The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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baltochef's picture

Eric's Faviorite Rye Bread Made w/o Sourdough Starter

My mother really likes Jewish / New York seeded rye sandwich bread so I decided to give Eric's recipe a try..Unfortunately, she wears full dentures which she says hurt her mouth when trying to chew through the crusts of artisan breads..So I decided to modify Eric's recipe to see if I could make it work in a Pullman bread pan..I figred that the crust would turn out much more tender when baked in the Pullman pan..Eric's recipe as written gives a total ingredient weight of 1990g..With his recommended additions (for a bread made without the sourdough starter) of an extra 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, 1/4 cup of water, and 2/3 cup of flour I came up with a total ingredient weight of 2035g..I also ended up using an extra 190g of bread flour to make the dough come together into a kneadable form..The recipe is as follows:

Eric's Favorite Rye Bread   (made w/o sourdough starter and baked in Pullman pans)


815g water, 100 degrees Fahrenheit

320g organic whole rye flour

230g Pillsbury bread flour

15g organic cane sugar

2 teaspoons SAF Gold instant yeast


Final Dough:

605g Pillsbury bread flour

22g fine sea salt

25g caraway seeds

needed an additional 190g of flour



1st.---  made sponge in bowl of DLX mixer, covered w/plastic wrap--- proofed 60 minutes

2nd---  kneaded dough 7 minutes in DLX, finished kneading on bench 1.5 minutes---proofed in washed out, oiled, covered in plastic, DLX bowl---proofed 60 minutes

3rd---  punched down, divided into three 745g portions, rounded into tight balls, 1 portion retarded in refrigerator for baking later, 2 portions covered w/ plastic wrap on bench---proofed 25 minutes

4th---  balls deflated, shaped into loaves, pressed into bottoms of oiled Pullman pans, covered w/ plastic wrap---proofed 65 minutes

Lids added to pans at 50 minute mark, proofed an additional 15 minutes, oven raised to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, baked for 30 minutes w/ lids on, lids removed, baked an additional 10 minutes---Loaves temped 205 degrees Fahrenheit in exact centers w/ Thermapen digital thermometer

First loaf of this bread was sliced just as I was finishing this post..The crust is tender, but somewhat chewy..I'll see what it is like tomorrow..The crumb is tight, and well formed..The bread has a distinct rye flavor..Next time I will soak dried onions in the water as Eric suggests in his recipe..I am sure it will improve the falvor even more..All in all, I am pleased with this recipe..Many rye recipes that I have tried, or invented myself, have not tralslated well to being baked in pullman pans..Using a well-developed sourdough starter will vastly improve the flavor, I am sure..


Baker's Percentage Formula


Water                     148.18%

Whole rye flour          58.18%

Bread flour                41.82%

Sugar                         2.73%

Instant yeast               0.91%


Final Dough:

Sponge                    174.21%

Bread flour               100.00%

Sea salt                       1.64%

Caraway seeds              1.86% 



Water weight is 815g divided by 1345g total flour weight = 60.59%..I am wondering if others that regularly make this bread feel if my recipe's hydration percentage fits into the levels where the standard recipe's hydration percentage does??..




jbraas's picture

Diastatic malt = Hombrewers dry malt extract?

Hello everyone. I am new here and new to bread baking. My question is about diastatic malt. I saw a couple posts about this, but did not see this answer and didn't knwo if someone might be able to help. I am also a homebrewer. I have some dry malt extract for brewing. Is this the same / can it be used as diastatic malt?

Thanks for any insight!

wheat's picture

Flour Product coding information

I recently found out how to tell when a bag of Bob's red mill flour was produced, ergo how long has it been sitting on the shelf.

I always buy the whole wheat flour, and there are two sets of 4-digit numbers in the vicinity of the expiration date. Here is how to decode them:


The first set, specifies the date that they got the wheat. First digit is the year, and the next three digits are the day of that year.

For example, 8112 mens that they got the wheat on the 112th day (counting from Jan first) of the year 2008. 


The secod set specifies when they packaged the flour, e.g. 8130 means that this flour was packaged on the 130th day of the year 2008.


The milling date is not specified but it is of course in the bracket of the first and the second date, and the two dates are usually close (two weeks or so), so this will give you a good idea of when it was milled and how long it has been sitting on the supermarket shelf. 


