The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chacon Catastrophes Moka - Ian’s Mocha Disaster Chacon

dabrownman's picture

Chacon Catastrophes Moka - Ian’s Mocha Disaster Chacon

Update:  The round boule was wrapped in parchment and a towel for 30 hours to see what difference it might make.  It cut much cleaner and tasted twice as sour.  A quartered  pix and another one with one of the quarters sliced.

This one is for Ian.  After coming back from China his first bread viciously turned on him and became a disaster.  We have wanted to bake off his wonderful looking Mocha Multi-Grain SD bread for some time.



He spoke highly of how it tasted and it sure looked tasty even though it didn’t have his newly brewed cherry YW in it.  David Snyder’s take on Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel from a year and half ago popped up this past week.  txfarmer’s chocolate 36 hour baggies from a year ago came up too and they too looked delicious.  Breaducation’s wonderfully over-seeded and add in’s take of Chad Robertson’s Rugbrot appeared.  It was just beautiful.  Then Mebake’s Multi-grain Struan with soaker and seeds showed up.  Very nice indeed.   All were inspirational for this unique bread.



So, we thought we would combine something from all 5 and commemorate Ian’s recent bread disaster with a long retarded,  ‘Mocha Disaster Chacon’ in multi-grains, mega seeds, super soak with YW and SD combo starter.  You have to pay homage to the bread gods as the Maya did to their gods when it didin't rain enough for their liking and needs.  gods like the attention when things go bad and if you don't comply with a suitable offering then who knows what bad and terrible things will happen to you.  So we hope the bread gods will accept this gift and let Ian's future bakes be fruitful, delicious, well risen with blistered, dark, crispy, thick crust and moist, airy crumbs.

The flours used included durum atta, semolina, dark rye, whole wheat and AP.  The soaker included rye, WW and  spelt berries, buckwheat groats, cracked bulgar and barley, steel cut oats and quinoa.  The seeds included; pumpkin, sunflower, millet, hemp and flax.


Ian loves his pistachio oil but we used walnut oil here.  What would an Ian bread be without potatoes?  So we put some in.  Sorry no caramelized onions, I feel a little guilty since they too would have been a nice addition.  In this case, grilled left over red and sweet potatoes were sautéed in butter, olive oil, and herbs.


We had some possum pelt and armadillo nectar but decided not to use them thinking they might get lost in the mix.   My apprentice was heartbroken since she had risked life and limb to catch these critters.   We will leave these exotic ingredients and those from the auto parts store to the Ian – the master of bread ingredient combinations, if not, scientific oddities.

These boules were not total disasters, were deeply browned and cracked as Chacons are wont to do.  Sadly, no blisters as Big Old Betsy just doesn't provide them as well as the mini oven does.  Small is beautiful they say and, when it comes to ovens, they are correct. Can’t wait to cut into one to see how open the crumb promises to be - even with 122% soaker and seeds. 


Well we didn't wait long.  The crumb was open and so moist.  Had the heel plain and a slice toasted with butter.  Delicious!  Then it was time for lunch.  This bread called for a nice limoncello for lunch, being a special occasion and all-  and some fine pate too.  Life is good.  Another great sunset last night.

The formula follows the pix’s as usual.


 The Method

The method for this bread is a little complicated but not difficult if you don’t mind really sticky dough.  The sourdough and yeast water starters were built together ‘en combo', instead of separately, over (2) 3 hour and (1) 2 hour builds.

The SD portion was seeded with 10g each of our rye sour, desem and multi-grain starters.  The levain was then refrigerated overnight for 10 hours.  The next morning it was allowed to come to room temperature before incorporating into the autolyse.

The soaker was made by pouring hot mocha coffee over the mix and allowing it to steep for 6 hours.  The mocha coffee was made by putting 5 heaping teaspoons of Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate mix in our standard brew.  It was yummy on its own.

The dough, mocha, malts, potato and salt were autolysed for 2 hours.  The levain was added and incorporated into the autolyse in the mixing bowl on KA 2 for 2 minutes and then 2 minutes on KA 3. The dough was allowed to rest, covered, for 30 minutes.

