The Fresh Loaf

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Yippee's picture

This was a simple white bread with small amount of whole rye flour.  The first time I made a similar loaf was coincidently around the same period last year.  Since then, I’ve acquired many new skills and made some progress in making artisan breads.  I felt that I’ve grown in the past year, as a learner, from an infant to a toddler, who is now on her feet confidently and curiously exploring in a giant Breads-R-Us. Thank you again to those of you who have helped me up and walking along this wonderful journey.


I don’t bake very often.  Therefore, I like to take advantage of every opportunity in each bake to experiment with new things. Some of the things I try are new techniques I’ve learned; and some of the things simply come out due to the situation.  Like this time, I wanted to get rid of some of the previously built starters that were not used due to cancelled bakes. They must have been sitting in the fridge unattended for months.  I decided to use them as is and complemented them with a trace amount of instant yeast and a longer fermentation.  Luckily, since I’ve had my proofer, I’ve been able to manipulate the fermentation process at will. Mixing of the dough was done exclusively by machine as usual. Gluten was fully developed and oven spring was superb as I sealed all the vents during steaming. I used the method David (dmsnyder) had shared with me to flour the brotform.  I rubbed rice flour into it and I got the Sbeautiful patterns I’ve always wanted on my loaf. I also found Mr. Lepard’s oil-your-work surface technique a very practical alternative to dusting the counter with flour as it eliminates the clean up of mess afterwards.    


The crust turned out very crackly but was a bit too dark.  I think I need to lower the oven temperature sooner next time.  The crumb was light, springy and fluffy and had a very, very mild, almost undetectable tanginess, which my family enjoys.     


A summary of the formula and procedures is as follows:




 Here are some pictures:



wally's picture

There is rye, and then there is rye.  The chief difference is this: with one you bake with and the other you distill. The ingredients (not surprisingly) are remarkably similar, as is the process in many respects.  And both finished products are equally capable of eliciting hurrahs!

This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to straddle both worlds.

My friends Scott and Becky decided a little over a year ago to pursue a dream - to open the first licensed (aka legal) distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since Prohibition.  The joint decision was reached after Becky, who is a chemical engineer, finally got fed up with Scott's verbalized longings and said in so many words, "ok, show me a business plan and we'll talk."  Thus began a grand adventure for them that led, first to a custom built still from Germany. (Is that not just flat out beautiful!)

And that was followed this past Friday,with a Grand Opening of the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. 

It was a wonderful affair, full of bagpipes (Scott and Becky both claim Scottish heritage, including a fondness for Robert Burns that culminates yearly in a dinner in his honor accompanied with much fine Scotch and haggis - I myself draw the line at scrapple). And there were friends and governmental officieries to boot!

Now, what is interesting for us bakers, is that they are producing both rye and gin from organic rye flour courtesy of Heartland Mill in Kansas (are you there proth5?).  Each batch of mash is made using 700 lbs. of rye flour (that's 14 bags of 50# flour) which is brought up to the mouth of the cooker using a forklift.  In addition to water, various enzymes are added - amalyze being prominent - and then yeast which goes completely wild.  The resulting 'porridge' after 12 hours is sweet and very reminiscent of gingerbread.  From there the liquid is pumped into the still, while the leftover solids are given to local farmers who use it to produce 'happy' cows and 'happy' pigs.

Well, it was obvious to me that the only fitting present for the Grand Opening was a loaf of, what else, rye?  So I baked flaxseed rye from Hamelman's Bread. I made two loaves and scored one with a straight cut and the other with a sausage cut. 

As you can see, cutting isn't just decorative, but really impacts the shape and crumb of the finished loaf. (Scott and Becky got the straight cut loaf, so I can't include a crumb shot.  However, here's what the sausage cut loaf yielded.)

The next day, Saturday, a bunch of us volunteers returned to bottle 360 bottles of Roundstone Rye in a little over 2 hours.  For those of you interested in seeing how a micro-distillery works, you can watch this.

In an unabashed plug I'll note that Scott and Becky just a little over a week ago were awarded a bronze medal in a competition sponsored by the American Distilling Institute for their un-casked Mosby's Spirit Rye.

