The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dabrownman's picture

Multigrain SD Altamura - Not The Priest's Hat

Varda caught the the original Pope's Hat was really a Priest's Hat and then we found out it wasn't and Priest's Hat either so we got a chance to fix that, inserting Priest's for Pope's and also fixing that to remove the Priest's Hat entirely and our spelling and grammer errors too.  Hope this clears up the confusion in a confusing way.

We were making a stiffer levain Italian style and decided to revisit another Italian bread – Altamura style like David Snyder did here

Pane tipo di Altamura from "Local Breads"


 This bread is also one where the whole multi-grains were going to be in the levain.  We also decided to go more Italian style with a stiff levain - 51%.  Since the whole grains  only amounted to 35% or so and not too much rye or spelt,  we thought a good 30 hour retard would really bring out the whole grain flavor and the sour too.


First off you simmer the soaker seeds for 3 minutes and then let them soak for 24 hours.  We would normally use the excess water at the end of the soak for the dough liquid but forgot to this time - so we saved it for the next bake.  Remember to rum a paper towel or two through the well drained soaker seeds to get rid of as much excess liquid as you can, otherwise, the dough will bee wetter than it already will be.


Nothing like a big picture of the reject :-)

The levain was made over (3) 4 hour builds and an additional 10 second one at the end.   20 g of the water in build 3 was added and mixed it at the 12 hour mark.  The levain was very stiff at 51% before this addition and so the normal doubling we look for went out the window.   We got 50% and that is normal for this levain type.


The rest of the ingredients, less the soaker seeds, were autolysed for 1 hour before mixing with the levain.   Then 10 minutes of French slap and folds followed.  After a 15 minute rest 2 sets of S&F’s followed on 15 minute intervals.  Then the soaker seeds were added and 2 minutes of slap and folds were used to rebuild the gluten structure and incorporate the seeds.


The dough was then allowed to develop on the counter for an hour in a well oiled covered bowl where the plastic was oiled too.  The dough was then retarded for 30 hours in the fridge at 38 F.  It easily doubled in volume while in the fridge. 


After removing from the fridge and letting it warm on the counter for 2 hours we took out first shot at shaping a Pane tipo di Altamura.  This turned out to be the pre-shape since it ended up looking like 2 ugly stuck together baguettes. Plus it wouldn't  fit on the mini ovens 12” square broiler pan. 


So we took another shot at the shape a few minutes later and it came out a lot better - but not at all like it should have if we were writing home about it.  But, it now fit on the top of the broiler pan too – a really good thing.  It then went into a trash can liner for final proof and was placed on a heating pad set to low with some kitchen towels on top of the pad.


After and hour it had popped itself open at the seam so we tried to fix that by re-sealing and we were almost half way successful. Another hour and it had puffed itself up well enough to bake.  Into the 450 F preheated mini oven it went after throwing a ¼ of water in the bottom of the broiler pan and heating one of Sylvia’s steaming cups for the vented top where the bread would bake. 


After 12 minutes of steam the Pane tipo di Altamura had sprung nicely so we removed the steam and turned down the oven to 400 F, convection this time.   We continued bake for 10 minutes rotating the bread 180 degress every 5 minutes.


This my new apprentice.  As I was hiking in Sabino Canyon in Tucson yesterday , this Roadrunner followed me on the trail for about 1/4 of a mile.  I didn't want to scare it off but as I took a few step he would take a few too.   Next thing you know he was walking with me as I hiked along. 

They are expertly camouflaged and if they don't want you to see them - you won't.  I already miss my new hiking buddy :-(

Then we turned the bread over on its top and continued to bake for 8 more minutes to brown the bottom when the bread reached 205 F in the thickest part.  The bread had baked a total of 30 minutes.  The crust was nicely browned and crispy but no huge bubbles which is the norm for baking this way in the mini.   The crumb went chewy and soft as it cooled.

The crumb turned out very soft and moist with chewy bits of soaker seeds - just liked we hoped.  The surprising thing about this bread is that it tastes great.  The grain flavors and sour are front and center.   It has to be one for best tasting crusts and crumbs we have ever managed and my new apprentice would have approved as much as old one did. 


Starter Build

Build 1

Build 2

Build 3



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Dough Hydration w/o starter












Multigrain Scald & Soak










































Total Scld & Soak












Total Flour w/ Starter


















Hydration w/ Starter & Adds






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kvenick's picture

Peter Reinhart Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

I made a loaf the other day and it was...ok.  Resulting loaf was about a pound, and seems very dense to me.

The finished dough may have risen about 1.5  times, did not spread much when proofing. I certainly did not get the over spring that PR got in those lovely pictures and . It's hard to tell from the directions how soft the dough should be after BIGA and SOAKER combined. The dough is not very hydrated, and I usually bake with 75% hydration, which results in softer dough. So I am kind of lost tryng to figure out the best way to work with this reecipe.

Using KA Whole Wheat flour. Baked at 500 for 20 minutes, then 450 for the remainder. Any suggestions?

bakingbadly's picture

Cumin Walnut Cheese Rye Sourdough Bread, (Unintentional) Batter Method

Long time, no see, TFL.

In summary I've been away, coping with a hefty workload and tending to personal matters. Of course, I continued baking---a tendency I doubt will be curbed or abandoned. Why's that? Because baking is my stress-reliever. (I'm sure many homebakers can relate.)

Without further ado, I present to you my latest experiment: Cumin Walnut Cheese Rye Sourdough Bread.


Believe it or not, this loaf (it's not a muffin, I assure you) was supposed to be Franko's 68% Rye Bread with Pumpkin Seeds.

*Lowers head in shame.*

Out of necessity and/or experimentation, I substituted the high-gluten flour with all-purpose flour, the pumpkin seeds with toasted walnuts, the caraway seeds with ground cumin, ommitted the non-diastatic malt powder, and incorporated smoked scamorza (i.e., an Italian cheese) into the dough.


In addition to the substitutions, I prepared an overnight soaker by combining the all-purpose flour and a portion of the iced water. (Anybody familiar with Txfarmer's 36+ hours sourdough baguettes?) According to my hypothesis, the hydrated soaker will develop its gluten matrix, amplify its sweetness, and strengthen the final dough.


What resulted was a soupy dough, forcing me to abandon my original recipe and producing another on spot. While panicking, I processed several scenarios in my mind until a light bulb popped over my head:

"I'll pour the batter into tins!"


After pouring the batter-like dough into four separate tins, another idea sprung into my head. I liberally sprinkled ground walnuts atop---so much that a good sum didn't adhere to the dough.

Oh, what a waste...


I'm so, so glad it worked out---much better than I anticipated. Now, before I describe the flavours, let me bestow to you the reasonings behind the selected ingredients.

Walnuts pair well with rye. Caraway also pairs well with rye, but I felt cumin would better complement the walnuts. (Compared to caraway, cumin is more citrusy and pungent in flavour.) I've witnessed others on TFL add dried fruits to their walnut breads but I sought a savoury loaf. Thus, I specifically chose smoked scamorza, a semi-soft Italian cheese, for its milky, faintly sweet, and assertive smoky flavours, as well as its suberb melting quality.

Summarized flavour profile: 

Harbouring the distinct aroma of cumin, the unusually soft crumb tasted slightly sweet and mildly savoury (i.e., buttery and nutty), punctuated by a faint but pleasant tang. Further, such flavours were accompanied by a creamy and cool mouthfeel. My overall rating: Pretty darn good for a batter bread.


For those who are interested, you may find the recipe below:

Rye Sourdough Starter

  • Medium rye flour [407 g]
  • Mineral water [407 g]
  • Rye sourdough starter, 100% hydration [27 g]


  • All-purpose flour, Unbleached, Enriched [262 g]
  • Mineral water, Iced [ 205 g]

Final Dough

  • Rye sourdough starter [740 g]
  • Soaker [413 g]
  • Medium rye flour [123 g]
  • Whole walnuts, Toasted [104 g]
  • Smoked scamorza, Grated [93 g]
  • Sea salt [15 g]
  • Whole cumin, Ground [6 g]


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole walnuts, Untoasted, Ground

Total Baker's Percentages

  • Flour [100%]
    • Medium rye flour [68%]
    • All-purpose flour [32%]
  • Mineral water [76%]
  • Whole walnuts, Toasted [14.4%]
  • Sea salt [2%]
  • Cumin, Ground [0.8%]
  • Smoked scamorza, Grated [13%]


  1. Mix starter ingredients; rest at room temp. for approx. 12 hours
  2. Mix soaker ingredients; chill for approx. 12 hours
  3. Mix starter, soaker, and medium rye flour; hand-knead for 5 minutes
  4. Add salt to dough; hand-knead for 5 minutes
  5. Add ground cumin and toasted walnuts to dough; hand-knead for 3 minutes
  6. Add grated scamorza to dough; hand-knead for 2 minutes
  7. Apply olive oil to bowl; pour dough into oiled bowl
  8. Bulk ferment for 30 - 45 minutes
  9. Butter tins
  10. Pour dough into buttered tins
  11. Proof for 30 - 45 minutes
  12. Sprinkle ground walnuts atop
  13. Bake at 230C / 446F (convection off) for 10 minutes, with steam
  14. Bake at 210C / 410F (convection on) for 30 - 40 minutes, without steam (rotate loaves every 10 minutes)
  15. Cool at minimum for 1 hour


Want to know what I've been baking the past few weeks? Well, thankfully, you can scroll down to find out (sorry, only crumbshots).

Ontbijtkoek (Dutch-Belgian Breakfast Cake)

Cocoa Chocolate Coffee Sourdough Bread


Palm Sugar Financiers (French Almond Cakes)


Whole Wheat Multi-Seed Sourdough Batard


As always, critiques and suggestions are welcomed.

Farewell for now everybody. Wish you all the best and have a happy baking. :)


Kneads_Love's picture

A Meditation on Sourdough Pancakes

My sourdough starter became viable about 4 days ago. Since then I have been keeping it at 100% hydration (1:2:2) on a 12-hour feeding cycle, with the discard stored in a mason jar in the fridge.

Today was pancake day...

Like many folks, my personality is comprised of a series of contradictions. I have an artist’s (or perhaps a cook’s) appreciation of the unpredictable. I enjoy throwing things together until they taste good. However, this is tempered by a scientist’s (or a baker’s) desire for precision. And an enjoyment of clear, precise, well-articulated direction. I like to understand the why’s of something in the beginning, so that I can go ahead and do what I want in the end.

I may spend hours researching various recipes for the same dish -- trying to figure out why one calls for an extra egg and the other for butter instead of oil. Sometimes the difference is a matter of taste. Other times texture or cooking times may be affected.

After I understand it, I try to develop my personal version.

Pancakes are no exception.

Like most quick-bread batters I have splattered my way through, Pancakes require flour, salt, liquid, a leavening agent, fat, and eggs.

The flour and salt are self-explanatory, but the liquid can be water or some kind of milk (cow, soy, almond,  butter, etc.) The leavener can be sourdough starter (i.e. wild yeast), baker’s yeast (less common in pancakes), or “kitchen chemical” (i.e. Baking Powder, or Baking Soda. If using Soda, remember that an external acid is needed for activation. Great article on Soda v Powder...

Eggs are often added for flavor, texture, richness, nutritional value, and of course, to hold it together. Fat can be butter or oil, which, as I understand it, helps with the texture and chew.

It seems to me that a pancake batter works best when it is at 200% hydration - in my mind, that is what makes it a “batter” as opposed to a “dough”. Some may posit that the eggs and liquid fats are also required for batter. I am not sure. Plenty of doughs have eggs and vegan batters clearly don’t. So, I am going to say it is a matter of hydration.

Anyhoo, batters are often given in cups as opposed to weight or baker’s %’s. But once I realized that I was going for a 200% hydration, it made working up a recipe much easier.  

200% Hydration Sourdough Pancakes

3 oz 100% Hydration Sourdough starter (room temp)*
3 oz milk (I used Vanilla Almond)*
1.5 oz Flour (All Purpose)*
2 Tbs Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Canola Oil (plus more for pan)
½ tsp Vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda

* you can also use ⅓ cup


1. Dissolve starter in milk.
2. Incorporate flour & sugar.
3. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes or so. It might get a little bubbly. It might not. Don’t sweat it. Its a pancake. (See my note below.)
4. Beat eggs in a separate bowl until frothy - set aside
5. Mix salt, oil, vanilla into the batter
6. Heat and oil (or butter or Pam) your pan (griddle) -- I used a capfull
7. Dissolve Baking Powder and Baking Soda into the batter
8. Lightly add eggs (folding in to keep the frothiness)

Pan should be on medium-high heat.

Add “pancake sized” dollops of batter, heat for 2 - 3 minutes, flip. Heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove. Eat with butter &/or Maple Syrup

Some notes about pancakes in general and this recipe in specific...

1. Lots of pancake recipes call for an overnight fermentation process. I am sure that giving the yeast a chance to wake up and get the batter all bubbly results in a lighter, fluffier pancake. And I like light and fluffy. Really. I do. But its a pancake. You know, that thing that you are going to eat for breakfast... doused with maple syrup and butter. If your boss or the father of the girl you are getting ready to propose to is coming for breakfast, ferment overnight. If this is just a nice thing to do for yourself or a loved-one on a Sunday or on the spur of the moment before work one day, I think this recipe is just fine.

2. Having the starter at room temp makes it easier to work with.

3. Brown Sugar contains molasses which is acidic and will provide the needed acid substrate to activate the Baking Soda. It’s also sweet and provides caramel or butterscotch notes to the final product, which I like. You can skip the sugar (or substitute white sugar or splenda, etc)  by switching to buttermilk which will react with the Baking Soda (as, I hear, will applesauce, cocoa powder, etc.)

4. For maximum lift, don’t add Baking Powder and Baking Soda until the very end, right when you are going to start pouring into the hot pan. Otherwise, your batter may rise and fall before you cook it. I use both Baking Soda and Baking Powder because it provides the fluffy lift I want without the overnight fermentation.

5. If you are adding fruit or chocolate chips, etc, (except for bananas, which can be mashed and added to batter), I prefer to add manually to the raw side of pancake during the cooking process. One time, I added thawed frozen-blueberries to the batter and the additional liquid threw off the recipe.

6. The more air in the batter, the more pancakes you are going to have (and fluffier.) The first time I made this recipe, they were not as fluffy and the recipe made 3 nice size pancakes. Good for one person. The second time, I doubled the recipe, and let the batter sit for about an hour. It got frothy and I had enough pancakes for 3 people. I guess what I am trying to say is, you can easily double or triple the recipe and you will get at least double or triple the number of pancakes.

7. I find that a ⅓ of a cup dollop yields a “restaurant size” pancake. A ¼ cup dollop results in a smaller pancake which I find easier to work with (flip, etc.)




dmsnyder's picture

Whole Wheat Multi-grain Bread from Hamelman's "Bread"

Somehow, I had overlooked the formula for Whole Wheat Multi-grain bread in Hamelman's Bread. Thanks to Khalid (Mebake) for calling it to my attention! When he named it his favorite bread, I knew I had to try it.

This is a 50% whole wheat bread made with a liquid levain and added instant yeast. It has a soaker of mixed grains and seeds. I found I had to add about 15 g of water to the dough during mixing to achieve a medium consistancy. 

The dough weighed a bit over 2 kg. My wife has been wanting some soft, whole wheat rolls for sandwiches. I thought this formula might make rolls she would like, so I made four 3.5 oz rolls in addition to two 840 g bâtards.

I baked the rolls first at 480 dF for 12 minutes and cut one for sampling. It had a sweet, wheaty flavor. The crust softened with cooling. The crumb was firm and chewy. My wife judged it suitable for its intended purpose. 

The bâtards were baked at 460 dF for 15 minutes. At that point, the crust was already getting dark. I lowered the oven temperature to 415 dF and baked for another 23 minutes.

The bâtard crust was somewhat crunchy. The crumb was more open and more tender than that of the rolls.

The flavor of the bâtard was more complex than that of the roll. It has no perceptible sourness and a slightly sweet, wheaty flavor like the roll. It is indeed a delcious whole wheat bread and one I will definitely make again. I expect it to make wonderful toast and sandwiches.

Thanks again, Khalid!


kap1492's picture

Have a look at these firm starters

Decided the other day that I wanted to create a firm starter from both my white and WW 100% hydration starters. Want to see if I can get more sourness out of these firm creatures. I just started them 2/15 and have fed them twice. I plan on feeding them the same as my 100% hydration starters which is every 12hrs, is this advisable or should I feed them once a day? After feeding both of them yesterday around 1pm, the white starter tripled in size in aprox 5hrs while the WW created a dome, close to doubled in size in the same time frame as the white starter. For both firm starters and with each feeding I keep 2 oz of starter, add 1 oz of flour, and 0.5 oz of water. The white one is really sticky and almost impossible to handle without a spatula, while the WW one is very thick and can be handled with ease. It just seems that the WW is a little too firm, but I have no experience to compare it to. What I would like to know is this the appropriate ratio for a firm starer? Anything I should change or should I just keep truckin? Thanks for your comments.

Dror50's picture

Tri- Fold Straight Dough Baguettes

First success!

I was finally able to produce baguettes that I am happy about.

(didn’t have the nerves to post here until I had something to show off )

Thanks to txfarmer , I flowed the formula he posted under

Straight Method Baguette - a good starter baguette to practice on 

(with title alteration on the flour parts)


This is my version, and what I did: 

Straight Dough Baguette
Note: makes 3 baguettes

400g bread flour

100g AP flour

375g water
salt, 10g
instant yeast, 2g


Mix everything together. No need for kneading. 

Bulk ferment for three hours, flood three times at 45, 90 and 135min. 

(these are an in-bowl-starch-and-fold )

After three hours pre-shape into 3 small boules. rest for 25 minutes.

Shape into Baguettes and proof at room temp for 40 minutes.

Bake at 460F(240C) for 25 min, with steam for the first couple of minutes.

Turn off oven, crack the door open, and keep baguettes inside for about 5 minutes. 

Take out and cool completely before attempting to eat. 

Note that I preheated my stone at 500F (260C) for an hour to make sure the oven is hot enough, only reduce the temp to 460F when the dough is loaded. 


Thats it! 

here are some photos 

trailrunner's picture

Another take on Ian's burger buns

All I can say is WOW !!  These are fantastic. Thank you Ian for posting and da for continuing the adventure. I too made some changes . I adjusted the formula below to reflect them.

Main Dough Ingredients

200 grams AP flour  Starter at 65% hydration

175 grams AP Flour Starter at 100% hydration

300 grams KAF AP flour

112 grams semolina flour

100 grams rye flour

50 grams kefir cheese and 50 grams sour cream

50 grams Unsalted Butter (cut into pieces and softened)

16 grams Kosher salt

30 grams Maple Syrup 

300 grams Milk (I used 2%  at room temperature)

I mixed the starters with the milk and honey and added to the flours. I stirred till no dry particles and let it autolyse for about 45 min. I then used the KA mixer on 1 to add all the other ingredients. I didn't need anymore milk since the sour cream loosened the dough. I turned it up to med for 3 min. It cleaned the bowl and was a lovely soft only slightly sticky dough. I did one s & f and placed in covered container. I followed the rest of Ian's directions as far as s & f. I let it rest at room temp with no noticable rise for 2 hrs. Overnight in the fridge it filled the container with bubbly goodness !!  I stepped away from the original plan here too. I took out the cold dough and placed on the floured counter and used my bench knife to divide into 12 /115 gram rolls. I like to  shape while chilled.. much easier and ultimately saves hours as far as wait time and doesn't deflate the dough. I do the same with my ciabatta rolls. I placed these on parchment and into plastic bags. You can see how well they rose in 2 hrs. I glazed with one egg yolk mixed with some 1/2 and 1/2. Sprinkled with sesame seeds. Snipped with a scissors but that had little effect as it happens. Had oven already hot from the 3 loaves of  Norwich sourdough. Placed both pans in at 500 and misted a couple times with sprayer...reduced to 460 and baked on convection for 20 min. These smell like the finest challah . The crumb is so tender and the flavor of the crust is very rich from the glaze and bold bake. My only regret is not making 2 dozen rolls :)  I will definitely make these again and again. I started the pics with the bubbles in the dough this AM.

kap1492's picture

1st Attempt At Tartine Country Loaf

So I recently purchase some new toys (brotform and lame) among others and was eager to not only use them but to try the much anticipated Tartine Country Loaf. I decided to half the recipe b/c it is just me and my wife and want to make sure the method produced a favorable result. This is my fist attempt at making a loaf with my 2 weeek old starter. I am extremely please with my result and being a perfectionist in nature there is one thing I would like to improve. Next time I want to produce a deeper brown crust. I used the DO method and with that being said, to obtain a deeper browning would I need to increase the time cooking with the lid on or off? I preheated my DO/oven for 40min on 500 then lowered the temp to 450 when I lower the loaf and placed it back in the oven. Baked for 15min covered and 25min uncovered until interal temp was 205-210. Without further adeui I present my results. Any feedback/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

BakedVanilla's picture

Help! Starter fed gluten free flour

Hello everyone. This is my first post on the forums, although I am a long-time reader of this site. I couldn't find the answer to my question, which is why I'm posting. Sorry in advance though if this sort of thing has been asked before!

For over a year now, I have been maintaining my starter, which I started from the Carl's 1847 Oregon starter. When I'm not baking with it, I keep it in the fridge and feed it all-purpose flour once or twice a week. Earlier today I asked my husband (for the first time ever) to feed the starter, and he fed it a gluten free flour instead of the regular all purpose! Yikes!

It is a gluten free flour made by Bob's Red Mill, made of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, fava bean flour. I now have about 5 cups of starter that I have no idea what to do with. Is the whole thing ruined now? Is there anything really awesome I can make with it? Do I have to restart the starter from scratch? Will it go bad or moldy; as I suppose the yeasts won't be able to digest the gluten free mix?

Moral of the story: keep a back-up of your starter. I know I'd be way happier right now if I did. Also, don't let someone who doesn't know anything about baking feed your starter, so you can't harbor feelings of ill-will later.

Any help you guys could give me would be great.