The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
ludwiks's picture

Real Finnish 100% sourdough rye bread

There is a lot of writings about rye bread. In my opinion real one comes from Finland where I often live and learned to bake it. Finns are particularly crazy about 100% rye bread: it contains coarse rye flour, salt and water, starter and sometimes some store bought yeast. In my experience the flour is most crucial: it should be coarse and whole grain. Scientific approach as often described by obsessive technicians (as opposed to bakers) is really unnecessary. The proper recipe comes with experience. Thus, the measures below are approximate. I developed a very good recipe in Finland, but when I came back to USA I had to redo it to adapt to local ingredients. In any case, the version described below passed the most stringent test: by my Finnish wife, who now must have this bread every day.  In fact, we do not buy bread at all nor bring it from Finland anymore (we used to bring a year's supply and freeze it). In following recipe I use exclusively coarse, whole grain rye flour: Hodgson Mill is excellent.

1. Make starter:

a. half cup of coarse rye flour and similar weight of water (I use room temperature boiled water to get rid of excess chlorine). Mix, put in a glass container and tightly cover (1 quart jar with screw top is fine). Keep in room temperature or better in a warm place.

b. feed it: add similar amount of flour and water, once a day or every two days. You will see that it sort of foams eventually and bubbles: it is OK. If it stays flat: start again.

c. After a week or so it is ready. If you do not use it, store in refrigerator, and feed it as above once every week. After feeding you may keep it for a while in warm place until it revives-foams again. If the jar gets too full, discard some. If you use some, re-start building it up, as above.

2. Make sponge.

Mix together about 1 cup, more of less of starter (remember to replenish your starter jar gradually), flour and water. I use about 2 cups flour and same amount by weight of water.  It will be a dense, shaggy, sticky mass. Put in bowl and tightly cover. Next morning it will become much looser, bubbly and acidic smelling. Keep it for 1-3 days in warm place (not hot), depending how intensely sour bread you like.

3. Make dough.

a. dump the sponge from the bowl (do not scrape it clean, so the residue will jump start next batch) into mixing bowl. Add another half to one cup of starter. Add flour - another cup will result in one large loaf (the total used will be 3 cups). Add water-no more than same amount as flour by weight, but add gradually, so the dough will be sticky and soft and manageable. Add some salt and about 2 teaspoons of dry yeast. I also add about one third (more or less) of gluten to get better body. Mix for about 10 min. on low in a mixer (or by hand). You may also try to omit yeast-the bread may be quite good but denser. Cover and wait about 10-20 min.

4. Final proofing.

dump the dough on well-floured counter and using a scraper fold it a couple of times on itself. Finally form a log not bigger than your baking pan. Put it in the pan (best sprayed with PAM and lined with baking parchment paper). You can also bake it free-form, round, but it will not raise up, but spread horizontally forming a rather low loaf. Cover with plastic sheet and keep 1-2 hours in a warm place (I use oven with oven light on).

5. Baking.

Preheat oven to 450 F and on lower shelf put a pan with hot water. Bake about 10-15 min, then lower temperature to 375 F and best cover the bread loosely with aluminum foil. Bake another 45-60 min. Take bread out of the pan (that's how parchment helps) and check if knocking on bottom produces a hollow sound. If it does not, return loaf (without pan) to oven for another 5-10 min. Cool completely on a rack (best overnight). You can eat it then or keep for a day or two in a plastic bag and start eating then.

6. Eating and storage.

The bread will mature over several days and the taste will change and improve. Slice it  thinly (about 1/4 inch) with a heavy, sharp knife, very carefully since it will be hard and the knife can slip and cut you (it happened to me). Note: this bread is not intended to have a crunchy, thick crust like a French baguette. Store in a closed plastic bag. Mine kept very well up to 2 weeks (by then we ate it all and a new batch was baked).Remember that this bread has a lot of fiber and it may influence your digestive system to the better.

Bon appetit.




njbetsy's picture

London trip

Hi Folks,

I'm so excited to be going to London for the World Skills Competition accompanying two students from New Jersey.  Any ideas for things that I shouldn't miss--bakeries included, of course.




foodslut's picture

LOVING longer, slower fermentation

Just a quick note to thank everyone here who's keen on "very little yeast, long fermentation" approach.

