The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Juergen Krauss's blog

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Juergen Krauss

Having got a bit into baking big miches recently (Hamelman's Miche Pointe-A-Caillere and Shiao-Ping's interpretation of Gerard Rubaud's formula), one of the big obstacles I faced in my home environment was to transfer a 2300g loaf into the oven.
Here is how I managed to do it:

1. The shaped dough (2300 g) sits on a couche

After Shaping

2. I wrap the dough very loosely with enough space to spread a bit

Wrapping it up 1

3. The dough is proofing, fully enclosed in the couche, and it can spread to 30cm width, just the width of my baking stone

Wrapped and proofing

4. The dough is proofed and ready for transfer - I transfer it onto a silicone baking sheet, which is very easy - just turning over the whole thing: dough inside couche

Ready for the oven

5. This is the still wrapped dough on the baking sheet, upside down

Transferred to a baking sheet

6. In the process of removing the couche

Unwrapping the monster

7. Slashed


8. This is the loaf, 15 minutes into the bake. Not much spare room in my oven ...

In the oven

And this is the finished product



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Juergen Krauss

To David Snyder. 

Thank you for encouraging me to go BIG.

This is the biggest single loaf I ever made, and it is as big as my oven can handle.

Hamelmans Miche Pointe-A-Caillere, made with Bacheldre ... Unbleached White flour.

** Added: a picture of the flour I used, at the end of the post **

Dough weight: 2300g

Baked weight: 1935g

Diameter: 32cm

Height: 9.5cm




Here the picture of three flours:

Left is Waitrose organic stoneground white bread flour

Middle is Bacheldre Organic Stoneground Unbleached White, this is the one I used for the miche above

Right is Shipton Mill Organic Stoneground Wholegrain Wheat

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Juergen Krauss


Along with croissants, the miches (Hamelman and Shiao-Pings post Miche Gerard Rubaud, the post that initially lured me into TFL) felt quite out of reach, and I had as many failures as trials.

Recently I ordered a bag of 

Bacheldre Watermill Organic Stoneground Strong Unbleached White Flour

in the belief it was strong white flour.

Well, it is actually high extraction flour, and at last I managed to make Hamelman's Miche Pointe-A-Caillere with it.

It is just the right stuff for this bread. The dough handles like a treat (at 85%  hydration).

And the result -veeeery tasty. My 7-year-old gobeled down 2 slices (topped with marmalade) and even made his way through the crust!

Here is what it looks like:

And here the crumb:

I made two little 500g miches, are they michelles then, or maybe michettes?

And here is the man who REALLY loves daddy's bread:



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Juergen Krauss

... and some oof the regular posters might have wondered what happened. 

Rather a lot, I suppose.

In terms of TFL - I am still catching up - all those rye posts by the bakers who attended the Hamelman class ...

Let's start with christmas - I received what seems a brain-splitting present: A voucher for a pastry course with Ghalid Assyb at Bertinet's in Bath, this was given inside a book about the DASH diet...

Why the pastry course? I never felt that I would ger a kick out of pastry, but my dear wife was convinced that I would be able to master the sweet things and have fun with them.

Why the diet book? Well, all those carbs ...

The pastry thing is getting me - and the course was a great source of knowledge and inspiration. Watching Ghalid and registering his little remarks gave me an idea about the workings of a Pastry Chef's mind.

Some time before Christmas I started already to look around  for pastry books (due to my wife's nagging) and I got the volumes by Bo Friberg. I tried quite a few recipes (Lebkuchen, Cardamom buns, Black Forest Gateau...) all quite successful and with an authentic taste (being from the Black Forest it is really amazing to find an authentic recipe in an american textbook written by a swedish-american chef).

I then looked at the French edition of Cristophe Felder's Patisserie - the French food blogs are raving about this book. I pre-ordered, and I recieved the English version last week. A truly amazing book.

So, what did I learn / make at the pastry course?

- Puff pastry / laminating  / millefeulle / creme mousseline

- Genoise / Biscuits a cuillere / Fruit Bavarian / Raspberry Charlotte

- Chocolate Financiers

- Fraisier cake

What did I make since the course?

I was always frightened of making croissants and the few attempts were messy and not quite satisfactory.

