The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kiseger's blog

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If he shows talent as an artist, give him pencils or modeling wax in his playroom, but do not let him bite his slice of bread into the silhouette of an animal, or model figures in soft bread at the table. And do not allow him to construct a tent out of two forks, or an automobile chassis out of tumblers and knives. Food and table implements are not playthings, nor is the dining-room a playground.

Table tricks that must be corrected from Etiquette (1922) by Emily Post.

And so it came to pass that for one reason and another, and then some more on top, one was deprived of the joys of baking for two whole weeks.  A grueling trial that was, but survived it we did and rebounded by pouncing on two clear days of baking to the exclusion of all else. 

We had spent a weekend in Copenhagen for The Husband's crazy race and I had nourished high hopes of a free moment to explore Meyer's Bageri.  This is Claus Meyer of Noma fame and of Grupe & Meyer flour fame, worth watching the Chad Robertson masterclass with Meyer video: ). 

Any hopes of a bakery visit were thunderously dashed by the decision to check out the race swim, bike and run courses.  This, of course, took all day as each course was deconstructed by the triathletes, and I tried to survive the experience by encouraging everyone to stop for a glass of wine here and there.  That didn't go down well, but The Husband had a hugely successful race and so a return trip to Copenhagen has been promised for the sole purposes of a bakery and flour pilgrimage.  We shall see.

On our return, The Husband duly noted the obvious calamity ... that there was no fresh bread in the house.  A hushed silence inhabited the room as neither of us dared utter the forbidden question - "should we buy some bread?"  It was rapidly agreed that dinner would be a breadless affair and the starter was promptly fetched and inspected.   It had been nestling happily in the fridge and - oh joy - got cracking on its first feed, so we pressed on. 

Einkorn & Macadamia Bread

Thanks to Karin (Hanseata) for the inspired recipe for einkorn and hazelnut bread (link below).  I followed this formula pretty much to the letter, making adjustments to bulk ferment and proof times as my kitchen is quite chilly.  I had run out of hazelnuts and so took a punt with macadamia nuts - cracked in half and very well toasted.  The photos show that I managed to squash the bread slightly when loading it in, but I think I got a good oven spring and the crumb was acceptable for a first go at this.

Verdict: stick with the hazelnuts.  The macadamia just doesn't have enough pazazz of its own to hold against the delicious einkorn bread.  The Husband, at this stage parading around the kitchen in his training kit trying to impress me with detailed post-mortem analysis about time splits and average speeds from his race, quickly realised that this was not the path to true love.  He put down his race statistics and tasted the bread - "Delicious!" he declared…"Shame about the macadamia nuts…..", which did not further assist his quest for the path to true love. 

But he had a fair point.  So I made this bread again, without any nuts or additions and it is absolutely delicious on its own.  Karin has created a delicious blend which allows the delicate einkorn flavour to shine through.  No photos of the non-nutted bread, it was promptly wolfed down.  Everything is good with this bread (I do mean everything - smeared about or not) …. so I'd suggest making it plain or adding the hazelnuts, just don't add macadamia.  I'll be making this one again with hazelnuts and certainly again just plain.  Here's the link and a thousand "Danke" to Karin.


Tartine 3 inspired 60% Kamut

Kamut                                      60%

Bread Flour                              20%

High Extr. Whole Wheat           20%

Water                                       85%

Salt                                           2.4%

Levain                                      16%

Levain made from 50WW/50BF at 80% hydration, used at 4hrs when peaked.

A few changes to Chad's recipe:

1. I did not add the wheat germ. 

2. I reduced the salt slightly from 2.5% to 2.4%, a marginal change I feel.

3. I upped the levain from 15% to 16% in part because that's how much went in and I couldn't be bothered to faff around trying to take 5g out to hit the perfect 15%. 

Otherwise, I followed Chad's instructions making adjustments for time/temp.  Autolyse was an hour, 6 S&F with a total bulk ferment of 4.5hrs and it was proofed for 14hrs in the fridge.  Baked in the DO at 250C then taking the lid off after 30mins, and left for another 20mins at around 230C. 

This is a winner, I just love the flavour.  At this point, The Husband was seriously looking for an improvement to his popularity ratings so I got no helpful or constructive criticism whatsoever.  Good spring but the crumb was a bit too dense - as the photo shows, some big holes but the rest is quite dense.  I am going to try this again soon and increase the bulk ferment as my kitchen was very cool and I might up the hydration slightly as well.  We smeared what appeared to be the entire contents of our fridge on this bread and were greatly satisfied: hard cheese, soft cheese, goat, ewe and cow cheese, salami, ham, paper thin slices of roast beef, butter, honey, tomatoes and pate.  Success and, despite what the clearly very un-fun Ms. Post has to say below, I highly recommend smearing food about this bread.

Bread must never be held flat on the palm of the hand and buttered in the air. If the regular steel knife is used, care must be taken not to smear food from the knife’s side on the butter. Any food that is smeared about is loathsome. 

The graduating tests in table manners from Etiquette (1922) by Emily Post.

Kiseger's picture

When on the breath of autumn breeze,

From pastures dry and brown,

Goes floating like an idle thought

The fair white thistle-down,

Oh then what joy to walk at will

Upon the golden harvest hill!


