The Fresh Loaf

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OldWoodenSpoon's picture

The book "Sourdough" by Sara Owens was a surprise gift in more ways than one earlier this year.  First, I was not expecting it, had not asked for it, and in fact, did not know about it.  Second, it has proven to be a wonderful, inspiring and tasty addition to my library!  Others have already posted my favorite bread from the book, the Honey Oatmeal Spelt recipe, so I decided, finally, after what must be two years of lurking, baking, and silence since my last blog entry, to post something for once.

The book title of this recipe is Wild Rice, Herb and Almond Levain, but in the formula she notes that the herbs are "optional".  I am not a great fan of herbs in bread unless the bake is for a specific meal or use, and I know the herbs chosen are appropriate for that setting.  For general baking and unpredicted use I consider the herbs too limiting in what the bread can be used for and served with.  So no "optional" herbs in my bake. 

No formula posted here either since I baked it straight out of the book with only very minor deviations.  There may or may not be legalities to posting the formula, but regardless, I do not do it unless I have made what I consider a material modification that makes it mine, not the author's.  That's just me.  Others feel different.  That's up to them.  I will note, however, that fully a quarter of the flour in this loaf is my home milled white whole wheat flour, plus 5% Wingold Dark Rye flour.  The recipe calls for medium rye but I don't have any of that and I have "tons" of dark rye.   The rest of the flour is Guisto's Artisan Select Malted.  The loaf also contains nearly 20% (Baker's %) cooked and cooled wild rice and 10% toasted, blanched, slivered almonds.  If my Breadstorm numbers are correct (not guaranteed!) then the hydration is almost 77%.

This was a fun bake, and quite challenging.  The dough made up as a very wet dough:

but it settled down quickly after an hour autolyse, and once the wild rice and toasted, slivered almonds were incorporated.

The process for this dough after the main mix and autolyse used a four hour bulk fermentation with stretch and folds, (I use two letter folds at each turn) every 30 minutes for 3 hours, and then an undisturbed fourth hour.  The dough was then divided and preshaped, as a single boule in my bake.  After 30 minutes of bench rest it was final shaped and placed in a linen lined baneton in a plastic bag, and retarded ovenight in the refrigerator.  I use a small wine refrigerator for retarding so I have temperature control, and this bread was kept at 42F for 16 hours.

I baked the loaf en cloche directly out of the refrigerator.  The oven was preheated to 505F (as high as my GE will go without locking the door!) with the cloche baker inside.  I slid the dough into the hot baker with a Super Peel and baked under the dome at 505 for 7 minutes.  At the 7 minute mark I turned down the temperature to 485F and baked under the dome for another 8 minutes, then the dome lid was removed and the bake continued for another 25 minutes at 485F.  Finally, the oven was turned off and the door propped open a bit, leaving the bread inside for 10 more minutes.  I took this final step because I knew the dough was very wet, and with the wild rice it would tend to stay that way.  The extra 10 minutes in the "falling oven" helped let some of that moisture migrate out of the dough and evaporate off without spoiling the crust.

The baking strategy worked well, producing very nice bloom and spring, a boldly baked crust and an attractive appearance that I was quite pleased with:

The inside of the loaf is as pleasing as the outside:

There is a good distribution of large and small holes as a result of the good spring this bread attained, with plenty of wild rice and almonds in evidence.  The crumb has a cool, creamy texture, and the wild rice lends it a moistness that does not chew up "gummy".  The almonds retained their crunchyness, and that wonderful flavor that toasted almonds exhibit.  All combined this has been a wonderful bread to look at, and to eat.  The flavor is not strong in any direction, with a mild sour that we prefer over strong tang, and with a crisp crust that I value highly in sourdough breads I bake. 

This formula is a keeper, and I would encourage everyone to check out Sara Owens' "Sourdough" for the many interesting recipes she presents.  Note, however, that the book is about Sourdough as a topic, not about sourdough bread as a topic.  There are many, many non-bread recipes in the book, from pies and cakes to tarts and empanadas, and they all use sourdough starter in one way or another, and again, not always specifically as a leavening agent.  All of the many I have tried taste great though.

Thanks for stopping by, and do visit again.  Perhaps I will post something again sooner, rather than later, this time.

rushyama's picture

Hello, TFLers -- I'm a longtime lurker and relatively new sourdough baker. I've learned a lot from this site and am hoping to start logging some of my bakes here to learn even more from some of you!

