The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


PY's picture

this is actually a test loaf to obtain some feedback on the possibility of a mikro bakery. Only 10% wholewheat freshly ground with 5% levain bulk fermented at 26c for 6.5 hours with just a little tang. Decided not to go for a bold bake to cater for the asian palate n also a softer crumb.

what do you guys think?

alfanso's picture

I really like the Pain au Levain breads that I've made from Mr. Hamelman's "Bread".  And just the other day I made another similar to this Pain au Levain w/WW.  But if find myself wanting a rye flavor more so than whole wheat.  

So I swapped out the 60% bread flour levain for a 125% rye levain.  Adjusting for the difference in water due to the very liquid levain, it dropped the final mix hydration down to ~57%.  Way too dry to want to deal with during an autolyse.  And therefore while scaling out the final mix, I added the levain to the mix immediately, but otherwise kept everything else the same.  And ended up with the prescribed total dough hydration of 68% for this Pain au Levain with 125% hydration rye levain.

I finally changed out my old and trusty, but severely cracked 1/4" clay tile baking deck

with this

a scrap piece of granite cut to size.  Thanks to pictures from Lazy Loafer which shows a similar stone, although I opted out of a second slab of granite above the bake area as LL has.  And this was my virgin bake.

The scoring is a tad sloppy, but I can't say I'm displeased with the final product.

330g x 3 baguettes

510g x 1 batard


Pain au Levain w /125% rye levain         
     Total Flour      
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1500 Prefermented16.00%     
 Total Formula   Levain  Final Dough   
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams  
 Total Flour100.00%883.4 100%141.3 Final Flour742.0  
 Bread Flour84.00%742.0 0.0%0.0 Bread Flour742.0  
 Rye16.00%141.3 100%141.3 Rye0.0  
 Water68.00%600.7 125%176.7 Water424.0  
 Salt1.80%15.9    Salt15.9  
 Starter3.40%30.0 20%28.3     
 Totals169.80%1500.0 245%346.3  1498.2  
     2 stage liquid levain build @125%   
     Stage 1      
     Stage 2      

 Update.  Crumb shot added.  For a 68% hydration bread the crumb is pretty open.

EllaFromChina's picture

Tried peter reinhart's Potato Rosemary Whole Wheat Bread in his book <Whole Grain Breads> today.

The color turns out interesting, because of the potato water I think.


Really into this book recently...The soak technique makes whole wheat taste less like 'whole wheat'...although i really love the 'roughness' of whole wheat. More importantly, it saves a lot of time during baking day as the texture has already beening forming during soaking and the biga.

Getting interested in seeing how it will turn out to incorporate other vegetables like green pepper...tomato...corn...peas...

dabrownman's picture

With Lucy being on strike this week after she found out the FBI was surveilling both Hilary and Trump during and after the last presidential campaign.  She wanted to know if I was surveilling her and she did not like it, not one little bit, when I said I could not confirm or deny any ongoing investigations by the Master just like the FBI’s director James Comey can’t talk about his investigations or confirm or deny they are even going on.

She then said,that usually, that is the FBI rule but it seems Comey broke it by telling congress he was investing both of them at the same time while they were running for president.  I didn’t believe her at first.  I was thinking such a thing would be impossible and really stupid for an FBI director to do but all I do is bake bread once a week.

Since she seemed up on these things, I asked her who would have the power and authority to order the FBI director to do such a thing.   She said he worked under the Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  She went on to say both Lynch and Comey were appointed by President Obama so, he too could tell Comey to investigate anyone he wanted by any means.  I told Lucy I really didn’t care about spies, political intrigue and dirty tricks …… but I would be sticking to my rule of telling no one if I was investigating them or not and play Sargent Schultz by claiming to know nothing about anything .......which would right most of the time.

Lucy immediately went on strike by refusing to give me any help at all in the kitchen or provide me recipes and started to picket her pantry to keep me out.  The last straw was she hid my new Cox Contour TV remote control which I just got and don’t really know much about or how to use either. 

Now I was starting to get a little hot because it looked like she had been planning this for some time.   To be so organized and ready to make my life more difficult than she normally did looked premeditated if you ask me.  But, I cooled off just enough to tell her that my investigation wasn’t so important, nor likely to destroy completely, the possible first women ever president’s campaign - right before the election – twice.  That had to surprise everyone - especially Hilary.  Nor was it anywhere close to trying to bring down a newly elected president’s administration 50 days in the FBI seems to be doing right now.  I am forced to pay attention to such nonsense and can't help but to notice it since it is as plain as the big honking nose on Lucy's face.


This really ticked her off.  Being totally brazened by the FBI, she started a hunger strike, refusing all food llike she was some kind oif prisoner or something.  Well now, this brought a smile to my face.   I told her we were out of her food anyway so her timing for me not needing her food anymore was perfect........ and made my life easier by far…… at least twice a day.

Now she is threatening to riot and burn the house down.  Jeeze!  I thought her mother was a nutso, knife wielding Sweed but her bone didn’t fall far enough from the badger hole it seems.  Now I have to sleep with 1 eye open and one hand on her backside just to make sure she doesn’t torch the place killing us all out of a misguided moral compass - or just plain spite.

That is where we are now so it is time to get on to this week’s baking.   Needless to say, this week’s bread had to be easy since I had to figure it out on my own.   My brain hasn’t worked at all since I retired 8 years ago and is quite muddled after all the beer, wine, shots and margaritas over those years - especially today.

So, if you were expecting something ‘Lucy like’ this week….. you are as out of your mind as James Comey.  He has to having bad dreams about Leavenworth prison since he is the low guy on the totem pole and the likely scapegoat since somone has greased it up pretty well.  After being in Lucy’s doghouse all week ……I can relate – poor guy. Sorry,  I digress


The bread is what Lucy would call a simple 13.  No sprouts, 100% hydration, 13% pre-fermented, bran, 5 grain, 3 stage levain built from 10 g of NMNF rye starter.  Since I am a doofus when it comes to these things and pretty used to just doing as Lucy tells me, I didn’t even start this levain until 8 PM yesterday.  The 2nd stage at midnight was followed by 3rd stage at 7 AM this morning.  Instead of using this levain fully ripe, I put it into the autolyse 2 hours after the 3rd feeding.  It was very young for us old timers but in it went when it had risen about 25% or so.

The 5 whole grains were also a whopping 13% and made up of equal parts of Kamut, red and white wheat, rye and spelt.  These are our 5 go to grains for just about any bread as a starting point but this one was especially light and more white than usual.

Since I couldn’t get my act together, the autolyse, with the pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top, was only 30 minutes.  There wasn’t any bran and little whole grains to begin with and 30 minutes I thoiught was plenty but what do I know .......and Lucy isn’t barking orders for once in her life.  All of the rest of the flour was Albertson’s bread flour - including the non bran in the levain.

We did s3 ets of slap and folds and 3 sets if stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals, pre-shaped and shaped the dough into a squat oval and paced into a rice floured basket, seam side up.  We bagged it in a new trash can liner and left it for 2 ½ hours on the counter to final proof. With the oven pre-heated to 500 F and the combo cooker inside.  See, I’ve learned something useful from Lucy over the last 5 years!

Unmolded onto parchment on a peel, slashed once down the middle and into the CC it went and right back into the 450 F oven between the two stones for 18 minutes of steam.  Then the top came off for 12 minutes of dry convection heat at a further reduced 425 F.

When it was done to 210 F on the inside, the bread had bloomed and sprang well enough but for some reason it wasn’t as dark as usual for a 210 F bread of this size, bake temperature and time in the heat.  We will have to wait for breakfast tomorrow to see the inside.