I've been trying this with a couple of my formulas, and it's worked GREAT - and lets me be more organized baking during the work week.

Did a batch of olive-cheese loaf (quantities in grams)

Olive/Cheese Bakers %2800
Flour mix444
Olives 30333
Old dough15167
Instant yeast0.22

and got away with 0.2% of instant yeast to get the job done.  It took about 8 1/2 hours to double in size in coolish room temp (~15 Celsius) overnight, with a 90 minute pre-bake proof.  Results:  great.

Just baked off a batch of house bread this morning

 House LoafBakers %2400
Old dough25273.8
Instant yeast0.151.6

that I started last night with 0.15% instant yeast.  Doubled in ~10 hours at ~16-17 Celsius, 2 hour pre-bake proof and again, great results.

With both formulas, started oven at 500F, slashed & loaded loaves (each ~800g), sprayed water inside for 7 minutes, then down to 400F for another 40-45 minutes (or until crust is done to your liking).  Internal temp at end of bake for both loaves was ~205-208F.

I'd share pictures, but my sweetie's got the camera for a road trip this weekend.

I've found it's worth it to go low, and go slow - give it a try.

codruta's picture

Rye-Einkorn Bread (two sourdoughs, and one AYW)

Recently, I bought a flour with a confusing romanian name "alac". The seller told me that is spelt, or something similar with spelt.  It was a very expensive bag of flour and I decided to use it with care. After the first bake, I was surprised by the flavor: I never felt such a deep wheaty nutty strong flavor in breads made with spelt. I thought is pure luck to find such a good flour, or maybe just an impression. I made another loaf, with AYW, using same flour, in the same ratio as before (60% "alac" flour, 10% rye flour and 30% white flour). The same wonderful result: deep rich wheaty taste, with a vague hint of bitterness. All this time I was convince I'm using spelt flour. I made a third bake, with sourdough, roasted fennel seeds and anise seeds (inspired by Hanseata and her post linked here) - this loaves were the best I've ever tasted. After that, I decided it's time to find out more about "alac" and, surprisingly, I found out that "alac" is not Spelt, but Einkorn. So... I used Einkorn flour all this time without even knowing it. That made me sad, somehow. I went back at the shop, and I bought another bag. That made me happy again.

back to bread

For the last bake, I used this formula:

Overall Formula:
- Italian white flour type "0", bio (corresponding to French T65, if I'm correct): 185 g ……………………………… 28.5%
- Einkorn Flour: 400 g ………………………………… 61.5%
- Rye Flour: 65 g ………………………………. 10%
- Water*: 495 g ………………………………………………………….. 76.1%
- Fennel seeds, roasted and crushed: 5 g ……………….. 0.77%
- Anise seeds, roasted and crushed: 2 g ……………….. 0.3%
- Salt: 13 g ……………………………………………………………… 2%
dough: 1165 g ………………………………………………. 179.2%
*I used 80g water in the levain, and 415g the water in which I boilled some beet roots, that's why the red-orangish colour.The stiff levain was build in two builds:
first build:
- White flour: 35 g
- Water: 35 g
- Sourdough (100%): 10 g

second build:
- White flour: 30 g
- Rye Flour: 40 g
- Water: 40 g
- Levain from first build: 80 g
results 190 g stiff levain 72.7%For the final dough:
- Italian white flour type "0", bio: 115 g
- Einkorn Flour: 400 g
- Rye Flour: 25 g
- Water: 415 g * see the note
- Stiff levain: 190 g
- Fennel seeds, roasted and crushed: 5 g
- Anise seeds, roasted and crushed: 2 g
- Salt: 13 g

I let the dough autolyse for 40 minutes (just water and flour, without levain and salt), Than I added the levain and the salt, I knead by hand using folds in the bowl technique and in the end I added the roasted seeds, and knead again, a few folds. The dough temperature was 24-25C. I transfered the dough in a oiled container, did 2 S-F at 50 minutes interval, for a total fermenattion time of 2h:30min. I divided the dough, shaped it and let it proof 1h:40 min, then I baked it on a baking stone, with steam for the first 15 min.

