The Fresh Loaf

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wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

This has been a day of firsts.

  • Actually started last night by making the sponge for my "Wayne Thomas's English Muffins" and leaving it in the fridge overnight for first time.

  • Finished and cooked the muffins this morning, they look great.

  • Decided to try the #111 Romertopf clay baker (that my wife scored at a local thrift shop a couple of days ago for $6 !!) for the first time so I made a simple white bread from a recipe on called One Perfect Loaf.

  • This resulted in the first real "ear" I have managed to get (at least from one of the two slashes). I have started to slash with the double-edged razor on kabob stick thanks to this site. Some work still required.

  • I decided all these firsts were worth my first blog post.

I hope this tastes as good as it looks. It was far and away the most oven spring I have had. As soon as the bread cools I'll get a crumb shot and then post the pics. I imagine some would say this should be a little darker. I agree, but the wife likes it this way for sandwiches. Also, I am baking this in an anemic gas oven on our boat. I followed the recipe as far as soak bottom, proof in bottom, soak top, place in COLD oven. After removing the top for the last 5 mins, I realized it was never going to brown (always a problem in this oven) so I stuck it in the microwave/convection on broil for a few minutes. I think next time I'll remove the top sooner, as it was still moist inside after 45 mins (at an attempted 450+).

Comments and suggestions always welcome. Love this site.






jombay's picture

Had another go at Bouabsa baguettes. I probably could have kept them in for another minute but I decided I would try a lighter crust today. These only had about a 12h bulk ferment.





jgrill's picture

Today I baked KAF baguettes, but I used KAF unbleached bread flour instead of all purpose flour as called for in the formula. It's a simple formula for four loaves—34 oz. warm water, 24 oz. flour, 1T salt, 1 T instant yeast (I used SAF Instant). Mix, knead for just a few minutes (4 by hand, 2 by machine), and let ferment at room temp in a covered container for 2 hours, then into the fridge overnight. The dough can stay in the fridge for several days, and you can bake a loaf at a time, over that period, but I divided it and made four loaves for one baking. 

Because the dough was cold when I divided it and pre-shaped into an oval/rectangle, and let it rest for 15 minutes covered with oiled waxed paper, and still pretty cold when I shaped it into baguettes, I put the pans into my upper oven, covered with the same oiled paper, and set the oven to the "proof" setting for the hour and a half proofing. 

I still have a problem getting the scoring right, and so I scored two loaves before proofing, and two, right before going into a 450° oven. Neither version looked great, but the traditional scoring did look better than my experimental version when the baguettes came out of the oven.

I forgot to spritz the loaves with warm water right before baking, but a 30 minute bake with one rotation at 15 minutes resulted in a nice crust, and a pretty good crumb. Nice flavor, too, comparable to some of my better attempts.

korish's picture

My last bake yielded 10 beautiful loves of bread, that turned out great with a soft crust and a nice mild flavor. This is the first bake that I did with spelt flour, but I got to tell you I absolutely loved the bread. As a meter of fact the next day I went out and bought myself 25lb of organic spelt flour. Back to the bread, this bread was baked in my WFO all 10 loaves at one time. Here is how I made this and I plan to make some other variation of this bread.It takes about 9 hours to bake this bread, meaning 20 minutes for the bake and the rest for kneading and resting the dough.


Ingredients for baking 10 small breads 1.5Lb each.

1kg (1000gram) rye starter 150% hydration.
3kg (3000gram) organic spelt flour.
1kg (1000gram) organic white flour.
2.5kg (2500gram) water, room temp.
75gram sea salt ground.

I start by doubling my starter a night before the bake from 500 gram to 1100 grams, since I will start mixing all the ingredients at about 5 am I figured that I need to mix my starter at about 9:00pm the night before, that way it will have 8 hours to double and become very active.

On the morning of the bake I take all the starter except 100 gram, which I will use to get my new starter for next bake, add it to with all my ingredients and hand mix it for about 3 minutes.

Rest the dough for 20 minutes this will allow the flour to fully absorb the water.

I believe that one of the secrets to having great bread is to make sure that the dough is well kneaded, so after 20 minute rest I knead the bread for about 15 minutes, (you also get a great work out in the morning if you do that).

Rest the dough again for 30 minutes, the dough should feel soft and elastic with a slight stick to it.

Final kneading, again mixing it for about 20 minutes.

First rice will take about 4-6 hours and that can vary, your dough should almost double in size before you will shape it in to breads.

When the dough almost doubled divide into individual breads, you can free form it, or use form. After forming let it rest for the second time, rising until it almost doubled in size, this will take about 2 hours. Cover the breads with a towel and you can spray a light mist of water to prevent it from drying.

Make sure your bread oven is nice and hot, test the floor of the oven by sprinkling some flour on it. After the bread has almost doubled place in the oven close the door and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you are baking this in you home oven you will need to preheat your oven to 455 F, bake for about 30-40 minutes.

This bread will be darker in color because of the spelt flour and the rye starter. You can also use light spelt and spelt starter, adjust the spelt starter to 100% hydration.

What do you think of this bread??


mishchuk spelt sourdough

dmsnyder's picture

Fresno Sunrise January 11, 2010

When I was a little boy, my mother sang me a song. My understanding is that it was learned from a Scottish tenor who was performing when she was very young ....

Ohhhhh, it's nice to get up in the mornin'

When the sun begins to shine

At four or five or six o'clock 

In the good ol' summer time.

But when the snow is snowin'

And it's murky overhead,

Ohhhhh, it's nice to get up in the mornin',

But it's nicer to lie in your bed.

Just to keep it on fresh loaves, here's my San Joaquin Sourdough baked last night, when I should have been in my bed:

Made with 5% dark rye and 5% whole wheat. Crispy, crackly crust and chewy crumb. Quite delicious with almond butter and orange blossom honey for bedtime snack.


AnnieT's picture

For the fans of Beatrice Ojakangas there is a write up about her in The Heavy Table today. I'm sorry not to be able to give you a link but it's worth a look. For anyone who is interested in Scandinavian recipes her books are the best. (IMHO) Check her out, A.

jombay's picture

Changed the directions to fit my schedule a bit (~34hr bulk ferment, skipped french folds).

Made 2 baguettes, 1 with traditional scoring, 1 with straight slash.


My baking stone isn't big enough right now, you can see one end kinda went over. Ordered a 15x20 Fibrament but they're backordered for 3-4 weeks.



My scoring and shaping is definitely getting better. I'll post a crumb shot and let you know how it tastes when it has cooled.



saraugie's picture

Which one book, has the most, the tastiest recipes ?  Instructions on bread baking 101 not necessary, if it has that's ok but not essential by any means.

smasty's picture

After hanging out here for a few months, I stumbled onto someone talking about the "1-2-3" bread.  I was intrigued!  What a great way to bake every day for pennies, and practice new techniques with, what would have been, throw-away stuff. 

So, last night after refreshing both my liquid and stiff starters (the liquid starter hadn't been refreshed in about 2 weeks) I put the throw away portions of both together in a container and sprinkled a bit of flour over them.  This morning I pulled the cold throw-away starter out of the fridge and put it in my KA mixing bowl and weighed it: 152 grams.  So, based on the super simple technique, "1" is your starter, "2" is your water, and "3" is your flour.  Once you have the weight of your starter, then "1" x 2 equals the weight of your water, and "1" x 3 equals the weight of your flour.  Then I add 2% of flour weight in salt.  No recipe needed, no book, just a scale. 

So, I started with cold starter and mixed it up with the water, then put in the flour and mixed for a minute, then autolyse for about 40 min, then added salt, mixed a little and began the very long ferment.  I SF'd about 4 times over 6 hours.  It took forever to start to see any growth, but it finally happened.  Shaped and proofed for an hour, then baked.  This came out fabulous! 

After baking I like to brush the excess flour off the outside of the loaf with a soft pastry brush.  My scores could have been a little deeper. 

