The Fresh Loaf

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DonD's picture


David Lebovitz, the celebrated American food blogger based in Paris has raved about Eric Kayser's Pain aux Cereales on numerous occasions, even proclaiming it to be perhaps the Best Bread in the World. A lot of bread aficianados from all over the world have made the pilgrimage to Paris to sample it and have posted photos as well as detailed description of this particular bread on the internet.

  Kayser's Pain aux Cereales from Lebovitz's Blog

I have the Eric Kayser's '100% Pain' bread book and the recipe for his Pain aux Cereales is included. However the photos, the ingredients and the formulation listed do not match the descriptions of the bread sold in his stores. After all, his bread empire is built on the originality and quality of his products, so who can blame him for not divulging all his secrets?

A couple days ago, I decided to formulate my own interpretation of Kayser's Pain aux Cereales based on my compilation of information gathered on the internet and relying loosely on the recipe in his book.


Flour Mix:

- 250 Gms KA Organic Artisan Select AP Flour

- 250 Gms La Milanaise T90 High Extraction Flour

Liquid Levain Build:

- 25 Gms ripe Liquid Levain (100% hydration)

- 50 Gms Flour Mix

- 50 Gms Spring Water

Seed Mix:

- 2 Tbs Golden Flax Seeds

- 2 Tbs Brown Flax Seeds

- 2 Tbs Yellow Sesame Seeds

- 2 Tbs Millet Seeds

- 2 Tbs Poppy Seeds

Final Dough Mix:

- 450 Gms Flour Mix

- 325 Gms Spring Water

- 125 Gms Liquid Levain Build

- 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast

- 10 Gms Grey Atlantic Sea Salt

- 1/3 of Seed Mix (toasted in a non-stick pan)


1- Prepare Final Levain Build and let ferment at room temperature until triple in volume.

2- Mix Flour and Water and autolyse for 30 mins.

3- Add Levain, Yeast and Salt and knead in mixer w/ dough hook on low speed for 4 mins.

4- Add the 1/3 toasted seed mix and incorporate into dough with dough hook for 30 secs.

5- Partially ferment dough at room temperature for 2 1/2 hours with stretch and fold in the bowl every 30 mins.

6- Retard dough in refrigerator for 18-24 hrs.

7- Divide dough into 2, preshape into ball and let rest 1 hr. Shape into batard and proof on couche for 1 hr.

8- Transfer loaves to peel, lightly mist with a vaporizer and sprinkle with remaining untoasted seed mix.

9- Score and bake at 440 degrees F with steam for 12 mins and 20 more mins at 390 degrees F on convection without steam.


I kept the dough hydration higher than normal at about 77% to compensate for the seeds absorbing some of the moisture from the dough during fermentation. The dough was very responsive with just the right amount of elasticity and extensibility. I got good oven spring, the cuts opened up nicely and the crust was thin and crackly and had beautiful caramelization. The roasted seeds on the crust were colorful and fragrant and glistened from their oil.

The crumb was cream colored, translucent, soft and slightly chewy and speckled with crunchy seeds. The flavor was complex from the interplay of the nuttiness of the seeds and the slight tang of the levain.


Was it the Best Bread in the World? I would not say so but a darn good bread nonetheless.

Happy Baking!




turosdolci's picture

For those who might be interested.

I have posted an article on NowPublic about the award given for the best baguette in Paris. You can link to it from my blog. The name and address of the baker can be found on my blog and in the article.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

This boule of about 2 pounds is adapted from various published formulae that have been reproduced here. I prefer the taste and challenge of pure sourdough.


A loose white starter (Hamelman) of relatively small proportion was built into a white levain that was also relatively loose, about 75%, I'd guess. This was mixed with whole wheat and rye flour, and a soaker composed of about 8 ounces of various seeds, among which the sesame and sunflower were toasted. Bulk fermentation took place at about 80 degrees for nearly two hours, with two folds. The shaped loaf was retarded overnight in the fridge, and given about two hours on the counter before light scoring and loading. It was baked at 500 degrees, under a stainless steel bowl, with an injectioin of steam from a home steam cleaner, for 20 minutes, then turned down to 425 until it was done, about another 20 minutes.


The crust was thick and crackly, while the interior was light, springy and very tasty. There may have been the littlest bit of starchiness at the base. Overall, very pleasing and delicious.




jennyloh's picture

Inspired by Lindy,  here's my try on the bagels.  But obviously mine didn't turn out as nice as hers.

As I can't find high gluten flour - I used Japanese stong bread flour - 12% protein level.  Without diastatic malt powder,  i left that out.  Without malt syrup,  I used honey and brown sugar instead. Here's a description of how I did it.  see post here

Without these key ingredients,  I guess I can't say I've made Jeffrey Hamelman's bagels.  The bagels did turn out very chewy and my son gave me a verdict of 6/10.  

I'm still trying to sprout my wheat get malt powder. The next time I'm in US,  I'll make sure I get some....

txfarmer's picture

It's from "A Blessing of Bread", and many TFLers here have tried it with great success, I will just list the following two here (recipe can be found there too):


Since sourdough challah takes a long time to rise (a 5 hour proof), I was able to try a more complicated braiding shape without worrying about overproofing. This Hungarian Celebration Bread shape is also from "A Blessing of Bread", basically two 4 braids at the bottom, with a 5 braids on top. A bit time consuming to divide, round, roll out, and stretch out 13 pieces of dough, but well worth it.

Light and open crumb, so soft, so rich. I absolutely love sourdough enriched breads. Contrary to some may think, sourdough taste doesn't get masked by all the eggs and oil, it lingers in the background and provides a "tang" note, emphasize and complement the rich flavor perfectly. Ever since the sourdough Pandoro that took me forever to make, my DH just can't eat any enriched breads without missing the sourdough flavor. He's finally satisfied again with this sourdough challah.

I proofed for 5 hours as the book instructed, but maybe another hour or two would've been better - the slight tearing between braids is a sign of underproofing.


We loved it enough that I made another one immediately after we finished this first loaf!

LeslieC's picture

June 18-20 at Omega Institute in NY, I will teach a gluten-free cooking and baking weekend workshop; My new cookbook, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook, A Seasonal Vegetarian Cookbook by Leslie Cerier due July 1st, 2010 is full of delicious and easy to follow recipes for gluten-free whole grains and flours.

Gluten-free cooking and baking is fun and easy and delicious. For more information; please join me at


I look forward to hearing from you.


Join organic gourmet chef, teacher, and author, Leslie Cerier, for an informative and fun approach to preparing a full spectrum of gluten-free foods.

This hands-on, gluten-free cooking and baking workshop is perfect for people with gluten sensitivities; people who cook for those with gluten sensitivities; and nutritionists, dieticians, and other health professionals. Beginner and experienced cooks are invited. You learn:


  • Menu planning for ease of preparation and great taste

  • Ways to substitute ingredients according to seasons, schedules, moods, and what’s in your kitchen

  • Cooking and baking with various sweeteners, oils, and seasonings

  • The magic of global flavors, using local produce, herbs, and spices

  • Delectable protein-based side dishes highlighting beans, soy foods, pasture-fed dairy, nuts, and seeds


Learn to cook like an artist as you master dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts and breakfasts to one-pot dinners, including pancakes, porridges, soups, salads, pasta dishes, pilafs, bread, sushi, and pastries.

Recommended reading: Cerier, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook and Going Wild in the Kitchen

To register: or


bnom's picture

I got a new stone last week and have made two batches of a sourdough formula I've developed.  First the stone is a 15 x 20 Fibrament-D and I love that I can bake three longish loaves.  However, my first bake was disappointing...I got pretty flat loaves. I suspected the error was mine and not the stones.

So I changed two things. I let the first proof happen at room temp--68 degrees--until doubled in bulk (about 6 hours), and then cold retarded for 8 hours (muy prior loaf was proofed at 80 degrees). I also tried to develop better surface tension when shaping (one loaf I shaped/scored better than the other and it's pretty obvious in the pic which one that is).  I'm really happy I went back to a cooler proof.


