The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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alfanso's picture

Recently I began to try out a rye levain breads, and having leftover rye starter I figured I'd continue on that riff.  I cleave off a bit at a time from the remaining rye starter ball and still have a few bakes left in the slowly diminishing ball.  For the liquid levain, I used a recently refreshed stiff levain stater.

recent blog entry by David Snyder intrigued me.  I had long ago (if my under 18 months apprenticeship on TFL is long ago!) developed a pattern of being inspired by what I see on TFL and then give it a go.  So off I went to experience a few new things all at once.  Never used two starters in one dough before.  Ditto with any starter >100% hydration.  Also using Bread flour for the first time instead of AP flour (except for the substitution of bread flour for First Clear recently).  I amped the formula up to ~1500g so as to make three 500g batards.

I'd read that the starters take way longer than mine did to mature.  The 125% hydration bread flour starter took 7.5 hours instead of the anticipated 12-14 hours, and the way more viscous rye starter took 9 hours instead of 14-16 hours.  

Following the "make it your own" concept, I went with my standard 300 French Folds, and 2 sets of letter folds at 40 and 80 minutes, with another 40 minutes of bench fermentation time before retarding.  The dough remained retarding for ~3 hours prior to divide (I had things to do...), pre-shape and shape and then back into the refrigerator on their couche.  12 hours total retard time and then score and bake directly from the refrigerator.  13 min - steam, 20 min. - dry heat and 2 min. - vent.

The oven spring was wonderful, and the blisters on the surface almost make me wince in sympathetic pain (au levain!!)

Left: couched and ready for retard.  Right: scored and ready for the oven.


Steam just released and rotated:


The finished product:

The blue ribbon winner:



CAphyl's picture

Baked a lot today to take to a friend's house for Father's Day to share.  Made David'd baguettes and my old standby classic sourdough.  I really hope our friends enjoy the bread.

I do cheat and use the aluminum baguette baker, as it works quite well.

Sorry I have been off the site so much. I have been traveling like crazy and baking less.  I've got to come up with a new recipe to share.  I sure loved the cream cheese batards that is currently being featured on the front of TFL. 

As it is really getting a lot hotter, there is less incentive to turn on the oven.  I had it on all morning to bake these breads, and it still feels warm.  Look forward to catching up with everyone.  Best,  Phyllis

Skibum's picture

I always enjoy this enriched sweet bread with a cup of good strong coffee -- anytime! I only changed up one thing from my last  back and that was shoe horning it into my oval brotform to proof. Proofing in a hard sided form resulted in more vertical rise vs proofing a braided loaf on a linen couche. I liked the result:

After proofing I egg wshed, sprinkled sugar and ground almond along with a few almond slices. Time for another slice!

Happy baking folks! Ski

isand66's picture

    These rolls are healthy and tasty at the same time.  I used a combination of milled flour and KAF flour with some cream cheese, and olive oil for softness along with my old faithful AP starter.

I think these could have used a little longer to proof but overall they came out great and are full of flavor with a nice sour dough bite as well.



Multi-grain Rye Cream Cheese Rolls (%)

Multi-grain Rye Cream Cheese Rolls (weights)

Download the BreadStorm formula here.

Lexi trying to Photo-bomb my shot :)

Levain Directions

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 usually do this the night before.

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

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours and water 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), cream cheese and olive oil 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.

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 cut into equal size pieces and shape into rolls.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with moist tea towels 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 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, using a simple egg wash or heavy cream or milk, brush each roll and sprinkle on your topping of choice (I used smoked sesame seeds, toasted onions and poppy seeds).  Next add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown.

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

Nice soft semi-open crumb, perfect for sandwiches or a burger.


Succulents out for a boat ride!


Bread-For-Days's picture

Greetings to all!

It's quite late down here in Aus, and I'm waiting to shape some Pain de Campagne, so I thought I'd quickly knock out my first blog post!

My name is Daniela, I'm 25 and have recently discovered the joy of making artisan bread. 

A few months ago, quite by chance I picked up Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast at my local library. I decided I would look through it, pick a few recipes, photocopy what i needed and make some yummy bread. But I quickly realised as I started reading, that I would need to photocopy the entire book - with not a single page going by that didn't have some valuable nugget of information. Not only is that far too laborious a task - I also happen to adore books, and so asked for the book for my birthday.

I bought the necessary equipment (really only the cambro tub; which is square because I couldn't get a round one in Australia - and the dutch oven; mine is oval because it was on special and i only paid $40 for it instead of $350!) and set off on my exciting bread making journey. 

In two weeks I have made:

Saturday White Bread

Harvest Bread with Poolish

White bread with 80% Biga

Pain de Campagne

Walnut Levain Bread


I am so in love with making these breads, I've never done it before. I look forward to engaging with you in the forum and learning more about this beautiful craft. 


Daniela : )

hanseata's picture

When I - driven from a real "Breaking Bad Bread" experience - challenged my baking buddies from The Fresh Loaf, Facebook and several congenial blogs to create a "Bread for the Knight with the Iron Hand", I promised myself to try all 30 loaves over time.

One of those congenial blogs is Britta's Brot vom Niederrhein - Bread from the Lower Rhine.

Britta, 35-year old process engineer and mother of two, named her blog after the lower Rhine region of North Rhine-Westphalia/Germany, where she lives and works.

Britta: "Others knit to relax - I bake!"

"It is pretty here, prettier than many believe. Industrial culture has its charm, the view from a heap to the blast furnaces, chimneys, and the Rhine with its many green meadows and sheep is really pretty."

