The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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CAphyl's picture

Pain de Campagne

I was inspired by Syd's bake to try my first Pain de Campagne.  I wasn't happy with the first bake, although my husband really enjoyed the taste and texture of the bread.  It was extremely light and made great sandwiches. As I often do, I froze the other half of the dough to make at a later date, and I baked it today.  As usual, my second bake from the frozen loaf turned out better than the first bake from fresh.  The first loaf didn't get much height, but had good crumb. The second loaf had much better oven spring and more height. Both had excellent, tangy taste. I have made a crumb comparison between the two loaves below. The first crumb shot is from the fresh loaf; the second is from the bake today. 

Crumb from the first bake.

Pain de Campagne (adapted from Syd’s recipe)


  • 50g mature whole wheat starter (mine was mixed)
  • 100g water
  • 100g whole wheat flour

Allow to peak.  This could take from 4-10 hours.  Mine took 8 hours.

Main Dough

  • 200g of the levain
  • 350g water
  • 50g rye
  • 1/2 tsp diastatic malt powder
  • 450g bread flour

Disperse the levain in the water with a wire whisk until there is a good foam on top. Next, whisk in rye and malt powder.  Then add bread flour with spatula and mix until all the flour has been moistened.

  • autolyse for 50-60 minutes


  • add 10g salt
  • knead to medium gluten development (if the dough is sticky, you can use your dough scraper.  Try not to add more flour.  Just enough for your surface and hands.


  • bulk ferment for 1-2 hours with a turn at 30 minutes (I left the dough for 2 hours and turned twice).


  • pre-shape
  • rest 10 minutes
  • final shape

Put into well floured banneton and after about half an hour cover and:

  • retard for 12 hours in the fridge
  • let the dough warm up just before the bake; you’ll see it rise a bit more


  •  at 500F in a covered baker for 30 minutes


  • Remove the lid and reduce heat to 435 convection, baking for another 20 - 25 minutes

If you don’t have a covered baker (Syd’s original instructions):


  •  at 230 C with steam for 15 minutes


  • reduce heat to 200 C and bake for a further 30 - 35 minutes

The proportionately large amount of levain in this recipe means that the dough develops really quickly hence the relatively short bulk fermentation time.

jmucklow's picture

Bakers percentages

Anyone have an easy conversion method for bakers percentages?  

Kris Hughes's picture
Kris Hughes

Wheat free (but not GF) baking

About a month ago I stopped eating wheat. I do feel better, and the time or two that I've forgotten and slipped up - not so better. I am not avoiding other grains that have small amounts of gluten or anything.

I'm starting to miss bread. I used to bake bread that was about 50% wheat plus other grains, and it was fine by my standards, although it only had a moderate rise and not much of a crumb. I'd love a simple recipe for either loaf bread or a hamburger bun/sandwich roll. I don't expect it to be just like bread with wheat! Emphasis on simple, as I don't have a lot of spare cash to devote to experiments and only get to a town with real supermarkets and a whole food store maybe once a month. I'm going there in a couple of days, so it would be great to have a recipe or two in mind.

I'm also looking for a way to make some nice, elastic "flour" tortillas! (you may say I'm a dreamer...)


Thanks in advance!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

100% Whole Grain Goodness and Fiasco. A tale of two cities.

I put my new grain mill to work this weekend. The first thing I did was bake the teaching loaf in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book.  Note, the master formula is not error free. Under ingredients and method he states to use all of the soaker, and then states use all of the soaker (or biga) when he should have said starter (or biga).  See, I read these things, Peter!

More substantively, the master formula states to chop the soaker and the starter or biga into 12 pieces each and to "sprinkle some of the extra flour over the pre-doughs to keep the pieces from sticking back to each other."

What am I missing, here? Why would you flour the pieces to prevent them from sticking if the goal is to mix the 24 pieces and combine them into a uniform mass?  Seems that flouring the pieces is counterproductive.

Anyway, back to the story.

The mill:

The just-combined dough:

The bulk rise:

In the pan -- you can see the pan was a bit too small to contain the dough:

The bakes loaf:

The crumb (this is my PB&J sandwich. It is a little wet with jelly to the right of middle:

Overall, I am not thrilled with the bread I baked. It tastes fine and is not heavy. But it is also a bit too crumbly. It is difficult to slice thin and when sliced sandwich thickness, it does not hold up very well.

That said, I assume that this is the fault of the baker and not the formula.  Although, if those who make this loaf regularly tell me that the bread is always easily torn and this is the best you can hope for from whole-grain goodness, my expectations can be adjusted.