Lucy had built a new fig yeast water 3 weeks ago using rehydration liquid but I built another one from scratch last week too.  The new one is what was used to make this batch of YW cinnamon rolls or, as they say in England - Chelsea Buns.  The preferment was 25% preferment flour at 100% hydration using the fig yeast water that was allowed to sit for 6 hours. 

The dough was enriched with 10% butter and sugar each but it was unusual because no milk or egg was in the mix.  The softened, room temperature butter was not added until the dough was hydrated and the sugar mixed in using slap and folds. All the flour was Lafma AP.  After 2 more sets of slap and folds, all on 30 minute intervals, the dough was rolled out and 20% softened butter was spread on first followed by brown sugar, chocolate chips walnuts and dried cranberries.  No snockered fruits this time,

After rolling up and cutting it into 8 pieces, they were put into a sprayed Pyrex pan for proofing.  In 5 hours they were fully proofed, Yeast water is pretty slow and new ones are even slower.  The tops were brushed with milk and put into a 350 F oven for 22 minutes until brown.  I brushed them again with milk when they came out of the oven and then spread on a cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze.

These were killer if you ask me but one of the girls didn’t like the walnuts and the other didn’t like cranberries  - even though the other one asked for each of them to be in the middle.  Lucy didn’t get any because she was on her hunger strike.  Not getting her treat  haced her off even more so there is no telling what she is upt o now.  The girls only had one each since they didn't like what th other wanted.  That left me with 6….. and they were gone in a flash.

I’m not having much luck with any of the girls this week even with cinnamon buns as bait.   Very high maintenance -  all of them but, if I get 6 of these sweet buns as a result, we will try to make it the norm around here.  Happy baking.


DontheBaptist777's picture

I have been visiting Arizona for the last four months from the Flagstaff area to Willcox east of Tucson about 100 miles almost to El Paso. I only came here to wait for the snows to leave the Colorado mountains as I am relocating to the greater Denver area.

I only mention this because while I have been in the state of Az, I have purchased several loafs of store bought bread and found that most brands crumble in your hands while spreading butter on a slice. If you are lucky enough to make a sandwich in one piece-the first bite will cause the rest of the sandwich to crumble in your hands.

I even tried the Wonder bread name brand and though it holds together a little better you have to be very careful or else disaster occurs. To be honest, I have been making my sandwich and eating it with a fork. That just takes the fun out of it.

I searched the internet and it appears that I am the only one in Arizona who has this complaint. I can only assume that the native people have never known a good sandwich and take this cheap bread for granted..

So my question is- Does the high altitude have any bearing on this? Even the low lands in Arizona are high altitude. Willcox is as flat as you get but still 4000 feet above sea level. Or maybe it's the dry air?

Also let me add this little tidbit. Maybe you heard that if you have breathing problems then move to Arizona for the dry heat. Do Not listen to them. The wind blows constantly here and when the wind blows it is full of dirt and dust. My nose has not stopped running since I arrived. Not to mention that when it rains it does so by the bucket full and not normal drops. It rained the other night at the rv park I am staying and I opened the door in the morning and saw Cochise rowing by my front door with his hunting party. I needed my boots but they were in the back of my pickup so I was stuck until Tuesday.

You heard about Jesus turning water into wine at a certain wedding..?  Well someone told me He came into the local saloon the other day to roust up some sinners.

He walked up to the bar and said to the bartender -Give me a tall glass of water and keep um comin.

So it has been nice meeting you and I look forward to hearing from you. Don the Baptist... 

bakingassociation's picture

Baking Association of Canada’s event Bakery Congress 2017 returns to Vancouver BC this April 23rd and 24th after 4 years.   Attendee registration is open now at .

The event promises to be bigger and better this year at the downtown Vancouver Convention Centre East – Hall B with almost 50,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space.  The trade show floor is the place to see products in action and meet the people behind them. For two days the representatives from bakeries (Commercial, retail & in-store), food service (restaurants, cafes, pizzerias) and grocery chains will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the people who truly understand the bakery business. Bakery Congress provides a host of opportunities for bakers to connect with new and current suppliers, discover new trends and products while staying on top of what is happening in our dynamic baking industry.

The conference program provides numerous topics designed to assist baking industry leaders:

Sunday April 23rd 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Employing Millennials: Today’s Challenges with Tomorrow Leaders


Mary Mckay, Head Baker and Co-Owner - Terra Breads

Jeffry Kahle, Pastry Chef - Fairmont Pacific Rim

Mark Burton, Pastry Chef - Four Seasons Vancouver

Paul Aboud, Co-Owner - Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

Hailey Mannynvali, Co-Owner - Hearthstone Artisan Bakery


Sunday April 23rd 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Successful Retailing in Today’s Bakery Market

Presenter: Aaron Gillespie, President - COBS Bread


Sunday April 23rd 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

BAC BC Chapter Networking & Fundraising Dinner

The BAC BC Chapter is delighted to once again present the premiere social and networking event of Bakery Congress 2017 Trade Show & Conference.

Just steps away from the Vancouver Convention Centre is the historic Terminal City Club. Join us for an evening of food, music and industry friends. Event is limited to 150 Guests! Book Early to Avoid Disappointment!


Monday April 24th 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

What’s Happening and Where Do We Go From Here?

Presented by:

Paul Hetherington, President & CEO - Baking Association of Canada

Johanne Trudeau, Director Food & Nutrition Policy - Baking Association of Canada


Monday April 24th 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Responding to the Changing Demands of Today & Tomorrow


Louis Bontorin, VP Sales & Administration - Calgary Italian Bakery Ltd.

Mickey Zhao, Pastry Chef & President - Saint Germain Bakery

Mara Cosh, Bakery Associate Coordinator - Whole Foods Market,

Pacific Northwest Region

Bakery Congress is also about offering networking and social B to B business opportunities.  The BAC BC Chapter is therefore delighted to present An Evening at the Historic Terminal City Club, the premiere social and networking event for the Sunday evening.  This is a perfect occasion to meet up with old friends and be introduced to new ones.

As a special feature we have added a new baked goods Demonstration Area on the Trade Show Floor that will offer hourly presentations featuring the students of baking programs from Vancouver Island University and Vancouver Community College, along with special guests.


swissbake's picture

Wetter is Better

European rustic bread requires very high levels of hydration, anywhere from 60% to 75%. That means for every kilogram of flour you use, try to use almost 3/4ths kilogram of water.

Slow & steady wins the race.

It takes a time to really invoke the best flavors from your grains. The more you slow down the fermentation process, the better your loaf is likely to taste.

The exceptions to this rule are bread with a lot of sugar in them. Sugars are yeast's food. If you increase the fermentation time for dough with lots of sugar in it, you are likely to get something that tastes overly fermented, perhaps like beer.

But almost all the European bread including French bread will benefit if you reduce the amount of yeast in your recipe and increase the time you allow the dough to ferment.

Bake with High Heat

Every baker wants to get the most oven spring. "Oven spring" is the final rise that happens within the first few minutes of baking once the loaf is kept in the oven. Good oven spring can make the difference between mediocre and great bread.

When preheating the oven to bake European bread, turn it up to the maximum temperature of about 300ºC. Once its time to load the proofed loaves in the oven turn down the temperature to 230ºC – 240ºC and immediately load the loaves for baking. The additional temperature during the first few minutes helps compensate for the heat lost while loading the oven and creates a nice, hot environment that will maximize yeast activity.

Bread requires a hot oven to rise completely so ALWAYS preheat your oven before baking.

Steam the Oven

Professional baking ovens have steam injectors. Right after placing the loaves inside, give them a good blast of steam. The steam keeps the outside of the loaves moist and supple so that the bread can spring for as long as possible. Once the outside of the loaf begins to dry out, it hardens, preventing further spring. Then the crust begins to form.

