The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


SusanMcKennaGrant's picture

This post is about the typical rye bread of the Swiss Valais where I live. This wonderful bread has its own AOP status (appellation d'origine protégée), a certification which guarantees that everything used to produce it comes from the Valais. This is the French/German-speaking Swiss canton that is home to most of the highest peaks in the Alps and the source of  the Rhone River. The AOP protection helps preserve the landscape by ensuring the continuing cultivation of rye, something that grows well in the difficult mountain terrain, high altitudes and harsh climates that make growing most other grain impossible. 

Pain de Seigle Valaisan is a rustic, round loaf with a dense crumb and is much heavier than it looks. It must contain at least 90% whole rye flour and is usually made with a sourdough starter. It keeps well for a very long time. Traditionally it was baked in village ovens, which would be fired only two or three times a year, so it was important to have bread that would last for several months. Today it is mostly made in commercial bakeries, but many mountain villages still maintain their communal ovens and hold special bread baking days to celebrate this ancient Alpine tradition.

I have worked on this bread for a while now and finally found a formula I really like. It uses a rye sourdough starter, a rye soaker and an optional 10% wheat preferment. I found it here at Bernd's Bakery blog. Bernd's formula makes two huge loaves weighing one kilogram each. I plan to keep one loaf around awhile to see how it matures. If you want to try it you will need an active rye sourdough starter.  

This bread is delicious sliced very thin and enjoyed with a platter of Valais raclette or other Swiss cheese, air dried beef, gherkins and salami. Often it is studded with walnuts or the dried apricots that are so famous here in the Valais. It takes very little effort over a couple of days to build the starter and, once that is done, things move fast. Rye ferments quickly and once the dough is shaped the final rise is just one hour at 29 degrees Celsius.

And a few pictures from the region

See more at


joc1954's picture

Today there was a state level assessment and this time there were three family members attending this competition besides me: my daughter, my granddaughter and my wife, so four breads were thrown into the fight for best scores.

Last year I had very negative experience because my kamut sourdough bread was assessed really badly with the main reason that it was too sour and the committee could not find the typical kamut flavor in it. The only bread that passed really well was my daughter's wheat wholegrain bread that got gold award.  

Since then I was experimenting with different approaches how to prepare my bread less sour. The best option I found was a combination of  yeast water and SD. So I decided that for this year I will use my sage yeast water and my regular SD starter which I feed with white AP flour.

On two previous assessments my SD seeded porridge bread was very well assessed so there was no need to create a new recipe. For the rest of my family members we decided according to their preferences: my wife won last year one assessment  with 30% wholegrain bread, my daughter got gold award last year for wheat wholegrain bread and therefore there was no need to invent something new. The only "problem" was the idea for my granddaughter who had no history so far. She liked very much my multi grain bread so I proposed her this as an idea and she accepted that.

For me and my wife the schedule was easy as we are at home, but my daughter was working and granddaughter at age of 11 years and half was whole day in school and had a late afternoon session playing trumpet. Therefore me an my wife started early in the morning with plan to retard and bake late in the evening together with others.

My daughter and granddaughter started at 5PM so there was no chance for retarding due to the rule that the bread should be baked at least 8 hours before assessment.

For all four breads the ratio of YW preferment versus SD levain was 2:1. Actually this meant 200g YW preferment and 100g SD levain. The total amount of flour including pre-fermented is limited to 1000g. For the preferment I used AP flour, while the rest of flour was strong bread flour type 850 with 13% gluten. The mixture of whole grain flour was 25% wholegrain wheat and 5% wholegrain rye. For less opened and more even crumb I have chosen 5% lower hydration at 73%, for wholegrain bread the hydration was around 86%. The overall hydration for my seeded bread with porridge was over 100% (all water is included in the calculation).

All four breads got gold awards any my bread ended at second place according to absolute number of points.

