The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dabrownman's picture

Jasmine Tea, 50% Whole Multi-Grain SD & YW Durum Atta Bread with Wheat Germ, Flax and Chia Seeds

Boule and crumb.

We are continuing to discover a better method of summer baking in the Cuisinart mini oven.  This time we tried Sylvia’s steaming method by using a 1 cup Pyrex measuring  cup half full of water with a dish rag rolled up inside and microwaving it before putting it onto the preheated 500 F mini oven.

 No stone was used.  We think this steaming method is a good as covering the boule with a stainless mixing bowl and that both would be better with a stone.

 Even though the loaf was not slashed, since we managed forget to do so, I though for sure it would split somewhere but it only cracked down one side.  There wasn’t much spring - about an inch.  It browned up nicely though.  We love the color that durum brings to bread inside and out and about 50% of this bread was durum with the other 50% whole grains of various varieties with wheat germ and the flax ground.  The whole grains overpowered the yellow color of the durum with barn on the inside though.  This bread is much more about being a hearty multi-grain variety.

 The only slightly unique addition to this bread was using Vietnamese 902 Green Jasmine Tea for the liquid.  I just love Vietnamese jasmine tea and used one that is especially fragrant with jasmine blossoms. 

Boule crumb

 The crust was nicely browned and chewy after coming out of the oven very crusty.  The crumb was very moist and light and tastes very sour. It made a fine sammy and it was delicious as toast or plain.   I have noticed that, if YW and SD starters are mixed from the beginning of the levain build, the bread is less sour.  The boule sprang more than the loaf and the crumb was a little more open.

Loaf crumb

 This bread didn’t have the usual sprouts and pumpkin or sunflower seeds (since I also forgot to put the pumpkin seeds in) we like so well, but it is a very hearty and satisfying bread to munch on – until it is gone!  Formula and method follow:


 The YW and SD levains were built separately this time and used 3 builds.  The first 2 builds for each were 4 hours apart and the levains were refrigerated overnight at the 8 hour mark right after the 3rd build as each had already doubled. 

 All mixing was done by hand.  The flours, ground flax seeds, wheat germ, chia seeds, salt and green tea with the salt were autolysed for 1 hour before the levains were added the next morning.   After mixing the levains in completely the dough was allowed to rest for 20 minutes.

 4 sets of S&F’s were done every 15 minutes.  The first 2 were done on a floured surface the last 2 in a well oiled, bowl.  The dough was rested in a plastic covered oiled bowl between the S & F’s.  The dough was allowed to ferment and develop on the counter for 1 ½ hours before retarding in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

 The dough doubled in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning the dough was divided in half and half returned to the refrigerator since it would be baked one hour after the first half.  The other half was allowed to come to room temperature for 1 hour and then pre-shaped into a loaf rested 10 minutes and final shaped into a loaf and placed into a Pyrex loaf tin and allowed to proof.  The other half of the dough went through the same process but shaped into a boule and placed into a rice floured basket to proof.

 After an hour and half the loaf had doubled, passed the poke test and ready to bake .  Sylvia’s steaming method was used with a wash rag heated in a half full Pyrex 1 cup measure in the microwave and the placed in the back of a 500 F preheated Cuisinart Mini Oven.  No stone was used.  The loaf was not slashed but was steamed  for 12 minutes and then the steam removed and the temperature turned down to 425 F convection this time.

 The bread was then rotated every 5 minutes until if reached 205 F internal and then was removed to the cooling rack with no extra crisping in an off oven.  After the first 5 minutes of convection baking the loaf was removed from the Pyrex loaf pan and baked directly on the rack. 

 A similar process was used for the boule except it was slashed and steamed on parchment paper on the top cover of the broiling pan for the first 12 minutes and then baked at 425 F directly on the rack.  The loaf took about 30 minutes of total baking time and the boule 3 minutes less.

