The Fresh Loaf

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Bart's picture

Rye bread

Rye bread



This is the Rye bread I made this weekend. Wanted to share this.

Feedback welcome.


grrranimal's picture

Why is my bottom so soft?

No, I'm not talking about my gluteus maximus.  

I'm talking about my glutinous maximus.  

I'm baking on a baking stone at high heat.  Have only been doing it that way for a few weeks.  And I like the effect of stone + steam on my crust, and I'm getting great oven spring.

What's puzzling me is that the bottoms of my loaves are coming out soft!  Top and sides have great, crunchy crust.  Bottom is simply soft.  It's cooked, but it's soft.

My hypothesis is that my doughs are going into the oven too wet.  I'm having shaping and proofing problems that I think are down to this. So, I'm going to work with firmer dough next batch.  But, in the meantime, do you reckon that would cause a soft bottom?

Has anyone else experiences a soft bottom when baking on a stone? 

Thanks, in advance.

dolfs's picture

Leader's: Pain au levain, and Auvergne Rye Baguette with pancetta

I got the book last week, so today, my regular baking day, I wanted to make some. As luck would have it, after having started baking in April, I had finally decided to create a sourdough starter, but had to delay until recently due to my vacation. Last week I started creating Maggie Glezer's firm french style starter (as well as a whole wheat and rye version). The composition of that starter is identical to Leader's stiff levain (although the feeding formula is slightly different), so I used this in the recipe.

Leader's Pain au levainLeader's Pain au levain

Leader's Auvergne Rye Baguette with pancettaLeader's Auvergne Rye Baguette with pancetta 

I refreshed the starter shortly before midnight last night and it was good and ready this morning at 8:30. Both recipes use the same stiff levain, and use the exact same formula to create the levain starter (with some whole wheat added), so I made this as a single batch. I used KA AP flour (I discovered that my local Whole Foods sells Guisto's type 55 in bulk, but have not gotten it yet). I mixed the dough for the baguette about an hour later than that for the levain (scheduling reasons). I pretty much followed the rest of the instructions. Did one fold after 1 hour. Bulk fermentation took about 3.5-4 hours. I did insert a 10 minute bench rest before shaping. Proof took about one hour and 45 minutes. I did use a linnen couche so there was some additional work and care needed to transfer to the peel.


One thing I noticed is that in this book I finally found the correspondence between mixing settings describe as low/medium and the corresponding numeric setting on the KA mixer I have. That, combined with the 8-9 minutes mixing time seemed to make a far better dough than I've had before (I never mixed that fast, or that long). Could also be the starter though. I'll find out next time I make a non-sourdough.


The Pain au levain was scored in two different ways: one long slash, and several smaller and diagonal slashes. The dough took the slashes quite well. Steamed in cast iron pan with hot water and ice, and used a 3/4 in baking stone preheated for 1 hour. Oven spring was unbelievable! The crust did not quite turn out as nice and brown as I expected from pictures, but cutting and testing proofed this to be a non-issue. The crust was crackling during cooling and was superb when I finally ate the bread.

 crumbLeader's Pain au levain: crumb

The baquettes were pretty much a similar story, except that I used pancetta instead of bacon, and I did not retard the shaped loaves overnight. They just had their almost 2 hour proof. I made them just too long for my oven, causing the tips to be squashed against back of the oven and door. Slashes worked out ok, but no ears. Crust and texture on the baguettes was fabulous. The pancetta is not as strong as bacon, and there was no overnight retardation to absorb flavors, so this was mild, but still very good!

 crumbLeader's Auvergne Rye Baguette with pancetta: crumb 

koloatree's picture

hello from new jersey

hi, just saying hello. i am new to baking and finally decided to join and get serious with bread and bagels. hope to learn and contribute what i learn to others. hopefully one day, my skill will take me out of my computer cubicle job!

poindexter's picture

Butter and milk substitutes

Hi all.

Are there any substitues to butter and milk called for in bread recipes (for example - white sandwich bread)? I have a problem with dairy products, so I preffer not to include dairy products in my breads.




SDbaker's picture

Rye Flour Starter

Beginning of experiement, start of day 1:

Ok, I am following the basic BBA recipe using rye flower.  I did splurge on organic rye flour and bottled spring water hoping that might speed up the process.

 Day 1:  1 cup rye flour   

             3/4 cup water

Curious why the recipe calls for covering the mixture with plastic wrap.  Isn't part of the desired result capturing local yeasties?  Or, is it that the rye flour has such a high amount of natural wild yeast nothing more is needed and coving the mixutre helps keep out unwanted pathogens?

SD Baker.

Bart's picture

Muesli bread :

For those who asked me to translate, here it is.