My greatest pleasure was baking again with my 11 years old granddaughter. The fact that she got gold award for hear bread was just an add on to my happiness. I helped her with a lot of tips but at the end the bread was really prepared by herself. I think that tomorrow at the official ceremony I will be just floating above the floor.


 All three participating ladies and a small "she" dog in the lap of my wife. 

The crumb shots will follow as I have to wait until tomorrow to see the breads at the exhibition. (see my post below)


Happy baking!


RyeBrown19's picture

I just Made an account. This is my first of many breads!!

dabrownman's picture

After our discussion last week about robots, sure enough we were over whelmed by them this week.  They were everywhere.  Blackrock, one of the largest money managers in the world announced they were firing all of their human analysis's from now on and all analyzing will be done by robots from now on. I want to know if the robots are named Fred or Doris,  I want to know what robot is doing my analyzing on important stuff like investments.

Then, I found out my daughter iwas training this week on surgical Da Vinci robots with a doctor who has been using them since 2008 and has done a gazillion surgeries with it.  She finished up today and said it was an amazing experience and she cant wait to get back to her PA School, UTMB, for formal training in May for 3 days with her doctor that she assists in surgery.

Then Wednesday, I tried to hook up, through a stock brokerage robot, bank accounts so that I could transfer money from them into accounts at the brokerage.  Well, no matter what I did or what bank account I tried, it just wouldn’t let me do It   But I could hook up my wife’s to her account there using the same robot - no problem – lucky her.  I felt victimized but mainly stupid like usual, so I called customer service to have them do it for me.  Customer service was mainly a robot too and it took me a while to figure out how to get a real person on the line with me.

I told he I would be linking the same bank account that I have been funding my IRA account with every year, by paper check, to make sure there would be no problems.  But, even the customer service person who was obviously an expert at this by the way, could not make it happen with any and all of my bank accounts.  She said there must be a computer glitch in the robot and I agreed.  It was working fine a few minutes ago when I had hooked up my wife’s account - no problem and easy as pie.

I asked what the name of this robot was so that I could talk to it Mano – Machineo.  She said that it does have a name but it wouldn’t make any difference since robots don't have feelings.    Well  doggies, that made me a bit anxious since we both had been talking to it for at least an hour through a keyboard

 I said no problem,figure it out and just hook up one of my bank accounts to the TD account so I could transfer money to it and give me a call on Friday, today, letting me know all was well in the world and that this robot didn’t have it out for me even If I didn’t know its name……… and I did felt guilty about not knowing it too.  She didn't call me back with the good news today so I called her.

She said that the robot was still being obstinate with me and my accounts, and I said no….. it was broke.  She said not really.   t linked hundreds of accounts for other people so it was just being obstinate when it came to me.  Well..... there it is.  This robot really is more human than machine because a machine is right or wrong, working or broken.... but not obstinate like a human.

She said I would have to send in a check like I always do and all would be well.  I told her that is what I had hoped I would never have to do again.  I could write the check, take a picture of it with my phone and send it to her by email attachment from my phone – just like I make deposits into this very same account at my bank.  She could print it out, if she wanted, and treat it just like a paper check that I used to mail to her.

Now I ran into something worse than an un-named, obstinate robot.  I ran into a brokerage policy glitch.  A policy made by, dare I say it, artificial humans that think they are smarter and more intelligent than robots.  She just couldn’t do what I asked.  Even though my bank could do a deposit with their digital, picture robot, she couldn’t use my printed out digital, picture check - even though it looked exactly like the one I wrote out and could have mailed.  But she said I could mail that very check to her and it would be deposited toot Suite - within 24 hours - no worries.

 I was starting to think this person was really 'the un-named' obstinate robot and didn't want to take a chance at further upsetting it by asking she was the robot.  She might be offended if she was and to go postal on me, hunt me down for extermination like a terminator – or worse steal all my money like a human identity thief.

 I was stuck deep.and nearly dead, in a robotic catch 22 that had to be my fault. I was worried so much, I bought some additional, terminator, umbrella insurance that this robot just happened to be selling on the side.  Lucy said to hang up the phone before it exploded since this probable terminator robot knew exactly where my phone was, right next to my ear,  though GPS.

So, I did, since I always do what Lucy says,  but I haven’t felt right about it since then either.  I am glad I’m covered with enough terminator, robot insurance to keep the wife out of the poor house should they track me down and do away with me or use me for their scientific, oddity experiments…… which really sounds like more fun than being dead.

Never forget that robots with Artificial Intelligence are still better and more useful than artificial humans who think they are intelligent – I’m sure of it now using myself as the perfect example.  Off to this week’s bake where the 7 sprouted grains were, oat , barley, Kamut, spelt, rye, Red and White wheat

This was another 5 hour from mix to into the CC  into and out of the oven SD bread with an overnight 14 hour bran and HE levain.  We did our usual autolyse, slap and folds, stretch and folds - 6 total on 20 minute intervals and then put it in a rice floured basket for a 2 1/2 hours of proofing in a new trash can liner.  It baked for 30 minutes total our usual way 450 F/ 425 F convection, half with the lid on and came out at 208.5 F.

The crunb came out very soft and moist,  It went nicely sour the next morning for a bread that wasn't retarded.  The kitchen was warm yesterday for the final proof and heat is better than cold when it comnes to sour  This bread tastes just like we hoped it would with 40% sproiuted grain - just delicioius but still a white bread.

Here is the formula

Levain- 12% pre-fermented 7 Sprouted grain bran and High Extraction sprouted flour, 100% hydration 2 stage 14 hour, overnight levain.


38% High extraction 7 sprouted grain flour

60% Albertson’s bread flour

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt

Enough water to make an 82% hydration overall dough

It sprang and bloomed OK.  Lucy says it was a bit over-proofed but she isn’t a robot so what does she know?

Yogi's picture

Lot's of baking as usual. Our sourdough culture is being fed twice a day and enjoys that. Besides always having starter available for baking on a whim, one can really get to observe how their culture is behaving as it rises and falls everyday. I have clocked mine at 8 hours of work and it begins to fall; this is at a very low amount of starter with each refresh too, 10g SD to 70g flour 70g water. The consistency also changes enough to see where you want to be for baking and where you have gone too far. When the culture is gooey and can easily drip out of the jar, it is done for the day and should be fed again instead of being baked with. When the culture is peaking it has a nice jello consistency, and also glutinous. It holds shape and you can pull and tug on it without it tearing, up to a certain point. Anyway...


Cinnamon Rolls: 

I realized that putting the dough in the walk-in fridge is just not working. The temp is just too cold and the fans are too efficient for yeast. I bit the bullet and started my day off at 4am and cranked out 30 rolls for the brothers. The lamination and proofing went really well, not perfect but we are getting there. I attempted to make a glaze with milk, butter, vanilla extract and stevia, which worked pretty well but I couldn't get it to thicken the way I imagined. Next time maybe. And yes, I laminated cinnamon roll dough cause I don't care. 


Next up is my inaugural steps into understanding spelt and buckwheat, both floured and sprouted. When you bake with only whole wheat 100% of the time spelt and buckwheat don't change a whole lot. But the crust was much more crispy and crackly with a nice nutty flavor. I upped my hydration from 78 to 80, but it wasn't enough for the extra grains. Got more of a tight, dry crumb like my older batches last year. 

Spelt flour, buckwheat groats, buckwheat flour additions. No sprouts this time, just threw them in raw. I sprouted and baked with them in a few more pictures down, not much difference if any but had too many ingredients to tell. 

Quick tip, if you feel like you might forget an addition, like salt, after autolysing, then just add everything next to the autolysing dough, don't worry. Mix it all in when the time is up using the Forkish pincer method. 

and there you have it all mixed in after a few pincer pinches. 


These loaves were fine and merry, not spectacular. 





Now in my opinion what comes next is spectacular. A few days later and I decided to officially up my hydration for all my loaves to 83%. Exciting, right? I am always concerned about making big jumps to recipes that already work well, so I have been upping the hydration little by little. For me it's not working with wet dough that is hard, I'm concerned about the overall rise and shape of the loaf: the beauty of it all. 

I went with the mother of all seeded doughs for the last bake of the week, adding sprouted spelt, sprouted buckwheat, two kinds of flax, two kinds of sesame, pumpkin seeds and rolled oats, oh, and 3% rye flour because we have it. oh ya and walnuts. And yes, my bakes are getting darker and darker. It just has to be that way for that thin crackly crust.


And the middle scoring is going well. I moved from the right end to the middle to lower the ears I was getting. 

As usual I took many photos, too many, and none of the photos give the bread justice. Not sure how so many TFLers are taking such amazing shots. 


I made 5 loaves, gave away the two boules today. The boules looked cool, neat little scoring blooms. 

Baking specs: 

All flour is Giusto's high protein whole wheat fine grade

All salt is pink himalayan 

Recipe goes to 83% hydration if your starter is at 100% hydration. 

IceDemeter's picture

We're just heading in to the season where we will rarely be home (either helping friends at their farms or wandering the back country) and so will have a need for convenient foods that pack well, are nutrient rich, and require minimal preparation.  I won't have a ton of time most weeks, so right now I'm busy filling the freezer with soups and stews (to carry in a thermos, or to quickly heat for a late dinner or early breakfast), roasted and sliced meats for sandwiches or soup additions, and (of course!) a variety of baked goods.

Up until this year, the "baked goods" were comprised of a variety of rich and hearty quick bread muffins.  These were (are) all whole grain and loaded up with nuts and fruits and even vegetables (we are NOT talking cupcakes here!).  We rarely had sandwiches in the past, since there weren't any breads that we particularly liked, so a meal or snack would be some sliced meats, some raw veggies or fruit, and a muffin or two.  Now that I've become obsessed with this whole bread thing, however, that is going to change!

I have decided to still stock up on the muffins (still great for snacks), and on some sweeter breads (cinnamon buns and butternut blueberry rolls), and on more of what we consider "treat" breads (english muffin style buns, and 100% rye loaves), but will make the time each week to make our "daily" bread loaf --- purely for the joy that I get from the bake!

This prep week started on Monday with me being indecisive about what I wanted to bake this week, so pulling out a few wee bits of my rye NMNF starter and getting a few levains built up.  One ended as 160g 100% hydration rye, one ended as 300g 100% hydration whole wheat, and one --- well, it's Lechem's fault, really:

THAT one is sitting in the fridge - I want a full empty day to properly use it!

Tuesday had me deciding on a 60% whole grain "daily bread" loaf (750g flour: 22% hard red, 18% spelt, 15% durum, 5% rye @ 79% hydration):

which was bulked and shaped before hitting the fridge for a retarded proof:

I also figured I'd give a shot to a sweeter, enriched dough using up some flours that I had already milled and needed to be used (100% whole grain, 600g flour: 78% soft white, 11% hard red, 6% durum, 5% rye with 150g of potato added along with a couple of eggs, some half and half, a touch of maple syrup and totaling somewhere around 75% hydration).  This one just got mixed and sent in to the fridge for a retarded bulk ferment:

Somewhere in there I also threw together this bubbling cauldron of goodness to sit and simmer and mingle all day:

Wednesday had me starting out with the enriched dough - choosing to roll it out for a shot at cinnamon rolls.  It was quite cool and dry, so it seemed like a grand idea for me to try letting them proof in the unheated oven with the light on.  I got distracted by a neighbour, so didn't check on them for well over an hour --- at which time I discovered that my oven light is much too powerful for this usage, and I had some proofing dough floating in a lake of melted butter and cinnamon...  Ah well - flipped the oven on and baked them off, hoping for the best...

"The best" turned out to be more "buns" than "rolls", with a tender but solid crumb and some caramelized crunchy buttery sugary thing going on in every bite, contrasting well with the sourdough and whole grain tang.  Not exactly as planned, but definitely a good enough result (4 out of 12 are already eaten, so...)

Since the oven was already warm after these, I cranked it up even more and got the 60% whole grain loaf baked off:

Now that's more like it!  No crumb shot yet - we just finished up the "failure" from last week (still delicious on the 8th day after baking), so this one won't get sliced until tomorrow morning...

While that was baking, I got some muffins happening - a mix of barley flour and soft white wheat, with pumpkin, almonds, and cranberries coming along for the ride:

By dinner time, it was feeling like a good day:

But, when I was putting some things away in the fridge after dinner, I realized that there was still a rye levain hanging about in there not doing anything useful...  While I'm not really a fan of pizza, there was a post a while back that had me considering it:  It just looked so darned good that I started considering that pizza might be like bread --- that it might be that I just wasn't fond of the pizza I had been served in the past, but there might still be a pizza recipe out there that I might love...  I didn't have yeast to use this recipe (and don't have the experience to cross it over to sourdough)  so I popped on to the site, found a recommendation from MichaelLily for the dough and process from here: and figured I'd give it a shot... (without modifying my oven for frighteningly high temps, mind you!).  So - I grabbed some flour and mixed up some dough and got it in to the fridge to proof...

Thursday I had little baking planned, but saw that there was still some left-over rye levain in the fridge (the pizza dough didn't really use very much), so I threw together a quick 100% whole grain dough (600g flour: 33% barley, 27% spelt, 25% soft white wheat, and 15% rye all at 80% hydration).  I wanted something super quick, so did the bulk ferment in the microwave (not on - just with some hot water) for a 4 hour turnaround, then shaped it in to english muffin shaped buns and let them proof for a bit.  Just for the spirit of experimentation, I decided to bake them instead of grilling them, and put them in a 450 degree oven on a preheated steel covered with a roaster lid for 10 minutes then uncovered for the final 10 minutes:

Surprisingly (to me), the crumb ended up looking pretty much like it would have from the grill:

I did get more muffins happening while these were going on --- this time a batch of banana nut muffins with a 50/50 blend of soft white and oat flours:

We headed out for a walk before dinner, got to chatting with some folks on the trail, and didn't get home until quite late.  I did get the pizza dough out (it came out beautiful and stretchy and soft from the fridge), and tried to figure out the bake time for a 450 degree oven (I tried par-bake for 5 minutes then load with toppings then bake for 15 minutes), but it wasn't quite right.  I think I had too many toppings and should have par-baked it longer, since the centre came out quite mushy --- but the rest of the crust was lovely.  No pics (I was too hungry to even think about that), but there is still another ball of dough in the fridge for another day...

All baking is done for this week, and I've got a massive ham in the oven instead of more bread... well, so long as I don't find any more "leftover" levain hanging out in my fridge...

Next week - I'm just going to have to face down that durum starter and see what I can do with a 100% durum bake...  as well as whatever I come up with for our "daily" bread.  While I admit to being obsessed with the novelty of the baking, I must say that the wonderful flavours from even the "failed" experiments and the continuous inspiration provided by the posts and blogs here are making it tough to keep it in perspective that I'm only baking for 2 people...

Thanks all - and have a great weekend and upcoming week!


JR Bakes's picture
JR Bakes

This is an apricot pistachio sourdough bread made with 100% unbleached bread flour, ~75% hydration, approx. 2% salt. I often use whey to replace half the water, for added tenderness of the bread.

580 g unbleached bread flour

400 g water steeped with butterfly pea flower tea pieces (steeped 20 minutes with 15 g) (ordered on Amazon from Thailand, taking upwards of 30 days to arrive)

280 g starter (fed and bubbly 100% hydration)

14 g sea salt

30 g sugar

3/4 cup pistachios

1 cup dried apricots

Combine all ingredients using a wooden spoon, except nuts and fruit, into a shaggy mess in a plastic tub. Cover and allow to rest 30 minutes. The blue tea can dye your hands! Put oil on your hands to help remove later, or can use bleach water to wash afterwards.

Perform stretch and folds every 30 minutes for two hours. With the final turn, press dough flat upon a lightly oiled surface, 15" x 15", much like cinnamon rolls. Place nuts and apricots evenly over dough. Roll up, like a cinnamon roll, creating a large tube. Fold over and place in plastic tub for 1 1/2 hours for first rise. 

Use a spatula or plastic scraper to remove dough from the tub onto a lightly floured surface. Preform the round loaf, pressing any visible apricots or nuts back into the loaf. Rest 15 minutes, and final shape, trying not to let the apricots or nuts poke through. Transfer to a parchment lined 9" - 10" cake pan, push pan, or springform pan, one that will fit your 5 quart or bigger Dutch Oven, and cover with plastic wrap, allowing to proof 1 hour.

Perform a finger poke test to see if it is almost ready to bake - if it leaves an indent, begin preheating the oven and Dutch Oven 475 deg f 30 minutes. 

Score, and place inside the hot Dutch Oven, bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. Lower oven temp to 450 f,  remove lid, and bake for additional 5-10 minutes until the loaf develops a nice medium (bluish) brown color. Remove to cool on a cooling rack, thumping the bottom to test for readiness. If the bottom isn't dark enough, place in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow to cool before slicing.

This dough can be worked in a mixer with dough hook, or bread machine using the pizza dough cycle. Allow to rise 1-2 hours after initial period of working the dough then proceed.

(Inspiration from Ratti Wolfson from "Sourdough bakers" Facebook group, Feb 2017) 



dmsnyder's picture

I have made sourdough breads with tart dried fruit and toasted nuts for many years. Recently, I have been less happy with the ones I have been making. I don't think the breads are any worse. I think my standards are higher. So, this week I tried adding figs and walnuts to my current favorite sourdough just to see how it worked. Well, it is a winner. It's my new favorite fruit/nut sourdough. It is lighter with a better aerated, moister, more tender crumb than others I have made, and the flavor is as good if not better than my previous best. The crust is nice and crunchy. Here are  the formula and methods I used:


Walnut-Fig Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

(based on Ken Forkish's “Field Blend #2” from Flour Water Salt Yeast)

David M. Snyder

April, 2017



Total Dough




Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour



Whole rye flour









Walnut pieces (toasted)



Dried figs (coarsely diced)











Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour



Water (85-90ºF)



Active starter






  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the active starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  4. Ferment at 70-76ºF for 8-12 hours. It should have doubled in volume, have many bubbles on the surface and have a wrinkled surface. It should not have collapsed.

  5. If you are not ready to use the levain when it is ripe, it can be refrigerated for up to a couple days.


Final Dough



Wt (g)

AP flour


Whole wheat flour


Whole rye flour


Water (85-90ºF)




Walnut pieces (toasted)


Dried figs (coarsely diced)







  1. Toast the walnut pieces at 300ºF for 9 minutes. Cool completely.

  2. Cut the figs (Calmyrna, preferred) into pieces about marble-sized. Place in a sieve and rinse under running water. Place the sieve with the figs over a bowl to drain.

  3. In a large bowl, mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl and let it rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough, then add the ripe levain in 4-6 portions.

  5. Using a spatula or your hands, mix the dough to evenly distribute the salt and levain. Note: My preferred method is by hand. I wear a food-grade “rubber” glove, dip the fingers in water frequently and use the French technique of squeezing the dough between my fingers many times, alternating with stretching and folding the dough.

  6. When you feel the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled clean container and cover it.

  7. Bulk ferment for 50 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a floured board. Stretch is to a rectangle about 12 X 18”. Distribute the figs and walnuts evenly over the surface of the stretched out dough. Fold the dough. Repeat the stretching and folding a few times to distribute the figs and nuts evenly. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.

  9. Bulk ferment for another 50 minutes. Do another stretch and fold and return the dough to the bowl.

  10. Bulk ferment for another 50-90 minutes. The dough should be well aerated.

  11. Transfer the dough to the board and pre-shape as a ball. Cover with a cloth and let the dough relax for 10-30 minutes.

  12. Transfer the loaf to a well-floured banneton or brotform. Note: flouring the banneton/brotformen with a 50/50 mix of AP and Rice flour works best to prevent the dough from sticking to the proofing basket. Place the loaf in the basket in a food-grade plastic bag or cover well otherwise. Let the dough relax and start proofing at room temperature for a half hour or so.

  13. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

  1. Take the loaf out of the fridge but leave covered.

  2. With a baking stone on the oven's middle rack and your steaming apparatus of choice in place, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 45-60 minutes.

  3. Allow the loaf to proof for up to 90 minutes. It can be baked right out of the fridge I am told. (I never have done that.)

  4. Uncover the loaf and sprinkle it with semolina or cornmeal.

  5. Transfer the loaf to a peel and score as desired.

  6. Turn down the oven temperature to 460ºF. Steam your oven and transfer the loaf to the baking stone. Note: My method of oven steaming uses a 9” cast iron skillet filled with the kind of lava rocks used with gas grills. This is pre-heated along with my baking stone. The skillet sits off to the side on an oven rack below the one that holds the baking stone. To generate steam, I fill a perforated pie tin with a single layer of ice cubes. This is rested on top of the lava rocks just before I load the loaves onto the pizza stone.

  7. After 15 minutes, remove the steam apparatus.

  8. If you have a convection oven, switch to convection-bake at 435ºF. Otherwise, leave the oven at 460ºF conventional bake. Bake for another 30-35 minutes. Check the loaf after 30 minutes. If it is not fully baked but is getting too dark, turn down the oven temperature by 10ºF or so and bake until fully baked.

  9. The loaf is fully baked when the crust is darkly colored, tapping the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound and the internal loaf temperature is 205ºF or higher.

  10. Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.





dabrownman's picture

Lucy and I were talking about robots the other day.  I told her that I was pretty sure pets would be replaced by robots before people would be.  She thought about that and then said something truly profound.  She said I might be right.

No, that was not what was profound, but what amazed her about robots is that, even in their primitive stage today, robots with artificial intelligence are way better than artificial people who think they are intelligent.  I think she might be right about that too.  Then we started into Trans Humans where we do not agree on much at all and she is wrong about all of that as usual.

Monday was my daughter’s birthday, and like her Dad, she loves Indian food and is pretty much addicted to naan - especially garlic naan.  She loves Chicken Tikka Masala and I’m more of a hotter goat or lamb curry sort of guy.  I learned to make Indian food from a group of Pakistani Expat women who were in Saudi Arabia over 30 years ago – has it been that long?  Jeeze…. I feel a lot older than I am for some reason now.

I didn’t learn how to make a decent naan until a few years ago when I learned right here on TFL that you could make flatbreads on a gas grill.  Naan is an enriched yeasted flatbread that comes out perfect on the grill because it is supposed to have charred spots on it from the screaming hot Tandoori oven and the gas grill can get to 650 F and do the same thing……if you don’t walk away for even a second and the naan goes up in smoke.

Don't forget to have a salad with that Indian food

A robot would be perfect for this grill work and most grill work for that matter.  I want mine to make prickly pear margaritas too but that is another story.  My favorite naan is green onion, a touch of Indian spices and chili with some garlic but others aren’t so adventurous.  Since it was my daughter’s request on her birthday, it was CTM and Garlic Naan.  So, I made lamb stew for me the day before, it wasn’t a curry but close enough.

There are all kinds of naan out there - some with milk, cream or yogurt, some with butter or oil or both some without any, some have an egg and some don’t but most all have sugar in them.  Since the chicken in CTM is marinated in a very spicy yogurt sauce overnight before being skewered and grilled.

I put yogurt in this naan, with butter, oil, egg and sugar some fresh garlic and a larger pinch of instant yeast with enough water to get if to about 70% hydration. Word to the wise, if you are grilling naan you want to get some fat in there to keep it from sticking to the grates.   If you are making it in the oven or in a non-stick pan, you can get rid of some or all of the fats if you want. 

For this batch I took some of the dough flour and water and made a poolish while the rest of the flour was autolysing for 1 hour with the yogurt, egg and remainder of the dough water.  Since you don’t want elasticity and do want extensibility you want to use a flour that has lower protein and gluten like AP instead if bread flour – same with pizza dough.

We added the poolish and the sugar and did 50 slap and folds to get everything mixed.  For the 2nd set of 20 slap and folds we put in the softened butter and the oil in.  You always want to make sure the entire dough is well hydrated before putting in the fats.  The large clove of minced garlic went in for the 3rd set of 10 slap and folds.  Then 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds were done.  All the slapping, stretching and folding sets were done on 20 minute intervals.

Then it was shaped into a ball and placed in an oiled SS bowl for a 24 hour retard in the fridge.  We took it out 2 hours before we wanted to roll it out and put it on a heating pad to warm up and finish proofing.

We divided it into 6 pieces by eye with a dough scraper.  it takes about 300 g of flour in the mix if you are trying to get the recipes 6 naan - or up it for you needs.  I rolled it out pretty thin 3 times with a 5-minute rest in between each time to get it thin enough since the LaFama has a bit more gluten forming protein in it that most AP flours at 11.2% protein.

I did scrape the grill off and it is well seasoned so I didn’t oil it and it is a 4 burner one so I could od 2 larger sized naan at a time.  I heated the grill to 425 F and then turned it down to the lowest propane setting since my grill will hold 400 F at that setting.

I tossed them on, brushed the top with melted butter and then spun them at 1 minute.  At 1 ½- minutes I turned them over and brushed the grilled side with butter and then repeated the spinning at 1 minute more and took them off a half minute after spinning – 3 minutes total.  They were delicious as was the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Baby Girl was happy as pie.


Poolish -A big pinch of IY with 20% of the flour and a like weight in water.  Let sit for 1 hour as the Dough autolyses


80% Lafama AP

10% butter and sugar

2% oil and salt

5% yogurt

1 large clove of garlic minced fine for each 300 g of flour

Enough water to make 79& overall hydration

¼ stick of butter melted to brush on teach side while on the grill

 melted to brush on teach side while on the grill

Filomatic's picture

Acme in San Francisco makes a lot of different breads.  I often pick up their sourdough cheese rolls, and finally decided to attempt them myself.  Hamelman has a cheese bread with 60% hydration stiff levain.  It got very active and stickier than I expected, never having made a stiff levain before.  The dough itself was 60% hydration, considerably lower than I ever make.

Before baking I called Acme to see if I could find anything out about their method, and to my surprise they were an open book.  It seemed that their process is similar to what I was going to do, and they told me what cheeses they use.  The result was mixed.  The rolls overcooked on the bottom, and the dough was drier than Acme's.  Otherwise, the crumb was decent and the flavor quite similar to the model.

They were shaped and cold retarded overnight, and cooked on a sheet pan on parchment at 460 F for about 30 minutes.  Clearly the heat was too high.  If I make these again I'd lower the heat to 400 or 375, up the hydration a bit and the olive oil more than a bit, and possibly add more cheese.  Please let me know your thoughts.


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