The Fresh Loaf

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PMcCool's picture

Question about Leader's Auvergne Dark Rye

I've started Leader's Auvergne Dark Rye and run into some confusion.  Leader describes the first stage of the dough as a "thick, smooth batter".  That's using the starter, 350 grams of water and 500 grams of medium or light rye flour.  Right off the bat, a dough at 70% hydration is not going to be a batter.  In my case, the matter is compounded by the fact that I'm using a stone-ground whole rye flour, which is even more absorptive.  Batter?  No.  Play-Doh?  Yes.

After scrounging around TFL and the Web, I find that people have questions about this bread but no one is supplying answers.  The final dough hydration of 53% is more in the bagel range and nowhere near Dan's description of "soupy"

So, here's what I've done thus far.  Chasing a description is like chasing a will-o-the-wisp, I know, but if I'm going down in flames, I may as well shoot for the biggest fireball I can make.  To achieve said "thick, smooth batter", I've added water.  And more water.  And still more water.  Another 325 grams of water, in total.  That will put the final dough (assuming that I use every bit of the 200 grams of bread flour the formula calls for) at a 136% hydration.  My guess is that it will be more sludgy than soupy, since it isn't soupy right now.  We'll see how it turns out.

Meanwhile, do any of you have any prior experience with this bread?  Or suggestions to offer?



Salome's picture

Whole-grain Oat Crackers

Of course I had a look at this week's yeastspotting. And there I spotted this: Barley-Flatbread by Dan Lepard. It looks gorgeous, doesn't it? I've ever since I lived in Sweden for a year been fond of flatbreads, crackers, crispbread. There, crispbread or as they say, "Knäckebröd", is a staple food. They've got an endless variety and have it with every meal. Here in Switzerland flatbread exists as well, but only in a limited choice. I prefer to bake my own, so I decided that it's time again. I didn't follow Dan Lepard's formula though, I made up my own! I am very pleased with the outcome. I wanted that the oat-flavor really comes out, and I achieved this goal. I love the mildness of these crackers! They turned out wonderfully crisp and light. I'm sure that they won't last long, the next time I'll make double the recipe. (I always work with small amounts when I'm experimenting because I hate to throw things out.)

It's actually pretty easy. I think if you haven't got a grain mill at home or you can't get your hands on whole-grain oat flour, you could probably blend some oats so that it resembles flour somewhat. I used very coarse flour as well, so I'd say that should work. No guarantee though, I haven't tried it myself!

Whole-grain Oat Crackers

liquid levain 15 g mature starter 60 g coarsely ground oat 60 g water soaker 75 g coarsely ground oat 10 g whole-grain rye flour 75 g milk (I used skimmed milk) 4 g salt final dough all of the soaker all of the liquid levain 50 g of whole-wheat flour oats to sprinkle

  1. mix the ingredients for the liquid levain the evening before you bake.

  2. combine the ingredients for the soaker at the same time

  3. the next morning, mix the soaker and the liquid levain with the whole wheat flour and knead for about five minutes. Don't expect any gluten to form, it will remain a rather "grainy" ball. The dough is not sticky or tacky.

  4. put the dough into a small bowl, transfer it into a plastic bag. Let it rest for about half an hour in a warm environment. (In my case the microwave with the light on and the door somewhat open.)

  5. roll the doughevenly to around 3 mm thick. brush sparingly with water, sprinkle with oats and roll again, to around 2 mm thick. I used my old pasta dough machine for that.

  6. Place the dough on a baking sheet with a parchement paper. cut into rectangles as desired, let it proof uncovered for one hour.

  7. bake one baking sheet in turn in 230°C for about 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Turn the rectangles upside down after a couple minutes.

  8. let cool on a rack and store in an airtight box when they've cooled down.


ehanner's picture

SF SD With many folds

Today I made a second batch of the Multi fold, no knead bread Shiao-Ping as been working on and posting. I decided to make a few changes in concept to suit my style.I started with her SFSD post HERE and except for the yeast and flours and baking temp, followed that method.