50% Whole Multi Grain Durum Atta with Wheat Germ, Flax and Chia Seeds     
Mixed StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
SD Starter25100354.50%
Yeast Water503008016.00%
Durum Atta0030306.00%
Total Starter2252006048597.00%
Levain % of Total33.24%    
Dough Flour %   
Durum Atta30060.00%   
Dark Rye255.00%   
White WW5010.00%   
Whole Barley255.00%   
Whole Bulgar255.00%   
Potato Flakes102.00%   
Ground Flax Seed102.00%   
Whole 6 Grain Cereal306.00%   
Dough Flour500100.00%   
Green Tea 42585.00%   
Dough Hydration85.00%    
Total Flour777.5    
Green Tea - 425, Water - 207.5632.5    
T. Dough Hydration81.35%    
Whole Grain %53.05%    
Hydration w/ Adds80.32%    
Total Weight1,459    
Add - Ins %   
Wheat Germ102.00%   
VW Gluten102.00%   
 Chia 20204.00%   
Franko's picture

40% Rye Remake/ Visit to Vancouver Island Grain and Milling

 Back In early May I posted on a 40% Rye with a fermented soaker that I had to try and save because of miscalculating the hydration. The save was short lived unfortunately. After three days the crust became so tough from the extra flour added to the dough I couldn't eat it for fear of cracking a tooth. The formula has since been adjusted for hydration and two bakes of the bread have been done over the last few weeks with much better results than the original. The first loaf of the new mix worked out well, the dough consistency being what I expected, well hydrated but not to such an extent it was difficult to develop with a few stretch and folds. This time instead of baking it in a Pullman tin, the dough was shaped as a batard and placed in a brotform. The bread was to be part of a buffet table at my wife Marie's recent birthday party and I wanted it to look a little fancier than a regular tinned loaf. The loaf baked up nicely with a cracking crust, evenly open crumb, and well rounded flavour with a pleasant sour note from the soaker.

 One of our guests told me that she's usually not a fan of either rye bread or sourdoughs but that she enjoyed the flavour and texture of this bread more than any she'd had in the past. This was reassuring to hear and good to know that other people could enjoy it since to that point I'd been the only who'd tasted it. 

Last week we took a mini 3 day vacation out to the West Coast of Vancouver Island for a little R&R. On our way out to the coast we made a stop at Vancouver Island Grain and Milling, in the city of Port Alberni. VI Grain & Milling, a relatively new enterprise, came to my attention when Marie brought home one of their pamphlets from a local Farmer's Market. The proprietor, Wayne Smith runs the facility on his home and farm property located just a short drive from the main highway through town. At the moment the various organic grains he carries are kept in three, temperature and humidity controlled semi trailers situated near the front entrance of his property, with construction of a permanent storage facility getting under way this summer. One of the trailers has a small milling area equipped with four Nutrimills that he uses to produce retail size (2K) bags of flour for a number of health food stores here on the Island.

Wayne told me he doesn't anticipate installing a full size mill anytime soon as the investment cost and profit margin wouldn’t justify it at this point in the business, but that he'd be happy to mill whatever I needed on short notice. What a find! I asked him if he would mill up a slightly coarse rye flour for me while I was there, and a short time later Wayne presented me with 2 kilos of the best looking rye flour I think I've ever seen.

This is the flour I used in a second bake of the 40% rye. It preformed beautifully throughout the mixing, fermentation, shaping and baking, giving the bread an even better depth of flavour than the previous bake. The fermentation properties and flavour of fresh milled flour compared to pre-milled is so superior, I'm finally persuaded to invest in a flour mill for my home baking. Much as I'd prefer a stone mill similar to the type [Phil/Pips] uses, I've decided the size and cost of the impact type Nutrimill is a better fit for my storage and budget limitations right now. Once the existing stock of wheat and rye flour I already have has been used up I'll be looking forward to milling all my own flour with grains from Wayne Smith's VI Grain & Milling. 

The second bake of the 40% Rye was slightly different in that the soaker was all cracked rye instead of 50/50 cracked rye and wheat, but other than that the rest of the formula remained the same as per the previous mix. Since I've started using a fermented soaker in some of my sourdoughs I've discovered how much easier it is to fine tune the level of sour in the  loaf, rather than having to rely entirely on the levain to contribute the bread's sour component. Cracked or whole grains ferment quite slowly compared to flour, allowing for greater control over the strength of the sour flavour than I feel I have with a typical 12-18 hour levain. With the soaked grains adding texture to the loaf along with added flavour, it's proven to me to be an effective technique for enhancing the overall quality of the finished loaf.

After pulling the loaf from the oven, de-panning, and wrapping in linen, it was left to cool for 48 hours. This was difficult! I was tempted to take a slice the day after baking but I'm glad I gave it one more day. The crumb, after 48 hours had set completely, allowing for clean even slices to be taken, minus the usual residue left on the knife when I slice a rye bread after only 24 hours.

