The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dmsnyder's picture

I'd bought some smoked salmon to have with Greenstein's sour rye which I baked last week. My wife's comment was, "It's too bad we don't have bagels." It happens I had a couple bags of Sir Lancelot (KAF's high-gluten flour) in the pantry, as well as all the other necessary ingredients, on hand. I also had a lecture to prepare, and I was running out of excuses to delay finishing it. So, I made bagels.

I used the formula from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice." This entailed making a sponge, then a final dough which is mixed and immediately divided, then shaped and retarded overnight before boiling, topping and baking. I'd used this formula before, but never with high-gluten flour.

The dough was a pleasure to work with, and my shaping method "clicked" with this batch. I shaped each piece as I would to make challah, using Glazer's method of flattening the pieces then rolling them up into tubes. I then rolled each tube as if I were making baguettes to about 9 inches, shaped them over my hand with the ends together in my palm. I gave the ends a gentle squeeze and then rolled the sealed ends on an un-floured board to seal them. Then, I gently stretched each resulting ring gently to enlarge the hole and placed each bagel on a sheet with oiled parchment paper for retarding.

The next day, after boiling the bagels in water with baking soda, I topped them with sesame seeds or re-hydrated onion flakes and baked them.

Onion bagel

Sesame bagel

Bagel crumb

Although the crumb was very well aerated and looked "fluffy," the bagels were delightfully chewy. They had a delicious flavor plain, without any topping, and were even better with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Bagel with cream cheese and lox


Submitted to YeastSpotting

SylviaH's picture

I was putting in this blog and we had an after shock from the 6.9 earthquake that just hit Baja, Mexico.  It was said to be felt as 3.2 here.  Really shook the neighbors up too!

I baked guessed it...Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Buttermilk choc. frosting requested by Mike my husband.  I'm trying the new unbleached cake flour from King Arthur and also their double chocolate coco powder.  I also thawed out a Sourdough Potato bread for..maybe a sandwich snack later on this evening from our Roasted leg of lamb dinner.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter!






                                    Double coco chocolately and moist...the frosting pours on warm and firms onto the cake.  Lovely for the movie and cake!





Dorians mom's picture
Dorians mom

I made up a simple dough last night and planned to leave the bowl by the woodstove, which actually went cold a lot sooner than I was hoping for, so the dough tried to rise in a 60* house.  I turned my oven on this am, and let it warm up for a minute before turning it back off and setting the bread bowl inside.  I'm not sure if I can expect my dough to rise any more, and that's fine.  I'll punch it down soon and then get it ready for 2nd rising prior to baking. 

It looks like it's going to be a rather dinky round, and I have no idea what to expect flavor-wise.  The last two days I fed my starter with rye flour and water.  I might use up that flour and switch back to whole-wheat for the feedings, because I'm not so impressed by what I feel is a milder sour scent from the rye.  Then again, it could be because it's been a bit colder in the house the last few days and the starter might just be sluggish.  On the third hand, wait, there is no third hand.

Reading all about percentages and weights and measures is rather flummoxing to me, to be honest.  Back in the days of early sourdough, I think people just put stuff together and baked it!  Like any kind of baking, just doing it on a different day can change the final result, so as a person who pretty much flies by the seat of her pants, I'll evolve slowly but surely.

Happy Easter to one and all.  I'm a heathen, but I can appreciate the beauty of rituals where springtime and the renewing of life and the earth's life forces are concerned.  It's the season of sourdough!  Huzzah!


Zeb's picture

This is the formula for a bread I made last year that gives you a packed bunch of flavours and uses the old bread as a soaker in the dough. I've been reading Mini's post with great interest as I'm keen to try this and this time put the old rye bread in with the starter and see what difference it makes, sounds very exciting.


Anyway I thought I would like to share this one with you

Linseed, Millet, Sunflower, Pumpkin and sesame plus an old bread soaker and whatever else you fancy rye bread based on from Jeffrey Hamelman’s linseed and rye bread in Bread A Baker’s book of Techniques and Recipes and Jeremy’s post on Stir the Pots.  The old bread starter is the magic ingredient.


Cold Soaker: I used what I have in the cupboard..

Old rye bread 50g - this is what you call 'altus'  I guess

25 g linseed -  vary these seeds in the soaker depending on preference, i.e. sunflowers, pumpkins etc etc

25g millet - again use anything that you like to put in your bread!

