The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
Shiao-Ping's picture

Mathias Dahlgren's Swedish Rye Bread - with an apple twist

The 40-year old Swedish chef-owner, Mathias Dahlgren, has two Michelin-starred restaurants, Bon Lloc and Matsalen, the latter in Stockholm.  His style of cuisine is Swedish traditional as well as innovational (a fusion of Scandinavian, Tuscan, Californian and Oriental dishes). 

I saw a picture of his Swedish Rye Bread in Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs, page 101, and decided to give it a try.  The recipe uses a rye sourdough starter.  It also has a high percentage of instant yeast and molasses, which is 4.7% and 19%, respectively, of total flour, rye gains and seeds.  The approx. dough hydration is 84%. 

The bread is exceptionally moist and flavourful.  For a person who does not normally like a lot of rye flour in bread, I find this bread quite delicious.  The bitterness from the Black Strap Molasses that I used, together with all the grains and seeds and the fermented rye flour, formed a very interesting flavor and texture.

There is something, however, not quite how I would like it in a fully-loaded bread like this one that, if no changes were made to the recipe, I would probably not make it again.  As with the Chinese concept of ying (feminine) and yang (masculine), for something to be balanced, there has to be a ying and a yang element simultaneously.  For instance, the enjoyment of a fatty and salty pork chop (the yang) is enhanced if it is eaten with, say, apple sauce (the ying) - the sourness in the apple sauce cuts through the fat while the sweetness in the fruit compliments the saltiness in the meat.  Another example: the best chocolate lava cake would have some salt in there, or the sweetness would make you sick. 

The issue with this bread for me is: it is perhaps a tad too masculine (too much "yang") because of all the rye grains and seeds in the recipe.  I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who love this bread just the way it is.  I just have a difference taste.  To address the imbalance to my taste, I am adding apple puree as a hydration for the final dough.  Also, I have changed the formula to a sourdough version.   I find molasses an attractive ingredient to add to a bread full of rye, grains, and seeds but I cut it down in my formula (below) as too much molasses makes the bread bitter (which some people may find it an attractive taste).  Here is my Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree:



                                            SP's Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree


My formula for Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with Apple

Day 1 - soaker

  • 330 g water

  • 125 g crushed rye grains

  • 43 g rye meal flour (whole rye flour)

  • 83 g sunflower seeds

  • 53 g linseeds (flax seeds)

  • 11 g salt

  • 68 g rye sourdough starter (or any ripe starter) @100% hydration

Mix all the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or at least overnight. 

Also on Day 1 - rye sourdough starter (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe uses instant yeast and so there is no rye sour build.)

  • 20 g any ripe starter @ 100% hydration

  • 123 g medium rye flour

  • 70 g water

Mix the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or until ripe. 

Day 2 - final dough

  • 110 g medium rye flour

  • 123 g white flour

  • 713 g all of the soaker

  • 213 g all of the rye sourdough starter

  • 70 - 100 g molasses (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe has 140 g of molasses but I find at that quantity the bread is a bit bitter.)

  • 345 g of cooked Granny Smith apple puree or shopped-bought apple sauce  (To make your own apple puree, steam 320 g of chopped Granny Smith until cooked, then puree it with 25 g of honey)

Total dough weight 1585 g; estimated dough hydration 84 - 85%.


  1. Mix half of the apple puree with molasses and the other half with the starter. 

  2. Then, mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. 

  3. Grease two bread tins. Divide the dough by two and place them in the bread tins. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours (my room temperature was 28 - 30 C). 

  4. Pre-heat oven to 220C / 425F.  Bake with some steam for the first 3 - 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 185C / 365F and bake for a further 40 minutes. 

  5. Turn out the loaves immediately after baking and let cool on a wire rack (or the bottom will be soggy). 




My father-in-law and his wife came to stay for Christmas.  They are very discerning diners and both keep in good shape.  They have been told by their doctor to NOT have too much bread made of wheat flour and that if they must have bread, rye and spelt breads are the best.  Whenever they come to visit, I try to make rye and/or spelt sourdough for them.  For today's lunch I served this bread.  They loved it.






