The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ehanner's picture

Simple Rustic White-Delicious!

Recently I have been trying to find breads that deliver great flavor with a nutty after taste and also look good. After I found Mark Sinclair's Back Home Bakery recipe for Multi Grain bread I have come to appreciate his experience and sense for selecting grains and methods. I have made 5 or 6 batches of the Multi Grain and it is just so full of flavor I can't get over it.

I thought I would give his Rustic White Bread a try since he had recently changed the formula to include a Biga or sponge and it's a simple recipe that only requires starting the process the evening before. The link to the new recipe is here "Mark's Rustic White"

The recipe calls for a rye sour starter which I have going most of the time. I just started feeding my white 100% starter with Rye whole flour and in a day or 2 it was very active. The recipe calls for 15 grams of starter and if you don't want to convert or don't have a starter at the moment you can use 15 grams or whole rye and 1/4th tsp of yeast instead.

After about 10 hours the biga is active and has doubled at least and I think any time after that you can mix the dough. Mark has you add 50 grams of Whole Wheat in the final dough which is one of the things that helps with the flavor. It seems like a small amount but believe me this is a very good white bread.

One thing I did change the second time I made this bread was to reduce the amount of salt slightly. He calls for 25 grams in 1050 G of flour which I could taste. It wasn't salty enough that any one else has tasted it however so maybe it's just me. I lowered the salt to 2% or 21g, it's a little thing.

The dough is soft and not quite ciabatta like so you need to use flour on the counter when you do the folds and move quickly. The 2 in the picture below are 1.5 and 1 pound (on the right) which I didn't get the end tucked in.  It does seal up well when I put the bottom side up in the banneton for proofing. The crumb is slightly ope, just enough that it's a great sandwich loaf also if you use a pan to bake in.

This is a simple white bread that has a complex and delicious flavor. The biga is a natural yeast so you do get a hint of mild sourdough taste.  I retarded a loaf in the banneton overnight and got a slightly more sour flavor which was nice.

I think this would be a good base for all sorts of things. Savory or raisin come to mind. This will be my "Daily Bread" for a while. It's easy and surprisingly full of after taste flavor.  

Mark's Rustic WhiteMark's Rustic White

dyarza's picture

A whole lot of starter!

Hi everyone,

I am reading Nancy Silverton's Breads From The La Brea Bakery.  I am very intrigued by using a natural starter as opposed to yeast, and really believe when she writes about the benefits to the flavor and texture of the bread, but I can't get past the sheer amount of material that gets used, and specially wasted.

After some quick spreadsheet calculation, it would take 25.12 Lbs. of flour to get the starter going, and after that, to keep the starter fed three times a day it will take 32.2 Lbs. of flour a week.  Nevermind the cost, what bugs me the most is that so much is discarded.  Unless I am making 12 loaves a day, so much starter goes in the trash (I can only give my friends so much).

Right now I am baking just a bout every weekend, starting with making a poolish on Friday night, etc...

Is there a way to make a lot less starter and still have it perform well?  I get the feeling that Nancy's response would be no, it is the kind of thing you have to commit to.  Maybe I should just stick with yeast?

My father keeps a starter that is a lot less work and he bakes every three days or so, but the results are less than spectacular (don't tell him that).

Anyway, any insight anybody might have would be appreciated.



foolishpoolish's picture

Granary Cob


hullaf's picture

Using whey as liquid substitute

I've just tried a "30-minute mozzarella" recipe, and it turned out wonderful, but the book it came from said that the leftover whey can be used as a substitute liquid in bread making. Has anyone tried this? Book reads: "whey contains milk sugar, albuminous protein, and minerals." So, is the part that is called "albuminous protein" same as the serum protein in milk and thus has to be scalded (just below the boiling point = 190F) before it could be used? The whey in the mozzarella cheese making process only got to 105 degrees F. 


mcs's picture

Peasant loaf?

Hey there everybody,
So I'm courting some new business even though we're not quite open yet, and one of the prospectives is a wine and cheese/gourmet shop. The owner was describing something he desired for the shop in addition to some of the stuff I already offer. Anyway, I said, "Like a peasant loaf?" and he said, "Exactly." I asked him what ingredients he specifically was looking for and he said, "Kalamata olives, and possibly rosemary."
So, does anybody have a kick butt recipe for a loaf that has at least olives in it? Thanks.
For those interested, I'll be posting pix soon of the finished bakery!


MaryinHammondsport's picture

Sourdough Banana Bread

This recipe is a modified version of Floyd's !0 Minute Banana Bread recipe shown at the lower left on the home page. It incorporates most of the suggestions Foolish Poolish made just recently and a change or two of my own. I just happened to have some over-ripe bananas and some left-over starter this morning, so I though , "Why not?" It's delicious and so tender it almost slices itself!

Sourdough Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350° F

In a food processor, combine and pulse until broken up:

1/2 stick of room temperature butter (4 ounces/60 gr.)

2 eggs

2 -3 fully ripe bananas, broken into chunks


In a large mixing bowl combine and stir:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (214 gr.) (could be partly whole wheat, but not more than 1/2 cup)

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (100 to 150 gr.)

3/4 teas. salt (4.5 gr.)

3/4 teas. baking soda (3.5 gr.)

1/4 teas. baking powder (3.5 gr.)

1/2 teas. cinnamon (1 gr.)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.

Also add up to a cup of sourdough starter. I used a scant cup of batter-consistancy starter, and it was just right. Thw weight here will vary -- some starters are heavier than others. It would be ok to use a liquid measure of 8 oz., more or less, here.

Stir all together very very well.

Optional ingredients to add at this point:

1/2 to 3/4 cups chopped walnuts, or

1 tablespoon poppy seeds, or

1 to 2 tablespoons flax seeds

I would not use more than one of these options.

Grease an 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan or two smaller ones. Turn batter into pan(s).

Bake at 350° F on a middle rack. It should take 30 or so minutes if in two pans and about 40 in just one. Test by poking a toothpick into the center of the loaf; if it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Let sit in pan(s) for 5 minutes or so, then turn out onto a wire rack.

This is going to be my favorite use of left-over sourdough, I can tell that!

Sorry, no photos; I put it in two 8 1/2"X4 1/2" pans and the loaves are way too flat to be proud of, but they taste great.

Thanks to Foolish Poolish for getting me started on this modification and to Floyd for providing the basic recipe.








GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

Outdoor bread baking, gas grill and attempt #1

I tried my hand at baking bread on the grill this past weekend.  With summer upon us, and daily temps at 100 degrees, sometimes higher, it is necessary to forego the kitchen oven and hone my breadbaking skills in a 'cooler' environment. 

Since I normally do the grilling, I had an idea of my hotspots ahead of time.  I'd researched the web, and the many links of TFL to understand that this was a venture where I shouldn't expect perfection, but as with an bread baking, note that with due time I might surprise myself with the results. 

Remember my pizza stone that was unfit for the kitchen?  I'd thrown it out into the garden to use as a stepping stone.  Oh yes!  It's true.  I went for that gem, scoured it with a non-suds steel wool pad, doused it with organically compounded dish soap, washed it some more.  Returned it to the outdoors to air dry, retrieved it and slathered it with olive oil.  Placed this little gem outside to bake in the sun and returned a couple hours later.  Rubbed a paper towel over it and placed it on the center rack of the grill, over an old toaster oven rack.  (I wanted to build a bit more insulation around the stone and grill rack.) Shut the grill door and fired up all four burners to the low setting.  I allowed them to heat for 15 minutes, while back in the kitchen I was proceeding with last minute details for the first loaf:  egg white/cream wash, slashing and a covering of sesame seeds.  (Next time I will slash first, wash and then apply seeds...the wash made the surface a bit tricky to cut).

Back out to the grill, carrying the loaf (set upon a bit of parchment for easy slide to the stone), and my old stew pot I planned on using as a cover/cloche.  Open the grill, slid in the loaf, covered and went inside for a cooler 20 minutes.  Back at that time, removing the cloche item, I would find the loaf burnt on the bottom, but a lovely golden brown on the top.  (what to do, what to do....surely it can't be done in a mere 20 minutes?).  Carried the cover into the kitchen and with furrowed brow set about to panic.  Threw caution to the wind and went quickly to retrieve the loaf.  Picking it up I discovered how hollow it sounded, and the wonderful camelized smell.  I knew I was on to something.

Round two, or, loaf #2.  I turned two of the four burners off, leaving only those in the center on low, dusted the crispy-fried remnants of parchement off and allowed the oven to build even heat for about ten minutes.  Redux of earlier loaf final prep and I am back to the grill for a second attempt. Slid the loaf onto the heated stone, this time leaving the cover/cloche in the kitchen.  Returned the cover on the grill and went to time this prize for 15 minutes.  ... tic, tic, tic.....Lift the cover and note that the loaf is NOT burnt, but a beautiful golden color on the bottom, yet the top is far from being browned.  Quietly lower the lid on the grill and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.  Final result?  Not a golden browned loaf atop, but none-the-less an absolute in all other ways.  I had an open crumb unlike anything I've ever accomplished in all of my prior baking attempts.  With such success I had concluded that I'd never eaten better bread....I truly was a convert to this new way of baking.  Today I will be attempting trial #2.

The camera battery is recharging as I type. 

Joe L's picture
Joe L

Italian Lard Bread

Anyone have a recipe to make this bread that was made in some Italian Bakeries back in the 60's in Brooklyn.

I'll describe it from memory- Round loaf with hole in the middle. The bread was braided and included the following

ingredients: pork fat ?, pepper. I have not seen it in years, I believe a few bakeries in Brooklyn still make it.

Does not include ham or salami.


ehanner's picture

Jewish Rye re-visited

I had promised to bring 4 loaves of Jewish Rye to a 4th of July party this weekend so I dusted off my Favorite Rye recipe. I've been thinking about Norm the last few days and thought I remembered he had made some suggestions on Deli Style NY Rye. After digging around I found his suggestion for a max 40% rye sour component and a warmer oven than I usually use for this.

The bottom line is I made a last minute change and cut my sour to 40% of the dough flour weight and kicked up the temp to 410F. Usually I use about 60% sour. The finished loaves didn't blow up as much as usual so they look better. I still got a nice rise and good color and they smell great. I won't see the crumb for a few hours but everything looks good so far. I did have one loaf blow out in the center that I don't know how to deal with. I stopped slashing these since it didn't seem to help. I gave them a light wash of corn starch in the middle of baking and again at the end with a sprinkle of Kosher Salt as you can see.

One other change. Norm suggested using light rye which I did with these. Normally I use whole rye. The light rye seems more refined and the dough was smoother. Over all the changes I think make this a better bread. We'll have to wait for the corned beef to know for sure!

EricNY Rye-revisitedNY Jewish Rye-revisited

Mac's picture

How to maintain a starter that is in the refrigerator

Hello all:

New to sourdough so this, I'm sure, is a basic question.  I have a great starter and made two, really tasty, loafs of sdb.  I put the starter in the refrigerator but am unclear on how to maintain it while it's in the cooler and not being used.  The next question is when I'm ready to bake again what is the procedure to get the starter out of the refrigerator and ready for baking.

 A point in the right direction would be most appreciated.