The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

More Jan Hedh Breads And Some Peanut Butter Comfort

hanseata's picture

More Jan Hedh Breads And Some Peanut Butter Comfort

What did I do during the holidays? Baking, of course! (We were invited for Christmas dinner, so no family cooking). I love my newest addition to my evergrowing collection of baking books, Jan Hedh's "Swedish Breads & Pastry". Though I do not follow his technique in every step (I prefer steaming with a steam pan and a cup of boiling water), and, also found the baking times for some recipes way longer than the bread needed in my oven, I think it's a great book.

After my first trials with apple yeast leavened Pain au Levain, I tried my hand with Miche Bread with Sourdough. Jan Hedh suggests rising the shaped loaves on a couche. I own one, but I rarely use it, preferring a perforated baguette pan for my Pains a l"Ancienne, bannetons or simply a parchment lined baking sheet for boules and bâtards. Though I dusted the loaves with flour, and covered them with a towel, after 2 hours (without extra plastic wrap protection) the breads had developed a skin (except for the bottoms). When I tested them with my finger, it felt like poking a rubber ball - the skin didn't allow a small indentation, but folded in somewhat, and then bounced back.

No scoring was required, and I placed my rubber balls in the oven, hoping that their soft belly would let them spring, even if the skin didn't. Fortunately I was forewarned, by my earlier experience with Hedh's bread, not to trust the baking time in the recipe. Indeed, the bread reached the desired 208 F/98 C internal temperature already after 28 minutes, instead of 45! And though they didn't have much oven spring, the crumb was good, my rubber balls had been filled with all the air they needed during the rise. The bottom, as to be expected - not having a "skin" - was less brown, and the crust thinner.

Miche with rye sourdough

Miche crumb shot shows the difference between top (drier skin) and bottom (no skin).

My next bread was, again, an example of The Power of The Apple Yeast. Fed with juice drops from cutting oranges for our cereal, the apple yeast water was peacefully fomenting in the fridge, waiting to become leaven for the next dough. I started building a 3-steps-levain, with my lamp-on-only oven as perfect environment. WhileRising the breads - two large loaves - I had another surprise. With the same temperature in the kitchen, these breads rose much faster than the time given in the recipe, whereas proofing the sourdough miche had taken nearly twice the time. Well, I've heard somewhere that "the dough is always right, not the clock".... This time I let the boules rest on a parchment lined baking sheet, they rose mightily, no skin development - and no bouncing rubber balls.

Because of my earlier experiences with shorter baking times, I checked the breads for done-ness after 30 minutes, but, surprise, this time they needed the full 50 minutes, as stated in the recipe.

Pain de Campagne with apple yeast - spiral scoring inspired by txfarmer.

Pain de Campagne crumb

Both breads had an excellent taste, and kept for 3 days in a brown bag. The large Pain de Campagne loaf (ca. 1200 g) I cut in halves and froze the other half.

After all that serious bread baking - the stollen and lebkuchen being eaten - I needed some peanut butter relief, while a Nor'easter howled around the house and a blizzard promised a great workout with the shovel. Several opened glasses with peanut butter (our daughters tend to dump their kitchen leftovers at our house) provide a never ending supply, creamy or crunchy, organic or less healthful.

Peanut Butter Muffins from "The Muffin Bible".

These muffins are wonderful, moist and, with an additional dose of toasted peanuts , even more peanutty.


Mebake's picture

Beautiful, Karin!

What is the composition of the sourdough miche?

hanseata's picture

The formula is:

87% bread flour, 13% rye flour, 63% water, 1% mature rye sourdough starter (100%), 2.3% salt, 0.5% honey, 1.6% instant yeast.

All rye flour, the starter, 5% bread flour and 13% water are mixed in a pre-dough and refrigerated for 15 hours.

Hedh calls this a "light French bread that goes with everything". I took it to the Christmas dinner and it was a great success.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The Pain de Campagne, a wonderful fine crumb, how did you do it?

Ah peanut butter, I think I'm the only one around here that bakes with it.  We had a crispy -12°C this morning.  Your muffins would have hit the spot!


wally's picture

I really like the crumb you achieved on the miche and pain de campagne.  I would think that for the miche, a banneton (well-floured) would be the perfect vessel for letting it rise.

Happy baking in 2011!


hanseata's picture

During the bulk rise, you should, according to Hedh, push out the air twice, with both hands from the middle,, then folding the dough over from all sides (I actually folded and stretched the first time).

Larry, next time I would not leave a dough rise that long on a couche, but use the banneton, or place it, well covered, on a baking sheet. Even though I covered the breads on the couche, also, the was too much air coming in from the sides (folds) drying the surface a bit too much, whereas the bottom stayed very moist.

Interestingly, I just tried a specialty bread from Hannover, called "Hannover Gerster", where the dough even needs to have a skin before baking - in order to singe it with a torch! When I'll bake that the second time and get better photos, I will post it. It tasted great!

Happy New Year,



ananda's picture

Hi Karin,

I love the crumb of both these breads.   Thanks for posting your work on these loaves from Jan Hedh.  Lovely breads, as always.

I'm bringing my copy of Hedh's Artisan Breads back home from College in the New Year so I can work on these fruit yeasts.   You and Daisy_A et. al. have brought new techniques to TFL which I'm really keen to have a "play" with.

Best wishes