The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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breadforfun's picture

Rosemary Meyer Lemon, take 2


A while ago, I tried to make a loaf that resembled one of my favorites, Della Fattoria's Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread.  It turned out pretty well, although it didn't exactly measure up to my memory of the bread.  On my last flour run to Central Milling in Petaluma, I decided to make a slight detour and stop at the Della Fattoria bakery to remind myself what it tasted like before I attempted to make it again.

It was a disappointment.  My memory was probably clouded, but it was nothing like I remembered it.  The crust was soft, the crumb was dense as if it had little oven spring, and the taste was generally flat.  It seemed as if they tried to squeeze in just one more bake in their WFO before it cooled too much, but the timing was off.  Or maybe, now that I am more happy with my own bread baking, I just like the taste of what I make better. One thing that I learned, though, was that their bread included olive oil, something that I missed the first time.

I decided to make another attempt at a Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread of my own.  I modified the sourdough recipe I have been using lately (already a modification of David's SFSD).  Instead of spelt flour, I used 10% rye.  The addition of 4% extra virgin olive oil changes the flavor to something reminiscent of a focaccia, but the crumb is more sourdough-like.  The results were pretty satisfying.

My standard starter is 100% hydration, wheat only starter.  It is fed with Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft (ABC) flour and is refrigerated between bakes.  Before use it is warmed to RT and fed at least twice in 24 hours until very active.  For the final build I used about 11.5B-% rye and kept the hydration at 77%.  The overall hydration is 67%.  Just after scoring I sprinkled some Maldon salt (the flakey kind) into the spreading scores and peeled into the oven.

It has a nice sourdough tang, and the flavors of the rosemary and the lemon are evident but not overpowering.  The crust is dark golden and chewy.  I tried to avoid a very bold bake by slightly lowering the temperature because it might overwhelm the lemon.  The formula for this bread is:

I have become fond of using bran instead of corn meal or semolina on the peel to transfer loaves into the oven after learning about it for Genzano Country Bread in Local Breads by Daniel Leader.

Here are some photos of the crumb.  The loaf was very airy and much less dense than it seemed considering the size of bread.  The mouth feel was a bit less creamy than I was looking for, and the sourdough tang was too much for the other flavors, so no doubt there will be another iteration.



San Francisco is having a very warm fall this year.  After the rains in the early part of the week, it has been warm and sunny.  When I went to pick the lemons for the bread, the buzzing of bees was all around, no doubt responding to the wonderful fragrance of the blossoms.  I managed to capture one of our fertilizing friends starting the 2013 crop of lemons.

Thanks for reading.



JOHN01473's picture

a big thank you to Janetcook and dabrownman

After help and guidance from Janetcook and dabrownman with my starter and baking I have now adopted some procedures to follow in maintaining my starter, building the starter and baking. As a believer in not plagiarising others hard work a thought I would share what I am now doing and salute the guide behind the advice.

To maintain my starter I have adopted the following from dabrownman:

10 g               STARTER AT 60%      50 g
20 g               WATER                          6 g
20 g               FLOUR                        24 g
50 g               TOTAL                         80 g

Take 10g of 60% hydro starter add 20g of flour and 20g of water and let it double at 90% hydration AT 70f

Then add 6g of water and 24g of flour to it and then refrigerating it at 80grams total and 60% hydration.


to build the starter i use the adviece from Janetcook:
5 g                   STARTER          30 g
10 g                WATER              60 g
15 g                FLOUR               90 g
30 g                TOTAL             180 g

Take 5g of stored starter and feed it 10g of water and 15g of flour (5:10:15)

Let it ripen and note how long it takes to do so.

Next build would be 30:60:90 giving your 180g of sourdough.

i then use 2 large spoonfuls and add it to my sponge ingredients and let it sit overnight at 70°.

it takes 6 hours for both stages.


i froze some 60% starter and to bring it back to life i use the method suggested by dabrownman:

20 g              STARTER
40 g             WATER
40 g             FLOUR
100 g          TOTAL

Don't forget to freeze 20g of starter (60% hydro) just in case you kill the one you are using or use it all like I have done by mistake. You can always take it out of the freezer add 40 g each of flour and water to it an you will get your old starter back in a day no problem with another feeding at 12 hours.


all of these procedures have helped get my baking back on track to better baking. apart from careful measuring i now check storage temperatures and the results are better than ever.

so its a big thanks to Janetcook and dabrownman.

hopefully these procedures may help others

the Baking Bear


sarakaun's picture

Pumpernickel Rye Loaf a la Whole Foods Market

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

A few days ago, I tried the pumpernickel rye boule at Whole Foods Market and it was so great I bought a loaf and pretty much polished it off in one day. Some people dream of lobster or caviar, I dream of good bread. Ever since I learned to make bread, I've not been able to bring myself to even pay 50cents for a loaf or bread - not when I have 20lbs of flour at home. I prefer to make it myself - even if it's not as good as store quality.

I could go there again and pay for another loaf but I would like to make it myself. Some may say this is not authentic pumpernickel bread, but I don't care. I just love it. It was dark and delicious with a chewy crumb and a thick crust. My God, it was bread porn. Maybe I was just that hungry, who knows. It was not the crumb made with bread crumbs, but rather smooth but chewy. Here's a pic.

Does anyone have a recipe for pumpernickel rye bread? If I need special flour or equipment(I'm guessing dutch oven), please let me know. It's the holidays and I wouldn't feel bad about indulging. Plus I have my wild yeast starter begging to be used.


Franko's picture

Last and First Loaves


In the first week of October we began a complete renovation of our kitchen with the idea that should the local real estate scene ever return to a seller's market, an up to date kitchen would be necessary if we wanted to list the house and draw acceptable offers for it. The other side of the coin was that if we opted to stay put, at least we'd have a kitchen that would serve us well for the next 10 to 15 years. The reno took just a shade over 4 weeks to finish, the end result we feel was well worth the inconvenience of doing without a kitchen for what seemed a very long month.

 Before we sold the old oven I managed to get one last bake in to tide me over for at least some of the time while the renos were in progress. Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough from “Bread”, my go to loaf of late, produced two good loaves for me and I was happy to see the old oven go out on a high note of sorts. I love the classic flavour of this bread with it's subtle rye and sour notes giving it just the right flavour to enjoy as Hamelman suggests, everyday.

 That oven turned out a lot of bread, pastries and cakes over the years and had always preformed reliably for my wife and I so I was a little sorry to see it go...but only just a little. The new oven we selected is from the same Sears Kenmore line as the previous one but with a convection function and a few other whistles and bells included that the old one didn't have. Besides having convection, one of the features this oven has is a top range of 550F/287C whereas the old one topped out at 500F/260C. For pizza and some breads I like having the option of using the 500F+ temps for a short period to maximize the jump and/or for crust colouration.

 The very first item baked in the new oven was a pizza made from approx. 220-250 grams of dough that went in at 525F, lowered to 460F and baked in convection mode. The pie baked off in just under 9.5 minutes coming out with a little char around the edges but leaving the bottom crust an even coloured light brown, something I rarely managed in the old oven and never in less than 10 minutes.

This looks promising I thought, but knew I'd have to keep a close eye on things until I became familiar with this much stronger oven.

A few days and feedings later my rye starter had come back to life after it's month long hibernation and  put to work making a levain for another loaf of Vermont Sour. As with the pizza I started the bake at 525F but kept it going for the first 10 minutes (with steam) before lowering the heat to 440F with convection on and removing the steam tray. I stayed in the kitchen for the entire time monitoring the bake as it progressed and it's a good thing I did. The loaf coloured up rapidly, probably 5-10 minutes faster than what I'm used to. I found I had to lower the heat down to 400F and change it's position several times to get an even colour during the final 10 minutes while the internal temp of the loaf came up to 210F. In total the entire bake time came to 40 minutes for the 1,050 gram loaf, roughly the same time it took the old oven to do at a steady average temperature of 460-470F.


