The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

rye spelt

I had another baking day in the RV. I baked a 100% whole wheat miche. I didn't use a recipe this time. Simply modified a "1-2-3" method, making it into a my own. I used 150 grams whole wheat starter,  (100% starter) 375 grams water and 450 grams whole wheat flour. 2% salt. I mixed until it came off the sides of the mixer in the Kitchen aid. This was an incredibly stretchy dough, I guess because of the very high hydration! Certainly don't believe that whole wheat is low in gluten because it isn't true!!

I calculate the hydration of this at a whopping 85% when including the starter. Can this really be right? When doing my folds, I could literally stretch this baby about 18 inches each direction on the first set of s/folds!! It was pretty amazing. I did three sets of s/f's, 1 hour apart. Fermentation time was 10 hours, shaped and 1 hour later I baked. It actually held it's shape pretty well, only flattening slightly.

What a nutty flavor, crispy crust and incredibly open crumb for a WW loaf! Nice! I might try the same in a loaf pan and see what I get in the way of a sandwich bread next time.

The same night, I made a 75% rye, 25% spelt loaf, using Mini's favorite rye formula and my Pullman pan. Spices were dried onion, caraway and anise at a scant tablespoon each. I've found that the exact amount that Mini uses for her big pot works for my Pellman pan. How easy is that? I also found this time that it is the perfect overnight recipe, needing no shaping at all! I put it directly into the Pullman pan at 5:30 in the evening and baked at 3:30 AM. Although Mini says this will self-destruct in 8 hours mine held up for a full 10 and came out absolutely perfect. Rose to the top of the pan, held up, had a small amount of oven spring and with the spelt had a slightly milder, nuttier taste than the 100% full rye that I made a couple of weeks ago.

I'm making plans to start my Hamelman's baking challenge. I'll be starting with something from the levain chapter and something from the rye chapter. I'm waiting on an order of flour and a couple of days off in a row. Perhaps I'll start a levain tonight if I get extra motivated, we'll see.

Looking at about another month in this little camper. Starting to get some cabin fever. It's been an experience, that's for sure!

tssaweber's picture

Just a little sign of life to say hello and to show that I'm still happily baking, not as much as I would like too but still enjoying it very much.

The pictures show a freshly egg-washed Zopf and my spelt multigrain boule.


Painterjke's picture

New to blogs--75 years old--forgive blunders, please.  This is the third time I've tried to complete this question!

Want to make cinnamon rolls so the baked product has 'pull' instead of crumb.  Is this a gluten matter, or ??

Thanks for any help.

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

I just posted this recipe over at my blog ChewsWise, where I give much longer description. But I thought bakers here would be interested. This recipe makes two large batards or boules.

70 grams stiff starter
80 grams water
60 grams organic white bread flour
60 grams organic spelt flour

Flax Seed Soaker
1/2 cup (85 grams) organic flax seeds
75 grams water to barely cover the seeds

Final Dough
250 grams sourdough
Flax seed soaker
280 organic white bread flour
280 organic spelt flour
400 grams water
14 grams coarse sea salt

1. Mix starter, cover and let sit overnight (8-12 hours) at room temperature of about 75 F degrees. Pour the flax seeds into a separate bowl and just barely cover with water. 

2. Combine the starter and water in a bowl and mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add the flours and using a plastic bench scraper, spoon or mixer with dough hook, mix the dough until all the lumps of flour are gone. This will take about 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Add salt and mix on a slow speed, about 4 minutes. Add the flax seed soaker and using your hands or the mixer, continue mixing until the seeds are evenly distributed. 

4. Form into a ball and place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover for the first rise. Fold at 50 minute intervals. Total rise is 2.5 hours. 

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in two and form into rough batards or boules. Let rest for 15 minutes, then finish shaping the loaves. 

6. The final rise should take 90 minutes. Or, to build up the flavor of the loaf, cover the loaves then let them sit for 30 minutes before putting them in the refrigerator in a closed plastic bag. (I use Ziploc Big Bags ). Retard the loaves for 8-12 hours,.

7. Turn the oven to 460 F with a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a rimmed sheet pan on the bottom. Preheat for at least one hour. 

