The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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ejm's picture

wild yeast bread

I have really been struggling to get our wild yeast bread to be less sour. This time, I added malt powder to give the dough a little sugar rush. I contemplated adding a bit of baking soda as well to bring the acidity down. But not really knowing the science of it, I decided against it. One experiment at a time....

I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I've been getting so much flack about flat bread.

I was so pleased at how it had risen that I even tried slashing one of the loaves (while it was proofing, it had a little bird cookie cutter balanced on top - even before baking, it was impossible to see the bird design!) I just don’t know how you others do it.

I admit it; my slashing technique stinks!

It is less sour tasting. Even though the taste is pretty good, I'd still like to make a completely unsour wild yeast bread - without using even a trace of commercial yeast.

wild yeast bread

Tomorrow when I feed the wild yeast, I plan to try bwraith's method of maintenance to see if that will lessen the sourness.

Even though it has been decreed that this is one of my more successful attempts, I am still feeling defeated and just about ready to pack it in and toss the wild yeast out. It was devastating (well, maybe not "devastating"... perhaps "deflating" would be a better choice of word) to have to buy bread at Christmas time because my bread was so sour.

I have to admit that baking bread with commercial yeast is WAY easier!

bshuval's picture

This weekend I decided to bake a couronne. I used my sourdough for it. I am not entirely happy with the shape, but the crumb and taste were great. I've written about it at length here.

For now, here's a picture of the finished couronne:

And here's a picture of the crumb:

JohnnyX's picture

Hello Everyone,
 This week with much skepticism I decided to try the master boule recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day.
  I mixed the dough 3 days ago in a 6qt. plastic food bucket, and set it out to rise on the counter. Boy, what a high riser! Before the dough started to collapse it had practicly risen to the top of the bucket. I did not punch the dough down and immediatly put it into the fridge.
  Over the next couple of days the dough did not rise at all in the fridge. In fact, it actually condensed down back to about the 2qt line that it was at when I origanally mixed the dough.
   So last night I figured here we go, time to make some bread. I followed the directions exactly. I cut off a 1lbs. piece, shaped it, let it rise for 40 minutes, baked with steam at 450 f for 30 minutes.
  After 30 minutes I checked the bread. It had some decent oven spring, but not a ton. I checked the temp of the loaf and it was only at 
202f so i let it go for another 15 minutes, and it was stiil at the same temp! I baked it for another 10 minutes, still no change. I figured my thermometer had to be broken.
  I let the bread cool completely then grabbed my knife and dove in. I was quite surprised. The loaf had a great flavor and good crumb on the end pieces. The center however was a more tight crumb and a little dense and not quite cooked enough.
    So today I am baking a second loaf. I am going to let it rise alot longer and bake it at 500f until I get to 205f, know matter how long it takes. I hope I will get a more open crumb throughout.
     I think this bread has alot of potential for busy people like me who only have the time to make "proper" artisan bread on the weekends, but would still like  to have some fresh bread on a weeknight.
   Any comments or suggestons? Does anyone else make this and could share there techniques or tips?   =)

zolablue's picture

This is a new recipe I made from Daniel Leader’s book, Local Breads, for a Parisian loaf of Pierre Nury’s who is a recipient of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award, as noted in the book.This is a very rustic light rye considered to be his signature loaf and is compared to Italian ciabatta.

It was very interesting to make and loads of fun although my timeline didn’t quite match Leader’s description of what would take place in the amount of time noted.I have made notes below in the recipe for how this worked for me.

This is delicious bread!I will definitely bake this loaf again.The recipe is so simple I see it as almost a no fail bread.The flavor is very good and I would describe it so far as the most tangy bread I’ve made to date keeping in mind my sourdoughs are very mild.I think it is really an outstanding flavor and toasted it is wonderful with a real depth of flavor.

The crumb is beautiful and very moist and almost spongy.It is very open like a ciabatta which just seemed so odd to me after such a long, overnight rise.

Here is the recipe for those of you who might like to give it a try.

Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye – © Daniel Leader, Local Breads

Makes 2 long free-form loaves (18 ounces/518 grams each)Time:

8 – 12 hours to prepare the levain

20 minutes to mix and rest the dough

10 to 12 minutes to knead

3 to 4 hours to ferment

12 to 24 hours to retard

20 to 30 minutes to bake


45 grams - stiff dough levain(45%)

50 grams – water (50%)

95 grams – bread flour, preferably high-gluten (I used KA Sir Lancelot) (95%)

5 grams – stone-ground whole wheat flour (5%)

Prepare levain by kneading and place into a covered container.Let stand at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F) for 8 to 12 hours until it has risen into a dome and has doubled in volume.*

Bread dough:

400 grams – water (80%)

450 grams – bread flour, preferably high-gluten (I used Sir Lancelot) (90%)

50 grams – fine or medium rye flour (I used KA medium) (10%)

125 grams - levain starter**

10 grams – sea salt (I used kosher)


Pour water into bowl of a stand mixer.Add the bread flour and rye flour and stir until it absorbs all of the water and a dough forms.Cover and autolyse for 20 minutes.


Add the levain and salt.By machine, mix on medium speed (4 on a Kitchenaid mixer) until it is glossy, smooth and very stretchy for 12 to 14 minutes.***This dough is very sticky and will not clear the sides of the bowl.Give the dough a windowpane test to judge its readiness by gently stretching a golf-ball sized piece until it is thin enough to see through and not tear.If it tears mix for another 1 to 2 minutes and test again.To get maximum volume in the baked loaf, make sure not to under-knead.


Transfer dough to a lightly oiled container and cover.Leave to rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) for 1 hour.It will inflate only slightly.

Turn: (stretch and fold):

Turn the dough twice at 1-hour intervals.After second turn, cover dough and leave to rise until it expands into a dome twice its original size, 1 to 2 hours more.****It will feel supple, airy, and less sticky.


Place the container in the refrigerator and allow the dough to ferment slowly for 12 to 24 hours.It will develop flavor but not rise significantly.Two to 3 hours before you want to bake, remove from refrigerator and let stand on the counter, covered.It will not rise and will feel cool.

Preheat oven:About 1 hour before baking heat oven (with baking stone) to 450°F.

Shape loaves:

Scrape dough onto floured counter and coat the top of the dough with flour.Press the mound of dough into a rough 10-inch square. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces (18 ounces/518 grams each).With floured hands, lift up one piece from the ends and in one smooth motion, gently stretch it to about 12 inches long and let it fall in whatever shape it may onto parchment paper.Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, spacing the two pieces at least 2 inches apart.(No need to score.)


Steam oven as usual.Immediately after shaping, slide loaves, on the parchment, onto the baking stone.Bake until crust underneath the swirls of flour is walnut-colored, 20 to 30 minutes.


Cool on wire rack for about 1 hour before slicing.Don’t be surprised by the long troughs running through the crumb.This is part of the bread’s character.


Store loaves with cut side covered in plastic at room temp for 3 to 4 days.For longer storage, freeze in resealable plastic bags for up to 1 month.


*Leader says to allow the levain only to double in the amount of time noted.My starter more than tripled in less than 6 hours so at that time I mixed the dough.I think this may have slowed my fermentation way down since my starter had not fully risen and collapsed but I find I am always at odds with Leader’s instructions on firm starters.

**The levain recipe calls for ingredients which make up more than is needed for the dough recipe which I find problematic only because it bugs me.I want instructions for making the amount I need for a recipe and not to have any levain as leftover.He does this in some recipes and not in others so to me that is another flaw in their editing.Just make sure you weigh the proper amount for the dough recipe.

***I used a DLX mixer at about medium speed for roughly 10 to 12 minutes.

****My dough did not rise more than about 25% (if that) in the container in more than three hours after fermentation started.Again, I think that was due to using my levain too soon.I chose to place the dough in my pantry overnight to rise instead of the refrigerator since it had not doubled as it was supposed to by that time.My pantry is very cold at 62°F now as it is on an outside wall and this allowed a good spot for the dough to ferment overnight instead. It rose to just over double by the time I was ready to bake it.That fermentation took about 17 hours total.

tattooedtonka's picture

This recipe is from "Hodgson Mills Whole Grain Baking" book.  I was reading this book last night when I came across this recipe.  After reading it over I thought, why not.  I like Cinnamon Rolls. 

Heres the recipe:

For the Dough:

  • 3 cups (375 grams) Hodgson Mills Stone Ground Whole Wheat Graham Flour
  • 1 cup (125 grams) Hodgson Mills Soy Flour
  • 5 Teaspoons (20 grams)  Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/4Tablespoons (16.3 grams)  granulated sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon (6 grams)     salt
  • 4oz. (100grams)  Firm Tofu
  • 1 1/2 cups (295ml) warm water (105-115 degrees F., 43.3-46 degrees C.)

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (145 grams)  raisins
  • 1 teaspoon (2.3 grams)  ground cinnamon

Stir together flours, yeast, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, mash tofu with a fork and whisk together with warm water. 

Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in water-tofu mixture.  Stir ingredients well with spoon or fork so that flour is moistened.

Transfer dough to very lightly floured surface and knead 5 times by hand.  Place dough in large, slightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Divide dough in half.  On very lightly floured surface, roll each half to a 10 1/2" (26.3cm) square. 

Sprinkle with half of brown sugar and raisins, leaving a 1/2" (1.2cm) perimeter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Roll up tightly, jelly roll style, starting with a long end.  Pinch seam closed.  With seam side down, slice each roll into 8 equal pieces.  Place on prepared baking sheet with spiral side up.  For single rolls, place about 3" (7.5cm) apart on baking sheet; for pull apart rolls, place about 1/2" (1.2cm) apart. 

Preheat oven to 400'F (200'C). Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown on edges and bottom.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Yield: 16 Rolls

Add It:  Make a glaze by whisking 1 cup (100 grams) confectioners sugar with 2 tablespoons (28ml) 2 percent or soy milk and 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract.  Drizzle over cooled rolls.

TT's personal notes and errors:

Everything started out good enough with this recipe. right up to the point where I was to add the mashed tofu and start kneading.  I then realized that it seemed awfully wet.  Looking back over to the package that I thought was a 4oz. pack of tofu, I see that it says 14oz.  Dang burnit!!  Stinkin ol' 14oz. pack of tofu, why cant you be 4oz. 

O.k. so at 14oz. (397 grams) I figure I need to put 3x's the amount of other ingredients in to match my tofu level.  WOW, that barely fits in the bowl. Good thing I have big paws, because this was a handful to mix and knead. 

So at this point I have everything doing the 2 hour sit on the counter.  This will either turn out with 64 mouthwatering cinnamon rolls, or a huge fiasco.  Either way, I'll keep ya posted.  Photos to come.


Thegreenbaker's picture





I have yet to try it again, but it was soooooooo delicious :) I love my grains!



Thegreenbaker's picture


It got a little mangled as I didnt line the tin and it stuck. :S But, How delicious.

I have always wondered what I would do to make a cake minus the raising agents! Some one posted I think on here their version, it was I think Nectarine? I may be delusional so who knows.

I found the recipe, and made the cake and it is almost gone (and it isnt even 24 hours old!


The original recipe can be found here

I made a few changes to it.

Makes One (9-inch) Cake
2-1/4 cups all purposeflour, but I used bread was all I had on hand!)1/2 cup Muscovado sugar 2 teaspoons yeast1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 1/3 cup Sunflower oil/Rice bran oil (an oil that is good for you and has a high smoke point) 2 large eggs 2 sweet eating apples , cored and diced.1 teraspoon cinnamon Topping1 sweet eating apple, peeled cored and sliced2 tablespoons Muscovado sugar1/3 teaspoon cinnamon Method

In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water, milk, and oil until very warm (120o to 130oF).

Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium peed with an electric mixer. Scrape the bowl occasionally.

Add the eggs and 1/2 cup of flour. Beat for 2 mins at high speed (I had to lower my speed as the gluten was getting worked and the flour was winding up my beaters!)

Stir in the remaining flour to make a stiff batter. I had to add en extra 1/4 cup to do so.

Stir in the chopped up apple pieces.

Grease and line a cake pan, arrange the apple slices in bottom and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Pour in the batter and spread it out evenly.

Leave it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour...ot until it doubles in size.


Above the batter has just been poured into the pan


Here, ready to bake.

You might like to do as the recipe suggests with the apple slices and place then on the top of the cake instead. I found the cake bottom burned exposed in the oven, but I liked how the apples embedded themselves in the cake on the bottom (which became the top)


So you could do it my way and cover the cake with parchment thats been well greased to stop it from burning.

Place into a preheated oven at 190 degrees oven for 45 mins until it is cooked in the middle. Test as per usual cake testing. I turned the oven down for the last 15-20 mins to 180 degrees celcius as it was burning.

remove and cool. Its lovely warm, but Delicious cool! With butter, or even golden syrup and cream!


