The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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hornedfox's picture

Variation of pain rustique

June 8, 2012 - 6:18am -- hornedfox

I want to make a variation of the Hamelman pain rustique recipe. I love the flavour of the bread but I want to add 5 grains. The grains I use need a bit of soaking. My question is how can I adjust the recipe so that the dough doesnt turn into a sloppy mess. The water I use to soak the grains do I deduct this from the final dough? or adjust in some other way





SourdoughRules's picture

What to do with your starter excess?  I always feel bad just pouring it down the drain.  However sometimes I have to pour out the full cup of each starter to make room for the cup of new feeding that has to get added in.  Even when I do use the pour off for sourdough pancakes, there is often a good 0.5-1 cup of excess re-fed starter in the proofing bowls.  In either case, I hate to pour good starter down the drain.  If I follow the recipes in books like Tartine they really are only using a very small fraction of the total starter, albeit for great recipes.  I wanted to see if I could use the starter as the basis for a bread by having it substitute for comparable quantities of water and flour.    My first try at this was two weeks ago.  I didn't use any olive oil or leavening.  I had chance to have long rise times.  This time around I had some new garlic infused oil I wanted to try using but didn't have enough time to allow the sourdough to definitely rise in time so added 0.25 tsp of yeast.  I'll try to post pictures later, but the results were great!


    •    However much 100% (by volume) starter you have left over.
    •    Additional water to get to 1 cup total water
    •    0.5 cup wheat flour
    •    Additional white flour to get to 3 cups of flour
    •    1.5 tsp kosher salt
    •    1.5 tsp sugar
    •    2 TB olive oil
    •    up to 0.25 tsp instant yeast

    1.    Night before, your excess starter from feeding cycle into measuring cup to determine total amount of existing water and flour.  Based on 100% hydration, if you have 1 cup of starter you'd have half a cup of water and half a cup of flour.  Preferably have 1 cup of starter or more for this step.
    2.    Add the half cup of whole wheat flour and let soak over night.
    3.    In the morning before making bread, mix in olive oil, sugar, yeast (if used) and additional water.  Mix thoroughly by gently  stirring/folding.
    4.    Put additional white flour into a bowl leaving about 1 cup or so on the side for kneading.
    5.    Pour starter mixture over the flour and incorporate completely
    6.    Leave rest in the bowl, covered, for 30 minutes
    7.    Work additional flour in and knead in bowl until ready to be turned out onto floured surface
    8.    Knead dough incorporating enough flour to achieve nice smooth consistency.  Knead for 10-15 minutes.
    9.    Spray metal bowl with PAM and place dough in bowl covered.
    10.    Let rise until doubled in size.  Will be about 2-3 hours with yeast and longer than that without.
    11.    When double in size turn out onto floured surface and cut into number of loaves you want (probably 1-3).  
    12.    Work dough into balls and let rest for 30 minutes.
    13.    Form dough into final loaf shape and place on parchment paper. Cover, either with a bowl or other covering or a damp towel.
    14.    When doubled in size preheat oven to 500 degrees with stone and tray for steaming.
    15.    At this time uncover the loaves, coat with flour and slash.  If oven will be longer than 15 minutes to come to temperature re-cover the loaves.
    16.    When oven is up to temperature boil 2 cups of water in the microwave.  
    17.    Place loaves on stone by working the parchment paper.
    18.    Put 1 cup of the boiling water into the pan
    19.    Close oven and set thermostat for 450 degrees
    20.    Bake for 30 minutes (or longer to get more crust).
    21.    Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

HogieWan's picture

New Stone Experiment


I got a new 15x20' FibraMent stone, but Sunday was my first chance to temper/predry it. After slowly getting it up to 550 over 7 hours, I knew I'd want to bake something on it, so I made three slightly different loaves. I set up a poolish the day before, then split that into three doughs - 1 with no oil, 1 with a tbsp of butter, and 1 with a tbsp of olive oil (in that order in the picture).  I shaped them different so I'll know which is which.

My slashing wasn't quite deep enough, but they all taste great.

Bricejacob's picture

In my first post, I mentioned the recipe I started with.  Here's how things have evolved since then.

My first problem with the original recipe was pretty major: I could never get a enough of a rise to get two loaves with the pans I had.  Given I was making bread for a family of five, my first change was to simply double everything.  From this doubled recipe, I made 3 loaves.  This seemed to work out pretty nicely.  I generally ended up with 3 2-lb loaves of bread from each batch.

The next changes were more evolutionary.  I don't recall the exact order of each of these changes.  Likely the most interesting change was this: I stopped using powdered yeast.  There is a local farmer's market here that has excellent produce and cheese.  Hidden among the cheese are 1-lb blocks of something labeled "Red Star Yeast" for about $1.50.  They are about the size of quarter of butter.  Since that is *much* cheaper than the instant stuff, I started breaking off a bit of this stuff and creaming it in the warm water with my fingers.  Now, I've been at a loss as to what this stuff is, but it works wonderfully.  I'm guessing it's what I've heard called "compressed yeast", so that's what I'm going to refer to it as.

