The Fresh Loaf

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dmsnyder's picture

The Honey Whole Wheat pan loaf from Advanced Bread and Pastry is made with a white levain, more as a pre-ferment for flavor than for leavening. It also uses instant yeast. It is otherwise 100% whole wheat. I used KAF Organic WW.

Suas' formula calls for a "double hydration" method, where most of the water is mixed with the other ingredients and the remainder is added gradually, after the gluten is moderately developed. The dough is rather high hydration - quite gloppy at the finish of mixing. Suas doesn't call for any stretch and folds during fermentation, but I added some to strengthen the dough. By the time it was ready to shape, it was surprisingly manageable.

This dough was so different from the whole wheat breads I had made before from Reinhart's BBA and whole grain baking book. His doughs are quite dry in comparison. This dough had me kind of spooked until after fermentation was complete. But the results were quite satisfactory, some cosmetic issues aside.

The spots on the crust are from oil I sprayed on the loaf before proofing it. Not pretty.

The crumb was not dry, but less moist than I expected. It was somewhat chewy. It has a wonderful wheaty flavor with none of the grassiness that I find in some 100% whole wheat breads and even in some white breads with as little as 10% whole wheat. It was slightly sweet, but not so sweet as to detract from the wheaty flavor. 

This is pretty close to my personal ideal for a whole wheat sandwich/toast bread. I'll be making it again, probably with a bulgur soaker and maybe some sesame seeds.


Yippee's picture

I've been very curious about other bakers' enthusiasm for rye breads, which, from their appearance and my past experience, I could only associate with tree bark and the nasty tasting caraway seeds. Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye bread has completely changed my impression.  Not only did this bread turn out moist, but it also had that complex, mild, tangy aftertaste which evolved slowly and lingered in my mouth. This was a new experience for my taste buds.  The earthy, almost chocolaty aromas of the flour plus the crunchy crust have made my biscotti-shaped slices a perfect tea time snack.

These loaves were not sliced, tasted and pictured until three days after they were baked, since I left them inside of the cooled oven and forgot about them.  They tasted both moist and crunchy on that day. However, the next day, they started to taste a little dry.  I then froze half and left the other half at room temperature in ziploc bags.  Today, it is day 12 and the slices left in room temperature have shown no signs of molding but they have lost most of the moisture in the crumb.

This formula used the Detmolder method, which required precise temperature controls at three different stages, to develop a rye sour with vital wild yeasts and well balanced flavors.  With the help of my new proofer, I can say that monitoring temperature is piece of cake!   

The following is a summary of my interpretation of Mr. Hamelman's formula and procedures:




With my background of growing up with all the Asian style fluffy white breads, it's probably too soon to make a statement that I'm falling head-over-heels for rye bread, but it is an interesting category I'll definitely explore further. This was the first bread I made from Mr. Hamelman's book and it was also my first bread in this new decade. I'm celebrating these 'first time occasions' by doing something special: I'm taking the extra time and steps to resize and attach a photo in my normally text-only entry.  I think it's about time to learn, at least for once, how to upload pictures and add some colors to my blog.


For the remaining pictures, please visit my album of Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye at Flickr.



This post will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!


Shiao-Ping's picture

It has been so hot that I am taking a break from baking.  I went out the other day for a walk and when I spotted these birds (below), I turned back to get my camera.  As I moved closer to the birds to take my shots, I noticed the color of the green became whiter and whiter because of the scorching sun. 



We've had so much rain that everything is luscious looking, especially the grass.  I have never known my street has so many fruit trees (mango mostly).  My husband called me to the yard where he was doing the hedges.  He wanted to show me that a branch of our neighbour's fully-loaded fruit tree was on our side of the fence.  We never knew that their fruit tree existed. 


It is very strange.  This fruit is popular in Taiwan and is one of my favourite fruits over there, but I had never seen it before over here in Brisbane.  I don't know why my neighbour has this fruit tree... unless ... I have a Taiwanese countryman right next door??

We never knew our hedges would flower either; if not for the rain....


Have you ever had the experience of searching for something high and low when it's right before your eyes? 

Well, there is a new French-style village bakery right in my neighbourhood now.  Open just two weeks ago, it is only a stone-throw away from my house.  A lovely big tree provides a shady area for their car park, enough for 6 to 7 cars.  A couple of deck chairs are outside their shop door.  What a lovely spot.   The owner-baker is a young chap from the French Riviera.  He is a cyclist.  Fifteen minutes from my house is a popular mountainous area for cyclists, so he moved to my neighbourhood.  (Every other weekend, we hear the ambulance siren going on loud because some motorcyclists had been riding too fast and had accidents.)


