The Fresh Loaf

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manicbovine's picture

This bread is a variation of a recipe for Dinkelvollkornbrot by Nils' from Ye Olde Bread Blogge. The original recipe, found in his excellent book, calls entirely for spelt. I've made quite a few recipes from this book and each has been extraordinary. Nils' formula produces a moist bread with mildly sour undertones. I enjoyed it with cucumber sandwiches and also with a thin smear of plum butter. The formula needs no modification, and I wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't run out of spelt meal.

My goal was to make a more assertive bread without compromising all of the original's pleasant qualities. My variation is to omit yeast, use blackstrap molasses, use extra water, and use rye meal. I actually made this bread twice. The extra water necessitated a longer baking time, but I underestimated the first time and ended up with a rather gummy center. In addition to giving it a longer bake at a lower temperature, I let it rest for an additional 12 hours before slicing. These simple steps cured the gummy center.

Formula - Sunflower Seed Spelt 


Spelt Sour

  • 75g whole-spelt flour
  • 45g water
  • 1 tsp mature 100% rye sourdough


  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 25g flaxseeds
  • 150g rye meal
  • 340g water


Final Dough

  • 170g whole-spelt flour
  • 130g water
  • 15g Blackstrap molasses
  • 10g salt



  • Prepare the soaker and spelt sour, let sit for 15-20 hours. 
  • Mix all ingredients until smooth and knead lightly in bowl for around 5 minutes, or until gluten from spelt develops.
  • Bulk rise for around 2 hours, pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment, and proof for an addition 1-2 hours.
  • Bake under normal steam at 450F for 5 minutes, reduce to 400F for 20 minutes, and finish off at 375F for 55 minutes. Wrap tightly in cloth towels and let cool for 36 hours before slicing.

Nils' recipe calls for yeast, which I omitted. My rye starter is not as happy to feed on spelt, so my rising times were probably a little longer than what I've indicated above.

This bread was excellent with Turkey, cream cheese, sprouts, and cranberry sauce. (Vegan versions for me, but I'm sure it's just as good with the regular stuff).


This is a poor picture due to sloppy slicing and a bum exposure. The crumb is actually denser than the photo would indicate.

Sunflower Spelt


overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

When I was working part time looking for a job I found bread baking to be a fulfilling enjoyable part of my day to look forward to. Since starting work full time as a teacher however my bread baking has dropped to zero as lesson planning has taken up more and more time. Then a couple of weeks ago I found out I would be teaching microbes to year 8's (~12 years of age), so I couldn't resist the chance to combine something I love with what should hopefully be a good way to teach some of the topic.

For just over a weeks time I have booked out a food technology lab for 1:40 minutes and I'm looking for a good bread recipe to go from separate ingredients to finished loaf/rolls in this time (ideally one and a half hours but I know I'm pushing it). Has anyone ever done this before or can anyone point me in the right direction for an appropriate recipe?

N.B. My students will have access to fairly good ovens, parchment covered trays and mixing bowls. I'm looking for a fairly simple wheatflour and dried yeast style recipe but one that can be individualised so the small groups they are working in can choose to either make individual rolls or club together to make a big loaf. However any suggestions that people have will be greatfully received.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Having been through a series of bakes with the basic Tartine loaf, I thought the right balance would be to go over to Hamelman for something. I chose the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain because it seemed like a nice alternative to the white flour/open crumb quest of my recent Tartine baking.


Hamelman is a very good teacher and there are multiple useful lessons in this bread, as throughout his book. While I think of Tartine as a storybook, I view Hamelman as a textbook. He points out that the greater percentage of prefermented flour, and the whole grain, in this case dark rye, will contribute to a tightening of the gluten, as well as a somewhat tangier (and richer) taste. He advises the baker not to expect an open crumb, nor the kind of volume that would result from using white flour alone and less prefermented flour. He is right on both counts, although I have no problem with the profile of this loaf.


I made the first loaf pictured straight through, fermenting and proofing on the bench. It was baked under a bowl, and with a roasting pan beneath, into which a preheated brick and two towels had been placed, and boiling water poured over. The second was retarded overnight in the fridge and baked with the same steam setup, but without the bowl. The brick-plus-towels idea gives good steam throughout the first 15 minutes, even without microwaving. The excellent oven spring from this method is apparent in a couple of the pictures.


