The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Shiao-Ping's picture

This post is about sourdough made of whole-milled grains which are grown locally. 

Just before I scaled back my bread blogging last July, a project that I was looking into was home milling my own flour.  I thought that was one way that I could take my sourdough to the next level - go to the freshest and purest ingredients possible.  I had even decided on a home mill brand.  But before I could execute that idea, I lost my drive.  Even the publication of Chad Robertson's book, which I so waited for, couldn't save me from my doldrums because, at that stage, I had basically worked out for myself what I wanted to find out.  I did bake a couple of Chad Robertson's Country Sourdough last October:



    baked in a covered cast iron camp pot, without steam, at the end of our last Australian winter 




                                        baked on a stone, with steam, at the start of our spring 



Summer came and went; it is now autumn.  Preparing our beautiful lawn for winter, my husband works in the yard to give his brain a rest, as he always does.  My daughter is now second year in Uni and my son, last year in high school.  Polly, our dog, is getting older, but still behaves like a child.  (Do you think dogs dream in sleep like humans?  I can tell you they do.)

Dropping my son in school one morning I went to my favorite coffee shop for some reading.  I read an article in Bread Lines (page 24, Volume 19, March 2011), quarterly magazine of The Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA), by Joe Ortiz, the author of The Village Baker.  The title is "Local Grain, Whole Grain Milling."  He talks about how a restaurateur (Bob Klein of Oliveto Restaurant), a baker (Craig Ponsford, Board Chairman of BBGA until end 2010) and a miller (Joseph Vanderliet of Certified Foods) got together in California on a community grains project.  Why?  To find more flavors in whole grain breads! 

Eco-consciousness is not normally my first and foremost concern when I bake and consume.  My efforts are geared toward achieving the most flavors for my bread using only the simplest ingredients.  But, what is with this community grains project and "local grain economy" whereby locally grown grains are whole-milled between tones (not re-constituted as in many modern industrial roller mills-produced flour)?  The answer: more vibrant flavors.

Aa an artisan baker, wouldn't you just love to use flour that is "more alive and brimming with its natural nutrients and structure!"? 

Imagine combining such flour with an artisan baker's hands: reduced mixing (gentle or no kneading), some type of preferments, long fermentation....

Let's get started.  But before we do, I have a confession to make.  FOUR times I tried making Mr. Ponsford's Integral Bread (formula in Bread Lines, Volume 19, BBGA), each time a 2kg loaf, without success.  I almost used up my 5 kg bag of organic WW flour.   After that, I went on my own, doing my own formulas, for another FOUR loaves of 1kg each (can you imagine anyone else more brave and no brain?).  The bread still came out quite dense.  I finally rang up the miller for some data, and you know what I was told, "Oh, we don't work with bread bakeries."  Sweet!  Was I shooting the moon with a wrong spear?  Was that pastry flour that I used for my sourdough?

I gave up.

The bread below uses only 50% of whole wheat flour.  That is the only way that I could make it work.  This wholemeal flour is produced by stone-milling the whole wheat grain and the wheat is grown in Darling Downs, Queensland, 170 km south-west to where I live.

FORMULA for my Pane Integrale with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • 200 g liquid starter (50/50 in white and whole wheat flour)
  • 300 g organic stoneground wholemeal plain flour (Kialla Pure Foods)
  • 300 g bread flour (Laucke's unbleached bakers flour)
  • 446 g water
  • 14 g salt
  • garlic olive oil mixture for brushing the crust: two cloves of garlic + about 1 - 2 tbsp. of olive oil + a pinch of salt.

Final dough weighs 1.25 kg at 78% overall hydration.





My Procedure

  • Adjust water temperature. (Aim for a final water/flour temperature of 25C/77F.)
  • Start by adding water a little bit at a time into the starter to dilute it.
  • Once the starter is diluted, measure flours and salt into it.
  • Mix the flours and water to just combined. (I used a blunt dinner knife and stirred for one minute.) Cover.