40% Rye with Fermented Soaker




Mix all of the flour needed for the levan with mature 100% rye starter and water and ripen at 70F/21C for 14-18 hours.

Cracked Rye and Wheat Soaker

Pour the boiling water over the two cracked grains and salt and allow to cool to ambient temperature. Add the mature 100% rye starter, mix thoroughly and ferment at 70F/21C for anywhere from 3-5 days depending on the level of sour flavour desired. Note: The amount of water needed may need to be adjusted to achieve a slightly loose consistency. The soaker is not hydration nuetral and should contribute a small amount of hydration to the final mix.

Final Mix (by hand)

Combine all the flour and water to a shaggy mass, adjusting for hydration, and autolyse for 40-60 minutes. Add the levan and incorporate thoroughly, then add the salt and honey and mix until the dough is moderately developed. Finally add the fermented soaker and continue mixing until the soaker is evenly distibuted throughout the mix. Turn the dough onto the table and use the slap and fold method until the dough is smooth and cohesive but not fully developed. DDT is 78F/25C.

Bulk ferment the dough for 60-90minutes at 78F/25C. Bulk fermentation times will vary and the dough should be monitored closley to ensure it receives adequate fermentation time.


Turn the dough onto the table and give it a stretch and fold. Cover the dough and rest it for 30 minutes. Shape as desired.

Final Proof and Bake

After shaping, give the dough it's final rise in a covered 78F/25C slightly moist environment for 45-60 minutes. Again it should be closely monitored, as times will vary. When the dough is slightly springy to the touch remove it from final proof to the counter allowing the skin to dry if necessary before slashing. Slash as desired and bake in a 500F/260 oven, vents blocked, with steaming apparatus in place, for 15 minutes. Unblock the vent, remove the steaming apparatus and lower the temperature to 465F/240C, continuing the bake for an additionl 45-55 minutes (lowering the temperature if needed to 450F/232C) until the internal temperature reaches 210F/98.8 . Cool on a rack for 24-48 hours, wrapped in linen, before slicing.  



The flavour is noticeably better than the previous bake, which I credit to the fresh milled rye flour from V.I. Grain & Milling used in the mix and certainly one the best flours I've had the pleasure of working with.




baybakin's picture

Oakland Sourdough

Oakland sourdough:

This is the basic sourdough that I keep around the house. Nearly every sourdough bread that I do is an edit on this basic recipe, which is sort of a combination of Daniel Leader's Pain de campagne and Chad Robertson's Country Bread.


310g Sourdough Starter (130% hydration)
250g Water
440g Good quality unbleached AP/Bread Flour
60g Whole Grain Flour (I use whatever I have, WW/Rye/Spelt, etc)
12g salt (I use course grey sea salt)
(50g boiling water)


In a large bowl, mix sourdough with water and flours until a shaggy dough forms. Let autolysis.

Measure out salt into a small bowl, pour boiling water over the salt to dissolve it. let the salt water come to room temp.

After 45 mins mix the salt water into the dough. (I do this all by hand within the bowl, ala tartine)

S&F the dough a few more times over the course of the rising time (about 2-4 hours, depending on the temp of the house). At this time I either retard the dough in the fridge (on a weekday, so I can go to work), or proceed to pre-shape.

Pre-shape the dough into a round (If removing from fridge, let dough reach room temp before pre-shape).  Let pre-shaped dough bench rest for 15 mins, then shape into a round and place in a cast-iron dutch oven to rise.

30 mins before bread is proofed pre-heat oven to 500F.  Place lid on DO and put into pre-heated oven.  Bake for 20 mins covered.  Remove lid, turn down to 450F and bake for 15 mins.

Take bread out of DO (carefully) and let cool on a rack. Enjoy!

The pictured bread is cracked wheat/White Whole Wheat as the whole grain part.

rcbaughn's picture

Pretzel Roll/Bun Success

Well I finally overcame my fear of poaching dough and decided to give pretzel hamburger buns a chance. I used Alton Brown's recipe for Soft Pretzels since it seemed to contain most of the elements needed for a good hamburger bun. Strong yet slightly giving and able to hold up to the torrent of juice from the patty. (My patties are 65/35 home ground beef, insanely fatty and delicious!) It is a bit unnerving moving the buns to the baking soda water, so I decided to just sacrifice the parchment and cut it out below each bun so that I didn't deflate them. I was surprised that the outside of the poached dough was so leathery and thought I had ruined them, but after baking the skin got super tight and held onto the salt great. I didn't have pretzel salt, but I did have Celtic light grey sea salt that was pretty course, and it stuck great with the egg wash and since it is a VERY moist salt. Crunches in the mouth well too without being overly salty. Any tips on making pretzel rolls that you have found would be amazing since I plan on making these alot more in the future! 

BTW, can you pretzel any dough? I thought about poaching my regular brioche burger buns but didn't know if that would turn out acceptable. Thanks again! -Cory

txfarmer's picture

Light Rye Sourdough with Ham and Cheese

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries

My friend gave me a large chunk of Serrano ham as gift, combined with some good parmesan cheese, this bread is super delicious.

Light Rye Sourdough with Ham and Cheese

- levain
whole rye, 81g
water, 65g
rye starter (100%), 9g

1. Mix and let rise 12-16hours.

- final dough
bread flour, 485g
water, 316g
salt, 10g
Serrano ham, 120g, cut into small cubes and steamed until done
parmesan cheese, 150g, grated
all levain

2. Mix everything but ham, autolyse for 20 to 60min,mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope, knead in ham.
3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90min.
4. Shape into batard, put in basketes smooth side down, put in fridge over night.
5. Next morning take the dough out to finish proofing, about 70min for me. Score.
6. Bake at 450F with steam(either put in preheated cast iron pot and cover with lid, or put dough on preheated baking stone and pour water in another cast iron pan to create steam) for the first 15min, take out the pan with water, keep baking for another 30-35min. Turn off oven and crack the door open a bit, and leave the breads inside for 10min before taking out.

Both Serrano ham and parmesan cheese have very strong flavor, this bread is a full meal all on its own.

The rest of this ham will last me through many more sandwiches, breads, salads, and pizzas.

mwilson's picture

Improved Loaf

This morning I was on the way to making some lovely artisan bread using a long-fermented Biga starter but unfortunately I over-mixed the dough! Over-mixing creates a horribly sticky mess and it took me half an hour to clean everything, including my hands. Hopefully those that have experienced this will sympathise.

Pressed for time I decided to make a quick loaf with some improving ingredients available in most kitchens.

The result: Ridiculous volume.


  • 550g Flour (250g Hovis bread flour / 300g '00' flour)
  • 390g Water
  • 30g Rapeseed Oil
  • 1-large egg yolk ~18g
  • 11g Non-diastatic malt powder
  • 11g Salt
  • 5g Instant yeast
  • 5g Lemon juice
  • 5g Vinegar


I scaled the water (40C) and placed in a bowl along with, malt, lemon juice, vinegar, egg yolk, yeast and finally the oil. I added the flour and salt and mixed to a shaggy dough. I then turned out and kneaded à la bertinet for 10-15 mins to  reach full development. I left on the counter and balled up a couple of times. When doubled I shaped very, very tightly and plonked it in the tin. Let it rise until passed doubled. Slashed and baked with steam.


Improvers: Acids are for tightening the gluten and therefore increasing dough strength. Egg yolk contains an abundance of lecithin - a natural emulsifier and along with the oil they soften the crumb. Malt is food for yeast.

Slashing was an absolute joy! I made cuts very deep with my ultra-sharp Japanese cooking knife. The dough, even though very highly risen didn't move - no loss of volume whatsoever. The cuts just opened slowly. All this can be attributed to the high degree of dough strength. It was amazing to see the detail of the exposed crumb being so voluminous!

Weight out of the oven: 834g. It will lose some more. I always aim for 800g.



A slice from the end:

You can see a centre circle where it's a tad denser. The rest of the crumb is feathery soft and ultra light.


Centre slice: It's as light as a croissant.
It also toasts very well, due to the improving ingredients. 

PiPs's picture

B-Sides - From the cutting room kitchen floor - Part 3

Please welcome the B-sides Part 3 ...


joyfulbaker's picture

Mixing bagels in new mixer with thanks to all who helped me decide (read on!)

