The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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staff of life's picture
staff of life

Optimal amount of protein for a whole wheat flour?

I checked on Wheat Montana's site today and saw that their whole wheat flour has a protein content of 15-16%!!  It's the flour I've been using; I have noticed that with most recipes I have to add more water than suggested, but I didn't put two and two together.  I'm thinking that in order to adjust for a more fragile gluten network formed in a whole grain dough that the protein level should be higher than a white flour, but this seems excessive.  (And I don't even know if I'm right about the whole protein thing being higher.)  I can't find any info in any of my books about this subject.  Can anyone enlighten me?


KipperCat's picture

100% WW rolls - moderate success

I made a stab at some 100% WW rolls today. (Well, I did sub in about 70 grams of white cake flour because I didn’t have enough WW pastry flour.) I was surprised to realize that shaping those little balls was a lot more difficult than shaping a loaf sized boule. I’m generally happy with the results, though I probably should have allowed the rolls to proof longer. Laurel suggests allowing rolls to actually overproof. The final rise time is projected at 45 minutes in a 95F environment. I didn’t have an easy way to create a proofing chamber for a sheet of rolls, so they took a lot longer, and I was impatient.. Here’s a shot of the crumb. That's an 8 oz coffee cup for reference.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls for Thanksgiving

- based on Dinner Rolls for Aunt Agatha in Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book


35 grams potato flakes

150 grams WW pastry flour

50 grams finely ground red WW flour

230 grams finely ground white WW flour

¼ cup buttermilk powder

1 tsp. Salt

340 grams water


470 grams finely ground white WW flour

340 grams water

½ tsp. Instant yeast


All of soaker

All of biga

7 Tbsp. extra WW flour

2 tsp instant yeast

3 tablespoons honey

1 egg

1 tsp salt (increase to 1¼ tsp)

¼ cup (56 grams) soft unsalted butter – ½ stick

Chop BIGA and SOAKER into several pieces with bench knife. Mix with remaining ingredients on slow speed for 1 to 3 minutes, using extra flour only if necessary. Switch to dough hook, and knead for 2 minutes. Let rest one minute or so, then slowly knead for about another minute, checking for windowpane.

Let dough go through one rise and then shape, rise and bake. .

For a brown and serve roll, bake at 275F for 30 minutes. To serve, preheat the oven to 450 and bake the rolls about 15 minutes, or just until nicely brown. Don’t overbake.

As with any bread, don't cool them on the baking sheet! I parbaked them at 275. When they cooled for about an hour, the top surfaces had shriveled just a tad, and the bottoms were a bit moist. Next time I'll use a cooling rack!

If time permits, I'll do a 2nd attempt before Thanksgiving. For one thing, I'd like to see if the shaping gets any easier with more practice. But for now, these are in the freezer, and will do.

ElaineW's picture

Seeking an Apple Cider Starter recipe


Today, while my grandchildren were visiting, I discovered that I have a gallon of apple cider that is no longer sweet cider. By the time the boys (2 1/2 and 6 1/2) left, I thought of consuming it but then again I thought of how could I use this to make a starter.  Since I do have a gallon of this stuff I have enough to play around with.

I was wondering, has anyone tried to make a starter using apple cider and flour?  If so, what amounts did you use and what type(s) of flour.

I am pretty new to this site but have been baking breads for about 40 years, sourdough for about 1 year and mostly just a rye sour.



dolfs's picture

First Epi and baguette

Today I decided it was time for a serious try at baguette and epi.

Baguette and EpiBaguette and Epi

I made a straightforward french dough (68% hydration) and did not knead, but used the stretch and fold approach, both to develop the dough, and part way through bulk fermentation. I made two demi-baguettes and one epi. Unlike all my previous baking, today I used the convection mode which gave a very even browning of the bread (also used baking stone and steam of course). The crust was crackling, which was also a first for me. Way cool to hear that. It all resulted in a very thin but crispy crust and a very tender inside with nice crumb and decent holes.

Baguette and Epi crumbBaguette and Epi crumb 



See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

KipperCat's picture

Should I steam a cold start sandwich loaf?

I didn't the last time, and I think the loaf could have risen better.  Does it matter much if I use hot or cold water in a cold oven?  One of these days I'll rig some steam injection, but that's a ways down my project list.

colinwhipple's picture

Sourdough - Temperature & Rise Time

This weekend I took a go at Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain.

The levain itself seemed to go well.  I initiated the levain according to the recipe on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday morning it had risen and fallen back slightly. 

I mixed the dough, including following Mariana's suggestion in one of her posts of giving a 30 minute autolyze after just mixing the water with most of the flour.  I did "most of the flour" for that part, because a significant portion of the water was in the levain.

 I also tried to make sure the dough was thoroughly mixed after adding the salt, the levain, and the rest of the flour. Mariana had emphasized the importance of thorough kneading (or mixing) for gluten development.

The problem came with the primary fermentation.  I got only a small rise.  I folded the dough once, after 90 minutes, then I am afraid I lost patience after 3 hours, and did the dividing and shaping, and let it sit for about 3 1/2 hours.  Still only a small rise.  I slashed, misted the loaves with water, and baked.  The flavor was good, but there was only a small amount of oven spring.  The loaves ended up somewhat dense.

 The temperature for most of the day Sunday was at or under 70 degrees, not the 78 degrees that Hamelman prescribed.  Is that likely the major problem?  Should I have let the primary fermentation go on a lot longer?

My wife really likes whole wheat bread, but I have had a hard time getting it to come out right.  White flour, or just a small proportion of whole wheat flour, has been a lot easier.




staff of life's picture
staff of life

Folding, windowpaning and dough strength

Are we supposed to assume that when a dough reaches the point that it windowpanes, the dough has enough strength?  I let my white sourdough reach just that point in the mixer the other day, and did not fold it.  It seemed a bit slack to me, but I was experimenting.  The result was a slack dough that spread quite a bit in the oven. (I did the final proof in a banneton.)  I have also taken that same formula and given it folds to the point that in the oven, it bursts because it's too strong.  How do we assess when I dough has hit that magic point of being strong enough but not too strong?


CountryBoy's picture

Rose L. Beranbaum Rye Bread

I have a problem and would like advice that anyone could provide.  My rye bread is waxy rather than light and chewy.  Do you know what I mean?  I have tried this recipe 4 times and I am not improving.  Could you advise?  Please note that she expressly suggests Bread flour for this recipe.

The following is the recipe I am following.  I quote it in full so you will know my process for this.

Basic Rye Bread-This Yields 3 Loaves…

The Sponge
6…Cups of wrist-temp water
2  tsp … active dry yeast
3 .…Cups Bread flour
3 Tbs .. of Honey 
3 ….Cups of rye

Additional Flour: mix the below items altogether
9….cups unbleached bread flour
1 … Pkg of active dry yeast
4….. Tbs. of Vegatable oil or 4 Ts of butter
Optional: 6 Tbs of Caraway seeds to soak in evening before..
2 ½ ….. Tbs.  sea salt before kneading

DAY I: Sponge
o Place 3 Cups water in large bowl; sprinkle in yeast; wait 10-20 mins. 
o Beat in The Sponge Ingredients; should be thick batter consistancy.
o Cover the bowl, wait for 1-2 hours.
o Put in fridge overnight 8-24 hrs.
o Next day take out and allow 1-2 hours to warm.

DAY II: Mix, etc.
? Add the Addt'l flour 1 cup at a time, graduating from wooden spoon. 
? When all the flour is added then allow to set for 1-4 hours.
o Levy says autolyse not necessary.
? Do Bulk Ferment:Kneade on 2 different occasions
o As needed at 1 hour + intervals; w/2 foldings at Each interval.
?  Divide Wait ½ hour and then form loaves.  .
? Put in oiled pans and then wait 1-2 hours to rise.
?  Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees.
?  Brush top with water for crust.
?  S L A S H….. ½ ''. 

?  Put in oven at 400 degrees;  Bake for 20 mins.  And then tent appropriately.
? Open door to release the steam w / spoon.
? Then bring down heat to 375 for 40 mins. 
? Per Levy, with Rye necessary to bake 60  mins. !!!!!!
? Note:
o Allow to cool in oven
o Allow 6-12 hours to realign before cutting and eating.

dolfs's picture

Thom Leonard's Country French

My first attempt failed, but this second one was much better.

Thom Leonard's Country FrenchThom Leonard's Country French

The first time I was baking six loaves (3 different recipes, 2 loaves each) on one day, and I wasn't quite with it (tired). I did not take care of the dough well enough, I suppose. It took way to long to ferment and rise, and as a result was over proofed. When I slashed it, it collapsed, and never quite recovered in the oven. It was still quite edible with some soup though! 


So, back to the drawing board. Second time around I made sure I had a good gluten window. This time around I also did a longer autolyse, and waited to add the salt until much later. I did three folds along the way during the bulk ferment. Finally, I made sure I shaped a good really tight boule. The effort paid off. I had a minor collapse during slashing, but probably more due to me trying to slash "assertively". It came back just fine in the oven!

Thom Leonard's Country French CrumbThom Leonard's Country French Crumb

The crumb was nice, and the crust incredible. The taste was very complex and very sweet. Only a hint of sour. I baked this as an almost 3 pound loaf, so I did use only about 55 minutes of baking time, rather than the 70 minutes suggested for the 4 pound version. Internal temperature was 210F. I did not have high-extraction flour. Last time I did an approximation by sifting coarse whole wheat flour, but the bread came out a lot darker than it should. This time I used a fine whole wheat mixed with regular bread flour (Giusto's Ultra Performance). To keep the color down I used 50% whole wheat and 50% white whole wheat (both KA). 



See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

DavidAplin's picture


Hi Bread Bakers, I have been 'sper-i-menting with Vollkornbrot forms from Hamelmans book. Some have turned out well, others not so well. The final proof seems to be key here. Paying attn to the final proof time is very important, if it rises a little too high...kerplunk! Also, the baking time in the book seems to be rather short, I have increased it to around 4 hours in total.

Happy Baking, David Aplin  Finished mix @ 20 degrees C
Vollkornbrot Final Dough: Finished mix @ 20 degrees C
 Water on table, dough is tres sticky
2 kg. and 1 kg. pieces: Water on table, dough is tres sticky
 Beginning of 1 1/2 hr. final proof
Vollkronbrot in tins: Beginning of 1 1/2 hr. final proof
 End of proof with cracks very visible, time to slam the heat
Vollkornbrot Proof: End of proof with cracks very visible, time to slam the heat
 After a lengthy bake; almost 4 hours.
Vollkornbrot baked: After a lengthy bake; almost 4 hours.
 Another view, quite pleased with myself, (FOR NOW)
Vollkronbrot Baked 2: Another view, quite pleased with myself, (FOR NOW)