Today I made my second batch of Croissants since the course, using my newly gained knowledge and the recipe from Felder's book, and voila:

They taste as great as they look, and I am even very pleased with the crumb:

In Felder's book there is a simple variation with croissant dough - Lunettes, which we called "Kopenhagener" or "Pudding Brezel" in Germany - one of my alltime favourites.

Now I am making them myself %BIG SMILE%

Essentially, it is twisted croissant dough filled with pastry cream.

For a charity bake at work I made a Charlotte with black fruit (blackberries, cherries, blueberries, blue grapes), following the recipe from the pastry course:

and for home and friends - and just to try out the formula I made a batch of chocolate financiers according to Ghalid Assyb which were delicious, and I also tried Felder's recipes for chocolate financiers and vanilla financiers (the classic). All very delicious. Here the results of the Felder recipes:

And the diet book you might ask?

Well, we started it 5 weeks ago, maintained it during a vacation with my parents, and I lost around 10Kg since.

I eat a 50g of wholegrain rye bread every day, no other bread, with occasional exceptions - naturally I bake a little less, although it seems that the demand by colleagues and in the community is picking up ...

All the sweet things get eaten, just not by us alone.

The weather kept us busy as well here in the UK, and commuting was a bit of a lottery in those past weeks ...

3 cm of snow and the United Kingdon grinds to a halt (almost).

I have to go and distribute my pastries now ...




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Juergen Krauss


A commuter-friend travelling with me to London on the train used to live in Ravensburg, in a region in Germany called Oberschwaben.

One day he told me he really misses a speciality from there called Seelen.

They are rolls with an open crumb and a slightly chewy crust, sprinkled with caraway and coarse salt.

Searching the internet I found a number of recipes, and some descriptions of the "original": a roll made with spelt, using high hydration, long fermentation, and a wet, hot bake.

The recipes I found were all nothing like the original description, so I decided to improvise, and I am very happy with the result:


Here the formula and instructions (1000g for 6 rolls):

Google spreadsheet

Schwaebische Seelen
Expected Yield1000 
Wholegrain Spelt Flour30165.2
Yeast (Instant)0.21.1
White Spelt Flour46253.3
AP Flour / Strong White Flour (UK)24132.2

Processing instructions
Dough temperature was about 22C all the time
Mix Preferment, leave at room temperature for 2 hours and then refridgerate until used, best is overnight,
Let Preferment come back to room temperature, mix with other ingredients and work dough gently. It is very slack.
Let the dough rest for amout 2 hours, with 3 sets of stretch and fold during the first hour. Towards the end big bubbles should be forming.
Make your work surface thoroughly wet and turn out the dough onto the wetness. Prepare some baking parchament for the rolls.
Forming an oval with your wet hands scrape of a chunk of dough, then make a circle with your thumb and index finger, pull the dough through and put it onto the baking parchament.
Let it rest for another 30 minutes,
Sprinkle with Caraway seeds and coarse salt,

Bake in a very hot oven with steam, ideally on a stone, mine needed 20 minutes at 230C

** UPDATE **

Here some pictures of the production process from a bakery in Schwaben:

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Juergen Krauss


Got it right, at last!

Berliner Landbrot -

70% Dove's Farm light rye

30% Bacheldre Organic Stoneground Strong White Flour

During his apprenticeship the baker Tom Roetz investigated the behaviour of machine-prepared rye preferments vs hand-prepared rye preferments using  a standard "Berliner Landbrot" formula.

My version of "Berliner Landbrot" is adapted from his paper, which is available online:

I tried to bake this bread several times with mixed sucess. Now I managed to get it just right for my taste:

A fairly open crumb, combined with a dark, caramelised crust.

Here the formula:

Expected Yield1600 
Light/Medium Rye Flour (Type 1150)25232
Mature Starter (not in final dough)1093
Strong White (AP) Flour (Type 550)30278
Light/Medium Rye Flour (Type 1150)45417
Yeast (Instant)0.474.4


Mix the preferment and leave it for about 14 hours at 28C. It should have a pleasant smell and taste.

Mix the preferment with the rest of the ingredients, the dough is easy to handle as it ought to be onthe stiffer side.

Knead for about 5 minutes, the dough wil become a bit smoother.

Rest the dough for 30 minutes at 28C

Shape with wet hands.

