The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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JMonkey's picture

I bake bread about twice a week for my family, and these days, it's usually either a sourdough from 50% whole wheat, 10% rye and 40% AP or a loaf of Buttermilk and Honey Whole Wheat. But for whatever reason, I was craving rye yesterday, so I set up this loaf. No caraway, as I'd run out, though i do like it.

Here's how I made it:


  • Whole Rye: 40%
  • High-Gluten Flour: 60%
  • Water: 75%
  • Salt: 1.8%
  • All the rye is in the starter with a hydration of 100%


  • Whole rye starter, 100% hydration: 400g
  • High gluten flour: 300g
  • Water: 175g
  • Salt: 9g
  • Optional -- 9g of caraway seed

To make the bread, mix up all the ingredients and knead. It's sticky, so I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes first, then I knead with wet hands for 3-5 minutes, let it sit again for 5 minutes, and do a final couple minutes of kneading. Let it rise for 2.5 to 3 hours, shape, and give it another 2.5 to 3 hours to finish. I baked mine in a cloche at 450, covered for 35 minutes, uncovered for 10.

For this morning's breakfast, Iris (my 9-year-old) desperately wanted bagels, so I said I'd make them, but I only had rye starter ready to go. Could be interesting, I thought. So I plowed ahead. They turned out well!


  • Whole Rye: 16%
  • High gluten flour: 84%
  • Water: 59%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Diastatic malt powder: 1%
  • All the rye was in the starter at 100% hydration


  • Rye Starter at 100% hydration: 285g
  • High gluten flour: 735g
  • Water: 375g
  • Salt: 18g
  • Diastatic malt powder

Here's how I made them. The night before, I mixed up all the ingredients until they were mostly hydrated, and then let them sit for 15-20 minutes. I then kneaded for about 5 minutes, let it sit for another 5 minutes, and gave it a final kneading of 2-3 minutes. I then cut the dough into 12 pieces of 110 - 120g each.

I pre-shaped each piece into a ball and then rolled them out into a snake, which I wrapped around my hand, sealing the ends together with the heel of my palm. They proofed overnight, covered, in my garage, which is unheated, but rarely gets below 45 degrees F.

The next morning, I brought a big pot of water to boil, to which I'd added a good handful of baking soda. Does it make a difference? Who knows? But I know I'm not messing around with food-grade lye, and baking soda is cheap. Why not? Anyway, it was apparently very cold last night. Usually, I boil them for a minute on each side, and they typically float after 30 seconds or so. These didn't float until 1:45 had passed! Anyway, I put them on a piece of parchment paper that I'd placed on my peel, and let them cool down a bit before brushing them with an egg wash (1 egg + a tsp or two of water, lightly beaten). I like the color it gives them, and it makes the toppings stick better. For toppings, I like garlic, onion, a salt & seed mix, and cheese. For the garlic and onion, I've found that what works best is to rehydrate dehydrated onion and garlic with hot water. Fresh just burns to a crisp in the oven. I add cheese halfway through the bake. Cheese on top of some garlic is particularly nice. I baked at 500 degrees F on a pre-heated baking stone for 10-12 minutes, turning once halfway through the bake.

Finally, my daughter and I have had a lot of fun with the pasta machine we got for Christmas from my parents. Last night, we made spinach and cheese raviolis, which were a ton of fun to make, and even more fun to eat.

I sauteed them in some brown butter after they boiled and then topped with grated parmesan. Just delicious. Here's Iris and me turning the scraps into noodles. They went into the freezer and will likely be added to a soup sometime soon.

Happy New Year, fellow bakers!

breadforfun's picture

I baked a few sourdough loaves for last-minute gifts today.  Using the basic 1-2-3 sourdough recipe, my 100% hydration starter, and a mixture of 70% T-70 (from Central Milling), 15% whole wheat (BRM), 10% whole spelt and 5% rye for the final dough, the final hydration is a bit over 71%. Each loaf was scaled at about 600 gm for a final loaf weighing 500 gm.  The shaped loaves were retarded about 20 hours in the refrigerator and final proofed at room temperature for 2 hours before peeling into an oven heated to 500˚F.  They were baked at 440˚F with steam for 15 minutes, then 420˚F convection for another 20 min.

Happy New Year to all.


isand66's picture

    This was going to be bread for my wife's stuffing this weekend, but the impending snow storm has postponed our family dinner and the need for stuffing.  Not to mention she informed me she wanted a simple white bread and challah bread anyway, so I will be happy to eat this tasty cheesy, eggy bread all by myself.  No complaints here as this turned out excellent.  This bread tastes like cheese since I mixed both cheddar and Asiago cheese into the dough before it went for its overnight slumber in the fridge.  I think this method really distributes the cheese flavor throughout the entire bread.

I have to say the crust came out nice and chewy and the crumb was open and soft.  This bread is a keeper and is good enough to eat without any additional toppings.

I used my standard trusty AP starter at 65% hydration refreshed per below.

AP Starter

227 grams AP Flour

71 grams AP Seed Starter

151 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 8 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.

Main Dough Ingredients

425 grams AP Starter from above

130 grams First Clear Flour

290 grams European Style Flour (KAF--you can substitute AP or Bread Flour)

100 grams Durum Flour

25 grams Potato Flour

80 grams Grated Cheddar Cheese

40 grams Grated Asiago Cheese

142 grams Whole Egg Beaten (3 large eggs)

262 grams Water at Room Temperature

15  grams Olive Oil

18 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt


Mix the flours, oil, water (hold back 50 grams for later) and eggs in your mixer or by hand for 1 minute. Let it rest covered in your bowl for 10 minutes.   Next cut the starter into small pieces and put into the bowl on top of the dough and let it rest another 10 minutes covered.  After the autolyse is complete add the salt and the rest of the water as needed and mix for 3 minutes on low to incorporate all the ingredients.  The dough should form a sticky ball at the end of 3 minutes mixing.  Now add the cheese and mix for 1 additional minute to incorporate all of the cheese throughout the dough.  the dough will be rather sticky but resist the urge to add more flour.

Next take the dough out of the bowl and place it a well oiled bowl.  Do several stretch and folds in the bowl and rest the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  After the rest do several more stretch and folds in the bowl and cover the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Do one more stretch and fold and let it sit at room temperature covered for 2 hours.  Feel free to do some additional S&F''s to build up more gluten strength.  After 2 hours you can put the dough into the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days before baking.  I baked the bread about 14 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 it in a floured basket  or bowl and let it rise covered for 1.5 to 2 hours or until it passes 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.    When the loaf is golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.

Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before digging in if you can wait that long.


browndog's picture


This is a lovely sourdough, my current favorite. I found the recipe on the now-defunct Dan Lepard forums,  and unfortunately cannot credit the original baker who posted it.  Beautiful golden yellow and with just a bit of a kick from the chilies, you can also add a teaspoon or so of cardamom and fennel for added flavor and interest, but it is utterly charming without. I have assumed in the instructions that you have a basic knowledge of sourdough technique--if not I am happy to field any questions.

I never have got the beautiful open airy crumb that many bakers seem able to produce, but nevertheless this is a tender loaf with an excellent texture, just enough chewiness for your teeth to feel as though they were being useful. I use store brand unbleached or a mix of regular unbleached and one of the higher protein all-purpose flours like King Arthur.

starter {twice refreshed} 240g
water 264g
pumpkin (cooked weight) 320g
strong white flour 840g
salt 18g
sunflower seed 100g
crushed chili

Called Pumpkin Sourdough but any winter squash will do and butternut
squash is particularly nice. Because squash can vary a lot in water content you have to be
prepared to juggle the amount of water in the recipe. Halve and seed squash.
Splash with olive oil, sprinkle with crushed  chili to taste and bake til soft.
Cool. Puree with the water.

Mix and knead using your preferred method. I fold twice at fifty-minute intervals. Bulk fermentation about 4 hours, although it can be a bit lively.
Form into two boules or batards, let rest 15 minutes, shape and set in proofing baskets.
A few sunflower seeds and a sprinkle of crushed chili in the bottom of the basket looks pretty
on the baked loaf.
Prove 3-4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
Carefully turn out onto a floured baking sheet. Slash and bake using preferred steaming method. I bake under rinsed stainless steel bowls for 20 minutes, then remove the bowls and another 20 minutes does the trick.
Bake in preheated 440 degree oven for about 40 minutes.






BigelowBaker's picture

Weight-Loss Bread Recipes

December 26, 2012 - 9:20am -- BigelowBaker

I have a problem: I need to lose approximately 100 pounds, but I also LOVE to bake bread...

Along with exercising more and counting calories, one of the things I'd like to do to facilitate this journey (and hopefully add some fun, too :) is come up with a few unique bread recipes that are:

1) Healthy
2) Interesting
3) Have some quality relevent to weight-loss/healthy living

Some things to get out of the way right off the bat:

Sjadad's picture

It's been too long since I baked up some Vermont Sourdough, so that was today's bake. Why have I waited so long?!   The loaves sang as soon as they emerged from the oven, and the crust developed those beautiful hairline fissures we all aspire to achieve. 


dabrownman's picture

We were struggling with our normally robustmRye sour and Desem mixed SD starter.  It had been left for dead after its last feeding and storage about a month ago.  I had baked 4 loaves of bread from the 80 g stored and had 40 g left and it was looking the worse for wear.


We tried building a levain using 5 g and 1:10:10 but after 20 hours there was no visible change.  The kitchen temperature was 65 F and we though the low temperature might be the problem.  So, we added 5 more grams of starter, put it in a 78 F environment that the microwave provided with one of Sylvia's steaming cups.


Sure enough 6 hours later, the levain and finally nearly doubled.  You for get how nice the AZ summers are for over proofing just about anything and everything.  Now with winter temps of 65 F yeast just doesn’t like to be aroused and put to work.


We took the remaining 30 g of starter and fed it but kept it on the counter to double which it nearly did in 24 hours.  We decided it and feed it again to get it back up to speed and saved the other half for some panettone bake possibly for Christmas but more likely for New Years.


We decided to use our revived starter to make a variation of one of our favorite breads; fig, pistachio, sunflower and pumpkin seed bread.  But, we decided to try and bake it like you would pumpernickel - long, slow and low and see if the crust and crumb would turn a dark brown color like pumpernickel does baked this way.


The question was which way to do this; the Norm Berg way, the Andy way, the Mini Oven way or the Jeffrey Hamelman way - or some combination which could be a dangerous meeting of the ryes.  My apprentice wanted to use our Wagner Ware Magnalite Turkey roaster since nothing puts a dark brown crust on bread like it does – nothing even close.


The trivet on the bottom allows extra water to be placed in the roaster so that it doesn’t touch the bread itself.  We hoped that the steam in the roaster with an oval shaped chacon would substitute for the aluminum foil covered tins normally used for pumpernickel. 

It was worth a shot and, if it wasn’t turning out right, my apprentice could always save the day, as she has taught herself to do in out kitchen, by taking the lid off and bake the bread to 205 F on the inside at a higher temperature – none the worse for wear - if you are like my apprentice and will eat anything.

The levain was build with one build over and agonizing 26 hours.  Everything except the levain, barley malt syrup, figs, pistachios, seeds and salt were autolysed for 2 hours.  Once the levain, barley malt syrup and salt were added to the autolyse, we did 10 minutes of French slap and folds which were nice to do at 75% hydration.

The dough was rested 20 minutes in an oiled, plastic covered bowl when 3 sets of S& F’s were done on 20 minute intervals.  The figs, pistachios and seeds were added in during the 2nd set of S& F’s.  Half the seeds were held back for a ringed topping around the knotted roll.

Inside at the crack of dawn you can see the holes in the crumb better.  Haven't had lunch with it yet but the sunset was nice.

Once the S&F’s were complete, the dough was allowed to ferment and develop on the counter for 1 hour before being shaped into a single knot chacon and placed in a rice floured basket.  The basket was placed in a nearly new trash can liner and allowed to develop for another hour before being retarded in the fridge overnight for 8 hours.

The next morning the dough basket was retrieved from the fridge and allowed to come to room temperature and final proof for 4 hours when it had doubled.  Now came the time to decide which way to bake it – what turned out to be a difficult decision.