For the next bake I wanted to try something different and settled on Hamelman's Potato & Roasted Onion Bread from “Bread”, one I've been meaning to make but hadn't gotten around to yet. It seems I've been missing out on a real treat for all this time. The bread is a joy to eat, very moist for a lean bread and with great flavour from the roasted potatoes, and with roasted leeks that I substituted for the onions. I've made two of these loaves in the boule shape so far, attempting to get the Fendu style loaves shown in photo # 12 of “Bread” with no success. I've come to the conclusion that the doughs I've made are too large for the brotform I have. Next time I'll try it in my large banneton and hopefully the extra room will allow the crease to open up the way it should.

Earlier in the week I'd made some Maple and Black Pepper cured bacon that I thought would go nicely with toasted Potato Leek Bread in a BLT....

and it turns out I was right! 

The recipe below is my adaptation of Jeffrey Hamelman's Potato Bread with Onions -Pg- 120 of “Bread A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes 

Link to Procedure *Here* 


There is another bread that I've made recently but I think I'll save it for another post, this ones become an epic. 

Cheers to all and a very happy Thanksgiving Day to all my fellow TFL members in the US















Ilse's picture

Building our own clay oven


My hubby spend hours on the internet searching all the how-to's of clay ovens and this is what I got....

We used the existing fire place because of the chimney.


The frame was made from wattle branches.



varda's picture

Fun with milling and sifting

I have been doing multiple bakes with home-milled sifted flour and it's nothing if not a learning experience.    My initial attempt at tempering was a fiasco.   All I could think of when I heard the word tempering was that somehow the wheat berries must be heated to very high temperatures to strengthen them.   Only a few seconds of thought though, is all it takes to realize that that is ridiculous.   But I was still surprised to learn that tempering when it comes to wheat means letting it absorb enough water to achieve a small measure of malting, and reach a desirable level of moisture.   

Easier said than done.   I tried heating a sample of berries at low temperature for several hours to see what their moisture content was.   See the strategy described by Michael here.  Then I added the requisite amount of water to the berries I intended to bake with and stored in a closed container for 2 days while the berries absorbed the moisture, shaking the container whenever I passed by.    I knew that I needed to be careful not to use overly moist berries in my Komo mill.    Fortunately the owners manual gives a handy rule of thumb.   Smash a berry with a spoon on the counter.   If it cracks with a nice snap, it's dry enough.   If it just kind of smashes, it's too wet.   Unfortunately after it seemed that the berries were dry, they smashed.   I had to dry them out for a whole day to get them to crack again.    When they got back into a crackable state, they had lost all the water weight that I'd put into them.   Furthermore the bread I made with these tempered and redried berries was flavorless.   

So presumably my berries are moist enough as it is, and don't need water added.   This still leaves the question of whether I'll get good enough bran separation during milling without going through the tempering step.    But for now at least I've put tempering on hold.  

For my next few bakes, I tried a milling and sifting approach as follows.   Mill berries coarsely.   Sift.   (I used a roughly #24 strainer - that is 24 holes per inch.)   Remill what is caught by the sifter at medium coarse, and sift again.   Remill the leavings again at medium fine and sift again.   Remill the leavings again at fine and sift again.   Stop.   The flour and bran in the picture above resulted from this approach.   While the bread I baked with this approach was a lot tastier than the one with the mis-tempered flour, I still felt that a lot was left to be desired.   

Today, I went out and got more sifting ammunition.   A roughly #30 strainer, and a roughly #40 splatter screen.    I also changed my approach to milling and sifting.    In addition to remilling the leavings and resifting, I decided to progressively sift the flour.     So I milled the berries at medium, then sifted in the #24 strainer and set aside the leavings.    Then sifted the flour in the #30 strainer and set aside the leavings.   Then sifted the flour in the #40 strainer and mixed all the leavings from the three sifts together and remilled at medium.   Then went through the 3 siftings again of the remilled material and added to the flour.  

The flour I got from this process was lighter and silkier than the other approach.    The bad news is that I started with 350g of berries and got only 170g of flour, a less than 50% extraction rate.    That meant that to get a full bake, I had to add a lot of other flour, which I did.     So the flour from the Upinngil wheat berries ended up at a quarter of total flour.    To throw yet another wild card into the bake, I hadn't prepared starter in advance, but I had some leftover rye starter from a bake a few days ago in the refrigerator, and I decided to use as is.   However, not knowing how potent it was I threw in some instant yeast.   