 These Tips are provided by SwissBake

swissbake's picture

Swiss Bake French style flours are traditionally milled by artisan millers and the entire flour range is produced from imported French grown wheat or with a blend of locally grown equivalent wheat varieties.

These quality flours from us are a result of our dedication and passion for well-crafted flour.  Each year we produce only a limited quantity of each refined flour on order estimates from our most demanding chefs and bakers.


French classification for flour is based on the resulting amount of residue after processing 10 kg of flour in a 600º C furnace. T45 or Type 45 is the lowest and whitest flour with only around 45 grams of mineral contents left after the burning process and no part of the bran (outer enveloping shell of the grain) remaining. Similarly, T150 has around 150 grams of mineral contents and is considered as whole-wheat flour due to high bran leftover.


  • T45 Swiss-Bake French Style Flour, 25kg bag

Soft Wheat, White Fine flour for cakes


Pure French style flour, perfect for making high quality cakes and sweets. It is fine, soft and white in colour. It is very light in texture and has very little mineral content. T45 is finely ground flour using the soft wheat varieties.

It is not suitable for bread but is typically used for brioche and sometimes for croissants. T45 refers to the amount of mineral content that is left after burning the flour i.e. T45 has 0.45% mineral content.


T45 flour is equivalent to Type 00 Italian flour, Euro 450 flour type and American Cake flour.


Mineral Content : 0.40% – 0.45%   

Protein Content  : 8.50% – 9.50%


Key Ingredients: 100% milled soft wheat

Swiss-Bake French style T45 flour is neither bleached nor chlorinated.


Hard Wheat White flour for baking


Strong French style White Bread Flour; type T55 is ideal for making bread, puff pastries, croissants and baguettes. This type of flour is best known for making croissants. This Flour gives a light open textured loaf with a crisp crust. It is medium in protein content, and when this protein is mixed with water it forms gluten. Traditional French bread is made with only flour, yeast and water. That’s the reason why good quality flour is a must.


The 55 refers to the amount of mineral content that is left after burning the flour i.e. T55 has about 0.55% mineral content.


T55 flour is equivalent to Type 0 Italian flour, Euro 550 flour type and American all purpose flour.


Mineral Content : 0.50% – 0.55%   

Protein Content  : 11.0% – 12.0%


Key Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Malted Wheat flour, Cereal Amylase

Swiss-Bake French style T55 flour is non-fortified, unbleached and non-bromated


Extra Strong Bread flour for little dark breads


Strong French style little coarse Bread Flour; type T65 is ideal for making baguettes and artisan dark breads. This type of flour is best known for making baguettes. This flour gives a light open textured loaf with a crisp crust. It is high in protein content and has phenomenal fermentation tolerance.


The 65 refers to the amount of mineral content that is left after burning the flour i.e. T65 has about 0.65% mineral content.


T65 flour is equivalent to Type 1 Italian flour, Euro 650 flour type and high gluten bread flour.


Mineral Content : 0.60% – 0.65%   

Protein Content  : 12.0% – 13.5%


Key Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Malted Wheat flour, Cereal Amylase

Swiss-Bake French style T65 flour is non-fortified, unbleached and non-bromated

T150 Swiss-Bake French Style Flour, 25kg bag

Coarse ground wholemeal flour for baking


Wholemeal French style coarse Flour; type T150 is ideal for making whole wheat, high fibre artisan breads and baguettes. This type of flour is best suited for all your whole wheat baking needs. This flour gives a brown textured loaf with a crisp crust. It is high in mineral content & protein and gives a nice wholemeal aroma.  This wholesome flour gives nutrition, texture and flavour of wholemeal (including bran & germ)to everything that you bake with it.


The 150 refers to the amount of mineral content that is left after burning the flour i.e. T150 has about 1.50% mineral content.


T150 flour is equivalent to Type 2 Italian flour, Euro 1150 flour type and whole meal bread flour.


Mineral Content : 1.25% – 1.50%   

Protein Content  : 12.0% – 13.5%


Key Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Malted Wheat flour, Cereal Amylase

Swiss-Bake French style T65 flour is non-fortified, unbleached and non-bromated


Perfect Pizza flour


Perfect Pizza flour made using custom blend of durum and all-purpose flour along with dough conditioners and functional enzymes. It is fine milled flour with higher protein content for a perfect crust. This flour shows outstanding fermentation tolerance, good water absorption and improved strechibility strength. The dough is easy to shape and gives crispiness to the baked crust.


Swiss-Bake Pizza flour is equivalent to Type 00 Italian flour and other imported Pizza flour.


Mineral Content : 0.45% – 0.50%   

Protein Content  : 11.0% – 12%


Key Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Dough Conditioners, Malted Wheat flour, Cereal Amylase, Salt


Swiss-Bake Pizza flour is non-fortified, unbleached and non-bromated.


Our Rye Flour gives a dense and dark texture with full rye flavour. This flour can be used in combination with refined wheat flour to make varieties of rye sandwich breads and other artisan rye breads.

Rye Flour Type 1150


This dark medium granulation flour is milled from imported German rye grains and grits. It is slightly dark and milled closer to bran than the endosperm. It gives a dense and dark texture with full rye flavour (slightly sour). This flour can be used in combination with refined wheat flour to make varieties of rye sandwich breads and other artisan rye breads.


Rye Flour Type 1150 is equivalent to a medium to dark rye flour.


Mineral Content : 1.25% – 1.35%   

Protein Content  : 8.0% – 9.0%


Key Ingredients: 100% Rye flour


Swiss-Bake Rye flour is non-fortified, unbleached and non-bromated.
Keywords: Rye flour, German Flour, dark Flour, American Rye, Rye Bread Bakery ingredients, Pumpernickel


Yogi's picture

Tuesday's gone with the wind, along with 3 of my favorite loaves yet. 

 I was inspired by a recipe from The Perfect Loaf and decided it was time to change up my routine and add some more stuff to my dough. These loaves can only be appreciated by a baker. I feel like something has changed in my baking and it seems to have all come from this one bake. Have you ever felt that way? As if this is some kind of turning point and I see a bright baking future ahead. 

Thanks to for the in-browser recipe calculator. This is my foundation formula that I work from when I need three 900g batards for dinner. By the time I add the levian the hydration is calculated to rise to 78%.


The process went on normally, or as a famous homebrewer would say "the day was uneventful." 

5 a.m. Take out 40g from the starter culture and build a levian with 104g ww flour to 104g water. Our culture can rip through this percentage of food in about 5 hours. I'm currently trying to slow my culture down with smaller inoculations and larger amounts of food and it's not working. The soldiers in there are like Spartans. 

 9 a.m. Autolyse dough: two hours is ideal for me. Used water that is 100F so the dough knocks down to 90F, then goes to 80F at mixing. This recipe is dialed in and I know each addition is a 10 degree loss of heat. I added the cranberries and baked walnuts at this step. Incorporating the extra items in the dough is always easiest for me right as the water goes in. 




11 am: Add levian after autolyse is done, add salt, mix, rest for 30 min before first fold.  After mixing the dough was at 80F and remained there throughout the process until I raised the temp to 85F for the last hour of bulk. It seems that once I hit my target number, or any number for that matter, the dough holds temp extremely well. The levian is at 6 hours of work now and it is beyond active. The levian temp is about 81F.



    -11:30 am First fold  (when I say fold I mean really just one or two folds. Nothing serious, maybe 10 seconds of dough contact.)

    -12 pm Second Fold

    -12:30 pm Third Fold

    -1 pm Fourth Fold

    -1:30 pm Fifth Fold

    -Dough rested until 3:30 because I didn't see an excessive amount of fermentation. Sometimes I don't see the real ferment progress until I flour the top of the dough and start dividing and shaping. All of a sudden there's CO2 ebullition from within. I also gauge how my last fold felt. Was it airy? Easy to pick up and let go? Who knows. 

