The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SylviaH's picture

Buns for Sandwiches

Nice recipe for some one day buns for sandwiches, hot dogs, or burgers.   Adapted from a Beth Hensperger recipe.  I had just written out the recipe with instructions and deleted the whole thing ; /   So here goes again!

8 oz. Spring Water

1 Large Egg

4 TBsp. soft unsalted Butter

2 TBsp. Sugar or Honey

15 oz. Bread Flour with extra to adjust hydration if needed.  I used Gold Medal Bread Flour on sale here for less than 2 bucks a 5 lb. bag.

1/4 cup King Arthur dry Milk Powder

1/4 cup mashed potato - I used a microwaved potato.  Fast and easy

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 1/4 tsp. IADYeast

  1 egg yolk plus 2 Tbsp. water and 2 Tbsp. milk for glazing

   Sesame and Poppy seeds, springs of fresh Rosemary.

Add liquid ingredients to KA Mixer, add dry ingredients,  I sift my flour and dry  milk powder together.  The KA Dry Milk Powder tends to be sticky and can clump together and become hard if left with moisture for to I just always sift it with my flour..using a wisk or a wire scoop.  Mixed until shaggy adding more flour as needed to adjust hydration.  Cover and rest 25 minutes.  Knead until gluten formation just begins.  Stretch and folds 30 minutes apart until gluten has formed nice windowpane.  Pour out onto counter, shape even weighed rolls, I made 8.  Place on parchment lined pan and press down to shape buns.  I pressed a biscuit cutter nearly all the way through just for a little extra pattern on rolls.  Let rise till nearly double.  Glaze and sprinkle on seeds.  Baked 350F in a convection oven setting till nicely browned..about 20-25 minutes.



                                             The pattern from the biscuit cutter was not very pronouned..



                                                          I called these my Aussie Sandwiches : )  






dmsnyder's picture

Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough

Some time ago, Pat (proth5) posted her formula for baguettes. This was in the context of our "great baguette quest" of some months back. We were playing with higher hydration doughs and cold fermentation à la Gosselin and Bouabsa.

Pat's formula is levain-based and employs a 65% hydration dough. She has insisted repeatedly that, while higher hydration is one route to a more open, holey crumb, fermentation and technique in shaping the baguettes are at least as important and that good technique can achieve the desired open crumb even with a dryer dough.

Okay. It was past time I tested my own technique against Pat's claim.

Pat's formula is as follows:

This is for two loaves at a finished weight of 10.5 oz each

.75 oz starter

1.12 oz flour

1.12 oz water 

Mix and let ripen (8-10 hours) 


All of the levain build

10.95 oz all purpose flour

.25 oz salt

6.6 oz water 

Dough temperature 76F 

Mix to shaggy mass (Yes! Put the preferment in the autolyse!) – let rest 30 mins

Fold with plastic scraper  (30 strokes) – repeat 3 more times at 30 min intervals 

Bulk ferment at 76F for 1.5 hours – fold

Bulk ferment at 76F 2 hours

Preshape lightly but firmly, rest 15 mins

Shape.  Proof 1 hour or so


Bake with steam at 500F for about 20 mins


I followed this except I baked at 480F. I used Whole Foods 365 Organic AP flour. The result was an excellent, classic baguette with a crunchy crust and cool, creamy crumb. It was slightly sweet with imperceptible sourness when eaten just ... well, almost ... cooled.

Here's  the crumb:

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Thanks, Pat!


Sourdough Starters

(These instructions have been adapted from a posting at by Sourdolady.)

Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

Day 1: mix...
2 T. whole grain flour (rye and/or wheat)
1 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.

Day 3: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.

Day 4:
Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup add...
1/4 cup flour*
2 Tbs water

*You can feed the starter whatever type of flour you want at this point (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye). If you are new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best choice. Unbleached all-purpose flour is fine.

Repeat Day 4:
Once daily until the mixture starts to expand and smell yeasty. It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead. If the mixture does not start to grow again by Day 6, add 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding. This will lower the pH level a bit more and it should kill off competitors to the yeast, allowing them to thrive.

How it Works
The yeast we are trying to cultivate will only become active when the environment is right. When you mix flour and water together, you end up with a mixture that is close to neutral in pH, and our yeasties need it a bit more on the acid side. This is why we are using the acidic fruit juice. There are other microbes in the flour that prefer a more neutral pH, and so they are the first to wake up and grow. Some will produce acids as by-products. That helps to lower the pH to the point that they can no longer grow, until the environment is just right for wild yeast to activate. The length of time it takes for this to happen varies.

When using just flour and water, many nascent starters will grow a gas-producing bacteria that slows down the process. It can raise the starter to three times its volume in a relatively short time. Don't worry--it is harmless. It is a bacterium sometimes used in other food fermentations like cheeses, and it is in the environment, including wheat fields and flours. It does not grow at a low pH, and the fruit juices keep the pH low enough to stop it from growing. Things will still progress, but this is the point at which people get frustrated and quit, because the gassy bacteria stop growing. It will appear that the "yeast" died on you, when in fact, you haven't begun to grow yeast yet. When the pH drops below 3.5--4 or so, the yeast will activate, begin to grow, and the starter will expand again. You just need to keep it fed and cared for until then.

Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.

After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings. Every week or so, take it out of the fridge, feed it by retaining only ¼ cup of starter and then feed it ¼ cup flour and 2 Tbs water.

browndog's picture

The Scent of Apples

Grandmother's Apple Cake

5 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 medium baking apples

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet with cooking oil spray. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the pan.

2. In a bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla.

4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/4 cup of sugar for one minute or until light. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Stir in one third of the flour, then one third of the milk. Add the remaining flour and milk in the same way.

5. Use the back of a spoon or your fingertips to spread the batter in the skillet - it will be thick and sticky.

6. Peel and core the apples. Slice them 1/8 inch thick. Starting at the outer edge, arrange the apples on the cake in slightly overlapping concentric circles.

7. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons with the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples.

8. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.

9. With a wide metal spatula , loosen the edges and bottom of the cake from the pan. Place a large plate on top and invert the pan and cake together. Lift off the pan. Place another plate on top of the cake and invert it again, so the cake is right side up. Serve warm.


Be careful not to burn this cake!

Heirloom apples are a palette of the past. Their names reach across centuries: Ashmead Kernel, Cox Orange Pippin, Lamb Abbey Pearmain, Reine de Reinette, Sheepnose or Black Gilliflower. Their flavor does, too--either one in the mouth takes you to a tree in a stone-edged field, discussing apples with a man in leather and homespun.

Hudson's Golden Gems

Our neighbor Willis Wood makes cider from antique apples on a press bought new by his family in 1882.

The best cider comes from knowing the apples and how to combine them.

This cake uses 3 cups of it.

Willis boils fresh cider into syrup and jelly.

A little more than half way along the forest trail that leads from my house to the cider mill, the scent of apples meets us, pungent, sweet and vinegary, odd against the smell of fallen leaves.

Beth Hensperger's Fresh Apple-Walnut Loaf


1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 cup warm water (105-115 F)

1 cup warm milk

6-6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour

2 medium-large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsley chopped (2-3 cups)

1/2 cup dried currants

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsley chopped

2 tablespoons walnut oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspons ground mace

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon salt


1. In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast, brown sugar, warm water, warm milk, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl loosly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hour.

2. Add the apples, currants, walnuts, oil, eggs, cinnamon, mace, allspice, salt, and 1 cup more of the flour. Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon when necessary if making by hand.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and springy yet firm, about 5 minutes, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Push back any fruit or nuts that fall out during the kneading.

4. Place the dough in a greased deep container. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

5. Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans. Shape into two braided or regular loaves. Let rising pans till tops are an inch above rim of pan, about 45 minutes.

350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.



A wild apple tree is as gnarled and angular as an elderly aunt.

Most evenings deer gather beneath this tree, till the snows bury the remains of the season's apple crop.

browndog's picture


Here is an adaptation of an adaptation. The original recipe was featured in a bed & breakfast cookbook, adapted and published by the Boston Globe, and tweaked once again by me.

Cranberry Nut breakfast Rolls

1/4 c orange juice

1/3 c sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 c buttermilk or 1 c water + 2 tbsp buttermilk powder

2 eggs

1/4 c granulated sugar

1/2-2/3 c marmalade

1 1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp active dry yeast

3 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c coarsely chopped roasted pecans

6 tbsp butter, softened

(This is a good place to use up some starter discard if you have it. I used 50 grams firm discard and reduced the liquid by 1/4 c initially, then added a little more during kneading to make a tacky, silky dough.)

