The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dabrownman's picture

Here isJob;s Challenge Post -

The cover picture is the one where the top part of the oven, where the bread is baked, is closed off by a CI griddle allowing the bottom firebox to be open and another CI griddle to cover the top of the baking area.  The base is an old outdoor firepit.  The design lets us easily take the lid off the combo cool=ker when the steaming is done, allows us to controll the heat and holds as much heat as loose bricks can.

The top of the oven is covered in another CI griddle with a hole to regulate the heat to either close off the baking chamber to cool it off or let some air flow through it.  This cover comes off quickly so that hot coals can be loaded on top of the CI skillet the bread is baked in to provide heat from the top.  Coals can then be put on top of the Ci cover to provide heat to the top of the loaf when the combo cooker lid comes off.

The Combo Cooker fits tightly in the baking chamber bit the lid will come off easily.  There is just enough headroom from the top of the combo cooker to the covering griddle to put a layer of coals on top of the cooker.

There is an open grate from my 22" Weber charcoal grill that acts as the rack for the combo cooker to sit on making the bottom of the cooker in direct contact with the wood firebox below.  Since the firebox is always open we can keep loading more wood in as needed to keep the temperature just right.

We have a Plain Jane 123 SD bread to bake in this oven tomorrow.  The only bad thing is we had to tear down the top of the rocket stove to make this WFO.  No worries -  it will go back together very fast once this bake is done.  We shall see how well this oven works soon enough.

Happy WFO baking  

Park's picture

Pretty much the same recipe as my first bake, except for rye instead of whole wheat and no honey. 

I'm never trusting non nonstick pans again, but it tastes great. 

HappyBread's picture

  • Water: 400 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Sourdough Starter: 70 grams, 1/3 cup (omit if making the instant yeast version)
  • Instant Yeast: 1 tsp. (omit if making sourdough leavened version)
  • Rye Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Bread Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Molasses: 44 grams, 2 Tbs.
  • Fennel Seed: 8 grams, 1 Tbs.
  • Anise Seed: 2 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Caraway Seed: 3 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Salt: 12 grams, 1 3/4 tsp.

Mix in stand mixer 5 min, rest 5 min, mix 5 min, rest in bowl covered until increased in size 50-75%, form into boule, place into bowl on floured towel until doubled in size, into heated covered cast iron pot for 30 min at 450, then uncover at 400 until internal temp 200

alfanso's picture

A trip down to that fabulous Italian grocery store, Laurenzo's, a week ago to pick up more durum flour.  20 lbs. in three buckets, because a 50 lb. bag is just way out of my league.  

The owner asked if I was making pasta.  No, bread.  After some shop talk and few snapshots, he said that his dad would love some of the sesame semolina.  Could I bake some for him?  Why, yes.  And I added an olive levain to boot, just for fun.  

And it was fun to schedule the two breads as overlapping projects.  Both baked this morning.  The olive dough sheds nary a film of moisture onto the couche, so I shaped and couched them last night and baked them first thing this morning.  Once the couche was dry I then did the same with the still bulk semolina dough.  Having only one official couche, I decided to plan the activities with just that one linen.

And another thing.  Recently there was lively discussion on TFL about what is an "Italian bread" with different camps of thought coming from folks here.  While I had his ear last week, I asked David what he thought an "Italian bread" was and his reply was "whatever you grew up eating".

After delivering these to David he thanked me with a few articles from his store that are too generous to mention.  Let me just say that it was an uneven barter.

Park's picture


40g starter

40g AP flour

40g bread flour 

80g water


350g bread flour

122g AP flour 

340g water

9g salt

184g levain

25g honey


Mix levain and set in warm place for 6 hours

Mix flour and water 2 hours before levain is done

Mix everything 

Slap and fold (I gave up half way through so the gluten wasn't well developed) 

Set in oiled bowl and rest 30 min, then stretch and fold 

Repeat 30 min rest then stretch and fold, 3 more times

Bulk ferment 3 hours


Rest 15 min then shape and put in floured cloth lined bowl

Proof on counter (about 63F in my kitchen) until morning

Preheat oven at 450F 

Bake at 450F for 20 min with steam

Turn loaf, decrease temp to 425F and bake for 25 min

Turn loaf, bake for another 20 min

Remove from oven, let cool


This was much lighter than my first loaf, probably from the AP flour but also from the fact that I didn't proof it in the fridge. The taste is quite boring, not sour at all. This was most likey from speeding up the process; I'll try to not be impatient with my next bake.  

Next time I attempt a boule, I'm going to bring the hydration down to 65%( hydration in this recipe is about 72%) and try high hydrations again later. 

Danni3ll3's picture


PS. Anyone else using Safari and found that the icons for inserting pictures disappeared when putting up a blog post? I had to use Opera to put the pictures in and now I am back using Safari. Under the edit button, they are back. Weird!

T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

No Knead Spelt and Rye Bread (77% hydration)


  • 50 g Spelt Flour
  • 50 g Dark Rye Flour
  • 50 g AP flour
  • 165 g Water
  • 6 g bread yeast

Mix with dough whisk, cover loosely and set aside, room temperature for 2 hours or until active.

Dough mix:

  • 300 g Bread flour
  • 50 g Spelt
  • 50 g Dark Rye
  • 50 g Molasses
  • 5 g Ground Caraway seeds
  • 11 g Kosher Salt
  • 110 g warm water
  • 100 g Whole milk


Combine dough mix and Poolish, autolyze for two hours and then refrigerate overnight.  Remove from fridge and allow to rest 2 hours.  Sprinkle dough with flour and remove to floured bench.  Stretch and form into ball and then place in heavily floured Banneton to proof until doubled.  Sprinkle with cornmeal or polenta and then turn onto parchment lined pizza peel.  Place on baking stones in preheated 450°F oven and add steam (1-1/2 Cup boiling water in steam tray) for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 425°F for 20 minutes, or until instant read registers 205° to 208°F.  Rest on wire rack until cooled.

STUinlouisa's picture

Made with 80% white wheat and 20% Einkorn both fresh ground and chia seeds. It is leavened  with a combo of sourdough and yeast water. One of the best loaves made lately, of course they all are my new favorite at the moment

leslieruf's picture

well for once I am a bit early. I was rebuilding my starter yesterday and thouhgt "there is enough to build a levain for Pal's challenge" so I did.

Spiced English Muffins.

never made these but loved the ones I bought a few years ago. So I used Wild Yeast's recipe and added cinamon and raisins.


110 g 100% hydration starter (made at 2 pm)

160 g flour

100 g whole wheat flour

276 g low fat milk

mixed at 8 pm and left on bench overnight.

this morning at 8 am added

75 g flour

3/4 tspn salt

1 tspn baking soda

1 1/2 tspn cinamon

2 tspn honey.

mixed then turned out on bench. added in 1/3 cup raisins then did stretch and fold / gentle slap and fold until dough was smooth.

pressed out into rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick and cut circles with cookie cutter (about 2 3/4 inch diameter). placed on semolina dusted parchment, proofed for 45 minutes and baked in my skillet on medium setting, 7 minutes each side (actually had 2 skillets going :) - such fun, and anticipation!

Definitely something I will make again, don't know why I haven't tried before given how often it is mentioned here.  Taste is great, maybe next time perhaps a little more honey and a few more raisins, but yum.... tomorrow morning will be toasting some for sure.

Thanks Pal for the push to try something new. It is a very simple bake, but look forward to seeing what others bring to the challenge.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Well, I am chuffed. I've been working on version of 'beer' bread that has all kinds of good things in it. I've been inspired by several people (Cedar Mountain, danni3ll3, dabrownman among others) and was also spurred to action by a happy little relationship. My regular beer bread is mostly white flour with a poolish starter made from my husband's pilsner-style beer. The place where he gets his beer making supplies (has been for about 30 years) asked if he could bring in some bread to see if they could sell it, and that worked out well. I wanted to make something a bit more multigrain using the dark beer (stout) that he also makes from one of their kits, plus they gave me a bag of lovely crystal malt and some dried malt extract which I wanted to incorporate.

I put together a recipe a couple of weeks ago and tested it out. It was good, but a bit gummy and dense. I changed up the recipe a bit and made version two. this was way better but the crust was quite tough (very tasty though). This week I made a few more changes and voila - one of the best breads I've made. The crust is crisp and shatters when cut; the crumb is moist and just open enough, and the flavour is awesome!

The recipe is a bit difficult to recount, as there are so many things in it! But here's the synopsis:


  • 200 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal
  • 250 grams stout
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Mix and let ferment until bubbly (overnight if you like)


  • Bread flour - 350 grams
  • Organic AP flour - 350 grams
  • Mixed stone-ground whole organic flours (spelt, khorasan, Red Fife, rye) - 200 grams
  • Water - 600 grams
  • Cracked crystal malt - 25 grams
  • Cooked, toasted grains (spelt, khorasan, Red Fife, rye) - 125 grams
  • Active dry yeast - 1/4 teaspoon per loaf
  • Dried malt extract - about a tablespoon per loaf
  • Olive oil - about half a tablespoon per loaf
  • Salt - 20 grams

So, first toast and cook the grains:

Next, soak the crystal malt in the dough water:

That smelled sooooo amazing!

I then mixed all the cooked, cooled grain into the soaker water as well, than added all the flours and let autolyse for about 45 minutes.

I spread out the resulting 'dough' and sprinkled it with the salt, then topped with the starter, dried malt extract and the dough yeast. I folded this in well and then mixed it in the stand mixer until smooth and consistent. I let it sit for probably four or five hours, folding four times over the first couple of hours and it ended up very nice and stretchy.

And into the fridge to proof overnight. It actually was a bit longer as I didn't get around to baking this one until the following afternoon (too busy baking the light beer bread for the beer supplier!). The dough was beautiful - nicely risen and domed with one huge gas bubble just under the top skin. That was some windowpane! I scaled the loaves to 600 grams, preshaped then shaped into tight(ish) balls and into floured baskets.

I didn't let them proof for too long with all that good stuff in them - maybe an hour while I pre-heated the oven and the cast iron pots to 475F. I cut squares of parchment paper and turned the dough out onto the paper, slashed, then lifted each and dropped it into a hot pot. 30 minutes at 450F, then remove lids and another 20 minutes at 425F. Interior temperature was about 205F.

I was so happy with this bread. Even with all that stuff in it, it was not dense. The crust was amazing, and so was the crumb. The things that contributed were:

  1. Using half AP flour and half bread flour made the crust so much more tender and crispy
  2. Adding a bit of dried malt extract and olive oil reduced any bitterness from the whole grains (as was evident in the first iteration of this bread)
  3. Toasting the grains added to the flavour; cooking them reduced the hardness
  4. Cracking the malt and soaking it in the dough water added an amazing amount of flavour and colour

This is my new favourite bread... :)




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