3:30 pm Divide and preshape. Each loaf was 900g but the extra items weighed more. I didn't measure for that but I might want to in the future...which is in two days. So each loaf came out to about 950g.

The loaves relaxed on the counter until 4pm. Then I did a final batard shape, just some simple rolls and folds and presses and into bannetons. They proofed next to the preheating oven for about 30 minutes. A few poke tests and I noticed their springback slowed down to half way, so I baked then. I also was running out of time as dinner was coming up and I needed some time for cooling too. 



Baked at 400F in dutch ovens for 40 minutes, took lid off at 40 minutes and baked another 15-20 minutes and just watched the color. Since Dabrownman started to talk about stout the other day, I wanted to bake these loaves dark and stouty. 

The crust was awesome. Thin, crispy, and really easy to slice through to the bottom. It was sweet for the first time in all my bakes, sweet and chewy but also crispy at the same time. Wow. 



The crumb baked well and dry, but still having a moist spongy character. No tacky texture even though I sliced the loaves about 20 minutes out of the oven. I'm finally getting my bakes proper with these dutch oven pots and proper temp control thanks to Derek's help. I would never make beer without measuring the temp at each stage, so why would I ever make dough without measuring temp? 


I thought scoring them would be more difficult, but it was fun. I have been doing the same middle or side horizontal score for the last 20 loaves so I got out of my comfort zone and did something different for two of the batards. I love how they came out all craggy and wild. 

 I still can't believe how great these turned out, and now they are all gone. But that gives me an opportunity to do it again...






IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter many of you here, for your inspiration, your patience and detail in answering questions, and your generosity in sharing your formulas and instructions in enough detail that even a rank newbie like me can start off with some success! 

After a working career traveling and eating in restaurants, I finally started learning to cook late in my 5th decade of life, and now am starting to learn about baking bread to start out my 6th decade.  My initial reason for starting to look into the idea was the inability to find a bakery within 1000 km that actually made a Westphalian-style Pumpernickel rye bread, as well as a deep dislike of the amount of sugar that the majority of local bakeries think should be an ingredient in their breads.  This site (thank you, Floyd M!) and all of you gave me the encouragement to believe that I could take on the delicate engineering / chemistry balance that is the science of bread and have some fun making some tasty real food.  I started out with building my first starter in the beginning of February, and have been trying two or three loaves (different recipe each time) per week, based around building levains on Tuesday, mixing / fermenting on Wednesday, and baking on Thursday.

I'm even less of a photographer than I am a baker, but hopefully these will do some justice to the delicious end product.

Last week I tried out Danni3ll3's wonderfully conceived recipe for "Oats Four Ways", but had to tweak a bit due to not having kamut (I used fresh milled soft white wheat instead) or yogurt (I used dried milk powder and increased water to suit).  I was too impatient to wait until it had cooled enough, so the crumb looks a bit more moist / dense than it should, and my proofing basket isn't really round (I tried to round it out a bit more with a towel but didn't quite make it), but the lacks in appearance don't have any effect on a truly wonderful tasting loaf:

I have also been thoroughly enjoying my first success with a 100% rye loaf (loaded up with white rye malt, red rye malt, chocolate rye malt, and a "bread spice" mix of caraway, fennel, coriander, and cardamom).  I used Mini Oven's magic ratio for rye breads, along with her instructions, and came out with this fabulous treat (which is almost gone, long before I thought about taking a photo):

While I'm still creating my share of "battle bread" (delicious cricket bats and hockey pucks), I'm gradually increasing my skills and having a lot of fun. 

My happy little starter (George) is a 100% rye version based on dabrownman's NMNF starter - and I am loving both the ease of upkeep and especially that little bit of extra tang that I'm getting each week.

I've still got a long ways to go to develop my dough handling skills and get to a level of somewhat consistent success, but I am thrilled with the level of success that you all have helped with to so far.  Thank you!


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