                                                                bread display at Banneton Bakery

I brought my own bread board, bread knife and butter this morning and went with my son to Banneton Bakery to have breakfast.  He had hot cocoa and chocolate croissant while I had my flat white coffee with a slice of this pain au levain:   


                                                               Plain Sourdough, Banneton Bakery

The bread tastes wonderfully "creamy," if that is possible.  The sourness is almost undistinguishable, or should I say, almost all lactic acidity.   I have never had a bought-one that is so much to my taste.  What a lovely bread that is. 

Recently, MC's Gérard Rubaud story is stirring up a lot of interest in the man and baker's specially prepared levain in search for a delicately balanced and yet full-flavored French-style pain au levain.  Good bread cannot be made in a hurry.  When you bite into a bread, if the aroma and flavor continue to unfold and linger about you as you chew, this is got to be a special bread.  But good bread cannot exist in a vacuum.   Good bread exists because of bread connoisseurs.  Gourmet food exists because of gourmets.  One cannot exist without the other.  Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Chinese poet-musician, Bo-Yia, played qin for his friend Chong Tse-Chi because Chong understood his music.  When Chong Tse-Chi died, Bo-Yia destroyed his qin and never played again.

Back home I enjoyed a pot of Oolong tea with my husband.  A couple of birds came to visit outside my tea room.  The mid-morning sun cast beautiful shadows over our backyard.


                                                                                  Where is Waldo?


davidg618's picture

We've been baking and cooking for the past week for our annual open house. We started doing this four years ago to share our homemade wines and brews with our friends and neighbors. With my new-found interest in improving my baking skills, my wife dubbed this year's efforts "Breads and Spreads". We served two sourdoughs, baguettes, vollkornblot, and light rye. We also offered a potpourri of rye sourdoughs: one with walnuts, one with walnuts and blue cheese, and the last with chestnuts and feta cheese. Our forty-five guests ate them straight or topped with capacollo, tappenade, sun-dried tomato and basil pesto, butters (plain, roast garlic, herbed, or whipped with honey).  We made three hummus (traditional, roasted red pepper, and sundried-tomato with roasted garlic), and baked lavash to scoop them up.

We also made three biscotti--tart cherry and walnuts, citron and hazlenuts, and a savory choice: parmesan and black pepper--to pair with the wines.

The wines: sauvignon blanc, viognier, pinot noir, a super tuscan, bergamais, and cabernet franc ice wine. We also made a pilsner, nicknamed "Better than Bud", and our three year old Barley Wine (technically a beer) tastes like fine sherry, with a hint of hops.

The steamed up plastic cover in the center contains just-toasted baguette slices for the bruschetta to the right of it.

The label photos are mostly of critters and crawlers in our pastures, or a nearby state park.

David G

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

This was a busy baking weekend for me.  Thursday night I started the levain for a batch of "my" sourdough bread, which I baked on Friday night.  It turned out quite acceptably in the end, but I was most excited about the maiden use of my new 1 pound oval willow proofing baskets that I picked up on a Christmas week field trip to SFBI/TMB Baking.  I made this dough with a pretty low (64%) hydration because it was my first use of these baskets.  I did not want the dough to stick to them and mess them up before I could get them seasoned and broken in.  Given that, I had little trouble with the dough in handling, but I continue to struggle with proper proofing.  I have adequate conditions, but my "tester" is not yet properly calibrated.  All in all, though, they turned out pretty well.  They were good enough that the loaf we kept for ourselves dissappeared with tonight's lasagna dinner!

Here are the loaves after baking and cooling.

Straight 64% Hydration Sourdough


Here is a shot of the crumb of one of the loaves.

Straight Sourdough Crumb

The crumb came out about as expected at that hydration.  It was tender, and not too chewy, and the flavor was only mildly sour thanks to the pretty short bulk fermentation I allowed.  It's gone though, so I'd best not be too critical!

That was Friday.  On Saturday I was looking through Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible" over my morning coffee, wondering what I should bake.  When I came across the recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye I recalled how often my wife has reminded me that she loves good rye bread.  I recently purchased some good rye flour in hopes of trying some pumpernickel bread one of these days and thought:  "Why not?".  So I read the recipe a couple of times through and then gave it a try.  I must say it turned out to be less difficult than I expected.  I had the most difficulty judging the proofing (big surprise eh?) and would have over-proofed it.  I was saved by my own poor planning.

