The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

freshly milled

isand66's picture

After reading about how much better freshly ground flour is compared to store-bought I finally decided to wiggle a couple of toes in the water and try grinding some of my own.  I used my Krupps coffee grinder to make some Farro flour and also some Hard Red Wheat from grains I had purchased at Whole Foods previously.

To make it interesting I used a portion of my standard AP starter along with a much larger portion of a Farro starter I prepared.

I didn't have enough whole grains to grind all my own flour so I used King Arthur flour for the rest of the ingredients.

I also made a soaker using some cracked wheat.

I have to say I made a mistake by thinking the extra liquid from the soaker would increase the hydration of the dough which only comes in at 57%.  Since the freshly milled flour also sucks up more water than store-bought the final dough ended up much drier than I would have liked and the crumb was denser than my usual multi-grain bakes.  Next time I will increase the liquid amount probably another 15-20%.

I think I shall have to invest in an attachment for my wife's Kitchen Aid to mill my own flour which should be much easier to do larger batches than the Krupps.

In any case the final bread while not being one of my favorites still tasted very earthy with a nice sour flavor and nutty undertones from the Farro and Wheat Germ.

Farro Starter

184 grams Farro Flour ground from fresh kernels

71 grams AP Starter

117 grams Water at Room Temperature (80-90 degrees F.)

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 10 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  You can either mix in final dough or put in refrigerator for at most 1 day before using.  If your kitchen is warmer than mine which is usually about 70-72 degrees with my air-conditioning you can proceed sooner.


90 grams Cracked Wheat

280 grams Boiling Water

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and cover.  Let rest for 30 minutes or longer until ready to use.

Drain the liquid before mixing in the final dough.

Main Dough Ingredients

75 grams Refreshed AP Starter (65% hydration)

351 grams Farro Starter from above (should be all of it)

90 grams Cracked Wheat Soaker from above

75 grams Quinoa Flour

70 grams Wheat Germ

40 grams Potato Flour

200 grams French Style Flour (You can substitute AP flour)

195 grams Freshly Ground Hard Red Wheat Flour

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour (Dark Rye or Course Rye Flour)

50 grams Molasses

16 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt

430 grams Hard Cider


Mix the flours with the Hard Cider and molasses in your mixer or by hand for 1 minute.  Next cut the starters into small pieces and put in bowl and mix for 1 minute to incorporate all the ingredients.  Let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes to an hour in your bowl and make sure to cover it.  Next add in the salt, and the soaker and mix on speed #1 for 3 minutes or by hand and on speed #2 for 2 minutes.  The dough should have come together in a ball and be tacky but not too sticky.

Next take the dough out of the bowl and place it on your work surface.  Do a stretch and fold and rest the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  After the rest do another stretch and fold and cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Do one more stretch and fold and put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit at room temperature covered for 2 hours.  After 2 hours you can put the dough into the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days before baking.  Feel free to do some additional S & F's if you feel it is necessary.  I baked the bread about 24 hours later.

The next day (or when ready to bake) let the dough sit out at room temperature for 1.5 - 2  hours.  Next, form the dough into your desired shape and put them in floured bannetons, bowls or on a baking sheet and let them rise covered for 2 hours or until they pass the poke test.  Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 30 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.  Since these loaves were a little lower in hydration and were not cooking as quickly as normal, I lowered the temperature to 430 degrees.  The total baking time was around 45 minutes.  When both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove them from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 6 hours or so before eating as desired.

The crust the next day was very hard and the crumb like I said before was much denser than I would have hoped but this bread still makes some nice pastrami or corned beef sandwiches for sure along with a nice sour pickle.  Now I have to go get some to eat for lunch!

PiPs's picture

It has rained and rained and after a week of soggy grey we finally have a glimmer of sunshine. And with all the rain and cooler temperatures I have really noticed how intertwined my bread making is with the weather. Every feeding and levain build is a unique decision – the balance between the temperature and feed ratios.

Wandering through the kitchen I throw a glance at the thermometer resting beside my rising levain and through the day I feel subtle change of temperature between rooms in the house. I notice this most among the quiet and peaceful times for me, scattered and far between though they are.

