The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Gail_NK's picture

Growing Local Grain: Let's Take Back Our Wheat

At GoodFood World (, we just published a piece called "Local Grains: Taking Back Our Wheat" (

I put it here to open discussion; this has been a group known for its knowledge of grain and willingness to share/criticise/discuss ideas.

Have at it folks!

Much appreciate your input and advice!

Gail N-K

dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's "Bread," second edition is shipping!

My copy arrived today! Just looking at the table of contents, I see a number of new formulas that are calling to me ... Make me! ... No! Make me first! ... 

'Scuse me. Gotta go read.


ex99125b's picture

Bakers math and lesson 3

The web is replete with examples of how to do bakers math and I think that I have a good handle on it, enough to put together a spreadsheet anyways. However, I seem to trip myself up on preferments. Could  someone show me the bakers percentages for the recipe in lesson three? Enough of them so that I could start with the desired dough weight and work my way back through the recipe? I certainly would appreciate it.

cookingbyheart's picture

Chapati - North Indian Flatbread

Vishwani Agrawal teaches his daughter, Chitra, to make traditional North Indian flatbread known as chapati or roti.

It was a treat to spend the day with Chitra and her dad while we shot this piece and learned from a master. Chitra’s father, Vishwani, shares his method of making chapati, also known as roti, a flat bread most commonly prepared in northern India. Vishwani grew up in Allahabad, one of India’s oldest cities, where he learned to prepare chapatis by watching his mother and then as time went on, by refining his own technique. On the shoot, Vishwani told us about leaving home for college, which is when he first began making chapati. Later, when he met his wife, Prathima, he continued to make chapati. Prathima is from south India, where rice is more commonly served as a staple. To this day, Vishwani remains the primary chapati-maker of the house. And since Vishwani and Prathima make chapatis weekly, they’ve become masters. It seems like making any kind of bread dough takes some experimentation to get it right.

When I asked Vishwani about the importance of passing down the tradition, I was excited by his response. He pointed out that traditions are not a one way street. They aren’t blindly passed on and can’t be forced onto the next generation, but rather they are actively accepted, practiced and kept alive by the younger generation. It’s refreshing to hear a different perspective and to consider that we are not just vessels but we are active participants in creating new traditions and keeping old traditions alive. Vishwani can teach what he knows, but it’s up to Chitra to keep it going, if she so chooses. As he tells Chitra, he teaches procedure, technique is what you figure out on your own.

Vishwani and Prathima reside in Alabama, where they both work in the Computer and Electrical Engineering Department at Auburn University.

Ingredients (makes 6 rotis)
1 cup of flour
~1/2 cup lukewarm water
extra flour for rolling

Sift the flour into a bowl and slowly add water while kneading until you get to a dough that is soft, smooth and pliable. The longer you knead the dough the better but 5 minutes of heavy kneading will do.

Take the dough ball and cover with a damp cloth for a minimum of 30 minutes (you can also make the dough and put in your fridge for making another day).

Divide the dough into 6 dough balls or loee and roll them in flour.

Flatten each each dough ball with your palm and roll out to a 6 inch diameter, using extra flour so it does not stick.

Heat an iron skillet on medium heat. When it is hot (water drops should sizzle immediately), place roti on.

Let it cook and when you start to see bubbles form in many places, flip it over and cook until the other side does the same.

Over a medium flame, with flat tongs or chimta place the roti until it blows up or browns on both sides. (If you are cooking on an electric stove, you can press the roti in different places with a cloth to make it blow up a bit right on the skillet)

With the tongs, hit the roti against a surface to shake off any excess flour.

Butter one side with ghee and place in an airtight container lined with paper towel.

Music: Boss City by Wes Montgomery; Evelyn by Dabrye; Pacific Theme by Broken Social Scene; Cause=Time by Broken Social Scene; Little Chin by Tommy Guererro

Vishwani and Chitra, thank you for sharing. Franny & John, Thank you for letting us take over your apt for the day! Sintalentos, thank you for your musical consultation. Michael Legume, thanks for the audio equip. Paul, you’re the best.

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Sourdough Ruchbrot

Hey y'all. Has anyone here ever baked with Swiss "Ruchmehl"? I just tried it for the first time and I really like it. It's somehwere between medium and whoe wheat. A lot of flavor but can still hold together gluten wise. 

I'm only here in Switzerland for another week so I figured it was time to give this a try. Now I'm wishing I had done it months ago!

It was super tasty with a full wheat flavor and a crunchy crust with a cool, soft crumb.  

I also wanted to say it's been very inspirational to read all of your posts in tribute to Eric. I wish I had been around to get to know him, he clearly had a huge impact on many of you, who have in turn had a large impact on me. I am very sorry for your loss and I am grateful for his legacy here.


Ruchbrot formula at Wandering Bread

isand66's picture

Onion Sourdough-Yeast Water Rye Ale Bread

There are many things in my life that I have a passion for, with bread  being near the top.  Recently I was very saddened to learn of the sudden passing of a terrific baker and person Eric Hanner.  Eric was a frequent contributor on The Fresh Loaf website and he inspired me with his passion for baking and touched a great many people along the way.

His willingness to share his vast baking experiences and cooking expertise as well photography pointers left an unforgettable mark on all that came in contact with him.  One of Eric's favorite recipes was his Jewish Rye which goes great with his homemade pastrami.  I had a spirited conversation with Eric regarding our pastrami passion and  I couldn't wait to try his pastrami after I had baked his famous rye.

In tribute to Eric I offer my own inspired Jewish Rye (I'm Jewish...therefore it's a Jewish Rye :0).  I have not used my yeast water starter in a while so I refreshed it with some oranges due to my apples having gone bad.  I also created a rye sour converting my AP starter in 3 stages including adding sautéed onions in stage 2.  Both starters were finished by bringing them from 100% hydration to 65% hydration.

I also picked up some interesting ale at the local supermarket which was brewed with lemon peels, ginger and honey so naturally I needed to use some in this rye bread.

The final loaf ended up being by far one of the best rye breads I have  made to date.  The onions combined with the 2 starters and the ale made this a wonderfully tasty moist bread perfect for a pastrami or corned beef sandwich or a smear of cream cheese.


Yeast Water Starter Build 1

60 grams Pumpernickel  Flour (KAF)

60 grams Yeast Water Starter

Mix the flour and Yeast Water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 6 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Build 2

Add ingredients below to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 6 hours.

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

100 grams Yeast Water

Build 3

Add flour to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until bubbly and either use immediately or put in the refrigerator for the next day.

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

10 grams Yeast Water

(Note: I made extra starter since I wanted to use this for another bake.  You can cut the amounts down to make the 125 grams needed in the recipe)

Rye Sour Starter Build 1

63 grams AP Starter

63 Pumpernickel Starter

75 grams Water

Mix the flour, starter and water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 4-6 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Rye Sour Starter Build 2

100 Pumpernickel Flour

100 grams Water

123 grams Sautéed Onions (sautéed in olive oil)

Mix the flour and water with the sour starter from build 1 along with the onions.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours until doubled and nice and bubbly.

Rye Sour Starter Build 3

102 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Add the flour to the rye sour from build 2 and let it rest covered for 4-6 hours until bubbly and nearly doubled.

Main Dough Ingredients

300 grams Rye Starter from Above

125 grams Yeast Water Rye Starter from Above

400 grams First Clear Flour (KAF)

80 grams White Rye Flour (KAF)

50 grams Rye Chops (KAF)

30 grams Potato Flour (KAF)

357 grams Tenacious Traveler Shandy Ale

18 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

8 grams Caraway Seeds

1 Large Egg (for egg wash only)


Build your Yeast Water levain and rye sour starter the day before you are ready to bake.

The evening before you want to bake, mix the flours, rye chops, caraway seeds and the ale.  Mix on low-speed in your stand mixer or by hand for about 1 minute until the ingredients are combined.  Let the dough autolyse for about 20 minutes to an hour.

Next add both levains along with the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low.  The dough will come together and be slightly sticky.  Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into 2 loaves and either place in a banneton or from into batards and let them rest in floured couches for 1.5 - 2 hours.

About one hour before ready to bake, set your oven for 500 degrees F.and make sure you prepare it for steam.  I have a baking stone on the top shelf and the bottom and use a heavy-duty rimmed baking pan that I pour 1 cup of boiling water into right as I put the loaves into the oven.

Score the loaves as desired and brush each loaf with a simple egg wash using 1 whole egg and a couple of teaspoons of water.

When ready to bake place the loaves into your oven on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.  It should take around 30 minutes to bake  until the rye breads  are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 205 degrees F.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 2 hours or so before eating as desired.


gmagmabaking2's picture

ITJB FR Week 12 Yeast Raised Donuts pps. 168-170

We 3 sisters fried donuts today! Wow, this is the best donut recipe ever! Really got good rise, easy to fry and glaze or sugar as we all did a variety... Barbra and Helen have been regular baking whirling dervishes... busy, busy with the Holiday things... me, lazy... and just doing the weekly bake, but that is okay... I like having my time to read about what everyone on this website is doing!

Here is how the donuts when down... by the way... these were way to good to keep around, and fresh and hot is how the kids, grands, and neighbors liked them.


All of our dough looked about like this before the first rise... not all had the great reflection in the plastic wrap of my oven element!... 


Helen and I made 16 each, making only half of the required recipe... Barb made the whole batch, so imagine 2 trays like this and a few more!

 Barb's donuts are all boxed up and ready to take to the grandkids and the volunteer fire department... kept back a couple for the apprentices. Lovely looking, glazed, plain, and powdered.  Very nice! She said they were much to good to keep around her diabetic hubby... proof positive when she returned from her deliveries and the one she left on the counter was GONE!... Good thing she didn't leave a dozen behind! ;-)

 Helen's awesome donuts and holes... she went for all powdered... there were some very sweet things going on in her kitchen... cakes, caramels, toffees and way more... what a busy place... happier than Disneyland, I am just saying!!!

Mine are really, really, good... sharing with the neighbors... or dying one or the other!

I did glazed, sugar and cinnamon, and powdered.


And that completes Week 12 of this great challenge... We are finishing Norm and Stan's book next week with the Golden Chiffon Cake on page 197.  Join us for the FINAL BAKE OF THE FINAL ROUND of the ITJB Cookbook Challenge.

Happy Holiday Baking, 



linder's picture

Care and Feeding of a Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

For those who maintain a whole grain sourdough starter, what is your care and feeding schedule?  At what hydration level do you keep your starter? I keep my starter in the fridge.  Before baking day, I remove the starter from the fridge.  My starter is at 100% hydration, I feed it 1:1:1 equal weights of starter, water and home ground whole wheat flour are added to the starter twice daily for two days before I make bread.  Once I've removed what I need for the bread formula, I feed the starter again and then put it back in the fridge for a week or so until the next baking round.  The starter usually doubles in about 4-6 hours.  Is this OK?

Should I continue to feed just whole grain or would it be wise to add some AP or bread flour to the mix? 

What do you do to maintain your starter?

txfarmer's picture

Eric's Favorite Rye - this one is for you my dear friend ...

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

A couple of years ago, after having posted quite a few blogs on thefreshloaf, I got a private message from a TFL member I never conversed with. His name was Eric, and he wanted to teach me how to improve my photography. Now, this message could've come off as insulting or arrogant, but not when it's from Eric. Eric's sense of generosity, enthusiasm, sincerity, and kindness shines through across virtual world to reach me, who in fact desperately needed exactly that: photograpy 101. (Do you know he actually did teach photography lessons on the side? Multi-talented that man was...)

From there on, he was a kind friend yet a strict teacher. He never shied away from telling me exactly what I was doing wrong, however, he also was always patient, kind, and encouraging. I know I can show him what I have done and hear  his honest opinion without sugar-coating. Without his lessons, I couldn't have had improved so quickly.

Truefully, he taught much more than what I could digest at the time. He knew that, yet he was never frustrated with me. He just smiled whenever a light bulb came on and I emailed him with all CAP letters yelling: NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU MEANT BY ...

Recently he has posted less, but we still exchange emails from time to time. Even though we've never met in person, but I feel he's one of my most repsected teachers and friends. Then the news came and I was in shock and disbelief. 

So, Eric, this one is for you. It's now my favorite too. RIP.

A few notes: Eric's original recipe is here. I have no First Clear Flour on hand, so I used a blend of WW and bread flour. 


varda's picture

Baking with home milled and bolted flour

Lately I have been baking with flour home-milled from hard red winter wheat from Upinngil Farm in Gill Massachusetts.     I have also been experimenting with sifting the milled flour to achieve different results, and after reading about bolting - see Andy's post and note below - with bolting as well.   My first attempt at bolting using a knee-high nylon didn't go well.   The less said the better.    Then I realized that cheese cloth has a fine mesh and might possibly be well suited for the task at hand.    So I have been playing around with using cheese cloth to bolt fresh milled flour, without much good baking results.   

Today, I came back to it and made another attempt.    I decided to use my regular white starter, rather than working with a whole wheat starter, which adds another layer of complexity.   And also constrained the process by determining that I would only use the Upinngil whole wheat for the final dough.   

I proceeded as follows:  

1.  Mill 514 g of wheat berries at medium setting

2.  Sift with #24 wire strainer

3.  Mill what is caught in the sieve at fine setting

4.  Sift with #30 wire strainer

This process removed 50g of bran.

5.   Place flour on top of a square of cheese cloth and form a bag by folding up corners and securing with a twist tie

6.  Shake, bounce, bump, etc. into a wooden bowl.    (Note this step takes awhile.)

At the end of this process I had 226g of golden flour with only tiny flecks of bran in it, and left in the cheese cloth was 226g of a coarse flour / semolina mix.  

I decided to make two loaves - one with the more refined flour, and one with the less refined flour.  They both came out quite breadlike.

The one with the refined flour was a bit better behaved than the other.

I would say both tasted good with the second loaf with a much more rustic, coarse crumb.

Here are the formulae:


Starter builds








2:30 PM

9:30 PM















Whole Rye




































Whole Rye






Bolted Upinngil Tier 1




























































Bolted Upinngil Tier 2






Med Rye











































I mixed the first dough for 10 minutes, and the second for 20.    It was necessary to add a bit of medium rye to the second dough to make it adhere.   I was very worried about over fermenting and proofing these loaves so I erred on the side of under-doing it.    I fermented the first loaf for 2 hours, and the second for 1.5 hours, both with two stretch and folds.   Then proofed each of them for only 45 minutes.   They were baked together at 450F with steam for 20 minutes, and without for 25.  

Note:   Bolting is an old (say 17th century) method of refining flour by passing milled wheat through successively finer and finer cloth mesh tubes.   See for instance   So technically I have done a hybrid of metal sifting and cloth bolting, as I only have one cloth mesh size.  

[Addendum:  For those of you who think that milling, sifting, and now bolting is too messy, please note that only 13g of flour was missing in action.    I'm sure it will be all cleaned up in the fullness of time. ]