The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ryeaskrye's blog

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I have a fondness for rosemary. Having an Austrian heritage with a splash of Irish thrown in, I also have an innate predilection for potatoes.

Naturally the Potato Rosemary bread in Reinhart's BBA was a bread that had to be made. Ever the joker, and not one to follow directions without change, I decided to see what would happen if I used blue potatoes. I eagerly anticipated reactions of surprise I would get with a blue colored bread.

The dough ended up being a very weird consistency. It was extremely slack and refused to hold shape, similar to a very wet ciabatta, but somehow was not sticky. I didn't have much hope it would turn out well, but I baked it anyway. While they looked more than passable from the outside, the inside was an uneven shade with dingy gray streaks.

I was quite disappointed with how the crumb turned out...that was until I toasted some the next morning and it turned lavender. HA!

The texture of the crumb was moist, soft and consistent throughout. The flavor was exceptional, even eliciting a "best tasting loaf so far..." from a frequent devourer of my breads.


Before toasting:

After toasting:


Any chemists here who might have ideas on why the blue was heat activated?

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I baked German Five-Kern Bread from Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb" a few weeks back. This has turned out to be one of my favorite breads and I wish I had discovered it sooner. The Five-Kern is made from coarse dark rye flour (20.26% - I used NYBakers Dark Rye), bread flour (KA), cooked brown rice, polenta, oats, flax seeds and honey. And water and salt, of course. I guess I turned it into a Six-Kern bread with the poppy seed embellishment.

I followed Peter's book closely, but do not feel comfortable posting his commercial formula. It does involve building a rye sponge followed by a firm rye starter over the course of a couple of days. The flavor was incredible, particularly the crust, and the crumb was much lighter than I expected. An enticing aroma filled the house during the bake.

Even with the 2 stage elaboration, the amount of pre-fermented flour was only 15.19%. The final dough hydration was 63.80%, but the crumb of the finished loaves seemed moister than that.

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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I recently acquired a new toy...a camera remote that also has timer features. Playing around, I shot a time lapse video of dueling starters. Here are 9 hours condensed into 12 seconds.

On the left is my San Fran and on the right is a Swedish Rye recently received from Northwest Sourdough. Both began with 80g of starter and were fed 80g of flour and 100g of water. 

The San Fran has 2 complete rises, 2 dramatic collapses and is starting a 3rd rise when the clip ends. 

The Rye peaked at 3h09m and again at 5h27m.

The San Fran peaked at 5h03m and again at 7h59m.

This was shot on a day when a storm front was moving through and the changing cloud cover caused the lighting to jump around a bit.



[ETA: I didn't like how PhotoBucket jumped 3 seconds into the video before starting, so I added a 3" header and changed out the video link]

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I have been meaning to start a blog here at TFL for quite some time. So...
I want to start this blog with a post influenced by why I began a bread-baking adventure in the first place. My quest began several years ago in an attempt to recreate a sourdough "pumpernickel" I and my extended family of Austrian descent relished when I was a kid growing up outside Denver. (Hi Pat.)
There was a local bakery near I-70 and Josephine whose name I can't recall and that has long since disappeared. However, the memory of their "pumpernickel" lingers among numerous family members that still talk about it at holiday gatherings. I decided I would bring those memories back to life. 
As my knowledge of bread has grown, in no small part due to the TFL community, I realize this is not really a true pumpernickel, but basically a 50% Rye with Caraway.
I adapted a recipe from Charles Van Over's "The Best Bread Ever" (my first bread book) by eliminating commercial yeast and converting to a full sourdough, increasing the percentage of rye, increasing final hydration, and pre-fermenting 39% of the flour overnight. Below is just the latest tweak of the formula and the resulting bake from a few weeks back. Being a bit of a purist, I dropped the cocoa for a little while, but discovered it does add essential flavor undertones in addition to being a coloring agent. (Hey...some people like chocolate in their bread.)
Despite ongoing refinements and continual variations, I have a base formula that finally satisfies cravings from a now distant era.

I used a 50-50 mix of Bob's Red Mill Pumpernickel and NYBakers Dark Rye, BRM Vital Wheat Gluten, Ghirardelli unsweetened coca, Eden Organic Barley Malt Syrup and KAF Bread Flour. And yes, I like poppy seeds.

Prefermented Flour = 38.89% Total Flour = 900g Total Water = 610g Final Hydration = 67.78%
General method:

  • Late evening the night before baking, combine starter, water and rye flour to make rye sour. Cover and ferment overnight.
  • In the morning, combine together all ingredients (except salt and caraway) just until hydrated. Let autolyse for 30 minutes.
  • With mixer running, add salt and mix for 5 minutes (KitchenAid @ Speed 2). Add caraway and mix for 2 more minutes.
  • Proof for 40 minutes in a warm place (76-80°F) then perform a stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 40 minutes and perform a 2nd stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 1.5-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven, stone and cover to 475°F.
  • Divide and shape dough into two boules or batards. Place either in covered brotforms or en couche. Proof for another 1 hour.
  • Lightly brush with cornstarch glaze (or spray with water) and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. (simmer 1 TBL cornstartch with 1 cup water for 2 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature for glaze) 
  • Score and bake covered for 15 minutes at 450°F before lowering temperature to 420°F and baking uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool completely on wire rack. Flavor builds when left uncut as long as you can wait. Goes well with european unsalted butter, cured meats and pungent cheese.


While the crumb make look dense, it is actually very even, light and moist. I normally have a more open crumb, but let this round overproof just a touch and was heavy-handed on the slashing. The flavor is clean and full with very little aftertaste..and meets the approval of all family members. The crust is thin and crunchy.
The non-poppy-top loaf was for those who get drug tested at work...


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