The Fresh Loaf

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hansjoakim's picture

There are a couple of things you can do with stale bread. Loaves that are past their prime can still be enjoyed for toast or paninis. Dried slices of lighter bread make for awesome croûtons. Not too spoilt breadcrumbs go well in stuffings or even in biscottis. Sourdough leavened pain de campagne is an awesome choice for putting in fishcakes. If you're really adventurous, hearty rye loaves mixed with rye starter, molasses, water and raisins can be made into kvas. If you're, as me, not that adventurous yet, you can slice stale rye bread, toast it until it's dry and dark (but not carbon), and put it into a new loaf of bread. If all else fails, stale bread is good bird fodder ;)

I recently made a boule of Hamelman's black bread - a 60/40 sourdough rye bread, where stale bread is mixed with ground coffee, vegetable oil and hot water. I mixed the soaker at same time I set the sourdough, and the overnight soak turned the mix into a (not very appealing) dark water slurry. I heated the soaker slightly to get the right DDT, and mixed the dough:

Mixed Schwarzbrot

I used bread flour instead of Hamelman's suggestion of high-gluten flour, so the dough came together after approximately 6 minutes in the mixer. By then it was well developed and pretty strong when I tugged at it.

Here's the fully proofed dough:

Proofed Schwarzbrot

It has a lovely brown, almost chocolate-y colour to it, and a heady aroma of fermented rye flour and strong, black coffee. The  aroma became even headier and more penetrating as the loaf baked:

Baking Schwarzbrot


The loaf weighs in at about 1 kg, so it baked for 45 minutes.

Baked Schwarzbrot

The loaf has a dark, crackly crust and an intense smell of dark coffee.

Side view of Schwarzbrot

I really like it - the flavour is unlike any other rye sourdoughs I've made. There are no hints of sweetness to it (as there are no molasses or other sweeteners/colour agents in the dough), but rather a subtle roasted coffee flavour that fits brilliantly with the taste of a 60/40 rye. I didn't include any caraway seeds or other herbs or spices, but I would like to try some dark caraway seeds next time, since Hamelman suggests that these pair nicely with the flavour of this black bread.

Side view of Schwarzbrot

Have a go at it! I think you'll enjoy it.


Crumb Schwarzbrot

As you can see, whether it's a black bread or not is certainly debatable - at least compared to a fully fledged Pumpernickel. But it's still very dark in colour as compared to other 60% medium rye loaves.

PS: Any other tips for what to do with stale bread?


The first locally grown, fully ripe strawberries are filling up the shelves at the local grocery store. Earlier this week, I couldn't resist the tempting berries anymore and went a little over board. They're absolutely delicious - soft, juicy and sweet with an almost blood red colour. This was the perfect opportunity to have a go at the Fraisier - a French strawberry cake. Some of the prettiest Fraisiers I've seen on the net, are the ones at La Tartine Gourmande, Tartelette and at Foodbeam (everything they make are stunning, and their takes on the Fraisier are no exceptions). I was stoked to be able to have a crack at this myself.

The Fraisier is traditionally a genoise cake base split in two and soaked in Grand Marnier cake syrup. The two layers are sandwiching a stack of strawberries and heavenly crème mousseline (crème patissière mixed with softened butter to make a buttercream slightly lighter than a typical meringue-based buttercream), and topped with a thin layer of marzipan.

Here, I'm in the middle of assembly:

Making Le Fraisier

Some hulled strawberries are divided in two, and lined along the rim, while whole, hulled strawberries make up the interior. Crème mousseline is then piped over this, before the second genoise layer is pressed on top, to flush the cream. Top the second genoise layer with a thin layer of crème mousseline, before chilling the cake in the fridge to firm it up.

After being chilled, a thin coat of marzipan is put on top. Here's how it turned out with my rather sparse top decorations:

Le Fraisier


This cake is all about good summer vibes. It's filled with fresh strawberries, the luscious taste of vanilla and soft butter from the crème mousseline, backdropped with the smooth Grand Marnier syrup.

