The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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louie brown's picture
louie brown

Silverton's Olive Bread

I've been making this bread since the book was published. It's a straight sourdough, made with a 100% starter at about 65% hydration, with a pretty thorough mechanical mix, a four hour bulk fermentation at about 78 degrees, and proofed overnight in the fridge. This results in a loaf with a fairly even, but discernible, crumb, which I like because it holds the olives in place. I use twice as many olives as called for, and I still don't think that's enough. I use Kalamata, oil cured and large Sicilian green olives. The oil cured olives stain the crumb around themselves purple. There is also some wheat germ. 

These were combo cooked (550 degrees for 15 minutes, then about 25 minutes uncovered at 460 convection) with some interesting results. First, I seem to get most of my spring after uncovering, unlike, for example, baking under a stainless bowl, or baking with the towel setup. Still, the spring was considerable. Second, the crust is quite thin and crispy, which is not a bad thing, but it is worth knowing to expect this result. 

The scoring, my own contribution, is meant to evoke olive leaves.

This bread has a moist crumb because of the olives. I was in a rush to see the interior and taste it, so the crumb is a little raggy on the first slices. The 2 pound loaves are almost exactly 4 inches high.

ananda's picture

Some Variations on Hamelman's "80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker"


I have made this bread before, and posted on it here:

The original formula can be found in:

Hamelman, J. [2004] "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons   pp. 213 - 214

Changes I introduced this time round:

  • The rye sour is made in the proportions of flour and water most familiar to me. An 18 hour ferment of the second elaboration of the sour followed a 6 hour fermentation time of the first elaboration.

  • The formula includes both Caraway Seeds and Organic Blackstrap Molasses.

  • As with my earlier version, no fresh yeast is used in this formula.

  • The overall hydration is 85%, increased to satisfy the very thirsty coarsely ground Bacheldre Stone ground Organic Dark Rye Flour. In future, I would keep this level of hydration, but would add water at 25 to the soaker, rather than 20; this means no water would be needed in the final dough.

  • The loaf is topped with Blue Poppy Seeds, but still baked with the lid on the pan.

Makes One Large Loaf in a Pullman Pan


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sour Dough



Dark Rye Flour









2. Soaker



Dark Rye Flour



Boiling Water






3. Final Dough



Rye Sour Dough [from above]



Soaker [from above]



Dark Rye Flour



Strong White Flour






Caraway Seeds



Organic Blackstrap Molasses









% Pre-fermented Flour



Overall Hydration




  • Build the sourdough using the elaborations described above, and make the soaker at the same time as the final elaboration. Cover both and leave overnight.
  • Add the water, salt, caraway seeds and molasses to the sourdough. Break up the soaker into pieces and add this using a mixer with beater attachment to break up the soaker properly. Add the flours and mix either with a machine using a beater attachment, or use wet hands to mix the paste until it is "clear".
  • Ferment in bulk for half an hour. Meanwhile prepare the Pullman Pan, lining it with silicone paper.
  • Shape using wet hands, and drop the mixture into the pan, and smooth the paste neatly. Brush the top with a little water and cover with Blue Poppy Seeds. Prove for 3 to 4 hours at 28°C, with the tin covered with plastic sheet, or, cling film. The paste should be just short of the top of the pan.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, with a pan of water in the base for steam. Cut the top of the loaf with 4 diamonds*, then put the lid on and bake the loaf for 2½ hours, turning the tin halfway through and topping up the water pot if necessary.
  • De-pan the loaf, and check for an internal temperature of at least 96°C.
  • Cool on wires

* You can see Hamelman uses this method for one of his rye loaves in the lovely photo between pages 224 and 225.   I needed to cut deeper, but am not sure this was possible.   My loaf being baked with the lid on meant the crown of the loaf had not passed the top of the tin.   Clearly, the seed-topped loaf in the photo in the book is made in a pan without a lid.

Photographs are shown here.DSCF1554DSCF1555DSCF1558DSCF1557DSCF1560

 Alison and I just sneaked a wee taste, although the bread is still somewhat "young".   There is a definite sour taste, and the bittersweetness from the molasses is also evident.   That unique flavour from Caraway brings greater complexity still.   It is so very moist, perhaps just a little too moist, but that will settle very quickly.   The flavour lingers long in the mouth...yum!


All good wishes


K.C.'s picture

Whole Spelt for cold weather starter - works every time

It's been raining for days in Southern California and that means my place is cold and damp. The kitchen cools to 58F at night and hits 65F during the day. The best solution is to bake every day. The gas oven is cheap to run and doubly efficient when it's taking the chill off and baking.

