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dmsnyder's picture

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

Eagleswings' struggles with a rye starter and the current interest in Jewish sour rye and corn bread have prompted me to re-post my response regarding the care and feeding of rye sour. After making sour rye breads last weekend, I took some photos of my rye sour refreshment which might be helpful to those undertaking rye bread baking for the first time.

 The photos that follow illustrate the progression of each stage's ripening. The volume of the sour is, of course, increased with each stage.


DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:

There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. You can refrigerate overnight after any of the stages. If you do refrigerate it, use warm water in the next build. The mature sour will probaby be okay to use for a couple of days, but I try to time it to spend no longer that 12 hours since the last feeding. If you have kept it longer under refrigeration, it should be refreshed.


Stage 1:

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour, mixed into a paste, scraped down and smoothed over.



Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface.

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface. This prevents drying out. Cover airtight (more or less) to ripen.



Ripening refreshed rye sour, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 3 hours or so, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour. Keep covered. Be patient.



Ripening refreshed rye sour. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 4-5 hours. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour. 


Fully ripe rye sour. This should be used immediately. If you are not ready for it, I have refrigerated it overnight. What you don't want is for fermentation to continue until the sour collapses.

Stage 2:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rye flour

Mix thoroughly into a thick paste. Scrape down and smooth the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of rye flour all over the surface. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-8 hours or untile the dry rye on the surface has spread into "continents" and the surface has domed. Don't wait until it collapses.

Stage 3:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour.

You may have to transfer this to a larger bowl. Mix thoroughly into a thicker paste - It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it. If it is too thin, you can add more rye flour until it is more "dough-like." Cover the starter and let it rise 4-8 hours. It should nearly double in volume and be bubbly.

It's now ready to use to make rye bread.

Greenstein advises to keep the starter refrigerated and stir the starter every 3-4 days and refresh it every 10-12 days by throwing out half of it and mixing in "equal amounts of flour and water."

Greenstein says, if you are going to refrigerate the sour for any length of time, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and float a layer of water over it. (I don't generally do the water cover trick.)

I hope this helps some one.


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FlourChild's picture

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Work has kept me busy and away from posting as often as I'd like, but I'm happy to be able to share this recipe. These are completely amazing cinnamon rolls. They've conquered my heart, and I don't even really like cinnamon rolls. Except these.


Tang Zhong Milk & Honey Sweet Dough 

The cornerstone of this recipe is the soft, moist and tender sweet dough. It uses honey and a roux to tenderize and hold in moisture. And the long kneading time yields a wonderfully light, ethereal texture.  

Cinnamon Rolls


 Crazy Good Cinnamon Glaze

Instead of the traditional plain powdered sugar frosting, these have a richly flavored, creamy glaze that rounds out the cinnamon with butter, vanilla, cocoa butter and coffee. While testing this recipe, my office mates repeatedly offered to lick the bowls, whisks, serving plates, you name it. 

This was a recipe I developed for Brod & Taylor for the roll-out of their new shelf kit. (If you haven't seen the shelf kit yet and would like to, it is here.)  It includes directions for the Folding Proofer with a shelf kit, but can also be made using a warm-ish (85F) proofing spot.

Yield: 12 Cinnamon Rolls (double the recipe to make 24 rolls). Make 12 rolls in two 9” (23cm) round cake pans or one 9x13" pan. Make a double recipe in two 9x13” (23x33cm) rectangular pans.

Timing: On day 1 the dough can be made, chilled, rolled and cut, then the rolls are refrigerated overnight. On day 2, pull the rolls out of the fridge about 2¼ hours before serving time, then proof and bake.

Milk & Honey Sweet Dough

Unbleached flour, 12% protein2 c spooned2508.8
Milk¾ cup (180 ml)1826.4
Instant yeast1½ tsp4.80.17
Salt¾ tsp4.50.16
Honey3 Tbs602.1
Egg yolk1 yolk150.5
Water1 Tbs150.5
Butter, very soft4 Tbs572.0

Make the Roux. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk to a small saucepan and whisk in 3 Tbs of the flour from the mixer bowl. (If you are weighing ingredients, put 30g/1.1oz of bread flour into the milk and 220g/7.8oz into the mixer bowl.) Heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until uniformly thickened and bubbling, about 20-30 seconds after the mixture first begins to boil. Cover and chill until cool to the touch.

The butter will incorporate more easily with the dough if it is so soft that it’s gone all melty at the edges. If you have a Folding Proofer, the butter can be warmed at 85F/29C. To prepare for rising the dough, lightly oil a container and mark it at the 4-cup/1 liter level (8-cup/2 liters if making a double recipe).

Tang Zhong Sweet Dough


Mix the Dough. Add the instant yeast and salt to the flour in the mixer bowl and stir to combine. Add the water, cooled roux, honey and egg yolk. Mix on low speed until flour is moistened. Once the dough comes together it should stick to the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add 1 more tablespoon water to achieve the right consistency.

