The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


isand66's picture

After returning from the first ever TFL gathering in Lexington MA last weekend I wanted to use some the rye starter that Varda gave me to make a rye bread.  Dave Snyder posted his latest bake of the above bread on The Fresh Loaf this past week and pushed me over the edge to try it myself.  You can find the recipe at his original post here.

This recipe uses a three-step build process called the Detmolder  process which by using precise temperatures for each build is supposed to optimize the development of yeast growth, lactic acid and acetic acid production.

David had described his latest bake as having an almost sweet taste without that much sour flavor.  My bake to me seemed to have a much more sour flavor than intended.  I think I might have rushed the second build a bit which could have effected the final outcome.

In any case, the crumb came out about where I think it should for such a high percentage rye bread.  The crust ended up much more thick than I think it should.

This type of dough is docked instead of scored and you only use steam for the first 5 minutes of the bake.

Before Docking Dough
Docked Dough
I used my knife tool to dock the dough. Worked fine.

I will have to try this one again and see if I get the same result.

Submitted to Yeast Spotting.

pmccool's picture

Most of my bread for the past couple of weeks has come from the freezer, rather than from the oven.  That's a good thing in that the freezer needs to be cleared out but not so satisfying as baking.  It also means that I've had a pretty steady diet of rye bread.  Again, that's a good thing but it was time for a change of pace and taste.

What I wanted was something wheaty, something sourdough.  I turned to Hamelman's Bread and came across the formula for his Vermont Sourdough with Wheat.  That didn't quite do it for me, since it simply swaps out the small amount of rye flour in the standard Vermont Sourdough for an equally small quantity of whole wheat flour.  After a second scan of the ingredients, it occurred to me that I could use equal quantities of bread flour and whole wheat flour, along with 1 ounce of rye flour, to make up the flour bill for the bread.  That would let me keep most of the qualities that have made Vermont Sourdough so beloved by many while satisfying my craving for a thoroughly wheaty bread.

The rest of the process was very much by the book, with two exceptions.  First, everything was mixed by hand, so as to avoid straining my KitchenAide mixer (and because I really, really like to have my hands in the dough).  Second, the whole wheat flour in the bread is from the Great River Milling Company.  It is a very fine-textured flour and it has a high protein content; a bit north of 14%, if memory serves.  I very much enjoy the Great River flour and hope that Costco continues to carry it.  As written, the formula is 65% hydration.  My first guess was that I would have to bump that up to 70% to accomodate the flour's  moisture absorption.  As it turned out, hydration had to be increased to 72% just to moisten all of the flour for the autolyze.  While kneading the final dough, still more water was added, bringing the final hydration closer to 75%.  It could have handled even more water without getting gloppy but I had enough to make a manageable dough that wasn't too stiff.

Since the temperature in my kitchen was around 65F and since I didn't want to be baking at 2 a.m., I used my Brod & Taylor proofer to keep everything at a comfy 75F for both the bulk and final ferments.  That resulted in the dough doubling in volume in just 3-4 hours, which fit very nicely around the errands that had to be run on Friday.

More for appearance than anything else, I rolled the shaped dough in bran before the final ferment.  Chef Hamelman's baking instructions produce a boldly baked loaf.  The bran made a nice highlight against the deep mahogany color of the crust.


Given the 15 minutes of kneading, and the not-massive hydration level, the crumb is fairly even and smooth but not tight.  Since the intended use is for sandwiches, it works better than a very open crumb that allows condiments to drip all over one's clothing.

The flavor is exactly what I was jonesing for: wheat!  The dark crust contributes plenty of caramel and toffee notes, with a hint of chocolate in the background.  The crumb is firm and chewy, while remaining moist and cool.  No squishy marshmallow bread, this.  It is robust and makes a substantial base for sandwiches.  

It's back to the freezer after this disappears but for now, life is very good.


Daan's picture

Bread vs The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking

February 22, 2013 - 10:01am -- Daan

I have both excellent books: Bread (second edition) by Jeffrey Hamelman and The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by the French Culinary Institute.

Oddly enough: the breads I make from Hamelman turn out te be always a big success. Of course, sometimes after the second try but the work, they turn out well.
My breads from FCI never work... I have the impression the doughs are always too wet. Even when the overall formula is almost identical!

Second Cooking's picture
Second Cooking

I've made Bialys before using high-gluten flour that I purchased via mail order. The cost with S&H for a 3lb bag is $13. That's OK for something I only make once in a while, but still I wouldn't be opposed to getting the price down. I don't know anyone that I could order commercial flour through, but even if I did I am not interested in a 50lb bag. What I want is something I can buy off the self at my local chain grocery store.

I live in the Detroit metro area. All of the major stores in this area carry KA flour. According to their website King Arthur's bread flour is 12.7% protein. Their high gluten flour is 14.2%, which they claim is the highest available retail. The bagel place in NJ where my sister used to live uses Pillsbury high gluten which is also 14.2%. I've heard this number before on some other bread sites, so this is the target I was shooting for.

Most of the stores in this area carry Gluten. I've been using Bob's Red Mill brand, but I've seen other brands too. I assume it's commonly available in most urban areas. The nutrition label on the Gluten I was using indicated 23g of protein per 30g serving or 76.67% by weight. To get to 14.2% with the flours I was using would put it at 97.65% BF and 2.35% Gluten. I went with 3% instead just to be safe.