Of course any bread I got out of this was just in the interests of science (aka hacking around with milling and sifting.)   And here is what I got.   Mild and pleasant, but just another step along the way toward something or other.  











Whole Rye






Sifted Upinngil






KA Bread Flour





























Grind 350g hard red wheat berries at medium


Sift in #24 sifter.   Sift resulting flour in #30 sifter.


Sift resulting flour in #40 sifter.


Regrind all the leavings at medium.


Redo the three part sift.   This left me with 170g silky


golden brown flour. 


Mix all ingredients in mixer.   When all ingredients incorporated mix at speed 2 for 20 minutes. 


BF 1.5 hours until dough is double.  


Cut and preshape.   Rest 15 minutes.


Shape into batards.  Proof 1 hour.   Coat with bran/semolina mix.

Slash and bake at 450 F with steam for 20 minutes, without for 25 minutes


Addendum:   Andy's recent post about bolted wheat flour from an operating watermill, led me straight to google to look up bolting.   Well bolting is sifting, but it has an interesting history as I found in this article -   There is a lot of interesting stuff in this article but one of the things that struck me is that much of sifting has been done with cloth rather than a wire mesh.    Which leads me to wonder if that would be a good strategy for the home miller.   Would a nylon or silk stocking work?    Has anyone tried it?   

Willowlady's picture

Hostess Made Home Pride Bread

Hello, I love this site with all the helpful folks and while I mostly read and bake on my own in my little kitchen I am hoping someone can help me with  little delimma.  My family likes the Home Pride Bread that Hostess makes/made.  Is there any recipes that can duplicate that.  A google search did not turn up any results to help me out.  They also eat what I bake however that bread was a go to for several occasions for sandwiches for some reason.  So if I can recreat it then I would be and they too very grateful.  I await any responses and thank you all in advance for your consideration.

dabrownman's picture

Thanksgiving Multi-Grain Marble Chacon

After the difficult and tedious Not So Stollen bake earlier in the week, we decide to continue our Thanksgiving bake list with something much simpler, less stressful even if not as enjoyable.


After seeing Toady Tom’s fantastic large miche bake and the excellent crust he managed to put on it, we decided to do a large loaf too only using the chacon shape we love to make since it too can produce a beautiful crust if it naturally splits where we would like as it springs and blooms in the oven heat.


We also wanted to try out a toasted wheat germ, soft white wheat extract and oat bran component similar to Toad’s to see what it tasted and looked like in the chacon.  All but 10g went into the dark side.


Instead of using our recent 1  starter and 24 hour counter levain development we went back to our roughly 20% seed levain for the SD starter required for this bake.   One levain was Rye Desem combo SD for the heartier darker portion of the loaf that has 2all of the whole grains listed for the starter. 


The other levain was a YW one that was fed with cake meal, another new ingredient for bread making for us.  Many folks use this ground matzo altus for their lemon, poppy seed walnut cakes or possibly a chiffon cake of any number of possible flavors.  We decided to try it out in the whiter portion of this bread only to see what it tasted like and how it performed in two different kinds of bread.


The instant coffee and the cocoa were only used in the dark portion to, you guessed it, make it darker than the light colored portion.  We also used some yogurt whey water for some of the liquid in both portions with 2/3rds of it going into the dark side.  The sprouts were also split between the two sides in the same proportion as the whey water - 2/3rds to the dark. 


In order to finish the breakout, the white portion ended up being 500 g with 100 g of the AP and bread flour and 80 g of the whole grains in the bread flour and 10g of the toasted bits.  Total flour and toasted stuff was 290 g and the liquid was 210 g (42 g whey) for a little over 72.4% hydration not counting any of the 1/3 of the sprout total that went into it.


With the malts, oats, and potato flakes on in the dark side the hydration of it was 82%.

The fun part was putting together the largest chacon we have ever made.  The center knotted roll is made from the light side and the side going down into the basket is sprinkled with rice flour.  It was surrounded by a twisted rope from the dark side.   The 4 other knotted rolls, on the cardinal direction points, were made from equal portions of dark and light that were ropes twisted together to make one rope.  The 4 little balls between the 4 twisted knotted rolls were from the light side.  Remember to rice flour anything that will touch the basket so it doesn't stick - and don't rice flour anything else so it sticks together.


What was left over was two light ropes that were placed on the spread out remaining dark side.  The long sides of the dark were folded over the light ropes to encapsulate them making a long rectangle.  The shot sides of the rectangle were folded over to the middle making a near square where the corners were folded into the center making a circle that was quickly shaped as a boule.


This boule was pressed out gently into a large bialy with the center indentation equal in size to the circle of knotted rolls, ropes and balls already in the basket.  The large bialy was floured around the edge that would contact the basket with rice flour and flipped over so the indentation covered the knotted rolls and the assembly was basically flat on top when finished. 

We hope this assembly will make a very pleasing marbled look when the chacon is cut.  Otherwise it was a waste of time and effort…something every baker is well used to if they have been baking more than a couple of minutes with an apprentice that is nearly all paws, bark and ankle bite.

The levains were formed by mixing, letting them double over about 4 hours or so and then chucking them in the fridge for 24 hours to build the labs while suppressing the yeast.   The flours and toasted bits were autolysed with the liquids and the salt for 2 hours as the levains came back to room temperature a day later.

Once the autolye and the levain were combined for each, the gluten was developed with 15 minutes of French slap and folds.  Then 4 sets of S&F’s wee done fpor each where the sprouts were incorporated on the 3rd set.  The dough’s were allowed to develop for 1 ½ hours on the counter before being retarded in a36 F fridge for 15 hours.


They were allowed to warm up for 1 ½ hours before being formed into the chacon and the allowed to proof at room temperature for 2 hours before firing up old Betsy and her16”round stone,  to preheat at 500 F for 20 minutes before 2 of Sylvia’s steaming pans were added.

After 45 minute of total pre-heat the chacon was un-molded easily from the basket using parchment and peel.  It slid into the oven off the peel when a 1/2 C of water was thrown into the bottom of the oven for extra initial steam and the door closed.  The temperature was turned down to 450 F the steaming was done at the 20 minute mark when the pans were removed and the temperature turned down to 425 F, convection this time.

In another 20 minutes the bread was exactly 205 F in the middle and beautifully and evenly brown from rotating it 90 degrees on the stone every 5 minutes after the steam came out.  At the 40 minute total mark, we turned off the heat and left the oven door ajar as the chacon continued to crisp on the stone for another 10 minuets before removal to the cooling rack.

The chacon didn't spring all that much and might have been a little over proofed but it did bloom and crack as expected.  It is a very pretty large chacon and we can’t wait for it to cool down and rest for awhile before we cut it ....   and see if anything interesting happened inside.

Now that it is cut..... the light and dark did learn to play well together.  We are pleased that it is so pretty on the inside and fitting for such a gorgeous outside.   The crumb is fairly open for so many add ins and whole grains.  The dark is tangy sour while the white is a little sweet, maybe sue to the Cake meal, has no tang and is a little moister as YW tends to impart in crumbs everywhere.  A very nice combination of two tastes.  The toasted bits tend to come through more on the dark side and the millet crunch is prevalent throughout.  This bread will have to to to the top of the chacon list and into the top 15 of our all time top 5 favorites.  I'm glad we made a big one.


Combo Starter

Build 1


SD Desem & Rye Sour






Dark Rye












Whole Wheat



Yeast Water



Ground Flax



Cake Meal






Total Starter






Starter Totals






Levain % of Total






Dough Flour



Whole Spelt



Dark Rye



Whole Wheat



Whole Kamut









Cake Meal






Instant Potato Flakes



Bread Flour






Dough Flour






Whey 125 and Water



Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Total Water & Whey Water



T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins



Red Multi-grain Malt



Barley Malt



White Multi-grain Malt









Multigrain Sprouts
























Total Sprouts






Toasted Bits



Toasted Germ, Oat Bran & Extraction



  10 g each of instant coffee and cocoa went into the dark side only.

Skibum's picture

NY Deli Rye with garlic and rosemary

I have been for the last couple of weeks using a nearly pure rye sourdough starter and have baked nothing but the New York Deli recipe from P. Reinhart's BBA.  I love the addition of the fried onions.  So far I have added the onions to the final dough and at some pont I will try adding them to the starter to see if it makes a difference.  For my last bake, I reduced the fried onion and added garlic to cook lightly, but not brown.  With the heat off, I added the caraway seed and fresh rosemary.

