The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dmsnyder's picture


I like variety, so I could never say that any one bread is “my favorite.” However, I can say that the “Five-Grain Sourdough with Rye Sourdough” from Hamelman's “Bread” would certainly be one of the candidates. It has a wonderful crunchy crust and a delicious complex flavor. It is fabulous fresh-baked. It stays moist for many days. It makes toast to die for. It is good unadorned or buttered, by itself or with other foods, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's, incidentally, full of really healthy stuff. Moreover, it's really easy to make, and it's beautiful to look at. What's not to like?

This bread is made with a rye sourdough but is also spiked with commercial yeast. The sourdough is fed and a soaker is soaked 14-16 hours before mixing, but once the dough is mixed, the fermentation and proofing are rather short. I started putting the dough together at around 12:30 pm, and the bread was out of the oven at around 4:30 pm.

Notes on the formula

  1. The overall hydration of the dough is 99%, but much of the water is absorbed by the soaker. The final dough is sticky, but like a rye bread dough not like a high-hydration white bread dough.

  2. Also note that all the salt is in the soaker. This is to inhibit enzyme activity. The salt percentage may also seem high (2.2% of the total flour), but the grains in the soaker also need salt, so the bread does not seem overly salty in the least.

  3. This formula makes a large batch of dough. It would have been difficult to mix it in my KitchenAid. I mixed it in my Bosch Universal Plus, which handled it with ease. If using a KitchenAid or similar stand mixer, you should consider scaling down the formula to 2/3 of that specified below.


Rye sourdough


Baker's %

Whole-rye flour

8 oz



6.7 oz


Mature sourdough culture

0.4 oz



15.1 oz





Baker's %


2.9 oz


Cracked rye (I used pumpernickel flour)

2.9 oz


Sunflower seeds

2.4 oz



2.4 oz


Water (boiling, if cracked rye)

13.2 oz



0.7 oz



1 lb, 8.5 oz



Final dough


High-Gluten flour (KAF Bread Flour)

1 lb, 8 oz


10.5 oz

Yeast (Instant)

0.19 oz


0.5 oz


1 lb, 8.5 oz


14.7 oz


4 lb, 10.4 oz



  1. Mix the sourdough and ferment it at room temperature for 14-16 hours.

  2. Prepare the soaker at the same time as the sourdough. Weigh out the grains and salt. Mix them. If cracked rye is used, boil the water and pour over the grains and mix. If using rye chops or coarse rye flour (pumpernickel), cold water can be used. Cover the soaker and leave it at room temperature.

  3. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a mixer bowl at low speed, then increase to medium speed (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid or Bosch) and mix to moderate gluten development. In my Bosch, I think this took around 10 minutes.

  4. Transfer the dough to

    a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly and ferment for 1 hour.

  5. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and shape into boules, bâtards or a combination.

  6. Proof for 50-60 minutes in brotformen or en couche.

  7. Preheat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  8. Pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them and load them onto your baking stone. Steam the oven. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

  9. After 15 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus, rotate the loaves if necessary for even browning, and turn the oven down to 440ºF. If the loaves are getting too dark, you can turn the oven down to 420ºF.

  10. Bake for 15 minutes more (or 10 minutes longer, if baking 2 lb loaves) and check for doneness. (Internal temperature 205ºF. Bottom sounds hollow when thumped. Crust nicely browned.)

  11. Turn off the oven but leave the loaves in, with the oven door ajar for another 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  12. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.



Submitted to YeastSpotting



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to tease you a bit.  I don't have pictures yet, but here is the recipe for something I will call the "Everything Levain".  I pretty much had all this stuff laying around in my kitchen, so I wanted to make a bread using all of it...  Here is the recipe below.  I will post pictures later this weekend.

