The Fresh Loaf

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Pmccool's picture

Clayton "Wake": Pain Seigle

This is the second bread from this weekend's bake that is from the late Bernard Clayton Jr.'s New Complete Book of Breads, as both an expression of gratitude and a memorial of sorts.

Mr. Clayton's Pain Seigle is one that I have not previously made.  It is an interesting bread, from the standpoint that approximately 50% of the flour is in two preferments: a "starter" made with commercial yeast and a sponge.  It also has a high rye content, with 2 cups bread flour to approximately 5 cups of rye flour.  


1 cup rye flour [I used the only rye flour available to me, a finely milled whole rye]

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105º-115º)

Mr. Clayton recommends a fermentation period in a covered bowl running from a minimum of 6 hours up to 36 hours.  I let mine ferment from Friday evening to Saturday evening, about 26 hours.


All of the starter

1-1/4 cups warm water (105º-115º)

1 cup bread or all purpose flour

1-1/2 cups rye flour

Blend the water with the starter, then blend in the flours.  Cover and allow to ferment 8 hours or more.  I let this ferment overnight, then mixed the final dough around 11:30 Sunday morning, a total of 14 hours.  The sponge ballooned, at least quadrupling its original volume.  Plan accordingly.

Final Dough

All of the sponge

1/2 cup hot water (120º-130º)

1 tablespoon salt

2-1/2 cups rye flour, approximately

1 cup bread or all purpose flour

Stir the hot water and salt into the sponge, then add 1 cup of each flour.  Mr. Clayton's instructions say to mix by hand or machine for 15 minutes, adding the remaining rye flour until the dough is a shaggy mass that can be kneaded.  Here's where I took a slightly different path.  Mr. Clayton's descriptions and directions, while acknowledging that the dough will be sticky enough to warrant kneading with a bench knife or bowl scraper, still reflect a wheat-flour-based mindset.  Kneading, if by hand, should be done on a floured surface; "it will gradually lose its stickiness and become soft and elastic."  With all due respect, no.  I found that the white flour in the sponge had developed a very strong gluten network from its overnight hydration.  Adding the last cup of bread flour increased that.  However, the more rye flour that was added, the more this became a rye dough insofar as its handling characteristics went.  Being mindful of rye's fragility, I did about 3 minutes of stretch and folds in the bowl (as opposed to 5 minutes of kneading), then turned the dough out onto a wet countertop so that I could shape it into a rough ball.  That also let me clean and oil the bowl for the next fermentation which, per instructions, was timed at 40 minutes.  No indications were given for the dough's expansion or appearance at the end of this bulk fermentation, so I watched the clock.

Mr. Clayton instructs to "punch down the dough" and "knead for a minute or two to press out the bubbles."  I didn't see a significant change in the dough at the end of 40 minutes, certainly nothing to warrant punching down or kneading.  Clayton recommends forming into 3 boules of about 1 pound each.  I elected to form 2 boules.  This was followed, per instructions, by a 30-minute final ferment on the baking sheet. 


1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk

The egg yolk and milk are blended together and brushed on the loaves.  Mr. Clayton recommends glazing before slashing.

The bread is baked in a 400º dry oven for about 45 minutes, until a finger thump on the bottom crust produces a hollow sound.

Here's how it looked:

Clayton's Pain Seigle

And a somewhat closer view:

Clayton's Pain Seigle

It is a handsome bread.  The glaze imparts a lovely sheen.  It is also obviously underproofed.  My kitchen temperature today was in the low 70's, perhaps not as warm as Mr. Clayton's "room temperature."

As noted in a previous post, my cup of flour probably weighs less than Mr. Clayton's cup of flour.  Therefore, it is likely that these are somewhat higher than his in hydration.  Now that I have this bake as a baseline, I would probably extend the bulk ferment and the final ferment to a point that I could see more obvious indications of inflation in the dough.  These may be somewhat dense and tight-grained when I get around to cutting into them.  That won't be until later this week, since they will go into the freezer once they have cooled thoroughly.  They don't feel like bricks, so I will keep my fingers crossed.  I can't remember whether I've made an unseeded rye before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the rye tastes all on its own.


dmsnyder's picture

Large bâtard made using the formula for the SFBI Miche


This bake was inspired by the very large bâtards Chad Robertson bakes, but the formula is that of the miche we baked in the Artisan II Workshop at the SFBI last December.

I've now baked this bread using the original formula and using all high-extraction flour rather than the mix of “bread flour” and whole wheat. I've made 1.25 kg miches and 2.0 kg miches. I have been curious how the SFBI miche would be as a bâtard, and I wanted to keep the size large, to be better able to compare crumb structure and flavor to the miche/boule shapes I've made with the same dough.

An additional point: This was my first bake using a large, linen-lined oval brotform for proofing.


Total formula




Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP Flour



Whole wheat flour






Wheat germ (toasted)













Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour






Liquid starter






  1. Dissolve the starter in the water and mix in the flour. Desired Dough Temperature: 78ºF.

  2. Ferment for 8-12 hours.


Final Dough




Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour






Wheat germ (toasted)














  1. In a very large bowl, dissolve the levain in the water. Add the other ingredients, except the salt, and mix thoroughly by hand.

  2. Cover tightly and autolyse for 30-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly to incorporate.

  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  5. Ferment for 3-4 hours with 4 folds at 50 minute intervals. (I did this by the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique.)

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Pre-shape as a log.

  7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.

  8. Shape as a bâtard and place, seam side up, in a floured banneton.

  9. Cover with plastic and retard overnight in refrigerator.

  10. Remove the loaf from the refrigerator and allow to warm and complete proofing for 1-3 hours. (Watch the dough, not the clock!)

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the over to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. When the loaf is proofed, transfer the loaf to a peel. Slash the bâtard as desired, and transfer it to the baking stone. Steam the oven and reduce the temperature to 450ºF.

  13. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove any water remaining in your steaming apparatus.

  14. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the loaf is darkly colored, the bottom sounds hollow when thumped and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF. (If you have a convection oven, switch to “Convection Bake” and reduce the oven temperature to 425ºF at this point.)

  15. Remove the bâtard to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Bloom and Ear

Crackly Crust

I rested the loaf overnight, wrapped in baker's linen, before slicing and tasting.

Sliced loaf profile

Crumb close-up

The crumb was moderately open. She crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was moderately sour with a lovely wheaty flavor but without any harsh grassiness from the whole wheat. This flavor is as close to my notion of a "perfect" sourdough bread flavor as I can imagine. Those who prefer a less assertively tangy bread, might enjoy it more without the cold retardation.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


bread_house's picture

How Do You Use A Nonstick Perforated French Bread Pan

I just purchased a Non Stick Perforated French Bread Pan .... Only thing is I forgot to ask the sales associate how to use it? 

Do you just stick it in the oven to bake the bread?  Or do you have to put it on a baking stone or cookie sheet?

Do you have to preheat the pan?

Any help would be great .... Thanks .....


dmsnyder's picture

More on scoring, ears and bloom

These are a couple of 755 gm bâtards of Hamelman's Pain au Levain I baked today. I think they illustrate the points made recently in discussions of scoring, ears and bloom, for example in Varda's topic To ear or not to ear.

To quote Michel Suas from Advanced Bread and Pastry again,

If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development. (Suas, pg. 116.)

These loaves were scored with a razor blade mounted on a metal lame. The blade was held at a 30º angle. The cuts were about 1/2 inch deep. I think the coloration of the bloom attests to the slow spread to which Suas refers.

I think you can clearly see three distinct colors in the bloomed crust, progressively lighter in color from right to left, with the lightest color being that under the ear. As the cut opens up during the bake, it does so slowly over a prolonged period. The darkness of the bloom demonstrates the length of time each area was directly exposed to the oven's heat. The ear keeps the area under it sheltered from the heat so it doesn't form a crust, but, as the bloom widens, the previously sheltered area becomes uncovered by the ear, and it begins to brown.

Scoring with the blade perpendicular to the loaf surface thus results in less bloom, and the blooming is terminated sooner in the bake. The coloration of the bloom is more uniform. An example - a Vermont Sourdough I also baked today:

I hope this helps clarify the point of the ear - how you get it and why you might want to.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

LeeYong's picture

Looking for a Roasted Garlic Sourdough bread recipe...

Hi everyone!

I would love to try a roasted garlic sour dough recipe for Easter. Does anyone have a recipe to share using a starter? Thank you kindly!

Happy baking!


Franko's picture

Hamelman's Pain Rustique


Late last week my wife and I were invited to my step-son and fiance's new home for a 'get acquainted' Sunday dinner with her parents and grandparents, so I thought it might be a good idea to bring a loaf of something or other to contribute to the meal. We've met them all previously but not knowing their tastes I decided to go with a bread using poolish rather than a sour levain style bread, settling on Hamelman's Pain Rustique which uses 50% prefermented flour in the formula. The poolish was made on Saturday night and sat for almost 12 hours before being mixed with the other ingredients after a 30 minute autolyse, producing a very slack dough similar to Ciabatta. After 40 minutes of bulk ferment it needed some stretch and folds in the bowl before being able to develop it on the counter using the slap and fold technique. The dough had two stretch and folds over the course of the next hour with a small addition of flour to tighten it up to a point where it could hold a loose shape, then divided into 2 unmolded rectangular shaped loaves, placed seam side up on floured linen for a final rise of 30 minutes. I had a bit of difficulty flipping the first on to the peel and it deflated slightly, but the second loaf held it's shape during the transfer. The loaves were given a single slash and baked at 460F for 35-40 minutes with a spray or two of water during the first 5 minutes. It's been a while since I've baked an all wheat dough and I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it can smell while it's baking, especially when it has a good percentage of poolish in the mix. The first loaf came out the way I expected it would, looking worse for the poor handling during transfer, but the second made a nice loaf with a bit of an ear along the slash. Everybody seemed to enjoyed it for it's open airy crumb, chewy crust, and that it paired so well with the delicious saucy braised short ribs our future daughter in-law had made for the main course of the meal. I've been eating sour rye bread of one type or another since the beginning of the year so this was a welcome change for it's fresh wheaty flavour and light porous crumb, and one that I'll be making again in the months to come.

I'm afraid the crumb shots are a bit too yellow due to light conditions and the flash on my phone camera. The actual colour was a creamy off white.

Best Wishes,


markmcc's picture

Tartine Basic Country Bread driving me insane

Hey all:

Been lurking here for months, but finally moved to see if anyone has any ideas. 

I've spent the past few weekends trying to bake the Basic Country Bread from the Tartine book, and have run into nothing but failure. 

My starter is going great guns, rising and falling regularly, no problems. Make the levain, and does great. Expands about 30% overnight, and passes the float test.

Mix the dough, let it rest for autolyse, add remainder of water and salt. And then...nothing.

I just don't get any rise during bulk fermentation. Been following the directions to a T, except for my room temp at home, which is in the 70 degree range (or, it was this weekend). Do the turn in the container, but just don't get any action. 

Let it go for 12 hours (!) on Saturday, and had about 5% rise after that time. 

I'm a little bit at the end of my rope on this -- I see people saying that the proof times in the book are long for them, and I'm just not seeing any action at all, really. Which is a total contrast to what seems like a thriving starter and levain. (Like, that same room temp with the levain gives a great expansion).

Any ideas? I'm about to give up on this recipe.


SeligmansDog's picture

Baparoma vs. ??

I finally found a Baparoma on Ebay, paid too much, but I'm in heaven.  Here's a post of my results from my food site, 

It's a cool pan, too bad about the size limitation.  My question to you all is:  Has anyone that has one of these tried anything to make an equivalent baguette and found the results just as good?  Does anyone know if a simple inverted pan on a flat sheet (or anything else)  give the same result? 

Oh the shine, the mosaic of thin crust was just wonderful.  My 8 yo daughter couldn't stop eating it. 

Thanks, Dave

txfarmer's picture

Pain au levain with mixed sourdough starters - play with shape and flavor


This is a formula from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman, a lot of people have made it with good results. I won't duplicate the formula here, see this link for a scaled down version, or better yet, get the book. A few notes:

1 I made the full recipe, got 2 huge 1.5lb breads;

2. I tried out a fun new shape, see shaping video here;

3. Kept the dough at 68% as specified in the formula, it was a dream to dough to handle

4. Did overnight cold proof, then about 80min of warming up at room temp (78F, that's TX spring for ya)


One dough shaped and scored as a batard, the other one with the fun shape, both came out very pretty


Give it a bold bake, look at the crackling singing crust! It was messy to cut.


Crumb for batard


I thought the extra rolling and shaping would make the crumb tighter, but not really, the following is crumb shot for the fun shape loaf:


Both have crumb that's very open for a 68% dough. My white starter is very not sour, my rye starter is a bit more sour but with a deep rye flavor, I think using both does adds complexity to the flavor.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

What should my next quest be?

I must be a glutton for punishment.  After six months of trying to improve my baguette making skills, I'm already raring to head off on a new "quest" after just one weekend of "free" baking.  However, I can't decide between two possible quests, and I'm looking for some advice.  Also, much like with Saturday Baguettes, I'll be posting my results regularly as a commitment mechanism, so if there are folks out there who would be more interested in reading about one or the other, that's important to me too.

Here's my options:

Quest #1: Ciabatta:

I've made a number of ciabattas over the years, with fair to middling success, but I've never really gotten it right.  By "right" I mean a very open crumb, nutty flavor, and thin, crisp crust.   This is a typical ciabatta of mine:

Crumb decently open but not as much as you'd expect in a ciabatta, crust a little thick and chewy, flavor pretty good, but not always great.  This is my typical ciabatta experience, although often the crumb is tighter than pictured here.  The results are pleasant, but short of what a ciabatta can be.

 The first step in this quest would be settling on a particular ciabatta formula to work with -- I've tried Peter Reinhart's formulas from both The Bread Baker's apprentice and from Artisan Breads Everyday, Hamelman's formulas for Ciabatta with Poolish and Ciabatta with Olive Oil and Wheat Germ, and the "quick" Cocodrillo ciabatta that's been floating around TFL.  None have reliably yielded good results.

The next big milestone will be working out the fine art of transfering ciabatta to the oven.  I can't tell you how many times I've had promising looking loaves foiled by my ham-handed flip-and-carry.


Quest #2: Sourdough dinner rolls

This would be a quest of a very different flavor than the previous one (literally and figuratively). I'm a big fan of crusty sourdough dinner rolls, but I've never had much luck making them.  Adapting a standard sourdough recipe doesn't work well--the chewy crust and crumb that frequently go with a sourdough boule make for hockey pucks in the dinner roll context.

I'm looking for a roll with a thin, crisp crust, moderately chewy crumb, and a nice sourdough tang.  This quest is more of a recipe development quest than a technique mastery quest.

I have a prototype recipe that I've made a couple times, with somewhat mixed results.  It's been hard to get both good flavor and thin crust in the same roll.  On the other hand, if the last batch I made is replicable, this could be a very short quest:


Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Which of these would you most like to read about sporadically over the next few months?

Happy baking, everyone,