The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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stefano_arturi's picture

mistake in Peter Reinhart's Pain au Levani (ABED)??

hi there

does anyone know of mistakes in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day (ABED)?

In particular, I have been trying the Pain au `Levain (p 61) different times, with poor results. The recipe calls for a lot of starter in relation to flour: 16 oz/458 g starter being added to  16 oz/458g bread flour (+ 11 oz/312 g water and almost 3 tsp salt)

this is a 1:1 ration, starter: flour.

is it correct? is it a printing mistake?

isnt' it too much?

the dough doesn't develop any proper gluten. It looks and feels as if the starter "has fed" on all the flour - apologies for my lack of technical explanations. After the initial proofing (2.30 hrs), the dough doesn't feel/look elastic and shiny and if you try to check the gluten, it tears, instead of stretching (and yes I had mixed it according to recipe and even a little longer, on separate tests.

has anyone tried this recipe?

plus: do you think I can use all this bread dough-turned odd/unsable dough as a levain? yes, there is some salt, but it should not be a major problem?

what do you think?

has anyone tested recipes from this book,

I Am a fan of Mr Reinhart, but this book has not won me over and I don't feel hundred per cent confident in its recipes (the way I was with P Reinhart's previous books). Am I totaly wrong?

pls advise



Doughty's picture

New Norcia Sourdough and an Unusual starter.

New Norcia Sourdough Recipe.

Related post in General Discussion forum.

Sourdough starter:
250ml cold potato water, grape juice, lemon juice or
plain water
250 grams stone-ground, wholemeal flour

Sourdough bread:
750 grams baker's flour
15 grams salt
250ml starter
250ml water

Sourdough starter:
1) Mix together to a thin paste in a plastic or ceramic
mixing bowl.
2) Cover with a porous cloth (eg: cheesecloth) and
leave near an open window out of direct sunlight for
three to four days. It should have started to ferment
(i.e. bubble) and have a sweet/sour pleasant aroma.
3) Mix in another 250ml water and 250g flour. If not
using within four hours, refrigerate.
4) The starter needs to be fed daily with 250ml water
and 250g flour. Pour off excess starter before feeding.
5) Two to three hours before using the starter, remove
from refrigerator and feed.


Sourdough Bread

1) Mix together and knead well. Let prove for two to
three hours.
2) Mould into two loaves and let prove for one and a
half to two hours until soft and puffy.
3) Slash and bake at 230 degrees for one to one and
a quarter hours until golden brown and tested hollow.


quickquiche's picture

unconventional ingredients

I'm curious to know if anyone has ever used sparkling water or carbonated water as a substitute for bottled water when baking breads?

I"m guessing it will affect the recipe, but not sure in what way.

Is it even safe to do this?  Its not going to explode in my oven when a bake bread using carbonated water, will it?


If anyone has ever tried this, could you please let me know what your results are?  Thanks.



Przytulanka's picture

Mixed - Flours Loaves by Anulka

Hello Everybody!

My name is Anna and I live with my husband and my two sourdoughs - Rye and Wheat-in NY. I was born in Poland. I started baking 3 years ago. I started from the no-knead breads. In 2009 I made my starters and till today I use them to  bake our daily breads. My baking is experimental, intuitive and personal. Recipes are inspiration for me but I rarely follow them. 11 monthes ago I started posting about my bread baking on my blog BOCHENKOWO (Bochenek means loaf in Polish). I had  posted in Polish but few days I decided to start posting in English.

 Here is my first recipe in English:



219 g whole - wheat flour

200 g  boiling water

53 g golden roasted flax seeds

6 g salt



130 g whole- rye flour

122 g whole-wheat flour

123 g organic spelt  flour (whole grain)

250 g  water

35 g  mature sourdough  starter (wheat)*

45 g mature sourdough  starter (rye)*. 

*My  both sourdough starters are whole grain.

Mix all ingredients for the soaker and sourdough it for 10 hours at room temperature.

Final dough :

424 g whole- rye flour

340 g whole- wheat flour

509 g  organic spelt  flour (whole grain)

900 g of water



24 g of salt

Disperse the soaker and sourdough in the water. Add the flours (without the salt), Knead by hand until it is thoroughly combined and all the flour is hydrated. Let the mixture sit for  30 minutes.

Add the salt and knead the dough until all of the salt is incorporated.Cover the mixing bowl with plastic bag and let  the dough rest for 60 minutes.

Knead again and divide the dough into two equal pieces. Ferment the dough for 3 hours.

Preheat oven (with a baking  stone) to 500 F.

Place the shaped loaves in oiled loaf pans (2-3) and cover with damp cloth. Score the loaves and put them in the oven.

 Bake  for 10 minutes , then  turn down the temperature in the oven to 450 F. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove  loaves from the pans and place them on the stone. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into.



hanseata's picture

Today's Baking at Karin's Baeckerei

Coming home from Portland late yesterday evening I had no time to make any pre-doughs for today's baking. So everything was stretched and folded, except for my usual Pain a l'Ancienne dough. No kitchen octopuses to battle this time, the doughs behaved and didn't try to take over the countertop. This morning I got an early start with my baking and was done just in time to Meet The Press.

Tyrolean Pumpkin Seed Mini Breads


These are real breads, not rolls, and are made with spelt, rye and Italian 00 flour - and, of course, lots of toasted pumpkin seeds.



Pain a l'Ancienne with Oat Flour (sorry, no crumb shot, these were all sold)


And since the oven was still warm, I finally fullfilled my NYB testing duties: Lace Cookies. They look as nice as they tasted.



Franko's picture

A long overdue try at Pain au Levain

For a while now I've been wanting to try my hand at making a bread using only a levain for the rise. It's slightly embarassing to admit that for all the years I've been baking professionally and at home I've never made one. I've made breads that include a sour culture at home before , but always with the additon of commercial yeast. As far as the shops I've worked in they've always used commercial yeast for the breads and rolls. Last week I decided it was time to give it a go see what I could learn about this neglected aspect of my bread making experience.
Using Hamelman's formula for Pain au Levain I began by building the stiff levain culture over the course of 4-5 days . The levain worked out nicley, becoming very active and healthy by day 3. I managed to find some lower protein flour, about 12%, as Hamelman recommends. I say "managed" because finding this kind of flour in Canada or at least in my part of Canada can be difficult. The first dough I made up seemed like good one, very extensible and silky. I did the two stretch and folds at 50 minute intervals over two hours bulk ferment and put it into a floured 10 1/2in. banneton to rise. After about 2 hrs it really didn't look like it'd risen all that much and I assumed I'd done something wrong in the process. I decided to bake it off anyway , not bothering to score it as I didn't think it would rise enough to need it. Bad decision. It jumped like crazy after the first 10 minutes and then some in the next five , along with a wild split (of course) on one side. Unfortunatley I didn't bother taking any photos of it, but the best way I can describe it is looking very much like a Pacman swallowing a dot.  The crumb was a little more open in spots than I would have liked but the flavor was good, with a medium sour aftertaste.

Yesterday I made another mix of the dough, this time using SteveB's two stage flour addition method,  but sticking with Hamelman's formula . The dough came out identical to the last mix , and I gave it the same number of fold and stretch as last time, however I gave it a 3hr final rise this time as well as slashing it. The loaf came out better looking , but still split along the top, so maybe I could have slashed a little deeper. Judging final proof on this bread is quite a bit different from what I'm used to with a commercial yeasted bread so it's going to take a few more tries before I get it right. Since the levain was a few days older  it gave a more pronounced sour flavor to the bread that I prefer over the last loaf and the crumb is much better on this one, I'm fairly sure due to SteveB's two stage method . Thank you Steve! 