After baking the sandwich loaf, I went back to Tartine and looked at his whole wheat recipe.  That formula and instruction set is fundamentally flawed and I can't even figure out what is supposed to be done with it, because while he says the whole wheat requires extra hydration, he does not give a formula for 100% whole wheat, leaving me wondering how much extra hydration is needed if I decide to go 100% whole wheat.

It is flawed for a second reason also -- whereas the basic country loaf discusses 750 grams (50 grams reserved to add with the salt) of water, the whole wheat description mentions 800 grams of water, mentions nothing about a reserve, and tells you mix the dough and says nothing about when to add the salt (if I recall, it actually refers back to the basic country loaf, but has you starting after the salt has been added).

Anyway, I figured if 800 grams was used with 800 grams of whole wheat, then I should add more than 800 for 100% whole wheat.  However, using 845 grams produced a dough that was rather wet.

I autholyzed overnight at room temperature, added the leaven and let it bulk ferment for 4 hours at 70 degrees.  The dough was bubbling at the surface. But it was very wet. I did not know whether I should shape it or let it sit longer.  So I shaped it.  Unfortunately, it was too loose and so I followed his directions after seeing a too runny bench rest and did another pre-shape.  This time it held together much better, so I finished the shaping and added it to my basket.

After proofing for 3 hours, it rose considerably but it had the consistency of Jell-O and did not look like it would make it out of the basket.

To my surprise, I successfully predicted that the dough would not come out of the basket. No way, no how. It was stuck good what I was able to tear out, was a big gloppy mess.

I baked it anyway. I am afraid to cut it.

It came out like a dense rock. I didn't bother scoring it because the "it" was not really a loaf.

I am ashamed to have wasted so much flour.  I don't know if my 86% hydrated dough was the problem or if I should have let it sit overnight in the fridge to let it dry out.  Unfortunately, I am not yet "there" with knowing whether dough is overproofed and I was a little concerned that leaving it for too long in its whole wheat state, would result in overproofed dough -- especially when I was seeing bubbles at the surface after only a few hours.

I also made whole wheat pizza with the other half of the dough (with 1/2 of that, still in the fridge).  The pizza was chewy and not bad, but not nearly as good as the tartine basic country loaf with white flour.  In part, it was not a fair test because I did not cook it on a preheated pan, but it was just too wet and stretchy to bake it that way and instead I dropped the goopy dough into the rectangular pan, stretched it out a bit and baked it in a hot oven.

chaspan's picture

Calculating calories in bread

I'd like some confirmation that my method for calculating the calories in the breads I make is correct. It seems quite straightforward, but I want to make sure I'm not missing something.

I simply add up the calories of all of the individual ingredients. Then I divide the total ingredient calories by the total weight of all of the baked loaves after they have cooled. For basic sandwich type breads that contain fats, sugars, and maybe eggs, I generally end up with about 2.8 calories per gram of baked bread. Breads that contain only flour, water, and salt, such as french bread, generally yield around 2.27 calories per gram. For Hamelman's Olive Levain, I end up with 2.44 calories per gram.

The bread in the image is a 13x4x4 inch pullman loaf made using the Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe from the King Arthur Flour web site. I calculate 2.82 calories per gram of baked bread. The slice you see in the image weighed 59 grams; 166 calories if my calorie calculation method is correct. I usually cut a bit thinner, ending up with about 50 to 52 grams per slice, and a calorie count of 141 to 147 calories per slice.

Am I calculating the calories per gram correctly?

One reason I'm wondering is that the calorie burden I calculate for my breads doesn't compare very closely to the calorie counts listed for various types of bread on a calorie counting website. One site, for example, shows 100 grams of plain white bread having 266 calories, 2.66 calories per gram. Whole wheat bread is listed as 256 per 100 grams. That same site lists French Bread at 274 per 100 grams, which is a lot more than the 2.27 calories per gram that I always get.

dmsnyder's picture

A Bread Baking Quiz!

There is a traditional type of test question in medicine called “visual diagnosis.” The student is shown a photo - it might be of a whole person, a face or just a piece of skin with a rash - and asked to make a diagnosis. The last time I took a test like that was for board certification in Pediatrics. That was in 1977, and I can still remember most of the photos I was shown - a young girl with an inguinal hernia, a teenage boy’s feet (They were flat.), a rash (Scabies), a child with a rare genetic condition (Progeria). I think there were a couple more. I can’t remember them right now, but I do remember I knew the correct diagnosis for every one of the photos. (Yay, me!)

Anyway, “visual diagnosis” is a valuable skill for bread bakers too, it seems to me. I think others agree. That is why we prefer to see photographs of a loaf’s crust and crumb structure before committing to a “diagnosis” of a problem’s cause. That’s by way of introduction to today’s visual diagnosis quiz.

Here are some photographs of two bakes of two loaves each. All loaves weighed the same (512g) before baking. Both bakes were at 460ºF for 12 minutes then 440ºF convection bake for another 18 minutes. The obvious difference is that one bake is of bâtards, the other of boules, but there is another obvious difference in their appearance. 


Bâtards and Boules, side-by-side

Boule Close Up

 Bâtard Close Up

If you choose to take the test, here are your questions:

  1. Describe (briefly) the significant difference you see.
  2. What are the possible causes of the difference?
  3. What is the specific cause you think responsible for the difference? And why do you think that?

Further instructions: Have fun, and Happy Baking!


John H's picture
John H

Dinner rolls

I've been working on making dinner rolls.  Loosely based on floydm's kaiser rolls (which are based on the BBA rolls).  What I've done though is use my sourdough starter to build the recipe.  

The basics:

90 gm 100% hydration starter (20 gm starter + 35 gm AP flour + 35 gm water - about 8 hours at room temp)

454 gm KA unbleached AP flour

200 gm water

Autolyze 30 minutes.    This is one issue - the flour/starter/water is pretty stiff.  I had a difficult time mixing in the final water/salt/etc.

9 gm salt

14 gm sugar

10 gm malt powder

14 gm oil

27 gm final water

1 egg

1 egg white


mixed in KA mixer and flour added until the dough formed a decent ball.  Probably 40-50 gms added flour.  I had to break up the autolyzed dough by hand, the mixer and dough hook weren't getting it done.


2 hour bulk proof

Separated and rest for 10 minutes

Formed into 8 rolls - flattened slightly and folded to center.

1 hour rest top down on parchment paper with poppy seeds

Turned over, covered with plastic wrap and retarded overnight in the refrigerator.


25 minutes on a baking stone at 425F


Very tasty - a little dense.  Decent amount of oven spring, but the rolls are somewhat flattened, not roundish like the hard rolls I remember.   I'm not sure I saw a 2x doubling on the 2 hour bulk proof.  I need a better proofing container and / or a better eye I guess.



KMS's picture

Interview with Olivier: Part 3

Reblogged from:

(Part 1) & (Part 2)

We went a bit off topic after the point where I left off, so, getting back to things…

Olivier: We can’t get to everything in one day, you should come back this summer, to see the mill and the other things we have going on here.

Me: You use a stone mill?

Olivier: Yep, stone mill, it’s about five kilometers from here, at my friend’s place. I use that, I can’t do everything here by myself so I’ve got Raphael (his neighbor) and his mother and father who help with things.

Me: Do you make bread too?

Olivier: Not really but I can. We’ve got flour here after all! I’ll give you some before you go, I can give you a bag of durum flour.

Me: Really! I’d love that. (Note: I was sent away with three kilos plus two bags of the pasta the intern was weighing out. The flour’s already been made into dough, slow-proofing in the fridge right now to be baked this afternoon. Report to come.) You know, I also had some questions about quantities when you’re growing wheat… so for, say, one hectare, I imagine that it depends, what sort of quantity of wheat do you wind up with?

Olivier: An old wheat variety … harvesting or planting?

Me: Harvest.

Olivier: Harvesting, right. If it’s good land, one ton up to four tons.

Me: Seriously!

Olivier: Yeah, four tons the hectare, normally I can manage that. But we seed five kilos. So with five kilos of seed, I can get four tons of harvest. But with some other varieties, I’ll get two tons. The more ancient the species, the smaller the harvest. Plus you’ve got to adapt the cultivation methods.

Me: And so then with conventional wheat?

Olivier: Conventional wheat? Modern, you mean?

Me: Yeah.

Olivier: With modern wheat I’ve managed to get up to eleven tons the hectare. Big difference.

Me: It is. Understandable why most farmers plant the modern varieties.

Olivier: And with the modern varieties you have to treat the fields. Two herbicides, two fungicides, a fertilizer, that makes five products you’ve got to put on the cultivation.

Me: Do you use any of that?

Olivier: Nothing with the ancient grains. Down at the end of the fields, where I have the conventional wheat, I use one herbicide. But it’s still better than organic, because for an organic label you can use more products than that, but I don’t.

Me: And you’re interested in getting organic labeling?

Olivier: Not at all. I know what I’m doing, so why bother? You can go buy an organic vacuum cleaner if you want, what does organic really mean?

Me: Ha, well I’m asking, because in the US it costs a bit of money for a farmer to get organic labeling, so you’ve got some people farming in a way that is very much “organic” but they don’t have the label because they can’t or don’t want to handle the cost, deal with the bureaucracy. And anyway there are such huge loopholes in the regulations for what qualifies as organic that the label is really pretty much meaningless.

Olivier: Exactly, and that’s why I say to myself that, ethically, even if it could be a help for financial security, I don’t do it. I’ve got my clients who come here, and they deal with me, no one else. No dealing with stores, everything works directly between them and me.

Me: How did that come about?

Olivier: Just does. Someone develops allergies or gets sick from the mass produced stuff and they find me, and they tell other people. (True — since my afternoon with Olivier I’ve given his name to three people I know who have problems with gluten.) Word of mouth, at a human scale. If you’re my client and you come to me today, I’ll tell you come back in July and I’ll show you, that wheat there, that field there, you see it, you’re going to eat it, it’s going to pass through your body in six months. Big difference from going to one of these massive grocery stores – doo doo doo! Aisle five, 50% off all our flour!

You know I say all this, I was deep into intensive farming before, and the more I intensified the production, the less I got paid for my product. I said to myself, those people don’t need us. If they’re going to do it like that, they have no need for me, so I’m going to do it without them. If everyone like us turned our backs on the powers, if we stopped giving importance to the people in charge, they’d have no power. It’s because we give them importance that they have power. But if you turn your back on them, they’re no longer important.

Me: Something I ask myself — I’m in total agreement with you, and there are some people who think like this too, but there’s a majority of people who don’t. I agree that it’s not possible to force a change in people’s ideas –

Olivier: No.

Me: But at the same time, if there’s no effort to discuss with “the others” it stays in the realm of “I change myself,” and we don’t change anything at a larger scale.

Olivier: Right, but for example, you heard about me on the radio. (I did, here.)

Me: Yes.

Olivier: If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have found me.

Me: True.

Olivier: So I invest myself in this, I try to start conversations.

Me: No! I didn’t say you didn’t.

Olivier: No, no, I know that’s not what you’re saying. I’m saying that when I started, I was all alone. By myself with my wheat and a couple friends down the road. Today what do we have? We’ve got heritage wheat growing over there, another span of fields a bit farther away –

Me: Your neighbors are changing too?

Olivier: Some of them are, sure. When I started I had 4,000 square meters myself, now there are twenty hectares, or fifteen maybe, in the area. And more and more people are doing it. So right now, compared to five years ago, there is so much more. And the people who come here to buy from me, at the beginning I had one or two, and now I’ve got people coming every week. Some of them come and buy twenty kilos, some of them don’t go to the grocery store at all anymore. People who before couldn’t eat wheat bread and now they can, and they’re in good health. My friend with the mill, I went by the last time to ask how much I owed him for the milling, and he said, “This time it’s on me, because you gave me something else with what you’re doing. I’ve been having to take hypertension medication for so long and since I’ve been eating the grains you grow I haven’t needed to take anything. Since I started eating differently, I’ve been able to stop my medication. I feel good in my body.” That’s the way it is.

(to the intern, who was still working to fill up bags of pasta for sale) You like pasta?

Intern: Yep.

Olivier: Ho! Then it’s Carnevale for you today. And you know, with that pasta, you eat less than you would of the other stuff. Sticks to your ribs.

(to me) You like bread?

Me: I love it.

Intern: I’m getting tired.

Olivier: Looks like an office in here. Speaking of class warfare, you’ve got the class that fills up the pasta bags and the class that sits around and watches haha.

Me: Have pity on the worrrking man!

Olivier: Poor thing. At least she’s working at something that makes sense. No, but seriously, you know, as far as the goal of the farmer: I’ve been in conferences before where they always finish up by saying, “Ohh but why does organic cost more than conventional, why don’t we have it the other way around since it costs less to produce organic since we aren’t buying chemicals and fertilizers blah blah blah. The farmers must feed the world blah blah blah.” And I say, no. No no no no. This is not the issue we should be talking about. We should be discussing why we don’t live in a world where everyone is able to get by individually at basic things. Everyone should have the right to a bit of land, and be able to grow things for himself or herself and a family. It’s shouldn’t be put on the shoulders of only a few to feed everyone else, no. Everyone should have the capacity to be responsible for his own food, and then people wouldn’t need as much money, which doesn’t have any inherent value anyway. It’s just paper, founded on nothing really. We’re the ones who give it value. We live in a world where it’s completely the opposite of how it should be. In the big cities, you need money to live! People in cities can’t support themselves. But if everyone had just a little plot of space to grow things to eat, and knew what to do with it, we’d change a lot about how we live.