8. When ready to bake, slash the loaf in a square pattern with a bread knife or blade, then place in the oven on the heated stone. (Batards can be slashed lengthwise). Pour 2/3 cup of water into the sheet pan and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 420 F and keep baking for another 15 minutes. Check the loaf. It is done when you rasp it on the bottom with your knuckle and it makes a distinct hollow sound. If not yet done, turn down oven to 400 F and keep baking for 10 minutes. Then turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the loaf sit for another 10 minutes. Repeat with the second loaf.



ananda's picture


DonD's Baguettes à'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

A short while ago Don posted his latest work on these techniques he has been developing recently.   You can view his most excellent work here:  

Just over a week ago in a post which you can read here:

Don clarified a technique discussed by Daniel Wing in "The Bread Builders" book he co-authored with Alan Scott, known as "Bassinage".   This seems to be a dough mixing technique whereby the dough is mixed slightly tight, but then has additional water added late in the mixing.   The consensus seemed to be that this was not a way we would enjoy mixing dough.   But Don, and David Snyder before him; see here:

had adopted this technique using a long cold autolyse first, then adding salt yeast, and the extra water the next day, after an overnight refrigeration period.

Well, ideally you need a mixer for this to be effective, and I mix most of my dough at home by hand.   I do have a small hand-held electric mixer which has hook attachments as an alternative to the usual whisks.   So, I mixed the dough in small batches and developed a very fine dough.   The recipe I used is identical to the one given by David Snyder as shown above; except that I use fresh yeast and not dried.   I then followed Don's method of combining the Gosselin formula with the Bouabsa method to give long autolyse, mix and part ambient ferment, chilled ferment, then final proof and bake.   For the record I used the T65 farine de tradition French flour, as described here: and here: at 94% and 6% Dark Rye Flour, with hydration at 71% in total, as is David's formula from Peter Reinhart.

First time round I encountered the following problem:   I used 3 times the amount of fresh yeast to David's dried, all the time thinking that 1.5% was too much!   And it was.   Also the heat rise to mix the final dough took the finished dough temperature to 20°C.   This despite the hard work I put in to make sure the autolyse temperature was a cold 5°C.   So, the dough was kicking after just 2 hours and a S&F each hour.   This first time, I had made double quantity too, so the larger bulk really was moving.

I held the dough in the fridge til evening, giving a 6 hour cold fermentation period, but then decided I had to bake it before I went to bed.   On reflection, I should have divided the dough, semi-shaped it, then put it back in the fridge overnight.   The loaves came out looking somewhat under-proved, with a long split along the side of each baguette.   I made a boule as well, and that had similar betrayal of under-proving.

A brief report back to Don and David, then underway with the second attempt.  This time I used 1.5 times the amount to convert dried to fresh yeast.   Also, a smaller dough with a final temperature of 18°C, which was much easier to manage.   It had the full 3 hours with S&F, then back into the fridge overnight.   This morning, I watched Ciril Hitz's video on YouTube, see:

Then scaled and shaped 4 baguette pieces at just over 200g each, and set them en coûche.   The dough temperature in my warming kitchen reached 20°C, after a half hour's proof.   This was where I was still unsure how long to keep proving the dough.   This is where the beauty of long cold fermentation really comes through.   The dough is so stable, even though it is very well-matured.   I baked the first batch of 2 after 1½ hours final proof; not long enough, I soon realised.   I took an important phonecall regarding progress on my latest Food Policy assignment for my Master's Degree.   That was quite a blessing, as it held me up half an hour.   By this time the dough was becoming a little sticky, but still handled really well.   The resulting bake was very pleasing.

I made some egg mayonnaise with fresh dill, parsley and spring onion, and a salad to go with it, then took some photographs of this and the finished bread.   My wife and I ate 2 of these baguettes with the salad and eggs for our lunch straight after.   I know the crumb is not so open, although it was spot-on for translucency, and I have still to master proper cutting techniques.   The grignette I purchased has helped, but the scoring is not deep enough.   That said, the balance of crispy crust to soft tasty crumb was just right, and the bread was so fresh too.   Just a hint of rye, no pre-ferment; the first time I've really tried to work through such a formula.

Thanks again to Don and David; there is no obvious extra work involved in the longer ferment, if anything, it fits in well with a daily work pattern.

Photos shown here:


Best wishes


txfarmer's picture

I have done Italian Chocolate Bread using the SFBI recipe before, as well as the Nancy Silverton version recently  ( ), they were good, so good that I want to create my own version, combining good points of both recipes, and use wild  starter only. I was warned that with this much cocoa powder and add-ins, the bread could be too dense without instant yeast, but I know several people here have successfully done 100% sourdough chocolate breads before, so I decide to give it a try. I've been playing with my 60% starter recently with good results, so that's what I used here, but I think you can use any starter successfully.


Makes 2x750g breads

-Levain Build

active 60% starter, 40g

water, 120g

bread flour, 200g


1.   mix and knead into a dough, fermentate at room temperature (24C) for 8 to 12 hours, until reaching peak volume, starting to collapse (mine rose to about 4x of original size).

