The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ngabriel's picture

Has anyone made a SOFT 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread????

Hello all, seems like I have tried forever to find a whole wheat sandwich bread recipe that is SOFT, and like the sandwich bread we are used to.  Yes, I know all the benefits of crusty bread, and people love it, and all the rest..  but I am looking for a SOFT 100% wheat sandwich bread recipe that someone has had some success using for some time.  Please, if there is one out there, please let me know! 




dmsnyder's picture

Larraburu two - variations on a classic San Francisco Sourdough

A couple days ago, I blogged on my bake of a San Francisco sourdough bread based on Larraburu Bros. recipe as described in the 1978 Cereal Chemistry article by Galal, et al., as cited by Doc.Dough. (See San Francisco Sourdough Bread using Larraburu Bros. formula.) It was a delicious bread, but it lacked the sourdough tang usually associated with San Francisco sourdough. This blob describes some modifications of the recipe. I hoped to retain the good qualities of this bread while increasing the sourness somewhat.

In summary, the modifications were:

  1. Substitute some whole rye flour for some of the high-gluten flour in the sponge.

  2. Ferment the sponge at a lower (room) temperature for a longer time.

  3. Substitute some whole wheat flour for some of the AP flour in the final dough.

  4. Compare breads baked with and without an overnight cold retardation of the shaped loaves.

For three 667 g loaves:

Sponge (Stiff Levain)

Baker's %

Wt (g)

High-gluten flour



Whole rye flour






Stiff starter






Mix thoroughly and ferment for 12 hours at room temperature.

Final dough

Baker's %

Wt (g)

AP flour



WW flour









Sponge (stiff levain)







Procedure (Note: I actually mixed the dough in a Bosch Universal Plus, using the dough hook. I have left the instructions as if I had used a KitchenAid mixer. This amount of stiff dough would have challenged my KitchenAid. Also, I retarded one of the 3 loaves I made overnight in the refrigerator.)

  1. Mix the flours and water in a stand mixer with the paddle for 1-2 minutes at Speed 1.

  2. Cover the mixer bowl tightly and autolyse for 20-60 minutes. (I autolysed for 60 minutes.)

  3. Sprinkle the salt on the dough and add the sponge in chunks.

  4. Mix for 1-2 minutes with the paddle at Speed 1, then switch to the dough hook and mix for 5 minutes at Speed 2. Adjust the dough consistency by adding small amounts of water or flour, if needed. (I did not add either.) The dough should be tacky but not sticky. It should clean both the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.

  5. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  6. Ferment at 105º F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a humid environment. Stretch and fold once at 1 1/4 hours.

  7. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.

  8. Pre-shape the pieces round and cover with a towel or plasti-crap.

  9. Let the dough relax for 15-20 minutes.

  10. Shape as a boule or bâtard.

  11. Proof at 105º F in a floured banneton or en couche, covered, until the dough slowly fills a hole poked in it with a finger. (This was in 30 minutes, for me!)

  12. About 45 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  13. Transfer the loaf to a peel and score it as desired.

  14. Transfer the loaf to the baking stone. Turn down the oven to 450º F.

  15. Bake with steam for 15 minutes. Remove your steaming apparatus, and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes until the crust is nicely colored and the internal temperature is at least 205º F.

  16. Turn off the oven, but leave the loaf on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 10-15 minutes.

  17. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack, and cool completely (at least 2 hours) before slicing.

This bread came out very dark for reasons that are not clear to me. Again, the “poke test” failed me. The loaves seemed ready to bake after 30 minutes in the proofer, but their oven spring and bloom seemed to indicate under-proofing. The crust was nice and crisp. The flavor was different from the first bake, partly because of the rye and whole wheat flours, but it was also very slightly sour – more so the day after baking. I would still categorize it as “very slightly sour.”

Larraburu SFSD, modified formula 

Larraburu SFSD, modified formula crust

Larraburu SFSD, modified formula Crumb

I cold retarded one loaf from this batch for about 24 hours en couche, inside a plastic bag. Because of the apparent under-proofing problem described above, it then was warmed up at room temperature for about 90 minutes and proofed at 105º F for another 75 minutes. The smooth surface of the loaf which had been face down on the couche was significantly dried out. The couche had absorbed a lot of its moisture.