This is sticky dough so it was hand kneaded on a lightly floured surface for 4 minutes until it was smooth.  The dough was allowed to rest for 20 minutes before the first of 3 S&F’s were done 20 minutes apart. The first one should have incorporated the soaker and the 2nd one the seeds.  But I dumped them all in on the first one and then struggled to preserver against impending disaster.

There is a lot of mocha, soaker and seeds in the Mocha Disaster Chacon!  Don’t give up, they will all get in there eventually. I had to add some bench flour and knead the dough to get it to work well for me.  The dough was then allowed develop and ferment for 1 hour in the oiled, covered bowl.

The dough was divided in half for two 800 plus gram boules.  102 g of this was pinched off for a knotted roll that was placed in the middle of the rice floured baskets (a Chacon directive) and the remainder of the dough was formed in the Chacone style and placed over the roll.

The 2nd oblong boule has a knot in the center but, instead of folding the edges up for the remainder of the dough, it was formed into a short fat batard (as opposed to a short, fat ba*tard) with a depression in the middle - just so it wouldn’t look the same as the round but it ended up looking the same anyway.

Once the baskets were loaded, the loaves were allowed to proof on the counter for 90 minutes in a tall kitchen trash can liner before being retarded overnight for 14 hours.  They doubled in fridge – a good sign.

Since it rained last might, it was 75 degrees this morning so we decided to bake these boules off together in the big GE for a change with (2) of Sylvia’s steaming pans in place below the stone.  The oven was preheated to 500 F.

The boules were removed from the fridge and overturned onto a peel covered with parchment – no sticking.  The Chacon never requires scoring since it is allowed to naturally open up as it sees fit.    Into the oven they immediately went, as cold as the fridge could make them.

They didn’t seem to notice the heat.  These boules sprang very well, cracked nicely and baked up deeply brown.   They were steamed for 15 minutes with the temperature being turned down to 450 F after 5 minutes.

The steam was removed at 15 minutes and the temperature turned down to 425 F convection this time.  The Chacons were rotated every 10 minutes until they were done, 205 F inside, about 20 more minutes or 35 minutes total.

The boules were allowed to rest on the stone for another 10 minutes with the oven of and door ajar before being removed to cooling racks.


Ian's Mocha Disaster Chacon     
Mixed StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total   %
SD Starter, ( Desem, Multi-grain, Rye)3000305.16%
Yeast Water205007016.83%
Durum Atta10200307.21%
Dark Rye20100307.21%
Total Starter13010010033079.33%
Levain % of Total19.84%    
Dough Flour      %   
Non - Diastatic Malt30.72%   
Dark Rye5012.02%   
Ground Flax Seed102.40%   
Durum Atta5012.02%   
Diastatic Malt30.72%   
Dough Flour416100.00%   
Mocha Coffee25661.54%   
Dough Hydration61.54%    
Total Flour581    
Mocha Coffee566    
T. Dough Hydration97.42%    
Whole Grain %56.97%    
Hydration w/ Adds96.62%    
Total Weight1,663    
Soaker         %   
Hard Red WW Berries102.40%   
Rye Berries102.40%   
Buckwheat Groats204.81%   
Steel Cut Oats204.81%   
Cracked Bulgar204.81%   
Cracked Barley204.81%   
Spelt Berries102.40%   
Mocha Coffee14534.86%   
Total Scald27566.11%   
Add - Ins           %   
Barley Malt Syrup102.40%   
Walnut Oil 102.40%   
Millet & Hemp Seeds - 25 ea5012.02%   
VW Gluten102.40%   
Mashed Grilled Potatoes7217.31%   
Pumpkin & Sunflower - 45 ea9021.63%   
(5) heaping tsps of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Mix   
Soaker + Add in %124.28%    



gmabaking's picture

is more gorgeous than the one before...How do you do  it? This is an awesome bread just in makeup but in delivery, Wow!

dabrownman's picture

much gmabaking.    It seems like I have go back and fix things at least 5 times after I post.  MY apprentice can't type well with my two fingers and her 4 paws and the grammar and spelling are lacking too.  I like to do photos as we go along with the description so that if someone wants to make the bread they can pretty much figure out what is going on and have an easier time of it.  Some, like this one can be more complicated.  It makes for longer posts but hopefully other bakers can profit from it.  The camera does most of the work on auto pilot once you figure out how to use it.  This one actually has a food and close up settings which helps to no end :-)  Steady, hold breath and shoot!  A lot easier than making bread.

This was a fun bake to do with much inspiration from so many fine bakers.  Who would have thought about using Mocha Coffee for the liquids except Ian?  Thanks again.'s picture

...the kitchen sink.  My god, d.a.b., I think it's time for you or Ian to say "uncle", before one of you adds that one ingredient that makes the mix explosive.

I can't imagine what these must taste like but I sure wish I could sample them.  They'd have to be yours because I can't see me ever endeavoring to assemble an ingredient list like that.  Totally over the top.

Maybe you could log on to and thereby enlist one to sample a slice, take a picture of the big grin so we'd have more of a clue how wonderful these breads must taste.

Awesome work.  More like play.  Thanks for keeping careful enough track of that ingredient list to post!

Now to see what incendiary formula Ian's going to come back with...




dabrownman's picture

I used to love what I did and now I do what I love.  It is more like play as yous say.  It comes from making a lot of different breads and having left overs readily at hand.     All we did was start looking around and the next thing you know it's a beast unleashed with nowhere to hide.  We always have multi sourdough and YW starters but not long ago we wanted to do a Joe Ortiz desem bread and a rye sour so had them hanging in the fridge.  Hanseata got me into seeds so we have  bunch of them and you can't do pips' walnut sage paste bread without some walnut oil.   If you grind your own flours you have all kinds of berries in the pantry and I make my own malts.  Beer makers are never without barley malt syrup.  Who doesn't have coffee and hot chocolate mix?

But this bread, as Ian says, is a special one that really tastes great and not difficult to make.  Never had anything like it.  You don't have to have everything to give it a go either.  You could leave out half the stuff and it would still be a really fine tasting bread.  At least it didn't have sprouts, spices, herbs and caramelized onions too - a few more of our favorite ingredients.  We like to have room to grow a formula if necessary :-)

Ian will come up with some new ingredient soon enough - that you can take to the bank.  I just hoping the bread gods will lie low for him for a while.

Glad you liked the bread and thanks for your nice words Tom.

isand66's picture

I'm covered in Cherry Juice now.......

dabrownman's picture

in a weird, if strange, but hopefully wonderful and tasty way.  I'm not sure it is legal in all states though :-)

breaducation's picture

Wow just saw this one. Looks so good! I love the flour pattern those baskets give. Also, how many different grains you packed into that soaker. It really looks delicious and nourishing! You've given me some great ideas from this bread.

dabrownman's picture

Chad's Rugbrot was a big inspiration for this bread.  Glad it gave you back some good ideas for a future bake.  It is delicious and very healthy too I'm guessng,  I'm going to do  a sort of white flour version of this bread - 30% whole grains, with less stuff in the soaker and fewer seeds (only 42% total  baked in the mini oven the Chad way with an aluminum DO turned over the bread for steaming.  Haven't done any DO baking for awhile.

Love your baking and website.  Thanks for your comments.

Mebake's picture

So unique, so exotic, DA! And so many ingredients... This is simply no bread anymore, it has been transformed into a healthy gourmet snack! I'd snack on slices of these, just for the fun of it. 

The crust is beautiful, and the crumb is well developed and very attractive! Thanks for paying tribute to TFL bakers. Ian Must be glad.

dabrownman's picture

correct Khalid.  It is sort of like trail mix in a slice.  Just delicious no matter how you eat it; plain, toasted, buttered, jammed or sandwich.  It will make for a fine crouton eventually :-) Your Multi-grain Struan was the final kick in the pants  this past weeks for this bread.  It too must be delicious.  After having a bake go bad, I hope Ian is happy that the bread gods have been partially appeased and he can now get back to his unique baking we love so much.

There are so many great bakers of all kinds on TFL .with all kinds of bread interests, who routinely inspire each other to bake better, new and sometimes uniquely - it is just part of the TFL 'fallout' of members participating and sharing their success and failure. 

So how was the feast at the end of Ramadan? One of the few meals I really miss since leaving the Middle East.

Mebake's picture

What feast? Are you referring to the daily break fast meal after sunset, or the celebration after Ramadan? 

