The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dmsnyder's picture

Baguettes "Monge"

Baguettes "Monge"


I got a (very) few actual crackles in the crust! A thrill!

Baguettes "Monge" Crust

Baguettes "Monge" Crust

Baguettes "Monge" Crumb

Baguettes "Monge" Crumb

Janedo posted a recipe for Eric Kayser's Baguettes "Monge." See for the recipe, photos and discussion.

I made these with some modifications last weekend, but I wanted to try the recipe sticking as close to Jane's instructions as possible. Last night, I fed my liquid starter with Golden Buffalo and, today, made these baguettes. My conversations with King Arthur Flour indicated that they intended their "French Style Flour" to be an approximation of French Style 65 flour, which Jane's recipe specified. I had a couple of pounds, so that is what I used.

When I mixed the dough, it seemed way too dry. I added about 20 ml more water. The dough was still dry, but I didn't want to deviate too far from the recipe, so I left it at that. The only other change I made was to bake at 500F for the first 7 minutes with steam, then removed my skillet and turned the oven down to 460F. Total bake time was 25 minutes.

I am much happier with my baguette slashing. I knew what to do in theory. This time the main change I made was to focus better. I think I got pretty nice bloom. The crust was the closest I've gotten to date to a classic crisp, crackly baguette crust. I think the higher oven temperature was necessary for this, at least in my oven. The crumb was actually better than my first effort, which was with higher hydration, but it was still not as open as I would have liked.

The taste is very nice. Nothing wrong with it. But it does not have as much sweetness or complexity as I would have liked. I'm not sure this recipe with its very short fermentation can deliver optimal baguette flavor. (Of course, I haven't tasted Jane's baguettes!).

The quest for a better baguette continues, but this is my personal best to date.


ejm's picture

I made the following for Bread Baking Day (BBD) #09: Bread With Oats

multigrain bread

In the past couple of weeks we were having problems with fuses blowing on our oven; it's fixed now and ever since the oven has been working beautifully. BUT. I think the oven is now hotter than it was. I know that I used to be able to be quite casual about checking the bread after the bell rang 30 minutes after putting it in the oven. I used to take it out at 35 minutes and it would still not be quite ready. Or perhaps it's the honey content in the dough that makes the crust get so dark. Perhaps I should bake this bread at 375F instead of 400F. As a result, this bread does look awfully dark. But inside, it is as wonderful as ever.

apricot roll
Bushturkey's picture

I followed Hamelman's five-grain levain recipe, but used 3 grains: Rye, Oats and a sprinkling of roasted wattle seed (Acacia baileyana) as a hot soaker.

The flour is 50% high-gluten flour, 25% bread flour and 25% whole wheat flour. Hydration was 98% (!), but almost all the water got soaked up by the seeds.

The dough called for a liquid levain, spiked with a little instant dry yeast 0.4%.

I baked in tins for 15 minutes, then I took the bread out and finished baking on the stone. The crust came out nice and blistered, thin and crispy. The bread is delicious!

Grain levain - I've seen the bread dough arisin'....

Grain levain - I've seen the bread dough arisin'....(apologies to and acknowledgement of John Fogerty)

Grain levain out of the oven --someone's left their grain levain out in the rain

Grain levain out of the oven --someone left their grain levain out in the rain. I don't think I can take it, 'cause it took so long to bake it......

Grain levain crumb - the first crust is the crispiest....

Grain levain crumb - the first crust is the crispiest....

My apologies for the corny song lyrics!

Bushturkey's picture

Olive levain - cooling out of the oven

Olive levain - cooling out of the oven



Olive levain no.2 - crumb

Olive levain no.2 - crumb

I'm much happier with the way this attempt came out. I left it to rise longer (I had more time). I left it to retard at room temperature over night (it got down to around 64 F). But the dough was very sluggish in rising.

I don't know if it's the acidity or the salt in the olives that slowed down the rise. The dough didn't taste all that salty, but the olives are vinegary, even after pressing them with kitchen tissue to mop up most of the fluid. I coaxed the dough a bit by putting a small bowl of just-boiled water next to the shaped loaves and covering with a big plastic tub.

The recipe called for 65% hydration, but I added less water this time ( it was way too slack the last time).

By contrast, today I also made a version of Hamelman's Five-grain levain (I used two grains - rye and oats. I didn't have the other grains. I made a starter yesterday. I forgot what I had in mind to make, so I flipped through the pages of Hamelman's book to get an idea).

The recipe calls for spiking the final dough with instant dry yeast - only 0.1 oz in 24 oz flour;  a tiny 0.4%- but the dough looked as though it was starting to swell instantly. I wasn't used to such a rapidly expanding dough. I didn't appreciate the difference between levain and commercial yeast.

May be it was also the nutrient-rich wholemeal flour. I've got it retarding in the fridge to bake tonight!

dstroy's picture

We're back from San Francisco!


I took some pictures at Boudin's Sourdough market when we were playing tourist at Fisherman's Wharf.



These guys had headphones and an outside speaker so they could banter with the general public while they shaped breads into funny characters.








