The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Daisy_A's picture


I was led to Swedish baker Jan Hedh's book Artisan Bread by Dan Lepard's recommendation on TFL. I owe him thanks for that as it full of great formulae and beautifully photographed by Klas Andersson. There is lots in it to inspire.
One of my favourite Hedh breads is a lemon bread flavoured with lemon zest and green olive oil (pp.126-7). Created by Hedh when lead baker on a Swedish cruise ship, this aromatic bread was designed to work well with fish dishes. It can be made in the shape of a lemon-shaped, small dinner bread or a more traditional round roll. The breads are dusted in yellow semolina flour during the second proof, to make them even more lemon-like.

Hedh's recipe gives enough for a small batch,  In fact this is one of the few breads that I can batch bake in an hour after preheating my small domestic oven, baking 3 dinner breads in the first firing and 4-6 round rolls in the second.

The bread has a great texture. It is moist but remains firm even when sliced thinly. It takes savoury toppings well without bending or getting soggy, making it also ideal for open sandwiches and canapés.
We have enjoyed it with fish dishes and also topped it with tomato, oil and vinegar or tangy cheese and pickles. It is also good dipped simply in olive oil. However one of my favourite ways to eat it is sliced thinly with no accompaniments, so that the subtle and delicious lemon taste can be enjoyed to the full.

Even before recent discussions on TFL about copyright  I had been trying to contact Hedh's British publishers to get permission to reprint the recipe. I have had no success so far as it looks as though they have gone into receivership.

This means also that Hedh's book will become harder and harder to find.  Large sellers like Amazon and Smiths are logging it up already as out of stock. The bakery that Hedh co-owns - St. Peter's Yard in Edinburgh  - still had around 60  copies of the book when I rang them a couple of months ago. They don't post out; however if you have friends in Edinburgh do sweet talk them into getting a copy for you as it could be your last chance to get your hands on this great book!

Hedh's original lemon bread is a yeasted bread made with a preferment of yellow durum wheat flour (grown traditionally on the Swedish island of Ven), and light rye flour with stone ground, strong wheat flour added to the final, machine-mixed dough. The version I am writing up here is my adaptation, a sourdough made with semolato, whole rye flour and wholemeal flour, which is hand mixed.

Some pictures of the different stages plus a chart of the adapted formula and process follow:

Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread: Adaptation of Jan Hedh Recipe

This bread is flavoured with lemon zest rather than lemon juice. This results in subtle highnotes in the final bread, rather than a widespread lemon taste. It is well worth getting organic and unwaxed lemons to zest if available. When grated and mixed with the flour the lovely aroma also fills the kitchen! The wholemeal, olive oil infused dough has a lovely, silky consistency and is good to work with.

I have baked this bread several times. The original instructions make no reference to scoring the bread. I made the first batch without slashes and they came out well. However the picture in the book shows a loaf with an open top. I later read in the Introduction that Hedh proofs and bakes some of his breads with the seam side upwards. The loaf then splits along the seam, giving it an attractive rustic look. My shaping skills are not yet so good that I can prevent an unscored loaf rupturing elsewhere. I now normally score the breads with one long stroke along the top and this has worked well to date.

I was concerned that a predominantly whole grain formula at lowish hydration might produce too dense a crumb and loaf. I imagine that the loaves might rise higher when Hedh's original formula is used. However the preferment seems to work well with sourdough as well as baker's yeast and I have been able to get quite an open crumb and good rise for the size of loaf and type of flour used.

My sourdough starters are quite feisty but the relatively low levels of starter in the preferment and final dough have meant that the overall fermentation has taken place without the dough losing elasticity. The amount of starter and fermentation times I give are relevant to my own situation. I am realizing more and more now that with sourdough starters any formula is just a guideline! Please feel free to adjust this to suit your own starters.

I hope that other TFLers might enjoy this bread. If you do try it I would be glad to learn from your feedback.



The quantities below are for 4 dinner breads:

With this formula I used a wholemeal starter at approximately 66% hydration. I have made this bread successfully with wholemeal flours from Dove's Farm, Waitrose and Bacheldre Mill. Bacheldre Mill was the most fruity and aromatic. I used Dallari semolato because it was the only one available locally at the time but would prefer to use DeCecco, a brand that is sometimes available, also recommended by nicobdv.

I estimate overall hydration including starter hydration at 530/945 = 56% but I'm always open to correction!

