The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


louie brown's picture
louie brown

Looking to clear up the number of packages containing small amounts of flour, seeds, grains, etc., I noticed that Hamelman mentions in his description of one of his five grain loaves that it looks nice as a large boule. Having neither the time, the patience, nor, most important, the space in the fridge (I like these retarded overnight) I took him at his word and made up the loaf below. It contains at least three different kinds of seeds, all toasted, cracked rye, bulghur, steel cut oats, dark whole wheat, flax, flaxseed meal, who knows what else. It is really more like cereal baked with some flour and water into a loaf. 

Notwithstanding the mountain of ingredients I packed into this dough, it fermented and proofed nicely and baked up into a five pound (2 kilo+) loaf with fantastic taste. It's four inches high. Needless to say, wildly open crumb is not the goal here. 

In the oven, the loaf took a full hour to reach 200 degrees internal temperature, and about six or seven hours to be dry enough to cut. It was even then still a little ragged, as you can see.

This loaf is a meal in itself. A goodly slice, toasted and topped with butter is all you need. Except maybe another one. Delicious, if a little overwrought. Sorry, Jeff.

lumos's picture

……just so that you know I do not live by baguettes alone. :p


Before I start...... Hope all you US-based TFLers are safe and unharmed in any way in the hurricane.  Please know that my prayer is with you.  (Let's forget just for now that I'm an atheist....)



Never been to New York (or USA, for that matter, unless you count the island of Guam as a part of American soil), so, very regrettably I’ve yet to experience the true glory of famous New York Bagels.  You can buy so-called ‘New York Bagels’ here in UK, which noisily claims its authenticity on their plastic bag that’s suffocating 5 bagel-like soft bread rings; sure sign that it is anything but authentic….

 Coincidentally, two of the largest Jewish communities in UK are both within 30-minutes driving distance from me, so I have had a few of their bagels from the bakeries there in the past, but most of them seem to pride themselves and compete each other for the ‘authentic fillings,’ like salt beef or lox, in their bagel sandwiches rather than the bagel itself. I have found a good review about a new bagel shop in another area about 20-25 minutes drive away from me, that is run by a baker who came from Israel quite recently and claims his ones are the authentic bagels, but I have yet to try his…..and his shop is quite near the area which was badly damaged in the recent riot.  I’m desparately hoping his shop was alright. If not, that’s another reason I want those ******* ***** ******* rioters to be properly punished for meddling with my potential foodie-heaven before I get my hands on. 

So in short, I really don’t know if I have ever tasted authentic bagels or whether my bagels are any good at all.   But I’ve been baking these for some friends for a while; one of them (and her husband) who used to live in New York for several years and quite happily buy my bagels very regularly, and the other friend who is an American-Jewish (his parents are immigrants from Russia after WWII) and told me they are the best homemade bagels he’d ever had. (Though I really doubt he’d ever had so many ‘homemade’ bagels before. I suspect he and his family have been buying their bagels from their local Jewish bakeries….)

 Anyway, they seem to like it, and I like it, too. So whether authentic or not (though I suspect any possible claim for ‘authenticity’ will be down the drain the instant I add WW flour in the mix…:p.), this is the one I’d like to share with you. Hope you like it, too.





Ingredients  (makes 12 bagels)

Sourdough (70% hydration)  200g ---  Fed twice during 8-12 hrs period before use with 120g High Gluten

White Flour* (see note below) + 80g water  (1st feed = 40g flour + 25g water,  2nd feed = 80g flour + 55g water)


High Gluten White Flour   450g * (see note below)

Strong Wholemeal flour  120g

Non-diastic malt powder  12g

Organic cane sugar  14g 

Skimmed Milk Powder (optional)   2-3 tbls

Instant Dry Yeast (Easy Blend Yeast)  2g (about 1/2 tsp)    optional (Note: Without added yeast,it needs longer fermentation and the crumb is slightly denser)

Good quality sea salt   12g

Filtered water or bottled spring water   300-310g


For boiling water …..Malt extract/syrup or light brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda


* Note :  High Gluten White Flour …. I use Waitrose Very Strong Canadian Flour (from Canadian Red Spring Wheat, protein 15%)



  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix sourdough and water in a separate bowl and stir to loosen the sourdough.
  3. Pour the sourdough/water into the dry ingredients and mix until no dry bits is left.  Rest for 15 minutes or so to let the flour absorb water.
  4. Knead for 15 – 20 minutes (it may take longer) until the gluten fully develops.
  5. Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape them into nice, neat balls with smooth, tight skin.  Put a damp (but not wet) tea towel over them and rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Shape them into bagels.  (I use,  possibly,  Japanese-style 'rope-method which has one extra-step before you elongate the dough into a rope-shape, which is similar to this video, but whatever a method that works for you should be fine)
  7. You can either final-proof at room temperature (around 1-2 hr or so, depending upon the temperature) or cold retard in a fridge overnight -24 hrs.  Be careful NOT to over-proof, or you’ll end up with soft, fluffy bagels that doesn’t ‘bite back.’
  8. Boil in the water (with malt extract/sugar and 1-2 tsp bicarbonate of soda) for 1 minute each side. 
  9. Drain on a tea towel until you boil the rest. (Better not leave for more than 5-6 minutes or you may end up with bagels with wrinkly skin)
  10. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes at 200 C.




(For this batch, only had time to retard for 5-6 hrs. Longer retardation will give you more birds-eyes.)




Best wishes and  Shalom.......just to compensate for the lack of authenticity of my bagels. :p






Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

I've been continuing practicing my baguettes and have progress to report. I've lowered my hydration yet again to 71% and the dough is even easier to shape and more importantly score. While there's still some room for improvement, I was able get some nice ears on the last few loaves.

I was a bit surprised to get such a nice shine and caramel color on these loaves. I suspect this is beacause of more aggressive steaming than I usually do. The past few bakes I've only sprayed the sides of the oven, this time I also poured a cup of water in a pan right before baking and wasn't afraid to spray the top of the loaves while they were cooking (just the first 10min). I'll continue to steam with both water in a pan and spraying the entire oven (being careful to not spray the oven light).

The taste, crumb and crust were excellent all around. I really enjoyed eating these! Again a lower hydration didn't seem to impact the crumb much at all. Granted I only reduced my hydration a few percent.

Tomorrow will be a busy baking day. I'll be making some more baguettes and a few boules and oval loaves with 15% whole wheat. I just received a beautiful couche and brotform from SFBI and a lame, which I can't wait to use.


rossnroller's picture

I've been going through a wing-it phase, experimenting with creating sourdough cakes, brownies and other goodies I'd previously only made using more conventional recipes. I wasn't intending to make chocolate sourdough bread at all, but did so on an impulse when one of my wing-it episodes landed me with a bit too much chocolate and walnut cake mixture.

I just chucked in AP flour, a bit more starter, a bit of salt and enough water to give me a dough of the consistency I like. Random enough beginnings, but the happy accident I referred to in the post title came later. I forgot about the bread after the final proof, and left it sitting on the kitchen bench overnight, rather than retarding fermentation in the fridge (which is my usual modus operandi, partly because I like the flavour imparted by the extended fermentation, and partly to suit my baking schedule). 

This long overnight final proof at room temp can work well if the ambient temps are cool, but this was one of the warmer winter nights - around 21C in the kitchen from memory, maybe warmer. Actually, definitely warmer until we went to bed - we had a fire on.

Anyway, when I got up next morning and opened the fridge to find the dough missing, I realised what had happened. On uncovering the dough, I was annoyed to find it puffed up and bloated to an enormous size. It was literally bursting at the seams! When I slashed it prior to loading, it parted extravagantly. Not the worst sign, I noted with faint hope. I was expecting it to deflate like a pierced football bladder.  Sure it was grossly overproofed nevertheless, I decided to go ahead and bake it anyway on the off-chance that it would somehow turn out edible.

Well, bugger me - what a shock! It was the lightest, softest crumbed sourdough bread I have ever baked!! The pics don't show how big and light this baby was per dough weight (considerably less than my usual bake of around 800-1000g), but do give some indication of the airy crumb. There was no sign of overproofing in the finished product!

And the flavour? Mild chocolate with a hint of sour. Would be nice with maraschino cherry jam, I imagine, but we only tried it with strawberry jam (not bad) and marmalade (better - combined well with the orange tang). All in all, though, it was at its best simply spread with butter.

I'm not into novelty breads so won't be repeating this one in a hurry, but would go down well at a kid's birthday party, I suspect - spread with nutella with hundreds-and-thousands? (erk!)

Cheers all




breadsong's picture

My neighbor had a bumper crop of Transparent apples this year and generously shared with us :^)
I used some to make Ciril Hitz's Apple Kuchen, from his book Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads.
The foundation for the Kuchen is Rum-Raisin Brioche! :^)
 .. the baked Kuchen

...a crumb shot

  ...close up of Butterkuchen (almond paste),
the rum-raisins and the brioche; before adding the apple slices and the crumbly, streusel topping...LOTS of good stuff in this Kuchen! :^)

Blackberries are ripening beautifully right now, with the heat we are having. I pulled out my old and treasured recipe for Glazed Blackberry Pie!:

... a close-up of the berry filling:

I wanted to share the recipe for this delectable (imho) summertime tart!:
Glazed Blackberry Pie
(strawberries, blueberries or raspberries may be substituted for the blackberries)
5 cups blackberries
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 baked and cooled 9-inch pie shell
1 cup whipping cream

Crush and sieve 1 cup of the blackberries to remove seeds.
Combine cornstarch, pinch of salt, sugar, sieved berries and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the glaze is thickened and clear. I let it come slowly to a boil, and boil gently for 1 minute.
Cool slightly, and add the lemon juice. Sometimes I add a little bit more lemon juice to brighten the flavor if I think it needs it. Now is also a good time to add a bit of liqueur of your choice, if that interests you!
Very gently, fold the remaining berries into the glaze.
Pile the berry mixture into the baked pie shell. Cool and chill.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Yesterday I tried making a Vollkornbrot (just a small one, 8x4 loaf pan size). I added currants to Mr. Hamelman's recipe from his book Bread. I waited 24 hours to slice it - was so anxious to taste! It had a really nice flavor with the currants. I'm really looking forward to how this will taste tomorrow. end view

side views...  

  ... and the crumb

Today's bake is Sourdough based on this formula from my Guild class;  I tried to score the loaves to look like wheat. This was really fun to try!

and one last close up (I really like those bubbles!)

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

SylviaH's picture

A very delicious recipe.  This is my first test version using, fresh Black Mission figs, the orginal recipe from 'The Art of Wood Fired Cooking' by Andrea Mugnaini uses, dried figs and is baked in a wood fired oven '.  This book has many of the basics for mastering your wfo and, full of tasty recipes and lovely photos. 

A lovely torte that is at not at all to sweet.  Wonderful for morning or, evening snack with a cup of coffee or tea.  The flavors all blend perfectly together and the fennel is just right.  

The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate.  I used pieces of my Dark Chocolate Godiva bar.

The dusting of powered sugar adds just the right amount of sweet to go with the fruit, nut and chocolate.


I baked at 375F convection setting for apx. 20-25 minutes in home oven.  I also used a springform 9" pan.


Should still be delicious it says even after one or two days...I very much doubt it will last one day.


Recipe  -

Bake Oven Environment in a WFO> Floor temperature of 350-450F with hot coals but no live flame

my home oven preheated 375F convection setting

8 TBsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided

3/4 cup plus 1 TBsp AP flour

1 cup coarsely chopped dried figs - I used 1 cup chopped Fresh Figs

1 1/2 cups chopped Walnuts

4 Large Eggs

1/3 cup plus 2 TBsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/3 cup cup chopped bittersweet chocolate - sub. Godiva Dark Choc.

1 tsp. fennel seeds

Powdered sugar for dusting on cooled cake

Brush inside of a 9" cake pan - I used my 9" springform pan

with 1/2TBsp. melted butter.  Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper and brush the paper with another 1/2

TBsp. butter.  Add 1 TBsp. flour and shake pan to coat completely.


Combine the figs and walnuts in a bowl and sprinkle over the bottom of the prepared pan, covering evenly.


Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until creamy add the remaining butter and vanilla.


Sift the remaining flour and baking powder into a small bowl.  Fold in the chocolate.  Using a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture

to the egg mixture and sitr to combine.  Stir in the fennel seeds and pour batter evenly over the figs and walnuts.  Place in the oven 

for 20 minutes.  Check after 10 minutes...if the nuts are getting too brown, lay a piece of oiled foil over the top.  The torte is done

when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.  Place the rack over the pan upside

down and invert.  Remove the cake pan and peel off the parchment paper.  Place a plate on the torte and quickly flip right side up. 

Once cooled, dust with powered sugar and serve.  

Serves 8-10 ........ or just right for 2 people :)






ph_kosel's picture

I'm behind on my blogging.   Hopefully I'll find time soon to document the following:

1.  Trip to Tartine Bakery and Acme Bread back on July 2.

2.  Efforts to reproduce Acme's whole wheat walnut sourdough bread.

3.  Experiments with wholewheat bread with LOTS of seeds in it.

For now this post will work for me as a place holder to remind me what I've neglected so far in my recent chaos of houseguest infestation, highschool reunion, GREAT roadtrip vacation up the northern California coast in a brand new Smart Car, etc.  My sourdough starters have been a bit neglected but seem to be salvageable, and I still bake when I run out of bread.

Mebake's picture

This is another one of Hamelman's Pain Au Levain With whole wheat from His book "BREAD".

I'am testing out my new flour's performance with naturally leavened breads.

I mixed my dough ever so lightly, and did two stretched and folds (letter fold on the bench) @ 60 minutes intead of one at 50min. So, the fermentation time was 3 hours intead of 2.5.

I retarded the shaped loaves right after shaping for 8 hours, and left them to proof at room temp. for 1 hour while the oven was preheating to 510F.

