The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


hearthbakedtunes's picture

This is a bread that I was really excited about, but in the end was a bit disappointed with the finished result. I am going to keep this post brief, so that I can dedicate my energy to the breads that are truly worth writing home about; this is not one of them.

This bread contained two different build which I found to be interesting. One was a rye sourdough build which was prepared with whole rye flour the other was a wheat build. What in German is called a Wheat pre-dough, which in international terms would be considered a biga. It was suggested to rise the dough for up to two days in the cooler, but I went with preparing it overnight, at room temperature, which in my abode mean barely 60 degrees, so not too warm. 
I woke up very early the next morning to get this bread under way. I noticed very little growth in the rye sourdough, so I was glad that a wheat pre-dough was included. I am in the process of making my rye starter much stronger. I am feeding it several times a week, but what it really needs is a warmer environment to grow in, which is hard to come by in the Wolfe Residence. It is coming along, but it is a slow and steady process. The mixing process is actually quite simple for this bread. The two builds are combined with the water, all of the other ingredients are added and the dough is mixed first of speed one for 5 minutes, and then on second speed for two minutes. There are no folds in this dough. The dough ferments for 30-45 minutes, and then it is proofed for 45 minutes. I decided to bake this bread in my brotforms. They came out very nicely, except for the way the bread opened. I did use a scoring pattern that I never use, three parallel lines. Typically, if I use a parallel pattern I use two lines, and it turned out that the extra score did not work out in my favor. It split. Actually both breads split a bit funny, but the finished product is pleasing to the eye. 
One of my major problems with this bread is that it is a bit dry. I may have left it in the oven two long. Another issue is that my home oven vents steam very early. The newer gas ovens tend to do this. I prefer the older style electric ovens for my bread baking. But you got to do, what you got to do!
The finihed product is a dough with a relatively tight crumb, a light rye flavor and a significant crust. I would have preferred a more open bread. Typically the rye breads that I bake have all of their rye flour in the build and none in the final build, I should have known better. Had I placed all of the rye in the starter, with a little extra water, I most likely would have gotten closer to what I was hoping for, but it was German, and thus It's on my last. Keep your eyes peeled for the Completely whole grain volkornbrot with tons of sunflower seeds!! 
-DW, The Bread Barron

Ghobz's picture

Proofing baskets prices and quality question

February 5, 2013 - 6:58am -- Ghobz

I have an artisanal moroccan basket I use as a substitute for a round proofing basket. But 1 is far than enough. I need at least an other one and ideally 2 oblong proofing baskets so I can bake more comfortably than with the heavy ceramic mixing bowl I make do with right now when I make more than one loaf. If I'm patient enough, I could wait for my mother to travel to Morocco as she does twice a year so she brings me 2 or 3 more of the local artisan baskets. I would recieve them sometime in the next 6 months.

My moroccan "proofing" basket.

sgregory's picture

Idea and thought on this homemade brotform

August 27, 2012 - 7:37pm -- sgregory

I was playing around in the woodshop and came up with this idea for a brotform.  Made a couple of different sizes just to see what would work.  Made out of hard maple since it is plentiful here and is flavorless.  My only concern are that it isn't quit as absorbant as a cane Brotform and the angle is steeper than it looked on paper.  I did put some lines in the wood to hold the parting rice flour and create a "pattern" but we will see.


Franko's picture

Earlier this week while rummaging around in our local cookware store looking for unfluted French tart rings I spotted this nifty looking 18" long baguette style brotform.

I've seen them online in the past, never paying them much attention for some reason, but knew as soon as I picked this one up for a closer inspection I wouldn't be leaving the store without it. The idea of a dark, crusty loaf full of mixed grains and seeds contrasting with the white pattern of the brotform immediately came to mind rather than using it for a typical white baguette. While I continued my search for the tart rings I started considering possible recipe sources to use for the loaf I had in mind, thinking I'd likely find what I was looking for in Jan Hedh's “Swedish Breads & Pastries” or possibly Dan Lepard's “The Handmade Loaf“. After finally locating the one and only straight sided tart ring in the entire store, I drove home with the new purchases and immediately started going through my baking books looking for the type of bread I'd envisioned. Dan Lepard has a good looking formula for a Sunflower bread in his book that I almost went with, but it called for a levain and I'd already decided that I wanted to use a yeasted preferment of some kind for this loaf. As is often the case I found what I was looking for in Jeffrey Hamelman's “ Bread”. The two recipes I drew inspiration from were the Five Grain Bread with Pate Fermentee and his Sunflower Seed Bread with Pate Fermentee, on pages 129 and 131 of the book. Between the two, I opted for the higher percentage of pate fermentee he uses in the Five Grain Bread, swapped out the malt syrup used in his Sunflower Seed Bread for honey, and used an 80/10/10 combination of white AP flour, whole dark rye, and barley flour for the final mix.

 The percentages used in the initial formula came fairly close to giving me a workable mix, but needed a few adjustments for hydration, reflected in the formula below. The mix should be fairly slack, but not so much that developing it over the stretch and fold sessions becomes a matter of having to scrape it off the counter after the first S&F. The bread isn't as crusty as I'd hoped for, likely due to the higher percentage of honey used in the final mix, but I can live with that given the slightly sweet flavour and soft chewy texture of the crumb. For the next bake of this bread I'd like to include some of the   black currants we dehydrated last year in the mix to add a note of tart to the flavour profile. I'm sure this bread would lend itself to savoury additions such as cheese, fresh herbs or roasted onions as well. Formula and procedure included below. 

Best Wishes.


Procedure for Multi Grain Baguette with Seeds and Pate Fermentee 

  • Mix all ingredients for pate fermentee and let sit in a covered bowl for 14-16 hours @ 70F

  • Mix all ingredients for the multi grain soaker at same time as pate fermentee and leave in covered container at room temperature. 

  • Final dough:

    Mix the flours and pate fermentee with the water, adjusting for hydration if needed. Autolyse for 40 minutes. 

  • After autolyse is complete add the salt and instant yeast and mix till the dough is slightly developed. Add the grain soaker and honey and develop by either doing stretch and folds in the bowl or slap and folds on the counter until a slight windowpane can be achieved. The dough should be slightly sticky and moderately developed. 

  • Bulk ferment at 76F/24C for 90 minutes giving a full stretch and fold every 30 minutes.

  • After the last S&F round the dough to medium tight ball, cover and allow 15 -20 minutes for the dough to relax before shaping. 

  • Shape as a baguette or batard, and place seam side up in a floured brotform. 

  • Preheat the oven and baking stone to 485F/251C for 45-60 minutes prior to baking. 

  • Final rise of 45-50 minutes at 74F/23C covered with plastic sheet. 

  • Tip the loaf on to the underside of a parchment covered 18 ”/45cm long sheet pan or a peel if shaped as a batard. Score as desired, and slide loaf onto the preheated stone, with steam system in place and oven vents blocked. 

  • Bake at 485F/251C for 10 minutes, unblock the oven vents, remove the steam system and lower the heat to 465F/240C. 

  • Bake at 465F/240C for 10 minutes, rotating the loaf periodically for even colouring. Bake a further 10-15 minutes at 455F/235C or until the internal temperature is 210F/98.8C 

  • Turn the oven off, prop the door open slightly and leave the loaf in the oven for 20 minutes to cool gradually. 

  • Wrap the loaf in linen and place on a wire rack for 4-5 hours before slicing. 

  • NOTES: The bake times are based on a 680 gram loaf. Longer bake times will be needed for larger loaves. For transferring the loaf to the oven I recommend using parchment paper to avoid any likely sticking. The dough is soft and difficult to handle in a baguette shape. After the first 10 minutes of baking the parchment can be removed easily from beneath the loaf.

    Link to full sheet [HERE]



ph_kosel's picture

In recent weeks I've been kibitzing a friend who's starting up a new restaurant where he's been trying out a recently purchased, second hand, commercial "combo oven".  The oven is proving a bit cranky and he's working out the bugs and tinkering with bake times and temperatures.  I got a chance to bake a couple test loaves in the oven and was very impressed with the "jump rise" achieved in "combo" mode (heat with superheated steam in the oven).

^My friend's big "combo oven" (not something for the home kitchen!)

^test loaf from the big "combo oven"

You can clearly see how the loaf lifted itself the sheet pan when cooked in the combo oven with a lot of steam.

Impressed, I tried "cooking with steam" in my home oven by dumping a cup of hot water in a pan near the bottom of the oven and slamming the door.  I'd previously thought (erroneously) that this would keep the oven near the boiling point of water, but that's wrong.  The oven runs near the set temperature (usually ~450F) and there's simply a lot of humidity in the oven, near saturation.

Here's a loaf I baked with steam at home:

^loaf baked with steam (with my beloved wife's home-made tomato jam on a slice)

Notice that the above loaf is round on the bottom as well as on the top from lifting itself off the baking sheet!

In my home oven experiments I notice when I cook with steam this way I'm getting much more browning on the top of the loaf than the bottom.  I'm delighted with the jump rise I get with steam, and I think I should be able to get the top and bottom more similar with some more tinkering.

Now, on to shopping for  and using brotforms/bannetons. 

A shopping report first. My friend with the new restaurant mentioned needing some inexpensive baskets for forming/proofing loaves.  I did some shopping and found a big selection of inexpensive baskets at including three kinds of "brotform" basket and also some willow "banneton"-style baskets.  They don't sell cloth liners for the brotforms.  That's OK because my friend with the restaurant usually lines his proofing baskets with cloth restaurant napkin which I found cheap at another site.

I ordered some brotform baskets and some napkins from the above sources.  My friend with the restaurant really likes the brotform baskets and I do too.  The napkins just came a few minutes ago; I like them because they have a very tight, shiny weave that should be hard for dough to stick to.  My friend has used similar napkins with good success.

I've had a little trouble occasionally in the past with dough sometimes sticking to custom made brotform liners. The ones I have fit very nicely but have a softer, slightly less tightly woven fabric than my new napkins.  Recently it occurred to me part of the reason dough stuck to the liner sometimes I've had problems scoring loaves was I'm not used to letting a loaf "rest" on the counter until the surface dries out a bit and a skin forms.  I tried doing exactly that, let the dough rest uncovered until the surface didn't feel sticky, dusted it with a little rice flour, and plopped it inverted into a lined brotform.  It worked great!  The dough showed zero inclination to stick coming out of the brotform, and scoring was a breeze as the "skin" on the loaf parted under the razor blade!





mlucas's picture

Brotform pattern without a brotform!

June 18, 2010 - 1:02pm -- mlucas

I've always been a little sad that because I use a linen tea towel to line my baskets, very little (if any) of the pattern of the basket shows through in the flour on the finished loaf. (I do have one small round basket that looks very natural / foodsafe, so I have tried that one without a towel, with good results. But my other baskets kind of look like the wicker may be chemically treated, so I didn't want to try them.)

maryserv's picture

found great price on coiled wicker baskets for final proofing

January 20, 2010 - 9:17pm -- maryserv

Hello all,

I've been on a quest to find a reasonable priced coiled wicker dough-rising basket.  I finally found it but it requires a $50 dollar order to even place the order (they are wholesale to public).  And yes, even when I order 2 of all: round, oval, rectangular - and throw something else in I'm still not to $50.  If anyone is the in the Houston, Texas area and is looking, I'm happy to combine orders.  Or I suppose I could order, receive and then send on to you if you are not local.  The prices are crazy-good for untreated rattan coiled baskets - $6 each. 

saraugie's picture

I want to purchase Brotforms and/or Bannetons and need some advice.

Lined or unlined, that is the question ? I'd hoped to stop at that one question, since I could use the Shakespeare ending, I will anyway :)

I want to get one round and one oval, what sizes should they be ?


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