The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain levain

This is certainly one of the most delicious breads I've ever tasted. It is amazing for its complex, wholesome taste. It also has always had astonishing oven spring and bloom for me. I'm not sure why.

I suppose I need to acknowledge that brother  Glenn recently posted his beautiful bake of this bread, if only to claim another instance of Snyder Bros. Synchronicity and deny competitiveness. I did watch out for pixies. They played no role in the baking of this bread. They may be responsible for how much of it my wife ate at dinner, but I do believe that was attributable to how delicious this bread is. 

And, from last week's bake of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW, here's a point for Varda:

Happy baking!


kap1492's picture

Sourdough Starter Containers

Was with the wife at IKEA tonight and was browsing their kitchen section and came across these glass jars that I think are perfect for starters: new or old. I know that most people have their preference (glass/plastic) or just use what they have lying around the house. The thing I really liked about these are the lids. They have a silicone gasket that keeps them snug but not too much that under pressure they will either pop off or allow enough pressure to get out. Just a light tug and they are off. 


dabrownman's picture

Another Batch of kjknits English Muffins – 12.5 % Whole Wheat

We love these English muffins and try to make them a little bit different each time we make them.  This time we used some of the left over SD levain for the panettone.  We made them the thickness that is called for in the recipe at 3/4” for the first time.  Normally we make them thinner since the puff so much. 


This is a levain, flour and milk on the counter overnight then sugar, salt and baking soda in the morning is added, 4 minutes of kneading and then shaping, I used a plastic drinking glass, followed by a 45 minute proof and then dry fried.  Ian used an electric skillet for his earlier this week.  After not even being thought about for decades, I saw our electric skillet in the garage the other day and it seems time to put it some good use for a change.


This batch came out the best yet but will make them ½” next time.  The EM’s made a great sandwich for breakfast this morning toasted, with butter, marmalade, sausage and egg on top.  Yummy!


If you haven’t made these yet, put then on the list - they are just too good to pass up and one of the few recipes we make over and over again – like bagels.

Floydm's picture

Yesterday's Sourdough

Fed the starter dark rye flour Sunday evening.  Monday morning combined:

1000g bread flour

680g warm water

Left that as an autolyse for half an hour, then added:

20g salt

180g ripe starter

Mixed it briefly.  Stretched and folded every hour over the next three hours, then put it in the fridge.

Mid-morning Tuesday, pulled it out of the fridge and divided the dough into three loaves.  Shaped them and let them rise for about 90 minutes, then baked them at 465F covered for 15 minutes and uncovered another 30. 

 I'm pretty pleased with the result I get when I feed my starter dark rye flour then bake with bread flour.  The rye livens up the starter and adds just touch of tang, but the loaf is still quite light. 

painperdu's picture

Hello from Chicago

Hello fellow bakers,

I chose the name painperdu because I feel literally lost here in Chicago after spending most of my adult life in Paris. No need to bake over there, really, with a bakery on every corner and one of the very best right down the street, so I haven't done any serious bread baking since I was a kid, helping my mother while she made her Latvian specialties (Ohh, the sourdough black bread or the fabulous rolls she would make for holidays... Now I know she worked so hard at it because she was a lost refugee longing for a taste of home!).

Now that personal circumstances have forced me to leave my adopted home and try to adapt to this strange place, I am homesick for real French bread. I have tried some so-called baguettes available here but they just don't taste right. And they are made from conventional, not organic flour: no GMO's for me, thank you. In desperation, I decided to make my own bread. The results were dismal. When I started looking for help on line, I tried many recipes and tips but I'm still not satisfied. I realize that the flour is different here, the type of water makes a difference and it seems there are countless other variables to consider. So I was very pleased to find this forum. I can see there are many posts to read and they look very promising. Even though I feel reasonably accomplished as a cook, my baking skills are minimal so I will probably just lurk and read and keep trying for now. Thanks to all of you for being there!


breadsong's picture

Bread Fashion Show - BBD #56

Hello everyone,

January’s Bread Baking Day theme is “A Bread Fashion Show”, with a call for decorated crusts.
What a lovely idea!


A Fashion Show seemed to call for fabric – how to use fabric to decorate bread?
I was reminded me of a photo I saw once, of one of Roger Gural’s beautiful breads, stencilled with a lacy pattern.
Off to the fabric store I went.

This is Mr. Hamelman’s Unkneaded Six-Fold French Bread, using a big piece of lace to stencil, for this month’s baking challenge. I wish I could say I used fancy French lace – this was more likely drapery material :^)    



Many thanks: to Mr. Gural for the inspiration, to Mr. Hamelman for his delicious recipe, to Jenni at The Gingered Whisk for a wonderful idea for this month’s challenge, and to Zorra for her Bread Baking Day event.
I’m so looking forward to seeing what other bakers will create for this month’s ‘decorated bread’ baking theme!


*Update to this post - one more entry for the Fashion Show :^)

I was going through some photos and remembered this bread I baked a long time ago (2011).
This bread was inspired by a fashionable, floral, felted hat, made by a very talented lady I met at a bread-baking class -
I wanted to add this bread to this post!
This sourdough bread's crust was covered with decorative dough 'flowers', that had been colored with white flour, cocoa and cornmeal; the 'leaves' were colored with green pea flour. Had fun with cookie cutters, for this one :^)


Happy baking everyone,
:^) breadsong


johannesenbergur's picture

Scandinavian Rye


  • Whole grain
    • 150g whole grains
      • Feel free to combine different sorts: wheat, rye, barley, spelt
  • Dough
    • 450 g water
    • 150g sourdough
    • 5g fresh yeast
    • 10g honey
    • 10g malt syrup
    • Seeds and the alike
      • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds
        Just a small handful
    • 150g stale bread
    • 25g salt
    • 600g flour
      • 300g rye
      • 50g semolina or durum
      • 250 other flour
        • Graham
        • Spelt
        • Wheat
Grains:Soak the whole grains in a cup with around 2,5 dl cold water. Put a lid on and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.Dough:Dissolve the yeast in the honey. Add water, the soaked grains with the remaining water, malt and sourdough. Finely chop the stale bread and leave it to soak in the mixture for around 15-30 mins. Add the salt, dissolve and start adding the flour, little by little. When the dough is starting to come together, although still very sticky, you may precede to knead it with your hands. At this point you usually need to knead some more flour into the dough. The dough doesn't need a lot of kneading, since it's a pretty tight rye bread, around 5-10 mins, just so it's still sticky, but still is dry enough to keep a shape.
Put the dough in a greased container and cover it up with a wet tablecloth. Leave it to proof for at least 12 hours i the fridge. I usually just leave mine over night.When proofed, put it in a 3 litre bread baking pan. Sprinkle oatmeal, seeds or nothing at all on top of it and score it. Cover the pan up with a wet tablecloth and leave it to rise at room temperature until it has risen to fill the pan completely - this process usually takes up to a couple of hours.Bake at 180 degrees celcius. Bake for two hours, gently remove the baking pan and put the loaf in for another half an hour.
Leave it to cool on a tray and keep your fingers to yourself until the next day.
clazar123's picture

Is it possible to achieve a windowpane with just stretch and folds?

I don't have a single technique when I make bread. Sometimes I hand knead,mostly I use a mixer, occasionally I will use a stretch and fold technique. I haven't used S&F often enough, I guess, to answer my own question so I am polling the collective here.

If you answer "yes", please describe the type of S&F you use.

1.Some people use the concept to mix the dough from the start (as in Richard Bertinet's video  on mixing a high hydration dough), or a

2. French technique (sounds like "frisee"-can't remember the correct word) while kneading that stretches the dough with each push of the hands. I saw it first on Julia Child years ago with a guest baker.

3. Another Julia method-Julia would also hold the dough over her shoulder like an ax and swing it down onto the table-BAM-She described this as a method she witnessed in Eastern Europe-in effect stretching the dough on the downswing. She'd then fold it over and wind up again for another hit.  Hilarious and loud but actually effective. A strong kneading surface is needed!

4.Other descriptions I have seen for using all S&F are 3-4 S&F done spaced out during bulk fermentation.

So can a windowpane (on a dough made with AP for ease of description) be achieved with S&F and if so, what method?

letrec's picture

Sourdough Buckwheat Rye Flax Blueberry Muffins

I've been baking a lot of sourdough as of late, and since I'm stubborn I don't ever refrigerate any of the starter and maintain it exclusively on the counter. While this lends to a vigorous starter it also encourages (ok, demands!) frequent baking, or you're going to either end up with the starter that ate your kitchen, or be exceptionally wasteful by refreshing the starter so frequently.

I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, and love blueberries so this was a natural next step.

I have adapted this recipe from this recipe at Sourdough Home:

I made some adjustments as to my taste and added a crunchy Streusel topping!


1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (EVOO works great here)
1 cup 100% rye sourdough starter at 100% hydration!
2tbsp of Greek Yogurt (adds a little more acidity, good fat)

1/2 cup whole rye or wheat flour if you must
1/2 cup of organic buckwheat flour
1/3 cup of ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar or fructose
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Streusel Topping

2 cups pecans or walnuts (8 oz.)
½ cup packed light brown sugar (I combined molasses and caster sugar)
⅓ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (I used more EVOO, though next time I may be decadent and use coconut oil)


Preheat oven to 425F. (I use a convection oven, so actual temp was 400F)

Prepare streusel by combining nuts, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in food processor and pulsing a few times until a coarse mixture is achieved. Slowly drizzle in oil taking care to stop before creating a paste. The ideal consistency will be damp, but very crumbly. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl and then stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ones.

Place muffin cups inside tin and oil and dust them.
Oil a large dough or ice cream scoop and spoon batter into cups.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of Streusel topping over each cup such that you can no longer see the batter.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or 16 min for convection

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in tin and then transfer to rack to cool to room temperature!
This should yield about a dozen full sized muffins. Enjoy!

mini_maggie's picture

Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads suitable as first artisan book, or...?

I am still a neophyte to bread baking, but have been having great luck with dry yeast breads which has encouraged me greatly, and I'm really enjoying learning from all of you.  I would like to venture more into some artisan breads and sourdoughs, but am really interested only in whole grain recipes, mainly for reasons of health and nutrition.  My question is, is there enough of the basics covered in Reinhart's Whole Grains book to start there, or do I need something like the Bread Baker's Apprentice to build a knowledge foundation before progressing?   Thanks for any insights shared!