The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I'm wanting to start working with whole grains more.  I'm going to be working up to the lovely 5 grain that gaaarp posted.

The bread I baked today was thrown together out of need for a sandwich bread for the week that would go well with ham, our choice of lunch meat.  It needed to be relatively soft with a soft crust, as that's my boyfriend's preference, and needed to be slightly sweet to complement the salty ham.  The other thing I wanted was some sort of higher fiber whole grain flour thrown in.

Last night I had to feed my hungry beasties at around 10:30.  I pulled out my discard, fed my 100% starter as normal, and added 1/8 cup water and a little under 1/2 cup flour to the starter.  This produced a very nice, very firm starter, which measured about 166 grams.  I let that sit overnight.  I also measured out 125 grams of my 7 grain flour blend and mixed it with 100 grams of water in the bowl that I was going to make the bread in the next day. I covered that and let it sit overnight as well.

The next morning I was greeted by the sight of a very active firm starter (it had almost grown out of the bowl) and a very nice soaker.  I had set the stages for a very good bread.

We eat a lot of sandwiches so I needed a larger amount of bread.  I added to the starter and the soaker 265g of milk, 355g of flour, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of honey.  This made a total of slightly over 1000g total dough.  I kneaded it all together and let it sit for about 45 minutes, at which point I realized I forgot the salt and kneaded in about 2 1/4 teaspoons.  Then I stretched and folded once an hour for...3 hours or so?  The dough was pretty wet and sticky.

I proofed for an hour before putting it in the oven in a makeshift brotform: a wicker basket lined with a floured tea towel.  I put it on my stone in a slightly warm (but not fully preheated) oven for 45-50 minutes.  400 for the first 30, then down to 375 for about 10 minutes.  I left it in the oven after turning it off for about 10 minutes as well.

I pulled this out.

7 Grain Sourdough

7 Grain Sourdough Crumb

I'm very happy with how things went.  I'm really getting some good results with my sourdough.

Thanks again, gaaarp!

dmsnyder's picture

This weekend, I baked a couple sourdough baguettes and a bâtard using the mixing and fermentation methods described in the posts about Anis Bouabsa's baguettes. For these breads, I used 90% AP four, 5% WW and 5% rye. Interestingly enough, the flavor of the bâtard seemed much better to me.

These were nice, but the real star attraction was the Cherry Pecan Pain au Levain. I made it according to the formula and method recently posted by mountaindog. (

This is a spectacular bread. The flavors are wonderful and, at this point when the first batch is just cooled (well, almost just cooled), the bread dough, the cherries and the pecans each sings its own sweet tune.

This bread would be good with butter, cream cheese or a fresh chevre. In fact, it is pretty darn good just by iteself.

My wife's verdict is: "This is wonderful bread!" Now, she says such things fairly often, but this afternoon, she said it twice, separated by a minute or so. In Susan Speak, this indicates "I want to be certain my judgement has gotten through to you.  You will make this bread for me again!" To which I say, Amen!


Happy baking!


Kuret's picture

There is not that much talk here about enriched sourdough breads so I thought I should try a writeup on a loaf od bread that I have been baking for the last 6 or 8 months every couple of weeks. The loaf is a kind of "Bran Sandwich" bread, a soft whiteish bread all leavend with sourdough starter. I have been making this mostly for my grandma who likes to eat hommemade bread but is not that big a fan of ryes and other "heavier" breads, she also is very fond of toasting and I feel that this bread is great for toasting!

This bread cointains a preferment with milk wich I know some people might have som disagreement with . However you can leave the milk out and then use dry milk in the final dough if you remember that milk is about 85% water thus all fluids must be lowered 15% and that amount should be replaced with dry milk.

Bran Toast 1 loaf

Step One, Making the preferment:


  • 30g starter (100% hydration)

  • 30g coarse rye

  • 10g wheat bran

  • 60g AP flour

  • 100g milk.

This is what it looks like before mixing:

before mixing


I let this mixture sit out for about 10-12 hours, until you see the signs of your culture beeing mature for leavening. The aroma of this preferment is very interesting, sweet and sometimes a bit like cheese.

When mature:




  • All of the preferment

  • 275g AP flour

  • 170g milk

  • 30g hard fat (butter, lard, shortening..)

  • 8-9g salt

  • 15g sugar

before first ferment

I leave the butter out of the mix until I have gotten some gluten developed and then work it in, the percentage is roughly 7.5% so it isn´t necessary but I do so anyways. The dough should be easy to develop due to the acids in the preferment.

I let dough ferment for 2.5 hours, wich I think is sufficent as the prefermented flour amount is 29% and this makes for a short ferment and proof.

After fermentation shape the dough into desired shape, loaf pan or rolls or even free form. My pan measures 4 1/4" X 11" X 2.5".

ready for proofing

Then proof for another 2.5 hours. Before baking do a couple of snips with a pair of scissors down the middle of the loaf as seen here:

The bread is placed in a 400F oven and baked with steam until done, 40-45 minutes roughly. This is how my loaf came out, a little bit under proofed you can see from the overly enthusiatic oven spring but all in all a fine piece of bread!



I hope that someone will bake this, enjoy and all in all be as happy with this bread as I am. If there is any desire for it I can post pictures of the crumb but seeing as this is a sandwich loaf it should be fairly close textured without beeing dense. You can find larger versions of the pictures at this adress:



Jw's picture

Really just named after the windmill "De Vriendschap" where I buy the flour.

