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Juergen Krauss

This is not for the fainthearted.

When I got ITJB (Inside  The Jewish Bakery) and flicked through, my rye addiction kicked in, and the unusual process (kind-of Auermann three stage) of the Black Bread intrigued me. This was the first recipe I tried from ITJB - and failed spectacularly.

The top half of the (freestanding) loaf was nice, but turning the temperature down as stated in the recipe let the loaf sink in, and the lower half was dense and badly undercooked.

Encouraged by a PM by Stan, whom I contacted, I gave it a second try - and failed again - this time I attributed it to family business interfering with the proving schedule.

After a long break from this recipe - and some recalculations, and lots of learning about rye and my oven I tried it again last weekend, using my proofing box. This time I baked in a tin, and extended the hot phase of the bake.

The bread came out very wet - looking undercooked, almost greyish in the middle (cut after 12 hours). I was disappointed and tended to attribute this to the superhyrated dough: 117% (if my calculations are correct).

BUT ...

I had made 2 loaves and kept one aside, in a plastic bag.

Today (4 days after the bake) I opened the bag - amazing smell. I cut the bread - still moist, but the crumb had changed completely. Beautiful chocolate brown, with a rich, tangy taste:

My advice if you want to make this bread:

1. Don't Panic

2. Follow the recipe (take oz amounts as a base - I calculated the bakers % from those)

3. Use loaf tins first

3. You might want to extend the hot phase of the bake by 10 minutes (and/or consult ananda's posts about Borodinsky bread for ideas about the baking regime)

3. Wait at least 3 days before cutting into it!

ITJB rocks!



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Juergen Krauss

For a long time I wanted to bake this bread. It sounds like home, and it tastes like home.

I am from the Black Forest, here a photo taken during my last visit:

Wolfgang Suepke posted the formula in his blog - quite a nice read because he sheds light on some regional eating habits in Germany.

The bread is a 20% rye bread with 80% (almost) white wheat flour, containing 1% of lard. 12.5% of the total flour is prefermented in a rye sourdough, and 40% of the total flour is prefermented in some kind of wheat biga.

The rye sour matures at ca. 26C for 16 hours, and the wheat preferment is put into the fridge after 2 hours (just when yeast activity becomes visible) and left there overnight (or up to 2 days).

Mixing and shaping as usual (folding works well), the dough needs ca. 1 hour bulk proof and 1 hour final proof.

The formula is on google docs. You can export the spreadsheet to excel and adjust the quantities according to your needs:

Mr Suepke uses wheat flour Type 812, which I do not have here in the UK, and light rye flour Type 997, which I get from Shipton Mill.

For the wheat part I use 50% high extraction flour and 50% bread flour (Shipton's No 4).

Here a picture of the bread:

It is proofed in a basket seam side down, and left to crack open at the seams. This creates the characteristic look.

The crumb is niceley elastic, and typically not too open.

The taste is complex with a strong wheaty note, due to the large amount of prefermented wheat. Despite the small amount of lard used it gives this bread a special note that goes very well with the regional meat products, especially with the famous Black Forest ham, see e.g.

A very rewarding bread!

Happy Baking,


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Juergen Krauss

When some friends invited us to the beach at West Wittering (near Chichester, England) last week, they asked me to bring some spelt bread, as they try to stay away from wheat.

Based on my previous experiments with spelt I came up with two very delicious.

Not even the fine sand on Wittering Beach (which gets just about everywhere) could do harm to the culinary experience (on the way home it was mentioned that we passed the food test ;-) )

== UPDATE ==

Several commentators inspired my to go fluffy with spelt - Today I made a small 100% Spelt Pugliese (light spelt flour),

the formula and photos are at the end of this post.


Here are some pictures:

The 100% Wholegrain Spelt (with a hint of honey and malt):

The same loaf, cut:

This loaf has a deep flavor. The rye malt and honey palance the spelt flavor very nicely without dominating it.

The other loaf was a 40% rye / 60% light spelt mixed bread:

Here the crumb:

With a lot of rye present, this dough is quite a sticky mess. Try to handle it with a very light hand, taking care not to deflate it when shaping.

The formulas are on Google Docs:

Spelt and Rye Sourdough

== Update 30/05  6.19 GMT ==

Corrected the worksheet to read "Spelt Flour" instead of "Rye Flour"

This one is really 100% Wholegrain Spelt


100% Wholegrain Spelt Sourdough

You can download / export the spreadsheets as Excel files (or other formats). The formulas are preserved, and you can adjust yield and other fields (marked yellow) to your liking.