(Minor detail, the dates that they use is based on Julian calendar. Don't ask my why! However it is not a big deal, as

Julian calendar is only a few days apart from the Georgian Calendar, i.e. the usual calendar that we use every day)


Btw, does any one know how to decode the same information for King Arthur flour?


Moriah's picture

Alan Scott, Artisan of the Brick Oven, dies

Alan Scott, 72, Artisan of the Brick Oven, Dies

By DENNIS HEVESI Published: February 5, 2009

Alan Scott, whose blacksmith's skill in using radiant heat led to a revival of the ancient craft of building brick ovens, allowing bakers to turn out bread with luxuriously moist interiors and crisp crusts, died Jan. 26 in Tasmania, Australia. He was 72.

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Alan Scott in 1988; his skill in using radiant heat paid off.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his daughter Lila Scott. Her father had returned to his native Australia several years ago after becoming ill, she said. Ms. Scott and her brother, Nicholas, now operate OvenCrafters, the company their father opened nearly 30 years ago in a large Victorian home in Petaluma, Calif.

Several thousand amateur bread bakers and thin-crust pizza makers now have backyard brick ovens, many with cathedral-like arches, that were built either by Mr. Scott, with Mr. Scott or according to specifications he laid out with his protégé Daniel Wing in their 1999 book, "The Bread Builders" (Chelsea Green Publishing).

More than a how-to manual, the book is also a meticulous treatise on the history of bread making and the physics of baking, with instructions, for example, on how long to let the dough rise. Mr. Scott, who held instructional workshops around the country, played a role in bringing brick ovens to hundreds of bakeries and restaurants as well.

For centuries, beginning before the Middle Ages, home cooking was done mostly on a family's open hearth; villagers would share a single brick-oven bakery.

Mr. Scott "took oven designs that were hundreds of years old and refined them," said Dick Bessey, who teaches oven-building at Kendall College in Chicago and at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Mr. Scott's drawings, he said, "allowed virtually anybody to build an oven that would perform in a way that would equal the old communal ovens."

Though he found his inspiration in the past, he used modern materials: high-grade bricks, high-temperature cements and insulation, ranging from Vermiculite, which is used to insulate walls and attics, to ceramic blankets - "if you want to spend a lot more money," Mr. Bessey said. To build an oven for a homeowner, Mr. Scott would charge $5,000 to $10,000, not including material costs. For even higher fees, he would line an oven with authentic Italian refractory, or heat-resistant, tile and clad it with high-quality cut stone. In most brick ovens, a wood fire is built directly on the hearth floor. When it dies down, the ashes are swept out and food is put in to bake in the radiant heat - far higher than the usual 500 degrees Fahrenheit of a regular oven and sometimes up to 800 degrees. The walls hold the heat for hours, allowing batch after batch of bread to bake.

Brick-oven communities have sprung up on Web sites, with enthusiasts asserting that everything, from fruit galettes to slow-cooked roasts and especially pizza, tastes better when baked in brick scented by wood smoke.

Born in Toorak, Australia, on March 2, 1936, Alan Reid Scott was one of five children of Arthur and Lilian Burbury Scott. Besides his daughter Lila and his son, Nicholas, he is survived by his wife, the former Laura Argyros; another daughter, Samantha Bald; two brothers, Robert and Michael; two sisters, Eleanor Bjorkston and Sylvia Lerch; and a granddaughter.

Mr. Scott graduated from an agricultural college in Australia, then worked for a fertilizer company. "He never wanted to work for anyone else again," Lila Scott said. "He hitchhiked around Australia, Sudan, Ethiopia and then Denmark, where he opened a jewelry shop."

He moved to California in the mid-'60s and opened a blacksmith shop by the beach near Point Reyes, fashioning statuettes, chandeliers and hand-foraged fittings for wooden boats. One day, a friend, Laurel Robertson, the author of the cookbook "Laurel's Kitchen," asked him to make handles for a brick oven she intended to build. He completely redesigned the oven, employing his knowledge of how heat is best retained.

The project opened up far more than a new line of business. For Mr. Scott, brick-oven building became a way to bring a community together. Indeed, for a smaller fee, he would supervise a gathering of neighbors in building a communal oven, drawing on old traditions. "A lot of his ovens were done like Amish barn-raisings," Mr. Bessey said.

Originally published  February 5, 2009 in the New York Times.

tangled's picture

Spelt bread

Hi, I'm a new poster, though have been reading for a few weeks since another forum posted a link. It's certainly a fantastic resource.

I tried a spelt loaf for the first time yesterday, from R. Bertinet's Crust book. The dough was very stiff (only 65% hydration). It turned out ok, but not brilliant, so I doubt I'll be in a rush to do it again.

I'm planning on trying bagels for the first time next, "Crust" has a recipe, but I'm going to have a look at some here before I get stuck in.

eva_stockholm's picture

Two Swedish Breads


Here are two recipes for typical, traditional Swedish breads- "Limpa" and "Honokaka" Both breads are on the sweet side (As opposed to crispbread - "knackebrod"- Swedish soft bread traditions are not altogether "healthy" - poor fibre content and often too much sugar for modern tastes). All the same, these breads make a great occasional treat, and they go very nicely with savoury toppings and sandwich fillings. Try the "Honokaka" with smoked salmon or fresh shrimps or "Limpa" with thin slices of spicy sausage or smoked ham.

 I have adjusted the traditional recipes a bit:

The original recipes call for melted butter and lukewarm liquid. I personally prefer cold liquid (=long rising times) and not melting the fat before it is worked into the dough (=better crumb texture).

 Measurements are all metric.

 The pictures are not my own, alas!

LIMPA (2 loaves)



50 g yeast

50 g butter at room temperature

1 deciliter water

4 deciliters full-fat milk

1 deciliter molasses, treacle or golden syrup

2 teasp salt

4 teasp ground anis and fennikel seeds

16 deciliters sifted rye flour + some more for shaping


Syrup Wash: a little syrup dissolved in water or strong coffee


Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add salt,syrup and spices. Gradually work in the flour, stirring at first and kneading when the dough becomes thick enough to handle. When you are satisifed with the texture, work in the soft (not melted!) butter, shape dough into a ball, cover and leave to rise until double size.


Shaping: Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong loaf. Place loaves on greased cooking sheet, cover and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. Brush with syrup wash.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until a knock on the underside produces a hollow sound.

Brush again with syrup wash. Let cool under a cloth to keep the crust soft.

Do not cut until reasonably cool.



HONOKAKA (12 large pieces)



50 g yeast

50 g butter at room temperature

1 liter full-fat milk

1/2 deciliter molasses, treacle or golden syrup

1 tbsp salt

8 deciliter sifted rye flour

18 deciliters plain white wheat flour


Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add salt and syrup. Add all the sifted rye flour and stir. Gradually work in most of the white flour, stirring at first and kneading when the dough becomes thick enough to handle. Save some of the wheat flour for final shaping. When you are satisifed with the texture, work in the soft (not melted!) butter, shape dough into a ball, cover and leave to rise until double size.


Shaping: Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover and leave to rise for another 20 minutes.

With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a flat round directly onto warm, greased cooking sheets - one round only on the same sheet. Perforate rounds all over the surface with a fork to prevent bubbling. Bake at 275 degrees Celsius for 3-4 minutes or until surface begins to turn golden.

Let the rounds cool stacked on top of each other under a cloth to keep them soft.


Cut into wedges when serving.




SylviaH's picture

Wide Yeast English Muffins photos

These are made using half the recipe given at .  I have made these before and they are very good with plenty of nooks and crannies with a mild sourdough flavor.

These are baked in the oven for a few minutes after grilling!

Half recipe made 18 muffins! 


rainwater's picture

Chocolate chip cookies...

Please, could someone share their best chocolate chip cookie recipe.....I usually use the recipe on the back of the Hershey's chocolate chip bag, and use butter. Thank you.

johnster's picture

"Big-City" Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies?

I know chocolate chip cookies is a rather mundane topic.....but, I've found EXCEPTIONAL chocolate chip cookies at bakeries.  First, I though that it was only in Chicago.  Now I live in Boston (MetroWest, anyway) and I've found the SAME cookies.  Does anyone have a recipe and technique to share?


The cookies: NO gluten development that I can feel.  They fall apart in your mouth.  Very light, when they do so.  The shape is a bit odd in that they don't taper to the edge much, at all.  Very cylindrical, that way.  The surface has little shallow cracks.  Nicely sweet flavor. 


Does anyone else know the cookie(s) that I am talking about?  Better yet, does anyone know how to make them!


I hope to hear many suggestions!



SteveB's picture

Ciabatta using Double Flour Addition/Double Hydration

For those interested in the double flour addition mixing technique, its application in the production of ciabatta can be found here: