The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Shiao-Ping's picture

Since my Pure Rye, 1939 post, I had wanted to do light rye.  In the past, I have done a few (this, this and this most recent one).  The challenge of rye for me is the stickiness, hard to handle, and hard to score.  In this post is a pain au levain with 50% rye.  I solved the problems with very minimal handling of the dough and always with a light dusting of flour, and most importantly, I made sure the surface was very dry before I scored.   Also, to solve the browning issue that I sometimes encounter with the crust, I turned on my oven full blast for the whole time of baking (ie, 250 ºC).  I had to rotate the dough several times during baking, so not one spot got too much heat for too long in one go... what we do for our dough....

This was a 1 kg dough.  Main points of my formula were:

  1. Stiff starter was 15% of final dough flour, which was 50% stoneground organic rye flour and 50% organic plain flour. 
  2. My starter was fed the same flour combination as the final dough.
  3. Overall hydration was 80% (without counting molasses, which was another 8%).
  4. In addition to one teaspoon each of caraways, fennels and coriander powders, I had zest of one large navel orange. 
  5. (The orange juice was part of the 80% hydration.)






I think I finally found the light rye formula that I like.





The crumb would have been more open if I had given my dough longer bulk ferment time.  Rather than the usual 3 hours bulk at my room temperature of 26 ºC, this dough should have had much longer bulk time, say 5 - 6 hours or even overnight at room temperature, as the starter was quite low in terms of the final dough flour.   




You could see the orange zest peeping out in the crumb shot above (almost in the centre).  Like the herbs, orange can be a dominating flavour.  Any more than one orange zest would have been too much.   I am very happy and excited with the way this bread has turned out.  The excitement I have got from this bread reminds me of the very first sourdough I posted here at The Fresh Loaf last June.



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you my Big Bad Batards from my 2/22/10 bake.  These are approximately 850g-900g and 16" long.  They are big!  Some of the nicest looking breads I have made in while.  I could have let the bulk fermentation go a little longer and upped my hydration... These were about 70% hydration.

I did some interesting stuff with these.  I used a still levain, along with instant yeast.  I mixed the levain the night before and refrigerated it until I was ready to mix the dough.  Also, I mixed all the remaining flour and water the night before and refrigerated it for about 24hrs.  On the bake day, I kneaded in the salt, stiff levain, salt, instant yeast, and went about my normal procedure...  I'm not sure I would do it this way again as it was difficult to knead in the levain and salt.  I was not sure if I kneaded it all in evenly...  Anyways...



Chausiubao's picture

Recently I had an interview with a bakery in hopes that I'd be able to secure an internship for after my schooling. I need some technical training working in a high production environment, and this place was amazing, they had beautiful bread and several varieties of pastries besides. Possibly the best baked goods I'd seen in a bakery. 

The interview consisted of me working with baguettes at various levels of development. We ended the day mixing baguette dough and reserving pate fermentee, and we started the day by shaping loaves and loading proofed baguettes into the oven. It was an incredibly informative and educational experience to say the least. 

The dough that we used wasn't very wet, but baguette shaping being what it is, tends to stick to the bench. Liberal flour dustings were very useful, and if you dust with the right amount of flour, by the time you're finished shaping the baguettes, any excess flour has been pounded into the dough (which could be good or bad, depending on how anal you are). Without the flour, the dough sticks, and your shaping gets extremely rough (the only thing I got reprimanded for!). I'd never used a couche before, I'd always thought it unnecessary and cost prohibitive, but I had to use one to proof my baguettes, so I found you can only move them without damaging them too much if you pick them up from above and not below. 

Remember to dust your dough when shaping, pick dough up from above, and make sure your seam is on the bottom!

I used the bakery formula (slightly derived) to bake some baguettes at school:

jennyloh's picture


I'm so happy to say that after so many tries of making white breads,  I finally got the taste and texture that I wanted.  Very very soft bread,  with a good slightly burnt crust.  Although without sugar,  the taste is sweet,  perhaps due to the water roux,  the overnight dough and butter.  This bread does requires time at least 12 hours waiting time,  but with good planning,  it'll work.


This type of bread is suppose to maintain its softness.  Well,  I will find out tomorrow. (yes - it remains soft even after 12 hours without toasting or heating up, 48 hours later and it remains soft, no heating up required,  unless you really don't like cold soft bread)


Click here for recipe:






dmsnyder's picture

My wife and I have a problem with cinnamon rolls. She dislikes the gooey, too-sweet frosting found on most, and she gives me a hard time about sweet doughs with too much butter for my health. So, I'm on a new quest: A breakfast pastry we both like that is still kind to my arteries. (I'm not that concerned about the cholesterol, but my wife's persistent expressions of concern can't be good for my heart.)

