The Fresh Loaf

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Runnerfemme's picture

Waiting for bread to cool before slicing is an exercise in restraint and one at which I usually fail.  Not this time and it paid off.  So pleased!  A creamy, cool, light interior despite the heavy ingredients of soaked seeds, fruit and nuts.  I went full throttle on heat and was nervous that I'd burned the bread, but I had not. The burnished crust was just perfect for my preference.  My husband is sitting next to me eating a hunk as I type this and he JUST said, "Mmm mmm gooood."  Recipe & pics attached.  Happy baking!


Seeded Sprouted Spelt Sourdough with Walnuts & Figs (2 loaves)

400g KAF bread flour

400g KAF Artisan Bread Flour

200g One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour

250g 50/50 rye/spelt fed and bubbly starter (about 85% hyd)

880g water 85-90 degrees 

22g fine sea salt

2 TBL honey

2 TBL walnut oil

scant 2 TBL diastatic malt powder

200g or more toasted walnut halves

200g or more Black mission figs (soaked; rough chop)

1/2c KAF Harvest Seed blend - soaked for a few hours in hot water; drained if needed


Do soaker of seeds and figs separately; draining if needed before use. Reserve 50g water from fig soaker.

Toast walnuts – 325 for 10-12 minutes and cool completely.  Set aside. Mix 830g of water with honey, all flour, diastatic malt powder. Cover bowl and autolyse somewhere warm (around 78ºF) for 1.5-2 hours. After autolyse, add starter, salt, reserved 50g fig soaker water, walnut oil, & seeds (can add ¼ tsp instant yeast at this point if starter needs oomph). Mix by hand to incorporate ingredients - don’t over mix. Complete 4 stretch & folds spaced out by 30+ minutes (1st S&F after 30 min; store dough someplace warm during rests).  Gently add figs/nuts at second stretch & fold - don’t worry if they are not well dispersed at this point - they will be by the end.  After completing the 4 S&Fs, cover & complete bulk ferment in refrigerator over night (about 7 hours; alternatively let bulk ferment at rest for additional 2-3 hours on counter/warm room).  After bulk ferment, divide dough into 2 masses. Pre-shape into boules, let rest seam down for 20 minutes UNcovered.  After 20 min rest, shape each into batard or boule. Proof in bannetons (lined with linen dusted with rice flour, covered) for 3 hours in fridge and 1 hour on warm countertop while oven preheats. (Or approx. 1.5 hours on countertop or in warm room. If you have chosen the shorter countertop bulk fermentation, consider doing final proof in refrigerator over night/about 7 hours for flavor development).  (Choose whichever fermentation/proofing method meets your schedule needs.)

Preheat oven & cookers for 1 hr. at 500º. Turn out loaves onto parchment rounds. Score. Spritz with water.  45 min. at 500º. After 45 min, reduce oven to 450º, remove cooker lids & bake for an additional 10 min. Watch for scorching figs if any are sitting on the surface of the breads - can loosely cover with foil to prevent scorching, although this may interfere with deep browning of crust. Remove from the oven & cool on wire racks. LET COOL 100% - BEFORE SLICING (difficult, but I swear it’s worth it particularly b/c the walnut oil and soaked seeds/fruit have added to the moist crumb — slicing early will result in gumminess).


Ru007's picture

I’ve been meaning to bake a bread with potatoes in it, and I got some great tips from Isand66 and Dabrownman last week for potato bread , i thought why not start with a sweet potato loaf.

My formula is based on a recipe by txfarmer "Sweet potato sourdough with walnuts"

I didn’t change much, except I did use a bit more water in the autolyse. Things were just feeling bit stiff and my levain was only going to be 80% hydration, instead of the 100% called for in the recipe. I skipped the maple syrup and used a combination of walnuts and pecan nuts.




Weights (g)


Final dough









Levain (80% hydration)





















Unbleached white bread flour







Whole wheat four







Rye Flour




























Add ins





















Sweet Potato














Total dough weight






















1. Levain builds in three stages (using my NMNF rye starter), all with whole wheat flour.

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

2. Boil the sweet potato, until it’s really soft, then mash it (skin and all).

I just used fork to mash it, so it wasn’t particularly smooth.

Toast the nuts, leave to cool before chopping them up.

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

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, sweet potato mash, salt and levain, using a series of stretches/slaps or whatever gets everything mixed in really well.

The sweet potato added a lot of moisture to the dough, but it wasn’t too wet for me.

4. Develop the dough using stretch and folds.

I did another 4 sets at 45 minute intervals and added the nuts on the first set after the initial mixing. Leave the dough to bulk ferment for a few hours (I left my dough undisturbed for another 3 hours) until its increased in volume and there’s some nicely visible bubbles.

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

I left the dough to proof for another hour before putting it in the fridge for 19 hours.

I baked this loaf for 40 mins at 230dC, with steam for the first 30mins. I left the loaf in oven for another 5 mins after i turned it off, with the door ajar. 


The loaf sprang and bloomed pretty well.


I was worried i had over proofed it, but i think i got away with the long fermentation times. The crust is thin, crispy and really quite fragile. 

The crumb turned out well, i think. It has little bits of purple in there from the walnuts, which i think looks cool. 

I really like the taste of this loaf, it has a lovely nuttiness. The crumb is really moist, probably due to the sweet potato. Just had a slice with a bit of butter and my favourite strawberry jam! It was awesome. 

I'm really happy with how my first potato loaf went :) Next time, i might up the sweet potato a bit just to see what happens. 

Happy baking every one! 

kimming's picture
alfanso's picture

I had such a good bake with my one previous turn at David's SFBI Pain au Levain (my way!) , a mostly all AP flour dough, that I knew I'd be returning to the scene of the crime soon enough.  Again using my 75% hydration levain and adding water to make up for the difference vs. a liquid levain, I also decided to add caraway seeds to the dough.  A good slather of cornstarch glaze before and after the bake.  More caraway seeds were sprinkled on top, post-bake, between two final glazes.

Once more a slight error in rolling out a baguette caused a bludgeon-like shaping in the final result.  Plus a funny "tuck" visible on the end of the batard, also evident in the final result.  As I mentioned in my recent blog entry about my do and don't lists, any early error is magnified in the downstream results.  But I'm pretty pleased with the finished product once more.  Still waiting for the cool down before inspecting the interior, or for that matter, sinking my dentures into one.

3x350g baguettes, 1x575g batard.


Crumb shot added

dabrownman's picture

Lucy isn’t known to be a died in the wool bread traditionalist and I am anything, and everything, a bit strange in an odd and slightly weird way since being born 2nd to my twin and losing the first race I ever ran.  Being a born loser can wear on you over time, if you let it, so you might tend to compensate by being a rebel and not give much, if any, respect to the establishment, rules and the status quo.

Rules themselves are not totally bad since they can give some structure to whatever is at hand.  No matter how many rules there are, they cannot predict the outcome or success of what you are trying to do any more than the rules of chess can predict what moves, will be made when and who will win the game.  The processes and outcomes are virtually, infinite…. regardless of how many rules are observed.

This is the nature of our entire world and the universe for that matter.  There are rules for everything but these rules aren’t worth a hoot at predicting what will happen since just about anything and everything is possible...... and does happen.

One thing we do know is that, the more rules there are, the more difficult and less fun whatever you are doing becomes and the less freedom you have to do it....... the way you want to do it.  That is the way Lucy and I look at everything we do.  It may not be for everyone but it pays to realize that rules don’t predict anything worth knowing or doing.

This is the way Lucy and I look at bread making.  We know there are rules established over time by tradition and experience but know that they won’t help us very much to make a success out of the bread we want to make but, they can provide us a framework to work from to create what we do want in bread. 

So knowing the rules is good place to start, especially if you are a rebel and don’t expect to follow them exactly in the first place.   So what are the bialy rules?  Well first off, they aren’t bagels even if they look a bit like them and were brought to this country by polish Jews – just like bagels.  They aren’t made from high gluten flour like bagels.  They aren’t very low hydration like bagels either.  They are made from white flour and they are filled with onions, garlic or poppy seeds or a mix and they might have salt and or sesame seeds sprinkled on top too.

This person says her great, great, great grand pappy might have inveted bialy's and made bialy’s in Bialystok Poland - here is a link to her family story.  We know not to believe half of what we see, 3/4th of what we read and none of what we hear.  But, people mean well and some stuff just sounds like it might be true - even if handed down by word of mouth and not written down.   This story sounds like it has some truth in it -

These general rules are a good place to start with bialy’s but they aren’t the kind we want to eat around these desert parts.  We did some bialy baking 4 years ago here - and liked them very much.  It shows what is possible when the outcome isn’t predicted by the rules.

So we continue down our bialy baking path in much the same way today.  Using the rules to start out and then letting loose with whatever suits our fancy.  Lucy likes to say that the baker and the bread go their own way.  We like that thought.  So this was the way we went with this week’s bialy bake.  We went with Lucy’s rule for white bread which is - anything less than 50% whole grain is a white bread.  This one was 25% sprouted, 8 whole grains.  The sprouted grains, were red and white wheat, rye, spelt, oat, emmer, barley and buckwheat.

We love smoked chicken and ribs.

The 100% hydration 2 stage, 18 hour, bran levain was made with 10 g of NMNF long retarded rye starter, 10% pre-fermented flour which included all of the bran sifted from the sprouted 8 grain for the first stage and some of the high extraction sprouted 8 grain for the 2nd stage. The remaining 75% of the flour was Winco bread flour from the bins.  The overall hydration was 68% making the dough easy to handle, not sticky and lovely to form the little pizzas.

Hath Greed Chili and Poblano smoked chicken noodle soup.

The filling was made up of Manchego cheese, green and white onion, garlic chives, a very nice Hatch green chili, uncured absinthe salami that was also flavored with paprika, red chili and garlic.  We found the salami at the Central Market in Houston while visiting there a couple of weeks ago.

Peach and Parmesan salad is a favorite too.

But that wasn’t enough heat for our sedate and reserved Lucy.  She added some extra fresh Hatch and Poblano green chili just like great, great, great granny used to make in the old days:-)  The filling mix was sautéed to knock off the raw taste and soften the ingredients.  We did our usual 1 hour autolyse with the 2% Pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hit the mix, we did 30 slap and folds to get everything mixed in.  This was followed by 2 more sets of 8 slap and folds to get the gluten moving along.  We then did 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds to finish it up – all on 20 minute intervals.

We then let the dough ferment for 1 hour before dividing the dough into (8) 101 g balls.  After resting another, 20 minutes we shaped the bialy’s mid-air like we would a pizza pie, stretching the middle thin, like checking for a windowpane, and placed them on parchment on a cookie sheet.   Then we docked the middle depression with a fork to keep it from rising so we would have a place to put the filling in 90 minutes or so


Once the little pizzas had proofed well enough we loaded them up with the cheese, onion, herb, fresh chili and absinthe salami filling.  Lucy thought that they sure looked cute enough to bake boldly – so we did – at 450 F with Mega Steam, between the top and bottom stones, right on the cookie sheet – No Muss, No Fuss  Once they were puffed up properly, about 10 minutes, we removed the steam and continued to bake the little cuties at 425 F convection for another 10 minutes - until they were brown enough to be called bold.   Then off to the cooling rack they went.  We suspect these will be pretty yummy since they smelled great baking.

How about another salad?

Crusty on the outside, soft and moist on the inside with a killer filling of cheese, onion, peppers and salami.  Just plain delicious and healthy with those sprouted 11 whole grains.  What is not to like?


10% pre-fermented, 100% hydration sprouted 8 grain 2 stage, 18 hour levain

25% 8 sprouted grain

75% Winco bread flour

68% overall hydration

2% salt.

Filling – Hatch and Poblano chilis, green and white onion, garlic chives and killer absinthe, green chili hard salami.


Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain

Well, my sprouts really took off with the heat of these last few days - it's been unseasonably hot here on the West Coast. And how can you tell when bread baking has become more than just a pastime? When it's 30+ C and you're first thought is to get the oven preheated to bake bread! However, I suspect most of the folks frequenting TFL are hardcore bakers too and not likely to see anything unusual about that so here's today's bake....

I used 20% fresh milled whole grains (rye, einkhorn, red fife) with 80% organic, unbleached white flour; autolysed for 2 hours before adding a very young levain (225 g, 2 hours old). After an hour I added 22 g sea salt and started the bulk fermentation at a very warm room temperature 25 C.  I added 125 g sprouted organic einkhorn berries and 125 g sprouted organic gold/brown flax seeds after the second series of folds; did 5 folds total over 2 1/2 hours. The initial hydration was 75% with another 50 g water added with the salt and another 50 g added with the sprouted grains/seeds; final hydration was 85%.  After a 4 hour bulk fermentation, with a few trips back and forth to the fridge to control the temperature, the dough was billowy and bubbly.  Pre-shaped, bench rested 30 minutes, then did the final shaping, into baskets and overnight cold proofed in the fridge for 12 hours.  The bake was done before the day got really hot - covered at 500 F for 20 minutes, 450 F for 10 minutes; uncovered 450 F for 18 minutes.  

I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour of this bread - the sprouted flax seeds have a really grassy taste that reminded me of olive oil and the sprouted einkhorn with the fresh milled grain flour (forgot to mention I also added 25 g of toasted crushed sesame seeds for a background flavour) was really earthy, nutty like I imagine real wheat is supposed to taste like!  I like this favourites list is getting so full there's really no point having a favourites list - so many breads to bake, so little time!

Sprouted Organic Einkhorn Berries


Sprouted Organic Gold and Brown Flax Seeds


And the reward at the end of a very hot day in the kitchen...fresh bread and fermented butter









Skibum's picture

Well I haven't posted in more than a month, but have been busy baking different things. The dinner rolls are a take of P. Reinharts soft pull apart dinner rolls from ABED.  This batch of 325 grams total flour yielded 6 rolls at 104 grams each, so I thought why not bake them off in a muffin tin?

All of the my bakes are leavened with a refreshed liquid levain. Here is the formula for the rolls:

50 g levain

325 g bread flour

175 g milk, scalded

30 g honey, added to the hot milk

32 g butter

20 g egg

Mixed and developed using 4 sets of stretch and folds with 10 minutes rest. Bulk rise was 2:15, then I divided and shaped, baked at 400F convection with steam for 7 minutes, turned removed steam and baked a further 7 minutes.

Here are some lemon ricotta cookies courtesy of Giada:

These are the BOMB!

Hoagie/ cheese steak buns. Again adapted from Reinhart's ABED.

Pita, pita pita! Boy did these turn out great. It makes me want to bake another batch.

Last, but not least is an exploding loaf of pulla. I thought I had the braid ends together.

Finished braid

Proofed braid

Final loaf with one end blown apart

Happy baking TFL friends!  Ski

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!



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