The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

Leftover brandy from all those festive season plum puddings and cake.  So I decided to make Sweetened Brandy Buns for brekky in the new year. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. It is quite good with something more savoury, butter and a gentle cheese like a gouda. From The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard.

leslieruf's picture

Came across this bread on Instagram posted by "fullproofbaking" - Milk & butter oat porridge sourdough.  I have attempted to follow her recipe, scaling it to make two loaves.  I tried to keep bakers percent as close as possible. This was baked on 31st December 2018.

29/12/18:  Refresh starter and convert offshoot to 100% hydration


8 am build levain – I needed 129 g 100% hydration

8:15 am Toasted 76 g chopped whole rolled oats (Kirsten used quick oats) with 21 g butter, adding 165 g whole milk and gently cooking.  Removed from heat and added 63.5 g ice.  This cooled it and thinned the consistency to a manageable level as porridge was very thick.  (Next time I will just add water if preparing in advance). Set aside until needed.

13:15 pm Autolyse  for 2 hours (A little shorter than Kirsten’s as I am wary of long autolyse with the flours here)

Bread flour 559 g (78%)

AP flour 90 g (12.5%)  

54 g rye flour home milled (7.5%)  

gluten flour 14 g (2%)

583 g water (81.4%)

15:15 pm Mix final dough – added 129 g levain then did 100 SLAFs before adding 14g (2%) salt and then 158 g cooled porridge.  (I froze the remaining porridge and used it in the next bake) and did another 100 SLAFs to incorporate.  Dough was very soft.

16:15 pm one set of stretch and folds

17:00 pm As per instruction – gently stretched and laminated dough.

17:45 pm One set of stretch and folds

18:30 pm One final set of stretch and folds. 

I divided the dough at this point then left until it was about 50 – 75% increased in volume. This was about 1.5 hours.  The dough was shaped and brushed with egg wash.  One loaf was rolled in rolled oats then placed in banneton.  The other loaf was rolled in oat bran.  Both were left at room temperature for 30 minutes before retarding overnight.  Baked in the morning in DO at 240 deg C  for 15 minutes lid on and 15 minutes lid off with convection. 

Crumb shot.


We loved this bread.  Crust is soft and flavour is delicate but very very nice.  Crumb is nice but dough spread more than I wanted.

10/01/19  Attempt no. 2

The plan was to reduce hydration, try and build more strength, no lamination.  This time I made only one loaf, same formula and method except about I used all bread flour, did about 30 more SLAPs and no lamination.  I forgot to engage my brain and forgot to do the egg wash and oat  topping! DARN!! 


Once again it has spread and then I realised I had NOT reduced hydration at all.

 Crumb shot.


Well I will have to try again and I have already edited formula to give a lower hydration – as this is well over 84% hydration (if I calculated correctly) if you include the porridge liquid.

A bit despondent, can’t seem to get enough strength in this dough.  A 1:2:3 made with yeast water and sourdough with 20% rye went much better so maybe it isn’t my technique… will keep trying

Happy baking all


davey1025's picture

I haven't cut one open yet to see the crumb but my first time using spelt and was fun to do.



trailrunner's picture

Used the Mock Mill to grind my cornmeal. There isn’t much information out there so had to experiment. I ordered 6# of Hoosier Hill Farm yellow popcorn. Haha I was optimistic about my new project! 

I used “10” to start thinking it would be good for polenta. I then took out one cup of that and moved down to “5” then “1”. 

The cornbread is amazing with fresh ground corn! But there are a few crunchy bits. I reset the mill to get a new set of “10” finer grinds. I started at the new “10” then went to “5” and then tried moving toward “1” but the mill stalled. I quickly moved back to about “3”. Perfect! I was using the same cup of cornmeal for the regrinding. 

The info I would pass on as a result of this is: buy good quality popcorn, start on your coarsest setting and work down. Depending on what your desired recipe is you can go coarse for polenta and finer for grits and finer yet for cornmeal. 

Do not buy dent corn as it is field corn and intended for 4 legged critters. The ultimate would be fresh corn cut off the cob and dehydrated and then ground. That’s my plan come Summer. 

The cornbread is made with buttermilk and tastes like pound cake. Truly wonderful especially baked in my Mom’s antique iron skillet 😊❤️

Served hot with local honey... yum!




