The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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PMcCool's picture

Wheat Montana In-store Flour Mill

I finally remembered to take a camera with me while grocery shopping this afternoon.  For almost two years now I've been thinking "Gotta remember to  take a picture to show the other Loafers."  So, finally, here goes.

The Hy-Vee supermarket located at the intersection of 135th St. and Antioch Rd. in Overland Park, KS has an in-store unit from Wheat Montana that contains two micronizer-style mills.  One is fed from a hopper with Bronze Chief wheat kernels (a hard red wheat) and the other is fed from a hopper with Prairie Gold wheat kernels (a hard white wheat).  A customer places a bag from the center of the display on the stand beneath the wheat variety of their choice, and then pushes a button to grind the wheat into flour, which falls into the customer's bag.  See photo below:

Wheat Montana In-store Mill

This particular installation is in the middle of the "health foods" section of the store, in case any of you are close enough / curious enough to go take a look at it.

If you want fresh-ground flour without having to splurge on a mill for yourself, you might want to see if you can cajole your local grocer into getting this kind of set-up for a store near you.  Probably wouldn't hurt to check with the folks at Wheat Montana first to see if they are still making these units; no point in wheedling your grocer into getting something that isn't available.

Gotta run.  The hamburger rolls are ready for shaping.


SylviaH's picture

Pain Au Levain With Walnuts

This is the first time to try this bread and first bread I have made from Bread Alone by Daniel Leader & Judith Blahnik.  I wanted a nice loaf to go with a variety of cheeses and this made a nice it says thinly sliced it makes a nice compliment to cheeses.  It's delicious, I think the grated walnuts in the dough,  plus the fact that I have access to some very fresh nuts in my area made this bread even more tastier.  The crust also has a very pleasing crunch, chew and lot's of flavor.  The crumb was pleasing and so is the color the toasted walnuts lent to it...  I was surprised at the size of the two hugh torpedo shaped loaves the formula made.  Next time I will try his formula for Pain Au Levain with Pecans and Dried Cherries, we have cherry pie so I didn't want overkill on cherries...though I do love them.

I Definately need to pitch my lame for new sharp one!!



althetrainer's picture

My 100% WW sourdough sandwich loaves

Made these today.  100% whole wheat; rose for total 7 hours and baked at 350 for 45 minutes (small one) and 1 hour (large one).  Internal temperature was 190F. 


bobku's picture

Whole wheat bread

I want to start baking some whole wheat breads. Can I pretty much take reciepes that I have now with white flour and substitute whole wheat flour and maybe add some vital wheat gluten? I realize texture will be different and most wheat bread recipies usually use some white flour but I'm interested in doing 100% whole wheat. Do you think this will work? Can I take my Kaiser rolls recipie and just substitute whole wheat?

Yippee's picture

20090331 My favorite Japanese style white sandwich bread - by water roux starter and sponge method

Link to formula


My favorite Japanese style white sandwich bread - by water roux starter and sponge



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Cooked Kamut berries, now what?

Ongoing Kamut experiment... a short one.

Monday Morning:

I have 600g Kamut berries.  Dirctions say how to cook, 2 cups water for 1 cup berries washed in sieve.  I decided to use the rice cooker for my good 4 cups of grain.  By washing, it was clear that the grain was better washed in a large bowl and water poured off the top to remove parts of hulls and dust.  The berries are large enough to drain in a colander.   I then let the rice cooker do the work with 1 tsp of salt.  All the water was absorbed and the grain took on a caramel color with a nutty fragrance. 

Now what?  I was hoping to put this grain into a rye bread but I had to eat some first.  Very chewy.  Very chewy indeed!  Now I'm not so sure I want it whole in my bread.  I was eating chili for lunch so I combined some cooked grain into it.  Uh, ok, not the best idea, but I did get a glimpse of the texture with other food.  The tough chewy berries stood out.  "Roughage" kept going through my head.  I guess the blender is the next step, make the grains smaller.  Will I come out with a pudding like substance?   I have to think about this....  any ideas?  (Meanwhile, starter is being refreshed.)  I need some coffee.


