The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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joeg214's picture

2nd attempt at a Pain Rustique

I'm new to this and have only done around 7 breads so far (each one progressively better than the last for the most part)  However, since my first attempt at a pain rustique didn't fair well, I decided to give it another shot today.  I mixed my poolish last night (100% hydration) but ended up having to t'fer it to a larger bowl very early this morning (put it in one that was way too small for some reason).  I have to say, the wonderful fragrance that leaps from the bowl when you first remove the plastic wrap from this stuff is just incredible!  Here's what it looked like after 13 hours:

Here's the formula that I calculated based on Hamelman's pain rustique.  I simply typed in my figures into a  "design worksheet" pdf along with my notes.  I guess I got it right considering the end result :)

I proofed 900g of dough in a 8" X 10" X 3" homemade banneton (cost me all of $2).  After 20 min I inverted it onto a peel.   I had trouble scoring (as usual).  The dough, while manageable after the stretch and folds, was still pretty sticky so the knife tugged on the surface of the dough.  Maybe this will be easier after I get my lame this week.  After my pitiful scoring, the dough somewhat deflated...


However, after just  10 minutes (at 465F on a stone), it seemed to perk up a bit.  I did pour a cup of hot water into a pan on the bottom of the oven for steam as well as sprayed the top of the loaf and the oven walls (twice).

I continued baking while keeping an eye on the color... at 40 minutes, I decided to take it out.  The internal temperature was 205.  Overall, this one looked the best to me.  No "singing" was heard but there was a lot of nice crackling going on.   (The oval shape somehow got a little distorted getting it from the proofing basket to the peel)

The crumb came out better than any of my other breads.  It smells and tastes great but I'm wondering just what the "bite" of the crumb should be like?  This has some resiliance to it; chewy but not tough and it does dissolve in the mouth nicely.  Is it that I'm tasting good bread for the first time or did I screw this up and simply produce bad bread?  :) )


Here's a cross-section of an end piece.  The larger air pocket has a bit of a sheen to it.  I've read somewhere this is a good sign?

 One would think that making bread would be relatively easy but I'm learning that's not necessarily the case :) Well, that's about it :)  Thanks in advance for any advice or comments.

Po Jo 

sam's picture

Soft butter rolls + cinnamon-sugar mini bread


I tried out this recipe for soft butter rolls, and a mini cinnamon-sugar bread.   It came out pretty well.  I had to use baker's yeast in addition to my sourdough leaven, and I am happy with the result.   I used the same dough for both the rolls and the cinnamon bread.   I was seeking a light and feathery texture, and this did not disappoint.   It is extremely soft and shreds very easily.

Here's the recipe and pictures.

Total Dough Weight: 950Total Dough Hydration: 50%Total Dough Flour Weight: 633Total Dough Water Weight: 317Percentages/Hydrations:Leaven Percentage: 20%Leaven Hydration: 125%Starter Percentage: 10% of leavenSoaker Percentage: 30%Soaker Hydration: 80%Soaker Salt Percentage: 1.0%Mash Percentage: 30% of soakerMash Hydration: 200%Final Salt Percentage: 2.0%Butter Percentage: 10.0%Egg Percentage: 10.0%Dry Milk Percentage: 10.0%Honey Percentage: 5.0%Bakers Yeast Percentage: 2.0%Leaven:AP Flour Weight: 121Water Weight: 152 Starter Weight (125% starter): 13  (starter flour=6, starter water=7)Mash:Flour Weight: 57 (Rye=28, Whole-Wheat=29)Water Weight: 114Diatastic Malt Powder: 0.5Soaker:All of MashAP Flour Weight: 133Water Weight: 38Salt Weight: 2Final Dough:All of LeavenAll of Soaker/MashAP Flour: 316Water: 6Salt: 11Butter: 63Egg: 63Dry Milk: 63Honey: 32Yeast: 12

Began with the rye+whole-wheat mash.  Cooked for 4 hrs between 155-165F.


Final dough balls fully risen, appx 3 hrs of rise-time.   I brushed them with butter before and after baking.

After baking:

Crumb is tender and soft:
Here's the cinnamon-sugar bread:

Cheers, and happy baking!
Rose Lucia's picture
Rose Lucia

How do you get the texture of commercial white bread, which is light and kind of sponge including the flavor of them?