Since I changed more than one variable, I can't be sure if the superior crumb in the second loaf is from the scoring pattern, or the absence of the bowl or the retarding. The loaf from the fridge is just slightly more tangy. Both have a nice contrast of the crunch of the crust with the smooth, rich mouthfeel of the crumb. This is a god bread with good lessons from a good teacher.


Anyway, here they are. This is a delicious variation on his straight Vermont Sourdough, which is high on my list after having seen Wally's unbeiievable crumb.








longhorn's picture

In my initial efforts at the Tartine Country loaf I mostly followed Robertson's process except that I used a cloche instead of the cast iron cooker. In my first attempt I found the 77 percent hydration dough a bit and troublesome. Ditto my second effort at 75 percent. For this third effort I decided to blend the Tartine method with my own and to drop the hydration to 70 percent. I am sharing my observations in hope that some of you on the site will find them useful.

My first comment has to involve the hand mixing. After years of avoiding hand mixing as messy, the Tartine book pushed my over the edge and I know prefer hand mixing. There is magic in feeling the dough change character as you add the final water and salt. And, while the initial mix remains messy it is amazing how well the dough behaves after the first few turns and how well developed the dough becomes using the multiple stretch and fold processes endorsed by Robertson.

My SD starter is not very sour so I feel no need to use the high expansion ratio used at Tartine. I began with 100 grams of 100% starter and added 100 grams of WW and 100 grams of KA AP and 200 grams of water and let it sit on the counter overnight. Next morning I added 150 grams of WW, 1070 of KA AP, and 780 of water. From there I did S&F every half hour for two hours. I formed the boules at 2 1/2 hours and gave them a half hour rest. Then final forming and into bannetons. At 70% the dough at forming was very well behaved and only minimally sticky. I began baking them in cloches three hours after placing them in the bannetons in two batches so two loaves are more underproofed.

Due to sticking issues with alder in previous Tartine batches I had decided to try both alder and plastic bannetons. With the drier dough, neither presented any sticking problems. They did, however yield somewhat different looking results as shown in the photographs. I heated the cloches to 500 degrees F and measured the temperture of the cloches at 485 to 495 with my infrared thermometer. Baking time was 20 minutes with the lid on and 25 minutes uncovered at 450 degrees. The lids were held in a second oven at 500 during the uncovered baking and the bases were recharged at 500 before baking the second set of loaves.

The four loaves. The two on the left were done in alder bannetons, the ones on the right in plastic. The loaves on the left received about one hour less proofing than the ones on the right. The underproofing is visible in the oven spring.


The plastic bannetons require (and hold) less flour so the loaves are darker. 


The alder bannetons hold more flour and yield a more dramatic effect. The impact of underproofing on oven spring is clearly evident.

Three of the loaves were used at a party. I hope to get a crumb shot of the fourth to share in a later email. The crumb was significantly less open than the 77 and 75 percent hydration loaves. However, the crumb was certainly not "dense". All in all a very pleasing result.

Here is the belated crumb shot!



GSnyde's picture

I seem to be developing a pattern for my weekend bakes: one lean bread and one hearty rich something-or-other. Today it was Polish Country Bread with Rye Soaker and Chicken Pot Pie. Both were excellent (yes, I do say so myself) and both owe much to my TFL mentors.

The big excitement this weekend was stopping at Keith Giusto’s Bakery Supply in Petaluma and scoring some wicked flour (


Then, of course, I had to try it.

Polish Country Bread with Rye Soaker


I have baked several breads with a portion of whole Rye flour. In fact most of my favorite sourdoughs have some rye, including Brother David’s much heralded San Joaquin Sourdough and my San Francisco Country Sourdough. I do plan to try a “real” Rye bread at some point soon. Meanwhile, I was intrigued by Wally’s blog post about Polish Country Bread with a Rye soaker ( I mostly followed Larry’s formula, but I increased the Rye to 20% by increasing the soaker to 110 grams of Rye flour and 220 grams of water; accordingly, I reduced the water in the final mix. Also, in place of the Sir Galahad, I had to use the Central Milling Co.’s Artisan Bakers’ Craft flour (with a touch of malted Barley flour in it) that I got yesterday at Keith Giusto’s Bakery Supply. This bread gave me a chance to experience some of the characteristics of Rye flour while baking something in my comfort zone.