I planned to bake these loaves one at a time in my La Cloche baker.  Because of that I decided to go ahead and start baking early, so we could get on with dinner.  I had the oven and La Cloche preheated, and although I did not think it was quite proofed enough yet, I baked the first loaf.  It turned out to be a good thing I think.  The loaves below were baked sequentially, one after the other.  The La Cloche only had a few minutes between bakes to recover temperature, so it was probably a little cooler when the second loaf went in, compared to the first.  The difference in size between the loaves is more owing to differences in my handling during shaping though I believe.  In any event, the loaves baked up very nicely, and here they are.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Loaves

And the crumb looks like this.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb 1


A final crumb shot, with a thank you to Rose Levy Beranbaum for her wonderful book.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb

I'm pretty sure that big hole in the dough is from my shaping of the loaf.  I was trying hard not to knock all the gas out of it while shaping it, and I think I did not get it well sealed together.  I consider it a petty good first effort though, and look forward to having another go at it.  I know I can get rid of it easily enough.  My wife raves about this RLB recipe almost as much as the Cracked Whole Wheat I bake from the same book.  The more I bake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible", the more excited I get.


proth5's picture

The couple of folks who actually read my posts may have noticed that I seem to be posting at crazy hours.

I've been working in the Ryukyu (or Okinawa) and although beginning to suffer from baking withdrawal have been absolutely blown away by the beautiful breads in the nearby department store.  Unfortunately, to a Western palate, many of these breads are tasteless - but they sure are beautiful.

I finally bribed a colleague who has both a camera and photography skills to take pictures.

 Here is a shot of a "simple" pain de mie that seems to have been laminated and twisted in some way to produce a wide open, fluffy crumb and a parquet style crust.  If anyone out  there knows precisely how this is done - I would love to know.

pain de mie

These pastries reminded me of my days at the Back Home Bakery (Was that even in this same lifetime?). That is if we had put our inner pastry chefs on steroids.


These sweet little pussy cat buns are almost too cute to eat.  You just want to pinch their little cheeks.pussy cat buns

These chocolate breads are an enriched bun only very lightly flavored with chocolate (again, beautiful, but not much flavor.)  The lighter flecks are sweet crispy peanutty things.

chocolate buns

That layer on top that looks like extra chocolately goodness is actually just an egg wash.

 There are many more, but we were becoming an embarrassment by acting like insane tourists.  I really wanted to ask if I could spend a week being free labor in the bakery, but my limited Japanese language skills stood in the way.  I tried my normal means of communication (pointing, smiling, and nodding...) to no avail.

I also had the chance to visit a store with a baking factory in the back.  Even on the street we could catch an unusually delicious buttery aroma.  The factory was dedicated to baking little boat shaped tarts filled with purple sweet potato filling.

This machine took a large chunk of pastry dough and measured it out into the tart molds, then tamped it down.

tamping machine

You can see the finished tart shells exiting the machine in the next picture.

tart shells


This one squirted in the sweet potato filling and it was a hoot to watch it make the little curlicues.


 Then the pastries were baked and a machine delicately lifted them onto a conveyor where gossamer wheels straightened them on the belt in preparation for wrapping.  They are quite delicious and no baker required!


Of course, this isn't all I've done  - but I'm trying to stay "on topic."  I will just say that I haven't had a bad meal since I got here, and as I type I'm watching the tide go out on the East China Sea.

Happy Baking!

tattooedtonka's picture

After leaving the bagels in cold storage for the day, I start prepping for the Boil and Bake portions of my Bagels.

I begin with a 20 quart Aluminum Stock Pot about 3/4 filled with water to which I then add 3 Tablespoons of Baking Soda.

While this is heating up I preheat my oven up to 500'f.

Once water is at a boil I will add in bagels, in batches of 6.  Now following BBA you would boil for 1-2 minutes per side.  I was doing this for 2 minutes per side for a long time.  Recently though I read Mike Avery (whom I have a lot of respect for), mention that anything over 30 seconds per side will end up putting wrinkles on your bagels.  Well I had wrinkles on every batch, so I did this batch for only 30 seconds per side.

While these boiled I prepped a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper for the bake. My 3/4 sheet pans are too tight in the oven.

Once boiled I baked them at 500' for 5 minutes, then rotate pan 180' and bake for another 5 minutes.

Again, BBA will say to drop oven temp to 450' after rotating pan.  I do not though because I'm doing multiple batches.  Its just much easier than changing temps back and forth.

After the bake, here is what they look like.

And the bottom..

And the crumb...

LOL, and yes before anyone mentions...I know that without the big center hole these look more like a Bialy than a Bagel, but that is intentional.  I like a more closed up center, its easier for me to load up with cream cheese or to make a sammie out of. 

I also can make them darker, but again, I like the chewy better than crusty.  My regular bagels are a couple shades darker then these SD bagels but still pretty light color overall. 

Im good with it though.....


