The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries:

First the bread, then we'll talk about cakes, sinful delicious cakes...


I love hummus, delicious, healthy and so easy to make. I don't really follow any specific recipes, but there are many good ones online - just trust me, go heavy on garlic, very heavy!


This last batch was really tasty, so I decided to make a rye sourdough with it. I want the hummus flavor to shine through, so there is a lot in the dough, along with some roasted sesame seeds to complement the flavor. The shaping method is again from this video site:


Hummus Rye

- levain

whole rye, 57g

water, 45g

rye starter (100%), 6g

1. Mix and let rise 12-16hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 340g

salt, 8g

hummus, 264

water, 152g

roasted sesame, 40g

all levain

2. Mix everything except for salt & sesame seeds, autolyse for 20 to 60min, add salt, mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope. Add sesame, mix @ slow speed until evenly distributed.

3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90min.

4. Shape as following:

5. Proof bottom up in basket, put in fridge overnight right away. Take out from fridge next morning to keep proofing until it springs back slowly when pressed, about 30min for me and my July TX kitchen.

6. Bake at 450F with steam for the first 15min, lower the temperature to 430F, keep baking for 30 to 35min.


To my satisfaction, hummus flavor is very obvious, and sesame seeds make the loaf so fragrant. Oh yeah, crumb is very open for a rye bread loaded with stuff.


Didn't last long...



This past Sat (7/30) was my birthday, and 6th anniversary. It's the year of "iron", I got cast iron pots as gifts, aren't they pretty?


Made a white chocolate opera cake as our celebration cake, the "chain" decoration on top was my desperate attempt to relate to the "iron" theme. :P


My recipe is loosely based on this one here:


It takes quite a few steps and components to finish, but if you divide the work into a few days, it's not so bad.


Since about a year ago I joined the Daring Bakers challenge, it's been a great journey to broaden my baking horizon. This beautiful Frasier was done in July.


Finally, some creamy desserts in case there isn't enough sugar, butter, and cream in our system.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin Flan

dmsnyder's picture

Two months ago, after enjoying Phillipe Gosselin's “baguettes tradition” in Paris, I attempted to replicate this delicious bread in a sourdough version. (Baguette Tradition after Phillip Gosselin) My wife and I actually preferred my version to the original. In fact, I felt they were the best tasting sourdough baguettes I'd ever made.

 Yesterday, I made them again. This time, I omitted the little bit of instant yeast I had used with the first bake. Interestingly enough, my fermentation time was just about the same as with the added yeast.

The other difference was I used a new (to me) flour from Central Milling. According to brother Glenn, Nicky Giusto told him this is the flour Acme uses for their much-admired baguettes. I hesitate to generalize from a single bake with it, but it made a very chewy baguette crumb with good flavor. I'm looking forward to using it on some other breads with which I am more experienced.



Baker's %

Central Milling Organic “ABC” Flour

400 g


Ice Water

275 g



8.75 g


Liquid Levain

200 g


Instant yeast (optional)

¼ tsp



883.75 g


Note: Accounting for the flour and water in the levain, the total flour is 500 g and the total water is 375 g, making the actual dough hydration 75%. The actual salt percentage is 1.75%.


  1. The night before baking, mix the flour and levain with 225 g of ice water and immediately refrigerate.

  2. The next morning, add the salt and 50 g of ice water to the dough and mix thoroughly. (I did this by hand by squishing the dough between my fingers until the water was fully incorporated.)

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl with a tight cover.

  4. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has about doubled in volume. (3 hours for me) Do stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  5. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF, with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 more or less equal pieces and stretch each into a 12-14 inch long “baguette.”

  7. Score and bake immediately at 460ºF, with steam for 10 minutes, and for about 20 minutes total.

  8. Cool on a rack before eating.


varda's picture

Continuing toward my goal of baking a non-brick-like Altamura type loaf with 100% Atta whole durum flour, today I increased durum flour percentage to 60%.   My formula is exactly the same as my last attempt which used 40% durum flour  with the exception of the difference in flour, but I changed process and technique a bit.   Last time I did an overnight retard.   This was mainly a scheduling issue but of course had an impact on the bread.   This time, I did not retard overnight, but the dough did have a 1.5 hour refrigerator sojourn in the middle of bulk ferment again due to scheduling.   The technique change was that rather than doing 4 in the bowl stretch and folds, I did 4 in the bowl scoop and pats.   This means I rotated around the bowl several times using three fingers to gently scoop the dough on the edge of the bowl into the middle and then pat the dough twice (that is scoop, pat, pat, scoop, pat, pat, etc.)    Franko said in comments to his post  "From what I've learned so far, this flour needs to be coaxed into forming a good structure for trapping CO2" and by patting I was hoping to encourage such a structure without tearing the gluten strands.   This patting idea came from Akiko in her last baguette post.   I didn't understand it when I read about it in her post, and I still don't understand it, but I found this dough even more manageable and well behaved than the 40% version that I posted about a few days ago.


