The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jarkkolaine's picture

Sourdough in wheat and rye

For about two months, I had had my sourdough starter sitting on the kitchen counter covered with a kitchen towel. Last week, when I finally found time to look at it again, it looked like a dry cracker cookie. 

I had no idea if I could still restore the starter or not, but I decided to give it a try.

I added some water to dilute the dried starter. When most of the starter had turned into a milk-like fluid, I removed the remaining pieces of dry dough and added just enough flour to get it back to the normal consistency of my starter (at 100% hydration, 50/50 full grain and all purpose flour). I then left the starter on the kitchen counter and waited. The next morning, the starter was full of life!

Just look at this before and after photo:

After a couple of days of daily feeding cycles, I finally had the time to try to bake something with the starter.


About two weeks ago, I visited Viipurilainen kotileipomo, a family run bakery in Lahti, about 100 kilometers from Vantaa where I live to meet with the bakers and see how they work on their full-grain rye bread (among other things). The four baking brothers I met that night where some of the friendliest people I have ever met, and their rye "limppu" is delicious! So, inspired by seeing them at work, although I didn't ask for their recipe, I decided to try my luck with creating my own version of this Finnish tradition called "ruislimppu." 

At about the same time as I started reviving my old wheat starter, I created a 100% rye starter by mixing a handful of dark rye flour and some water. I didn't write down the exact measurements but it resulted in a rather wet and sticky dough to start with. I fed the starter daily, slowly increasing the mass of the dough, until it felt really sour and light. Ready for use. That was the night before the bake. Last week's Saturday. 

On that night, I made the rye "limppu" dough by mixing the starter with about 1.5 kilograms of rye flour and 1 kilograms of water. As I don't know the amount of flour and water in the starter, I can't give exact figures. I will try to be more exact the next time I make this bread... I didn't knead the dough at this point, just mixed the ingredients to a consistent mass. 

On Sunday morning, I mixed in the salt and did a very brief kneading for the dough. The dough was quite wet and it was practically impossible to knead, so I didn't spend much time on it. At the same time, I also prepared a batch of my favorite dough for two loaves of Basic Country Bread from Tartine Bread. 

I was baking for most of the day, and here are the results. I'm pretty happy with them: even the rye limppu tastes right. The rye loaves could be a bit lighter (it's definitely denser and flatter than the one from Viipurilainen kotileipomo), but that's not necessarily a requirement: most of the time they look just like this when you buy them from Finnish grocery stores: dense and dark, but full of flavor (especially with a thick layer of real, creamy butter on top!).

Basic Country Bread:


Rye Limppu:

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Is there a standard or convention for how refresh/feeding ratios are written?

When feeding/refreshing a starter, you often see ratios written like this: 1:2:2, 4:2:1...n:n:n.

Is there a standard or convention for how these ratios are written?

  1. starter:flour:water
  2. starter:water:flour
  3. flour:starter.water
  4. flour:water:starter
  5. water:flour:starter
  6. water:starter:flour


dabrownman's picture

Banana Bread Cake

Using the same filling and frosting as the YW Cinnamon Rolls, you can make a nice banana bread cake by substituting your favorite banana bead recipe for the dough - and you might need some sprinkles too!  Much better than plain old banana bread and 3 times as fattening too :-)

Dabrownman’s Banana Bread or Cupcakes

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 Dry Mix:

 1 ½ C plus 2 T flour

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp each ginger, cloves, allspice

1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

1 C chopped walnuts

1 C chopped chocolate chips

 Bourbon Fruit – add bourbon to below dried fruits in a Pyrex 1 cup measuring cup covered with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds and set aside 15 minutes to plump up fruits.

 2 T bourbon

¼ C raisins or sultanas

¼ C dried cranberries

¼ C dried apricots cut into raisin size pieces

 Wet Mix:

 3 mashed up ripe bananas

1/8 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

½ C vegetable oil

½ C each brown and white sugar

 Add ½ C sugar, ½ C brown sugar and Bourbon fruits to wet mix and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Mix the wet into the dry and stir 50 times with spatula until the flour is incorporated.

Quickly fill cupcake paper liners 3/4th full or put into PAM sprayed large bread loaf pan.

 Bake cupcakes for about 12-16 minutes until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Loaves will take 45 minutes or more for wooden skewer to come out clean. 

 After 20 minutes remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.  Ice both with cream cheese vanilla icing and put sprinkles on each to decorate per the holiday or special occasion.  Makes about 21 cupcakes or 1 large bread loaf pan.

 Cream Cheese Frosting


 1/2 C butter, softened

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


 Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in vanilla.

 Cut recipe in half for 20 Cupcakes or 9x13 sheet cake .

jennyloh's picture

Hamelman's Olive Levain, with quite a few modifications

So,  with my Rye starter on hand,  just made some Deli Rye bread,  its been quite active.  I decided to try my hand on this Olive Levain.  Why?  My son loves olive,  and I wanted to use the levain,  and there are some olives left in the fridge.The night before,  I build up the liquid levain.  Looking at my starter,  I had a little too much left.  Decided to up the amount from 34g to 100g.  Well,  in 4-5 hours,  my levain was bubbly,  I decided to put it overnight.  In the morning,  I mixed all the final dough ingredients together with the liquid levain. I didn't have whole wheat,  and instead I used rye.  I prefer the taste of rye actually.  And for the olives,  I didn't bother to measure it because I have only a half bottle left,  took them all out and drain it and cut into half.   Putting into my mixer,  set at speed 1,  mixed the dough and let it come together for about 5 minutes.  Then followed by moving to Speed 4,  mixed it up more and check the gluten development.  As this has more liquid than original recipe,  I had to let it mix longer, about 7 minutes.  Then threw in the olives that are cut into half, mixing at speed 1.  I've developed it pretty well to ensure that  the bread will rise nicely.  I used the window pane check.Putting into my container to let it rise,  I did a 1 stretch and fold after 1 hour. The levain was building the bread nicely.   Then I left to buy food for lunch,  by the time I got back 1.5 hours later ,  my cover of the container popped up! I quickly get into action by taking it out,  did a quick fold,  and cut into half and leave it to rest for about 20 mins.Shaping it into oval shape for both,  and left it to rise.  I decided not to retard as recommended by Hamelman as I wanted to bake it in time for lunch and to give it to my little Italian friend's mom.  Heating up the oven at 250 degree celsius,  for 1.5 hours.  The dough rose very nicely.  Steaming the oven with my hot lava stones,  I loaded the bread and sprayed water onto the bread.  First 10 mins was baked at 250 degree celsius,  and  adjusted the temperature to 230 degree celsius.  10 mins left and I turn the bread the other way to let it bake evenly.  The whole baking time is 45 mins.  The bread rose really nicely.  Taking them out,  there is that lovely crackling sound!  Love that it turned out fluffy and light!

dabrownman's picture

1 - Day Multi-Grain Bread, Soft White Wheat, Spelt, Scald and Seeded with SD and YW Combo Starter

This bake was meant to be a one day bread from start to finish that was still a tasty multi grain bread with soft white wheat, spelt, rye, WW, WWW and AP flours, 2 levains SD and YW, a WW berry scald, some fennel, anise and pumpkin seeds with ¼ tsp of ground cumin.  It has a 4 hour autolyse while the levains are being built, a short 1 hr fermentation and then final proof in a floured basket that took almost 3 hours.  It was a lovely looking bread since I didn't use a cloth for this basket.  The crust is crunchy crisp and nicely browned but we will have to wait for it to cool to see how these 2 quick levains worked together.

The crumb came out moderately open, very moist due to the YW.  The taste and texture was very nice with the pumpkin seeds and WW scald.  The normal 3 day developed SD tang was not there but just a hint of sour to go along with the light anise, fennel and cumin taste.  Ummm.... the smell was devine.  Very nice bread overall.  Had it for breakfast toast this morning - great with butter and apple ginger jam on another slice.

Formula and method after the pix's.

Soft White Wheat, Spelt, Seeded SD YW Bread

 The SD and YW levains were built over 2 stages of 2 hours each.  During this 4 hour period the flour’s, cumin, malts, VWG and water were autolysed in the mixing bowl.  The WW berries were also scalded and reserved on the counter to soak for 4 hours until needed.

 At the 4 hour mark all of the ingredients were incorporated in the mixing bowl with the exception of the seeds and scald.  The dough was mixed for 9 minutes on KA 2 .  Then the remainder of the ingredients were added  and mixed on KA 2 for 1 minute.

The dough was placed into a plastic covered oiled bowl to rest for 15 minutes.  4 S&F’s were performed at 15 minute intervals on a floured work surface with the dough returned to the covered oiled bowl in between each S&F.

 Let rest for 1 hour then form into a boule and place in a floured basket to proof in a plastic bag for 2-3 hours until it doubles.

 Preheat oven at 500 F for 45 minutes with stone steam in place.  Overturn basket onto parchment on a peel.  Slash as desired and slide bread into the oven.  After 4 minutes turn down to450 F.  After 12 more minutes, remove steam and turn down oven to 425 F convection this time.  Turn boule 90 degrees every 5 minutes and  bake until temperature in the middle of the bread is 205 F.  Turn off oven and crack the door to allow the crust to crisp for 12 more minutes.  Remove bread from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Soft White Wheat, Spelt, Seeded SD YW Bread    
SD Starter     Build 1    Build 2    Total      %
SD Starter200204.26%
YW Starter    Build 1   Build 2    Total      %
Yst Water400408.51%
Soft White400408.51%
AP 025255.32%
Starters        %  
Levain % of Total 25.64%  
Dough Flour         %  
Soft White Wheat7515.96%  
White WW306.38%  
Bread Flour10021.28%  
Dough Flour33070.21%  
Dough Hydration71.21%   
Add - Ins    
1/4 tsp Cumin        %  
Mashed Potato6814.47%  
Red Rye Malt20.43%  
White Rye Malt30.64%  
VW Gluten51.06%  
3-Anise/ 5-Fennel81.70%  
Scald       %  
Total Flour470   
Total Water345   
T. Dough Hydrat.73.40%   
Hydration w/ Adds79.69%   
Total Weight975  



bnom's picture

Eggs fried in bread crumbs - Delicious!

One of the many benefits of bread making is that one can always have a good supply of fresh bread crumbs.  I adore bread crumbs toasted up in some olive oil and tossed onto fresh pasta, vegies, salad etc. 

Perhaps my favorite is egg fried in breadcrumbs -- a delicious balance of crunch and creamy.  Credit goes to Judy Rodgers and the Zuni Cafe cookbook.  The way I make the dish is  toss fresh bread crumbs with a little olive oil, salt and a few fresh thyme or other herb leaves.. I like to use about 1/3 cup crumb per egg (Judy only uses 1 tablespoon per two eggs).   Lightly toast the crumbs in a frying pan until they start drying out (making a little staticky sound). Then I crack and egg over the crumbs, cover with a lid, and cook over a low heat until egg is done to preference.  Slide it  onto a plate - there are usually some loose crumbs in the pan which I sprinkle on top of the egg.  You can then sprinkle on something like Frank's Red Hot sauce or do as Judy suggests - add a little (tsp or so) balsamic vinegar to the pan, swirling once. Then pour the drops of sizzling vinegar over the eggs.

I made the dish this morning and served it on top three fat spears of steamed asparagus.  It might not be beautiful but it is delicious!




AJ in Ktown's picture
AJ in Ktown

Paris Bakeries

Hi there,  we will be spending a week in Paris and while my wife is working I am planning on searching out great bakeries. SO please let me know of any. I am more interested in different breads rather than searching out the 'perfect' baguette.

Thanks for any leads.


MaximusTG's picture

My own sourdough bread

Hi all, this is my first post on this forum. I've been an enthusiastic home baker for some years now, also a big fan of pizza making ;). About a year ago I started my own sourdough culture using the pineapple juice method from the BBA. Tried some breads with it back then, and a couple of months ago, but they never were what I hoped. 
Did refresh the starter several times, but it did have periods of sometimes weeks without refreshing in the refridgerator. But this week the sourdough bug got hold of me again, and I decided to try making another culture. Alongside that I decided to test my old starter. So I took 80 grams of that and tripled/quadrupled it. Left it out over night, then added some more flour (bringing the hydration down to 75%). This started rising very fast! 

Tried to bake some bread with it, first a white bread, that was fine, but not spectacular. Yesterday a 100% whole wheat one. Baked it in a loaf pan. Was a bit too dense for my taste. But today I made a 50% whole wheat/ 50% flour one. 
I started with 112 grams of starter I refreshed the day before and put in the refridgerator immediately after doubling in volume. To this I added 260 grams of whole wheat flour and 260 grams of water. Mixed it up and gave it a couple of hours. When this had become bubbly I added 260 grams of flour and 122 grams of water (bringing the hydration to 75%), 20 grams of pumpkinseeds, 20 grams of sunflower seeds and 20 grams of linum seeds and 1.5 tsp salt.

This I kneaded with a handmixer for a couple of minutes. I then balled it up and put it in an oiled bowl. After this had risen I reballed it and put it in a banneton for proofing. Proofed for a bit more than 2 hours. Baked on a stone at 190 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes.


LapLap's picture

Mochi making with an Ankarsrum/Verona or Bosch MUM6N

I bought a stand mixer (or rather two) to replace a basic bread machine that was shedding its non stick lining. I'd stopped baking with it years ago but kept using it as my go to kneader for bread and mochi. Alas, mochi flecked with black Teflon flakes wasn't a treat I wished to share with my family. It was a hand down from my parents and has lasted decades, but it has to go.

I'm just about to start experimenting with my new mixers but was wondering if anyone had given this a try in either machine.

I'm very familiar with a blog report on making mochi using a paddle with a Kitchenaid that was posted in the JustHungry website, but both the units I have work quite differently. I'm particularly keen to know if anyone has used a mincer - perhaps with the blades removed in a pasta press configuration - for making mochi. I don't have a mincer, this would be a compelling reason to get one for me.

Anyway, I'll report back. I'm very curious to find out how the Swedish Assistent roller arm will cope with glutinous mochi rice and what exactly I'll be ending up with.

Franko's picture

From goo to good

The Rye & Barley Mash Bread I've posted on previously has become one of my favourite breads over the last few months for it's pronounced sour and deep flavour characteristics, much of which I credit to the fermented mash/soaker of whole barley and rye kernels included in the mix. With this latest bake I thought I'd try a lighter version by reducing the rye to 40%, and go with organic white All Purpose for the remaining 60%, eliminating the barley flour altogether, but include a fermented soaker of cracked rye and wheat.

Using the Rye Barley Mash formula as a template I deleted a few things such as the altus and barley flour and changed some percentages to come up with something I thought might work. The soaker had been fermenting away in the Brod & Taylor proofer for 3 days developing a fairly tangy sour note to it indicating it was ready to use, so late Monday afternoon I mixed up the levain in preparation for the final mix the next morning. By the time the 1 hour autolyse was complete the levain had been fermenting for almost 14 hours and looked quite healthy, strong and ready for prime time. The mix proceeded along fine until I added the rye/wheat soaker, after which the mix wasn't looking so fine anymore. I realized the dough was going to be fairly wet because of adding extra water to the soaker to loosen it up a bit, but this was quite a bit wetter than I'd anticipated. Hmm, OK, I'll just get it into bulk ferment and do some stretch and folds in 30 minute increments to build some strength and see what happens.

I like a well hydrated dough but this one was so sloppy that even after 3 stretch and folds it showed very minimal development over the course of almost 1 1/2 hours bulk fermentation. Going back over the formula to see where I'd gone wrong I realized I'd neglected to adjust the overall hydration down from the original formula to compensate for the reduced rye flour and omitted barley flour. A few choice words were muttered, all directed at myself, none of which bear repeating here, but I knew at that point I'd need to make some corrections in order to save this bowl of goo and have it result in something resembling bread. An additional 60 grams of AP were added, adjusting for salt and adding 1+ grams of instant yeast to give it a boost. That little bit of extra flour made all the difference, turning a soupy mix into a very loose but workable dough that could be molded for panning. After rounding the dough it sat on the counter for 30 minutes before molding into a log for panning in a Pullman tin and final proof. After 2 1/4 hours in the proofer at 76F it had risen 3/4's of the way up the pan and appeared to be worth putting in the oven. I decided not to press my luck by scoring the loaf, opting for baking it with the lid on, hoping at the very least it would give the loaf a uniform shape. Lo and behold after almost 70 minutes in the oven, with gradual reductions in heat, it turned out a reasonable looking loaf considering how it started out.

I took the first slice today after letting it cool overnight, wondering what I'd find. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a moist, even and open crumb, with a nice crunchy crust as a bonus.

The flavour has a lot of similarities to the Rye Barley Bread, though not near as tangy as it was, but overall a very tasty loaf of bread. The formula has since been adjusted for hydration, but rather than share it now I'll test it out a few times until I'm confident it can be reproduced reliably and post the results and full formula at a later date for anyone interested in trying it out.

Seafood Sausage en Brioche

This is something I did a couple of weeks ago that turned out nicely and is absolutely delicious! Saucisson en Brioche is normally made using a savoury meat sausage wrapped in brioche dough but I wanted to try it using the recipe for 'Shrimp & Scallop Sausage' from Michael Ruhlman's book 'Ratio'. Making a seafood  sausage is considerably quicker and easier compared to one from pork or veal since no curing is needed, and all you need is a food processor and some plastic wrap to make a casing. The sausage, very basically is a mixture of cold egg white, cream or heavy cream, seafood, and seasonings blended until it's smooth, uniform and thick enough to shape. For this sausage some of the shrimp were coarsely chopped and folded in at the last to give it some added texture.  Tightly wrapped in plastic, then poached until the internal temp reaches 155F. Let the sausage cool slightly and have a brioche dough rolled out and ready for final proof. From there it's a matter of wrapping the sausage in the dough as tightly as possible (which I need to do better next time) and proofing it for 30-40 minutes. Egg wash, and bake in a 360F oven for 20-30 minutes depending on the size. Allow it to cool slightly and firm up (10 minutes) before slicing. The sausage was plated with a cucumber salad vinaigrette, deep fried parsley and caper berries, sauced with a lemon chive beurre blanc. A little elegant compared to my typical dinner choices now days, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit to get out the food rut many of us fall into.