Edit: So I finally cut into it.  A friend whom I gave a loaf said the crust was too crusty, and the inside was a bit "dense"...  My loaf, while it was very "crusty", I found the crumb to be pretty OK.  As for the taste, it's pretty OK.  There were so many things it it, that I can't really place any of the flavors individually...  I prefermented 50% of the total flour, with most of it being the mixture of bits.  Maybe next time I will preferment less, up the hydration, and bake it for a shorter amount of time...  Overall, I am pleased with this "bold" bake...  Enjoy!


3/16/10 - Everything Levain

Stiff Levain (60% Hydration)

440g - Bread Flour

70g  - Rye Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Spelt Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Hard Wheat Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Millet (freshly ground)

70g  - Jasmine Brown Rice (freshly ground)

70g  - Cornmeal

70g  - Graham Flour (Bob's Red Mill)

70g  - 10 Grain Cereal (Bob's Red Mill)

600g - Water

100g - Firm Sourdough Starter (60% Hydration)

1700g - Total


Final Dough

750g - AP Flour

250g - Bread Flour

760g - Water

36g -  Kosher Salt

¾ Tablespoon - Instant Yeast

1700g - Stiff Levain

Yield - 3500g dough



Stiff Levain

7:30pm - Grind all grains

7:50pm - Mix all with wooden spoon until combined, knead with wet hands until rough dough is formed, cover and let rest.

11:30pm - Knead into ball, transfer to oiled container, cover and let rest on counter.



1:00am - Transfer to refrigerator overnight.

8:30am - Turn dough, shape into ball, return to refridgerator.



12:52pm - Take levain out of fridge, place on counter and let rest.

1:00pm - Mix flour/water from final dough, place in oiled container and let rest/autolyse in refrigerator.

6:04pm - Take dough out of fridge.  Measure out salt and yeast.  Cut up stiff levain into pieces and place onto dough, sprinkle with salt and yeast, knead 5 minutes and rest for 30 minutes, covered.

6:50pm - Knead dough 1 minute, cover let rest for 30 minutes.

7:20pm - Turn dough, cover let rest.

9:00pm - Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, shape, place in linen lined basket, covered with towel.  Proof for 90 minutes.

9:30pm - Arrange 2 baking stones on different  levels, arrange steam pan, turn on to 550F with convection, preheat for 1 hour.

10:30pm - Turn off convection, place 1 cup of water in steam pan, close door.  Turn boules out onto floured peel, slash as desired and load directly onto stone.  After last loaf is in, add 1 more cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Lower temp to 460F and bake 1 hr with no convection, rotating and shifting loaves between stones halfway through bake, lower to 430F for remaining half of bake.  Loaves are done when crust is deep brown, and internal temp is 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.


Sedlmaierin's picture

Today was an exciting day- I almost kissed and hugged the UPS delivery guy, since he brought me my coveted package of food grade lye! A few days ago I finally received Hamelman's "Bread"book and was very eager to try out his pretzel recipe. I had read some good things about it on a German blog, and sicne my one and only pretzel makign attempt a few years ago, was HORRID, I had high hopes for this one.

There were a few changes that I ended up making to the recipe-one was I had no bread flour so just used all-purpose and the second was, I ended up having to refrigerate the pate fermentee for a few hours before proceeding.

Words cannot describe my elation at the finished product!Knowing that there are many different ways of making a pretzel(and not intending to put down any other methods)- my pretzel desires are pretty straightforward- I want a bavarian Laugenbreze-a lye dipped pretzel.Crunchy, with that distinctive taste made only by the lye bath, slightly chewy in the middle, and the arms need to be crispy.

My shaping still leaves much to be desired-it said to shape them with their bellies being slightly thicker-well, my guys are PREGNANT! But the taste, oh the taste, could not be better.

All I can say, is these are PRETZELS in my book! I swear-this is one of the best days in my US-bound life! I now can make and eat real pretzels!