Thegreenbaker's picture

I baked a fair amount this week, so this is the first of two or three posts.


Wholemeal Oat Bread.

Pre soak

1cup Rolled Oats

1 1/2 cups just boiled water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon honey (or sweettner of your choice if you choose to even add sweetner)



1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1- 1/12 cups water

3 cups of wholemeal flour. (high gluten/strong/very strong)

1 - 2 cups extra for kneading.



1 put oats, just boiled water, and salt into a bowl and leave for an hour.

2 add honey, yeast and water to the bowl with the oat mixture. Leave for a few mins if you need to wake up your yeast.

3 add flour gradually to the water/oat mixture and stir until it is just combined and all the flour is incorporated. (if you do this in a mixer then do what you normally do and gradually add the extra flour to the dough until it is sticky but not tacky. This dough works like most average dough but it is just a little sticky due to the oats and their strach.

4 If doing this by hand, liberally flour the bench, take the dough out and knead for about 10-15 mins. flouring bench as the flour is absorbed into the dough.

5 Leave the dough to rise in an oiled covered bowl till it doubles in size,, then take out, fold it and put it back until it again doubles in size.

6 Fold again (I wanted to give it as much strength as I could) then rest for 10 mins

7 Shape and proof for 45-50 mins in a warm kitchen

8 Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 mins at 190 degrees celcius.

Leave it to cool completely before cutting.


Above is the Oat bread next to the apple cake and an oat bread roll.


mmmmm mmmmm!


I am extatic about this bread. It tastes GREAT! and rose higher than I expected considering the oats!






MissyErin's picture

i said those babies weren't pretty... I didn't realize that one looked like a caterpillar.  sigh... a face only a momma could love.

MissyErin's picture

Hello all...

New to this fabulous site, and instead of just sitting on the sidelines watching (while drooling) at everyone's gorgeous creations, I decided I would post all of my breads up too. I'll start by saying that I have been baking bread for a year now... focusing almost exclusively on whole grains (the full gamut) and my oh my were those first 20 serious house building bricks. Home depot actually contacted me... just kidding... Its been a fantastic learning process. It is so frustrating, though, to work for hours on something that turns out to be a total flop! But I'm thinking positive, right? So... I try to learn from these flops and keep refining and refining..

I have started to really get into sourdoughs, though, and created a starter from PR's crust and crumb (with the organic raisins) and its been great. Its just been mighty chilly in our house in Atlanta, and there has been lots of bubbles after feeding, but not more than a 40-50% rise, which is low for Betty the Barm, and I'd prefer not to think of her as developmentally delayed. Just more of a nuzzler, and she likes it warm! I have to say that the first set of loaves I made were beginners luck. They were perfection. My hubby thought he had woken up to a new wife, one with bakin' skillz. The next set I made were "eh.." and then I made a set of SD rolls to bring to a new years lunch. again... "eh..."

So I was on this site last night until 2am (where did the time go???) and I was so inspired... I started another batch early this morning and they came out of the oven about an hour ago. About a 6 hour cold ferment... after the two room temps at 2.5 hours. Today's SD was based on Susan's posting on her blog and I have to say that they came out super tasty! They don't look nearly as pretty as hers (these are not pretty at all, in fact)... but I would love some criticism (constructive, please!) I used a steam pan and sprayed water every minute for the first 3 min, then at min 10 and 15.

bread 1bread 1

bread 2bread 2


bread 3bread 3


bread 4bread 4


My basic notes are -

1. I slashed all of the loaves, and I tried to make them deep, but they didn't come out with that "easy grip" ledge that I LOVE. Why? Did I need to go a lot deeper with the slash? I used a serrated wusthof knife.

2. Do I need to bake them a little longer to get that warm dark crust that I feel is lacking? I think that the bread would've been much tougher if I had kept the loaves in much longer.

3. I'm going to try to describe this.. the crumb texture seems "squeaky" or plasticy. I don't mean hard plastic, but I mean not like sandwich bread, not a silky smooth crumb. Does that make sense? Its even shiny... why is that. All the SD's I've had in the past have been softer and less "squeaky" or "shiny". This almost seemed more like ciabatta...

4. I need a canvas or couche of some sort.. because the loaves were definitely wider than I wanted and not as tall.

I'd love ANY tips you have!!

Thank you very much :)




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