PMcCool's picture

Leader's Soulful German Farmhouse Rye

While it would be self-deception in the first degree to think that I have a lock on wheaten breads, I've been wanting to expand my repertoire to include breads with a high percentage of rye flour.  I enjoy the flavor and have been very impressed by the breads produced by other TFL posters.  So, I thought I'd try my hand with the Soulful German Farmhouse Rye from Daniel Leader's Local Breads.  This bread has been profiled in other posts on TFL, so feel free to search out those entries, too.

I maintain a single sourdough starter that is usually fed AP or bread flour.  Every now and then it gets goosed with a bit of whole rye or whole wheat, based on the needs of a particular recipe.  For this bread, I did two refreshments entirely with whole rye flour to build the rye sour it calls for.  About the only rye flour carried in supermarkets locally is Hodgson Mills whole rye, so it's not like there's a lot of choice in the matter.  Whole Foods and Wild Oats stores have some other possibilities, but the labeling doesn't always make it clear just what they are selling.

The formula calls for a quarter teaspoon each of coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, toasted and ground.  That turned out to be my first point of departure from the formula.  Recalling some earlier discussions on TFL, I substituted caraway for the cumin.  My first attempt at toasting the seeds in a skillet on the stovetop was, well, overdone.  As I was grinding the seeds, the predominant odor was that of something scorched, not something spicy.  After pitching those, I started over.  This time I dialed back the heat and shook the skillet every few seconds so that nothing had a chance to park on a hot spot and scorch.  I also kept a close eye on the fennel seeds.  They started out with a greenish cast, while the coriander and caraway already had a toasty color.  When the fennel seeds' color shifted from green to golden, I pulled the skillet off the flame and dumped the seeds into the mortar.  A few strokes with the pestle released a toasty/spicy fragrance that was much different and far better than the that of the first attempt.  

Despite Leader's recommendations, I opted for hand mixing and kneading the dough, primarily to understand how it looked and felt as it developed.  Now I know why the phrase "wet cement" figures prominently in writings about making rye breads.  Despite what you read in recipes, a high-percentage rye dough will not be silky; nor will it be elastic or responsive.  I'll probably use the mixer for future forays, but I know now what to look for.  The other departure from the formula was to use wet hands and a wet countertop for kneading.  Leader recommends floured hands, but I think that working wet has to be the better choice.  First, you can't work in too much additional flour.  Second, the same components in rye flour that make it so sticky also make it slippery when wet.  That means your hands don't get nearly as gummed up with dough as they would if you worked with floured surfaces.  Keeping a plastic bowl scraper in one hand while manipulating the dough with the other is also a good tactic.  

The dough came together rather easily.  Yes, it was sticky.  Yes, it was sludgy.  And no, it didn't seem the least bit soulful; at least, not compared to a dough made with wheat flour.  The second point at which I departed from the script was to add only half the amount of yeast.  A significant quantity of the rye flour is in the final dough, so I wanted it to have the opportunity to acidify before the yeast took over.  That stretched the fermentation times out beyond the times noted in the formula but I wasn't in any rush.

Leader recommends "dusting" the bannetons with rye flakes before depositing the boules for their final fermentation.  First, things the size of rye flakes can't be "dusted" onto anything, much less the sidewalls of a banneton.  Second, he recommends slashing the loaves with a tic-tac-toe pattern immediately before loading them in the oven.  Every try slashing a dough that is armored, sorry, "dusted" with rye flakes?  It ain't gonna happen, no matter what your slashing weapon of choice is.  (See picture, below.)  And that for a bread that, he says truthfully, isn't going to rise much in the oven.  I'll grant you that the rye flakes have a certain rustic appeal for the eye, but next time I'd rather use them as a soaker or leave them off entirely.

