The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Danni3ll3's picture



This is another twist on Hamelman’s 5 grain levain. I am using the same amounts as my last attempt at this but once again, I tweaked the method and I did not sift out the bran. I am also going to do some bassinage with this dough as my notes from the last time indicated that this was a stiff dough as well. 




Makes 3 loaves



100 g cracked rye berries (coarsely mill 125 g of rye berries)

86 g raw sunflower seeds

86 g old fashioned oats (large flake)

25 g black sesame seeds

75 g flax seeds (freshly ground)

7 g salt

448 g boiling water



70 g starter (2 stage refreshment procedure in recipe)

275 g strong baker’s unbleached flour

345 g filtered water

Extra wholegrain flour to bring the levain up to speed



550 g strong baker’s unbleached flour

50 g Spelt flour 

50 g Kamut flour 

50 g Einkorn flour

50 g Rye flour 

77 g Durum flour 

30 g plain yogurt 

330 g filtered water + 40 g divided in 10 g portions (extra water is for bassinage) 

21 g Pink Himalayan salt



The two nights before:

  1. Take 3 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 6 g of filtered water and 6 g of wholegrain flour. Let sit at cool room temperature for the night. 


The morning before:

  1. Feed the levain 30 g of water and 30 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the day. 


The night before:


  1. 12 to 16 hours before the the final mixing of the dough, add the 275 g of strong baker’s unbleached flour and the 345 g of water to the levain and keep covered at room temperature (70 F).


  1. Coarsely mill the rye berries to crack them. I sifted out the fine flour and only used the coarse parts. 
  2. To the rye, add the sunflower seeds, the oats and the black sesame seeds. Toast in a 350 F oven or in a dry frying pan until lightly golden and fragrant.
  3. Grind the flax seeds in a “Bullet” or coffee grinder and add to the toasted seeds. 
  4. To the toasted seeds, add the salt and the boiling water. Stir, cover and let cool overnight.


  1. Mill and measure out the flours from all the grains needed for the dough. 
  2. Place the flours in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Reserve.


Dough making day:

  1. Place the dough water in the bottom of a mixing bowl, add the reserved flours, the yogurt and 620 g of the levain. Using a stand mixer, mix on the lowest speed until you have a shaggy dough with no dry flour. Let sit for one hour.
  2. Add the 21 g of pink salt and 10 g of water to the dough and mix on speed 1 for 9 minutes.
  3. Add the seed soaker and mix another minute or two on speed 2 until all the seeds are evenly distributed.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Add the first 10 g water on top. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on). 
  5. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds (adding an extra 10 g water each time) at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds (coil folds) at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 40%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and bubbles on top as well. Things were moving along so it only took another 30 minutes. 
  6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~890 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 
  7. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and cross over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  8. Sprinkle a  mix of rice flour and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. 


Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.
isand66's picture

    This is the same basic formula as my last post except this time I added some cranberries and reduced the egg amount slightly.  I love the flavor of these rolls and they are worth giving them a try as I know you will not be disappointed.  Keep in mind this is a pretty wet dough and is not the easiest to form into rolls.  I used wet hands and a dough scraper to help me.  I don't like adding a lot of extra flour when shaping rolls, but you can certainly do that if you desire, just don't end up making them too dry.

I would suggest adding more cranberries than I did which was less than desired due to that is what I had left in the house.

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.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients including the cranberries in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk, plus the Greek yogurt and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.    Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, egg yolks and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, butter, honey and salt and mix on low for 5 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.  (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 30 minutes.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  This is a pretty wet and sticky dough.  I don't like to add a lot of extra flour when making rolls so I used wet hands and a dough scraper to help me shape the rolls.  Each roll was around 150 grams total weight.

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 515 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.

Lower the temperature to 435 degrees.

Take the rolls out of the oven when they are nice and brown which should take around 15 - 20 minutes and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

I also decided to make a loaf out of part of the dough which you can see below.

dabrownman's picture

Being a twin and the 2nd one born, my twin has always said I was a real 'Born Loser'.  But this year's birthday is a very special one because my birthday is on 02-02-2020 .....the same day as the Super Bowl.  It seems fitting that my Chiefs are favored to win by 2 by the bookies.  But they are oh so wrong!  I think the Chiefs will win by 20.  So I'm taking the 200 to 1 odds that they will do so and putting 20 bucks on it.  I'm getting ready to celebrate their huge 20 point win by making pizza in the toaster oven using home made tortillas....... and washing it down with a bottle of 20 year old Amarone that I paid about $20 for so long ago!

The only thing that would be better is if I was going to be 20 years old this Sunday instead of ...........68!

Lucy says to have a salad with that pizza! 

gavinc's picture

I have never baked a ciabatta in all the years of baking. I wanted to take some nice bread to friends for late afternoon drinks that would pair nicely with cheese and selected wines. My usual bake for these events is baguettes with a poolish, but I wanted to try something. I went with Hamelman's ciabatta with biga which is a 73% hydration loaf.

The result was better than I was expecting, The crumb is not as open as some prefer, but I don't like the holes so large that the toppings fall through. I may experiment with upping the hydration a few points to test my nerve.



Bröterich's picture

I made one bread according to Forkish's recipe (half the amount of flour, water, etc. that is listed in the book).

In the  morning the polish had not developed that well partly due to the kitchen being a bit colder overnight. I had some sourdough starter left that I had used to rebuild my starter. So I added 70g of this active starter (rye, 100@ hydration) to the whole mix. I used an oblong cloches for baking. I'm very happy with the result. The darker rye did not mix completely with the rest of the dough and one can still see some guy streaks in the bread. The taste is very mild.


agres's picture

Some people paint sunflowers, I bake bread- until get good at it.  I decided that in order to really understand Pain de Campagne, I had to bake them actual size. 

This loaf is built from a hundred grams of starter, 600 grams water, 1,000 g bread flour, and 20 g salt.

The starter was put in a big bowl, and a like volume of water mixed in, then enough flour to make a very soft dough. The refreshment was left covered to rise on the counter in a cool kitchen for a few hours.  More water was mixed in, and flour added to make a very soft dough, and left covered on the counter for a few hours.  The rest of the water was added, along with the salt, and flour added by handfuls. It was a lot of dough, so stretched and folded every hour for a few hours instead of straight kneading. 

The dough was rounded up, bench rest, shaped, and allowed to rise in a salad spinner lined with a cloth. When the dough had proofed, it was turned out onto a piece of parchment paper on a peel, and gently slid into the oven. 

It was baked on a stone in a preheated oven  at 400F convection for 25 minutes, then 15 minutes at 375F convection, and a final 5 minutes at 325F convection. It is "golden brown" but looks paler because of the flour on it.  There is 600 grams of water in the dough-  that makes a lot of steam. My glasses fogged up from the steam coming out of the oven when I moved the loaf as I turned the oven down to 325F. One reason for moving the loaves when I turn the oven down is to release steam out of the oven for a crisp crust. With a good electric oven, there is no need to fuss with putting water in the oven -that extra water just cools the oven.




PalwithnoovenP's picture

I think I've just made my favorite cake! My first bake for 2020!

This was inspired by my torta, a modern cake on a cake traditionally made with lard, and a Spanish magdalena. I've been wanting to bake a magdalena ever since I saw it but it's only this time that I had the courage to try it, knowing how expensive olive oil can be and how I do not like it when I first tried it. The use of olive oil in it was so intriguing and interesting.

Knowing that most of the flavor will come from the olive oil, I made sure to use a high quality extra virgin Spanish olive oil. An arbequina was the choice for most magdalenas because of its sweet, fruity, and delicate flavor. I used something stronger so the flavor will shine through the cakes.

I used an olive oil made from a blend of picual (bitter and spicy) and hojiblanca (grassy and bitter). I tasted the oil straight up and it has a fruity smell reminiscent of banana.  It enters the palate smooth and sweet, followed by peppery notes, then a slight bitterness on the sides of the tongue and a spicy finish at the back of the throat.

In addition to flour, milk, eggs, salt, sugar, and olive oil, I flavored it with a local orange. What pairing is more classic than olive oil and citrus, most magdalenas are flavored with lemon zest. Our local orange has an intense unique fragrance not even close to lime, lemon, or classic orange. Compared to orange, the aroma is more mabagsik (sorry, I can't think of direct translation, intense? fierce?); I once candied it and the peels were still extremely bitter after three times of blanching. Even just the green rind, without the pit, it is already bitter. The skin was also very thin that it is difficult to get only the green zest without the bitter white pith. With its intensity, I only needed a small amount to perfume the cake, just a quarter teaspoon.

I never thought that sourdough would make a cake like this. I had a couple of more torta experiments (that I still have second thoughts of posting) before this and this is by far the best in terms of texture and flavor. This cake was purely raised by sourdough, no chemical or mechanical leavening. In my honest opinion, it was lighter, fluffier and more delicate that a traditional pound cake (that is, the one that is raised purely by air trapped in the batter during creaming).

Sorry for the weird angle! I just love how smooth and fine the sides of the cake are.

The cake had a very lovely flavor. The olive oil added an interesting savory note, if I did not know that there was olive oil, or if I were not familiar with it; I will be hard pressed to pinpoint were that flavor comes from. It tastes buttery despite the cake being made  solely with olive oil. It has nutty note too that if I also didn't know, I would think that there were almonds in it, probably due to the hojiblanca.

Like a classic olive oil cake, it has a thin crispy shell at the top and an interior so moist  almost to the point of being custardy. After a day, the crust turned shiny and soft and the crumb became moister and the flavor also developed to becoming more balanced and harmonious. This is a cake that really benefits with age.

If there is one word this cake is all about, it is subtlety. Subtly tangy, subtly sweet, subtly savory, subtly buttery, subtly nutty, subtly citrusy. This would go great with tea rather than coffee due to the delicate flavors.Earl grey if you want a tie of flavors; black tea for a classic palate cleanse between bites; or if you want something herby, tarragon tea will be nice.

I just love those sunlit photos! They have a more organic and mysterious feel. It feels as if I was really in the Mediterranean!


You can see in this photo the delicate and crispy top crust.

In a made-up history, during Spanish times it was a celebrated dish found only on the tables of the wealthy as only the upper class can afford excellent olive oil from the Mediterranean.

I became a litttle bit generous with the olive oil in the two molds and the oil floated on top of the batter. What a lovely pattern it created! Looks like a sunflower enhanced by the sunlight.

 I have never tasted a cake as sophisticated as this! 

I hope you enjoyed this olive oil cake. Until next time, thanks!

agres's picture

I bought white bread flour for the Thanksgiving party and it is time to use it up.

This is about a 2-pound sourdough loaf baked from Graincraft’s Morbread. It is a flour that I like for white bread.

I measured out 400 gr water, 600 grams of flour, and 12 gram of salt.

A couple of ounces of my starter was mixed with a similar volume of the water, and enough flour mixed in to make a very soft dough, which was left to sit (covered) on the counter for a few hours until it had more than doubled in volume and looked foamy.  

I added about 150 gr of water (leaving about 200 grams of water), and enough flour to make a very soft mix. The soft mix is easy to stir, so it can be easily stirred well. Then, it sat covered on the kitchen counter for a few hours.  Thus, most of the flour will be fully hydrated and have developed gluten, before the final dough mix.

I tossed in the salt, the rest of the water, and mixed. Then, I gradually mixed in the rest of the flour to form a dough about the consistency of baguette dough. This is an easy knead!  And, let it ferment for a couple of hours.  Later in the evening, I rounded it up, bench rest, shaped, and put it in a banneton and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning it finished rising on the counter, and after 1.5 hours, it went onto a bake stone an electric oven preheated to 400F. I put a piece of parchment paper on the peel and turned the proofed loaf onto the parchment paper. The parchment paper makes it easy to use a peel to lay the loaf in the baking stone. After 20 minutes the temp was dropped to 375F, the parchment paper retrieved,  and the loaf was baked to an internal temp of 208F. Total time from measuring the ingredients to finishing baking was ~ 18 hours, half on the counter in a cool room, half in the refrigerator, with 40 minutes in the oven. 

It has a nice crisp crust, a slightly chewy crumb that is barely dense enough not to leak sandwich fillings (when cut thick), and definite, but very mild, sourdough and bread flavors. It is well suited to a wide variety of menus. By any standard, it is an excellent bread.

Sorry guys, I like a golden-brown crust, (sometimes with the rustic flour coating that makes it look pale).  I like the ease of just using my peel to slip loaves in and out of the oven.  I like the ease of mixing flour into water. I think mixing water and flour into levain makes a better dough.

The really nice thing about the white flour is that its hydration is predictable, so one can use a precise baker’s percentage.

ewspears's picture


This is my first Post and I'm hoping I can find some help here.

I have been making no-knead breads using bread flower have also used bread flower with 25% whole wheat & 10% Rye. I have used quick acting, instant, & sourdough on different loaves. I have used the 1/4 to 1/2 tsp yeast with cool water & 8-24hr, 72deg 1st proofing as well as the 1 1/4 to 2 tsp yeast with warm water & 1 to 3 hr, 85deg 1st proofing. Everything through this step seems OK, My dough has lots of bubbles and has more than doubled in volume

I degas, fold, & stretch the dough and place in a parchment lined container of appropriate size and shape for my 5qt dutch oven or my superstone bread baker. I give it a second proofing hoping it will double in size again; but it never does! All I ever get with the 2nd proofing is a 10 to 60% increase in volume. I have varied time and temperature to no avail. The better ones  are good and edible but not as light and airy as I would like.

Have wondered about mixing some beer or vinegar with the water. Also wonder about adding baking powder.

Would really appreciate any help! Thank You for any Response!

Crusty Loafer's picture
Crusty Loafer

Made a few adjustments.  Last bake was good,  but the crumb was waxy and still a little moist. Flavor was still very good though.  I lowered my hydration from 70 to 65 %. Plus I added the salt with the flour and blended all dry ingredients before adding my water and leaving. After mixing i let autolyse for 45 minutes and did 30 minutes of stretches and folds.  After that,  into the fridge for 7 hours.  In the morning I removed from fridge and placed in oven with the light on.  After supper I shaped and proofed in a banaton basket for 1 hour.  Then preheated my Dutch oven for 45 minutes at 500. Baked at 500 for 30 minutes with ther lid on.  Then I removed the lid and baked an additional 15 minutes.  

Crust looks good.  Cooling now will cut tomorrow. 


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