The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Ru007's picture

Hi all! 

I’ve baked 5 sourdough loaves using the same formula and I felt like it was time for a change. So last week, I asked for some suggestions for what to try next and it seemed like rye was popular choice... I wasn't feeling particularly brave about it, but i decided to go for it.

So here’s my first try at a sourdough rye loaf. What fun!! But so different from my last few bakes. Mixing and shaping this dough was like working with clay, very therapeutic.

I went with a 70% rye flour, 78% hydration loaf (if i did my maths right). The original formula has raisins in it but I decided I liked the idea of sunflower seeds better, so that’s what I did!

I had no idea what I was going to get (my nightmare being an overly dense brick since i decided to live on the edge and leave out the instant yeast i was meant to add). I waited 24 hours before slicing, not sure why i'm meant to do this, but all the formulas i'd read told me to, so i did. 

It tastes great! Not as sour as I wanted though, but that’s something I can work on next time. The crumb is moist and tender but not gummy, which is good. 

Here's how i did it:

First levain build

15g rye starter

45g water

45g rye flour

I let that sit for about 12 hours

Second build:

All of the first build

110g rye

130g water ( i was only supposed to add 110g of water but i think my starter likes higher hydration levels)

Left that in the oven which the light on, it doubled in 4 hours.

Final dough:

All of the levain

135g white bread flour

155g rye flour

165g water

75g sunflower seeds

9g salt 

I mixed the flours and water and let it sit for about 30 mins before adding the salt. Then i added the salt and kneaded the dough (without the levain) until it was nice and smooth and quite stretchy. I wasn't meant to do this, but my gut told me to, so i did. 

This is what i got...

I wasn't expecting much oven spring, but i got more than i hoped (even though it wasn't dramatic like my previous loaves).

Any tips or feedback from the well trained eyes on this forum will be much appreciated!

P.S. Here is the link to the original formula:


Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

This my latest attempt on a leftover dual started bread that came out so good I promise to make it again and record what I did. I was very pressed for time so it could have used a longer proofing time ! The truth always is evident in the crumbshot.

dmsnyder's picture

Pane Tipo di Altamura

31 March, 2016

David Snyder


Back in 2011, several TFL bakers worked on trying to replicate Pane di Altamura at home. I participate with one bake (see:, but did not work to refine it and have not baked this bread since. Abe's (A BakEr on TFL) recent efforts have inspired me to give this bread another go.

Since my prior attempt, I have had a little experience baking in a wood-fired oven, which is how Pane di Altamura is baked. I realize how different that oven is from my home electric oven. I have further amended Abe's amendment of the Italian DOP specification based on this experience. Most significantly, almost all instructions for baking this bread omit steaming the oven. My thinking is that, in a wood-fired oven, generally there are multiple loaves baking at once, and the water that evaporates from them, in effect, steams the oven without the addition of any water by the baker. This effect is much less with a single loaf in an electric oven. Therefore, I did steam my oven for the first part of the bake. That said, the formula and procedures I used are largely based on the information Abe kindly shared with us.


Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)













Biga Naturale

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)



Water (80-90ºF)



Semola Rimacinata starter






I already had a biga naturale from a previous bake in my refrigerator. So, the biga used in the Final Dough was fed three times with about 12 hours' fermentation of each build.

  1. Place the starter in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix until the starter is in pea-size pieces.

  3. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour and the biga feels like a bread dough.

  4. Place the biga in a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for about 12 hours at 70-76ºF.

  6. Repeat twice more.


Final Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)









Biga Naturale







  1. Mix the flour and water well in a large bowl. (There should be no dry flour in the bowl.)

  2. Cover the bowl tightly and let it rest at room temperature for an hour.

  3. Add the salt and the biga to the bowl. Mix thoroughly using the French “pinch and fold” method.

  4. Knead in the bowl or on an un-floured board for about 10 minutes.

  5. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Knead for another 10 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  8. Ferment for 6 hours at 76ºF. (I used a Brød and Taylor Proofing Box set to 76ºF.) The dough should be expanded to double its original volume and feel soft and puffy.

  9. Transfer the dough to a board lightly dusted with durum flour and pre-shape as a boule.

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  11. Place the boule on baker's linen and cover well. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

  12. Transfer the dough to the board and pre-shape as a bâtard, taking care to de-gas the dough as little as possible. (Note: Pane di Altamura is traditionally shaped as a boule. I elected to shape it as a long loaf. If shaped as a boule, the bake time should be increased, since the loaf would be thicker.)

  13. Place the bâtard on the baker's linen and cover well. Let it rest for another 30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the bâtard to the board. Gently stretch it by grasping the two long sides and pulling it into a flat oval.

  15. Using the sides of your two hands, make a wide groove down the long axis of the loaf. Then fold the loaf at the groove so that the upper half over-laps the lower half 3/4 of the way. Gently seal the seam between the upper and lower layers.

  16. Transfer the loaf to a peel.

  17. Turn the oven down to 450ºF, steam the oven and transfer the loaf to the baking stone.

  18. Bake with steam for 15 minutes.

  19. Remove the steam source from the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 420ºF (or 400ºF convection bake).

  20. Bake for another 15-18 minutes. The loaf should be nicely browned. It should sound hollow when the bottom is thumped with a knuckle. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  21. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.


Tasting Notes

When fully cooled and first sliced, the crust is thin and chewy. The crumb is amazingly open for such a low-hydration bread, and a most attractive yellow color. The slices show that the multiple shaping steps did not over-de-gas the dough. The profile shape is pleasing. On tasting, the crumb is mildly chewy. There is a slight yeasty aroma. The flavor is balanced and mild with some nutty, some sweet and very little if any sour tang. When eaten toasted the next morning, the crust becomes pleasingly crisp. The crumb is a bit more tender. The flavor is similar to that of a couple hours after baking.

When tasted dipped in a local, low-acid, fruity EVOO, this bread is transformed into something ambrosial. Of course, Puglia is famous for both Pane di Altamura and for its ancient olive groves, so it is no surprise. The neutral flavor of the bread allows the full, complex flavor of the oil to come through, and the oil brings out the sourdough tang that was otherwise faintly present in the bread. Delicious!  

Photo Gallery

Fully fermented dough, on the board prior to first pre-shaping (Step 9) 

Pre-shaped dough, wrapped in baker's linen for a rest

After first pre-shaping and a 30 minute rest wrapped in linen

Dough after second pre-shaping as a bâtard (Step 12)


A helpful illustration of shaping I found on the web site (Pane di Altamura | Agrodolce)


My loaf, after final shaping. On a peel, ready to bake. (Step 15)

Pane Tipo di Altamura

A slice

Crumb, close-up



Final Notes

This bread is fun to make. The dough is easy to mix and enjoyable to handle. Shaping is a challenge. I am pleased with the result. The baked loaf is attractive.

 I do not find the bread provides outstanding eating by itself or with butter, however, dipped in olive oil as is traditional, it is transformed into a wonderful food. It is not merely a vehicle. The olive oil and the bread each compliment the other. (See "Tasting Notes," above.) I still need to taste this bread grilled then rubbed with garlic, another traditional way of eating it.

The obvious necessity is a trip to Altamura to calibrate my expectations.




Jaaakob's picture

After a few brain farts where I confused the matter of posting a simple reply as opposed to starting a new blog post:

I hereby declare this blog started. The main purpose of this blog is to record what works and what doesn't in my journey towards a great croissant crumb. Yes, it's the crumb I'm trying to perfect, not the taste. Some may disagree, but taste is hardly a problem with croissants - the dough is fermented for a very long time and contains both butter and sugar. It is hard to make it taste bad, in my opinion. What is much easier is to fail with the inner structure, the crumb. The first time I ate a really well made croissant I discovered how much of a difference a really good crumb structure can make. It's almost more important than the flavour for me.

To clarify, I'm looking for a very open, honeycomb/spiderwebby interior, with "walls" that look almost gelatinous. 

I will update this blog soon, with pictures of recent bakes. My overall goal is to change one or two things from bake to bake. I want to understand cause and effect in this process. This will probably mean that I make fairly slow progress, but I'm okay with that as long as it means I know what to do to improve - and what not to do of course! 

Here are some pictures of more or less recent efforts.

This one was from a batch made about one month ago. Below is a pic from my latest batch a few days ago:

Here is the crumb shot from one of those:

And just because, here is a comparison between the older batch and the new one:

And for those extremely interested few, here's the dough after the third fold, during the last roll-out before shaping:

The difference between these two batches is mainly one of my rolling technique and how much I kneaded the dough. The dough in the old batch was kneaded quite a lot, 7-8 min total. It was definitely developed a lot. The second dough got perhaps 5-6 mins, a couple minutes less all in all. I changed my rolling technique for the newest batch here, keeping the dough as square as possible, trimming the ends after rolling it out. Most importantly, I focus much more on forward motion nowadays. I move my rolling pin quite quickly over the dough, and try to make it move forward, so that the pressure is used to lengthen the dough. That way, I need less time to get it to the right length, which in turn makes my dough and butter stay colder than if I rolled with less 'forward push'. 

There is a lot to learn, but I think I'm starting to get somewhere. You can see my breadier croissants in this thread:

I can see the honeycomb potential even more in these two batches than in any of the two pics I posted in the above thread. 

@Carlotta: these croissants are made with a higher protein (but still not very high) flour, 10,8%. Those in the above thread were made with a weaker flour, ~8,5%. 

For the next batch, I intend to do exactly what I did for this last one and use a flour with a protein percentage at 11-12%. 

I should mention that I use Jeffrey Hamelmans recipe (available at, with exactly those ratios of ingredients. 

dabrownman's picture

Now that is some windowpane!

We are getting pretty good at keeping baked bread out of the freezer by sticking to only baking one loaf a week.  When out future son-in-law came over for breakfast in Easter weekend he rolled away with the last of the frozen bread and a couple of homemade jams and some citrus to take back to Colorado.

So it was wide open of bread this week and we decided to make a white bread.  Well, technically, not white but as white as we get around here.  It was 75% white flour half LaFama AP and half KA bread flour with 25% home sprouted and milled 3 grain flour of wheat, spelt and rye.

Lucy also decided to toss in 125 g dry weight of sprouted wheat, spelt and rye as an and in during the first set of stretch and folds which upped the whole grains to 40% overall.  The levain ended up being a bit less than 15% pre-fermented flour and pretty much followed our usual methods.

Half the add in sprouts go in.

After sprouting the 3 grains and getting a15% extraction of hard bits once the drying and milling was done, we did a 3 stage, 4 hours each, levain build using the hard bits first and then the 85% extraction for part of the 2nd and 3rd stage flour build.  Instead of doing a 36 hour retard of the levain we cut it back to only 8 hours because we were out of bread…… at least at that moment – so the sour and crumb would have to suffer a bit.

The other half of the sprouts go in.

I had commented to Yippee, after she used the bran levain build on her last WW sprouted bread, that came put so well and made her so happy, that IO wished I could taste it.  Yippee was kind enough to make that happen.  She sent me a few slices of that wonderful bread to try out and it arrived 10 days after it was baked – it was frozen for part of that time but it oy took 2 days to actually get from there to here.

I can’t tell you how great her bread really is.   Even if a few days old and coming out the of freezer, it was the best WW bread I have ever tasted, the best looking and smelling too!  It isn’t unusual for Fresh Loafians to make some of the best bread of all kinds to be found anywhere but hers is exceptional and a cut above.  No one would have a problem making this the bread they would take to Deserted Isle if they could only take one -it’s that good.

On top of fixing my being out of bread, she sent a lovely gift along with the bread… Oriental style sandwich baking tin, matching the one she made the bread in and something I have always wanted but could never find.  She also is very good at slicing bread too.

I’ve never been able to slice so perfectly with the slices exactly the same and the right thickness – I thought a machine had done it.  Yippee is awful good at making people happy and those around her have to be blessed for sure.  Now I can only try and make bread in it as well as she does – fat chance!

First slice of the Easter Prime Rib.  Perfectly done and delicious. 

Once the first batch of sprouts were done we started the 2nd identical batch of sprouts to use for add ins.  We love the chew they add to any bread crumb.   Once the levain came out of the fridge, we stirred it down and set it on the windowsill to warm up while we autolyzed the dough flour with the dough water and the salt sprinkled on top.

Some of the prime rib left overs went into these Meat Pies.

It only took an hour for the levain to rise 25%, our cue to mix it into the dough.  We stirred in the salt first and then the levain went.  We did 60 slap and folds to get the levain mixed in and to start the gluten development.  It was followed by 2 more sets of 30 before the first of 3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points – all of them on 20 minute intervals .  After a 15 minute rest, we did a pre-shape and the a final shape 10 minutes later.

Yippee's great Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread to the right.  She got enough dough in the pan and didn't over proof it either:-)

So….. even though the bread I was making was not big enough to fill the tin properly for a white bread and a couple hundred of grams light, I put it in there anyway after spraying it with PAM.  No way I wasn’t going to use it.  One thing to remember about these pans is that they are not water tight so you can’t really pour water in them and weigh it to see how much dough it will take to fill it.

