The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


akofink's picture

I am a college student at NC State university in Raleigh, NC. I am at my parents' house in Emerald Isle, NC for Easter, and they don't have any bread! Lucky for all of us, they have yeast, wheat flour, and salt. Everything else is extra. I think I can find some grains, oats, raisins maybe to put in the bread. The hardest thing is to find a recipe that has most of the things I have to put in it. Otherwise, I will have to make an experimental loaf first which might not be great for sandwiches. Anyway, if it turns out great from a custom concoction, I will post the recipe!

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

Ghobz's picture

Local Bread Wheat in Quebec

February 21, 2013 - 7:36am -- Ghobz

I went to La Milanaise website to try and understand what the numbers stand for in their durum semolina. I buy my semolina at the grocery in transparent bags and I can see its texture and degree of fineness. But I can't with La Milanaise and I don't want to take the risk and buy a 20 kg bag and end up with one that is too coarse for my Moroccan bread making.

I didn't find an answer to my questions there, but I found this very interesting serie of 2 videos about local wheat in Quebec. I thought I'd share, taking the risk that those maybe were posted here before.

catfuzz's picture

Wheat 'dust' in the bottom of the 25lb bag

January 31, 2013 - 3:57pm -- catfuzz

I just poured a new bag of hard wheat into one of my buckets and noticed a fair bit of dusty wheat bran type stuff in the bottom of the bag.  Is this normal?   I haven't noticed this in the past, and maybe this is an older bag of wheat (although it just came in at the store).

I just want to make sure this is from settling and NOT bugs! 




Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

I've been looking to branch out with the grains I use in my breads. Flipping through Bread Alone, I found a recipe for wheat bread with whole wheat berries. A friend just happened to have a jar of wheat berries on hand, so I was in business!

First things first: soak the wheat berries overnight.


Next we prepare the dough. The recipes in Bread Alone are fairly big--this guy weighed in at 4# 4oz! It's right about the limit for my 5.5qt Kitchenaid. You can see the dough trying to escape below. I kneaded for 6 minutes, then finished by hand for some undertermined time. The wheat berries kept trying to escape from the dough, so I had to chase them around the counter as I kneaded. I'm sure it was terribly comical.


After a 2-hour rise, I split the dough in half, formed them into boules, and popped them into my prepared bannetons.


While they were rising, I prepared for hearth baking, with my Fibrament stone on the bottom and a sheet pan for water on top.


After almost 2 hours, it was time to bake. Out of the banneton and onto my Superpeel, then slashed and into the oven. The oven had been heating at 550F for about 45 minutes.


After putting water in the steam pan, I reduced the temp to the 450F the recipe calls for. 15 minutes later I rotated the loaves and reduced the temp to 400F. 15 more minutes, and bread's done!


This recipe is a definite keeper. The inside is soft and chewy, the high whole wheat content lends tons of flavor, and the whole wheat berries add a welcome little crunch and their own flavor to the party.


jarkkolaine's picture

In the beginning of the fall, I took my boys with me on a small trip to Vääksyn mylly, a small mill at about 150 kilometers from where I live. It's the mill of choice of Viipurilainen kotileipomo, the family run bakery I visited earlier this year (and featured in issue 2 of my magazine, Bread), and the owner of the mill is my friend on Facebook. 

The mill has a strong feel of old days. This is how buying flour must have been like in the past, I thought: friendly people asking you what kind of flour you had in mind, seeing where the flour comes from as you enter the shop. And apparently I'm not the only one impressed by what they do: when I said I had come from Helsinki, the mill's staff told me that it's not that far compared to some other customers. One customer had just visited from Lapland and brought big bags of flour with her. 

I bought 5 kilos of rye flour, 10 kg bread flour, some oats and "uutispuurojauho", a very coarse rye flour meant for porridge making and returned home eager to try the flours. 

I started by trying to make my regular white sourdough bread using the bread flour from the mill, and noticed that there was something very different about how the dough behaved. I knew the flour is strong in protein, but this was much stronger than I had expected. I worked the dough for a long time, until I got tired and gave up. Without a machine, making a dough with nothing but this flour seemed impossible. I think Dan Wing or Alan Scott talked about this in Bread Builders, saying that strong flour is not very good for sourdough bread... What surprised me however was that even a long autolyse didn't seem to help. 

After experimenting with different ratios of this bread flour and some organic white flour I had used before, I found a combination that works very well. Using just 200 grams of bread flour from Vääksy, 100 grams of coarse rye flour from the same mill, and 800 grams of the organic flour, I was able to create bread I really liked: 

At times, I was ready to give up, but I guess now I understand better than ever that if all flour is not created equal, and what is good for something (making dough with a mixer in this case) is not good for something else (mixing a dough by hand).

But at the same time, I'm still not quite sure about this: I had previously bought some of this same flour from a small local food shop near the mill and made bread with it quite succesfully, replacing only a small part of the flour with spelt... There could be differences in batches, or maybe some other factor in the environment or even my starter was affecting the results? 


The next step in my flour experiments came by surprise when I visited Eat & Joy Maatilatori, a local food market at the heart of Helsinki and found their flour mills! At the back of the store, I found a small room with about 10 different flour mills meant for home use. Next to the mills they have big bags of grains, a scale, and a note saying "feel free to use the mills to grind your own flour." I had found heaven!

So far, I have visited the shop twice, as it's always a bit of work to take my kids and go flour shopping in Helsinki. Last week, I bought some rye flour and full grain wheat from the shop. Here's the bread that came out of that visit. 50% of the flour used in the bread is stone ground wheat flour I milled myself at the shop and the remaining 50% regular organic white flour. It's quite dense but tastes delicious with a rather strong wheat flavor (it's amazing how much darker and more flavorful this bread is compared to bread I've made from regular, store bought full grain flour before).


I should really be experimenting with heat and oven improvements, but my head is bubbling with ideas for more flour experiments... Maybe next, I'll mill some more flour and try sifting it to a higher extraction level, or maybe I'll mix in some of the strong bread flour from Vääksyn mylly...

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

This is what I've been doing for the last few days. I thought, since this was an interestinng case, that I should post a few things.

The first time I tried to make a starter I did it in the way I almost always do it: stone ground rye and water. For the first time in my starter-making, I got nothing. A few bubbles, but nothing ever concrete after the first few days. It was my first real failure since using the method mentiond in Sourdough 101. I decided that I should change out one of the variables to see what it was.

I remembered that I had a small bag of graham flour I was going to use to make smores cookies...and then I fell sick and ended up getting my gallbladder evicted. Cue finding it again, and then using it to make the second starter. And...resounding success. It's so much a success, even, that I could use it now. It's only been about five days, though, so I don't really plan to, but you know how you feel when something goes extremely *right* from the get-go.

In the mean time, I should mention that I've started feeding it with King Arthur plain bread flour and it's peaking in 4 hours most of the time, no more than 6.  It's taking basically *all the willpower I have* not to just bake with it right now. It smells sour, and yeasty, but not overly acidic. I just don't want to use it before it's really mature enough.

So...hi? And look forward to pictures from me as I bake. Again. Husband will be so thrilled at having ten different kinds of flour in the house again. :D

Also: I have been a member for four years and a week now. Time *flies*.


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