Danni3ll3's picture

 I had an excess of sweet potatoes in the pantry so it was time to try a bread with potatoes in it. Thank to whoever mentioned that sweet potatoes are 70% hydration. That really helped in making sure I didn’t end up with soup instead of dough. 😳



Makes 3 Loaves



  • 700 g Unbleached flour 
  • 150 g high extraction Kamut flour (175 g of Kamut berries-mill and sift out bran)
  • 150 g high extraction Spelt flour (175 g Spelt berries- mill and sift out bran)
  • 550 g water 
  • 300 g sweet potato, baked, cooled, and mashed
  • 100 g raw pumpkin seeds 
  • 50 g freshly ground flax seeds 
  • 30 g yogurt 
  • 250 g 3 stage 100% hydration levain (Procedure in recipe)
  • 23 g salt 
  • Extra bran, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds


Morning or mid-afternoon the day before:

  1. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g of bran. I used bran left over from other bakes where it was sifted out. One also can use Wholewheat flour. Let rise in a warm place (oven with the light on and door cracked open - 82F)
  2. Mill the Kamut and Spelt separately and sift to obtain 150 g of high extraction flour for each grain. Save the bran for another use. 
  3. Place the high extraction flours in a tub and add the unbleached flour and the freshly ground flax seeds to it. Cover and set aside.
  4. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan or in the oven and reserve. I did mine in the oven since it was still hot from baking the sweet potatoes. 

The night before:

  1. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g of AP flour flour including any left over high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm place overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of AP flour and let rise 5 hours in a warm spot.
  2. If your mashed sweet potatoes are in the fridge, take them out to warm to room temperature. 
  3. Two hours before the levain is ready, put the water in a bowl of a stand mixer and add the sweet potatoes with the flours. Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This took only a minute or two. Autolyse, covered, for a couple of hours.
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix just long enough to distribute them evenly. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes. 
  5. Do 4 sets of folds at 30 minute intervals, then switch to hourly folds for another 2 sets. 
  6. Retard the bulk for 3 hours. The dough rose barely 20%.
  7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of 760 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter. 
  8. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  9. Sprinkle bran, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 9-10 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside.
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 25 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.


I got great oven spring! Will have to wait until we cut into one to see the crumb. 


Anthony Power's picture
Anthony Power

Decided to make my first adventurous sourdough an Irish one and also wanted to bring porridge into it as i haven't tried that yet. So i settled with a strong cheddar + stout/oat soaker. I was thinking the stout soaker would be a good idea as the oats would soak up the stout/alcohol and wouldnt effect my bulk dough performance as much to try make the results a bit more predictable. 


My last 2 bakes have been Tartine country bread so i loosely based this recipe and process off that. 


Gathered my ingredients:


Decided with the crafty brewing company Irish stout over a predictable Guinness as its more malty and sweet. The cheddar is one we normally buy, nice and mature flavoured.

Water (26C) (inc leaven)600 grams55%
Stout250 grams23%
 Total liquid77%
Leaven (100% hydration)200 grams18%
Total Flour (inc oats & leaven)1,100 grams 100%
White Flour750 grams68%
Whole Wheat Flour50 grams5%
Whole Rye Flour50 grams5%
Oats150 grams14%
Salt22 grams2%
Cheddar 100 grams 




At 11:00 am

Gave starter second feed of the morning. 

Started autolyse by mixing all the flour (white/ ww / rye) with 500g of water. It was dryer/firmer as i withheld the stout for the soaker. 

Made soaker by mixing 150g oats and 250g stout... at 11am in the morning i was tempted to finish off the other half of the bottle!!



At 12:30 my starter was lovely and bubbly so i added 200g to the dough mix. I withheld the soaker and salt as i wanted to give the dough a head start - i was afraid of possible effects from the alcohol in the stout. 


At 13:00 i was ready for my first S&F so i added in the soaker, salt and cheddar. 

 The 100g of cheddar was just a guess amount and i cubed it rather then grate as i wanted it to be found through the bread rather then incorporated/lost. 


I S&F every half hour at room temperature 23C. 

It was 18:00 before i was ready to preshape - was amount 30% bigger and loads of bubbles.


During the S&F the cheddar kept breaking the surface but by the time i got to pre-shape the dough was elastic enough to hold it all in



Arounf 18:45 both loaves went into baskets and into the fridge for overnight proofing. 


9:00am next morning i heated oven to max which turns out to be about 230c on the thermometer. Baking stone on the bottom rack with a pyrex bowl preheating.


Baked at 250c for 20mins with bowl and a further 25mins uncovered, I also moved the rack up to middle of oven for last 25mins. 


After 20mins:

After baking it out:



The Cheddar can be found in its own pockets all over :)

Overall im delighted with this one, crust is really stouty/malt flavoured as that flavour was enhanced by the dark bake. Inside has a lovely cheddar flavour throughout. The crumb looks very irregular in the pics but i think the cheddar played its part in that.

Elsie_iu's picture

 I have kept this bread simple as half of it was give away to some friends.



30% Toasted Sprouted Black Quinoa Sourdough


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

180g      60%       Whole white wheat flour

90g        30%       Toasted sprouted black quinoa flour

30g        10%       Sprouted white wheat flour


For leaven:

14g       4.67%       Starter

43g       14.3%       Bran sifted from dough flour

43g       14.3%       Water


For dough:

257g      85.7%       Dough flour excluding flour for leaven

257g      85.7%       Water

100g      33.3%       Leaven

5g          1.67%       Salt



307g       100%       Whole grain

307g       100%       Total hydration


Sift out the bran from dough flour, reserve 43 g for the leaven. Soak the rest, if any, in equal amount of water taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 4.5 hours (22°C).

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt and let it ferment for 20 minutes. Fold in the salt and ferment for 2 hour 25 minutes longer.

Preshape the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough then put in into a banneton. Retard for 8 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Score and spritz the dough then bake straight from the fridge at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.



This loaf was under-proofed because it took longer than I expected to ferment. It was already 12 a.m. and I was not willing to stay up late. Therefore, the texture of the loaf suffers: the crumb is sticky and relatively close.  

The taste is pleasant though. Sprouted black quinoa never let me down and this time is no exception. This bread is very sweet and truly nutty (I don’t use it to describe every kind of whole grain like many do). It is not sour, which was probably because of the cooler temperature. 




Beef Rendang and mixed vegetables with sweet & tangy peanut sauce 


Soba noodles salad with homemade fishcakes…But where’re the noodles? :)


Black pepper spiced pork and peppers tacos with Gorgonzola


Gorgonzola and scallions white wheat pancakes. Don’t judge. They’re good.


Mexican homemade chorizo omelette with smoky roasted green peppers sauce and refried beans


dmsnyder's picture

I continue to work with multi-grain sourdough breads using home-milled flours. Today, I baked two loaves. Both used the same dough, a mix of Central Milling ABC flour, whole Sirvinta wheat, Spelt and Rye. The Sirvinta whole wheat is the thirstiest I have ever encountered. For today's bake, I boosted the dough hydration to 85% with good results.

I mixed the doughs for each loaf separately and folded in 20% each dried cranberries and lightly toasted pecans in one of the doughs.

Photo Gallery

I'll confess: The Cranberry-Pecan loaf was first out of the oven, and I couldn't wait for it to cool completely before having a few slices for lunch with some delicious Emmental cheese. The crust was crunchy and the crumb was very moist and tender. The cranberries mostly contributed sweetness and chewy texture. They have less presence than the sour cherries and dried figs I have baked with before. All in all, a nice combination of flavors and textures.

The "regular" loaf had a lovely crackly crust and a more open crumb than achieved with lower hydration doughs. Just about perfect, to my taste.

You may note that I most often shape these breads as boules and bake in cast iron Dutch ovens. These loaves were shaped as bâtards and baked on a pizza stone with steam. When baking on a stone, I bake at a slightly lower temperature (465ºF versus 475ºF).

Happy baking!


albacore's picture

Recently, my loaves have not been fully up to scratch – a bit spready on the peel, poor loft and poor ears.

My starter seemed to be performing OK, but sometimes with starters, who knows? I’m not the sort of baker who would cherish a 100 year old starter, so time to try a new one!

I made my last starter just under a year ago following Gerard Rubaud’s method as detailed in MC’s Farine blog. It requires a freshly milled organic blend of 60% wheat, 30% spelt and 10% rye at each daily stage – and a proofing box to maintain a constant 27C. The starter was good, so I've used the same method again.

Starter creation went something like this:

  • ·         Day 0 pm: 86g 3 grain blend + 86g organic BF + 103g warm water. Hand mix to a ball and sprinkle on 0.4g malt flour and 0.9g salt. Knead these in and sit the ball on a bed of coarse 3 grain blend in a plastic pot. Sprinkle more coarse flour on top to cover. Put lid on pot and store at 27C.

  • ·         Day 1 pm: the dough was well risen with a sweet taste and a dirty smell. I brushed off the coarse flour and took 80g of the crusty part and mixed with 80g BF, 80g 3 grain blend, 108g warm water, 0.8g malt and 0.4g salt. Knead to a ball and put in the cleaned plastic tub, covered. Store at 27c again.

  • ·         Day 2 pm: again well risen, but with a sickly sweet smell. 66g starter + 83g BF + 50g 3 grain blend + 83g warm water + 0.35g salt. Store as previous.

  • ·         Day 3 pm: well risen, with smell much reduced. 44g starter + 58g BF + 25g 3 grain blend + 46g water + 0.2g salt.

  • ·         Day 4 pm: well risen, off smells gone. Starter considered fit for use and proceeded to make levain – my normal feeds at e5, e11 and m8

  • ·         Day 5 am: last levain feed and dough made 2 hours later. 20% 3 grain blend, 75% hydration and 16% stiff levain. Shaped loaves overnight retarded.

  • ·         Day 6 am: loaves baked - quite pleased with the result!

Here's the starter at Day 1, prior to scraping off the loose coarse flour:

Day 4 levain just mixed prior to referment:

Day 5 levain prior to use:

Baked loaf:

And the crumb:



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