Recipe :
250 grams white flour
250 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams water
20 grams yeast
8 grams salt
10 grams butter
200 grams muesli
130 grams water

Method :

Mix the flour and water and let it rest for about
30 minutes. After 10 minutes, soak the muesli
because otherwise it will make the dough to dry.
Add the rest of the water and yeast, mix.
Add the salt and butter.

Kneading is about 10 minutes. Cover it and
let it rest for 15 minutes.
Mix the muesli (after discarding the water)
in and let it rest 20 minutes.

Divide into pieces of 400 grams and shape round.
Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Make a long shape, roll it in wheat
and put it in a bake pan, cover with plastic.
Proof 60 minutes.
(I made this bread in a round shape..)

Bake :
220°C - 35 à 40 minuten.

I am sorry, this recipe is in the metric system.
I do not have the time to convert right now, but
I am sure you all have the tools to do this.

I am pretty sure I kinda made a bad translation,
if anyone has questions, please let me know.

KipperCat's picture

lard - healthier than shortening? how unhealthy?

This post is a bit off topic as it's really about nutritional quality of the ingredients rather than baking quality. 

A recent post on trans fats got me thinking about good ole lard.  I've never cooked or baked with it, but I understand it is available for purchase in many places now.  My addled brain says that it is in fact less of a health problem than the hydrogenated vegetable shortening which replaced it.

I cook and bake with butter - OK, sometimes way too much butter. From a nutrition standpoint is lard really any different?

Jamila's picture




  • 250 grams Fine Semolina Flour
  • 250 grams KA All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs Dry Active Yeast
  • 1/2 liter Warm Milk
  • 1/2 liter Warm Water
  • 1 tbs Sugar

  • 1 cup Butter or Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Honey

Traditionally Baghrir is 100% Semolina, and it's eaten in Morocco and Algeria. I find it too heavy with just Semolina so I use half flour. You can easily just omit the flour and use only Semolina.

Today I used melted butter and honey for the filling but often I use softened whipped Cream Cheese and a few tablespoons of Honey. I recommend making the filling first and letting it sit as you make the crepes.

Activate the yeast with the milk, water and sugar. When it's frothy, five or so minutes add the flour and semolina or just semolina and mix very well, until all lumps are gone and you have a smooth, soupy batter. Then let the batter sit covered until its frothy and full of bubbles, about 30 to 45 minutes.


Using a heavy skillet melt a teaspoon a little more or less of olive oil or butter (I always use butter) and when it's browned add one soup ladle of the batter to the center of the hot skillet and rotate the pan until the pan has batter spread evenly over it. This crepe is not like French crepes, it should have many holes throughout which means the pan needs to be fairly hot. As soon as you add your batter you will see the holes forming, it's quite pretty. Flip over when the underside is brown a minute or two then leave on the other side for about 30 seconds or so.

Add the filling and roll up!


saxlady's picture

All I get are bricks :(

All I want is to bake a healthy relatively light whole wheat bread that's not a brick!!  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I'm just trying very basic ingredients - this is my method (sorry I don't use percentages).

 1 Cup of Starter (Maintained with whole wheat and water), And adding 1 cup of water, and another cup of whole wheat flour.  I leave this out overnight with a teatowel over it and in the morning it is very frothy and bubbly - so far so good. 

Using a mixer I then add more flour, about 3 1/2 cups (although I have experimented with 2-4 cups, and added additional water) and a teaspoon of salt.  I then let the mixer knead it for about 10 minutes.  By this point it's normally looking like a nice dough, a bit sticky to touch, but coming away from the sides of the bowl (and when I added more flour it just gets too dry).

I then put a teatowel over it and let it rise - I have tried it at various temperatures (ie next to the heater, outside etc etc) and even tried letting it rise in the fridge overnight for a long time, and of course I have tried leaving it for various lengths of time - from a couple of hours, to nearly 24 hours.  Most of the time it seems to rise, and have some decent looking bubbles but it certainly hasn't doubled.

I then tip it out of the bowl and gently squash it down, and fold it.  I've tried folding a couple of times, leaving and then folding again, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.  I then shape it and put it in my bread machine for the final rise and to cook (I don't currently have an oven).  I've tried leaving it to rise and then just letting it cook in the machine, but mostly I set it to a couple of hours for rising and then an hour for cooking. 

Everytime, no matter what combination of rising times, temperatures etc I get a heavy brick. :(

Sometimes it seems like it's rising the second time, but when I get it out, it's a flop - yet again.

I'm getting rather despondant - I've been at it for about 2 months now, about 4 times a week.  Occasionally just for my husbands benefit I've made it with straight white flour (although still using the whole wheat starter) and it's risen beautifully and worked fine - which of course just depresses me even more - there must be a way to get it right.

I've tried a couple of recipes that I found here on previous posts, but with the same result - so it must be something I'm doing terribly wrong.  I grind my flour myself from organic wheat in my champion juicer (grinder) and I always use it freshly ground - I would have thought that would make it better - not worse!

Please - any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading