The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dabrownman's picture

Whole Wheat and Spelt Sourdough with Sprouts and Seeds

We were out of white bread again and with Lucy in the middle of her rye bread experiments, it didn’t look like we would get a chance to make one either.  But we built the rye levain for her and at the same time a whole wheat one for this bread and a YW one for some possible pizza - possibly tomorrow or Sunday.  Saturday is out since we are off to Tucson to finish moving my daughter back home.


This levain build was 3 stages, 4 hours each, levain build like the last one with the exception that, instead of an overnight 12 hour retard of the levain after the 3rd feeding, this one had a 36 hour retard after the 3rd feeding.  It was allowed to come to room temperature for 2 hours when it more than doubled.


That same 2 hours was used for the autolyse of the dry ingredients with the exception of the seeds and sprouts.  The liquid was the reserved soaking water from the sprouts for this bake and the soaking water from last one with some honey.


The dry included toadies, WW, Spelt, oats, corn, red and white malts, a small; amount of VWG, and some medium ground white and black sesame seeds with some golden and  brown flax seeds.


Once the autolyse was mixed with the small amount of levain, we did 10 minutes of slap and folds where the gluten developed very well.  We then did 3 sets of S&F’s where the remaining hemp, black, white and brown poppy seeds and the WW sprouts were incorporated on the first stretch and fold.


Once the S&F’s were completed we let the dough rest for 30 minutes before shaping it and placing it in a rice floured basket and then immediately retarding it for 15 hours.  The dough had doubled during the retard so when we pulled it out of the fridge in the morning we then fired up old Betsy to 500 F to bake the bread as soon as possible.


We used our usual Sylvia’s steaming pyrex pan with two towels and David’s, lava rock filled, CI 12” skillet both half full of water for the mega steam which was placed on the bottom rack when the temperature hot 425 F.  When Betsy beeped she was at 500F we set the timer for 15 minutes to allow the top and bottom stones to get to the 500 F and get the steam billowing.


We un-molded the bread from the basket, gently since it was an inch over the rim, and over turned it onto parchment paper on a peel.  We quickly scored it and placed it on the bottom stone and steamed it at 470 F for 15 minutes before removing the steam and turning the oven down to 435 F, convection this time.


The bread was rotated 90 degrees on the stone every 5 minutes to ensure even browning.   20 minutes after the steaming scheme came out of the oven, the bread was at 200 F.  We turned the oven off and left the bread on the stone with the door closed.  When the bread hit 205 F 5 minutes later, we opened the door and allowed the crust to further crisp on the stone till it hit 207 F.


Total baking time to 205 F was 40 minutes with an additional 5 minutes for the bread to crisp on the stone from 205 F to 207 F.  The crust was blistered with small hole, boldly baked to a mahogany color and quite crisp.  The crust went soft as it cooled.  We will have to wait for the crumb shots when we slice this bread for lunch.


The crumb is soft, moist and flavorful with a very nice nutty background and seedy crunch of the hemp and poppy seeds  This is another bread we like very much.  It may not look as delicious as it really is but that is because it is subtle and not to be taste bud trusted.  It grows on you .... and we will let it do so :-)   It is a welcomed treat to have so many good bakes of late and then have the baker at Sprouts give me a decent SFSD too!  Don't say anything but my apprentices breads are way better than Sprouts  but I am glad Sprouts is selling something decent for very little hard earned cash.  I saw a very small selection of  bread at Whole Foods that is baked in a small bakery in Coolidge . AZ.  I'm going to take a bike ride there and see what that bakery is all about.  Their bread looked very good on the outside and baked in a WFO!


Whole Wheat Levain

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



WW  SD Starter






Whole Wheat
























Levain Totals






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour












Whole Oat






Potato Flakes






Coarse Yellow Corn Grits






Whole Wheat












Dough Flour


















Soaker Water






Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Soaker Water and Water






T. Dough Hydration






Whole Grain %












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins












Red Rye Malt






White Rye Malt












Medium Ground Sesame & Flax Seeds






White, Brown & Black Poppy Seeds






Hemp Seeds






VW Gluten
























Whole Wheat Berries






Total Flour Soaker












Weight for whole wheat sprouted berries is the dry weight.




JOHN01473's picture

got some Rye Flour to use up.

in the bottom of my flour store i found some bags of rye flour.

my question is around adjustments of water when using rye flour.

when i am using granary flour i reduce the water that i would use for wholemeal flour.

so do i reduce water when using rye flour or do i leave it the same as wholemeal?



HokeyPokey's picture

Sunday morning Bagels

Lazy Sundays call for fresh home made bagels – I couldn’t decide which ones to make “Jalapeno and Cheddar” or “Cinnamon and Raisin” – so I made both :)


A link to full recipe on my blog here


clazar123's picture

Any ideas on best use of this pan?

I'm not so great at the picture thing so I included the link of where I got the picture.My camera is not working well so I can't take a pic of my tin.

I just bought a bread tin like this (only mine is a double pan-2 of theses connected with a hinged lid) and I'm wondering what suggestions you would have for bread made in this shape-it really is more sausage shaped with the rounded ends.Rye? some form of sweet bread like cinnamon? Pain de mie? Both sides are equal in size so I assume I fill one side and it will rise to fill? I have never used a pullman so I have no experience with that kind of loaf.

The ebay description calls it a "steamer" which is kind of interesting.Is there a steamed bread that was made in this kind of pan? It doesn't seal totally so it could not be submerged.

This tin looks to have been very well used and very greased/seasoned. I washed it with hot,soapy water since it smelled like a basement and put it in a hot oven to burn off anything and WOW did it smoke!. I had to take it outside and put it on a hot gas grill for a while. A lot of grease bubbled out of the crevices of the pressed ends.Smokin! I will now wash and season it myself before use. Someone really used and cared for this pan for many years before it was put in a basement.Not a speck of rust (it is just a thin tin metal).

Any insight would be interesting.




Escopeton's picture


After years of just sitting around, I decided to do some work on my horno.  Being from the southwest, I wanted to keep it as traditional as possible with using adobe; mud, straw and water.  Here it is after some work and finishing putting the second layer of "stucco".  One more thinner layer and I will fire it up.

Alpana's picture

A week with Spelt

After reading blogs of Dabrownman, Ian & Khalid in last few months, I was waiting to get my hands on whole spelt flour. Some time back, I found Bob's Red Mill's whole spelt flour in a supermarket and jumped to buy it. As it is not cheap, I wanted to make sure that every bread made from it was worth the price. So the flour had been lying in my freezer for quite some time now. Finally in the last week, I managed to make 3 breads from the whole spelt flour.

First one I tried was Hamelman's Honey Spelt Bread, with Pate Fermentee. It has 75% whole spelt flour. The changes I made from original formula were using agave nectar instead of honey and making pate fermentee with RYW instead of instant yeast. I don't really bother about results while making Hamelman's breads as there is hardly any chance of bad outcome. This one also remained true to form. A perfect bread to intoduce my household to whole spelt. Light, airy & tasty, the bread gave all the flavour of wholegrain flour, without the denseness. Here are the crust & crumb. The crumb shot is grainy, but it still shows the character of the bread.

Now that I knew we all liked spelt, the next step was to make it part of my children's daily bread. So once again I turned to Hamelman and the bread much loved by my kids - Pain De Mei. Changes I made to the PDM - Used 60% whole spelt flour & 40% bread flour, made tangzhong with 8% flour (used bread flour) and used levain made from my SD & RYW instead of instant yeast. Hydration had also to be increased from 60% to 68% to get the right dough consistency. My son ate half of this bread without anything on it. So another winner on hand. 

Bread out of oven :

I was too impatient to wait, so cut the first slice within 20 minutes while still warm :

This is thelast slice after 4 days. I hid it to see how long it stays soft. Still pretty soft, with an added slight (pleasant) tang from sourdough.