20 g malted rye grains  or any cracked smallish grain you have that you like
 - these are small pieces of rye that have been malted by the mill (in this case Shipton Mill in England)

165g water


30g mature rye leaven

200g lukewarm or room temperature water

225 g dark rye flour (whole rye flour)

Make both the above at the same time,  12 hours plus before you want to mix the dough, depends how active your starter is and how sour you like your ryebread

For the dough

Both the soaker and the starter as above

I put them into a mixing bowl and mixed with a electric hand mixer on a slow speed just to make sure the old bread now squishy, got broken up and mixed in.

Then added

370 g strong white flour

105 g water

15 - 20 g salt (whatever you normally do, or maybe slightly less as the old bread has salt in it.)

about 150g worth of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame whatever you like,

1/4 teaspoon of easy bake yeast  you can leave this out if you want to be just sourdough,

Makes a quite sticky dough. Leave for 10 to 20 minutes. Do a quick knead and then leave it alone. It becomes less sticky after a while. 

It’s not particularly high in water, I don’t know how to work out the hydration, it might rise a bit more if you use a higher hydration?

If you have the yeast you can do bulk ferment for about an hour and then scale and shape and then the second ferment for an hour, but I did both for double this the second time, because I kept forgetting it and it seemed fine too.

Scaled and shaped.

I put seeds in the bottom of the banneton but you could also roll the dough in seeds too if you want them on the top.

One long slash down the long axis of the bread.

Oven temp 230 degrees for 10 minutes with steam in the oven (little tray in bottom with boiling water in)  turned down to 220 once the loaf has sprung and started to go brown for 20 minutes and then 210 for the last 15/20 minutes.



moreyello's picture

It's tradition in Italian culture to eat this cake over Easter. Very close to the Christmas Panettone, the Colomba is slightly richer.

Last year I was visiting family in Milan and my grandmother ordered one from the local bakery.  I had only ever eaten commericial ones you buy at the grocery store previously.

I will probably never forget how delicious and moist it was, my brother and I had to control ourselves from eating the whole thing. This led me to the quest of finding an autenthic recipe and carry out the challenging task. After scrolling the internet and pickig out a few pointers,  I came across Susan's site The Wild Yeast in which I obtain a credible recipe from the book Cresci.

After a week buillding a very stiff starter that needs to be very active, your looking at 2 days of work thereafter. Well my labour payed off because it might not be as spectacular as the one I ate in Milan, it certainly beat any of the store bought ones. The picture doesn't do it complete justice, it was beautiful, moist and delicate in taste. I refer to it as was, cause this bird never made it to Easter mmmmm.

RobertoColomba di Pasqua

varda's picture

Sometimes the hardest part of baking bread is being there.   Yesterday I meant to get to making a semolina bread (p. 135 of Hamelman's Bread) but I didn't quite get to it until later in the afternoon.   Then when it was finishing up the first rise, my son wanted me to take him out, so I delayed him until I could get the bread shaped, and then we went out to eat.   By the time we got back (only an hour later) the bread was ready to go into the oven,  but the oven wasn't preheated.   I didn't want to let the bread get overproofed, nor did I want to put it into a cold oven, so I did a little of both.   I preheated the oven for 10 minutes, and in it went.   The result - a little bit of oven spring, and an underdone bottom crust.   What would you have done under the circumstances?  And this is not a rhetorical question.

ananda's picture


Brief Post on Vienna Flour

Uberathlete posted asking about Vienna Flour, see:

Elizabeth David (1977; pp.76), in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery states the following: " 'Vienna' flour was in reality high quality Hungarian or Romanian flour, roller milled, fine, of medium strength and creamy white, good for 'Vienna' bread and puff pastry and yeast cakes."

She also quotes from Frederick T. Vine, "Savoury Pastry" from 1900: "undoubtedly the best flour for the purpose [puff paste] is the first place, flour for paste should be of good colour and finely ground, not too soft or harsh.   It should have a good percentage of gluten, but that gluten must not be so strong that it will pull the rounds into ovals and the ovals into rounds."   Vine goes on to say he found American flour sent for the purpose, to be best suited to making bread only.

David concludes, with reference to England, that "The import of Hungarian and Vienna flours virtually ceased with the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the First World War."

