The Fresh Loaf

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yozzause's picture

Yesterday i gave good old Black and Gold flour a run. The sour dough culture was revived from its slumber (2 months away) and was good to go. i decided it was time to try Chad Robertson's Tartine Country loaf. The formula differs from my normal 3:2:1 which has the levan @33% CR uses 20%.
I didn't have any wholemeal flour on hand so substituted that for Kakulas Sisters Multigrain flour i also added some wheatgerm too but other than that it pretty much followed the formula in his book. i also used less water too.
The method was to combine the levan and the water first then to add the flours and bring together into a cohesive mass leaving the salt aside for the Autolyse (rest) period, Mine lasted an hour, you then sprinkle over the salt and work it into the dough with a squeezing action until it dissipates the dough is then set aside in a good sized container and allowed to rest covered for an hour, the dough is then given a series of stretch and folds each hour and set to rest again each time i did S & F's over 4 hours, on the 5th hour the dough was turned out onto the bench and divided into 1 piece @750g for my regular Banneton and the other @ over 1100g for my longer larger Banneton. The dough pieces were pre shaped and allowed further bench rest of around half an hour, they were then shaped and inverterd in the bannetons (seam side up) they were placed in the much maligned single use plastic shopping bag (no longer single use) to protect from droughts and skinning, it also catches transpiration gases and moisture and maintains a moist environment for the dough piece to expand. The kitchen was quite cool @19 deg C so i used the Subaru wagon sitting outside in the sun with a very pleasant 31 degrees C Just about perfect. After just over 2 hours the proof was now ready the oven was pre heated to the max the tray with boiling water and a terry towel hand towel was doing its thing in the bottom of the oven the first loaf was tipped out onto a hot baking sheet and scored and into the oven the temperature was set at 210 C. The idea of cranking up to max is that a lot of the hot air is lost when the door is opened for loading plus the steam generation is also lowering the temp as steam is formed at 100.
the steam tray is pulled from the oven after 10 to 15 minutes once the crust is set and there is no more oven spring taking place. the bake takes 30 to 35 minutes to complete.
On this occasion the second loaf followed the first, i had placed this in the fridge whilst the first loaf baked just to slow its development. 
Over all very happy with the result and will be trying this one again quite soon, It will be a good swap for some caper bush cuttings and possibly some caper seeds too from Fiona

i have attached a chart showing the differences from the Chad Robertson formula and mine






Alan.H's picture


I have a nostalgic childhood memory of a black or near black bread that used to appear on the table at family get togethers in the East End of London just before and after the war. Once in a while that memory returns strongly enough to encourage me to start yet another futile unsuccessful search to discover what this exotic bread was…….. futile that is until last month when I came across  This video on YouTube under the name rus brot.

 It is in Russian with English subtitles and it was the opening shot of the finished loaf which stirred those old memories. However I was surprised to see that the bread was actually Borodinsky bread created using a 1940 recipe, a bread I am familiar with from other recipes and from Stanley Ginsberg’s “The Rye Baker”, but always shown as a tinned loaf and a rather lighter colour. None of those had previously given me that Eureka moment that said “this is it”.

 So of course I had to bake one for myself. It is quite a complex recipe requiring a two stage levain build, a scald which has to be kept at 63-65°C for five hours, a pre dough and a final dough mix but my first problem was getting hold of the 50g of red rye malt flour called for in the recipe, which as others have found is rarer than hens’ teeth. But I happen to have some rye grain and my new toy, a Mockmill 100, so how difficult could it be to malt it myself?  A quick search on this site resulted in an entry from dabrownman dated March 2012 which gives the method complete with ample photographs, so thank you for that Dab.

After that I just followed the recipe using my own milled rye flour and Marriages Strong white instead of the 150g of first clear wheat flour called for which is unobtainable in the UK (unless someone tells me otherwise) and here is the result.


It is quite delicious although not quite as open crumbed as I would like even for a wholegrain rye loaf.

So having had my “Eureka” moment the doubts are starting to set in. I have now seen other loaves on the rus brot channel which might also have qualified as my childhood black bread and my own attempt turned out to be more mahogany than black so if anyone out there can suggest or guess at what bread might have been baked and sold to the largely Jewish immigrant families of London’s East end before, during and after the second world war I would be more than pleased to hear.

As a post script, for anyone interested, rus brot has a collection of 15 videos of Russian and German bread recipes including the Borodinsky which are in Russian with English subtitles.   They can be found Here


pul's picture

My starter has been living in the fridge since its creation, but last week it decided to die for some reason. Fortunately, I had some dry starter chips in the fridge, which I could revive and after two feeds the "new" starter was good to go, very active. 

I hydrated the dry chips for 4 hours, and then fed it twice over the next 20 hours. Notice that I used tap water directly and things worked out fine. I believe the tap water here does not have a lot of chlorine.

Baked a loaf made of 67% white + 33% mixed whole wheat and rye flour at 68% overall hydration and 9% fermented flour. I also added some 10% mixed seeds for texture (flax, quinoa, chia), which were soaked in cold water for about ten hours. Very pleased with the crumb and crust. The loaf had an explosive oven spring, tearing apart the scoring slit from side to side as never seen before in my loaves.



not.a.crumb.left's picture

We are back from the holidays and needed bread...

So back to baking some Champlains and was a bit nervous as my last bake before the

holidays did not go very well.....

I like the 'square scoring' that the Italian baker Matteo Festo sometime uses and his stuff on IG is amazing! He says it helps with oven spring and I gave it a go.....

I love the way it just opens up like a flap!

could not resist and just cut the loaf...quite happy with the crumb....considering it is the lower hydration Champlain...

and the other loaf... friend Anna gave me the basket to distribute my bread! Ha, Ha I feel like Little Red Riding Hood!

dabrownman's picture

mantra and calling card.  My wife is from St Louis and I grew up in Kansas City.  I ran across this youtube video about artisan bread in St Louis and Kansas City with a treat at the end that reminds me of where we live now and what we think about when it comes to cuisine and what we like to eat and drink.  I would suggest to smoke the Italian sausage though.

Happy viewing.

Danni3ll3's picture

This particular loaf is inspired from Maurizio at The Perfect Loaf. I was looking for a different flavour combination and this intrigued me. I am not particularly fond of fennel but the rave reviews convinced me.


The first hiccup was to find some diastatic malt because Maurizio uses malted flour but no such animal is available in Canada. I thought I had made diastatic malt last weekend but since I let the shoots get green, I was informed by “the powers that be” that my diastatic malt was no such thing. Well that explains why I didn’t notice a darker crust or crumb. So I was on the hunt to find some locally. Long story short, I found some CMC Canadian 2-row malt berries in a small brew shop. Yes! And “the powers that be” on TFL tell me that this will work! Double yes!

The second hiccup was milling my whole grains. Maurizio used whole wheat flour but I wanted to change things up so I subbed out some Kamut and Spelt just because. 😁Well, I didn’t quite mill enough to provide enough bran for the levain so I ended up using some bran left over from last week’s bake. I was short 2 g of Kamut so I simply added 2 grams of red fife. I adjusted the quantities below so that it should be okay. If there isn’t enough bran for the levain, just make up the difference with unbleached flour.




Makes 3 loaves





25 g starter

50 g bran/flour mixture left over from milling and sifting

50 g unbleached flour

90 g water at 85F (divided into 50 and 40 g portions)


Main dough:

125 g high extraction Red Fife flour (mill and sift 140 g of whole berries)

50 g high extraction Kamut flour (mill and sift 65 g of whole berries)

50 g high extraction Spelt flour (mill and sift 65 g of whole berries)

800 g unbleached all purpose flour

11 g diastatic malt powder (mill finely 11 g of CMC Canadian 2-Row Malt barley berries)

50 g freshly ground flax

12 g vital wheat gluten

800 g of water at 86F

20 g pink himalayan salt

30 g yogurt

150 g levain

200 g golden raisins (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained)

7 g freshly ground fennel seed


2 days before:

  1. In the morning, take a bit of your refrigerated starter and feed it equal quantities of filtered water and unbleached flour. Do the same again about 12 hours later. I prefer using bottled or filtered water as the chlorine can affect the wee beasties in a negative way.
  2. Mill the grains (red fife, kamut, spelt) and sift out the bran. 
  3. Mill the malt barley berries to get diastatic malt powder. 
  4. Grind the flax seeds in a bullet (Komo recommends against milling oily seeds like flax in their mills).
  5. Weigh the high extraction (sifted) flours needed and place in a tub. To the tub, add the diastatic malt, the vital wheat gluten and the ground flax. Stir well to distribute the malt and the VWG, cover, and reserve.
  6. Save the bran and the extra flour for the levain.
  7. Grind the fennel seed in a bullet to get a fairly fine powder. Reserve.