When I shaped the batard I used Khalid technique, illustrated here. I like it.

Batard: While I transfered the dough from the linen to the parchement paper, and while I scored it, I was talking on the phone. I wasn't paying attention to what I'm doing, and the batard sticked a bit to the transfer board. That's why is a little asymmetrical and the scoring is not perfect.

Round loaf: I proofed it with seams side down, hoping for a nice pattern to form while baking. Instead, I got a dome with no cracks. I have to practice more.

Here are the photos:


The bread I made before with AYW was 60% Einkorn Flour, 10% Rye Flour, 30% White Flour, 73% Hydration (2/3 yeast water, 1/3 water) and here are two pictures:


The first try with this flour was a sourdough bread. I didn't used seeds, but I used rolled germinated ryes. 60% Einkorn Flour, 10% Rye Flour, 30% White Flour, 10% rolled germinated rye, 80% Hydration, 16% prefermented flour. Photos attached below:

I never wrote a text so long in english. I hope my text is readable and comprehensible, and please correct me if some words are wrongly used.

If you'd like, you can check my romanian blog, Apa.Faina.Sare.



Salilah's picture

Stout Baguettes

Stout in both senses of the word!

I decided to have a go at a sourdough version of Katie's stout & linseed loaf - waiting for the barm to ripen, I wondered what to do with the rest of the beer and decided "sort of baguette but a bit bigger!"

150g 100% white starter
25g rye flour
290g strong white bread flour
200g beer (Thwaites Very Nutty Black bottle conditioned, Tesco)
8g salt

I didn't have time to do an overnight retard, so just autolyse without salt for 30m, then a thorough S&F at 30min intervals, shape roughly, shape for batard and proof in couche (the skin hardened a bit too much I felt here).  Baked under a cover for 15mins (220C) then 10+10 I think...

Not bad flavour - quite rich and full, not tasting of beer, a good medium brown colour

Not bad!  The stout & linseed is in the fridge, need to get it out and shape (dinner interfered with this last night) and final proof - will try to post that later

Winnish's picture

Pull-apart Garlic Challah - 2 different shapes

Pull-apart Garlic Challah - 2 different shapes 


Lately I've been seeing a lot of cinnamon-pull-apart bread's photos, I guess it's the new trend in the USA.

During the month before Rosh-Hashana (Jewish new-year) I prefer not to bake sweet challahs and as onion-challahs are a big hit in my family, and also garlic-rolls,  I thought it might be cool to try this new shape for garlic-challahs.

The shape of the second challah is and old one but I usually make it a bit different. Also - this challah has cheese in  it and on top.

The recipe is an easy one, this time without poolish and with plain white flour (not enriched with gluten powder as I usually use).

The recipe, lots of photos, and also instructions how to shape+are all at MY POST
Translators - top left side-bar, and you're probably gonna get a good laugh, but if you have problems understanding - please ask me to explain!


Have a great night,


ben1026's picture

baking stones

is there a danger in using unglazed quarry tiles because of the crystaline silica in the tile?

breadsong's picture

Peter Reinhart's Bagel Primer, on

I just came across Mr. Reinhart's Bagel Primer on

Photos, and step-by-step instructions; a link to the recipe included in the third tab.

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong

Frrogg1son's picture

Apparent Hydration


Can't tell you all how much I appreciate all the posts.  I've learned more in two years at the Fresh Loaf  than I learned in twenty years of buying and reading dozens of books on bread, not that I'm complaining about the books.  So many have been great.  I am quite indebted to Amy Glezer, Dan Leader, Joe Ortiz and, of course, the man they used to call Brother Juniper!  Also very grateful for the renegade Charles Van Over, wherever you are!


The following questions have been on my mind for some time.  Someone please help me to put this all to rest!  I have a three-part question regarding what I call "apparent hydration".


First part:


If I create a dough using 500g of AP flour, 300g water, 10g salt and a minimum of yeast, I produce a dough which I recognize as being 60% hydrated, both by look and feel.  I know how it should be kneaded, how it will shape and how it will develop in the oven.