1. Combine juice and berries in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid.

2.Warm your buttermilk, add yeast to proof, then combine with the melted butter, eggs, 1/4 c sugar, and salt. Stir thoroughly.

3. Add flour and knead til dough comes together. Add cranberries and nuts, continue kneading til dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Let rise til doubled. Grease two 9" cake pans. Divide dough in half. Roll one half into a 12x8 rectangle. Spread with 3 tbsp soft butter, then enough marmalade to cover in a thin, even layer. Roll up from the long side and seal seam well. Cut into 12 even slices. Place the slices cut side down, in one of the cake pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. 30 minutes before bake time, remove from refrigerator and set in a warm place to rise til doubled. Set the oven at 375. If desired, drizzle 1/4 c heavy cream over each pan of rolls. (My Puritan up-bringing would not allow this.) Bake 20-30 minutes, til golden brown.


1 c powdered sugar

reserved juice

additional milk as needed

Combine, stir, and spoon over rolls. Serve warm.

Note: Not needing, for a family of three, 24 rolls to face first thing on a Saturday morning, I chose to make and bake the same day a small pan loaf with the remaining half of the dough. I spread the dough with butter and marmalade, rolled it without slicing and baked it for about 30 minutes. Lovely. The original recipe did not call for marmalade but a quarter cup of granulated sugar and half an orange's worth of zest. I found the marmalade to donate a fine bit of texture and piquancy.

And with this entry I'm pleased to be part of Bread Baking Day #2.

bwraith's picture

Sourdough Bagels Revisited

Many thanks to Susanfnp for posting a great sourdough bagel recipe based on Nancy Silverton's bagel recipe. She also provided a number of key tips as I made these. I posted photos of the first time I did these, and now I have some photos of my second attempt, as well as a spreadsheet with more details such as bakers percentages and preferment percentages.

Sourdough Bagel Recipe (revisited version)


  • 335 grams (12 oz) 90% hydration white flour starter
  • 20 grams (0.6 oz) sugar
  • 12 grams (0.4 oz) malt syrup
  • 14 grams (0.6 oz) salt (I made salt bagels, so the salt in the dough is reduced to avoid too much salty flavor. Use 17 grams salt normally)
  • 2.8 grams (0.1 oz) instant yeast
  • 359 grams (12.5 oz) water
  • 186 grams (6.5 oz) first clear flour (I used KA First Clear Flour. Substitute a high ash or whole grain flour - maybe rye, whole wheat, Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo, or just use white flour)
  • 587 grams (20.5 oz) high gluten flour (I used KA Sir Lancelot High Gluten Flour. Substitute bread flour or other high protein white flour.) This time I corrected an error in the previous version and made the hydration lower, probably around 56%, which unexpectedly made the bagel dough stiff enough that it was a bit more difficult to shape the bagels. However, I used Susanfnp's suggestion to spray the surface of each 3 oz piece with a fine mist before shaping. This makes a world of difference.

Mix Dough - Day Before Baking

I had to mix and knead these by hand, since I have no mixer in this house. While reading the Nancy Silverton recipe, the idea seems to be to get a very stiff dough. I mixed all the dry ingredients in one bowl. I mixed the water, levain, and malt syrup in another bowl and then poured the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Using a dough scraper I worked around the bowl a few times to get the ingredients initially mixed. I then vigorously kneaded the dough, using a traditional squeeze and fold kneading technique. This was not so easy with the stiff dough, but after about 5 minutes, the dough started to become elastic and fairly smooth, even if very stiff. After a few more minutes, the dough seemed fairly similar to what I had with the mixer in my first attempt at this recipe, documented in a previous blog entry. Since the dough is so dry, there is no need for dusting the counter with flour. In fact, you should avoid any extra flour, as the dusting can interfere with the smooth sheen of a proper bagel.


Divide the dough into about 18 3 ounce pieces. Since the dough is so dry, it may develop a dry skin fairly quickly, so proceed smartly to the shaping stage. Don't dilly dally at this point, as the dough pieces will become too puffy quickly if they are allowed to sit at room temperature for very long. However, the pieces need to rest a short time, maybe 5 to 10 minutes, so that the gluten will be relaxed enough to shape the bagels.

