The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


DonD's picture


I have been following the fascinating recent posts and the excitement generated by the breads of Gerard Rubaud on TFL, so I decided to try a make a batch on this snowy weekend in Washington DC. I want to thank MC for introducing Gerard to us on her excellent blog and also Shiao-Ping for transcribing the formulation and testing the recipe with her gorgeous miches. Thanks also to David Snyder and Eric Hanner for their detailed step by step instructions and observations of their own experiment.

Ingredients and Formulation:

I used the same flour mix of 70% AP to 30% whole grain. I used the T55 AP flour from La Milanaise. For the whole grain mix, since I cannot grind my own, I used 30% Whole White (winter)Wheat, 30% Whole (Spring) Wheat, 30% Spelt and 10% Rye all from Bob's Red Mill. I mixed all the flours to use for both the levain build and final dough.

I followed the 3 step levain build and added 1% salt to each levain build. In his interview with MC, Gerard said that he increases the levain percentage in winter so I decided to use 40% instead of 30%.

I noticed in the video on MC's blog that Gerard ferments his dough in a wooden trough so I thought that the wood has to absorb some of the water from the dough. Also since I am using the T55 flour which is less absorbent than regular AP flour, I decided to lower the hydration to 75%. 

I used 500 gms of flour mix, 200 gms stiff levain, 408 gms spring water, 11gms grey Guerande sea salt for the final dough and made 2 Batards.

I essentially followed David's fermentation, shaping and baking techniques.


Each step of my levain build took from 8 to 12 hours to ripen because of the cooler ambient temperature. I probably could have omitted the salt.

The lowering of hydration did not affect the character of the dough. Visually, its consistency during fermentation and shaping is very similar's to Gerard in the video.

The loaves had good oven spring. The crust is slightly paler that my usual high extraction bakes probably due to the spelt flour which I have never used before. The crumb is fairly open with a light tan color unlike the light color of Shiao-Ping's miche. The crust is quite crunchy and has blisters which I usually get with levain breads.

The smell after baking is reminiscent of toasted germs, slightly grassy more similar to a levain baguette than a high extraction bread.

The crumb has a gelatinous character, has more weight and is quite chewy. It smells like a sweet honeyed pipe tobacco with a slight acidic touch. The taste is not as sweet and has a definite tang probably due to the long levain ripening and the higher percentage of levain. Overall is it a whole new flavor profile unlike any that I have had before.


My wife and I just finished a light lunch of Vegetable Beef Soup with Bone Marrow and toasted slices of 3-grain Country Loaf inspired by Gerard Rubaud on this beautiful sunny Sunday in the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2010. Delicious!

What's next?

I will try to make this bread using T80 high extraction flour instead of the AP/WW mix as a comparison. I will post the results.

Happy Baking!


zoltan szabo's picture
zoltan szabo

Hi to everyone,

this is my first post. I would like to share my recipe for semolina bread roll. I use the same recipe to bake larger loafs and fougasse as well.

In the restaurant I serve with this roll's pates and terrines or just simply serve as part of a bread basket.

Hope you guys like it as much as I do.

Happy baking! Zoltan

semolina rolls



  • 500gr fine semolina

  • 11gr salt

  • 50gr butter

  • 25gr yeast

  • 300ml luke warm water

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the yeast.

2. Add the warm water and mix until a smooth soft elastic dough become together.

3. Place the dough somewhere warm to proof for 45 minutes.

4. When the dough is proofed knock it back and work on it for 5 minutes. Shape and devide into 30gr rolls.

5. Let it proof again then slash the top and bake with steam on 200C for 15-20 minutes until golden and hollow the noise when you knock the bottom of it.

6. When ready place on wire rack and brush with olive oil.


Shiao-Ping's picture

I love buying bread books in all languages, the most inexpensive way of virtual travels and experience for me.  I came across a book by Swedish baker and owner of Brunkebergs Bageri (Brunkebergs Bakery) in Stockholm, Heléne Johansson's Bröd, Från Brunkebergs Bageri (Bread, from Brunkebergs Bakery).   Her love and passion for bread exudes from the book.  For the first 15 pages of the book on the web, please click here (sorry, her serious breads are not on these first 15 pages).  The book says she has used each recipe thousands of times.  Her range of breads depends on "how her own spirit falling on," she says.

What attracts me is her gutsy bold style of baking.  Every one of her bakes in the book looks to me a rustic beauty, not dainty, but extraordinary.  I find her spirit exhilarating. 

The purpose of this post is twofold:

(1) to see if I can do the same with my oven; and

(2) to experiment with the Australian "plain flour."

Like many home bakers who have come from a pastry background before taking on bread, I had steered clear of pastry flour and had developed a blind faith in bread flour.  I was scare to touch lower gluten flour.  In Australia, there are two types of pastry flour - plain flour and self-raising flour.  I am told that plain flour is equivalent to the American all-purpose flour.  However, the typical protein level of plain flour is 9.1 - 10.1% whereas the American all-purpose flour, using King Arthur's as an example, has a much higher protein of 11.7% (but I do not know if I am comparing protein at equal basis).  I guess the important difference to me is that KA's all-purpose flour is made from hard winter wheat, but the Australian plain flour, being essentially used for pastry baking, comes from soft wheat.   On protein alone, the plain flour is closer to the French T55 flour than all-purpose flour.  When I was deciding whether or not to go ahead with my experiment, I saw rossnroller's gorgeous Pain de Campagne on, which used plain flour in place of all-purpose flour.  That was about a month ago.  I decided then that no theory or technical knowledge is better than hands-on experience. 

Now, scroll forward a month later.  I am happy to report that (A) the plain flour can do the job; but (B) I suspect that the plain flour is designed to accompany a lot of enrichments (butter, sugar, and many other add-in's) because on its own it does not have a fermentable quality like proper bread flour.  The analogy is rice.  The Japanese rice and the Taiwanese rice (see, I am biased) can be eaten on its own, but other rice, especially the Thai and all other long-grain rice, is dry in its intrinsic quality and is to be eaten with a lot of gravy, eg. curry sauce, because it cannot stand on its own.

So, that's it for me with the plain flour.  Go back to my bread flour.

And, as far as bold and gutsy baking goes, the following is as much as I could get with my oven:




Because of the way my fan oven sends out heat, it did no good if I just turned up the heat - I got burned pointy toes and not nearly as brown on the top as on the sides of the bread as below:   





I tried to position my baking stone in a different spot in the middle of my oven but it didn't seem to make any difference.  When I was at the beach duing our Christmas holiday, the oven in the unit came with top heat as well as bottom heat.  It browned the top of the dough beautifully and easily.




I enjoyed my bread just the same.   This batch of bread had 3% rye and 7% WW in both levain and final dough.  The stiff levain was built in two stages.   The overall dough hydration was 69% (including 3% olive oil). 





If I ever get a new oven, I would like one with separate heating elements for the top and the bottom, and I would like an in-built digital temperature reader.  (I am not greedy.)  But I know, the day I get the gadget perfected is the day I drop the incentive to baking to perfection.  (So, it's best that I don't get it.)    





snazzmo's picture

Yeah, I baked a loaf today.  I improvised a recipe:

1 c. white flour                    4 t. oil

1 c. whole wheat flour          3 T. pepitas

1/2 t. salt                          1 T. wheat germ

1 1/4 t. yeast                     2 T. wheat bran

3/4 c. water                        2 T. sesame seeds, 2 T. flax seeds

Used the dough setting on the bread machine.  Took the dough out, let it rise 20 minutes, baked it at 400 degrees for about 22 minutes.  I waited an hour, then cut it.  It was kind of gummy.  Edible, but too gummy for my likes.

I looked here on Fresh Loaf, and the suggestions to fix gummy bread are: wait longer to cut it.  Bake it longer.

Well, I think I waited long enought to cut it.  But I had the distinct sense that this bread didn't get cooked enough.  Next time, I'm thinking: a) use a high temp and b) bake longer. 

