The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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mimifix's picture

We visited Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord MA and had a chance to see the oven - up close and personal. It was quite an experience. We do bakery tours for fun but this was the first time I ever got close enough to touch the oven. (Yes, it was hot.)


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Wanted to share with you something that I have been working on for the past 2 days or so.  I was poking around my local Gristede's supermarket the other day and found Hodgson Mills Stoneground Rye Flour for $5.99.  I usually only go to Gristede's if I'm lazy or desperate as there are much better places to get groceries in NYC.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find what I did.  Also, I have some organic spelt berries that I'm trying to get rid of or use as it's not my favorite grain.  So, when I got home I consulted Hamelman's Bread book along with the Hofpfisterei München website looking for some inspiration.  I found the following.  If you click on the links on their website as follows: Sortiment => Natursaurteigbrote => Pfister-Oko-Dinkel-Grunkern-Volkorn...  It's a 92% spelt(dinkel) and 8% rye(roggen) bread...  I was inspired by this, but did the complete opposite and thought it was a 92% rye bread...  Anyways, my inspiration doesn't need to be correct, right?

Anyways, back to the 90% rye/ 10% spelt bread that I'm making.  I've tried to make a very detailed photo documentation for all of you.  So here goes!

This is what started it all.  The Hodgson Mill Rye Flour I found at the local Gristede's around the block from me.  $5.99 for 5 pounds.  Not a bad find...

My recipe page 1

My recipe page 2

8/25/10 - Stage 1 (Freshening)

16g Rye Flour

24g Water

8g Sourdough Starter (100% Hydration)

48g Total

7:00pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for 5 hours.

8/26/10 - Stage 2 (Basic Sour)

100g Rye Flour

78g Water

48g All of stage 1

226g Total

12:00am - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 17 hours.

Stage 2 after mixing a bit

Stage 2 smoothed over with water before covering and letting rest for 17 hrs.

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs - detail of what's inside

8/26/10 - Stage 3 (Full Sour)

270g Rye Flour

270g Water

226g All of stage 2

766g Total

6:45pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 3-4 hours

Stage 3 mixed

Stage 3 smoothed over with water before covering and resting

Hand grinding spelt grains for final dough with a hand crank grain mill

Spelt flour close up out of the hand crank mill

Stage 3 after 3 1/2 hrs

Stage 3 side view - gas bubbles

Stage 3 - inside texture

8/26/10 - Final Dough

514g Rye Flour

100g Spelt Flour (freshly ground)

408g Water

18g Kosher Salt

766g All of stage 2

1806g Total

9:15pm - Mix all, cover, bulk ferment for 20 minutes.

Stage 3 in pieces in large mixing bowl with pre-measured amount of water

All ingredients of final dough in mixing bowl

Mixing with rubber spatula

More mixing

More mixing and mushing...  Just mix well so everything is well combined...

For nice ball with spatula, smooth over with water...

Place in plastic bag, bulk ferment for 20 minutes...

Final dough after 20 minute bulk ferment

Inside texture of dough after bulk ferment

9:45pm - Divide dough into 2 equal weight pieces

Form into boule, dusting lightly with rye flour to prevent sticking

Place in linen lined baskets for proofing

Place in baskets in plastic bag for proofing, approx 1 hr.  Place baking stone on 2nd rack up from bottom, place steam tray, preheat oven to 550F with convection.

Boules after proofing.  Notice cracks on surface.

Close up of cracks

Turn out on to peel

Dock loaf with chopstick

10:50pm - Turn off convection.  Place loaves directly on baking stone, add 1 cup water to steam pan, close oven door.  Turn oven temp to 500F and bake for 10 minutes without convection.  Then remove the steam pan, turn oven down to 410F and bake for another 60 minutes or until internal temp of loaf reaches 205F or more.  Sorry for the blurry shot...

I'm tired...  To be continued...


This is about 10 minutes into the bake right before I remove the steam pan.  Notice the oven spring...


Loaves out of the oven 1 hr after removing the steam pan


Thanks for reading...  Enjoy!

Yippee's picture


I’ve been having lots of fun with my new tools.  They have brought additional peace of mind to the bread making process and have put an end to my frustration about oven temperatures. More importantly, they’ve delivered good results. Loaves in this bake all turned out crackly with a color that was neither too dark nor too light, and was just right to my liking. They were light in feel and the superb oven spring made them puff like a cute blowfish. 


I learned of the impact of subtle temperature changes on a loaf by baking several sourdough pain de campagne in a roll and established my reference.  I usually don’t make too much bread at a time. This was my largest production ever.  Not only did we have abundant slices to put on the grill, but I also had surplus to gift away to my friends who came to our end-of-summer BBQ.    


Again, I used a simple formula very similar to that  I’ve been playing with since the beginning of this year.  It was of 68% hydration, 17% prefermented flour from an un-refreshed pate fermente, which was also at 68% hydration.  I felt a big relief when all the old dough that didn’t make it to a bake long time ago was finally put to use.  My next bake will be geared toward learning how to utilize my new tools on dough that is leavened by systematically built levains.


Fermentation schedule

Bulk ferment:                                           86F – 3hrs

Final prove:                                              59F - refer to pictures of each loaf for timing



Oven preheated to 485F

Baking temperatures and timing:                also varied, refer to individual pictures as well.



Here are some pictures:




thegrindre's picture

Hi all,

I promised I'd share my honey white/wheat bread recipe with you so here it is.

What this recipe yields is one loaf of soft crusted soft crumbed sandwich bread that is really great and very easy to make and created for us old folks that can't eat hard crusted tough crumbed breads anymore.

Now, since I start with 3 cups of flour then add the liquid, it doesn't even need to be measured all that closely.

So, here goes;

I start with about 3 cups King Arthur flour in a large glass mixing bowl, (I say 'about' because all I do is grab a 1/2 cup measure and dip out 6 half cups of flour.), 2 cups all purpose white & 1 cup whole wheat. I then add 2 rounded teaspoons of Fleischmann's active dry yeast, 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt, then whisk all together well. (Nothing exact here. At this stage, all I need to be is close.)

Meanwhile, I'm warming up a scad short 1 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of real butter and 1 Tablespoon of raw buckwheat honey,. (My honey source is, Wonderful people who sell wonderful honey products, btw.)

When the milk mixture is warm, NOT hot, I slowly start pouring it into the flour mixture, stirring it with a wooden spoon until it forms the dough ball. (I like this part because there's no real measuring involved. I just add the liquid until the dough ball forms.)

I then knead the dough, right in the bowl for a few minutes until it all comes together nicely adding more milk mixture as needed. (I then drink the leftover milk mixture. What's that they say about milk & honey and the Gods?)

I give the bowl and the dough ball a flour dusting, cover it with a wet warm towel, then set it in my oven to raise for a good hour. (My oven warms up to exactly 100 degrees with the light on.)

When double in bulk, (It sometimes quadruples within an hour), I knead it again, right in the bowl for a few minutes to clean up the extra flour I used for dusting. (How easy does this get? Clean up as I progress along.)

Using a rubber spatula, I liberally coat the inside of the pan with lots of real butter then shape the dough to fit the pan using my fingers to 'squish' it into all four corners, (No smooth store bought looking bread here.), to raise again in my oven until it just peaks the top of the pan rim. (Maybe 30 minutes. Watch it! It'll get away from you.)

Using that same spatula, I now liberally coat the top of the dough and sometimes will even slit the top. (I also place a pot of almost boiling water in with it instead of covering the dough in the pan. The almost boiling water gives off plenty of warm mist to keep the dough from crusting.)

Since I was using my oven for rising the dough, I now simply remove the pot of hot water then turn the oven on to 350 degrees F. and bake it for 40 minutes. (Oops! I wasn't watching it. It got away. It rose a bit too much but still made a great loaf of bread. (That, by the way, was a 20 minute rise.))



As you can see, clean up is a dream come true, too. All I have to clean up is one bowl, one measuring cup, one spoon, one spatula, and one bread pan. No floured surfaces or flour scattered anywhere. It was all done in the bowl.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup milk heated up to about 100 degrees.
3 Tablespoons real butter.
1 Tablespoons raw buckwheat honey. (Or your favorite)
2 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour.
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour.
1 rounded teaspoon Sea salt.
2 rounded teaspoons Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast

And, there you have it. Simple and easy soft Honey White/Wheat sandwich bread.

Comments are very welcomed... I'm sure I'll get a few as unorthodox as this recipe is.



paulm's picture

Has anyone else been receiving notification of new content for old blog entries?  I just received an email listing blog entries (78 new posts) the majority of which do not have current entries.  For example, there is an entry from zolablue about Clear Flour where the most recent post to it is March 18, 2010 (the posts range from May 9, 2007 to March 18, 2010).

turosdolci's picture


Spätzli is a speciality in Switzerland. It is a type of dumpling that is almost always served with game. The hunting season starts in a few weeks for about 3 weeks and restaurants and those of us who love game will be preparting a lot of Spätzli.


ejm's picture

This is mostly for amusement's sake.