What joy in dreamy ease to lie

Amid a field new shorn,

And see all round on sun-lit slopes

The pil’d-up stacks of corn;

And send the fancy wandering o’er

All pleasant harvest-fields of yore.

Cornfields,  Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

'Tis the first day of Autumn, the glorious season of skies filled with golden and brown crisp leaves falling gently and then billowing up in the air with the first gusts of cold winter winds.  As Wordsworth said: "Wild is the music of autumnal winds amongst the faded woods".  It is my favourite season of the year, it is when maple trees are ablaze with unimaginable oranges and reds, it is the season of harvest and grape-picking and unexpected balmy days of sunshine as a wink to long gone summer.  It is the season of partridge and pheasant, wild duck and mushrooms, pumpkin and swede and celeriac and Jerusalem artichoke.  It is the season of the wine festival in Lower Austria, where you try out the "sturm" which is fresh "new" fermenting fizzy wine.  It is the start of the truffle season in Italy, together with chestnuts and mushrooms and figs.  It is the season to get excited about wearing cashmere again when winter comes!

And so it came to pass that I discovered a bag of poppy seeds in our larder and it behoved me to put them to good use.  The Husband was off on another uncivilised bike/run thing and so I had the house to myself.  I put Horowitz in Moscow on full blast on the sound system and sat down with TFL for inspiration and a glass of wine for....well, because I can.  I have been gearing up for seeds and the start of Autumn seemed like the perfect excuse, as poppies, sunflowers and pumpkin flowers are all harvested around now. 

Poppy, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Flax Seed Bread with some Spelt

Bread Flour                  150g                (30%)

High Extr. WW              160g                (32%)

Whole Wheat Flour      90g                  (18%)

Spelt                             100g                (20%)

Wheat Germ                 30g                  (6%)

Salt                               12g                  (2.4%)

Water                            375 + 50          (85%)

Levain                          75g                  (15%)



Poppy                           40g                  (8%)

Sunflower                     15g                  (3%)

Pumpkin                       15g                  (3%)

Flax                              20g                  (4%)

Total Seeds                  90g                  (18% of total)


1.  Toast all seeds with the exception of poppy.  Once toasted, throw all seeds including poppy into a soaker with 50g water and leave for 6-12hours.  Also toast the wheat germ.

2.  Autolyse flours and wheat germ and 375g water for 4hrs.

3.  Mix in levain, salt and extra 50g water.

4.  Bulk ferment - 5 series of S&F every 30 minutes, add in the seeds on 2nd S&F.  Total bulk ferment was just over 4 hours.

5.  Preshape and bench rest for 25 minutes.

6.  Shape and place in banetton, proof overnight in fridge.  In this case, 14hrs at 5C.

7.  Turn out of banneton into DO straight from fridge and bake.  Do not botch it up, the way we did with the last loaf, but have a glass of wine anyway to celebrate not messing it up!

8.  Bake in 260C oven, turn temp down to 240C after 15 minutes, leave lid on for first 25mins then off for rest of baking - ca. another 15 mins.

Oh my was this good!  I might have like a wee bit more oven spring, but it had a crisp crust and slightly more open crumb than I expected with all the seeds.  It is my new favourite bread, although anything with poppyseeds is a winner (especially mákos beigli, the Hungarian poppyseed roll that my grandmother made). 

Toasting the seeds was a good call before soaking, fabulous flavour comes through.  Delicious slathered with Jamon Patta Negra, chorizo, St. Marcellin, mature Cheddar, fennel saucisson sec, hummus, smoked ham, fresh tomatoes and olive oil, and lovely to mop up the prawn and white wine sauce which came with the seafood crepes.  The Husband was very apologetic about not making sourdough crepes, but as sourdough is apparently "my domain", he dared not stray outside the traditional French crepe method.  

We sat on the patio with a glass of Vina Tondonia and a slice of bread dipped in olive oil; wistfully considering the end of Summer and the joys of Autumn.

Oh, golden fields of bending corn,

How beautiful they seem!

The reaper-folk, the pil’d-up sheaves,

To me are like a dream.

The sunshine and the very air

Seem of old time, and take me there.


Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

Kiseger's picture

"I say, my friends," pursues Mr. Chadband, utterly rejecting and obliterating Mr. Snagsby's suggestion, "why can we not fly? Is it because we are calculated to walk? It is. Could we walk, my friends, without strength? We could not. What should we do without strength, my friends? Our legs would refuse to bear us, our knees would double up, our ankles would turn over, and we should come to the ground. Then from whence, my friends, in a human point of view, do we derive the strength that is necessary to our limbs? Is it," says Chadband, glancing over the table, "from bread in various forms, from butter which is churned from the milk which is yielded unto us by the cow, from the eggs which are laid by the fowl, from ham, from tongue, from sausage, and from such like? It is. Then let us partake of the good things which are set before us!"

Bleak House, Charles Dickens

And so it came to pass that I wandered off to the depths of Burgundy for a week of parents and T65.  The Husband had accompanied me for a few days but wisely fled the joys of family (as well as the glorious countryside fields of corn, sunflowers and golden haystacks) to return to the Big Smoke.  Dutifully, I had left behind a freshly baked loaf lest he otherwise perish from malnutrition (in a city where Pain Poilane and Austrian Speck are to be had within about 10minutes walking distance….).   Toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds truly sprang forth - a rich warm nutty flavour.  This one appears to be The Husband's favourite bread so far, disappearing well before my return and local reports have it that this was good with everything.  I was unable to establish the extent of the meaning of "everything" in this context, as I suspect he didn't want to go into the details of just how much "everything" he gobbled down while I was away.  Good for him, is what I say!!  

Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Bread

Essentially based on the "Sunflower-Flaxseed" recipe in Tartine 3, but with a few changes.  I toasted the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and then set to them with a rolling pin to crack them into slightly smaller pieces, as I decided not to do a soaker but throw them in as they were.  Total amount used was 10% sunflower and 10% pumpkin.  I also toasted the wheat germ, I think it does add something to the flavour; and reduced the salt to 2%.  Total BF of about 3.5hrs and cold retard overnight in the fridge.  This had a great spring and good crumb, the crust was still incredibly crunchy on the morning after baking when I stole a slice to eat on the train to France.

Having maintained my sanity through a combination of surfing TFL and conference calls for work, the first thing I did on my return was to have a conversation with my starter which required some awakening and refreshing.  Promptly upon considering what bread to make, it began to pour cats and dogs - which was most fortunate as there was no need to make excuses for shunning a walk in the park.  This gave way to The Husband's kitchen lectures, this time on the winter campaign of 1942-3 on the Russian Front.  So while the battle of Stalingrad raged, I mixed, stretched and folded, pre-shaped and shaped and watched a new bread evolve.  All in, this bread is excellent albeit slightly bungled on one side (which particular aspect has been promptly eaten by said Husband). 

Spelt, Kamut and Hazelnut Bread

Bread flour - 150g                   30%

Whole wheat flour - 150g        30%

Kamut - 75g                             15%

Spelt - 125g                             25%

Water - 375g                            75%

Salt - 10g                                   2%

Hazelnuts - 100g                      20%

Levain - 120g                          24%

(nb. levain is 60/30/10 BF, WW and Rye at 80% hydration)

1. Autolyse all flours and 325g water - 6hrs.

2. Toast the hazelnuts - I cracked the whole nuts and then toasted them on a skillet on a gas hob and let them cool before adding them in.  I like them very toasted but not burnt.

3. Mix in Levain and salt and 50g remaining water.

4. S&F every 30mins for first 2.5hrs, or as needed.  Mine took 5 S&F.  Mix in the hazelnuts on the second S&F.

5. Total bulk ferment was about 3.5hrs.

6. Pre-shape and bench rest 20mins.

7. Shape and proof.  In this case, I didn't proof overnight as I wanted to get some bread for dinner so I set it in the oven which was about 26.5C with light on.   Total proof time was about 4 hours.  Turn out of banneton into DO, try not to make a botched job of it….fail miserably, so score it with scissors anyway and pour yourself a glass of wine.

8. Bake in DO with lid on, 250C for 20mins and then lid off for another 15 at 230C.

As mentioned above, I sorely misjudged my dexterity and in my wild enthusiasm, I slightly bungled this one: some of the dough got slightly caught on the lip of the DO on its migration from the banneton.  Ah well, slightly misshapen but really rather yummy this one.  It tastes warm - that's the simplest description I can provide.  Warm from the spelt and slight sweetness from the kamut, all rounded off with the warmth of toasted nuts.  I know the various hazelnut recipes suggest you "crack" the nuts, but frankly I have not discovered a delicate way to do this without generating a nice amount of nut "dust" - to my mind, this was a good thing as that got toasted as well and dispersed throughout the dough.  The flip side of this, however, is that the crumb is not as open as I would have liked.  Also, next time I will definitely let this rise overnight in the fridge and possibly would have let it BF for slightly longer, so I expect that my rush to keep the household happy resulted in a less open loaf - although the photo is from the cut on the bungled side, once we cut further into the loaf the wholes got bigger.  Surprisingly tangy the next day, given the "relatively" short proof.

Good with stinky runny St Marcellin, Wyfe of Bath cheese, fresh hummus, honey roasted ham, roast chicken and superlative with old fashioned butter and lavender honey.  Glass of Gevrey Chambertin was just the thing to go with this and cheese.

I don't have a sunset à la DAB, but this was the little corner of calm I enjoyed while away.  No photos of my T65 adventures, probably just as well.

The object of her attentions withdrawing for the purpose, Miss Smallweed takes that opportunity of jumbling the remainder of the bread and butter together and launching two or three dirty tea-cups into the ebb-tide of the basin of tea as a hint that she considers the eating and drinking terminated.


Bleak House, Charles Dickens

Kiseger's picture

On either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye,            

That clothe the wold and meet the sky;

And thro' the field the road runs by

             To many-tower'd Camelot;


Only reapers, reaping early   

In among the bearded barley,

Hear a song that echoes cheerly          

From the river winding clearly,              

             Down to tower'd Camelot:

And by the moon the reaper weary,

Piling sheaves in uplands airy,

Listening, whispers ''Tis the fairy

           Lady of Shalott.'

