The Fresh Loaf

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greedybread's picture


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Like Rye breads with that tangy, sour taste?

You will love this one.

You can see the Germanic influence in this dark rye bread from Bolzano.

Don’t forget that rye dough is very sticky and doesn’t give the rise of wheat breads because of less gluten in Rye.

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You need to make a starter first that needs to sit for at least 3 hours.

Of course, if you can leave it overnight, it will have a stronger taste.

I left mine 18 hours.


5 teaspoons of dried yeast.

1 & 1/2 cups of warm water.

1 tsp molasses, dissolved in the warm water.

2 cups of Rye flour.

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Stir your yeast into the molasses warm water.

Stand for about ten minutes and allow to become frothy.

Add in flour and mix well.

Cover and stand at least 3 hours, if not overnight.

Main dough:

1 cup of warm water.

1 Tbsp of malt powder.

2 cups of Rye flour.

4 cups of strong bakers flour.

1 Tbsp of salt.

2 Tsp of fennel seeds.

Cornmeal for dusting.

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Add the warm water and malt powder to the starter from yesterday.

Mix your 2 flours, fennel & salt together and add into the starter mix, one cup at a time.

Combine well and knead for about 8 minutes.

It will be very sticky, but will come together and come away from the bowl.

Knead briefly by hand on a lightly floured board or area.

Place in well-greased bowl, cover and leave to double.

Usually 2-3 hours.

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Place dough on a lightly floured area and cut in half.

Shape into a rugby ball type shape with a plump middle and pointy ends.

You can do whatever shape you like though, or even buns.

Place dough on a baking tray with paper that has been dusted with cornmeal.

Cover with a tea towel and leave for about 90 minutes.

30 minutes before ready, pre heat the oven to 215 C.

When the bread is ready, poke 4 holes at the top of the bread, in the middle, with a chopstick or thermometer.

Place in the oven.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, dependant on your oven.

Remove from oven and cool on racks.

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Just gorgeous, fresh, with a really fruity jam, or a tangy marmalade and lashings of butter!

Avocado, fresh tomato and a slice of cheese, a nice strong cheese.

Salted butter and Sopressa.

Just delicious.


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Thanks to Carol Field, “The Italian Baker”, 2nd ed, 2011.

Wonderful as always:)

WoodenSpoon's picture

I have been busily working away on my Rye levain formula and the one I just baked off this morning on one of the best yet. Recently I have started to shy away from my standard 100% hydration white or primarily white levain towards much firmer entirely whole grain levain starters. I still keep my chef at 100% hydration and I think that going from a cold wet chef to a warm dry levain to a warm wet final mix is really contributing to the flavor complexity.

Here's how I made it.

Levain build #1

  • 3g 100% hydration rye chef
  • 21g fresh milled whole rye
  • 10g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Levain build #2

  • 5g 50% hydration rye levain
  • 50g fresh milled whole rye
  • 25g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Final dough

  • 480g bread flour 70%
  • 170g fresh milled whole rye 25%
  • 45g levain 7.5% (5%rye, 2.5% water)
  • 55g rye chops 8%
  • 536g quite warm water (hold 36g) 79%
  • 13g salt 2%

First I mixed the flours and rye chops and hydrated them with all but 36g of the warm water and let it sit for 45 minutes. Then I added the salt and in a different bowl I moistened/mashed with a fork the 45 grams of firm levain in the remaining 36 grams of water and added that to the dough. After a quick mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the salt I mashed the whole dough in my hands and as adding water to already partially developed dough isn't always the easiest thing to do. 

Once the dough came back together I gave it a firm two or so minutes of slap and folds followed by a twenty minute rest, then I gave it another quick set of slap and folds and a ten minute rest then another quick set and a fifteen minute rest then another quick set and an hour rest.

After an hour I have it a good stretching and folding in the bowl followed by a very quick slap and fold half an hour later and one more another half an hour later. 

By now the dough has been fermenting for around 3 hours and forty minutes. I gave it an additional 5 hours and forty minutes of room temp bulk fermentation shaped it and popped it in the fridge for 19 hours.

Around noon today I put the loaf in a 500 degree oven, poured hot water over my preheated lava rock and baked it for 55 minutes turning the oven down to 450 after the first two minutes.

This is one heck of a good loaf with a pretty prime aroma to boot. Earthy, hearty and lactic with that characteristic rye spiciness followed by a light acetic zing. So tasty.

GWRoss's picture

I think this is my first post on TFL. I registered way back in July of 2011. I used to be active on before Lehman's "rescued" it.

The other day, when I was making a batch of German-Style Many Grain Bread (from Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads") I did a search online to see if anyone had any comments on the recipe. A couple of the search results were on this site.

On my first try, I closely followed the recipe. Usually, when I have made breads from WGB, I have used the honey option. This time, I used brown sugar, and the result was that the dough was too dry, but I didn't notice it until the very end of the kneading (in my Hobart N50.) I kneaded in more water, but it was either still not enough, or I had over-kneaded the dough, and I was not happy with the final result.

On my second try, I increased the amount of flaxseed (matching the weight of the other seeds) and omitted the yeast, allowing my sourdough to do the heavy lifting. (And of course, I paid more attention to the hydration as I began kneading the dough.)