Happy Baking,



Here comes the Spelt Pugliese:

Here the crumb - nicely open and light:

And here the formula:

I used light stoneground spelt flour from Sharpham Park

Bulk fermentation: 2 hours at 26dC, final rest 40 minutes

The formula is again on Google Docs:

Happy Baking,









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Juergen Krauss

Since I started my explorations of German style mixed flour ( rye/wheat ) breads I was using caraway seeds.

I kept with using a small amount of commercial yeast,   mainly because the scheduling is very simple that way.

And I stuck to using wholegrain rye flour for the rye part - because I like the taste and texture.

Recently I started experimenting with using sourdough only, and using light rye as well as wholegrain rye.

The result is My Ultimate Rye - good volume, elastic, translucent crumb (as far as possible in a 40% rye), hearty taste, ... I could go on. Excellent with smoked salmon or strong cheese.

Here some photos:

This loaf weighs 800g:

Cut open, it filled the kitchen with the most amazing aroma

Here the crumb in greater detail:

And a detail of the crust:

The process follows roughly the "Detmolder" process outlined in the post I mentioned above.

You will find all details in the baking sheet below. I added a column for the "surplus preferment" to account for loss due to fermentation, evaporation and stickiness)

Outline of the process:

Rye sour: Ferment for 15 hours at 26C

Wheat sour: ferment 15 hours at room temperature (was 21C to 24C in my case)

I found that the small percentage of rye makes the wheat sour so much easier to maintain.

Bulk fermentation: 2 hours at 26C

Dough is very loose and sticky - shape either with wet hands or lots of flour

Final proof: 1 hour

Bake: for 800g start at 240C and turn to 200C  after 10 minutes; total baking time 30 min

Happy Baking,


Google docs lets you download the spreadsheet with formulas.

40% Rye Caraway
Expected Dough Weight2300Surplus Preferment(%)10.0
Straight Formula

Wholegrain Rye Flour20.5 266.4
Medium Rye Flour19.5 253.4
Strong White Flour (AP)60 779.7
Water72 935.6
Salt2 26.0
Caraway seeds3 39.0
Yield177 2,300.0
Rye Sour (Prefermented flour 20%)
Wholegrain Rye Flour20100285.9
Mature Rye Sour21028.6
Wheat Sour (Prefermented flour 10%)
Strong White Flour (AP)9.595135.8
Wholegrain Rye Flour0.557.1
Mature Wheat Sour44057.2
Final Dough (Total prefermented flour: 30%)
Medium Rye Flour19.5 253.4
Strong White Flour (AP)50.5 656.2
Water42 545.8
Salt2 26.0
Caraway seeds3 39.0
Rye Sour40 519.8
Wheat Sour20 259.9
Yield177 2,300.0
Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


As many others these days I mainly baked my tried and tested formulas, with not much new to blog about.

With exception of my proof box - the parts were on top of a cupboard since last summer, but now I am putting them to good use.

I think the quality of my ryes have greatly improved since.

The parts for the proof box

1. cheap picnic cooler

2. reptile thermostat

3. reptile heat mat

4. cooling rack

Here a photo:

Just a few photos from last weekend's bake, which was mainly for restocking the freezer:

1. Some ITJB Vienna Bread and Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread with pate fermentee

2. Some Challah (DiMuzio's sweet challah) for a school function:

3. Finally my weekly batch of 40% Rye with caraway seeds, and Russian Rye a la Andrew Whitley

Keeping myself busy ...


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Juergen Krauss


I've made the Pane alla Cioccolata fron Carol Field's Italian Baker many times with great success, and I always wanted to try the Pane al Latte e Cioccolata, which brings milk bread and chocolate together.

However, I have some problems with the milk dough recipe from the first edition of the book.

/* UPDATE */

After input from lvbaker I recalculated the formula, and now I have a milk dough with the same hydration level as the chocolate dough. A charm to work with. My adjusted percentages are given below, here some new photos:

The bread on the rise:

The whole loaf:

Detail shot:

Pane alla Cioccolata:

"Sponge": Water 15%, Sugar 0.7%, Instant Yeast 1%

Dough: all of the "Sponge", Flour 100%, Water 47%, Egg Yolk 3%, Butter 3.8% Sugar 20%, Cocoa Powder 5%, Chocolate Chips 25%, Salt 1.6%, Total 222.1%

Pane al Latte

Sponge: Flour 25%, Milk 25%, Sugar 3%, Instant Yeast 0.6%

Dough: All of the sponge, Flour 75%, Milk 25%, Rum 3%, Egg 12%, Butter 10%, Salt 1%, Total 179.6%

/* OLD POST */

But first some photos of this spectacular bread:

The shaped loaves, resting:

After the bake:

Crumb of a third loaf, a braid:

This is very tasty, as you can imagine.

Now to my problem:

The recipe gives for the sponge of the milk dough the following quantities:

1 3/4 teaspoon dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 cup less 1 tablespoon (135g) flour

Now, this is not enough liquid to hydrate the dough, and it definitely doesn't make the batter it should.

I am kind-of improvising,

but has anyone got the second edition of the Italian Baker? What quantities (% or g) are being used there?

Thanks a lot,




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Juergen Krauss

Mischbrot variations

In earlier experiments with breads having a higher percentage of rye flour I found that adding spelt, emmer or semolina complemented the rye very well.

With this bake I wanted to compare the effect of substituting the wheat part with emmer and spelt in breads with 70% rye. The flours are all from Shipton Mill.

The outcome:

I used my tried and tested Mischbrot formula as a base, this time using a rye starter with 100% hydration. The starter is made with dark rye, while the remaining rye in the formula is light rye.

Here the formula:

Straight formula



Amount (oz)

Dark Rye




Light Rye




Bread flour




Or light spelt flour




Or wholegrain emmer flour




















Rye sour




Dark rye flour








Mature starter
















Light Rye




Bread flour




Or light spelt flour




Or wholegrain emmer flour












Rye sour








At the current cooler temperatures (about 23C / 73F in my kitchen) the starter took 16 hours to mature.
With 70% rye the doughs / pastes are very sticky and require only a short mix/knead so that all materials are mixed well.

After 100 minutes of fermentation at 23C / 73F I shaped rounds with very wet hands (in mid-air), and put t hem into baskets (floured with light rye) for the final rest..After 60 minutes the rounds showed cracks, a sign that they are ready for the bake.

The bake (on a stone, with steam) started at maximum temperature (ca.  240C / 464F), after 15 minutes I turned the loaves and lowered the temperature to 210C / 410F, After another 20 minutes the bread was ready.

I am very happy with oven spring and bloom. All three breads performed equally well and were indistinguishable from the outside.

After a day I cut into the loaves. The crumb is quite similar in all three loaves, the bread containing wholegrain emmer  is a bit darker and more dense.(The wheat bread got a bit of a shadow - bad photography!)

Although the crumb looks fairly dense, the breads actually feel light.

The crust could be thicker, but that's my oven – not much I can do about this at the moment.

The taste of the three breads is also very similar – quite complex with rye dominating, and a distinctive tangy after-taste. The emmer bread has the most complex taste.

There are a few things I would like to try with this formula:
1. using all wholegrain flours
2. going back to the original German way: using all medium rye and refined flours (which would be called ”Berliner Landbrot”)
3. Reducing the amount of rye sour and using some of the wheat/emmer/spelt in a stiff starter as a second preferment
4. using a wheat/emmer/spelt poolish as a second preferment
5. adding spices

Lots to do!

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Juergen Krauss

Happy New Year to everyone!

Around my native town Freiburg in south-west Germany we have thae habit to eat some huge and elaborately decoreted brezels made of sweet dough for breakfast on New Year's Day. (Usually they are made by professional bakers.)

I made  some of them in the past, here some impressions from this year's bake.

A little mouse made by my wife, peeking into the future:


The somewhat more conventional Neujahrs-Brezel I made:

I used DiMuzio's sweet challah dough - I love to work with it, and it comes pretty close to what bakers use for these brezels in Germany.

The problem with making these is worktop space - the strand for a 600g brezel is about 1.3 metres long!

Best Wishes,



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Juergen Krauss


A little while ago Varda posted about her experiences with the Russian Rye from Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters, and there was a longish discussion of the formula.

I posted some photos of the process of making Russian Rye

Andy suggested to use the formula he remembers from his time with Andrew Whitley at the Village Bakery, and I had a closer look at a couple of German standard formulas.

At the end I baked 4 variations -

Russian Rye, Bread Matters version (100% Hydration, preferment 200% hydration, 31% flour from preferment)

Russian Rye, Andy's version (85% Hydration, preferment 167% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Single Step Detmolder (78% Hydration, preferment 80% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Berliner Kurz-Sauer (79% Hydration, preferment 100% hydration (fermented at 35C for 3.5 hours) , 50% flour from preferment)

Here a comparison of the crumb (pictures of the loaves can be found in the blogs referenced avove):


1. Russian Rye, Bread Matters Version

Rye31% 166g
Water62% 333g
Mature Starter10% 54g
Rye69% 370g
Water42% 225g
Salt1.50% 8g
Sourdough93% 499g
Yield206% 1106g

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads a long rest before cutting, at least 24 hours. In my experience the taste is fully there after 3 days.

The crumb is moist and airy, and the bread has a light tang that gets stronger in time.

2. Russian Rye, Andy's Village Bakery version

Mature Starter10%58g

The process is pretty much the same as above.

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case) This dough is much easier to handle than (1)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads less rest before cutting than (1), but at least 24 hours.

The crumb is moist and still light, and the bread has a more rye-y taste than (1).

It is difficult to say which one I prefer, but the handling qualities make this one a better candidate for a production environment.

3. Single-Step Detmolder

This method uses a rye starter with typically 80% hydration which is kept at 24C to 28C for 12 hours. The mature starter can then be used in production for up to 6 hours, it doesn't starve quickly and is very robust.

I followed the formula from an earlier post of mine, using 100% rye.

Mature Starter6%36g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%6g

After mixing the paste ferments for 40min (80min without yeast), is shaped with wet hands and put in tins, and rests for another hour.

Baking as above.

The crumb is quite dense as compared with the othe two breads, and there is a distinctive tang.

4. Berliner Kurz-Sauer

This one is a bit unusual: The sourdough matures at high temperature (35C) inb a very short (kurz) time: 3.5 hours.

At this stage the sourdough is almost frothy, very light and fragile, and tastes fruity mild-sour. The aim is to have a lot of LAB producing lactic acid. Therefore this one relyes a bit more on added yeast for the lift.

Mature Starter10%55g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%5g

 After mixing the paste proofed for about 1 hour, is  then shaped with wet hands and put in tins.

At my ambient temperature (24C) the bread was ready for the oven after 2 hours of rest.

The crumb is clearly dryer than the other three breads, and after 24 hours the taste is quite bland.

But I like how this bread developed over time - I had the last bits yesterday - 7 days after the bake. The taste was still mild, with a well developed rye note.


These four breads are a bit like four different characters. And it's hard for me to say which one I would prefer.

Each of them change their character considerably over time.

If I would need some bread tomorrow I'd go with Andy's Russian or the Detmolder, they have a lot of complexity early on.

The Detmolder was the most sour of the four, and developed even more sourness over time.

The Berliner Kurz-Sour might be a good way to introduce people to this kind of bread due to its mildness, and it also goes well with more delicate toppings.

And the "Bread Matters" Russian has this amazing open texture.

The choice is really up to you.





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Juergen Krauss

Hi, This is The Making Of ...

Russian Rye

from Andrew Whitley's "Bread Matters.

Photos and timeline from refreshing the "production sourdough" to the finished bread are in this post (** Now with crumb shot **),

you can find notes about the formula here:

The kitchen was around 22C all the time.

Tuesday night, 23.09 hours: Took the mature culture from the fridge and mixed up the "production sourdough"

Mature culture:

Production sourdough right after mix at 23.14 hours:

Production sourdough at Wednesday, 6.09 hours: Quite frothy, but smelling not yet right

Another view:

The production sourdough at 11.58 hours, smelling and tasting fruity/sour, ready for mixing:

The paste, mixed, at 12.32 hours:

The paste shaped, in loaf tins at 12.36 hours:

Slightly overproofed (I had left the house for longer than I intended) at 16.40 hours, ready to go into the oven:

After the bake, at 17.22 hours:

No oven spring - as I said, the proof was on the long side.

Out of the tins:


Crumb shot at Thursday, 06.07 hours:

The crumb has not quite set at this time, the taste is very promising, but needs as well more time to develop.




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