You should have seen me.  Pan on scale with the dough under a mixing bowl on the counter right next to the scale.  Water starts going in and I don’t have enough to fill it so go get some more and kept porting away -  and then I notice the water is pouring all over the scale and counter and …..the dough!

Lucy headed straight outside through the doggie door fast as could be as I grabbed the towels and dumped the tin in the sink.  Funny as could be and the counter and floor got a good scrubbing too.  Lean something new about bread every time I bake it seems.

We let the panned dough sit for 20 minutes on the counter, bagged in a trash can liner, before tucking it into the fridge for an 18 hour retard.  Some dough rises a lot for the first 10 hours as it cools and some rises not much at all but this one kept rising after the 10 hour mark.  I pinched one bubble on the loaf at the 10 hour mark and there was one 3 times bigger at the 18 hour mark – talk about windowpane.

It had risen to the rim in the middle but I could feel other bubbles under the top so I went ahead and docked it with a toothpick.  It didn’t collapse but I could tell it was a bit over 100% proofed instead of the 90% I wanted – one of the things that can happen when doing a shaped proof.

The slice is so tall you can cut it in half and make a fine roast beef sandwich with some tomato, half an avocado,a salad with some Swiss cheese, half an orange, a pickle, a few strawberries and some green olives. 

As the oven pre-heated to 500 F the dough was warming a bit on the counter.  As soon as the oven hit temperature I put in a half dose of Mega Steam, waited 15 minutes and then slashed the top and put the tin on the rack between the 2 stones for 18 minutes of steam at 450 F.

Yippee's bread, toasted with butter, jam with Swiss cheese melted on top made an excellent platform for today's breakfast of bacon, sausage and egg.  Yummy

Once the steam came out we turned the oven down to 425 F convection and continued baking for 10 minutes before covering the top with foil as it was browning too quickly.  After it tested 209 F 35 minutes later, we un-molded the bread and put it on the rack to continue to bake to dry out the crust that had been touching the tin.  It only sprang an inch at best – but it didn’t collapse either.

We will have to wait and see how the crumb came out.  The crumb was open very soft and moist.  I tried my best to slice it like Yippee did only a bit thinner - perhaps early and still a bit warm.  Very tasty and I love the chew of the Sproutes. FOr some reason this bread came ou tasting sweet .  We will have to see if it sours up by tomorrow.

Thanks Yippee - you are an inspiration! 

Salads go with anything.


Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



2 Rye Sour






85% Extraction Sprouted 3 Grain






15% Extraction Sprouted 3 Grain



















Levain Totals




Sprouted 3 Grain








Levain Hydration



Dough Flour




LaFama AP and KA Bread Flour 50/50




85% Extraction Sprouted Multigrain



















Dough Hydration



Total Flour w/ Starters



Total Water



Total Weight



% Sprouted Grain Flour



% Whole Grain with Add Ins



 Hydration w/ Starters & Add Ins



Add In Sprouts










Whole Wheat






WoodenSpoon's picture


I have been making a ton of whole grain breads lately, breads were the flavor comes entirely from fermentation and the actual flavor of the grain, and while I think that is essentially the only way that great bread should be flavored every once in a while I feel like messing around and experimenting with flavors that would be otherwise impossible to coax out of grain alone.


Hence, the Almond Joy Levain was born, with a crunchy crust and heavy additions of toasted coconut, toasted almond, toasted wheat bran and coconut chocolate this loaf is great with peanut butter and/or salty butter. In hindsight I would of upped the hydration by 7-10% but the autolyse was so darn wet I was scared to add more, and by the time I was folding in all the additions it was to late to add the liquid that it was suddenly painfully apparent I needed.


Heres how I made it

  • 206g sifted white wheat (sift it yourself and save the bran)
  • 34g unsifted red fife
  • 80g T85
  • 40g Ap
  • 40g Bf
  • 80g Youngs chocolate stout (20%)
  • 268g Coconut water with pulp (67%)
  • 80g Levain (20%)
  • 10g Salt (2.5%)
  • 47g Toasted coconut flakes (12%)
  • 72g Toasted sliced almonds (18%)
  • 92g Chopped coconut chocolate (23%)
  • 23g Toasted previously sifted white wheat bran (6%)


  1. autolyse @ 0 min
  2. mix in salt and levain @ 40
  3. stretch and fold @ 50
  4. fold in almonds, coconut and bran @ 80
  5. fold in chocolate @ 120
  6. stretch and fold @ 180
  7. preshape @ 220
  8. shape @ 255
  9. retard @ 360

The next morning, bake at 550 for 10 min with steam, then turn the oven down to 480 and continue baking for 15 minutes, then down to 465 for 10 or so minutes, then down to 450 until the loaf is done.




Avibabyau's picture

My very first attempt at making one of these loaves. It's still cooling so I don't know what it will taste like. I thought the dough a little dry and my plaits aren't too even but it looks good.

Danni3ll3's picture

I decided to go back to Tartine Bread's Country Loaf since I had quite a bit of success the last time I made it. I need some bread for a staff snack this week (working a stretch of 8 days even though I am retired) and wanted something a bit different so I chose the Country Loaf with Sesame.

1. Used DBM method of building up the levain over three feedings so started with 15 grams of starter, 15 grams of partially sifted flour from a local miller and 15 grams of warm water. Next feeding about 4 hours later was 30 grams of flour and 30 grams of water. Last feeding was 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of water. Then let it sit in my lit oven with the door cracked until it doubled which took a bit longer than 4 hours. 

2. Mixed 700 g of water at 80 degrees F with 200 grams of the levain and then added 900g of Roger's unbleached no additives flour and 100 g of WW flour from our local miller, Brulée Creek.

3. Let sit/autolyse for 25 minutes. (Yes, I know autolyse is only water and flour, no levain but go fight that battle with Robertson. I just do what I am told. ;)  )

4. Added 20 g of salt and 50 g of water. Used pincer method and folding to incorporate. Dough temp was 80.2. Put into oven with door cracked open and light on to start fermenting.

5. Did first fold a half hour later and at that time, added half a cup of sesame seeds (recipe called for a cup but not having had sesame bread, I decided to thread lightly). Seeds were previously toasted in a frying pan and left to cool. Used pincer method and folding to distribute the seeds evenly.

6. Continued to do stretches and folds every half hour for a total of 6 sets of folds. Total fermenting time so far was 3 hours.

7. Read on another blog that a trick to see if the dough was ready was to tilt the bucket and see if the dough pulled away from the side easily. Mine wasn't so followed the same path as the person on the blog and left it alone for another hour and a half in the oven. By then, the dough had easily grown by at least 30% and felt nice and billowy (is that a word?).

8. Divided, preshaped and gave it a half hour rest. Shaped it, rolled it in raw sesame seeds and put it in the proofing baskets seam side up.

9. Put it in the fridge for overnight proofing (11.25 hours). Took fridge temperature - 40.5 F. Not sure if that is totally accurate as my instant read thermometer changed very quickly once it hit room temperature air but at least I got an idea of what the temp is in there. Seems to be a bit high so I know to stick to 10-11 hour proofing times if I do overnight proofing.

10. Heated oven and dutch ovens to 500F for 45 minutes. Pulled the loaves out of the fridge and used the parchment paper sling to transfer the loaves to the DO. Makes a lot less mess than flouring the counter and then dropping the loaves in the DO like Ken Forkish does. I scored the loaves before putting into the DO.

11. Baked at 500F for 20 minutes, dropped the temp to 450F, baked a further 10 minutes and took the lid off. Loaves showed decent although not huge oven spring. I think I need to stick to 10 hours for proofing in the fridge. Baked the loaves for a further 25 minutes although the loaves never got really dark. Might be due to the amount of white flour in the dough.

I waited several hours before cutting one loaf up to freeze. I am super happy with the crumb.

It tasted even better than it smelled. Now, I understand why my friend loves Sesame breads. These are definitely to be repeated. I may try the Tartine 3 version which includes more WW flour (200 g vs 100 g), more hydration and leave out the wheat germ. I am wondering if the wheat germ might be weighing down the loaves that I am making out of that book. Anyhow, that will be for another time.

Here it is sliced. Yes, I do love those huge holes. That is what I am striving for!

Danni, one happy baker!

isand66's picture

    I was in the mood for a nice soft flavorful bread, so since I had some fresh milled Kamut flour ready to go, I mixed it with a good amount ricotta cheese, olive oil and some Artisan style flour from KAF.  The end result was a dough that was soft as silk and ended up with a wonderful soft and flavorful crumb, perfect for sandwiches, toast and grilled bread.



Ricotta Kamut Bread (%)

Ricotta Kamut Bread (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


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.

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), ricotta 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.  (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 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 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.






Jaaakob's picture



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