The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


wassisname's picture

     I've had salzstangerl (salt sticks) on the brain for a while now. I loved these in my younger days and ever since I saw them mentioned in Bread I've been looking for an excuse to try them.  Hamelman recommends his 40% rye sourdough dough for the purpose.  It's been quite a few years since I've had one, but I can say with confidence that the German bakeries in southern California I once frequented were not using a dough like this.  They were more like straight pretzels.  Probably no rye and certainly not sourdough.  As with most breads I'm sure there are innumerable variations, but I'm a sucker for rye sourdoughs so I went in the Hamelman direction. 
     I already have a 30% rye that I like so I used that instead of the recommended 40% rye.  The dough came together nicely, then I began shaping...  oh, the poor unsuspecting dough.  The look I was going for was a long, slender, gently tapered roll.  Imagine a croissant, without the layers, and straight, and not so plump in the middle, and sprinkled with coarse salt and caraway seeds.  Easy, right?  Heh, heh, heh...   I was laughing aloud by the time I "shaped" the last of them.  "Sea slug" was the first association that popped into my head.  Having since looked-up photos of sea slugs I don't think that was entirely fair... to the slugs.  Ba-dum-bum!
     They still turned out pretty well, but not quite what I was after.  The recipe for Czech Crescent Rolls in Leader's Local Breads actually sounds closer to what I remember.  I think somewhere in the middle is where I want to be.  The next batch will have less rye, less prefermented flour, and lower hydration.  I'll add some butter and maybe some yeast.  And now that I know how not to cut the triangles the dough will be less abused during shaping. 


The nice surprise came from the other half of the same dough:

Clearly this is what this dough was meant for.  I was really happy with this one (though, by the look of the crumb, I still need to work on the ol' shaping skills) and it only got made because I didn't feel like shaping another pan of salzstangerl!  The dough is 30% whole rye (all fermented @ 100% hydration) with a final hydration of about 70%.

I've been tinkering with my oven set-up, testing the lower limit of my top stone placement.  The loaf sprang more than I ever thought it would and just touched the rack above it.  That's cutting it a little too close!


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

One of my favorite sourdough variations is inspired by a combination of the classic blue cheese and walnut sourdough (which I've never made because I don't like blue cheese) and a twisted sourdough with chunks of dark chocolate that I got from a bakery in Chelsea Market in Manhatten on a family vacation some years back. The combination: sourdough with dark chocolate and walnuts.

It's best as a breakfast bread: a little too sweet for dinner, but too bread-y for dessert. The dark chocolate is overpowering when melted, so the trick is to bake it the night before you want to eat it, and let it cool overnight so the chocolate hardens. The taste is delectable: the sour of the bread and the chewiness of the crust combines with the crunchy nuts, and the bitter-sour flavors of the dark chocolate, all infused with the walnut oil.

I've made it with several different sourdough formulas, but last night I baked up a batch based on David Snyder's famous San Joaquin Sourdough, to good effect.

Formula: (All credit goes to dmsnyder's post here)

  • 450g King Arthur AP flour (90%)
  • 25g WW Flour (5%)
  • 25g Whole Rye Flour (5%)
  • 150g Active Starter at 100% hydration (30%)
  • 360g Water (72%)
  • 10g Salt (2%)
  • 125g Coursely chopped walnuts (or broken by hand) (25%)
  • 100g Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips (20%) (ideal for their shape, and for being excellent chocolate a a bargain price)
  1. Mix flours, water and starter (David likes to mix the water and starter first; I don't know if it matters).  Autolyze 20-60 minutes.
  2. Add salt, walnuts and chocolate, then do 30 stretch-and-folds in the bowl.
  3. Cover tightly and ferment 3 hours at room temperature.  Repeat the stretch-and-folds in the bowl at 30, 60 and 90 minutes, then a french-fold on the board at 135 and 180 minutes.
  4. Place in refrigerator for 18-21 hours.  
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator, divide in half and pre-shape as rounds.  Allow to rest 1 hour.
  6. Shape as batards or boules, and place in a couche or banneton, as appropriate.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees with baking stone.  
  7. Proof loaves 45 minutes, then transfer to parchment on a sheet pan/peel, score and load in oven.  Steam using your favorite method, and lower temperature to 460.  
  8. Bake 30 minutes, turning loaves and removing any steaming apparatus after 15.  Turn off oven and crack the door for 5 minutes, then remove loaves to a cooling rack.  Cool at least 8 hours before eating.
pmccool's picture

Today was a fun day, featuring a thoroughly informal and just as thoroughly entertaining class on how to make bread.  Eight friends and acquaintances received a lesson on making a honey whole-wheat bread.  Two of them thought that they would just observe but we had them up to their elbows in flour along with the rest of the group in no time flat. 

It was raucous and messy and fast-paced.  Lots of questions (good ones!) and lots of interest.  At the end, we helped Joan clean up her kitchen and get things put back to rights.  Afterward, everyone took their shaped and panned dough home for the final rise and baking.  I've already seen a couple of FB posts.

The format was simple.  Everyone brought their own utensils and I supplied the ingredients since I need to clean out the pantry anyway.  I had a sheet with the recipe and instructions printed up for each student, along with another tip sheet that, among other things, referenced TFL.  I had everyone weighing and measuring after a minimal intro, then used the autolyze time to go into a bit more detail and field questions.  There was one bobble, mine, while assembling the final dough, in that I forgot to have them put the butter in the dough.  So much for practicing mise en place!  Anyway, it was a good opportunity to demonstrate that just about any mistake is recoverable and that adjustments are inevitable even without mistakes.

We used the time for the bulk ferment to munch on a loaf of Sweet Vanilla Challah that I had brought along for that purpose, along with the demo loaf of the honey whole-wheat that I had prepared in advance.  Bonus discovery of the day: challah smeared with Nutella and coconut butter is way more than just good.  Next time you're in Florida, pick up a jar of the coconut butter.  Just sayin'.

Some pictures:

I'm pretty sure that at least one or two will use this as a launch pad for further baking on their own.  Even if it doesn't become something that they choose to do consistently, they at least have the knowledge that they can make bread on their own.  And that it can be a lot of fun.  That's a good thing to have.


lumos's picture

 This is my version of bread which became very popular in Japan some years ago.  Apparently some Italian restaurant in Tokyo started serving this some years ago and it became so popular,  other restaurants and bakers followed suit, so did home bakers.

 It’s basically basic French lean dough made with small amount of yeast and long, cold retardation, filled with young green soya beans or young broad beans and  Pecorino or Parmesan.  It would’ve be  more ‘Italian’ if you use broad beans, but 'edamame' (枝豆 = young soya beans) version seems to be slightly  more popular there; a sort of French got married to Italian by Japanese matchmaker. :p

  My verson uses same dough as my regular baguette dough (Hamelinet poolish baguette).  To that, I add about 60-70g young soya beans (frozen. Defrosted) and 30-40g Parmigiana Reggiano (chopped small) by scattering them over the dough when letter-folding the dough twice to shape it into a pave just before the dough goes into the final proof. 

Sometimes I bake it large like that, in that case in a pre-heated Pyrex casserole with a lid on for 20 minutes @ 240C and another 20 minutes without a lid @ 200C, like this......

(Using a Pyrex casserole upside down, the lid as a cover)


Other times, I cut it into 6 small pieces, like petite paves (no need to shape. just cut it with sharp bench knife),  bake them for 10 minutes @ 240C with steam on hot baking stone and 10-12 minutes more without steam @ 200C, as it's always done in Japan.  (For some reason, they seem to think that sort of roughly cut small rolls, like petite pave are called ‘rustique.’  Another case of something lost in translation….:p) 


And these are how they look like….

A large pave



This large one was for my friend, so no crumb shot, but here’s the petite pave version I baked a few weeks ago for ourselves…..of which I only remembered to take a photo after I sliced into the last remaining piece. Blame my brain….


Note :  You can adjust the amount of soya/broad beans and cheese to your liking, of course, but please try not to  over-load with cheese too much.  Cheesy note is supposed to be in the background of this bread as a contrast to bring out the delicate sweetness of flavour and aroma of young beans, not to overwhelm it.  The beans are in the leading role and the cheese is there to support it.



Loavesoffun's picture

Yesterday did the prelim work to creating my first loaf. 

Just using the directions from the Sourdough Intl. book this time around. 

Pulled my starters from the fridge and fed them.


Removed the prescribed amount of starter from the jars and then added the flour and salt water mixture. I let my Kitchen Aid do all of the mixing and kneading.

Fed the two starter jars in preparation for putting them to sleep in the fridge.  I had planned to put them into the fridge before going to get my kids from school. 

Got home and was very surprised to see that both jars (still on the countertop) had overflowed all down the sides into puddles on the counter.  Guess they just got away from me... OOPS! 

As a result, I had to do something with the excess.  Pulled out the Kitchen Aid and started making another loaf.

Got the mess all cleaned up.  Transferred the starters to clean jars.  Then ping.... they now have their names.  My runaway starters are now and forever called Thelma and Louise


Loavesoffun's picture

Last Saturday I started my SFO sourdough starter from Sourdoughs, Intl.   As a newbie to breadmaking and especially to sourdough starters the directions were a bit complicated. 

Tried the lightbulb and styrofoam for a proof box and was glad I tested the temp before starting my starter.  Temps got up to 102 degrees!

I ended up proofing inside my oven with the light turned on.  Temps stayed steady at about 91 degrees.

Second stage proofing was done at room temp.

My starter was very active by Tuesday/Wednesday.

I saved all of my throw aways with a plan to make pancakes.

Loavesoffun's picture

Last Saturday I started my SFO sourdough starter from Sourdoughs, Intl.   As a newbie to breadmaking and especially to sourdough starters the directions were a bit complicated. 

Tried the lightbulb and styrofoam for a proof box and was glad I tested the temp before starting my starter.  Temps got up to 102 degrees!

I ended up proofing inside my oven with the light turned on.  Temps stayed steady at about 91 degrees.