Proof for another 45 minutes at 28C.

I used bannetons this time, but this can also be baked freestanding or in tins.

Bake in a very hot oven  (Roetz says 290C!) for 10 minutes, then at 200C for about 50 minutes (750g loaves).

Things to watch out for

Temperature: During the preparation of this dough I managed to keep the dough temperature constant on 28C. 

Shaping: I did it quite gently this time, just gently forming a smooth roll with very wet hands.

Baking: My oven was as hot as it can be, with a new 3cm stone, and about 2 hours preheating (I did another bake just before)

Roetz used in his studies two decks: one heated to 290C for the first 10 minutes of the bake, and another one at 200C to finish the bake. I think it is most important for this bread to behin the bake hot.

My challenge now: to get these results consistently.

Happy Baking,


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Juergen Krauss

Being a home baker, one of the most amazing things for me to achieve in my baking is consistency. As a home baker one gets rarely the opportunity to bake big batches, and the natural limits are oven capacity and proving space.

During the last four weeks I have been asked twice to bake for larger occasions, and I managed to churn out about 70 braided rolls on each occasion. Great fun, and also quite a learning curve in managing resources and dough handling.

The first occasion was my mother-in-law's 80th birthday; I used the Rich Sourdough Barches recipe from “Inside The Jewish Bakery”, a great recipe. I made 70 rolls (60g each) in different shapes and with different toppings, and a 12 strand braid of 1200g, in 6 batches over 2 days (working fulltime on my job during the day). After the first two batches the oven window blew (while my wife made supper, I was still on the train), and a commuter friend offered spontaneously his kitchen, which I gladly occupied until 1.30 am that night and got all my baking done.

Here a photo of the rolls made that night:


The arrangement on one of the tables looked like this:


The second occasion was the winter fair at my son's school. The theme was “Fire And Ice”, and I have been gently volunteered to create “Fire n'Iced Buns”.

A couple of days before Bo Friberg's “The Professional Pastry Chef” had arrived, and I was keen to try out some recipes from this huge book.

I chose to base the buns on the Rich Cardamom Sweet Dough – various tests and tastings showed this to be an easy to handle and very tasty formula.

Curiously, although it is a yeasted dough, it omits a bulk ferment – it is meant to be rested for just 10 minutes after kneading (to relax the gluten).
I tested this, and made two more small batches, one proofed as I would (poking test), and one overnight in the fridge.
The original method and the chilled version were quite similar, but the “properly“ fermented version yielded buns that were quite dry.

I will give the percentages of the Cardamom Dough as I adapted them below.

I made the final buns with Cardamom Dough, my Chocolate Chilli Dough (adapted from the Cardamom Dough), and peppermint Icing. Half the Chocolate dough was without chilli.

Because I managed to scale shape 12 buns in about 10 minutes I baked 65 buns (40g each) in 6 batches, starting at 5.30am and finishing with the decoration at 9.00am.

Here some photos of the "Fire n'Iced Buns":



The buns above have been glazed with hot apricot jam, but haven't been iced yet. Unfortunately I haven't got any good pictures of the final product.

And here the formula:

IngredientChocolate Chilli DoughCardamom Dough
Bread flour100733.0100772.5
Cocoa Powder536.600.0
Chilli Powder0.64.400.0
Ground Ginger0.181.300.0
Ground Cloves0.0930.700.0
Chocolate Chips (small)1073.300.0
Yeast (instant)1.60911.81.5311.8


Melt the butter and set it aside to cool a bit.

Mix milk, yeast, egg and sugar.  Let it stand for about 15 minutes.

Add this mix to the solid ingredients and mix to incorporate.

Add the butter and knead until you have a smooth, soft dough that easily comes off the bowl or worktop.

The chocolate dough will be stiffer, but in the end both doughs will perform similarly.

Rest for 10 minutes to relax gluten, and then shape.

You can also put the dough into the fridge right away and use it later. (I kept it in the fridge overnight) 

 Excellent videos about shaping and braiding can be found on Youtube, e.g.

Let the shaped buns rest until just not doubled in size. ( Try the "poke test" on the white dough, it should still be elastic)

Bake at 190C for about 10 minutes.

Happy Baking,



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Juergen Krauss

Just made the Rich Sourdough Barches from Inside The Jewish Bakery for the first time.