Knead Intensively for an Ethereal Texture. Raise mixer to medium-low and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should still be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the butter in four parts, kneading until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once all the butter is incorporated, knead for 10 more minutes on medium-low. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, although it may still stick on the bottom.

Ferment the Dough. Scrape the dough into the oiled container, place in the Proofer if you are using one and allow to rise until doubled, about 75-80 minutes at 85F/29C.  

Fold and Chill. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and stretch and fold all four sides to the middle, creating a square package. Wrap loosely and chill (a relaxed, cool dough will be less sticky and easier to roll out without adding too much flour). After 30 minutes, deflate the dough and re-wrap. Chill 30 more minutes or until it’s convenient to roll the dough, up to 24 hrs.

Cinnamon Pecan Filling

Butter, melted and cooled4 Tb572.0
Light brown sugar2 Tb271.0
Cinnamon2 tsp2 tsp2 tsp
Vanilla½ tsp½ tsp½ tsp
Egg white, cold1 white321.1
Pecans, chopped¾ cup853.0

While the Dough is Chilling, Make the Filling. Butter the bottom and sides of the pans and chop the pecans finely. Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until well combined. Quickly whisk in the cold egg white to thicken and emulsify the mixture.


Roll and Fill the Dough. Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, then roll out to a 12 x 14” (30 x 36 cm) rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, extending all the way to the edges on the short sides and leaving a small bare border on both long sides. Sprinkle the nuts over the filling. Starting from a long side, roll the dough into a log and press lightly to seal the seam. Use plain dental floss to cut the roll into 12 pieces. If using a knife to slice rolls, it may be easier if the log is chilled first. Arrange the rolls in the pan with smaller rolls in the middle. Cover and chill overnight.


Proof the Cinnamon Rolls. Set up the Proofer, if using, with plenty of water in the tray. Use the rack with the fold-out legs on the lower level to raise the pan off the warming element so that the lower level and upper level proof at the same rate. Set the thermostat to 90F/32C. Place one pan of rolls on the lower rack, off to one side. Then add the shelf supports and shelf and place the second pan on the upper level, off to the opposite side. Close the lid and allow the rolls to proof until the dough springs back slowly when the side of a roll is dented with a finger, about 90 minutes. Half way through proofing, rotate the pans 180 degrees.

Cinnamon Mocha Topping

Fine quality white chocolate barone 3oz bar or
⅔ of 4.5oz bar
Butter2 Tbs281.0
Cinnamon¼ tsp¼ tsp¼ tsp
Coffee or Espresso (brewed)1 Tbs150.5
Powdered sugar2 Tbs140.5

Preheat the Oven.  Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375F / 190C.

Make the Glaze.  Break or chop the white chocolate into pieces and put in a small bowl along with the coffee, cinnamon and butter. When the cinnamon rolls are fully proofed, remove them from the Proofer, then turn the thermostat up to 120F (49C). Remove the upper rack and fold up the legs on the lower rack so that it rests close to the warming element. Place the topping mixture in the center of the rack and close the lid. (Because the white chocolate is being melted with coffee and butter, it’s OK to leave the water tray in the Proofer - a little steam won’t hurt it.)  If you're not using a Proofer, melt the glaze over a double boiler or with short bursts in the microwave.

Bake the Cinnamon Rolls.  Cover each pan of rolls with aluminum foil (to seal in moisture and encourage the fullest oven spring possible) and place in the oven on the lower rack. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil, rotate pans 180 degrees and place on upper rack to encourage browning. Bake 15-20 more minutes, until nicely browned and the rolls reach an internal temperature of 190F (88C).

Cool and Top the Rolls.  When the cinnamon rolls are done, remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, whisk the melted glaze ingredients until they emulsify and are thick and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Unmold the rolls onto a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls.

Alternative Timing:  The rolls can be made all in one day.  After the first rise/bulk ferment, chill the dough only for the minimum time of 1 hour.  Then roll, fill and cut the rolls.  Skip the overnight time in the refrigerator and shorten the final proof to 70-75 minutes (the dough will be warm and will take less time than refrigerated dough).  All in, start these rolls 5½-6 hours before serving time.





dmsnyder's picture

Pane Valle del Maggia

Pane Valle del Maggia

February 23, 2014

 Several bakers on The Fresh Loaf have shown us their bakes of “Pane Maggiore.” This bread comes from the Swiss Canton of Ticino, which is the only Swiss Canton in which Italian is the predominant language.

While the Ticino Canton has Lake Maggiore on its border, the name of the bread supposedly comes from the town of Maggia which is in the Maggia valley, named after the Maggia river which flows through it and enters Lake Maggiore between the towns of Ascona and Locarno.

I was interested in how this bread came to be so popular among food bloggers. As far as I can tell, Franko, dabrownman and others (on TFL) got the formula from Josh/golgi70 (on TFL) who got it from who got it from “Chili und Ciabatta,” the last two being German language blogs. While Petra (of Chili und Ciabatta) knew of this bread from having vacationed in Ticino, she actually got the recipe from a well-known Swedish baking book, Swedish Breads and Pastries, by Jan Hedh.


 For your interest, here are some photos from Petra's blog of this bread as she bought it in it's place of origin: 

Pane Valle del Maggia. (Photo from the Chili und Ciabatta blog)

Pane Valle del Maggia crumb. (Photo from the Chili und Ciabatta blog)


After this bit of backtracking research, I ended up with four … or is it five? … recipes. I had to decide which one to start with. I decided to start with Josh’s version, posted in Farmers Market Week 6 Pane Maggiore.

 Josh’s approach used two levains, one fed with freshly-ground whole wheat flour and the other with white flour plus a touch of rye. I did not grind my own flour but followed his formula and procedures pretty closely otherwise. What I describe below is what I actually did.


Whole Wheat Levain

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

Active liquid levain (70% AP; 20% WW; 10% Rye)



Giusto’s Fine Whole Wheat flour










White Flour Levain

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

Active liquid levain (70% AP; 20% WW; 10% Rye)



KAF AP flour



BRM Dark Rye flour









 Both levains were mixed in the late evening and fermented at room temperature for about 14 hours.


Final Dough

Wt. (g)

Giusto’s Fine Whole Wheat flour


BRM Dark Rye flour


KAF Medium Rye flour


KAF AP flour






Both levains





Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

AP flour



Whole Wheat flour



Rye flour














  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle installed, disperse the two levains in 600g of the Final Dough Water.

  2. Add the flours and mix at low speed to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover and allow to autolyse for 1-3 hours.

  4. Add the salt and mix at low speed to combine.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix to medium gluten development.

  6. Add the remaining 59g of water and continue mixing until the dough comes back together.

  7. Transfer to a well-floured board and stretch and fold into a ball.

  8. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover.

  9. Bulk ferment for about 4 hours with Stretch and Folds on the board every 40 minutes for 4 times. (Note: This is a rather slack, sticky dough. It gains strength as it ferments and you stretch and fold it, but you still have to flour the board and your hands well to prevent too much of the dough from sticking. Use the bench knife to free the dough when it is sticking to the bench.)

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape round.

  11. Cover with a damp towel or plasti-crap and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.

  12. Shape as tight boules or bâtards and place in floured bannetons, seam-side up.

  13. Put each banneton in a food-safe plastic bag and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

  14. Pre-heat the oven for 45-60 minutes to 500 dF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  15. Take the loaves out of the refrigerator. Place them on a peel. Score them as you wish. (I believe the traditional scoring is 3 parallel cuts across a round loaf.)

  16. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  17. Bake with steam for 13 minutes, then remove your steaming apparatus/vent the oven.

  18. Continue baking for 20-25 minutes. The loaves should be darkly colored with firm crusts. The internal temperature should be at least 205 dF.

  19. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

 I had some trepidation about baking at 500 dF, but the photos I had seen of the Pane Valle del Maggia were really dark. Also, it made sense that, if I wanted a crunchy crust on a high-hydration bread, I would need to bake hot. I baked the loaves for 33 minutes. They were no darker than my usual lean bread bakes. The internal temperature was over 205 dF. The crust was quite hard, but it did soften some during cooling. In hindsight, I could have either baked the bread for another 5 minutes or left the loaves in the cooling oven for 15-30 minutes to dry out the crust better.


I can tell you, these breads sure smell good!

When sliced, the crust was chewy except for the ears which crunched. The crumb was well aerated but without very large holes. Reviewing the various blog postings on this bread, all of the variations have about the same type of crumb. The high hydration level promotes bigger holes, but the high percentage of whole grain flours works against them. In any case, this is a great crumb for sandwiches and for toast.

Now, the flavor: I was struck first by the cool, tender texture as others have mentioned, although there was some nice chew, too.  I have been making mostly breads with mixed grains lately, so this one has a lot in common. It has proportionately more rye than any of the others, and I can taste it. The most remarkable taste element was a more prominent flavor of lactic acid than almost any bread I can recall. I really liked the flavor balance a lot! I would describe this bread as "mellow," rather than tangy. The dark crust added the nuttiness I always enjoy. All in all, an exceptionally delicious bread with a mellow, balanced, complex, sophisticated flavor.

Now, it wasn't so sophisticated that I hesitated to sop up the sauce from my wife's Chicken Fricassee with it! It did a commendable job, in fact.


I baked some San Joaquin Soudough baguettes while the Pane Valle del Maggia loaves were cooling.  

They had a pretty nice crumb, too.

Happy baking!


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dabrownman's picture

YW Primer

Teketeke Bread

teketeke got me going with my YW a couple of years ago and I have helped quite a few others, as she helped me, to get theirs going. Here is what I basically sent them but fixing all the spelling and grammar errors I could find.  Hope this will help all who want give YW a shot – it is so worth having another child in the kitchen.

 teketeke's post on YW is a good one if you scroll down far enough when the pictures start to appear again - way down. She is a great YW baker from Japan and I bugged the heck out of her to get my YW going.  Worked first time too - and she is a master and I named my first original YW concoction after her as thanks!

The idea is to get a slightly acidic base to start from, be a little on the warm side temperature wise, don't use any sugar - use honey instead, use bottled water, open the lid often, right before shaking and get some fresh air in the jar by fanning it with a piece of paper, shake the container often and be patient - like starting any other wild yeast

The fruit you start with matters. I started mine with orange and tangelos from the back yard because they are acidic, I left the skins on the pieces for one day to inoculate the water with the wild yeast on the skins and then replaced the fruit with skinned oranges and tangelos because the skin can be a little toxic to the yeast. - but I would do it differently today.


Teketeke's Japanese White Sandwich Bread

You want to make sure the fruit you use is organic thus no fungicides and herbicides on the skins and it has to have the skin on. What you want to do is get an organic apple and some organic raisins. People have their own opinions as to which ones work best but using both is really the cat's meow. Don't wash the apple or the raisins since the yeast you want is on the skin. I use a plastic 14 oz re-purposed peanut butter jar for my YW container but anything with a screw top lid will work.

Take 20 raisins and mash half of them. Take half an apple, leave the skin on, take the stem and base off and core the seeds out. Chop the 1/2 apple into 1/4 inch cubes. Mash half the apple pieces. Save the other half of apple by rubbing the cut side with lemon, lime or orange juice and refrigerate it.

Place all the 1/2 apple and raisins in the jar including the mashed portions. Add 1 T of orange juice. Fill jar 3/4 of the way up with bottled mineral or reverse osmosis water that is absolutely chlorine free. If you are using other tap water then pour it into an uncovered container 24 hours ahead of time so the chlorine can dissipate.  Do not add any honey at this point.

Keep the jar warm around 78 -80 F. I used a heating pad with kitchen towels folded on top till I got the right temperature and then covered the whole shebang with another towel to keep the heat in.

For the first 2 days, every couple of hours, open the jar fan some new air in it, close the lid shake the jar vigorously, loosen the lid a tad to let CO2 out and let it sit on the heating pad that way till you do it all again.

Yeasr Water Babka

On the 3rd day add 1 tsp of honey.  Keep up the fanning, shaking, loosening the lid till day 4. By that time, after you shake, the mix should bubble, easily be visible and remain for awhile. The jar lid should hiss as compresses CO2 escapes when you open the lid after shaking it.

After a week or so you should have some nice YW to bake with. To know if it is ready just make a levain with 50 g or the yeast water and 50 g of flour and see if can double in volume in 6-12 hours.

YW/SD multigrain bagels

Each week after the beginning week, strain everything out of the jar. Put 3 T of old YW back in the jar with a few pieces of old fruit say 4 raisins and 4 pieces of apple. Add more fresh raisins and half a diced apple you put in the fridge (you don't have to mash them up anymore).

Add 1 T of honey and fill 3/4th full with water. Leave on the counter. The next day it will be ready to build a levain with again. After it settles itself in, after a couple or three weeks, you can then refrigerate it 4 hours after feeding it and it will be ready and peaked to make bread after 2-3 days in the fridge. I now feed mine every 3 weeks and keep it in the fridge all the time

YW/ SD combo levain multi-grain with scald and seeds - YW will open the crumb of any usually heavy crumb.

You can replace any SD levain with YW.  If the recipe calls for 220 g of levain just use 110 g of YW and 110 of flour to make it. When it doubles it is ready to go about 6 hours or so. If you bake a lot like Janet does, or a little like me, when you use the YW just replace it with new bottled water and a little honey shake it up and leave it on the counter for a couple of hours before refrigerating.

 Happy YW baking.

YW/ SD Durum Ricotta with pistachio pumpkin and millet seeds.


hanseata's picture

Aroma Bread - A Love Story


One of my most favorite cookbooks is "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals".

Award winning Author Maria Speck combines her German father's love for hearty grains, and her Greek mother's culinary talents in dishes that make you grab your shopping bag, hop on the bike or in the car, and drive to the next natural food store to buy those ancient grains, veggies and fruits for Maria's mouthwatering meals.

Normally I consider a cookbook worth its money, if it contains at least one recipe I really like to cook. "Ancient Grains" has so many, that I still haven't prepared all the ones I want to try. (No, I DON'T get a commission!)

 A few of the dishes are breads, among them the Aroma Bread. A no-knead bread by trade, its evocative name spiked my interest, and my love affair with the spicy loaf began.

"Ancient Grains" is very user friendly, with detailed, easy to follow instructions, no sophisticated culinary equipment needed. No-knead breads meet these expectations, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a clean kitchen towel, a Dutch oven, and you are all set.

These low maintenance breads don't want you to slave over them, they are free spirits, and perfectly willing to go and develop themselves, if you give them enough time (and a little bit of yeast.) They show their gratitude by rising eagerly, and tasting better than many other loaves that had been kneaded, slapped and punched into submission.

You have the choice between a crunchy, and an XX-crunchy Aroma Bread. If you opt for the super chewy, you need to soak whole grain berries for several hours, before mixing them into the dough. This is definitely no impulse bread, so plan to bake it 24 hours ahead.