I am encouraged by the results and plan to continue on to 80% on my next attempt.

asfolks's picture

Dutch Regale’s Finnish Rye

 From Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking Across America

I found some cracked rye at my local health food store and then found this recipe which seemed like it might be an interesting balance of hearty flavors.


Cracked Rye Soaker:

Cracked Rye – 145g

Hot water – 145g

Soaked 8 hours


Flax Seed Soaker:

Golden Flax Seeds – 50g

Hot Water – 100g

Soaked 8 hours


Sourdough Starter:

White Starter @100% - 20g

Water – 60g

KA Bread Flour – 100g

Fermented 8 hours


Final Dough:

Cracked Rye Soaker – 290g

Flax Seed Soaker – 150g

White Sourdough Starter – 180g

Lukewarm Water – 215g

Molasses – 60g*

Sea Salt – 11g

Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour – 220g**

Hodgson Mill Whole Rye Flour – 100g***

*I used dark molasses, rather than the light that was called for, because that’s what I had on hand.

**Formula called for 250g

***Formula called for 70g (I just wanted a little more rye flavor)



I combined all ingredients in a stand mixer and mixed on low speed with the paddle for 5 minutes as directed. I couldn’t tell that there was any development at all, just a nicely combined glop.

Covered the bowl with plastic wrap and rested for 30 minutes.

 I did some “air shaping” and placed the dough seam side down in a 8.5” round banneton that I lined with a heavily floured linen.

Proofed for 3:45 at 70°F

Preheated oven with stone to 475°F, baked with steam for 15 minutes at 450°F, reduced heat to 400°F and baked another 40 minutes.

The hard part was waiting 24 hours to slice the loaf, but it was worth it. This bread has great flavor for my taste, and it was as good with butter and honey as it was with smoked salmon!

I will make this one again.


GSnyde's picture


It’s Summer in San Francisco, and that means soup weather.  And what goes better with soup than a nice tender, wheaty dinner roll with whole grains and seeds?  I’d never made such a bread, but why not try?

I’ve never really invented a formula before, just tried adaptations of proven formulas.  But I didn’t find a formula that looked quite like what I was after: something in between the Hamelman Whole Wheat Multigrain and an enriched whole wheat-oatmeal bread.  So I looked to my experience with enriched whole wheat and oatmeal breads, read a number of TFL entries about how to achieve a soft crust and about seedy breads.  Then I looked at a bunch of formulas from Hamelman and Reinhart, and put pencil to paper (with calculator at hand).

Since I had a very active starter going, I decided to make a leavened dough, with a pinch of instant yeast.

I also had in mind trying the Central Milling Organic Type 85 flour for something besides a Miche.  So that’s the flour I used for this experiment (but I think a mix of 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour would work fine).

I mixed the levain last night, and this morning I soaked some Bob’s Red Mill whole grain cereal (Five Grain with Flax seed) and toasted some wheat germ and some pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.

My calculation on paper of the proper hydration for this dough was a ways off, presumably due to the thirsty whole grains, and I ended up having to add more water during the initial mix.  Reminded me of proth5’s discussion of the “hydration neutral” concept.

But once I got the dough texture feeling right (kind of like the Hamelman Oatmeal bread), it was a joy to handle.  Having no clear idea how long the bulk ferment should be for this dough, I just watched the dough, not the clock (hmmm…where have I heard that before).  After about 1 ¾ hours, the dough had expanded about 50% and seemed nice and airy. 

So that’s when I divided and pre-shaped the dough into 3 oz balls, waited 30 minutes, and then shaped the balls into round rolls.

They proofed 1 ¼ hours, then baked for 18 minutes, the first half with steam.

They came out a nice golden brown, and they make the house smell delicious.

I let them cool about 40 minutes before I couldn’t resist any longer.  They are about the density of a firm whole wheat bread; nice and springy, but firm; the structure would be good for a sandwich loaf.  The seeds and whole grains make for a nice mix of feel and flavor.

The flavor is nutty and complex, just the slightest bit sweet.   It would be excellent with a sharp cheese or with peanut butter, or just sweet butter.  My wife enjoyed the first taste a lot, and said it would be great with raisins added…and nuts and cinnamon (she has a thing for cinnamon-fruit-nut breads).  That’s a variation I’ll try.

All in all, a good experiment.  The formula follows a few more photos.

Multi-grain Seedy Rolls


Liquid Levain

.4 oz ripe starter

2.4 oz water

1.9 oz Type 85 flour


2 oz BRM 5-grain cereal mix

2.5 oz hot water

Final Dough

14.1 oz Type 85 flour

.4 oz baker’s milk powder

.05 oz instant yeast

6.8 oz warm water

.7 oz honey

.8 oz vegetable oil

liquid levain (all)

soaker (all)

.35 oz salt

1.2 oz toasted seeds (mix of sesame, pumpkin and sunflower) and wheat germ


1.        The night before baking, mix the liquid levain and leave covered at room temperature 10-14 hours.

2.        An hour before mixing dough, (a) toast seeds and wheat germ in 300 F oven for 40 minutes, then let cool, and (b) pour hot water over cereal for soaker, and cover bowl.  

3.        Mix flour, milk powder and instant yeast.

4.        Mix water, liquid levain, honey, vegetable oil, then add soaker.

5.        Pour dry ingredients into liquid ingredients and mix to shaggy mass.

6.        Cover for 30 minute autolyse.

7.   Add salt and toasted seeds and wheat germ, and mix thoroughly, then knead five minutes to medium development.

8.        Bulk ferment at 70 F. for two hours with four way stretch-and-folds at 45 minutes and 90 minutes.

9.    Divide into approx. 3 oz pieces and pre-shape in balls.  Rest 30 minutes.

10.  Shape as round rolls, place on parchment, and proof one hour.

11.  Pre-heat oven, with baking stone and steam apparatus, to 450 F.

12.  Transfer parchment to baking stone and bake 9 minutes with steam, then remove steam apparatus and lower  temperature to 400 F.  Bake an additional 9 minutes or so (to internal temperature of 195-200 F), rotating the parchment for even browning as necessary.

13.  Remove rolls from oven, and brush with milk (if you like softer crust).  Cool on rack for 30 minutes or more.

Submitted to Yeastspotting (


wassisname's picture

First the old:  An 85% whole wheat sourdough.  I'm still tinkering with this formula and getting good bread, but I'm coming to realize that the way I handle the dough has more impact on the bread than my endless tinkering with the numbers (if only I could spend as much time baking as I do in front of a computer). 

Now the new:  I finally got a copy of Hamelman's Bread.  Wow.  Now I understand.  I also tried scoring with a safety razor-on-a-stick for the first time.  That was weird.  I didn't think it would be so different from scoring with a bread knife.  It will take some practice, but I think it will be an improvement.  Lastly, but no less exciting, I recently discovered that the little health food store in town will happily special order 25lb bags of Giusto's flours at rock-bottom prices.  Who would have thought?

The Little Things:  That's what this bake really threw into sharp relief.  These two loaves came from the same lump of dough and were meant to be exactly the same except for the scoring.  I don't think scoring alone accounts for this much difference.  The larger loaf isn't just larger because of a better oven spring, it actually is larger because I didn't get them divided exactly in half - there's one little difference.  But obviously the larger loaf did behave quite differently in the oven.  Shaping.  I tried a new (to me) method, first on the smaller loaf.  It seems that by the second loaf I was already better at it.  The crumbs differ significantly as well, though they don't look as different in the photos.  A good lesson for me - keep an eye on the little things!

And the garden is in full swing, so I put the bread to good use!


davidg618's picture

Some of you will remember the tale of the miner who froze to death in the Yukon, with the last BTU in his body, curled about Maude,  he saved her. Maude was his sourdough starter, named after a favorite memory. I never told you his name. It's Hurcules; friends called him Herk. As his legend grew, he became known as Sourdough Herk, Maude's savior.

With Sourdough Debra's help--oops, that's Ms. Debra Wink I mean--It appears my new starter is saved.  I'm diligently feeding it ever eight hours. I have eight days to go before, by Ms. Wink's estimate, it will be officially ready. Meanwhile, I'm biting my fingernails--a habit picked up post-puberty when I started worrying more than I'd done pre-pube--waiting to test it out.

One of the side-effects of feeding a starter every eight hour, regardless of how small a quantity you're feeding, is Discard. Discard, if you save it, piles up. I'd forgotten that over the last couple of years, before I trashed my old starter. My old starter was a Refrigerator Queen, pampered, yes, but only once a week (or so). Discard had been forgotten.

I rarely throw away anything. That's why my kitchen, home office, and wood shop are cluttered. Now don't think the TV show "Hoarders". I've enough of a mild case of OCD that I keep things orderly...well, mostly. So it was natural, when it came time to discard my first Discard, I thought of Herk. It goes without saying, Herk never discarded a gram of Maude! Why, why that would be like...well, it doesn't matter; no need to talk about kittens here.

So I started saving Discard.

