The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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isand66's picture

  I made this loaf last week but didn't have time to post it until now.  I made a similar bread over last summer which came out great and this version was even better.  The addition of the beer and rye chops really pushed this one over the top.  I also used some white rye flour which is traditional in this style of bread.  The caraway seeds were added to the main dough mix for added flavor.

The crumb was nice and moist and flavorful.  Just an ideal deli style bread better than anything you will ever buy from the super market bread aisle.




Sprouted Rye Bread with Beer (%)

Sprouted Rye Bread with Beer (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here..


Levain Directions

Build 1: Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.

Build 2: Add the flour and water as indicated and mix thoroughly.  Let it sit at room temperature for 7-8 hours plus or minus until starter has peaked.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Rehydrate the onions in the water/beer mixture for a minute or two.  Next, mix the flours, rye chops, caraway seeds and water/onion mixture together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and mix on low for 6 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.


Floorman's picture

As I was making a couple of loaves of white and still experimenting with rye breads I had some dough from both. I thought it would be fun for the kids to have a  mixed loaf for the weekend. And they did enjoy the combination, they filled up their tummies... Just having fun and experimenting!

dabrownman's picture

Here we ae in the primary season in AZ and they have mailed out the early ballots to those who have signed up.  I was shocked to find that every candidate who was ever in the race on the Democrat and Republican side is still on the ballot ……even though many have dropped put.  But, there was one addition that no one knew was even running – the CEO of Apple Inc. – Tim Cook.  Who knew!  I’m guessing in he gets elected, Apple won’t be cracking open their phones any time soon.


We have been making a lot of multiple starter breads lately by using multiple whole and sprouted grains with plenty of seeds and nuts.  Usually we use LaFama AP flour for the white portion of these breads, if there is any in the mix, finding it to be perfectly fine for making bread with its 11.2% protein.


High gluten and bread flour generally have the same protein levels of 12-14% but the flour is milled from different types of flour.  While not higher in protein, high gluten flour has more of the proteins; glutenin and gliadin, that bind into gluten strands with water.


The wheat that has the most of these two proteins is Dark (Red) Spring Hard Wheat grown in the Northern climes, with White Spring Hard Wheat coming in a close 2nd, are used to make high gluten flour - mainly for bagels and pizzas.  Bread flour is usually a combination of these 2 Spring Hard Wheats and Red or White Hard Winter Wheat.


Both Bread and High Gluten flours cost 2-3 times more than the 30 cents a pound I pay for LaFama AP.  Many folks, including myself have used VWG as a cheap way to up the protein of AP flour into Bread and High Gluten range for a few pennies a pound.  This way is tough to beat economically.


The question is, do you get the same results using AP and VWG as using the much more expensive Bread or High Gluten flour for the white portion of bread mixes.  Since my bread usually contain 50% whole multi-grains with half of them being sprouted, this is the mix that I am going to use to see if it makes sense to spend more to get more and if that more is worth the extra expense.


We are also using Lucy’s SOP for making bread of late.  Multiple starters with half being SD.  Using the bran form the sprouted and whole grain flour to feed the levain first followed by the high extraction of whole grain  Using a 3 stage build over 12 hours with a 36 hour retard if the built levain.


Warming up the levain by stirring it down and then letting it rise 25 % before incorporating it into the autolyse of dough flour and water with the salt sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hits the autolyze we do 3 sets of 30 slap and folds and 3 sets of compass point stretch and folds all on 30 minute intervals.


Once the gluten development was finished, we let the dough rest for 30 minutes before pre-shaping and final shaping into a squat oval to fit the basket shape.  Since it is not a boule or a batard, Lucy calls this a batoule.  The dough was placed in to the rive floured basket, bagged and tossed into the cold fridge for 18 hours of shaped retard.


We love Panang Seafood Curry and Smoked  Dark Meat Chicken

The rested batoole came out of the fridge looking about 80% proofed.  I thought about starting up Big Old Betsy for the preheat to 500 F immediately but decided to wait 45 minutes before doing so.  The dough was ve y cold not much of anything g was happening on the proof side at this point.


Can't go wrong with a huge tray of Lemon Curd Bars

Once Betsy beeped saying she was at the set temperature. We loaded in the Mega Steam and set the timer for 15 minutes to let the stones catch up and get the steam really billowing before un-molding the batoule to parchment on a peel, slashing it quickly down the middle and sliding it into the oven for 18 minutes of steam bath at 450 F.

It has been at least 20 years since i last had my Mom;s Scalloped Potatoes that Granny used to make too.

Once the Mega Steam came out of the oven we turned the oven down to 425 F convection for 22 minutes of dry heat with the desert wind blowing. It really sprang and bloomed well under steam and browned up nicely without it.


We will have to see how the crumb came out but it looks promising using the Hi Gluten and Bread flour mix the 50% white flour.

The fix is in.  This bread is everything I want in a half whole multi- grain bread where half the whole grains are sprouted.  The flavor is complex, earthy and delicious.  The crust came out crispy but went soft as it cooled.  The crust was thin and became chewy chewy.  I think using 425 F, instead of 450 F when the steam came out to finish baking, was the difference.  The crumb was very open soft and moist for a bread with 50% whole grains.  We really love this bread.  We have made a few of these breads that were similar but none ever came out this good in every category.   This is the bread we want to take on a deserted Island if we could only choose one.  Can't wait to see what the VWG version does.


Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



3 Rye Sour






Witch Yeast






Cooked Potato Starter






Raw Potato Starter






88% Extraction 6 Grain






12% Extraction 6 Grain






17% Extraction Sprouted  6 Grain



















Levain Totals




 Sprouted & Whole 6 Grain








Levain Hydration



Dough Flour




KA Bread Fl. /High Gluten 50/50




83 % Extraction Sprouted 6 Grain




88% Extraction 6 Grain



















Dough Hydration



Total Flour w/ Starters



Total Water



Hydration with Starter



Total Weight



% Sprouted 6  Grain



% Whole 6 Grain



6 Whole and Sprouted Grain flour is equal amounts


of Wheat, Kamut, Spelt, Rye, Emmer & Barley


Lucy reminds us to always have a salad or two with all that other, less healthy, stuff we eat!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I'm having a bread-tasting open house on Sunday. This year the theme is "Fruits and Flours"; fitting as it is 'spring' here in beautiful Victoria. The "flours" part of that consists of a variety of breads using combinations of bread flour with whole wheat, whole rye and whole spelt, and/or wheat germ or wheat bran. Methods vary from same day mix and bake (with a starter or pre-ferment made the night before) to bulk retard, shape, rest, bake to bulk ferment with an overnight proof in bannetons. Some are made with dry yeast, some with levain and some with a combination of both.

I'm doing several of the recipes from FWSY plus a couple other ones, so folks can try them side by side and taste the difference the change of ratio (flours) makes as well as differences between various techniques. I'll post photos of the crumbs on Sunday (all the loaves are going in the freezer for now so I can get ready without being up all night Saturday).

The loaf at the top of the post is a multi-grain levain with bread flour, whole wheat flour, whole spelt flour and whole rye flour. A nice bold bake, this one!

This next one is Forkish's Field Blend #2, with mostly bread flour with a smaller amount of whole wheat and whole rye. This is mostly levain with a tiny bit of dry yeast. It's proofed in baskets overnight and baked cold, in the cast iron pots. I was surprised it didn't burst at all, even though I put it seam side up. Very wet dough.

This morning I baked the 75% Whole Wheat, another hybrid with 75% whole wheat and 25% bread flour. Again, this was proofed overnight and baked cold. I tried to score one of the loaves but the dough was very slack. Again, no burst in the iron pots which quite surprised me as the Country Blonde and Country Brown I baked previously burst beautifully.

I also baked the Harvest bread from FWSY - this is an 80/20 blend of bread flour and whole wheat flour, with added wheat germ and wheat bran. It's made with an overnight poolish, then the dough is mixed, rested, shaped, proofed and baked the next day. I didn't take a picture of this one (too busy!), but it will be in the taste test.

Many slightly different breads - it will be interesting to see the subtle differences (or not!).

And here are crumb shots of some of the breads on bread tasting day -

One of the highest rated was Forkish's Harvest bread; the one I didn't get a picture of. But I'm baking that for customers tomorrow and will post a couple of shots then.

hanseata's picture

I'm a curious person and love trying out new things. When "Cook's Illustrated", one of my favorite food magazines, published a gluten free cookbook, I bought it, out of curiosity, even though I have no problems with gluten.

I was especially interested in how the culinary geeks from "America's Test Kitchen" got to their good looking results. My own trials, though taste-wise acceptable, left a lot to be desired regarding their consistency, and looked rather unappetizing.

My first gluten free sourdough bread tasted okay, but looked rather unappetizing!

When my lovely Brazilian hairstylist asked me whether she could order some gluten free rolls for her Christmas menu, I jumped at the opportunity to try a recipe for dinner rolls from "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook".

The rolls get their necessary structural support from psyllium husk, a fiber supplement from the natural food aisle, more known for its beneficial effect on all kinds of digestive maladies.