The original recipe calls for "butter" generically, and I'm pretty certain the first few times I made it I just used normal sweet cream butter (salted), but after doing a bit of reading, it seemed that I wouldn't want to include "extra" salt, so I've clarified it as unsalted butter.

The next change was flour.  I originally just used whatever flour I had available (generally AP of some brand), but I wanted to try "bread" flour.  My wife found 50-lb bags of Bread Flour at Costco for ~$11, if memory serves.  So, I started using that.  Recently, I've been looking for another source of good flour in quantity, as the flour from Costco is bleached and enriched, but thus far I haven't found anything reasonable.  I can get KA flour in 5-lb bags from a few local stores, but that's hardly cost effective when I'm baking 6-9 loaves of bread a week (at least lately....).  I discovered Wheat Montana flour when visiting my in-laws, and fell in love with the Prairie Gold variety, but I have yet to find anywhere I can get it here in St. Louis.  Ooops....big tangent there.  Let's get back to my changes, shall we?

Another change was accidental.  You may have noticed that the egg yolk is the only "wet" ingredient not included in the melting butter mixture.  This caused me to forget to add it on more than one occasion (I'm a bit disorganized, for many reasons).  Interestingly, my family and I never noticed a difference when I didn't include the egg yolks.  So I dropped them.  It also makes things a bit simpler and means I don't need to find a use for the left over egg whites.  I did use them as a wash a couple of times, but at least in my oven, this made the crust quite dark and a bit thicker than I could convince my kids to eat regularly.  So I stopped.

The most significant change is also the most recent: I've started making a Poolish before hand.  The first time, I just did the Poolish using the water from the recipe and a pseudo-random amount of flour.  I think it was actually more of a sponge than a Poolish.  After consulting with Levy's Bread Bible from the local library, I adjusted this a bit and have been *quite* pleased with the results.  I've dropped the amount of milk in the doubled recipe from 2.5 cups to 1.5 cups.  I've doubled the water to 2 cups.  So my Poolish is now 2 cups of warm water, approximately an ounce of compressed yeast (I really need to get a good scale...), and a pound of bleached bread flour (about 2.5 cups as I measure it).  The poolish seems to take about 4-6 hours to reach maturity (beginning to collapse), longer if I use a bit less yeast.  I'm trying to get it to the point I can make the poolish in the morning before work and finish the process in the evening, but I haven't mastered that just yet.  It works, but I haven't achieved consistency.

The last adjustment I've made was switching to Kosher salt.  Since I don't have an accurate enough scale, I've been using Alton Brown's rule of thumb that you need 50% more Kosher salt than table salt to achieve the same weight.

Oh, and I dropped the sugar, because the bread was a bit sweeter than I wanted for everyday use, and my wife and I certainly don't need the calories.  We're also trying to move away from refined sugars anyway (which seems a bit silly, I know, when I'm using bleached bread flour).

So, for those of you still reading, here's my adjusted recipe:

Mr. Dugan's White Bread - with Brice's Modifications


  • 2 Cups of warm tap water
  • 1 lb (~2.5 cups) of bleached bread flour
  • 1-2 oz of compressed yeast
Remaining Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups of 2% milk
  • 2 tbs Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • ~7 cups of bleached bread flour
  1. In a glass of ceramic bowl, dissolve the compressed yeast in the water, creaming it with your fingers.
  2. Add 1 lb of flour and stir until nice and gooey.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let stand on the kitchen counter until it starts to collapse.  Make sure you use a big enough bowl for the poolish to more than double before collapsing.
  3. When the poolish is starting to collapse, combine the butter, salt, milk and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until the butter has melted.  Stir occasionally.
  4. Combine the milk mixture with most of the remaining flour (save ~1/2 cup for dusting the kneading surface).  Stir until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add the poolish to the above mixture.  Mix until the dough starts coming together.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until uniformly combined.
  6. Cover with the bowl and let rest for 15-30 min
  7. Knead the dough until it starts to get elastic. 8-10 minutes.
  8. Shape into a rough ball and drop into a large, lightly oiled, ceramic bowl to rise.  As I have a pretty drafty kitchen, I place mine in the oven with the light on, and a pan of steaming water below the bowl.  Let rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 1 hour for me)
  9. De-gas and shape into 3 loaves.  Place in lightly oiled bread pans.  I tend to use a rolling method.
  10. Let rise until doubled again.  This takes about 90 minutes for me (about twice as long as before the poolish method)
  11. Bake at 350 for 30 min.  I've actually been using the convection setting on my oven for the same time and temp.  This seems to better insure the loaf is "done".
Well, hopefully you've enjoyed this look into the evolution of my core bread recipe.  I've done several variations on this (an herb bread, a cinnamon-raisin bread, replacing various portions of the bleached bread flour with something else (usually a whole wheat of some type).  I'd welcome any and all comments and suggestions.  I still have a *lot* to learn. Mr. Dugan's Evolves  - Brice -  
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