The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I actually put this together, meaning to for a while, after dmsnyder mentioned Suas's whole wheat. This is my first try at a truly 100% whole wheat bread and both Adam, my husband, and I think it's a keeper, but with one change: it needs more honey.


  • 200g whole wheat flour

  • 115g white whole wheat flour

  • 35g gluten flour

  • 260g milk


  • 200g whole wheat flour

  • 150g water

  • 5g instant yeast

Final Dough

  • all of the soaker

  • all of the biga

  • 50g butter

  • 55g honey (we think that 80g would have been better)

  • 12g salt

  • 25g milk


Put soaker ingredients together in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Set aside. Put biga ingredients together in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Place plastic wrap over both bowls and let alone for an hour or so. Mine went for a little over since I was feeding Alexander at the time.

To mix the final dough, break both the soaker and biga up into small pieces and place into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add all other ingredients and mix on low until everything is incorporated into the dough, then medium-low for 3-4 minutes until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Place in a bowl for bulk ferment.

During bulk ferment I did 2 letter stretch and folds. I don't really think I needed to as the dough seemed to be very elastic, but I wanted to be sure. Allow to double after the second stretch and fold if you decide to do it. Overall, the dough got a 2 hour ferment.

Cut into two pieces and shape into loaves. This worked for 1 loaf sandwich bread and about 4 rolls. Baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, then went down to 325 for 10 minutes. I took the rolls out before turning the temperature down.

This is soft, light, and perfect for sandwiches. Both my husband and I like the fact that it isn't too heavy, yet it's 100% whole wheat. Considering the fact that none of my projects have been going completely right lately, this success (and one other that I'll mention on my other blog once I've figured it out *without* it being a slight accident) makes me feel good again.

Now I think I can tackle David's San Joaquin Sourdough. ;)

kathunter's picture

I'm very new at this artisan bread making but I'm very determined to do it right.

I've been trying to make a seed culture using the recipe in Peter Reinhart's ARTISAN BREADS EVERY DAY.  For the first batch I used all rye flour and pineapple juice.  It bubbled, barely, at one stage, but never quite bubbled like the recipe said it should and it never double in size.  I did go ahead to the second stage - Mother Starter.  But it was incredibly sticky and smelled nasty.  It was like sticky putty that did not thing with water. I went ahead and put it in the refrigerator as instructed.  It's still there, 4 days later. I'm not sure if it's OK to use.

I started a second seed culter same as above.  It looked like it would progress nicely until I got to phase 3.  Again, it's not increasing in size and the only bubbles are on the bottom that I can see through the glass bowl.  I put it in the oven with no heat but out of cold drafts. Well, my husband accidentally turned the oven on for dinner prep, and well, I think I cooked the starter before turning it into bread.  Should I discard that? 

I just started a third seed culture using white bread flour and water as instructed by Peter Reinhart's above mentioned book.  Any tips to make sure this one progresses as it should?

Should I discard the first two?



droidman's picture

150 g Bob's Red Mill light rye
150 g water
75 g white starter @ 75% hydration

305 g barm
610 g water
915 g flour
22 g salt
3 g caraway seeds

Barm allowed to rise 5 hours. It was wetter than take 1, but I decided to just go with it and see what happened.

Dough very soft and sticky. Miserable to work with, but I persisted. Kneaded for 10 minutes or so.

Initial fermentation in greased bowl for 5 hours.

Proofed in two bannetons for somewhere between 2 and 3 hours (I know, I know: I should keep notes).

Baked in 500 degree oven (my oven sucks, so it's more like 425-450) with steam pan on stone for 30 minutes.

The resulting bread had a lot of holes in it, like a Ciabatta. Next time around, I think I'll up the flour a little bit to compensate for the wetness of the light rye barm. Or maybe just up the amount of rye flour in the barm.

Flavorwise, this is much better than take 1. The caraway impact is much lighter, which allows the sourdough to shine through.

Light Rye Sourdough Take 2

Now, if I could just figure out how to take crumb shots that don't look like the bread is all wet...

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Please let me know if you don't get your spreadsheet as requested. I sent out all requests and one was returned undeliverable. I'm not sure who's it was as I deleted messages while I was sending. Sounds like those who have tried it so far say it's working properly.

I would post the attachment here but I have no idea how to do that.


will slick's picture
will slick

I don't want to hijack Kathleen's thread any further so I will Blog about my first attempt at at sourdough starter.

It's day four about 4hours before I was scheduled to discard all but 1/4 cup and start feeding 1/4 cup water & 1/4 cup A.P. flour. Two TFL members who's advice I respect felt that the starter had already peaked so I fed Slow Moe early. On a whim I used the discard in a formula for white bread I have been making regularly. We will see how it turns out. Here is Slow Moe two hours after his first white flour feeding He is growing nicely! I will give him a stir before bed and feed him tomorrow.

 I checked on slow Moe at around 7:00P.M. Last night To my surprise the bubbles were gone and he went completely flat. Oh my! I gave him a stir he smelled pretty much the same. Not a bad smell at all but hard for me to describe. I gave him another stir at 10:00P.M. At 8:00A.M. this morning There was no change, smell was not unpleasant. No activity at all the mixture looked very thin. I decided to go on my gut and feed slow Moe again. Happy right after his second white four & water feeding Slow Moe was bubbling once again. I was so perplexed that slow Moe was inactive I did not take any photos. Here he is at 10:20A.M. today. That's my boy!



Here is aside by side crumb shot of the bead I made using the discard from Slow Moe before his first white flour feeding, and whats left of a bread I made Sunday. I used the exact same procedure on both. Except I used only 1/2 teaspoon of yeast on the slow Moe bread. After setting aside 1/4 cup of slow Moe I weighed the rest at 64grams. I assumed a 100% hydration so I add 32g less water and 32grams less flour in the finale dough. You can see that the Slow Moe bread has a more open crumb. Nice! I would not expect a very open crumb this being a very low hydration dough. I can not say for sure if it was Slow Moe that made the difference, But I can not say it was not.

 New entry 4:00PM 01-20-10

I was busy most of the afternoon today, work sometimes gets in the way of my hobbies. Slow Moe looks like he needs a feeding. Very liquidity and not as many bubbles. discard all but a 1/4 cup and fed a 1/4 cup flour and a 1/4 cup spring water. At the next feeding in 8hours I am going to use grams instead of volume. I am going to a three times a day feeding. Seems to me Moe is going though his meals quite fast!

 Here's a photo before his 4P.M. feeding.


New Entry 01-21-10 Day six

Last night at 11:00 P.M. It looked to me like slow Moe had peaked again, and began to reseed. Remember This is my first try at this so I have no idea how it should smell or look like I am going on my gut. Moe had a nice smell but I could not put my finger on it. So I asked my wife to take a whiff. It took a min. to convince her then she did. She said right away it smelt like beer. This made me very happy. OK so now I took about 58 grams of Mow mixed with 58grams of water and 58 grams of flour. Mini help! right after I mixed it up it lost that nice smell. It just had a faint smell of flour. I checked in on Slow Moe before I went to bed some small bubbles he had  no smell. Boo Hoo. So now Moe is a lot thicker I was using 120% Hydration without knowing it. ( Thanks Mini) I think I may have slowed the process down with my enthusiasm. Its been 12 hours now and there are bubbles but not near as much as yesterday and still no nice aroma. I am going to stir him once or twice till tonight then feed him in another 12hours.

Here's what he looks like today

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

My wonderful engineering husband was watching me do calculations by hand yesterday. He does everything on the computer.  Anyway, he was kind enough to write a small program on an excel spreadsheet that does my calculations for me. I can share it with anyone that would like, if you'd like to send me a message for a request. It's so simple! You can input the total amount of either dough or flour that you want and the percent of the different ingredients, the calculator will fill in the number of grams for each ingredient for you.

Say you have the baker's percentage for something out of Hamelman's Bread, which gives you the percentage and for some crazy reason has the metric for "36" loaves, US measurements and  volumes for the home baker and still gives me the amount for "3" loaves which is too much. I want to bake only one loaf. So,  I fill in the amount of dough, say for sake of this exercise 1,000 grams. Fill in the percentages of each ingredient and I know exactly how much I need, in grams to use. It is so slick!

No more conversion charts for me!

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

If your starter is over fermented... Don't mix the final dough with it...  This happened to me again this morning...  I proceeded to mix the final dough with the overfermented starter...  The dough never came together and remained a sticky mess...  Yuk!


I should have just tossed out the starter and started over and not wasted 2kg more of flour...

dmsnyder's picture

The Honey Whole Wheat pan loaf from Advanced Bread and Pastry is made with a white levain, more as a pre-ferment for flavor than for leavening. It also uses instant yeast. It is otherwise 100% whole wheat. I used KAF Organic WW.

Suas' formula calls for a "double hydration" method, where most of the water is mixed with the other ingredients and the remainder is added gradually, after the gluten is moderately developed. The dough is rather high hydration - quite gloppy at the finish of mixing. Suas doesn't call for any stretch and folds during fermentation, but I added some to strengthen the dough. By the time it was ready to shape, it was surprisingly manageable.

This dough was so different from the whole wheat breads I had made before from Reinhart's BBA and whole grain baking book. His doughs are quite dry in comparison. This dough had me kind of spooked until after fermentation was complete. But the results were quite satisfactory, some cosmetic issues aside.

The spots on the crust are from oil I sprayed on the loaf before proofing it. Not pretty.

The crumb was not dry, but less moist than I expected. It was somewhat chewy. It has a wonderful wheaty flavor with none of the grassiness that I find in some 100% whole wheat breads and even in some white breads with as little as 10% whole wheat. It was slightly sweet, but not so sweet as to detract from the wheaty flavor. 

