The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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hansjoakim's picture

I'm eating a lot of bread these days :)

The latest batch to come out of my oven, is pictured below: Two loaves of Suas' caramelized hazelnut squares.

Hazelnut squares

A total of four different preferments are mixed 12 hours before the final dough: Two levains (a white and a rye levain), and two stiff sponges (a white and a whole wheat sponge). The two sponges and the white levain are very stiff, probably to make the final dough stronger. I did consider doing an autolyse on the non-prefermented flour, but I feel the resulting increased protease activity would counteract the effect of the stiff preferments, so I dropped the autolyse. The recipe doesn't call for any either, and I think it was a wise choice as the overall dough is very wet (77%).

Hazelnut squares

After an "improved mix" and some folds in the bowl using a plastic scraper (thanks to mountaindog for updating me on the vocabulary!), roasted and caramelized hazelnuts were incorporated on first speed. The mixed dough was bulk fermented for two hours, with a very gentle fold after one hour. The dough was a bit sticky but not overly so. Wet hands and a dough scraper saved it from getting stuck to the table :)

Hazelnut squares

No pre-shaping on this one, just cut it in two pieces and scooped them into rectangles and 35 mins. proof.

The rustic "squares" (yeah, mine aren't exactly square now are they?) are incredibly rich in flavor. To me, the recipe is perfectly balanced between a wheaty, slightly sour note and the sweet, decadent hazelnuts. The crumb is very airy and light, and the crust is crunchy and strong. What to put on top of these slices? I tried one with some Dutch cheese and one with a bit of honey, but for this loaf, my best advice is: Bread alone. :)

eva_stockholm's picture


Here are two recipes for typical, traditional Swedish breads- "Limpa" and "Honokaka" Both breads are on the sweet side (As opposed to crispbread - "knackebrod"- Swedish soft bread traditions are not altogether "healthy" - poor fibre content and often too much sugar for modern tastes). All the same, these breads make a great occasional treat, and they go very nicely with savoury toppings and sandwich fillings. Try the "Honokaka" with smoked salmon or fresh shrimps or "Limpa" with thin slices of spicy sausage or smoked ham.

 I have adjusted the traditional recipes a bit:

The original recipes call for melted butter and lukewarm liquid. I personally prefer cold liquid (=long rising times) and not melting the fat before it is worked into the dough (=better crumb texture).

 Measurements are all metric.

 The pictures are not my own, alas!

LIMPA (2 loaves)



50 g yeast

50 g butter at room temperature

1 deciliter water

4 deciliters full-fat milk

1 deciliter molasses, treacle or golden syrup

2 teasp salt

4 teasp ground anis and fennikel seeds

16 deciliters sifted rye flour + some more for shaping


Syrup Wash: a little syrup dissolved in water or strong coffee


Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add salt,syrup and spices. Gradually work in the flour, stirring at first and kneading when the dough becomes thick enough to handle. When you are satisifed with the texture, work in the soft (not melted!) butter, shape dough into a ball, cover and leave to rise until double size.


Shaping: Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong loaf. Place loaves on greased cooking sheet, cover and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. Brush with syrup wash.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until a knock on the underside produces a hollow sound.

Brush again with syrup wash. Let cool under a cloth to keep the crust soft.

Do not cut until reasonably cool.



HONOKAKA (12 large pieces)



50 g yeast

50 g butter at room temperature

1 liter full-fat milk

1/2 deciliter molasses, treacle or golden syrup

1 tbsp salt

8 deciliter sifted rye flour

18 deciliters plain white wheat flour


Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add salt and syrup. Add all the sifted rye flour and stir. Gradually work in most of the white flour, stirring at first and kneading when the dough becomes thick enough to handle. Save some of the wheat flour for final shaping. When you are satisifed with the texture, work in the soft (not melted!) butter, shape dough into a ball, cover and leave to rise until double size.


Shaping: Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover and leave to rise for another 20 minutes.

With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a flat round directly onto warm, greased cooking sheets - one round only on the same sheet. Perforate rounds all over the surface with a fork to prevent bubbling. Bake at 275 degrees Celsius for 3-4 minutes or until surface begins to turn golden.

Let the rounds cool stacked on top of each other under a cloth to keep them soft.


Cut into wedges when serving.




JMonkey's picture

I've not posted much, but I've still been baking, and I think my re-engagement with this site has encouraged me to try a few new things. Most recently, I made a variant of Jeffrey Hammelman's excellent Flaxseed Bread, which contains 60% rye. I've altered his recipe a bit, using whole rye instead of medium rye, increasing the hydration to 80% (to account for the extra absorbtion of whole rye) and used a rye starter at 100%, simply because that's how I keep mine. The recipe may be found in the handbook here.

Usually, I just let the sourdough do its thing, and don't add any commercial yeast. But, I was under some time pressure here, so I went ahead and added 3/4 tsp of instant yeast like Hammelman. Wow! I couldn't tell any difference in flavor, which was hearty with a good tang, but I got quite a bit more volume. As for the rise, Hammelman calls for 80 degrees. Well, it was about 64 in my house, so I just threw a cup of boiling water in the bottom of a cooler, stood the dough on an upturned bowl and closed it up. The bulk rise took about 45 minutes and the final rise was just over an hour (I intended to go just one hour, but got stuck on a conference call, as I work from home -- augggggh!).

Here's a picture. As you can see, I sprinkled sesame seeds on the top right after shaping.