P.S.: I also made some very yummy sourdough waffles this morning-even my son(who for some strange reason doesn't like waffles) ate them with glee!Oh happy day!

ehanner's picture

Larry (Wally) posted his version of Sam Fromartz's award winning Baguette's last week and after reading the post, I thought I would try it again. First I copied Larry's recipe and method and then I went to look at the original write up by the author/baker. There were a few small things that separate the two methods but the formula I think was right on. When you look at Sam's images of his breads, well they are stunning. The crust has just the right amount of color and spring. They look crisp and well, just perfect.

I'm not new to baguettes but I am always willing to bow to a master when it comes to improving the art form. Baguettes are 90% technique and 10% formula, I'm certain. So my intention here is to read closely the instructions Sam has left for us to understand. No detail is too small.

I made 2 batches yesterday, a 500g and a 1000 g mix. I thought I would bake the first 2 pairs of 250g baguettes, followed by the next 4, 2 at a time. This gives me a chance to evaluate the process and make some changes along the way. I was taken at how hard it was for me to keep from what I normally do and make a change no matter how small. Proofing in the couche cloth seam side down for example was a challenge for me. I had to re think my handling process and make a change.

In the end I only have one item that I didn't remember to change over to Sam's method and I think it will make a big difference in a positive way. That would be moving my stone up from the second shelf to the middle shelf. A seemingly small thing but the breads will get a more intense heat and brown up there I'm certain.

We taste tested this afternoon and the verdict is the bread is exceptionally tasty and has a nice mouth feel and after taste. The aroma is very original to me from my long ago memory of a wonderful baguette in Paris.

What I have learned from this exercise so far is that with a baguette, everything matters. There are many ways to make a good loaf, but, far fewer ways to make a really great loaf. I need to raise the bar and focus on the smallest details to make them as good as I possably can. Soon enough.


ehanner's picture

I cooked a 10 pound corned beef today and we had a New England boiled dinner. It's my start of the St. Patrick's holiday meals. Tomorrow will be the corned beef sandwiches on the Rye below. I have made this Deli style Rye a hundred times and just about every time I swear I ruined it and don't expect it to spring in the oven. When I open the door and see that nice puffy brown loaf I can smell the caraway and I just know I beat the odds one more time. That's the thing about rye, especially really sour rye that sat on the counter for 24 hours and the fridge for 2 days. It's been hectic around here and I didn't get to it when I had planned.This is evidence that even ugly bread can be delicious. I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I slashed  these two. It certainly wasn't baking. These have a poppy seed and large crystal salt topping.

One loaf will go to my son along with a care package of a couple pounds of meat and potatoes/carrots. I think  I need to go down to his apartment and bang some pans today to check for survivors from last night.


SylviaH's picture

This is my version of Sourdough English Muffins recipe I found the other day on the net.  It is from correction to this link..hopefully this one works! The recipe comes from Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, California.  These muffins are delicious and make a wonderful Eggs Benedict brunch.  Though these are wonderful tasting and very easy to make I have to say the English Muffin recipe I have from Northwest sourdough are absolutely devine and still my number one favorite.  Teresa's recipe has been temporarily discontinued until published in her new book.




                                                                             To open up my EM I poke a fork around the edges and pull it open



                                             My version of Eggs Benedict for brunch!







ehanner's picture

My 23 year old son is home from his job as a cruise ship musician. He plays saxophone on a huge ship traveling all over the world. When he returns for a little time off, I try to treat him to his favorite foods and breads. Today being St Patrick's Day in the US, I'm certain he is singing Irish tunes at one of Milwaukee's many Irish Pubs. I thought some of you might appreciate the humor in the picture he just sent me. Apparently some one gave him a slice of home made beer bread so he asked for the recipe. Here it is written out on a piece of paper and photographed with his cell camera, directly into the heart of dear ole dad's kitchen. What better use for technology!

It looks like a quick bread. Maybe I'll use a bottle of dark beer and swap a cup of WW to give it some tooth. He'll need that tomorrow, no doubt.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you my recent bake from 3/10/10.  These are improvised graham flour boules.  I didn't have a lot of graham flour laying around, so I made it up out of stuff I had in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

I am dedicating these to dmsnyder who demands a crumbshot!


Total Formula

1430g - AP - 60%

524g BF - 22%

14% - Coarse Wheat Bran - 14% (Shilo Farms Organic)

96g - Wheat Germ - 4% (Bob's Red Mill)

1788g - Water - 75%

48g - Kosher Salt - 2%

5g - Active Dry Yeast - 0.2%

4126g - Total Dough Yield


Liquid Levain (125% Hydration)

238g - AP

298g - Water

24g - Firm SD Starter (60%)

560g - Total


Stiff Levain (65% Hydration)

476g - AP

168g - Water

560g - Liquid Levain

1204g Total


Final Dough

714g - AP

524g - BF

334g - Coarse Wheat Bran

95g - Wheat Germ

1332g - Water

48g - Kosher Salt

5g - Active Dry Yeast

1204g - Stiff Levain



Evening Day 1

6:45pm - Mix Liquid Levain, cover, let rest on counter.

9:10pm - Stir levain, cover let rest.

Day 2 (midnight)

12:00am - Mix stiff levain, cover, let rest 30 mins.

12:30am - Knead stiff levain for a minute or so until smooth, form ball, cover, place in fridge.

Evening Day 2

6:20pm - Take stiff levain out of fridge.

7:10pm - Mix final dough, autolyse 40 minutes.

8:00pm - Turn dough

8:30pm - Turn dough

9:00pm - Turn dough

9:30pm - Turn dough

10:30pm - Divide into 4, shape boules, place in linen lined baskets, proofe for  45 to 60 minutes.  Place 2 stones in oven along with steam pan.  Preheat oven to 550F with convection.

11:45pm - Turn boules out onto peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone.  After all are in, place 1 cup of water in steam pan, close door, turn down to 460F, bake with no convection for 10 minutes.  Turn convection on for 20 minutes.  Rotate loaves, bake for another 30 minutes with convection at 430F.  Loaves are done when internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.


darren1126's picture

Does anyone have a good receipe for Sub Sandwich Bread. My family loves home made subs but I'm never satisfied using the traditional white bread recipe. I love it with meals, or,  a great snack with butter, but, not with subs....

Thank you!

JoeVa's picture

Bake, bake and bake, the time passes and you demand more, you want more, you are more exigent.

In my previous post I shared with you a good looking bread but I admitted it was not to my taste. I have to say you that even in my last trip in Paris (March 2010) I didn't find a really amazing bread. I tasted a lot of bread from famous and not so famous bakeries and a lot of bread at Europain Exhibition. Some bread was really good, most of them good, someone bad. Till now I take with me, in my memory, just two or three bread I can say - that's a perfect sourdough!

So I planned a new formula to try the flavor potential of this sourdough bread. It was based on the previous one (85% white bread flour, 10% whole wheat, 5% whole rye. 66% hydration. 25% pre-fermented flour (100% hydration). Short mix with S&F ...

My changes:

  • The preferment was feed (and it is feed) with 97% bread flour 3% whole rye, 100% hydration. This adds a fruity smell.

  • Tested a new white bread flour. This is a strong "type 00" flour (50% extraction rate, low ash content), I think W 340. It could be used for long fermentation. Proteins contents 14% with European measurements (11.8% USA measurements).

  • Longer cold proof. This was not planned but I didn't want to bake early morning before work. So I adjusted the process to accommodate a 20h cold proof at 5°C.

I wanted to take a few shots of the process but I was tired so I took just a photo of my super cheap mixer while waiting my water cools down 2°C.

And here the levain almost ready to go:


The Bread:

Do you think it is to my taste? ...

I'm thinking these very light (empty) bread cannot be to my taste. It seems that the aroma escape from the loaf together with the water.

Next loaf? Maybe a T80 organic miche.


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