The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
trailrunner's picture

David's Vermont SD w/ increased rye ---response to cast iron bake

I have posted my cast iron bakes quite a few times over the past years . Seeing the new-found interest in Tartine and the cast iron bake I thought I would post my bake today to illustrate how well the "usual" sourdough responds.


This formula yields a very full flavored bread with a finish aroma that is rich and full of grain. The crumb is very tender and the crust is quite crisp. I love the caramel taste that a bold bake yields and this formula gives it back 100 fold. The bread has great keeping qualities...that is if no one is home  ! It goes very well with an aged cheese and a ripe pear, I just tried that combo a minute ago. It also makes wonderful toast. It has become my every week bake for a month or so. This particular batch retarded for 2 days , due to life intervening. It didn't make a huge difference in the sour but did increase the fullness of the flavor I think . Don't hesitate to retard an extra day or so. 

I use the word usual but David's breads are anything but as you know if you have tried his formulas. I have a very old cast iron covered pot that was my mother-in-law's and I have a Le Creuset . The pots are different sizes but the dough doesn't mind at all. The pots are preheated at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. They are sitting on my stone as they preheat. I remove them from the oven and uncover them, lower the risen loaves into the pots using parchment paper . I mist lightly with water and then place the lids back on the pots. I  place both pots back into the oven and lower the temp to 460. I bake for 20 min. covered and then remove the lids and bake 15 more minutes. I like a bold bake , you will note the caramelization. I have never had the bread burn or had any variation in the finish temp. I bake to 213 degrees or so and both pots give me identical loaves as far as shape/color/flavor/finish temp. etc. Here are some pics to illustrate. 

rising: Photobucket slashed: Photobucket in the cast iron pot: Photobucket Le Creuset pot: Photobucket finished product: Photobucket crumb: Photobucket

amolitor's picture

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

This basically Joe Ortiz' idea. The underlying loaf is a challah (a not terribly sweet, not terribly rich challah, just a nice one). I made up his recipe last night, which produces 2.5 pounds of dough (6 cups of flour, to give you an idea of how much dough). I think you could use any challah or brioche, but I do like the 'not too sweet, not too rich' part. If you go too sweet or too rich, I think you just get a giant cinnamon roll (not that this is a bad thing..)

Anyways. This makes two loaves, and into each loaf knead (at the very end of kneading) 4-6 ounches of raisins (amount to taste -- these have about 4 ounces of raisins per loaf). Rise and so on per instructions for your challah recipe.

Make up a glaze: a whole egg (or about half an egg is enough, really, for two loaves) beaten with a little milk.

Make up some cinnamon sugar: 2-3 Tablespoons sugar and 1-2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon (vary amounts according to taste), per loaf. The loaves below are right around the middle -- about 2.5 T sugar, 1.5 tsp cinnamon each.

When it's time to form up loaves:

  1. Make up each loaf as a loose round and let rest 10 minutes.

  2. Flatten each round out to an oblong 12-18 inches or more long, and roughly as wide as your loaf pans are long. As long as possible, really.

  3. Place the oblong with one end toward you.

  4. Paint the surface of the flattened oblong with the egg glaze, except at the far end leaving and 1 to 1.5 inches un-painted.

  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the painted part. You should get a nice layer, covering the dough completely with a moderately thick layer (1/8" maybe? A little less?)

  6. Roll up starting at the end near you, and stretching as you go: roll a little, then kind of tug the rolled-up part gently toward your belly as you roll more. You're trying to maximize the number of turns you can get out of the oblong before it's all rolled up.

  7. Seal using the unpainted far end.

  8. Flip the roll over, seam side down, tuck and fuss with the ends a bit to try to seal them a bit.

  9. Place in GREASED AND FLOURED loaf pan! Greasing AND flouring might be a bit much, but these loaves can get mighty sticky what with the egg in the dough, and the sugar, and everything.

Bake per instructions, but a bit longer. Say another 5 to 8 minutes. I glazed the top of each loaf with the egg/milk glaze just before loading into the oven, and again after 15 minutes.


hanseata's picture

Swedish Limpa Rye

One of the breads I bake regularly for sale is the Swedish Limpa Rye from Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads". The word "Limpa" sounds intriguing - but it simply means "round" in Swedish - I asked my Finnish friend Melita. Therefore, of course, my Swedish rye breads are always round.

I made some changes to the original recipe, though. I use less water for the starter - I found 142 g water results in a really wet dough: 127 g is sufficient. I also cut back on the molasses, adding only 37 g. The recipe amount with 57 g is, like many of the WGB recipes, too sweet for my taste.

As with all my breads I bulk ferment the dough overnight in the fridge - I need only 4 g instant yeast (instead of 7 g) - and bake it the next morning.

142 g rye flour
85 g whole wheat flour
4 g salt
170 g water
64 g whole wheat mother starter
191 g whole wheat flour
127 g water
all soaker and starter
57 g whole wheat flour
5 g salt
4 g instant yeast
37 g molasses
14 g canola oil
9 g anise, fennel, cardamom, cumin, (cumin less than others)
7 g orange zest ( 3/4 - 1 orange)


In the morning, prepare soaker and starter.

In the evening, prepare final dough, place in lightly oiled container, cover and refrigerate overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using.

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C, including steam pan.

Shape boule and proof in floured banneton (seam side up) for 45 - 60 min., until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Score (I like a windmill pattern).

Bake 20 min. at 350 F/175 C, steaming with 1 cup boiling water, rotate 180 degrees and continue baking for another 25 min. until bread is a rich reddish brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom (internal temperature at least 200 F/93 C).

The breads I sell are a little smaller (80%), to fit into the oven - and to cost a little less!

Updated 11/4/14

larginski's picture

OIL or NO OIL in bread

I have been making what I think is some very flavorful bread recently. A few years ago I discovered a local mill and have been playing with their organic wheat and rye flours. The other week my mother-in-law, a great baker herself was enjoying the bread and she asked what oil I used. When she learned that this bread was only flour, water and salt she was puzzled. Why would I make a bread without any fat? She learned to bake in the 40's and used pork fat.

That raised a good discussion, why would I use oil. I had always thought the fat was used to add some flavour to breads made from processed flours where the taste of the wheat was processed out of it.  The bread i have made is moist, flavourful but does tend to dry out a bit faster than bread made with oil/fat.

Having learned the great flavour of wheat are not possible in the grocery store, bleached flours I wondered if that is the primary reason for its inclusion in recipes. Fat is flavour?

I love this site and the shared knowledge of the community of bakers.

Comments welcomed. 

JL  - Gatineau, Quebec

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

The Journey Begins

I have officially deemed this week the start of my Bread Season.  As the weather gets increasingly colder, I can't think of a better way to warm up the house.

Not long ago, early this year (2010) I became obsessed with teaching myself to be an Artisan Bread maker. Throughout my life I have done this frequently. I'll find something interesting and obsess over it endlessly...well endlessly may be an overstatement. It's more until I find something else to obsess about. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Right away I hit the pavement; I went up to my locale library (which is an amazing facility) and checked out several bread making books. The first two that I picked up read like most other cookbook I had ever used, listing the ingredients and then step by step directions that usually lack the critical details to make any dish truly exceptional - enter my culinary education. Low and behold the book I left for last in the group would turn out to be my holy grail of bread making. I had stumbled upon "The Bread Makers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart, and so my journey began.

I can truly say that while most hobbies that I embark upon fall to the wayside sooner or later this adventure has transcended to something that's more a part of who I am as opposed to what I do. The lessons and fundamentals that I have learned to date have produced some rather exceptional results, in my personal opinion and I can't wait to share these experience with The Fresh Loaf.

amolitor's picture

Walnut Levain

This is a new bake of the recipe I discussed in this post.

