The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Was not planning a bake yesterday but got a call asking for a couple loaves ready for dinner that night.

I had quite a bit of nice starter available and thought I could work up a formula that would have enough levain to make it work. Decided to make a boule and a more oblong shape for different uses over the weekend.

Ended up getting nice singing loaves with a crust and crumb I had hoped for. There was enough starter to give a full rich fermented flavor and a good rise.

PY's picture

norwich sourdough with increased whole wheat. I also added some soaked oat groats n 1 tbs of honey for some bite n slight sweetness.


Cher504's picture

    This week two more versions of Raisin Pumpernickel were added to the odyssey. One round - using rye/yeast water levain and one in a loaf pan - that one used only instant yeast for leavening. I'm getting closer; both breads are great tasting but I still have a ways to go with my rye skills - shaping, transferring from basket to peel, and judging when they're proofed enough and ready to go into the oven. 

The loaf on the left is an oatmeal raisin from "Bread" made with the leftover rye yeast water levain (I just can't throw anything away! ;-). Really tasty - that one. Those Hamelman formulas never disappoint.

The round on the right is the raisin pump. I started with the recipe from ITJB, but used a levain made from grape yeast water and whole rye flour - hoping to diminish the sour note and open the crumb a bit. Then for the final build I used coarse rye meal instead of the flour. Other tweaks: Added 1/2 C altus from a previous raisin pump effort, used black coffee instead of water in the final dough, baked it in a DO at a higher temp (460dF) than recipe states. Was that too high? I based it on rye baking temps in "Bread"

It looked great after the bulk ferment. Maybe I should have degassed more? Shaped loaf was placed in a wheat bran dusted basket and final proof was around 50 min. A finger poke bounced back very slowly. Maybe too rough transferring from basket to parchment to DO? The loaf baked covered for 15 min. and uncovered for another 40ish minutes - with the oven temps turned down little by little - until a thump on the bottom sounded right and internal temp was 205. 


Here's the crumb:

There is some decent aeration, but no height ;-/ What would help here? Vital Wheat gluten? I was using KABF today - First Clear flour is on order. Or maybe this is 'as good as it gets' with so much coarse meal in the works? If anybody can help me here I'd love some direction...

The yeasted loaf pan version was also really tasty. I found the recipe here:

I did make two changes: I swapped out 2T of whole rye flour and put in 2T coarse rye meal, and used Guinness for all the water. It's delicious!! Tho' it's a little like Pumpernickel 'lite' - I'd like to try adapting this version using a rye sour.

More adventures in the kitchen! To be continued...



Cher504's picture

I've been searching for Hodgson Mills Graham Flour since reading about Zolablue's Grandmother's Brown Bread.   

I love that story and how ZB was able to reinvent a lost recipe and recapture the sweet memory of her grandmother who had passed away 25 years before. It really shows how bread is so much more than just food and the story's a reminder that we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

Anyway....I finally found the flour! I had to ask a merchant who carried Hodgson Mills other products to order it for me and voila! You have to look really hard to see the word "Graham"








(Still haven't figured out how to turn photos around)

I made Memo's Brown Bread and weighed everything as I went along, so here is Zolablue's recipe with weights in grams instead of cups. 


  • 1 small potato @140g (size of a medium onion) cooked in boiling water
  • 5g instant yeast (@1.5 teaspoons)
  • 60g warm water
  • 57g shortening (I used room temp, unsalted butter)
  • 40g sugar
  • 18g salt
  • 437-562g AP flour
  • 202g Hodgson Mills Graham Flour 

Zolablue's method from here on out with any changes/modifications of mine in parentheses. 

Peel and slice, very thinly, one small potato and boil in 4 cups of water until very well done – usually takes about 15 minutes because of the size of the slices.  Then mash the potato in the water and usually the remaining water with the potato leaves the exact amount of liquid you need for the recipe – (586g) the 2 1/2 cups.  If you need to, add a bit more water if you don’t have enough. 

Sprinkle yeast on (60g)1/4 cup warm water.  Stir to dissolve and set aside. 

  Place sugar, salt, and shortening in mixing bowl and pour hot spud water over this and coolThe potato water should be about the temp of a baby’s bottle, warm to the wrist, otherwise it can kill the yeast. 

 By Hand:  Stir (312g) 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour into bowl containing salt, sugar & potato/potato water to make a thin batter. Add yeast and beat well. Then add (202g) 1 1/2 cups graham flour and mix well.  Stir in remaining all-purpose flour - 1 to 2 cups – until it can be handled on a floured board or counter. Knead in more flour until you have a smooth ball that no longer sticks to counter.

  By Stand Mixer:  Stir 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour into bowl containing salt, sugar & potato/potato water to make a thin batter. Add yeast and beat well. Then add 1 1/2 cups graham flour and mix well.

Stir in remaining all-purpose flour - (125 to 250g) 1 to 2 cups - to make a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.  Knead/mix until smooth and elastic, about 7 - 10 minutes. (I wound up using all of the extra AP flour)

Place in greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  (Due to an unforeseen chore, I had to put the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours right after mixing, it still turned out great) Cover and let rise in warm place until it doubles, about 1 1/2 hours. 

  Punch down.  Turn onto board and divide in half; round up each half to make a ball. (Or divide into 4 even balls) Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

  Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased loaf pans.  Cover with cloth or sheet of plastic wrap and let rise until dough reaches top of pan on sides and the top of loaf is well rounded above pan, about 1 1/4 hours. (My final rise was closer to 2 hours - maybe because of the refrigerator rest)

  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, rotating half-way through if necessary.  Cover loosely with sheet of foil the last 20 minutes, if necessary, to prevent excessive browning.  Makes 2 loaves.

It's delicious! The graham flour really is the secret ingredient; faintly reminiscent of graham crackers. It's heavenly as toast, makes great french toast. It would be good as small dinner rolls, hot dog or hamburger rolls, maybe as the basis for a cinnamon raisin pan loaf or a seeded multigrain. I'd like to try it using my sourdough to leaven, or yeast water/SD combo.

Thank you Memo and Zolablue, wherever you are - your efforts are still being savored!








isand66's picture

I have been trying to shed a few pounds gained over the long torturous winter so I have been trying to eat much healthier.  Last week I bought some all natural cottage cheese from Whole Foods under the Nancy's Cottage Cheese brand.  I usually buy Breakstones 2% which I enjoy but I have to say this all natural one tasted a lot different and has a strong sour taste to it.  Not to my liking for eating, but perfect for a bread.

This porridge bread turned out nice and moist with a nice sour undertone from the starter and cottage cheese.  I brought one of the loaves to work this week and everyone seemed to love this one.

Since I'm a big fan of onions I used some dehydrated toasted onions and soaked them in the water before adding to the mix.  I used some mushroom and sage flavored olive oil to add a little something extra.

I was very happy with the way this one turned out and hope you give it a try.


Cottage Cheese Porridge Bread (%)

Cottage Cheese Porridge Bread (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


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 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the water called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the water is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the water and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Add the toasted onions to the water and stir.  Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes to become re-hydrated.  Next, mix the flours  and the water with onions for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, cottage cheese, olive oil and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

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.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  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 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 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.


dabrownman's picture

We had all kinds of milestones this week.  First off it was Lucy’s birthday.  She was 11 on Tuesday but as she says.... she really was Numero Uno twice that day.  She celebrated by rushing up the introduction of her newest bread product called ‘Lucy’s Bread Balm.’


She has been working on this one for a while and it is based on all the problems she sees that Fresh Lofians have with their breads and….. almost by magic cures them all.  Hard to believe I know but she swears by the stuff.


Oddly, the upper left is LaFama AP then clockwise is the whole sprouted 4 grain and the bottom right is the KA Bread Flour which is the whites of these flours.

Over or under proofed – no problem.  Forget to add something like the salt, starter or the yeast – no worries.  Bread won’t brown or browns too much – forget about it.  Too much water and spreads like a Frisbee or dry as a bone - piece of cake


Gummy crumb, no holes or flying roof -not to worry.  Bread won’t rise, tastes like cardboard, hard as a rock or worse, smells like a wet German Baking Apprentice 2nd Class - really not a problem at all.


It is very easy to use too.  It comes ready to use in a tooth paste tube.  What I used today was a prototype and it really was in a used tooth past tube.  All you do is rub or spread it on the finished bread while it is still warm and poof….. all the problems go away in an instant - even if there is more than one.  Pretty cutting edge goo for sure even though this goo doesn't really have an edge and I can’t think of any that do.


Better than genetically marked nanobots that attack and kill cancer cells in the human body without harming the non cancer cells while improving your IQ by 50 points if you ask me.  But it has to work.   Sadly, Lucy’s latest crap in the used toothpaste tube just didn't work for me at all today.  At least not the way I wanted it to.


It did goop up the outside of the loaf like Dippity Doo would if they still made the stuff.  Now the loaf catches flies like nobodies business.   So, all was not lost and luckily this is the fly season around here.  It is like magnet for the little buggers.