I was so pleased with the result that I just had to brag. I don't usually roll my loaves in seeds, but this time I did, and it really shows the way the loaf bloomed in the oven.

v's sis's picture
v's sis

At first it was clearly the levain which objected to being returned to the west coast after spending several months on the east coast.  Finally it decided it would make due with its new, but in reality old, surroundings.  Then it was clearly my hands which had totally lost their mojo after spending those same months generously feeding the levain but not demanding that it work for its living.  One bread after another was poorly shaped, poorly developed or overproofed, or poorly scored.  Friends asked me to bring bread for a dinner; I had to bake every day for a week to get loaves decent enough to share.  Then I stumbled across a set of videos by Northwest Sourdough which provide step by step videos for a bread whose formula is provided so that, if one were to make the same bread, one could compare dough consistency, development, and shaping to that in the videos.  It was a godsend for me.

 And so I baked “blistered sourdough” , an absolutely delicious bread, made with potato water, which results in a gorgeous and creamy crumb and a shatteringly crusty crust. Certainly hoping this is a return of my mojo…

thedoughycoed's picture

I'm home for spring break, which means I'm without my starter and my scale. I've been wanting to try the tangzhong method, and I found a recipe that used cups so I could make it at home (

I substituted 2 cups of white whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour, and covered the loaf with foil after 15 minutes.This dough takes a lot of mixing, most recipes I've seen range from 20-30 minutes, and they are not kidding. The oven spring was amazing, which I think can be at least partially attributed to my mom's new convection oven.   I couldn't bring myself to tear apart this pretty loaf, but believe me, it's super soft and shreddable. 

My family is originally Pennyslvania Dutch, and my dad loves the shiny-topped, sweet, and fluffy "Amish" white breads, so it was a huge compliment when he compared my bread to an Amish loaf. He has decided to call it Kamikaze bread, partially because he forgot the name, and partially because he thinks he's funny. 

a_warming_trend's picture

These are 76% hydration, 20% levain, 30% whole wheat, with a smidge of pate fermentee for that little added umph. 

No crumb shots, because they were gifts. 

Abe, thanks for inspiring me with your scoring pattern! The boule is exactly your pattern, with a few extra very shallow swirls

Here's to making it through Monday, TFL!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Deja vu.  This weekend I decided to make the Tartine Country rye bread again, this time I made four loaves.  The formula in the book:

Leaven  200g

Water    800 g

Whole Rye 170 g

Bread Flour 810 g

Salt 20g.


My "modifications" to the formula:

Leaven                      200 g.

All Purpose Flour     500 g

Whole White Wheat 330 g

Whole Rye                170 g

Water                          818 g

Salt                                20g

Because I took the starter out of the fridge on Thursday evening, I was able to feed it 3 times before using it in the levain, and it did nicely by Saturday morning when it was time to mix the dough.  So, no yeast added this go around.

For me, the most interesting thing about this loaf is being able to taste the wheat, the rye and a mild tang of the sourdough.  Usually my bread is not this complexly flavored, or I can't usually taste so many things in each loaf.

I also added a smattering of sesame seeds which I think make the bread all the more delicious.

And a blurry  "bottom shot" since a lot of people seem to burn the loaf.  I avoid that, I think, by nesting the pans after the first 20 minutes, removing the deep top and putting it under the shallow bottom pan.

I really do love this bread.

STUinlouisa's picture

Finally made a good pain de mie using white wheat flour 95% extraction and natural leaven.  Before there were always problems ranging from not enough dough to fill the pullman pan to taste that was too sour. Now the only thing to find out is if it can be repeated. 


greenbriel's picture

I lied. I changed more than one thing and I made two batches again! But it worked out this time, or at least one batch did.

First I made a batch of Forkish's FWSY all-levain overnight country blonde, but I messed up by using my 100% hydration starter where he uses 80% (I'll figure out the math one day). The dough was extremely slack, despite six stretch and folds. As I mentioned in a comment elsewhere, I ended up with a bastard child of ciabatta and baguette (ciabette or baguetta?), but I have to say they were delicious. Nice and tangy on the day of baking, a bit mellower next day. I'm proud of my Brooklyn SD starter! Hard to shape and score due to the slackness. 

Crumb was nicely holey and glutinous/custardy:

As soon as I saw these were not going to be my breakthrough baguettes, I started a batch of txfarmer's straight dough. As usual I traded 50g of AP for 25g w/w and 25g dark rye for flavor, and added a 30 min autolyse. After my last failure I was taking no chances and put one cast iron Mega Steam pan and one plain CI pan (getting lava rocks this weekend) on the oven floor as I started preheating. I got more steam than ever before! It was billowing out of the vent (I tried to block it with tea towels) and even out of the sides of the door—never seen that before!

Shaping and scoring were decent, and I think I helped my effort by making 16" demis instead of my usual 20" demi+ size. The smaller size made it easier for me to limit myself to three slashes rather than the four or five I usually attempt. I made a very conscious attempt to overlap by 30% and tried to keep the lame angle correct. There's still some inconsistency between the scores, but overall I am pleased. Watched the bake like a hawk; steam came out at 6 minutes, total bake was 30 mins +5mins with oven off and door cracked.


Ears! Not Spocklike (RIP, Leonard), but better than usual. Less Nessie!


And just to prove I'm really a Brit :-D

Thanks once again to all the fine folks here for the encouragement and insight. Now to try it with other recipes and aim for consistency!



PY's picture

Made some changes from last week's attemp by retarding the dough for 15 hours and out in room temp for 1 hour. baked with steam for first 15 minutes and without for the remaining 25 minutes at 230.

think i got better oven spring compared to last week. But still on the quest for that elusive bloom!


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