A question I'd like to ask some of the other members who've made this or similar breads is if they get better results by retarding overnight or by baking the same day as the mix. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

jkandell's picture

Whole Wheat Anise-infused Apple Sour Bread


Wholewheat Anise-infused Apple Sour bread


Started as the all-white flour Apple Sour bread from the Cordon Bleu Professionals Baker's guide.

Adapted by fellow Arizonan Stephanie Petersen for whole wheat.

Then tweaked by me.

The "sour" refers to week-old fermented shredded apples, not to the flavor.

The texture is moist, the smell and flavor are woodsy with a light background of anise. The apples are inperceptably in the background.

Ingredients: whole wheat, grated apple, organic apple sauce, anise, water, salt, sugar, honey, yeast.

Note that this bread contains only 1/16t of yeast, most of the rise is by fermented apples.



Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Professional Planetary Mixers at Great Prices

[I'm not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, websites, dealers, etc. below]

After breaking two 6qt Kitchenaid mixers, I moved on to a professional mixer about 8 months ago.

I searched for what seemed like an eternity for a quality-quantity mixer (good workmanship + good price). Hobart had the quality down pat, but their prices were beyond ridiculous (easily 4 to 5 times other manufactures).

I stumbled on the Bakemax brand and bought their 20qt planetary model:


I really love it.

I especially love the safety features: kill switch if protective guard opens; mixer halts when under too great a load [pauses in such a way that you'll know it's not happy with the dough you're asking it to mix], etc.)

I post this because I just noticed the same mixer is available in the United States now under the Centaur label. (I had to buy mine from Canada, as Bakemax is in Nova Scotia).

I checked the Centaur specs and they're identical to the Bakemax. It's really the same machine as far as I can tell (other than the top cap, which is red in color).

Here's the 10 quart for $895:

Here's the 20 quart for $1304:

Those are really good prices for this mixer, considering I paid about $1750 + $300 shipping for the 20qt pictured above.

Yes, they're big. The 20 qt. stands to about 6" below the my waist (I'm 5'11").

They're heavy (250 lbs for the 20 qt) too; but, you want something big and heavy when you're mixing large doughs.

Hobart should be trembling in its boots, as it's 5-quart model is $2000. It's 20-quart is $5000+.

Having used Hobart's before, I can say Hobart's are equal in construction quality, not better, than the above (except for, perhaps, their service, which you also pay through the nose for). I haven't owned my Bakemax for 30 years, however, so time will tell.

The moral of my post, I guess, is that if you're about to drop $600 on a DLX, consider going a little further and buying yourself a professional mixer. 

You won't regret it, especially at those prices.


gaaarp's picture

Nick Malgieri's Seven Grain & Seed Bread (Straun)

Ever since I read PR's Bread Upon the Waters and first baked his Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire from BBA, I've been in love with straun. With so many grains and seeds to choose from, the possible variations of multigrain bread are endless.

Of course, some combinations are more successful than others. So I was anxious to try Nick's variation on this wonderful bread in The Modern Baker; but I was a bit skeptical, too. After all, how would it compare to PR's amazing straun?

I needn't have worried. This is a wonderful recipe and makes a fantastic multigrain bread. Check it out here:

Blackwill's picture

Looking for Cracker-topped Wheat Roll Recipe

Hi, all....

A few years ago I was working at the Paris Las Vegas (Banquet Chef).  Our Executive Pastry Chef created a large number of rolls for a banquet, and I have been looking for a recipe for these rolls since I returned to California 2 years ago.  They were dubbed, simply "Torrified Wheat Rolls" on the menu...but they were topped with a thin disk of crispy, almost cracker-like bread (kind of like the rolls were wearing a beret).  All of my searches for a similar recipe have turned up nothing, and I was hoping someone here could help me out by either providing a real name for this bread style, or, even better, a recipe!!


Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to give,



California, U.S.A.