The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mebake's blog

  • Pin It
Mebake's picture

I promised myself the other day, that I’ll try Mark Sinclair’s  (TFL member mcs) Potato rolls. My kids desire soft enriched white breads;  and as i watched in regret my wife’s grocery bags carrying bland/cottonty mass produced rolls, this was my chance to try out Mark’s wonderful rolls featured in his latest video.

I have followed the recipe religiously, as I wanted to be true to Mark’s authentic product. I did deviate, however, when it came to overnight refrigeration. The rolls were baked the very same day, and they were absolutely delicious! They’ll have to taste even better refrigerated.

The house was filled with buttery aromas when those rolls were baked. My wife and kids ate them warm. Silky Soft, and squishy,  slightly chewy crust, and a heavenly buttery milky sweet flavor, the rolls were a hit with the family. They loved it, and ask for more!

Thanks alot Mark for the video and the recipe!


Mebake's picture

This is a 100% whole wheat bread with corn slurry. It is an enriched bread with molasses and oil. TFL member Janet (Janetcook) has blogged about it earlier here.

I used sunflower oil, and substituted Molasses for date syrup since i didn't have any. Like janet, i used a sourdough starter (210g) instead of the yeast called for in the recipe. Furthermore, i had storbought fine cornmeal, so i cooked it to a slurry and used it after 1/2 hour.

I mixed the dough with a mixer, but continued by hand when the corn slurry, date syrup and oil were added. Since the dough was faily wet, i kneaded using the (Slap and fold technique) and the dough was miraculously turned into a soft, smooth dough. (The corn slurry was edible enough as it is, and i could eat the whole lot!)

Given the fact that i used a white starter, the levain was an all white liquid sourdough, so the fermentation of the dough was fairly sluggish. After forming the doughs and molding them into the pans, they were allowed to ferment for an hour and then were refrigerated to the next day eveneing (18 hours). Next day, i removed the pans from the fridge, and allowed them to continue fermenting for 6 hours! at 10 pm they were ready to be baked.

This morning, i had a slice. The crust was soft, and the crumb was moist and very soft. It was slightly sour, yet sweet from the date syrup. the corn slurry did not shine through as i had hoped, but it did help establish the overall character of this loaf.

Personally, i preferred Peter Rienhart's Anadama. However, next time, i won't reduce the corn meal to a slurry/mush. Janet's version must have tasted loads better with the coconut oil, and freshly ground corn.


Mebake's picture

At long last, I got around to baking David’s favorite staple bread:  His San Joaquin.

The bread was fabulous! I loved it, and I will be baking it again in the future, no doubt.  

Thanks a lot David for sharing your lovely formula :)

- Khalid



Mebake's picture

A very easy to make whole wheat bread:

This is a method I came up with, that marries two good techniques: Delayed fermentation, and the no knead technique.

 The method goes like this: Add tiny yeast (or active starter) to flour and water, give them a mix to barely incorporate them and put the dough in the fridge for upto 48 hours. Remove from the fridge when you want to bake, cut the dough into quarters and sprinkle salt on top, and mix briefly to form a dough and leave to rest on a floured work surface. An hour later, Shape the dough into a log/batard/boule, and insert it into a pan/brotform. An hour to an hour and a half later bake the dough in a preheated oven for 35 minutes. (Even without any enrichments, this dough takes color fast, due to the saltless retardation).

I have baked a 50% whole wheat bread using this method, and it was extremely tasty and easy to make.


(Makes 1kg dough)

Whole Wheat flour: 287  g

Bread flour: 287 g

Water: 414 g

Instant yeast: ¼ tsp

Salt: ¾ Tbl

Total: 1000 g





Mebake's picture

Last week, I had some left over whole spelt flour, some corn meal, and some semolina in addition to a ripe Rye starter. Therefore, I decided to put them all to use in a new recipe as follows:


Prepare the Rye sour by adding a tablespoon and a half of your active rye starter to the 250g water, and mix well to disperse. Add the Whole rye flour, mix well, and let stand for 8-12 hours at room temperature until the surface just starts to crack and collapse. To prepare the soaker, weigh all soaker ingredients into a bowl, and then weigh 160 grm of water, boil it, and add it to the soaker. Mix well, cover, and let stand until overnight, or when your rye sour is ready.

Next day, mix all ingredients at once, by hand or using a mixer for 5-10 minutes. The dough will remain relatively sticky, so try to resist adding any flour at this stage.Shape as a round and let ferment in an oiled bowl for 2 hours at preferably 78 F or 24-25C, folding it half way through at the 1 hour mark. By the end of bulk fermentation, the dough will have risen by 50-60%. scrape your dough onto a heavily floured surface, pat the dough even (Don't knead), divide into the desired dough pieces, and round each piece leaving them to rest for 15- 20 min, covered. Dust your basket with a mixture of all purpose flour and rice flour, and shape your dough and invert it smooth side down into the basket. The final fermentation will be only 45 minutes, but watch the dough NOT the clock. Preheat your oven at this stage with a stone in place to a 500F or 260C. 5 minutes before loading the bread, place your steaming dish filled with wet towels on the bottom of your oven.  When ready, invert the dough on baking paper lined peel/ board and close the oven immediately. Bake for 15 minutes with steam, and then remove the steaming dish and reduce the temperature to 400F for another 20-25 minutes. 

When the time is over, remove your bread from the oven. Wear oven mitts, and tap on the bottom of one loaf, It should  sound hollow. Furthermore, you may insert a thermal probe into the center of the loaf from the bottom, and the temperature should register 195-200F or 90-95C. If it doesn't, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Cool the bread completely on a wire rack, prior to cutting. 



Due to the soaker, the aroma of this bread is really attractive. When cool, The crust was somewhat chewy, and the crumb slightly moist but not chewy. The flavor of this bread is earthy sweet and very pleasant. The crumb is close textured and compact due to all the whole grains, the bread might have benefited from extra lightness by increasing bread/all purpose flour.

I have eaten this bread thinly sliced with a spread of cheese, and it was fabulous. This bread keeps really well.


- Khalid


Mebake's picture

I've baked this recipe twice before, but this one i wanted to exclude the yeast and extend the bulk fermentation. Actually, this bake was sort of a controlled test that was aimed at verifying whether or not i could bake during my working weekdays, which i'am happy to say: YES, it works!

First day eve, I started feeding my starter one day to creat the levain for the next day;

Second day, when i came back from work i mixed the levain into a dough and retarded the dough after 2.5 hours;

Third day after work, i preshaped, shaped and baked.

i'll have to admit, though, i don't like to split the joy of baking into several days, but the convenience of having bread anyday of the week was my incentive.

One thing worth mentioning: i added 1/2 tsp of diastatic malt to compensate for the extended refrigeration of the dough (21 hours).

Flavor wise, there was no noticeable sourness to this bread, though the sweetness of the raisins may have masked it. It was a good basic bread with sweet pockets of raisins, but nothing more. Could i be too accustomed to wholegrains that i can't appreciate delicate flavors of white-ish breads anymore? Could it be the malt? All i know is that the original recipe with the yeast added had a better overall flavor.

Still, though, i like this bread and loved the idea of being able to have bread almost any day of the week.


Mebake's picture

I have recently converted my White Liquid starter into a stiff one, with a 50% whole wheat flour  - 50% AP flour flour mix. I browsed through the bread books, and found that Hamelman’s Miche point a calliere appeals to me, in addition to be a favorite of mine. Miche it was, therefore.

David Snyder has blogged about his Miche too, so I was thrilled to return to this favorite recipe. Although I had no high extraction flour, I decided to use a mix of 45% freshly milled whole wheat, 45% bread flour, and 10% All purpose flour instead. I followed Hamelman’s recipe to the word, except the High extraction flour.The dough was a breeze to work with, despite being sticky at the beginning. 

The flavor of this bread is that of a typical Miche, Fragrant, chewy, and sweet-sour. I have baked this Miche boldly to benefit from the concentrated flavors in the crust. The crumb was slightly moist and chewy.  All in all, this bread is a winner.



Mebake's picture

There are times when I stare at my pantry and decide to be creative and use leftover flours in bread, this is one of those times.

