The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dabrownman's picture

This year we decided to update our Ballymaloe 100% whole wheat bake from last year by including a 100 % white shamrock on top of the 100 % whole wheat base.  We cut the scald by 25% and used Young’s Double Chocolate Stout for the liquid in the while wheat portion.


I know what you are saying and I jumped on Lucy for not using Guinness instead of an English stout but she was ready for me.  The YW white bread, that used the soaker liquid from the wheat berry scald, has chocolate covered pepitas in the mix as its add in and Guinness doesn’t come in a double chocolate flavor and chocolate was the uniting thread in this 100% whole grain brown and 100% white bread.


The SD version had a 2 stage 6 hour levain build and the YW version had a 1 stage 12 hour build where it was stirred down at the 4 and 8 hour marks.  All the leavin building was done on the heating pad at 82 F.  Both the SD 66% hydration seed and the YW came out of the fridge with the SD in there a week and the YW in there at least a month.  Once both 100% hydration levains had doubled they went in the fridge for 24 hours.


Both of the dough went though the same process, autolyse (no salt or levain) of 3 hours for the WW and 1 hour for the YW version.  Once the salt and levain were added we did (2) sets of slap and folds of 5 and 1 minutes for both and then 3 sets of S&F’s on 20 minute intervals.  Both deveoped gluten well.


The add ins were incorporated on the first set of S&F’s and they were evenly distributed by the end of the third set.  Since the kitchen was 76-78 F during most of the hand work, we didn’t get out the heating pad to keep the dough warm.


We found a hot cross bun in the freezer this morning and made it into a shamrock for breakfast.  It has been in the freezer for almost a year and it tasted just as good as the original - amazing!

We shaped the YW white dough into a circle and then used the dough knife to cut it into the shape of a 4 petal shamrock with a stem and tried to place it in the bottom of the basket but it just wouldn’t go in as a shamrock and looked like a misshapen round alien thing instead.


If we would have shaped each petal separately and placed them that way, like we normally do,  it would have been way easier and actually looked like a shamrock in the end – so don’t do like we did so you don’t have to slash a shamrock on the top of the bread before baking like we did – which turned out to be another fiasco.


The much larger WW SD brown portion was air shaped into a huge bialy and placed on top of the white blob in the basket.  At this point, the dough was retarded for 12 hours in the fridge.


At the 12 hour mark we removed the dough from the fridge to warm on the counter as we pre-heated Big Old Betsy to 550 F.   Once BOB was at 550 F we placed 2 of Sylvia’s steaming pans and one large pan of steaming lava rocks in the bottom of the oven and let them get to billowing steam speed which took 15 more minute allowing the 2 lagging stones to get to get to 550 F too.


Weun-molded he dough onto parchment on a  peel, crudely scored a shamrock on the white portion of the dough and slid it into the oven for a 15 minute steam at 475 F.   We then took out the steam and baked the bread at 425 F  for 25 more minutes until the inside hit 205 F.


It sprang and bloomed pretty well under the steam and heat and browned up boldly too.  The white YW shamrock portion also got some blisters as we hoped it would to set itself apart from the WW brown part,which had small blisters - quite a contrast..  It smelled wonderful as it baked.  We will wait on the crumb shots until after lunch.

The crumb for the 100% WW SD portion was as open as one could expect and the crumb for the YW white portion was not as open as it could have been if we didn't overwork it so much getting it shaped and plopping it in the basket and then trying to make it look like a shamrock:-)  Both were tasty, especially the SD WW portion but the chocolate Pumpkin seeds were a treat too.

How did that smoked chicken and ribs get in there?

The crumb was soft, glossy and moist while the crust stayed a little bit crisp as it cooled.  It sure ended up being a nice looking bread on the inside and out and Lucy is especially happy the shamrock scoring came though, to sort of actually look like one,  if you are half blind!  This bread should hold up well against the corned beef and cabbage to served on St Patrick's Day the world over.

This bread cost $4.25 cents to make, including electricity, but $2 of that was the double chocolate stout:-)  In contrast, our normal white SD bread, weighing in at pound and half baked, comes in at 99 cents a loaf.