Were in the middle east have you been to, DA? 

dabrownman's picture

referring to the celebration after Ramadan.  I think I have been all over the ME and visited every country, kingdom and emeriate many times.  We built commercial and multi story buildings there for 10 years and then I moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for 2 years to cut down on the long travel from the USA.  That is why I moved to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona when I came back.  It reminded me of Jeddah weather wise - without the Red Sea.  That is where I learned to make good pita and hummus....yummy and many other ME foods we still make and enjoy today - like Moroccan Bistella (B'stella) - one of my favorites.  Love camel (only at weddings), goat, lamb and even Iguana too.  Shawarma and falafel places, the juice bars...Etc.....  were favorites too.  All the cooks and bakers thought I was crazy when I would say to them  'I want to help you make this so you can teach me how to do it right.'  They did so every time too!  What an experience to never forget.

Mebake's picture

So, you have been around in this region. Good! I see you miss it already. 

Food should be the last concern during Ramadan, as it is a month of abstinence, and restraint from food, drink, and sinful behaviors. Not surprisingly, people here tend to associate the month with food.



dabrownman's picture

liked the feast when Ramadan was over.  The food was exotic, unique, plentiful, varied and delicious.  Everyone was in a fantastic mood, happy and ready to celebrate.  A great time for family and friends - if not for the waist line.

Mebake's picture

Oh My.. I just realized, i may have offended you or TFLmembers in my comment above, DA. I was referring to the people here, as in Dubai.. or the region , not TFL.

And thank you for the kind comments.


dabrownman's picture

offense made or taken my friend.

Bake on.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Dabrownman, I love your virtuosity with words and ingredients

dabrownman's picture

learn to spell and and type.....  Right out of Architectural School, for 2 years, I was a technical writer.   But not the kind most folks think of.  I was the one who wrote the notes and call outs on architectural drawings that explaind how to put buildings together.   You have to learn to be empathetic and put yourself in someone else's shoes and say to yourself, Now, if I read this, could I actually put it together - correctly? It makes you think and write differently, not better, just different - and my wife swears that I am a different kind of person - even though she is from Venus. :-)  I also think there can be no love with humor.

Thanks to you kindly even though I steal most of my ingredient ideas, techniques and formulas from folks like you.

isand66's picture

Wow....I'm honorerd you were so inspired by my bread to come up with this masterpiece.  When I saw the title I thought for sure my bad luck had followed to you and you were posting about a brick after trying my recipe....I'm so happy your bake came out so good.  I love your ingredient list and how moist and open your crumb came out.

Don't know if my second take on my cherry cheese SD bread will come out better than the first, but it certainly won't hold a candle to this great bake.

Thanks again for giving me so many props...not sure I deserve them but they are appreciated!

Have a great weekend!


dabrownman's picture

3 covers in a row deserves props but they aren't needed - your bread is eloquent all by itself.  We really like this bread.  Another top 5 for sure.  It was fun to put together and bake.  Thanks for the inspiration.  There are so many good bakers on TFL now, all you have to do is pick just about any post and have a field day with it - even though you know how much I hate to stray from conventional thinking - just like you come to think of it :-)

There is something totally deep down fulfilling, if worthless, to lending a lesser understanding to the problem at hand  and really goofing off when it comes to bread formula following - especiully when we might be only ones who can do it with flair and abandon the old fashioned way - if necessary.

This bread was for you and you deserve it, no matter what the bread gods say.

Look forward to your Cherry Cheese bread, once you get.....eeeerrrrr.... all the juice off. 

Bake on my friend


isand66's picture

Between the Cherries and the block of cheese this is an expensive bread I'm attempting....I think my brain is still mushy from being in China, because I decided to add the cherries and cheese before the last S & F which was pretty idiotic...hopefully I can manage to still get a good end result....fingers crossed.

I'm glad I inspired you....


dabrownman's picture

incorporate add ins like seeds, sprouts, scalds and soakers   in the 2 next to the last S & F..  we usually have a lot of them so, iif we are doing (4) S&F's   the soaker would go in on #2 and the seeds on #3.  #4 would be used to get it all evenly distributed and make it come together in a nice boule before the fermentation began.   Seems to work.  This one I just goofed up and piled them all in on one S&F and paid the price for my wickedness and lack of aforethought.   Ops guys always have to remember the 7 p's. Proper, prior, planning, prevents, piss, poor performance.  The bread gods will not make it easy for you in any event........