I was more experienced and faster at shaping this time. The first batch of nine was placed on a jelly roll sheet, and immediately refrigerated. I discovered the next day that the first batch needed to rest on the counter for about 1/2 hour to ferment enough to come to the surface while boiling. The second batch, which had risen a while longer, was ready for boiling immediately out of the refrigerator the next morning.

If you have a fine mist spray (I have an atomizer meant for olive oil that I use for water), you can make shaping easier and avoid the dry skin, particularly on the pieces you shape last, by spraying a tiny amount of water on the pieces before you shape them.

To form the bagels, roll out an 8 inch rope shape with your palms. If the dough is too stiff or you make a mistake and want to start over, let that piece rest a few more minutes, and move to the next piece. Take the 8 inch rope and hold it between your palm and your thumb. Wrap the rope around your hand and bring the other end together with the end you are holding between your palm and thumb. You now have a "rope bracelet" wrapped around your hand. Rub the seams together on the counter to seal them, then take off the bracelet, which should look a lot like a bagel, hopefully. Stretch it out so you have a large 2.5 inch hole. It looks big, but it will shrink or even disappear as the dough rises during boiling and baking. The hole needs to be big looking compared to a normal bagel.

Place the bagels on parchment dusted with semolina flour on a sheet.

This time I used coarse corn meal, as I had no semolina available. This worked fine and seemed to make no difference to my results.

Cover with saran or foil or place the whole sheet in an extra large food storage bag (XL Ziploc is what I'm thinking here). The idea is to lock in moisture to avoid any dry skin forming yet allow room for some slight expansion as they puff up. Place the sheets in the refrigerator to retard overnight.


Bring 5 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a good sized stock pot to a boil. Place a bagel in the pot and make sure it floats to the top. If so, you can do 4-6 bagels at one time. They should only be in the water for about 20 seconds. Push them under periodically with a wooden spoon, so the tops are submerged for a few seconds. In my case, I never managed to get the bagels out before about 30 seconds were up, but they came out fine. If the test bagel won't float, lift it out with a slotted spoon, and gently place on a rack to dry and allow the bagels you have removed from the refrigerator (I did 6 of them at a time) to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes and try again.

In fact, the batch I had shaped first the night before did sink to the bottom when I tested one. So, I left the first batch out for about 1/2 hour before it was ready. I then put them back in the refrigerator, since the baking and boiling process for the other batch was extending beyond 1/2 hour. I could tell the first batch was beginning to be ready, since I could detect a very slight puffiness in them after 1/2 hour.

The first batch floated immediately out of the refrigerator, probably because my second batch were formed and shaped after a rest of about 20 minutes while I was working on the first nine the previous night. Except for letting the first batch rise on the counter for 1/2 hour, I kept the bagels waiting to be boiled in the refrigerator to avoid any excessive rising. If you let them rise very much, they will puff excessively and become more like a bun than a bagel.

Dip in Seeds

Make plates of seed beds. I made three seed beds. One was 2 parts caraway seed, 1 part anise seed, and a pinch of salt. Another was 2 parts dill seed, 1 part fennel seed, and a pinch of salt. The last was poppy seed and a pinch of salt. I also made salt bagels, but those were done by just sprinkling a little kosher salt on some of them with my fingers.

Right after the bagels are removed from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, place them on a rack to cool for a few seconds. After they have cooled of slightly and dried enough not to ruin the seed bed with too much wetness, pick one up and place it round side down (the tops down), and gently press them into the seed bed. Pick them up and place them right side up on a sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted lightly with semolina flour or coarse corn meal.

This time I made only salt bagels. It wasn't convenient to get seeds, and my kids and I both love the salt bagels anyway. I just sprinkled a very, very light layer of kosher salt on them with my fingers while they were sitting on a rack just after they were boiled. The salt sticks to the wet surface, so you don't need to do anything but just sprinkle the salt on them. Careful, you can definitely put too much salt on them, even if you use a somewhat smaller amount of salt in the dough, as I did in this case.


Preheat the oven to about 400F. No preheat may work, but I'm not sure. It seems easy, from my limited experience, for them to rise too much. The result will be an open bread-like crumb, instead of the very chewy, more dense crumb expected in a bagel. So, I didn't risk a no-preheat strategy in this case.

If you have a stone, you can transfer the parchment paper on a peel to the stone and bake directly on the stone. I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400F. You can also bake them on the sheet.


Allow the bagels to cool.


The bagels were chewy and delicious, as they were last time. However, I think the lower hydration was a definite improvement. I succeeded in getting a stiffer, drier dough this time. They had less tendency to rise excessively, even though I let them sit on the counter a little longer than last time. The resulting crumb was a little more dense and seemed just like the real thing this time. Last time, the slightly higher hydration gave me a slightly more open crumb, which seemed just a hair too soft and open like ordinary bread. This time, the crumb was dense and chewy and just right for a bagel.

eatalready's picture

Borodinsky Supreme -- Old School -- 100% Rye

Borodinsky bread is my childhood staple food.  We had it practically every day and never grew tired of it. The aroma, the well balanced sweet and sour, the substantial “meaty” crumb and thin glossy crust — should I go on listing all the wonderful things that put this loaf in the bread hall-of-fame?

Nowadays, it seems that every dark rye bread sprinkled with caraway or coriander seed claims the name Borodinsky.  I tried those sorry numbers from stores that carry Russian foods… Half of them are too dry and too fluffy, others are missing that signature tang that only wild sourdough can lend, others still, generously “enhanced” with chemicals resemble very little of the bread we used to eat instead of chocolate.

Over the years, I’ve seen scores of recipes of Borodinsky and, having tried more than enough of them, came to a grim conclusion that the true Borodinsky has become a myth, an urban legend, an elusive unicorn — many claim to have seen one, but none actually delivered the goods.  However, I knew that somewhere out there in the world of used books, there should be an old school formula from soviet bread factories, a so called GOST (Government Mandated Standards) recipe, or even an older one, which, if done right with good ingredients and a bit of careful planning, could yet bear the right results.

Making 100% Rye Borodinsky Supreme

I was right.  There are still some serious bread enthusiasts, both in Russia and otherwise, who dug up the old textbooks and technologies and rendered very good step-by-step instructions accompanied by beautiful photos explaining the process in modern terms and in great detail. Some even dared to adapt for available flour types in each country via many a trial (and, no doubt, some error).  Exciting!

Now to the business of the actual Borodinsky.  Majority of us who grew up with Borodinsky, consumed the part rye/part wheat bread.  It was delicious and we loved every bit of it.  There is, however, a version of Borodinsky of a higher grade, called “supreme”, which is 100% rye.  It blends whole rye and white rye flours in 85/15 proportion.  No wheat to be found. The formula of that bread is cited in the book by Plotnikov called 350 Varieties of Bread (4th Edition, 1940). Some of the formulas in the book existed before government standards were established (1939).  See, many GOST formulas were streamlined for mass production, sometimes simplified, cheapened, etc., while many of the pre-GOST formulas upheld the old school best traditional methods and standards of bread making, thus yielding superior (albeit more labor and time consuming) bread.

Making Red Rye Malt Flour

Sprouting organic rye berries to make red rye malt

Making Red Rye Malt Flour

Final product — red rye malted flour, milled moderately fine

When I stumbled upon the pre-GOST formula, and soon thereafter a detailed blog post with illustrations, I was beside myself. The only thing that stood between me and 100% rye Borodinsky loaf was red rye malt, more precisely, the lack of the above.  Now, that one I still can’t get over.  Possibly due to differences in product naming, and partly due to the fact that I can’t reliably get the true organic red rye malt anywhere in quantities less than 100 kilo (190 lbs), I finally decided to make red rye malt flour at home.  I entrusted myself to the detailed set of instructions I found on this site (THANK YOU!!!), and made my first batch the other day.

Making 100% Rye Borodinsky Supreme

I have to say that the aroma that permeated my house during the roasting process has brought back some serious childhood memories, and for that alone I will be forever grateful.  It also brought the first promise of true Borodinsky in the future, because it smelled exactly like our USSR bread shops filled with still warm unwrapped bread loaves.

Anyway, I am getting distracted here, as my bread is almost done baking and the entire house is now smelling unbearably beautiful.

The process is quite lengthy, but the actual hands-on time is minimal. Good ‘ole “good things come to those who wait” has never been more true (well maybe beat by the famous Pumpernickel). The most important thing here is to plan your pre-baking stages, so that they don’t disrupt your busy schedule.

My impression of the bread: for me it turned out a bit sweet and under-salted, even though I weighed everything quite precisely. The aroma and visual appeal were definitely there. The crumb and crust are both as I remember them. Thin, slightly crunchy crust and substantial, lightly moist, uniformly porous crumb. Color is about milk-chocolate shade. I feel I could have given it a bit more rise and it could be baked at a higher temperature — the top didn’t come out quite as dark as it should be, but the bread was at 180F throughout and baked uniformly through.  I will definitely try this recipe again with the above adjustments.  Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend this formula, especially if you like your bread with a touch of sweetness.  It passed the ultimate test of schmaltz with cracklings and coarse salt, the sweetness of the loaf was just perfect for this.


- Detailed blog post with superb step-by-step photo of rye+wheat Borodinsky 1939 version (in Russian)

- Blog post with excellent photos  of 100% rye Borodinsky Supreme (in Russian)

Borodinsky Supreme

Makes a small loaf in a 1-1/2 quart (1.4 liter) pan.
From start to finish (with some steps going simultaneously) – 14-16 hrs

Step 1: Rye starter

Refresh your 100% hydration rye starter (6-8 hrs), you will need 125 g of it

Step 2: Scalding (5-6 hrs)

  • 200 g boiled water at 150F (65C)
  •   50 g whole rye flour
  •   25 g red rye malt flour

Step 3: Pre-ferment  (3-4 hrs or until doubles or more)

  • all of the scalded batch
  • 125 g refreshed starter
  • 125 g whole rye flour
  • 125 g water, room temperature

Step 4: Final dough — soft and very sticky (30-90 min bulk fermentation or until doubles or more)

  • all of the preferment
  • 200 g whole rye flour
  •   75 g white rye flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 30 g sugar
  • 25 g molasses (I used Blackstrap)
  • 2.5 g ground coriander (best if freshly ground for more intense flavor)
  • 0.5 g dry yeast activated in 75 g water and 3 g sugar (20 minutes)

Step 5: Shaping and final proofing (60 min or until tops the pan)

Grease 1.5 quart loaf pan. Pack the dough nicely into corners at first and then the rest. Smooth over with wet hands. Cover with plastic and let rise until reaches the top of the loaf pan.

Step 6: Flour washing (1 min)

Mix 1 tbsp AP flour with 50 ml water, shake well. Brush the bread right before setting into the oven. Sprinkle the top sparingly with whole coriander or caraway seed, if desire

Step 7: Baking (60 min)

Preheat to 400F (200C). Bake 60 minutes.

Step 8: Kissel (custard) washing (1 min)

Mix 1 tsp corn or potato starch with 150 ml water. Bring to a boil.  Brush the bread as soon as it finishes baking. Remove the loaf from pan and cool on rack.

Flour wash before baking and custard wash after baking are needed for creating that famous beautiful glossy, almost lacquered looking crust on top of the loaf, which also prevents the bread from going stale too fast.

SourdoLady's picture

My Favorite Basic Sourdough Loaf

I bake a lot of sourdough bread. Over the past several months I have been trying a lot of new techniques and trying to perfect the quality of my loaves. The recipe below is how I am currently making my white bread. Next year I may have a whole different approach, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.

Deluxe Sourdough Bread

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

Floydm's picture

Onion Braid

I based this on the Onion Twist Bread in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I reduced the amount of yeast and used a poolish, and went for a braid instead of a twisted and panned loaf, but otherwise it is basically the same.

Onion Braid

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter or shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1 3/8 ounce package of onion soup mix
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

The night before, in a bowl, mix together the poolish until it form a batter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.

The next morning, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, the sugar, the onion soup mix. Mix in the poolish, the milk, one of the eggs, the butter, and the Parmesan cheese with a wooden spoon. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time until a proper dough forms, one that is dry enough that you can hand knead it yet moist enough that it is still tacky to the touch.

Pour the dough out of the bowl onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic, and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it however you like. I tried a braid this time. I'm not good enough that I want to give directions on how to do it yet (for that please see your cookbook), but I will include the pictures my wife took of the process:

Cover the loaf with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap and allow it to double in size again, approximately 45 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat the oven (and baking stone, if you have one) to 450.

Just before baking, glaze the loaf with the egg wash. Put it into the hot oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for another 15 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake until the loaf is done. Total baking time may vary based on shape. My loaf took about 45 minutes.

Lesson Three: Time & Temperature

The difference between mediocre bread and excellent bread usually has less to do with the ingredients being used than the process involved in creating it. Once you are comfortable with the basic process of mix, knead, rise, shape, and bake, your experimentation with the process can begin.

The two simplest variables in the process to modify are time and temperature. Below I will discuss how time and temperature change the character of your loaf of bread and then bake a loaf to show you how minor adjustments to the process can improve the quality of your bread significantly.


Longer, slower fermentation extracts more flavor from your flour. If you are baking a simple white sandwich bread or in a hurry and you just want the darned thing to rise, you can put two or even three teaspoons of yeast into your dough and get the loaf to rise in under an hour. But if you want to create a rustic bread with a rich, nutty flavor, reducing the yeast and allow more and longer rises is appropriate.

Temperature's Impact on Rising

The warmer the temperature, the more active your yeast will be. The more active your yeast is, the quicker the dough rises. Simple enough, but you can use this in a multitude of ways. For example:

  • if you want to speed up a rise, turn your oven on for 30 seconds, turn it off, and then place your dough into the slightly-above-room-temperature oven. It should rise noticeably quicker.
  • If you need to leave halfway through preparing to bake a loaf, you can throw it into the fridge. It'll continue to rise in there at a much slower pace.
  • You can make a large batch of pizza dough and freeze individual pieces of it in freezer bags. The yeast will survive at least a month or two in the freezer. The day before you want to make the pizza, just move it to the fridge to thaw it and then pull it out of the fridge when you want it begin its final rise.

Temperature's Impact on Baking

Temperature also has an impact on how your loaf bakes. The general rule is that crusty breads should be baked at as high a temperature as possible. Soft shelled breads should be baked at lower temperatures. When you increase the temperature of your oven your bread bakes quicker (duh).

Professional bakers of rustic breads use ovens that achieve higher temperatures than home ovens achieve. Turning the temperature of your oven up when baking rustic breads will help you get closer to professional quality loaves. Buying a pizza or baking stone is another inexpensive method of capturing more heat in your oven and improving the quality of your bread (I have shattered two of these, so I don't currently bake with one. I'll probably end up getting another one some day, but I can't say the quality of my bread has suffered that much without one).

If you get really serious about bread baking, there is even a movement of bread hobbyest who build large hearth ovens in their backyards to reproduce professional quality loaves. Pick up a copy of "The Bread Builders" if this interests you.

My wife is pleased that I have not gotten that crazy about baking good bread at home (yet).

Time and Temperature Together

As you can see, time and temperature work in opposition to one another during dough formation: increase the temperature, decrease the time that your loaf rises; decrease the temperature, increase the time it takes to get to full size.

In the rising stage, if you are striving to extract the maximum flavor from your flour, you want to slow the rise down. If you want a make a quick loaf in time for dinner, speed the rise up.

While baking, If you want a crusty bread, you'll want to increase the temperature of the oven and reduce the amount of time your loaf bakes. For soft, pillowy breads, do the opposite (more time at a lower temperature). There are times when either technique is appropriate, so don't be worried that you aren't doing things the "right" way!

One Other Tidbit: Steam and Crust

For the first five or ten minutes of baking, having steam in the oven will improve the quality of your crust. Steam does two things: first, it keeps the outside of the loaf from drying out until the dough has fully risen; second, steam coagulates the starches on the outside of the loaf, which improves the color and texture the crust.

Professional bakers have ovens that inject steam during the early baking phase. Home bakers can use a lot of different tricks to recreate this effect. The simplest method I have found has been to put an old metal brownie pan on the bottom shelf of the oven when preheating. Right after I put the loaf into the oven, I pour a cup of hot water into the pan. It immediately begins to bubble and boil, releasing a nice steam cloud that seems to improve my crust.

Don't do this with a glass pan. I did this once and it shattered as soon as I poured the water into it.

There are other ways of introducing moisture: spraying the walls of the oven with a squirt bottle, putting a pan full of water with a hole in the bottom onto the bottom shelf so that it drips onto the bottom of the oven, or rubbing the outside of the loaf with water are some of the common ways. Hot water in a pan works well enough for me.

Also be aware that some bakers have experienced malfunctions in their oven's electronics systems from the moisture caused while trying to create steam. Indeed, adding steam may void your oven's warranty. I've never had any problems doing this, but please consider these risks versus the reward of highly crusty bread before attempting to steam your oven. Let the "baker beware."

Today's Loaf

I started with the base recipe from Lesson One. I was shooting for a crusty, rustic style bread, so I decided to reduce the amount of yeast to try to slow the fermentation process down. In fact, to extend the fermentation process even longer I split the dough creation into two stages: one stage I started the night before and then refrigerated. The next day I added the dough (also known as the sponge) from stage one to more ingredients to create my final dough.

This method, typically known as the sponge or barm method, is a tried and true method for improving the flavor of your bread (and one I'll write more about in future lessons). I'm more-or-less using Peter Reinhart's approach from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: the stage one dough in this recipe is modeled on Peter's Pate Fermentee, and the final dough is something like his Pain de Campaign. But bakers have been using different variations of this technique for centuries.

Day 1
Before going to bed I mixed together:

1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
1/2 cup of water

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl. Pour it out onto a flat surface and kneaded the dough for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough back into a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or so. It won't rise a lot in that time, but the yeast will begin to wake up.

Punch the dough down, place it back in the bowl, cover it with with plastic wrap again and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Day 2

When I got up, I pulled the bowl of dough out of the fridge and let it warm on the counter for about an hour.

In a larger bowl, I combined:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (this can be regular flour. I used whole wheat flour simply because I like it!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup of water
day one's sponge

I mixed all of the dry ingredients together. Then I chopped the sponge up into a dozen or so little pieces with a knife and mixed them into the dry ingredients. Finally I added the water and mixed everything together, adjusting the flour or water until the dough formed a nice ball of dough that was soft and tacky but was not too sticky.

I poured the dough onto a floured surface and kneaded it for approximately 10 minutes. Then I put the dough back into a greased bowl and allowed it to rise for approximately 90 minutes. I then shaped the loaf and allowed it to rise for another 90 minutes.

(A note about these rise times: they are not exact. In reality, much was going on during the day, including a trip to the store and another trip to the playground, so no one was closely monitoring the clock. It seems to the uninitiated that making bread is a long and complicated process because the overall time it takes can be a day or more, but understand that it's really only about 20 minutes of work spread out over the entire day. It is easy enough to accommodate if you are going to be near the house all day.)

I put an empty metal pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheated the oven to 500 degrees.

When the oven was hot and the bread looked risen, I put the bread into the oven on the top shelf and quickly pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the bottom shelf and closed the door. After about 3-5 minutes, I reduced the temperature from 500 to 400 degrees, figuring that the loaf was done springing and would bake more evenly at a lower temperature. I baked it for 20 minutes, then rotated the loaf and bake until done.

This loaf took about 45 minutes, but time is dependent on the shape of the loaf. I used an instant-read thermometer. When the loaf hit 200 degrees inside, I pulled it out.


Comparing this loaf (on the right) to my bread from lesson one (on the left), I definitely noticed that this one had a nicer crust - it even crackled when I took it out of the oven and set it out to cool. It seems to me that it had a richer flavor, which was in part the whole wheat flour and partially the longer, slower rises and overnight fermentation.

A criticism of both of these loaves is that, although they are decently raised, neither one has the big irregular holes that you strive for in a rustic loaf. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One likely reason is that I handle the loaves fairly roughly when shaping them: I suspect I am squeezing out too much of the air at that stage and rolling my loaves too tight. I also suspect I am underhydrating my dough. A moister, slacker dough should have an easier time forming large pockets. Underkneading or baking before my dough is fully risen could also have been contributing factors. As I have mentioned before, getting started baking is extremely easy, but mastering baking takes a lifetime. One shouldn't be intimidated by this: the majority of your experiments still end up quite edible.

The path to perfection is tasty, indeed!

Continue to Lesson 4: Glazing.