Gummy bread has been a problem for me.  I could also ask my son Bob.  He's an ace baker and he might have some suggestions.  Actually, his bread is my ideal of bread.  His bread is super chewy and the gluten is really developed.  He gets this texture by mixing it a long time - he's got a Kitchen Aid Pro 6 mixer.  He bakes a lot of bread.





will slick's picture
will slick

Next week we will be celebrating my daughter Valerie's 23rd birthday. I asked her what she would like me to make for her. She  said, she wanted to help me try and make my moms Pastizzi to keep the family tradition going. I got the recipe from my sister and did a test run. We will need to  adjust a few things next week.

1. salt and pepper they were bland.

2 The shaping needs lots of work

The Puff pastry ( The hardest part) I was pleased with, It was light and flaky. I think Valerie will have her birthday wish come true!

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I wanted to make a lean yeast bread with some of the wonderful stoneground cornmeal from Ridgecut Gristmills that I posted about here. I decided on baguettes, since I hadn't used the fancy perforated pan that I bought from the King Arthur store in a while.

I loosely followed Reinhart's recipe for Pane Sicialiano, which he says takes 3 days, but I was able to compress it into 2. You start with a pâte fermentée, which is really just a lump of French bread dough. I used 1 1/2 cups of stoneground cornmeal and poured boiling water over it and let it sit overnight. (I don't really know if this did anything. I didn't introduce any yeast or malt for enzymes. Thoughts?)

Added about 1.5 c of bread flour, 1.5 c. semolina, 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. honey, and 1/2 t. instant yeast, and enough water to make a fairly slack dough. Kneaded a bit, let it rise a couple times, shaped, put it in the fridge for about 6 hours, took it out, let it warm and proof about 2.5 hours, then baked at 450 in a steamy oven. I rolled one of the loaves in cornmeal after shaping, to see if I'd like the crunch on the outside (yup, it's nice).

These were a bit of a departure for me, as I rarely bake with so much white flour, but I wanted the corn flavor to really shine through. And did it! Wow, a lot of corniness going on here. I think the long, slow fermentation also gives these extra flavor. Slightly sweet, a bit nutty even, with a creamy mouthfeel punctuated by firm nubbins of corn. At first bite, it reminds of a normal pan cornbread, but with a more satisfying chewiness.

I'd mark it as a successful experiment. Highly recommended if you like corn flavor. (The rest of the dough will be pizza tonight!)

Corn Semolina Baguette

Corn Semolina Baguette crumb

jennyloh's picture


In the middle of the week,  I decided to make some bread after returning from 2 full days of meeting,  I need to de-stress.  Picked up Bernard Clayton's book and saw this attractive name - Feather Bread.  I wondered if this is the same kind of bread that I had at the restaurant of the hotel that I stayed.  So,  I started late in the night.  Click here for the recipe


Well,  it didn't turn out like the bread from the restaurant,  although I shaped it like it,  it turned out tasting really good when it is fresh.


Somehow,  I realised that white breads seems to harden fast?  Rye bread taste even better as the days goes by.  I tried heating up the bread,  but it was not the same as freshly baked.


My son and I discussed that perhaps I should wait till we want to eat these breads,  have it ready in the fridge and bake it near meal times.  suggestions anyone?


DonD's picture


I had read about the organic stoneground flours from La Meunerie Milanaise (La Milanaise Mills) in Daniel Leader's Local Breads and through numerous posts on TFL. I was anxious to try them so a few months ago as I was in Montreal visiting friends, I was able to bring back three 20 kg bags of their flours. I had to contact the US Customs to have their blessing before driving back across the border with 132 pounds of white powder.

I purchased their All Purpose T55, Sifted Flour #100(T70) and Sifted Flour #50(T90) Flours. All are Organic and the latter two are High Extraction and Stoneground. The # designation indicates the fineness of the sieve. The T designation indicate the percentage of ash content of the flour and is based on the european model of 11.7% humidity content as opposed to 14% for the US. There was a discrepancy in the ash content listed on the bags and the specification sheets that I got from the distributor so I contacted the Milanaise office and got a detailed explanation from Mr. Robert Beauchemin, the Company's CEO. He explains that there is always a variation in the mineral content of wheat from year to year depending on environment and growing conditions. The key is the degree of "cleanliness" of the sifting to allow a percentage of the epiderm layer and the aleurone layer of the wheat kernel into the flour. The epiderm is the darker and tougher outer layer whose ground particles act as knife blades damaging the structure of the gluten while the aleurone is the lighter inner layer which does not damage the gluten. Based on this variation in mineral content, the two high extraction flours that I got are essentially T70/T80 (73.6% extraction and 12.7% protein) and T90/T110 (81.8% extraction and 12.4% protein). It is interesting to note that these are high extraction but not high gluten flours as the protein level is about the same as white bread flour. The All Purpose T55 has 11.4% protein.

I have been baking some of my favorite breads using different mixes of these flours and have been extremely pleased with the results.


The T55 flour is slightly darker color (light cream color) and grittier to the touch than the King Arthur AP Flour. The T70/T80 has specs of light color bran mixed in and the T90/110 is the darkest with bigger and darker specs of bran. There is no Malted Barley Flour added.

 Counterclockwise from left T55, T70/T80 and T90/T110 Flours

All three flours are not as absorbent as the KA flours and I always get a wetter dough using the same hydration. The dough consistently feels less sticky and is more extensible than KA. The dough also feels smoother. 

The breads are very aromatic during and after baking especially with the high extraction flours giving the crust a dark molasses, caramel, chocolate and roasted nuts fragrance . The crumb is always light, open and soft and the taste has a sweet, creamy and toasty wheatiness.


 Baguettes au Levain using T55 Flour

 Baguette au Levain Crumb

 Pain de Campagne using T55, T70/T80 and T90/T110 Flour mix

 Pain de Campagne Crumb

Happy Baking!


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

The Perfect Baguette Eludes Me...  My Breads are Getting Worse...


SylviaH's picture

Recipe from 'Lorenza De Medici's - Tuscany The Beautiful Cookbook'

Like most Italian Cakes, this sweet Florentine pizza is linked to a religious feast: "Carnival".    At one time lard was used instead of butter, which added to the flavor.


    After seeing this recipe in my cookbook,  I searched online for more recipes of this Sweet Carnival Pizza.  The only ones I was able to find were  written in Italian.  This was a frustrating and unfamilar dough for me to handle which resulted in me not following the exact procedures discribed in the recipe.  I was sure I had a total disaster on my hands.  After seeing and tasting my final bake...I may...may attempt it again!  It is a delicate delicious buttery flavored cake, lightly sweet with a lovely hint of lemon and would go perfectly with a glass of wine or a cappuccino or just a big glass of milk.

If anyone is feeling venturesome and care to give this recipe a try I have written it down with just a couple of modifications.








                     6 fl oz - 3/4 cup - 180 ml        Lukewarm water (105F to 115F)                    

                                              1 oz (30g) fresh cake yeast or 2 packages (1 scant tablespoon each) active dry yeast-  I used the

                                              Gold IDY because of the extra sugar in the recipe.

                                              11 oz/330g  All Purpose (plain flour) flour  - I used KAAP flour

                                              pinch of salt

                                              3 oz/90g  Unsalted butter, plus extra for cake pan  -  I used my round metal pizza pan

                                              3 oz/90g Granulated sugar  -  I used Extra fine baking sugar

                                              grated zest of 1 lemon   -  Large organic off my tree

                                              2 Eggs

                                              1 Tbsp. Confectioners' sugar  -  I used extra for added sweetness


      Place the lukewarm water in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let stand until dissolved and foamy, about 10 minutes.

      Heap the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center.  Pour the dissolved yeast into the well and add the salt.  With a fork, gradually work in the flour until all of it is absorbed.  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Shape the dough into a ball.  Transfer the dough ball to a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

      Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.  Punch down the dough and gradually work in the 1/3 cup (3oz/90g) butter, granulated sugar, lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time.  Lift the now-soft dough and slam it down on a hard surface several times.  Using the heel of your hand, knead until the dough is no longer sticky.

      Butter a 9-in (23-cm) round cake pan.  Shape the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 400F 9200C).

      Bake the cake until just golden, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the pan and immediately transfer to a wire rack.  Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar.  Cool to room temperature before serving. 



















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