The dough is a bit wetter than I am used to for Challah, but still manageable.

The taste and texture are great!

Thank you, Stan and Norm!

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Juergen Krauss

I wanted to make some bread according to the Quarter Sponge Method as outlined by Elizabeth David / Walter Banfield ever since I came across it more than a year ago.

The details are intriguing: A standard metod used to make "Batch Bread" in Scotland well into the thirties, it uses a long fermentation process and a minimal amount of yeast. A sachet of yeast will make about 30Kg of bread!

The result of my first bake: As close to shop bought sandwich bread as one can get - just with flour, water, salt, yeast and a 16 hour fermentation!

Here some pictures; details follow.

The overall appearance of my 1kg loaf:

The crust in more detail:

And the crumb:

The loaf looks very appealing; the crumb is dense and regular, but fluffy. And the walls of the small bubbles have the translucency of well fermented dough.

The taste is ... neutral. Just plain neutral, but in a pleasant way. Great with cream cheese and salmon, or salami, or marmalade. 

Quite a surprise.

The formula is given by David in industrial amounts (200Kg batch size). I haven't got the proofing space, so I decided to scale it down.

Here the original formula:

Quarter Sponge Process after Elizabeth David / Walter Banfield 

Total IngredientsOriginal
g convertedBakers %
malt extract8oz224.000.179


Initial Sponge14 hours at DT 21C

Flour (strong)64lb28,672.0022.857

Second Stage Sponge1 hour at DT 27C"batter sponge"

Flour (strong)100lb44,800.0035.714
Malt extract8oz224.000.179
Initial sponge from above


Third stage sponge1 hour at DT 26C

Flour (soft)116lb51,968.0041.429
Batter sponge from above


Then ready for kneading, dividing and moulding



I adjusted overall salt to 2% and estimated the modern yeast to be a lot stronger, the formula I used was:

Quarter Sponge Process after Elizabeth David / Walter BanfieldExpected Yield1,000.0
Total IngredientsBakers %Weight
Malt Extract0.181.1
Yeast (fresh)0.080.5

Initial Sponge; ferment 14 hours at 21C
yeast (instant)0.030.2

Second Stage Sponge; ferment 1 hour at 26C, "Batter Sponge"
Malt extract0.181.1
Initial sponge from above36.65231.3

Third stage sponge; ferment 1.5 hours at 26C
Batter sponge from above113.03713.5



After the Third Stage Sponge (Final Dough) had rested, I kneaded, divided and shaped, followed by another 1.5 hours rest.

The dough was very pleasant to work with, despite the low hydration (using Bacheldre organic stoneground bakers white flour).

Baked with steam in a falling oven to 210C for 45 minutes. 

An interesting experience.

Happy Baking,



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Juergen Krauss

I have got a very simple fan-only oven (BEKO), and it took me a while figure out how to put it to its best use - with lots of inspiration from TFL.

This is how I bake my bread:

Usually use an oven stone and a metal baking sheet.

You can see the backplate of the oven cavity in the picture below - the shelf positions and the hot air outlets are highlighted:

I noticed that airflow changes a lot when loading the oven in different ways - it is not always the bit nearest to an outlet that gets burnt first!

I am now using 2 basic setups that work well. In both scenarios I have a small pan on the oven floor into which I pour boiling water (about 1/4 cup) once the oven has been loaded. The oven keeps moisture very well, and using more water cools it down too much.

Scenario 1: For a batch of 4 X 500g boules or 2X 800g boules or up to 6X 500g tins:

The baking stone receives a lot of heat from below and stays hot during the bake. The side of the boules facing the backplate gets more heat.

Therefore after 10 minutes I shuffle the breads around: turning them 180 deg. and sqapping the loaves on the stone with the loaves on the baking sheet. Usually I turn down the temperature at this point and bake for another 20 minutes. The bottoms of the loaves that started on the baking sheet might still be3 weak after that, so I usually turn those loaves over and bake them for 5 more minutes.

Scenario 2: For a batch of 1 X 100g or 2 X 500g

I place the loaf (loaves) on the baking stone, and rotate them after 10 minutes.

The baking sheet helps distributing the hot air and helps getting a more consistent bake.


I hope this might be helpful,




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