The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first artisan bread

azbreadman's picture

My first artisan bread

I have  dabbled at bread baking for years, never dreaming I could produce anything resembling Bay Area bread, especially my favorites from Acme Bakery in Berkeley. Some months ago I bought Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I baked their version of Corn Rye with caraway seeds. It was quite good, though too dense and heavy.  I knew my search was far from over.


A couple of weeks ago I discovered The Fresh  I knew I was finally home. I read, printed and watched several videos on the site. I especially concentrated on Floydm’s Primer for the New Baker. This morning I finally baked my first REAL Artisan bread.


Using Floydm’s course as my guide, I baked Zolablue’s  version of Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye. With all the time involved, I decided to double the recipe and to bake four loaves.  I used a sourdough starter that I had prepared a week ago for the levain. With some  hints from a couple  Dmsnyder’s posts, the results are pictured below. My wife and I couldn’t resist tasting a slice before the bread had cooled down all the way. It has a nice sourdough tang and with a pat of butter is better than any cake!


As FloydM  has said, shaping the loaves is not easy. Although the taste and my sense of accomplishment were great, the crumb was somewhat heavy and the loaves a bit on the compact side. In tapping to see if they were fully baked, I never did get a hollow thunk sound. My instant read thermometer was at 202 after 30 minutes. I would appreciate any suggestions to improve my results. In the meantime I’ll go make myself another sandwich!


Pierre Nury's Rustic Light RyePierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye

LeadDog's picture

Looks great!  I want a slice.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, azbreadman.

Welcome to TFL!

Those breads look great, and it sounds like you are enjoying them.

Nury's Light Rye is a favorite. If you follow the recipe, you don't really "form" the loaves. The dough is way to wet. You just cut pieces off the dough and stretch them out for baking. If you were able to form loaves, I'd say your dough was not wet enough.

But, if the bread was good, that's what really matters.


Janedo's picture

You started with a good one! I agree with David, you should have wetter dough. The very open crumb is one of the beauties of this bread. I took the basic recipe and modified it in order to get the same taste, but more of a loaf that can be formed and slashed, in the proportions 950 g flour (200 g whole rye + 750g white flour 11,5% protein), 800 g water, 200 g firm starter and 20 g salt. I absolutely love BOTH versions. I think I'd say it is my all-time favorite bread.

This said, your bread looks wonderful regardless!

But you are only at the beginning of your discoveries on this site. The members have posted so many wonderful recipes and are always so helpful. Welcome to the club! 

Looking forward to seeing other breads you do,


azbreadman's picture

David and Jane,

 Thanks for your helpful comments. I see  that my dough was not wet enough. Now I have the perfect excuse to bake another couple of loaves! Browsing around TFL I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I use bread flour from Costco. Any suggestions for a good sourdough batard recipe?


AnnieT's picture

Uri, go to search and Susan's sourdough, and in the second list you will find my posting on Susan's wonderful recipe. I make a boule but there is no reason why you couldn't shape a batard. The loaf is cooked under a stainless steel bowl ( for steam) and is a winner. Good luck, you're off to a great start, A.