Shiao-Ping's picture

With this basket of assorted pure rye breads I wish to tantalize your taste buds and tease you with these pure sourdough rye: 



                                                                      Assorted pure rye breads

Centre bottom: Sour Rye, year 1939 (recipe from Mariana-aga's most informative and beautiful post on Russian rye here)

Right: Jan Hedh's Sour 100% Rye Bread (recipe from Dan Lepard's The handmade loaf, page 31) 

Top: Detmolder Three-Stage 90% Sourdough Rye (recipe from Hamelman's Bread, page 201)


Like most Asians, I have not grown up with rye, an acquired taste, many would admit.  I am from an area of the Chinese world where "fish and rice, and other luscious colors of food exist," as the saying goes.  My parents would think very little of rye.  You may have already been a convert but it took me a lot of efforts.  As Dan Lepard says of rye bread, "What was once the bread of the poor has become the staple of the rich man's table" (The handmande loaf, page 66), I am excited that finally I have had a glimpse into what some bakers are passionate about.  I hope that, with the following photos taken from my kitchen table, you will share my enthusiasm.



                             A close-up shot of Sour Rye, year 1939, a lot of soul....  I must be imagining.


(1) Sour Rye, year 1939, from Mariana-aga's blog post here.

  • 350 g ripe 100%-hydration rye levain

  • 420 g medium rye flour

  • 308 warm water

  • 14 g salt

  1. Rye starter: 83% baker's percentage

  2. Prefermented flour: 29% of total flour

  3. Overall hydration: 81%

  4. Fermentation: 2 hours bulk + 35 - 50 minutes proof

  5. Total dough weight: 1,090 grams

Refer to Mariana-aga's link above for method.   I used Google to translate Russian to English.  The translation does not always make sense, but does the job alright.  Where you find gaps, you can fill them in with your own imaginations. 


The instruction says you smooth out the surface of the dough with wet fingers "frequently."  Whenever I saw "cracks" developing on the crust, I smoothed them out with wet fingers and/or my plastic scraper dipped in water.  I ended up doing this every 20 minutes or so throughout the fermentation.  I covered the dough with a big roasting pan.




The style of this bread is unlike anything I've made before.  I asked my son how he liked the bread in the picture.  Instead of saying he finds it unattractive, he politely asked where I got this strange looking basket.  I said from a garden and plants nursery.  I used to do a lot of flower arrangements and I have my fair share of strange looking vessels. 





A mate of my husbands, who comes regularly for morning coffee, was here the day before yesterday when I was slicing this bread after it had rested for 24 hours.  The first thing he said after having a piece was, "This sourdough rye is sour and tangy!"  AND, he liked it very much.   I had a couple of thin slices myself with butter.  Very tasty and moist.  I surprised myself.  It is medium strength sourness, very pleasant.   I think that the flavourfulness comes through in the crumb shots above and below quite well.   



I like this bread the most out of the three pure rye breads pictured in the basket above.  The reason why this is so is because this bread was the last one out of more than half a dozen pure rye breads that I made over the last two weeks - my rye starter up to that point was full of vigour and had developed a lot of flavors when I used it to make the bread.


(2) Jan Hedh's Sour 100% Rye Bread, from Dan Lepard's The handmade loaf, page 31. 

  1. Rye starter: 67% baker's percentage

  2. Prefermented flour: 35% of total flour

  3. Overall hydration: 85%

  4. Fermentation: no bulk + 5 hours proof

  5. Total dough weight: 850 grams

According to Dan Lepard, Jan Hedh has inspired the new generation of artisan bakers in Sweden.  Dan's book has lots of wonderful formulas and stories, but the book's unassuming appearance and colorful pictures are perhaps too easy going for the serious home bakers.  I don't seem to see a lot of his recipes being used here.  I find his book a seriously good book. 




This formula is interesting in that it uses a gelatinized rye mix (4 parts boiling water to 1 part rye flour).  Not just it gives elasticity to the crumb, it also makes the bread very moist and as a result, the bread has even a better keeping quality than the other two breads.  Chinese use a similar gelatinized flour mix called "65 degree C dough" with similar flour to hot water ratio and for similar purposes.




(Note: the above two shots were taken at night time.  The reddish tone is due to the yellow spot light in my kitchen and is not reflective of the real color.) 


(3) Detmolder Three-Stage 90% Sourdough Rye, from Hamelman's Bread, page 201.