After a short while, the outside of the loaf took on a whole new look most of us haven’t seen before.  It was almost art in the most abstract way and getting better with every fly it caught!


Back to this week’s bake.  For Real Bread Week, we decided to bake real bread if there ever was such a thing and luckily there is.  Their website is full of what real bread is and is not so there isn't much left to chance.   But of course, Lucy’s recipe fell right into what is a real bread crack if there ever was one.


We had made yogurt earlier in the week and had planned on using the whey for the liquid in this sprouted SD bread.   But their definition of sourdough bread can only have sourdough in to make the sour, - no yogurt, no acids like vinegar allowed or anything else that makes a sour taste in the bread.  It sounds very strict.


Well Lucy doesn't think that yogurt whey is technically yogurt and yogurt whey wasn't listed explicitly as an absolute no no. But we decided to leave it out to be safe rather than being branded a cheater, traitor or worse a terrorist too stupid to understand the real bread rules by the Real Bread Baking World during Real Bread Week.  We have enough problems with flies around here as it is.


The levain used for this bread was the last of the 3 day old whole rye starter we made two weeks ago for the pumpernickel bake that was retarded for 2 weeks in the fridge at 36 F. It came in a 13% pre-fermented whole flour.   Even though it was very young and retarded early, it didn't seem to mind at all and was a vigorous as it was on day 3.  None of Lucy’s Bread Balm needed there.


The sprouted whole grains came up to 40% and with the 20 g of baked scald of whole rye, red and white malt at 100% hydration and with the 100% hydration whole rye starter the overall hydration came in at 78%.


We did our usual 2 hour autolyse with no levain or salt as the levain warmed on the counter.  Once everything cam together we did out usual 3 sets each of slap and folds and stretch and folds on 20 minute intervals.   The extra 65 grams (dry weight)  of 4 grain sprouts were incorporated on the first set of stretch and folds. 


Another version of the apple, blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry galette.

The sprouted dough flour and the sprouts were equal amounts of wheat, spelt, Kamut and rye.   The dough was pre-shaped into a squat oval and then shaped and placed into a rice floured oval basket and then immediately bagged in a used trash can liner and placed in the fridge for a 12 hour retard with no bulk ferment on the counter.


This is where things went terribly wrong.  Instead of a 12 hour retard it ended up being a bit under 18 hours.  At first glance I knew it was horribly over proofed.  Normally I would just have done a couple of stretch and folds, reshaped it and done the real final, final, proof on the counter but I had my secret weapon - Lucy’s Bread Balm - so no worries.


With CA apricots just hitting the produce store, how long can it be before we are making that Southern favorite - Apricot Hand Pies?.

Sure enough as soon as the dough was slashed it starting to spread faster then butter on a hot car hood in the AZ summer.  I covered it with the bottom of the WagnerWare MagnaLite turkey roaster and hoped for the best.  I also forgot to turn the oven down to 450 F from the 500 F preheat though.... so the first 18 minutes under the cloche, it was hotter than normal – no worries though..... I had Lucy’s Bread Balm at the ready.


In keeping with this week's thene of flat bread that taste great - the Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Bread made a great anchor for this fine lunch sandwich plate,

When the lid came off it was true to form.  The dough had spread out to a typical oval Frisbee shape if they made oval Frisbees,  The higher temperature just made the spreading worse than a normal, massively over proofed loaf  12 minutes after the lid came off the bread seemed done with a total baking time of 30 minutes for this 1,000 g puddle of a loaf .


We love grilled salmon and it is extra special with grilled onions peppers and mushrooms with the first white corn of the season.

Will have to wait to lunch time to see how bad the crumb turned out.   At least the flies like it and we like that.  Looks flat, tastes great!  Looks flat, tastes great!  The crumb is a bit open if squished thinner than we like.  It is very moist and soft.  The taste is absolutely superb!  Thank goodness for small favors!  I ate 3 plain pieces of this bread before you could say Lucy's Bread Balm 3 times.  We love sprouted grains, baked scalds and the great bread they make ....even if shaped like an oval Frisbee.  Now Lucy has to back work on her bread balm improvements. 




2 Wk Retarded Rye Starter






Whole Sprouted Grain



Bread & AP Flour 50/50



Dough Water






Add In Sprouts






Total Weight w/o Scald



Total Hydration



Whole Sprouted Grain



Pre-fermented Flour



The 10 g of whole rye and 5 g each of the red and white malt and the 20 g of water are not included in the above weight – total weight is 1,009 g.

And Lucy reminds us to not forget the salad!

alfanso's picture

The way that I’ve been doing levain builds recently has been addition by subtraction, a three stage build, started out more or less as such (for ex:):

stage 1- build 100g stiff levain using a miniscule # of grams of stiff starter.  ~6-7 hours to show any life, then doubles in the next 2-3 hours.
age 2 - discard ~50g, add 50g of new water and flour, same stiff levain.  Takes 2.5 hours to double.
3 - discard ~50g, add ~100g water and flour, same stiff levain.  Takes 2.5 hours to more than double.  And this is what I use.

The discarded build goop gets collected in a covered container and refrigerated.  Each new discard is folded into the existing discard.

The process has since morphed into a two stage build taking some of the scrapings of the discard from the previous levain and using it as if it is my output from a 1st stage build.  Then on to the 2nd and 3rd stages as described above.

dabownman “challenged” me to reuse the discard, and so I did.  This levain is 300g of refrigerated discard with a baby boost of 100g of new feed.  Mixed cold straight from the fridge 2 nights ago, turned once to distribute the ingredients, and then shoved back into cold storage for the night.  Yesterday morning I retrieved it and let it come up to room temperature by placing it in a pan of warm water.  It is still incredibly active – the top of the yellow sliver of post-it note was the level of the cold discard.  

The height in the photo is after a mere hour and change.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been trying to do something different with these bakes to “make it my own”, see my post on Semolina Batard for an explanation.  
Ingredients are the same as in FWSY Field Blend #2, with the exception of using a stiff levain instead of a liquid levain and adding mere grams of extra water.

300 French folds later:

4th Letter Fold - my baby boy’s all grown up!  Each of the 4 letter folds is 25 minutes apart.

25 more minutes of bench rest and then into the fridge for a bulk cool down.  Total post-mix & fold bench time – just over 2 hours and significantly less than FWSY outlines for a bulk bench fermentation.  After a protracted cool down, maybe 2-3 hours due to outside commitments, divide and shape.  These are ~575g each.

This morning, once the oven was on for 45 minutes and Sylvia's steaming towel was steaming, I pulled the batards out of the fridge, scored them and loaded the oven deck.  I also add another two cups of water into my lava rock pan.  Did I hear someone utter “mega steam?”

Pre and Post-retard and after loading onto the oven peel:

475dF for 10 steaming minutes, then release the steam, rotate batards and bake for another 15 –17 minutes.

Now, these batards were quite close together on the oven peel, but you can see how they almost touched side walls once our friendly yeasts decided to give one last hurrah as they double-timed it toward their final death spiral.  The proximity of the batards helps to insulate each other from the oven heat, which in the long run is not what we are aiming for.  But it sure is gratifying to see these kids bloom.

Getting steamed, and steam is released and batards are rotated.

Although I’m comparing Ganny Smith apples to Fuji apples here, it does seem evident that my scoring and loading directly from the fridge to oven beats the pants off of the Country Blonde bake, where I had let the couched batards sit in a warm kitchen for a half hour prior to scoring and loading.  These are both high hydration doughs and the scoring on that bake was hampered severely by the warmed surface of the dough, hence the oven spring also suffered.  At least this it the theory I’m sticking with until I can be convinced otherwise.

The other proof of concept here is that the accumulated discard from multiple builds over a few weeks can be mighty potent and re-employed with really fine results.


victoriamc's picture

For non-german readers spargel is white asparagus.  its in season just now here in bavaria, so I just had to bake with it.  This Spargel pizza recipe is delicious.  For full details, go to


Skibum's picture

I'm really not sure how, but sometime over the winter my venerable Henckels bread knife went missing. I bought this cheap orange knife, hoping the other would turn up, but no luck. 

Freshloafers, please do yourselves a favour and NEVER buy a knife like the cheap orange one. When I began baking Forkish style boules in the cast DO the knife would barely cut through the crust.

So I treated myself to a Global, a light, well balanced stainless steel beauty, Made in Japan. This is a beautiful kitchen tool and slices through the hardest crust with ease! Initially, I thought it too pricey, then remembered I paid $60 for my everyday chef's knife 38 years ago. Perspective. Worth every penny!!!


Happy baking, Ski

FrugalBaker's picture

It is because of the generous and sincere tips from a various individuals on this site....I finally, churned out a decent looking loaf of bread. Still have plenty to work on but I am off to a good start, I think. 


p/s : Thanks Abe, dabrownman and WendySusan.....appreciate the effort!






Crumb Shot


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries