The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

I went looking for a recipe that would use up some whole wheat and bulgar grain I accidentally mixed up.  I did not find that recipe (yet), but I did stumble upon this variation on Hamelman's Five Grain Levain posted by MadAboutB8 on her blog recently.  Thank you Sue!  As a result, I got distracted into this recipe, but since I had no sunflower seeds I substituted some raw pumpkin seeds we had in the cupboard.  I used Pendleton Mills Power (bread) flour, with home-milled hard white winter wheat for the whole wheat flour.  I used steel cut oats and BRM Flax Seeds.  The home-milled flour is always thirsty, so I ended up adding about 15-20 gm of extra water to the mix to get a good hydration level.  Everything else went according to Sue's recipe adaptation.  I did not retard this dough so I did include the yeast, but I only used 1/2 teaspoon (the formula calls for 1 tsp) because I seem to have explosive luck with instant yeast.  This bake was no different in that respect, and the dough came along right on schedule, even in our cool 67F-68F temperatures.

I made two round loaves, shaped in willow baskets.  I baked them sequentially in my La Cloche at 455F.  As you can see below, one loaf got away from me just a bit and over proofed a bit when the kitchen warmed up while the first loaf baked.

The loaf in front is the slightly over proofed loaf, which I sliced for the crumb shots. While clearly over proofed from external appearance it did not seem to suffer at all internally.

The crumb in this bread is moist and tender, and has excellent flavor.  It is not at all heavy, which I feared after soaking all the seeds and whole grains for 16 hours.  My wife mentioned, three different times, how much she likes this bread.  That's a new record, so I know this bread has made a good impression.

I continue to really enjoy the results that my La Cloche clay baker provides.  It has helped this bread to have a nice thin crust that is crisp yet chewy, and (IMHO) very appropriate to this bread.  It makes it a little hard to slice evenly though with the crumb so tender.  Here is a closer look at the crumb of this bread.

I expected the seeds to be more pronounced, but I was pleased to find that there is a homogeneous flavor that the seeds do not dominate.  Instead of any mouthful having a single prominent flavor there are any number of small individual bursts of taste from wheat, bulgar, oats, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, crust.  It tastes great and made a fine accompaniment to a robust beef stew.

This bread has moved Hamelman's "Bread" to the top of my birthday/father's day gift list.  If only half the other formulas in the book are as good as this one (in it's original form), it will keep me busy for a long time.

Thanks for stopping by

hanseata's picture

Two years ago we found a little stranger on our doorstep, attracted by the tantalizing smell of barbecued chicken, and my (universally understood) call to the food bowl: "Miez, Miez, Miez (= kitty, kitty, kitty)!" The little Maine Coon was skin and bones under her pretty fur, and ate ravenously what we gave her. She must have been lost for quite a while.

A call to the animal hospital led to a tearful reunion of kitty and her owners. They told us she had vanished three months ago, and they had given up all hope of seeing her again. A token of their gratitude were two large bottles of wine, one white, one red.

Since I am the only occasional imbiber in this household - Richard getting headaches from alcohol - I had to figure out what to do with the 2-liter bottles of vin ordinaire. Once open, the contents had to be consumed - or else turn to vinegar.

The white finally ended in the glasses of the non-discriminating younger members of my family. The red started collecting dust in the basement. Finally I found a recipe for "Beef Goulash in Barolo", a clipping from a German foodie magazine. Being pretty sure that any other dry red would do as well, half of the bottle found its way into this delicious, spicy stew.

But what about the other half? Not another stew, not noble enough for Coq au Vin, so it had to be pastry. Red Velvet Cake was an obvious choice, but too much fuss, I wanted something simpler. And I found it, rich and spicy enough to mellow the dryness of the wine, moist and scrumptious: Red Wine Cake.

Here is a link to the recipe:

ehanner's picture

When 3 separate ideas rush over me at the same time, well I'm helpless to stop the resultant activity. Recently I saw Larry produce some beautiful baguettes and the Margaritta star shape. That got me thinking.

Then Proth5 (Pat) posts about her new Bear-Guettes. A dual yeast French mix that has the promise of wonderful taste.