This bread has a really nice subtle garlic, onion and rosemary flavour and just screams out for a large pile of corned beef or pastrami lathered with both hot and grainy mustard.  Darn, that could have been an apres ski dinner, but the deli is closed . . .

I had incredible oven spring from this loaf.  Next bake I will also include a post proof, pre-bake photo.  I have now had 3 consecutive success's baking with my rye sourdough and will share what has worked very well for me.  Pre bake I refresh the mother rye starter as follows:

25 g seed

50 g light rye flour

40 g water

This is mixed well in a measured container and left to at least double.  This has taken anywhere from 4 to 28 hours depending on when the mother starter was last refreshed -- I do it weekly now.  After the initial build had doubled or more, I went to a second build:

115 g first build

60 g light rye flour

60 g strong bread flour

96 g water

The second build has consistently doubled or more in about an hour.  For this bake I had to put it in the fridge after a half hour as it was a ski day.  Six hours later, I removed the second build from the fridge and it had nearly overflowed the container.  Time to get baking!

NY Deli Rye w/ garlic and rosemary

151 g second starter, (it is hard to hit 150 perfectly and decided not to be anal about things.  bread is so forgiving in that way!)

50 g light rye flour

151 g bread flour

30 g greek yogurt, full fat

30 g whole milk

100 g water

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 tsp caraway seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle, they didn't reduce much

90 g finely chopped onion, fried, weighed before cooking

20 g coarsly chopped garlic, fried, weighed before cooking

1-11/2 tsp fresh minced rosemary, less than 1 g, my scale only weighs to full grams, not fractions and I should have spent the extra 5 bucks . . .

1 Tbs canola oil for frying the savourys

1/2 Tbs EVOO for the main dough mix

11/4 tsp salt

I have been adding the salt in the final couple of S&F's of late, thanks to reading Carol Field's The Italian Baker.  So mix well, rest for 5, mix well again, rest 10, then 4 S&F's with 10 rest.  After a 1 hour bulk rise this dough had more than doubled.  This starter works faster than commercial yeast!  Pre-shaped, rested 5 then shaped a loaf.  After 30 minutes it was oven on to my 500F max, then another 30 minutes proof.  Scored and baked with steam for 20 turning and removing the steam pan at the half.

This was a fun bake I was able to fit around my schedule and am enjoying the whole sourdough leavening process.  The sourdough preferments add great flavour, I find the final dough develops strength quickly and the finished bread keeps surprising well on the kitchen counter.

BakeON!  Brian

LisaE's picture

My Starter (Culture) smells like paint thinner! HELP!

Hi there! I am trying to start a starter, and I desperately need some help and encouragement. I will give you a little history.

I started this with a recipe from a site other than this and I don't want to give a link cuz after smelling the starter after 4 days I was disgusted! Any way I started with 50 grams WW flour and 50 grams bottled water. Within 24 hours, it rose and bubbled so I thought I might have something going (from reading Sourdough Lady's Blog I now know it was not yeast yet). I fed it the same amounts flour and water, and waited, nothing, just goop. That went on for 4 days or so, and nothing, just smelly goop.

So I looked for some info on this site (great site by the way!) and found some advice that bwraith or Bill gave so I took 2 Tbsp starter and mixed in 2 Tbsp water, 3 Tbsp unbleached organic white (Bob's Red Mill) and a pinch of whole Rye (Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye). It began to become less smelly, almost yeasty maybe, had bubbles in it, but never rose. I am on day 10 from beginning the whole mess and it has never risen, has bubbles but smells like I could strip some paint off a door with it.

By the way, it's at room temperature now, 72 - 75 degrees, I tried the oven light trick but the culture became a very warm 88 degrees and I thought that would be too hot.

I am about to throw it out and start again, using Sourdough Lady's recipe but thought I'd ask you all if you know what the heck. I read that the acetone smell is common if the yeast are starving but I have a hard time believing that since it hasn't risen since day 1. Any advice is very much appreciated and Thanks!