After 2 very nice results from spelt, I was contemplating the next one yesterday, when I read Floyd's post about Ken Forkish's FWSY winning the James Beard Award. My choice was obvious - Harvest bread with poolish. This one uses minimum whole spelt (10%), but it still comes through. I changed whole wheat flour to whole spelt flour and used Apple Yeast Water levain instead of poolish  & skipped instant yeast in final dough. I also toasted the wheat germ (5%) and oat bran (2.5%) , thanks to dabrownman's toadies. It came out of my claypot DO with a great oven spring and have just cut one slice to taste and for crumb shot.

The crumb

A bite of this bread is a testimony to the well deserved award!

Rupert's picture

A damn good knead

After reading a lot about baking bread it can start to sound more like science than baking:
The overwhelming amount of equipment used: cloches, stone baking sheets, banetons, lames, couches, pump sprays, peels, scrapers etc;
The numerous varieties of flours & yeasts, starter recipes, and kneading techniques.
All this and more but having come from a technical background I can handle that, just.

But then, when you start in, the science goes out of the window and bad magic enters. You follow a recipe to the letter, you go as far as using a thermometer to check for correct conditions, you follow all the advice you can find (there’s a lot & it’s often conflicting) and then what comes out of the oven? A concrete cow-pat!

So, thinking you must have missed a trick, you start over and go through the whole process again. You follow the exact procedures again and this time the result is OK.
What changed? The direction of the wind? Thw waxing of the moon? There is no precise answer.

For the beginner there’s certainly great scope for confusion from reading too many books & articles on the subject.
To start off with, quantity measurements for ingredients can trip you up. Units range from cups, teaspoon/tablespoons, fluid ounces, millilitres, grams, dashes, drops, pinches and drizzles & of course US & Imperial weight systems.

Then there’s yeast: There are currently 3 kinds available here in the UK.

Easy-blend/Fast-action/Instant/Bread Machine/Rapid Rise. Depending on the recipe it can be called any of these names. Helpfully, this comes in standard 7gm sachets. I weighed the contents of one today: 5gms!
Dried/Regular/Granulated/Active dry. Apparently this has to be dissolved or proofed before use but I’ve seen recipes where either this isn’t mentioned or it’s stated that it’s not necessary. Proofing directions also differ in that it either has to froth madly or that just a few bubbles will do. Some say just add water, others say add sugar too.
Fresh/Cake/Compressed. Not easily obtainable in the UK. Some say dissolve it, others not.

Recipes use either of these yeasts but to convert from one to the other by weight is not always straightforward. It depends on how much flower is in the recipe apparently.

Here are a few nuggets of advice I found:

  • “Fresh yeast is commonly sold in .6 ounce ‘cakes’ which are equivalent to one 7 gram package of active yeast”.
  • “The size of a block of fresh yeast can vary depending on the supplier”.
  • “If you encounter a recipe that calls for fresh cake yeast you can easily substitute instant yeast by dividing the weight of the cake yeast by 3”.
  • “2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast = 1 pkg. active dry or RapidRise Yeast = 1 cake fresh yeast”.
  • “1 teaspoon instant aka instant active dry = 1-1/4 teaspoons active dry or 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh cake yeast”.
  • “For 1 packed tablespoon/0.75 ounce of cake yeast use 2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry”.
  • “10g of fresh yeast = 1 teaspoon of dry yeast”.
  • “1 ounce of active dry yeast equals: 10 teaspoons (tsp) in active dry yeast”.
  • “Active dry can be used at 50% of the weight of fresh yeast and instant dry can be used at 40% of the weight of fresh”.

Oh, I forgot to add an essential piece of equipment to the list: a calculator!

Personally, I much prefer to stick to grams, partly because my scales don’t cater for spoons and it’s kinda neat that that 100ml of water weighs 100gm.
However, none of the above helps me to bake a decent loaf so I’ll just keep practicing until I can casually toss about 500gm of flour, some water, a pinch or two of salt and roughly enough yeast into a bowl and start mixing & kneading, because that’s what I like most about this bread malarkey: a damn good knead.

Breadandwine's picture

Teaching the sourdough method in a 6 hour workshop

Hi folks

I'm currently half way through a 12 hour course (2 sessions of 6 hours on consecutive Sundays) in a small village hall in deepest, darkest Somerset (England), with up to 12 very keen students (although 2 have already given their apologies for next Sunday):

As is my usual practice on any course, I plan the first session meticulously, so I know exactly what we're doing, and when. However, for subsequent sessions I want to bake what the students choose - with perhaps a few suggestions from me. But I try and accommodate all requests.

Normally, I'm pretty well on top of my brief, but not this time! 

They all want to make a sourdough loaf next Sunday. I've got a reasonable idea of how I would go about it, but I just wanted to tap all that expertise I know is out there.

I've made many starters in my time - this is perhaps the easiest part of the whole process. I gave them some basic instructions, and I've heard back that one or two have begun the process.

I began making my starter on Monday, by Tuesday evening it was active, and I've been dividing and feeding it ever since.

ATM I've got 1.3ltrs of active starter - which I could easily double by Sunday. I'm not sure, as I write, how many students will turn up with their own starter on Sunday, so mine may have to suffice for all.

My gut feeling is that I should refresh the starter on Saturday evening, then, on the Sunday we should go for a small loaf for each student, comprising 50% starter.

1.32kg of starter (2:1 water to flour), refreshed with 440g of flour and no liquid, would give me 1760g of starter, at a ratio of 1:1, wouldn't you agree?

This amount divided by 10 students = 170g of starter. To make a loaf with a 62.5% hydration (normal 1lb flour to 10fl oz water), we'd need to add 115g flour and 40g water.

It's only a small loaf, I know, but I've only got 1 domestic oven and 5 small (size of a microwave) ovens to work with.

I figure if we make up the sourdough first thing on Sunday morn, then leave it through the day, it may well be ready to bake sometime in the afternoon. If it's not, then the students would have to take it home to bake it.

One further question - between now and Saturday, would you recommend me refreshing the starter (and discarding half?)

What do you guys think?

Wingnut's picture

That's some Cracking Bread!

A video short of my bread just as it comes out of the oven.


A better crumb on this batch of Baguettes.....



PS...  Makes a nice toastie with Pulled Pork, Dijon and aged Cheddar.

hungryscholar's picture

Cherry Lapsang Souchong Sourdough

Cherry Lapsang Souchong Sourdough Closeup

Cherry Lapsang Sourdough tea Sourdough

 Lapsang Souchong iced tea with a splash of tart cherry juice is one of my favorite drinks. I think the smoky tea and the cherry play very nicely together. This bread is my first attempt at recreating that combination in bread form. I guess I'm on a bit of tea bread kick....

Cherry Lapsang Souchong Sourdough

225g Water

1 Tablespoon Lapsang Souchong

51g Stiff Levain

300g AP Flour

75 g Dried Tart Cherries

6 g Salt


I ground the tea in a mortar and pestle and then mixed it with warm water and the levain. I tried letting it "steep" for 5 minutes, but I don't think the water was hot enough. Next time I might use tea + cherry juice for the liquid, I'm not sure. Anyway, I added the rest of the ingredients and did stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first two hours and let it bulk ferment for a total of 3 hours at 82 F. Then I shaped as a batard and let it rise for 2 hours at 82F in a towel lined paper basket that once held tomatoes. I've been meaning to get an oval banneton but haven't got a round toit yet.

I preheated the oven to 500 F and baked at 450 for 35 minutes with a stainless steel bowl covering the loaf for the first 20 minutes.

The cherries are just right and I get just a whisper of the smokiness which I think I'd want to boost with the next iteration, but overall I really like the flavor of this one.

Submitted to Susan's YeastSpotting