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PetraR's picture



Right now my families fav. bread.


250g  Starter * 50g Rye Starter fed with 100g water and 100g bread flour *

200g Rye Flour

500g Bread flour

1 handful Walnuts crushed smaller 

360m Water

15g Salt

2 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil


My Starter lives in the fridge, I take 50g out and feed with 100g water and 100g bread flour.

Let it sit for 12 hours.

Add the water to your starter, add your oil and and your flours and walnuts

Knead it for a couple of minutes and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Add your salt and knead it by hand for 10 minutes until nice and soft and as elastic as it can be * Rye flour does not like to be elastic, the lazy bugger lol *

* I use my Kmix on 1 and mix for about 8 minutes.*

Form to a ball and add into a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit to double in volume * it takes4-6 hours for me depending on the temperature in the kitchen. *

Gently take it out of the bowl and degas , form to a ball  * gently does it * and make sure that it is a nice tight ball.

Put in your banneton * I put some wholewheat flour in mine with some cornstarch added last *

Cover and either let it almost double in size on the counter or in the fridge overnight.

Bake in your dutch oven at 250 C for 30 minutes with the lid on , take the lid of and bake on 200C for another 20 minutes.


VERY nice with unsalted butter and cheese or anything really.


dmsnyder's picture

Pain au Levain from Della Fattoria Bread, by Kathleen Weber

November 10, 2015

David Snyder



My brother, Glenn, bought me a surprise present: A copy of Kathleen Weber's bread cookbook. When I called to thank him, he revealed his motive. He thought I'd like it. We Snyder kids do that sort of thing for each other.

I have had the considerable pleasure of sampling Della Fattoria's breads both at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer's Market, where they come with breads and pastries on Saturdays, and also at their cafe in Petaluma, California. They make good stuff. But I believe I first heard of that bakery quite a few years before. It was the “Small Artisan Bakery” featured in Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking, an award winning book published in 2000.

Weber's book was published in 2014, and it is interesting to compare her methods and how they changed in the interval since she was interviewed by Ms. Glezer. Notably, she began using an autoyse step. She reduced the speed and duration of her mechanical mixing. And she added stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. All three of these changes reflect trends in Artisan baking nationally. All would be expected to enhance the flavor of the product.

Since I am on the subject of Weber's methods in general, her other remarkable idiosyncrasy is that she includes her firm levain in her autolyse, withholding only the salt. And one trend she does not follow (unfortunately, in my opinion) is to not use baker's math in presenting for formulas.

Pain au Levain

Weber's Pain au levain dough is the base for several variations, recipes for which are given in the book. These include a “Potato Levain,” a “Walnut Levain,” a “Sausage-Sage Levain” and other equally tempting breads. For a first bake from this book, I selected the Pain au Levain without any of the additions.

Weber uses a firm levain. She gives clear instructions for making it from scratch. Her mature levain is a 50% hydration mix of 90% All Purpose flour and 10% Whole Wheat flour. She feeds her levain with 23% mature starter. My own customary firm starter isn't very different from this, and that is what I used to feed the levain.


Total dough




Wt (gms)

Bakers' %

Water (80dF)



AP flour



WW flour



Medium Rye meal+



Sea salt






+ Weber calls for pumpernickel flour. I have some, but I have some older rye meal that I thought would work well, and it needed using.






Wt. (gms)

Bakers' %

Mature firm starter



AP flour



WW flour



Water (80dF)






  1. Disperse the firm starter in the warm water.

  2. Add the flours and mix very well.

  3. Form into a ball and place in a clean, covered container.

  4. Ferment in a warm place until at least doubled in volume. (4-6 hours, for me).


Final dough



Wt (gms)



Water (80dF)


AP flour


WW flour


Medium Rye meal


Sea salt





  1. Place the levain and the water in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. With the paddle, run the mixer at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the levain is dissolved.

  3. Add the flours to the mixer bowl and pulse a few times to start mixing (to prevent flour flying everywhere).

  4. Mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Scrape it together.

  5. Cover the bowl and let the flour absorb the water and start gluten development for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Put the dough hook on the mixer.

  7. Run the mixer at low speed for 6 minutes, then at Speed 2 for another 2-3 minutes. (This is a very sloppy dough. It will have some gluten development but will not have cleaned the sides of the bowl. Resist adding more flour.)

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 8-10 cup bowl. Do a few “stretch and folds in the bowl.” Cover the bowl, and place it in a warm location. (I used a Proofing Box set at 76dF.)

  9. Perform stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes three times (at 30, 60 and 90 minutes).

  10. Let the dough continue to ferment until it has about doubled in volume and is light and airy. (This was an additional 2 hours for me.)

  11. At this point, you can pre-shape the entire dough to make one large loaf or divide it in half to make two loaves. I divided it into two equal pieces.

  12. Pre-shape into a ball or a log. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

  13. Shape as a boule or bâtard. Place in bannetons or on a couche to proof.

  14. Proof for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the depression left when you poke a loaf fills very slowly or remains. (I proofed for about 2 hours at 80dF in the proofing box. I think I slightly over-proofed.)

  15. While the loaves are proofing, preheat your oven to 500dF with a baking stone and your steaming apparatus in place. (Weber recommends a 9” cast iron skillet preheated. She then puts a cooling rack with ice cubes on the skillet at the time she loads her oven.)

  16. When they are proofed, transfer the loaves to a peel. Steam the oven. Score the loaves and load them onto the stone. Turn the oven down to 450 or 460.

  17. Bake with steam for 15 minutes, then remove the steam source and continue baking for another 30 minutes (if baking 700g loaves) or 40 minutes (if baking a 1.3kg loaf.). The bread should be well-colored. It should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Internal temperature should be at least 205dF.

  18. Remove loaves to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing.


The cuts didn't open up as much as I expected, but I think that was due to over-proofing. There was some tunneling under the top crust which suggests the same.

The crust was crunchy at first but softened by the next day. Not surprising in an 82% hydration bread. The crumb was well aerated but with small, regular holes. The flakes of rye bran were quite visible. I'm sure the whole grain flours determined the crumb structure.

The flavor of the bread was very nice. It had the wheaty and nutty flavors of the whole wheat and the earthy flavors of the rye, both very prominent. There was discernible sourdough tang, but it was very mild. The one negative is that it tasted too salty to me. Looking at the baker's math, you can see that, in fact, there is a much higher percentage of salt in this bread (2.2%) than in most.

This is a good sandwich bread. It is good with cheese and with almond butter. When I first tasted it, I had the thought that I could make a meal of it alone.

I like this bread. If you have a recently fed starter, and you get an early start, it could be done for dinner in one day. I expect to be including it in my regular rotation. But I to want to try a number of the other breads in Weber's book also. I will report on them, when I do.

Happy baking!


 P.S. I made a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough too.

Corinaesq's picture

There have been other posts dealing with pretzels and whether to use a lye bath or not. I am firmly in the lye bath camp, and I can assure you, no self-respecting German baker would even consider making pretzels without it. And, being a self-respecting German baker, from a long line of German bakers, I give you my recipe for making Laugenbrezeln, with a lye bath ("Laugenbrezeln" means "lye pretzels," so if you don't use lye, don't call them Laugenbrezeln):

1 lb., 6 oz. (5 cups) bread flour

12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) warm water

5 Tbs. of soft, unsalted butter

2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. diastatic malt powder (optional)

2 tsp. instant yeast

I make my dough in a bread machine. You can make it by hand or with a stand mixer, however you prefer. If you're reading a blog here, you probably already know how to make yeast dough, so I won't give much instruction here other than to say that you should develop the gluten (knead the dough) until you have a nice, smooth, firm dough. Let rise until double, or about 1 1/2 hours. Divide into 12 equal pieces (about 3 oz. each). Preshape each piece into a 6-in. rope. Shape dough as seen here: (don't worry that you can't understand German; just watch until you see how to shape the pretzels. This video also shows a very nifty device for dipping the pretzels in the lye bath, but I haven't been able to find one to order here!). Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

After shaping the pretzels, place them on a parchment/foil or Silpat lined baking sheet, cover with a plastic bag, and let them rise for about 30 minutes, or until puffy. Place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until they are firm and don't bend.

While the pretzels are hanging out in the freezer, make the lye bath. Weigh out 40 grams of lye crystals (you can order them from Amazon - make SURE to get food-grade lye!) into a glass bowl, then add 1000 grams (1 liter) of cold water. Stir with a wooden or stainless steel spoon until lye crystals are dissolved (this will take a few minutes). 

When the pretzels are partially frozen, they are ready to dip. PLEASE wear long rubber gloves to dip the pretzels. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, dip each pretzel in the lye bath for about 30 seconds. The pretzels are slippery, so you'll need those gloves! Let excess liquid drip off, then place pretzels on a Silpat lined sheet. Cut each pretzel along its "belly" and sprinkle with pretzel salt or kosher salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. 

Pretzels are best eaten immediately, while still warm. If you can't eat them all in one day, place cooled pretzels in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw pretzels outside of the bag on a cake rack. Warm them in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes to crisp the outside. 