Rye and rye, bread and whiskey.  Is it any wonder we celebrate these gifts of nature!




jj1109's picture

Now, posting this on TFL might be a bit like teaching your Nanna to suck eggs. or blow eggs. or whatever the phrase is, I forget.

But too bad, I'm posting it anyway :p

A few points first. Get a good knife, and know your loaf. I have two knives I use for my sandwich loaves - one is quite harsh on the bread and is no use in a soft bread, as it rips it apart. The other is great on the soft loaves, but just doesn't work well in the firmer styles. Practice makes perfect - you come to know what your knife will cut, and what thickness you can slice with it.

It's interesting though - I find if I stand straight in front of the loaf, square, I can never slice even slices, I always stand a little side on to the bench, and it works. It's probably different for you though!

grab that loaf, and put it on your favourite cutting board. Don't tell me you don't have a favourite... I guess that's just me then.

When making the first slice, you have to remember that most loaf tins aren't square at the end, but slope out a fraction. So your first slice will be thick at the top, and thin at the bottom. Use your finger to mark where you're going to slice...

then slice! once the knife has just bitten through the crust, slide your fingers over to hold the slice steady whilst you cut the whole way down. If you choose not to do this, it's a lot more likely to get slices that are thick at one end and then at the other.

Keep an eye on the knife the whole way down, it takes concentration to cut it straight. I prefer not to correct if it's going astray, but that's just me.

When you reach the end of the loaf, it gets a little trickier. Here's how I do it:

however you could also lie it down on the board and cut horizontally (very carefully!)

and you're done. sit back and admire your hand carved, beautifully even loaf.

Monkeyphish32081's picture

After reading Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers apprentice and Whole wheat breads countless times, doing my best to get what I can from them, I caught my first sourdough using the pineapple juice sollution.  I was rather excited when I noticed it very active and kept feeding it.  I found a recipe on this site and thought it would be easy enough to try and to get more familiar working with a wetter dough.  I noticed that the bread lacked body and strength but baked with it anyways.  I was afraid that the temp would be too hot for too long but I wouldnt know unless I try.  I was pleasantly surprised when the dough was perfectly baked (maybe slightly dark but anyways) and the flavor was pleasant.  Next time I plan on working out the issue with the strength by mixing it for a longer period of time of adding vital wheat glutin and not baking it quite so long.  I feel wonderful and eager to try countless other recipes (and develop some of my own)!!

SylviaH's picture

My first attempt at some loaves from my 'bourke street bakery' book.  A bakery in Australia and their book was discussed in Shiao-Ping's blog posting.  It's a beautiful book filled with lovely color photos and recipes from this Australian bakery.  My first attempt at the 3 sourdough boule's and one large Apple and Oak battard, listed in the derivative breads chapter.


  My husband was very happy with the flavor and crumb of the boule and I loved the Apple and Oat with cream cheese for a nice breakfast toast.


Ingredients for the plain sourdough boule's

405 g (14 1/4 oz) white starter

765 g 91 lb 11 oz) organic plain flour - I use KAAP

400 ml (14 fl oz) water

20 g (3/4 oz/2 Tablespoons) sea salt


                    Mix the dough in the afternoon and retard in the refrigerator through the night.  Placed the loaves in warm humid place for 1-4 hours and bake to have fresh bread for lunch/ in our case early dinner.  Baked and steamed in a hot pre-heated oven on stones for 30minutes.




                               Three nice little sourdough boules


Apple and Oat loaf  -  I experimented ' because we were going out for the evening and I had no time left for bread making'  with this loaf by mixing and bulk retarding the dough and shaping the loaf the next morning before baking.  All in all it turned out tasting very good.  The stones were pre-heated at 500F before the temperature was reduced for steaming and baking. They were a little to hot for the loaves as the bottom was browned a bit dark.

If you wish, you can play around with the ratio of oats to dough in this loaf and change its texture.  Reducing the quantity of oats will mean it will not be as dense and can be cooked for a little less time.


70g (21/2oz) organic rolled oats

40 ml (1 1/4 fl oz water) This water is to soak the oats in for about 5 minutes.

