The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


varda's picture

I'm so excited - I just can't hide it - I'm about to lose control and I think I like it.

Until today, I had no idea the Pointer Sisters were bakers.  

Finally, on my sixth attempt at making the Gérard Rubaud Miche which Shiao Ping so memorably demonstrated, I have something that looks like bread.   I don't know why this bread is so difficult.   I adapted it, and adapted it some more to get to this point.   I was motivated by the fact that it is really just completely delicious even when it looks like something the cat dragged in.   My husband (who claims he only likes white bread) says everytime I make this, "This is really good.   Have you ever made it before?"   This bread even contains its own ether of forgetfulness.    I won't cut it until tomorrow, so who knows, but... Proth5's comment on DavidG618's  recent post on whole wheat sourdoughs, was what led to the latest adaptations.   Shiao Ping mentions fermenting this for around 3 hours in quite warm conditions before cold retarding overnight.   This is what I tried to do for several of my tries.   This time I cut the bulk ferment to less than two hours, with total fermentation including proofing at 4 hours and 15 minutes.   Earlier I had given up on the mixed grain starter with three stages and tiny amounts of rye and spelt added at each stage, and just started using my own regular starter.   That also helped a lot.   Maybe with the shorter ferment times, I could go back to the  Rubaud starter.   I am curious as to whether or not it would make a difference (in a positive way that is.)

Here is the formula:   I also scaled down from the original quantity of around 3.5 pounds to 2.5 pounds.   But I'm not going to call it a mini-miche - just a miche that is slightly smaller than regulation.






























































(Even though I used my own starter, I adjusted all the numbers so they came out with the same percentages as Shiao Ping's version.) 

 And the crumb with spelt-induced sheen:

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi - another guess loaf;

demerera sugar

strong flour


dry yeast 



1 egg 

olive oil

------------------------- I just warmed the milk, honey and oil in a pan until luke warm, then whisked it in a bowl with the yeast and salt (don't know that it makes any difference but I don't put the salt and yeast in the same pile at first, more superstition that sense) - cracked the egg in and gave it a good mix with the whisk: sprinkled some flour in to make some goop.

Left it alone (beside the boiler) until it was all bubbly - then mixed in more flour until it was impossible to mix with the whisk, changed to a wooden spatula, mixed more flour in until I could handle the dough and set about kneading it for about 10 minutes. 

Left it to rise until it was about twice as big, then pushed the air out of it, and made it in to a ball, (covered with small amount of olive oil) left it to rise next to the boiler again, with the oven heating up - cut a slice in the top for craic - waited until it was about twice the size again (a bit less because it was 4am and I was nakkad) - hoyed it in the oven n baked it for about 20 minutes or so - I painted margerine on the crust again and covered it with a teatowel when it was cooling, to soften the crust - again the bread is lovely. 

I think next time I'll not bother with the margerine as I don't like the salty taste too much - and I'll put a bit less honey in, it's lovely but I think I'll keep it down.

What I love about this bread, is how springy the "crumb" (is that the right word?) is - it just bounces back, it's light and fluffy but robust - it's fantastic on it's own and it's lovely toasted too. 


Have a good week.


milkitten's picture

I can't wait to put this bread on my blog! It's the best high percentage rye bread I've made and eaten so far. I’ve been making many rye breads recently, trying to figure out how to deal with high percentage rye dough and the optimum way to make good rye bread that is flavorful, tender, moisture and airy with many tiny holes, but not gummy and sticky. “Local Bread” written by Daniel Leader introduces different methods that used by people from different areas and it truly gave me a good guide on making rye bread though I haven’t tried the recipes from the book yet. Anyways, the recipe, 3 stage 70% rye bread, is from Hamelman's "Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes". Since I was satisfied with his “flaxseed rye”, I was eager to try this 70% rye bread. The technic used in here to get mild flavor sour rye is to use warm water, make fast fermentation in order to promote production of lactic acid. I did some modifications on the time for fermentation and proofing since the weather here are cold these days and adding lots of soaked dried fruits, pecan and spice to make the bread luxury~


Honestly, I had been worried during the whole time I made the bread because the dough seemed to be a little too stiff comparing to the dough I used to dealing with. And the short fermentation made me nervous that I might get a “rye brick”. ~’’~

The result was beyond my expectation! It has crispy crust even after 12 hours rest after baking which has never happened when I made rye bread. (They were usually got soft next day.) Moreover, it has great texture and is so moisture and tender that you won’t want to re-warm your bread even in such a cold day. I can taste mild sourness as well as a hint of sweetness with every bite, feel like I'm close to the nature. :D

Ingredients for fruits and nuts:
- 50 g pecan
- 50 g dried berries
- 30 g dried apricot
- 30 g dried fig
- 1 tsp neugewürz
- rum

Add 1 tsp. neugewürz in the rum and let all the dried fruit be soaked in rum for 24 hours.

+ Since I add lots of things in the dough, I made some modifications on the steps for mixing and kneading. When final dough were done, I allowed the dough rest for 10 min., then used the spatula mixing the fruits and nuts into the dough via S&F until all the ingredients were incorporated. I let the dough rest for 15 min., then do another S&F to make the dough into a smooth ball, and then rest for another 15 min.
+ I baked the loaf in the bakeware with lid for 20~30 min. and without lid for 10~20 min., then turn off the oven leaving the loaf in the oven for another 10 min. with the door ajar. (250C for first 10 min. and 220C for the rest of the time)
+ I scored it before proofing.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


Whipped egg whites are often used to leaven pancakes, light cakes, baked or steamed desserts.  I didn't have Chia seeds in 2009 when at the time I made the suggestion to Sharonk, and completely forgot about it until I stumbled across it today.  Egg whites work in that they are whipped until stiff making a protein foam and then ingredients (grated nuts, flour an the like) are folded in or it's folded into batter.  Either way.  If chia gel were strained so the seeds don't plug the nozzle, and placed in a pressure container for whip cream and charged with CO2 gas, the extruded chia foam (think unscented shaving cream) might be used to hold ingredients as they bake or are floated over boiling water.  Well folks, I've got Chia seeds thanks to Shiao Ping.  Sharon suggests  "To make chia seed gel, take 2 tablespoons of chia seed and mix it into 8 ounces of water.  Stir with a whisk or fork every 5-10 minutes for a half hour... let the chia seed gel sit for 12 hours before using." 

The Plan:  I could substitute it for stiff egg white in a regular gluten recipe and find a starting point.  As far as gluten free recipes go (you can see where this is going... gluten free, egg free, yeast free)  I wouldn't know what to add to the foam or even if it would work.  (Maybe when I get that far....)  I have acquired chia seeds and can make the gel, and do have the container and gas but have no idea what to do next.  (ok, no plan.)  I suppose if the gel keeps two weeks in the fridge, I have two weeks to play around with it.  I was just wondering if Sharonk or anyone had some suggestions where I might start...  (Hint hint) 

First I want to make seed free gel, then pressurize it and test the properties of chia gel foam.  Bake it, boil it, steam it, fry it.  Seeing what happens.  Sound like fun?

It is Carnival Tuesday, anything can happen!


oceanicthai's picture

Dill, bacon, olive oil, roasted garlic sourdough bread.


The fam's favorite bread so far.  All gone already.

Dwayne's picture

I make this bread this weekend and I would like to thank all who have made this reciently and have posted to this site.  It certainly helps to see and read how others have made a certain bread.  I wish that I had checked here just before I started and David Snyder posted some picture showing the shaped loaves with the Dutch crunch on. 


I followed the recipe very closely.  When it came time to mix and apply the Dutch Crunch I was surprised how thick it was.  I used all the water that the recipe called for.  It was so think that I applied it to my dough using the back of a spoon that I would dip into the mixture and then apply to the loaves.  I was very pleaed with the way this bread turned out.  I'll be making this again.  I froze the extra Dutch Crunch mixture, I'll try putting it on some other bread.  My Son helped by taking the last two pictures.




Again thanks to all posters who shared their experiences and pictures.



RonRay's picture

Sourdough Crackers

Previous blog:

I know that most of us, that culture wild yeast, seldom actually "discard" the discards of our sourdough. Of course, it is not unusual to hear someone new to keeping a sourdough culture remarking that they hate to have to through out the discards. And again, of course, a dozen replies of "No! Make pancakes..." or "Oh, no! Make waffles... ". Well, from now on, I will be crying "No! Make sourdough crackers.. The older the discards, the better the crackers!"

Naturally, that does assume you like sour sourdough, but the crackers are great even with "un-sour" sourdough discards, Rye Sour, etc. or even non-discarded levain as the leavening ingredient.

I came across a year old post by Sarah Wood on using your discard for whole wheat crackers. The link is:
It certainly looked simple enough, so I tried it. I am certainly glad I did, although, a batch never last very long and another few hundred calories have been ingested.

So, here is a step by step, complete with photos, Baker's percentages, some suggestions, and pointers on the ingredients and process. Even if you are not of an experimental curiosity by nature, I suspect you will have some ideas for variations you would like to try.

A small amount Sesame Oil, or Olive Oil to brush the top of the crackers and Kosher salt to sprinkle over the oiled surface will also be needed.

Substitutions of butter or lard can be made for the coconut oil, but I prefer the coconut oil, either the Extra Virgin, or the Expeller types.

Notice that I chose the ingredient amounts to exactly match the Baker's percentages. This batch size works very well for one sheet of crackers per Silpat baking sheet and a 100 grams of discards is an equally reasonable size. If you wish, make multiples of this amount and store in the fridge until you want more crackers.

I do want to mention some considerations to keep in mind when using coconut oil. Using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is my first choice, Expeller Coconut Oil is my second and neither one requires special consideration in a warmer kitchen, but if the kitchen temperature, or the dough temperature, is below about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) then you should either use methods to maintain the temperature of all ingredients about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) during the mixing phase, or use softened butter. Coconut oil is liquid from about the 75ºF ( 23.9º C) and above. Adding it in a mix of cold, fresh out of the fridge, levain may very well cause lumpy, difficult dough conditions. Once the full mixing is complete, this is no longer of any potential problem.

Let your finished crackers cool before placing (if any are uneaten) in an airtight container to preserve their crispness.

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PATTYJ's picture

I have tried making Soup Bowles but just can't get them to rise enough.  I have tried new yeast, new flour etc.,etc. etc.  What am I doing wrong???

davidg618's picture

I routinely make baguettes with a straight dough at 70% hydration, and an overnight ferment at 55°F.  Curious, in yesterday's mix I reduced the hydration to 65%, all other ingredients (KA AP flour and sea salt) and processes were the same: DDT set to 55°F with ice water, and the dough chilled during autolyse, between S&Fs and overnight retarding for 15 hours. I was motivated to try a lower hydration based on a smattering of comments scattered in various TFL threads that argue open crumb isn't only about hydration. This dough, developed an extraordinary strength--I did the 3rd S&F only because I  always do three, it didn't need doing. The crumb is nearly as open as I experience in the 70% dough. However, the dough seemed to have less than the usual elasticity; note the broken surface between the scorings. I detected no apparent difference in flavor.

David G

Mebake's picture

I promised my self to give Karin's Spelt Walnut Bread a Try, recipe here, and i finally did yesterday, and i was very satisfied.

i milled My German organic Spelt berries, so iam sure this added extra flavor. As butter milk is hard to come by in Dubai, i replaced Buttermilk in the soaker with yogurt. Next day, the dough come together nicely, was soft extensible and lively. Having learned from other TFL members that Spelt's Gluten is fragile, i mixed briefly, only up to the point where the surface of the dough is smooth and tight.

The Whole spelt also ferments 40% faster than regular whole wheat, so i had to keep an eagle's eye on it. It recieved 40 minutes bulk fermentation, and 35 minutes Final proofing.

It did not spring noticeably in the oven, but slashes opened up quite well. It was in the oven for 15 minutes with steam, and 35 minutes without at 350F.

When i cut into it this morning, it was very soft and aromatic. There was a sweet spicy aroma filling the house even afetr 12 hours of switching the oven off.

I tasted it.. and Boy was i impressed. This is one of thise breads that tastes, looks, and smells heavenly. I thank Karin so much for her recipe, and for her well balanced use of Spices..!

Now, Spelt will never sleep comfortably in my Fridge..



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