It's now Day 6 or 7--I lost track, so being cautious I'm assuming its Day 6--eight days to go.

I've already got a lot of Discard.

Early days, I'd visions of sourdough pancakes, sourdough biscuits, sourdough batter fried 'round fish, or, maybe, green tomatoes.

Discard just kept growing--on it own, as well as my additions--every eight hours.

Now my fledgling starter seems to be doing wonderfully. With Marine drill precision timing it peaks every 7 hours, and with equal discipline I feed it. And I collect Discard. I've named its collection container Slop Bucket.

I'm also getting impatient--another post-puberty habit--I want, very much, to see the final results from my new starter: Bread!

So I reasoned, it's not cheating if I make bread with Discard. After all, if it wasn't for my deep respect for Herk, I'd have thrown Discard away, and, besides, if baking with Discard is even slightly successful, it will be a precursor of what's to come. Right?

I did it. Today.

I know, I know. It's not the real thing. That's eight days away. Not to worry, in eight days this wannabe will be history. Herk would understand.

David G


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

After seeing Glenn's posting of his weekend bake, I thought that I'd show a couple of pictures of my project. It's what I often call my "house loaf" lately though this particular loaf appears to look better than most I've turned out. Maybe it was good fortune but I like to think that I keep learning from all the information being shared here on TFL.

Baking bread here in Kansas in the summertime has been another learning experience in that even with air conditioning, the room temperature averages around 80F. My sourdough starter doesn't seem to be consistent in its speed this summer, but it still does a good job. Practice, pratice, practice.

It's still good, if slightly messy, fun to bake and enjoy the results. I posted barely coherent babblings on the loaf at my blog.

Comments, editing suggestions, humor, and questions are always welcome.

dmsnyder's picture

Well, I'm back from a lovely week at the beach with family. I surely enjoyed the week, including Glenn's fabulous pastrami and corn beef with his and my rye breads. Glenn's Tartine BCB and my SFBI miche were also appreciated. 

Yesterday, I thawed dough made for pizzas 4 and 6 weeks ago and frozen. I made a couple of pies, one with each of the doughs made with Maggie Glezer's and Jeff Verasano's recipes.


Pizza using Maggie Glezer's dough

Pizza made with Jeff Verasano's dough

Glezer's pizza dough retained its distinctive crispness. Verasano's dough was still more elastic than Glezer's but not as chewy as it had been before freezing. I would say that neither was quite as good, but both were better than any you could get at the chains.

Today, I baked a couple bâtards of Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread. This has become a favorite. Today's tweak was to shape the loaves using the method portrayed on the KAF videos but proofing the loaves in cotton-lined oval brotformen rather than on a couche.


The loaves assumed a rounder/less elongated shape during baking. I wonder if, en couche, with lateral support but no support at the ends, the loaves spread longitudinally more. Hmmmm ….


I have dough for my version of Gosselin's Baguettes Tradition in the fridge to finish tomorrow. I'll update this entry accordingly.


Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Hello.  I'm new to the Fresh Loaf, but have been baking breads for about 4 years now (more frequently in the past two).  I've been making sourdough breads for about a year, and they're edible, but they spread everywhere.  I'm talking about regular plain sourdough---whole wheat, or all white bleached flour, or a mix of the two.  I've tried it with looser, malleable dough.  I've tried thickening the dough with more flour, which only resulted in very dense and hard to bake bread.   I've seen pictures of breads on here with serious loft, where the widest part of the free-formed loaf is towards the middle of the height (like a teardrop), not right on the bottom as mine are.  I realize that all of this is still pretty new to me.  Is there a step I'm missing?  I'd really rather not use special forms, or commercial yeast.

I have healthy starter, just the regular white flour with filtered water.  I add its equivalent in flour, and half that in water (I use cups for now).  It rises well.

I add starter to flour and water, use noniodized salt, then knead it until it is very malleable and stretches to let light in. During the kneading process I let it rest a little while washing dishes, then go knead it some more.

I let that rest in an oiled bowl about 4 hours (I am at 2200 feet elevation) to get a good taste.

Then, I knead it again, only using enough flour to keep it off my hands.  It still feels malleable.

I let it rise on a metal flat pan until doubled, then put it in an oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit with a pan of hot water indirectly underneath it, baking for about 45 minutes.  [i know I know, not a high temperature as I just read higher temperatures make better crusts....but I'm just working on baking it all the way through first!  I do NOT like doughy centers and have taken to cutting every single loaf in half to be sure it's baked through. I've found out that the thump hollow sound test does not tell the truth]

So, I'm praying that somebody has the answer out there.  I'm not doing fancy bread yet, I'm just trying to get the basics down.  I would really like some good loft. 



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