I offer up photographs below of typical breads which may have been made with Vienna-type flour at the time.  These were made during my time studying for my baking quals at Leeds; ostensibly to investigate different methods of manufacturing the same type of bread.   My tutor always used to look very carefully into the bag of Whitworth's Strong bread flour; he always called it "Springs", but that was the old name, and I can't remember the new one.   Whitworth's site is being renovated, so I can't find the right bag, sorry.   Anyway, it had great water absorption, but my tutor explained that by showing us the tiny dark particles in the flour, saying "they are cheating us".   Well, I always thought the bread made that day looked very fine; you can make your own minds up.



Best wishes


ananda's picture


Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel.

This is a recipe from "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffrey Hamelman.   A number of TFL regulars have posted on this recipe, notably,

ehanner: and

 txfarmer: and

and Shiao-Ping:

This is the recipe and formula I adapted and used


Formula [% of flour(??)]

Recipe [grams]

Rye Sour Dough



Dark Rye Flour









Soaked Bread



Old Bread









Soaked Rye Berries



Whole Rye Berries









Final Dough



Rye Sour Dough



Soaked Bread



Soaked Rye Berries









Cracked Rye Grain



Strong Wholemeal Flour



Dark Rye Flour - sifted











The 100% of "flour" is made up of: dark rye in the sour, whole rye berries in the first soaker, plus the cracked rye and the flour in the final dough.   I have not counted the old bread, as that seemed too arbitrary to sub divide accurately into water and flour.

The total water content does include the water in the old bread soaker, as well as the water taken up by cooking the rye berries.   My aim was to establish a formula which accurately created an overall moisture content of 85% of the "flour".

Obviously there will be some variation from batch to batch, but I really wanted to establish how much liquid is taken up in the bread soaker, and in the berry soaking and boiling process.   From seeing other peoples' postings, I had decided this information was crucial.

For what it's worth, the pre-fermented part is 30%.



  • Prepare the rye sour dough using starter from stock.   Allow the sour dough to ferment for 14 - 16 hours at 21°C.
  • Soak the rye berries overnight in cold water.
  • Soak the old bread overnight in ambient water.   Use the amounts given in the above table - weighed.   The bread will take up all this water, so you can eliminate any problems of squeezing!   I used some wholewheat pain siègle, and some white bread.   This was deliberate, as I did not have any high gluten white flour in stock, so had to change the flour used in the final dough, using more dark rye plus a dash of wholemeal.   It was all I had at the time!
  • Next day, cook the rye berries in fresh boiling water [3 times volume of water to berries] for about an hour.   Drain the berries, and discard the cooking liquor.   At this point I weighed the berries to establish exactly how much water they had taken up.   This is the figure shown in the table.
  • For the final dough, dissolve the molasses into the water, which should be 40°C.   From there, mix all the ingredients together with the soakers and sour to form an evenly mixed paste.   It was cold in the house when I made this, so both the sour and flour, plus the soaked bread were all well below 20°C    The final dough temperature was 28°C.   Photographs of the mixed paste are shown below.
  • Bulk ferment for 45 minutes.   Meantime lightly grease 1 large Pullman pan and lid.   Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  • Use wet hands to scrape up and shape the paste, and deposit it into the tin.   Smooth the surface as necessary.   Cover with an oiled piece of plastic, and prove at 32°C for 1¼ hours.   I use the hearth in front of our wood burning stove.   When the dough is just short of the top of the tin, slide the lid in place, and set in the oven.

  • The baking process is long and complex.   The idea is the loaf should be baked in a falling oven.   For the home baker, this is really difficult to achieve.   I turned the heat down to 120°C after 1½ hours.   After a further 6 hours I turned the oven off.   Then I left the bread in the cooling oven overnight.   This was the best equivalent I could come up with to the recommendations in the book.
  • De-pan the bread and cool on wires.   Wrap in a tea towel, and let the bread sit a full 24 hours before giving into temptation and cutting off that first slice.