First, instead of using yeast to rise the dough and sourdough starter to flavor it, I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and relied on my robust starter to provide leavening. So it was a true sourdough loaf. Next time I'll skip the yeast totally.

Second, I added 5% rye flour to the dough mix. In the past I have found that even a small amount of rye helps the depth of flavor greatly. In this case I added 25g of whole rye.

Third, I found I needed an extra 30 minutes ferment time for the dough to feel right, so call it 4.75 hours ferment time total at 73 degrees F. That was also the dough temperature.

Forth, I gave the proof time 40 minutes. I'm not certain that I didn't over do that by a few minutes. The crust expanded well but the cuts got all weird like a cat fight happened on top. As usual scoring is my Achilles heel and the first thing to go.

Lastly, I wasn't happy with the chewiness of the crust yesterday baking for an hour  at 350F. Today I used 450F for 10 minutes, steamed and lowered the temp to 430 for another 20 minutes. The crust would have been more crisp had I left it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to dry. I may get a tattoo reminding me to stay on checklist. I like the crust much better today.

Overall, the flavor of the sourdough is mild and the overall taste is great. It is remarkable how creamy yellow the crumb is and how well the dough feels using only a plastic scraper to fold a few times. I think it is a safe statement that our mixers are oxygenating the dough and do nothing for flavor. Simple hand mixing and gently folding will develop gluten and deliver to your hands a very luxurious and satiny dough. I didn't pull a window pane but I assure you that this dough is the essence of gluten development.

I like the schedule of this bread. I started it at 8 AM and I'm eating it at 4 PM. My other Sourdough breads I usually start in the evening after dinner and get them in the oven around 10 AM. -12 PM. That's OK but I like the one day aspect. When I have time, I know I can make a good loaf on the day I think of it.

That's it. One day SF SD. Not the best bread I've ever made but pretty darn good for a one day project. No Mixer needed!


bassopotamus's picture

Bread seems less sour

I've got a 67% hydradation starter that has been going about 7 months now, and lately, it seems less sour than it used to. Some background:


Mother lives in the fridge full time and gets fed once or twice a week as needed.

She gets 3 parts flour to 2 parts filtered water to 1 part starter at feeding time.

I feed half all trumps high gluten and half king arthur whole wheat.

I bake about 16 loaves a week.


About 3 weeks back, I dropped the mother I was using and cracked shattered the plastic container. For the sake of safety, I through out my big container. I keep 4 oz of emergency back up, which was about 1 month old at the time. I built up the mother from that (I keep about 24 oz on hand). The leavening power is still there, the starter smells like it did. I'm doing a two stage build (same recipie as always). 4 oz mother gets built to 30 oz of in between starter, then the next day the 30 oz gets is used to make about 2.8 kg of dough. At both stages, the rise is really good for a wild yeast starter. Final bread has a nice texture, nice crust, but isnt' real sour.


So what should I do to get some of the sour flavor back? My recipe doesn't use a ton of mother, but it is the same one I always used. Do I need to change my feeding schedule for a while? Change what I'm feeding for a while (started with rye, could feed a few times with rye) . Other suggestions are welcome.





venkitac's picture

Effects of choosing when to stretch-and-fold?

I've been going thru a lot of bread books comparing the techniques presented by the authors in the last week or so. Most every book advocates Stretch&Fold, of course. But there seem to be a couple of differences in approach:

(a) Some books say consistenty for most recipes "S&F N times (depending on recipe, N is 1,2,3,4) at 20 mins intervals from the beginning, then let the dough double in bulk". This means that the dough is undisturbed for anywhere from 2-4 hours towards the end after the inital N S&Fs, when it doubles.

(b) I've read in atleast a couple of other books (Hamelman, Beranbaum) that it's a bad idea for bread with commercial yeast to ferment for more that 75 mins without receiving some form of handling to redistribute nutrients. In particular, if you look in Hamelman's books, all his recipes advocate S&F throughout the bulk fermentation at even intervals. But the dough still needs to double at the end too. This likely means that the fermentation time to double the dough is longer, because even if we're super gentle, we'll certainly lose some gas in each S&F and thus the end-to-end doubling time must be longer.

