The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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kevinnoe's picture

Levain a l'ancienne...

Another pic of my first real success with the new method. Fresh ground Whole Wheat and Rye starter married with Pain a l'ancienne techniques to make a wonderful and unique loaf.

trailrunner's picture

Grape schiacciata at church a member brought a huge bag of extra grapes . Hmm...I had a 1/2 batch of semolina pizza dough at home just waiting for something creative to happen. Voila !  This is SO yum !! I can't  even describe how good it is. I used raw sugar and EVOO on top and sprinkled with Herbs de Provence...lots of lavender. Whoa...we have devoured a 1/2 loaf !  Made Conchiglie con Salsiccia e Peperoni as well. Grated parmagiano reggiano ..what a Sunday night feast.  Will share recipes if you are interested...will have to wait till tomorrow :)  Vino also very nice...



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flourdustedhazzn's picture

White rye extraction rate

Hi everyone,

I'm in the process of figuring out how to bake from a bread formula calling for dark rye. In this context "dark rye" refers specifically to what's left after the white rye flour — most of the endosperm — is extracted from whole rye by the miller. I live in an area where I can't seem to find this flour; I can buy something labeled "dark rye" easily enough, but it's just whole grain rye flour, not the byproduct of white rye production that the recipe calls for.

I'm going to try and approximate traditional dark rye by running whole rye flour through a sieve to extract the largest pieces of pericarp, then adding back in the appropriate amount of resulting high-extraction rye flour that got through the sieve. What I need to know to figure out the right amount is, what's the usual extraction rate for white rye? In other words, how many kilos of white rye does a miller get from 100 kilos of rye berries?

Thanks in advance!

clazar123's picture

Mahlab-Wonderful new (to me )ingredient

I recently bought and tried Mahlab-from Penzey's spices :

It is a small cherry pit and comes whole in the jar. I have a mortar and pestle and it is not difficult to crush to a somewhat oily powder. It only takes about a half teaspoon of these to flavor 5 c flour (2 loaves).

What a wonderful flavor it adds to baked goods-very subtle and nutty/cherrytasting. I make a "Breakfast Bread" that is a Red WW with raisins,craisins,walnuts and perfumed with cardamom and coriander. Mahlab adds a new and complementary dimension.

Has anyone else used this wonderful flavor? I have not seen it mentioned before.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Avocado Rye Crackers work in progress

Not being in the Avocado capital of the world but swimming in avocados, I decided to try an experiment using only avos (avocados) for my liquid.  Started with the basics and going from there.  I happened upon some watery thin skinned fruit that I am told are known as "Florida avocados" and thought at first interesting but then reality set in, sure enough... less fat, more carbs and more water.  Hmmm not exactly what I value in an avo but good enough for a cracker experiment and maybe a bread.  

Peeled the avo and diced it into a bowl on the scales.  Added equal weight of rye for a reference point and began to squish it all together.  Went much faster than I thought, and they weren't even mushy avos!  Let that sit for a while to soak and soften lumps wondering about the dough turning brown, should I add lemon or sourdough?  Does one even add leavening to crackers?  Nibbling on the dough, well, it needed something.  2% salt would be about 4.4g on my 220g flour and I had black olives calling out from the fridge.  Half dried chili peppers would be colorful (threads?) and crushed garlic would also be good,  black pepper?  Bread spice?  Cumin?  Curry?  Petunias?  Had to start somewhere.  What makes them puffy? Resting time and hot baking the water in the dough.  

First Run:

220g Florida Avocado     (the watery kind)

220g medium rye flour

2 garlic cloves

10 black olives       (cut from pits, salty)

1 chili pepper         (mine was thumb size and medium spiced)


flour/raw seeds for rolling

oil for 3 sheets of parchment    (1 tsp each sheet, flavoured or not)



Remove seed and skin from avocado and cut into pieces, weigh.  Add equal weight rye flour.  Pinch and mix with hands until it becomes a firm dough and lumps of avocado are well blended into the dough.  Autolyse or allow to rest covered for 30 minutes.  Then arrange on a nice plate photographic piles of pressed garlic, finely chopped olives and a rounded tablespoon more or less finely chopped fresh chili pepper.  Add to dough, forget to make a photo, check moisture, it should be a bit sticky now but still firm enough to roll out, yet soft enough to do so easily.   Rest another 30 minutes.


Divide dough in half,  shape into a rectangle hamberger shape and roll into a mixture of flour and sesame seeds to coat, this helps with the rolling out of dough.   Wrap up one to prevent drying.  Roll out dough as thin as possible between two layers of lightly oiled parchment paper.  Anything squishing out can be cut off and stuck back on in a needy spot under the parchment.   Carefully peel back top sheet of parchment.   Sprinkle with seeds/salt.  Score if desired to facilitate breaking and transfer to baking sheet.


Bake middle of oven at 200°C or 400°F until medium brown, rotate to avoid burning back corners.  Allow to cool on rack.  Break apart.


Flavour tweaking needed.  I found it smelled and sort of tasted like teriyaki beef jerky, a little bitter (I did get it brown) without any sweetness.  I chrunched on half a sheet of the stuff trying to decide my next step.  Maybe brushing the rolled out cracker with honey water or using some sourdough or aging of the dough 24 hrs to bring out sweetness.  Lots of different directions to try.  Tempted to turn down heat a little bit to help dry while baking.


This is an open experiment, all comments and jumping in to experiment and post more than welcome!   

Floydm's picture

Super sour sourdough

I haven't baked with my starter in a couple of weeks, so Wednesday evening I fed my starter some rye flour and water.  Thursday mid-day I made my dough (1kg bread flour, 20g salt, 730g water, "a bunch" of starter).  It has turned cool again in Vancouver though and my dough was moving slowly, so I bulk retarded it overnight until Friday morning.

Our fridge is really cold so there was very little action overnight.  I removed the dough from the fridge Friday morning and stretched and folded every couple of hours so the dough would warm evenly.  By late-afternoon the bulk dough was starting to move and getting close to double in size, so I shaped the dough into boules.  I was hoping to bake it later that evening, but it was moving slow enough that I decided to cover it and refrigerate it overnight again.

Saturday morning I removed the loaves from the fridge around 7am.  Again, very little action overnight and even a bit of ice on the outside of one of the loaves.  By 11 or so they looked ready to bake, so I tossed them in the oven, covering them with an inverted aluminum pan for the first 10 minutes or so.

As you can see, I accidentally squished the edge of one of the loaves with the aluminum pan, but the breads came our really good, really sour, as one would expect from such long, slow fermentation.  Lots of blisters, too, which I like.  They went really well with cheese, wine, and pasta e fagioli.

golfchef1's picture

need to rehydrate?

I am trying to make some salsa bread and was wondering if I was using dried peppers, tomatoes ect do I need to rehydrate them or just add them to the initial dough? Thanks

Alpana's picture

Red Bean and Ham-n-Cheese Rolls with TZ, RYW & SD

Floyd's post on Hokkaido Milk Bread, which mentioned red bean filling, started nagging me to make red bean rolls. Fortunately, I had a stash of home made red bean paste in my freezer, which was given to me by a good friend. So why delay?

I decided to use Hamelman's Soft Butter Rolls formula as a base for my rolls. Instead of instant yeast I decided to go with RYW levain. I usually don't use sourdough starter in my soft breads, but I thought this time it would give a nice contrast to the red bean paste. But either my sourdough is too sour or I am too much of a sourdough wimp, so I always build my sourdough with RYW in my hearth breads and I did the same here and used a small amount. And as the post on tang zhong seemed to be the driving force behind these rolls, it was a given.

These are the proportions I used :

RYW Levain 

Bread Flour : 150 gms 

RYW : 150 gms

Total : 300 gms

Sourdough Levain

Seed : 10 gms

Bread Flour : 20 gms

RYW : 20 gms

Total : 50 gms

Tang Zhong  

Bread Flour : 25 gms

Water : 125 gms

Total : 150 gms

Final Dough 

Bread Flour : 300 gms

RYW Levain : 300 gms

SD Levain : 50 gms

Tang Zhong 150 gms

Egg : 60 gms

Softened Butter : 40 gms

Milk Powder (non-fat) : 25 gms

Sugar : 30 gms

Salt : 10 gms

Kneaded in Bread Machine till I got a window pane (almost full 20 minutes of dough cycle).

Put the dough in an oiled bowl. Did 3 S&F at 30 minutes interval. The dough was quite well developed & strong after the last S&F. Retarded in fridge overnight. Next day, divided it in 20 pieces and pre shaped in rough rounds and rested for 15 minutes. Decided to make 10 red bean rolls & 10 ham-n-cheese for kids. Used monterey jack cheese with black pepper ham.

My shaping skills are hilarious, as the photos testify, so shaping rolls is always the most tedious part for me. I was just glad to be done with it. Kept for final proof for one hour. Fifteen minutes before baking, put egg wash & sprinkled sesame seeds over red bean rolls. Baked at 180 C for 20 minutes, rotating the tray after 10 minutes.

Notwithstanding their ugly look, the rolls were all that I wanted. The slight tang  added by sourdough gave an extra flavour note to the rolls. The tang zhong & ryw helped the softness. If they had lasted beyond one day, I hope the SD & TZ would have kept them from getting stale. But as it goes, my daughter and her school friends managed to devour them in no time and have ordered another batch ASAP. I have agreed on the condition that they help me to shape the rolls next time. They are quite willing and I am confident the 12 year olds have better dexterity than me :).

msbreadbaker's picture

not rec' emails

Floyd, I hope you will see this, I am not getting the emails from the new system. I did at first, then they stopped. I couldn't even figure out how to contact you, the old way of clicking on the user in the post is not working now. Also, I'm sure you are aware a lot of the printed areas are very light, nearly unreadable. I really miss the emails, hope you can shed some light on this. (to someone who's not too computer savy!) Take care, Jean P., msbreadbaker

janby's picture

Rye bread, possible the no knead way?

I have been making a "slow bread" for several years now that is a combination of whole wheat and bread flour and at times other grains mixed in.   No kneading and the time from starter to bread making meets my schedule.   Lately I have been hungry for a good rye bread.  All the recipes I have considered are the standard method for bread baking and mostly sour rye recipes.  Can I make rye bread with a starter, no knead method?  Any hints on how to do this would be appreciated.