SD Brown Bread with WW Scald & Double Chocolate Stout










SD Starter

Build 1

Build 2



RyeSD Starter





Whole Wheat




















SD Levain Totals




















Levain % of Total










Dough Flour





Whole Wheat















Double Chocolaate Stout





Dough Hydration










Total Flour





D. Chocolate Stout & SD Starter Water





T. Dough Hydration with Starter





Whole Grain %










Hydration w/ Adds





Total Weight










Add - Ins





Red Rye Malt





White Rye Malt





VW Gluten





Ground Sesame & Flax seeds

























WW Berries






White YW Shamrock






SD Starter

Build 1





Yeast Water






Levain % of Total






Dough Flour












Wheat Soaker Water



Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Wheat Soaker Water



T. Dough Hydration wih Starter



Total Weight






Chocolate Pepitas



 Lucy was pretty tuckered out after this one but she looks satisfied that it turned out all right in the end.  Happy St Patrick's Day to all.

mycroft's picture

So, I work in fashion, and I love baking for my friends, and this is what happens when you bake bread for people in the fashion industry, they turn it into a mini fashion shoot featuring expensive jewellery. but anyways...

so the bread in the photo is a SD Saffron Boule. This week, I have made a few baked goodies as gifts, the SD Saffron Boule, SD Lemon Boule, SD Jam Buns, Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka) Cup Cakes and some Melting Moment Cookies


The Saffron Boule recipe came from SallyBR's and though mine did not come out as golden in colour as hers, the aroma was definitely very appetizing! I also love that she has adopted the 3,2,1 recipe which i find very useful when baking with the heart, and not the weight scale.. just winging it, I guess?


Lemon on the left and Saffron on the right

crumb of the saffron loaf (i made an extra for myself. no crumb shot of lemon though!)

personal gift tags with ingredient lists.


Palm Sugar Cupcakes, Melting Moments and Jam Buns.

NillaFish's picture

Made this beautiful loaf today. Very soft and cottony, Asian style bread. More about this on my blog (check my profile). I will post about it soon, I promise! 

Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

Hello everyone. 


My name is Richard Peter Snapes, and I am starting a bakery. I have not trained as a baker, and I have no money. So i'm starting on the smallest of scales and documenting everything I do. 


I have a blog here:


Please go and check it out.


Love RPS.

meb21's picture

Hi All,

I'm enjoying this site! Here's my first try at Tartine country bread...

tartine bread |

tartine bread crumb |

thanks for looking! Marie


isand66's picture

This is my second and third attempts at making this bread.  I really love the sweetness the dates impart to this bread so I've been meaning to make it again for a while.  Version 2 I made last week and I rushed the dough into the oven and it was definitely under-proofed.  It had some nice fissures and the crumb was much tighter than it should have been.  It still tasted good but I had to make it again the right way.

The third time it came out much better and was worth making it again.

I changed some of the flour from the first bake and used Durum instead of Einkorn Wheat and also added some Spelt.

If you can try to bake this one, I highly recommend it.  The dates add a wonderful sweetness to the bread and create a dark crust.  This a perfect bread with cheese or great for a steak sandwich.

I used a 2 step build for the starter mixing Durum flour with a Hard White Whole Wheat.

I'm still learning the BreadStorm program and I broke out the water and flour in the seed starter separately.  Hopefully it calculated it correctly.

The dates are simmered in part of the water used for the main dough and instead of chopping them up like I did last time, I just mushed them a little in the bowl which worked out fine.


Sour Dough Date Bread Act 2.2 (weights)

Sour Dough Date Bread Act 2.2 (%)


Levain Directions

Step 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.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Step 2

Mix the flour and water with all of the levain from step 1 and let it sit at room temperature again until it is doubled.  At this point you can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator and use it the next 1 to 2 days.

Date Preparation

Make sure there are no pits in the dates and do not trust the package like I did which claimed they were pitted dates.  Simmer the dates in 226 grams of water until they are soft.  After you remove them from the heat, add 100 grams of cold water and let the dates sit until they come back down to room temperature.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the remainder of the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the dates, butter and salt and mix on low for 2 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

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.  I made 1 large Miche for this bake.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  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 500 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 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 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.



Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

A distant relative asked me if I would provide the Challah for the blessing at her Son's wedding.
I would have complete freedom of choice for all the parameters, e.g. amount, shape, formula.
The 200 guests were to be seated at 18 tables.

After some deliberation I decided to bake 1 Challah for each table, and a special one for the head table.
I thought I'd get 4 X 500g into the oven, which would require 5 batches.