Le Fraisier

If you have even more strawberries lying around (as I did - as said, I went a bit overboard), they're great on a tart, resting on a pillow of crème chantilly folded into pastry cream:

Strawberry tart

hamptonbaker's picture

Hello Baguette Masters,


I believe I have a sound formula for a lean french dough. It calls for a preferment with equal parts bread flour and water and 1 % instant yeast. The final dough is 66% hydration. However, I am not getting the thick, crispy crust, which I thought was desirable for a baguette? I have a great oven and do three seconds of steam 2x in the first minutes of baking.  What makes the crust thick? My baking time was roughly 30 minutes and the crust was light to medium brown (next time I will take a picture) Thanks for any suggestions, and I have been enjoying the back and forth between all the bakers on this site, it has been very helpful.

Marcy, hamptonbaker

gcook17's picture

I've been reading the forum for awhile and posted a few replies but I thought I should introduce myself.  My name is Greg and I live in Mountain View, CA.  I was a math geek in college and most of my life after that I've been a software engineer/project manager.  I recently graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary.  It's not clear what I'll do next for a living, but I'm currently doing part-time software contract work and handyman/small construction jobs.  My hobbies & interests have included wood-working, metal-working, photography, scuba diving, ocean cruising, sailboat racing, flying planes, backpacking, hunting, competitive shooting, archery, probably other things I've forgotten about, and of course baking bread and pastry. 

I've been baking several years and it's turning into an addiction.  It's a constant battle between wanting to bake more and not wanting to eat so much that I turn into the Goodyear blimp.  I live on a cul de sac and am constantly giving away bread and pastries to my neighbors.  My wife takes the excess to work and shares it with the folks in her office.  I've always baked bread off and on but success was random and besides I never thought bread was all that exciting to eat.  A friend gave us the book Baking Illustrated (from Cook's Illustrated magazine) several years ago and I learned to consistently make acceptable white sandwich bread.  The book showed me that it was possible to turn out consistent bread.  Later I tried their rosemary-olive bread and rustic Italian, etc.  I was completely hooked.  Peter Reinhart's BBA was next.  I took the Artisan Bread I & II classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute in South San Francisco and am signed up for the German bread class in September.  My wife's best friend can't eat any wheat so I'm trying to learn to bake a 100% rye bread that's really good.  So far I'm not too happy with the results and I have high hopes that the Germans really know how to do it.

My kitchen is miniscule and the oven is even minisculer.  I keep telling myself it's cheaper that way.  Besides what can I do?  If I put in a bigger oven there would be any room for the refrigerator.  Since I can only bake two batards at a time or one medium size boule, I've gotten pretty good at retarding several batches of proofing loaves so they can bake one after another.  Maybe a backyard wood-fired oven is the answer but it turms out my backyard is pretty miniscule too.  At least with a wood-fired oven I could get rid of all the hardwood scraps in the workshop that I can't bear to throw away.

My wife, Carol, must have a dream of being a farmer because over the years we've lived here she has planted a LOT of fruit trees.  Last summer I started making apricot, pear, plum, and apple tarts...Fig bars, and cherry pies, too.  She took the Viennoiserie class at SFBI, and since then we've been trying to duplicate the amazing croissants she made in the class in our poor little oven at home.

Anyway, enough about me.  I'm glad to be here and thankful for all the truly friendly and helpful people who kindly share their experience and knowledge on this forum.

LeadDog's picture

Lemon Rosemary Sourdough

I saw a post here on The Fresh Loaf  by someone looking for a formula for a Lemon Rosemary bread.  This combination sounded really good to me so I decided to give it a try.  First I had to decided how much Lemon Zest and Rosemary to put into the bread and I decided to try for about 2% for each of them.  Then I decided that I would use up the last of my bread flour and use some fresh milled whole wheat and rye.  I figured on a hydration of 70% and that the percentage of the sourdough preferment would be 20%.  It is summer time here and the temperatures have been hot so I figured less preferment would slow things down a little bit.  I now had a plan on how I was going to make this bread now I'll tell you how it went.

 The first night I made my first build of the preferment.

1st Build  Grams  Percent 
 Starter 50% 
 Flour 14  100% 
 Water 50% 
 Total 28 


 The next morning I add more flour and water to the preferment for the 2nd build.

2nd Build  Grams  Percent 
 1st build 28 54% 
 Flour 51 100% 
 Water 36 70% 
Total 114 


When I got home from work the afternoon I mixed the dough up as follows.  

