The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


hungryscholar's picture

So, my wife let it slip that pepperjack is her favorite bread so we picked up some cheese at the grocery store and I diced it and folded it into the dough with the stretch & folds. Somehow I made myself put all that delicious cheese in the bread (nearly 50% of the flour by weight), I guess that's love for you. I had about 80g of stiff levain chilling in the fridge that was left over after refreshing my starter, so I used all of it here.

Pepperjack sourdough

80g stiff levain

20g whole wheat flour

280g KA all purpose

200g water

145g pepper jack cheese

6 g salt

Bulk ferment was around 4 hours at around 80 F, with S&F every 30 minutes for the first 1 1/2 hours to develop dough and incorporate the cheese. I shaped it and proofed it for around 1 1/2 hours at about 86 F. Preheat to 500 and baked in dutch oven at 425 F, 20 min cover on, 25 min. cover off.


hearthbakedtunes's picture

This is a bread that I was really excited about, but in the end was a bit disappointed with the finished result. I am going to keep this post brief, so that I can dedicate my energy to the breads that are truly worth writing home about; this is not one of them.

This bread contained two different build which I found to be interesting. One was a rye sourdough build which was prepared with whole rye flour the other was a wheat build. What in German is called a Wheat pre-dough, which in international terms would be considered a biga. It was suggested to rise the dough for up to two days in the cooler, but I went with preparing it overnight, at room temperature, which in my abode mean barely 60 degrees, so not too warm. 
I woke up very early the next morning to get this bread under way. I noticed very little growth in the rye sourdough, so I was glad that a wheat pre-dough was included. I am in the process of making my rye starter much stronger. I am feeding it several times a week, but what it really needs is a warmer environment to grow in, which is hard to come by in the Wolfe Residence. It is coming along, but it is a slow and steady process. The mixing process is actually quite simple for this bread. The two builds are combined with the water, all of the other ingredients are added and the dough is mixed first of speed one for 5 minutes, and then on second speed for two minutes. There are no folds in this dough. The dough ferments for 30-45 minutes, and then it is proofed for 45 minutes. I decided to bake this bread in my brotforms. They came out very nicely, except for the way the bread opened. I did use a scoring pattern that I never use, three parallel lines. Typically, if I use a parallel pattern I use two lines, and it turned out that the extra score did not work out in my favor. It split. Actually both breads split a bit funny, but the finished product is pleasing to the eye. 
One of my major problems with this bread is that it is a bit dry. I may have left it in the oven two long. Another issue is that my home oven vents steam very early. The newer gas ovens tend to do this. I prefer the older style electric ovens for my bread baking. But you got to do, what you got to do!
The finihed product is a dough with a relatively tight crumb, a light rye flavor and a significant crust. I would have preferred a more open bread. Typically the rye breads that I bake have all of their rye flour in the build and none in the final build, I should have known better. Had I placed all of the rye in the starter, with a little extra water, I most likely would have gotten closer to what I was hoping for, but it was German, and thus It's on my last. Keep your eyes peeled for the Completely whole grain volkornbrot with tons of sunflower seeds!! 
-DW, The Bread Barron

hearthbakedtunes's picture

WOW! I am so excited to be blogging again, I have missed it!It seems like it has been forever. Although it looks as though I have not baked for two weeks, that is simply not the case. In fact, I am excited to announce that I have made my very first sale of two very authentic German rye breads. I was lucky enough to produce a rye bread for a local silent auction which brought me my first customer. My first customer ordered one Kummelbrot and one Kürbiskernbrot. I will be posting on Kürbiskernbrot today!

I have been working on revamping my sourdough rye starer, which I have recently named "Liza-May". She is a daring and is doing very well. I figured since I devote more time to bread than any other activity, I might as well personalize the process as much as possible! I am also excited to say that I am coming off a wonderful weekend with a revitalized energy source and bright optimism and it feels good! To add to my exuberance, I will be baking bagels tomorrow!!
Although I have made breads several breads with pumpkin seeds, I have never made a 'pumpkinseed bread'. This is a typical German bread, one that is a favorite of my good friend Alexander. (Who has finally booked his tickets to meet and stay with me for two weeks in JULY!!!!) We will do some baking together, and I am sure that he will have some very thoughtful things to add. Alex is one of the most thoughtful people that I know. Anyways, I did make a few changes to the original formula, which came from the Baeko website once again.

The 100% hydrated rye sourdough starter.
I changed the sourdough rye starter build to amp up the hydration from 80% to 100%. During the past month or so, Liza May has been having trouble growing overnight, so I figured the addition of 20% water would help. I also replaced some of the sesame seeds in this bread with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. As I have previsouly noted, sesame is not one of my favorite bread ingredients. However, I must admit, it is wonderful in this bread! It adds a nuttiness which could not have been achieved by the sunflower and pumpkin seeds alone. The other change that I made was toasting all of the seeds in this bread as well as toasting the rye chops that I used in this bread's soaker. The soaker actually called for rolled rye, which are made by taking rye berries and sending them through a heavy press, similar to the way oats are rolled.  I ended up using rye chops because that is what I had on hand.  I really do love these German ryes that have both a seed soaker and a starter as well. I also decided to toast the rye chops with the other seeds, I think it slightly amplified the rye flavor.
The Triple seed and rye cho soaker, my mom toasted these seeds for me, thanks Mom!
Whenever I bake breads with tons of toasted seeds, large amounts of soaker, and ample percentages of bread flour, I get excited! I feel that you really get the best of three worlds: 
First you get the wonderful taste of toasted seeds, while also softening the seeds which helps to retain gluten strength. Second, you have the wonderful texture of a crisp crust, that is not too thick, but still has a nice light taste. Lastly, you get a wonderful balance of nutrition, texture and flavor. As is my custom, I did not use the medium rye flour or the 1150 roggenmehl that was called for.  Instead, I replaced it with whole rye flour. I love whole rye. It tends to make the loaf a bit heavier, but the flavor that it incorporates, makes for a very unique bread that keeps well and tastes wonderful. I understand the place of bread flour, since wheat contains such a high amount of bran and fiber. Rye on the other hand has much less, and since it also has much less gluten, you can really get away with using more whole rye flour without changing the hydration very much. This formula did call for something called weizen Kraft, which is a trademarked Baeko product.  Personally, I had no idea what it was and could not find out, so I used whole rye in its place! It is an approach that I am becoming quite famous for. When in doubt, add more rye!Due to the high amount of soaker and the amount of seed in this bread, a relatively long mix is implemented. I mixed on first speed for seven minutes and second speed for three minutes. Had this dough contained much less bread flour, I would have used the KitchenAid Paddle attachment. I then gave this bread 45 minutes of bulk fermentation followed by an hour to proof. I used brotforms to give this bread a more symmetrical appearance. I am going to start proofing my heavier ryes, seam side down, so that they will split in the oven. This creates a very rustic and authentic appearance, that I have not been able to replicate any other way.

The next time that I bake this bread, I will toast the sesame seeds separately because they tend to cook at a different rate than the other seeds. In the future, I want to be sure that they get a stronger toast. I will also try to find roasted and salted pumpkin seeds.
This bread is a keeper, and is now one of my new favorites! I think I will add it to my frequent flyers list. Its a great bread and it is wonderful with peanut butter!
Lastly, the crumb!
Bake On-DW
hearthbakedtunes's picture

Before I get into this bread I would like to to thank Karin Anderson, a colleague and blogger who has been helping with my brot's over the past few months. I recommend that you take a look at her blog Brot & BreadShe is dedicated to her craft and her love of German bread comes through in her posts. This is the first formula of hers that I have used, and although I have not yet tasted the bread, it is a beauty. Although my friend Alex has been helping me with translating, Karin has the insight of actually being a German baker. Although she never baked bread while she lived in Germany, she certainly is a German who bakes German bread. Karin knows a thing or two about a thing or two (That is at least four things)!
There are several ways that this bread is different than the normal rye breads that I bake. First of all, this bread is made with a whole wheat mother starter. I did not quite have a 100% whole wheat starter, so I fed a stiff levain at 60% hydration and gave it one feeding with whole wheat flour and provided it with a 75% hydration by flour weight. The result was a stiff levain with a good amount of whole wheat flour and a wonderful amount of gluten development. In the future, I will continue to feed this stiff levain with whole wheat flour and it will eventually come very close to becoming 100% whole wheat! Starters that are made with whole grain flours such as whole wheat, whole spelt or whole rye are stronger than their white flour counterparts. Whereas I am a Registered Dietitian, I am all about the "whole-grain" approach to bread baking and all cooking for that matter.
During this post, I will pay particular attention to the attributes in this bread which differentiate it from the typical German breads that I have been baking.
As I mentioned above, this bread is leavened with a whole wheat starter, but the build is actually fed with bread flour. This helps to develop gluten in the build and thus the final dough. Even though this build was only given eleven hours to grow, you will notice excellent growth and an almost smooth finish. Looking at it, you can see the flecks from the whole wheat starter that was used. Another difference with this bread is that it used a large amount of starer. Typically, when I bake sourdough bread, I use between 7-11 grams of sourdough starter (depending on the size of the bread) This recipe called for 114g for two 650 gram loaves. That is a nearly 16 and a half times the amount that I normally use. To give you a better idea of how much starter was used in the build, check out the picture. Karin's methods for building and feeding a sourdough starter are different. By all accounts, it is just a different technique for baking bread, one that I have simply not practiced before. It required me to build my starter up more often. If the loaf tastes as good as it looks, it will be well worth it!

Secondly, this grain soaker contained both whole wheat flour and whole rye flour. Typically, my soakers are made only of rye flour. Other than one of Hamelman's breads, they do not contain rye flour but rather chopped rye or cracked rye. Another change is that all of the rye flour in this bread is contained in the soaker. Karin notes that one can replace the rye flour with spelt flour, but I chose to use the rye. How could I refuse? Another difference was that all of the rye flour was contained in the soaker. The only other bread that I do this for is my 40% rye with caraway or Kummelbrot. I probably do not practice this because the rye breads that I make are typically at least 50% rye by flour weight. To include all of the rye in the soaker would be overkill.The next major difference was the water. There is no water used in the final dough. All of the water is contained in the soaker and in the sourdough build. My normal practice is to combine the water in the final dough with the sourdough build to help to break up the sourdough so that it is more easily distributed during the mix. This was not possible, so I tore the build into eight or nine pieces so that it would distribute during the mix. During the mix I had to take the dough off of the hook several times. I know that I should be using a paddle, but that is another practice I do not do. (That is mainly because my dough hook is in the attic and it is roughly 35 degrees Fahrenheit up there).

  The fourth big change is that the sourdough build and the soaker are prepared in the morning and the final dough is mixed at night. I always prepare the soaker and build the night before and bake the following morning. The final dough contained all of the soaker and and all of the sourdough build, plus about 90 grams of whole wheat flour, 8-10 grams of honey, a little salt and a pinch of fennel and caraway. This bread is then divided in half and allowed to ferment in the fridge over night. The next morning it is shaped into boules and then proofed in bannetons, or brotforms. The bread is then baked at 475 degrees for 10 minutes and then baked at 425 for an additional ten minutes. The loaves are then rotated 180 degrees and baked for an additional 10-20 minutes. Typically, I do not rotate my breads in the oven, but I am glad that I did for these. This rotation provided a very even color to the finished bread.

All in all, this technique was new to me in several ways, and I am glad that I was able to bake this bread. Using my intuition as a baker, I made sure to guide the process along in each its stages. Although I have not yet tasted this loaf, I am certain that it will get the "hearthbakedtunes seal of approval" and I am anxious to take my first bite! Karin has given me two more formulas to try and I am looking forward to my next brot!
I just tasted this bread and it has a nice spice to it, but I think I would prefer the taste without the fennel and caraway. I think it detracts from the rye and honey in this formula! The crumb is tight, which makes sense, there is quite a bit of whole grain but the crust is simply beautiful but a bit too thick from over baking.
-Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

dabrownman's picture

For the 2nd test of our new 2 week old WW starter, we though we would continue our 100% whole grain quest to a 3rd bake, similar to the last 2, but making a few changes along the way as my apprentice usually does.  She just can’t leave well enough, or me either for that matter, alone.


We decided to add in some YW to the mix to help open the crumb of the planned pumpernickel baking temperature and schedule.  We also decided to change from a 100% whole wheat, 100% whole grain bread to one that was still 100% whole grain but had equal portions of WW, Spelt and Rye.  We omitted the VWG on this bake.


We also added some barley malt syrup and cut the molasses in half and throw in some bread spices consisting of; black and brown caraway, coriander, anise and fennel.  To keep in line with the change in whole grains we also changed the whole berry scald to match it using WW, Spelt and Rye.


The resulting overall hydration of 87.5% is fairly in the middle of the pumpernickel hydrations we do around here in AZ where it is so dry all time.  The method was pretty straight forward if a tiny bit unusual.   We built the whole wheat combo SD YW levain together over (2) 4 hour builds where it easily doubled.


After a 1 hour autolyse that had everything in it but the levain and scald, we mixed the levain and the autolyse together with a spoon and then did 10 minutes of slap and folds trying to develop as much gluten as we could = what fun.  We then folded in the scald berries with a bench knife.


 Once the berries were evenly distributed, we tossed the paste into a large bread pan filling it about 3/4th full.  The paste filled the pan fuller than we would normally like for pumpernickel but, my apprentice was lazy and refused to pull it out, divide it and put into two smaller cocktail pans.


 She did, to be fair, reminded me that the Altus loaf at 300 G lsss in size actually shrank the last time leaving the finished bread 1” below the rim of this same pan.  We dusted the loaf with oat bran and let it ferment on the counter for an hour before it went into the fridge covered in plastic, for a 16 hour retard.


It's a little more dense and moist on the bottom.

It had risen to the top of the pan when it came out of the fridge the next morning when it went into a plastic bag to warm up and do final proof on a heating pad for 3 hours.  Since the bread would eventually rise almost an inch above the pan rim, we decided to bake it low and slow; pumpernickel style, in the WagnerWare, MagnaLite turkey roaster with the trivet inside so extra water could be added to steam the loaf.

The temperature reducing (as time goes on) baking schedule follows:

400 F - 30 minutes

375 F - 30 minutes

350 F - 30 minutes

325 F - 30 minutes

300 F - 1 hour

275 F - 2 hours

250 F - 2 hours

225 F - 1 ½ hours

200 F - 1 ½ hours

We had a powerful sunset last night

When the bread tests 205 F in the center, turn off the oven and leave the bread in the DO inside the oven for 8 -12 hours.  We did 8 hours and the oven was still warm in the morning due to the two baking stones on the top and bottom rack of the oven.

The 3 P sandwich - DaPumpernickel, Pepperjack and Pate

Yes, it is a long bake but worth it in the end if you want to make a classic pumpernickel style loaf.  Not that this one is a classic, since it isn't 100% rye, have cornmeal, potatoes or bacon fat in it.  But this sure tastes like a pumpernickel even if it doesn't really use classic pumpernickel flours and uses an Irish Stout for much of the liquid. That’s the great thing about bread – there aren't any real rules, especially if you choose not to follow them like my apprentice.  This bread smell tremendous with the caramelized grains, scald and aromatic seeds.

Love the first one so much we made a variant - DaPumpernickel, Irish Swiss and Pate open face

Sadly, even after it cools you don’t want to slice it for at least 32 hours.  Just wrap it on linen or cotton and be as patient as you need to be…. We love pumpernickel and do not mind waiting, as long as, we win the Power Ball tonight for over $320 plus million.  Well we didn't win the big moola drawing but we still won a jackpot none the less.  We took a few slices off the loaf this morning for pictures and breakfast, re-wrapping the rest to let it sit another 24 hours before slicing it.

A close up open face sandwich - in your face:-)

This bread easily sliced 1/4" thick slices even for such a large loaf.  The bread was open and very moist.  It is also about the best tasting example of a non-traditional pumpernickel my German apprentice has ever tasted.  She wanted to take the rest of the loaf outside to bury it in the back yard but I managed to stop her before she got to the doggie door.  It is a powerful bread flavor wise, as much so as last night's sunset,  and we can't wait to try it with some robust red wine, pate, cheese and fruit spread especially after this morning's toasted pumpernickel with butter, egg, hot sausage and bacon delight.    Yummy. 


SD Starter

Build 1

Build 2



Mini's WW Starter





Yeast Water





Whole Wheat




















SD Levain Totals

























Levain % of Total










Dough Flour





Whole Rye





Whole Spelt





Whole Wheat





Dough Flour




















Dough Hydration










Total Flour





Guinness, YW & SD Starter Water





T. Dough Hydration





Whole Grain %










Hydration w/ Adds





Total Weight










Add - Ins





Red Rye Malt





White Rye Malt





Caraway, Anise, Fennel & Coriander










Barley malt















evonlim's picture

weekend baking is always for friends. my friends have no preference, so it allows me to experiment and practice... !!


getting confident with my hands :)

i am making bread now as well for Sunday's friends. more practice


here is the crumb shot.. added cranberry for color contrast.

one more picture :)




hearthbakedtunes's picture

 Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! This is by far the most exciting and interesting Vollkornbrot that I have ever baked, and I have baked quiet a few of them! I got this idea from the Baeko recipe database. As you might expect, I made several changes to the original formula. This bread is loaded with whole grain goodness, a high amount of fermented flour, a high amount of soaked grain and a truckload of dried fruit and toasted nuts and seeds. My approach to this bread was to simply use the fruit and nut soaker idea and throw that into Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot. The result was fantastic. However, first I would like to shed some light on the process and give you an in depth discussion of the taste and texture of this bread.

