The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

jefklak's blog

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I wanted to bake. That's what I usually come up with when I have a few days off. The first thing I do then is take out "BREAD" and choose a recipe:

A) I didn't bake if I feel I'm in the mood for learning
B) something I baked before and I loved if I want something yummy I know will succeed.

It turned out to be option A this time. I baked 66% wholerye, 70-80%, 50% with walnuts and the vermont sourdough (of course) but never tried to combine wholerye and wholewheat. So behold:


Very airy, very jummy, nice tang which even improves as the days pass. The keeping quality simply amazes me, up to 6 days and it's still okay (but very chewy...).

You can see the formula you all know and more pictures here at Save Sourdough.

I do have to say I like sole wholerye breads more, the wholewheat seemed to add a little bit of sweetness. I think when I want to bake this again I'd go for 50% wholerye only (if I don't have walnuts anymore haha)

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You can read more details here:

I've read a lot of great things on yeast water here. I had no idea what it was and decided it was time to investigate. After reading a lot about the topic (and discovering yeast is virtually everywhere, even on vegetables or tea), I wanted to give it a go myself. I got my hands on some organic apples my girlfriend's uncle harvested from his yard, cut them up, added some water and left it there for a few days. This is the result:

As you can see, the bread itself has a lot of nice holes and I also included the apple within the loaf itself. I thought that would give it a nice added taste - and since apples and cinnamon happen to go well together (and I love cinnamon), I also included 2 teaspoons of that as well. 

Here's the formula:

100gr apple yeast water + 100gr spelt flour as preferment (12h)
300gr spelt flour
100gr wholerye flour
2 teaspoons  cinnamon
1 whole apple, cut up in little pieces, with peel (organic)
 225gr water (makes the loaf 65% hydratation)
"some" salt (can't remember, 7gr?)

The apple pieces gave the bread an added moistness boost I did not forsee but it turned out to be great. I was a bit lazy and did not fold it as usual so it came out a little flat, but that's okay, right?
All my latest sourdough bakings include final proofing in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours, and this is no exception. I think it only increases the flavor. I baked it straight from the fridge.


You can read more details here: 

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I've been trying to achieve more sourness into my sourdough breads because while I did create nice and airy crumbs, I did fail at effectively making it taste tangy. I know a lot of people don't like it that way (my girlfriend for example, haha) but since I've baked a rye bread I don't want to go back. I've tried 2 different miche recipes so far (Hamelman & Reinhart) and now that I have the "local breads" book, I tought it would be a nice opportunity for me to learn some more!

I did these things differently:

  1. Use a rye starter instead of a white levain, but I did convert it into a rather stiff one
  2. Bulk ferment a lot longer (4 hours) with 3x stretch&folding at room temp, 23-24°C 
  3. retard for 12 hours at 5°C in the fridge. 
  4. Knead a bit longer than usual (I always knead using french fold)

With the longer kneading, I wanted to achieve a more evenly spread hole crumb structure as seen in most "miches". I've bought one at "le pain quotidien" here in Belgium (difficult to find sourdough here...) and it looks more or less the same, except mine is better! hah!

The flour I've used is simply amazing, it's locally stone-ground organic very fine wholewheat (yes indeed, no stupid T85). The final build consists of 400gr wholewheat and 100gr spelt flour (white). I wish you could smell and taste it, I'm so happy with it!

  • The crumb I was aiming at has been realized
  • The taste I was aiming at has been realized (I did not expect this, as I tried other things to get a "tang")
  • The boule held it's shape well and was baked cold - I'm upping the scales next time!

To see more pictures and the whole recipe, check out

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One picture says more than a thousand words, right? 
Today I've practiced making bâtards using Mr. Leader's "pain au levain" from local breads. Compared to Mr. Hamelman's classic "pain au levain", this one contains a lot more wholewheat (26%, compared to 5%) and the preferment amount is also increased (25% compared to 15%). A stiff levain was used with 50% hydratation. The final dough contained 70% hydratation. 

You can gaze at more nice pictures at:

I discovered the joy of using a proper amount of steam injected into the oven, since my other scores always seemed to close. Today, I bought a compressed mister which uses air to create a wider angle of water and makes it easier to create some steam in a conventional oven. I've also uploaded a picture of the new "baking device", see link above.

Did like this version a lot and I'll try it again sometime soon. It created a remarkably authentic crumb structure which looks like the "pain de campagne" loaves I've bought from some bakeries. The increased wholewheat flour was not a problem - it's finely stone-ground and I french folded for about 5 minutes. What Leader calls "turning the dough" looked too complicated, I did a single stretch & fold instead. The result is the same. 

Can anyone spot the yeasted version of the bâtard? 
I also made 2 straight versions which took me 4 hours in total. The result was a bland tasting loaf but the crumb was amazingly great for a yeasted bread - moist and nice mouth feel. As you can see, it's also very holey (thank you mister & high water percentage!). It contained about 40% wholewheat flour and no rye, so it's a bit less heavy, it was not exactly the same recipe.

I might have cheated though, as I added 2 tablespoons of the preferment to the yeasted version. It did not get enough time to develop some flavor and it's nowhere near the 25% preferment of the pain au levain version.  

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I just wanted to share a lot of mistakes I made during another batch of "my daily bread". 

Actually, I made three mistakes:

  1. not enough tension (bad shaping)
  2. too deep and no angle @ scoring
  3. overproofing

You can see the whole process and a bunch of pictures @

I'll spare you the details and show you the horrible pictures instead :-)

These were the proofed loaves. Looked good, right? Now let's take them out of the proofing basket... Urgh. 

Whoops. They flattened like pancakes. I always panic a lot then, but after 15-20 minutes into a hot oven (250°C), they simply *pop* and the oven spring magic has occured:

Yay! Sorry for the bad pictures, I was not able to take one without a part of me reflecting in the glass.

After removing them from the oven, cooling down and slicing:

YESS! They still turned out to be great

If you're interested in the recipe I used, check out my previous blog entry (it's the 65% wholegrain "my daily bread" thing). I just wanted to share with you guys that if you overproofed your loaves (I constantly do this, hehe), no reason to panick. Provided you did use a fair amount of hydratation and you're baking a wheat-based bread (gluten) of course. 

Carry on!

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I have been baking sourdough for three months now and it's starting to come together. I'm working through Mr. Hamelman's BREAD book (with other mellow bakers) and I've experimented with a few of the recipes I have found to be the tastiest (and easiest to bake). I've derived a base recipe based upon the "pain au levain with wholewheat" recipe. I know a lot of people out here love the "Vermont Sourdough" (which I also do), but I love wholewheat and don't see a lot of difference. 

Read more here:

It's the first time since I've seriously tried to employ the french fold technique, and it really does work wonders with wetter doughs. I've had a lot of trouble trying to mix these by hand (I refuse to use mechanical kneading). I've modified the recipe to allow for a higher hydratation value (as wholewheat does soak up a lot more water):


  • 145gr. stone-ground organic wholewheat flour (got at a local mill)
  • 10gr medium rye flour
  • 145gr water
  • 2 tablespoons of your starter (mine’s a white wheat 100% hydratation one)
final build
  • 605gr high-protein flour (all-purpose bread flour will do nicely, I didn’t have any at this point)
  • 40gr medium rye flour
  • 200gr wholewheat flour (also finely stone-ground)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 590gr water
  • the preferment
This should give you a 65% wholegrain bread with 73% hydratation. These are the methods I've used:
  1. autolyse for 30-60 minutes
  2. french fold (still very sticky & wet, stopped doing this after about 10 minutes)
  3. stretch & fold 3 times during 2 hours as the dough is still very slack due to the hydratation level
  4. retarding final proofing in baskets in the fridge

I love the big holes in the bread, it was very "mushy" and has a good bite, but there was only one problem, I want a more sour bread (not tangy but mellowy now)

I retarded the bread for 24 hours as an experiment, and another loaf for 40 hours. 
After baking the latter showed clear forms of overproofing (very flat, lost it's strength after pushing it onto the baking sheet)

I wanted to taste the difference but could not find any difference! Wow, how come?
Tried another taste test this morning and let my girlfriend do the same, same conclusion - we could not find any difference. Strange.


I'm baking the very same thing right now, but tried another thing: 100% hydratation preferment and 24 hours of resting  on the counter instead of 12 hours. It really smelled sour (!), hopefully it'll help. I did accidentally mess up the flour/water ratio and now it's close to 75% (gave me a lot of trouble with french folding and shaping)
Conclusion: still need to wait for the last bake, but 24 hours retarding > 40 to keep the form but not for the taste.  

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You can read the whole story and see more pictures at:

It's the first time I've tried to bake a "full" wholegrain bread using more than half (whole)rye. I've basically followed the recipe from Mr. Hamelman's excellent BREAD book but was unable to find any chopped rye of rye grains in my area. I bought rye flakes instead. The problem with that is the equal amount water/flakes does not completely match (flakes are bigger and not completely submerged into the hot water). 

The sourdough and soaker was prepared and left at the kitchen table for 15 hours. 
I think I didn't let it proof long enough (1 hour at 30°C, trying to maintain that temperature in the microwave with some preheating). It did rise a bit in the pullman tin but not much. The result is an extremely dense bread (sliced after 24 hours being wrapped in a towel) - a thin slice weighs 40gr! 

I'd love some feedback from all experts as I think a lot of things could be better. The dough was very dense and sticky (as it should be, I think) but others who baked using this recipe found it to be more like a batter and they "poured" it into the pan. I could shape it into a brick but that's it, and threw it in there. 


There are tiny holes in the bread and the smell and taste is great, tangy and sour just like I love it. I used a stiff rye starter (which I created 1.5weeks before baking, based on my 3 month old 100% hydratation white wheat starter. I know it's not the same thing as creating a rye starter from scratch but hey does it matter that much?)

Thanks for reading!

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