The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


breadsong's picture

I just attended Kneading Conference West 2011 in Mount Vernon, Washington, which was held September 15-17.
What a wonderful gathering of farmers, millers, researchers and bakers! I met a lot of very nice and interesting people!
The whole experience was fantastic - meeting so many people and seeing a few people I'd met before, attending the seminars and lectures, the beautiful setting in amongst the gardens and orchard, and the food was delicious!

I had the pleasure of meeting Farine-mc at the conference, along with another Vancouver Island food writer, Rhona McAdam.
They have both posted really nice write-ups about the conference:
*Edited to add:

*Edited to add:
I also really enjoyed meeting Teresa of Northwest Sourdough. Teresa has also written about Kneading Conference West, and included some great photos and video! in her post:

These ladies have written about the conference far better than I ever possibly could, so I will stop writing now and just share pictures of ovens, and breads and pastries brought and made by the instructors and attendees! :^)

Wood-firing bagels (note the charred bagel board!)
  ...bagels were flipped once dry enough

Beautiful breakfasts! kindly provided by BreadFarm and Macrina Bakery and Cafe
BreadFarm's lemon-berry danish was exquisite!   ... Macrina's pumpkin bread was fabulous!
...and Macrina's beautiful bundt cake:

Some baking from the conference classes

Professional Baking class taught by Jesse Dodson and Michael Eggebrecht
 Professional Baking class - Boule - wow!
Large Ciabatta - Professional Baking class
  fresh, moist, delicious...the cheese was great too
Barley breads (instructors Andrew Ross, Leslie Mackie)
 ...and tasty barley pretzels also!

Morning Buns from Andrew Meltzer's Laminated dough class (beauties!)

...a lovely scoring pattern on this loaf, wood-fired and made with freshly milled flour and instruction from Larry Jansen

An assortment of extremely delicious breads brought by Cliff Leir, of fol epi bakery in Victoria, BC
(slightly blurry shot, trying to get my camera to go quicker than that knife coming in on the left!)

...and a couple of ovens, the oven on the right constructed on site! (instructor Kiko Denzer)

A tour of the BreadFarm Bakery was offered, and what a display of gorgeous breads. I've tasted the Roasted Allium bread and Sour Cherry Lemon bread - incredibly flavorful :^) Here are just a few of their lovely breads!

I am so happy I got the chance to meet and talk to so many amazing people, to learn lots of new things, and taste so much good food and bread at this Kneading Conference!
:^) from breadsong





lumos's picture

It all started when Arlo blogged about his beautiful Pain de Urban made with rye levain.

 A few days later, it was Syd followed it with a STRONG recommendation that everyone and their grandmother and their dogs should bake it because it was so good. 

 So I had to do it. My first experience with rye sour, which was a revelation. Even though I have baked loaves with similar combination and ratios of flours but with wheat flour sourdough,  using rye for starter seems to develop a different kind of flavour profile.  Really impressed.

Then came Khalid with his second version of  "Hans’s loaf with rye levain",  of which formula I had printed out when it was posted last year……and got buried somewhere in my ‘Bread to Bake’ file which has now  grown to the size of Jupitar.  The only reason I hadn't baked it was because I didn't have rye sour.  But now I do!

So, I dig it out and and baked it.  And this is my result.  My version of Khalid’s version of Hans’s Pain au Levain which he made ‘when his life gave him too much rye starter.’ (Kudos for his ‘life’!)  



 I’m so grateful to all those four great bakers for creating such wonderful recipes and sharing them with us and for their kindness and patience in replying to my relentless questions.

Thank you, guys! ……and sorry, I tweaked your formulae quite a bit again…..Just can’t help it! :p



Pain au Levain with Wholewheat and Rye Sour

    (Makes two medium sized loaves – dough weight = around 640g each)

Rye Levain –Rye 120g, water 90g (75% hydration)

              Feed twice during 8-12 hr period before use; first feed = rye 30g + water 25g, second feed = rye 90g + water 65g


Main Dough – All of rye levain above (210g)

                               Strong 460g

                               WW  120g

                               Spelt  20g

                               Wheatgerm  2 tbls

                                Salt  12g

                               Water  430g

                             (Note :  Both rye and WW are about 17% of total flour)


  1. Mix all the ingredients except for salt and 10g of water. Autolyse for 1 hour.
  2. Add salt and remaining water. S & F vigorously in the bowl until salt is distributed well. Cover and rest.
  3. S & F 3 – 4 times over 2 1/2 – 3 hrs.
  4. Divide into two. Pre-shape & shape and put them into banettons.
  5. Cold retard for 10 – 12 hours.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes with cover at 240-250 C.
  7. Lower the temperature to 200 C, remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes or so.