Tomorrow morning, when my father-in-law and his wife leave, they will have this little prezzie, all nicly sliced-up to go.





Smita's picture

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Clint is doing well. Tried making a sandwich bread using sourdough starter. Heres what I did.

2 Nights before:
Added about a cup of whole wheat flour and half a cup of water to half a cup starter (100% hydration)

Day 1:
Added a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of white whole wheat flour and a third cup of AP flour, 1.5 cups of water, 2 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon each butter and sugar.

1. Mixed flours and water to get a shaggy dough. Rest for 30 mins (autolyse)
2. Added salt, butter, sugar and kneaded 8-10 minutes till the dough windowpaned.
3. Rest. Phew.
4. Bulk ferment for 90-120 minutes or till the dough doubles in volume, with stretch and folds every 30 minutes.
5. Shaped and stuck into a loaf pan.
6. Day 2. Pulled dough out of fridge and kept at room temperature for 2 hours. Baked at 375 for 40 minutes.

Soft and pillowy. Good crumb and rise. However, my shaping skills suck. Need to develop a feel for tension in the dough. Looked a bunch of YouTube videos but need to develop a better feel. Also want to try this with whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat. Just a personal taste preference. 


hannah's picture

Strawberry Tart

for the recipe at my food blog, click HERE

svirden's picture

Hi from Alaska...a newbie with a question

Hi from Homer!

I've recently lived on a sailboat and expect to do so again. This means I NEED to be a bread baker. My husband bakes lovely bread in the galley oven. I started last winter and have really been enjoying it, though I've thus far limited myself to a wheat bread recipe that we love and prefer for our standard toast and sandwich bread (it's supposedly the Pepperidge Farm recipe). I plan to experiment more with vital wheat gluten and the recipes in a recent Mother Earth News. My goal is to develop a repertoire of a half dozen great breads that:

1) create low mess,

2) require minimal kitchenware and counter space,

3) don't require any refrigerated ingredients,

4) will be resilient enough to proof in a somewhat chillier-than-normal environment and

5) bake in a kerosene oven with no thermostat.

Before I ask my question of the moment, I'll just say that this wheat recipe has turned out fabulous every time, even with my confusion: The recipe makes three loaves and calls for 4 cups each of white and wheat flour. After mixing, it says "When the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board (about 1 Tbsp per cup of flour in the recipe). Turn the dough several times to make it easier to handle. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 10-15 min before kneading."

Here's my problem. Following the recipe exactly, the dough is far too wet and sticky to handle much at all while kneading. The instructions indicate that I knead on a surface with appx 8 Tbsp of flour. HA! I must heavily flour-and-knead, flour-and-knead, for ages while I incorporate (probably) another TWO CUPS of flour, and all the rolly bits from my hands and fingers, before the dough becomes "smooth and elastic" prior to the first proof. Am I doing something wrong? Is there any reason why I can't just add one more cup to the recipe so the dough isn't so unwieldy?

Thanks, and looking forward to learning from all of you...


ps: also interested in your pressure cooker bread recipes and/or easy flatbreads, chappattis and naans that I can make in a cast-iron skillet.

CaptainBatard's picture

I seen to have lost the definition in my braids

I made the beutiful challah that David posted.....and I seen to have lost the some of the definition in the braids......I wrote a message to him and he suggested that I would be better off if i put question out in the forum...I thought forming the strands was ok...pretty tight....i did not make the braids tooo tight.... and i thought it proofed OK...i did sub eggs for oil (i was out).....and I also had the same problem when i made BBA it a matter of over proofing, too much steam, ????

it looks a better in the photo..




Rodger's picture

Eclectic Ciabatta

It has gotten to the point now when I try something new, I'll read through my library (Leader, Reinhart, Hammelman, Di Muzio, and the CIA's Baking and Pastry), read through the archives of TFL, and then throw tegether a synthesis that somehow makes sense to me.

So I've been working on Ciabatta.  I tried the beat-the-daylights technique championed by the famous Jason and apparently customary in Southern Italy (according to Dan Leader's Local Breads).  This method calls for spiraling the dough 20 minutes or more at the high end of the mixer's throttle.  The product is magnificent, but after years of indoctrination in the careful dough handling techniques of Calvel and his students, it felt practically immoral to turn the mixer up to eleven like that and just let it go.

For the last couple of loaves, I've developed an improved mix at low speeds with subsequent stretching and folding.  I also fused the double flour addition technique from Steve B's Breadcetera with the biga-based Ciabatta formula in Dan Di Muzio's book.  Dan describes a slightly different interpretation of the double-hydration technique than Steve B does, and in the event Dan's seemed more practical.  Hold out about ten or fifteen percent of the water, mix the ingredients to an improved mix, then add the remaining water and mix at low speed until it is absorbed.



davidjm's picture

How do you bake High volume of bread?

My wife and I are completely exhausted today.  Why?  We baked 9 pizzas, 7 baguettes, and 8 whole grain loaves yesterday from our home kitchen.  And, we did all that while stoking the fire in our clay oven in which we bake.  At the end of the day, we said, "There has got to be a better way!"

So, my question is: How do you bake high volumes of bread from a home kitchen?  We have a standard Kitchen-aid mixer, lots of bowls, and proofing baskets, plus we worked out a proofing room (laundry room with heater on thermostat).  Neither of us have a background in bakeries - and we're not trying to go pro.  We just want to bake more at one time to meet our home demands.

The problems we ran into were: (1) Mixing all the dough took too long, and it through off our rise times and coordination with when the clay oven would be ready to receive the loaves.  In the end, 6 of the whole grain loaves over-proofed and were a little flat.  So how can we shorten mixing times?  (2) It was completely exhausting to do so much work in one day - just two people.  (I don't see how anyone can make a living at this!)  (3) Timing was also a big issue with rises and mixes and the clay oven.

Any suggestions?  I particularly welcome responses from those who have worked in bakeries, etc.  But any help is appreciated.



CaptainBatard's picture

Stollen Moments....

I never tasted a Stollen let alone thought I would make one! I first got the notion to bake one when I was reading a blog about French folds and hand mixing of breads. I followed the link which led me to a video by Richard Bertinet of sweet doughs (I highly recommend it for those of you that have not seen it yet) and a recipe for stollen.  I really liked the way the recipe and the finished product looked and I really was into the hand mixing technique. That would of been too easy....instead I made the mistake of Googeling Stollen. I had no idea how many different variations there are on a stollen....from Germany to Poland...they all have a little different take...the very traditional Dresdner Stollen.....another @Hefe und Mehr- german blog....and a mouth watering recipe at Bakers Süpke `s World......the one that got my attention was a chocolate stollen @Domestic Goddess in American version with a German influence @Joe Pastry and a Mohn Quark Stollen which is a poppy seed and fruit stollen which I am going to try next week....eventually I found my way back to Chef Bertinet recipe with a recipe from the United Kingdom by Chef Madalene Bonvine-Hamel @British Larde. I gathered all my material together for the Stollen and e-mailed Susan at Wild Yeast with a question about osmotolerant yeast.....She said "I made the SFBI stollen in class and it is a good one!" Ok ...that would make it easy which one to choose, it is a proven recipe and I just got the book.