Total FormulaWeight 
Wholemeal flour695g 650+45
Semolato or other yellow durum wheat flour150g 
Whole grain rye flour100g 
Water530 250+250+30
Green, virgin olive oil50g 
Sea salt or other salt20g 
Zest of 2 medium lemons, preferably unwaxed, organicApprox. 10gWill weigh next time!


Semolato or other yellow durum wheat flour150g 
Whole grain rye flour100g 
Whole meal starter at approx. 66% hydration30g 
Final DoughWeight 
Wholemeal flour


All preferment 530g 
Wholemeal starter at 66% hydration45g 
Green, virgin olive oil50g 
Sea salt or other salt20g 
Zest of 2 medium lemons, preferably unwaxed, organicApprox. 10g 



Make the preferment approximately 12 hours before baking, normally the evening before:

Mix a small amount of starter with water to form a paste

Add the rest of the water to the starter mixture

Combine the flours and pour the water and starter over the flour.

Mix for 8-10 minutes in preferred fashion. (I 'air knead' in the manner of Andrew Whitley in order to incorporate the starter fully)

Cover and leave in an oiled container in the fridge

Mixing of final dough

Wash and zest lemons, mix into flour

Add preferment to flour

Dissolve second lot of starter in second lot of water and pour over flour

Mix by preferred method for 3 minutes

Add oil and salt and mix by preferred method for 8 minutes. (I air knead for 8 minutes then perform one stretch and fold on the bench). 

Make sure that all new starter and preferment are mixed in well.

Mix for another 7 minutes if needed, to form an elastic dough.

Place in a lightly oiled, covered container

First proofApprox. 90 minutes with 1 S&F at 45 mins. Adapt as needed. 
PreshapingQuarter, form into balls and leave covered for 10 mins. 
ShapingShape dinner breads into tapered, lemon-like rolls and smaller rolls as small rounds. Brush with water and dust with polenta or other yellow flour. 
Second proofProof on a floured couche for 60 mins. or until doubled in size 
PreparationPreheat oven to C250 and prepare to steam. For steaming I preheat 2 small fajita trays and pour boiling water onto them as soon as the bread is in the oven. 

I bake the dinner breads for 10 minutes at C250 with steam, open door to releas steam and turn the oven down to C230 for the rest of the bake

Check internal temperature after another 12 minutes, bake for further increments of 3-5 minutes, if needed, until internal temperature of around C90 is reached and crust is an attractive light golden colour.

Jan Hedh recommends baking rolls for around 12 minutes

jennyloh's picture

I'm back from more than 2 weeks business trip and couldn't wait to start on the Jeffrey Hamelman's challenge.  Well,  it didn't quite happen.  With my failed attempt of the Jeffrey Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish,  and failed attempt to make my own malt flour,  still looking for high gluten flour for my Jeffrey Hamelman's bagel,  well,  I adhered to my son's appeal for Olive Bread.  He simply loves olives.  

At least my Olive Bread turns out as expected, although I thought for a moment, that I lost my touch on shaping the dough as the olive started spilling out,  making it difficult to fold the dough without affecting bubbles.  

It turns out surprisingly soft and chewy on the inside.


See recipe - click here. Olive Bread




jennyloh's picture

2 bakes in a day.  This wholemeal roll is a mixed of bread flour and wholemeal.  Wanted to try something else for a change  small rolls using the water roux starter,  with 2 bites and they are gone.  I didn't expect it to turn out so tiny,  measured carefully at 40g per piece.  Anyway,  the most difficult I find is try to shape this.  I read the instructions and  after the 5th ball, I think I got it.  Shape the ball into a cone shape,  roll flat into triangle,  and roll it up from the bottom (wider part of the triangle).  Give it a few roll to tighten it a little. Let it proof for about 1 hour, until it is puffy.  I always wonder if I proof enough?  Well, it had a good oven spring,  and certainly the taste is pretty good,  soft and sweet and a little salty.  To read more:  here's the link.  

ronb's picture

Wholemeal seed & grain flour

January 18, 2010 - 10:34am -- ronb

I have been using Allinsons Wholemeal seedd & grain flour trying to make a 2lb loaf in a Murphy's Bread Maker. I have been following the recipe for a brown loaf using the afore mentioned flour which suggests 4 cups. When I have added all the ingredients, the dough seems far too wet and sticks to the bottom of the bread pan.

As a new chap on the block so to speak, would anyone be kind enough to send me a recipe which will work if I continue to use Allinsons Wholemel Seed & Grain flour plus my Murphy's bread machine?