Here's the formula:

The formula:

300 g firm starter

620 g water

750 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread 12% protein, and 200 g Whole Food AP)

50 g coarse ground wheat berries

50 g coarse ground rye berries

23 g salt



althetrainer's picture

Little man has been asking to make bread sculptures so I am going to just keep the pictures here.  We've made a crab bread two day ago and his monster bread yesterday.  Today, I made an alligator bread, stuffed with ham and cheese.  This one is a bit different than the other two because this is a unbleached sourdough alligator.  Took about 6 hours to rise before baking.  Very fun to make.



Sedlmaierin's picture

This bread seemed really easy to make and it has an excellent flavor! After quizzing my family and friends they all voted for the version with onions, so that's what I made. Not having made or eaten potato bread before,I had no idea what to expect and the only thing that surprised me was how relatively soft the crust turned out to be-it was nice and crunchy when coming out of the oven, but softened upon cooling.I assume that is because it is relatively moist,with the potatoes,onions and oil. I really enjoy the effect that the olive oil has on the flavor-it makes it fruity,rich and creamy!

I left the skin on my one, huge potato and just chopped it fine-that means there are very small pieces of potato still visible in the bread and the skins gives it a nice marbled effect.

The one thing that did not work out that well-or let's say it only worked well on one loaf-was the fendu shaping.And it was entirely my fault-on the succesfully fendu shaped loaf I really used a lot of flour,which I then had to knock off before folding and final proofing.Which made me think,oh I won't use as much flour on the next one, just a little bit..lo and behold, it just didn't turn out that well-it didn't open up as nicely and the rolling pin stuck just a tad when I tried to get it out.Live and learn.

Here are pictures:

So far this challenge has been a lot of fun-I would have never made the potato bread otherwise! It is a lovely bread that I will definitely make again.


ilan's picture

My path of research in bread making led me another step. This week I made yet another sandwich-bread and added different stuff into it.

I saw that in the several recipes most of the liquid in such bread consist of milk. It should make the bread richer in flavor as milk in oppose to water have a taste and in addition it contain some percent of fat.

All is good and well in theory. I already baked bread with water and bread with milk.

This time, I made two batches of the same recipe but in the second I replaced 2/3 of the liquid with milk.

Both bread looked almost the same. If there was any visual difference I failed to see it.

The crust on the milk bread was softer while the one with water was crunchier. There is a meaningful difference… I like both.

Another thing I wanted was thinner crust. So instead of baking at high temp with steam for 15 minutes (as I done in my previous bread) I reduce the time to 10 minute. The crust was good but thinner.

 To enrich the bread I added Pecans and Pumpkin seeds to the dough and sprinkled the top of the bread with Sunflower & Pumpkin seeds.

I didn’t use any preferment here, It was aimed to be a quick bread making. So, I used 3 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. This reduced raise time to 1 hour + 1 hour. I must try this same bread with the longer method to check the flavor difference. But this will be my project for next week J

I didn’t punch down the dough after the first rise. I just roll it out of the bowl and formed it. It looses enough air in any case.

Additional thing I tried with both loaves was to score them right after I formed them into loaves. This is because when I try to score the bread right before baking, it loose height. I should look for a razor blade as my knives (sharp as they are – 8” knife is too big) are not good enough for this job.

The Dough:

-       3 1/4 cups flour

-       3 teaspoons yeast

-       1 teaspoon sugar

-       1 ½ cup of water (replace 1 cup of water with milk)

-       1 ¾ teaspoon of salt

-       ½ cup of chopped Pecans

-       ¼ cup of Pumpkin seeds

-       ½ egg

-       ½ egg for glazing

-       Sunflower seeds for topping

Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water (or milk) into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt Pecans and Pumpkin seeds knead for 10 minutes. Let rise for 60 minutes.

Form into a loaf and let rise for another hour.

Bake in high temperature with steam for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat (180-170c) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Until the next post





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