Alfred Tennyson, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

And so it came to pass that I was called to abandon my hearth, off to West Sussex to spend a weekend with a friend atop his hill looking across his newly planted vineyard over a valley and up to the Chanctonbury Ring.   Originally a hill fort probably built during the early Iron Age, this "ring" was later the site of a Roman fort and an even later 18th century copse of beech trees - the "ring" is actually a reference to the original Iron Age circle.  The whole area is dotted with ancient woods, with sessile oak, birch and beech here much before man arrived and now bearing enchanting names like "Sawyers Copse", "Normans Copse", "Trickles Wood", "Muttons Copse" and "Grinder's Wood".  Add the rolling hills and you have a postoral idyll, indeed the rustling of the trees seemed to carry the Lady of Shallott's song across the fields up to our little hill. 

As an offering to the elves and pixies and various wood sprites who dwell in these ancient woods, I made some bread!  This is based on Tartine 3 "Wheat-Rye with caraway and coriander".  The original has 45% medium strong flour, 25% high extraction flour, 20% whole wheat and 10% rye with 2% each caraway and coriander seeds.  I made my own HE flour which ended up being about 83% extraction.  I upped the rye slightly and reduced the whole wheat slightly, as I wanted a bit more of the rye to come through.

Medium Strong Flour             35%

High Extraction Flour              35%

Whole wheat                           18%

Rye                                         12%

Caraway                                  1.5%

Fennel                                     1%

Wheat Germ                            7%

Salt                                           2%

Water                                        85%

Leaven                                                    15%


A few notes:

1.  The battery on my digital scales decided to die just when I was weighing the leaven straight in the bowl of autolysed flour, so I estimate that I ended up with something around 20% leaven. 

2. I reduced the salt to 2%.

3. I had no coriander seeds, so used fennel and reduced his seed mix from 2% each to 1.5% caraway and 1% fennel.  I'm not convinced that toasting them made a huge difference and I might go to 1.5% each but I wonder if 2% each isn't too much.  Will need to try.

4. I didn't toast the wheat germ but added it to the autolyse.

5. I autolysed for about 1.5hrs, which is the time I had available! 

6. Total of 6x S&F and a total bulk time of 3hrs45.

7. Preshape and bench rest of 20 minutes, following by shape and proof of just over 3hrs. 

8. Overall, bulk and proof went quite quickly but the kitchen was hot and I suspect the additional (albeit small) quantity of leaven will have contributed to this as well.

9. Baked in DO for 25mins at 250C and then another 25mins with lid off at 230C.  

I finally, finally, finally feel like I have a loaf that looks and tastes as I would like.  The oven spring was good, given that it started spreading as soon as I had turned the banetton onto my pre-cut parchment sling, and the crumb is what I am after - not too holey so that runny stinky cheese still (mainly) stays on the bread!  The fennel is a good combination (IMO) with the caraway, although I think I would keep the caraway dominance with the fennel rather than have both in equal quantities. 

The local pixies and elves with whom we shared this loaf were very pleased, although I was told to stop inspecting the crumb and sniffing the bread - apparently, non-bread types find this quite boring after a while!!   The Husband, who had cycled some unconscionable distances to get down to Sussex, didn't appear to breathe between slices and our friend wondered, as he munched, how much grain he might grow in his field if the vines don't produce good wine!!  

And so as the Lady of Shallott floated towards Camelot singing her last dirge, the afternoon turned evening, with the oak and birch trees swaying in the wind carrying the melody from leaf to leaf, punctuated with the calls of the lesser spotted woodpecker, the nightingale and the owl.  A Vina Tondonia was ceremoneously opened and we sat savouring lashings of brie, speck and wild boar pâté on thick slices of bread.

Lying, robed in snowy white

That loosely flew to left and right—

The leaves upon her falling light—

Thro' the noises of the night

        She floated down to Camelot:

And as the boat-head wound along

The willowy hills and fields among,

They heard her singing her last song,

          The Lady of Shalott.

Alfred Tennyson, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)


Kiseger's picture

The heart is like grain, we are the mill.

How does the mill know why it turns?

The body is the mill stone, the water its thoughts.

The stone says "The water knows its course."

The water says "Ask the miller, he is the one,

Who sends this water cascading down."

The miller says "If there is no turning,

O bread-eater, there will be no dough."

Turn and turn again.  Silence!

Let silence ask about the wheat, the river

the miller and the stone....

what this bread-making is about?

Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, 1207 Balkh -1273 Konya)


Khorasan can refer to many things, but there are two in particular that I wanted to consider for this post.

Khorasan was historically a Persian province, the name derives from the noun "khwar" meaning sun and the verb "asan" meaning to come - in other words, this was the "land of the rising sun".  Khorasan is first referred to in historical texts around the 3rd century AD as a geographical creation of the Sassanid rulers who had conquered Persia and established this administrative zone.  After the fall of the Sassanid empire in the 6th century, the area of Khorasan was maintained by the Umayyad dynasty, who had taken over control, and it continued to be so named.  At its peak, Greater Khorasan extended to parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  Its general boundaries were the cities of Balkh (east), Nishapur (west), and Merv (north) and the region known as Sistan (south) - at its heart was the "pearl of Khorasan", the city of Herat.  The importance of Khorasan as an administrative area as well as the centre of "cultural Persia" continued until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. 

The great cultural flourishing of Khorasan which started in the 7th century brought us the "Khorasan poets" such as Asjadi, Attar, Rudaki and Ferdowsi.  Both their lyrical style and use of imagery inspired many later great Persian poets such as Rumi and Omar Khayyam, Anvari and Hafez.  Rumi was born in the province of Balkh around 1207, which was part of Greater Khorasan and while he did not belong to the Khorasan school of poetry, he certainly did read those poets, Attar in particular, and was influenced by the Khorasan lyricism.  He is one of the foremost mystic and Sufi poets, composing in Persian - most of his work was written down by one of his students as he recited.  Through his peregrinations, he became an ascetic (probably in Damascus) and ended up in Konya in Turkey where he spent the last twelve years of his life.  During these years in Konya, he is said to have turned round and round while reciting and this is thought to be the origin for the "whirling dervishes".  After his death in 1273, the Mevlevi Order (eg. the whirling dervishes) was established at the school in Konya.  I highly recommend going to see the Yesil Türbe in Konya (also known as the Mevlana Museum) which was his school and now holds his tomb.  His poetry is mystically beautiful and it seemed to me that there was a serendipitous link to be made between the "Khorasan" poetry and his origins and the wheat of the same name…….

The other great gift to us from Khorasan (at least in name) is…Triticum turgidum aka Triticum turanicum, Khorasan wheat.  This is one of the "ancient grains" and has a lovely nutty flavour.  We don't actually know where the Khorasan wheat grain originated or was first cultivated - possibly in the Fertile Crescent, or western Anatolia?  In any event, it holds the name Khorasan so we will go with that for now.  The story goes that samples of this grain arrived in North America after WWII, but didn't appear to have raised much interest at the time.  In 1997, the Quinn brothers in Montana decided to cultivate the grain and registered their cultivated variety QK-77 as Kamut ™.  While  most people use Kamut, in fact Khorasan wheat is also available and the Quinn family has established criteria for a Khorasan wheat variety to be classified as a Kamut variety.  The grain is larger than modern wheat and is highly nutritious.  It makes amazing bread, as to which……..

1.  Tartine 3 "Sprouted Quinoa and Kamut" Bread. 


I particularly liked the idea of using an ancient Andean pseudocereal and an ancient grain from (probably) Mesopotamia.  I used black quinoa which sprouted in no time, it being "hot" for London - it yields a fresh grassy smell.  The Husband declared that we had aliens growing in the kitchen and was promptly sent off to swim in the Serpentine with the swans and ducks, in the hopes that they might quack some sense into him, as I clearly could not.  I followed Chad "by the book", my bulk ferment took about 3.5hrs and I proofed it overnight in the fridge.  In the morning, straight into the DO, as you can see I am still having fun with my scissors scoring at the moment (I'll get over than soon enough, I dare say).  This bread is really something - the quinoa gives a slight crunch and the "grassy" flavour came through, as did the warmth and nuttiness of the Kamut.  We ate this with everything, but it was particularly excellent with some rather stinky runny St Felicien cheese, some smoked salmon, and surprisingly some French saucisson sec with fennel.  It was perhaps too "grassy" to complement the harder cheeses, but it did go with hummus, olive oil on its own and a glass of solid Rioja.

2.  Sow's ear turned into a (silk?) purse bread??


I think I might just have turned a sow's ear into a purse - perhaps not silk but at least some good basic cotton?   A few weeks ago, I made a rather shocking runt of a loaf - unashamedly pictured in an earlier post, it was a sesame seed loaf.  Not my favourite seed, but this was actually surprisingly good bread - I held some back with the idea of trying to use some of the flavour from this as altus for a new bread.  Credit due to the Wild Yeast blog which had a recipe for using Susan's old Norwich sourdough bread as breadcrumbs and replacing some of the flour with the breadcrumbs (thank you Susan!!).  I changed the amounts slightly, increased hydration to 70%, reduced the levain to 20%.  I had some levain which was very ready, 100% hydration, having been fed about 10hrs before it was looking like it was contemplating deflation, so I used less than Susan (she used around 30%) as an experiment.

White bread flour:  300g  (60%)

Whole wheat flour:  125g  (25%)

Breadcrumbs:  75g  (15%)

Total flour (incl. breadcrumbs):  500g (100%)

Water: 350ml  (70%)

Levain:  100g (20%)

Salt:  9g (1.8%)

1. Autolyse the BF, WW and breadcrumbs with 300ml of water for 3 hours, I wanted to get as much out of the breadcrumbs as possible, getting them as "dissolved" as possible.

2. Mix in the salt (I used slightly less than 2% because there is some salt in the breadcrumbs), levain and additional 50ml water.  Pincer it all together, a la Forkish.