MaryinHammondsport's picture

Lately I have been switching around through various bread cookbooks, especially Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Book and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, in addition to experimenting with my sourdough formula and trying recipes from TFL. I thought I would post photos from my bakes of three of the Reinhart whole grain recipes. All three are 100% whole grain.

I don’t want the above to sound as if I think I am some sort of expert. I’m far from that. I have baked quite a bit, but it’s almost always loaf-pan sandwich breads, because that’s what’s needed in this household. Up until recently I have always followed standard procedure learned 50+ years ago -- scald the milk or heat the water, activate the yeast, etc., etc., etc. In other words, until encountering Reinhart and Artisan in 5, I baked bread the “old fashioned American way.” Nothing wrong with that, either!

I had never considered whole wheat baking to be particularly difficult, probably because I was too innocent to know better. I just went ahead and substituted whole grains in a recipe, or followed a recipe that included them. I didn’t expect that a 100% whole grain recipe would rise as much as a white bread loaf, but I always get a good enough rise to suit me. Then I began reading about how difficult some folks consider whole grain baking. Being innocent apparently helps!

So -- here are photos of my efforts with three of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from his Whole Grain Bread Book. All three recipes are found in his book so I won’t post them here. All three are a little “squatty” because they were the first time for each recipe and I hadn’t scaled them up to fit larger pans. I like to bake a recipe first “by the book”, then play later on.

The first is his Master Recipe. I used water as the liquid in both soaker and biga, and mostly KA White Whole Wheat Flour. I did substitute 1 cup of Hodgson Mills Graham Flour for 1 cup of the KA, which explains the somewhat freckled appearance. It’s a very tender bread, and I think it rose well, though the pan used could have held more dough. I will note that both soaker and biga were impossible to cut into chunks, as Reinhart directs; they were way too wet. I just had to blend them with my hands, before using the machine. Didn’t seem to hurt anything.

The Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread BookThe Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread Book

Second is the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin. Again KA White Whole Wheat, but no graham flour. Note that the raisins made the loaf darker, because I added them while kneading in the mixer. I threw the walnuts in at the last minute.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon Raisin Bread

Lastly, my most recent experiment, Straun. This didn’t rise as high, and I suspect that this was due to the cooked grains. It’s delicious -- very moist without being soggy, delicate, and sweet without being “sugary.” It really was an experiment this time. Instead of assembling a whole bunch of different grains, I used Grande Pilaf from Bob’s Red Mill for all the grains. This is a pilaf we like to eat as a “starch”, and contains several different grains, seeds, etc, (red wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, triticale, barley, buckwheat, and sesame seeds) so I thought it would be appropriate for Straun. I just cooked up a pot of it, measured out the 6 ounces called for in the Reinhart recipe, then we had the rest for dinner. It worked fine. This time I used KA Traditional WW flour, not White WW.

My version of StraunMy version of Straun

I really like the KA White WW, especially in combination with a cup or so of the Graham Flour. This is probably my new go-to combination for most breads. I have a tendency to be able to taste a bit of bitterness in regular WW flour that I don’t taste in the White WW. I think this is one of those tasting differences that we all have. I’d like to encourage folks who have had trouble with this flour or whole wheat in general to give it another try -- if I can do it, so can you, because I don’t do anything special at all.

sphealey's picture

Well, not really - I can only claim one of them as being anything close to my own recipe.

My younger son and I went out for dinner Saturday and stopped by a used book store on the way home. Whenever we are in a used book store, antique store, garage sale, etc I annoy my wife by saying "why is there never an _Artisan Baking Across America_ or something at a reasonable price?". Saturday there was; I found Glezer's ABAA hardcover in like-new condition for $25. List price new was $40 and ones in average condition go for $40 today on Bibliofind so I snapped it up.

Since I had to feed my King Arthur Vermont sourdough anyway I thought I would try Glezer's Thom Leonard Country French Sourdough. Since I had two other breads to make today (Sunday) I decided to try the Hobart KitchenAid K5-A I picked up on eBay for a fairly reasonable price. This was the first time I had used a stand mixer for bread dough.

I didn't have either high-extraction wheat or a fine-screen sifter, so I just used whole wheat. The overall process went well. The K5-A got very hot on top and the dough kept climbing the hook; I have a lot to learn about using a mixer. But the dough did come out very smooth and silky. After I took it out of the mixer is was a bit sticky so I kneaded it by hand for another minute or so, and for the first time I am fairly sure I made a dough that would "pass the windowpane test".

I folded every 3x 30 minutes per instructions, 90 minutes more. My banneton is not large enough for this much dough so I used our large metal colander which I sprayed with bakers joy and floured (based on previous experience with trying to rise crumbbums' miche in it which did not go well). Proofing was about 4 hours because I had pizza in the oven at the 3-hour mark.

I got the dough out of the colander and onto the peel. It puddled quite a bit but kept it large boule shape at about 14 inches in diameter and looked pretty cool. I even managed to slash it in a diagonal pattern.

Then - what looked like disaster hit: the dough stuck to the peel. Once it was out of shape I figured I had nothing to lose and kept shoveling it forward with my super-sized spatula (gift from younger son). The dough kept folding under itself until what was on the stone was more like a 16" super-batard with a spiral pattern of cuts around it. A cup of boiling water in the cast iron pan. 15 minutes at 500 deg.F, remove the pan, not looking too bad. Then 30 minutes at 450 and 30 at 400. The result:


OK, that is the coolest looking loaf I have ever made. Purely by accident, but I will count it. The slashes that rolled under the loaf ended up making a neat pattern around the full circumfrance of the baked loaf. Oven spring was excellent. Not pictured is the crumb which was reasonably open with a mild sourdough flavor. In the background is my weekly sourdough rye, this one with added sunflower, flax, and poppy seeds.

Two more from previous weeks while I am at it. First a Hamelman Vermont Country Sourdough:


I think Hamelman calibrates his recipes for dramatic oven spring. And a Hamelman Sunflower Seed Bread with Sourdough Rye which I made as two french loaves in my Chicago Metallic french pans for a dinner party:


Even though it was a wet dough lengthwise baguette-style slashing worked nicely.



Bushturkey's picture

Olive levain just out of the oven

Olive levain just out of the oven

Olive levain - crumb

Olive levain - crumb

The recipe called for a liquid levain. The flavour was extraordinary. I didn't know the flavour of the levain can change as much as it did (going from stiff to liquid).

For a culture, I used left-over levain from the Pain au levain recipe (Hamelman's levain recipes always have an ounce or so of surplus levain in order to perpetuate the sourdough), which I made into a liquid levain (125% hydration). I found it was slower to start rising than my usual sourdough.

When I mixed the final dough, I tried to let the flour autolyse with the water. I found it a bit too dry, so i added a bit of extra water. When I then added the liquid levain I encountered two problems:

  1. The hydration was way too much (the recipe called for 65%, mine felt more like 80%!) and
  2. The dough had chunks of the stiffer flour/water mixture in a smooth batter-like dough.

I worked it and worked it, until I got the chunks ironed out and I added a bit of flour to make the dough less slack. Then I got worried that the extra flour I'm adding won't be as worked as the initial flour and I didn't know how this would affect the dough, so I stopped at some point, even though the dough still felt slack.

Even though my culture was active, the final dough seemed to take a long time to rise. It was at 69.8 F (close enough to 70). Even at 2.5 hours, there wasn't much rise in the dough. I was pressed for time, so instead of waiting longer I proceded with the foldings and dividing and shaping. I let the loaves rise in nylon baskets, dusted with rye flour. 

The loaves also took a long time to rise, and (something which I'm used to currently!), the dough stuck to the baskets when I up-turned them onto the baking tray to load into the oven.

The bread tasted good but, as you can see, the crumb is not as open as it could've been.

I've just refreshed my sourdough and I'll have another go. 

Janedo's picture

Baguettes "Monge"

Sandwhich "Monge"

These are the "famous" french baguettes from the Kayser bakery rue Monge in Paris.

I upped the hydration level, but didn't really calculate. The recipe here is the original and I don't know how it would work with american flour, so if anyone wants to try, keep an eye on the dough.

I also would leave them to rise a bit longer next time, but we were in a rush to go on a picnic (the fated one where I broke my pinky!) I thought the crumb should be a bit more open. They are really good, though. Obviously not sour because the sourdough doesn't have the time to react, but it sure gives great oven spring.

Baguettes "Monge"

500 g farine T65 (or maybe just white bread flour?)

100g liquide starter at it's peak

5g fresh yeast (or about 3/4 tsp fast acting package yeast I think)

10 g salt

270 ml water at 20°C

Mix the fresh yeast with water and leave 20 min to ferment.

Then make a regular dough using your method. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest 20 min.

Take the dough out and divide it into three pieces. Form three equal size balls and leave them on the counter to rise, covered with a damp cloth, 40 min.

Form three baguettes with pointed ends, place them in a baguette banneton or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Sprinkle flour on the baguettes and do the incisions. Do the water thing (coup de buée) and place your baguettes in the oven.

Leave them to back around 20-25 minutes.

dmsnyder's picture

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

Janedo's basic bread - Crumb

This is the second time I have baked Janedo's Pain au Levain (Sourdough) recipe for what she calls her "basic bread." Since I cannot truly duplicate the flours she uses in France, I am liberated to experiement using different combinations and proportions of American flours.

 The first time, I used a combination of King Arthur First Clear Flour and Guisto's White Spelt flour. This time, I fed my starter with KA Organic Whole Wheat Flour and used KA Bread Flour in the dough. The Ingredients were:

160 gms Starter
307 gms water
540 gms KA Bread Flour
10 gms Salt 

 The dough seems just very slightly less hydrated than my last attempt. As you can see, the crumb was denser, as expected. It was very chewy. The crust was a bit crunchier and less chewy than the First Clear/Spelt version.

 Overall, the taste was less sour this time, and the whole wheat flavor was less apparent than I expected. This was a bread that would be an excellent sandwich foundation, but it was not my "target" bread. I think the combination of flours was too strong.

 So, what flour combination should I try next? KA Artisan Flour with a little spelt? Or a little whole wheat? Or Golden Buffalo and spelt? Hmmmm....



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