Then ...
I flicked through Hamelman's "Bread" while my dearest wife was watching. She spotted the Hungarian Wedding Braid. That was it! Had to do it now.

The recipe is calculated for a bread diameter of 40cm, too big for my domestic oven. I can accommodate just above 30 cm.
So I did some experiments with the Eggless Water Challah dough from "Inside The Jewish Bakery (ITJB)", an excellent dough to shape and very tasty, too.

I decided that for a 30cm Wedding Bread the best weight for a short strand was 50g, and the long strand would be 250g.

My oven can accommodate 2 of these: now I was looking at producing 9 batches for the Hungarian Breads, plus one for the top-table challah.

On Friday evening I scaled all ingredients for the 12 Kg of ITJB Bakery Challah - flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, oil and packed them for each batch individually - with exception of the 70 egg yolks...

The next step was creating a spreadsheet that told me what I had to do in 10-minute increments.

For a considerable amount of time I would have 5 batches going simultaneously.

It turned out that the first top-table challah (12 strand double decker) didn't rise well (handling, I suppose), so I had to add another batch.

I started at 5am on Saturday, at my home in Brighton, and was ready to deliver in London by 6.30pm. Phew.

Now some pictures:

Shaping started with scaling the dough and shaping the strands: 7 for each bread, 2 breads in each batch:

To get the star-in wheel shape I had made a template, 30cm in diameter:

The first crossover

The second crossover -the star shape becomes apparent:

And the ring to complete the bread:

Proofing several batches at different stages:

Glazing with egg - I used 4 eggs for the glaze alone

Luckily I had Spock and Kirk with me ...

The pile of finished breads is growing

And boxed, ready for shipping

Not all breads fitted in this giant box ...

Then off to London with public transport

I have no pictures from the wedding (on Sunday) - but there was not much time to take pictures, the challahs were very well received.

Happy Baking,



emkay's picture

My starter seed culture is in Phase 3. I can't wait to start making sourdough. In the meantime, I made a krantz cake with chocolate and pecans. The recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem".



trailrunner's picture

I hadn't baked in a while and hadn't used my AYW in weeks!   Got my odds and ends of partial bags of flour out and voila....lovely bake.   Fed my  100% hydration rye starter with spelt and AWY 2x a few hours was SO active I had to refrigerate it overnight. Used up 65g Semolina, 42 grams Italian Chestnut flour, 86 grams Kamut, 123 grams sprouted Rye and 458 grams AP KA.  Mixed and autolysed  with  640 g water without salt for 1 hr. Added salt and used speed 2 for 5 min . Very slack dough but responded well to s&f's. Fermented room temp for 2 hrs with s&f q 30 min x4 and then 1 hr more at room temp. Shaped 2 boules and immediately retarded over-night. Baked cold this AM in 500 degree pots for 20 min. covered...sprayed 10 x in pot with filtered water then covered....uncovered and 20 min open. The fragrance is wonderful. Will post crumb shots later. 

 photo IMG_6893_zps14e8ac91.jpg  photo IMG_6894_zps7fbce72f.jpg  photo IMG_6895_zps1cc59eff.jpg  photo IMG_6897_zpsb0d59dfc.jpg  photo IMG_6900_zpsf74a17e6.jpg first of Spring...asparagus quiche. I use buttermilk for the crust and in the filling...broiled the asparagus first. Delicious.  photo IMG_6891_zps54192770.jpg

crumb shots added. I couldn't be MORE pleased with this bread. What a crust and crumb. Full body flavor...very very wheaty. I am impressed with the caramelization of the crust and note how uniform the crust thickness is all the way around the slice. Chewy and almost candy-like. Rich brown color to the crumb and exquisitely tender due to the AYW. Love the glisten to the crumb . My camera doesn't want to catch the dark crust but it is way darker than in the pics. I baked it to 212. What else to say....if I never made another SD loaf but this one I would be more than content.  photo IMG_6904_zpsfeced175.jpg  photo IMG_6906_zpsdff0a446.jpg  photo IMG_6903_zpsb898ea8c.jpg  photo IMG_6902_zpsf205dd69.jpg

Skibum's picture

Oh my! Great idea Josh! Any other great ideas like this would be most warmly welcomed.

Best regards, Brian


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