I read the SFBI recipe and it said add all to bowl and mix…I thought I knew better…and in the back of my head from all the post I read I thought I had to  develop the gluten before adding the ton of butter....I threw in the sponge,eggs and started to mix...the flour barely formed a ball....panic set in...I added some water...I reread the formula to make sure I didn't leave out something...and realizes that Baby Jesus threw me a curve....I should of realized it at first... most of the moisture came butter. After a good while of mixing the dough came together with a good gluten structure. I was very relieved that is was able to save it...I divided the dough in six pieces and gently spread them into ovals....I applied the filling of Creme' d'almond that Chef Bertinet used along with the cut up pieces of marzipan to the bottom layer and also applied the filling under the top fold....the stollen was finished with a drunken butter wash and plenty of sugar topping.

This is being sent to MaMa Claus @ Yeastspotting  HoHoHo....


Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Christmas Ribbon Cookies

It just wouldn't be Christmas at my house, without Ribbon Cookies. I grew up with these, as did my mother and grandmother. When I asked my grandmother if she knew where the recipe originated, she didn't, but we know she is mainly of Dutch descent, and she remembered both her mother and grandmother making them before her. That makes five generations that we can account for, including my sisters and me---six, if my niece carries on the tradition. My grandmother had two sisters, and so my cousins all make them.... and friends and neighbors.... and now coworkers too. It isn't a closely guarded family secret, by any means; it has always been given freely. And it has always been much requested.

See how pretty they are on a Christmas cookie tray. And they taste both as good, and as unique as they look. It's fun to bring them to holiday get-togethers, because people are generally stumped by the stripes. They always want to know, how did I do that? But it's not a feat of magic. It's so easy, a child can do it. I know, because I did growing up.

My grandmother passed away a few years ago, at the ripe old age of 95. While cleaning out her apartment, I found her hand-written recipe card, yellowed by time, that had become one with the plastic sleave she put it in long ago for protection. That was just like her.

In case you can't read my grandmother's handwriting, here's my version:

Ribbon Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture.

Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Mix the chocolate and nuts into one part and press evenly into the bottom of a waxed paper lined 9x5" loaf pan. Set pan in freezer for a few minutes or until firm. Stir the cherries into the second dough portion and press evenly into pan over the chocolate layer. Put back in freezer until second layer is firm. Add poppy seeds to the remaining dough and press evenly over the cherry layer. Cover pan and chill in the refrigerator until firm.


Remove dough from loaf pan and cut into thin slices (about 1/8 inch). Bake on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets about 10 minutes at 375ºF. Watch closely because they can burn fast, but they should be starting to color a little around the edges.


These cookies should be crispy when completely cool. If they're not, they may be sliced too thick, not baked long enough or oven is too hot (or not hot enough). Leave some space between them on the cookie sheets, because they grow quite a bit. I make my slices across the short side of the loaf (side to side) and then cut that in half for two medium-size cookies. One year I used unbleached flour and the cookies were not as light or crispy, so it's bleached for my Christmas cookie baking. I add a drop or two of red food coloring to the cherry dough now, because candied cherries aren't as deeply colored as they used to be. They just don't impart as much color to the dough. If you use unsalted butter, you might want to double the salt.

AnnieT's picture


Here is my authentic Scottish Shortbread recipe which came from Margaret McLaren, a Scottish friend from when I lived near Atlanta back in 1967.

3 sticks butter (I use Challenge unsalted)room temp.

1 heaping cup powdered (icing) sugar

1 egg yolk

4 cups ap flour

Preheat oven to 300*, cut wax paper circles to fit 8"-9" cake pans. I wonder whether parchment would work?

Sift the sugar into a large bowl and knead in the butter. Add the egg yolk and mix in well. Add the flour one cup at a time. Roll into a lump the size of a jelly roll, cut into 3. Pat onto the wax paper to fit the pans. Prick all over with a fork and crimp the edges, and cut almost through in wedges. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour - mine didn't take that long. The shortbread should be pale in color. Cool on rack, careful, I managed to crack all of mine!

I also forgot that I wanted to add some rice flour because I had read that it gave a nice crunch. Oh well, next year. Merry Christmas from Whidbey Island, A.