The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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nicodvb's picture

Recently I received a lot of cracked rye (actually I hoped it would be a batch of rye chops, but unfortunately it's not the case...).

I put it immediately to work to prepare my preferred rye bread, something in between frisian rye and this one done from my friend Gi.


The night before I prepared a soaker with:

-320 gr of cracked rye (there are a lot of barely broken berries and some very coarse flour)

-80 gr of old bread broken dried in the fridge  and broken in the mixer

-340 gr of boiling water

mixed very well, but quickly, and left to rest in a closed plastic container enveloped in a pile.

At the same time I would have generally prepared prepared a poolish with

-200 gr of dark rye flour

-170 gr of warm water (40°C)

-10 gr of rye sourdough

but this time around I prepared (1 day in advance) a three-stage leaven as in my post of Detmolder rye. For this kind of bread a three-stage is not necessary, but I tought I should mention it for the chronicle. Total hydratation is the usual and magical 85%.


After 12 hours I mixed the two compounds and added 12 grams of salt, kneaded well and put the dough in a 12 inches plum-cake form, left to ferment for threee hours at ~28°C. This kind of douh doesn't rise a lot, generally never more than 1/3 in height, but the acidity developed will improve the flavour of the bread and protect it from molds.


I cooked the bread totally enveloped in aluminum foil (3 rounds) at 120°C for 10 hours, then I put the bread in a linen sheet and waited 2 days before cutting it.

The taste is fantastic, sweet and sour with a remarkable caramel intensity; moreover -and contrary to my previous long bakes- there's something remembering a faint taste of liquor that I never tasted before, it's totally new to me.

The crust is absent and the crumb is moist as it should be. Contrary to most my other breads it dosn't even crumble when sliced thinly.


I also noticed that when sliced in advance the taste seems to improve sooner and seems to get sweeter in shorter time. Does it make any sense?



Candango's picture

I have just finished making a loaf of Rose Levy Beranbaum's "Levy's real Jewish Rye Bread", from "The Bread Bible."  I had made variations of her formula noted in other blogs and only recently obtained a copy of the book which has her original recipe.  With all the waiting (autolyses) and rising times, this bread was almost a 24 hour project.  I started the sponge at about 3 pm yesterday and took the finished loaf out of the oven at 3 pm today.  It has now cooled and I sliced it in order to give half to friends.  As I don't have a cloche, I shaped the dough into a batard and gave it "spiral" slashes.  It worked.  I know I should have weighed the ingredients but last night and this morning I used measuring cups for the flour and liquid.  I will have to try this again using the scale, as Rose says that the finished dough should weigh about 965 grams and mine weighed in at 860, about 3 oz. lighter.  Because of this, I shortened the baking time just a bit.  The crust came out a nice golden brown, and the crumb is "rye bread dense" without being pasty.  (I cut off the heel on one side and tried it with butter.  Yum.)  I will do this one again.


I just tried to insert two photos of the crust and the crumb and seemed to run into a problem.  The site replied that the max size is 600 x 800 and that my files were too large.  Can anyone help?  Thanks in advance.  Candango

jsk's picture

A few nights ago I made the rye with sunflower seeds from Hamelman's "Bread". Its is a 33% rye with 80% hydration (the rye includes a cracked rye soaker). The day I made the dough I immediately saw it was very very wet but I let it work in the mixer so I let it work in the mixer for 10-12 minutes instead of the 5 that Hamelman says. A huge mistake! The dough was over kneaded and like over kneaded rye dough, it went from wet and sticky to extremly wet and sticky! Anyway' I adedd a bit more flour and let it ferment for about 30 minutes then I folded the dough (another mistake) and let it ferment for half an hour more.

Eventually I manage to shape it int two nice batards and proofed and baked as written in the book.

The results were good after all. The crumb was not as open as I hoped so but it was very light and had a great bite to it due to the seeds and the cracked rye. The bread had a wonderful taste to it with a slight tang and some sweetness as well. Here are some photos:

And the crumb:


I have some experience with rye but still, I have much to learn. If I learned something from this baking is not to over knead rye doughs, not to fold them and to be gentle when handling them. Does anyone from you rye experts have other tips about handling rye? I'm sure a lot of members here would be glad to learn from your experience.

Happy baking to all of you!