  • First fermentation (from time-off mixing to the time I placed my shaped dough into the refrigerator) was 5 + 1/2 hours. During this time, I did four stretch-and-folds in the bowl at 30 minutes intervals: 1st time - 12 strokes, 2nd time - 12 strokes, 3rd time - 6 strokes, and 4th time - 6 strokes. At about 3 + 1/2 hour mark, I shaped my dough. There was enough strength in the dough and I didn't need to pre-shape it. The shaped dough was left out on the kitchen bench for about another 2 hours. For the whole time of this leg of fermentation, my ambient temperature was 25C/77F and so I was able to keep the dough temperature constant. Your may not need this long. My dough rose about 60 - 70% before the next leg of fermentation.
  • Second fermentation was done in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  • The night before sleep I set my oven on timer to bake the next morning. The oven was to pre-heat to its max. temperature with my cast iron pot inside.
  • On the morning, I scored and baked the dough cold straight out from the refrigerator at 230C/446F for 25 minutes; then with the pot cover open, it was baked for a further 15 minutes at 220C/430F.
  • While the bread was being baked, I made the garlic olive oil mixture. (I used a garlic press for this. If you don't have a garlic press, use a mortar and pestle; if you don't have a mortar and pestle, chop garlic finely, then use the back of your knife and press the garlic into a paste.) You will only need half of this mixture. With the rest, I made it into a garlic butter.


  • After 40 minutes of baking, take the bread out, and very quickly, brush the crust with the garlic olive oil mixture, and bake for a further 5 minutes. (After that, check if your bread is done, if not, leave the bread in with the oven turned-off for another 5 minutes. Be careful for the garlic on the crust may burn.)
  • I couldn't wait. I sliced my bread after 45 minutes rest and here it is:




With this post, I encourage you to seek out your local grains and whole-milled flour and see for yourself how much more you like your bread.   




If you are like me who doesn't like the taste of 100% wholemeal, try substitute up to 50% bread flour or other type of flours.   The garlic and olive oil mixture has done its trick and the bread is delicious.



                                with garlic butter                                                     eggs benedict the next morning


If ever you find yourself in Beijing, visit Green-T House.  It is a tea house, a restaurant, a spa, and on top of all that, a modern-day Chinese design icon.  The owner, chef, designer and musician, Jin-Jie Zhang (known as JinR) is the very first modern-day Chinese female chef.  I'd like to go and visit myself but I can't at this very moment.  So, dream on, I tell myself; buried in my books and closed my eyes, I "shern-yo" (神遊) ... soar in my imagination....





SylviaH's picture

Today I baked 4 loaves, 2 light rye and 2 pain rustique from JH 'Bread'.  After seeing Franko's lovely bake of the Pain Rustique, it sounded and looked so good, what a perfect bread to have on hand. The flavor is delicious and the crust sang.  I left the caraway out of the light rye.  The bread is very good, but I prefer more of a rye flavor. We were up late last night and so it was about 2am I put together my poolish and sourdough..tired as I was today, I baked the breads and made a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  I hope to make a better looking crumb on the next go round.  I bought a new little Bosch compact and usually do all my mixing by hand, but wanted to try the mixer. I love this little compact mixer, but I still prefer to do my mixing by hand...anyway, it was fun getting a little practice using it.














                                         Bad night kitchen lights on the crumb shot of the light rye.




                                  No recipe on these buns.  They were a one of those experimental batches.  Basically a sourdough whole wheat bun recipe that I

                                 messed with adding some APflour, egg and powered milk.  They were very tasty.












sonia101's picture

Recipe found at What's Cooking America




varda's picture

I wasn't planning on posting today, nor on making a four pound loaf, but sometimes things happen.   My two aims for the day were to make something from Maggie Glezer's book, which I recently purchased, and something with a fair amount of whole wheat.   So I picked Thom Leonard's Country French Bread, without reading the whole way through.    I noticed at the flour part that I was pouring a lot of flour into the bowl, but I figured that it would call for cutting into multiple loaves later in the day.   By the time I got to that point I realized that I was making a miche in all but name.   And this after I steadfastly avoided the miche craze of the winter.  This is a lot o' bread.   Oh my.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

WARNING - This post contains some disturbing bread images!


First of all - I trust my liquid rye starter. He hasn't got a name yet, but I trust him.


Last Sunday we were having some friends over, some with wheat intolerance, and I decided to make the 100% russian rye (from Bread Matters), that always works, I thought.

And I had made a few nice batches of Hamelman's levain with wholewheat, and somehow the Polish Rye we made on the baking course I recently visited felt not so far from that, and I could make it with my rye starter.


I took the starter out of the fridge the day before where it had been for some weeks, taste and smell OK, and made my pre-ferments.


The stiff pre-ferment for the levain was coming along a bit sluggishly, but the liquid one for the russian rye had some bubbles soon (although not enough bubbles, in retrospect).

I expected to make some levain loaves like these from an earlier batch:

good levain

Good oven spring, nice open crumb, delicious ...


Well, now come the images... You have been warned, I am not responsible for your bad dreams.




They all tasted delicious.

But ...

bad levain

This is the levain. The top loaf proved for 3.5 hours at 26C. Seriously underproofed.

I didn't trust my finger test!

I will use this one for experiments with old bread.

The bottom loaf prooved for 9 hours. Great taste, crumb not ideal.

With the Russian Rye I expected no problems, but it rose very slowly.


The photo speaks for itself ...

After 11 hours the dough had risen to a level I expected (usually it takes half that time) and I baked it.

bad russian rye


My starter was simply starved, and I didn't pay attention to the warning signs.

As I said, I trust my starter, still.

Currently he is being pampered with some fresh flour ...


Happy baking,



wally's picture


Today was a much needed day off from work. I love the new job, but we're pushing out about 650# of dough per day with an average of 3.4 bakers, and as our production is increasing we're going from comfortably busy to close to overwhelmed.

Anyway, a day to sleep in and generally relax, and of course, do some baking.

I fired up my white and rye starters last night, not certain what use I would put them to.  This morning I came downstairs and decided I wanted some good multigrain sandwich bread and turned to Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain.  Of course, I had neglected to make a soaker using the seeds the previous night, but I went ahead and mixed about a cup and a half of the following: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and rolled oats, and poured about 240g of boiling water over them.  Lidded the container and let it sit for about 40 minutes.

From that point I pretty much followed Hamelman's recipe, with the exceptions that I used my rye starter to supplement my regular levain, and also in place of the cracked rye he uses as one of the five grains.  I also added a small portion of sunflower seeds and rolled oats not used in the soaker directly into the dough which was quite wet.

Bulk fermentation was 1 1/2 hours, with a fold at 45 minutes.  By that time, a very slack dough had firmed up considerably due to the thirsty seeds.

I divided the dough, preshaped, rested and made on boule and one bâtard.  Fnal proof was just a little over 1 1/2 hours. 

The breads were baked at 450 degrees F for 40 minutes.  I didn't get a whole lot of oven spring because I really pushed the proof, but as the bâtard clearly shows that the cuts opened nicely, so the dough had a bit of final push in it.

As Hamelman comments, this is a lovely table bread.  The flavors of the grains, seeds and mixed levains are pleasant and complementary, and the crumb is wonderfully light and moist.  Hamelman comments on the fact that the 98% hydration of the dough is not a misprint, but testament to the capacity of the grains and seeds to absorb moisture. 

Even so, the texture of the crumb is light and fluffy.


A perfect sandwich bread!  And tomorrow (and another day off), I'll be piling cold cuts high on it.


Franko's picture


Late last week my wife and I were invited to my step-son and fiance's new home for a 'get acquainted' Sunday dinner with her parents and grandparents, so I thought it might be a good idea to bring a loaf of something or other to contribute to the meal. We've met them all previously but not knowing their tastes I decided to go with a bread using poolish rather than a sour levain style bread, settling on Hamelman's Pain Rustique which uses 50% prefermented flour in the formula. The poolish was made on Saturday night and sat for almost 12 hours before being mixed with the other ingredients after a 30 minute autolyse, producing a very slack dough similar to Ciabatta. After 40 minutes of bulk ferment it needed some stretch and folds in the bowl before being able to develop it on the counter using the slap and fold technique. The dough had two stretch and folds over the course of the next hour with a small addition of flour to tighten it up to a point where it could hold a loose shape, then divided into 2 unmolded rectangular shaped loaves, placed seam side up on floured linen for a final rise of 30 minutes. I had a bit of difficulty flipping the first on to the peel and it deflated slightly, but the second loaf held it's shape during the transfer. The loaves were given a single slash and baked at 460F for 35-40 minutes with a spray or two of water during the first 5 minutes. It's been a while since I've baked an all wheat dough and I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it can smell while it's baking, especially when it has a good percentage of poolish in the mix. The first loaf came out the way I expected it would, looking worse for the poor handling during transfer, but the second made a nice loaf with a bit of an ear along the slash. Everybody seemed to enjoyed it for it's open airy crumb, chewy crust, and that it paired so well with the delicious saucy braised short ribs our future daughter in-law had made for the main course of the meal. I've been eating sour rye bread of one type or another since the beginning of the year so this was a welcome change for it's fresh wheaty flavour and light porous crumb, and one that I'll be making again in the months to come.

