The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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zandor's picture

Rye and cheating with Xanthan gum, Guar gum, Gelatin, etc.

I've been experimenting with whole rye flour a bit lately, and I'm wondering if some of the assorted thickening agents the gluten free crowd uses might help pure rye rise more.  I don't have any objection to using wheat (or additives that don't cause known problems -- I'm just in this for the flavor and texture), but making a fluffy 100% whole rye loaf would be a nice acheivement.  Actually, I'm really more interested in pulling off an open crumb pure rye than a light, fluffy one.  I'm quite a fan of dense, chewy bread.

Just in case you're interested in the back story, I was looking around for a way to make a cheese sauce that didn't have a floury taste a few months back and came across xanthan gum.  I bought some, and it worked great.  Nice thick cheese sauce with no flour.  The thing is, a small amount of xanthan gum goes a very long way and relative to the amount needed I have a huge bag of it.  I did a couple google searches on it, and came across a bunch of gluten-free bread recipes.  That got me thinking that this stuff might help my beloved rye rise more.

Anyone have any tips for using xanthan gum and other "chemicals" to help rye loaves rise more?


ilan's picture

Sandwich bread filled with sweet basil pesto

It’s been a while since my last post. I didn’t post anything because I was lazy… I did bake, a lot. From bread, flat bread, pizza and more (next blog entry will be on one of them).

Today, I will continue with my sandwich bread. The recipe is not so different from the previous one, but this time I reduced the amount of yeast by half, added more sugar, and changed the ratio of water & milk. Nothing fancy here, but it taste good.

I love sweet basil, and a pesto made out of it is an excellent addition to a lot of dishes.

So bread filled with it, will be fantastic to eat with a tomato salad with some mozzarella cheese.

In the past, I did add pesto to my dough during kneading, but the bread was not as good as I expected.

This time I decided the filling will go into pocket in the dough. 

What I did is basically braided bread and each of the braids is filled with my pesto. This time, to fulfill my curiosity, I went for 2 halves, each is braided out of two strands and then shaped into a circle. Both halves were placed together to create one bread.


The Recipe:

The filling:

A bunch of fresh sweet basil leaves

1 claw of Garlic

Few pine nuts

A walnut or two

A pecan nut or two

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of Olive oil

Salt and paper (prefer the coarse salt – will help grinding the other ingredients)

Crush all ingredients in a food processor (or pestle and mortar) until you have a smooth mixture.

The bread:

-      3 1/4 cups flour

-      1 ½ teaspoons of yeast

-      1 tablespoon sugar

-      ½ cup of milk

-      ¾ cup of water

-       1 egg

-       3 tablespoons of olive oil


Mix the yeast, milk and sugar, wait 5-10 minutes

Add the flour and water and kneed for 5 minutes, add salt, egg and olive oil, kneed for another 5 minutes.

Let rise for 60 minutes

Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water (or milk) into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt Pecans and Pumpkin seeds knead for 10 minutes. Let rise for 60 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, form a long strand from each.

Use a rolling pin to spread each strand (make some room for the filling), fill each with the pesto and roll (see pictures below).

From each pair of rolled strands, form a braid, and then roll it like a snail.

Put both parts in the form, let them touch, we want them to become a single bread.

Let rise for 40-60 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Bake in high temperature with steam for 15 minutes (240c)

Reduce the heat (180-170c) and remove the steam, bake for another 40 minutes.

The process:



The outcome:

Until the next post



trailrunner's picture

Baking/cooking supplier....fantastic quality/prices

I just received my first order from The Web Restaurant store. WOW.....they not only have amazing prices but  the order was placed on the 5th and I  got it this AM and the shipping charge was cheap. The quality of every item I ordered is perfect. Packaging perfect also. This is what I got and the prices so you will have a rough idea. 

3 pkgs of 100 sheets each...parchment paper. 4.39 ea

10" hi heat silicon scrapers 2.39 ea

6"x3" beautiful metal and wood cutter/dough scraper 1.49 ea ( these are gorgeous ) 

boar bristle pastry brushes 2"- 2.49 ea

6 qt heavy duty white dough buckets w/ measurements 2.99 ea !!!  ( again they are beautiful)

lids for buckets 1.19 ea


They have LOTS more and I am so pleased I am already getting another order together. Take a look at their website.



cranbo's picture

rye with soaker - ripping dough

I make a 60% rye bread, and I use a buttermilk & rye soaker. Hydration is around 65%; remainder of flour is generic bread flour. I knead in a Kitchenaid for about 7-10 minutes total. I also stretch and fold 2-4 times, depending on how lazy I am. 

The unbaked dough of the last 2 I've made starts to "rip" after I start to fold it. I doubt I could windowpane it. Is that typical? I know rye is low-gluten, but could I be overkneading it? Seems unlikely, but I'm looking forward to feedback.


dmsnyder's picture

What's your score?

I've always held the lame a certain way when scoring loaves. I hold it so I score using the end corner of the razor blade closest to me. (See method 1., below.) But, at the SFBI workshops, both of my instructors held their lames so they used the end corner of the blade furthest from them to score loaves. (See method 2., below.) Now, Miyuki said it made no difference. It was a matter of personal preference. But I've wondered. I've reviewed the drawings and photos in books as well as various videos (You Tube, CIA/Calvel videos). I find that, among "the masters," some score one way and some the other.

So, even though I think I've gotten fairly good results with "Method 1.," I thought I should give "Method 2." a try. Here are my observations, and I'd love to hear which method others prefer, especially if there is a reason other than habit:

I made a double batch of Pat's (proth5) baguettes.

