The Fresh Loaf

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Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain

Today's bake...I had a small bag of ancient grains cereal blend leftover from my last order from Fieldstone Organics Granary. It's a tasty and nutritious mix of oats, buckwheat, flax, barley, spelt and emmer; I soaked 200 g of this for 5 hours and then cooked it into a porridge over low heat for 45 minutes. I wanted the grains to be soft and chewy like a sprouted grain but with a bit more of a porridge consistency, In the meanwhile, I autolysed a blend of fresh milled, organic rye, einkhorn and red fife flours (30%) with unbleached, organic white flour (70%) mixed with 750 g water.  I have been experimenting (more for my own curiosity's sake than anything empirical!) with length of the autolyse (water and flour only), varying from 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the amount of fresh milled whole grain. In this case the autolyse was 2 hours followed by the addition of 220 g of a young levain (3 hours old, from a very active starter fed twice per day) and another hour later, 22 g sea salt. 

It's been pretty warm (for us it's warm, 25-30 C) for the past week so it was a challenge to maintain a dough temperature 77-80 F; I have found in my own experience that my bread seems to turn out best when I pay attention to keeping the dough temperature in this range. The bulk fermentation proceeded very quickly in the warm kitchen necessitating frequent visits to the fridge and back to the counter to regulate the dough temperature.  I added 250 g of the cooled ancient grains porridge and 25 g toasted, crushed sesame seeds during the second fold.  I estimate the total hydration at this point was probably around 85% including the additional water in the porridge; the dough felt like an 85% hydration dough, nice and billowy, puffy, soft and stretchy!  

I pre-shaped and bench rested the dough for 30 minutes before final shaping; then into the fridge overnight for a nice slow 18 hour cold proof.  I baked the loaves this morning in combo cookers - covered at 500 F for 20 minutes; 10 minutes at 450 F then uncovered at 450 F for 18 minutes.  

The crumb was custardy and moist with soft, chewy little bits of the various porridge grains; a very mellow, sweet flavor from the fresh milled wheat and whole grains. The crust baked nice and crispy thin with a subtle nutty flavour from the various grains and the small amount of sesame seeds.  All in all, I am happy with this bread and will definitely add it to my list of favourites.







NYC_BreadGuy's picture

After waiting literally many years to bake my own bread I finally did it. Thank to Jim Lahey's no knead recipe which I followed to the letter this bread came out wonderful and was very tasty and delicious!

dmsnyder's picture

Nothing new and exciting baking here this week, except my wife's French Plum Crisp. I baked a couple of my go to breads. My version of Forkish's Pain de Campagne, very different from his, actually. I do use his baking procedure, although it's really Chad Robertson's. Oh, well. It makes really good, crusty bread.

And a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough. Here's one of them, just to make a point:

  \ See the point?

Happy baking, every one!


isand66's picture

  Fresh milled Spelt flour and Rye along with rye chops, cracked wheat and barley flakes were left to autolyse for 24 hours.  The resulting bread was an earthy, nutty wholesome bread perfect for sandwiches, grilled bread or just spread with some butter.




Spelt Rye Multigrain (%)

Spelt Rye Multigrain (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 8-12 hours or until the starter is nice and bubbly.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours along with the rye chops, cracked wheat and barley flakes until incorporated and add all of the water.  Mix for about 30 seconds until you have a shaggy dough and cover your bowl.  Put it in your refrigerator overnight or around 24 - 36 hours.

Next add your starter, salt and oil and mix on low speed if using a mixer for around 4 minutes.

Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.


Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.






Danni3ll3's picture

Well this was almost a bust! I am not sure what happened but my bread didn't rise very much at all. I thought it might have been that the alcohol in the cider killed the yeast but there are sourdough recipes out there done with hard cider. This was on top of messing up the hydration when I realized I was short 65 g of levain and took some of my stiff starter from the fridge and added water to it. So this is not a true 1-2-3 sourdough. This is what I did.

Ingredients for two loaves
135 g of partially sifted whole grain flour levain at 100% hydration
65 g of the same starter cold from the fridge and diluted to 250% (Should have done the math first instead of winging it)
400 g warmed cider
400 g unbleached flour
150 g multigrain flour (Robin Hood)
50 g dark rye
50 g toasted pumpkin seeds
25 g toasted sunflower seeds
111 g chopped dates, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained
48 g sultana raisins, soaked in boiling water 5 minutes and drained.
12 g salt

Toasted seeds in frying pan on medium high heat until lightly browned.
Soaked dates and raisins in boiling water. Drained after 5 minutes.
Mixed levains into cider and added flours. Mixed well by hand until dough looked shaggy and let rest in warm place for 30 minutes.
Added salt and add-ins and incorporated by folding and pinching the dough. Dipped hand in water occasionally to reduce sticking.
Placed dough in a warm place and did 4-5 stretch-and-folds every half hour for a total of 6 times. Dough seemed very loose.
Let dough rise until poofy and about one and a half time its original volume. This took a long time.
Turned out on a floured surface, divided into two parts and pre-shaped. Let rest for 10 minutes and shaped using the letter fold method. I had to repeat this because the dough was quite slack and sticky. Hydration probably ended up too high due to my error with the levain. Placed in floured baskets and put into fridge to retard overnight.
The next day, I took them out of the fridge and noted they didn't rise at all so I left them to rise at room temperature for almost 5 hours until there was some semblance of a risen loaf.
I heated oven to 500f with the Dutch ovens inside. When oven was heated for at least 45minutes, I turned out the dough onto parchment paper. Scored the dough.
I carefully placed the dough inside the Dutch oven using the paper as a sling, put the lid and baked for 20 minutes at 500f. Dropped temp to 450f and baked an additional 10 minutes. Removed lid and baked till dark which was another 10 minutes.

Danni3ll3's picture

For the honey bread challenge, I got the inspiration from here:

I had a piece of leftover Gorgonzola from making pizzas and some dried pears on hand and thought that honey would go great with them. I added an oat soaker because I love the texture it gives to bread.

50 g whole rolled oats soaked in 100 g boiling water for a few hours
50 g dried pears soaked in boiling water for a few hours and drained
100 g multigrain flour
227 g unbleached flour
25 g honey
167 g water
72 g Levain (rye and partially sifted whole wheat at 100% hydration)
1/4 tsp yeast
6 g salt
40 g pecans, chopped
50 g Gorgonzola, crumbled
Autolyse the water, flours, honey and oat soaker for a half hour.
Mix in the salt, yeast and Levain by pinching and folding.
Add in the nuts, Gorgonzola and drained pears by first spreading the dough into a rectangle on a wet counter and sprinkling the add-ins on top. Roll up and do a set of slaps and folds to incorporate the add-ins evenly.
Put in a warm spot to ferment. Do 4-5 stretch-and-folds every half hour for a total of 4 times.
When the dough is just about doubled, turn out on a floured surface and pre-shape. Let rest for 20 minutes and shape using the letter fold method.
Place in floured baskets and put into fridge to retard overnight.
The next day, heat oven to 500f with Dutch oven inside. When oven has heated for at least 45minutes, turn out dough onto counter sprinkled with cornmeal. Score cold dough.
Sprinkle cornmeal in bottom of Dutch oven, carefully place dough inside, put lid on Dutch oven, and bake for 20 minutes at 500f. Drop temp to 450f and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove lid and bake till nice and dark.

It stuck to the Dutch oven so I had to put the lid on to steam it out. I popped it back in the turned off oven for a few minutes to recrisp the crust. Crumb shot will come when it cools down.

Ru007's picture

This week’s bake is my third try (in a row) at oat porridge bread. The results of the first two tries were good, but i’ve been trying to get the feel of the dough right. First time was way to wet and, second time was a bit too stiff, third time was just right!

The flour blend is also a bit different from last week, I went with a 70:30 split instead of 60:40 (thanks CedarMountain for the tip).



Weights (g)



Final Dough (g)


Levain (80% hydration)


































Unbleached white bread flour







Whole wheat flour







Rye flour




























Oat porridge














Total dough weight

          1 031



           1 031



1. Levain builds in three stages, all with whole wheat flour.

I retarded the levain overnight once it doubled after the 3rd feeding.

2. Toast 80g of rolled oats and then add 160g of boiling water and let that soak overnight.

Mix the flour and water to make a stiff dough, chill for a few hours and then leave to come to room temperature overnight.

The hydration of the autolyse was a bit higher than last time, so the dough wasn’t so stiff. 

3. In the morning, remove the levain from the fridge two hours before mixing, stir down and leave to bubble up again.

Mix the dough, oat porridge, salt and levain, using a series of stretches/slaps or whatever gets everything mixed in really well.

I added another 30g of water to the oat porridge at this point because the dough was feeling a little stiffer than what I wanted.

4. Develop the dough using stretch and folds.

I did another 4 sets at 45 minute intervals. Leave the dough to bulk ferment for a few hours (I left my dough undisturbed for another 3 hours and 45mins).

5. Pre-shape and leave to rest for 30mins before shaping and retarding overnight.

I left the dough to proof for another hour and a half before putting it in the fridge for 18 hours.

Bake the loaf for 50mins at 230 dC, with steam during the first 30mins.


The loaf sprang and bloomed fairly well. I may have over proofed this one a bit, but that's okay. 

The crumb is very soft and fluffy and the crust was thin and crackly. I struggled to slice it without squishing loaf in the process! 

The flavour of this loaf is the best of the three. I think having a bit less whole wheat, really allows the nutty taste of the toasted oats to come through. This one is also a bit more sour than the first two loaves, not sure what that's about, but i like it. 

Comparing the results of the three loaves, I think this has got to be my favorite. 

Happy baking 


Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

My attempt at Poilâne-style bread, here's the recipe - Breadtopia's seemed reasonably authentic and reliable. My starter was rye and perhaps a bit more runny than it should have been but the dough proved nicely, sprang beautifully in the oven and cracked handsomely on top.

What can I say? I was really disappointed with the taste. Quite cloying and a bit too sour for my liking. It also didn't last well at all - stale after only a couple of days, and my bread usually gets through a week.

Was it me doing something majorly wrong, or is it overrated?

dabrownman's picture

We gone for a few days in Texas our daughter’s graduation from PA school at UTMB.  She did very well graduating with honors and awards so we rented a Jamaica beach house in Galveston to celebrate with her, family and friends – there were a dozen of us.

So there was no post for last Friday but we were eating home make bread brought frozen from home!  We catered the food for Saturday night – the best shrimp gumbo ever with Greek salad, garlic pita bread, shrimp Po’ boys and libation for all.  Thank goodness these folks like beer and wine as much as we do so no need for a full bar.

Look how chunky that levain is!

This had to be a special bread so it had to be a whole sprouted grain bread of some kind.  Lucy came up with a 40% whole rye and 60% sprouted wheat – half red and half white wheat.  We haven’t made a bread like this out of 100% sprouted grain before and simple seemed best.  100% hydration sprouted bran starter, 100% hydration overall, 5% caraway (black and brown) and 2% salt – easy enough.

The 500g of sprouted grain produced 100 g of bran at a 20% extraction rate after sprouting, milling and sifting.  All of it was used in the single stage levain.  20 g of NMNF starter was used as the seed so the levain ended up at 220 g a large one that is needed for a whole grain, sprouted, rye bread like this.  This levain was stirred at 3,6, 12 and 22 hours but it never rose an smidgen – zip – no rise at all!

It really smelled killer though….. so we knew it was active even though too heavy and dry to lift itself at all.  Sure enough, once it hit the 1 ½ hour autolyze at the 24 hour mark, it was ready to go to work.  After 1 set of 30 slap and folds, 2 sets of 6 slaps and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds, all at 20 minute intervals we let it rest for 20 minutes

The toasted and barely ground caraway seeds went in on the first set of stretch and folds.  It remained sticky and wet but did develop some gluten at the end of sticking to everything.  It really proofed fast and was ready for the oven 1 1/2 hours after hitting the pan but the oven wasn’t on yet………  It had doubled after another half hour and I was worried that it would collapse in the heat but it managed to hold its own without any spring to speak of – whew!

We baked it at 425 F with the lid on for 20 minutes and It smelled great once the Pullman lid came off for another 20 minutes- convection this time.  We un-molded it 10 minutes after the lid came off and continued baking it on the rack between the two stones.  We took it out of the oven at 200 F and put it on the cooling rack at the 50 minute total mark.

Now we have to suffer the smell as it cools, wrap it in plastic when cooled and wait till tomorrow to slice it after the moisture redistributes.  We have made lots of 40% rye breads but never one that tastes anything like this one.  The 100% whole sprouted grain makes this one the best tasting low rye percent bread we have ever made.  It is powerfully delicious - deep, dark, hearty and healthy.  It is sour too.  That chunky bran levain, that smelled powerful but couldn't lift itself, was not overpowered by the grains.  It was just in hiding and really wanting to do its thing with the 20% pre-fermented bran.  If you aren't sprouting grains and using a bran levain for your breads, it is time to see what is possible yourself.  You won't regret it.

Have a salad with those ribs

Or a fruit crisp 



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