Minor chages:

  • sour sponge was 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup rye, 1 cup water

  • "old dough" starters were each somewhat bigger, using 1/3 cup water each and "enough" flour.

The main difference is that I accidently added about 1 cup too much water, so:

  • the loaf was bigger (about 3 pounds)

  • there was less sour flavor (since I used the same 1 cup water/1 cup flour sour sponge, for more bread)

  • I worked at higher hydration, somewhere between 65 and 70 percent (it started wet, but I worked more flour late in kneading, and some more during stretch and fold)

Then I baked it for a full hour, hence the dark crust.

Also, I chopped some of the nuts fairly fine to get more nut distribution throughout the bread. The purple coloration of the crumb is more thorough and even, but not up to Acme Bakery standard yet! This loaf is outstanding with jam, especially toasted.

Dwayne's picture

Cinnamon Loaf

Off and on people have asked about cinnamon bread recipies so I thought that I would tell what I've been using.  I've been using the Soft Sandwich bread from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day" with a few tweeks and it always turns our great.  I was one of his recipe testers for this book and this may be the bread that I've made most often from the book.  The tweeks are I'll some times trow in an extra egg and I have not been letting it set overnight in the refrigerator.  I'll either make a full batch which makes 50 oz or I've written in the book the weights for each ingredient to make only 40 oz which is what the Pullman loaf pan takes.

I like lots of turns and lots of cinnamon.  Lately we been getting some from CostCo that is excellant: Kirkland - Ground Saigon Cinnamon.  I need a longer counter top.


My son got me a Pullman loaf pan and I really like the way loafs turn out.  Sometimes when you do a loaf like this you can get air pockets but I'm thinking that this pan helps to do away with the air pockets.


Bake time are 25 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes with the lid off.


This makes great toast or french toast.  I've counted 7 or 8 rings of cinnamon in some slices.


So, I would highly recommend Peter's book and Pullman Loaf Pans.


Happy Baking, Dwayne


fayee's picture

hot lemon lava desserts

has anyone heard of the hot lemon lava  individual cake dessserts served at the Sweet Tomato restaurant chain?  many people on the internet are looking for a recipe to make from scratch at home but if you check many recipe sites they all talk about lemon pudding cake etc. which is not the same.

this recipe, from the descriptions i read, is like a chocolate molten cake baked in ramekins but from probably a sponge/lemon cake with molten lemon filling.

according to comments i read it is to-die-for  . so is anyone up for the challenge?

can't wait for the reply. thanks

fishers's picture

freezing dough a bust!

I froze 1/2 a recipe of dough before final shaping with the idea of shaping and baking within a week.  I thawed for 24 hours in the refrigerator and noticed some rise as it thawed.  Let it come to room temp and then carefully shaped so as not to degas.  That was it - no further rise after 3 hours.  I hate to throw out the dough.  Can I use it as a starter or something?

Dwayne's picture

San Joaquin Sourdough

I made this bread this weekend and was so pleased with it I had to post some pictures and thank David for sharing his recipe.  It is a great bread.  The substitutions that I made was I used Gold Metal Better for Bread for the white flour and Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye for the Rye flour.  I had been getting my starter ready by feeding it every day for about a week.  Another change I made was the way I did the strech and fold.  I've been looking every where for those plastic scrapers and so I do not have one.  I did the strech and fold just by getting my hands wet and picking up the dough and using gravity to do the streching and I would do the folding.  I was very tempted to use Richard Bertinet's method, maybe next time.  David's directions were great with time intervals listed so I followed them pretty closely.

On bake day I was begining to wonder if my starter was working well enough, but the oven spring I got was amazing!  I tried to score the bread as David said and since this is a wet dough was having trouble but I got close.


The Crust.


The crumb.


This turned out to be one of the best looking loafs that I have made.  It was also the first Batard.  The flavor was great.  I was a bit dissapointed that it was not more sour but that will be another research topic - how to get your starter to yield a stronger sour flavor.  We had it toasted for breakfast and it was so good.


Again, Thanks David!  I will be making this again.