The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


  • Pin It
blackbird's picture

After reading in Reinhart's WGB pages 205-209, I made up my mind to give it a try.  I discovered my very nearby microbrewery gives away their spent grain so I dropped by to gather up a few plastic containers of rather warm steaming fresh spent barley grain.  Using white bread flour, a little rye, salt, instant yeast, water, and caraway seeds, I made a free standing loaf.  I'm not good at free standing loaves despite some years of baking -------not that I was baking in great amounts-----but ever so rarely in free standing loaves.

Next time I'll use whole wheat and try to follow the book more closely.   I'll try to make progress in scoring while I'm at it.  My new round banneton will get much use. 

Jw's picture

this weekend I researched the strenght and taste of my wild yeast. I made one starter with wild yeast (pure), one with an extra half a teaspone of commercial yeast, and the third with some sourdough powder I once bought. Also, in the oven I covered half of the breads with a alu-foil pain for the first 15 minutes.

Conclusion: the wild yeast is not that strong yet, a few spots  in that bread were not completely developed. The alu-foil really helps. Those breads looks nice and have a better crust. Adding a bit of commercial gets me better results (or I need to proof longer next time). You don't see much difference during the whole proces, it's all happening once you hit the oven.
About the picture: top row is with cover, from left to right: wild yeast only, added commercial yeast, added sourdough powder. The one in the bottom row in the middle rose twice the size in the oven, but is was 'all air' wiithin.

Crumb: the one is the middle is the wild yeast only version. This was around lunch today, baking was yesterday 5 p.m.

I thought I'd add a few others pictures this time as well. Not just from the bread itself, but also how we eat it. These are heart-breads, just pain ancienne, with a bit of wild yeast (for the taste) and extra seads. great to receive or take to school..or to eat with raspberry marmalade.

this picture shows part of the lunch table from yesterday. the yellow light comes from the sun roof. just 'lazy bread', bacon and some fish.


last but not least: I made a few extra zopf last thursday for colleages at work. Six-strand breading is getting better (bottom right). I used standard flour and not the special zopf flour.

Happy baking! (just had to take a bread out of the fridge, we ate all bread already..)


AnnieT's picture

The loaf is baked and to be truthful I can't see any difference - I was expecting the beer to have some effect and maybe the flour. The loaf slid partway off the parchment as I was loading it so I retrieved the parchment to use another day. The loaf did sing a muted song which was nice. So I am happy with the Bob's Red Mill flour - but won't add beer in future. I'm taking it for supper with the family and will try to get a shot of the crumb, A.

benjamin's picture

I attempted David's sourdough adaptation of the anis bouabsa baguette... IMG_1777.JPGIMG_1778.JPGIMG_1783.JPG

The crumb was beautifully soft, and this was by far the crustiest baguette I have ever made. The dough is a little hard to work with due to the high hydration, and scoring is particularly challenging! It was well worth it though, and I will definately be making these again!


Happy baking


benjamin's picture

I have made soft pretzels in the past, and have always enjoyed them, however I have always wanted to make a sourdough version. After much internet research, I did not come across any recipes that called out to me, so I decided to do my own. I adapted a Bertinet recipe, simply replacing fermented white dough in the recipe with an equal quantity of firm sourdough starter. I also retarded the dough in the fridge over night... though this was more to do with the fact that I wanted to bake them fresh the next morning rather than anything else.


All in all I was really pleased with the result. The inside was very soft and authentic. I didn't bother with either a lye bath, or boiling the pretzels prior to baking. I plan to try boiling the next time I make these, but the lye bath seems a little to much trouble.

By the way, I will be happy to post the whole recipe if anyone is interested.


happy baking


hansjoakim's picture

I made two loaves this week: The first was a take on the "Pain au levain with whole wheat flour" from Hamelman's book. Although I've had the book on my shelf for just over a year, I hadn't tried any of his pain au levains before. The time was overripe (like a "bubbly, collapsed poolish"-overripe). To make things a bit more interesting, I replaced half of the bread flour with spelt, and added a liberal amount of wheat bran to the recipe. I guess this detracted a bit from the potential loaf volume, but added to its nutritional value and the flavour.

Pain au Levain

Cutting loaves successfully is something of the hardest of the whole bread baking process if you ask me... Since this is a pretty light loaf (only 20% whole wheat and 5% rye), I opted for the classic baguette cut. Not very symmetrical or anything, but a nice bloom on the first cut at least. "The first cut is the deepest", that's a song, isn't it?

Pain au Levain

Below is a photo of the crumb - pretty homogeneous crumb with no large pockets, but that's usually the way loaves turn out at my place. To be honest, I prefer a more even crumb too. I was very happy with the profile of the loaf, especially since there's quite a bit of spelt in there. The photo doesn't show it, but the crumb is also specked with wheat bran. Yum!

Pain au Levain

I really enjoyed making this pain au levain from "Bread", and I was amazed by how quickly it all came together. That's what you get from working mainly with rye doughs, I guess :-)

The flavour is very clean, wholesome wheat and the crust has a brilliant crunch to it. The crumb is also very soft, and this loaf goes well with both fish, meat and cheese.