I started thursdaynight with the dough, finished sundaymorning. Great taste, good structure. It is gone before you know it.



goody1006's picture

After reading Stephanie's blog about using instant oatmeal this morning, I decided to post what my most recent attempt was.

I decided to do my 'own' recipe and as the only oatmeal I had on-hand was my son's 'quick cook' oats, I went ahead.

I didn't take photos of it rising--just the finished product, 2 days into eating the darned thing.

Prior to this, I'd been thinking my starter was pretty bland, taste-wise (I like a good SOUR-TASTING loaf)....but not anymore! HOLEY MOLEY--I have to steel myself before taking a bite! I'm not sure if it's caused I used alot more starter than I usually do, or the addition of the buttermilk--but holey cripes, makes me want-2-pucker-up!

the recipe:
2 c plain unbleached white flour
2 c freshly-fed (3 times) starter
4TBL buttermilk powder (yeah, I 'cheat')
1 c warm water
1 tea sea salt
1 tea suger
1 TBL olive oil
1/2 c quick-cook oats

Add dry ingredients,(all but oats) mix well, add wet, mix a bit, then add oats, continue to mix till all flour is moistened, let rest (about 5 min).

Do 3 fold & stretch over 1/2-2hrs rising time.

shape however you want (I used a large loaf pan)and let rise final time, till apx. double in size.

Bake @ 325o for 30 min. (I have an older double-oven/range & use the top oven for the bread--it's very small so that's why the low temp & baking times.)

It's more dense than my prior loaf--I think I'll cut back to about half the starter, and perhaps half the buttermilk, as well.

Tastes pretty good, though!

btrmlk oatmeal bread last bit: I know everyone here is big on using weight, etc...but I pretty-much learned to cook by people who'd been at it so long, they could 'eye-ball' just about everything and it would come out the same....every time. So, when it comes to baking, I just like to wing-it. With things I cook all the time, it's very rare I use an actual 'measuring' tool at all--I just eyeball the ingredients, so this is a big deal for me to actually write everything down......and to be truthful, all the talk of 'hydration rates', etc...just makes my brain want to seize-up...but I'm also an old soap & lotions-gal: if this were soap, or other toiletries....I'd be right there with ya-all, with my scale!

SylviaH's picture

Just out of the oven...thought I would try this recipe from because it was a one day deal and I was heating my oven up for an easy pizza dinner with some frozen pizza dough I had put aside for a rainy husband and I both are housebond with the I just puddled around in the kitchen today!  It's late and the breads to hot to sorry no crumb or flavor does have some organic whole wheat in it along with the rolled oats and it has canned evaporated milk in it!  Should be tastey!!

One long slice in back and 2 slices in front loaf.


ejm's picture

I mentioned earlier that 6 strand braiding is easy and attempted to show my technique with text and drawings. But I could never have managed this without watching the linked videos on that post.

So we took it upon ourselves to make a video of my two-hand braiding technique as a supplement to our text/drawing instructions.

  1. Take the 2nd from left strand in your right hand and the 1st from the left strand in your left hand. Your right hand goes all the way over all the strands to the right (keep hold of that strand); your left hand goes over two strands to the center.
  2. Take the 2nd from right strand in your left hand your right hand is still holding the strand that is now 1st from the right strand (just a moment ago, this strand was the 2nd from the left...). Your left hand goes all the way over all the strands to the left; your right hand goes over two strands to the center.
  3. repeat 'til finished. Tuck ends under.


The bread recipe and more braiding photos are here:

Happy Braiding!


(edited to put video at the top of the post so it's more easily seen)

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud









It really was a very successful day to me.... Everything was know ,,baking adventures really make my day.

I really need to sleep deeply !!

To all my fellows on TFL,wish you all a very nice day .


Alex- Egypt.



boule's picture

I am an enthusiast who has been baking for a bit over a year now, mostly with sourdough. I started because the bread I tasted in France was so amazing and different to what I am used to in South Africa. I will be visiting New York City for a few days soon and I would like to visit any artisanal bakeries that would be willing to let me spend some time there to observe. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

betterbreadbyadele's picture

My husband and I have reared our seven home-educated children organically and pretty much vegetarian. The older children are adhering to it pretty much since they have gone on their own trying to get their spouses to try the "lighter" life. We started in the organic culture from day one of our marriage 34 years ago. In the early 80's my husband bought me our first grain mill and since then have used organic whole grain flour. I like to mix oats with the spelt when I grind it for pastries because it seems to make the flour sweeter and not quite so heavy.
One of my favorite hobbies and jobs is baking bread for friends and family. My favorite bread is a spelt yeast bread which is sweet and easy to make. I like to give this type of bread away for Christmas and holidays. Others ask me to make it for their friends, also. I do like to make the sourdough bread also and I make it almost every week for people. Sweet rolls and cakes are favorites in our family also.
Our son was married in October to a girl who is also organic and between my daughter-in-law's mother and I most of the meal was organic with the bride's mother raising the chickens. We grew the cabbage, green beans, corn and potatoes organically and I baked cookies, caramel popcorn and the yeast and sourdough bread along with making peach and grape jelly and apple butter. That may not sound like a lot but for serving around 500 people it was quite a task but I enjoyed every minute of it because we knew we were serving delicious healthy food. Whew! That was quite a long introduction.


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