After much thought, careful deliberation with my apprentice and talking to rye experts worldwide we decided that Mini Oven’s way of baking it was the way to go.  Baking in the specialized turkey roaster at 320 F until it registered 205 F on the inside was the simplest most efficient way to go in order to have the oven empty by 2 PM when the girls needed it to bake Christmas cookies.

After a half and hour the bread has spread out rather than up probably due to the low temperature but it was a slightly darker color.  We put it back in the oven for another 50 minutes at 320 F.  When we checked the temp was at 203 F and the color was still pale.

So we cranked up the oven to 425 F, convection this time and took the bread out of the turkey roaster and baked it directly on the oven rack for 15 more minutes.  At that time it registered 205 F and it was a blistered weird brown color not usually associated with this kind of bread.  So off went the oven and we let the bread crisp on the oven rack with the door ajar for 10 minutes.

This has to be the strangest and longest way to make a Frisbee that my apprentice has ever managed.   Thank goodness she is a professional! Can’t wait to see what it looks like on the inside.  Hopefully it will be a darker brown color than it would otherwise be and taste way better too - or this bake will go down as total and complete apprentice failure, if well meaning.

The bread, while flat, had a nice open crumb for so much stuff in it.  The crumb was much darker than normal and it was moist and soft.  The taste was enhanced like a light caramelization on anything will do.  I was really shocked how deep the flavor was and how nice this bread tasted - toasted it was outstanding.  Can't wait to try some pate on it.   When we do this again, we will start the bread baking at 450 F for 20 minutes so it wouldn't spread out and spring instead.  Then turn the oven down to 230 F like Andy does for his pumpernickel and get in the low portion of the bake until 205 F registered on the inside. 

You learn from each bake, like we did this time, so this one was not a total loss - and the bread that came out of it was quite unlike any we managed to bake to date.


SD Levain

Build 1




Rye Sour and Desem Starter




















Dark Rye















Total Starter




















Levain % of Total










Dough Flour















Dark Rye





Toady Tom's Toasted   Tidbits





Red Malt





White Malt










Potaoto Flakes





Oat Flour










Dough Flour









Total   Flour






Dough Hydration










Total Flour










Total Dough Hydration










Hydration w/ Adds





Total Weight










Whole Grains















Add - Ins





Figs Adriatic and Mission





Pistachio, Sunflower   & Pumpkin











Snezhinka's picture

Can I re-shape bread a second time?

December 19, 2012 - 1:47am -- Snezhinka

I left a loaf (Sourdough with durum flour) to rise overnight in a banneton on my windowsill (it was quite cold there), then turned it out to bake, and it smacked down onto the sheet and flattened. Can I re-shape it and stick it in the fridge to rise again? I mill my own flour and used my last sprouted durum, I really can't throw this dough away! I'm so upset! 

Perhaps i can knead in some more starter to make it rise again, or can I just re-shape it and put it in the fridge to rise again? 




Applespider's picture

With an Italian heritage, we've always had panettone in the house around the Christmas but it's always been bought from a variety of Italian delis. Since I started baking with sourdough a few years ago, I've thought about trying to make one but was always slightly daunted by the idea.  But this year, I decided to have a go...

I used foolish poolish's recipe (which was originally on TFL) as a basis since its method specifically mentioned that it could be done by hand.  And then tweaked it a little - mine had a little more butter, Aroma Panettone and chocolate rather than fruit.  And I doubled it...

My sourdough starter (Sammy) is about 3.5 years old and works well despite hiberating in the fridge for 2-3 weeks at a time. In preparation for making the panettone,  I fed him twice daily from Monday to Thursday.  On Thursday night, I converted him to a stiff starter (50%) from a 100% one.  I'd never kept such a stiff starter and I confess it was a bit of a shock.  

On Friday, I fed my new starter at 4 hourly intervals (8am, 12pm, 4pm) before getting everything ready to get started around 8pm.  My 50% starter is in the white bowl.  For the rest of the flour, I used an equal split of Waitrose Canadian Extra Strong Flour and an Italian 00 flour.

Most of my ingredients were in lovely round 400g multiples except the butter/water.  I got the butter right but inadvertently added extra water (only about 50ml).  

It looked a little drier than I expected but figured I'd already added extra so carried on.  

My usual sourdough is one of Dan Lepard's ones which is minimal knead.  So, lacking a stand mixer, I investigated Bertinet's slap and fold method and got kneading.  After about 20 minutes, I heard a knock at my door.  My neighbour had come up to check that I was OK since she was a little concerned... Ooops!

The recipe called for adding the sugar very slowly. Adding 400g in 10g multiples while kneading did take some time.  I got a little worried when I added the butter in (again in small doses) that I'd inadvertently 'curdled' the dough but it came back together and looked good when I left it to rest.  By now it's just after 11pm so I need to rest too!

I confess to waking up around 3am and sneaking into the kitchen to check it out.  It was rising so I felt good.  I woke up around 8, grabbed some breakfast and then went off to make my second dough.  Again, adding the sugar was what took the time and it wasn't until nearly 11am that I was ready to mix the two doughs.  By this time, my first dough had quadrupled.

Mixing the two doughs was surprisingly easy by hand.  I just stretched both out, laid one on top of the other and started kneading until they were indistinguisable... and then for a little longer.

Time to add the butter and then knead to windowpane consistency.  This was where I really would have liked a stand mixer.  I kept thinking "One more song on the iPod and then it will be there" but I finally got it to a good latex glove stretch.  Sadly I couldn't get a picture since I was all alone in the house.

So... all I need to do now is add a little honey and then the chocolate.  Easy after all the stress, right?  Um no... I added both - folding the chocolate into the dough rather than mixing.  And then when I started to split the dough into portions for my cases, it turned into a greasy mess with virtually no structure any longer.  Believe it or not, the picture below had had some basic shaping done as I weighed them out. I was horrified!  I'm still not sure if it was just too much butter, whether the room was too warm or what happened.

But I persevered.  I skewered my cases while the dough rested and then tried reshaping them and putting them into their moulds (100 and 300g sizes).  By now it was around 1pm

And then I waited to see whether my dough would salvage itself or stay stubbornly flat.  I read so many horror stories online about non-rising panettones that I was fearing the worse.

But, by around 5pm I dared to go and check and things were looking promising.

I waited til around 8pm and then put the first batch into the oven.  I figured that with 4 oven loads, I'd rather have the smaller ones be slightly under-proved than risk the larger ones being over-proved by waiting.  I baked the smaller ones for 25 minutes and the larger ones for 35 minutes at 160C fan.

The last batch went in at 10pm.  My cover wasn't airtight and they'd developed a slight skin so I felt that they weren't really going to rise much more in the next two hours.  The small ones had all reached the top of their cases and the larger ones were nearly there - or about an inch or so from the top.  I glazed them with a sugar/cocoa glaze rather than just butter since the dough felt quite pale - and sprinkled them with pearl sugar.  I did put almonds on some but they tended to fall off when I inverted them.  I did slash them but, probably because of the slight skin, they didn't expand much.  I did get pretty good oven spring though.

I did find an inspired solution to hanging them.  My clothes airer really came into its own.  It was a really neat way to hang 18 panettones!

My flat smelled amazing all last night as I restrained myself from trying one out. And this morning, I lined them all up in preparation for trying them out.

And then, at last, it was time to try one for breakfast

I was really pleased with the results.  It's got that lovely shreddable texture even though that slight skin made the dome a little more dense.  The Aroma Panettone was surprisingly strong.  It says 1-2 tsp per kg of dough.  I put 5tsp into 3kg of dough and it's almost too much.  Next time I'd probably do 4tsp in 3kg.  

Now I've wrapped all the small ones in cellophane ready for my colleagues tomorrow.  Any suggestions as to what their shelf-life is likely to be?  Should I warn them to eat in the next 2 days or might they last longer?  I have a larger one where the recipient is now off until next weekend.  Has anyone had any success freezing panettone?  Or given that shop ones sit around for months, will a home made one last a week?  

All in all, I really enjoyed making my panettone even if my shoulder blades and forearms were screaming towards the end of the butter kneading phases.  I'll definitely do it again next year!


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