She finds baking and process engineering have a lot in common: a technical process turns the raw materials into products - only her cakes and breads rise much faster than the industrial plants she is building.

The Lower Rhine with its industrial culture has its own charm - coal mine Zollern in Dortmund 


Niederrhein Landschaft Natur Schafe 100330-029.jpg
Idyllic contrast to heaps and chimneys: sheep grazing on the Rhine meadows

With fond childhood memories of baking cakes with her grandmother, Britta wanted her kids to have the same experience.

Soon she progressed from simple everyday cakes to more elaborate ones, like the Pirate Ship Cake for her son's 7th birthday.

Birthday cake for little pirates!

And she finally ventured into the realm of home-baked breads. But not without side effects on her married life! "My husband got used to a fridge and kitchen counter full of (on average) seven pre-doughs on weekends".

He also has to live with the fact that she can't leave the house, because her doughs are just ready for the oven. "Or, alternatively, listen to detailed instructions, so that HE can put the breads into the oven, at the right moment, the right temperature, with or without steam!".

Britta started blogging to save her own recipes and show some of her breads and cakes to other enthusiasts. She also wants to help people with diverse food intolerances (like herself) to make delicious pastry, since that is "less easy to find in stores than bread".

The bread is made with cooked and raw potatoes

Britta's Kartoffel-Weizen-Roggen-Brot intrigued me - she didn't only use cooked potatoes, but added raw potatoes, too.

It is made with two preferments:  a salted sourdough (Monheimer Salzsauer, 2% salt) and pâte fermentée, so that very little additional yeast is needed, and the aroma has time to develop overnight.

Moist and flavorful, with a hint of earthiness

We liked the Double Potato Loaf a lot, it was very moist and flavorful, with a subtle hint of earthiness from the raw potatoes.

To see the recipe (in English) for Britta's tasty Double Potato Bread - including a downloadable BreadStorm formula - please, follow me to my blog "Brot & Bread".

dmsnyder's picture

I allowed myself to completely run out of San Joaquin Sourdough Baguettes. This is not acceptable, but it is remediable.

And in the mood for some whole wheaty bread. PiPs is in the queue, but today I made Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain. It's pretty delicious fresh baked or toasted with almond butter.

Gotta get dressed for a concert now.

Happy baking!


aly-hassabelnaby's picture

In April of 2015, my wife and I completed a long-awaited move to Luleå in the north of Sweden where she joined the university for her PhD degree. Having lived in Egypt all our lives before that, the move wasn't easy but we're slowly finding our way around town and starting to make sense of the language and the culture.  One of the things that really stand out for me about food in Sweden is how much of a bread culture they are, which of course means a lot of variety. Being a cold weather country, rye, an ingredient that just doesn't exist in Egypt, is available in abundance around here. So I decided to pick up a bag of rye flour and try my hand at it.  Unfortunately though, I had to give my sourdough starter that I've kept back in Cairo for more than a year to friends. I split it in half and gave to two different friends; one of whom actually used it and sent me pictures which was endearing. She also gave some to her aunt who was fascinated by the idea of a live culture that just keeps going.  Anyway, I used a small amount of instant yeast to get a preferment going and let it sit for about 14 hours at room temperature then proceeded with the rest of the dough. Here's what I did:  Pre-ferment:426g water + 200g Wheat flour + 200g rye flour + 1/4 tsp yeast  The next day I added 200g of wheat flour, 13g of salt and another 1/4 tsp of yeast. I did three stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals and then let it bulk ferment for an hour. After the hour, I shaped it into a rough round shape (need more practice here) and let it bench-proof for about 35 minutes.  Meanwhile, I pre-heated the oven all the way to 260C with a cast iron skillet in there. I flopped the dough from a towel onto the hot skillet, scored it, added steam and let it cook for about 20 minutes and for 30 more minutes without steam. The end result was a pretty good looking and smelling loaf which tasted very nice. I thought the rye added some depth of flavor and a bit of earthiness that barley flour just didn't do when I used it back in Egypt.  Anyway, here it is and I'll definitely keep trying new things with rye flour in the future. Greetings from Sweden and Trevlig Midsommar!     Here's a look at the crumb:    

Herbalgarden's picture

"kaku-shoku" - a Japanese sandwich bread. This one is whole grain.

FrugalBaker's picture

Like what Mini said, who cares if it comes with some birds or flowers : )

Got this pot for free from a friend yesterday and baked another sourdough to find out if clay pot can really substitute a Dutch Oven so that I can finally have some good bakes but most importantly, a good crust!

I took advice from some good souls on TFL and started the experiment this morning. I made a Spelt flakes and raisin loaf and suspected the hydration was too low for this bake as it didn't rise very much after an overnight cold retard in the fridge. So I had to bring the dough to room temperature for about an hour and decided to bake it anyway but I knew that it was still under proved. Never mind about the dense texture as today's goal is to see how the crust would turn out. As it turned out, the crust was good but not good enough for my expectation. The pictures below will provide some insight and appreciate some comments on this.


A glossy crust, that's a first, totally unexpected.


A closer look at the crust


I was kinda happy with the crust to be honest but the it didn't stay that way for long. Could it be due to the high humidity atmosphere in where I live? Today's humidity level is at 60 percent as it has not rain yet. Will a Dutch Oven give me a longer lasting crunchy crust? 

Appreciate anyone who has some info on this before splurging on a big ticket on buying a Dutch Oven. 


Many Thanks,




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