The second loaf I made was a Leinsamenbrot - a rye loaf stuffed with flax seed. This is approximately 66% rye, so it's a pretty filling bread. I'm getting more and more into making hearty rye loaves with my firm white starter (50% hydration), and I wonder how much further the rye content can be increased without getting those large holes from the dreaded starch attack during baking. For this loaf, approx. 15% of the total flour comes from the starter, the final dough is quite high in hydration (77-78% I guess), and there's only a small speck of yeast in it (about 0.3% fresh yeast). I let it bulk ferment for roughly 2 hours and final proof 1hr 15 mins. I've found this procedure to result in nice, open crumbs and a pleasant rye flavour. If you're after a really sour rye, you'll probably have to opt for a rye starter as well!

Flax rye


I also promised desert! I found some tempting pears at the store the other day, and decided to have a go at a pear tart. I used a sweet tart dough (pâte sucrée), a frangipane filling and sprinkled the poached pears with cinnamon and sugar. Some chopped almonds and powdered sugar in between the pears. I had no idea how much frangipane to put in the tart - I was hungry and running a bit late, so I think I scooped a bit much into it, but fortunately it didn't spill over the edge...

Pear frangipane tart

SylviaH's picture

Pugliese Loaves with Duram Flour from RLBeranbaum's

' the bread bible' This is my first time making this bread, crunchy crust with a nice chew to it and a great crumb flavor that only gets better on tonite's panini's..also a great dipping bread.  I love the color of the loaves and crumb from the Duram flour.  The dough is very similar to working with a wet pizza dough.  I did score with a # slash!  I had a nice oven spring.  I 3 X's the recipe and got 2 nice loaves a 1 1/2 lb and 1 lb loaf..we just about finished off the 1 lb.  the bread is light and disappears fast!  I did all the mixing by hand and used a 24 hour biga.  I'll be making this loaf again...I was very happy with the results.

Thanks to Floyd here's some photo's!  Thank you Floyd!

This is being added as one of my favorite Italian Breads!


blackbird's picture

An old favorite for over 30 years, walnut cinnamon lemon bread is simple, crunchy and chewy.  The basic recipe is flexible rather than perfectionist.  I used frozen orange juice, thawed and room tmperature, back in those days. 

3 cups AP flour

instant yeast perhaps a big pinch

pinch of salt

1 maybe 2 ounces oil

8-9 ounces water

cinnamon as you like, I like it so I may use more than you

walnut pieces as you like, say 3/4 cup

lemon by lemon extract or lemon juice and or zest to your taste ----or you can use orange instead

No sugar or sweetening needed.

Mix all well, you can do some kneading at this mixing time.  I knead in the bowl with my mixing plastic spoon giving 5 minutes or so between a few spoon kneading efforts.

Let rise to double or so, then divide to fit pans, up to three mini pans, kneading is minimal or not at all.   The dough will be a bit wet and clay-like.  I use wet hands to handle it.   Or one big bread loaf pan. 

 Let rise, then into preheated oven at 425F, no steam, cover with alum foil loosely, decrease heat after 20 min to 375F, remove foil.  Baking time depends on your oven and how many times you open the oven.  Say 30 minutes total.  Let cool, or eat warm if it suits you.  Previously I wrote 45 minutes but my mind was thinking of a big bread pan loaf which requires a bit more time.  It is good to check on it so it does not get too dry. 

The simple recipe can be changed by adding eggs when mixing the dough for example. 

I tried a mold but got plenty of spring so it leans.


AnnieT's picture

I know that it isn't a good idea to change more than one thing at a time, but hey, the sun is shining and I feel daring! I stood in front of the Bob's Red Mill display yesterday and for the first time noticed a 5# bag of unbleached white flour which is "Superb for bread making by hand or machine". Also supposed to be high protein. So I took back my usual KA bread flour and bought the BRM - after all it was only $3.79 as opposed to $5.  As I was mixing the water and starter for Susan's Famous Sourdough this morning I had an idea to sub in a little of the cheap beer I used last week for the Almost No Knead bread. Plus a small amount of rye, so I guess that was three changes. The dough seems fine and just has one more stretch and fold to go before proofing. I have tomato seedlings sitting on top of the propane stove, my usual proofing place, so it could be slow going. Has anyone had good or bad results with this flour that they would like to share? Hoping I won't regret penny pinching, A.

ejm's picture

(revised: 23, 24 April to add FreshLoaf recipes; 19 April 2009 to separate FreshLoaf recipes from offsite recipes; )

Favourite and "Must Try" Recipes and Techniques
Fresh Loaf recipes . Fresh Loaf techniques . Offsite recipes . Offsite techniques

Fresh Loaf

Commercial, Wild and Semi-Wild Yeast

Challah, Festive rolls and braids

Quick Breads



There are more links to The Fresh Loaf bread recipes and techniques here: dmsnyder Recipe Index


Commercial, Wild and Semi-Wild Yeast

Egg Breads (Challah, Festive rolls and braids)

Quick Breads



There are more bread recipes here:


Subscribe to RSS - blogs