Here's how the finished breads look:

Soulful German Farmhouse Rye

These are compact breads, maybe 1.5 inches high and 7 or 8 inches across.  The rye flakes and the knife handle give you a sense of their scale.  The crumb, not surprisingly, is dense and rather tight.  The soulful part, which isn't appreciable here, is in the flavor.  The rye is front and center in this bread.  The spices, while discernible, are very much in a supporting role.  It's quite a bit different than Levy's NY jewish rye, which has 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds.  The crust is chewy, as is the crumb.  Then again, it's been in a plastic bag overnight.  Left out in the air, it would probably be rather hard-shelled.  It doesn't feel quite as moist as I had anticipated (probably a factor of the whole rye's absorbency) but it isn't crumbly, either.  I think it is probably a very good thing that I used water, rather than flour, to manage the stickiness while kneading the dough.  There's no noticeable gumminess in the crumb, so it appears that I waited long enough before cutting into it. 

All in all, an enjoyable bread and one that should go very well with the ham I purchased this weekend.

Wild-Yeast's picture

Lungwort Leavening

Looking through an old campcraft book I came across the following entry:

from the book Camp Cookery by Horace Kephart, published 1910

On the bark of maples, and sometimes of beeches and birches, in the northern woods, there grows a green, broad-leaved lichen variously known as lungwort, liverwort, lung-lichen, and lung-moss, which is an excellent substitute for yeast. This is an altogether different growth from the plants commonly called lungwort and liverwort---I believe its scientific name is Sticta pulmonacea. This lichen as partly made up of fungus, which does the business of raising dough. Gather a little of it and steep it over night in lukewarm water, set near the embers, but not near enough to get overheated. In the morning, pour off the infusion and mix it with enough flour to make a batter, beating it up with a spoon. Place this “sponge” in a warm can or pail, cover with a cloth, and set it near the fire to work. By evening it will have risen. Leaven your dough with this (saving some of the sponge for a future baking), Let the bread rise before the fire that night, and by morning it will be ready to bake.

It takes but little of the original sponge to leaven a large mass of dough (but see that it never freezes), and it can be kept good for months.


SulaBlue's picture

Sourdough Gingerbread Pancakes

Modified from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa's) recipe for Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Sourdough Gingerbread Waffles


¼ cups Raisins, Golden Seedless, soaked to soften

¾ tsp Orange Peel -- grated

⅛ cups Crystalized ginger -- minced

⅛ cups Butter

½ cups Molasses

½ cups Sourdough Starter (Liquid/100% Hydration)

1½ cup Milk (more, as needed to reach pourable consistency)


1½ cups Flour, White

⅜ tsp Baking Soda

¾ tsp Ginger, Ground

½ tsp Cinnamon, Ground

⅛ tsp Cloves, Ground

¼ tsp Salt

Pan Spray



Place raisins in a small dish or cup, cover with near-boiling water. Soak until slightly softened. In the meantime zest orange and finely mince your crystalized ginger.

Place the butter and molasses in another small bowl and microwave for about 1 minute until butter is fully melted and molasses is easily pourable. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until combined. Add in crystalized ginger, raisins and orange zest. Add in sourdough starter and give the bowl a stir until everything begins to combine. Add in the slightly cooled molasses-butter mixture. Continue stirring and add milk in a slow, continuous stream until you reach a good batter-like consistency.

Allow mixture to sit while the waffle iron is pre-heating. Give it one good stir once waffle is hot and pour enough to cover of the ½ of the waffle iron. Cook on the medium-dark setting.

Makes about 4 regular-sized waffles.

I'd have taken pictures but they didn't last that long!

benjamin's picture

Anis Bouabsa baguette (sourdough)

I attempted David's sourdough adaptation of the anis bouabsa baguette... IMG_1777.JPGIMG_1778.JPGIMG_1783.JPG

The crumb was beautifully soft, and this was by far the crustiest baguette I have ever made. The dough is a little hard to work with due to the high hydration, and scoring is particularly challenging! It was well worth it though, and I will definately be making these again!


Happy baking