I had some Whole spelt flour, and Whole wheat flour, and therefore decided to use both in a 50% wholegrain sourdough hearth bread. I made up a formula that benefits from my ripe White liquid starter, here it is:


Bread Flour: 188 g

Water: 188 g

White Starter: 1.5 Tbl



Whole Wheat Flour: 280 g

Whole Spelt Flour: 120 g

All Purpose Flour: 251 g

Bread Flour: 103 g

Water: 470 g

Salt: 1.25 Tbl

Total dough weight: 1600 g

Total Dough hydration: 75%

Wholegrain %: 42%

% of Prefermented flours: 20%

The dough was not kneaded, instead, folded in the bowl 4 times every 30 minutes. The bread fermented as expected, with 3 hours initial fermentation, and 2.5 hours final. I baked the bread on stone, with a another stone on a rack above. The dough was quite soft, but behaved nicely after the third fold.


The flavor of this bread is clean, yet isn’t sweet-sour as i prefer, and is somewhat bland. The crust was chewy, and crumb moist and tender. In retrospect, I believe that with 42% wholegrain flours, I should have used a levain that contains some wholegrains. The bread was also baked on the same day, and not retarded.  DA, and Ian.. and many others here have come up with lovely tasting formulas because they utilize the wholegrain flours in their levain, thereby enhancing the finished product’s flavor. They also retard their doughs, while I’m unable to do so due to timing constrains. The flavor would have been better enhanced if I had used my white levain with a high proportion white flour, but I can’t resist adding more wholesome flours. This explains a lot, as Hamelman’s wholewheat levain (50% wholewheat) recipe calls for a wholewheat levain NOT white.

Therefore, from now onwards, I’ll add wholegrain flours to my levain for high Wholegrain doughs.  

Mebake's picture

Last week, I wanted to bake something different. I also wanted to bake something light and soft, yet healthy for the kids sandwiches to school. I browsed through the books, and remembered that i had not prepared any preferment, so naturally i headed to Hamelman's book and right into the straight dough section. I have not made the oatmeal bread, so oatmeal bread it was.

I decided to bake 1.5 times the recipe, yielding a total 2.4 Kg dough. The recipe calls for 20% wholewheat, 12% oatmeal, milk, honey, and oil, so it is an enriched dough. The recipe also calls for 1.5 tsp of yeast, 2tsp for my dough, and a preferable overnight retardation immedietly after mixing. My dough was retarded for 4 hours in the fridge, folded once, and then allowed to warm up for 2 hours on the counter.

The dough was stiffer than i had wished, as a result of the oats. It was difficult to adjust the hydration for a 2.4 Kg dough in the mixer (mine is small).

The crust is soft, and the crumb was really soft. The flavor was slightly sweet and rich, and intensifies when the bread is toasted. This bread makes excellent toast, i loved it!


Mebake's picture

Yesterday, i was meaning to bake Hansjoakim's (a TFL member) Pain au levain with Rye sour, but changed my plans at the last moment. I stared at the Ripe Rye sour sitting in the bowl and thought of possible alternatives to my intitial recipe. I wanted a 100% wholegrain bread so I browsed through the bread books i have and found that most recipes needed a soaker of some kind, which i had none. I decided to improvise and bake some bread with my whole wheat and whole rye flours. I weighed the sour and calculated the required flour and water to arrive at a medium loose consistency dough at 75% hydration. It is 22% fermented flour, all of which is whole Rye flour.



412 grams Rye sour (200g water, 200g Whole Rye flour, 12g rye starter)


700 grams Whole Wheat flour (finely ground)

480 grams water

Starter above

1.5 Table spoon salt

Total Dough weight: 1605 grams 

I mixed all the ingredients incuding salt using my mixer, made a dough of medium softness, rested it for 5 minutes, and finished mixing it at speed 2. The dough was rounded and left to ferment for 2 hours. The dough fermented very slowly, if at all, and on hour 3 i lost all hope and knew that it would be an unpleasently sour bread had i left it to ferment more. I have learned yesterday that a rye sour will not do quite well with wholewheat flour, as opposed to white wheat flour (as is the case with Hans' recipe - which contains some rye flour in the final dough too).

I decided to add instant yeast, and i'm glad that i did. I spread the dough to a rectangle and dissolved 3 tsp of IDY in water and poured it on top of the dough, i then kneaded the yeast in until it diappeared.  The bread rose in 1.5 hours, shaped and fermented for 1.5 hours in my bread pan.

The bread's crumb is medium soft, and the crumb is soft and slightly moist. the flavor is very good, with a nice sour tang with each bite. The Rye sour really came through

A really good save, and a lovely wholesome result.





Subscribe to RSS - Mebake's blog