To all of you who helped me decide on a new mixer, thank you!  I did purchase the Bosch Universal from PHG, and I feel it was a good decision for my purposes (large amounts of bread/bagel dough).  I added the stainless bowl, a personal preference.  I "broke it in" by mixing a double batch of the ITJB bagel dough, that is for 24 bagels, and the Bosch came through with flying colors.  To be fair, I did increase the hydration to 55% from the 52% in the original recipe (which I used when I was testing the DLX, to be honest and fair).  I used 80% All Trumps, 20% Gold Medal bread flour, with a couple tsp. of VWG.  After shaping, I bagged them with white plastic garbage bags (blowing air into them so they don't stick to the dough) over the baking sheets, which have no sides and are used as peels, then put them in the fridge for an overnight fermentation.  Now for the camera shots (all but the crumb shot--sorry, but I was too busy chewing):

So you can see the new "big mixer" sitting there proudly, next to "little mixer" K/A Pro 6 (still going strong and doing much better with the spiral hook!)  Next is a shot of the prep, in order, R to L:  baking sheet lined with reused parchment, sprinkled with semolina (or rice) flour, boiling bath with barley malt syrup in the filtered water, 2 TBSP to about 3-4 quarts(?), then the ice water bath, which isn't difficult and cools them down quickly; replenished with ice as needed.  I was able to boil and chill 6 bagels at a time (handy when baking 24).  I placed a smooth cotton kitchen towel on a small cooling rack to hold the wet bagels.  Seeds are placed on salad size plates.  Baked on a stone preheated to 460, per ITJB recipe.  Although the pictures are not all in sequence, you can see the shaped bagels on the parchment lined baking sheet (new parchment on that one) and finally the finished bagels.  I usually mix 'em up, some plain, some with sesame, some with poppy and some with my own seed mix (B & W sesame, poppy, fennel, sunflower and flax, plus a little sea salt).  New trick I learned to keep the seeds from falling off:  brushing the tops of the unbaked, just boiled and cooled bagels with an egg-white/1 tsp water wash.  Also, I have learned there's no problem reusing parchment, even several times.   I'm gearing up to baking about 3 dozen bagels for a birthday brunch (mine) later this month!  Next will be the bialys . . .   Once again, thank you, TFL friends!


Breadhead's picture

Let's talk bread theory - overproofing

I'm trying to clarify my understanding of overproofing. Here's my definition: overproofing is when fermentation has strained gluten to its limit. In other words, when gas buildup has stretched gluten to its breaking point. Is this an accurate understanding? Are there are other adverse effects to the dough that I am not accounting for? According to this, 2 identical doughs,  although one using high gluten flour and the other using AP, rising in identical environments will overproove at different times, due to the diference in their gluten contents?

Also, can overproofed dough just be given a new forming and new rise and achieve the originally intended quality? Has gluten been destroyed from the overproofing?

ehanner's picture

Non-GMO Foods

I contacted Bob's Red Mill this week to ask about their policy on selling Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). As you may know, Monsanto and other giants in the herbicide/seed/fertilizer industry have made a play to control the corn and soy markets. The have genetically modified for example, corn so that the worms that eat the corn will die after eating the roots or kernel.

It is estimated that 80% or more of the current corn crop is GMO. So it is highly likely that most of the food products made with a corn ingredient will contain this frankencorn. Understand that this is no longer corn. It looks like corn but it is not corn as our ancestors and their digestive systems evolved to consume. Yes, the blended feed made of corn and soy is also mostly GMO. Yep, the milk too.

Anyway, Bob's Red Mill tells me they have a policy of not sourcing any GMO foods. I will attach their response here.  I find it comforting that Bob's has taken this position and I plan on supporting them as much as possible. This GMO issue is a BIG DEAL. The state of California is about to pass a labeling law that will require a warning on the ingredients label if there are GMO ingredients. Everyone except the voters is trying to block this from passing. From what I hear, public support is around 80%, so it should pass. This will have an effect on every aspect of the commercial food business. I'm sure Kellogg's doesn't want to admit the Corn Flakes are made from genetically modified corn. And all that vegetable/corn oil, same thing. This is going to be a shock wave in America that will shake most food processors.

Those of us who enjoy real foods with identity-preserved DNA, and appreciate the value of Organic produce and grains should make a point of supporting companies that feel as we do.  This is a big issue. I suggest if you are concerned about your health and our food supply and want to learn more, Google GMO foods.


Hi Eric,

Thank you for your inquiry. Here at Bob’s Red Mill, we have made a commitment to purchase only non-GMO products. This means, that all of our products are made of ingredients that were grown from identity preserved, non-GMO seed. This will count only for commodities that are commercially altered: corn, soy, rice and flax (all other grains are still identity-preserved, non-GMO by nature and have not been genetically altered).

I will note that we do not guarantee the complete absence of genetic modification in our products because of wind drift, pollinators and our lack of testing equipment.

Best Regards,


Heather Johanesen

Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods

Customer Service