Mebake's picture

This is a late 50% Wholewheat loaf i made:


Happy Healthy Baking!


earth3rd's picture

This is my first attempt at the bread recipe in Lesson #3 on this site:

I was running out of time however and cheated a little, by raising the final dough in the oven to speed things up a little. I managed to reduce the time from 90 minutes to 60 minutes on the first and final rise. I didn't use any type of wash on this loaf as I wanted the crust as crunchy as possible. I did put a pan in the oven and set the oven up to 500F. I placed one cup of ice cubes into the tray just at the same time I put the bread in the oven. I reduced the heat from 500F to 400F after 4 minutes and the loaf went 40 minutes with one rotation in the middle. I did have one minor problem however, I put clingrap over the shaped loaf for the final rise and it stuck on there pretty good. I everso gently worked it off the loaf trying so hard not to push any of the air out of it. It worked out pretty good in the end though. Not a lot of oven rise but none the less my best loaf to date. One last thing to say... my slash was a little wrecked but it didn't look to bad.

The bread came out fantastic. I'm in heaven, thank you all... as this is where I learned how to do it. I've made simular recipes in the past but not as good as this one with the pre-ferment. The crust was a little crunchy and chewy and the flavour was perfect. I'm so happy.

Here are a couple of pictures.


Lesson #3 - crumb shot

suzanne pepin's picture
suzanne pepin

Ok, this is my first entry into my personal blog and hopefully not my last one (excuse my syntaxe as French is my first language...).

It has been a long journey into trials and errors, but I kept my passion for making the perfect sourdough bread and today, I believe I have achieved the beginning of the perfect sourdough loaf, for myself anyway.

So here it is... I follow these instructions from Susan from San diego, up to the 'T' without changing a thing.  Et voilà, my perfect sourdough bread is borned.

It was made with my homemade starter 'Bécacine', borned May 05 2010.  The smell of sourdough is very present and I am so pleased with the easiness of this method.  For baking, I used the method 'Roasting lid' because this method seems to work the best for my condition at the moment : living 6,000 feet above the sea level in high altitude, in central Mexico, and I have to make breads with what I have around me and not always run to the store, which is pratically, non-existant here. 

For the colander, I replaced it with a straw bowl for tortilla, well floured, and cover with a coton dish towel, it worked like a charm. I don't have a pizza stone so I used the back of my cast iron pot to deposit the bread to be on it.  It did the job also.

Now, my big problem was to understand the process because here, everything with yeast in it will raise very quickly but also go down very fast because of the altitude, some days are better than others...  So the manipulation of the dough had to be restricted to a minimum and had to be studied closely to know the right time to move it.

It has been a long journey since May 05.  This bread is my 13th bread.  All the others ended up in the field for the birds, the snakes, black widow, scorpions, fire ants, etc... around me.  I could have kept them for building a wall of brick actually.

So it shows that it is not only a recipe that makes the perfect dish, it is the 'knowing how to cook, bake' that makes the difference, the location we live also and the passion for it.

DonD's picture


In my last post, I wrote about the classic Pane Casareccio di Genzano that I had made for the first time using the formulation in Daniel Leader's 'Local Breads' book. I was pleased with the result so this past weekend I decided to try the Whole Wheat version of the same bread.

For the Biga Naturale, I used my white flour liquid levain with KA Bread Flour. For the dough, I used 50% KA Bread Flour, 44% BRM White Whole Wheat Flour and 6% BRM Dark Rye Flour. This is a high hydration dough and by my calculation, the final dough was a whopping 80% although I was surprised at how malleable it was. I did not follow the intensive mix recommended by Leader but instead used a 30 minutes Autolyse followed by gentle kneading with a dough hook and room temperature fermentation with 4 sets of stretch and fold in the bowl and one final full stretch and fold on the bench.

I shaped and proofed in a lined banneton for 1 hour before baking at 450 degrees F with steam for 15 minutes and 20 minutes at 400 degrees F without steam on convection.

The loaf had good oven spring but not as spectacular as the white flour version. Because of the elevated hydration, the scoring cuts were not very pronounced.

The crust was a rich amber color and the top was coated with browned shavings of wheat bran. It was medium thick and had nice crunchiness.

The crumb was cream color with translucent gelatinization and irregular air holes and was tender with just a touch of chewiness. The taste was bolder and more rustic than the white wheat version with a slight bitterness from the toasted bran. The crumb had less sweetness but more whole grain taste and just a slight hint of tanginess from the levain. All in all a very satisfying and comforting bread but not as elegant as its more refined version.

Happy Baking!


hansjoakim's picture

Last week I've been enjoying a variation of the pain au levain I blogged about in my previous post - I'm really loving the bite the breads get by the rye sourdough. For the loaf pictured below, I raised the whole-grain amount slightly and added a healthy dose of walnuts. I'm such a sucker for walnuts; only bad thing about them is that they're not a "local food" around these parts. The ones I find in the stores are pricey and have travelled all the way from California... Still my favourite nuts, though. Here's a link to the recipe, and here's the loaf:

Walnut levain

...and here's the crumb:

Walnut levain crumb

A delicious bread!


I also baked a batch of croissants this weekend. I'm not sure exactly what beats the smell of croissants baking...

I split the dough in two after rolling it out, and used one half to make large-ish croissants and the other half to make smaller, regular sized croissants. Photo below:


And here's the crumb shot:

Croissant crumb

I was really happy to see how they turned out - probably my best batch so far! One of these with a cup of freshly brewed coffee makes the morning routine bearable :)

dmsnyder's picture


When I blogged on my last weekend's baking, I threw in a photo of the pasta batch I had also made. Well, the pasta generated as much discussion as the breads … maybe more. So, I thought I'd write up the pasta dish we had for dinner tonight. (I know it's not bread, but I hope it's okay to post it on TFL anyway.)

Fettuccine with Turkey Sausage and Kale

I use Marcella Hazan's recipe for fresh pasta. It calls for 2 large eggs and 1 ½ cups of AP flour. I used Caputo tipo 00 Italian flour and found I had to add a couple tablespoons of water for the dough to come together.

I mix the dough in a food processor. It ends up in the bowl like coarse cornmeal, but, when pressed together and kneaded, it forms a firm dough. I roll the dough into a log, wrap it in wax paper and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. This works like an autolyse to evenly hydrate the flour.

I then divide the dough log into 4-6 equal pieces with a sharp knife and make pasta sheets with an Atlas, hand cranked pasta machine. After drying these for a few minutes until they are leathery, I cut them into the desired widths with the Atlas attachment. If the dough is sticky, it should be dusted with flour before cutting. The cut pasta is then dried completely (12 hours) before placing in plastic bag for storage. If completely dried, it will keep at room temperature for months. When rolled to the thinnest setting, this cooks in a couple minutes, tops.

The sauce comes from the March, 2006 Gourmet Magazine. It can also be found on here.

I make my own turkey sausage, using a recipe for home made Italian Sausage, substituting ground turkey thigh meat for pork shoulder. Here's my recipe for the sausage:

This is the original recipe scaled down for 1 lb of meat and with my notes in italic:

1 lb. ground pork shoulder. I use ground turkey or chicken dark meat.

1 clove crushed garlic.

¼ cup cold water. Omit if using ground poultry.

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp fennel seeds (preferably ground)

1 T grated pecorino romano cheese. I use parmesan.

1 T chopped Italian parsley

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (Optional)

Mix all ingredients together.

This freezes well. It is wonderful in sauces for pasta and on pizza.

Since Kale is unfamiliar to many, a few words about it seem called for. Kale is a green, leafy member of the cabbage family. It has been cultivated in Europe as long as history has been written. I have read that it was among the most common vegetables eaten in Europe prior to the late Middle Ages. It has many nutritional virtues, including powerful anti-oxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals. (For more information, see Wikipedia on Kale.)

Recipes using kale generally neglect the basics of preparing it for cooking. It has a fibrous central midrib that is not edible. After washing, the edible leaf is cut away from the midrib. The kale is often parboiled before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

Kale, washed before removing stems

I cut along each side of the central stem with a sharp paring knife, then pull the stem free

Kale after removing the stems

So, with that introduction, here is my version of the recipe for Fettuccine with Turkey Sausage and Kale (Note: This recipe serves 4 as a main course):

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb turkey Italian sausage, crumbled

1/2 lb kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 lb fettuccine

2/3 cup home made chicken broth

1 oz finely grated parmesano reggiano cheese (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large sieve and drain.

Keep the cooking water in the pot and return it to a boil, then cook pasta in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

While pasta cooks, add kale to sausage in skillet and saute, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Sausage and Kale, at this point in the recipe

Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.

Buon appetito!




earth3rd's picture

I just made this bread the other day after watching Michael Smith on Foodtv. He was going on about how good the crust comes out if you bake the bread in a covered pot. The recipe can be seen at:

I used the pot method. Also the recipe I used was the "city bread" recipe. Followed the recipe to the letter. The dough was very wet, exactley the same as a poolish for french bread, a little hard to handle but I was gentle.

There is only 1/4tsp. of yeast, 16 hours for the first rise, 2 hours on the second rise. The bread tasted pretty good to me, much more flavour than a plain white bread.

Here are a couple of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Just out of the pot


The crumb


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