1 day before:

  1. In the morning, do the first build of the levain by adding 50 g of warm water and 50 g of bran/left over milled flour to the revived starter. 
  2. 4 hours later, add the 50 grams of unbleached flour and 40 g of warm water. Let rest for 6 - 8 hours and then refrigerate overnight to let the acid work its magic on the bran. I let mine rise for 6 hours since it peaked at that point then into the fridge for 15 hours. Hopefully, this was long enough for the acid to soften the bran and prevent it from cutting too many gluten strands.


Dough making day:

  1. Take the levain out of the fridge and let it warm up.
  2. Add the warm water to the flour tub and autolyse for at least 3 hours. The dough felt very firm right from the beginning. I am not sure if this was because of the hydration or the additives but this was definitely not a loose dough. 
  3. Add the salt, the yogurt and the levain and mix well to integrate. Do 50 in tub folds/coils and let rest 30 minutes in the oven with the lights on and the door cracked open (~82F). The gluten seemed really well developed and the dough pulled cleanly off the walls of the container about half way though the folds. 
  4. The plan was to remove the dough from the tub and do 100 slaps and folds on the counter. I decided that this dough didn’t need this so I did regular stretch and folds for a total of 8 folds using both hands to really give it a good stretch. Place back in the warm spot. 
  5. At this point, boil water and pour the hot water on the raisins and let soak. 30 minutes later, drain the raisins. I saved the soaking water with plans to either flavour my kefir with it or use it in another bread recipe. 
  6. Take the dough out of the tub onto a barely damp counter and do a set of envelope folds in both directions. Let rest 10 minutes. Spread the dough out in a large rectangle and sprinkle with part of the raisins and ground fennel. Fold the dough into envelope folds and sprinkle more raisins and fennel on the bare spots. Do gentle slaps and folds until the raisins stop popping out of the dough. Place the dough back into the tub and into the warm spot. Be sure to keep the dough covered whenever it is in the tub. 
  7. Continue doing stretches and folds every 30 minutes until the dough holds itself nicely into a round shape. It took another 3 sets after the addition of the raisins with this dough. Then let rest until you can see small and large bubbles on the surface. Total bulk fermentation for this particular dough was 4.5 hours. 
  8. At this point, I thought I wouldn’t have time to divide and shape the dough before my walk so I put it in the fridge. The walking buddies decided that 37C was too hot to walk but my dough was already in the fridge. So some time was spent baking blueberry muffins, French blueberry yogurt cake and a blueberry crumble pie. Oh, did I mention I got my hands on some wild blueberries? The dough stayed in the fridge for about 2 and a half hours. 
  9. Remove the dough from the tub into a bare counter. Sprinkle flour over the dough and divide into 3 equal portions of about 790 g. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the portions and round the boules using a bench knife. Let rest. Eat one or two blueberry muffins. 😁
  10. After an hour rest, shape tightly into boules (I used this method: ) and place seam side down into rice floured bannetons. Cover and let rest at room temperature (73F) for two hours. Then place in a cold fridge (38F) to proof overnight.


Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and gently place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 22 minutes.



Looks like I got fantastic bloom on these loaves. They really burst open! I hope the crumb is as nice as the outside! Oh and they smell wonderful!

dabrownman's picture

Years ago, Lucy came up with a fruit stupid that had a sweetened, enriched bread dough for a crust.  This time Lucy really want all out with an almond crust, adding a cream Anglaise and cream cheese filling with the fruit on top.  This one is light years ahead of her first one if you ask me.

Baked almond crust


We used 3/4 can of evaporated milk, 2 eggs and 1/4 C of sugar for the Anglaise that we thickened on the stove and cooled in an ice bath with some orange zest and nutmeg to give it some flavor.  When it was nearly cooled we whisked in 1/3 C of whipped cream cheese.

Creme Anglaise filling down and the plums started

The almond crust was half ground whole almonds and half Lafama AP, 2 tablespoons of water, 2 T of melted butter, an egg, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/8 tsp of salt.  We baked it blind for 12 minutes at 350 F until it just barely started to turn golden brown at the top edge and then removed it to a cooling rack

Ready for the heat

Once the crust was barely warm we spread the cooled Anglaise on and then placed the 4 black plums, 2 nectarines and 2 peaches, all sliced, in a rose pattern with the plums in the center.  Then the whole shebang was baked at 375 F convection for 36 minutes in the Mini Oven to give the fruit some color.

Glazed and waiting to cool

As soon as it came out of the oven, we glazed it with a tablespoon of apricot jam thinned with a tablespoon of orange juice.  It smelled pretty good baking and it looks good enough to eat but as soon as it cools we will put it in the fridge for coo; down for tonight’s dessert for the grilled salmon dinner with forbidden black rice, salad and steamed veggies.


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