3. S&F 6x every half hour for the first 3hrs.  Total bulk ferment for me was 5 hours at 25C/78F, until it rose about 30%.  The dough was initially tricky to handle, it didn't want to stay together - in part, I suspect because my breadcrumbs were not super finely ground and there were still some larger "bits" which may have slowed/hampered the gluten development. 

4. Pre-shape and bench rest for 30mins.

5. Shape and proof.  I shaped as a boule and popped into a banetton, proofed on counter at 25C/78F for a smidgen more than 2hrs until it passed the finger poke test. 

6. Baked in DO at 250C/480F, lid off and turned it down to 230C/450F after 20 minutes, but that was just an act of self-delusion as my oven really has a mind of its own - it did eventually get itself down to 230 after another 15mins…. when the bread was pretty much done.

It worked!!  The altus bread's flavour comes through but is quite subtle, the new bread has a slightly nutty smell and there is something of a "melting" mouth feel to it when eaten on its own.  This was good with everything, as far as we could tell.  In honour of David Esq., I made The Husband a PB&J sandwich on his return from yet another interminable cycling session to revive him as he started decomposing from pain and effort.  It disappeared and another was promptly demanded, made and hovered up.  He absolutely loved this loaf and proceeded to try everything with it - smoked sea bass (tick), Wyfe of Bath cheese (tick), butter (tick), jam (tick), saucisson sec (tick), tick, tick tick tick so I got a hug and finished the last drops of the Puligny Montrachet.  Good innings, for a sow's ear!!

The lover's food is the love of the bread;

no bread need be at hand: 

no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.

Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, 1207 Balkh -1273 Konya)


Kiseger's picture

A Centaur has a man-stomach and a horse-stomach. And of course both want breakfast. So first of all he has porridge and pavenders and kidneys and bacon and omelette and cold ham and toast and marmalade and coffee and beer. And after that he tends to the horse part of himself by grazing for an hour or so and finishing up with a hot mash, some oats, and a bag of sugar. That's why it's such a serious thing to ask a Centaur to stay for the weekend. A very serious thing indeed.     C.S. Lewis.  The Silver Chair

A glorious week of fine warmth in London, all the pubs having duly disgorged their customers into the street and the parks teeming with picnickers and kite flyers.  When we finally get a proper summer here, it is rather marvelous.  My niece had come up to see me on Friday; after wandering around the museums, we came home for tea to try my bread - success!  The Husband disappeared early Saturday morning for his regular training so I had the kitchen to myself.  Having made the Tartine 3 Oat Porridge on Friday morning, I was allowed just one more bread for the weekend.  I am generally gearing up for the multi-sprout, soaker, nuts, seeds and dried fruit breads that DABrownman and CAPhyll have been regaling us with recently.  But just before I go there, I wanted to try Ken Forkish's Field Blend #2 - in part because David Snyder said I'd like it (and in truth, it was high time to do as one was told!!).  This worked well, although I am still not getting the oven spring and bloom I am aiming for, but for fun I opted for the scissor cut grigne.  Up on Sunday morning to bake, go riding and then off to Richmond Park for a picnic with The Husband's tri team.  After an hour of watching three very athletic men trying to put up a small gazebo, the ladies decided to take over and a fiesty duo got it up and standing in 15mins.  The magic of having put up this little haven of shade on a blistering day is that everyone proceeded to sit in the baking sun and put their bikes under the gazebo.  Lots of puce faces by the late afternoon!!  The training team descended on the bread like a pack of Centaurs, stamping their hooves in satisfaction and making odd braying noises.  Lovely bunch, they are.  Fascinating discussions (....!) about how to improve transition times, sports nutrition, how to take fast turns in the rain......argh!!!!   Luckily, I found a like minded "non-sport" type in the crowd of Centaurs and we talked about food instead!!  Time for home, to sit on the patio with another slice of bread with olive oil and parmesan and a glass of La Vougeraie (a magnificent Clos de Vougeot white).  Two breads I loved and will make again.

Forkish "Field Blend #2"

A few changes here:

1.  I am using a starter which is 80% hydration, 60:30:10 BF, WW, Rye.

2.  I added 30g toasted wheat germ, which I included in the autolyse.

3.  I autolysed for an hour.

Otherwise, I did this "by the book".  It was about 24C/75F in my kitchen, the BF took about 4hrs and the final proof was 11hrs in the fridge at ca.6C/43F.  It was definitely just ready the next morning, coated with bran and baked in the DO for 30min at 250C/480F and then lid off for the last 20min.  The crust looks a bit dusty because of the bran, added on a whim.  Judging from the crumb shot, I probably should have degassed slightly more when shaping but the potential flying crust seen here at the top of the loaf didn't show up in the rest of the loaf.

Adding the wheat germ was a good idea, it adds some depth to the flavour.  This had a very mild sour tang, with the rye really coming out - David Snyder was absolutely right (as always), this bread is a keeper.  This was tested with a variety of French cheeses, a Larzac ewe's cheese called L'Estaing, a fresh Italian Caprino goat cheese, a Beaufort from the Savoie region (made from raw cow's milk) which is more subtle than a classic Comte.  All suitably accompanied with a glass of solid burgundy.  This seems like a real "trencher" bread to me, so we're having an English classic of "devilled kidneys on toast" tonight!