Because of my experience with the previous bake, described above, I baked this loaf at 440º F for a total of 30 minutes, leaving it in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 20 minutes. The oven spring and bloom were moderated by these changes. The color was pretty much perfect, to my taste.

Larraburu SFSD, modified formula and procedure

Larraburu SFSD, modified formula and procedure: Crumb

The aroma of the sliced bread was whole-wheaty and ... slightly sour. The crust was crunchy and the flavor of the crumb was decidedly sour ... very sour. It was a very different bread from the ones that had 1) not been cold retarded and 2) had been proofed for a very much shorter time at a warmer temperature.

I'm a very happy sourdough baker!

The next step will be to return to the original formula but use the present modified procedure.


Submittted to YeastSpotting


metropical's picture

"fixing" a starter gone chessy

My starter is of local organic small white grapes and bread flour. It's a couple years old.

In the last month or so, it has gone a bit "cheesy" and is slow to "activate".

Normally I feed with bread flour and hot water 1/.75 or so.  Then I put in the oven with the light on and it would usuually activate in an hour or so.

Took 8 hours to activate this time, and it wasn't like it has been.

Can this be fixed with some rye flour for a couple feeds and/or some OJ or cider?


The resultant bread is OK, but it lacks the rise of it's former self.

Now barly a half inch over the edge of the pan, when it was 1 to 1/12 inches over the top.

breadforfun's picture

To steam or not to steam...

That is not the question.  But how to steam?  Ah, there's the rub (with apologies to the Bard).

As many  a home baker, I have struggled with getting enough steam into the oven during the initial bake period.  There are many suggestions on the topic in these TFL pages, and I think I have tried them all.  I've used lava rocks, pouring water into a hot pan, soaking towels, ice cubes, etc.  This past weekend I made two batches of Tartine bread recipe, one of which I used the lava rock method of steaming and the other I used the book's recommended method of a dutch oven.  It is pretty clear which worked better (steamwise).  The boule has much more bloom and grigne, though not as much as I have seen by other posters here.  The oval loaf is much more subdued (although not without its own charm).

The crumb of this bread is exquisite.

What steaming methods work for you?



Lalush's picture

Where to find bulk supplies: Linen Bannenton / Couche / Lame

Greetings bakers, 

I'm opening a small bake shop, but I'm having trouble finding a few items in bulk at reasonable prices.

-Linen Lined Banneton:

         I found them online by Matfer Bourgeat, but they were $20-$30 each! That sounds crazy!? I was paying just $9  for each 1kg willow bannenton from Germany:  

         Must I order them from france? I found linen/cotten bannetons for about $5: Are there any other options? Should I just make my own?

Couche: I've also found couche in the US, but each peice seems to be $20, that also seems wild. Are there any places where I can buy a long peice and cut it myself? 


I guess I'm just looking for bulk suppliers for artisan bakeries. Do they exist? Thanks! 

The_Metatron's picture

My wonderful whole wheat boule

I did some reading around these parts, and this is a very god resource to use to figure out how to bake a decent load of bread.

My diet is vegan, whole foods, plant based, and more than that, I use no added sugar or oil in preparing my food. This rules out most commercial bread. So, I needed to solve the riddle of bread, as it is, and come up with my own whole wheat bread.

My first attempts were heavy, dense, and dry. Not a big surprise there. You just can't treat whole wheat flour like all purpose four.

The keys to my loaf turned out to be proper hydration, and proper development. I use an 80% hydration, and the stretch and fold method of developing the dough, which I learned on this web site. Here is what I do:

900 grams of whole wheat flour
15 grams of salt
One, 41 gram block of fresh yeast (it's what's available to me here)
720 grams of water
15 grams of honey

Combine the first to ingredients in the mixing bowl
Combine the last three ingredients and let the yeast proof in a glass bowl for 20 minutes or so.
Mix it all together with a wooden spoon, then turn it out onto the board to do the first stretch and fold.
Return the dough to the mixing bowl, let it rise, coveted, for 45 minutes.
Stretch and fold again, returning the dough to the bowl.
Wait another 45 minutes
Stretch and fold again, returning the dough to the bowl.
Turn on the oven to preheat to 230C, with my covered casserole pot inside.
Wait another 45 minutes.
Plop the dough from the mixing bowl to the NASA hot casserole pot, and score the top with a razor blade. Return it to the oven, covered, for 30 minutes.
Uncover the pot, bake another 15 minutes or so. I get the internal temperature to 95C.
Cool it on a wire rack.