This bread is made with 100% whole rye, coming in the form of whole rye flour and rye chops. The rye chops are soaked in warm water overnight, but most of the whole rye flour is located in the sourdough build. What I want to spend most of my time talking about is the dried fruit and nut soaker. This soaker was made with 100 grams of dried cranberries, 100 grams of golden raisin, 100 grams of sliced dried apricots, 100 grams of toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds and 100 grams of boiling water. I used boiling water because I knew that the heat in the water would help to extract the natural sugars and flavors found in the dried fruit. It would also help to extract some of the salty-nutty flavor from the seeds and help to spread it throughout the entire dough during the final mix and fermentation/proofing stages of this bread.

There is something about golden raisins that I love. I am not sure what it is, but they are special to me. I do recall spending an afternoon with my good fried Isaac in 2006 eating handful after handful of golden raisins in our room in Jerusalem. I will admit to regretting it later, because that was a lot of fiber, as with anything else, I had to pay the ultimate price. But lets not "go" there. I also remember eating loquats, which are my favorite fruit, in ample quantities. I like them because they are weird and hard to come by as they are grown in the Middle East and in Bermuda. This soaker makes this bread a lot of fun because it fills the crusty bread with a tenderness and a sweetness that exceeds the typical caramelization of a fully baked rye bread. And this one took close to 90 minutes to bake. This is not a bread for the faint of heart and the fruit and nuts do bring a lightness to a bread that is not typically light. All of the ingredients including the rye, seeds, and fruit brings an intense bread to a whole new level of intensity. This bread is so delicious that it scares me!

 Like any other Vollkornbrot this is a very crusty bread. It is also a very dense bread whose character changes as it is allowed to rest. Much like ourselves, it start off as child, and with the passage of time, it becomes an almost wiser version of itself. But, if you let it get too wise, you will find that it will break your jaw. If this bread is kept in a plastic bag in the fridge, it will last for close to three weeks, maybe even longer. I never have a problem with bread going bad, because it is a major staple of my diet. When a bread is as nutritious and as wholesome as this one is, you never have a guilty feeling about going back for another slice. Over the past few days I have eaten this several ways but the two ways that I have enjoyed it most are "naked" and oddly, with cold pepper jack cheese. (For those of you who are new to this blog, the "naked" refers to the bread and not me.) The spiciness of the pepper jack goes wonderfully with the sweetness of the fruit. The next time I bake this bread I am going to withhold the walnuts and simply add some toasted salted sunflower seeds in their place. I would normally leave them out of the soaker, but once again, I love the salty flavor that the seeds can bring to the crumb when they are added to a boiling water soaker.

I now realize that I did not speak much on the production of this bread. I am currently on an Amtrak train on my way to Atlantic City, and do not have access to my notes, so I will only add a few notes from memory to shed light on a little bit of the process. This dough is mixed on first speed only, and for ten minutes. Karen H Kerr, a baker whom I respect greatly, recommends using the paddle attachment. I gave it a whirl, but it did not work so well for me. Perhaps her formula for Vollkornbrot is much different than mine. After about four or five minutes, I put the hook on and I found it to be more effective. I am a traditional in that sense and cleaning thick dough such as this off the paddle was really a pain in the batinsky! But hey, ‘live and learn and die learning’, that is what I always say. After the dough has come together completely, the fruit soaker is added and allowed to mix until combined and spread evenly throughout. My attitude is: "get the fruit in the dough and don't worry". To me, when you have a dough with this much whole rye flour, the full bake is much more important than a perfect mix. This bread dough is really somewhere between a dough and very thick batter! I always start this bread in a hot oven (470 F) then after twenty minutes bring it down to 375 and bake for one more hour. I then remove the bread from the Pullman pan and let it finish directly on the stone for 15 minutes. This helps firm up the sides a bit and ensures the bread is baked fully! It will be dark, even the flour coating on the pan will have adhered to the bread and look very toasted

This is a bread for the ages! One that I hope one day I will be remembered for!!

Bake on!

-DW, The Rye King

JimmySting's picture

Determining Starter Strength

March 21, 2013 - 4:41am -- JimmySting

Hi all,

I've been feeding my new starter for about a week and a half now (1:2:2, whole wheat flour, every 12 hours). Unfortunately I am either asleep or at work when the starter would be peaking and most active. So when I get home from a long day at work or when I wake up it is hard to tell if much happened. (I do see bubbles and some rise, but this is not totally helpful after 12 hours)


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