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Reynard's picture

It's amazing how far your confidence can plummet after baking a whole string of inedible sourdough frisbees. Necessity (and hunger) got the better of me, so this week I switched back to a hybrid recipe that's always worked well.

405g flour

20g oat bran

300g tepid water

9g salt

4g dried active yeast

45g rye starter

Tablespoon vegetable oil (I use rape seed oil)

It's actually a recipe for a Polish sour rye that I found in a book and adapted a little while back. By varying the types of flour and flavourings in the mix, I can produce loads of different kinds of breads. If I'm in a real hurry, I can up the yeast to 7g and do the bulk ferment in an hour at room temperature (20C) and the proof in about 30 mins. If I've got more time, I can take the yeast down to 3g and let the dough come together more slowly. 4g of yeast gives a bulk ferment of around 2 hours and a proof of around 45 mins.

I've also been experimenting with using a large stock pot inverted over a baking sheet in order to do the first part of the bake. I can fit a medium-sized bread under that, either free form or in an 8x4 tin. I put this contraption on top of a pizza stone in my pre-heated oven. I bake for 25 mins at 230C and then 20 mins at 200.

The first loaf I made had a flour mix that was two parts wholemeal, one part granary and one part white bread flour. I also added in a tablespoon of milled linseed. This quantity is just right for an 8x4 loaf tin.

This made a really good all-round sandwich loaf; chewy, flavoursome crust and a lovely soft crumb.

The second variant I made this week was the most ambitious... The flour mix was 3 parts white bread flour and one part wholemeal, but I added two ounces of grated cheese (a mix of mature cheddar and parmesan) to the dough at the kneading stage. Because of the cheese, I put in only 7 grams of salt as opposed to 9. After the bulk ferment, I knocked the dough back, rolled it into a rectangle and spread a couple of tablespoons of my home made apricot and chilli chutney over it. I then did a series of  letter folds and rolling out - a bit like adding butter to croissant dough in order to incorporate the chutney before shaping the dough into a boule and letting it proof. I took my eye off the ball a bit during the proof and ended up with a frisbee...

The chutney made the loaf brown really quickly, so I had to turn the oven down to 180 in order to complete the bake without the bread burning. Even though the loaf was rather flat, it smelled wonderfully cheesy, fruity and spicy all at the same time. The crust was chewy with a rather strong flavour, the crumb was super soft and very tasty - a really good bread for savoury things. Would be good to dunk into soup as well :-)

I would definitely have another go at this, but need to pay more attention to my timings and oven temperatures - and probably bake it in a tin. I do like the way the chutney ended up being marbled through the dough. This bread would make a nice tear-and-share loaf as well...

The third variant of the recipe that I tried last night is probably the most basic. I used the same 3 parts white to one part wholemeal for the flour as I did in the cheese bread, but I left out the tablespoon of oil. Instead, I replaced 60ml of the water with extra virgin olive oil. After the bulk ferment, I shaped into a boule (I now use a different method to the one that gave me all the issues) and proofed it. As it was rather warm in the house yesterday it rose quicker than anticipated - didn't want to end up with another frisbee, so I put it into the oven even though the oven hadn't quite come up to temperature. The oven was only at 150, so by the time it would take to reach 230, the dough would have been way overproofed.

I set the timer for 55 mins to take into account the fact that the oven was colder. After 25 minutes, I removed the stock pot from the baking sheet to find myself very pleasantly surprised. In the end, the bread only wanted the 45 minutes that it normally takes. Serendipity maybe, but for the first time ever, I had a really beautiful boule. No wonkies, no blow-outs, no flying crust, no Jekyll-and-Hyde bread. Just a boule :-D

To say I was over the moon was an understatement as boules have been the bane of my existence. I think in future, when using the pizza stone / baking sheet / stock pot arrangement, I will definitely put the bread in the oven before the oven has come up to temperature.

The crust is soft rather than crunchy, but still chewy, and the crumb, like the other versions of this bread is wonderfully soft. It is a lovely bread that goes well with just about anything - you can taste the olive oil, but it's not pronounced, more of a nice background note.

It's felt really rewarding going back to basics, and I've made some good bread to boot. :-)

On other fronts, yesterday Lexi brought me a dead racing pigeon and today she brought me a headless mouse. She also chased my neighbour's cat out of the garden. Meanwhile, Poppy has decided that an old paper Primark bag makes the best cat bed ever...

I don't know how Lexi can manage to look so cute and innocent... ;-) And I recently finished a few paintings I'd been working on, so I figured I'd share... :-)

FV Northwestern: 16x10 inch watercolour on bockingford

Paul Warwick, Hednesford Hills Raceway 1986: 14 x 10 inch acrylic.

Justin Wilson portrait: 20x16 acrylic.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the weekend - and best wishes from everyone chez Casa Witty :-)



dabrownman's picture

I am reminded of my favorite mythical philosopher; Yoda, who said ‘Try Not! Do or do not.  There is no try!  Yesterday was a day to try men’s souls – if there were any men. or women, left in the world.


The Fed was supposed to raise interest rates a lousy quarter point from and eighth of a point where it has been for 7 years as the entire world melted down because a few people couldn’t pay their mortgages back to the banks in the USA.


Everyone in the entire world knows that a quarter point interest rate rise would affect no one or business anywhere  and no one would even care…. if they noticed it in the first place.


But the Fed could not bring themselves to pull the trigger – it was just way, way too scary for them to contemplate what horrors would happen as a result of their totally meaningless act.  This is just another sign that the world is ending as we knew it – which is good because that world needs to die a horrible death.


Taking into account the opposite of courage that the Fed showed yesterday, Lucy refused to come up with a recipe for this week’s bake saying that if the Fed was too scared to move on their totally worthless rate hike, she had no reason to believe her, way more important, weekly bread recipe should ever see the light of day!


Well, she had a point.….but it was my duty, as her Master, to remind her that not being fed for a week would be a bad way to prove it.   I was just guessing she would realize what fed I was talking about of course.


Maybe we should keep all food away from the Fed the next time their spines begin to bend in the gentlest of fall breezes? Maybe it is better to tear up their paychecks and let them blow away in the fall breeze instead?


Finally, a small piece of Grandma Bell’s Apple Cake, waved in front of Lucy's huge nose, brought her around to sanity and restored her resolve to never, ever get in the way of any food.......for any reason  - no, not ever….. a wise thing for all of us to remember.


This weeks bake required a run to Whole Foods to get some spelt, barley, farro (emmer) and einlorn since Lucy’s Pantry was nearly dry – oh my!   Since half the whole sprouted grains in this bread are very low gluten or weakly so by nature, Lucy thought that by upping the hydration to the sky's limit would really make it hard on me and test my skill at making a Frisbee as well as anyone else could – so it came nearly  80% hydration.


Another change is that instead of retarding the hard bit 3 stage levain build for 24-48 hours when it doubled after the 3rd build.  Lucy decided on a new experiment.  After it doubled, we stirred it down to see if it would double again and really bring out the yeast side of the culture -  just in case there was a Frisbee in my future.  The levain ended up being 15% pre-fermented flour up 50% from our usual 10%


We did a 1 hour autolyse wth the salt sprinkled on top but no levain.  Another change was to do 3 sets of 4 slap and folds on 30 minute intervals after the 3 sets of 30 slap and folds on 30 minute intervals.  Normally we would do 2 sets of 4 stretch and folds on 45 minute intervals after 3 sets of 30 slap and folds.


No bulk ferment on the counter since the kitchen was still 85 F in the Fall.  A 21 hour bulk retard was used instead of a shaped one.  It surely would have over roofed in the fridge if it was shaped,  Once the dough came out of the cold  we did a quick reshape into a boule using 4 gentle stretch and folds and then let the dough rest for 1 hour,


Then we did a final shape into a squat batard, placed it seam side up in a rice floured basket, bagged it and let it final proof on the counter for 40 minutes before firing up Big Old Betsy to 450 F with the combo cooker inside.  Once the oven beeped it was at temperature, we let it go another 10 minutes before un-molding onto parchment on a peel, slashing and loading it into the cooker.


Don't forget those quick breads that are so good in the winter with stews like this corn bread.

We left the lid on for 18 minutes and then turned the oven down to 425 F – convection this time.  After 5 minutes of dry heat, we took the bread out of the cooker to let it finish baking on the stone for about another 10 minutes.  It blistered, bloomed and sprang just fine under steam and browned well enough without it.  We will have to see how the crumb looks when we slice it for today’s lunch sandwich.

The crumb came out fairly open, moist and very soft.   This bread is more sour than usual, yea..... and the sprouted grains,in this combination also deliver a great flavor that satisfies. I have no complaints and there is plenty of yum when it comes to this bread.  

Grandma Bell's.useful Apple Cake.


SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



20 Week Retarded Rye Sour






20 % Extraction Sprouted 10 Grain






80 % Extraction Sprouted 10 Grain
























Levain Totals






Sprouted 10 Grain












Levain Hydration












Dough Flour






LaFama AP






80 % Extraction Sprouted 10 Grain






Total Dough Flour






























Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter


















Hydration with Starter






Total Weight






% Whole Sprouted Grain












Sprouted 10 grain flour is equal amounts of: of rye, spelt, oat, wheat


einkern, emmer, Kamut, barley, Pima Club & Sonoran White



Lucy says not to forget a salad with that Arizona monsoon sunset


PalwithnoovenP's picture

For a long time, I've been trying to create breads (lean and enriched) that should look like society's ideals; dark crackly singing // delicate crust, blooming scores, holey // feathery soft crumb; those are some of the hallmarks of  great loaves achieved with the help of an oven. No matter how hard I tried, it won't be just the same and won't be enough to reach those standards for many. It's like that weeny teen spending hours in the gym to earn his six pack to be considered hot/in/cool/popular. Now, I realized that I can't do that, but I will continue to make bread because I love it.

From now on, I will create breads where my personality and character show through. I will not stereotype them anymore as Lean/Enriched; Asian/European because all of what I will make from now will be just be MY bread blending flours/grains/seeds/techniques and inspirations from all over the world to create a bread that cannot be found anywhere else.

Here's what I've thought so far:

1) Employ an appropriate (unique/quirky) method that will fit my situation.

2) Do not take others' paths and expect same results at this point in time. I have to make my own path because these breads are exclusive to me and are not recreations of "mainstream" breads with set standards so things like high hydration, high temperature are not really my friend here.

3) Aesthetics can be ignored because this is where I always try hard eventually ruining the whole bread; flavors should be the focus.

4) Simply make a bread that will be enjoyed by those who will eat it. 

These 4 things are key for less frustrations and a happier baking life for me. By not trying to be like others, I can make better bread. I hope you can appreciate their rustic beauty and charm too as much as I do. Maybe they will bore/shock/inspire you but as a famous song (it surely fits my breads :P) goes.. "They" are beautiful no matter what they say and words can't bring "them" (me) down...

This bread pudding is a result of a failed loaf. Instead of munching on all of the sorrow and frustration all by myself, I remembered that I can make this failure great for everyone; by making bread pudding! This is the most basic since it was unplanned and it's my first time to make one, just eggs sugar and milk but the magic they've done is awesome that mom and dad asked for more when I served it warm as a late night snack. I just snapped a photo because they can't really wait to taste it. I will definitely make more elaborate puddings in the future. As a home "baker" I'm torn between bread and pastry so I may post some here too in the future. I will treat this from now on as my food diary to document my journey.

Anyhow, some photos from our yard....

The work space of the furniture maker in our yard with different wood species.

Santan flowers still blooming; yellow ones outnumber the red ones.

For me the true measure of success is contentment, if you're contented with what you have done the I can say you have truly succeeded. From the start of my baking adventure, it is only this time that I have learned to be contented with the results of my work not to mention those who eat it so I can say I am already successful in this craft that I'm passionate about.

I'm still a fan those crackly singing crusts and holey interiors with even distribution of irregular large and small holes and I won't fail to appreciate it especially in this excellent site but I have accepted that I can't achieve it at this point in time. In the future, when I already have the proper equipment and enough practice; I will surely achieve my dreams. Like the famous TV series here named Kalyeserye quote "SA TAMANG PANAHON" in the right time.

Thank you very much!

Flour.ish.en's picture

I don’t make white bread; I've made something worst: brioche made with all-purpose flour and butter. “Everything tastes better with butter.” There is no shame in that, for some occasional guilty pleasure.

The best part of making brioche is in the making. I’ve made four versions of brioche over the last few months:


• Tartine brioche with natural leaven 


• Tartine brioche with olive oil


• Nancy Silverton’s twice-baked brioche, a.k.a. bostock


• My own version of bostock (twice-baked brioche) with microwave brioche



For taste, you have to give it to the brioche made with natural levain. For fun, you have to like the 1-minute microwave version. The joy of discovery is like no other.

I like posting here on Freshloaf. You can sense the passion and enthusiasm of the Freshloaf bakers who generously share their experiences and tips on their bakes. I make bread for more reasons than putting it on the table. Breaking bread with others is just as compelling!




 Welcome your comments, suggestions or a fifth way to make brioche!

Just Like Bread's picture
Just Like Bread

This recipe makes 1 loaf.

For the leaven

For the dough

  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 400g white flour
  • 100g leaven
  • 375g water
  • 10g salt & 25g water
  • Mix your leaven and leave it to ferment for around 3 hours at 30°C.
  • Once your leaven is ready, mix your dough (hold back the salt) and autolyse for 2 hours.
  • Add the salt and remaining water and incorporate it into your dough (your dough will feel like it’s breaking apart, though it will come back together). Let the dough sit for 30 minutes.
  • Begin your series of stretch and folds at regular 30 minute intervals (2 hours).
  • Let your dough undergo a bulk rise for 2 hours to develop flavour
  • Bench rest your dough for 30 minutes before shaping and proving it in your basket.
  • Place your dough in the fridge for 12-16 hours for its final proof, or leave it at room temperature for about 1.5 hours.
  • Bake your loaf in a preheated oven at 250°C for 25 mins in a dutch oven. Reduce temp to 220°C, remove the lid of your dutch oven, then bake for a further 20 mins, until the loaf is well caramelised.
Cher504's picture

Wishing all you bakers out there a healthy and sweet New Year. This year for Rosh Hashanah I made Maggie Glezer's Pan de Calabaza. This recipe is in her book "A Blessing of Bread" which is so interesting. It tells the back stories (and  the formulas, of course) for all kinds of traditional Jewish breads from all over the world. There's babkas, pita, challahs, Lithuanian, Greek and Ethiopian breads. If you're looking for the Pan de Calabaza formula, it's been posted at least twice on this site. Here's one by Dolf with inventive shaping like a jack o'lantern:

And another version using sweet potato and whole wheat here on rubato456's blog:

I love the color of the crumb and the very subtle flavors of pumpkin, ginger and cardamom. Also this formula is very adaptable - I've done it using sourdough, with and without raisins, substituting mashed butternut or delicata squash for the pumpkin - they're all good! Plus everybody knows that any kind of challah makes superlative french toast. 

And who can resist a little blueberry pie?

Now that the summer heat has gone, it's nice to be firing up the oven again.

Happy baking and cheers!


shoelaces3's picture

Hi everyone,

I've been lurking for a very long time, and have desperately been looking for a challah that is both moist but firm, a rich color and heavy fragrance with a tenderness that lasts into the day after I've baked it. I've loved reading many of the tips and recipes that I've come across on here, and using all of your help, I think I've found a great recipe. I used it for my Rosh Hashanah loaves this year, and didn't think to take any pictures, but will do so when I make this bread again for this coming Friday.

The recipe takes Hamelman's challah recipe from Bread as its base. I add 5 grams of vital wheat gluten to the 2 lbs of bread flour (I'm not wealthy enough to order the high-gluten flour the recipe calls for), and follow the remainder of the recipe fairly accurately, with the exception of adding 5.5oz of honey in place of the sugar, and use olive oil instead of the vegetable oil. I also use the SAF gold yeast for this bread since it's so enriched.

The resultant dough is surprisingly tacky since the hydration is quite a bit higher due to the honey, which also imparts a lovely fragrance to the final loaf. But after kneading (and continuing to knead after I think I'm done kneading) to produce a smooth dough, much of the tackiness has gone away.

SAF gold in this recipe is nothing short of a miracle--the dough rises surprisingly fast and high. I punched down twice (the dough only takes about 30 min to rise) which further helps develop gluten. After shaping, however, I let the dough rise for a nice, healthy hour to get a beautifully risen dough. Since the gluten is so well-developed, the dough doesn't rip, but forms lovely bubbles.

A long bake results in a dark brown loaf that remains moist throughout the weekend.

Like I said, I've only done this once, but next time I'll do it, I'll be sure to take pictures of the process and post them here!

Floydm's picture

After a two month break, I finally am baking again.  

This summer was hectic. I've been working a ton, plus there was a two week road trip around BC and western Alberta, including a few days exploring Banff and Jasper.  Truly a stunning area.  One highlight of being in that region was getting a chance to meet Skibum and try his pulla, which was fantastic.

Right before summer began and before things got super crazy, I got ahold of a Brød & Taylor folding proofer.  During the summer our place is pretty warm, but as the nights are getting longer and colder, the days shorter, cooler, and wetter, I've been expecting it would come in useful.

So I finally got around to reviving my starter last weekend. I fed it Saturday night and tried baking with it Sunday.  It was a cool day and things were progressing extremely slowly, so I decided to give the proofer a go.

I was very pleased with the results.  My loaves which were taking forever to rise at our ambient room temperature around 18C (65F) perked up considerably at 82F.  My starter wasn't dead, just a bit groggy after such a long slumber.  The final loaves came out very well.

I also made a batch of yogurt in the Brød & Taylor, which I'd never tried before.  It too was a success.

It's a neat new toy that I'm looking forward to playing with this winter.

ALSO, I don't know if you get it in the US, but in Canada and France today this is the Google Doodle:

It is celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Décret Pain, which defined a traditional French baguette.

STUinlouisa's picture

This is a continuation of the experiment with putting partially dehydrated fruit in bread from last week's bake. The differences are that there was some rye included with the wheats in the sprouted grain, I had to retard the dough overnight due to a time conflict, and of course apples were used instead of pears.

The crumb structure is much more open than last week which could be due to the retard, the presence of the rye, different ambient conditions, misread of the proof or any of the above inclusive. The taste however is very similar except for the different fruit. I still think the idea of removing some of the moisture in the fruit is a keeper.


Sjadad's picture

Ready for The New Year.  L'Shana Tova!


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