The Fresh Loaf

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pmccool's picture

I've taken a bit of a break from ryes in the past couple of weeks, baking Honey Lemon Whole Wheat from Clayton's Complete Book of Breads and the Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  This weekend, though, I went back to rye again, baking the Soulful German Farmhouse Rye from Daniel Leader's Local Breads.

Leader's Soulful German Farmhouse Rye

I've blogged about this bread previously, so I won't repeat what I've said previously.  

The most obvious difference this time is that I proofed the boules smooth side up and then baked them with the seam side up, allowing the natural weaknesses in the dough to be the expansion points.  I like the effect, particularly since the darkness of the crumb contrasts with the lighter-color flour on the crust.  Not so evident, but still different this time is that I did not add any of the instant yeast called for in the formula (I had all day at the house anyway), nor did I "dust" the banneton with rye flakes.  That did nothing for my enjoyment or for the bread, so I just used a light dusting of rye flour on top of the rice flour already embedded in the fabric.

If I remember the next time that I make this bread, I'll double the quantities but still shape it into just two boules.  That might give a bit more height to the loaves, which would make them more serviceable for sandwiches.  Despite the diminutive size of the loaves, this is a delicious bread and well worth the making.


hansjoakim's picture

Sunflower seeds is a favourite of mine, whether it's in dense Vollkornbrots or lighter sourdough breads. I've toyed around with different formulas for seeded levains for some time, but my best one so far is the one I tried this weekend. The formula is not unlike Hamelman's seeded sourdough bread, but the one I've settled on, uses a rye sourdough and some more whole-grain flour than Hamelman. The dough is not particularly wet, but rather straight forward to work with. It's another one of those that can easily fit into a "mix in the morning and bake in the afternoon" (or vice versa) schedules. Here's a copy of the formula, and below is a shot of the loaf I baked Saturday morning:

Pain au levain with toasted seeds

And here's a shot of the crumb:

Pain au levain with toasted seeds

Feel free to vary the toasted seeds - pumpkin seeds is next on my list :)

Earlier in the week, I suddenly got this weird craving for brandade... Yes, I know. Pretty weird. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the ongoing strikes in France, that I've followed closely via the news, and some reports from Marseille (where I had my first ever brandade de morue two years ago), that set it all in motion. You'll find salt cod in most well-stocked Norwegian grocery stores, so have a bowl with plenty of cold water ready, and let the salt cod soak a day or two:

Brandade de morue

I think my first brandade de morue had some mashed potatoes in it, but to be honest, I prefer brandade made with just the fish, cream, olive oil and some seasoning. I love the smooth, creamy and light consistency of brandade, especially on toasted slices of baguette or a seeded levain. You can easily use a food processor to get a smooth, even brandade, but I prefer to make it by hand so you still have small flakes of fish meat intact.

Brandade de morue


Over the weekend, I prepared another French favourite of mine: A pear frangipane tart. Almonds and poached pears is one of those timeless flavour combinations that work any time of the year.

Pear frangipane tart

Bon appétit!

Pear frangipane tart

Pear frangipane tart

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I thought I had put this up, but I must have only previewed the entry. 


A few weeks ago, I made Nancy Silverton's walnut bread, a consistent favorite with everyone who tries it. It is especially good with cheese. This time, I was inspired by a dessert we had at a new restaurant in New York called Maialino. The walnut bread supported some excellent marscapone and ripe California figs. The combination of tastes and textures in a single bite is positively decadent. 



GSnyde's picture


Or maybe World Series Sourdough?!! [Go, Giants!!]

I have enjoyed Acme Bread’s Pain de Campagne a couple times recently.  It’s a moderately sour boule with a thin toothsome crust and a somewhat fluffy, but chewy crumb.  I think it has some whole rye flour and some whole wheat flour.  It's about my favorite bread ever.

So, today I tried to bake something like it.  I used the formula and procedure for Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough as a starting point, but used KA European Style flour and some KA whole wheat flour and used a longer bulk ferment.

I studied dmsnyder’s boule-shaping tutorial and did my best to follow his tutelage and was very pleased with my shaping effort.  I got good oven spring and a nice crust crackles.  The crumb is just what I was  going for--light but chewy.  And the flavor is also pretty close to the Acme Pain de Campagne—nutty and complex and just a little sour.  I think this is the best tasting Sourdough I’ve made.





Here’s the formula:

San Francisco Country Sourdough 

Yield: Two 1.5 lb Loaves



100 grams   AP flour

24 grams  Whole Wheat flour

12 grams  Whole rye flour

170 grams   Water, luke warm

28  grams   Mature culture (75% hydration)


FINAL DOUGH (66% hydration, including levain)

680 grams   KAF European-Style Artisan Bread flour (88%)

45 grams  Whole wheat flour (6%)

45 grams   Whole rye flour (6%)

425 grams   Water at room temperature (55%)

17 grams   Salt (2%)

306     Liquid levain  (40%)



1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at room temperature (about 70 F).

2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl with plastic and let autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5-7 minutes. 

3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 30-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.

4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):   After second s&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience. [I skipped this step this time].

5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into two  pieces and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards.

6. PROOFING: Approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours at room temperature (about 70° F).  Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 F with steam apparatus in place. 

7. BAKING: With steam, on stone.  Turn oven to 460 °F after steaming.  Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes to

tal.   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.

I recommend this bread to anyone who likes sourdough with a moderate amount of whole grain.



Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

The adventure continues!

In this weeks edition of Hamelman's Baguette's with Poolish, I made three modifications to the process from last week (well, more like two and a half:

  • Reduced the yeast in the poolish.  I've been preparing a half batch of dough relative to Hamelman's "Home" proportions, but until now I haven't reduced the yeast in the poolish,  which sounds quite foolish until you realize that the yeast measurement is 1/8 tsp, and nearly every yeasted preferment in the book calls for 1/8 tsp of yeast, regardless of size.  Anyway, I've been feeling like there's a degree of flavor and texture missing, as well as the presence of a pronounced alcohol smell about the poolish (and then the finished dough to some extent).  So I approximated a 1/16 tsp of yeast in 5.3 oz. each of flour and water.  
  • Tried to handle the dough more gently during shaping and preshaping. 
  • Last week I forgot to turn the oven down after loading the baguettes, so this week I made sure not to do that!


After 11 hours the poolish was bubbly and had a pungent aroma with just a hint of maybe some alcohol in the background.  It's possible I could have fermented it even less with no ill effects.  One of these weeks, I may try making three tiny batches of dough with three tiny batches of poolish, and test just what results I get from different amounts of time and yeast.

The Results: Crust



I was pretty happy with this batch.  Definitely better than before, although clearly not there yet.  I'm not sure if it's clear from the picture, but the crust was definitely a darker color than previous batches, with the same amount of baking time.  This lends some credence to my notion that the poolish was overfermenting somewhat before (or so I understood it from Larry last week--I'm happy to stand corrected on this!).  My slashing is getting more consistent, although unfortunately the scores are consistently too close together as well! Believe it or not, the one in the middle actually had four discrete slashes before it went into the oven...

Crumb was definitely better than last week, although not quite up to where I want it to be.  Texture-wise, also a bit less fluffy and more creamy than before, but still somewhat fluffy.  Flavor was also better--I'm finally starting to get some of the nice nutty notes that I remember from my lucky breaks with this dough.  Just some of them, however.  Crust was thin and crisp on top, but thick and chewy on the bottom--I think you can even see it in the picture.  Not sure what that's all about--possibly a result of leaving the baguettes in to crisp a little more with the oven turned off?

Next week: Further reduction of the yeast in the poolish -- worst case scenario it isn't ready to go when I want to start mixing at 9am, and I start the bread a little later, right?  Also, time to start experimenting with steaming methods.  I'm really intrigued by the steaming method SylviaH posted earlier this week. I would have tried it today, but I didn't want to conflate the results of not goofing up the oven temperature with the effects of the steaming method.

As always, any tips, comments, or smart remarks are welcome and appreciated,


dmsnyder's picture

Traditional baguette, Dragon tail and Épi de Blé (left to right)

These baguettes were made with my San Joaquin Sourdough dough. I shaped a traditional baguette, an épi de blé (sheaf of wheat) and a dragon tail. Each was scaled to 248 g. They were baked with steam for 10 minutes at 460ºF conventional bake and in a dry oven for 10 minutes at 435ºF convection bake. My formula for San Joaquin Sourdough is available here: San Joaquin Sourdough, updated However, for those attempting these shapes for the first time, I recommend using a lower hydration dough such as Pat's (proth5). That formula can be found here: Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough

Instructions for making an épi

1. Shape a baguette and proof it.

2. Transfer a baguette to your peel.

3. Starting at the left end (if you are right handed) or at the far end, if the baguette is oriented perpendicular to your body, make evenly spaced cuts along the baguette with a sharp scissors. The scissors should cut at about a 45º angle, almost but not completely through the loaf. With each cut, the cut part is rotated away from the long axis of the loaf, alternating right and left.

4. Load the épi onto your baking stone and bake as you would a regular baguette.

Instructions for making a dragon tail baguette

The dragon tail is made in the same way as the épi, except, rather than rotating the cut pieces, the tip of each is folded back over the body, away from the cut surface. Here is a photograph of Miyuki Togi, my SFBI instructor, forming a dragon tail:

SusanFNP has made an instructional video for shaping a Dragon Tail baguette which is highly recommended. Dragon Tail Baguette Shaping Video

Dragon tail, close-up 1

Dragon tail, close-up 2



Submitted to YeastSpotting

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Not happy with the commercially yeasted version I had been making for the holidays, I decided to try this one. It is just excellent. The crumb is creamy, with just enough tooth. The taste is rich, with that wonderful underlayer of complex sourdough flavor, not at all sour in this case.


I was inspired and guided by zolablue's post on the subject, as well as Maggie Glezer's video. Thanks so much to both.




Vogel's picture

Since I've never really been satisfied with my Ciabatta, I tried to do it in a more conservative way. I only used a 75% hydration dough, so the lower end of the Ciabatta range. Instead of doing the stretch & fold directly in the bowl with wet hands, I did it on the floured work surface, which took a little more time. I carefully followed the principle of the dough having an axis with two poles (the smooth side and the sticky side). The result was a dough that was so strong that I couldn't even really stretch it in order to cut out the pieces. In the oven the loaves expanded so much that part of the crust opened.

I didn't watch the baking process well enough in the end phase, so the crust burnt a little and the bread dried out a little around the outer layers of the crumb. The crumb wasn't extremely open. Still I am really happy about how they came out and how strong the dough was.

Ciabatta crust

Ciabatta crumb

livingdog's picture

I have discovered why my breads were bland - I WASN'T BAKING THEM! That sounds silly, but I am a newbie and my understanding was - put it in the hot oven, bake for X minutes and then take out. WRONG NEWBIE BREATH! (LOL! I miss Johnny Carson.)

The idea I was missing was that I am baking a cake - that requires two parts:

  1. bake at required temperature for the crust to form, and
  2. bake at second required temperature FOR THE INSIDE OF THE BREAD!

So now my breads have turned out better tasting - not astounding amazing phenomenal - as when a professional does it - but better.

Onward through the fog.

amolitor's picture

I make English Muffins from time to time. Here's my latest, and some discussion.

First: I made English Muffins with dough, not batter. Usually, I use sourdough. Second: I consider english muffins to be a cooking technique (cook on a hot, dry iron skillet dusted with cornmeal) and not really a recipe. You can use pretty much any dough you like, as near as I can tell.

This time I used a sourdough dough, the recipe was frankly improvised since I changed directions midstream. In broad strokes: whole wheat starter into a fairly liquid sponge made up from KAF organic bread flour. This ripens, then I made up dough, with the sponge making up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the final dough (my kitchen is somewhat chilly these days, so I am doing sourdoughs fairly conservatively). Dough made up with KAF organic bread flour, appropriate amounts of salt and water to hit a quite wet dough. Say around 70 percent (You can't really "hold" a big lump of it with one hand -- it will eventually flow out, albeit slowly).

All dough development done by hand-stirring in the bowl, Joe Ortiz style. NO KNEADING. At this point there's some dough development -- it's balling up and cleaning the sides of the bowl, but it's still "shaggy". 1 or 2 S&Fs and then into the fridge overnight (this because it was getting late, there wasn't a plan here). 2-3 more S&Fs as it warmed, then form up balls. At this point it's no longer "shaggy" but just barely past that stage, I think. So, this dough is moderately underdeveloped (by now this WAS part of the plan!). The balls slumped pretty well, but there was enough development to hold them together with the gluten skin -- definitely more like a bag of warm jelly than a "dough" standing up on its own, though. Final rise quite long. Now the dough is underdeveloped and over-proofed, which by this time was my goal. I think for English Muffins, these are both good things -- not wildly underdeveloped, and not wildly over-proofed, but "distinctly" perhaps would be the right word. My handling all along was gentle, I didn't really make any effort to degas thoroughly at any point.

Cook about 8-9 minutes a side in a dry iron skillet dusted with cornmeal, and here we are (the black bits are burned cornmeal from the previous batch):




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