PalwithnoovenP's picture

November 11, 2010 was the day Fedra was born and she's five years old today. Coincidentally, we had some nice stuff in the fridge as well so to celebrate her day I cooked some dishes for us, her and her other four legged friends. I had no more flour to bake with so this week is a test of my cooking skills.

The birthday girl!

Mom brought home some good bread from a nice bakery, homemade is still better but this bread is still good compared to what we can find here. All dishes I cooked are best with rice but they're great with bread too! We had them with rice for main meals and bread for in-between snacks!

Oriental Fried Chicken

Katnga (Dried Taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and chilies)

Fried Fishcakes

Spicy Fishcakes

Fishcake Soup

*Maybe we can have a kitchen apprentice (just like Dabrownman with Lucy) screening now for some fun. :P

Fedra is my yellow lab. She is the most hyper of all our canine companions. I can say she has the same personality (super fun loving but knows when to take matters seriously) as me that's why we became each other's partner in this household. She may become a good kitchen apprentice for me, don't you think? I have yet to train her not to eat when no one's looking. :P

This is Pochi, my dad's dog. I know he will not be a good apprentice for me because he obeys a strict chain of command with dad as the supreme commander. He will never do what I say when dad is around instead he will go behind dad as if asking for protection or confirmation.

From those photos about a year ago, Fedra has given birth and is now living with her son Bimbo; he is most likely to choose dad as his master. Her delivery has put her life in jeopardy and we almost lost her because the third pup was lodged in her birth canal for almost 18 hours, I can't imagine her pain! We brought her to the vet as soon as the clinic opened, they tried an assisted normal delivery to no avail so they had no choice but to perform a C-section or she'll die from infection. After 6 hours of waiting, 6 more alive and healthy pups were born and Bimbo was one of them. After two more days in the vet, Fedra and her pups were ready to go home. We took good care of them and they all grew big, strong and healthy!

We're really happy to see them playing together!

Sadly, I have no chicken livers for her now, it is her absolute favorite but in the coming days for sure she can have some since it's only once a year! We really had fun this week! I hope it's the same for all of you too!


Thank you very much!

Floydm's picture

I was working at home today, so as well as making a pot of soup I managed to get a couple of bakes in.  The skinny ones are roughly based on these poolish baguettes, though I added a bit too much salt which is why they are kind of chalky looking. The rounds are my standard sourdough loaf. I used the Brød & Taylor proofer again when I wanted to pick things up with the sourdough loaves and it worked like a charm. Very handy. 

utahcpalady's picture

I have 5 children and run a CPA firm from my home...that being said it means I have to be frugal for the sake I have 5 kids and cheap because I am an accountant, and my love of baking is sprinkled there on top. So, this all leads me to baking all the time to keep them fed, my bank account happy, and my inner baker busy.  

My kids refuse to eat store bought bread and for good reason.  This recipe I (greatly) adapted from a friend.  About a year ago I finally converted it to weight and I consistently have great results.  My 5 kids eat this every day for lunches, and people that dislike whole wheat bread generally like this bread.  It is tight, not crumbly and oh, so soft. So, here you are, try it out and show me some pictures.

Wheat flour 1170 g

Water 712 g

1.5 - 2 tsp instant yeast

Salt 1 T

Brown Sugar 125 g

1 large egg

60 g olive oil (I also really like 1/2 olive and 1/2 safflower - its amazing, but the kids don't like it so much)

I throw it all in my kitchen aid at one time, and let it knead with my "twirly" dough hook for 10-15 minutes, where it is nice and stretchy.  When the dough is pulled on with your hand, it stretches a lot before tearing.  If the dough tears right away it isn't done kneading.

I let it rise in an oiled bowl till doubled, pull it out, stretch and fold, let it rise again till doubled. Shape into 3 standard loaf pans or I seriously love my Norpro 12" nonstick pan ( I put about 850-930 g into each (2) 12" pan and the little bit of extra dough I shape into a few rolls or just make a very small batard which my 16 year old likes to snack on at school or I let my 4 year old use it as "play" dough.

I let it rise till nice and big and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  

A note on the wheat flour - I really only use Montana Milling wheat and I grind the wheat myself.  I feel it is superior wheat, but you have to buy it in bulk.  Given that I am a food storage guru, that is not a problem.  If you do not have excellent results with the recipe, change the wheat flour you use. I have made this using several different wheat flours and I keep returning to my Montana Milling.  This is not to be confused with the bakery chain montana mills. here is the site! Kitchen Kneads in Ogden, Utah sells it too.

fefreed's picture

Crumby pic

fefreed's picture


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