KMS's picture

Interview with Olivier: Part 2

Reblogged from:

Part 1 here:


When we left off, Olivier and I had started talking about multinationals’ hold on the free exchange and cultivation of seeds.

Olivier: I’m possibly going to have an opportunity to go to Iran. Apparently there’s a phenomenal museum there with a rich amount of information on the history of agriculture. We’ve got to discover those things.

Me: I was in Armenia this past August, and there apparently there are fields of wild wheat –

Olivier: Oh right, Aegilops? It was Aegilops?

Me: I’m not sure of the species off the top of my head. (Way to go Kate.) There was a conservation program during the Soviet era, and with the end the program was left to one side with all that happened after the fall. But it seems from what we found that these fields are still somewhere between Yerevan and Ararat. We went out looking for them, a bit blindly, and didn’t find anything. But that’s the story as we understand it, that the fields are out there practically on the side of the highway.

Olivier: Aegilops, it was most likely that. You know it’s the same thing with apple trees. The apple trees in Azerbaijan, there’s a fantastic genetic reserve, I’ve heard it’s really something.

Me: So the seeds you use here? You’ve got to start by getting them from somewhere established…

Olivier: National conservatories. Now they’re doing something else, with the seed banks. It first happened in the US, more of this bullshit. The big businesses, they go pick up seeds that are accessible for the public at large — it’s a common good. The corporations take the seeds and make a genetic profile of them, they file a patent, and then nobody else can use them without paying. Patenting a form of life.

Me: How do they justify that? They don’t change anything in the genetic makeup.

Olivier: They influence the state, they have lobbying power. They’re more powerful than the state.

Me: But wait — if I’m understanding correctly, they take seeds to do tests and make a genetic profile, and with that they say –

Olivier: That they own it.

Me: That’s insane! It’s like they take me and –

Olivier: Exactly, they take you, they do your genetic profile, and they say, “We own her. She doesn’t own herself, we own her.” It’s unbelievable. If you had told me this sort of thing five or six years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that such idiocy could be happening. It’s an instance of a fiction becoming real. But with these sorts of things, we can’t be afraid. We have to work together, pool our resources. Above all to not be alone. With us farmers, we’re there, we’re outdoors working, and the more we work together the more autonomous we become.

Me, personally, I’m looking for autonomy. I can’t quite do it yet because I have to work. It the current financial system, we’re obliged to do so. But we can still do things. I’ve got two hands and a head. And land, and forests, good land. That’s capital. And I’ve got seeds, and food, everything. I have an enormous potential. A richness in diversity. That’s what we don’t realize. It’s not necessary to have 10,000 square meters, but with an area of 5,000 or 10,000 square meters you can do big things. There are a lot of openings. It works if you’ve got two hands and a lot of motivation, and a vision of life and their future that’s open.

We must reappropriate knowledge, because we’re going to need it in the future. We think we’re all big and strong now, we think we’ve mastered everything. The reality is that civilization has never been so vulnerable. You don’t know how to make your clothes, feed yourself.

Me: What you were just saying, about not acting alone –

Olivier: Together, it’s got to be together.

Me: A question I ask myself a lot, because — a bit of my story — my research started off by taking a look at my CV, and if I really looked at what sorts of real capacities I had for producing life’s needs, it was nothing. I could edit a book for you if you happen to write a book, but more than that, forget it. I could cook okay, but besides that, when we get into production, food preservation for example, things like that, I had nothing. So I started to learn.

Olivier: Do you garden a bit?

Me: Yes, I garden.

Olivier: Me too, tomatoes and things, but I’m a bit late this year.

Me: Yeah, I share a plot in a community garden in Geneva, in the backyard of an cultural center.

Olivier: What’s it called?

Me: Utopiana. We started a community garden with some people in the neighborhood about a year ago and we’re organizing a whole program of activities around permaculture, ecology. And between now and toward the end of 2015 there are a number of artists coming for residency who work on those topics.

To be continued … I’m at Utopiana right now, we’re doing an open house with Natalia, and a whole mass of people just showed up! 

TriMom's picture

Counter top mixer recommendation


I have a 22-year old Kitchen Aid Ultra Power (I think the bowl might be 5 quarts?) that is still going strong, but it's too small!  I need one that has a larger capacity and a strong motor to mix dense cookie dough and knead bagel dough.

 I am considering a Kitchen Aid Professional series but have my eye on a commercial Kitchen Aid from a restaurant supply store.  The commercial mixer is expensive compared to the Professional but its main attraction is it appears to be more rugged.  Professional models are on sale all the time and can be had for a reasonable price.

What are people's experiences with the Professional model?  Are there other brands or models I should consider?  I will live with this new mixer for decades so need to purchase wisely.