 Dough Formula Grams  Percent 
 Flour* 571  100% 
 Water 400  70.05% 
 Salt 10  1.75% 
 Preferment 114  19.96% 
 Rosemary 11  1.93 
 Lemon Zest 12  2.10% 
 Olive Oil 11  1.93% 
 Total 1129  197.72% 

*Flours  Grams  Percent 
 Bread Flour 445  77.93% 
 Whole Wheat 69  12.08% 
 Rye 57  9.98% 
  First I dissolved the preferment into the water and then  mixed in the bread flour.  I let this sit while I went and milled my wheat and rye flours.  Next the wheat and rye flours were mixed in and the dough was let sit for 30 minutes.  We have Rosemary growing in the yard so I went and picked enough for 11 grams and then chopped it up into small bits.  I used a small grater to make Lemon Zest from one lemon and ended up with 12 grams.  I added the Lemon Zest, Rosemary, Salt and the Lemon Pepper infused Olive Oil all at the same time.  The rosemary went in first and my first reaction was it was going to just over power the bread.  The Lemon Zest went in last and after that all I could smell was lemon.  This seemed like it was going to be one powerful bread.  I mixed the dough until the gluten developed.  Then the dough was turned out into an oiled bowl and placed in the wine cellar for a cool ferment.  Four hours later I placed the bowl in the refrigerator so I could cook it when I got home from work the next day.  I checked the dough in the morning before I went to work and it had raised up to touch the plate that I place on top of the bowl.  When I got home that day the dough was lifting the plate off of the bowl.  I set the bowl out and let the dough warm up for two hours.  Then I turned out the dough on to a floured work surface and folded the dough over on itself to get some flour on all the surfaces of the dough.  When I looked at the dough after I did this the dough looked so nice I just want to bake it like that without shaping it any more.  I figured that if I rolled it over onto some parchment paper that it just might work.  Then I put the dough into a counche and turned the oven on to 460°F to preheat it.  I used a cast iron roasting pan to bake this bread in so it is oiled and preheated in the oven too.  When the oven gets up to temperature I place the dough in the pan and cook it with the lid on for 25 minutes and then the last 15 minutes without the lid.  The bread had great oven spring and just looked wonderful to me when I pulled it out.  The aroma of the bread just filled the house but now I had to get some sleep.  Cutting the bread would have to wait for the next day at work were my coworkers are my bread testers.   My testers really liked the bread.  They were eating great big slabs of the bread all day long.  I told my boss what kind of bread that I had made and she said she didn't like Lemon Rosemary.  Later a coworker tells my boss how great it tastes and talks her into trying a slice of it.  My boss then emails me telling me how great the bread is.  There were many great compliments on this bread, it was just incredible.


sharonk's picture

I tried one of my newest gluten free recipes and came up with a very tasty bread. It had a nice crumb, a nice rise and a nice crust. When I travel I always bring my own bread. I was getting ready to travel to a family event. I sliced up one loaf and packed it in my suitcase. To be sure I would have enough bread I also took the loaf I had previously sliced and frozen the week before. When I got to my hotel room I unpacked the still slightly frozen bread, leaving it to thaw in the open air. Meanwhile, I happily ate the fresh slices as I moved through the weekend’s events. I had forgotten about the thawing slices in the open air until I began packing and saw them. Being unsure they were still good but unwilling to dump them, I repacked them and brought them home. When I got home I toasted up a piece and Wow! it was still fantastic! There were a few pieces left so I wrapped them in a cloth and set them on the counter to see how many more days they would still taste good. They were still excellent even 2-3 days later. So this was a previously frozen bread that had thawed in the stuffy air of a hotel room, inadvertently left in that same stuffy air for 3 days, repacked and traveled a total of 700 miles. The bread just would not get stale, old, or gross!


For a gluten free bread to be treated this way and still taste so good is very, very unusual. Most people who must eat gluten free bread, whether they bake their own or buy it fresh, eat it fresh for one day and put the rest in the freezer because it dries out so quickly. My gluten free sourdough bread stays fresh on the counter for 5 days wrapped in a cloth, sitting in an open plastic container. It keeps 10 days in the fridge if it hasn’t been eaten up by then. It also freezes, thaws and toasts up beautifully. I have always been proud of the long shelf life of this palatable bread.


