The Fresh Loaf

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Franko's picture


This bake started out with two things in mind. I wanted to make an 80% sour rye bread and to bake it in my Pullman pan, which I’ve used only once since I bought it this past summer. While I was looking through Hamelman's 'Bread' for a recipe to use, I stopped on the photo page showing the assorted rye breads from Chapter 6, and not for the first time thought what a marvellous display of craftsmanship it was. The one in particular that has always stood out among the others for me is the Pullman loaf at the back, sitting vertically with a series of diagonally crossed slashes the length of the loaf. I've wanted to try that slashing pattern ever since seeing it, so now I had a third thing I wanted to do, but first I needed to find a recipe to use. Unfortunately the photo in the book doesn't say what particular bread the Pullman loaf is. The only rye in the chapter other than the Horst Bandel Pumpernickel that calls for a Pullman pan is the 70% Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker and Whole Wheat Flour, and that didn't fit with what I had in mind. I decided to make Hamelman's 80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker, but to make it using only natural leavening rather than the combination of sour and bakers yeast called for in his formula, and to substitute dark rye for whole rye in the soaker and final mix. Somewhere along the line I decided to throw some toasted sunflower seeds into the mix as well for a bit of added flavour and texture.

When I was making the sour/levain the night before the final mix and looking at the tiny little portion of mature sour expected to convert all that raw rye flour into the only source of leavening for this bread, I must admit I had some doubts. 18 hrs later it was clear that I had underestimated just how active my starter was. It had just about popped the lid off the container, looking more like a ripe, dark, poolish than any rye sour I've made before. Simply amazing how voracious natural yeast can be in the right environment.

Three hours before the final mix the seeds were toasted in a 350F oven for 10 minutes before I checked them for colour. I was looking for a medium to dark colour to bring out a rich nutty flavour, which I think is a key component of the overall flavour of this loaf. The time will vary for different ovens, but the smell and colour of the toasted seeds is the best indicator to watch for.

The mix was started in the stand mixer and finished by hand. In retrospect I should have done the entire thing by hand and saved myself the trouble of cleaning sticky rye paste out of every possible space it could get into on my mixer. It was just too large for my small KA to handle properly through to a finished mix, but it did get it off to a good start, needing only 2-3 minutes of handwork to develop it into a cohesive paste. Final ferment, rise and bake notes are included in the recipe to follow. Molding the bread into the pan properly is a fairly critical step to have a symmetrical finished loaf, and I spent enough time with this stage to ensure the baked loaf would be level on top and that the corners would be as even and square as possible. One thing I should point out to anyone who might make this loaf or something similar. When you place the paste in the pan, make sure that the bottom and sides of the paste are dry by blotting off any excess water from the initial molding with a towel of some kind. I didn't, and had a bit of a sticking problem in one spot when it came time to unmold the loaf. Once it had cooled a bit, along with some very gentle persuasion, it did release cleanly, but a word of caution on this point. The loaf was set to cool, wrapped in linen, for 16 hrs before slicing.

I have to say this is the best tasting hi ratio rye bread I've made so far, largely due to the sour itself, but also how well the flavour of the toasted seeds compliments not only the sour, but the dark rye flour. A thin slice of this bread has that level of flavour that lasts in the mouth for the better part of an hour and makes you want to come back for more. The crumb itself is moist and dense, and even after 6 days shows no sign of staling, due to the soaker and pan baking I'm sure. The bread is a dream to slice, yielding slices just about as thin as you could possibly want them without crumbling. Although I didn't get the nice definition on the slashing as pictured in Hamelman's 'Bread' it's a fact I can easily live with when the bread tastes as good as this one does. My favourite rye? No doubt in my mind this one is it for quite some time to come.



80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker and Sunflower Seeds-adapted from Hamelman's 'Bread'









Whole Rye Flour






Mature Sourdough Rye culture @ 100%












Dark Rye Flour












Final Dough



Dark Rye Flour



High Gluten flour






Sea Salt









Toasted sunflower seeds



Total weight






Overall Formula



Whole rye flour



Dark rye Flour



High gluten Flour









Sunflower seeds




Notes: The total weight of this mix is scaled a little heavier than what you need for a 13x4x4 Pullman pan. Scaling weight for these pans is 2.050kg. Because the dough is very sticky, I found I lost some of the dough to my hands, paddle etc. The final weight of this formula should be more than enough to compensate for that. Scaling weight for the bread pictured was 29 grams short of 2.050 .