After a few chocolate cakes and several loaves of banana bread I decided it was time for a new starter and sourdough. I hadn't kept a starter for a couple of months but that's because I know I can get one up to speed in a week. In my 25+ years of baking I've never found a better cold weather starter flour than whole grain spelt.

I used orange juice, squeezed right from the orange, for the first 4 days and then switched to water. 1 tablespoon of whole grain spelt flour at 100% hydration on day 1, adding the same for each of the next 3 days. I had a viable starter in 7 days. I then split it out to 4 containers and added whole wheat to one, whole white wheat to one, all purpose to one and fed momma spelt before putting her in the fridge.

Here are my new friends. Momma spelt at the top, now 10 days old, about an hour after doubling and peaking, and her siblings below.

gary.turner's picture

Pumpernickel -- when is it done?

This may seem a silly time to ask, my loaf's in the oven as I  type, but how do you know when pumpernickel is done?

I'm baking a traditional Westphalian version, 100% rye (45% light, 45% medium, and 10% flakes) at approx 70% hydration. Temperature started at 350F and is being lowered 25F every two hours 'til it's at 225F.

Everything I've found for all rye pumpernickels only gives ranges somewhere in a 16 to 24 hour window.

I have a roaster pan with water on the bottom rack, and another roaster inverted over the Pullman pan to trap the moisture (not any sort of seal).

The aroma test seems a bit vague, as the kitchen end of the house has had an aroma of chocolate cake baking since about two hours into the bake; and no, there's nothing but rye, salt, water and yeast in the dough.

Any suggestions?



SylviaH's picture

Peter Reinhart's - Pizza Quest-Recipe, Country Pizza Dough & plenty more news

For those of you who have not seen P.R. Pizza Quest.  This came in my newsletter today from and has been in the making for some time.


txfarmer's picture

Pull Apart Pecan Buns & Frangipane Persimmon Brioche Tarts - what to do with leftover brioche dough

I was up at 3:30 to bake sourdough pannetones last night, thanks to my starter that has a mind of its own and dislike preset schedules. It was a sucessful bake, the breads are being hung upside down at home as I type, will take pictures and post about my yearly sourdough holiday bread "torture" in a few days. In the mean time...


I had about 600g+ brioche dough leftover from my Tartine Kugelhopf (or Gugelhupf as Mini prefers :P), defrosed overnight (it had been frozen for about a week) and made two recipes from it. The first one is based on this recipe, with different dough obviously. I didn't retard the proof either, just proofed the shaped dough at room temp for about 2 hours. Used 450g of dough (in 12 pieces) for a 9inch pie pan. Gooey and delicious, butter and sugar melted and coated the pecan pieces, turning them into "candied pecans". Combined with "soft-beyond-belief" brioche dough, it was perfect for the brunch I was hosting.

Still got about 200g of dough left, and I made tarts with some FuYu persimmon I had on hand. The presentation was based on Wildyeast's post here. Each 4inch tart pan took about 80g of dough. Very delicate flavors, perfect for a light dessert or snack.


I am in love with shooting pictures in natural light!

---------------- Other holiday baking ---------------------

Over the past months also, I have been baking up a storm, most of these are for gifts, but I did sample plenty to make sure they are good!


German Springerle, took me quite a few tries to get right.

The molds are about "Twelve Days of Christmas", adds another dimension of fun!

Scotch shortbreads, made with cake flour + rice flour, velvety smooth and crumbly.

Chocolate version, dipped in chocolate ganache, just in case there's not enough chocoalte or calorie!

Chocolate cookie with peanut butter "surprise" center, recipe here

Another peanut butter cookie with PB chips and choc chips, recipe here


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

joyfulbaker's picture

DIY: Those Raincoast Crisps

Awhile back, I tried making a DIY version of Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps.  While they tasted delicious, the texture was somewhat chewy and even a bit gummy, and the raisins all sank to the bottom.  Not a very successful outcome, but they were pretty good, especially with Trader Joe's honey goat cheese spread on top.  I am about to make them again, only this time I'll plump the raisins (or maybe dried cranberries this time) and toss them with a bit of flour, and I'll reduce the brown sugar and honey  just a bit (can also use molasses for all or part of that, as well as maple syrup, according to some recipes).  I got the original recipe online from Julie Van Rosendaal (her cookbook is called Grazing: A Healthier Approach to Snacks and Frozen Food).  Of course there are variations, but here is the original recipe as I got it online:

2 cups flour (I'll mix A/P with W/W pastry flour)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 C buttermilk (or milk soured with vinegar)

1/4 C brown sugar*

1/4 C honey* 

1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or dried cherries, halved if large)**

1/2 C chopped pecans

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, roasted (I used roasted sunflower seeds)

1/4 C flax seeds (or flax seed meal or a mixture of the two)

1/4 C sesame seeds

1 TBSP chopped rosemary

* I'll reduce to a scant quarter cup or 4 TBSP of each.