  1. Rye starter: 119% baker's percentage

  2. Prefermented flour: 38% of total flour

  3. Overall hydration: 79%

  4. Fermentation: 20 minutes bulk + 1 hour proof

  5. Total dough weight: 1,640 grams






This was my second try on the Detmolder formula. 






My Detmolder sour rye was made before the first two breads in this post above and is not as tasty as those two breads.  One possible explanation is that my rye starter used in this bread was not as robust to start with. 

Two days after I made this Detmolder bread, I made it again - my third try in five days.  Talk about a keen baker!  I did it again not because I wanted to see how I could improve on this bread, but more because I wanted to keep feeding my rye levain and I didn't want to throw the excess out.  You wouldn't believe what happened - as I tried to turn the proved dough onto my peel, half of the dough fell out while the other half stuck to the banneton.  A disaster!  I told myself, Calm Down.  I gathered the dough fragments together, reshaped it, and put it back to the banneton.  An hour later, when I tried to turn it out again, the exact same thing happened!  At that point I was in two minds about whether I chuck it or bake it.  In the end I decided that either way it is a goner, and so why not do an experiment with it and watch the show.  I recalculated my ratios and added some more water to change the dough to a 100%-hydration dough.  I put it into a loaf tin this time.  I wanted to see what would happen to the dough with this much hydration and supported by a loaf tin.  Well, I had the most spectacular oven spring ever with pure rye dough (well, 90%, almost pure)!    



      Detmolder 90% Rye @100% hydration and 6 hr fermentation (not pictured in the bread basket above)  


By the time the dough was in the oven, what was supposed to be fermented for only one hour and 20 minutes had gone through a six-hour fermentation.  I was amazed at the amount of oven spring.  I am sure this has to do with the 100% hydration.  It had risen about 30% before it went into the oven, then in the oven it rose another 70 - 80%.  The crumb was quite open - you cannot not have an open cell structure with this much oven spring.  The gumminess on the top and bottom edges of the slice pictured below is the "starch attack" due to excessive amylase activity that caused the break down of the dough structure during the bake, I guess.



The dark, almost chocolate, color in the crumb is natural.  It is achieved through the long fermentation.  I haven't seen a natural dark rye color like this before!    

And the taste?  Well, unpleasant, to say the least!  It has a pungent pickled sour taste, almost like when the pickle is off.  Neverthelss, this experiment has got me excited about an idea for my next pure rye bread experiment along these lines: 

  1. 30% prefermented flour

  2. Rye starter 80% bakers percentage

  3. 100% overall dough hydration

  4. 3 hours (or shorter) fermentation, assisted with, say, 05% IDY


To recap: the 1939 Sour Rye is the most flavorful because the rye starter was at its best condition when the dough was mixed and also because I took more care with the dough.   Jan Hedh's Sour Rye is the most moist because of the gelatinized rye mix that is incorporated in the dough.  Overall, I like all three breads pictured in the basket above.  

I have but one complaint:  that their crusts are too tough to cut; you need a chain sword to slice the bread.  The tough crusts are a result of the long bake which I am told that you need for this particular type of flour.  The average baking time for a 1 kg dough according to both Mariana-aga and Hamelman is one hour at initial high heat of 250 - 260 C for 10 - 15 minutes, then gradually lowering the heat to 200 - 210C.  My Thiezac pure rye bread, on the other hand, was 1.8 kg and I baked it for only one hour and it was perfectly cooked.  So I don't know.  The Thiezac bread was far easier to slice. 

I am ending this post with another bread basket but this time with the breads all wrapped up in thick tea towels:




I am going to enjoy these three breads over the next week or two and observe the changes in tastes and flavors.  Rye enthusiasts would be familiar with Hamelman's story where, as a young man in the 1970s, hiking the Long Trail through Vermont, he picked up the last of his food provision from a post office, a five-week old Detmolder Three-Stage 90% Sourdough Rye where the bread still "had a crisp tang, a moist crumb, delicious flavor, and not a hint of mold."  How extraordinary is that!  I am not sure mine would stay like that after one week, or, rather, are like that to begin with, let alone after five weeks! 




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