Second stage proofing was done at room temp.

My starter was very active by Tuesday/Wednesday.

I saved all of my throw aways with a plan to make pancakes.

whosinthekitchen's picture

I began a rye and pineapple juice starter this week.  When Igot to day 5 and needed to split the starter, I just couldn't throw any away.  The culture has a fruity aroma and a good bit of rise action.  Not wanting pancakes, I decided to make sourdough biscuits.  The result was a two and a half inch rise from oven spring, a tosty crunch for the bottom with a tender crumb inside.  Appealing to the eye? Yes.  The aroma in the house, divine.  The real tell, of course, is in the taste. And the Mr. was pleased.  A hint of the sourdough with a bit of a nutty-ishness (from the rye in the build?), the biscuits were a hit.

Sour Dough Biscuits from www.sarah'

2  1/2  cups flour

1/3 cup lard (I used butter)

1/2  t  salt

2 t  baking powder

1/2  t baking soda

1 cup stqarter

1 cup milk

Directions:  I mixed the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter.

I added this to the starter and did a rough stir to start.  Then I added the milk.  I used a fold type stir action to incorprate the milk into the rest just until all was mixed.  I turned the sticky dough out onto the foured board for a light dusting of flour and a three fold action.  I repeated this as the dough was quite sticky.  I patted the dough to about an inch thickness and cut.  I placed biscuits in a greased pan, brushed the tops with butter and allowed them to rise for about 45 minutes.  I baked them for 25 minutes in a 350 oven.  

So, don't throw out that starter!  Bake a batch of biscuits instead!

The next bake with the starter will be No Knead Scilian Bread by Ed P.  Recipe and results are hared on

Bake Away,



PiPs's picture

We cut the miche today, three days after baking...and after a lazy Saturday lunch sent my parents home with half.

This miche was made on the fly...with these thought processes.

Total dough weight: 1.8kgs
Hydration: 82% (Freshly milled flour is thirsty...did not seem this hydrated)
Prefermented Flour: 25%
DDT: 24°C

Whole wheat Levain @ 60% Hydration: 400g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled and Sifted: 517g
Spelt freshly milled: 122g
Rye freshly milled: 100g
Water: 661g
Salt: 20g


Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with cool water. Autolyse 1hr

Knead (slap and fold) 20mins with 5 min break in the middle.

Bulk ferment for 2hrs with two stretch and folds in the first hour at 30min intervals as dough needed some strength.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping into boule. Shaped dough placed into mixing bowl with floured teatowel.

Final proof was in fridge as the miche had to wait for oven. I judged that the size of the loaf would take a while to cool and the proof would be complete in the fridge as the dough was pretty lively...was a good guess.

Baked under SS bowl at 250°C for 20mins then 40mins at 200°C

Really enjoy working with dough this size and was happy with the spring the oven achieved....the rye flour adds a touch of tang and earth. A bread of this size sure gets noticed.

One of my parents dogs, Mr Hermann spent some time cleaning crumbs off the floor.....




trailrunner's picture

I have been making Susan's, Wild Yeast Blog,  100% sourdough bagels for a couple months now...every 2 weeks. They have been perfect every batch. That is not something I can usually say about formulas . I have been stressing my KA and doubling the batch...the motor juuuust manages to do what needs to be done. I give a minute or so by hand on the counter top. The lovely thing about the 100% sourdough is that you needn't do the float test and there is never a worry about the " wrinkled " finish to which many yeast raised bagels succumb. There are pics from the fridge retard to finished crumb.  I also make her " Norwich - more sourdough" and have had a perfect result each week.

I keep my starters in the fridge. I refresh them with feedings  every 1-2 weeks depending, at q4 h x 3 and then use them. They are about 3 yrs old. I don't know what hydration I just keep them at a consistency that is very sticky  to stir. I feed my white starter with rye periodically as they grow more strongly. I feed the rye with white to lighten it occasionally. Very laissez-faire . 

I bake only in cast iron pots. The loaves are each  1000g pre bake. I spritz lightly with water as I place the loaves in the pots. I bake covered 15 min and then uncovered for 20 min. The crust sings and stays crisp . When thawed uncovered on the counter the crust is as crisp as it was post bake. 

You will note  the parchment paper has been torn after I turn the loaves out onto it. I make a " sling" out of the parchment and it makes it very easy to lower the loaves into the hot pots. Have had no problems at all in the years I have been doing this. Having the paper torn prebake allows perfect browning. Enough are the pics. c

bagels going into fridge to retard after 4 hr room temp rise: ready to boil after overnight retard: boiling: boiled: baked: closeup baked: lovely chewy crumb: bread after retard ( I do not rise at room temp at all...all rise takes place in fridge) turned out on parchment and paper torn to shape: slashed and ready for hot pot: 15 min into bake and notice slashes have opened:









a finished loaf: cooled and ready to cut and serve with local Lexington VA wild flower honey from our last visit to the town : crumb: Lovely slightly sour flavor , chewy crumb and very crusty exterior. Remains crusty even with freezing. Sour develops for days and the loaf evolves nicely. c


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