The final thing that pushed me over the edge was receiving a bag of Central Milling's Organic Artisan Baker's Craft (Malted) from a friend who knows I will put it to good use. 

With all of these positive influences popping at once, I decided to join them and try a shape I had never made with flour I had never used in a formula I had never played with. Sounds like fun, right!

First, I love the Bear-Guettes recipe. I get no sense of tang what so ever. Very mild sightly nutty flavor with a nice crispy crust. Thank you Pat, I agree with your Chief Tester.

The Artisan Bakers Craft flour is wonderful. I had excellent development and a smooth silky dough using hand mixing and a few of Bertinet's slap and fold and just one S&F after 2 hours. Thanks to my flour fairy! You know who you are:>)

The shaping and creation of the star shapes "La margueritte" was fun. Not as hard as it looks if you can count to 6 lol. Thank you Larry for leading the way on this. The second batch which was retarded over night turned out better and were more symmetric

I'm convinced that I want to obtain a decent amount of the CM Artisan Bakers Craft for use in my French breads. You can tell it is a quality milled product by the silky nature of the dough in such a short time and in a hydration level fit for straight formulas. I like to use one flour and get comfortable with the characteristics of it so I know what to expect when I toss a batch together based on the percentages I have in my head. This is going to be my new flour.I like the creamy crumb color.


Let's see, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, damn!

Not the most open Baguette dough ever but considering the handling, not bad.

sphealey's picture

I'm nothing if not a slave to fashion, so with a three-day weekend in hand I thought I'd give dmsynder's version of the SFBI miche a try. 

I followed the recipe pretty closely as printed.  The flour was King Arthur Bread mixed with 15% King Arthur Whole Wheat.  I did use the wheat germ, and also about 20 g of rye flour.  I probably ended up with a little more water (20-30 g) due to not reading quite far enough ahead in the ingredients list.

I used a large stainless collendar to do the proofing.  This wasn't entirely successful as the very top (bottom during proofing) of the loaf stuck as I was transferring it to the peel.  This despite a thick layer of flour, but after sitting in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight that layer had probably absorbed a lot of moisture.  I really need to order some large bannetons from SFBI.

I followed dm's recommendation for the bake:  15 minutes at 525 deg.F; 45 minutes at 420 deg.F with convection.  Here's the baked loaf:

and the sliced loaf.  We could only wait 2.5 hours instead of the recommended 4, but the result was one of the best breads I have ever made.  And not really much work!


Syd's picture



30g starter @ 100% hydration

60g whole wheat flour

60g water

Allow to ripen 8 - 12 hours.


Final Dough

150g levain

275g water

450g bread flour

80g dried longan

8g salt


Mix together levain, water and flour.  Autolyse 50 mins.  Knead in salt.  Finally knead in chopped dried longan.  Bulk ferment for about two and a half hours with folds at 50 and 100 mins respectively.  This turned out to be a strong dough and probably didn't need the second fold.  Divide in two. Preshape.  Rest 20 mins.  Shape into batards.  Final proof, two and a half to three hours.  Slash.  Bake with steam for 20 mins at 230C and without steam at 200C (convection) for another 20 mins.

Dried longans are expensive and I stinted on them.  I should have chopped them up finer, too.  As it was, not every slice had fruit in it or, at least not enough.  I love the taste of dried longan and more is better.  As a result the slices with not enough fruit were bland and now I am already planning the next attempt.  Next time, apart from adding more fruit, I will add some longan syrup to see if that will enhance the flavor even more.




150g ripe starter @ 100% hydration

300g water

80g sifted whole wheat

20g rye

350g bread flour

3g diastatic malt

Mix together and autolyse for 50 mins.  Now add:

10g salt

Knead until moderate gluten development. Bulk ferment two and a half hours with folds at 50 and 100 mins respectively.  Pre-shape. Rest 20 mins.  Shape into tight boule.  Allow to proof until three quarters risen.  Retard overnight.  Remove from fridge and allow to complete proof: one to two hours.  Bake on stone @ 230C with steam for 20 mins and @ 200C (convection) without steam for a further 30. Switch off oven, crack oven door open and allow to dry out for a further 5 mins.



No crumb shot for the boule, yet but will update with one tomorrow.  This is just my standard everyday bread, so I know how this one is going to taste.


Feb 22:  Crumb shot.


earth3rd's picture

This is my latest attempt at Ciabatta. I used this recipe:  

Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread

I have to be honest though... I liked the Ciabatta No Knead better. I liked the flavour of the No Knead bread better. I must admit that the Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta might have had a more open crumb and is a pretty looking loaf it just lacked in taste. Here are a couple of photo's.

This is the measurments I used for 2 loaves.

233 gr. bread flour

100 gr. semolina

4.7 gr. yeast

10  gr. salt

320 gr. water




zorgclyde's picture

This is my first bread from Beth Hensperger's book Bread Bible: 300 favorite recipes. What I liked when I browsed the book was that every recipe had hand mix instructions, and they seem well-thoughtout and reliable. This was going to be my first time making wheat bread. I had a few tries with white bread, but nothing too serious.

The bread that caught my eye was the Italian whole wheat raisin walnut bread. I found that I have become increasingly drawn to the nuttiness of whole wheat and multi-grain breads. When made properly, they have a delightful chewiness and sweet, concentrated flavor that sets it apart from white breads. The raisin and walnut combination sounded perfect to me.

The process for this bread was straight forward. The recipe calls for poofing the yeast, kneading and giving the dough two rises. Because I decided to start this recipe at 11pm at night, I decided to not wait until 5 am to finish the kneading in one setting. Instead, after the first raise I put the dough in the back porch, which I rated at about 20F at night, and will continue the second stage when I return from work the next day. The second day after I kneaded the dough I decided once again to sleep first and wait until third day to bake the bread. I crossed my fingers and hoped the bread turned out ok and not into a pungent fermented sourdough.

I finally got around to baking the third day. Mostly because it was the infamous blizzard and I didn't have anywhere else to go. Given that I had let the dough sit for two days without adjusting the yeast called for in the original recipe, I was expecting something that tasted like breaded sourkraut.

Here is the picture of the bread, sliced:

Italian raisin walnut bread

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how beautiful the bread looked when it came out. The crust was even and chewy. The interior was moist and dense. It was obvious that the bread was slightly overly fermented as the bread had a sour tang and the air pockets reminds me of the yogurt bread. However, it was still one of the bread I ever tasted. The balance between the sweet raisins and crunchy walnut set in whole wheat bread was just perfect. I circumvented the sour problem by topping the bread with honey. The only other issue that I noted, besides the slight over-fermentation, was that I had to add a lot of flour (+ 1/2-1 cup) during kneading to prevent the dough from sticking too much. This threw off the sugar and salt balance slightly, and the bread did feel like it needed a bit more salt and sugar. Next time I may add a little less water to start with, and tried to follow the time instructed!



Jo_Jo_'s picture

The crumb was wonderful and the bread tastes great. The crust is flaky crisp, and this is definitely a bread I will be making more often. The best "wonder" bread I have ever had.


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I totally forgot to take pictures till I moved my dough to the greased bowl to rise. Here is is about 15 minutes after it started it's first rise.  I mixed the dough in my kitchenaid, using my dough hook.  It was pretty wet and sticky so I gave it a half hour autolyse, then kneaded the dough for 6 minutes.  It then formed into a really nice handling dough.

Twice the size and ready to be split for braiding.

Made it into a rough split, then allowed to rest for 10 minutes.

Rolled out into thin ropes for braiding.  I made them to long for a single loaf, so cut them into two pieces for two loaves.

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One braided, the other half way done.  The dough was easy to handle, and braided very easily.

All finished braiding, ready for proofing.  They took 75 minutes to proof.

Almost done and ready for baking, they are looking pretty good so far.

I baked these at 350* for 45 minutes on my pizza stone, which worked really well.  They looked and smelled really good when I pulled them from the oven and covered them with the flour sack towels to cool for a couple hours.  I was way to much in a hurry while making these, so I think that effected the entire shaping and braiding process.  The other's loaves are so much nicer looking then mine, but I will have plenty of opportunity to try this again when I am not feeling so rushed. 

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GSnyde's picture

I baked in pans this weekend.  No, there’s nothing wrong with my baking stone.  I just have freezers full of baguettes, miches and other hearth breads.   Also, I was (and am always) craving scones (using Breadsong’s technique).  My wife was urging me to make another whole grain-y sandwich bread.  And I wanted a good accompaniment for Pollo Cacciatore.  So, it was scones, Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread and Reinhart’s BBA Focaccia.

Lemony-Cranberry Flaky Scones


Breadsong wrote about flaky scones a couple months ago (  I had done a couple variations before (  This time, I wanted to try a tart and fruity variation.  I looked at some lemon scone recipes to see different approaches to getting lemon flavor in scones.  Some use lemon zest, some use lemon juice, and some use lemon extract.  I used all three. 

I also added some dried cranberries, soaked in water overnight. I squeezed out the excess water in a sieve, but the dough was still too moist.  So I added some flour in the mix.  Next time I’ll reduce the other liquids.  The scones came out with the same wonderful texture as before, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.  But they didn’t rise up quite as much.  And they could have had a stronger lemon flavor.  So next time I’ll use more lemon zest, or maybe candied lemon peel.

I followed Breadsong’s technique.  Here’s the formula I recommend, with the adjustments I mentioned above:

1 cups (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ Tbsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp kosher salt

scant 1/4 cup golden brown sugar

2 ½ Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (soaked overnight in water, excess water squeezed out)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Just less than 1 cup heavy cream (185 grams)

 2  Teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Half-and-half (for brushing)

But even though they could be improved, these scones were dang good.



Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread


Having enjoyed making –and eating-- AW’s whole wheat bread last week, I decided to try another partially whole grain sandwich bread.   I chose the Oatmeal Bread from Hamelman’s Bread: with 25% whole wheat flour and 75% KAF Sir Lancelot.  Believe it or not, I made this bread exactly per the formula, with no variations.  Believe it?  Well, ok…I did substitute molasses for 1/3 of the honey, just because we love the dark, rich flavor.

The dough was fermented for one hour after mixing and kneading, stretched and folded, then refrigerated.  It almost tripled by morning.   Seriously gassy! 


 It proofed about 2 ½ hours since it had to get to the temperature the yeasties like.   The home-baking formula for this bread in Bread made enough for two loaves in 9 x 5 pans and six 3-ounce rolls.  The bread has a wonderful tenderness and a wholesome oatey-wheaty flavor.  It was excellent for a dinner of turkey and cole slaw sandwiches. This is a real good sandwich bread and I’ll bake it again.



BBA Focaccia


Monday night we are having dinner at home with a friend of a friend, who is a writer for the New York Times, and a serious foodie.  In fact, she wrote a wonderful book about the history of Chinese food in the U.S., called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.  I’ll be serving Pollo Cacciatore, my variation on an excellent recipe Brother David shared.  I think one needs Focaccia to sop up the delicious gravy.

Since we are traveling back to SF from our North Coast getaway on Monday, and since the Pollo Cacciatore is best re-heated the second day, I made both the chicken and a Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia Sunday.   Well, more accurately, the Focaccia dough was mixed, fermented, folded, shaped and slathered with garlic-rosemary oil Saturday evening, and retarded in the fridge overnight.

I looked at a lot of Focaccia recipes and the BBA formula seemed like a good place to start.  I figure, if I’ve got the book, I might as well use it.  This dough is a monster—sloppy and hard (but fun) to manage.  After the third fold and a one-hour rest, it was like a big jiggly pillow.  It easily expanded to fill the 17 x 12 sheet pan.  When it had warmed a couple hours the next morning, it had serious eruptions.


I’ve never seen bread bubbles quite so large.  Like volcanos.


The crumb is airy and tender and the flavor is outstanding with a strong, but not overpowering rosemary and garlic flavor.


We also made fresh pasta today to eat tomorrow with Pollo Cacciatore and re-heated Focaccia.  Gonna be good.



All in all, a good cooking and baking weekend.  We also got some good hikes in, and enjoyed the varied animal and bird life of the North Coast.  Including a rare sighting of a Flicker right on our meadow.


Happy Presidents’ Day to you all.



MickiColl's picture

I just posted about Shaping videos .. please ignore the one that starts with www. .. use only the http one. if all fails type in your own link using just

sorry ... MIcki



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