The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Mebake's picture

This is another bake from "Whole grain breads" of P.Reinhart. It is Whole Wheat Hearth bread.

It is 100% WholeWheat.  70% of WW flour was from a sack of Indian Chakki atta (stone ground flour). I suppose Chakki atta is 96% extraction. Remaining flour was milled from red winter italian wheat, sifted. Therefore, i suppose that this is not entirely 100% ww, but close.

I used 1.5tsp veg. oil instead of butter, and 1.5tsp honey. The crust was chewy, and the crumb was somewhat moist but not dense. THe bread had a sweet wheaty aroma, and the taste was superb. It was indeed one of my best WW breads i have made.

I will definitely make this bread again.


trailrunner's picture

I have posted my cast iron bakes quite a few times over the past years . Seeing the new-found interest in Tartine and the cast iron bake I thought I would post my bake today to illustrate how well the "usual" sourdough responds.


This formula yields a very full flavored bread with a finish aroma that is rich and full of grain. The crumb is very tender and the crust is quite crisp. I love the caramel taste that a bold bake yields and this formula gives it back 100 fold. The bread has great keeping qualities...that is if no one is home  ! It goes very well with an aged cheese and a ripe pear, I just tried that combo a minute ago. It also makes wonderful toast. It has become my every week bake for a month or so. This particular batch retarded for 2 days , due to life intervening. It didn't make a huge difference in the sour but did increase the fullness of the flavor I think . Don't hesitate to retard an extra day or so. 

I use the word usual but David's breads are anything but as you know if you have tried his formulas. I have a very old cast iron covered pot that was my mother-in-law's and I have a Le Creuset . The pots are different sizes but the dough doesn't mind at all. The pots are preheated at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. They are sitting on my stone as they preheat. I remove them from the oven and uncover them, lower the risen loaves into the pots using parchment paper . I mist lightly with water and then place the lids back on the pots. I  place both pots back into the oven and lower the temp to 460. I bake for 20 min. covered and then remove the lids and bake 15 more minutes. I like a bold bake , you will note the caramelization. I have never had the bread burn or had any variation in the finish temp. I bake to 213 degrees or so and both pots give me identical loaves as far as shape/color/flavor/finish temp. etc. Here are some pics to illustrate. 

rising: Photobucket slashed: Photobucket in the cast iron pot: Photobucket Le Creuset pot: Photobucket finished product: Photobucket crumb: Photobucket

amolitor's picture

This basically Joe Ortiz' idea. The underlying loaf is a challah (a not terribly sweet, not terribly rich challah, just a nice one). I made up his recipe last night, which produces 2.5 pounds of dough (6 cups of flour, to give you an idea of how much dough). I think you could use any challah or brioche, but I do like the 'not too sweet, not too rich' part. If you go too sweet or too rich, I think you just get a giant cinnamon roll (not that this is a bad thing..)

Anyways. This makes two loaves, and into each loaf knead (at the very end of kneading) 4-6 ounches of raisins (amount to taste -- these have about 4 ounces of raisins per loaf). Rise and so on per instructions for your challah recipe.

Make up a glaze: a whole egg (or about half an egg is enough, really, for two loaves) beaten with a little milk.

Make up some cinnamon sugar: 2-3 Tablespoons sugar and 1-2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon (vary amounts according to taste), per loaf. The loaves below are right around the middle -- about 2.5 T sugar, 1.5 tsp cinnamon each.

When it's time to form up loaves:

  1. Make up each loaf as a loose round and let rest 10 minutes.

  2. Flatten each round out to an oblong 12-18 inches or more long, and roughly as wide as your loaf pans are long. As long as possible, really.

  3. Place the oblong with one end toward you.

  4. Paint the surface of the flattened oblong with the egg glaze, except at the far end leaving and 1 to 1.5 inches un-painted.

  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the painted part. You should get a nice layer, covering the dough completely with a moderately thick layer (1/8" maybe? A little less?)

  6. Roll up starting at the end near you, and stretching as you go: roll a little, then kind of tug the rolled-up part gently toward your belly as you roll more. You're trying to maximize the number of turns you can get out of the oblong before it's all rolled up.

