The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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)

hungryscholar's picture

Having grown up in San Jose, CA, SF sourdough is what I think of when I think sourdough and thanks to many posts on this site, especially the ones concerning Larraburu, such as this one: have given me a lot of inspiration and I feel like I'm getting closer to being able to get the sour I want without having it taste like whole wheat or rye. I've been keeping the mother starter at room temp and feeding it 1 part starter : 1 part water : 1 part AP : 1 part WW. I still don't have any clear flour, which seems to be what's providing the necessary ash content in the Larraburu formula, so I've been adding a portion of WW as a placeholder of sorts.

SFish Sourdough

50g stiff levain (refrigerated after refreshing the mother starter)

25 g whole wheat

275g KA all purpose

180g warm water (170g + 10g after 5-10 min. autolyze)

6g salt

I mixed everything but the salt and 10g of water and let it rest for 5-10 min. and then added the remaining ingredients and hand kneaded ( 5 minutes?) to combine. I let it rise in ther oven, aiming to keep temp around 86 F by alternating oven light on/off. After about 5 hours I did a few S&Fs, preshaped and rested for 5 minutes, and then shaped as a boule and proofed in a towel lined bowl back in the oven at the same temp for an additional 4.5 hours. Then I preheated oven and ceramic baking dish to 500 F. When I added the dough I dropped the oven to 425 F. Steamed for 20 minutes lid on and an additional 15-20 min. with the lid off.

The flavor was more or less spot on with what I was looking for, definitely sour without being too sour, and it still had good shape. I didn't use steam during proofing and the outside of the loaf got dry so that may have helped it keep the shape during the long proof.

Since there doesn't appear to be a poke test equivelant for pH or TTA, I'll confess I tried a tiny bit of the dough a few times as it was proofing. And I also tried out the method of putting a small piece of dough in water to see when it would be light enough to float. I also added some corn oil to try and gauge further change over a longer proofing time. For a while I thought it wouldn't work, but sure enough, soon after I had shaped the loaf the dough ball started to float. Strange dough blob in action photos below:


5 Hours:

6 Hours:

7 Hours:

8 Hours:

Still looking for a handheld TTA meter though...

isand66's picture

     As I mentioned in my previous post I recently purchased a Brod and Taylor proofer and I have been experimenting with it to see how it affects the sourness and overall bread.

For this latest bread I decided to let the starter ferment at 85 degrees inside the proofer for around 10 hours.  Probably could have cut the time down considerably in hindsight but it doesn't look like the extended time really hand any effect on the overall bread.

When I mixed the starter which had French style flour along with Durum flour along with the flour for the main dough I let it sit inside the proofer for 2 hours at 85 degrees while I did my normal stretch and folds at 15 minute intervals for a total of 3 S&F's.

I used one of the Ale's I purchased a few weeks ago called Hurricane Kitty in place of most of the water and since one of my apprentices insisted on helping on this particular bake I named it after him.


The next day I took the dough out of the refrigerator and put it in the proofer at 80 degrees for 1.5 hours.  I shaped the loaves and let it proof again but at 85 degrees for around 1.5 hours before baking.

The final result was excellent.  A nice open crumb with not too thick of a crust. The onions really came through and the small amount of sprouted wheat really combined well with the French flour and Durum flour.  The crumb is very soft and it made a perfect sandwich bread for my pastrami.  I really like the way this one came out and will make this one again for sure.


Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  (Note: I used my proofer set at 86 degrees F.)  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and Hurricane Kitty Ale together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  While that is resting mix the onions in the water and let it rest.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), walnut oil, and rehydrated onions in water and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Note: I used my proofer set at 85 degrees).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator or proofer and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  (Note: I used the proofer set at 80 degrees).  Next remove the dough and shape as desired.  and place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  (I let the dough proof in my proofer for 1.5 hours at 85 degrees).  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.  I forgot to include the black sesame seeds I used on one of the loaves.  I simply spritzed the loaf with some water and then sprinkled the seeds on.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.


Cosmo Resting from a Hard Day's Work
Feed Me Please!

evonlim's picture

the last bake was with raisins yeast water. it gave some super tasty loaves. trying my luck with some organic dried apricots this time, making yeast water. to my surprised it bubbles more and faster than the raisins. nice aroma and delicate sweetness. choices and supplies of flour is very limited. i only have bob's red mill graham flour on my shelve..hmm

steamed some japanese pumpkin and puree it. add 2 table spoon of maple syrup, 1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds, 2 table spoon of pumpkin seeds oil.



here is the formula.. 

300gram graham flour

100gram bread flour 

100gram AP flour

300gram pumpkin puree

225gram apricot yeast water

200gram 100% hydration of avtive starter using yeast water 

autolysed for 30 mins, add

12gram sea salt

using SF method every 50 mins, 3 times, retard overnight in the fridge. brought it out rest for half an hour, shape it into 2 loaves. proof for 1 and half hour. baked 450F 20 mins covered and further 10 uncovered. 


2nd bake with apricot yeast water.

 used a newly discovered organic multigrain flour.. consist of wheat, bengal gram spilt dehusked, soybean, dehulled barley, fenugreek and psyllium husk.


added toasted brown sesame seeds and Nui coconut oil. 

same formula as above.. 









townesman's picture

Levain not rising as it should

March 17, 2013 - 5:06pm -- townesman

So, I'm still trying to figure out sourdough/levain breads. I've had/maintained an active (125% hydration) culture for some time now (several months?), but I don't have the time to use it very often so I keep it in the fridge most of the time.

When I am going to use it, I generally take it out at least a couple of days ahead of time and feed it every twelve hours. It shows all the signs of being ripe and ready to use (lots of bubbles bursting at the surface, acidic smell, etc.).

april loves bread's picture

Wild rye sourdough is not rising

March 17, 2013 - 2:29pm -- april loves bread



I'm attempting Jamie Olivers sourdough recipe (equal parts rye / water) my starter made a hooch!  It bubbles etc so I know it is vibrant.


After I add the remaining rye flour to my starter to form the dough (2x the orginal amount) and knead it a good 5-10 minutes, and leave it.... nothing seems to happen!  No rise is 12-15 hours!  


Any advice?    

linder's picture

Okay, I got rid of the baking soda in the bread.  It doesn't taste like baking soda anymore.  I added 1/4 cup honey to the bread instead of diastatic malt, added zest of one orange and one more cup of oatmeal substituted for about that much flour. 

Results- better but still not a loaf to write home about, rather bland in flavor.  My husband says it's not near as flavorful as the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  Hmmm, what to do next? 

A little more salt? I'm using about 2 tsp. for 2 loaves.  I'm thinking of uping the whole wheat flour and doing a preferment of wild yeast starter like the WGB bread and putting together an oats soaker as well a la Reinhart.  Is it the oats that make the bread so ho-hum?

Or maybe just forget this recipe, because it seems like by the time I've tweaked it there won't be much left of the original.  Any ideas for improving the flavor profile of this loaf gratefully accepted.



dabrownman's picture

Ancient But Not Mini Oven's No Muss No Fuss 'Leave me Alone' Starter - 8 Days Later

March 14, 2013 - 7:49pm -- dabrownman

We took up Mini Oven's see what happens starter by mixing up some unbleached flour with some water - golf ball size, putting it into a brown paper bag with some extra flour, no peaking for 7 days, and see what you get in a week.   Paul McCool and other TFL'ers have done this before but I coudn't help but give it a go since I just love all kinds of starters and am a sucker for smart ladies with a tendency for insane thoughts :-)


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