What I don't know is this:  If I add 56g of butter to that same dough, whether at the beginning of mixing or even added to the dough after the gluten is well developed, how can/do I account for the changes the butter brings to the apparent hydration of the dough. If  I add 10% of the flour weight in butter to my 60% hydrated dough, the dough becomes much more sticky and appears significantly more slack.  I appreciate that average American butter has water content in it.  I don't know how much of the 56g is water.  But it seems to me that the "apparent hydrating effect" of the butter addition goes way beyond that little bit of water in the butter.  I am sure that I would find an even greater impact if I were to add 10% olive oil (by weight as a percentage of the flour weight) to a 60% hydrated dough, even though olive oil has, to my knowledge, no water in it at all.


So, does fat effectively contribute in some way to hydration, or at least to "apparent hydration"?  Or is the effect merely conditioning (for lack of a better word)?


Has anyone ever created a factor to account for the effect of fat on dough?  If I want a 60% hydrated dough, with a 10% butter content added or a 2% olive oil content added, to have more or less the same apparent hydration as the same dough without the fat, by how much do I adjust the water content down?  Is there a one to one ratio? Meaning that if I add 56g of butter to a dough but don't want it significantly more slack, should I reduce the water content by 56g?  I think I've tried that and the dough was too stiff.  Is it a 1.0g fat to 0.5g water ratio?  Or has this simply not been studied or quantified?


Have I made myself understandable?  Does Hamelman address this in "Bread"?


Second part:


If I take the same 500g AP flour, 300g water, 2% salt and minimal yeast dough and mix it as a straight dough, I get what I expect in terms of hydration, elasticity, extensibility, and so forth. However, if I mix half of the flour and half of the water as a pre-ferment along with a pinch of yeast, the final dough seems to me to be meaningfully more slack and extensible because of the addition of the biga or poolish..


Don't get me wrong. I don't at all dislike the effects of a pre-ferment on dough.  A poolish is one of the greatest inventions the Poles ever brought to Vienna!


But if I want to make a bagel dough at 60% hydration but decide to create a preferment with part of the ingredients, should I compensate for what seems to me to be the super-hydrative-effect from the preferment by reducing the final mix to something like 55% hydration?  Put another way, does the addition of a poolish allow me to reach an "apparent hydration" of 60% by using only 55% water?  Or is what I am experiencing merely another conditioning effect?


Third part:


Same lean dough but the addition is 10 to 15% white sugar?  I've always thought that adding 50g of white sugar to a formula for a sweet dough is the equivalent to adding 50g liquid to the final formula, even though sugar competes with flour for liquid.  But I've never actually seen this documented.  Again, is there a ratio of sorts to allow me to compensate for the effects that sugar bring to a dough?


So, in summary:

Should formulas adjust hydration to some extent for the addition of fat?

Should formulas do the same for pre-ferments?

Should formulas do the same for sugar?


Best, Bruce

kamp's picture

What is the problem with my bread?

A long time ago I had trouble baking my glutenfree bread but I solved it and the recipe started to work very good again.

But the last around 80 bread hasn't been as good as they were before.. I have tried and do everything I can think of that have worked in the past like adding more yeast, switch between fresh/dried yeast, more water, less water, more oil, less oil, more/less salt/sugar, rise in the ovne/not in the oven ++ The latest thing is that I rise them shorter then before but it doesn't work very well that either. 

The bread taste good but I want them to be like they where before... 

The problem is the rising. They rise very well in the oven (95F) but they don't get the oven spring anymore. Well, some times they do a little but fall again inside the oven. 

I make 3 and 3 bread from the same dough. 

This is how they turned out today:

Bread 1:

Dough 1 inside:


Dough 2 inside:

Dough 3:

Dough 3 was one of the better I have made but the texture inside doesn't look "right"..


Before the recipe stopped working they looked like this:

Those picture isn't the exact same recipe because I added 1oz seeds in each of the breads over but they did turned out like this did.. 



Can anyone help me? 

Are they over rised? To little proofed?

Why can I suddenly loose the oven spring?


I have made some bread that turned out better then this over but then I used the exactly same recipe the next time and it failed.. So I'm a bit confused..