This is my most recent bake, the honeyed spelt and oat from Sarah Owen's Sourdough cookbook. I've tried a few of her breads and have been quite pleased with the results. I mostly stayed true to the recipe, though I swapped out half the bread flour for AP just because I prefer the texture. I also autolysed the flours, soaker, honey, and water for about half an hour before adding the leaven. Overall I probably added an extra 3-5% water.

This made two small-ish loaves; the first I cut into about 5 hours after baking and it was still a little gummy. This one I waited a full day and the texture had set up quite nicely:

Things I would do differently for the next bake:

  • Try to stretch bulk a bit longer. The dough felt aerated but I think I could have stretched it another 1/2 - 1 hour. I had quite massive oven spring, which I think is from slight underproving (?); please correct me if I'm wrong!
  • Let dough sit at room temperature a little longer before refrigerating overnight. I'm finding I prefer to bake straight from the fridge because scoring is much easier.
  • Bake a bit hotter. I should also take the internal temperature just to see where I'm at. These were 5 minutes at 550 dropping to 500; 20 minutes at 450; 15 at 430. Next time I'll keep it at 450 the whole way, I think. 
  • Definitely wait the full day to cut! I was surprised at what a difference it made.

Overall I very much like this bread, particularly toasted with jam!



PalwithnoovenP's picture

Park Tae Young's first loaf. She has "Korean" roots so what's better than use her in a bread with Korean flavors. This is just an improved version of my Pane Yaksik, the very first bread I baked in 2016. This time I made it my persimmon yeast water and a more complete cast of yaksik add-ins. Yaksik (藥食/약식) is a traditional Korean sweet dish made by steaming glutinous rice, honey, nuts and dried fruits. Yak (藥)  in Korean means medicine and Sik (食) means food so yaksik literally means medicinal food. I incorporated its unusual flavours in this bread.

I made a levain using my YW and strong flour; I don't know what is the hydration but I just added flour until it was like a thick batter. I fermented it for 12 hours and it became slightly more than double.

The add-ins in their "unprocessed" form. Anti-clockwise from top left: Jujubes, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, and dried persimmon. Pine nuts are the traditional thing for yaksik but I can't find it so I substituted sunflower seeds because I read long time ago that it is a good substitute and I've been doing it for years. Chestnuts too are traditional in yaksik but they are not yet in season.

Jaaaaaaaaan! They are prepared now. The dried persimmon was soaked in boiling water then cut into small pieces, the sunflowers seeds were shelled one by one and the jujubes were deseeded and cut in half so the beautiful red color pops in the loaf.

The seasoning sauce. Brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, cinnamon and sesame oil. I reduced the brown sugar to 1/3 from the original recipe and increased the amount honey to complete the total amount of sugar because it is the honey that makes yaksik "medicine". Half of the sauce will go in the dough and half is for soaking the fruits. I added some extra soy sauce to the dough; there is no salt in the dough, it all comes from the soy sauce. It is very fragrant and strong from the cinnamon and sesame oil. I didn't taste it in it's pure form like before, I already learnt the hard way! :) 

The fruits soaking in the sauce. They look so glorious with all that sheen!

The dough is simple. Strong flour, water, YW levain, seasoning sauce, and oil. I kneaded it until it passed the windowpane test and then I added the fruits and I knead the dough some more until they are incorporated then an overnight bulk rise at room temperature. since it is already getting colder. Like before, it rose nicely; the soy sauce and cinnamon had no ill effects.

I shaped it into a round and plopped it in my circular tin and proofed it for 3 hours or until double. Before baking, it was brushed with a mixture of egg yolk and soy sauce. I baked it for 30 minutes in my clay pot; 20 minutes with live fire and the last 10 minutes on embers.

The bread does not have a very tall profile because the tin was relatively wider than it is tall and I pressed the dough really flat. It is also a bit lopsided because of it's position in the clay pot.

Here is the top. It is not smooth, in fact very bumpy from the large amount of add-ins.

It was immediately devoured so no crumb shot. :( I had some left over dough and baked it in stainless steel glasses. Unfortunately, the center was gummy because I pulled them too early because of their size. I should have let them cook the same time as the large one.

The crust is very thin and delicate and the crumb is soft though the commercial yeast version is a tad softer and fluffier. I'll try to make the crumb fluffier and more feathery next time, perhaps by adding a bit more oil.

The flavour still rocks! Like before notes of peanut butter, chocolate and cinnamon wafted in the air when I opened the clay pot. No sour note, honey flavor dominates along with complexity of the fruits with the soy sauce providing a slight savory note but not enough to reveal itself, sesame oil and sunflower seeds make it very nutty and the cinnamon provides a familiar flavor in the background. I hope I'm not just repeating what I wrote before. ;-) Textures also play well; the chewy persimmon, the soft jujubes, the plump and juicy raisins, and the crunchy sunflower seeds! It's a sublime combination!

I wonder what will be its flavor if I make it with sourdough and/or some whole wheat flour. I hope I could try it soon.

isand66's picture

  After the nice and hearty apple cider walnut rye bread I baked I needed something a little lighter.  This bake with durum, spelt, cream cheese and baby purple potatoes that I roasted the night before was just the ticket.  The cream cheese and potatoes really made for a nice soft and moist crumb.

You can see the pretty purple bits of potato sticking out of the crumb and the nice nutty flavors of the spelt and durum really make this one worth baking again.

The dough was quite sticky from the addition of the potatoes and cream cheese.  I did not add the water content of either into the formula below but in reality the added almost 230 grams of water would take the hydration up way over 70%.





Download the BreadStorm File Here




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.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), ricotta cheese and olive oil and mix on low for 6 minutes.  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.  (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).

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.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  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 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 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.


yozzause's picture

just a bit of an article that might interest members in the Phnom Penh Post




Phnom Penh Post - The prodigal baker returns, and he’s brought along some fresh ideas

 In his original Siem Reap venture, the Canadian baker was an experimenter. Photo suppliedThe prodigal baker returns, and he’s brought along some fresh ideasFri, 21 October 2016 

Canadian Zita Long opened Zita’s Bakery in Siem Reap in 2014, and his perfectionism meant that he spent little time outside of the kitchen during the past two years. Long became a bit of a local celebrity, and business boomed: crowds lined up for his crumpets, Berliners, apple crumbles and trademark sourdough bread.

But a little over two months ago, he left. Zita’s Bakery closed its doors.

“The last few days [before I left], I remember feeling very confused, and upset in a way,” Long says. “I was feeling hopeful, but also with a little uncertainty.” Long knew he would return to Siem Reap, but he wanted a break, and a little time to explore new trends and techniques. He took off for Perth, Australia, to reignite his passion for the trade.

Long is a young, self-taught baker. He developed his skills while living in Cambodia – where there were limited opportunities to formally learn the trade – and worked on a trial-and-error basis.

Perth was a city of self-reflection, Long says; it is quiet and, more importantly, close to Fremantle. There, Long had the opportunity to study under a retired bread-baking instructor as well as a traditional Italian baker, Nick Agostina. They spoke about technique – as well as their beliefs and values – and Long observed his process.

Zita Long might open a bagel shop next, he says. Photo supplied


“I got to touch dough again for the first time,” Long says with a laugh. “I didn’t think I would miss it, but I did.”

The baker then travelled to Melbourne, which has its own renowned traditional baking scene as well as a batch of new bakeries with cutting-edge approaches. “The croissants and cruffins were tremendous,” Long says, noting that the queues were constant.

“I came back from Australia with an open mind,” Long says. He’s now scouting around for his next opportunity or collaboration: perhaps a bagel cafe. But nothing is set in stone, he adds. He’s not even sure if his sourdough is relevant anymore – or if it’s him or the town that have moved in a different direction.

One thing is for certain: if you’re in Siem Reap, you likely won’t go hungry for too long before his next plans unfold.

Keep up with Zita Long’s projects:

Username *Password *  Contact author: Sarah Rhodes

Just a quick update and article featuring Zita (Bakingbadly) that might be of interest

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

It was my daughter's baby shower on the weekend, and I made good old spinach dip. Of course, you need to put it in a sourdough bread bowl, right? So I added one 123 sourdough boule to the weekend bake. It turned out to be so good, I'm making smaller bread bowls (or boules, if they don't want them for holding soup!) for the subscription list customers for Wednesday. Nice creamy open gelatinized crumb, but I didn't get a crumb shot because I hollowed it out at the shower and it was devoured!

Sometimes it's nice to get back to basics. :)

  • 150 grams of 100% hydration active starter
  • 300 grams of water
  • 400 grams of bread flour (Roger's Silver Star)
  • 50 grams of sprouted whole spelt flour (Anita's Organic)
  • 9 grams of salt

30 minute autolyze; 5 hour bulk ferment with 3 or 4 stretch & folds; overnight retard in the fridge; shape & proof for a couple of hours; bake in a DO.

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

A quick bread made with a bottle of dark stout, 50/50 wholewheat flour and bread flour and yeast. The dough was too soft for a freeform loaf and while digging for a loaf pan, I found my plum pudding mould and dumped the dough into that instead. I rather like the shape.

Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain

Please bear with me...I know this is the third post in one day but I baked this a few days ago and have been waiting until today to slice into it.  Some months ago I tried baking a traditional rugbrot for my Danish neighbour after she had lamented about missing the rye bread she had grown up with. Ever since then she has been a willing participant, taste testing many of my bread experiments but always kindly telling me how much she prefers a good rugbrot!  She and her husband have been such good neighbours to us for over 30 years, how could I not have another go at a Danish rye bread for them?  

This is a variation of Chad Robertson's Rene's Rye Bread, with a higher percentage sprouted rye berries, relatively lower percentage flour.  I mixed 400 g fresh milled rye flour, 200 g fresh milled Red Fife, 22 g sea salt and 220 g levain. I left this covered for 8 hours at room temperature and then mixed in 200 g sprouted rye berries, 100 g toasted pumpkin seeds, 100 g toasted sunflower seeds, 100 g coarsely crushed pistachios, 250 g chopped dried Kalamata figs, a good glop of unpasteurised, raw honey, 1 bottle dark malt beer (500 mls) and 350 mls water; the dough had a wet exposed aggregate cement consistency. The dough fermented for 4 hours at room temperature; then I put the dough into two loaf pans for another 3 hours at room temperature before an overnight cold-proof.  I baked the loaves directly out of fridge the next day, 10 hours later...followed Dab's advice and did a progressively lower temperature bake starting covered with foil at 425 F for 20 minutes; 400 F for 10 minutes;  uncovered and baked 40 minutes at 375 F and then de-panned and baked for 20 minutes at 325 F.  When cooled, I wrapped them in parchment paper and plastic wrap and left them for 24 hours...and waited.  I cut into one this morning and took a loaf to my neighbour; she tasted a slice this morning and pronounced it "lækker!"





Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain

And since I had the green tea matcha powder out....this is something that is a familiar treat at family gatherings; I think it has roots in the everyday cooking experiences of my parents and grandparents - not always having ready access to other ingredients, making do with whatever was on hand. It is really easy to make and really, really delicious...a very unique chewy, mochi-cake-like texture.  


Sweet glutinous rice flour (mochiko), coconut milk, cream/milk, eggs, butter, salt, baking powder, green tea matcha powder, sugar...all mixed together and transferred to a greased baking pan, that's it!



Bake at 350 F for about 90 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the baking pan...




Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain

Ok, so it's not rye bread but I thought it was time to take a break from my exploration of rye bread and this is something I have been wanting to bake for a while, Hokkaido Milk Bread!  I know there have been many previous posts about this type of bread so I am not going to say too much about this bake other than to say this one is not the typical white milk bread so ubiquitous to the many Asian bakeries where I's green bread.

I am not slamming white bread or anyone who enjoys baking/eating white's just a personal preference for other than white bread that inspired me to try a Green Tea Matcha Hokkaido Milk Bread version.  It is made with the usual ingredients - Tangzhong, milk, yeast, all purpose white flour, yeast, sugar, egg - and some matcha powder.  I was pleased with the way this bread turned out and plan to try other variations (all of which are cheaply and readily available from local Asian bakeries but where's the fun in that?) - coconut buns, red bean bread...


Dough prepared with a Kitchen Aid mixer, transferred to a glass bowl for initial proofing...



After the initial rise, shaped and placed in a greased loaf pan for final proofing...


Final proof finished, ready for baking...


And the finished loaf...



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