  7. Seal using the unpainted far end.

  8. Flip the roll over, seam side down, tuck and fuss with the ends a bit to try to seal them a bit.

  9. Place in GREASED AND FLOURED loaf pan! Greasing AND flouring might be a bit much, but these loaves can get mighty sticky what with the egg in the dough, and the sugar, and everything.

Bake per instructions, but a bit longer. Say another 5 to 8 minutes. I glazed the top of each loaf with the egg/milk glaze just before loading into the oven, and again after 15 minutes.


MadAboutB8's picture

First rule of baking - KNOW YOUR OWN OVEN.

I think I did until a couple of weeks ago when I finally found out that I have been baking my breads in a not-so-correct oven mode for the past 6 months.

Instead of pre-heating my oven with fan+top & bottom heat, I pre-heated my oven and baked in a fan-assisted (with some heating elements) mode. The result after using the correct baking mode is significantly improved.

The loaves are more open with nicer ears and crumbs. Finally, I have a decent looking loaves.

This is my latest bake, Sourdough Seed Bread from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook, more details are here:(

This bread is also one of our favorite. It has a lovely texture and nuttiness taste from sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. I used black sesame seeds as I find them tastier than the white one and they're more nutritious, I believe. Generally, I like breads with a bit of texture, being it grains, seeds, nuts or fruits.

I also put some sesame seeds onto the loaves just before putting them into the oven. I spray the loaf surface slightly with water before pressing sesame seeds onto it.

  Latest bake with correct baking mode


 Previous bake of the same loaves, but in a not-so-correct baking mode

 Always had some troubles with the diagonal scoring.

 The crumbs

Yes, I had suffered from the oven mishap. I'm hoping that my loaves will be prettier in the future bakes.


hanseata's picture

One of the breads I bake regularly for sale is the Swedish Limpa Rye from Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads". The word "Limpa" sounds intriguing - but it simply means "round" in Swedish - I asked my Finnish friend Melita. Therefore, of course, my Swedish rye breads are always round.

I made some changes to the original recipe, though. I use less water for the starter - I found 142 g water results in a really wet dough: 127 g is sufficient. I also cut back on the molasses, adding only 37 g. The recipe amount with 57 g is, like many of the WGB recipes, too sweet for my taste.

As with all my breads I bulk ferment the dough overnight in the fridge - I need only 4 g instant yeast (instead of 7 g) - and bake it the next morning.

142 g rye flour
85 g whole wheat flour
4 g salt
170 g water
64 g whole wheat mother starter
191 g whole wheat flour
127 g water
all soaker and starter
57 g whole wheat flour
5 g salt
4 g instant yeast
37 g molasses
14 g canola oil
9 g anise, fennel, cardamom, cumin, (cumin less than others)
7 g orange zest ( 3/4 - 1 orange)


In the morning, prepare soaker and starter.

In the evening, prepare final dough, place in lightly oiled container, cover and refrigerate overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using.

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C, including steam pan.

Shape boule and proof in floured banneton (seam side up) for 45 - 60 min., until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Score (I like a windmill pattern).

Bake 20 min. at 350 F/175 C, steaming with 1 cup boiling water, rotate 180 degrees and continue baking for another 25 min. until bread is a rich reddish brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom (internal temperature at least 200 F/93 C).

The breads I sell are a little smaller (80%), to fit into the oven - and to cost a little less!

Updated 11/4/14

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

I have officially deemed this week the start of my Bread Season.  As the weather gets increasingly colder, I can't think of a better way to warm up the house.

Not long ago, early this year (2010) I became obsessed with teaching myself to be an Artisan Bread maker. Throughout my life I have done this frequently. I'll find something interesting and obsess over it endlessly...well endlessly may be an overstatement. It's more until I find something else to obsess about. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Right away I hit the pavement; I went up to my locale library (which is an amazing facility) and checked out several bread making books. The first two that I picked up read like most other cookbook I had ever used, listing the ingredients and then step by step directions that usually lack the critical details to make any dish truly exceptional - enter my culinary education. Low and behold the book I left for last in the group would turn out to be my holy grail of bread making. I had stumbled upon "The Bread Makers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart, and so my journey began.

I can truly say that while most hobbies that I embark upon fall to the wayside sooner or later this adventure has transcended to something that's more a part of who I am as opposed to what I do. The lessons and fundamentals that I have learned to date have produced some rather exceptional results, in my personal opinion and I can't wait to share these experience with The Fresh Loaf.

txfarmer's picture

I had a big bag of carrots (I just should not go to Costco unsupervised), a 3lb block of cream cheese (did I mention I was at Costco?), and a life time supply of raisins and pecans (they seem so reasonablely portioned at the store!). No more costco trips for me! Well, until probably next week. :P

To consume all that ingredients, first, there's this sourdough carrot cake I have been wanting to make for a while. Recipe is from KAF.

When putting together the ingredients, I discovered that I only had one egg (of all things I bought at Costco, I forgot to buy eggs, ugh), so I only made one third of the recipe, in a 6X6 squre tin. Used raisins and pecans instead of pineapple and walnuts. Very moist and delicious cake.

The extra nuts in the icing was delicious. I did cut down the sugar, used only 1/2 of what's called in the recipe, I think I can use even less next time.

A good way to use up leftover starter, as well as any impulse buys at Costco. :P

---------------------Then there comes bread--------------------

Having thoroughly enjoyed the carrot cake, I decided to make a sourdough bread, using the same ingredients as the cake. There will be LOTS of shredded carrots in the dough, with a cream cheese filling. I want the bread to be soft and airy, like a good roll, or an Asian style soft sandwich bread, so raisins and pecans would be added to the filling, not the dough, in order to keep the smooth soft texture. For a total out of no where experiment, they turned out great!

Made 7 rolls as above, as well as a mini sandwich bread

Both the sandwich bread and rolls had perfectly soft texture

The bread part is slightly sweet from LOTS OF shredded carrots, matched perfectly with the filling. Not too sweet, just enough to make this a nice breakfast roll or a snack. Sourdough brings a slight tanginess, which we love, especially in a sweet, relatively rich bread. The golden color is just lovely, and it's so "shreddy" soft.

Carrot Cake Sourdough (my crazy creation)

Note: The following recipe as written has 200g flour in total (including what's in the starter), enough for 6 to 7 3.5inch rolls. I actually made more dough than what the recipe specified, for the mini sandwich loaf, I used mini loaf pans (5-3/4" x 3-1/4" x 2-1/4"), each would need 90g of total flour(in addition to the 200g in the recipe). If you use a standard 8X4 sandwich loaf pan, I think you need about 270g of flour for each pan.


milk, 17g

bread flour, 33g

starter (100%), 11g

1. Mix everything into a dough, leave for 12 hours at room temp.

-final dough

levain, from above

bread flour, 162g

butter, 20g, softened

sugar, 20g

salt, 3g

milk, 77g

shredded carrots, 100g


cream cheese, 113g

corn starch, 19g

sugar, 40g

vanilla essence, 2g

chopped pecan



2. mix together every except for butter and salt, autolyse for 30min, add salt, knead until dough pull away from the mixer bowl, add butter, mix until passing window pane. Note that with all that carrots, the dough is VERY sticky and wet, so it took a while for it to come together, don't give up, keep kneading. I got  a very strong dough at the end: (Note that I am aiming for a very fine, soft, and even crumb here, which is why I did such intensive kneading. This is the same technique I use for soft Asian style sandwich breads, and enriched breads like brioche. However for lean hearth breads, i don't knead, I S&F. I think different style of breads requires different techniques, depending on what kind of crumb you are after.)

3. Round into a smooth ball and rise at room temp (22C) for 2 hours, S&F at the end, then immediately put in fridge for overnight. By the time I pulled it out of the fridge, it has doubled.Note: there were questions regarding why dough would always be stuck to the bowl during bulk rise, no matter how well the container is oiled. I think it has something to do with how well you round the dough before putting in in the container. if the surface is taunt and smooth, even for such a sticky and wet dough, it would not get stuck. Flipped right out.

4. Roll out into a 9X9inch squre, spread cream cheese filling(beat together cream cheese, corn starch, sugar, and vanilla until smooth), then spinkle raisins and pecans.

5. Rolled up like a jelly roll, but into 6 to 7 rolls, each about 1.5inch thick. Here I put them in some 3.5inch paper molds, but you can certainly bake them directly in a pan.

6. Leave to rise until double(when I lightly press it, it barely springs back), being pure sourdough, it took 6.5 hours at 22C. Which was perfect, since I needed to be away for that time, came back in time to bake them! Note that I usually proof rolls longer than sandwich breads since too much ovenspring would destroy the shape, if you make filled sandwich bread with this dough, you might want to proof less.

7. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30min until golden. The mini loaves took 35min. I am guessing a standard loaf would take 45 to 50min. It's a very moist dough, needs to be baked longer.

This truely a pretty and delicious bread, even if you don't have sourdough, you can easily convert the recipe to use dry yeast. The result would be slightly less flavorful than the sourdough version, but still yummy.

Still have a lot of carrots left, I am considering to make a German style rye bread with seeds and carrots, like this one. Anyone here have a favorite recipe to recommend?

Sending this to Yeastspotting.


amolitor's picture

This is a new bake of the recipe I discussed in this post.

Minor chages:

  • sour sponge was 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup rye, 1 cup water

  • "old dough" starters were each somewhat bigger, using 1/3 cup water each and "enough" flour.

The main difference is that I accidently added about 1 cup too much water, so:

  • the loaf was bigger (about 3 pounds)

  • there was less sour flavor (since I used the same 1 cup water/1 cup flour sour sponge, for more bread)

  • I worked at higher hydration, somewhere between 65 and 70 percent (it started wet, but I worked more flour late in kneading, and some more during stretch and fold)

Then I baked it for a full hour, hence the dark crust.

Also, I chopped some of the nuts fairly fine to get more nut distribution throughout the bread. The purple coloration of the crumb is more thorough and even, but not up to Acme Bakery standard yet! This loaf is outstanding with jam, especially toasted.

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Fifth attempt

I am such an excited little bread maker right now!  Look.... Sourdough!!!  Thanks for all advice from TFL members.  I will add to this blog later this evening, but for now I have to go finish a painting.

Okay, now that I'm feeding my poor little starter the right amount, I'm sure it's happier, but I don't know if that's the reason for this sudden improvement.  I've tried several new things with these loaves.  

1.  A well fed starter.

2. Still used the 1,2,3 recipe.  This time I used half unbleached white bread flour, and half multi-grain bread mix (no added yeast).  Autolyse for 30, then add salt.

3.  The dough was still way too wet for my liking, but I followed Richard Bertinet's 'thwapping' method of kneading.  I did this for at least 15 to 20 minutes with great improvement in the smoothness of the dough, but still way too sticky!  I added just enough flour to end the sticking and then let it sit in the fridge overnight.

4.  I let it rise all by itself, instead of trying to speed it up with steam baths etc.  It was covered in a nice sunny spot though.  Would you believe it was 16 degrees C (that's about 61 degrees F) where I am even though it's supposed to be spring!  That took a long time, about 5-6 hours.

5.  I heated the oven as hot as it would go AND I put a terracotta tray in as well.  (I don't own a pizza stone).  I also had a tray in the bottom of the oven to which I added a cup of water.

6.  The boules probably weren't fully doubled before I put them in (kudos to a TFL member for that tip) and hoped like crazy to see some oven spring!

7.  I spritzed at 10 min intervals after the first 20 mins.  (I've done for all previous loaves.)

I sit in front of the oven with a torch (my oven light doesn't work! ha) and watch for oven spring.  I gave up after about 7 minutes cos nothing happened, sat down to play with my iphone while waiting.  Next time I look, wow!  I actually have bread rising in there!  Et voila!


fishers's picture

I froze 1/2 a recipe of dough before final shaping with the idea of shaping and baking within a week.  I thawed for 24 hours in the refrigerator and noticed some rise as it thawed.  Let it come to room temp and then carefully shaped so as not to degas.  That was it - no further rise after 3 hours.  I hate to throw out the dough.  Can I use it as a starter or something?


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