Before final mixing:

Mix the sourdough and leave for 17-18 hours to ripen at 65-70F.

Next mix the soaker, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave over night at room temperature.


Final mixing:

DDT -80F

Mix all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds on 1st speed for 3 minutes. Adjust the hydration so that the mix is loose and sticky.

Add the sunflower seeds and mix on 2nd speed for 3 minutes. The mix should resemble a paste rather than a typical wheat based 'dough'. It should be soft and sticky.


  • Depending on the size of the mixer you may need to turn the dough out on to the counter and finish mixing by hand. If so, have your hands wet, and use a scraper to help fold the dough over itself several times until it's uniformly mixed.


Place in a bowl, cover, and let bulk ferment for 30 minutes.My dough was cool after mixing and at 74F. It was given a slightly longer 45 minute bulk ferment.



Using wet hands, form the paste into a log and place in the pullman pan.


  • the pan I used has only been used once previous and the glaze is intact. Because of this I didn't oil or dust the pan with flour. My preferance is that the sides of the loaf look smooth and free of flour if possible. With an older pan it should be either oiled and dusted, or lined with parchment to prevent sticking.

Press the paste into the corners of the pan with wet hands, then using a wet plastic scraper pressed flat on top of the paste, press down firmly, working the paste so that it's even along the edges of the pan on all sides. Try to get the corners as square as possible and then use the scraper to smooth and flatten the top so that it's level across the entire surface.


Final rise and baking:

Final rise of 2- 2 ½ hrs at 70-72F, covered with a clear plastic box if possible or a plastic sheet. Keep the paste damp on top if needed by spraying with water. The bread does not need to be scored, but if scoring do it just a few minutes before loading in the oven to allow the slashes open cleanly.

Bake at 465F for 15 minutes then at 435 for 45 minutes. The loaf should have pulled away from the sides of the pan, similar to the way a cake does when it's baked. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for a few minutes before tipping it out. Cool on a wire rack, wrapped in linen, for 12 hrs before slicing.



txfarmer's picture


Continue to push the limit on how much whole grain flour can be used in baguettes, yet still maintain the light texture. (original recipe here, 3 earlier variations here, 3 more variations here, previous whole grain experiments here)

AP Flour, 200g

barley flour, 75g

ww flour, 150

ice water, 375g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 150g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.

15% rye (in starter), 15% barley, 30% ww, which makes 60% whole grain flour in total. Since my last try of 45% whole grain baguettes were a bit heavy, I was not holding too much hope for this batch, which means I was reckless and not paying too much attention. (Quote from my husband: you were BEGGING to fail!) And boy, did I mess up in so many ways:

1. Didn't have enough rye starter ready. The 12 hour autolyse was done, but I only had 100g of rye starter, Ugh! Decided to use that, and added another 25g of water and 25g of rye flour to make all the ratio "correct". However, 1/3 less starter means much slower rise, so I knew I had to really read the dough carefully.

2. At first S&F, something is off. What? Oh, the salt! I had forgot to mix in the salt! Luckily the rise is long due to less starter, so I had plenty of time to add salt and S&F to distribute it evenly. On the other hand, it may have helped the dough to rise faster by "holding back" the salt.

3. I literally "forgot about" the dough after taking it out from fridge to finish rising. Again the reduced starter was a blessing, the dough was way bubbly and expanded, but not disasterously so.

4. The hydration was 90%, yeah, you read that right, remember? I was "begging to fail"? That hydration, along with too long of a bulk rise, made shaping and scoring...interesting. UGH.

5. When it's time to score, I knew it wasn't gonna be easy, so I decide to install a new blade on my lame. Apparently I was so careless that it was not properly installed, it came loose during scoring, and by second baguette, it fell!! Into a puddle of dough. Sigh, fished it out and continued.

6. Forgot to prehead the oven well in advance, so when the baguettes went in, the stone was only reheated for 30min, much shorter than my usual 1 to 2 hours. 

After all that, I was expecting bricks and making alternative dinner plans, yet this is what I got!


Was I ever surpised! Talking about a no fail recipe! The weekend after, I made this formula again, properly this time. The results were even better.


Here's the best part: due to my reckless 90% hydration, the crust was not too thick - unlike my 45% whole grain baguettes, so the battle with super wet dough was well worth it! Nice crispy but "not too thick" crust, along with open crumb with lots of holes, and great whole grain flavor, make this formula a winner.When I started out this "whole grain in baguettes" experiment, I didn't expect anything beyond 50% whole grain would still produce light baguettes, but this formula proves me wrong. Of course, now I have to try even more whole grain flour, and even more water!


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

Yippee's picture


This year, I was home for the Chinese New Year.  Therefore, I got the opportunity to serve the daikon cake (籮卜糕) for my kids in the morning and take pictures of it.  On that day, in addition to the many dishes I normally prepare for the New Year, I also explored a traditional Cantonese New Year vegetarian dish (齋), one of the nostalgic comfort foods which my hubby had been craving for in the previous few weeks. Though it was not perfect to my husband's taste, adding a new dish to my repertoire excited me.    I was very content to be able to start a New Year by doing things I enjoy and I certainly hope this was one of the signs of a great year ahead.


Here are the pictures:


longhorn's picture

I finally got time to bake and wanted to revisit the miche. After all of the multiple miches I was really looking forward to popping a spectacular loaf. And...the process had some flaws and the results are not up to my aspirations, but unlike a skydiver whose chute doesn't open, I will live to try again!

I followed David Snyder's guidelines for the full loaf using my new War Eagle Mills AP flour. My doughs using this flour remain a bit wetter than I expect and as a result the dough was a tad sticky but I thought it would be okay. Not quite, for it stuck to my linen basket liner in a ring around the base (sides and top were not stuck!) so getting from the banneton to the peel left me with a loose, wrinkled around the top sharpei-like loaf! It would up a bit overproofed but baked up nicely - though a bit flat. It sang and crackled nicely on removal from the oven. And the aroma was amazing. Taste is quite good and will no doubt get better. Crumb is pretty nice! Here are some photos!

The next image shows the wrinkles from the sticking!

And the crumb

I fully agree with David that this is a loaf you really want to push the bake on! The crust is amazing!

prijicrw's picture


By adding some yeast to speed up my winter sourdough baking I received teriffic results. I used my Cuisinart 5 quart mixer for kneading and 8 inch proofing baskets.


White Levain Multigrain



270 grams H2O

¼ teaspoon (heaping) yeast

170 grams starter (100%)

460 grams flour

10 grams salt

1 cup mixed seeds/grains (add ¼ cup boiling water during autolyse)


1.     Autolyse 20 minutes

2.     Mix 6 mins medium speed, 4 mins med-high, then at seeds for 2 mins

3.     Bulk ferment 2 hours at about 78-80 degrees (warm oven) w/ fold at 1 hour

4.     Divide - preshape – rest 15 mins

5.     Shape

6.     Proof 2-2.5 hours

7.     Bake at 475-500 for 30 mins w/ steam at 3 & 6 mins 


txfarmer's picture


This recipe is adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", my favorite WW bread book. There's nothing wrong with the formula itself, other than needing quite a bit more water, however, my attempt to convert it to sourdough has failed completely. Oh, don't think I haven't tried many time. Different rising schedule, different starter ratio, different cottage cheese, even added baking soda to offset the acidity of cottage cheese, they all ended up the same: the dough started tearing and collapsing 3 to 4 hours into the rise, no ovenspring to speak of.


2 huge tubs of cottage cheese later, I declare defeat. Here's my guess on why this formula doesn't work with sourdough, but I am in no way certain, and welcome all advices and theories!

- cheese has extra protease

- this formula has quite a bit of cottage cheese mixed in as part of liquid (35%)

- since it's part of liquid, cottage cheese were kneaded into the dough from the start, so it's very integrated into the dough structure

- using sourdough starter, my rise schedule is way longer than the 3 hours in the original formula. The loaf in the picture were made according to original formula with instant yeast, as you can see, there's no gluten break down, the loaf is tall and proud. so I guess my sourdough verion simply takes too long to rise, giving extra protease enough time to destroy the gluten structure.

- I could try to reduce the cottage cheese ratio, or shortened the rising time, but then that defeat the purpose of making pure sourdough verison of THIS formula


Anyway, here's the (slightly adapted) original formula and pictures using instant yeast, the bread is very delicious, even without sourdough.

Lemony Loaf (adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book")

*formula is good for a 8X4inch loaf pan


ww flour, 413g

wheat germ,14g

instant yeast, 3.5g

water, 247g

cottage cheese, 145g

honey, 21g

butter, 14g

salt, 5.5g

lemon zest, from one lemon


1. Mix cottage cheese, honey, and 120g of water, heat to almost boiled, well mixed. Cool to room temp.

2. Add the rest of cold water, flour, wheat germ, yeast, salt, lemon zest, autolyse for 30min. Knead well, add buter, knead until past windowpane.