Maria called her loaf "Aroma Bread" for a good reason. This truly aromatic loaf is not for the faint hearted! But in our old home country Germany breads are often flavored with coriander, fennel and caraway, these herbs are even commonly referred to as "Brotgewürz" (bread spices.) You can use them whole, or coarsely ground.

Bread spices fennel, caraway and coriander

As easy as no-knead breads are to mix, handling wet dough always remains a bit of a challenge. And here comes the sticky wicket: the dough has to be shaped into a loaf, and transferred from the mixing bowl to a place where it can rise. And, after that, it has to be turned out into a piping hot Dutch oven.

That leaves you with two choices: either to lower the bread gently into the pot, risking nasty burns (aka Baker's Badge of Honor). Or you let it drop from a secure height - and have your bread sigh and deflate!

Maria solves the problem by having you scrape the bubbly fermented mass onto a well floured countertop (flour is your friend, creating a barrier between the sticky dough and its surroundings), so that you can fold it into a round.

Then you place the loaf on a floured kitchen towel, fold the corners over it, and, voilà, you have a cozy proofing place. Of course, it takes a rather amorphous shape from being bundled in a kitchen towel. 

My first bread went into a large, oval Dutch oven (I didn't have a smaller one), and eagerly spread to fill the void.

My first Aroma Bread - shaped like a roly poly!

Baked into a rather flat loaf, it reminded me of those little things that scurry away when you lift a stone. But when I took the first bite, my eyes glazed over. My flat roly poly bread tasted awesome!

The next time I decided to set the bread more boundaries, changing its Armadillidiida appearance. Instead of proofing it simply in a towel, I used my pretty brotform to contain it.

Proofed in a rising basket, the bread is round but still...



It came out of the oven nice and round, but still... way too much room to spread during the baking.

Alas! My main source for discounted kitchen gadgets, Home Goods, was letting me down when I needed it most. Still without the right sized pot, I decided to experiment with a free-standing, self- contained sourdough version, made with pre-doughs à la Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads".

Aroma Bread made as free-standing loaf (with sourdough)

My hearth baked sourdough loaf turned out beautiful. Though I couldn't find much difference in taste, this method is a good alternative for people who either have no Dutch oven, love wild yeasts, hate wet doughs, or prefer to bake their bread as free-standing loaf.

The next time I visited Marshall's (another treasure trove for kitchen stuff) I found a snazzy turquoise cast iron pot in just the right size - for half the price! And soon was mixing the ingredients for my fourth Aroma Bread - again the no-knead version.

And out of the oven came (TATAAA!): the perfect Aroma Bread - looking just as good as it tasted!

The last task left to do for inquiring minds, was to try the sandwich version of Aroma Bread, baked in a loaf pan. A cold cut-friendly shape, and the easiest way to make this wonderful bread. And it has an additional benefit: you can bake more than just one loaf at a time. (My customers will be happy!)

Aroma Sandwich Bread - the easiest version



  • If you use the optional whole grain berries (I made the bread with and without, both versions are great) add more salt: 9 g/0.3 oz instead of 7 g/0.25 oz. 
  • Instead of sunflower seeds you can also take pumpkin seeds (or a mixture of both.)
  • Toast the seeds, before adding them to the dough.
  • For an easier, risk free transport of the proofed bread into the hot pot, use a large piece of parchment paper as a sling to lower the bread gently into the pot. You don't have to remove it.


AROMA BREAD    1 (2-pound) loaf


Grain Berries (optional):

1/2 cup whole wheat, rye, kamut, or spelt berries

cold water, for soaking



340 g/12 oz whole spelt flour (3 cups)

107 g/ 3.75 oz whole rye flour (1 cup)

  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium stone ground cornmeal (1/2 cup)

  67 g/ 2.35 oz sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted (1/2 cup)

  35 g/ 1.25 oz flax or sesame seeds, toasted (1/4 cup)

   2 tbsp. aroma spice blend*)

    7 g/ 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 9 g/0.3 oz if using whole grain berries)

    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

     all soaked whole grain berries (if using)

475 g/2 cups cold water

cornmeal, for sprinkling

 *) Aroma spice blend: mix 6 tablespoons whole coriander seeds with 3 tablespoons each fennel and caraway seeds (enough for 6 loaves).


 DAY 1

In the morning, place whole grain berries in a bowl and cover with at least 1-inch cold water. Cover, and leave at room temperature to soak. Before using, drain them through a strainer (by the way, the soaking water is an excellent fertilizer for your plants.)

Mixed dough - I used black sesame seeds for a nice contrast

In the evening, whisk together all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl, except for soaked grain berries and water. Scatter grain berries on top, and add almost all the water. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until all flour is hydrated. (Dough will be wet and sticky, if not, add a bit more water.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature to ferment for 12 - 18 hours.

Overnight the dough grows to a puffy, swollen mass

 DAY 2

Use a rising basket, (or improvise by placing a clean kitchen towel over a basket or bowl.) Sprinkle with fine cornmeal (other flours work, too). Generously flour your work surface. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape the stringy, bubbly dough onto the work surface.

