The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Toronto, whole grain bread, dating

jembola's picture

Toronto, whole grain bread, dating

With all the introductions from Ontario lately I just had to count myself in.  Just moved from Toronto to Fenelon Falls, but still a proud Torontonian. I'm so excited (some people around here might use the word "obsessed") about bread after linking with this website just weeks ago.  I've been having a blast experimenting with no-knead dough baked in a cast iron pot (a la New York Times; my favourite to date) and refrigerated no-knead dough (a la Mother Jones magazine), along with Richard Bertinet's stretch and fold method. I'm starting to get cocky enough to mix methods and recipes – my attempt to stretch and fold a very wet Struan dough the other day was some spectacle! (I was ultimately able to remove stray bits of dough from rugs and cupboards in adjacent rooms, thankfully.) Since our family is used to whole grain breads, I'm summoning the courage to mix up some 100% whole wheat dough and sttry turning that into really great bread before the kids get too used to French white.  Although, I have come to believe that when white flour, salt, yeast and water turn into something as magnificent as the crusty boules we have been enjoying (my kids eat their crusts!), a miracle has occurred and that just has to be good for you. 

Can anyone recommend some exceptional whole grain or mixed grain bread recipes?

I keep thinking there should be a dating service link to this site.  So many passionate, artistic, generous souls – who bake! – in one place.  I'm just sayin', if I was looking...

ema2two's picture

The 5 grain bread in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread" is wonderful.  I have only made the straight dough version so far, but several here have also recommended the sourdough version.

I have also made the version of Struan in "Brother Juniper's Bread Book" by Peter Rheinhart, and it was very tasty.

Finally, I made a recipe called "Murray's Kashi Bread" in Greenstein's "Secrets of  Jewish Baker" where cooked Kashi Pilaf is used as an addition to the rye/whole wheat/bread flour dough, and which was definately something I'll make again.

Hamelman's seed bread, about which there was a recent post with beautiful photo's illustrating it, is hopefully going to be my project for Tuesday.

paddyboomsticks's picture

Really sold me on overnight retards. A dense bread, as all wholemeals are, but with a delicious soft texture and caramelised crust. One of my two regulars.

If you you're looking for a slightly less, hmmm, wholemealy wholemeal, the 50% one in Hamelman's bread is fantastic, the soupy levain really brings the sourdough flavour come out. 

In fact, if you're just getting into breadmaking, I really, really recommend Hamelman's bread. Of all the books I have bought and tried (only about four admittedly), it is far and away my favourite. I find the recipes more reliable than reinhart's, and Hamelman retains the huge amounts of info, plus great prose.

jembola's picture

Thanks for the tip on Hamelman's "Bread", Ema2two and Paddyboomsticks. I'm putting it on my Amazon wish list!  (And I'll check the library.) For the moment though, buying books is out of the question for me and I have to get along with my current books (Rinehart's Slow Rise mostly) and any recipes that people can part with here or elsewhere.  I'll go back to supporting authors with my hard cash again some day, I promise.  In the meantime anything you can pass my way is much appreciated.

Thanks also for the sourdough whole wheat link, Paddyboomsticks.  Learning about sourdough is my next learning curve and I'm looking forward to trying that one.

supersonix's picture

I wonder how many of us got started baking with the good ole 'no knead' bread recipe? I too, started with that and with a copy of Bertinet's 'Crust' and haven't looked back!

Now, people at work look at me strangely when I talk about getting a second fridge for keeping my starters and such. But hey, I'll live with that anyday for the wonderful experience of baking!

jembola's picture

My daughter is doing her fourth grade (first) speech on bread, describing the no-knead baked-in-a-pot method. She has loved good bread since she gnawed on her first bagette in France at seven months old and now she's thrilled she knows how to turn a flour and water glob of glue into a tasty crusty loaf.  It'll be fun to teach her all my latest tricks as I go along.  Just curious, what did you move on to right after you your no-knead phase?

AnnieT's picture

Hi Jembola, I was another NoKnead fan and that is how I discovered this wonderful site. My next step was sourdough and especially Susan's loaf which is baked under a mixing bowl for part of the time. I posted the recipe some time ago - look under Susan's Sourdough. It is my "go to" recipe, and last time I added some spelt flour and some steel cut oats. Made a lovely crusty loaf with delicious flavor, A

candis's picture

the Poolish baguettes went so well I embarked on the Pain Ancienne baguettes without fear. OH DEAR...has anyone else done them yet? the most unruly dough I have ever tried to tackle. they tasted delicious but looked as though I'd been demented while shaping them. I'm too embarrassed to let you see.

hsmum's picture

I'm a fairly new baker, but I have to admit that I would never show anyone a photo of my Pain Ancienne baguettes either.  My regular baguettes are only marginally better, though...  Clearly I need practice with my shaping.  But the pain Ancienne baguettes did taste terrific.  :)  I'm from out west in Alberta.  But I used to live in Toronto as a kid and have fond memories.  I amaze my kids now telling them about how you almost fall over backward trying to see the top of the CN Tower.  :)


saltandserenity's picture

Hi Candis<

I agree!!  They were probably the ugliest bread I made during the challenge, but by far one of the tastiest.  I am sure with practice, they would get better looking.  Seeing my ugly loaves may make you feel better!

CanuckJim's picture


I moved from Toronto to the wee village of Prince Albert (just south of Port Perry) a while back.  About ten years ago, I got severely bitten by the wood fired baking disease.  One thing led to another, and I built a brick by brick Alan Scott design barrel vault oven on my property.  After that, the disease started to mutate.  Have a look at my website,, to see what we're up to here.

Real whole grain breads can be a bit on the tricky side at first.  You might want to try some of the "transitional" formulas in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, and then move forward from there.

Fenelon Falls is a nice spot; lucky you. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And I can't get over your oven, Lovely! 


CanuckJim's picture


We make Ancienne here on a very regular basis.  Handling the dough is best shown rather than explained.  However, shaping is completely the wrong term for this soup.  After the dough is divided, we draw them out (stretching's not quite right) to the desired length of about 16 inches, degassing them as little as possible.  Trick is to flour the bench quite completely using a fine sieve, and flour the cuts as they're made when dividing.  For transferral from bench to peel, we use a long, floured icing spatula.  The loaves should be tranferred very gently and NOT dropped onto the peel.  We don't slash or dock the loaves with a blade, because the cuts will close right up.  Instead, we use floured scissors.

We bake them on 650F hearth bricks in our wood fired oven (retained heat only) for about seven minutes to an interior temp of 205F.  Use lots of steam, vent halfway through the bake. Here's a couple of pics:

Hope that's some help.


cake diva's picture
cake diva

CJ, I can just imagine my teeth sinking into this baguette.  Oh my!!! --cake diva

candis's picture

beautiful pictures and thank you for the helpful explanations

I will buy a long spatula but do you know where I could buy a helper? (i live alone in a very remote area!)

candis's picture

PS that was a joke.

CanuckJim's picture


Unfortunately, indentured servants are in short supply these days.  Maybe you could train a local critter: coon, squirrel?  We've had several generations of crows that know to be silent when we're baking.  They sit in a pine and wait.  Do not turn your back on those bagels.


senara's picture

My absolute favorite is Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread.  It's a recipe that you can very easily change to suit your flour access/taste buds.  You'll find endless variations online.  It's the kind of bread I've made while plastering walls, doing laundry, you can run in the kitchen - put it together - let rise - pop in oven and EAT!

My recipe is as follows:

11 Irish wholemeal four

4 Bread flour

1 rye

1oz wheat bran + wheat germ



seeds: poppy/sesame/fennel* - delish with fennel seeds

Good baking!