Don't throw rolling pins at me for asking how to, of all things get the light, airy, spongy texture and the flavor of the standard loaf of commercial white bread, like Wonder bread?!   I grew up only eating that kind of bread, which has been many years ago and I know it sounds crazy, but I really like the flavor and the texture. (Of course, the Italian bakeries around town were and are amazing, but we were not close enough to them and it was only a treat once in a while.)

toneweaver's picture

Spelt Sourdough (after Eric Rusch's formula)

I recently found Eric Rusch's Spelt Sourdough at his site, and gave it a try ( I loved this recipe, and since my wife prefers spelt over wheat, I decided to try tweaking it for our everyday sandwich loaf. I've been around on it a few times and think I've come up with something pretty good as an adaptation of Eric's wonderful hearth loaf formula:

For each loaf:
Dry ingredients
530 g spelt flour 100%
10 g salt 1.9%
1 T. Vital Wheat Gluten (this could be omitted for people with wheat gluten problems, but I find it helps the rise)
1-2 T each sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds

Wet ingredients
350 g water 66%
3T (64 g) honey or molasses, or a mix 12%
1/4 c. starter (I have a spelt starter @100% hydration)
(I sometimes augment this with a pinch or two of commercial yeast)

I mix this in two-loaf batches, let the mixed dough rest for an hour, then do 4 stretch-and-folds before putting the dough in the refrigerator for the night. In the morning I degas the dough a bit (to get fewer big holes) as I form the loaves, place them in 4.5 x 8.5 inch loaf pans, cover and let rise until they're 1.5 times their original size (this can take as long as six hours on some days). I score the loaves lengthwise (which you can see in the picture), then bake 1 hr. at 375° F to an internal temperature of 200°.  My family loves the flavor and texture of this bread, and with the seeds it's a little homage to Dave's Killer Bread, which is made here in Portland, Oregon. :-)

As you can see from my photographer daughter's picture, we couldn't quite wait the full hour before cutting into this loaf, but it should give you an idea of the crumb.














Thanks, Eric, for this terrific bread recipe!

Toneweaver (Brent)

lumos's picture

VII - Our Current Favourite : Are We There Yet? .....Almost!....maybe....


The original formula of this bread was based, at first, on Pain de Lodeve, a French levain bread which became very popular in Japan some years ago among both professional bakers and amateur home bakers; so popular someone even held an one-day “Pain de Lodeve Appreciation Society” to which fans of this bread flocked to a famous bakery to admire the bread, watching pros baking loaves of it and devouring them together afterwards. (Have you ever heard of Japanese tendency for extremism?)  It is…or the Japanese interpretation of this bread is made with levain and mostly white flour with, often, small amount of rye flour and has very high hydration of at least 80-85%, occasionally even more. And because of this hydration, the crumb is very moist with lots of large holes……


Above two pictures are Pain de Lodeve a la Japone, made by the most reputed baker of this bread in Japan.…..which could be a bit different from its original version in the mother country…..

 The origin of Pain de Lodeve and how it looks like….in France

Google translation of the text : "In honor of St. Fulcran, Bishop of Lodève that this bread was created.
It was first called bread bench because he had been forgotten at the bottom of a bench!
is a bread Rustic enriched sourdough bread for a very convoluted. Note: the bench is a kind of rye straw basket used to set the bread in shape. benchtop Bread is a bread with white flour sourdough. The dough rises slowly mass in the ancient vaults in large baskets, called benches, hence its name. before cooking is cut with a large blade pieces of the dough in the mass, they are shaped to floured hands and put in the oven. The bread is a bread bench much honeycomb sandwich to creamy and crunchy crust. Lodève The bakers have developed a strong reputation for the manufacture of bread. It is said that this bread is special LODEVE due to water entering its composition."  (It’s not my fault this text is weird! Blame Google!! :p)


….oh well…..


Anyhoo…..I found a recipe for this bread in a book I bought a few years ago, baked it and quite like it. But I wanted to make an ‘alternative Lodeve,’ too, with more ‘normal’ hydration, so that 1) I could proof it in a bannetton (which is IMPOSSIBLE with that wet dough), 2) the crumb would be not as moist. So I’ve been tweaking the formula here and there and reached to this present formula quite recently.


As I mentioned in my earlier blog,  I’ve been trying to re-create a beautiful Pain de Campagne we had in Dijon many years ago on holiday. Interesting thing is, this multitude of tweaking on Pain de Lodeve formula over the years unexpectedly led me to a formula which produced rather acceptable imitation of Pain de Campagne of Dijon. It’s not completely there yet, but quite close….


Pain de .... “Suburb of Dijon” (=almost there!)


S/D 125g (75% hydration)  - Fed with 50% WW and 50% Strong flour

Strong flour  200g

Plain flour  60g

Rye flour  30g

Spelt flour  10g

Wheatgerm  1 1/2tbs

Water (filtered or bottled) 220~230g .....or 240-250g, if you dare.

Instant dry yeast (optional)  0.2g  optional (Note- Nov. 2012: Been making this without added yeast for a while now since my sourdough starter is much stronger and more realiable than when this entry was original posted. )

Good quality sea salt  6g



  1. Feed the starter twice during 8-10hr period before you use it. (total flour for feeding = WW 36g + White Strong 36g = 72g, water 54g. I usually use 22g mixed WW+White flour and 17g water for the first feed and the rest for the second feed.)
  2.  When S/D is peaked, mix it with the water in a small bowl and stir to loosen a little.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the flours and wheatgerm, add S/D+water. Mix to a shaggy mess and autolyse for 40 minutes.
  4. After autolyse, sprinkle dry yeast, if using, and S & F in the bowl for 8-10 strokes, turning the bowl. Rest for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Repeat two more S & F at 40-45 minutes interval.
  6. Cover the bowl and cold retard for 12-16 hrs in the fridge.
  7. When you see a few large bubbles on the surface of the dough, take the dough out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  8. Pre-shape → rest for 15-20 minutes → shape, and proof in a banetton for 3-4 hrs.
  9. Pre-heat the oven @ 240C with a lidded casserole/pyrex/cast iron pan in it.
  10. Check the dough with finger-poke test, and when it’s realdy, turn it out on a piece of baking parchment and score.
  11. Place the dough in the heated casserole, load it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  12. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and lower the temperature to 200-210C (or 220C, if you want bold-bake….like me at the moment)
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes.




best wishes,



Rose Lucia's picture
Rose Lucia

Questions about how to make yeast rolls tall.

I am looking for recipes for making yeast rolls tall.  Do I have to use more yeast?  Would really appreciate any suggestions.  Thank, Rose Lucia

cor's picture

Do Bakers usually get breaks? At all?

Hi all,


Just started working in a small professional bakery after a long stint in a grocery store bakery.  Question is, do bakers expect to get breaks in their profession?  Or is it the rule that you work long, exhausting days without more than a bathroom break?


I've been working 9 to 10 hour days with no breaks.  My old job I got a 15, then a 30, then a 15.  Not trying to complain, just seeing if I'm choosing the wrong occupation.  Any comments such as "pick a new career" are just fine!  I don't mind baking bread on the side.

freerk's picture

sautumner frangipani; diverting all power to the pies

Even though summer just doesn't seem to happen this year in these parts of the world, there are some wonderful summer fruits to be enjoyed.

Being under a strict bread baking embargo right now due to an overfull freezer, it seemed best to take advantage of the local produce (and fix my weekend baking crave in one go).

Here they are: 1x full fledged "summer of your dreams" in the shape of an almond lemon torte with fresh strawberries;

And (yesterday), the dessert that's more in touch with the slightly worrying autumnal meteorological reality over here:

Almond frangipani with apples and lemon in a pain d'epices caramel sauce. The sauce, made with apple juice, brown sugar and Monin's "Pain d'Epices"-syrup, tweaked with a hint of ginger and chilipowder, was especially tasty.

It tasted pretty much like the summer of 2011: spiking bright yellow with sunny lemon and juicy almond meal, fading away to brown via the ginger and the pain d'epices, to come full circle in acidity in the apples.

Not summer anymore, but no fall yet. I call it sautumner frangipani!


P.S. You would do me a big favor endorsing my BreadLab iniative. Every "like" will get me closer to realizing a 6 episode documentary/road movie; chasing the best bread Europe has to offer. Thanks in advance!

HokeyPokey's picture

WholeWheat and Chocolate Cherry

Posted a little bit later than intended, but its out there now, my mid-week bake, another attempt at a Honey WholeWheat and a Chocolate Sour Cherry loaves.

I am trying to achieve that lovely soft wholewheat texture you find in American breads – think gourmet WholeFoods and delis type, not the horrible Subway kind that squashes in your hand.


I am quite please with that I got at the end, probably a bit more room to play with the recipe – it didn’t spring in the oven as much as I hoped, but the flavour is very close to what I have in mind.


The other one, Chocolate Sour one was a spur of the moment thing, really. I am not really into chocolate breads, especially not the ones that use cocoa powder, I find them too sweet and not chocolaty enough. I found some lovely Valrhona chocolate in my sweets box and some dried sour cherries in the pantry – why not? Sounds like they go together, lets give it a go.


I do like the chocolate in it, especially after you’ve toasted it and the chocolate goes all soft and melty. Could do with more sour cherries, as the cherry flavour isn’t particularly strong, I just didn’t have any more at hand.


I will be trying both of these recipes again, that’s for sure


Full recipes and more photos on my blog

ananda's picture

Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

Back at the beginning of June, one of my Bakery students, Giuseppe, took a two month period of work experience in a Patisserie in his native town, Catania, in Sicily.

A couple of months earlier, Alison and I had, regrettably, decided not to make our annual summer trip to Crete, this year.   As an alternative, we decided to take a week’s holiday in NW Scotland at Easter, and embark on a week’s adventure in Sicily during the October half term.   We have booked a lovely top floor apartment in a town house overlooking the old harbour in Castellammare del Golfo in the North West corner of the island.

A few kilometres south west of here is the town of Castelvetrano.   Giuseppe had already wet my appetite for exploring the native bread scene, as you can imagine.   Not only that, but the BBC Radio Four Food Programme broadcast a 2 week special on the regional food of Sicily, around about this time.   I did some further searching to get more detail of regional bread specialities.

I came across Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, which is discussed in reasonable detail on the Slow Food website here:

I asked Giuseppe what he knew about this bread before he flew out to Sicily.   He knew a bit about it, mainly that the bread is made only with local flour which is famous, and, increasingly, rare.   It is from a variety of durum wheat grown only in this particular region of Sicily.   Given Catania is on the eastern coast of Sicily, it was not certain whether Giuseppe would be able to obtain any of this flour, however, he promised to have a go.

I then began a discussion with nicodvb to find out more about the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, as well as taking a look at some YouTube videos, such as this one:    The bread is made using a leaven system.   The flour mix is 80% local and refined semolina durum, described as “blonde grain”.   I believe this will be the equivalent grind to “rimacinata”, if I’m not wrong.   The other 20% of the flour is from the tumminia durum wheat grain, which is milled quite coarsely, and is a wholegrain flour.   Nico explained that the tumminia flour is revered on account of the sweet aftertaste imparted in the finished bread.   Some pictures of the flour are shown below.   The character of a wholemeal semolina is quite evident:

The reference to the dark colour seems more to do with baking the bread hot in a wood-fired oven, rather than using a particularly wholesome grist.   So, the authentic version has a darkened crust rather than a brown crumb.   My version of the bread isn’t that well-fired, but more on the baking calamity later; I had a bit of a nightmare with my electric oven….yet again!

Mid way through Giuseppe’s work placement, I received an e-mail from his girlfriend.   It seemed that he was being worked so hard that he was unsure whether he could get out to find the tumminia flour.   However, there was quick re-assurance that he was really enjoying the work and learning a lot.   Later on I exchanged e-mails with Giuseppe, when he contacted me to say his boss had driven out specially to get hold of the flour for us.   A couple of weeks later and Giuseppe returned to the UK to discover I had left College.   We have been meeting regularly since then as he is now very focused on setting up his own bakery/patisserie in the region.   Watch this space, as I am happy to be playing an active role in this adventure.

Nico sent me a message recently asking me how the bread had turned out using the tumminia flour which Giuseppe had brought back.   I had been so busy with leaving College, and putting the Powburn Show bread together, [see:] so I had not had time to use the flour and bake a Pane Nero di Castelvetrano.

First task was to refresh my leavens.   In doing this I decided to alter the formula I had planned and agreed with Nico.   You will all know how much I love rye, and I suddenly hit on the idea of using a small amount of rye sour in this mix, in place of a portion of the wheat leaven.   I came up with 25% wheat and 6% dark rye to make up the portion of flour which has been pre-fermented.   I thought about how to mimic the “blonde” semolina grain [80% of the flour mix].   I came up with 54% Carrs Special CC strong bread flour and 20% Gilchesters Organic Ciabatta/Pizza flour which is grown locally, and therefore much lower gluten quality.   The tumminia flour was added as the remaining 20% of total flour as noted in the Slow Food instructions.   Hydration was set at 68%, and salt 1.8%.   The formula and recipe are laid out in table format below:


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Wheat Levain

25 flour; 15 water

250 flour; 150 water

Rye Sourdough

6 flour; 10 water

60 flour; 100 water

Carrs Special CC



Gilchesters Ciabatta/Pizza Flour



Tumminia Flour












% pre-fermented flour



% overall hydration








  • The Rye Sour had 2 refreshments and the Wheat Levain had 3.
  • I soaked  the Tumminia flour in all the final dough water for one hour.
  • Subsequently, I combined all the remaining ingredients with this soaker and the pre-ferments and mixed the dough for 10 minutes by hand.
  • Bulk fermentation was 3 hours, with S&F after 1 and 2 hours
  • I made one large loaf, so moulded the entire dough round, and placed upside down in prepared banneton.
  • Final Proof was also 3 hours.
  • Given that the oven decided to blow up 15 minutes into the baking, there is little point in describing a recommended bake procedure.   I darted around the village and after another 10 minutes found a neighbour returning home.   She agreed to bake the loaf the remaining time in her oven.   It took another hour from cold, but the final result was quite acceptable.
  • I brought the loaf home and cooled it on a wire.


Some photographs of the finished loaf:


The final loaf is very bold; for a dough weight of very nearly 1.7kg, baked in the circumstances described, the end result is very pleasing.   The crumb is very even and moist to the point of sparkling.   The flavour is actually intense, but not at all sour.   A real eating pleasure!

To Nico and Giuseppe: many thanks to both of you for your support and encouragement in helping me to create this wonderful loaf of bread.

All good wishes