Scraping out the fermented dough you will see its spongy structure

 With floured hands (or two oiled bench knifes or bowl scrapers), fold dough exactly 4 times, always towards the center, from the top, the bottom, the right and the left side. Turn the dough package around and place it, seam side down, into the towel lined rising basket. Sprinkle with cornmeal or flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour.

After 30 minutes, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat oven to 475ºF. Place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart cast iron pot or Dutch oven (with lid) on the rack to heat up.

When the dough has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size, poke it gently with your finger. The dimple should not fill up again (it can come back a little bit, but should remain visible). If not, wait another 15 minutes.

Fitting snugly in the Dutch oven, the bread will rise more than spread

Remove hot pot from the oven and open the lid. Gently turn out the proofed bread from the rising basket into the Dutch oven, seam side up, guiding it with your hand, (or turn it out onto a parchment paper and, holding the paper on both sides, gently lower the bread into the pot (with paper).

Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 20 - 25 minutes, until the loaf is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and an instant thermometer, inserted in the middle, registers 200ºF.

Remove bread from cast-iron pot and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.



Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with oil, and sprinkle it with 1-2 tablespoons of flax- or sesame seeds. After folding the risen dough, place it, seam side up, right in the prepared loaf pan. (My suggestion: brush top with water, and sprinkle it with more flax- or sesame seeds.) Let it proof as described.

Preheat oven only to 425ºF, placing an oven proof pan or broiler tray for steaming on a the lowest level to heat up.

When loaf is proofed, place in the middle of the oven, pour 1 cup boiling water in the hot steam pan , and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees for even browning, and  bake it for about 30 minutes more, or until it registers 200ºF.

Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, than turn it out onto a wire rack (if it sticks to the pan, loosen it with a butter knife or spatula.)




64 g/2.25 oz rye mother starter (100%hydration)

205 g/7.25 oz whole spelt flour

124 g/4.4 oz lukewarm water



  57 g/2 oz coarse or medium ground cornmeal

  75 g/2.65 oz whole rye flour

  92 g/3.25 oz whole spelt flour

168 g/6 oz water

    4 g/0.15 salt


Final Dough:

   all soaker and starter

  43 g/1.5 ozwhole spelt flour

    5 g/0.2 oz salt

    5 g/0.2 oz instant yeast

  67 g/2.35 oz sunflower- or pumpkin seeds, toasted

  35 g/1.25 oz sesame seeds, toasted

    2 tbsp. aroma spice blend (see original recipe)

182 g/6.4 oz water, add more as needed



In the morning, stir together all ingredients for soaker. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

Mix all starter ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 minute, until all flour is hydrated. Knead for 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand.) Let rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

In the evening, mix all ingredients for final dough for 1- 2 minutes at low speed (or by hand) until all flour is hydrated. Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 4 minutes, adding more water as needed. Dough should be very tacky and not dry to the touch. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 more minute. (Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.)

Gather dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it around to coat it with oil. Cover well, and place it in refrigerator overnight.



Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using, to warm up. (It should have risen nicely overnight.)

Preheat oven to 500ºF, with bread stone and steam pan.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and shape into a round. Place boule, seam side down, in a floured rising basket. Sprinkle with more flour. Cover, and let it rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size, and a dimple stays visible when you gently poke it with a finger.

Turn bread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or use a peel) and place it in the oven, pour a cup of boiling water in the steam pan and reduce heat to 475ºF. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 425ºF. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, rotate bread 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and bake for about 30 minutes more, or until it is nicely browned, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers 200ºF.

Cool on wire rack.

This Aroma Bread was made with whole kamut berries

 You can also follow Maria Speck on facebook or on twitter (I do!)

 (Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)

 Submitted to YeastSpotting

yy's picture

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

After having delicious lobster rolls with New England style buns at RM seafood in Las Vegas, I became obsessed with soft, toasty rolls with just the right amount of crunch. I decided to buy a New England hot dog bun pan (of course, the buns can be made with an ordinary sheet pan, but I just felt like purchasing a unique piece of equipment).

I used a 3/4 recipe of the  golden pull-apart butter buns on King Arthur Flour's online blog, replaced all the liquid with milk for flavor, and increased the hydration to about 70%:

314 g ap flour
16 g potato starch
15 g dry milk
18 g sugar
43 g soft butter
220 g milk (scalded and cooled)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast

I followed the instructions on KAF's blog, but I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces, and in the shaping step, I rolled each piece out to a thin sheet and rolled them up into logs. Each log was placed into a groove in the pan:

Here they are, fully risen and just placed into the oven. A 3/4 recipe makes a pretty good amount of dough for the size of pan. The proper amount of kneading will allow this dough to triple, almost quadruple in size.

Immediately after taking them out of the oven, they were brushed generously with butter to soften the crust:

Just before eating, they were sliced apart and then slit in the middle, like so:

Toasted them on each side with a little butter

The crunchiness of the toasted surface went perfectly with the snap of the natural casing hot dog. The king arthur recipe is very rich, buttery, and sweet.

I love how these buns stand up so straight:-). I'm pleased with how this pan makes a bun that's not too big and not too small. One of my pet peeves is a hot dog that's drowning in a mountain of bread. Personally, I'm addicted to the toastiness of the New England style roll. I don't think I'll go back to regular soft hot dog buns. Was it worth the $25 to buy this special "unitasker?" I would say yes, but I just wanted a new toy. I'm thinking of it as a pre-moving gift to myself, before I make the great schlep from San Francisco to New Haven, CT.  Maybe there are other uses for it, too. Enchiladas?

There are 2 of us in this household, so the 10 buns give us enough for dinner and plenty for leftovers tomorrow. I'll probably use the remaining 6 buns to use up the leftover chicken meatballs in marinara and the leftover Italian sausage.

RonRay's picture

Sourdough Crackers

Sourdough Crackers

Previous blog:

I know that most of us, that culture wild yeast, seldom actually "discard" the discards of our sourdough. Of course, it is not unusual to hear someone new to keeping a sourdough culture remarking that they hate to have to through out the discards. And again, of course, a dozen replies of "No! Make pancakes..." or "Oh, no! Make waffles... ". Well, from now on, I will be crying "No! Make sourdough crackers.. The older the discards, the better the crackers!"

Naturally, that does assume you like sour sourdough, but the crackers are great even with "un-sour" sourdough discards, Rye Sour, etc. or even non-discarded levain as the leavening ingredient.

I came across a year old post by Sarah Wood on using your discard for whole wheat crackers. The link is:
It certainly looked simple enough, so I tried it. I am certainly glad I did, although, a batch never last very long and another few hundred calories have been ingested.

So, here is a step by step, complete with photos, Baker's percentages, some suggestions, and pointers on the ingredients and process. Even if you are not of an experimental curiosity by nature, I suspect you will have some ideas for variations you would like to try.

A small amount Sesame Oil, or Olive Oil to brush the top of the crackers and Kosher salt to sprinkle over the oiled surface will also be needed.

Substitutions of butter or lard can be made for the coconut oil, but I prefer the coconut oil, either the Extra Virgin, or the Expeller types.

Notice that I chose the ingredient amounts to exactly match the Baker's percentages. This batch size works very well for one sheet of crackers per Silpat baking sheet and a 100 grams of discards is an equally reasonable size. If you wish, make multiples of this amount and store in the fridge until you want more crackers.

I do want to mention some considerations to keep in mind when using coconut oil. Using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is my first choice, Expeller Coconut Oil is my second and neither one requires special consideration in a warmer kitchen, but if the kitchen temperature, or the dough temperature, is below about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) then you should either use methods to maintain the temperature of all ingredients about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) during the mixing phase, or use softened butter. Coconut oil is liquid from about the 75ºF ( 23.9º C) and above. Adding it in a mix of cold, fresh out of the fridge, levain may very well cause lumpy, difficult dough conditions. Once the full mixing is complete, this is no longer of any potential problem.

Let your finished crackers cool before placing (if any are uneaten) in an airtight container to preserve their crispness.

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dmsnyder's picture

Converting starter hydrations: A Tutorial. Or through thick and thin and vice versa


Questions regarding how to convert one kind of starter into another are frequently asked on The Fresh Loaf. The easy answer is to just take "a little bit" of seed starter and add enough flour and water to make a mixture of the desired thickness. This is fine and it generally works very well. However, sometimes a recipe calls for a precise hydration level levain and changing this, even a few percentage points, will make the dough consistency quite different from that intended by the formula's author. For those times, one needs to be more precise in making up the levain. 

To convert a starter of one hydration to a starter of another hydration - For example, if you have a 50% hydration starter and want to build a 100% hydration starter from it. 


Here's a general method for a precise conversion:

First, you need to know four things:

1. What is the hydration of your seed starter?

2. What is the hydration of your final starter?

3. How much of the total flour in your final starter comes from your seed starter?

4. How much (weight) final starter will you be making?

Second, you need to calculate the total amount of flour and the total amount of water in your final starter.

Third, you need to calculate the amount of flour and the amount of water in the seed starter.

Fourth, you can now calculate the ingredients of your final starter. They will be:

1. Seed starter

2. Flour (from seed starter plus additional)

3. Water (from seed starter plus additional)


So, let's see how this method works with some specific assumptions. 

The four things you need to know:

Assume you have a 50% hydration seed starter that you want to use. Assume you want to make 100 g of a 100% hydration starter. And assume you want the seed starter to provide 25% of the total flour in the final starter.

Note: Using "Baker's Math," Flour is always 100%, and all other ingredients are proportionate to the flour. So, in a 50% hydration mix, the water is 50% (of the flour, by weight). If hydration is 125%, the water is 125% (or 1.25 times) the flour.

To calculate the total amount of flour and water in your final starter:

Flour (100 parts) + Water (100 parts) = 100 g

So, the 100 g of starter is made up of 200 "parts." The weight of each part is calculated by dividing the total weight by the number of parts. So, 100 g /200 parts = 0.50 g.  This number is sometimes called "the conversion factor."

Then, since there are 100 parts of flour, its weight is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.

The total water in the final dough is 100 parts x 0.5 g = 50 g.

To calculate how much flour will come from the seed starter and how much will be added to make the final starter:

We now know that the total flour in the final starter will be 50 g. But we decided that 25% of this flour is going to come from the seed starter. This means that the seed starter must contain 50 g x 0.25 = 12.5 g of flour, and the flour added to this to make the final starter will be 50 g - 12.5 g = 37.5 g.

To calculate the total weight of the seed starter and the weight of water in the seed starter:

We now need to calculate how much seed starter it takes to provide 12.5 g of flour, and how much water is in this amount of seed starter.

If the seed starter is 50% hydration, it contains 100 parts of flour and 50 parts of water. We know then that the amount of water is 50 parts water/100 parts flour = 0.5  parts of the flour.  Since we already know that the flour has to weigh 12.5 g, then the water must weigh 12.5 x 0.5 = 6.25 g and the total weight of the seed starter is the sum of the water and flour or 12.5 g of flour + 6.25 g of water = 18.75 g.

To calculate the weight of water that must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter:

Now we can calculate how much water must be added to the seed starter to make the final starter. It is the total water in the final starter minus the water in the seed starter or 50 g - 6.25 g = 43.75 g.


Now we know "everything!" To make 100 g of 100% hydration starter, beginning with a 50% hydration seed starter, we would mix:

1. 18.75 g Seed Starter.

2. 37.5 g Flour

3. 43. 75 g water


This method can be used to build any amount of starter of any hydration using a seed starter of any (known) hydration. 





hanseata's picture

Leinsamenbrot - German Flaxseed Bread

Ingredients (2 Loaves)

SOAKER                                                            APPROXIMATE VOLUME MEASUREMENTS
200 g rye flour                                                  1cup + 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. rye flour
111 g whole wheat flour                                     3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. whole wheat flour
5 g salt                                                             1/2 tsp.  salt
150 g flax seeds                                                 1 cup - 1 tbsp. flaxseeds (whole)
272 g buttermilk                                                1 cup + 3 tbsp. buttermilk

33 g water



311 g bread flour                                               2 cups + 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. bread flour

1 g instant yeast                                                1/4 tsp. instant yeast

203 g water                                                       3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. water


all soaker and biga                                            all soaker and biga
78 g bread flour                                               1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. +  1 1/2 tsp. bread flour                                         
7 g salt                                                            1 tsp. salt
7 g instant yeast                                             2 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
19 g honey                                                       1 tbsp. honey
14 g pumpkin seed oil (or other vegetable oil)     1 tbsp. pumpkin seed oil (or other vegetable oil)
milk, for brushing                                              milk, for brushing



In the morning, stir together all soaker ingredients until well hydrated. Let sit at room temperature for 12 - 24 hrs.

Mix together all biga ingredients at low speed (mixer or hand) for 1 - 2 min., until no flour is left on bottom of bowl. Knead for 2 min. on medium-low speed. Let dough rest for 5 min., then knead for 1 more min. Place biga in lightly oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate.

In the evening, mix together all ingredients fo final dough until well combined (1 - 2 min. on low speed or by hand). Knead for 4 min. on medium-low speed. Let dough rest for 5 min., then resume kneading for another min.  Divide into 2 portions and place dough balls in lightly oiled 1-quart plastic containers (or bowls). Cover and refrigerate overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using. Shape into 2 boules and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk. Score with big star shaped  (or round or square) cookie cutter.

Preheat oven to 425 F, including steam pan.

Let breads rise at room temperature for 45 - 60 min., or until they have grown to 1 1/2 times their original size.

Bake breads at 350 F for 20 min. (with steam), rotate them 180 degrees and continue baking for another 20 - 25 min. (internal temperature at least 195 F). Let cool on wire rack.



Leinsamenbrot can also be made with stretch and fold technique. Prepare only soaker as pre-dough (the flax seeds need 24 hours for thorough soaking!). Add biga ingredients to final dough.

For final dough, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Mix it with soaker and all other ingredients for 1 min. at low speed. Let dough sit for 5 min. Knead on medium-low speed for 2 min. Dough should be supple and very tacky, bordering on sticky (adjust with water if needed). Continue kneading for 4 more min., increasing speed to medium-high for last 30 sec. Dough should be tacky.

Stretch and fold dough 4 times, every 10 min. (40 min. total time). Refrigerate overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator 3 hrs. before baking.

Shape cold dough into 2 boules. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk, then score with big cookie cutter. Let breads rise for ca. 2 - 3 hrs., or until grown 1 1/2 times their original size. Continue as in recipe above.


VOLUME MEASUREMENTS are only approximate calculations - you have to adjust with water or flour according to what the dough consistency should be like!!!

Updated 7/20/13: I added water to the soaker, and reduced the yeast in the final dough.