The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Matt H's picture
Matt H

I used to love buying the delicious multi-grain breads that were so popular at New England bakeries. At my new home in Northern California, good multi-grain loaves are surprisingly hard to find.

So I set out to make my own multi-grain bread, and thought it would be fun to see how many I could pack into one loaf. Depending on how you do the math, this is about a 17-grain loaf. I don't think you get credit for both white and black sesame seeds, or for brown rice and pearl rice. This was mostly just for fun; I won't pretend that adding 2 tbsp of amaranth does much to change the flavor or texture of the loaf.

17-grain crust

17-grain crumb

A key ingredient is a product I found at a nearby Asian supermarket, the superlative 99 Ranch, a California chain. It's a product imported from Taiwan called Greenmax Fine Multi Grain, a blend of 8 whole grains (the berries, not ground into flour). It's mostly rice and barley seeds and wheat berries, but there are a few obscure grains in there. Job's tears or Gorgon Euryale seeds anyone? I cooked it like rice, and used it just like in Brother Junipers Struan.

The rest of the grains came from raiding the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl (perhaps the world's best grocery store, if you can out-elbow the aggressive locals). Here are the 17 grains:

1. Wheat (white flour, whole wheat flour, and wheat berries)
2. Rye flour
3. Rice (brown and pearl)
4. Buckwheat
5. Barley flour
6. Sorghum
7. Pearl rice
8. Oats
9. Job's tears
10. Gorgon Euryale Seeds
11. Millet
12. Kamut
13. Cornmeal
14. Sesame seeds (black and white)
15. Suflower seeds
16. Qinoa
17. Amaranth

Anyone out there who can top this by making an 18-grain loaf? :)

SylviaH's picture

I've made this bread many times as seen on my blog, with a biga naturale, overnight fermentation, braided loaves, rolls, and just as the recipe comes from the bread site, listed in the recipes section.  Today I wanted to have a loaf ready for dinner and since I was making my usual sourdough loaves to try out in my iron combo cooker.  I prepared my biga and levains last night.  We love the nutty flavor of the Scali loaves with added sesame seeds.  I especially like making the Scali Hoagie rolls, they are just get for hot or cold sandwiches.  You can shape this bread just about any way you like, a member, weavershouse, does a beautifully perfect shaped batard scali.  The traditonal loaf is braided an very popular in the Italian Boston community of resturants and bakeries.

Just out of my oven and still to hot to slice, I made my usual plain sourdough @ 100% hydration that is one of Mike's favorites.  I tried it for the first time in my iron combo cooker.  The thing I notice most different for baking it in the combo cooker is the color of can become a very rich dark/black tinged crust with a lovely mahogany hue.  I have another 5 qt. DO. but find it awkward to do two loaves at once...especially since the pots are so very hot, a lot of caution needs to be used.  My second loaf is just about ready to come out of the oven...went right in after the first came out without any problems.


                         Scali baking in the oven on a cookie sheet




                                         Scali crumb was still slightly warm as we enjoyed the bread with dinner tonight.






                                                               2 Sourdough boules baked in my iron combo cooker.  The second one is still

                                                               baking and I will post it soon.


                                      Lovely deep mahogany color from using the combo cooker




                        Second loaf just came out of the oven, was baked even bolder.







AnnieT's picture

My California son makes this bread most weeks, but recently he bragged about success after adding 1/3cup of sourdough starter instead of the white vinegar. I don't think his friends are too picky, but evidently this loaf received rave reviews. Not about to be outdone by a nearly 50 year old kid I decided to give his method a try. Had the dough mixed and sitting on the counter when the other son called to ask me to babysit today, yet another half day at school for the girls. When I whined about this to the CA son, not sure how I could fit the bread in, he told me that he had "punched down" his dough twice. Instead of punching down I folded the dough with my plastic scraper, once before taking my elderly pug to the vet. and again before meeting the girls off the school bus. Then we came back here and I shaped the boule and placed it on a square of parchment paper in my 8" cast iron skillet. I have been reading about TFL members different methods of baking no-knead loaves and decided not to use my stainless steel "Dutch oven" this time. I preheated a heavy baking sheet and poured hot water into one half of an aluminum roaster which fit nicely. When the loaf was ready to bake I slashed it, placed the skillet on the baking sheet and covered it with the roaster (minus the water!) Baked for 30 minutes at 425* covered and another 30 minutes uncovered, and the resulting loaf was a beauty, if I do say so. Well risen with "ears" and it sang loud and clear for some time. Too soon to cut it but I'm hoping for great things. Now if I could only remember how to post pictures... A.

varda's picture

The other day I stopped into a Whole Foods store in the hope that I could find some white rye.   I couldn't, in fact the person I spoke to had no idea what white rye was.  But there on the shelf were bags of King Arthur Italian Flour.   Wow!   No shipping.   But what to make?   I decided on Ciabatta.   Specifically Hamelman's Ciabatta with Poolish (p. 107 of Bread).   Only after I had mixed everything up did I remember that the Italian Flour bag had a note recommending less water for this flour than others - and I had even accidentally put in around an extra ounce of water.   So it was wet.   I just decided to go with it instead of adding more flour.   It was too wet to take out of the bowl to stretch and fold, so I used the in the bowl method.   Then I decided it was too wet to move it around too much so after the first rise, I poured it (yes poured) into a dutch oven and let it do the second rise there.   Then  baked with the top on for 30 minutes, and the top off for 25.   What did I get?    Well it looks a bit like a three pound muffin.  

with an extremely blistery top:

and the lightest feathery texture I've ever managed to produce.


scai725's picture


Weeks after my school year's over I finally have time to sit down and relax before flying out to West coast for a conference. I decide to bake a loaf in my toaster oven, enjoy the process, and eat it for dinner. Haven't cut it open yet.

Due to its being a quick practice loaf, I didn't use weight for measuring; instead I used volume


2/3 cup of KA AP Flour

1/6 cup of GM WW Flour

1/6 cup arrowhead mill Rye Flour

about 1/2 cup of water

a pinch of salt

a small pinch of yeast (probably about 1/8 teaspoon)


1. mix all the rye, ww flour, and yeast with water

2. leave it along (and go to meet a friend for a 3 hours)

3. come back mix everything together; and, let the mixture rest for 15 minutes,

4. knead (and leave along for a few hours after to go do other things for 4 hours)

5. shape into a ball and proof for ~1 hour

6. bake at 425F for 25 min with sprayed water for the first few minutes


I appreciate any input and suggestion.

Thank you.


EdTheEngineer's picture

Greetings everyone!

This is my first post, having been lurking here for a few weeks. This is a fabulous website and it has accelerated my learning and increased my enjoyment of my new hobby a great deal. I started baking bread a few months ago as an antidote to revision for my university finals. My initial attempts were flat and dense bricks and puddles, more like squashed soda breads. But since finding this site a few weeks ago I've been inspired to put a bit more energy in and try out some of the techniques I've been reading about and watching on the various youtube videos dotted around.

I thought yesterday that I'd have a first attempt at baguettes, having previously been put off by reading it was difficult to make an actual 'baguette' rather than baguette-shaped sandwich bread. The first hit in the search was the Anis Bouabsa recipe. I wanted to have them ready for this evening's dinner so couldn't quite stick to the method prescribed. My method was:

- Poolish - 250g flour, 2g yeast, @100% hydration. Fridge for 7 hours.

- Allow an hour to warm, add the rest of the ingredients. Fridge for 2 hours then in the pantry (which is about 10 degrees C at the moment) for 5 hours. 

- Pre-shape and rest for 40 mins

- Proof for about 50 mins

I slit and sprayed with water, then put them (on baking paper) on the floor of the Aga, which has had a small pan of water on a higher shelf boiling away for the duration for constant steam. Took about 35 minutes to cook - a bit longer than the recipe says - the floor of the Aga is at a lower temperature than the recipe calls for but my feeling is that having them directly on a nice, big, heavy, high thermal mass aga oven floor is A Good Thing. I don't have a stone slab but I guess putting that higher in the oven would be the better way to do it.

I wasn't expecting much - this was a real step up in shaping complexity (I was guided by the <i>excellent</i> Ciril Hitz videos) and more difficult slashing than my usual cave-man technique. But I was pleasantly surprised by what came out of the oven!

Three Baguettes

You can see my shaping is a bit inconsistant (not to mention wrong in ways that are less immediately obvious to me!) but they just about look the part. They sang and crackled promisingly on the cooling rack and I had to try one before dinner. You know, just to test... it tore just like the baguettes I've had in france and biting in was a lovely crunch followed by tasty chewiness. The crumb was on the right lines, I think:


Baguette Crumb


I'm really quite excited to try this again. Next time I'll plan ahead more thoroughly and give it the 21 hours fridge fermentation that the original recipe calls for. I'll not bother with the poolish stage either (I did it as I thought it might give me the flavours and gluten development a little quicker).

I've been getting quite into using a poolish. I've just come back from a bit of travelling and decided tot to make a sourdough starter until i got back (just so I could be around to care for it) so a poolish seemed like a good stop-gap for getting a bit more flavour out of the flour. For fun, here's a photo of another recent session.

- 1kg of flour (2/3 whole grain 1/3 strong white), 500g of which was in a 100% hydration poolish overnight in the fridge. 

- 20g salt.

- 20g fresh yeast

- teaspoon of dark brown sugar.

Produced a pair of boules, finished in different ways:

Pair of boules

I cut the slashes quite deel on the nearer boule, but the loaf still sprang right up to the point of stretching them out flush with the rest of the crust. Given they have so much spring left to give, should I prove them a bit longer?

Anyway, thanks for reading, now I need to go an feed my new starter!



happylina's picture


After I try to baking country bread from one month ago. Many failed stone bread enter my stomach. So my stomach start to strike now,"I want soft, sweet, oily bread...(^_^)" 

 I have no any special patterns for baking. Maybe baking bread like buttermilk cluster is a good idea for me. I can try to use my pot again(^_^).When I see GSnyde very nice Challah photos in Thanksgiving, I like this Challah so much.  I try to braid my first braiding pumpkin bread this time. I'm not sure, I hope they're also Challah. 

I like pumpkin. So I use all I have, about 400g,I use a bag of milk.


whole wheat flour 100g, all porpose flour 300g, 

Mashed pumpkin 260g, milk 120g, 

Instant levain 1t


All purpose flour 240g, 

Mashed pumpkin 140g, milk 80g, 

Coffee creamer powder 1T,Ice cream powder 1T,

White ice sugar 1T, Salt 1/2t, 

butter 60g, 

Levain all.

At last I get about 1380G pumpkin milk dough.  5/8 for cluster. 3/5 for Challah.



I cut cluster dough to 17 pieces, make them to ball.and seven pieces wrapper with Chashao fillings. After I found the pot size not enough for 2 circle. So I place them to the pot lid.  I have to cut 6 pieces outside ball to half for suitable size.

This cluster baking time  210 degree 10 minutes, 200degree 10 minutes, 180 degree 10 minutes. After baking I  taste Chashao bread, On plate center, bread bottom heating not enough. Maybe I can baking more long time. 




Before baking These braided breads, I place one piece broken earthware pot on bottom of oven. 180 degree 25 minutes. These braided breads baking better than cluster.Even bottom  have good crust. I'm not sure if they get more heat from bottom earthware pot. Or for Only 3 pieces braided breads on bakeware. These braided breads same looking and similiar taste with I often get from local bread shop  "ma hua"-translate name "fried dough twist". Mine just get from baking. "same world,same food". So Now I don't know these breads are Challa, or Ma hua, or only braided breads.

They are all very delicious. And same dough different taste. 

Thanks for good ideas from TFL.





Chashao sourdough get from starter:

I fed low gluten flour to my fresh starter for Chashao bao dough. After 3 days 

looks starter no big holes as before. So I fed all purpose flour. After I get 1 piece 100g dough. Looks it work ok. So I mix with all purpose flour and water. When the dough have wine smell, I mix with low gluten flour,baking powder, sugar and oil. It was Chashao dough now. Cut to 6 pieces, wrapped with Chashao fillings. The dough up quickly. Even I thought one finished wrapping bao was a dough ball.So Made mistake again(Number 1 good wrapped bao broke). This time I wrapped more same looking as ball than last time. Before finish wrapping. I heat steaming pot. after wrapped all. I quickly steamed them. And this time midium high heat 10minutes, midium heat 2 minutes, small fire 2minutes. After stop fire, waitting 2 minutes, Than open pot lid slowly. This time, I get more natural more happy face Chashao bao(^_^).

(Normally steaming sourdough : For get good shape. need enough steam at first. After sourdough already enough hot and steam in pot, can down heat. before stop heat more small fire.  Gradually  down heat. It's good for keeping shape. Even stop heat. need 2-5 minutes more cool.  If no waitting time. steaming food cool quickly. Shape no good. My mother give a word to like that steaming bao or bread"气死"--“die with anger” )


I have a question about starter now. If only low gluten flour can feed for starter? 


Thanks for you reading.

Have a good weekend.



Yippee's picture

My parents love baguettes, especially my dad.  There was no doubt that I wanted to impress them with nice, homemade baguettes. However, I hadn’t made baguettes for a long, long time. The lack of practice in addition to my shaky skills had turned this baguette bake into something rather disappointing.  As you will see, the baguettes were out of shape and the scoring was messed up.  The only thing I probably did right was the handling of the dough, since the alveoli were quite evenly distributed.  But I can’t remember the details now as everything was a blur when I tried to bang out a few loaves of bread simultaneously in the last minute.  Like many parents, my dad was very lenient. He complimented on the flavor and did not criticize the appearance of my baguettes. But I knew I ought to be able to do better than that.


I made these baguettes again today.  Without the stress of packing and catching a flight, I was able to think more clearly.  Every aspect of this bake, from shaping, scoring, to color, has improved except for one thing:  the alveoli were not as evenly distributed.  How I wish I had taken the time to record the details!  Oh, well, I can always try again.  Next time when I come home, Dad, I promise I’ll bring you some decent baguettes.


The following is a summary of my bake:




Here are some pictures:


longhorn's picture

Trying to lose weight as a bread baker is really the pits. It is really cramping my baking frequency! But with the holidays coming I wanted to make some "decorative" bread so I decided to give the Epi another try. While previous efforts were not necessarily failures, I figured it would be a good chance to explore my skills (whatever they might or might not be!)

All of this was complicated by not starting yesterday so this morning I weighed out 190 grams of flour and 10 of rye, 4 grams of salt, 130 grams of water, and a half teaspoon of yeast. While weighing I decided to add some sourdough starter just to add a bit more flavor - about 10 grams. Mixed for about three minutes in the KA, let it sit for about 20 minutes, gave it two more minutes in the KA, and finished by hand. The dough passed he window test. Gave it twenty minutes to get going and popped it in the fridge to ferment while I worked out and ran errands. 

Formed two shortish, thin baguettes and let them rise about 2 1/2 hours. Cut the epi and baked in a 450 degree oven to an internal temperature of 207.

The two epis

I think I will make some more to take to a party next weekend! Seems like a nice, decorative alternative to conventional loaves!


pmccool's picture

Saturday's game plan was to do a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for some of our South African friends.  The aim was partly to broaden their cultural sensibilities (not to mention waistlines) but more importantly to thank them for how pleasant they have made this past year for a couple of Americans who are a long way from home.  Alas, it was not to be.  My wife came down with some sort of abdominal unpleasantness that had her down for the count on Friday and left her feeling very weak on Saturday and Sunday.  Fortunately, she's back to her usual self but the planned activities for the day were pretty much shot to tatters.

With only a few errands to run and not wanting to leave her home by herself, I made up a Plan B which, wait for it, also involved food!  It started small enough and then morphed into something bigger.  It wasn't too long after starting that I thought "I have the whole day.  I could make some bread to give away as well as some for ourselves."

I started with Leader's Polish Cottage Rye, since that is naturally leavened and would therefore take the longest to go from ingredients to finished bread.  I've not made this before but I will be making it again.  It contains just over 25% rye flour (I used whole rye instead of the recommended white rye), all of which is in the rye sour.  It makes a beautiful big miche-sized loaf, just over 1200g in weight.  I missed that note.  I had the oven all set up to bake on the stone, with steam.  When I looked at how the dough was doming over the top of the bannetons, I realized that wasn't going to work.  Then I pulled the stone and steam pan out of the oven and put each loaf on parchment in its own half-sheet pan.  The oven in this house has only two shelves and the coil is exposed in the bottom of the oven, so that left no room for the steam pan.  Consequently, I baked them with convection.  When first transferred from banneton to pan, each loaf spread quite a bit.  Each one had good oven-spring but I wonder whether they might have been even higher if there had been a way to get steam in the oven at the same time.  Note that I'm not complaining about result.  The crumb is smooth, moist, cool and creamy; sorry, no pics of that.  The outside looks like this:

Leader's Polish Cottage Rye

It's the time of year that I usually make Bernard Clayton's Pain Allemande aux Fruits.  I've blogged about this previously, so won't repeat myself here except to say this is a wonderful bread!  It is rather messy and tedious, which is why I usually only make it once a year. Shaping is always a challenge with that much fruit and nuts in the dough.  The fragrance and the flavors are so exquisite, though, that I can't just not make it.  Here it is, all baked, bagged, and ready to go:

Clayton's Pain Allemande aux Fruits

And, just because I knew some friends wouldn't be all that jazzed by rye bread or fruity bread, I decided to make Sweet Vanilla Challah from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible.  This has been blogged about, too.  The shaping is extremely simple, especially compared to a braid, but the result is stunningly elegant:

Hensperger's Sweet Vanilla Challah

So, instead of saying thank you to a few friends, we were able to thank several more.  While my wife would have preferred to skip the whole sickness thing, the end result was much appreciated by others.



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