Every so often, I want to make a recipe that calls for fresh yeast and I don't have fresh yeast. Of course, I have nothing against using fresh yeast. It's just not that easily found around here. Instead, I use the active dry yeast we always have on hand. (Why do I always choose active dry yeast? Because that’s what my mother always uses.)

In the past and quite recently, I have gone through various books and the internet looking for this conversion information. Here are some of the various formulae I have come across in my travels:

for every cup of flour in the recipe, use either of

    3 grams compressed fresh yeast
    2 grams active dry yeast
    1 gram instant active dry yeast

-Maggie Glezer, "Artisan Baking Across America"


Substitute twice as much (by weight) fresh yeast for the amount of dry yeast called for in the recipe.

-Daniel Leader, "Local Breads"


1 g fresh = 0.5 g active dry = 0.4 g instant

-Susan (Wild Yeast),


2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast

-Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"


A .6-oz [17gm] cube of cake yeast is roughly equivalent to 1½ to 2 tsp. instant yeast or 2 to 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast.

-Sydny Carter, Yeast: The Basics,


One .6 ounce [17 grams] cake is equivalent to 1 envelope [.25 ounce/7 grams] of dry yeast.

-Fleischmann's Yeast FAQ,


yeast, compressed . . . . 1 cake, 3/5 oz . . . . 1 package active dry yeast

-Irma S. Rombauer, Know your ingredients, Joy of Cooking


1 packed tablespoon of fresh or cake yeast=21 grams which=2-1/2 [8gm] teaspoons active dry (so for 100 grams fresh yeast use 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon or 40 grams active dry)

-Rose Levy Beranbaum,


If you are substituting active dry yeast for instant yeast in a recipe, [...] add about 20 percent more yeast to the recipe than what is called for. [...] If you encounter a recipe that uses fresh yeast, divide the weight by 3 to calculate the proper amount of instant yeast to use.

-Yeast FAQ,


Some years ago, with mixed up logic, I managed to work out the following formula. Remarkably, the bread I made rose beautifully.

2½ tsp (8gm) active dry yeast = 50gm fresh yeast

-me, my house

Depending on whose formula I use, to replace 50gm fresh yeast, I should use anywhere from 8 to 32.5 gm active dry yeast. (I think I have the arithmetic right with the various formulae: 32.5gm, 25gm, 22.5gm, 20gm, 17.5-20gm, 17gm, 8.3 OR 8gm active dry in place of 50 gm fresh yeast)

So. After all these contortions? I've decided that I'll use the higher amount of active dry to replace fresh yeast if there's lots of sugar in the recipe, but the lower amount if there's little sugar in the recipe.


Here is a nifty javascript that one of my sisters created after hearing about this:

edit: Ooops!!! I hit "save" by mistake. I MEANT to hit "preview". I think I've finished fixing things now. Have fun with the conversion chart!


Also may be of interest:

Mebake's picture

This is the same Wholewheat Multigrain bread baked from Hamelman's BREAD, only this time i chose to roll back to my old steaming technique. Furthermore, i increased the hydration from Hamelman's 75% to 90%! the grains are very thirsty!


Adhering to Hamelman's Final Proof of 1 hour doesn't seem to cut it. I always underproof when i follow hamelman's guidelines. 70 to 90 minutes will be the final proof from now on.



manicbovine's picture

I make a variation of this bread each Sunday; I've done so for the last several months. The result has steadily improved.


      My goal is a whole-grain bread that stands on its own. I don't eat many sandwiches, but enjoy slices of bread for lunch or breakfast. I have practical demands from the bread I make: long shelf-life, versatile, and relatively easy to produce.

      I've experimented a lot (pumpkin seeds in one week's loaf, not a success), but none of it has mattered much. I'm such a novice that I think the bread has improved through practice. I had hoped to eventually post with an absolutely perfect formula and method. I realize that I'm not going to achieve this, so I'd rather just post and ask for feedback.

Levain Build

100% Hydration Rye Starter       5%

Whole Rye Flour                          100%

Water                                          60%


1.) Mix, aerate well, and let sit for 12-18 hours.


Final Dough

WW Flour                                     66%

Whole Rye                                   14%

Whole Spelt                                 20%

Water                                          67%

Levain                                          20%

Salt                                              4.5%

Molasses                                     5.6%

Olive Oil                                       3.5%


1.) Mix flours, water, molasses, and oil. Let rest for 45 minutes at room temp.