After arriving back home from my parents we had a house emptied of bread and I left it that way until the weekend. We have all been settling into the routines of a new year. Nat and I both back at work, plus we have had two new school milestones for the kids with one starting grade one and another starting her first year in high school.

With cool morning air and some time free on a drizzly Saturday I prepared my desem starter plus milled and soaked the fresh wheat flour. To me this is the simplest, purest form of bread - whole flour, water and salt. Later that day the dough was developed using stretch-and-folds over a three hour bulk-ferment before a quick final proof and bake. There is a fascination for me by using a longer bulk-ferment and developing the dough slowly and carefully - subtle changes over time – slowly becoming alive. It slots nicely into the rythem of a rainy day at home. Relaxing ...

After a long hiatus I finally baked some whole-wheat Fig and Anise loaves. Again these were raised with the desem starter with the chopped figs and aniseeds incorporated early in the bulk ferment.

These are a special treat for us and are consumed with utter joy - toasted, with a drizzle of honey, topped with ricotta cheese. We sit at breakfast with a slice or two and appreciate our morning amongst the din of school preparations and children slurping down breakfasts.

The sun is shining again ... all the best

PiPs's picture

My stocks have been running low. Grains, flour, salt and even the bread in the freezer have all taken a beating over a busy Christmas period.

With suppliers back on board after holidays I was more than a little relieved when a new shipment of biodynamic wheat and spelt grains finally arraived.

Along with the grain, I was also in need of white flour. The idea of leaving a gentler footprint to me means that if I have to use processed white flour then it should be from a local and organic producer. So for this reason I have switched to organic plain white flour from the Kialla Pure Foods mill only 150 km away. (90 miles) Kialla’s plain flour with a protein level of 12.5% is stronger than the bakers flour I been currently using but has a slightly creamier colour and chewier mouth feel. For this weekends bake though, I wanted wholegrains and organic. I hadn’t planned on baking any rye until a friend suggested she would like to try a lighter rye sourdough. Nat and I have a strong appreciation for caraway seeds with rye so this was suggested as well.

Organic 40% Rye Sourdough with caraway





Total dough weight



Total flour



Total water



Total salt



Prefermented flour



Desired dough temperature 26-27°C






Rye sour build – 12-14 hrs 22-24°C



Starter (not included in final dough)



Freshly milled rye flour









Final dough



Rye sour



Organic plain flour








1.8% of total flour

Caraway seeds




  1. Mix rye sour and leave overnight to ferment
  2. Next day disperse rye sour in remaining water and add flour.
  3. Knead for 5 mins (this is sticky and uncomfortable)
  4. Add salt and knead for a further 10 mins until dough starts to show signs of smoothness.
  5. Gently mix in caraway seeds until combined.
  6. Bulk ferment one hour
  7. Gently preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Gently shape into batards.
  8. Final proof was one hour at room temperature (27°C).
  9. Load into oven with steam at 230°C for 10 mins then reduce temperature to 200°C and bake a further 30 mins. 

The rye sour had developed nicely and apart from the seemingly unending stickiness of kneading, the dough eventually bulk fermented into a smooth dough that shaped quite easily.

The final proof kept me only my toes as I was mowing the backyard and ducking inside every 15 minutes to check on it’s progress, as it has been quite hot and humid recently.

I am particularly fond of the crumb colour with the caraway seeds hidden amongst the rye bran. The flavour is a really nice balance of a subtle rye tang with a puff of caraway scent on some bites.



I also baked a pair of simple organic wholegrain sourdoughs - the first breads for our household this year. The levain contains a proportion of Kialla plain flour so approximately 90% of the flour is freshly milled wholegrains.

I tried a few new procedures with this bake. I milled the wheat grains in two passes. The first pass cracked the grains before passing them through the mill again at a finer setting. This didn’t produce much heat in the flour and I ended up with softer feeling flour than in the past.

The other change was the fold in the bulk ferment. I recently read a comment by proth5 on the timing of a stretch-and-fold in a two hour bulk ferment. (sorry Pat I can’t remember where you posted it) If the dough is already well developed before the bulk ferment, perhaps a stretch-and-fold could occur earlier in the bulk ferment allowing some larger gas pockets to develop in the 2nd half of the bulk ferment.

Organic Wholegrain Sourdough





Total dough weight



Total flour



Total water



Total salt



Prefermented flour






Levain build – 4-5 hrs 26-27°C



Starter (60g not included in final dough)



Flour (I use a flour mix of 70% Organic plain flour, 18% fresh milled wheat, 9% fresh milled spelt and 3% fresh milled rye)









Final dough






Freshly milled organic wheat flour



Freshly milled organic rye flour











  1. Mix levain and leave to ferment for 4-5 hours
  2. Mill flours and allow them to cool before mixing with cold water from fridge (hold back 50 grams of water) and autolyse four hours.
  3. Add levain to autolyse then knead (French fold) 5 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 50 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 10 mins.
  4. Bulk ferment two hours with one stretch-and-fold after 30 mins.
  5. Preshape. Bench rest 20 mins. Shape.
  6. Load into oven with steam at 230°C for 10 mins then reduce temperature to 200°C and bake a further 30 mins.


This has become familiar dough for me to mix. At 85% hydration doubts can creep into my thinking as the initial mix feels sticky and loose. Press on, add the salt and feel relief as the dough tightens up and releases cleanly from the bench.

The dough felt strong even after shifting the stretch-and-fold forward 30 mins so I left it untouched for the remaining time and was rewarded with light bubbly dough ready for preshaping. I am quite pleased with the proofing on both of the loaves and find I am becoming braver at judging their readiness for the oven. They sprang beautifully on a hot stone.

Some rye bran is visible scattered throughout the moist crumb which contains no hint of sour. The change in bulk ferment procedure has possibly led to a slightly more irregular crumb, but this will need to be experimented with and expanded.


Another busy day in the kitchen which was balanced by an equally busy day doing yard work.  The sun is finally shining here after a day of humid grey skys. We plan to make the most of it.



PiPs's picture

How to cheer up sad, sick children?

Chocolate chips!

We have a case of glandular fever in our house at the moment making for a worrying week. Several trips to doctors, blood tests and we finally seem to have a boy with a smile and energy again.

This bake was in fact planned for a 40th birthday party in a park today, but the party was cancelled due to the increasing number of storms we have been having. We had another storm this morning, similar to last Saturday.

I had decided to play with the Tartine bread formula using my freshly milled rye starter and finishing a bag of bakers flour I had in the back of the cupboard. (Much to the delight of my partner) I mixed on a Friday night and baked Saturday morning….fresh bread to take to a party. Oh well…now we have fresh bread for lunch instead.

After the bread came out of the oven this morning and with the day free it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put through a batch of banana and choc chip wholemeal muffins. Perfect comfort food for a sick kid.

The muffins are loosely based on a Gordon Ramsay recipe for blueberry wholemeal muffins and while they are delicious with blueberries I used choc chips for kid appeal. I also substituted yoghurt and milk instead of buttermilk.

The muffins melt in your mouth when still warm from the oven leaving little smiling faces covered in chocolate. Not surprisingly it doesn’t look like they will last long.


Rye Starter Tartine loaf
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 77%
Prefermented Flour: 10%
DDT: 26-27°C

Freshly milled rye starter @ 100% Hydration: 200g
Bakers Flour: 800g
Freshly milled wholewheat: 200g
Water: 750g
Salt: 23g

Dissolve starter in 700g of the water, then mix with flours. Autolyse for 30 mins.

Add salt and final 50g of water. Fold through the dough.

Bulk ferment three hours with four stretch and folds 30 mins apart in the first two hours.

The dough was racing, so after a 20 mins bench rest I shaped it and placed in the fridge for an overnight rise.

Final proof was roughly eight hours in the fridge.

 It was baked straight from the fridge with steam on stone for 10 mins at 250°C then a further 35 mins at 200°C.


After a few months of wholewheat , sifted wholewheat breads and last weeks grain bread these breads are such a treat, so soft they are hard to cut. The humid air has now softened the crust, but it was thin and brittle when freshly baked. What appeals to me most about this bread is the bran flecks contrasting with the translucent crumb. The flavour seemed a happy balance between tang and lightness … it dissolves in the mouth … but …

… it was too close to overproofing for my liking and the oven steaming is still not as consistent as a dutch oven.

Lunch ended up being a generous slice topped with avocado, lemon and cracked pepper…

… as another afternoon storm rolls in across Brisbane.


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