Tartine 3 "Oat Porridge Bread"

1. I followed his "double" method by fermenting the porridge with some levain and water for 24hrs, then cooking it in its liquids before mixing.  I added the mix after the second fold. 

2. I did not add the almonds or almond oil, I wanted to try this out as a pure "porridge" bread first. 

3. I stupidly forget to add the wheat germ, although I cannot say that this was a real loss - while I'm sure it will have more depth with the WG, it was absolutely delicious without.

4. Because I decided to try a 3hr autolyse, I did not add the leaven until 2 1/2hrs were up, I then added the leaven and left it for a further 30 mins and then added the salt and extra water.  Not sure this made any difference.

5. One note on the porridge overnight soaker: I have read a lot about adding salt to soakers but for the purposes of this "first attempt" at this bread, I followed Heilige Chad's recipe.  I'd welcome thoughts about when it is right/better to add salt to soakers - in this case, it seemed to be just fine without but he adds levain to his soaker so it seems to be a different process from the usual straight scald, but I may be missing a trick here! 

I was expecting lots of porridge lumps in the final bread as it was a sticky mass that went into the dough, but it really does "melt" into the bread.  The BF was ready in about 3.5hrs, after the pre-shape and bench rest, it proofed in a 6C/43F fridge overnight.  Baked in the DO at 260C/500F for 20mins with the lid on, but struggled to get my oven to come down past 250C/480F after that.   It still came out well, a nice bold bake (you can't tell with the oats on the crust, but it is a proper dark brown).  The crumb shot shows that while there were lots of good holes, the rest of the crumb is actually quite dense - I think this may have to do with my technique rather than the recipe?

This is a definite keeper, I will add the WG next time and will probably toast it first.  My niece was over so she had this as her afternoon snack on its own and with butter and cherry jam and I had some with the remains of some St. Felicien cheese.  It came out mild with no sour tang which I think is better to allow the warm oaty taste to stand out, with a mellow mouth feel.  It's also fabulous toasted with sardines and parsley and a little glass of St Joseph white. 

Life isn't all fricasseed frogs and eel pie.  C.S. Lewis.  The Silver Chair



Kiseger's picture

And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..." 

The Fox to the Little Prince from The Little Prince - A. de St Exupery

And so after a weekend break from bread baking which was spent in Berlin, I resumed my quest for good bread.  The Berlin museums, in particular the Pergamon Museum, did a most satisfactory job of compensating for my lack of baking.  I spent Thursday and Friday building up my levain……and off I went, like the fox listening out for the wind in the wheat.

And so it came to pass that The Husband was taking a day off training on Saturday as he had a race on Sunday, so he skulked around the kitchen reading out interesting snippets from his book.  He was happy as larry.  As for me,  frankly, trying to focus on S&F and dough texture while paying attention to the failing 32nd Panzer Division is an act of true devotion.  With my best "I am really interested, darling" voice, I asked a few questions to show I was listening.  Big mistake, this resulted in an erudite lecture on the Battle of Berlin which must have been very edifying for any person who was still actually listening.  I was in pre-shaping phase and trying my best (with success) to avoid using flour, having shamelessly traded marital devotion for wet hands and a tight boule shape!  

The Saturday bread is the Gerard Rubaud mix, based on MC Farine, Shiao Ping and David's various formulae.  I left the final levain build at RT overnight and autolysed in the fridge overnight (ca. 8hrs, at 10C/50F) including the spelt and rye but not the toasted wheat germ.  Overall good gluten development in 4 S&F with a total BF of ca. 4hrs, then preshape and bench rest, then straight into the fridge for 12hrs.  I think I may have overproofed this, as it just flattened out in the DO and had virtually no oven spring.  The flavour is fantastic though, nice pronounced sour tang but the nuttiness of the wheat germ and flour mix comes through.  So a visual failure but a gustative success. 

Sunday was a very different matter.  The Husband was up at 5am for his "70.3" (half ironman) race and so there were no book readings or history lessons.  The second bread is a sesame bread from E. Kayser's Larousse du Pain.  I played with the flour mix here which is supposed to be 80% white and 20% spelt, and decided to work with 30% white, 20% rye and 50% spelt.  I toasted the sesame and then soaked it for 4hrs.  For 500g total flour, he calls for 100g sesame which is rather a lot.  Total hydration was about 74%, he calls for 1.5g instant yeast as well as 100g levain.  This is a rather quick bread, he does not propose an autolyse but I did one nonetheless for 45mins.  Then add in the sesame, salt, instant yeast and mix with the pincer method.  (At this point, I rather pathetically thought to myself that I had gone from a panzer Saturday to a pincer Sunday, and promptly congratulated myself on having eschewed a career in comedy).  Then 1.5hr BF, preshape and 15min bench rest and a 2hr proof.  The kitchen was extremely hot (ca. 27C/80F) for London.  The photos in his book show a relatively compact bread with a tight crumb, so I was happy with the crumb here but again I did not get much oven spring.  It is rather a runt of a loaf, and I suspect this was also slightly overproofed. 

The flavour is slightly creamy and very very nutty; the sesame really dominates.  At this point, I realised that I don't really like sesame that much which goes to show that enthusiasm can definitely overrule intelligence.  Never mind, The Husband wolfed down three slices with a selection of cheese, jam and butter after his race and declared his undying love (again).  What a marvelous bit of luck I have, with The Husband that is - rather than the bread.  And so while I sulked about the lack of oven spring and The Husband discoursed on his swim in the Thames at 6am, we sat on the patio, with a glass of Meursault in one hand and a slice of the GR sourdough topped with bottarga and olive oil in the other, as the late afternoon ushered in billowing grey rain clouds and a gentle breeze.

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please-- tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops.  But there is no shop where one can buy friendship…"


Kiseger's picture

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

 (L.Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter).

London finally had one really glorious sunny day, it shined and shined and everyone came out like the little oysters (with their clean shoes, even though they hadn't any feet) and lay laconically on the grass in the park, basking in the sun pretending that they would blissfully turn from green to brown ….but instead, all returned home looking rather more like lobsters.  What a lark!!  So, instead, I stayed in to bake and to clean up The Husband's occasional dump of bike, swim and run clothing as he progressed through his training programme.  On Sunday, luckily the weather reverted to its standard behaviour and all Londoners were reassured that they should not be flummoxed by two beautiful days in a row - after all, what to do with yesterday's sunburn??  So again, I baked a bit more….and was rewarded with the most beautiful pair of rainbows in the evening - one above the other with crystal clear colours.  I did not take a photo, let's be honest - who can compete with DABrownman's magical sky shots???  

Bread 1: Tartine's Basic Country Loaf.

This seemed to work better than I expected and I seem to have managed a passable oven spring, a "decent for a beginner" scoring and an acceptable crumb.  This felt like I was getting somewhere.  Used my 100%H 50/50 starter, retarded in the fridge for about 10 hours before baking straight in the DO.

Very good flavour, only a very very mild SD tang and then only just slightly there if one is looking for it.  It went well with cheese (Comte and Crottin de Chavignol), a strawberry/cherry jam, some excellent chorizo, some Austrian Speck and just plain old olive oil (we are in love with a Croatian company called Oleum Viride, which they sell at Borough Market, with this bread I had the sort called "Istarska bjelica"). 

I still prefer KF Field Blend 1 in flavour to this, and then prefer the WW + Spelt below to the FB1. 

I baked both in my Le Creuset DO which really works perfectly.  My oven is older than I am (not in a good way) and so achieving reliable and constant temperatures is an "aspiration" rather than a reality.

Bread 2: Tartine 3: Wholewheat and Spelt with Wheat Germ

My kitchen temperature yo-yo'ed through the bulk ferment from 20C (68F) to 25C (77F) and then back to 19C (66F) - typical London weather, on/off, on/off etc.. 

With this one, I felt like I didn't quite reach proper gluten development during the bulk stage- it was almost like soup when I got to pre-shape and again on shaping.  (Well, it wasn't really like soup, but I was quite grumpy at this point - not helped by finding that The Husband's bicycle was standing in our salon propped against a beautiful old chair and puddles of water graced our entrance hall....). I didn't quite pour it into the banneton, but it almost felt like it.  I started with the "Bertinet" method of slap & fold on the counter and after the second time, I moved on to the gentler stretch & fold for the next 3 folds. It "sort of" rose during proofing and then just spread happily into the DO rather than springing up!  So lots to learn, but it's super fun (and thanks to all the TFL guidance and advice).

That being said, this was, of the two breads, the best in terms of taste - rich and nutty and warm.  That sort of warmth that Hildegard of Bingen speaks about when she writes about spelt, which was (for her) the best food and medicine.  The spelt and wheat germ certainly gave it depth, it smelled of hazelnuts and wheat fields in the summer.  I have to say that, after the second slice, I didn't care what it looked like - this is the kind of bread I want to eat all the time, as long as I don't tell The Husband it has spelt - I do not think I can withstand more witticisms about orthography.

It was excellent across the board with cheese (St. Felicien, Beaufort, St. Maure and Cashel Blue), with salmon (made a salad with barley, poached salmon, fennel, fresh broad beans and dill) and it loved mopping up the haddock "provencal" (with black olives and tomatoes).  It was also simply excellent with shards of parmiggiano and a glass of good Barolo.  



"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Kiseger's picture


I have been reading this site for the past month and have finally cobbled together the courage to join the site and post a photo of my first attempt at KF's Field Blend 1.  Cooked in my DO, the crust didn't crack open as I had hoped it would and I was looking for more holes.  But as a first go with this, I was happy with the flavour (esp. 2 days later!!).  Very nutty and only a very mild tang (which came out after about a day).

I have only been baking for about 6 weeks, reading (and re-reading) obsessively Forkish, Tartine, Hammelman, Calvel, Kayser, Rose L-B, McGee and even Parmentier.  That said, I do feel that I have learned as much from David Snyder, Shiao Ping, CAPhyl, DABrownman, Mebakes, Mini Oven and Floyd (to name a few) as from the books - so a very genuine and heartfelt massive thank you to all!

I am gearing up to try out David's SJSD, it looks fab.  More soon I hope!!


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