** I will plump the raisins w/ hot liquid (orange juice or sherry) for about 15 minutes, drain and mix with sprinkling of flour.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Spray two loaf pans (or four mini loaf pans) with nonstick cooking spray (can also line w/ parchment after spraying pan)

2.  Put flour, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Stir in honey, brown sugar and buttermilk until combined.  Do not overmix.  Add the raisins, pecans, all the seeds and rosemary until combined and well distributed.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Size of crackers will depend on size of loaf pans.  

3.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until well browned but not overbaked.  Cool completely or freeze.  (You can retain half in freezer for another time, since this produces about 5 to 6 dozen crackers.)  Slice loaves as thinly as possible.  Places slices on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 300 deg. F. for 15 minutes on first side, then turn and bake for 10 minutes on second side.  Cool and store in air-tight container.

Let me know if you make these and if indeed they come out as "crisps."



Jaydot's picture

Huge amount of seeds and sugar...

My sister in law brought back a recipe from her travels (to South Africa) for a "best ever" bread, but I'm uncertain about even trying it. My experience in bread baking so far is limited to lean sourdoughs, so this recipe seems extraordinary. 

It's a recipe for a yeasted bread (20 gr fresh yeast), and it calls for 500 gr flour, 1 cup of castor sugar (that would be about 200 gr, right?), 300 gr water and then 350 gr of mixed seeds (seven kinds). It also uses 5 teaspoons of malt extract and 60 ml syrup (unspecified). And some salt.
The recipe basically says mix, knead, proof, knead again briefly, rise "to top of tin" and bake at 200 C.

In spite of all the sugars, my sister in law says it didn't taste sweet at all. That hardly seems possible to me...

Have any of you ever baked something with so much sugar en seeds? Will it work?

dmsnyder's picture

SFBI Artisan II Workshop - Day 5


Today, we baked the three breads that we had shaped yesterday and retarded overnight – olive bread, raisin-walnut bread and miche. We also mixed and baked francese, French “country shapes” and baguette made with both pâte fermentée and liquid levain.

Olive breads loaded and scored

Raisin-Walnut breads, scored on loader

Miche, scored on loader

Miche, baking in the deck oven

Miche crumb

Some of the breads I baked today

Miches, Olive breads, Raisin-Walnut breads

Frank provided detailed instruction and demonstrations of shaping all the breads, but spend most time on the French Country Shapes, which are seldom baked commercially. They are intentionally innovative and decorative.

Frank demonstrating French Country Shapes

Dough pre-shaped for various French Country Shapes

Couronne Bordelais

Fleur. I have also seen this shape called "Marguerite" (Daisy)

Pain d'Aix


French Country Shapes on the loader.

I have not posted photos of all the individual shapes Frank demonstrated, for example the Tordu, the Fendu, the Viverais, the Tabatier, and the Avergnat.

Some of the French Country Shapes I made


As I'm sure you all appreciate, there is no way to share everything I've learned. I have selected a few bits of information each day that either provided me with new insights or suggestions for techniques that violate conventional wisdom.

Today's tidbits

We spent some time this afternoon reviewing all the formulas, methods and theory we had covered during the entire week. In discussing autolyse, Frank recommended holding back the levain from the autolyse, even when using a liquid levain, except when the hydration in the final dough is extremely low – say, less than 60% - when the levain really would have a very large percentage of the total water in the dough. His reason is that one chief purpose of autolyse is to develop gluten with less mixing. The acid in the liquid levain inhibits gluten formation, thus defeating the purpose of the autolyse.

Michel Suas re-joined our class for the “graduation ceremony.” He made a plea for us to do “artisan baking” and, as much as possible, avoid mechanization and the use of artificial ingredients. He also shared a “hot tip” that the coming fashion in artisan baking is the use of “ancient grains” such as kamut, teff, etc. He told us that the SFBI staff have been actively experimenting with these grains to develop formulas that use them to produce great breads. I certainly had noticed the immense quantity of flour made with ancient grains on racks and palettes in the bakery, although we did not use them in Artisan II.

This week just flew by for me. The quality of Frank Sally's instruction was just outstanding, as was his skill demonstrations. The opportunity to try new breads and learn new techniques is wonderful, as is gaining a better understanding of the baking process, especially fermentation itself.

Especially for the home baker, the chance to spend so much time with other serious bakers, whether they be other home bakers, serious professionals in training or seasoned professionals, is a rare and wonderful experience.  



AndyPieper's picture

Homemade Baguette Pans

Let me begin by saying this is my first post, and I have learned a tremendous amount from so many of you.  I am an amatuer baker...serious, but time constrained.  One of my major curiousities has been how people get bakery quality breads with home equipment.  I have learned many great tricks from you all.  I hope I can share one with you.

One particular interest of many on this website is baguettes.  Many of us spend alot of time perfecting the formulas and shaping of baguettes.  But given the length of most people's stones (usually 15") and standard baking pans (around 18") I see that many of us end up with only about 15-17" baguettes.  Most of the retail baguette pans are 16-18".  These tools often create very nice looking (and nice tasting) loaves, but given that the standard home oven is nearly 24" wide, I was frustrated with my inability to make better use of that space, and the potentially more dramatic loaves that space could provide.

So I set about finding a fairly easy, and even more importantly, cheap, solution. 

I began with three cheap aluminum stove pipe pieces purchased from Lowe's.  I was not able to find them at Home Depot.

Pan Barcode




As you can see, these cost a whopping $3.34.  I bought three for $10, and used the first one for "practice." 

Make sure the pipes are not galvanized, as these are problematic.  You want plain aluminum.

These pans are about 24" long, and after you use a hacksaw to cut off the ribbed ends, will be 22-23".

The diameter of the pipe is about 4", which means the width, if stretched, would be a little over 12".  If you can find a flat 12x24 sheet, that would work.  But I wanted the "curve" to be partially formed already, and this pipe piece fit the bill.

The next part is a little difficult, but "about right" is as okay as perfect.  You want to divide the pan into three sections lengthwise.  I used a flexible fabric tape measure, and tapped indentations into the metal with a hammer and nail punch.  If you tap three indentations, each the same distance from the edge, then you will have a sort of "line of dots" the length of the pan.  Measure first from one edge, and then from the other.  This will give you two "lines" of three indentations each, which essentially creates three lengthwise sections to the pan.  Note that I used about 4 1/4" as my distance.  This means the baguettes are a little thicker that those bought from a bakery, but thinner than most of us create free form.  You could potentially try to create four-loaf pans, which would require approximately 3" measures.



The next step is the initial bending of the pan seams.  The indentations create a "line" on the outer part of the pan.  Using the edge of some sharp piece of wood, position the pipe along the indentations.  Using your fingers, press near the indentations and bend the pipe sort of "around" the corner of the wood.

Bending Pipe



Continue this bending along both lines.  From here, you simply do your best to create semi-circle rounds that will hold the baguettes.  I used two strategies to continue forming the pans.

The first was to use a long thin tool for spreading wallpaper or edging paint.  You could use a variety of things, such as a thin board, or even a stiff piece of cardboard (those of you who have a baguette flipping is another use).  Simply place it underneath the partially bent pipe joint, and bend as far as you can, pinching the bend with your fingers.

Bending Pipe 2



My next strategy was to use a rolling pin to continue the bending process.  The goal is to make the groove as near a semi-circle as possible. 

Rolling pin



This did not work that well, and I ended up just using my fingers to bend the aluminum as best that I could.  The final results can be seen below.

Final Product 1



Final Product 2



Does this work?  Well, my results are below.  I just put parchment paper lengthwise on top, and made some sourdough baguettes.  For these approximately 22" baguettes, each baguette's dough was about 15 oz.  The recipe is based on the Proth5 65% hydration dough.  As I mentioned earlier, these baguettes are a little wider than I prefer.  They are about 3" in diameter.  But they are still nice.

Finished loaves



The reason I like these pans is that 1) they are cheap; 2) they allow one to bake multiple long large loaves; and 3) they are easy to make and maintain. 

Many of the retail pans out there are expensive, and waste some of our oven width.  You could make three of these for $10, and if you mess up the first few, then no problem...spend $10 more and make them better.  Making these two pans (plus one practice pan) took about 45 minutes.

Many of us are looking for longer, grander, easier to handle baguettes.  I know that many of the posts I've seen discuss the difficulty of shaping and transferring baguettes.  I hope these pans fill a void that many of us have surrounding baguettes.  They take full advantage of all of our oven space, allowing me to cook six 22" baguettes in one baking cycle.  They avoid the problem of poor surface tension on free form baking pans or collapsed loaves after transferring from couche to stone.  In addition, they allow for the use of higher hydration doughs that don't hold their form as well.

Some notes/ideas/caution:

The bottom of baguettes baked in these pans are quite soft.  I have adjusted for this inevitability by removing the loaves from the pans and baking directly on the rack the last 3-4 minutes of baking. 

These pans are weak and flimsy.  I place them on upside-down baking sheets when using.

Also, the edges can be slightly sharp, so be careful. 

Finally, the loaves are rounded on the bottom.  I think it is possible to bend or form the bottom of the pans more squarely, I just haven't done so.