This is pretty close to my personal ideal for a whole wheat sandwich/toast bread. I'll be making it again, probably with a bulgur soaker and maybe some sesame seeds.


Yippee's picture

I've been very curious about other bakers' enthusiasm for rye breads, which, from their appearance and my past experience, I could only associate with tree bark and the nasty tasting caraway seeds. Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye bread has completely changed my impression.  Not only did this bread turn out moist, but it also had that complex, mild, tangy aftertaste which evolved slowly and lingered in my mouth. This was a new experience for my taste buds.  The earthy, almost chocolaty aromas of the flour plus the crunchy crust have made my biscotti-shaped slices a perfect tea time snack.

These loaves were not sliced, tasted and pictured until three days after they were baked, since I left them inside of the cooled oven and forgot about them.  They tasted both moist and crunchy on that day. However, the next day, they started to taste a little dry.  I then froze half and left the other half at room temperature in ziploc bags.  Today, it is day 12 and the slices left in room temperature have shown no signs of molding but they have lost most of the moisture in the crumb.

This formula used the Detmolder method, which required precise temperature controls at three different stages, to develop a rye sour with vital wild yeasts and well balanced flavors.  With the help of my new proofer, I can say that monitoring temperature is piece of cake!   

The following is a summary of my interpretation of Mr. Hamelman's formula and procedures:




With my background of growing up with all the Asian style fluffy white breads, it's probably too soon to make a statement that I'm falling head-over-heels for rye bread, but it is an interesting category I'll definitely explore further. This was the first bread I made from Mr. Hamelman's book and it was also my first bread in this new decade. I'm celebrating these 'first time occasions' by doing something special: I'm taking the extra time and steps to resize and attach a photo in my normally text-only entry.  I think it's about time to learn, at least for once, how to upload pictures and add some colors to my blog.


For the remaining pictures, please visit my album of Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye at Flickr.



This post will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!


Shiao-Ping's picture

It has been so hot that I am taking a break from baking.  I went out the other day for a walk and when I spotted these birds (below), I turned back to get my camera.  As I moved closer to the birds to take my shots, I noticed the color of the green became whiter and whiter because of the scorching sun. 



We've had so much rain that everything is luscious looking, especially the grass.  I have never known my street has so many fruit trees (mango mostly).  My husband called me to the yard where he was doing the hedges.  He wanted to show me that a branch of our neighbour's fully-loaded fruit tree was on our side of the fence.  We never knew that their fruit tree existed. 


It is very strange.  This fruit is popular in Taiwan and is one of my favourite fruits over there, but I had never seen it before over here in Brisbane.  I don't know why my neighbour has this fruit tree... unless ... I have a Taiwanese countryman right next door??

We never knew our hedges would flower either; if not for the rain....


Have you ever had the experience of searching for something high and low when it's right before your eyes? 

Well, there is a new French-style village bakery right in my neighbourhood now.  Open just two weeks ago, it is only a stone-throw away from my house.  A lovely big tree provides a shady area for their car park, enough for 6 to 7 cars.  A couple of deck chairs are outside their shop door.  What a lovely spot.   The owner-baker is a young chap from the French Riviera.  He is a cyclist.  Fifteen minutes from my house is a popular mountainous area for cyclists, so he moved to my neighbourhood.  (Every other weekend, we hear the ambulance siren going on loud because some motorcyclists had been riding too fast and had accidents.)


                                                                bread display at Banneton Bakery

I brought my own bread board, bread knife and butter this morning and went with my son to Banneton Bakery to have breakfast.  He had hot cocoa and chocolate croissant while I had my flat white coffee with a slice of this pain au levain:   


                                                               Plain Sourdough, Banneton Bakery

The bread tastes wonderfully "creamy," if that is possible.  The sourness is almost undistinguishable, or should I say, almost all lactic acidity.   I have never had a bought-one that is so much to my taste.  What a lovely bread that is. 

Recently, MC's Gérard Rubaud story is stirring up a lot of interest in the man and baker's specially prepared levain in search for a delicately balanced and yet full-flavored French-style pain au levain.  Good bread cannot be made in a hurry.  When you bite into a bread, if the aroma and flavor continue to unfold and linger about you as you chew, this is got to be a special bread.  But good bread cannot exist in a vacuum.   Good bread exists because of bread connoisseurs.  Gourmet food exists because of gourmets.  One cannot exist without the other.  Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Chinese poet-musician, Bo-Yia, played qin for his friend Chong Tse-Chi because Chong understood his music.  When Chong Tse-Chi died, Bo-Yia destroyed his qin and never played again.

Back home I enjoyed a pot of Oolong tea with my husband.  A couple of birds came to visit outside my tea room.  The mid-morning sun cast beautiful shadows over our backyard.


                                                                                  Where is Waldo?



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