The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


xaipete's picture

This bread worked great for me. I used the starter from WGB instead of Hamelman's. I started the levain yesterday afternoon and this morning it looked and smelled just like it was suppose to. I was out of bread, so I finished the recipe, baked one loaf today and have one left that I retarded at noon in the refrigerator. (Let's see now, it's suppose to be good for 18 hours in the fridge at 42ºF. Now that was really good planning on my part because now I've got to get up at 5 am!)

I'm very pleased with the results. I did 2 stretch and folds and let the loaf proof for 3 hours, then baked it under a cloche on a stone for 10 minutes. It took 30 minutes total. I got a lot of oven spring, it has a nice open crumb structure and a pleasant sourdough flavor. I'm hoping tomorrow's loaf will be a little more tangy because I enjoy the sour taste.

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough


xaipete's picture

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

April 1, 2009 - 1:09pm -- xaipete

I know many TFLers have made Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough, but this will be my 1st time. I've owned Hamelman's book for less than a month and the only thing I've tried so far was the Irish Soda Bread. I'm going to use one of my Reinhart starters, both of which are made according the the formula in WGB (one is WW the is white)--LindyD thought that would work fine. But Hamelman's methods are a little confusing to me, so I thought I'd put this post out for comment on and/or correction!

I'm going to make the liquid levain this afternoon and let it stand overnight.

gavinc's picture

I usually only have time to make our favourite sourdough each weekend, but this weekend we have had rain and cold winds which cancelled some plans.  So I decided to make a recipe I hadn't tried before -Golden Raisin Bread - from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread".  This took me out of my comfort zone somewhat but I enjoyed the challenge and will try to take on a new recipe regularly.  I think I've grown in confidence thanks to this site.

I was very pleased with the result.  I experimented with the scoring pattern between the two loaves and also made them in a pan rather than free form batards.  The taste was very nice and sweeter than I expected.  The crumb is denser than my usual Vermont Sourdough, but I guess it's the type of loaf.  Couldn't wait until it was completely cool before I tucked in....

Edit - I forgot to add that this was made using my new two week old starter (Debra Wink version).

blockkevin's picture



Hamelmans 5 Grain Levain


 So after much discussion on these boards I finally decided to make this bread myself to see what all of the fuss was about. I can't believe I waited so long...This is absolutly one of the most delicous breads that I have ever tasted. I did make a few adjustments to the formula based soley on what I had available to work with (noted in formula below), but I tried to recreate the formula as close to the original as possible to get a sense of the bread in it's purest form. I also recalculated his formula so that I would end up with approx. 1200g of dough, which is the appropriate size to fit on my stone.


Liquid Build

  • KAF AP Flour 128g 100%
  • Water 160g 125%
  • Mature Culuture(mine is 100% Hydration) 26g 20%


  • Bulger Wheat(The original formula calls for Rye Chops) 47g 27%
  • Flaxseeds (mine happened to be golden) 47g 27%
  • Sunflower Seeds 39g 23%
  • Oats 39g 23%
  • Boiling Water 204g 120%
  • Salt 3g 2%

Final Dough

  • KAF AP Flour(The orignal formula calls for hi-gluten flour) 255g 67%
  • Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat Flour 128g 33%
  • Water 133g 35%
  • Salt 9g 2.3%
  • Soaker(all) 379g 99%
  • Liquid Build 314g 82%

1. Liquid Build & Soaker-approx. 12 hours before mixing elaborate liquid build, and prepare grain soaker.

2. Mixing-As per the instructions in the book all of the ingredients are placed into a mixer and mixed on low speed for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. I found that I needed to add about 2 Tbsp more water. I suspect that the bulger wheat in the soaker absorbed more water than the rye chops would have. When the dough begins to come together increase speed to medium and mix until moderate gluten development is reached. Seeing as I didn't have any hi-gluten flour I mixed a little more thouroughly then I would have otherwise. On speed four in my kitchenaid mixer I mixed for 8 minutes, and I achieved a fairly high level of develpment.

3. Ferment- 3 Hours with a fold at 1.5 hours. (Orignal formula calls for 1-1.5 hours)

4. Divide- Divide the dough into 2 approx. 600g. portions.

5. Relax- shape the dough into loose boules, and allow to bench rest for approx. 20 minutes to allow for easier shaping.

6. Shape- shape the dough as desired and place between folds of bakers linen or in prepared bannetons. Round or ovals are what Hamelman suggests.

7. Proof- Approx. 1 hour at 76 deg. F., or alternatively retard in the fridge overnight for up to 18 hours.

8. Bake- 30-35 minutes for 600g. batards 460 deg F. on preheated stone with steam for the first half of the bake. Turn the oven off and prop open the door and allow bread to dry out for an additional 10 minutes before removing from the oven.

9.Cool- allow the finished bread to cool for at least 3 hours before cutting.


Final notes and Impressions

The crumb on this bread was unlike anything I have ever made before, it is incredibly soft, and creamy on the tongue. The crust was lightly crisp, and not as thick as I would have expected given the overnight retarding. I would definetly make sure this bread is cooked long enough, and hot enough as it has a good deal of water from the soaker, and it needs a thourough bake to fully dry out.

Dsnyder once refered to this bread as a "flavor bomb" and I would enthusiasticly agree with that assessment. It has wonderful tart notes from the levain, and a lovely complexity from the soaked grains. I hope you all get the chance to make this bread sometime to fully experience how delicious it is.

Happy Baking


LindyD's picture

Mystery of page 249 solved.

February 10, 2009 - 3:56pm -- LindyD

I've been curious why Jeffrey Hamelman's unkneaded six-fold French bread appears at page 249 in some copies of his book, "Bread," while other copies show a recipe for beer bread.

So I went to the KFA baking circle forum and asked the question.  A nice member there e-mailed King Arthur and received the following response from Jeffrey Hamelman:

ryeaskrye's picture

Sourdough vs. Yeast rise times?

January 22, 2009 - 4:30pm -- ryeaskrye

I need some help with a rising time question.

I am going to try an experiment this weekend and bake baguettes using sourdough only and no baker's yeast. I am basing this on Hamelman's Baguettes with Pâte Fermentée and just built my sourdough fermentée.

Hamelman's yeasted recipe calls for a bulk fermentation of 2 hours and a final fermentation of 1 to 1.5 hours. If I understand correctly, when using sourdough versus baker's yeast, rise times increase.

crunchy's picture

Last weekend I finally had time for baking, after a long and exhausting week. Continuing the exploration of Hamelman's book "Bread", I ventured into the Detmolder method section. I love ryes and I love a good challenge, so naturally the three-stage 90% rye had to be made. My rye starter is always very lively, but to my surprise, it was going out of control by the end of the third build. The final dough was a sticky mess; in fact, it resembled clay more than any sort of dough. Hamelman warns not to add more flour even if the dough is tacky. I stuck to his advice. This is what came out of the oven.

I waited a day before cutting into it to let the crumb set fully. This loaf was sweeter than any other rye I've made before. The crust was delectably crunchy and almost nutty. The crumb was dense, as could be expected of a 90% rye, yet moist and airy.Det90ryecrumb

That same weekend I also made a whole wheat muligrain (pg.169). Hamelman recommends some grains, but leaves the choice largely up to the baker. I used a combination of wheat and rye berries, corn meal, millet, and sunflower seeds. The flavor was incredibly rich and deep, with a tender whole grain presence in the middle and a lingering sweet honey finish.

And finally, there was a Vermont sourdough (pg. 153), also delicious. The dough was a pleasure to work with. This book is a tremendous resource, I can't recommend it enough.


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