The packed, frozen, thawed, repacked, retoasted loaf that was inadvertently ignored in the hotel room was an experimental loaf. I used one of my standard recipes and added 2 tablespoons of chia seed gel to it. Recently I baked another loaf using this same recipe, with chia added, and tested the limits of its shelf life. It lasted 10 days! stored on the counter, in a cloth, in an open plastic container. By day 8 it lost a little of its bounce but gained a great crispiness in the toaster.


Chia seed is a wonderful addition to baked products. Adding 2 tablespoons of chia seed gel to baking products will extend the freshness and shelf life. The chia seeds attract moisture which is retained in the baking product.


To make chia seed gel, take 2 tablespoons of chia seed and mix it into 8 ounces of water.


Stir with a whisk or fork every 5-10 minutes for a half hour.


It is suggested to let the chia seed gel sit for 12 hours before using.


It keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.

davidg618's picture

I'd planned to do yet another bake of classic baguettes ala Hitz' formula, but after seeing and reading Pamela's blog entry a week ago, and after comparing Dan's formula with what I've been doing--they are very similar except for the liquid levain--I gave into my temptation and made the DiMuzio formula. The only change I made was to scale the formula to 1000g final dough weight (four 250g small baguettes) which isn't really a change, merely a diminuation. The DiMuzio formula calls for instant yeast, in addition to the liquid levain. I considered not using it, ultimately deciding to be faithful to the formula.

I prepared the liquid levain from my starter cache, using the 3-Build process I've made my own, over a nineteen hour interval. I mixed all ingredients together in my stand mixer for five minutes--bread hook, on lowest speed--then 3 minutes on second lowest speed, rested the dough 30 minutes, did a stretch & fold, and started to chill the dough for overnight retarded bulk fermation. I did two more S&F at 45 minute intervals before I was satisfied with the dough's development. Left to ferment overnight in the fridge, approximately 12 hours. Next morning, I divided the dough, and returned half to the refrigerator. I let the dough rest for thirty minutes. It didn't reach room temperature, but it had doubled in volume so I divided it again in two,  preshaped, rested 20 minutes, shaped, and proofed for an hour. Baked for 10 minutes, with steam, at 480*F, cleared the steam as much as possible, dropped the temperature to 450°F and baked further to 208°F internal temperature. I had decided to do the bake in two two-loaf batches. The one time I baked four baguettes simultaneously, despite the convection oven, I experienced uneven baking among the loaves.

Meanwhile, I'd removed the remaining dough from the refrigerator.

I was pleased, with the first batch's oven-spring, but one of the two loaves had a minor blowout. I'm still not confident my shaping and slashing is what it should be, and the visual results of the first two loaves didn't boast my confidence even an iota. I prepared and baked the second two loaves like the first batch with two planned changes--and one mistake. Planned: I allowed the shaped loaves to proof 15 minutes longer, and I slashed approximately 1/4 of an inch deeper than the first batch. Unplanned: In a senior moment, I forgot to lower the temperature to 450°F after the first ten minutes.  I think this only effected the crust thickness and color. The second two loaves are on the right in the picture below. I removed the loaves, like the first two, at 208°F internal temperature.

The crumb is all I could ask for, and the flavor, in my perspective, not surprisingly, is better than the poolish initiated baguettes I've been baking. Let me hasten to add, I love their flavor as well, but the sourdough levain adds complexity absent in the classic baguettes. I especially like the crust's nutty flavor bursts, and the chewier crumb. Furthermore, the flavor is only mildly sour.

So, I'll claim a conditioned success: Taste: A, Visual: C. Procedures: C+; I got a lot of them right, but not all of them. I've watched shaping and slashing video's and read shaping and slashing instructions ad nauseum, but my hands haven't yet developed the muscle memory to be able to do it rightly, without thinking about it. More practice, practice, practice. At least I've got lots of mouths that love to eat my bread, regardless of how it looks. I did, however, see one neighbor close her eyes while chewing a mouthful. I had assumed it was a gesture of ecstasy, and felt flattered, but maybe, that wasn't the real reason!


Yippee's picture

I must confess this loaf is a mistake, but it is also the best sandwich loaf I've made so far.  It's fluffy, springy, and moist and 'pillowy' to touch; and it's wholesome - made with 100% white whole wheat.  Basically it has everything I've dreamed for in a sandwich loaf. 

