I immediately put it into the oven, dumped the ice cubes onto the tray under the stone.

Anyway, here are the photos of the results.  Both boules turn out fine, despite all MY problems, but the Dutch oven turned out the better of the 2 boules.  Incidentally, it tasted fine, light touch of sourness, good texture.

Pain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked in Dutch OvenPain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked in Dutch Oven

Pain de Compagne - Interior - Baked in Dutch OvenPain de Compagne - Interior - Baked in Dutch Oven

Pain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steamPain de Compagne - Exterior - Baked on parchment lined

baking sheet with steam

Pain de Compagne - Interior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steamPain de Compagne - Interior - Baked on parchment lined baking sheet with steam


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