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Pablo's picture

Using Hamelman's 40% rye formula.  I watched several videos on youtube about bread braiding.  Very helpful.  I chose a 5-strand braid for my first one because it looks great and it's pretty straight-forward seeming, compared to a 6-strand braid.  It was easy to do and the result is very satisfying.  I guess it's going to end up more of a pull-apart loaf than something that you would make sandwiches out of.  Since I was poking at challah sites to see braiding, I tried an egg wash while I was at it.  It think it's fine on the braided loaf, but it made the other loaf crust dull.  I won't do that again.

I made a couple of technique changes to Hamelman's instructions:
1.  I read that the rye pentosans and the wheat gluten are competing for water, so I mixed the wheat and water together and allowed it to sit a bit before incorporating it with the overnight rye sour.
2.  I prefer to stick to wild yeasts.  Instead of adding commerical yeast I added a bit more ripe starter to the wheat/water mixture.  I feed my starter at 1:5:5, which translates to 3g starter to 15g water and 15g flour.  I used the ~30g discard in the wheat/water mixture and let it ferment 90 minutes until I saw a little movement before incorporating it with the rye sour, salt and caraway seeds.  It was kind of  a sticky mess at first, but it came together nicely after a bit of kneading, although I kept an eye on the clock and didn't knead more than 5 minutes to avoid overmixing the rye.

Oh yeah, I don't think that all caraway seeds are equal.  I had some from the natural foods store for my first attempts at this rye and it was great.  Then I got some from the bulk bins at the super market and they were dull.  I'm back to the non-irradiated pack from the natural foods store and they are more full flavoured.  I don't know but what that might have to do with packaging - that is, being packaged as opposed to sitting in a bin for who knows how long.  Anyway, it did make a noticeable difference.

I tried the 80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker recently and it came out 100% ugly, I think mostly due to overproofing.  It collapsed when I moved it from the couche and never recovered, so I was gun-shy this time and I think that I underproofed a little and that's why there's big oven spring on the slashed loaf.  I only proofed for 45 minutes.  Maybe the braid wouldn't pull apart quite so much with longer proofing, too.


Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
Obsessive Ingre...

I've been making Gosselin/Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne since last fall, and until a few days ago, I was having a big problem scoring it consistently.  My breakthrough?  I stumbled upon Gosselin's website and saw them scoring loaves that were MUCH less hydrated than Reinhart's recipe was leading me to create.  Oh, Peter Reinhart!  So I cut back on the water, and voila, the lame scores it perfectly (forgive the shallow angle of the scoring, but it's a mini-baguette).  So right now I'm going with this formula: 128g KA French Style Flour, 2.65g salt, 0.95g instant yeast, and 92g water.  I might cut back on the water by a couple of grams - to 89g or 90g; time will tell.

I've been making single loaves about 5 days a week for the last couple months; they make a great lunch with some butter and confiture.  This loaf baked SO nicely.  I noticed subtle hints of pistachio and framboise as I gave a quick sniff while it cooled on the counter.

PHOTO #1: Sliced/Crumb Shot

PHOTO #2: Grigne

PHOTO #3: Mini-Baguette


Mebake's picture

Ever since he left germany, my father has always been a fan of german sourdough ryes, aren't we all?

The store bought Seeded Sourdough rye my father often buys is so called (nordic or norlander bread). I thought that i could mimic the taste and appearance of the said bread, i tried twice and failed.

Venturing into starter world and sourdoughs helped develop my baking skills, and Rye baking was especially successful. Credit goes to God almighty and freshloavers.

 Yesterday, 16 days into mixing water, Rye flour and perparing a starter, my most successful rye loaf was born. It is inspired from "Norlander bread" which in turn is inspired from sourdough seeded german rye breads, and its my german-variation Rye bread

The loaf was 70% wet, and contained: 100% wet Sourdough Rye starter, sea salt, pre-soked whole rye berries, fennel seeds, caraways seeds, aniseed, rye flour, and mixture of presoaked  seeds.

bulk proofing took 6 hours, and final shaping proofing was 65 minutes. (obviously the crust caved in in oven, indicating an overproof)

The taste? although i should wait for the recommended 24 hours to slice the loaf, i could not wait (Typically human!), and it was heavenly tastefull with a pleasent sour rye taste and delicious seeds.