This bread is now one of my ‘Top 3 Favourites.’ :)






ehanner's picture

I have been baking a batch of Bagels every other day for a week, trying to figure out how get consistent results and decide which shaping method to use and recipe to use. Most recently my goal has been to incorporate onions in the process and make a batch of half onion and a few poppy seed and a few "everything".  In another thread I had asked the best way to add onions on top so I could split the batch up and change the topping using the same dough mix. For these, I re hydrated the dry onions with hot water and once cooled, spooned them onto the tops prior to over turning them onto the Bagel Board. The onions didn't burn and the flavor was good. This is a work in progress.

I like the Hamelman recipe and method so far. I'm patiently waiting for my copy of  "Inside the Jewish Bakery" which I will consult when it arrives. I've gotten the feel for rolling the snakes (Glenn's usage lol) and have finally embraced the concept of shaping and retarding overnight. I like to retard in bulk for other breads but there are a few reasons why it works better in this sequence. Here are the results.

No burned onions this time.

A little Lox and Capers cover the bread.


inkedbaker's picture

this whole bread thing gets more fun by the day!!

GSnyde's picture

I tried two very different doughs in my new Bosch Universal Plus this weekend.  The machine performed very well, and the breads were all good.

I made a batch (three pan loaves) of Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread.  The machine handled the dough very nicely, and kneaded it to a moderate window pane in about 5 minutes (with a couple stops to scrape the bowl and shaft).  This formula calls for high gluten flour, along with whole wheat and rolled oats.  I had previously used bread flour, but used Sir Lancelot this time.  The resulting bread has a slightly firmer chew (a good change), but is still tender and moist.  The flavor is wonderful.  It was perfect for roast turkey sandwiches.

Then I put the BUP to the real test…bagels.  One major reason for getting this mixer was to let a motor knead stiff bagel dough, and save me from the sweat and strain.  In about 14 minutes of mixing/kneading on low speed, the BUP turned out a beautiful, silky dough.  I used 75% Sir Lancelot and 25% BRM enriched flour (a bread flour), and otherwise stuck with the Krakowski recipe in the upcoming Inside the Jewish Bakery.  After fermenting, the dough was very elastic, and it took quite an effort to roll out the strands.  After having experimented both with diastatic malt and honey in the boiling water, we’ve settled on honey for superior flavor.

The flavor and texture are very pleasing and they look nice too.

 So far, I love mah BUP.


pmccool's picture

It was a busy baking weekend here in Pretoria.  My lease for the house is up at the end of September, which means I'll be in temporary quarters for the last two weeks of my stay here.  Since I don't know what I might have for kitchen facilities during that time, I'm trying to fit in the baking that I need/want to do while I can.

On Friday evening, I mixed the liquid levain that the Vermont Sourdough formula calls for, plus enough extra for sourdough pancakes on Saturday morning.  Never one to leave well enough alone, I also set up a soaker consisting of cracked rye at 10% on flour, with an equal amount of water, to include in the bread.  I need to use up what I can, right?  And I haven't been wrong yet about choosing which breads to grace with some cracked rye.

On Saturday morning, I assembled the final dough for the Vermont Sourdough and put it through its stretch and fold regimen.  A formula for this bread, posted by zolablue can be found here, with corrected metric weights here.  The day was a bit cool, with temperatures only getting up into the mid-60s, so both the bulk and final ferments were leisurely affairs.  It's a lovely dough to work with.  Initially, it's a bit sticky (probably accentuated by my use of the cracked rye soaker), but it transforms with each S&F into a dough that that is elastic and self-supporting.  The final proof after shaping was done on parchment on a baking sheet.  Scoring was a bit ugly (I miss my knives!) but one loaf still developed a respectable ear during baking.  The other loaf exhibited a small blow-out along the bottom edge, which would probably have been prevented if the scores had opened properly.  No pictures, I'm afraid, as the bread is already in the freezer.

After getting the sourdough to the bulk proof stage, I started a batch of Sweet Vanilla Challah.  I've blogged about it previously, so won't repeat myself here except to say that I really like this bread.  Much of my baking involves lean whole grain breads, so working with an enriched white bread is like driving a luxury sedan after driving a pickup.  Everything is so much smoother.  Again, no pictures since both loaves are in the freezer.  One will be gifted later this week and the other will be consumed at a bread class I'm conducting at a friend's house next Saturday.

After getting home from church this morning, I started a batch of the honey whole wheat bread that the class will be making next Saturday.  I wanted to give the formula a shake-down to ensure that everything worked the way I expected.  Good thing, too.  The flour was much thirstier than I expected, so hydration needs to go up.  I also wanted to show the class the effects of a couple of techniques.  Because of time constraints, we'll only use a 15-minute autolyze in class.  For this batch, I extended the autolyze to 60 minutes.  I also extended the kneading time to about 25 minutes.  All things considered, this bread should be more tender and less apt to crumble than the batch that I made a couple of weeks ago.  As the picture below shows, matching pan size to dough quantities properly results in a prettier loaf.

In considering what to do with some apples that might not be used otherwise, it occurred to me that someone had posted an apple variation to the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid that Floyd initially posted, so I went looking.  For once, my memory concided with reality.  The apple filling formula is about two pages down from the end of Floyd's post.  So, I set the sponge, peeled the apples and cooked the filling, made up the final dough and set it to proof, then went to the stoep to read the Sunday paper.  Well, part of it anyway.  When I came back in to check the dough, I found that the dough had doubled so I mixed both the egg glaze and the cream cheese filling, then rolled out and assembled the two braids.  I am not a natural-born braider but I'm really pleased with these two attempts in spite of the obvious flaws.  Dunno yet how they'll taste but they make the eye happy.  Here they are:

And a closer view:

Odd.  I'm not seeing the images that I've linked to.  Ordinarily they pop into view immediately.  Maybe it's just my slow connection here.  Hopefully they will show up once the post is submitted.

 All in all, a very satisfying baking weekend.


suzyr's picture


Great weekend for rest and relaxation and baking. I had been wanting to make Brioche and try my hand at new French Baguette recipe. The Brioche was truly pretty easy but, to me it tasted like Challah without the braid. The Baguette recipe came from another source, Cooks recipe, “The New Best Recipe Book”. I took the time and followed the whole recipe through. At 12 noon I started my “sponge” and at 6 PM it was ready according to the directions. After the first rise which was around 8PM I was able to form and out in refrigerator.Then the next AM took the bread out of the refrigerator and then baked. So almost 24 hours for this one.
If you have the time to do this it is a great and easy recipe with nothing special called for. Meaning no special yeast or flour and it doesn’t even call for 6 cups of flour like a lot of recipes.

Sponge Recipe First:

1/8 tsp of yeast
3/4 cup of warm water
1 cup of white flour plus 3 tab

Mix and cover with plastic wrap with a few holes in the top of wrap. This will take around 6 hours. It will double and have little holes all over. And it will depress in the middle when it is completely ready.

Dough Recipe:

1/2 tsp of yeast
1/2 cup of water, warm
2 cup of flour
1 tsp of salt


1 large egg white
1 tab of water

For Dough put your water and dry yeast into the sponge. Mix well with fork and add to dough mixture in mixer bowl/ Mix well and use dough hook for several minutes. Remove from bowl and knead with hands til good feel of elastic. Place in well oiled bowl for 30 minutes and then reform in a ball. Now is the time when you let this double in bulk. Probably about 1 and half hours. Take out of bowl and cut into 2 pieces. Start forming into baguettes. Needs to measure at 12 inches by 2 or 3. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet and put a clean trash bag over these and refrigerate now for 12 hours, no longer than 16. Will rise in frig, take out 1 hours before baking and get glaze ready. Have a VERY sharp knife handy or razor blade . You need to cut 6 diagonal slits on top of each loaf. Apply glaze with a pastry brush. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Serve with butter and jam….These are very nice and wonderful texture…wonderful smell and success…


davidg618's picture

Tomorrow morning, at the ungodly hour of 4AM, I'm heading off to catch an airplane, the first leg of a trip to Sedona,  the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, and Bryce and Zion National Parks. My wife, who suffers from acrophobia, is staying home. My friend of 48 years--we met as Ensigns on a USN destroyer in 1963--is joining me in Phoenix. Two years ago, sharing our Bucket Lists, we discovered neither of us have seen Grand Canyon. We'll be away nine days.

Before leaving, I needed to refresh/replace my seed starter. Following Ms. D. Wink's recommendation, I now maintain a starter by making extra levain each time I bake, and replace my refrigerated seed starter with refreshed ripe levain.  I baked last Sunday, and didn't want to let my starter languish for more than two weeks untouched. I hadn't intended to bake again this week, so yesterday I started to build just enough ripe levain to handle my starter needs. Watching levain builds ripen is in the "watching grass-growing, or paint-drying" fun category, so in the moment I decided to make enough to also bake one loaf.

Back to the trip: Although it's an organized tour, we'll have most hours free to roam as we wish, especially in Sedona and Grand Canyon Village. If any TFLer has favorite sites, sights, diners, drive-ins, dives, brew-pubs or bakeries in those areas to recommend, please do.


David G



Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

In a comment to my "Holiday Bake" blog Andy posted a formula for the Welsh tea bread Bara Brith, which I made today according to his formula with great success.

The formula mentions nothing about the baking profile - I made a 1300 g loaf in a tin, and baked for 50 minutes, starting at 230C and gradually turning the heat down to 170C after 40 minutes.

And I didn't use all of the tea. But the formula gave us a really great tasting fruit bread with a slight aftertaste of black tea.

Looks like it has no chance to age ... (Some sources say this gets even better over time.

Here a couple of pictures:



Subscribe to RSS - blogs