  • I'm pleased with how this loaf came out in some ways.   For a start Alison, my wife, has been raving about her sandwiches I make for lunch...all week.   I made this bread a week ago now, and didn't cut into it for nearly 2 days.   It served us for lunch sandwiches Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.   There is a little left for today, and it's still almost as moist in the middle of the crumb as when first cut.
  • I like the formula, and am happy with the hydration calculations.   I've attached a couple of photos of the mixed paste to try and show the texture, although I accept they are not the best of shots, I hope it gives an idea.
  • I know Eric added too much flour, and commented on the adverse effect in the eating.   Well, I didn't have any high gluten flour in the house when I made this.   I had a tiny amount of strong wholemeal, and some dark rye!!!   That's why I went with lighter bread in the soaker.   This has definitely made a difference to the finished bread.   It is quite difficult to cut through cleanly without the dough trying to tear a little in places.   You can also spot the giveaway hole just underneath the top crust near the middle of the loaf.   It was the plague of some of the VB rye loaves, and is caused by the weakness in the structure of the starch as the final fermentation draws to conclusion.   This is clearly the typical instability from rye as opposed to the stretchy gluten in the wheat.   Still, the flavour does not detract.
  • My main disappointment, however, is in the baking.   The outer portions of the crumb are over-baked, and the crust is too firm.   But the middle of the crumb is very moist [I had thought about writing overly-moist here, but that's not right; the bread is baked through, and was fine once it had stood before cutting]   I'm thinking the major issue with such a large loaf [it's just over the 2kg mark], with such high hydration [85%] is to be able to "cook" it properly.   I think I set the bread at too high a temperature in the first place.   I've been with Eric all the way on the idea of steaming.   Eric, could you give me the link to the discussion you had with qahtan regarding steaming?   Baking seems a very difficult way to deal with this bread.   It takes me back to producing 000s of Christmas Puddings at the Village Bakery.   We loaded them into wire baskets in their plastic pots, covered with foil lids.   We lowered the wires into coffins made of aluminium.   These were the same size as a standard baking sheet, and would be about 40cm tall, so they filled the height of our oven.   The coffins had water in the bottom, and a raised platform with 3 big holes in, for the wires to sit on.   They also had tight-fitting lids.   They weighed a lot and were really difficult to control with the peel.   Our peels had handles which were 5m in length!   So, the puddings sat at the back of the cooling wood-fired oven for several hours and cooked beautifully in the steam.   I want to devise a similar sort of system to cook the Horst Bandel loaf.   But this is not that easy.   As you can see in the photos, I've made some in the Christmas pudding pots, and this was very successful.   But I love the shape and size of loaf gained from using the Pullman pan.   I want to find a large enclosed vessel which will hold a Pullman pan, and can take a layer of water on the bottom.   I figure some sort of raised wire racking will support the Pullman pan and keep it above the water level.   Anyway, I need to do some work to come up with something along those lines.   I envisage steaming time in the region of 10 - 12 hours.   I do like those glass pans, Eric!
  • I used cracked rye grain instead of rye chops.   I have 2 suppliers for organic rye: one had wholegrain, flour and cracked grain.   The other had chops and flour, but no wholegrain; the explanation was that the grain was tipped straight into the mill on delivery, hence they could not supply wholegrain.   I think this must be a Health and Safety issue, but I found it a little unhelpful, so I went with the other supplier, and the cracked grain option.   I don't think the substitution was that significant.   The whole rye berries need a minimum of 1 hour boil.


I'm going to count this as my first recipe in the "Bread Challenge".   To those already signed up, I hope you all think it worthy.


 Lots of photos all shown below.   The top 2 on the left were steamed in pudding pots.   The next 2 are of the mixed paste.   Then 5 of the finished loaf baked in the pullman pan.


Best wishes


kdwnnc's picture

So there was a really big batch of chili made last night, so there was cornbread last night, and there will be cornbread tonight.  And, frankly, I don't get tired of it!  I know that there have been several cornbread recipes posted here, but I just have to share this, which is my favorite.  It comes out the oven so nice and tall, is perfectly delicious, and is extremely simple.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs


Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add milk, oil, and egg.  Stir just until combined (do not overbeat).  Turn into a greased 9x9x2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes.  Serves 8. 

ryeaskrye's picture

I baked German Five-Kern Bread from Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb" a few weeks back. This has turned out to be one of my favorite breads and I wish I had discovered it sooner. The Five-Kern is made from coarse dark rye flour (20.26% - I used NYBakers Dark Rye), bread flour (KA), cooked brown rice, polenta, oats, flax seeds and honey. And water and salt, of course. I guess I turned it into a Six-Kern bread with the poppy seed embellishment.

I followed Peter's book closely, but do not feel comfortable posting his commercial formula. It does involve building a rye sponge followed by a firm rye starter over the course of a couple of days. The flavor was incredible, particularly the crust, and the crumb was much lighter than I expected. An enticing aroma filled the house during the bake.

Even with the 2 stage elaboration, the amount of pre-fermented flour was only 15.19%. The final dough hydration was 63.80%, but the crumb of the finished loaves seemed moister than that.

Submitted to YeastSpotting


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