The formula I used for the Bialys was Hamelman (p262). The only modification I made was to use 33.3% of the flour as a Poolish preferment. I made a 300g total flour recipe. This divides into six rolls at about 80g each.

Hamelman recommends 8 to 10 minutes at 480°. I was making these the night before, so I par-baked them for six minutes.


Actually they looked and smelled so good I finished a couple off right then for me and the wife.


My idea was to freeze a couple and see how they would hold up to a par-bake/freeze/thaw/re-heat method. If I can get that down on Bialys, I was thinking maybe I can transfer it over to a similar method for Bagels as well. The Bialys are simple enough to make anytime and I was pleased with results from my grocery store purchased high-gluten flour equivalent. Bagels aren't too much more work, but more than I am going to do regularly for small batch baking. If I can get a par-bake/freeze method down, I wouldn't mind having Bialys and Bagels as a regular weekend breakfast routine.

I didn't end up freezing any this time. The par-bake was a little darker then I had intended and after having couple, I knew there was no way we would want to be short any in the morning. Gives me a good excuse to try again sooner than later anyway. Next time I will shorten the par-bake to 5 minutes and see if I like that better. I think I need to work my pocket size out a bit too, but that's not a big concern for me.

The thing I like about these Bialys is I've never had one before making them myself. Unlike a Bagel, I don't have any preconceived notion of what they should take like. If they taste good, I like them. Simple as that. With Bagels I am always comparing them to an ideal. Even if I make a decent tasting doughnut shaped bread, if it doesn't have just the right chew and texture, it's always a little disappointing. That and my wife prefers a Bialy a bit more now, than a Bagel actually. I still favor a real Bagel more myself, but these are still darn good breakfast rolls.

Happy baking everyone.

Take care, Todd

Daan's picture

Semonlina Bread (Hamelman) - Oven spring

February 6, 2013 - 12:56pm -- Daan

Hello everybody,

I just bought the second edition of Hamelman's Bread.

My question is about oven spring. Since there are hardly pictures in the book, I wonder if every bread should have an oven spring.

I made the Rye Sourdough bread and it was beautiful! A nice ear, the crust open, ... 

Then I made the Semoline sourdough bread (with liquid levain) but there is no oven spring (almost none, no ear, ...).

Is that normal? How to tell if a bread should have an oven spring (based on the formula maybe?).

Or was my bread poorly baked?

pmccool's picture

More than a little irony in that title...

Let's talk about the new, first.  That would include the second edition of Hamelman's Bread and the pain de mie formula found in it.  It would also include some new Pullman pans that I picked up recently.  The book is remarkable, as many before me have said.  I don't see this one getting shoved aside by future books, as has happened with some that I own.  Yes, there are a few nits (why weren't the home formulae in metric units instead of English units?) but they are rather trivial compared to the quantity and quality of information residing between the covers.  The Pullman pans figure as a long-delayed gratification.  When faced with that much "new", why not put all of them together?  And then, to really put it over the top, why not employ a previously unused shaping technique?

That takes us to the "could be improved" part of the tale.  Not the formula, mind you, nor the pans, either.  The dough was a real treat to work with, especially since I usually work with breads having a significant percentage of whole grains.  It was smooth, silky, satiny; embodying all of those lush descriptors that cookbook authors love to employ.  The new (to me) shaping technique even worked nicely, thanks to txfarmer and others who like assemble their loaves from smaller components.  And the finished bread tastes wonderful, too.  

Everything appeared to be going well in the early stages:

There's just one niggling little problem.  Someone (I need to get an assistant, if only to serve as whipping boy) miscued on the dough quantity calculations.  It wasn't a fat-finger mistake, either.  More like a fat head mistake.  I shouldn't be so negative.  This bread actually achieved something that many home bakers want to emulate in their breads: ears.   No, no, no, not that kind of ears, this kind:

Maybe I should call them eaves, instead of ears.

Anyway, the loaves have a beautiful fluffy core, perhaps 2.5 inches across, with an approximately .75 inch wide perimeter band that is dense and firm.  Quite firm.  Oh, okay, it requires some serious chewing!  Not your Momma's Wonder Bread by any stretch of the imagination.  The crust is lovely, though.

Just guessing, but I probably had about 15% too much dough for the pans.  Thank goodness for a non-stick lining and some generous greasing before putting the dough in the pans.  The lids were somewhat reluctant to release but came off without requiring excessive force or causing harm to anything.  

I think I want to try this bread again, albeit with the right amount of dough in the pans.  If that works as I expect it can, the next step will be to experiment with some of Hamelman's ryes, baked in the Pullman pans.  If I get really brave, I may even try the Horst Bandel pumpernickel.

Despite my frustration with myself, it was a fun experience to play with a new bread, new pans, and a new technique.  And I've only scratched the surface with this book!


Jezella's picture

Beranbaum vs Hamelman

January 8, 2013 - 6:26am -- Jezella

I'm new to bread baking and to this point have only produced basic loaves. I find baking to be most enjoyable but do lack the knowledge required, to improve what I make. I have read a fair amount on TFL and learnt some and thanks is given.

I am interested as a home baker in some of the science behind the subject and as such, considered the following two books Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes which vs The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


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