Earlier in the week, I decided to give the Sullivan Street Potato Pizza from Glazer's Artisan Baking Across America a shot. You think you've worked with a wet dough? Trust me, until you've made the dough for the crust in this recipe, you've not worked with wet dough. The hydration on this puppy is something like 104%! It's a batter, and since I don't own a stand mixer (the recipe says to leave it in the mixer for 20 minutes) I went the food processor route, a la Peter Reinhart, and let it churn away for 45 seconds.

Did it work? I've no idea. But the dough (if you want to call it that) was smooth, and I was able to spread it over the pan.

It was a good potato pizza, but a little too starchy for my taste what with bread and potatoes together. Not sure I'll make it again.

I also decided to give Ponsford's Ciabatta from this same book another go, which has previously given me fits. As usual, probably because my house is so cold (below 60 at night sometimes) it took about 36 hours instead of 24 for the biga to develop. But this time around, I actually got a decent loaf of bread. Truth be told, though, I thought the poolish ciabattas I've made before tasted better. I don't see much advantage in using so little yeast (1/4 tsp of yeast is disolved into a cup of water -- then 1/2 tsp of that water is used to leaven the biga!) for the home baker, though I can see how it would be a big advantage for a professional baker to be able to let it ripen 24 hours.


Finally, I made a couple of Colombia batards, also from Glazer's book. MountainDog turned me on to this bread, for which I'm very grateful. Clearly, as bulbous as these loaves are, I should have let them proof another 30-60 minutes, but odd-looking bread for dinner is better than day-old bread the next day (well, most of the time). They tasted lovely, as always.


And the innerds, which, had I waited another 45 minutes, would have likely been more open. But, alas, the soup would have had no accompaniment.

SylviaH's picture

These are made using half the recipe given at .  I have made these before and they are very good with plenty of nooks and crannies with a mild sourdough flavor.

These are baked in the oven for a few minutes after grilling!

Half recipe made 18 muffins! 


eva_stockholm's picture


I just wanted to share a successful (provided you are VERY fond of bananas) experiment: the "bananas only" bread.

This is not a proper recipe, but more of a method.

Take any wholewheat or dinkel rolls recipe (if you are using a sourdough process, follow standard procedures until you reach the "baking day" or "final dough" stage). Then substitute ALL liquid in the recipe with equal volume of mashed, ripe bananas. Omit any sweeteners or fats included in the recipe - the bananas are moist and sweet enough - but do include salt.

Bake according to recipe.

For variation, try one or several of the following additions:

ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, nuts, seeds, raisins, apricots

Some suggestions for toppings when enjoying these rolls are:

simply good quality butter

peanut butter

Turkish youghurt

cream cheese

blue cheese



dstroy's picture

A Sesame Street clip from the 90s about making homemade bread:


Floydm's picture

I made a couple loaves of French bread and also tried Dan Lepard's Onion Bay Leaf Bread. 

Subtle but quite good

hansjoakim's picture

Here's a photo of some whole rye and whole spelt small breads that I pulled from the oven this morning. They're made from approx. 50% high extraction wheat flour and 25% each of whole rye and whole spelt. The rye comes from a ripe sourdough. To shape them, I form the dough into a batard that I cut crosswise into eight or nine equal pieces. One of the "cut" sides are brushed with water and gently placed in a seed mix. They're flipped and put onto a pan. Delicious and filling, with a savory, "earthy" flavor.

Spelt and rye sourdough small breads


Next up is the spelt bread from Suas' Advanced Bread and Pastry. This was a great dough to work with, 90% spelt and 10% whole spelt, gently mixed, and bulk fermented for three hours. The dough is mixed very carefully, and some dough strength is developed over three folds during the bulk fermentation. 33% of the flour comes from a spelt poolish, so the dough feels quite slack and extensible all the way to final shaping. Suas writes that there's no pre-shaping for these, the dough is simply cut in two, and placed as "rectangles" on "well dusted linen". I think the dough behaved remarkably like a ciabatta dough, even though the hydration is only 68%. Quite fragile and sticky, but still smooth and a joy to work with. A fragrant, great bake that had a tremendous oven spring. The crust is very crispy, and there's a slight nutty flavor (probably coming from the poolish and the inherent "spelt" flavor). I made two of these rustic loaves, and they're well worth the effort! Advanced Bread and Pastry is a book I'm getting more and more fond of.

Spelt bread from ABAP


Finally, slightly branching out ("The Fresh Cake" anyone?): Apple breakfast cake, also from Suas. Lots of apples, walnuts and raisins. Yum!! Probably the best apple cake I've tasted... I picked this one, as it was the least intimidating of Suas' cake recipes ;-)

Apple Breakfast Cake from ABAP

Jw's picture

I tried something different this weekend, Duivekater. I read about it a while ago in a newspaper and last year we visited the Open Air Museum and received a recipe. It is 'special occasian bread', with Germanic roots, alltough I found a link to the French Hugenotes as well.

You can find the bread in paintings of Jan Steen at the Rijksmuseum, in this particular painting it is leaning against the wall. 

I am not too happy with the result. The dough did not rise as much as expected, I did not follow the recipe for 100% (e.g. warm butter instead of cold). Brioche or Zopf is much softer then this; it tastes more cakelike. I tried Pretzels as well, but failed there with the lye mixture (too high a percentage). The 'simple' bread (full wheat, slow rise, boule) turned out nice. Within a day all bread was gone....

Any tips on a better Duivekater are welcome. I will translate the recipe on request.


robpetraitis's picture


saw a receipe for rustic rye but can, figure it out. What's a levain? and how is it made?


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