I'm afraid the crumb shots are a bit too yellow due to light conditions and the flash on my phone camera. The actual colour was a creamy off white.

Best Wishes,


txfarmer's picture


This is a formula from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman, a lot of people have made it with good results. I won't duplicate the formula here, see this link for a scaled down version, or better yet, get the book. A few notes:

1 I made the full recipe, got 2 huge 1.5lb breads;

2. I tried out a fun new shape, see shaping video here;

3. Kept the dough at 68% as specified in the formula, it was a dream to dough to handle

4. Did overnight cold proof, then about 80min of warming up at room temp (78F, that's TX spring for ya)


One dough shaped and scored as a batard, the other one with the fun shape, both came out very pretty


Give it a bold bake, look at the crackling singing crust! It was messy to cut.


Crumb for batard


I thought the extra rolling and shaping would make the crumb tighter, but not really, the following is crumb shot for the fun shape loaf:


Both have crumb that's very open for a 68% dough. My white starter is very not sour, my rye starter is a bit more sour but with a deep rye flavor, I think using both does adds complexity to the flavor.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

ericb's picture

I'm not too picky about flour. In general, I pick the lowest cost unbleached bread flour I can find (for what it's worth, this is almost always White Lilly High Protein Bread Flour, which runs about $0.50/pound). If I can find King Arthur Flour for a reasonable price, I will buy it. In my area, most stores have it for around $0.80/pound -- not too shabby.

One store in particular, though, always has outrageous prices for King Arthur Flour. I shot the picture below on Saturday -- can you believe it? $6.09 for five pounds? What are they thinking? How on earth can they move any product at this price?



varda's picture


Sometimes it's all about the flour.   I have two bags of flour in my cupboard that I've been dying to use.   One is a 00 flour that I unexpectedly found carried by an store in the center of town.   Lexington, Massachusetts isn't exactly a food town.   The only bread bakery in town carries vast yeasty undercooked loaves that make me gag.   And an Italian grocery / sandwich shop has been there for 2 years without me ever setting food in it.   I simply didn't believe it would be worth my while.   It was.   Ergo 00 flour - surprise, surprise.  The second flour was a bag of semolina that I picked up on my food excursion to Watertown in an Armenian grocery.   I didn't need it - I already had two bags of semolina at home.   Ah well, I buy flour like some people buy shoes.   I know that 00 flour is for pizza.   At this point I really know it since I made pizza dough the other day and handed it off to the resident pizza chef and it was really remarkable - crisp and light.  But I wanted to make bread.    And came upon a recipe on King Arthur - - that uses both KA Italian Style flour and semolina.   I had to try it.   I converted to weight and metric and made a few more changes - I am reducing salt by around half nowadays for health reasons in all my breads; added more water than called for just to get the dough to adhere; and used 00 instead of the Italian style.   Here is the formula:


00 flour




















non-diastatic malt powder





Olive oil










sesame to sprinkle










Mix all ingredients but sesame and knead for 5 minutes


(used Kitchen Aid for kneading)




Bulk ferment in bowl until puffy




Cut in three sections, roll out, and braid



Cover and proof until double




Spritz with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds



Bake for 27 minutes at 400 with some steam at the beginning






I forgot the step in the original where the dough rests for 30 minutes between mixing and kneading.  

This results in a soft tender bread which has the subtle flavor of its flours.   Not flashy, but really good.   Also quite a large loaf - fifteen inches long.

And the flour:



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