3. Rise at 80F for 1.5 to 2 hours until double, press with finger the dough won't bounce back. Punch down, and rise again until double, it will take half of the time as the first rise.

4. Shape and put in a 8X4in loaf pan

5. Rise at 90F until the dough is about 1inch above the rim, slowly bounce back a bit when pressed. About 45min to 1 hour.

6. Bake at 350F for 45min. Brush with butter when warm


You can't taste cottage cheese perse, but it does make the crumb very soft. This effect makes me wonder whether it also completely "breaks down" the gluten given enough time.


As delicous as this loaf is, the questions are still nagging me: "WHY exactly has my sourdough version failed?", "Can it work somehow?"


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

varda's picture

Yesterday I very assertively backed my car into a snowdrift and my long-suffering neighbor came out and helped dig me out, yet again.   (My husband came out in the middle of all this and dug too but that's his job so no more about that.)   Anyhow, a situation like this calls for bread, and I didn't want to make some pointy-headed thing that only a bread enthusiast would enjoy so I searched through Hamelman and (drum roll please) found his Golden Raisin Bread.  

Now who said good bread needs an open crumb?  (Ok.   No one.   I read the whole discussion.   Absolutely no one said that.)

(Oh.  My neighbor got the round one.)


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


In my blog entry Test Tube Baking [1]: White French Bread I investigated how the final proof  affects the outcome: Where does underproof end and where does overproof start, and what are the symptoms in the finished bread...

I chose to make batards proved seam-side up, and I think the choice of this method somewhat carmouflaged the effects of overproofing: Because the loaves had to be turned over onto a peel the fragile areas just under the skin collapsed, resulting in loaves with a surprisingly even texture. (this is my interpretation)

I wanted to see those big holes!

This time I decided to make 200g boules and avoid all handling during and after the final proof: after shaping I put them on buttered baking trays.

3 boules at 200g each, proved for 60, 120 and 160 minutes. The environment was slightly coolet than last time, about 22 to 24C.

At 60 minutes the boules seemed well risen and the poke test showed a slow response.

At 120min the remaining 2 boules had spread quite a bit, and when poking the dough it didn't resist any more.

boule raw 60 min


At 160 min the piece of dough which had been a boule looked more like a focacia, but it had all those bubbles. Poking the dough created bubbles places far away from the dent.

boule raw 160 min

A sad sight.

Here is a picture of the baked loaves:



Oven spring: the 60 min boule had good oven spring (30%), the 120 min boule had little oven spring, and the 160 min boule had no oven spring at all.

Blowouts: The 60min boule had a blowout near the base.

All loaves had fairly weak bottom crust due to them being baked on baking sheets, which were cold.

Some crumb shots:

crumb 60min

A big hole! at 60 min proof!

proof 120min

A different kind of a hole at 120 min. And quite a different crumb. Signs of gluten breakdown.

proof 160min

Total gluten breakdown at 160 min.

The crumb of this last specimen is more like the crumb I know from 100% hydration rye breads, just much dryer. The bubble structure of a bread at 60 min has turnted more into a complex structure with no distinct air pockets: everything is connected. There is no springiness, and the feeling in the mouth is more like cake, the taste a bit yeasty.

Here a direct comparison of the crumb:


The huge blowout at 60 min was a surprise, I attributed it to a lack of slashing.

So I made 2 more boules with 60 min final proof, on buttered cold baking trays, one slashed, the other not.

slash 1


Both had blowouts of some degree, and the area under the skin was still very weak in the slashed loaf, while the unslashed loaf had a big hole.

slash crumb


I attribute this crumb to the cold baking tray- when put in the oven the top of the boules start fermenting immediately while the bottom gets going only after the baking sheet gets hot.

So many things to consider.


In this experiment I produced some overproofed loaves with visible effects of gluten breakdown.

The reference loaves proofed at "optimum" time showed blowouts and flying crust which (I think) are effects of not slashing, and using cold baking trays.

I hope you find my investigations useful.

My family found these experiments tasty, and you will be glad to hear nothing has been wasted.





mark d's picture
mark d

i just started making bread, so i bought some active dry yeast, as it was proofing it SMELLS like THE TASTE of my grandmothers bread but it did not taste like hers.


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