The Fresh Loaf

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amolitor's picture

I gave this recipe a try over the last couple of days. Here is my report!

First of all, OF COURSE I had to tinker with it. I cut it in half, and converted to rough volumetric measurements.

  • 1/4 cup cracked wheat, well toasted in

  • 1/4 cup water just off the boil

soak soak soak

  • half a cup of 100%-ish WW starter, quite active

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • cracked wheat mixture

Mix and then add:

  • 3/4 cup rye flour

  • 3/4 cup WW flour

  • sufficient bread flour to get the hydration about right (very sticky, semi-pourable)

Autolyse 30 minutes (well, ok, the baby needed some tending, so tend the baby for a while, and then:) knead to get a little development, bulk rise 5-6 hours S&F every hour or thereabouts.

I could tell at this point that it wasn't going QUITE as planned -- my hydration seems to have been a bit too high for the amount of bread flour I'd gotten into it, since I wasn't getting much gluten development. The hydration looked the same as in the given link, but the gluten development never got to that point. Oh well, forward..

Into the fridge overnight, warm to room temp the next day, shape and proof 2 hours, bake at 450 with steam 20 minutes, turn down to 425 for another 20 minutes I elected to skip the 'cool it for 2 hours, shape, back into the fridge in a banneton overnight for final proofing' step because I could tell this was just going to result in a loaf irrevocably stuck to my improvised banneton cloth. At least, so it seemed to me. So, I went for a simple 'bulk rise for 6 hours with S&Fs, then retard 12 hours in the fridge before shaping.'

The results. VERY moist and sticky dough, even in a 2 hour proof it stuck to the banneton a bit, and there was just never a gluten skin on the outside to hold it together, so it was pretty slumpy. The resulting loaf was raised just fine, and tastes absolutely fantastic -- quite sour, quite rye, quote toasted cracked wheat. The cracked wheat isn't noticeable as hard bits at all -- you can SEE them and I think they add texture, but they've softened up beautifully. I toasted the wheat in a dry cast iron skillet to dark golden brown, another few minutes and I would have been burning it. This bread is moist and crazily delicious, with a slightly tacky crumb.



Lessons learned (tentatively):

If it's not developing well in the initial knead, sacrifice some hydration to get some more wheat flour in to it!

breitbaker's picture

New Blog Post

The favorite pan bread of my kitchen

Cathy B.

ehanner's picture

I have made this bread a few times. I'm a fan of savory breads and this one has everything I like. The Romano cheese is a strong component that can be adjusted to taste. I have backed off the percentage to allow the other flavors to survive and make themselves known. The celery is a surprise. The first time I made this mix I was expecting the celery to be crunchy after baking, but it wasn't at all. The overnight soaking of the flax brings a hearty flavor that is unique and delicious.

The original idea for this bread came from Graham at in AU. He was gracious enough to post pictures of the process which cleared up a few things for me. I added flax for the deep flavor they bring when soaked. Another fellow in the area also posted his results which are outstanding. Here is Johnny's post of the same bread. Truth be told both of these fellows made some great looking loaves to be admired. There are a lot of great bakers that contribute to this artisan bread site. A very talented bunch. Shiao-Ping also graces the pages with her artistry now and then. It's worth looking at.

Anyway I like this combination very much. Some day I'll get so I can do it as well as Graham and/or Johnny.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

So this is my last bake of the week...  Rustic slabs...  These are very large loaves weighing between 790g to 830g after bake and are about 15" long x 6" wide x 3 1/2" tall .  The total dough batch was about 4kg...  They contain 5% rye, 10% WW and 85% AP at 70% hydration.  I also used a 10% of my storage SD starter.  Enjoy!


BNLeuck's picture

Necessity is the mother of invention (or at least tweaking), right? It certainly is around here! I came to TFL (naturally) to find a solution to my problem: there was no more sandwich bread in my house. This is about as big a problem as no running water. My middle child is addicted to peanut butter sandwiches, and since she has a limited number of "healthy" foods she likes, we encourage her to eat them. (She's autistic; trying to get her to eat food she doesn't like/want is... well, next to impossible. Frankly, I'm just happy she eats anything but hot dogs and fruit snacks.) My usual recipe takes 4-5 hours, depending on the temp of my kitchen that day, and that just wasn't gonna cut it today. I needed something fast and simple.

I did a search for "basic white sandwich bread" and came up with a bunch of results, but near the top of the list was this post, with its GUMP Bread recipe. It had no comments, so no tried-and-true reviews or try-this adjustments, so I took it entirely on faith. The list of ingredients looked right, in proper amounts for a high-hydration sandwich loaf, so I figured how bad could it really turn out?

I made some adjustments for personal preference... butter for oil, regular milk for powdered milk and water, and flax seed for wheat germ. That last because I'd run out of wheat germ, not because I have something against it. And because I didn't have smaller loaf pans, I decided to make it all one loaf in my rockin' huge 9x5 Paula Deen stoneware loaf pan. These things are wicked deep and heat so evenly... I love them. I really do. And I thought to add vital wheat gluten because I'd heard it makes white bread do something interesting. (Very scientific, I know. LOL) So once I'd settled on all my ingredients and my loaf size, etc., I set about actually making the thing...

Procrastinator's Sandiwch Bread

  • .25c butter

  • 2c 1% milk

  • 2tbsp granulated sugar

  • 2tsp kosher salt

  • 5c bread flour

  • 4tsp instant yeast

  • 1tbsp vital wheat gluten

  • 2tbsp ground flax seed

  • more milk for brushing

  • 1tbsp 7-grain cereal

  1. Melt butter in microwave in a large measuring cup or bowl. (1 min on HIGH for me.)

  2. Add milk and heat to lukewarm. (1 more min on HIGH for me.)

  3. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve.

  4. Combine flour, yeast, gluten, and flax in a large bowl/the bowl of a stand mixer.

  5. Add liquid and mix to "shaggy mass" stage.

  6. Knead by hand or mixer until elastic. Dough will NOT clean bowl or form a ball; this is fine.

  7. Let rise until double, about 30 mins.

  8. Shape into a loaf, and put in greased 9x5in pan.

  9. Preheat oven to 350F; let dough rise 20-25 mins.

  10. Brush with milk and sprinkle 7-grain cereal on top, then score loaf as desired. (I always do mine diagonally, corner to corner.)

  11. Bake for 25 mins uncovered, with steam, then cover with foil and bake another 20-35 mins, until internal temp is 190F.

Now, since I really like how this turned out texture-wise, I intend to try cutting the yeast to about 1tsp, maybe 1.5tsp, and do an overnight rise in the fridge. Or somewhere else equally cold; this is Michigan, I'm sure I can find somewhere to put it this time of year! I think it'll really improve the flavor. But then it wouldn't be a procrastinator's bread, it'd just be a tasty sandwich loaf. I think I'm okay with that. ;)


Edited To Add: the pictures I completely forgot about...

Nevermind the foil. I like softer crust, so I let the loaf steam itself soft-ish for a few.

Crumb shot. It's very fine and tender, but it still has more flavor than that crappy Wonderbread. :P

Crumb close-up.

proth5's picture

Monday 8:30 AM (Hey! This is like work!) saw a room full of bakers and imposters gathered to hear a lecture on commercially yeasted pre ferments from Didier Rosada and Jeffrey Yankellow.

I don't think it is fair, nor do I think it is possible for me to record the entire content of this two and a half hour lecture in this blog.  However, there are some highlights that bear reporting.

Mr. Rosada introduced a slide on the effects of fermentation and told the crowd that the mastery of this slide was the secret to great bread.  In short, fermentation produces CO2, alcohol, and acidity.  And he then told us in short the secret to great bread: "The secret is time."

Most home bakers are familiar with the principle of using pre ferments as a way to add flavor to our breads.  However pre ferments create acidity and also start some enzyme activity.  The acidity can add strength to a weak flour (up to a point) so a lower protein flour will perform like a higher protein flour.  Liquid pre ferments in particular favor "protease" activity which degrades the gluten somewhat and can add extensibility to the dough handling qualities.  In fact, a liquid pre ferment is the "classic" baguette pre ferment because a baguette must be rolled out and extensibility matters.

This really gave me something to think about.  For example, I have usually used a liquid pre ferment for my whole wheat loaves.  However, because it is home milled and because the wheat is usually freshly ground, I am essentially adding extensibility to what is already a somewhat weak flour.  It might be better to use a firm pre ferment and strengthen the dough a bit more.

While we're on that topic, there was discussion on the how the percent of the total flour in the formula that is pre fermented also can impact dough strength (more pre ferment making the dough more strong).  I've been yapping about the importance of this little variable on these pages, but it mostly gets ignored.  I knew it was important because I saw what changes in the percentage of flour pre fermented made in my own bread, but I didn't know exactly why.  This is Didier Rosada and Jeffery Yankelow (ok, I don't normally like to drop names, but this time I will) telling you folks - it matters.  A higher percentage of flour pre fermented will increase flavor, but have such a large impact on dough strength that the dough is impossible to shape. Something to consider in formula design.  I do think about these things from time to time.

Mr. Yankellow gave us a brief presentation on that most controversial of subjects - standard terms for various pre ferments.  I know that Humpty Dumpty is appalled by this whole idea, but I find it comforting to actually know what the person I am talking to means when s/he says "poolish" or "sponge."  Maybe it's just a limitation of my tiny mind.

Both of these gentlemen are advocates of salt in a poolish as it gives more control over when it will ripen and a longer "usability" window.  Using pre ferments - particularly poolish - at the right stage of ripeness was emphasized.

The lecture continued on with points that are more apropos for professional bakers than home bakers, but all in all it was still a very worthwhile session.

Then it was out to the exhibition floor.

I was immediately drawn to a robot bread scoring machine - which used a blade more closely resembling a tomato knife than anything else.

For the individual looking for a home deck oven (breadfairy!)  - well, this show really wasn't about home bakers.  I did encounter several "small" deck ovens being used in demonstration booths.  Miwe has the Gusto - which is a very small commercial convection oven, the Condo (small deck), and the Wenz 1919 - which they describe as a nostalgic deck oven.  The Bread Baker's Guild of America demonstration oven was a Matador (deck oven) designed for "in store" baking - which had the cutest little loader I have ever seen.  It is included with the oven, but I'll be doing research on buying one separately.  There must be some way to rig that thing for home ovens.  TMB baking was showing a TMB Mini Tube oven.  No one had printed collateral.  That's the best I could do.  You can type those names into your favorite search engine.

But while hanging about the combined TMB and SFBI (San Francisco Baking Institute) booth I did make quite a discovery.  SFBI is creating videos that demonstrate the making of every product in "Advanced Bread and Pastry".  They will be offering these as downloads with a projected subscription price of $60 per year.  Sooooo cool!  They scanned my badge so I will get an email when the product is finally released.  Wow.

The two or three people who actually read my blogs will know already that after getting a significant number of samples at the SFBI booth, I would be drawn like a moth to a flame to the Rondo booth where I could pine over a large variety of sheeters.

I then stopped by the booth of some kinda ingredient seller to find "my teacher" forming high hydration baguettes and batards.  Not only was it a joy to see those hands forming dough (and chat), but I found out that (shameless plug coming) The Bread Baker's Guild of America would be having a class in my very own Mile High City with "my teacher" at the helm.  So would make me want to join to get the announcement on that class (if I were not a member already.)  Wild dogs will not be able to keep me away.

Then on to North Dakota Mills to chat about how we home bakers might get some of these more specialized flours (no conclusion reached - go to the website and find a distributor was their suggestion) but mostly to score a plastic scraper.

I did drop by the Louis LeSaffre Cup where Teams Costa Rica, Argentina, and Brazil were baking, but my poor fragile feeties were beginning to hurt.  Reminding myself that this was indeed a vacation where I wanted to get rest and care for my rapidly aging body, I decided to go back to the hotel and rest.  Although I will not get to taste the offerings, they will be on display tomorrow.

All in all a good day at the show.  For me, to see "my teacher" made it the best of all possible days.

So I sit with my feet propped up waiting for a decent time to have a martoonie (of course, this is Las Vegas...) in anticipation of tomorrow's session on levain based pre ferments.  I can't decide if I am just pitiful or one very lucky gal.

Happy Baking!

leostrog's picture

I found in the internet very few recipes with diastatic and non-diastatic malt. So I made a few experiment, which in the end gave a very successful result.


250-270 gr fresh starter - 100%
500 gr strong bread wheat flour
300 - 320 ml water (depends on the flour)
3 - 4 gr fresh yeast
1 tbsp black-stripe molasses
½ tsp of Diax (Diastatic barley malt from Muntons)
2 tbsp Spraymalt Light (DMX from Muntons)
1 tsp salt
Canola oil for greasing

1 cup of raisins
1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts


In 20 ml of warm water dissolve the yeasts.
In 300 ml of water dissolve the molasses and the Spraymalt light (pay attention that this powder is very hygroscopic).
Pour the flour in a big bowl, adding salt and Diax, our starter and our liquids. Mix all together until you get nice elastic dough. Knead a few minutes. Leave it on the table covered with a plastic cover for 10 minutes, Then "stretch and fold". Repeat operation 3 times.
Take the dough out of the bowl, wash and wipe the bowl, then grease it. Put the dough inside. Cover with greased plastic lid, and put in the fridge until the dough gets twice it's size.
Take out the dough, kneed it a little (in this stage I've added into the dough the nuts and the raisins).
Put the dough in the bread baking form (I use baking-parchment paper), cover with the plastic lid and put once again in the fridge. I left it for the whole night and it grew at least twice of it's size. Heat the oven with the oven stone to 240 C. Put the bread form with the dough inside. Usually I pour ½ cup of water directly into the oven (not on the bread) to keep the humidity. After 20 min lower the temperature to 200 C and bake for another 20-25 min.

After taking out the bread loaf cover it with cloth.
The bread has a very rich flavor, nice color and tight crumb.



ackkkright's picture

I have been baking regularly for a year and a half. The fresh loaf has been my primary education. Thank you all.

This represents this week's levain bake. The formula evolved from Hammelman's Vermont sourdough, and continues to drift weekly. The weather changed recently and the kitchen is cooler; the formula will be different next week.

I like to mix an 1800g batch at 78% hydration, as the numbers are friendly. 1000g flour (here: 75% Gold Medal unbleached AP, 20% White whole wheat, 5% rye), 780g water, and 20g salt; 20% flour prefermented.

The mix began with 400g 100% hydration levain. Levain flour is 50% white whole wheat, 25% rye and 25%AP. The levain was not at peak.

Mixed levain, flour and water and allowed a 30 minute autolyse; added salt and kneaded in bowl for 3 minutes; Bulk fermented at 70* for 3.5 hours with stretch and folds (in bowl) at roughly 30, 60, 90 minutes.

Divided, shaped and allowed to ferment en couche. These shaped loaves were immediately refrigerated for 3 hours, then removed to room temperature for 2 hours before baking with steam (10 minutes) at 450* for 40 minutes. The formula yields 2 large loaves, or two 11oz pizza crusts and two 20oz loaves.


1st mix (no salt) - autolyse:

1st mix-autolyse


after 1st stretch/fold:


after 2nd folding:


after 3rd folding:


shaped (2 batards, 2 11oz pieces reserved for pizza):


2 baked loaves:




Before baking, I thought these loaves had been overproofed. But they boinged up ok during the bake. Fine-tuning the length of fermentation remains my challenge, particularly when retarding.

I appreciate this site and the discussion here very much. Thanks to all contributers, your contributions are very helpful.



espinocm's picture

Over the past few years I have tried countless pizza dough recipes on my quest for what I consider the perfect pizza crust. Two weeks ago I tried yet another recipe and although it was the closest one so far, it still was not "the one.” Being that close only encouraged me more to continue my search which led me to The Fresh Loaf and more specifically to SylviaH, where I found a picture of exactly what I had in mind, her “Thin Crispy Crust on pizza.” Interestingly enough, that particular pizza was made using the same recipe I used that got me the closest but the way I got to Sylvia's pizza was by googling, "bubbly thin crisp pizza crust" so I decided it was the meant to be recipe; however, I needed to perfect it. Since some of the ingredients in the recipe have different options (table salt or kosher salt; bread, all-purpose or high-gluten flour; sugar or honey; etc.), I wrote Sylvia to ask her which ingredients she used to make this particular crust. She promptly wrote me back and provided me with the information I wanted and so this past weekend I made pizzas and I finally got exactly what I have wanted!

These two pizza crusts were made using Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough recipe from PR American Pie book with the following ingredients: KAAP, clover honey, fine sea salt, IADY, olive oil and spring water. I mixed the dough by hand; however, during the second mix, I had to mix a little longer than 2 to 3 minutes as stated in the recipe directions. I mixed the dough until it passed the windowpane test. I immediately divided the dough into four balls, let them rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and then put two in the refrigerator and two in the freezer. The next day, I removed the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before I planned on using it, heated oven to 550F and heated stone on the bottom rack for 1 hour. Rubbed the pizza peel with flour, shaped the dough as Sylvia stated in one of her posts, “…shaped between my two palms and flipped back and forth over my wrists and gently stretched in my hands…,” placed dough on peel, topped, baked for 6 minutes, as suggested by Sylvia, placed them on cardboard when they were done and I also brushed the crowns with a little olive oil.

Pizza 1: brushed dough with garlic infused olive oil and topped with Italian blend cheese, provolone, parmesan, feta and pesto sauce. The Italian blend had provolone and parmesan but I had some extra so I put it on the pizza.

Four Cheese Pesto Pizza

Pizza 2: a little tomato sauce and topped with sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, black olives and Italian blend cheese.

Supreme Pizza

Thank you TFL and Sylvia for helping me achieve my goal of finding the perfect pizza dough recipe! And just in time! Now I can make and store dough in the freezer and concentrate my efforts on other things I usually make around this time of year such as tamales which can take most of a weekend and on some other breads I want to try.

Christi - Oklahoma City, Ok

Floydm's picture

I am still trying to develop a recipe for cream buns something like the scones from Murchies in Victoria, BC (see my previous posts on the topic here and here).  What I baked yesterday turned out awfully good and, if memory serves me right, is along the same lines of what they serve at Murchies.

Cream Buns

Cream Buns

Cream Buns

It is worth mentioning that I've been using my Lesson 1 recipe as the basis for this, with substitutions (milk and cream for the water, add some sugar, etc).  Though by itself that recipe is nothing special and one I've abandoned baking as it is written there, it still is frequently my starting point for experimentation.

My recipes was roughly:

3 cups bread flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup warm milk

3/4 cups warm heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 heaping teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 cup dried currents

I started with less liquid than that  (1/2 cup of each) but the dough got pretty tight, so I poured in more cream and worked the dough with wet hands until it got to a state I was comfortable with. 

I mixed it in my standmixer for quite a decent time, 8-10 minutes I'd guess.  I gave 90 minutes for the bulk fermentation, cut and shaped the dough, and then another 60 minute final rise.  I baked them around 25 minutes at 375.

Looking back at my photo of the Murchies scone, they were a bit yellower.  perhaps I'll add an egg or some butter the next time I try to make these so they come out more brioche-y.  These were very good though, both hot out of the oven and for breakfast the next day.

*      *      *

While making these I remembered that one of my favorite baked items in France this summer, the little Briochette they sold in the grocery stores there, are fairly similar to these.  There is the assumption here that the way to appeal to Americans is to make things sickly sweet.  I could be wrong, but it seems like there is a missed opportunity here: were I a purveyor of baked items I'd try putting out something soft, less sweet, and with a good shelf life, something that a parent wouldn't feel guilty feeding their child.  The closest thing I can find in grocery stores around here are the King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, which our kids devour every time we buy them.   Sprinkle in little bits of chocolate, currents, raisins, or dried cranberries, maybe come out with a whole grain version -- Moore's Flour Mill in Ukiah, CA used to make these whole wheat raisin buns that were to die for -- and I think you'd have a real winner.


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