The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Susan's picture

Sorry, no beer in this one, just black and tan sesame seeds!

The very warm weather has impacted my breadmaking, too.  Starter and dough were taking off way too fast, but using cold water slows things down enough.  I used 50F water yesterday evening to mix this loaf.  I should have used sesame oil rather than olive oil.

15g Starter, 210g water, 1 tsp EVOO, 25g KA WWW, 275g All-Trumps, 6g salt, 2 T mixed sesame seeds

Mix by hand in the evening, rest a few minutes, fold in the bowl a few times.  Leave overnight at 60-70F, fold whatever it needs in the morning, shape, proof and bake.  Simple bread.

Pmccool's picture

Daniel Leader's book, Local Breads, is simultaneously one of the most intriguing and most frustrating bread books.  His breads are rooted in the baking traditions of several European countries, but rendered in ingredients and techniques that are generally accessible to home bakers in the United States.  Many are utterly delicious and lovely to behold.  But ... one has to recognize going in that a number of the formulae are riddled with errors, often in the quantity or proportion of the dough ingredients.

Such is the case with his Classic Auvergne Dark Rye, which begins on page 158 of the book.

My descent from home baker to mad scientist began innocently enough.  When asked "What kind of bread would you like?", my wife responded "How about something with oatmeal?  Or rye?"  Since I was at that moment looking at the Auvergne Dark Rye, it seemed auspicious.  So much for superstition.

The levain is built with 45 grams of stiff levain (50% hydration), 50 grams of water, and 50 grams of fine or medium whole rye flour.  So far, so good.  This was my first week home from a 3-week trip to South Africa and I had refreshed my starter, which I keep at 50% hydration, early in the week.  Having mixed the levain, and put it in a covered container, I retired for the night.

This morning, I mixed the first stage of the dough, which called for all of the levain, plus 350 grams of hot tap water, plus 500 grams of medium to fine whole rye flour.  The rye flour I have on hand is a medium-to-coarse stone-ground flour, so no big change.  (I had mis-read the formula the first time through and thought it called for medium to light rye, which is another thing entirely.)  The resulting dough was a thick paste, nearly, but not quite, as stiff as modeling clay.  In looking at the notes, I read that Leader describes the dough at this stage as a "thick, smooth batter."  

Uh oh.

I did a quick search of TFL, found a few questions about the bread, but no answers.  I searched the Web; same result.  I posted here with questions and received mostly condolences (which were appreciated).

Deciding that I was already past the point of no return, I decided to forge ahead.  So I added water and stirred.  And added more water and stirred.  And added yet more water, until I had a thick, smooth batter.  It only took an additional 325 grams of water.  Keep in mind that my "thick, smooth batter" may have an entirely different consistency than Mr. Leader's "thick, smooth batter".  Chasing a description is not unlike chasing the wind - even if you do catch it, how do you know for sure?

For those of you keeping tally, the dough currently stands at 45 grams of levain, 50+500 grams of flour, and 350+325 grams of water.  That's really, really high hydration!  And it isn't soupy, which is another adjective that Mr. Leader uses to describe the dough!

I let it rest for the prescribed time, then mixed in the salt (20 grams) and bread flour (200 grams).  The dough formed a big ball on the KitchenAid's paddle attachment and allowed itself to be pushed around by the dough hook.  I eventually did a few stretch and folds in the bowl and called it good, then set it aside for its second fermentation.

Mr. Leader recommends that, at the end of the second ferment, the dough be scraped out onto a "lightly floured" counter, where it can be gently shaped into a "loose boule, without overhandling it."  I eye the dough, then flour the countertop heavily.  Not surprisingly, the dough sticks to everything that contacts it; hands, scraper, counter top.  After a few brief tussles, it is in an almost round shape which lasts until I try to move it onto the waiting parchment paper and peel.  Eventually, the less-than-round dough is on the peel, where it is patted into a somewhat misshapen, um, miche.  In the French sense of the word.  I allow it to ferment at the prescribed temperature for the prescribed time.  The surface doesn't appear to have the promised cracks, but then, is it realistic to expect that it could with that much water in it?  Into the preheated 500 dF (!) oven it goes, with steam.  Baking time is estimated at 35-45 minutes, so at 35 minutes the thermometer is inserted and easily reaches 205 dF.  I declare it done.

The surface still isn't fissured, although there may be a network of smaller cracks lurking beneath the flour on the surface.  The color is a deep mahogany.  As it cools, the crust softens and the bread feels slightly spongy.  It will be tomorrow evening, at the earliest, before I cut into this bread.  The thermometer's stem had gummy bits clinging to it when I pulled it out of the loaf, so it will require some time for all that moisture to distribute itself evenly throughout the loaf.  I really don't know what to expect.  It could be so moist as to be almost cake-like.  It could be a gummy mess.  Time will tell.