The night-before prep of soaker and two levains went fine, but I found the dough very hard to mix by hand this morning. It started out lumpish and stiff. I added a small amount of additional water. Then after 10 minutes of bare hands mixing it became as sticky as anything I’ve worked. Finally, with several minutes of kneading on a floured board, it started to get silky and workable, though still pretty dense. It didn’t really windowpane, but I decided it was ready because I had had enough mixing and needed my cappuccino. The dough became much more cooperative as it got stretched and folded during the bulk ferment. It was still not easily malleable, but it felt like bread dough. This experience helped persuade me that I might need to get a mixer for firm doughs and big batches. I look forward to seeing David’s BUP in action next weekend.

The two loaves, one boule and one batard, rose nicely in their bannetons, and I could tell when I slashed them that they were just ready for some baking. Indeed, they sproinged like crazy in an oven steamed with a combo of Sylvia’s Magic Towels and a cast iron skillet with lava rocks. The crust was crispy and fairly thick, with strong caramelization (not as dark as the photos indicate). And I don’t believe I’ve had such big grignes before. And since I pre-heated the stone for over an hour on convection setting, the bottoms were nice and brown.



The crumb was not as moist as the Pain de Campagne I’ve baked recently, but it was a nice combination of airy and chewy.



Chicken Pot Pie

When I was a boy in the Old Country, we had a unique dining establishment called The Chicken Pie Shop. Its décor featured 1950s old growth naugahyde booths (in a variety of green tones) with pastel sheet metal chicken sculptures on the walls. It served chicken pies and little else. I describe it in the past tense (though the place is still there) because the memories are more real than the present. For much of my short adult life, I have been trying to replicate those pies—flaky crust with big chunks of chicken and a simple thick Chickeny gravy.

A couple years ago, I found a recipe that is pretty dang close ( I have made it several times, using Pillsbury pie crust dough. Having drooled over trailrunner’s Apple Crostada recipe (, I decided I needed to bite the bullet and make pie crust for the first time (I know, I have big gaps in my culinary experience…but at least I’m trying to fill them). My wife knows a lot more about pie making than I do, having lived for part of her youth with her expert-baker granny. So she (wife, not her granny) helped me with the crust. It seemed to be going well, though I think we added too much buttermilk, and overhandled it a bit. It was good tasting but not flaky. Not bad for a first try. It made for a delicious dinner, and a valuable pie crust lesson.

The chicken pie has about one-third of a pound of butter in it, between the crust and the gravy. But, as my spouse says, it has some vegetables, so it's good for us.


Another bunch of lessons learned, and the homework was good enough to eat.


dmsnyder's picture

As most of you are aware, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S. of A. next Thursday. Family gatherings and big dinners are traditional, although the foods that are traditional vary considerably by region and from family to family. These traditions usually involve a lot of cooking, but they make menu planning relatively simple, unless you have family members with a variety of food allergies or other aversions. 

There are also traditions regarding foods eaten, not on Thanksgiving, but on the surrounding days. I'm not aware of a lot of these. The one that comes to mind is going out for Chinese food the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is an American Jewish tradition. I have no idea what Chinese-Americans traditionally eat the night after Thanksgiving.

These days, with the increased mobility of American families, the Thanksgiving gathering often involves relatives traveling great distances in order to be together for the holiday. This also means the gathering is more than a one day affair. And that means meal planning and cooking need to be done for much more than the one big Thanksgiving dinner.

We will have family starting to arrive next Tuesday, and the last will leave the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. We want to have time to play with the grandchildren and visit with the grown-ups. So, we're spending this weekend preparing food to be frozen, so we don't spend all next week in the kitchen.

I started 2 days ago (Wednesday), feeding 2 different starters. Last night, I mixed the dough for San Joaquin Sourdough. This will be baked tomorrow as baguettes to make into French toast. Susan made a vegetarian stock to use for our Thanksgiving stuffing and for a potage. (One daughter-in-law is a vegetarian.)

Today, I built up a starter which will be used tomorrow to make Country Rye Breads from "Tartine Bread." I have the flour for this pre-weighed on the counter.

I also made a batch of NY Baker's babka dough and made up the cake crumb/sugar/cinnamon filling too.Tomorrow, I'll make up pecan rolls, but stop before cutting the rolls and freeze the logs to cut, proof and bake while company is here. 

I then made pasta dough for fresh tagliatelle for Tuesday night's dinner. The bolognese sauce is simmering now. I'll stir in some pesto before serving. (No pesto for the kosher daughter-in-law. It has cheese in it.) Tomorrow, I'll roll out, cut and dry the noodles.

I'd planned to also make a batch of the pie crust using trailrunner's recipe, but my wife hijacked the Cuisinart to grind hazelnuts for a Frangipani-Pear Cake. So, that's added to tomorrow's fun.

Sufficient excuse for not making pie crust today

Let's see ... That just leaves making Turkey stock (for brother Glenn's best ever gravy) and a big pot of Potage (from Patricia Wells. HIGHLY recommended!) for lunch or dinner one day, baking two kinds of bread, making the pie crust dough and putting together the pecan roll logs for the next two days. All this in between other necessary errands, naturally.

Hey! I forgot the bagels! Maybe we'll make them along with the Challah, rye bread, Apple Crostada and knotted rolls Glenn wants me to show him how to make ... next Friday. 

Happy getting ready for Thanksgiving to everyone!


MadAboutB8's picture

This is the recipe I love from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker Apprentice. This bread makes a great toast. The bread has 16% grains which contribute to the sweetness and fantastic aroma. The bread is very moist from many grains that hold the moisture and contribute to the natural sweetness. 

The recipe also contains brown rice that can be substituted by white rice or wild rice, but brown rice seems to blend in the best. I used white rice as I had some left over frozen from few weeks ago.

"White rice can be seen in the crumbs. It made the crumb so moist."

The original recipe is a straight dough, i.e. using commercial yeast without any pre-ferment flour. I always wanted to try converting a commercial yeasted bread into sourdough and see what the taste difference it would be. As a relatively novice bread baker, I also wanted to test my baker percentage calculation.

The intant yeast in original recipe is replaced by sourdough starter in liquid levain form. The original recipe is for 2-pound loaf, which means I need to use the baker's math to calculate recipe for desired final weight, 3.5+ pounds for two large loaves. It was fun using the baker's math. I felt like yelling 'bingo' when I finished the calculation.

I find Peter Reinhart's original recipe is very sticky, almost too sticky to work with.  So, I reduced the hydration to 74%, which is still a relatively wet dough (maybe because it also has about 4% of honey in it) . I also substitute 20% of bread flour with whole wheat flour. The original recipe also has honey and brown sugar that I also reduced both amount by half as the bread would be naturally sweet by long fermentation and grain soaker.

I just realised that I pretty much changed most of the Reinhart formula. Basically, the ingredients remain the same, but their amount were changed.

What is the result?, you might ask, after the convertion to sourdough and many ingredient changes. Well, the flavour profile changes substantially which, I believe, is resulted from using sourdough starter. It introduces acidity and tang into the bread which is non-existent in the original version. The sourdough version also has tender and moist crumbs. It is not as sweet as the original. Do I like it enough to do it again? Yes, this recipe is a keeper.


For more details and recipe you can visit the blog here:


ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

It rained all day here yesterday which is good as I decided to bake all day.  I had chosen to make dmsnyder's San Joaquin adaptation and have another go at the 1,2,3 formula which has only been successful for me once.  I am sorry that I didn't stick to the recipes and got my timing all out of whack!  With the 1,2,3 recipe I added about 15% rye and maybe 20% wholemeal instead of all white.  I didn't get the rise out of it that I was hoping for, but was saved by some oven spring.  The San Joaquin loaves came out a little crusty, but okay and amazingly light which I thought was a good sign.  I could barely contain myself to wait until the loaves were cool to slice open and see what was inside.  The 1,2,3 crumb was very ordinary looking, although I am more looking forward to the taste than anything.  The San Joaquin was very open and we tasted straight away.  I'm no bread connoisseur, but it was very yummy (in layman's terms, lol). I finally got my Bread Baker's Apprentice in the mail and was highly amused by Peter Reinhart's description of what should happen when tasting bread.  It's kind of like When Harry Met Sally!  Anyway, here's my bake.

1,2,3 boules and San Joaquin batards.

The open crumb of the batard

Thaichef's picture

This information is for all my friends at TFL.  Help is badly needed.  Calling all Ronray male and female for help.  Here is the scoop:  After baking sourdough and other yeast bread succesfully for almost a year and a half, I felt smuck. So to bake some simple bread like "buttermilk Bread" from Laurel 's kitchen bread book is nothing, so I thought. But, I was wrong. The result was so disappointing that I am shocked.  Here is the recipe:


7 g. active dry yeast

1/2 c. warm water (120ml)

3/4 c. very hot water (175ml)

 1 1/4 c cold buttermilk (300 ml)

1/4 c honey (60ml)

5 1/2 c whole wheat flour (830 g)

2 tsp. salt (11g)

2-4 tbsp butter 28-56 g (I used 2 tbsp)

Dissolved yeast in the warm water.