Look forward to hearing from you,

harrygermany's picture

Newbie from Germany

October 24, 2007 - 11:31am -- harrygermany

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie from Germany. New to this forum and not very well doing with English.

With baking bread I am not new.

My favorite breads are wholemeal rye-wheat breads or rye breads made with sourdough. Sometimes just a little yeast added. Also rye-wheat breads with whole seeds and grains.
Real rustic breads.

And also wheat breads with a poolish made of a tiny bit of yeast.

I am not perfect with baking bread, and so I hope to learn a lot here.


helend's picture

KipperCat - your 100% wholemal spelt NYT method tryout

July 30, 2007 - 5:32am -- helend

Hi KipperCat

I said I would try out your method for the NYT loaf using 100% wholemeal spelt. I stuck to your instructions as closely as I could:

1lb 100% wholemeal spelt flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

2 oz yoghurt


10 oz water NOT 12 oz as it just seemed too wet to me ...

Anyway mixed it all at 9pm last night.

At 9am today, turned it out and did the stretch and fold thing as best I could on a clean unfloured board - 10 times - 6 then 5 min rest then 4 more

KipperCat's picture

This is my first loaf from spelt flour. I wish I had pics of various stages to show you, as I'd love some ideas on why I got absolutely no oven spring from this loaf. The flavor, interior texture and crust were all good. The crumb wasn't as open as I would have liked, but not closed either. I followed the basic NYT/Lahey NK method. I've always used 1.5 cups of liquid for white flour and 2 cups for whole wheat. Knowing that spelt absorbed less flour than wheat, I used 1.75 cups for this loaf. I always got good oven spring using only 2/3's WW flour, but the only loaf that was 100% WW I baked in a pan - here - and didn't get a lot of oven spring either.

This is how I made this loaf.

1 pound whole spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces plain yogurt
12 ounces water

Combine dry ingredients. Stir yogurt and water together, then add to flour mix. Stir until all flour is moistened, then knead briefly with heavy spoon in bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave on counter for about 12 hours. (At this point I had bubbles on top of the dough and the gluten strands were quite visible on tipping the dough bowl.) Turn dough out on floured surface. Do a few stretch-and-folds. (At this point I may have let the dough rest an hour or so, followed by a couple more stretch-and-folds and a 15 minute rest. I just don't remember.) Round dough and put in colander to rise. After a few hours, it wast risen only half as well as the white flour dough in this pic. It wasn't even quite to the top of the colander but passed the finger poke test, so I hoped it was ready to bake. (That is, if I gently poked the dough, the indentation was quite slow to fill in - the test mentioned in Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.)

Turn dough out on baking stone preheated well in a 500F oven. Remove at 20 minutes as the interior temp is about 210F.

This was the most extensible dough I've handled. It never did develop much resistance to my folding or shaping. Is that an indication that the gluten was underdeveloped? Should I have done a few more folds, until the dough felt a bit firmer? After baking, I remembered that I often added 1/4 tsp ascorbic acid (Vit C) and a tablespoon or more gluten to my whole wheat loaves. I had assumed that the Vit C was redundant with the yogurt and didn't even think about adding gluten. Also, salt should have been 1.5 teaspoons.

KipperCat's picture

for Helend - 1st wholemeal spelt loaf

July 17, 2007 - 6:26pm -- KipperCat

Helend - DH is bringing home some wholemeal spelt flour tonight. I had planned to start a loaf of 100% WW tonight, but may try the spelt instead. I've read that it absorbs less water than whole wheat. Anything else I should know? I usually add an acid to my whole wheat bread. Should I do this with the spelt as well? And lastly, any thoughts on whether I should use all spelt or try a blend (about 50/50) of whole spelt and whole wheat?

helend's picture

I've ben practising this recipe for a while. I syill can't quite manage the same crumbly texture as the famous McVitie brand but getting closer ...

They aren't that pretty to look at but taste good

For approx 2 dozen biscuits:

10 oz wholemeal flour

6 oz fine oatmeal

2 tsp salt (nec for the sweet/savoury balance but you could use less)

2 tsp baking powder

6 oz butter/marg

3 oz dark brown/muscovado sugar

5-6 tbs milk

Preheat oven to 150c. Sift dry ingredients together, rub in butter, stir in sugar, use minimum milk to make a dough. Roll out just under 1/4" thick, cut out with a 3" cutter, prick and bake on greased baking sheets for 18 minutes until just browning. Shift to a cooling rack asap.

PS You can use about 10 oz of chocolate, melted to cover the tops.




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