This makes a big boule, which I cut in half, then freeze half. It makes a nice moist loaf, as open crumb as white bread, only tastier because of the whole grain.

Thanks for the help!

Salilah's picture

New flour - how to avoid cowpats (!) ?

After reasonably (!) successful and reliable sourdoughs, I had in succession one very flat loaf and then a cowpat (overproofed) - the cowpat was a new recipe but the flat loaf was tried and tested.  Even the cowpat seemed relatively fine - not very active bulk fermentation, so fridge overnight, it felt heavy when I shaped, then fell apart before final shaping...  The thing I'd changed - was to a new flour!

The new flour came through Bakery Bits - a 100% stoneground white, which I thought would be great.  Looking at the label, it comes from Little Salkeld:

and is the biodynamic, which I'm assuming therefore is potentially only a protein level of 9%(?) - it doesn't specify protein on the label :(

I've been using either strong bread flour, or the very strong Canadian flour (Waitrose) - so I'm guessing this is what is challenging!

Question: how can I best use this new flour, as I have 6kg of it?  Should I mix it with the strong Canadian to make a sort of standard bread flour, or are there particular techniques I should try to get the best from this flour?  I'd like to be able to use it and see what it tastes like - but I don't know the right techniques.  Any suggestions much appreciated!!


davidg618's picture

1 pound loaves

During the holidays, and for the first time, we baked 1-lb. loaves, one-third smaller than our usual 1.5-lb loaves. We did this because we gifted a number of family and friends that live alone, reasoning that a larger loaf would likely stale before it was consumed. Furthermore, I can bake three 1-lb per load in my household oven, but only two 1.5-lb loaves otherwise. We  baked more than was needed, so we've been consuming the leftovers. We've realized the smaller loaves serve our needs--there is only two of us--as well, or possibly better than the larger loaves. I'll continue to make larger loaves to share at our frequent community pot-luck dinners, or when we entertain.

I also like simply hand-shaping batards, and proofing the loaves on a couche vis-a-vis bannetons.

This formula is 10/45/45: Whole Rye Flour/KA Bread Flour/KA AP Flour, with  14% of the flour (all Bread Flour) prefermented in the levain build. Hydration is 68%. I retard the dough for 15 hours at 54°F.

David G

David G

suzyr's picture

Tartine Bread

Tartine Country Bread

Here is my bread that I have just finished. This was a small loaf but I am very happy with the crust and crumb. 

bobku's picture


I know there are plenty of post on this topic, I have read most of them. and I know this subject has been beaten to death. However, has anyone successfully changed the effect their starter has on the sourness of their dough. My starter is about 8 months old, I have tried many things to my starter and or dough hoping I could produce a more sour dough , changing my starter to 50% hydration, long proofing, or fermenting overnight of dough, feeding my starter less for more sourness, as well as just making sure its healthy and well fed, adding rye flour to starter, keeping on counter feeding couple times a day, keeping in refrigerator feeding less, mixing a weak fed starter for sour with a well fed starter for rise . Nothing really seems to noticeably change the sourness of my dough. I am thinking of ordering a very sour starter from a reliable source freeze some and then if it starts to eventually loose it's sour taste and change to my local area flavor , as some people says it does  I can revive some from frozen again and always have a real sour flavor. I would rather be able to morph my starter in one that will produce a real sour flavor. Just want to know if anyone has successfully made a real sour flavored dough from their starter which usually produces a great bread but not sour. The only thing I haven't really tried is a very long retard more than 24 hours. Retarding overnight doesn't seem to help. When I actually taste and smell  the starter it has what I'm looking for It's just amazing to me that I can't get that flavor into the dough. I know all to well that a starter that smells and taste really sour doesn't necessarily produce a sour dough. I know I can add a huge amount of starter mostly for it's flavor but is that really my only option If I want to use my starter.