So with method (a), the time to double must be shorter than method (b). Since fermentation time is critical in the whole equation, but so is nutrient consumption by yeast, which way is "better" or "correct"?

The other issue here with method (b) above is that if I do S&F throughout (evenly distributed), sometimes dough doesnt' double because from the last S&F to end of bulk fermentation is only about 1 hour. For example, one of the recipes called for a 3 hour bulk, and folding at hour 1 and hour 2. At the end of 3 hours, I had dough that was barely 1.5 times in size. I'm guessing that is because I handled the dough too rough at hour 2 and let too much gas escape - does that sound right?

P.S. In addition to the above, *many many* recipes call for an overnight retardation in the fridge, particularly in Peter Reinhart's books. This clearly means no one is S&Fing it at 2AM:) Which is contrary to (b) above, but then again, the fermentation is much much slower. So I guess the nutrient redistribution doesn't need to happen because of the slower fermentation? Must be.

P.P.S I have been reading and thinking too much about bread. I woke up at 2AM today and went thru the whole analysis Debra and Dan did for my messed up sourdough (too much acid) in my head. Now I know I have a serious obsession, I should probably take a couple of days off from baking:)



hc's picture

Gluten gave out? Why?

So I shaped a sourdough boule last night and put it in the refrigerator. This morning when I took it out, this is what I saw:

Any idea why I might have gotten that blowout on the left side? I shaped carefully with good surface tension. Could I have let it bulk ferment too long (~9 hours) before shaping?

_veronica_'s picture

What are we eating?

Can anyone out there help me find a computer program that will analyze our breads? We've recently opened a co-op bakery and have been asked for that info on all of our products and we need help!

Love this site and have learned so much yet know so little. How can this be so much fun?


ehanner's picture

Shiao-Ping's Pain de Tradition Method

I was interested in this one day bread that is reported to be a flavorful and beautiful direct ferment dough. I followed Shiao-Ping's formula precisely, even to the point of obtaining a bag of King Arthur flour. I figured if she can spring for it in Brisbane, I'll dig deep here where it's only 3 times the cost of my usual bread flour.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the dough felt as it proceeded through the folding stages. It was a thing of beauty by the last stage. All of the times and temps were right on. I planned for a 72F dough temp and it stayed there all through the ferment. At 4-1/2 hours I shaped and let it rest on the counter as advised. I wanted to skip the banneton, the gluten was well developed and I think it would have stayed in shape for 45 minutes. Surprising for an 80% hydration dough.

Anyway I watched the proofing progress as advised and at 40 minutes it was right according to my floured digit. After a sloppy pineapple slash into the oven it went. Yes, a scant 1/4 Cup of water in the steam pan.

I have never baked a white flour loaf for an hour and was hoping it would look right. I read Shiao-Ping's note about how the author suggested up to 70 minutes but I wasn't that brave. 60 minutes of oven time, the last 50 being at 350F was my plan.

You can see the crust is nicely browned and not overly thick all around. I got a nice oven spring and the shape is about what I would expect. The crumb is reasonably open and has a nice chew.

For a short 4.5 hours of floor time this is a nice bread. It isn't the best direct bread I have eaten but it's very good considering the time it took to make it. I did think the crust was more chewy than crispy. Perhaps the additional 10 minutes in the oven would fix that.

I plan to make this again or rather the Sourdough/yeast  version tomorrow. I'll probably add a little rye in the flour mix just to try to maximize the flavors. If the dough feels as good as it did today, I'll do a free style bake and proof in a couch cloth. I might split the dough and make a baguette also.

We are going to a dinner party Sunday with some friends who like to think they are well traveled. I want to take some baguettes that will make them beg for the source and then tease them with the name of a fictitious new bakery. It will drive them nuts for a while trying to find it. Lol I was planning on doing the Anis method but this is in the running.

So that's it. Thank you Shaio-Ping for your inspiration to try this formula and method.


Salome's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain levain in Couronne shape

I could withstand the Leader's "Alpine Baguettes" and decided to give Hamelman's "5-grain levain" a try. I thought that there can't be anything wrong with a bread that Hamelman himself describes as "one of the most delectable breads".