Pictures follow:

Fresh Loaf out of the oven


A cross section


A Close look


I will sure duplicate this experience in the near future.


Shiao-Ping's picture

A thousand years, a thousand more

A thousand times a million doors to eternity

I may have lived a thousand lives, a thousand times

An endless turning stairway climbs to a tower of souls

If it takes another thousand years, a thousand wars

The towers rise to numberless floors in space

I could shed another million tears, a million breaths

A million names but only one truth to face  

A million roads, a million fears

A million suns, ten million years of uncertainty

I could speak a million lies, a million songs

A million rights, a million wrongs in this balance of time

But if there was a single truth, a single light

A single thought, a singular touch of grace

Then following this single point, this single flame

This single haunted memory of your face


I may be numberless, I may be innocent

I may know many things, I may be ignorant

Or I could ride with kings and conquer many lands

Or win this world at cards and let it slip may hands

I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times

Reborn as fortune's child to judge another's crimes

Or wear this pilgrim's cloak, or be a common thief

I've kept this single faith, I have but one belief


I still love you, I still want you

A thousand times these mysteries unfold themselves

Like galaxies in my head

On and on the mysteries unwind themselves

Eternities still unsaid

'Til you love me                                                                                                      

                                                                                            "A Thousand Years" by Sting

                                                                                            Album: "All This Time" & "Brand New Day"             






This bread was inspired by Sting's A Thousand Years.                       


My Formula  

  • 200 g rye meal starter @ 100% hydration (built up in three feedings over 48 hours.  I had to increase hydration from 75% and added 1/8 tsp sugar as the starter was looking tough going in rye meal flour.)

  • 350 g white flour

  • for colouring/saltiness/hydration: 28 g soy sauce + 12 g squid ink + 34 red wine

  • 168 g water

  • 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast (I was afraid I might have poisoned my starter with the squid ink and soy sauce so I added instant yeast.  As it turned out my starter appeared to be strong enough.)  

dough weight 792 g & dough hydration 76%  

  1. Bulk fermentation 6 hours with 4 folds

  2. Shape then Proof 2 hours

  3. Overnight cold retardation 12 hours, followed by 2 hours at room temp

  4. Bake at 230 C for 20 min and 210 C for another 15 min, followed by 10 min resting in the oven with the door still shut but the oven turned off.    

This morning I showed my son and daughter the fermented dough before their school; both of them turned up their noses without saying anything.  My husband was more diplomatic.   



             Crumb ...                                                          and more crumb      


Well, I have to say that I am very pleased with the result.   My husband said the crumb was sensational (how supportive).  The crust was thin and ultra crispy (to me, it is baguette crust standard).  



                   top crust                                                                    bottom crust   


There was a very faint bitterness taste to the crumb, which I find adds to the depth of flavour.   I asked my husband if he thought the bitterness was associated with the ink.  He said, even if it was not, you would form that mental association because your senses subconsciously makes the linkage between black and bitterness.       

Notwithstanding the faint bitterness, he likes the bread also because it is very moist; but he admits this inky bread is not his most favourite.  For me, the inkiness is a strikingly sober colour that I like, at once ancient and modern.   I once heard that many Americans like their first cup of coffee blace in the morning and why black? - because the bitterness provides counter-balance to their sweet diet.  Your body actually craves for something bitter.  Another example: why do pregnant women crave for sourness - their body needs Vitamin C contained in many sour fruits or food.   I crave bitterness; not at all because this bread is bitter (it is not), it is the association that makes me welcome this bread.       



                                                                  My black abstract painting    


Bixmeister's picture

I recently heard from the owner of Kamado Corporation regarding my inquiry as to whether his company makes a product similar to a wood burning oven for making bread and pizza.  Richard Johnson, the owner sent my a reply including pictures that I have in this link: Meridian



DonD's picture

Does the taste of a favorite food evoke in you indelible memories of time and places where the pleasure it has given you has put a mark on you for life?

For me, a bite into a buttery and flaky croissant and my taste memory takes me back to my childhood in Saigon where every morning, I would look forward to the familiar sound of the horn announcing the arrival of the "Bread Man" riding on his scooter with twin canvas trunks full of goodies straddling the rear seat to deliver fresh baguettes and croissants to the neighborhood houses.

The sweet smell of baking croissants always reminds me of the time when I was a student in Geneva, walking by a bakery at 6:00 am, suddenly being overwhelmed by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked croissants, summoning enough nerve to knock on the door to convince the owner to sell me a couple before the store was open and walking home in the snowy winter dawn, enjoying the best croissants I ever had in my life.

A croissant with cafe au lait for breakfast always transports me back to my first visit to Paris in the spring, sitting at a sidewalk table at the Cafe "La Rotonde" in the Montparnasse area, sipping a cafe creme and eating a croissant with confiture, watching the morning bustle and hustle of Parisian life just like Hemingway, Picasso, Nijinsky, Gershwin and other luminaries had done at the same spot so many years ago.

I have been baking Croissants and Pains au Chocolat on and off for over 20 years and until recently, my favorite recipe was from Jacques Pepin's "The Art of Cooking". It is a foolproof recipe where you can follow the instructions verbatim and end up with great results.

Last year I discovered the Esther McManus recipe from the PBS "Baking with Julia" TV Series. I have tried this recipe about half a dozen times, tweaking it along the way to suit my taste and baking techniques. It has become my favorite recipe as I find that it comes closest to the Croissants and Pains au Lait that you can only find in Europe.

This past weekend, I made a batch of Croissants and Pain au Chocolat and following are my notes and recommendations:

1- I basically followed the step by step instructions in the video which are excellent. The link is

2- It is not mandatory to have the companion book " Baking with Julia" but it is nice to have as a back-up.

3- I use pretty much the same formulation except for the following variations:

    A- I use 1 1/4 cup of milk. I find the little extra milk makes the dough more pliable and easier to work with.

    B- I use 2 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast. I converted the amount into Instant Yeast because I prefer it over Cake or Dry Yeast.

    C- I use only 3-1/2 sticks of butter. More butter would only leak out during baking. I have tried different unsalted butters including imported "Le President", "Plugra"European Style and found that old "Land o' Lakes" works just as well.

    D- I use two 3 inch long "Valrhona" Chocolate Batons for each Pain of Chocolat. I splurge on a box of 350 pieces and they are disappearing fast as they are good to snack on as well.

4- I do not put a hot water pan in the turned off oven while proofing as recommended. I found out the hard way that it melts the butter in the dough.

5- I bake the Croissants in a preheated 425 degrees F oven with steam for 5 mins , then without steam at 400 degrees for 5 more mins and  finally at 375 degrees for 5 mins. I find it gives me better oven spring and a flakier crust than a longer bake with dry heat at 350 degrees.

6- The recipe should yield a dozen each Croissants and Pains au Chocolat.

Dough cut into triangles with a Croissant Cutter, not an essential tool but a nice gadget.

Shaped, proofed and egg washed Croissants ready for the oven.

Baked Croissants cooling on the rack.

The ultimate Continental Breakfast with Croissant and Pain au Chocolat

The mandatory crumb shot.

Happy Baking!


dmsnyder's picture

Almost all the breads I bake are sourdoughs, but there are two non-sourdough breads I really like – Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut bread and a hearty 100% Whole Wheat sandwich bread. Whole wheat bread is my bread of choice for tuna salad or egg salad sandwiches and for nut butter and jam sandwiches. It's one of my favorites, toasted, to accompany eggs, although it has stiff competition from San Francisco-style Sourdough bread and un-toasted Jewish Sourdough Pumpernickel (with cream cheese).

My favorite whole wheat bread has been the “100% Whole Wheat Bread” from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice.” It uses both a poolish and a soaker and is essentially identical to what Reinhart calls the “foundational bread” in his later-published “Whole Grain Baking” book. It incorporates what Reinhart calls “the epoxy method” in the later book.

These books are widely available, so I will not duplicate the formulas here. However, Reinhart offers a number of options, and I will tell you which I used for this bake.

The Poolish in Reinhart's BBA formula isn't really a poolish in the classic sense of a 100% hydration mix of flour and water with a little yeast. In the WGB book, he calls it a “barm,” and it's not really a barm either, as I understand the strict definition. I suppose you could call it a “sponge.”

The Soaker calls for “coarse whole wheat flour or other coarsely ground whole grains.” In the past, I've used bulghur (medium size). This time, I did have some coarse ground whole wheat flour on hand. I used 2 oz of the coarse whole wheat and 2.25 oz of bulghur, soaked overnight in 6 oz of buttermilk (One of Reinhart's options), rather than the water I had used before.

The final dough uses fine ground whole wheat flour, salt, honey and instant yeast. No additional water is added in the formula. An egg and 1 T of vegetable oil are optional. I used the egg but not the oil. The honey I used was Orange Blossom honey.

Using these ingredients, the dough was considerably drier than it had been when I had used water (rather than buttermilk) and all bulghur (rather than coarse ground WW and bulghur). I ended up adding about 3 T of additional water during mixing and still ended up with a rather stiff, barely tacky dough.

Fermentation to doubling and proofing to almost doubled took about 75% as long as the recipe specified. This was because my kitchen was 80F yesterday.

The dough made two 17 oz pan loaves which baked at 350F for 45 minutes.


This is a very flavorful, somewhat dense yet tender bread. The flavor of red whole wheat predominated, but the Orange Blossom honey flavor was very much “there,” too. If you pay attention, I think you can also taste a tangy overtone from the buttermilk. I tasted some just after it cooled and had more toasted with almond butter and strawberry jam for breakfast. It's still a favorite.

I am curious how I would like this bread made with white whole wheat, and I'll probably make it that way next time.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

hansjoakim's picture

I loved the deep wheaty taste of the whole-wheat levain that I posted about last time, and I feel the preferment itself (a wet whole-wheat preferment) added a tangy, earthy flavour to the loaf. It'll be interesting to experiment with different flours in future preferments, as it could be an easy way to "extract" more of the flavour and aroma characteristics of the flour that is used.

I baked another whole-wheat levain yesterday, but added toasted nuts and rum soaked prunes. For the loaf below, I used pine nuts and sunflower seeds, and let the toasted nuts soak in dark rum together with prunes overnight. I think this gave the nuts a soft, almost buttery mouthfeel. Other than that, the whole-wheat levain formula from "Bread" was followed, with a final proof in the fridge overnight. Here's the loaf:

Prune & nut levain

The toasted nuts and sweetness from the prunes go very well with the slightly bitter flavour of whole-wheat. The combined weight of nuts and prunes is about 30% of the total flour weight.

Prune & nut levain


OK, I know you're thinking that Tour de France is over and all that (so what if I'm not a sports freak??), but that didn't prevent me from making some Paris-Brest pastries over the weekend! I've made these once before, and I've had a craving for more ever since... Below is a photo of the unbaked (left) and baked (right) choux wheels:


I used the recipe for choux pastry from Suas' book, and both times I've used it, I've ended up adding more eggs than in the recipe in order to get the right consistency. Perhaps I'm cooking the paste a bit too long before adding eggs? Anyways, the more eggs the merrier, right? They piped nicely, and sprung up quite good in the oven.

So much about the choux - let's be honest: The choux wheel is merely a...*ehem*... vehicle for the filling, if you ask me. The real star of the show is the Crème Paris-Brest; the luxurious, artery-clogging cream that is sandwiched between two halves of choux.

May I trouble you with a bit of choux, Madame?



Finally, for a truly ship-sinking cookie, here's my take on Friberg's Florentina surprise. They're pretty elaborate as far as "cookies" are concerned, but if you happen to have some buttercream and shortdough in your freezer (I mean, who doesn't, right? ;), this is a great way to use it all up. The florentina surprise is a shortdough bottom layer, topped with hazelnut flavoured buttercream and a mound of rum flavoured ganache, dark coating chocolate and a thin florentina cookie on top. Below are photos of the florentina and shourtdough components (left) and shortdough with filling piped on top (right):

Florentina surprise

After the buttercream is set, the cookie is dipped in dark coating chocolate, and the florentina cookie is pressed on top:

Florentina surprise

The "surprise" part of the name comes from the rum flavoured ganache in the centre of the filling - it's a mouthwatering combination of flavours: Sandy shortdough, buttery hazelnut, crisp caramel-almond taste from the florentina and a great kick from the rum-spiked ganache. Ship-sinking stuff!

apprentice's picture

Woman does not live by rye or barley alone.

So this woman decided to follow suit, when she saw that a lot of other bloggers on The Fresh Loaf were having fun with bagels. I have a formula for Montreal-style bagels from my instructor at baking school. He got it, scribbled in pencil on a brown paper bag, from bakers at the St. Viateur Bagel Bakery where they've been supplying bagel lovers since 1957.

First, I had to scale back the formula. St. Viateur makes almost 10,000 bagels a day at its main location, so the original formula is a big one. It uses 40 kilos of flour, which they make several times a day. At school, we cut that back to 5 kilos. I thought I might manage with 1 kilo at home, which would produce just a baker's dozen. Even so, my poor Kitchen Aid mixer was straining. I quickly moved to hand kneading after the dough came together.

I'll publish the recipe below. There are two significant differences from others I've seen. Firstly, no salt. That always surprises people. I never know how to answer. Either the baker forgot to write it down, or it's what makes this particular bagel extra chewy and delicious. I don't miss it -- not a bit. Secondly, no proofing. At all. You can even skip bulk fermentation, if you let the bagels rest in the fridge overnight after shaping. Or production can be a continuous process after bulk fermentation where you go directly to dividing, shaping, boiling and baking. Then eating. :)

Here's the dough after 8 minutes of kneading:

bagel dough

You can see the stiffness characteristic of bagel dough.  I flattened the ball to a circle about 2" high and used my bench scraper to divide it into 4 oz. wedges. These, I rolled into strips much as Jeffrey Hamelman describes in Bread. As you handle the dough, it becomes smoother and more pliable.

I hadn't made these in over two years, but it was coming back to me. (Don't stack them like that...argh, they'll stick together. Oh yeah, keep a spray bottle handy to mist them or remember to cover with plastic while I process the rest. Wait a minute, no dusting worked on a damp surface!) The stream of consciousness continued, as I talked myself through the vague memories that my hands recalled better than my brain.

shaping bagels

Then came the boiling and seeding. We never worried about colouring the water much. A handful of brown sugar or some malt syrup if it was handy -- just enough to help gelatinize the starch on the surface in a tasty way, making the bagels smooth and shiny. The dough already has sweetness from malt extract. Today, I used about 2 T of brown sugar in the boiling water. I love sesame seeds, so I used them for most of the bagels and coarse salt for the rest.

boil n seed bagels

Here's what they looked like at half-time on my baker's half sheet pan in the oven. #13 of the baker's dozen got squished. That's okay. I found they needed extra time to brown properly. So near the end, I divided them between two smaller sheet pans without parchment and jacked the heat back up for about three minutes. Did the trick.

bagels at half time in oven

Who's got the cream cheese?

    fresh from oven

Montreal Style Bagels

1 kilo bread flour (about 8 cups)

2 grams instant yeast (2/3 tsp)

40 grams sugar (3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp)

9 grams malt - the flour, not the syrup (4 1/2 tsp)

50 grams egg (1 large)

463 grams water (2 cups or 500 ml)

2 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

Scale or measure out all ingredients. Blend dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix until dough starts to come together. If using a stand mixer, change to hand kneading at this point rather than strain the motor of your machine. Continue kneading until developed fully. At this point, you have some choices. The instructions that follow are for continuous processing. If you want to incorporate overnight retardation, see my two replies to Michael below.

Cover the dough and give it about 45 minutes rest on your counter, aka a period of bulk fermentation. When the time is nearly up, put a large pot such as a Dutch oven full of water on to boil and throw in 2 T brown sugar or some barley malt syrup. (Honey or maple syrup are fine, too.) Divide the dough into 13 units of about 113 grams (4 oz) each. Roll into strips and shape as bagels. There is no need to proof the bagels once shaped, but keep covered and/or mist so they don't dry out. Place on a sheet pan beside the pot of water. Process 6 or 7 at a time, however many will comfortably fit in your pan, moving them around in the water periodically for a minute or so. When ready, they float. Remove back to the sheet pan, and put the next batch on to boil.