It's an old formula adapted from a friend's home recipe, which originally calls for 64% hydration.  However, I did experiment with something new this time: the double hydration mixing technique, in which part of the liquid called for is reserved and added to the dough gradually in small increments after gluten has well developed initially through kneading.  

As I converted the original recipe into a formula using water roux starter, I forgot to account for the liquid component in the starter and accidentally added more liquid than I should.  This pushed the hydration of the dough up to 79%.  If I had not applied the double hydration technique, I may not have been able to incorporate all the liquid into the dough without ruining it.

This loaf turned out surprisingly good, since I did not realize in the first place my alteration to the formula. Now it has been four days, it still shows no signs of drying.  It springs right back when I bite into it and it still tastes very good without toasting.

This unexpected outcome has made me wonder if we up the hydration of our dough to the highest point it can withstand, will this produce a more fluffy loaf with extended shelf life?  Or other factors may kick in to interfere? Well, this question is too complex for a beginner to figure out.  Maybe you have the answer to it?

Here's my 'mistake':

090709 follow up:

I tried 70% hydration, still moist afte 3 days, but starting to show some signs of drying.

will experiment with 75% hydration next.    


100% WWW Yin and Yang Banana Toast      
Water Roux Starter          
any amount is fine as long as   bread flour (or whole wheat flour to make 100% WW)   50 g
the 1:5 ratio is followed   water    250 g
    Whisk both until well mixed      
    Heat it up on stove, keep stirring       
    until temperature reaches 65 C or 149 F      
    (Yippee uses the microwave, about 4 minutes, stir halfway.)       
    (Final product should leave a trail when stirred.)      
    Put a plastic wrap directly on top to prevent forming a 'skin'.      
    Must be cooled to at least room temperature before use.      
    Refrigerate up to 3 days.        
    Do not use if turns grey.      
Makes 1 twin loaf (530g)           
A.   whole wheat flour =           229 g
    sugar  =             30 g
    salt =            1.5 g
    yeast =               5 g
    vital wheat gluten =             15 g
B.   whole eggs and  milk combined =           132 g
    but weigh separately so you can hold back part of the milk      
     (eg. 20-30g) to add later       
    water roux starter =             72 g
    mashed ripe banana =             30 g
C.   unsalted butter =             15 g
D.   black and white sesame seeds, each on a plate = as much as needed
Knead: 1 Combine A. and B. knead until a ball is formed.  This time the dough      
    should be on the dry side, since part of the liquid is withheld      
  2 Add C as kneading continues      
  3 Then add the remaining milk reserved earlier in small increments, wait       
    until the previous addition is fully incorporated before adding again.      
    If your dough seems unwilling to take in more liquid, stop adding.       
1st Fermentation:   About 40 minutes at 28 C or 82.4 F      
Divide:    265g x 2 for the twin loaf      
Relax:   15 minutes at room temperature      
Shape:   twin loaf:      
    Roll into an oval      
    With the long side facing you:      
    Fold 1/3 from top to bottom, press to seal      
    Fold 1/3 from bottom to top, press to seal      
    Turn seam side down      
    Roll and elongate the dough to about 30cm or 12 "       
    Upside down and roll into a cylindrical shape      
    Wet a napkin, put on a plate, roll the formed loaves on the wet napkin      
    Roll the moist loaves on the plates of sesame seeds      
    Seam side down, into the loaf pan      
Final Proof:   About 40 minutes at 38 C or 100.4 F      
Bake:   350 F, 35-40 minutes      
    (Yippee applies whole egg wash before baking)      

This will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting! 

Shiao-Ping's picture

I confess this came as an accident.   When I was scanning Michel Suas' Advanced Bread & Pastry, his Caramelized Hazelnut Squares (page 248) caught my attention.   I sometimes make for my kids Hazelnut Praline Semi-Freddo; nothing pleases my boy more than that Italian ice cream.   Suas' formula to me is like incorporating a secrete ingredient in a delicious ice cream into a bread.  I was however not sure about having to prepare 2 sponge preferments plus 2 levains just to make this "Squares."  

Then, came MC's posting of her beautiful Blueberry Bread with Spelt Starter a couple of days ago, I found myself the reason of embarking on an experiment.  


                                                   caramelized hazelnuts (or hazelnut praline)  

I started my project after dinner last night around 7:30.  Instead of fresh blueberries that MC used for her bread, I thought if I used frozen ones perhaps there would be less of a chance of squashing them during mixing - bad plan.  There was more juice/water that came out of the frozen berries (than the fresh ones) that my dough was literally drenched in liquid and I had to use tissue to soak up some of the liquid.  What was supposed to be a 69% hydration turned out to be at least 85%.  Hence, the rustic "Squares!" - there was no way of any shaping of any kind!  If it were possible, I wasn't up to it.  It was a scary sticky mess:


                    the sticky dough mess                                                      the "shaped" dough

I ended up putting the mess on a piece of parchment paper and stapled the edges of the paper to try and hold the dough in.  The dough was in that position sitting on my counter-top from 9:30 last night to 11:30 this morning when it was loaded onto the oven (14 hours proofing!).     

My formula  

230 g starter at 75% hydration

150 g spelt flour

220 g white flour

40 g honey

206 g water

110 g caramelized hazelnuts*

140 g frozen blueberries

9 g salt

Flaked & slivered almonds for dusting  

*  Suas' caramelized hazelnut formula:

80 g hazelnuts (lightly roasted)

27 g sugar

10 g water

10 g butter  

*Add sugar and water to a sauce pan, cook until the mixture reaches 116 C/240 F, then add roasted hazelnuts, stirring constantly; when the sugar/water has started to caramelize, add butter to slow down the browning.  Move the sauce pan away from heat when the desired coloration has reached.   Note:  I used Suas' formula for the caramelized hazelnuts just to try it out but I have since found that it is just as easy without using the butter.  Simply heat the sugar/water mixture to 130 C/266 F or until it has browned, then add hazelnuts, stir for a few seconds, then take the sauce pan away from heat to cool down.  Half way through cooling down, spread the nuts apart so they don't stick together.  

It's a bit tricky to bake this sourdough as the flaked and slivered almonds that I used for dusting brown very quickly in high heat.  The dough was baked in 230 C/446 F for 10 minutes, then 200 C/390 F for 10 minutes, and 170 C/340 F for 30 minutes.  This is what came out of my oven at mid-day today:  


        Caramelized Hazelnut & Blueberry Sourdough  


                                    The crumb  

This sourdough is no "rustique" at all.  It is my kind of hog heaven!  The crumb is delicious - soft, moist and very flavorsome.  I am a happy Vegemite today.     


                                                                               my kind of hog heaven!


                    simply delicious!



Dragonbones's picture

I've decided to blog my baking and look forward to sharing recipes and getting advice from y'all.

For the past 15 years here in Taiwan, I had made far too many doorstops and hockey pucks instead of edible bread, until a couple months ago I decided to invest in a few good books on baking (I got PR's BBA (Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice), RLB's BB (Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible), and NS's BLB (Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Tarpits), and also found this wonderful forum. It's helped immensely -- thank you all!

I've learned not to work so much flour into the dough (wetter is better!), and have also learned to weigh, not scoop and pack (!) flour. Equally importantly, I've learned to let it rise and proof by volume and not by the clock. I've started doing lots of pre-ferments, using sourdoughs as well as commercial yeast, and using pâte fermentée. Finally, I've gotten a hotter oven and started using steam.

My first big success was my Fifteen-grain Torpedo, based on the Tyrolean Ten-Grain Torpedo in RLB's BB p. 394. I changed the flour to 日清特高筋麵粉 extra-high gluten flour (sorry, but the brands here aren't generally in Roman script -- I'll sometimes post the original Mandarin because there's at least one other forum member here in Taiwan who might want to know the brand name or the product name in Mandarin; you can just ignore it if you don't read Chinese). I also added vital wheat gluten (小麥蛋白). The very high gluten content gave this loaf incredible shape-retention during its rise.


Dragonbones Fifteen-Grain Bread

This was baked in my old oven, which I got rid of a couple weeks ago. It didn't get hot enough (only 400F max, sometimes 365F), especially the lower element, so the bottom crust in the above pic could obviously be improved upon.


Make sponge.   

  • ¼ tsp instant yeast

  • ½ TBSP malt syrup

  • ¾ cup + optional 1-2 TBSP water, RT

Should be DRY, to make up for the very wet mixture of grains and seeds to be added later. Let hydrate an hour, then add 100g (about 2/3 c) extra-high-gluten flour (日清特高筋麵粉 brand).  Original recipe called for bread flour (throughout). 

Make flour mixture (dry mix). In a separate bowl, mix these:

  • 200 g (about 1.25c plus ½ TBSP) extra-high-gluten flour

  • ¾ tsp instant yeast

  • 4 tsp (12 g) vital wheat gluten (小麥蛋白))

Whisk these 3 items together, dry. Spoon onto the sponge to cover it completely. Cover this with plastic, ferment 4 hours at RT, then overnight in the fridge.  This will form the 'dough' on day two.

Soak grains and seeds: Mix the following (or your own creative mixture of seeds and grains) in a small bowl, then add ½ c minus 1 TBSP HOT water, stirring well. Cover tightly, soak overnight at RT.

RLB's Original: ten-grain cereal mix, ½ c plus 2 TBSP, or 100 g

My version - equal amounts of the following, mixed into a larger bag (then measured out ½ cup of the mix, saving the rest for a subsequent batch):

  1. buckwheat flour, fine

  2. pumpkin seeds, toasted

  3. sunflower seeds, toasted

  4. cornmeal

  5. whole oats (chopped in my spice grinder) then toasted

  6. pearl barley; briefly chopped in spice grinder then toasted

  7. barley tea (=roasted unhulled barley), cracked (in my spice grinder)

  8. whole millet, toasted

  9. sesame, white

  10. sesame, black

  11. rye crumbs

  12. caraway

  13. spelt flour

  14. wheat germ and wheat bran

  15. zaliang 雜糧 (multi-grain) powder


Mix the dough on low (KA2) 1 min., then medium (#4) SEVEN mins; will be dryish. Rest 20 mins (do not skip). Add salt (1.25 tsp) and presoaked seed mixture including liquid.

Knead another 3-5 mins until well incorporated; should be slightly sticky. Adjust with flour or water; will weigh 680 g (24 oz). Taste to check whether salt was added.  Due to errors on my first attempt (failure to realize sponge should be so dry, leading to adding too much water), I kneaded longer, working in flour, for about 15 minutes before dough was smooth; it was a very firm dough, resilient, slightly tacky.

Put in greased, flat-bottomed bowl; turn once. Push down to make top level, and mark this and the double level. Cover tightly. Let rise RT til double. Dough becomes more slack, workable.

Oil spatula. Scrape onto floured counter, press into rectangle.  Letterfold, turn, repeat; return to oiled bowl, turn, cover, let rise until doubled again, 45-60 mins.  

Shape and final rise:  Turn onto lightly floured counter, press into a rectangle. Shape into a torpedo-shaped loaf or bâtard. Spray parchment with oil then dust heavily with cornmeal. Set parchment on a peel or the back of a cookie pan;  set torpedo atop this, and cover with a large container, proofing box, or loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled. Meanwhile preheat oven to its maximum, with stone on lowest shelf, and cast iron pan on oven floor.

Dust with light or medium rye flour and score.  Prepare a cup of boiling water. Open the oven, slide the dough with its parchment sheet onto oven stone directly, and pour water onto cast iron pan underneath. Shut door quickly. After 30 seconds, spray water and shut door. Repeat once more.  I didn't lower the oven temp because my old oven maxed out at a wimpy temperature. A hotter oven might need to be turned down at this point, especially the top element.  Bake 20-30 mins, turning once, or until golden brown; internal temp should be about 208°F.  Cool completely on rack before cutting.   

RESULT: Excellent! Chewy, full of grain, nice crust, nice flavor. Maintained shape, rose more than expected during final rise (had to orient diagonally on parchment to fit in oven!). Cuts opened well, looked great!  Cornmeal on bottom contributed nice texture too.   

My first real bread success! (This was about 6 weeks ago, I guess).  I'll be trying it again with a hotter stone this time for a better bottom crust, now that I have a new oven.




TeaIV's picture

I call this bread the Super-Soaker because I soaked every type of flour I had for a long time (a day and a half, with about a day in the fridge). the taste was superb, as was the crumb.

By the way, how's my new granite ;)?


I added about a tsp. of sugar to the soaker. at first, it tasted like cream of wheat. after the day and a half that it was soaking for, there was some apparent hooch on top, and it had a very good, distinguished taste. I also did a cold proof.


the second picture isn't much of a looker, but oh well.


comments and suggestions would be welcome,



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