Here's a picture of the exterior:

Auvergne Dark Rye

I would estimate that the loaf increased 50-75% in height, due to ovenspring, from its unbaked height.  It didn't appear to spread any further while in the oven.  It looks pretty (albeit rough) on the outside.  I'll post again after cutting into it tomorrow.


Postscript - the crumb:

I have to say that I am very pleasantly surprised by this bread; especially considering the amount of improvising that went into it.  It has a straight-up, hearty rye flavor; no seeds or spices are included.  For me, that's a good thing.  There's no particular sourness as of this first tasting.  The crumb, while close-textured, is not heavy or stiff.  Instead, it is very moist, with a pleasing yielding firmness.  The crust is fairly soft and relatively thin; not so surprising when you consider how much water is in this dough, even given the high baking temperature.  I'm looking forward to some great sandwiches this week.

For anyone who is thinking of giving this a first, or second, try, you may want to note that I took the bread out of the oven at shortly before noon and left it on a cooling rack, covered with a tea towel, until about 9:30 p.m.  Then I wrapped it in plastic film (it's bigger than any of the plastic bags I have on hand) and left it until nearly 7:00 p.m. today before slicing it.  The purists among you may prefer to leave the bread completely unwrapped.  My concern was that the air conditioning might pull moisture out of the bread faster than I wanted.  There was no gumminess, probably thanks to the long cooldown with plenty of time for some of the moisture to evaporate while the rest of the moisture redistributed itself.

The other tip that I would suggest is to do the shaping directly on the parchment paper.  Why wrestle something this sticky into shape, only to have it be distorted during the transfer onto the paper?

Now that I've lived through the experience, I think I could make this again and have it turn out reasonably well.  But probably not in the next few weeks.  Someday.  Maybe.



Nica Linda's picture
Nica Linda

Here are only a few pictures of our earthen oven being made by Felix and Winston.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the Nica method of earthen oven building, my own personal web page will have more photos w/ detailed explanation soon.  Until then, here's a small glimpse of how it's done, local-style.



oven base: small tree trunks, covered with 6 mm plastic then topped with tampped earth and sand encased by four wood planks.  General oven structure: adobe bricks w/ clay-horse manure mix as mortar. Rebar as mini cross beam for doors. Oven floor: adobe floor tiles



very top of oven closed-in by broken peices of adobe roof tile and clay-horse manure mix.


finished product: bread entrance door on right, ash exit door on left.  doors, and decorative elements to come...

hansjoakim's picture

Wolfgang Süpke is a German baker whose blog, Bäcker Süpke's Welt, I've been trying to keep up with. In the blog, Bäcker Süpke has most generously posted several recipes for some of the mouthwatering loaves his bakery makes. Both Nils and Jeremy have baked gorgeous Süpke-loaves, and Jeremy even did an interview with the German Bäcker.

September last year, Süpke put up the recipe for his Joghurtbrot, and this week I thought I should give it a try. You'll find the original recipe here. I pretty much followed the directions to the letter, apart from swapping the yeasted pre-ferment with a firm levain. It's a 70% rye dough, with 28% flour in a rye sourdough, and 15% in the white levain. Here's the fully proofed dough:


The recipe was spot on hydrationwise, and the dough was nice to work with. Here's the finished loaf after just under 60 mins in the oven:


And here's a shot of the crumb:


I really enjoy the loaf! It's not very heavy for a 70/30 - the crumb is open and soft. There's a notable sour bite in the thick crust that I particularly like about it. The yogurt, at 15% of the overall flour weight, contributes a very subtle flavour note. As the rye and sourdough taste will become more pronounced in a day or two, I bet it'll be more like a standard fare Bauernbrot, but with a bit paler crumb.

My hat off to you, Bäcker Süpke! Thanks for the recipe :)

This week's dessert is another of Bo Friberg's cakes - a chocolate chiffon cake with rum-flavoured buttercream. If you're not too big on either chocolate or rum - or the combination - settle for the strawberry below. If you, like me, love both, then 2+2=5, and this would be up your alley. It's especially good if you let the slice come to room temp. before eating - the soft chiffon and buttercream both have that melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Chocolate chiffon cake

Salome's picture

Of course I had a look at this week's yeastspotting. And there I spotted this: Barley-Flatbread by Dan Lepard. It looks gorgeous, doesn't it? I've ever since I lived in Sweden for a year been fond of flatbreads, crackers, crispbread. There, crispbread or as they say, "Knäckebröd", is a staple food. They've got an endless variety and have it with every meal. Here in Switzerland flatbread exists as well, but only in a limited choice. I prefer to bake my own, so I decided that it's time again. I didn't follow Dan Lepard's formula though, I made up my own! I am very pleased with the outcome. I wanted that the oat-flavor really comes out, and I achieved this goal. I love the mildness of these crackers! They turned out wonderfully crisp and light. I'm sure that they won't last long, the next time I'll make double the recipe. (I always work with small amounts when I'm experimenting because I hate to throw things out.)

It's actually pretty easy. I think if you haven't got a grain mill at home or you can't get your hands on whole-grain oat flour, you could probably blend some oats so that it resembles flour somewhat. I used very coarse flour as well, so I'd say that should work. No guarantee though, I haven't tried it myself!

Whole-grain Oat Crackers

liquid levain 15 g mature starter 60 g coarsely ground oat 60 g water soaker 75 g coarsely ground oat 10 g whole-grain rye flour 75 g milk (I used skimmed milk) 4 g salt final dough all of the soaker all of the liquid levain 50 g of whole-wheat flour oats to sprinkle

  1. mix the ingredients for the liquid levain the evening before you bake.

  2. combine the ingredients for the soaker at the same time

  3. the next morning, mix the soaker and the liquid levain with the whole wheat flour and knead for about five minutes. Don't expect any gluten to form, it will remain a rather "grainy" ball. The dough is not sticky or tacky.

  4. put the dough into a small bowl, transfer it into a plastic bag. Let it rest for about half an hour in a warm environment. (In my case the microwave with the light on and the door somewhat open.)

  5. roll the doughevenly to around 3 mm thick. brush sparingly with water, sprinkle with oats and roll again, to around 2 mm thick. I used my old pasta dough machine for that.

  6. Place the dough on a baking sheet with a parchement paper. cut into rectangles as desired, let it proof uncovered for one hour.

  7. bake one baking sheet in turn in 230°C for about 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Turn the rectangles upside down after a couple minutes.

  8. let cool on a rack and store in an airtight box when they've cooled down.


trailrunner's picture

I haven't posted in ages . Been baking but no time these days to get on the computer. I had to post this though. I used Lildice's Ciabatta crust recipe from the pizza forum...she posted it in 2007. All I can say is...a picture is worth a 1000 words. Her inst. are perfect and this is the best pizza I have ever eaten, let alone made. I will never use another crust.

Photobucket Photobucket

dmsnyder's picture


When Shiao-Ping showed us the “Pain de Tradition” of James McGuire, I knew I was going to make it. The bread she made was gorgeous and good to eat. The techniques used were very congenial to me, since I have really had good results from “stretch and fold in the bowl” mixing with other breads. Besides, the one bread attributed to McGuire I've made (repeatedly) – the “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” in Hamelman's “Bread” - is a wonderful bread.

I immediately thought of making this bread as a sourdough. Shiao-Ping and then Eric beat me to the draw. Here is mine.

I followed Shiao-Ping's formula. My starter has some rye and some whole wheat flour, but I used KAF Bread Flour exclusively to make the dough. I did add 2 gms of Instant Yeast, although my feeling was, like Eric's, that less would be better, particularly since my kitchen temperature was around 80F.

As I did the repeated stretch and folds, I felt the dough was not developing as well as I was accustomed to using this technique. So, for the last two sets of stretch and folds, I folded 15-20 times, rather than 8-10 times. At the end, the dough was still very loose. My inclination would have been to do a tight pre-shaping, but I stuck with the directions and just transferred the dough to a floured board to rest for 15 minutes under the bowl. I shaped a boule by gathering the edges of the dough to the center and sealing the seams. I then transferred the loaf to a well-floured, linen-lined banneton to proof.

I proofed for about 40 minutes, at which time the loaf had expanded no more than 50%. I transferred it to parchment on a peel and loaded onto my pre-heated baking stone. The rest of the baking procedure was as Shiao-Ping described.


This is the lightest-colored loaf I've baked in years. I might like this bread baked darker (by baking at a higher temperature), but the light-colored crust sure shows up the yellow pigments in the flour. Others have remarked on how yellow or “cream”-colored the crumb is on this bread. Well, my crust was too!

I baked the loaf to 210F internal temperature, then baked it 5 minutes more, then left it in the oven for 10 minutes more with the oven off and the door ajar. The crust still softened as the bread cooled.

The crumb is classic sourdough - randomly scattered holes of varying size. The mouth feel is cool and tender yet chewy. When first tasted, completely cooled, it has a lovely aroma and flavor. It is actually more assertively sour than expected.

This is a lovely bread. I'll make it again. I'd like to try it with a darker crust and a thicker one. 





Pablo's picture

I wondered how much abuse this method could take.  I had ~200g 50% hydration starter in the 'fridge from a few days ago.  I used no yeast.  76g of the flour was rye.  The dough temp was 96F.  I did 3 fold sessions per schedule then put it in the 'fridge overnight.  Today I did the remaining 2 fold sessions, proofed for an hour at 85F room temp and baked 65 minutes per instructions (450/350).

Looks reasonable above, but camera angles can hide things.

Kind of a split personality.

Open, moist crumb.  Taste-wise what struck me was that it was sweeter than I generally get.  No idea why.  I think the folding technique coupled with the long, relatively low bake temps are worth exploring.  This bake used the last of my non-rye starter.  I dried them and put them in the freezer and I'm devoting myself to rye for the foreseeable future.


ehanner's picture

Today I made a second batch of the Multi fold, no knead bread Shiao-Ping as been working on and posting. I decided to make a few changes in concept to suit my style.I started with her SFSD post HERE and except for the yeast and flours and baking temp, followed that method.

First, instead of using yeast to rise the dough and sourdough starter to flavor it, I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and relied on my robust starter to provide leavening. So it was a true sourdough loaf. Next time I'll skip the yeast totally.

Second, I added 5% rye flour to the dough mix. In the past I have found that even a small amount of rye helps the depth of flavor greatly. In this case I added 25g of whole rye.

Third, I found I needed an extra 30 minutes ferment time for the dough to feel right, so call it 4.75 hours ferment time total at 73 degrees F. That was also the dough temperature.

Forth, I gave the proof time 40 minutes. I'm not certain that I didn't over do that by a few minutes. The crust expanded well but the cuts got all weird like a cat fight happened on top. As usual scoring is my Achilles heel and the first thing to go.

Lastly, I wasn't happy with the chewiness of the crust yesterday baking for an hour  at 350F. Today I used 450F for 10 minutes, steamed and lowered the temp to 430 for another 20 minutes. The crust would have been more crisp had I left it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to dry. I may get a tattoo reminding me to stay on checklist. I like the crust much better today.

Overall, the flavor of the sourdough is mild and the overall taste is great. It is remarkable how creamy yellow the crumb is and how well the dough feels using only a plastic scraper to fold a few times. I think it is a safe statement that our mixers are oxygenating the dough and do nothing for flavor. Simple hand mixing and gently folding will develop gluten and deliver to your hands a very luxurious and satiny dough. I didn't pull a window pane but I assure you that this dough is the essence of gluten development.

I like the schedule of this bread. I started it at 8 AM and I'm eating it at 4 PM. My other Sourdough breads I usually start in the evening after dinner and get them in the oven around 10 AM. -12 PM. That's OK but I like the one day aspect. When I have time, I know I can make a good loaf on the day I think of it.

That's it. One day SF SD. Not the best bread I've ever made but pretty darn good for a one day project. No Mixer needed!


Shiao-Ping's picture

First of all, I have to say that I feel uncomfortable every time when I refer to MacGuire's set of procedure Pain de Tradition procedure.  As I indicated in my first post that, in the Winter 2006 issue of The Art of Eating magazine,  Nos 73+74 (note: a 20th Anniversary Double Issue) where I got this method, it is entitled "A Full-Flavoured, Minimum-Kneading, All-Included Recipe for a Round Loaf with Many of the Advantages of the Baguette."   I said that essentially this is an old-style straight-dough, super-hydrated formula which can also be used for baguette.  I call it Pain de Tradition because, from reading MacGuire's 10 page article entitled "The Baguette" about Prof. Calvel, I understand it to be a bread using the traditional method seen in Prof. Calvel's younger days, ie. slow & gentle mixing and long cool fermentation (but of course the actual steps that I relayed were developed by Mr. MacGuire).  The article is beautifully written and extremely informative.  I don't want to mislead anybody or misrepresent Mr. MacGuire and I would encourage anyone who is interested in more details to visit Edward Behr's The Art of Eating website and get a back issue.   

Another very important point which I did not mention in my first post is the choice of flour.  MacGuire is very careful of what flour he uses for his straight-dough baguette.  He does it only if the flour is "right."  He dedicates a big section in his article about the differences between French and North American flours, which is a familiar topic for TFL users here.  Suffice to say that, for want of a basic French flour (the type 55), MacGuire uses King Arthur's All-Purpose Flour instead.   (It may not be acceptable to him but nothing says we cannot experiment with any flours we like - this is the prerogative of home cooks.)   

That said, I had a load off my chest.  Phew!  Now I can get on with the important stuff of this post.   

I love fruits and nuts in my breads.  (How interesting - sorry to go back to my inspiration again - that MacGuire reveals that Calvel "retained his generation's disdain for whole-wheat flour, saying, 'Just as we peel oranges, wheat's outer layer is removed'" and that Calvel "insisted that the bread he ate in his youth was as white as today's."  Furthermore, he adds, "Except for walnuts or raisins, he (ie, Calvel) disdained such non-grain ingredients in bread." !!)  

Ever since I learned how to operate a bread machine some 6 or 7 years ago, I've been quick in trying to make my own walnut and raisin breads.  It is like someone who can barely walk properly, already tries to run.   I love to add all sorts of fun stuff into my breads, and I am very greedy too - I love to add a lot of it vis-a-vis the flour quantity.  For some reason I have never had great results with walnut and raisin breads though.    

Armoured with the new found procedure from master baker James MacGuire, I thought I'd give it another go. 

My formula follows:  

230 g starter @75% hydration (ie, 132 g white flour & 98 g water)

318 g KAF Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour (On hindsight, All-Purpose flour would have been better; the crumb may even be more open.)

257 g water

100 g walnuts (I was going to lightly toast them, but my bag of walnuts is new and the walnuts tastes crisp, so I didn't.)

125 g mixed fruits (Predominantly sultanas, there are also raisins, citrus peels and currants.  I did not soak them because they taste moist.)

5 g sesame oil (or one tsp)

1 tsp of cinnamon powder

9 g salt

sesame seeds and fine psyllium husks for dusting the banneton and the shaped loaf  


total flour = 450 g  and  total hydration (including oil) = 360 g; ie, dough hydration = 80%  

nuts and fruits = 50% of flour, which is higher than Hamelman's fruits & nuts based bread and/or sourdough recipes (ranging from 25 - 32%) but a lot less than Reinhart's Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread recipe (80%) which David rendered beautifully in his June 22 post here.  



      Sourdough Walnut & Sultana Bread - using James MacGuire's pain de tradition procedure  


                      the crumb  


                                   and the close-up  


the calculation of water temperature when sourdough starter is used  

When there is a sourdough starter, there is one more element to consider in the calculation of water temp for the final dough.  I did not mention this when I posted my San Francisco Sourdough Bread.  I use the mid-range temp of 71 - 75 F (22 - 24 C) for the ideal dough temperature, ie, 73 F (22 C), as a base to add to the figure we already have, that is 216 F, to arrive at the new starting figure for calculation.   

216 F + 73 F = 289 F

289 F - room temp - flour temp - starter temp - 5 =  water temp (bearing in mind this is for hand mixing)  

This may not be correct in the strictest sense, but I get a rough gauge as to what water temp I should be aiming for.   (Susan's Wild Yeast blog may have something more accurate, but I cannot remember.)  

mixing and fermentation  

With this bread, I didn't want to bother with the two-step mixing that most recipes would have you do, ie, mixing the flours with the water first, autolyse, then mixing in all the fruits & nuts.  I basically gave the flour a reluctant stir in the starter/water mixture for no more than 5 - 10 seconds, added the fruits and nuts straight away, then at this point I did a good stir for a minute or two.  Autolysed for 10 min as in MasGuire's instruction, then performed my first set of 8 - 10 folds.  

By the time I finished all 5 sets of  8 - 10 folds, it was half past 11 last night.  I shaped the dough, rolled it lightly in a mixture of sesame seeds and fine psyllium husks (a bit like very fine bread crumbs).  I dusted the benetton lightly again with this sesame seeds mixture, placed the shaped dough in there, covered the whole thing in a plastic bag, and chucked it into the refrigerator for retardation.  Brought it out to room temp this morning at 7 and baked it at 8:30 for 50 minutes.      

the result  

My husband is no expert in breads, or sourdough for that matter.  But, hey, we are here to please our family.  By no means are our family's standards those of professionals.  But, if our family is happy, we are happy.  

My husband said the bread is just brilliant!  He said the flavors are well balanced, you cannot discern any individual flavor, nothing is dominant that you can pick up.  He alone had 1/3 of the loaf with morning tea!  

Don't we love a biased family member.  



p.s.  My daughter, just home from school, was munching a piece of this bread.  I showed her my draft, she goes, "No, you are not there to please family members, you are there to please yourself!  Isn't that what you've always told us!"   Ahh, that is my girl.



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