While still damp, dip the boiled bagels in your preferred topping and place on a second baking sheet which has been lined with parchment and sprinkled with cornmeal. (If you have a hearth-style oven, the bagels may be placed on a peel or other loading device sprinkled with cornmeal and transferred to the oven to bake directly on the hearth. The technique with a wood-fired, brick oven is different again, one with which I'm not familiar.)

Bake out completely until a nice, golden brown, about 20 minutes at 460F. Reduce the temperature after the first 10 minutes, if your bagels are getting too dark. As mentioned above, I had all 13 bagels on a baker's half sheet, roughly 17" x 12", and they weren't quite baked through where they touched. I transferred them to two smaller sheet pans without parchment and gave them an additional 3 minutes. There was a lovely smell and a small bit of smoke when I opened the oven door. The bagels were perfect!

Shiao-Ping's picture

Many years ago I became interested in Suzuki Daisetsu's (or known in the West as Daisetz T. Susuki, 1870 - 1966)'s Japanese Zen Buddhism. He was accredited in bringing interest in Zen and Buddhism to the West in the early 20th century. Before I realised it years later, the stuff I was reading was actually Zen aestheticism, rather than Zen per se.

And so a few days ago when I decided to do a giant Miche to imitate the French village bakers years gone by, that was the analogy that came to my mind. The village bakers in France with their torn and worn out proofing baskets, sun weathered and wrinkled faces are soulful to me. There was something quite fundamental and down to earth about their way of life. In our modern day of comforts, we can afford to bake almost every day if time permits and in any sizes we want. We are not constraint. And if the truth be known, small sizes are more practical for our small family units.

I am going on a journey in a few days time for three weeks and I wanted to make a special bake before I leave. Like the New York Stock Exchange closing down its bourse games on the last trading day of the year, I will be "shutting down" my oven once I've done this bake, I told myself. Talking about shutting down, in the days when I was working, I always thought when the Chinese (Taiwanese) say they are "shutting down" ("feng" in Mandarin) their stock exchange ("guan" in Mandarin), it sounded really "epic;" in Mandarin, that is. Because the Mandarin "guan" relates to the Great Wall in China and so cajoles images of the long history of China. A "guan" is a bastion in a strategic geographical location; the two most famous "guans" in Chinese history are "Chia-yu-guan," far west of China, near Tun-Huang, where the famous silk road starts, and "Shan-hai-guan" to the far east, north-east of Beijing in the eastern sea board of China, winding 6,700 Km apart. I am not comparing my oven to the Chinese "guan" or the Big Board of NYSE, but I felt the last three months of bread baking has been quite a journey to me, and I hope the next one will bring me to the next level.






My formula

  • 500 g starter @ 75% hydration (refreshed four times over 72 hours with 100 g rye meal and 100 g white whole wheat and 86 g white flour in total)

  • 1000 g KAF Sir Lancelot Flour

  • 700 g water

  • 65 g olive oil

  • 24 g salt

dough weight 2.3 kg and dough hydration 76%

  1. Bulk fermentation 3 hours

  2. Proof 4 hours

  3. Overnight cold retardation 8 hours followed by 90 min. at room temp

  4. Bake for 80 minutes (230 C for 20 min, 210 C for another 20 min, and the balance 40 min at 195 C)




My husband asked me what the character was.  I said my maiden name.  He said, Oh, Whoo made it.  Who?  Whoo.  He was doing the Abbot and Castello routine of Who's on first.   

We were having this sourdough for our lunch when his boss rang. I said to tell him that the Miche was 2.3 Kg. His boss asked, was that the weight before bake or after. Now, this sounds to me a question by a person in the know. The water shrinkage was nearly 18%! It was only 1.9 kg after bake. I cut off a quarter of the Miche:


to be wrapped in foil and put into the freezer for my husband's next business trip (but I am not confident that it will stay as fresh as today).



                                                                                     Does it look like we are big on this crust?



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