The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


proth5's picture

No wait, strike that – reverse it.


Summer is here and it’s too hot to fire up the oven which makes it a perfect time to take the electric griddle outside and make English muffins.


The problem, of course, is getting those great nooks and crannies.  My old formula and technique got me plenty of little holes in the muffins, but not those great nooks and crannies (well, the little holes caught the melting butter, but still, the drive for “just a little better” is strong.)


So I thought about both my formula and my technique.


I was using an adaptation of the King Arthur “English Tea Cakes” recipe which calls for beating the dough for 5 minutes in a mixer.  I thought about “Batter Whipped” bread and how beating the dough caused its fine texture.  Then I thought about baguettes.


Well, English – French, different, but in the end – all European.  So I thought I would adapt my baguette technique for my English Muffins.


I use King Arthur All Purpose flour.

Makes about 6 

The formula:


Levain Build

Starter    .65 oz (100% hydration)

Flour      .95 oz

Water     .95 oz


Let ripen overnight.


Final Mix

All of the levain build

Flour                9.25 oz

Salt                   .16 oz

Dry Milk         1.25 oz

Sugar                .55 oz

Vegetable oil    .55 oz

Water              9.25 oz


Mix to a loose batter.  Four times at 30 minute intervals, stir 30 strokes with a spoon or spatula.


Let rise until domed and bubbly.  Do not let it collapse.  This particular batch took about 3 hours at this phase.


Baked in greased muffing rings on a lightly greased griddle at 325F.  8-9 mins per side.


The results. 

(I'm no photographer - that's for sure...) 

Finally the nooks…

Bettina Berg's picture

Help substituting yoghurt in Dan Lepard's leaven recipe

February 23, 2008 - 5:15am -- Bettina Berg

Hi. I've just purchased Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf and am dying to try his leaven recipe. However he uses yoghurt and we can't have dairy in my house (alas), so I was wondering if anyone could recommend a substitution.

Also, a lot of his recipes include milk or buttermilk as well as butter. Any suggestions how to handle this?



dmsnyder's picture

I made the Multi-grain levain from Hamelman's "Bread" for the first time about 6 weeks ago on Fleur-d-Liz's strong recommendation. I found it very good, but it didn't blow my socks off. Strangely, it developed a more delicious flavor after having been frozen and thawed. I thought the many flavors of the grains and seeds melded.

 Well, I made this bread for the third time this morning. I did two things differently: The first was that I gave it an overnight cold retardation. The second was that I tried a new oven trick. I steamed the oven (using Peter Reinhart's method), as usual, except, this time, I removed the cast iron skillet with water after 5 minutes and switched the oven to convection baking with the temperature lowered 20 degrees.

 The bread had a really carmelized, crunchy crust and the flavor was ... well, I can't think of a better word than the one Hamelman used ... delectable.

 Liz, now I get it. This is a fabulous bread! It has definitely made my favorites list.


Hamelman's Multi-grain levain

Hamelman's Multi-grain levain

BTW, the really dark loaf up front is the one we ate with dinner. That very dark crust had a marvelous taste.

Hamelman's Multi-grain levain - Crumb

Hamelman's Multi-grain levain - Crumb


dmsnyder's picture

I made the Whole Wheat Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" this weekend. It turned out just okay. The taste and texture are fine, but, although there was pretty good oven spring, there was disappointing bloom.

 I score the loaves as I would a mostly white flour batard but didn't get the result I expected. I'm wondering if one needs to score a whole wheat loaf deeper. I haven't found any advice in this regard in any of my bread books. However, looking at the photos in Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads," it does appear he is scoring those loaves deeper than he does a white flour loaf.

 Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Any advice regarding scoring whole wheat levain batards would certainly be appreciated.


dmsnyder's picture

On Fleur-de-Liz's strong recommendation, I made Hamelman's Mult-grain Levain yesterday - a double recipe, in fact. Not incidentally, this was the first bread I've mixed and kneaded using my new Bosch mixer. (See my previous blog entry for details.)
 I had a slice ... well, two slices actually ... for bedtime snack last night and some more, toasted, this morning.

This was a very heavy dough because of the high proportion of seeds and grains in the soaker. The calculated hydration was 98%. Once kneaded, it acted like a "normal" dough of 68% or so to me. It was still on the sticky side of tacky when I formed the boules.

The bread baked up with a nice looking crust, but, presumably because of the high water content, it softened during cooling. Toasting crisped it up nicely, though. The crumb was moderately open, and it was nice and chewy. The taste was very nice. It has 2/3 bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat, not counting the bulgar I substituted for 1/2 of the cracked rye called for in the recipe. It had a pronounced whole wheat flavor with an overlay of flavors from the sunflower and flax seeds. The rolled oats, which were in the soaker, contributed to the aroma more than to the taste. 

This is a very good bread, but I can't say it is going to be a personal favorite. Of course, the competition for places on my favorites list gets stiffer every week it seems.

Hamelman's Multi-grain LevainHamelman's Multi-grain Levain

Hamelman's Multi-grain Levain crumb

Hamelman's Multi-grain Levain crumb


Uberkermit's picture

Bread formula utility for Excel

June 27, 2007 - 7:34am -- Uberkermit

I put together an Excel workbook for working with bread formulas. Although there are other similar tools on this site, this one has some nice additional features. Let's say you have a formula for a sourdough bread, but you want to make a couple changes. First, you want to add 10% spelt flour, you want to up the hydration from 65% to 68%, change the salt form 1.8 to 2%, reduce the dough yield from 3.5 pounds to 3.0 pounds, and increase the percent of pre-fermented flour from 15-20%.


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