2.) Mix in salt and starter.

3.) Knead well, moderate gluten development. It's wet, but comes together eventually. By hand, it takes around 20 minutes with a resting period.

4.) Bulk ferment 2 hours @ room temp, stretch and fold, ferment another hour, stretch and fold.

5.) Shape, place into fridge for 18 hours.

6.)  Bake straight from fridge in 475F oven for 15 minutes under regular steam. Lower temp to 425 and bake until done. (It darkens quickly in my oven, so I place a piece of tinfoil on top to prevent too dark a crust.)

Notes: I live in Arizona, which is very dry. My flour is thirsty! I'd adjust the hydration in a normal climate. Also, some of the rye flour can be replaced with rye meal. This improves the rye flavor and provides an interesting texture.


The result is a sour loaf with a complex rye/wheat flavor; spelt adds a sweet hint. It toasts well, dips well in soup, and stands up to Dijon. 



breadsong's picture


Here are today's efforts (gifts for a friend, so I can't cut them to take a crumb shot!):
Rose Levy Beranbaum's French Country Sourdough Boule
Jeffrey Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread (straight dough)

Mr. Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread is delicious! But I wanted to make special mention of the French Country Sourdough - I really like the flavor provided by the combination of sour and flours in this loaf. The recipe is also spiked with instant yeast, so when I have planned poorly or am otherwise rushed for time and want to complete a sourdough loaf in a shorter timeframe, this is the recipe I turn to. 

Rose's original recipe was created for those without their own sourdough starter, and so calls for a powdered sourdough starter by Lalvain called "Pain de Campagne". Rose's formula for Liquid Sourdough Starter is:
100g bread flour
.4 grams Lalvain Pain de Campagne starter
100 g water, room temperature (70F-90F) 
Stir together for 3-5 minutes until very smooth (will be very liquid). Cover bowl tightly with greasted plastic wrap (or place starter in a 2-cup food-storage container with a lid) and place it in a warm spot (70F-90F); let sit for at least 12 and up to 20 hours. It will be full of bubbles and will have risen by about one third. It is ready to use to make the dough, or it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

I have substituted an equal amount of my sourdough starter and this has worked out OK. The formula below is identical to Rose's recipe, except for the type of starter and my adjustment to the amount of instant yeast used. The formula I use is:
200g sourdough starter
300g water
flours: 312g bread , 80g rye, 58g whole wheat
2g instant yeast
11.6g salt

I find this makes just over 2 pounds of dough - about right for my 9" banneton.

I feed my sourdough the night before, and when it is risen, I begin making the bread. As it is a very sticky dough, Rose's instructions are to combine starter and water in Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, sprinkle on the flours and yeast, mix on low (#2 speed) until a rough dough is formed, cover bowl and autolyse 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on salt and mix on medium (#4 speed) 10 minutes. (I found my mixer gets warm! so I stop a bit earlier, about 8 minutes. The weights given above are double her original recipe so I'm sure that's why my mixer is working hard!). I've also mixed and kneaded by hand, trying to be careful about adding too much extra flour (usually if I'm making two boules at once - too much dough for my Kitchen Aid to handle).

Scrape the dough into a greased dough-rising container; cover; rise until double (75F-80F), 1.5 to 2 hours. Stretch and fold (2 business letter turns). Rise until double (about 1 hour).

Shape into a boule. Line banneton with a floured cloth*, and place boule inside, smooth side down. Cover. Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. When the dough is pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression should very slowly fill in. The center of the loaf should come to the top of the banneton sides or a little above.
*Alternatively, flour the banneton with 50% white rice flour/50% all-purpose flour. I found some good tips and really helpful information on preparing bannetons here:

Preheat oven to 475F one hour before baking, with baking stone on lowest level. Preheat a pan for steam.
Place parchment paper on a peel (or flat baking sheet). Place parchment-lined peel over banneton and gently invert banneton onto peel. Gently set peel on countertop, lift off banneton and gently remove the floured cloth. Slash the bread (1/4" deep), slide bread and parchment onto baking stone, steam the oven by pouring hot water or tossing ice cubes into the preheated steam pan.
Bake 5 minutes, and reduce heat to 450F. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bread is deep brown, 212F internal temperature. Remove bread to wire rack to cool completely.

With many thanks to Rose Levy Beranbaum, for her wonderful recipe and for granting permission to give formula and method details here.
Friends and family love this bread and if you make it, I hope you do too!

Regards, breadsong


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