Last week, I got Ciril Hitz's latest book, “Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads.” Like his previous book, “Baking Artisan Bread,” it is aimed at the home baker. While providing clear and detailed instructions that do not assume the reader has a degree in culinary arts, the formulas are in no way “dumbed down.” He teaches professional techniques and tricks for mixing doughs and making classic fillings, all adapted to home baking equipment and quantities. Also, like his previous book, he introduces a small number of basic doughs – for quick breads, sweet rolls and laminated dough pastries – then provides a number of formulas for products made with each and suggestions for additional applications.

When I … well … we saw Hitz's formula for sweet dough, we were struck by it appearing less enriched than most. His formula calls for only 10.6% butter and 10.6% sugar. I made a batch last night and retarded it in the fridge (as Hitz prescribes) until this evening. Hitz has formulas for cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, but I wanted a pastry that was less sweet. Among his recipes for pastry fillings I found one he calls “nut filling.” It looked good, since we love nuts, and looked less sweet than ones that are mostly sugar. So, I also made a batch of nut filling last night and stuck it in the fridge.

This evening, I rolled out the dough, spread it with nut filling, rolled it up and cut it into 1.5 inch rounds. (Actually, I just cut half the roll-up. I froze the other half for another day.) I put some pecan halves on the top of each, proofed, egg washed and baked them in a 1/4 sheet pan on parchment. I did not glaze them.

As expected, the dough was less sweet and less rich than most, but with the nut filling, the pastry is just sweet and rich enough for my taste. This is a nice solution for those who find most cinnamon rolls and sticky buns just too sweet. If one wanted a richer dough, another formula for sweet dough could certainly be substituted.

The nut filling (makes about 1.5 cups)

Nut flour (almond or hazelnuts)

125 gms

Granulated sugar

100 gms

Corn syrup

25 gms


Up to 60 gms


Use purchased nut flour or make your own by pulsing frozen nuts in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients except the water. Slowly add the water to make a nice, spreadable consistency. It should not tear the dough when spread. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. The consistency can be adjusted by adding water on the day of use.

I made the filling with frozen unsalted dry-roasted almonds. I processed them to a rather coarse consistency – coarser than coarse-ground flour but finer than “finely chopped.”

As I said, this is a “quest,” so stay tuned for further developments.



louie brown's picture
louie brown

These are part of my ongoing 100% whole wheat projects, originally inspired by a photograph I saw here quite some time ago posted by Jane. I am unable to find the link right now, but I recall being astonished with the beautiful slices and Jane's unaffected, matter-of-fact approach. 

Over time, I was unable to produce a fair approximation of Jane's loaf:

This led me in turn to think about taking another step further and trying to produce a 100% whole wheat baguette. The ones pictured below were made from a dough of about 75% hydration using Bob's Red Mill flour. The flour was hydrated with the water but without the starter for about 36 hours. The final dough was given a series of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, then rested, shaped, proofed for about 45 minutes and baked at 500 degrees.

First time out (not pictured,) the long narrow loaves did not expand much, so I chose to call them ficelles. This time, there was a little more surface tension in theloaves and I formed them to be a little fatter, but not much. I cut one to approximate an epi.

While I may try a baguette with more volume in the future, I think the narrower profile suits this bread, which has a very intense wheaty, nutty flavor, with no hint of bitterness. The sourdough is present as a deep, mellow background, not at all tangy. This bread is excellent with cheese.

What remains is to improve the scoring. In a sense, no scoring is necessary; the loaves will come up to fine form in the oven without any. But I have seen photos ofsimilar loaves showing beautiful cuts that nicely expose the grigne. It is just showing on one of the loaves pictured. Perhaps slightly deeper cuts would have helped.

ehanner's picture

Yesterday I made 2 loaves of my favorite rye with caraway seeds and bread spices. I decided to skip the sugar and swap with Black Strap Molasses. It was delicious as usual and the party I brought it to devoured most until the puppy got his way when no one was watching. I'll take that as a complement I guess.

After staying up last night watching the late coverage of the Olympics (3:30) ugh, the last thing I did before closing my eyes was assemble the rye sour for the next day. Today I re-hydrated some dry onions in hot water and using the water from that process, mixed a batch of Onion Rye. The crust appears dark, partially because I baked it a little hard to crisp the crust and partially due to the dark sesame and poppy seeds. I use my everything seed mix usually reserved for bagels. There are garlic chips, salt white and black sesame and poppy seeds. All held in place with an egg wash.

This makes a great sandwich if it lasts that long. I gave the second loaf to a helpful neighbor for dinner.

maryserv's picture

In the ever-constant quest for a sandwich bread my picky 7 year old will eat, I search and try a lot of breads.  Yesterday I came upon Farmhouse White from A Year in Bread blog.  It sounded good to me, so I entered the info into my sourdough converter (first time using it) that I downloaded from Mike on I made smaller loaves and ended up with 4 so, so oh darn I made that one cinnimon swirl bread.  My starter is 100% hydration started and I put in about one cup of whole wheat flour and then 5 tsp of Vital wheat gluten since I was using Gold Medal AP Flour along with the C of WW.  I almost broke my Kitchenaid while mixing the dough and had to move to a stretch and fold form of kneading before bulk fermentation for a couple of hours.  I then shaped the loaves and covered them with a damp cloth in the fridge for a slow rise over night. 

So, I start the quest for a good, high-powered higher capacity dough mixer.  But, the bread turned out GREAT!

Most of the content is Susan's from the blog and all of the pictures are hers.  I have included hyperlinks to the 2 websites to which I refer.  Enjoy!

Susan's Farmhouse White Sandwich Bread - from A Year in Bread
Makes 3 loaves, approximately 1-1/2 pounds each

Ingredient US volume Metric Volume US weight Metric
organic all-purpose flour 4 cups - 940 ml - 1 lb, 4 ounces - 566 grams
instant yeast** 2 Tablespoons - 30 ml - 22 grams
granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons - 30 ml - 28 grams
canola oil 2 Tablespoons - 30 ml - 30 grams
warm milk (or water) 4 cups - 940 ml - 2 lbs - 908 grams
organic bread flour (approximately) 6 cups - 1,410 ml - 1 lb, 13-1/8 ounces - 825 grams
salt 1½ Tablespoons - 22 ml - 3/4 ounce - 22 grams

**To bake an even better loaf, you can reduce the amount of yeast to 1½ Tablespoons (or even 1 Tablespoon). This will make your dough rise more slowly, so you'll just need to increase the fermenting and proofing times. You can reduce the yeast in pretty much any bread recipe—a lot of bakers go by the formula 'half the yeast and double the rising time.'

MY Changes were: 

0.43 Kilos Starter      
0.56 Kilos Milk or water    
0.27 Kilos all purpose White Flour  
0.71 Kilos Bread Flour (or high protein flour)
0.02 Kilos Salt      
0.02 Kilos Sugar      
0.02 Kilos Canola Oil      
2/3 Cups Dried mild powder can be added to the recipe
May add vital gluten to AP flour to increase protein/glutein of 
flour at 1.5 tsp per C of AP flour (especially if using a wholemeal) 

Mixing and fermentation

Autolyse (pronounced AUTO-lees and used as both a noun and a verb) is a French word that refers to a rest period given to dough during the kneading process. When making your dough, mix together only the water, yeast, flour, and grains until it forms a shaggy mass. Knead it for several minutes, and then cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. (I simply leave the dough on the floured counter and put my wooden bowl over it.) During this time, the gluten will relax and the dough will absorb more water, smoothing itself out so that it is moist and easier to shape. After the autolyse, knead the dough for several more minutes, mixing in any other ingredients such as herbs or nuts or dried fruit.

In a very large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar (I use a wooden spoon). Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the canola oil and then the milk. Mix well, then continue to stir vigorously, slowly adding 1 cup of the bread flour at a time, until you've added about 5 cups, or until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough; this should take several minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 or 7 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface.

Place the mixing bowl over the dough, and let it rest for 20 minutes. This rest period is called the autolyse.

Remove the bowl, flatten out the dough with your hands, and sprinkle about half of the salt over it. Begin kneading the salt into the dough. After a few turns, sprinkle on the rest of the salt and continue to knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salt is completely incorporated and the dough is soft and smooth.

Sprinkle flour in the dough bowl, place the dough in it, liberally dust it with flour, and cover it with a damp tea towel (not terry cloth, as it will shed lint on your dough). Or put it in a straight sided plastic container with a snap-on lid and mark the spot on the container that the dough will reach when it has doubled in volume.

Set the dough somewhere that is preferably between 70°F and 75°F until it has doubled in size, about 60 to 75 minutes. Ideally, the dough should also be between 70°F and 75°F. It's fine if your dough is cooler; it'll just take longer to rise and will end up even tastier. It's easy to check the temperature of your dough and ingredients with an inexpensive instant read thermometer.

When the dough is ready to be shaped, you should be able to push a floured finger deep into it and leave an indentation that doesn't spring back. Unless your dough is rising in a straight-sided container, it can be difficult to judge whether it has "doubled in size" which is the guideline most recipes use. I find the finger poking method to be more reliable, though lately I've been letting all my doughs rise in plastic containers.

Shaping and final rise (proof)
Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flattening gently with your hands to break up any large air bubbles. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

Shape the dough into loaves and dust the tops with flour. There are dozens of ways to do this; for the way I like to do it, check out this post on how to shape dough into sandwich loaves. Place loaves seam side down in greased loaf pans. I like my sandwich breads to be tall, so I use smaller loaf pans. I can't say enough good things about these commercial loaf pans from Chicago Metallic. They call this size a 1-pound loaf pan, and it measures 8-1/2 inches x 4-1/2 inches and is just under 3 inches tall. For the price of a few loaves of bread, they're definitely worth the investment—and with a 25-year warranty. Chicago Metallic also makes this larger 1½ pound size pan for those of you who prefer a wider, shorter loaf.

Cover the loaves with a damp tea towel and let them rise for 45 to 60 minutes. When you lightly poke the dough with a floured finger it should spring back just a little.

If you let the loaves rise too long, they may not have enough energy left to rise once they're in the oven--and they may even collapse. I was always so afraid this would happen that for years I unknowingly under-proofed my loaves of Farmhouse White.

While the bread was still delicious, you can see that the dough had so much 'oven spring' that it basically blew apart the side of the loaf. I finally started letting the loaves rise a little longer and was rewarded with the more evenly shaped and visually appealing bread that you see in the top two photos.

Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow if tapped. Remove immediately from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Try to wait at least 40 minutes before cutting into a loaf. Store at room temperature or freeze in zipper freezer bags. Make sure loaves are completely cooled before sealing in bags.

Update: I've started baking all of my pan loaves on a heated baking stone (in order to simulate the ceramic hearth deck of my 7-foot wide commercial deck oven in the someday-bread-bakery-to-be), and the results have been wonderful. The bottoms of the loaves are nice and evenly brown, and I think that extra initial burst of heat makes the loaves end up even taller. Just like with pizzas and freeform loaves, you need to preheat your stone so that it's nice and hot when you put the bread in. Since Farmhouse White bakes at just 375°, 30 to 45 minutes is usually enough.

cpc's picture

Today I baked the Mixed-flour miche from Hamelman's Bread.  I really like the Miche Pointe-a-Calliere, and this bread seems similar, so I wanted to try it.  I stuck to Hamelman's instructions, except I increased bulk fermentation to 3 hours (3 folds at 45 minute intervals) because my bulk fermentations always seem to take longer than the times given in Bread.  Final fermentation was 2.5 hours.  I steamed the oven as usual after putting the loaf in (by pouring hot water into a hot frying pan on the bottom rack), but also put a roasting pan over the bread for the first 15 minutes to try to keep it in a moist environment and encourage a thinner, crispier crust.

The crust seems thinner than on my previous miches, which I attribute to the roasting pan.  Like my previous attempt at the Miche Pointe-a-Calliere the crumb seems a bit less open than it ought to be.  Tastewise, I think the mixed flour miche has a bit more sour tang than the Point-a-Calliere.

I also tried a Rubaud-inspired no knead bread this week (sorry, no photos).  I followed the standard NYT no knead formula, but used the same mix of flours as the Gerard Rubaud formula.  I omitted the yeast, and added 16 grams of 100% hydration whole wheat starter.  (I reduced the amount of water and whole wheat flour accordingly).  It produced a loaf with an intense sour flavour that overwhelmed all the other flavours in the bread.  This was a fun experiment, but I'm not sure I would recommend it.

SylviaH's picture

This is a very simple recipe 'White-Wheat Rolls' from Maggie Glezer's book Artisan Baking!  Great easy recipe for using up that little extra sourdough.  I made bun shaped rolls using King Arthur Organic White Wheat and King Arthur All Purpose Flour.  I hand mixed the dough using stretch and folds.  Adding sesame seeds and poppy seeds with the suggested sourdough gave nice flavorful buns with a crispy thin crust and a nice chew...great for sandwiches.  I doubled the recipe and also have 2 loaves baking.



Two small 41/2 X 81/2 loaves and 10 buns.




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