They were very yummy, as usual.

Scoring Method 1.

Scoring Method 2. (the method actually used on this batch of baguettes)

What I found was that Method 2. felt more awkward to me. On the other hand, I also felt I was forced to score with the blade at a more shallow angle (the proper way to score baguettes), whereas, using Method 1., my hand kept pronating (rotating so the palm was facing down), resulting in a more vertical cut relative to the plane of the baguette surface.

I'm hesitant to generalize based on scoring 4 baguettes. So, I'm eager to hear from other bakers regarding their experience, especially (but by no means only) from those who score hundreds of baguettes each week in commercial settings.

Happy baking!


Sabinka's picture

Buttermilk Bread - my first attempt

This is my first attempt in making Buttermilk Bread.  The mixing and rising of the Bread dough was all done in the Bread Machine, then the dough was placed in a Bread tin and cooked in the oven.  Truly Delicious!!




Melleah's picture

Flaxseed Loaf

This is my first post on The Fresh Loaf, so here we go! This is the Flaxseed Loaf from The Bread Bible.

The only thing I wasn't completely satisfied with was the shape of the finished loaf. The error is all mine since I need to practice shaping bread (I'm getting a little better) and I think I let it rise too high. At the end of the day, it is a pretty sturdy bread that you can slice thin for sandwiches and toast. 

I used my kitchen scale to measure the ingredients rather than measuring them with cups.

Flaxseed Loaf from The Bread Bible
13 oz. all-purpose flour
5 oz. whole wheat flour
2.5 oz. pumpernickel flour
2 oz. flaxseed, coarsley ground
1 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
14.6 oz. warm water
2 tsp. salt

 In a bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, and yeast. Form a well and pour in the honey. Mix on low speed with a dough hook while gradually adding the water. Mix until all the dry ingredients are moist and have come together to form a rough dough (takes about 1 minute). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt on the dough and then knead it for 7 minutes on medium speed.

 Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for about one hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a loaf.

Place the loaf into a greased loaf pan and allow it to rise until it is 1 inch above the rim of the pan (about one hour).

I can't seem to get the dough to the edges of the pan, and its a lot higher in the center...

Perhaps I let it rise too high before putting it in the oven?

Bake the loaf until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Once baked, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Here's a photo of the finished loaf (its a little out of focus). You can see that it flares out on the left side, and the end of the loaf is kind of indented as well.

P.S.-Any advice on shaping would be greatly appreciated :-)!

 Read about my adventures in baking (and cooking) at my blog.

tanyclogwyn's picture

Bassinage, Gaude & flour characteristics

Dear All you experts

Here’s a couple or so queries thrown up by Father Christmas to a rather casual home baker in the UK (likes sourdough/long rises, bakes in an elderly and moderately controllable Aga). FC brought me Le Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (ed. P de Tonnac, Paris 2010) – 1217 pages of fascination; and not least the annexes with recipes from a number of ‘starry’ bakers.

Question 1: Several of the recipes allow for 50 or 60g of eau de bassinage in addition to the normal measurement of water (650g usually). Is this additional water part of the recipe or is it simply water that is held back in order to make an adjustment in case the dough is too firm (see Dictionnaire under bassinage, eau de). The only reference I have found in my English books is in Beyond nose to tail p. 92 where Henderson & Gellatly refer to ‘the bathe’, and allow for a higher proportion – 60g to 340g; the bathe appears to be added in stages after a sort of autolyse. Is there a standard practice in French boulangerie of adding this water as part of the mixing/kneading process, and if so, at which stage?

Question 2: In Eric Kayser’s recipe (Dict, p. 1108) he calls for 20g of ‘gaude’. What is this? There is a farine de gaude apparently – which appears to be toasted (torrefie) maize coming from the Jura/pays de Bresse. If this is it, could one substitute toasted polenta meal?

Question 3: at the risk of opening the classification of flour issue, on p.1100 Ganachaud says one should ask one's miller (ho hum) for flour with a W value of between 230 and 240 and above all a P/L as close to 50 as possible. I am reasonably familiar with the T issue, but can some kind expert explain these latter terms (or point me in the right direction)?



grimeswh's picture

Drying a starter????

I once saw a comment saying a person dried their starter so they could use is for later. Kind of a neat idea has anyone on here tried it??? Sounds weird to me because I've only ever grown up with the "normal" way of doing a sourdough starter but I think it would be cool to try. Is there a website or something that I can go to, to show me how to do it so I can try it myself???

txfarmer's picture

Hamelman Black Bread

Hope everyone had a great holiday! We took the days off between Christmas and NYE, rented a RV and drove 3000+ miles round trip to Key West. It was super fun, as we were counting down with the crowd in front of Sloppy Joe's, I felt it was one of the best NYE celebrations we've had.


Before we took off, I needed some bread to take with us - there's no oven on the RV, just a microwave and stove. Being super busy, I didn't have time to do a pure sourdough loave, and this black bread from Hamelman's "Bread" was fast (it uses instant yeast, in addition to rye levain), fragrant, delicious, healthy (by that time, we needed SOME fibre to combat all the sugar and butter in my holiday baked goodies), and uses up some of my leftover rye breads, perfect!


The old bread was toasted to very dark, then soaked in coffee and boiling water overnight, I knew the bread is going to be delicious when I smelled the soaker. Coffee flavor was not prominent in the final bread, but the flavor of rye was very enhanced.

A full flavored 60% rye, went perfectly with the smoked salmon and aged gouda cheese we brought along. Beats fastfood burger anyday!

Sending this to Yeastspotting.