The additional baking powder and lemon juice help with softening the crumb, making it less dense. The flours should be finely ground - I used Bob's Red Mill brand.

Consistency a bit like English biscuits

My first trial resulted in nice fluffy rolls with a consistency like English Biscuits - better than anything I had seen so far in gluten free breads.

But I was less enthusiastic, when I sampled the dinner rolls. They tasted bland and a bit doughy. With jam on top this was less noticeable, and, when toasted, they were okay.

Fluffy crumb - but too bland and doughy for my taste

Danielle assured me, that she liked the gluten free rolls - but I couldn't stop thinking about them. I don't like selling something I'm not 100% satisfied with.

There was nothing to criticize about the structure of the dinner rolls - the test cooks with their scientific approach had really given their best.

But how could I achieve a better taste for my rolls without risking their fragile, gluten-less structure? Exchange a part of the rice flour, potato and tapioca starch for a gluten free flour with a more assertive taste?

Would I be really able to beat Bobby Flay the geeks of America's Test Kitchen? To satisfy your curiosity, please, follow me to my blog "Brot & Bread"!


fefreed's picture

My Loaves Dont Begin To Compare To The Beautiful Loaves Ive Seen U All Bake. But These Are A Vast Improvement Over My Previous Attempts. I couldnt Have Done It Without your Wonderful Tutorials suggestions And Support Thank You All Very Much!!

Skibum's picture

Well, it is getting closer and I am happy with the crumb. This makes a great sandwich loaf. I started at 80% hydration, thought, but had a mucky mess, so must have screwed up the water weight. I added flour to get the dough to a workable, but wet consistency. I re-read Peter Reinhart's instructions in ABED on working and shaping ciabatta and found I had missed a step. The oven spring was enormous on this loaf. Easily 3.5 - 4x spring. I wish I had a before photo of a proofed loaf perhaps 11/4" high.


Why we bake fresh loaves!!!

Hungarian salami, black forest ham and both grainy and Dijon mustard topped with salad was awesome! With a 350 gram total flour, I can now bake this fresh daily, give half to my neighbours, eat the rest and enjoy the good karma which comes from giving!

This old ski bum is in his happy place with a great day on the slopes today. Spring skiing in mid winter with 4C ambient temperatures, soft snow and perfectly groomed pistes! Coming home to a fresh loaf I bake baked this morning was a big bonus!

Happy baking! Ski

pmccool's picture

Although it was supposed to have been...

We've had some remodeling done in our basement recently and Valentine's day weekend was when we plunged headlong into the painting of the remodeled space.  (I know how to show a girl a good time, yes I do!)  The ceiling, which had had the popcorn texture scraped down, required a coat of primer and a coat of ceiling paint.  Because it is a basement space, there are a lot of boxed out areas in the ceiling for heat ducts, plumbing runs, etc.  So, lots and lots of cutting in to do before the actual production painting could begin.  The walls got a new color which, fortunately, only required a single coat to cover.  All of the trim got a new coat of enamel.  Oh, yeah, there was much spackling and caulking to do before any paint cans were opened.

So, in and around all of this activity, I decided to make some rye bread.  What could be easier than a sourdough that is essentially set it and forget it, right?  That leaves plenty of uninterrupted time for painting, with just a few breaks to tend to the bread.

Friday evening, I put together the sponge and the soaker.  As I was putting the flour away before heading back to the painting, I noticed the label on the canister said "Whole Wheat".  Uh-oh.  It hadn't even registered that I didn't have the rye flour while making the sponge and soaker.  That's no small oversight, since the color, texture, and aroma are all different than the whole wheat flour.  Maybe it was the paint fumes.  Maybe I was tired.  Maybe I was just too distracted to have paid the requisite attention.  No matter, the flour was the wrong type and, after much muttering, I decided to forge ahead by making the bread with the rye and whole wheat flours reversed.

Saturday morning came and I made up the final dough.  It rose more or less as predicted in my proofer (house temperature was about 68F, which would have slowed it considerably) for both the bulk and final fermentations.  Into the oven for the allotted time at the recommended temperature and then out when the internal temperature reached 205F.  And this is what I had:

The scoring's nothing to write home about but the color and aroma were very attractive.

Another view:

And a closer view of the crumb:

Oddly enough, the first thing I thought when I had a taste was "Rye!"  Even though the rye flour is a small component, it has an outsize effect on the flavor.  The soaker/scald also produced a heavier texture and moisture content that is very much in keeping with high-rye breads, even to the point of being just slightly gummy when sliced.  It might have benefitted from a slightly longer bake but it has been thoroughly enjoyable to eat as is.

If all blunders came out this well, no one would ever be afraid of making a mistake.  


pmccool's picture

While in South Africa this past December, we had the chance to spend a few days in the Stellenbosch area; not far from Cape Town and in the middle of South Africa's winelands.  Stellenbosch is a picturesque town in its own right, replete with many examples of the Cape Dutch arhictectural style.  It is surrounded by vineyards and mountains and olive groves and lavender fields and is so beautiful as to make the flatlander tourist gape in wonder.  You could, for instance, have lunch or dinner at a vineyard's restaurant and enjoy scenery like this:

Or you might, as we did, happen upon a delightful place for lunch while strolling about town:

The Oude Bank, or Old Bank, building houses Schoon de Companje, a group of artisans who make products ranging from breads/pastries to coffees to ice cream to meat and produce and a few others.  It all began when Fritz Schoon started the Oude Bank Bakkerij in the Oude Bank building.  Mr. Schoon learned the baking craft at the Ile de Pain bakery in Knysna, South Africa.  Fritz runs the bread side of the bakery and his wife runs the pastry side.  Over time, the Schoons determined that they wanted to foster a community of artisans and found friends who wanted to be part of that community.  

My guess is that Schoon de Companje will probably continue to nurture additional artisans.  Mr. Schoon is already encouraging local farmers to produce the grains that he mills on site for his flour, including rye which is not commonly grown in South Africa.  He had previously purchased his flours from Eureka Mills, which I had blogged about here.

We, of course, were more interested in lunch than in history or provenance, so we made our way past the display of breads

to the cafe seating area which is housed between the retail area in front and the bakery in back:

The cafe features equal measures of rusticity and whimsy, finding expression in everything from the floor pattern to the tree reaching toward the skylight.

While waiting for our order to be filled, I looked around the bakery in the back:


The massive wood-fired oven, built from local stone, is visible in the first and last of these four photos of the bakery. Mr. Schoon, in the blue t-shirt and apron, is visible at the left in the second photo if this sequence.  Sadly, I did not get an opportunity to speak with him.

When lunch arrived in the form of two sandwiches, we were ready to enjoy it.  And enjoy we did!  The breads are hearty and full of grainy flavor.  The sour was present but not assertive.  The crust and crumb were each firm but not tough.  Mine, on the left, was made with the sourdough.  My wife's, on the right, featured the pain rustique.

We did manage to find room for an ice cream cone before we left.  Much of the "ice cream" one encounters in South Africa is the dairy (or not so dairy) equivalent of Wonder Bread.  Fanny Chanel's ice cream is the real thing and an absolute delight.  I'll have to admit that our pace back to the guest house was even more leisurely than our pre-lunch pace.  

If you find yourself in South Africa, visit Stellenbosch.  And if you find yourself in Stellenbosch, visit Schoon de Companje.  You'll be happy with both.


Floorman's picture

Now that the season has slowed down and I am not baking for customers anymore, I thought I get myself some rye flour and start experimenting  with rye breads. I lived in Estonia for over 10 years and fell in love with their 'leib' (rye bread). There are hundreds of variants available in almost every shop. I had no idea that I would miss that bread so much. But now on the other side of the world, I feel the need of recreating their beautiful rye breads.

I started on this site looking for a way to start. I found Mini's blogs very helpful and adopted a formula 1:3,5:4,16. I have no idea if she still thinks is a good formula but for me it worked.(thanks Mini for all the information your blog contains..)   I used my starter and before I would make the dough I would feed it with rye flour. Once it was fully bubbling I would use it and incorporate it in my dough.I wasn't sure to start with 100% rye the first time but I thought; Why not... let's give it a go... The loaf turned out like this:  I was happily surprised by the crumb. I used caraway seeds in the dough to flavor it. As one of my favorite Estonian loaves has a lovely taste, that I thought was caraway. After tasting the bread I had to admit it was nice but it missed a couple of flavors. In my opinion it wasn't tangy enough and some flavors I couldn't describe.  So my next batch was gonna have a pre-ferment. And in the hope I would find a flavor I liked I added toasted sunflower seeds, a althus of the first batch, a bit of honey and molasses. that one turned out like this: Well, verdict is the sunflower seeds are a nice addition to the bread. Not sure about the honey it was a bit more tangy due to the pre-ferment. I could have it more tangy, but my wife liked it like this. Still am in search of the other flavors. So batch three, which we had this morning had a bit more molasses, no honey and I added some fennel and coriander seeds to my caraway. This made a lot more liquorice next time less fennel seeds... picture of the loaf is the one on top.

Just wondering if wholegrain would create a tangier taste? Anyone more ideas about adding different spices to the rye? Thanks





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