-Final dough

water, 340g

Levain Build from above

cocoa powder, 50g

honey, 50g

butter, 35g, soften

bread flour, 430g

salt, 12g

prune, 150g, chopped roughly

70%bitter sweet chocolate, 150g, chopped roughly


2.   mix everything but prune and chocolate, knead until gluten is well developed

3.   flatten dough into a rectangle, scatter prune and chocolate on in, roll up, fold many times until they are evenly distributed. Try not to have too many chocolate/prune on the surface.

4.   bulk rise for 4 hours at 24C. Didn't do S&F since the dough was well developed already, and I want an even soft crumb, not an irregular holy one.

5.   divide, round, and rest for 15 minutes.

6.   shape into boule or batards. the boule was proofed for 100 minutes (I thought it would take longer, but it was definitely ready by 100min), the batard was put into fridge immediately after shaping, took out about 12 hours later, proofed for 1 hour.

7.   oven is preheated to 500F, but adjusted down to 400F after breads are loaded. bake for 50min, the first 15 with steam.


No dense crumb there! The rise during fermentation, proof and baking was more than I can hope for. I like how that little bit of honey and butter make the crumb very soft and spongy, contrast nicely with the chewy crust, chocolate and prune.

Prune goes well with chocolate, I have seen them paired together in cakes and desserts, equally tasty here. However, I am sure the bread would be tasty (but different) if I swap out prune with cherry, nuts, or even more chocolate (maybe some milk choc? or even white choc?).

Very happy with this attempt, I am sure I will bake it often for gifts and ourselves.

DonD's picture

My first post in April of last year was about a side by side comparison of two of my favorite baguette formulations by Philippe Gosselin and Anis Bouabsa that David Snyder had previously published here on TFL. It was a tough choice to decide which one was better. The Gosselin baguette had an unequaled sweetness due to the overnight cold autolyse and the Bouabsa baguette had an incredibly complex taste due to the cold retardation. I was thinking why not have the best of both world so I started to experiment with combining the two formulations. After a couple of tries, I have succeeded in making a baguette that has the best attributes of both.

Yesterday, at the request of my wife, I made a batch of Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation for her monthly Book Club Party. The formulation follows David's transcription of Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne with a few slight variations. I have to clarify that this is not the formulation that Peter Reinhart and Daniel Leader had adapted from the original Gosselin technique but the true ice cold overnight autolyse method that David had published. After the overnight autolyse and the incorporation of the reserved water, yeast and salt the next morning, instead of bulk fermenting, shaping and baking the same day, I partially bulk ferment the dough at room temperature for 3 hours then retard it in the refrigerator for 18 hours before shaping and baking. I use a mix of 94% King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour (11.3% protein) and 6% Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour with 70% hydration. I also reduce the yeast amount by 2/3 because of the extended fermentation. Here are the results:

The crust has nice caramelization from the extra sugar produced by the long cold autolyse.

The crumb is open and soft with a slight chewiness. The taste is sweet and nutty with a complex aftertaste.

The crumb is medium thin with nice crunchiness and the crumb shows good translucent gelatinilization.

P.S. Following a number of requests, here is the entire formulation.


 Flour Mixture:

  • - 470 gms Unbleached AP Flour

  • - 30 gms Dark Rye Flour

  • - 300 gms Ice Cold Water


  • - 10 gms Sea Salt

  • - 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast

  • - 50 gms Cold Water

 1- Mix flour blend and ice water w/ flat beater for 1 min. and refrigerate overnight.

 2- Add yeast and water and mix w/ flat beater for 3 mins or until all water has been incorporated. Add salt and beat for 3 mins or until dough slaps side of bowl.

 3- Let rest 15 mins and do S&F 4 times at 30 mins intervals (1 1/2 hrs total) and 2 more times at 45 mins  intervals (1 1/2 hrs total).

 4- Refrigerate for 24 hours.

 5- Divide dough in 3 and gently pre-shape in torpedo shape. Let rest 1 hr.

 6-Gently shape baguettes and proof on linen couche for 45 mins.

 7- One hour before baking, preheat oven to 490 degrees f w/ baking stone and cast iron skillet filled w/ lava rocks.

 8- Mist sides of oven then slash baguettes 4 times and transfer baguettes to baking stone in oven. Immediately pour 2/3 cup boiling water on lava rocks.

 9- Reduce oven temperature to 460 degrees f and bake 10 mins.Remove cast iron skillet, reduce temperature to 430 degrees F and bake for another 10 mins on convection mode.

 10- Remove baguettes from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Happy Baking!


davidg618's picture

Yesterday, I transferred six gallon of new Sauvignon Blanc wine from its primary fermenter (food-grade plastic bucket), into a secondary fermenter (glass carboy), leaving behind billions of yeast cells that had done their job beautifully.  I was diluting the slurry of yeast collected on the bucket's bottom, to make it easier to pour out when I thought, "I wonder if it could bake bread?".

I scooped out 60g of the much diluted slurry--looked like slightly muddy water--and added 60g of first clear flour, and one-eighth tsp. of diastatic malt powder. Well stirred, I put it in the microwave, with the door propped ajar to keep the light on. (76°F). I chose first clear flour for its ash content, and added the malt powder for a little bit more sugar boost. Champagne yeast is expecting a very sugary environment. Six hour later it peaked, I fed it twice more (no additional malt powder), at approximately six hour intervals; the last six hour spent at 55°F in the wine closet while I got some sleep. I baked a single batard this morning with 300g of this 100% hydration "poolish?", 45g whole Rye, 138g each of AP and Bread Flour, and 9g of salt--this is essentially my weekly sourdough formula with about 4% more leavain than usual. I fermented and S&F'd the dough as always. Bulk fermentation was one-half hour longer than with my usual levain, and the final proof took two hours, again about one-half hour longer than usual. Baked: Pre-heat 550°F, reduced to 450°F immediately following loading, steam for 15 minutes, finished at 430°F an additional 15 minutes.

The wine yeast, Lalvin EC1118, is an old friend. As I understand, it was first isolated to make champagne. It is very alcohol tolerent (18%) and ferments cleanly and completely, In addition to fermenting white wines, I've used it over the years for finishing high alcohol beers like Imperial Stout or Barley Wine, and restarting stuck fermentations. I've characterized it to fellow brewers, "If there's sugar in old tennis shoes, this yeast will ferment them."

Here's the loaf

I guess, at the end of the day yeast is yeast. The taste of this bread, obviously, lacks the slight tanginess we experience in its sourdough form, but the wheat flavors, and rye base note come through cleanly.  I'm curious what beer yeast might do. Beer yeasts are especially noted for contributing flavor to beers. There is a beer yeast especially isolated to ferment wheat beers, that contributes a banana-like flavor to the finished beer. I wonder what it would do in bread dough: yet another thing to put on the list to try; it keeps getting longer.

David G

benjamin's picture

I'll confess, I am a 'glory poster', as such, I only post bread on my blog when I am reasonably satisfied with the result. That being said, last week I made a batch of baguettes using Hammelmans poolish recipe, suffice it to say, the final bread looked so amateurish that you would think I had never touched flour and yeast before. Sadly, this is an all to common event when I make baguettes. It is the only type of bread in my common repertoire that I can't get some level of consistency with. With no false modesty, I can routinely produce a pretty darn good looking sourdough batard, or nicely scored boule. Yet the baguette for me is an ever elusive quest for perfection.
Dismayed by my results last week, and ever a glutton for punishment, I tried the Hammelman baguettes again last night. The results were a million miles away from last week! No blow outs, nice opening of the cuts, retention of a uniform diameter the length of the loaf... I don't get it! I swear I did everything the same.
Anyway, that's my story for today, I just wanted to savor this moment, because I probably have a month of blow outs and non-opening ears before I see a decent baguette again.

Happy Baking




daysi's picture


Hello everyone, I have been following this site for the last couple of months, I learned about sourdough starter and though of giving it a try. The first recipe I used called for 4 days at room temperature and then keep it in the fridge, it was bubbly up to the point when I put it in the fridge then I tried baking with it and the dough didn't rise. So I discarded it. a couple of weeks later I decided to try again, so I used another recipe I found here which called for 8 days at room temperature, I saw bubbles and "active" for the first three days and then nothing happened, the bubbles disappear and by day 7 I added white wine vinegar (what I had available at that moment) so the following day it was alive, then I decided to start baking bagel (recipe found here as well) it called for 100% hydration, now I am not a baker at all, I love homemade, and that's why I am here (in fact I'm a nurse, so I do not understand this hydration language) anyway I did my Google research and understood what I had to do, so I took 1/4 cup of starter and mix with 1/4 cup of unbleached AP flour and 1/4 cup of filtered water. Next day my starter was dead...  :( I went ahead and baked with it but cheated by adding yeast (ha-ha!) because I knew what the result was going to be. anyway even with the yeast my bagels came out very hard like a rock, at first the dough was way too wet, when I boiled them one of them fell apart, and the baking was supposed to take 8 min, mine took like 1 hour.

What am I doing wrong? I discarded the rest of my dead starter, but I see the pictures of perfectly and delicious looking breads I don't want to give up, please give me some advice.

By the way one thing that kills me really kills me about starter is the fact that I have to discard so much flour and I am not the type of person that would do it, I actually collected it and tried baking with mine but the same thing happened, it  didn't work. Also I don't own any baking books, I see many of you praise somebody call Reinhart, sorry I don't know him. I guess he is an excellent baker, I should buy his books.

Thanks for any advice 



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