Mix hot water with cold buttermilk, honey together. The temp. should be slightly warm.

Put all the flour in a large bowl, add the salt, mix well. Make well in the center . Pour the buttermilk mixture  and the yeast in the hole. Mix well. Test the flour to see if it need more flour or water add more water of flour as needed. ( I added 2 tbsp. of water since the dough seemed to be dry) The recipe said tht it need to be knead 20 min. then put in the bowl for first rise 1 1/2 hour.

At this point I did the following, I let the dough rest 20 min.(autolyse), I did a stretch and fold 6 times at 10 min. interval, then first rise 1 hour.

I press the dough flat and let the dough rise on its 2nd rise 45min.(per recipe) use the finger poke test then shape put  in bread pan, poke test again  and bake it at 325 F. as recipe stated.

The recipe said that the dough will be soft and will rise extreamly high but mine was hard and  hardly rise at all. the bread  great but the apearence was extreamly poor. 

The Laurel's kitchen bread book is awsome and I want to try making more whole grain bread.  My first try was a flop as though I am a novice bread baker.  What happen? Help is need badly. I need to make this bread for sell but I will not be able to sell any if it looks like a midget!!!

I did test my  active dry yeast and it is active. My hot water was 102 F and the warm water was 98 F. I make sure that the salt doesn't touch the yeast.  So what went wrong? i think that Lendy D made whole wheat bread from this book before and gave high praise for it. So what went wrong?

Help, Help, Help!




amolitor's picture

No pictures, I am just recording this recipe here for my own use, really, but feel free to try it out! This is my first effort at recreating a bread my father made a lot when I was young. It's not wildly far off, but needs some work.

Evening of Day 0

Make a poolish: 1 cup warm water, a pinch of yeast, 1 cup bread flour. Mix, let stand out (covered) overnight.

Morning of Day 1

The poolish should be active, inflated, and bubbly. If not, wait until it is.

  • Scald 3/4 cup milk, set aside to cool.
  • Crack two eggs, reserve 1 tablespoon of the white of of one them. Beat eggs thoroughly.
  • Add 1T sugar and 1.5 tsp ground cardamom (to taste -- 1.5 tsp is a nice starting point) to the now-warm scalded milk.
  • 2 tsp salt.
  • Proof 1/2 tsp instant yeast (or 1 tsp dry yeast) in 2T warm water.

Add all of the above to the poolish, and mix. Work in sufficient bread flour (about 4 cups) to make a slightly sticky dough, one that can be kneaded on a board without sticking, IF you dust with flour constantly. Knead until smooth, and until it windowpanes pretty well.

Let rise until doubled, or thereabouts. Degas a bit ("punch down" or "stretch and fold") and let rise again. I did not get too aggressive with degassing, and I wasn't really letting it fully rise (impatience, and I wanted two risings before shaping). I handled the dough fairly gently between kneading and shaping.

Divide into 3 equal parts and braid. I formed three baguettes, basically, and braided them. Instructions for braiding are in any challah recipe.

Let rise until doubled, or until poke-test. Pre-heat oven to 425.

Mix your reserved 1T egg white with 1T water, mix thoroughly. Glaze the loaf with this mixture, place in oven, REDUCE HEAT TO 400 degrees. I let it rise on parchment paper on a peel, and slid it off onto my pizza stone. Sprinkling with poppy or sesame seeds after glazing and before baking would be nice, but I hadn't any this time so I didn't.

After 20 minutes, turn the loaf and re-glaze. Bake another 25 minutes.

The result is a fairly robust rich-tasting bread, with a mild cardamom flavor. Toasting it or making french toast brings out more of the cardamom. The crumb has nicely "artisanal" uneven holes throughout. The bread's probably not auitable for sandwiches or really any truly savory use. It makes wonderful toast and french toast, and is great with just butter as well.

Thoughts for a future iteration

Work the dough a little less, and possibly add some oil. The crumb is rich and fairly tender, but isn't fragile at all in the way one expects from a brioche. I think a tablespoon of oil or butter might help, here.



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