It's made of whole-wheat flour, bread and high gluten flour, and it includes a soaker (sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chopped rye and oats.) In my case it includes as well some sesame seeds as I was running low on sunflower seeds and had to substitute some of them trough sesame. The fermentation process is speeded up by a little addition of yeast. I can't get high-gluten flour here in Switzerland, therefore I added 12 grams of Vital Wheat Gluten to the flour.

While I was letting the dough ferment for the first time, I was thinking about how I should shape this batch of bread. I felt a little bit bored by my "standard shape", the round loaf baked in the iron pot. I remembered the special Couronne shaping that I discovered a long time ago on and that I had on my to-do-list for a long time. So I gave it a try. Thank you Susan, You're a great inspiration to me and your directions are clear and easy to follow, thanks for that!

Well, my Couronne doesn't exactly look as perfect as Susan's. It's a little bit out of shape because my "proofing banneton" was probably a little to big, so the balls didn't form a tight unit and moved around when I slided them into the oven.

That's the way I constructed my "banneton", inspired by Susan's description. I used the lid of my scouting cooking pot and a newspaper-ball. (I'm sorry for the bad image quality, all the good cameras are out today and I had to use my old camera, bought in 2002.) I covered this "banneton" with a well floured towel to prevent dough from sticking.

I had about 1.1 kg of dough alltogether, so I used 750 grams as recommended for the Couronne and made a small boule out of the rest.

To shape a couronne like the one above, divide the 750 grams of dough into six pieces of 100 and one piece of 150 grams. Shape the pieces into balls and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Roll the 150 gram - ball into a flat disk, about 15 cm wide. Place it over the newspaper ball, then arrange the other six balls seamside up around it. Then you have to cut a "star" into the flat doughpiece in the mittle with a sharp knife (look below or read Susan's instructions) and fold the "star-edges" over the balls.

Then let it proof as usual (cover it with a towel while proofing) and bake as you'd bake your recipe normally, maybe slightly shorter, because this shape is not as compact as a normal boule or batard.

I just tried two slices of the small boule - I planned on giving the couronne away, but now the person who was supposed to receive it isn't at home, therefore I put it into the freeze and I'll have it another time when more people are around. Right now, I'm not able to eat 750 grams of bread on my ownin a reasonable time. (as I said, everybody's gone, like the cameras . . .) I'm better off with 300 grams . . .

The flavor of the 5-grain levain is very good, as far as I can say right now. The bread is still somewhat warm. Nearly every bread tastes great while it's still warm. But I'm optimistic that the bread will taste great tomorrow for breakfast, as well.

I'm planning on baking this one again. Not only because it seems to be a tasty bread, but because I've got the feeling that I could simply do better. It was a hot day today, so the fermenting and proofing was difficult to get right, especially because the dough turned out to warm as well.

I'm sure that I'll shape Couronnes again. But then I'll probably scale the "banneton" a little bit down. The newspaperball more like 9 and the "pot lid" around 23 cm in diameter.

kranieri's picture

100% whole wheat sourdough, missing the brick oven...

since returning from a month of wood-fired oven apprenticeship,

(a little example of the bread i was helping bake...)


i have been trying to recreate the magic in my little electric oven. lately i've failed mostly by over-proofing and being forgetful or impatient. in summary : really all over the place and not documenting anything. but in coming to this weeks bread i decided to be a slave to the bread and keep track of all its little movements and stayed true to the method i had previously been taught.

here's the outcome. CRITICISMS?  WELCOME.

the process:

Monday 9:30 am -- feed starter (kept at room temp after feeding til..)

            1:30 pm -- popped it in the fridge so i could get out of the house

Tuesday 11:00 am -- made up the bread, kneaded etc, let it hang at room temp

             5:30 pm rounded, rest, shape, back into the fridge for the night

Wednesday 10:30 am -- out of the fridge to come up to fully proofed

                  12:30 pm -- into the oven.

the recipe is as basic as it gets. flour, water, starter, sea salt.