The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


rossnroller's picture

I don't know why I've neglected to try Hamelman's whole wheat levain all this time - probably because I find it hard to leave rye out of a bread. Recently, a friend put in a request for a wholewheat loaf, so thought it was a good time to give Hamelman a run with this one.

Glad I did. This was a lovely bread. I've made it a few times since, including with 20g of toasted wheatgerm (one of my fave flavour enhancing tricks - courtesy of one of David's terrif SFBI feedback posts). Love it with or without this enhancement.

I've found this bread is particularly delicious toasted (3 days after baking seems optimal)...and it makes a great Croque Monsieur. For anyone with Hamelman's 'Bread' who has not gotten around to trying the WW levain, recommend you do so post haste!

Cheers all!

(Pics coming - can't see any image uploading function at the moment)

loydb's picture

This is my take on Peter Reinhart's whole-grain struan. Instead of adding yeast, I made the firm starter using's San Francisco strain that I've been feeding nothing but home-milled wheat.

For the flour, I milled a mixture of 45% hard red wheat, 45% hard white wheat and 10% rye.

For the soaker I used 2.5 oz roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds, plus .5 oz each of black seasame seeds, two different kinds of flax seed and two different mustard seeds. These are combined with flour and a little water, then left out overnight.

The firm starter was left out overnight to rise.

The next day, the firm starter and the soaker were worked together on a cutting board, then chopped up into a dozen pieces and mixed with the wet ingredients in my DLX. You can see it come together as I mix the preferments with oil, honey, and agave nectar. I also added in 2T of espresso-ground coffee beans that I'd finished roasting earlier in the day (Costa Rica La Legua Bourbon taken just into the beginning of second crack, for you fans), plus a teaspoon of caramel color from KA.

After the dough came together, it got a 15-minute autolyse.

Here's the final dough after another 10 minutes of hand kneading.

For the first 2 hours, I did a stretch-and-fold every half hour. Afterwards, it was left to rise for another 3 hours.

The risen dough was broken into four pieces and shaped for mini-loaves. They proofed for another 2.5 hours.

The loaves were cooked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  

The result is a dense, but not at all heavy, bread that is fantastic sliced thin and served with cheese and fruit.

PiPs's picture

One of the foremost incentives for purchasing my own grain mill was rye.

From coarsely milled rye grains soaked and added to wheat dough, to freshly milled flour and a thriving rye starter.

Rye has been on my mind this week … probably a little too much to be called healthy. So with some free time available last night, I shifted thinking into practise.

Rye and Mixing

The first bread is a Dark Sour Rye. The formula is kind of pieced together from bits of knowledge and tips gathered from around the web (namely Danubians formula) This was the first time baking rye in my 8x4x4 pullman pan so quite a bit of guess work went into the amount of dough required to fill it…this will be an ongoing process as I was a still little short on the correct amount.


Dark Sour Rye

Total dough weight: 3kgs
Hydration: 85%
Prefermented Flour: 35%w
DDT: 29°C

Day before
Rye sour (20hrs @ 28°C)

Starter: 30g
Freshly milled rye flour: 612g
Water: 690g

Morning before
Soaker (12hrs @ 20°C)
Cracked rye: 525g
Water: 525g

Final Dough (29°C)
Rye sour: 1224g
Soaker: 1050g
Freshly milled rye flour: 613g
Water: 275g
Salt: 35g

Bulk ferment for 30 mins. Using wet hands, divide, scale, shape and then place into greased tins seams down dusted on top with flour

Prove for about two hours

Bake in steamed oven at 250˚C for 10 mins then turn down to 190˚C and bake for a further two hours. Turn down to 150˚C bake for one hour. Turn down to 100˚C and bake for a further two hours with oven set to auto shutoff and allow to cool in oven until morning.

We went to bed with the heady smell of caramelised rye pervading the house … it seemed like it was even throughout my clothing.

Oiled and wrapped

When I arose in the morning the tins were still warm and the bread was a heavenly dark chocolate colour. I brushed them with grapeseed oil after cooling, wrapped them in paper and set them aside for the excruciating long wait until cutting. I also  realised late into the bake that I had neglected to dock the larger loaf so I am expecting a flying crust … to be continued ….

The second dough was an experiment in using my rye starter on a sifted wheat bread and overnight rise in the fridge. It was time to get out of my comfort zone as I have been hesitant to retard the dough for fear of over proving. I also used a fair sized portion of soaked cracked rye for some added texture to the crumb.


Quite Light Cracked Rye

Total dough weight: 1kgs
Hydration: 82%
Prefermented Flour: 15%
DDT: 24°C

Morning before (12 hrs)
Cracked rye: 66g
Water: 66g

Final Dough
Freshly milled rye starter @ 110% Hydration: 173g
Sifted freshly milled wholewheat flour: 467g
Soaker: 132g
Water: 293g
Salt: 12g

Milling Wheat

Autolyse flour and water for one hour.

With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starter into dough until smooth and feel no lumps then knead for 10 mins (I use slap and fold). Rest dough for five mins. Incorporate salt and soaker and knead for a further five mins.

Bulk ferment three hours with three stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 1.5hrs.

Preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Shape.

Final proof was roughly 30 mins at room temperature (23°) then into fridge for eight hrs.

Bake direct from fridge in preheated dutch oven for 10 mins at 250°C then a further 20 mins at 200°C. I them removed it from dutch oven and baked for a further 30 mins directly on stone for even browning.

When my daughters arrived home after school and spotted this loaf I was quickly instructed to cut them a slice. The cracked rye was hidden away in the crumb from there prying eyes. It was demolished. Best crust I have had made for a while.

This bread has tang. Not overpowering, but lingering. The cracked rye is soft and barely registers in the mouth.

On a side note...with the formulas, would everyone prefer I use bakers percentages, weights or both. I am writing these the way I construct them, which I understand may not be the best for all people.

Cheers, Phil

** Update

Well as expected my undocked loaves "lost their roof". If any experienced rye bakers have any clues that would be greatly appreciated. I know when I did this bread a few years ago I had the same issue and I think docking fixed it....thoughts?

Tastes fantastic. Dark, rich and quite sour ... but I am not happy with flying crust and I will bake for less time. Crust is not tough just too much colouring on outside of the loaf while lighter inside.

Cheers, Phil



sam's picture


I've never yet made a poolish bread, and wanted to try it, so here was my first one.  20% of the flour was the poolish w/baker's yeast (0.2%) at 100% hydration (fermented appx 10 hours).  57% of the flour was a cold flour soaker at 80% hydration in parallel while the poolish was fermenting.   Final dough hydration was 66%.   All flour was KA AP flour.   (I did not cold retard the dough, or make a mash for this bread).

I wasn't expecting much, so I took the opportunity to practice slashing - mainly speed of slashing.   I sort of went to town on a couple of these, just randomly slashing it all over.   :)  

The bread actually tastes much better than I thought it would.    Had a bit of a time buttering it... the melting butter just formed pools inside of the holes.   

Needs some finesse, but here are pics:



Happy baking!


jcking's picture

Dragels (dray-gulls like bagels)
My first attempt at bagels made with a Durum sourdough starter and Durum flour. This is a seat of the pants, see what happens, work in a few different ways to make bagels. I'll go into detail and a formula when I'm happy with the results.

Quick rundown: sourdough Durum dough treated like a no knead with an overnight rise in the fridge. Out of fridge, stretch and fold, one hour bulk ferment, shape and short proof. All good up to this point. Poaching; didn't go very well as illustrated by the odd look, too much molasses made them too dark, once in the poaching fluid they became very weak and wanted to fall apart. Did my best to hold them together and here are the results.

As far as taste; not too bad. The molasses over powered the sweet I was expecting from the Durum.

For me it was fun and enlightening.
Bakers always rise to the occasion ~ Jim

varda's picture

Ok.   The truth is that I don't have much to say about the bread I baked today.   I just want to post this picture:

All right - it is a Pain au Levain with around 30% whole durum.   Tastes good.  

That's all I have to say. 

Szanter5339's picture

Szanter5339's picture
Szanter5339's picture

AprilSky's picture

We have 2 Costco conveniently located in different sites of the city I live in. We also have many of the others but Costco is always my best choice for grossary. I bought this cooking book at Costco 4 years ago and have been practicing the recipes it offers. And as it says I found it incredibly easy to follow. Rustic Tuscany Bread from the cooking book has been the most facinating piece to me. I did it quite often and I did it kind of my own special version. It looks gorgeous and tastes fantastic. My friends screamed every time I brought it to dinner parties.  

It is incredibly easy.


I don't like frozen bread dough so I had to come up with the bread dough myself. It's the same dough I use for focaccia


Drained tomato stew as filling.


I rolled the dough to a 5mm thick 30x40 cm rectangle and spray 1 table spoon of olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt evenly over the dough.



Drained tomato stew over 2/3 of dough.



Add a layer of pizza cheese. 


I guess it will be pretty much OK if you add more ingredients.


First 1/3 on the second 1/3~~~~My poor English. ><!


2/3 on the last 1/3~~~~folding done!


Some flour on both sides~~~


Let it rest for one hour to double the size.


Score few diamonds on the top of dough. This is the most exciting part of making the bread.


   The tip is to cut the dough deep and wide to reveal the filling but still firm enough to hold the filling inside the dough after baking.


The beauty from my oven.


I love how the scoring turned out.





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