715 g ( 1 lb 9 oz) sourdough  dough

185 g (6 1/2 oz) apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-3 cm (3/4-1 1/2inch) pieces

Alternately, you can place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down.  Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8-12 hours.

   Baked on stones in a pre-heated steamed oven 450F reduced to 425F for 35 minutes for two loaves.  I baked a little longer for the single battard.  For not getting all the attention this recipe deserved it turned out pretty tasty.





Julie J's picture
Julie J

Rene,  I am glad you liked the pulla!  I love it a lot too!  I know there is a large population of Finns living up in your area and you might be able to get fresher cardamom seeds in Michigan!  In NH, we have cardamom seeds at my health store, but cardamom loses flavor really fast, and I am always wondering how long it has sat at the store and lost some flavor!  Not that many people buy cardamom in that form!  I bring mine from Finland anyway, so I don't have that problem, thankfully!    Take care, Julie J

And to the Red Fox!

Thanks for the article about the lent buns!  I saved the recipe!  My husband has made them too and they are good too!   He said he just takes whipped cream and chopped almonds and cuts cardamom buns in half (pulla) and takes out some dough to leave room for the whipped cream and almonds!  He said you can use strawberry jam too, for a different taste!   The Finns use pulla as a base for a lot of different recipes!  I know my husband pats out little tarts with the pulla dough and fills them with cooked fresh blueberries!  This is good too!   Take care and thanks for the post!  Julie J

txfarmer's picture

if pizza and savory monkey bread meet and have a child, it will be this dangerously delicious bread. Recipe can be found here:


Very easy to make, a departure from my usual sourdough and lean artisan breads, but if it tastes so good, it can't be a bad thing!


Fresh mozarella cheese in each dough ball, wrapped in butter and more cheese and herbs, layered with bacon (bacon!), sundried tomato, olives, and green onion, trust me, no one can say no to this bread. OK, maybe vegetarines can, know what I mean.

Marni's picture

I'm documenting the results of the help my wonderful family gave me this past month while I recovered from a bicycle accident in which I broke my left wrist.  Fortunately, I'm right handed, but the cast/brace severely limited my baking.  I'm not the only one who suffers if I can't bake - my family wants their bread, cookies and cake - and I now know without question that I am a baker for the love of it.  I missed baking!

Anyway, there was no kneading or shaping for me, (typing with one hand too!) so my family stepped in and did pretty well:

   He did the shaping above and we finished them together.

   Here he is rolling challah into ropes; we all had fun braiding.

The challahs below were shaped by my daughters who are    seven. One was a first braid accomplished alone and the other is an interpretaion of a rose.

My husband and I made the braid from a video we watched of Ciril Hitz.






The finished products:


He also helped form a couple sandwich loaves ( very sticky - very funny and sweet) and the girls helped with pizza one night too.

As one of my friends said, the kids gained some good life skills during these weeks.


Now, my wrist is healed and I have two sourdough rosemary boules coming out of the oven!



turosdolci's picture

Zuccotto is light Italian cake full with pastry cream, fruit and soaked with rum. Fill it with fresh fruit such as, strawberries, raspberries or peaches.



jennyloh's picture

I think I'm being ambitious here.  Building starters, and started with 3.  Actually no,  I didn't start with 3.  I started with 1 full rye.  50g/50g,  following by a 1:1 ratio and then 1:1:1 ratio by the 3rd day.  I realised too late that I was going to build a giant and alot of wastage. I decided to split them into 3.  

I wonder if they are ready or I should just go on feeding them? Looking for advice.


Rye Starter - Day 5 without refreshment yet.

I took out about 160g from this rye starter and then added 50g/50g.  I think I should have thrown out more.  It's not as bubbly as the one that I added whole wheat.


Starter 2:  Added White flour - Day 5 without refreshment (using Dan Lepard's % of white leaven formula)

80g of initial rye starter/100g white/80g water

It's more bubbly and seems to have tripled.  Is this ready?


Mother Starter (Peter Reinhart)

I actually read wrongly and used Reinhart's formula on the 4th day.  But it's also very bubbly.  Should I continue with this formula to create the mother starter as per Reinhart's formula?

80g rye starter/60g whole wheat/20g water


Looking for suggestions and advices.


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