The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Benito's picture

This time I used yellow miso which is milder in flavour than the more assertive red miso I usually use, only because red miso was unavailable the last time I bought miso.  Also my homemade miso is far from ready yet needing many more months to ferment.  The furikake I bought for this bake didn’t have the bonito flakes in it so instead was a simpler seaweed and sesame seed.  The furikake is so delicious with just steamed rice and that is what I usually eat it with.

I made a pretty big mistake when mixing this dough.  I was doing my recent overnight process of levain build and saltolyse (salt in autolyse) which I’ve been having very good results with recently.  The main reason for doing this was to give me more time in my day to do other things by having the levain build and be ready by the morning.  However, when I mixed the water into the flours I kind of felt that it seemed wetter than usual but didn’t think much of it because it was late and I was tired.  It wasn’t until the next day after adding the levain and trying to slap and fold that I knew for sure that I had made a mistake somewhere.  In reviewing my notes and formula I realized that I had added the total water which includes the water in the levain instead of the water for the mix.  So the dough was in excess of 90% hydration which for my flours 80% bread and 20% red fife was way too much for them to absorb.  Not sure if this would work, I measured out 75 g of whole red fife and gradually sprinkled this in and mixed until the dough came together.  I added about 60 g of this flour in and did a quick calculation that the hydration was down to 80% but the whole red fife was up to 39%.  So if anything now the hydration is a bit low for the flour.  Oh well, what can you do.  I just hope there aren’t pockets of raw flour or bits of hard dough in the crumb of this bread.

The resulting dough was over 1 kg so the largest loaf I’ve made.  I wasn’t expecting much from this but I think it turned out better than expected considering the early error I made, but the crumb will tell all.

Miso was increased to 5.6% to try to bring out the flavour.  Furikake was added during the lamination but I forgot to add more after the letterfold so there still isn’t as much as I had planned.

gavinc's picture

Today I baked Hamelman’s Deli Rye Bread with caraway seeds. I used 15% freshly milled stone-ground rye that was pre-fermented overnight in an 80% hydration stiff sourdough starter. The overall formula is 66% hydration and includes 1.75% caraway seeds. The dough had a good feel throughout the process and was proofed in a linen couche. I baked the loaf on an oven stone in a pre-steamed oven and steam for the first 10 minutes. The oven spring was particularly good and crumb nice and soft. The flavour is wonderful, slightly tangy and the caraway seeds contributed to a complex flavour profile.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I tried a couple of Maurizio's recipes with Kamut (baguettes and ciabatta), and while I had other issues with those breads, I loved the nutty/buttery taste of that grain!


I had some Kamut flour left from those bakes, and recently saw Benito posted his amazing looking 20% and 30% Kamut breads. So I decided to also just go for it! I used his 30% recipe, with some simplifications of the procedure (e.g. no lamination and shorter autolyse). Here is the compositions of the bread (I made two loaves):


The dough was nice to work with, a little sticky but completely manageable. I shaped one as a batard (below) and one as a boule, that I gave away to a friend (I always bake two breads, and give one to someone). And these were one of my most successful "regular" (i.e. normal shape/process) breads in the last couple of months!

I accidentally switched on the broiler for the steamless part of this bake, and I actually loved the colour it brought out in the crust!


And of course it's delicious! For a 30% whole grain flour it's surprisingly light in colour, as usual for Kamut, and the golden hue of the crumb is just so beautiful. Definitely going to come back to this bake!

Benito's picture

Back at the same sesame semolina sourdough baguettes but with some changes to try to improve the crumb. So I made some changes in the hopes of achieving a more open crumb. The first significant change I made was to delete the commercial yeast altogether, this change was made by accident and wasn’t planned as removing the commercial yeast wasn’t something that I thought would improve the crumb.  In fact, I thought that the addition of commercial yeast was part of what was giving my an open crumb.

I increased the hydration from 67 to 71% and I also reduced bulk fermentation rise in the aliquot jar from 25 to 20%. My thinking there was increasing hydration is often one route to open crumb as long as you handle the dough well. The reduction in bulk rise was done to make dough handling easier. You see, when I had to transfer the shaped dough to a tray with a wet towel and roll it, then transfer it to the tray with the sesame seeds and roll it, I found that the dough felt like it was getting degassed and stretched out too long. So reducing bulk made the dough much easier to handle this much and once seeded and in the couche the dough was 16” long, the max for my baking steel. Finally to compensate for the reduced fermentation I added a 30 mins bench rest in the couche followed by my usual 30 minute chill in the fridge. The fridge time is intended to firm the dough up to make it easier to score.
I think my changes were very successful and I’m quite happy with the improvement in the crumb compared to my first set. Leaving out the commercial yeast didn’t have the negative effect that I expected in making the crust thicker nor did leaving it out make the crumb less open.

Pbdeguzman's picture

my journey into flour milling started after stumbling upon a video of Michael Pollan lamenting about commercial flours inferiority. 

idaveindy's picture

(Above image is pre-cooked, shortly after mixing.)

Sep 15, 2020.

This is the rolled oats and seed loaf, called "Adventure Bread", from "Josey Baker Bread."

I needed to make at least one substitution: I don't like the effect that psyllium husk (aka Metamucil) has on my system, so I used some extra chia seed, and added some orange-flavored sugar-free "Citrucel" which is a competing product to Metamucil, and doesn't give me the side-effect that Metamucil does.  I figure the orange flavor won't be too far out of place.

I also used agave syrup instead of maple syrup.

I bought this book in Kindle format when it was recently on sale for US $2.99.

I lucked out and it fit perfectly in my loaf pan, which measures 8-7/8" x 4-7/8" inside measurements at the top, 2-3/8" deep inside. (And it has sloped sides.)  

In cm, it's 22.5 x 12.4 x 6 cm deep.

Ingredients: Uncooked rolled oats (old fashioned, thick, not quick oats) toasted whole sunflower seeds, toasted whole pumpkin seeds, toasted chopped almonds, whole raw chia seeds, whole raw flax seeds, agave syrup, grape seed oil, salt, water.

No leavening, no yeast, no sourdough.

I put it in an oiled  loaf pan, and it's waiting in the fridge for a few hours and will bake tonight, 1 hour at 400 F.

So... it ends up being gluten-free too. 


ifs201's picture

I try to keep my loaves around the 50% whole grain level for health reasons and decided I should just bite the bullet and go for 100% this time.


  • 350g home milled hard red winter wheat (Redeemer)
  • 75g home milled spelt
  • 85g starter at 100% hydration (my starter did contain some KABF so technically the loaf is more like 95% whole grain)
  • 360g water
  • 10g salt



  • Mill grain 
  • Sift out biggest pieces of bran and soak in hot water to reincorporate later (only got about 20g of bran since I don't have a real sifter) 
  • 2-stage levain build
  • 3 hour autolyse
  • Added starter and soaked bran to autolyse at 4:45pm followed by 5 min Rubaud method 
  • After 30 minutes add salt followed by 6 min Rubaud method 
  • After 15 minutes do 2 more min Rubaud method
  • fold on counter
  • laminate 30 min after fold
  • let dough rest for 1 hour
  • coil fold, wait 30 min, coil fold again (I had planned on 3x coil fold, but when I went to perform the 3rd I decided the dough was at risk of overproofing at the 3h 45min mark with room temp around 77)
  • Shape and proof in fridge for 7-8 hours
  • Bake in DO for 22 min at 500 and then with lid off for 21 min at 475 


idaveindy's picture

This is my first loaf bake in six months. I have been making small flatbreads in the meantime.

I milled seven pounds of flour on Friday the 11th -- 3 pounds of Prairie Gold hard white spring wheat, 2 pounds of Kamut, and 2 pounds of hard red winter wheat.

The goal here was to re-do the previous bake, #19:

with a longer autolyse, and a shorter ferment. 

Previous bake had 58 min autolyse, 12 hrs 11 min bulk ferment, and 1 hr 15 min final proof.  That was over-fermented. It also had 90.3% hydration.  I  checked my paper note sheet, and didn't see any mention of it being too wet. I should have re-read my blog entry, where I noted that 90% was too slack.

This had 2 hrs 2 min autolyse (no yeast/no salt), 9 hrs 14 min bulk ferment, 1 hr 22 min proof.   This was also over-fermented, but not as much as previously. Less yeast, or less bulk/final time, or doing part of bulk in fridge may have been the right move. 

For this bake, #20, after adding the salt, the dough mass was very stiff and tight.  But after the bulk ferment, it was too wet and slack.  Hence.... use less water next time too, and wait for it to slacken to do kneading or stretch and folds.  But it was late, after 11pm, and I did not follow my own advice (that I have already blogged about.)


9:09 pm. Mix 586 grams home-milled flour (400 g Prairie Gold, 120 g Kamut, 66 g HRWW) and 497 g bottled spring water. 84.8% hydration at this point. It felt just right for an autolyse of WW.

[ 2 hours 2 minutes autolyse.]

11:11 pm. Added 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast, folding it in. Added 32 g bottled spring water mixed with 11.7 g salt (mix of Himalayan pink salt and generic iodized salt.  It became very stiff, but did some gentle kneading and stretch and folds to get it well incorporated.

Total dough weight: 1127 g.

11:23 pm. Finish S&F.  Was very tight still. Should have waited for it to relax and do more S&F.


[ 9 hours 14 min bulk ferment. 11:11p - 8:25a ]

8:25 am. Fold and shape. (Forgot to pre-shape.) Put in lined and floured banneton, floured with 1/2 rice flour, 1/2 generic AP flour.

8:33 am. Finish above.

9:06 am. Start oven pre-heat, 495/475 F.*  With Lodge 3.2 qt combo cooker.

9:45 am. Oiled cast iron pot, sprinkle with corn meal.

[ 1 hr 22 min final proof.  8:25 - 9:47 ]

9:47 am. Bake covered, 495/475 F, 10 min.

9:57 am. Bake covered, 470/450 F, 10 min.

10:07 am. Bake covered, 450/430 F, 12 min.

10:19 am. Bake UNcovered, 420/400 F, 20 min.

10:39 am. Bake uncovered, 400/380 F, 2 min.

10:41 am.  Internal temp 209.7 F.

* First number is thermostat setting, second  number is actual.


Oven spring was not as good as my better sourdough loaves, but it was better than #19.  I couldn't resist, and cut into the loaf after 1.5 hrs.  It is a little too moist.


So next time I use IDY:

1) Bring total dough weight up to 1200 g.

2) Only 1 hr autolyse.

3) 87% final hydration.

4) Wait for dough to relax after adding salt, and do more S&Fs.

5) shorter bulk, or put in fridge.

6) WAIT before cutting open!


I cut it open way too early, as you can see at the top.

gavinc's picture


My liquid white flour starter gets gradually weaker over time, although was created from rye flour. My regimen was to feed my culture a couple of times a week and refrigerate after the starter had ripened on the bench. The culture is 125% hydration and is fed with white bread flour.

The culture was initially strong with good rising power. After about three weeks it becomes weak and has a reduced ability to give a good rise and volume to the loaves. I have to occasionally freshen the starter with stone-ground rye to return its vitality and power.

The problem is that I did not notice the weakened state of my culture until I elaborated the starter to make the levain. The ensuing bake yielded a loaf with poor rise and volume.


I stumbled across Jeffrey Hamelman’s ISO videos. In the Vermont sourdough episode, Hamelman revealed that the culture he maintains at home is a stiff rye sourdough. He gave the formula as 10-gram stiff rye sourdough, 20-gram rye flour and 17-gram water. I calculated the baker's percent to be 50% stiff rye sourdough, 100% rye flour and 85% water. He feeds it every morning and has been doing so for 40 years, without alteration.

I was immediately interested in trying out a stiff rye starter in the hope it would solve my issue.

Furthermore, in the Deli Rye Bread episode, Hamelman again used his stiff rye sourdough to make the Deli Rye Bread. He also included some liquid starter. He does not maintain two starters, only the stiff rye sourdough. When he needs a liquid white flour levain, he first converts some stiff sourdough to a liquid starter over two feeds.

I was convinced that this would provide me with a consistently lively starter that I could rely upon.

My experience

I fired up my Excel spreadsheet and made the calculation: Liquid stater to a stiff rye sourdough to match Hamelman's.

The process is in two stages:

1.       Convert the liquid starter to a stiff starter. This is only needed to be performed once. To 56 gram of my 125% hydration liquid starter, I added 68-gram of stone-ground rye flour. Cover and leave on the bench until next morning.

2.       Commence Hamelman's regimen. Mix 10-gram stiff rye culture with 17-gram water. Mix in 20-gram stone-ground rye flour.

I repeat the feeding once a day first thing every morning.

Using the stiff rye starter

Many of the sourdough formulae I bake with requires a liquid levain of 125% hydration.

Again with my spreadsheet, I calculated that I could easily create the liquid levain over two feedings. At the time of feeding the stiff starter in the morning, I use the leftover starter to make a small amount of 125% liquid starter: 37-gram stiff rye starter, 20-gram water and 9-gram bread flour. Then leave on the bench until about 5 pm that day. I then elaborate the starter to make the levain for the next day. The levain requirements for a Vermont sourdough is to pre-ferment 15% of the overall flour. Bread flour 100%, water 125% and mature liquid starter 10%. (I put the levain in a proofing box overnight at 24C). The levain is ripe when needed at 7 am the next morning.


The elaborated levain was very bubbly and appeared lively, more so that I have ever seen.

Dough development

I noticed at the end of the bulk fermentation, that the dough had a nice feel of lightness, and had good structure.

It was easy to pre-shape and shape into an oblong. I placed the dough into a banneton to proof.  After 2 hours I checked the dough and determined it was ready for the oven, half an hour earlier than the usual proofing time.

The dough was easy to score after being inverted onto a wooden peel. It did not flatten out on the peel and held it's structure.


I baked the loaf on a stone in a pre-steamed oven, and steam for the first 10 minutes after loading. Finished in a drying oven.

The oven spring was much better than before. The ear and gringe opened up nicely.

This will now be my new sourdough starter regimen.






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