I Also increased the prefermented flour by 7%.(as recommended by Andy - ananda) I found that this particular recipe works more predictably if i increased the amount of stiff levain. and it did!

Crackly Crust!

Cool, soft, and translucent crumb, with a faint sour flavor.

dmsnyder's picture

The 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice has been one of my favorite breads for years. I love it for it's delicious honey-wheat flavor. However, it often comes out with a dense, cake-like crumb. In April, I tried making this bread using a more intensive mix, as demonstrated by txfarmer. (See Light and fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Bread) I did, indeed, achieve a less dense, more open crumb. But I felt there was some loss of flavor due to oxidation of carotenoids. 

It is difficult to make a 100% whole wheat bread with a light, airy crumb. The pieces of bran in the flour act like little knives, cutting the gluten strands that give bread crumb its “structure.” I had heard of flour mills that grind the bran to a finer consistency after it has been separated during the normal milling process and then add the fine-ground bran back in, along with the other wheat components that re-constitute “whole wheat” flour. The smaller bran particles do less damage to the developing gluten during mixing.

Central Milling makes such a flour, and brother Glenn recently got some for me at CM's Petaluma warehouse. Today, I used CM's “Organic Hi-Protein Fine” whole wheat flour to make the Whole Wheat Bread from BBA. I followed the formula and procedures in my April 2, 2011 blog entry with one exception: I only mixed the dough for 12 minutes at Speed 2.


The first difference in the bread was the wonderfulness of its aroma. I can't say it was different in quality, but it just filled the house as never before. When the bread was cool and sliced, the crumb structure was even more open than I got with intensive mixing. The bread is chewy like a good white loaf and not at all cakey or crumbly. The flavor is delicious. I can't really say it is better than the flavor I've gotten with either home-milled flour or KAF Organic Whole Wheat flour, but the combination of crumb structure, texture and flavor was remarkable.


I am now eager to try using this flour with other breads, for example the Tartine "Basic Country Bread." Stay tuned.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

davidg618's picture

Four months ago I began trying to bake my "personal-best achievable" loaf of 50/50: Bread Flour/Whole Wheat Flour Sourdough. The measures of success, for me, are: FLAVOR, an al dente, moderately open crumb, and eye-appeal. Nearly all my mostly white flour sourdoughs are made at 68% hydration, and I preferment 28% of the flour building the doughs' levains. Consequently, when I started my quest for the PBA half-WW loaf I set the formula with 68% hydration, and I prefermented 56% of the Whole Wheat Flour (28% of the total flour) building the levain. Immediately, I was delighted with the bread's flavor, and al dente crumb, but the dough had been very slack, and the loaves, while not exactly "flat as...", did their best to emulate pancakes.

In subsequent loaves, continuing with the same ingredients and ratios the flavor got even better through overnight retardation, but the dough seemed to get slacker, and IHOP began to worry they had a new competitor.

Three month ago I began to worry my starter's levaining power was weakening. It sometimes took twice as long to proof.

Not only were my 50% WW loaves belly-flopping from slack doughs, but the oven spring I'd been experiencing in all my other Sourdough loaves was lessening.

I gave up trying to create the PBA WW loaf, and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong in my heretofore bomb-proof sourdoughs.

I've got a new starter. It's agonizing birth--all its problems due to my ignorance--is documented elsewhere, the life-saving mid-wife: Debra Wink.

The new starter has provided very satisfying successes with my "go-to" mostly white-flour sourdoughs, the past three weeks.

It was time to try again for the hitherto elusive BPA 50% WW sourdough loaf.

First try: Same ratios as prior, same ingredients, all Bread Flour in the levain, machine kneaded after autolyse (Kitchenaid mixer)   3 mins. speed 1, no retardation, DDT 76°F

The flavor is good, but, subjectively, not as good as remembered from the earlier retarded loaves. The crumb is delightfully al dente, and moderately open. The dough was slack; not as slack as during the abandoned quest, nevertheless, most of the oven-spring went sideways, but still better than any previous loaf.

Second try: same ingredients

Differences: 14% of the total flour prefermented in the levain build, all Whole Wheat flour (1/2 as much as the previous bake); Dough Hydration reduced to 65%; ice water and chilled dough used in the mix (DDT 54°F); machine kneaded (Kitchenaid mixer) 2 mins. speed 1, 7 mins. speed 2. (I also performed three S&F at one hour intervals, the same was done in the previous bake); dough retarded (54°F) for 17 hours.

The flavor is excellent: multi-layered, with a distinctive sour end note. The crumb is camparable to the first try: delightfully al dente. The oven spring was considerably more vertical.  Subjectively, despite the lower hydration, the crumb is more open than the first bake.

I feel I'm back in the grove. Next try I'll increase the dough's hydration to 67% keeping all else, ingredients and procedures, the same.

David G




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