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

To the relief of many I imagine, I've decided to start maintaining my blog here at TFL rather than post a new thread in a forum every time I bake somethig I want to post about, be it for success or failure. I will not go back and add old pictures here that are already posted elsewhere, so this will not be a complete history of my baking.  That's okay, because some of the earliest should be history, and should be left that way.

Since this is the beginning of my blog, albeit not the beginning of my presence here on The Fresh Loaf, I thought I would start with a very brief introduction.  By upbringing I'm a farm boy from way back, having grown up on the small truck farm of my father and his brother.  The concept of "made fresh at home" is not new to me, as my mother baked, canned, cooked and preserved enthusiastically throughout my earliest years, out of both love and necessity.  Some of my best childhood memories are of wandering out into the peach and cherry orchards around our house to enjoy fresh fruit picked straight from the tree, and of home-baked pies, cakes and cookies from mom's kitchen, made with those same fresh ingredients.

By my teenage years I was baking (mostly cookies) on my own, and after marrying, when the children came along, we bought a Magic Mill and a Bosch mixer and began to bake our own bread for our kids.  We still have and use those same appliances today.  Back "in the day" we split that duty unequally, and my wife did much of the day-to-day bread baking for several years.  Whomever did the baking though always used the machine.  We would mill the flower, add the salt, water, yeast, honey and oil, and beat the daisies out of it.  Then we shaped, proofed and baked it.  It was good, but we really did not know what we were missing. 

Although my wife did a lot of the day-to-day baking during those years, I always did a lot of holiday baking.  Annually around Thanksgiving I started baking gift breads and treats for friends and family, and I still do that to this day.  I have neighbors today who's daughters have almost literally kept annual watch out the front window for my arrival with the Christmas gift loaves!  They are now grown and graduated from college, as are our own children today, but they are home for the holidays.  This year their mom thanked me for getting her daughters to argue on Christmas day!  Seems someone ate the last of the gift bread, and someone else was unhappy about it.  Actually, mom said she ate it herself, but did not tell the girls.  Instead she just sat in the background like the cat that got the canary and got away with it.  She was having too much fun listening to them, since it was all in good natured fun anyway.

Things went on this way for years, with occasional baking for therapy or just to be in the kitchen for a while, which is something I have always loved.  Then, one otherwise usual day, something special happened.  I was selling off some gardening equipment, and a buyer came to the house to pick it up.  We got to talking, and I came to learn that he and his brother were building a wood-fired oven in their shared back yard up in the nearby hills.  We talked for some time about ovens and baking, and then he left.  The baking bug stayed here though, and I was caught up in the idea that I could also have my own wood fired oven for bread, pizza and whatever.  The hunt was on and off I went like a hound after a coon.  I made almost as much noise, I think, as I researched, read and talked about baking, WFO's and bread.

Eventually I discovered Alan Scot and Dan Wing, and bought "The Bread Builders".  From there I found and bought a La Cloche clay baker and started my own wild yeast sourdough starter.  The trials of getting a starter to develop properly led me here to The Fresh Loaf. Here I found the help I needed, offered freely and in good spirit.  Here I found others, both experienced and less so.  Here I found a community, rich in cultures, varied yet similar in interests, and I have remained, to learn and share what I learn.  To participate in a community that has welcomed me, and allowed me to welcome others.  I still harbor plans for a wood-fired oven "one of these days", but for now I have settled for my La Cloche, and an oven full of unglazed quarry tiles, and a frequent cruise through the WFO forum threads to keep up with those that have already attained that dream of mine.  That will hold me for a while, as I truly learn what it is to become a "baker".  It's a great journey, and I hope you check in here from time to time to see how I'm doing.

May your yeast always thrive, and your dough always rise.


Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

 Trial One

First up: the Failure.

They were completely sourdough, but something wasn't quite right. They got a bit too puffed. I'm thinking that the fact that I let the dough come back up to room temperature had something to do with that. I should've boiled straight from the fridge, then baked. It could also be that I didn't get them stretched out quite enough, either.

The taste, though? Perfect. Exactly what I want.

Second: the Success.

This is another basic sourdough rye. No caraway, no sugar...just flour, salt, water, and starter. No complaints. Time to get out the mustard. Or maybe the corned beef...

Just to show that I've been baking. Not neglecting my hobby this week. :)

SylviaH's picture

Freezing bread can be a very good thing!  We loved the P Reinhart's Panettone so much at Christmas, I made another batch for New Years. Knowing we would enjoy this bread anytime, I carefully wrapped one up in foil and plastic wrap.  What a treat. We had it this morning with Mascarpone cheese.  Some breads really are so good it's understandable why they are kept for that special time.  Though still delicious. It was a tad dryer and is best enjoyed freshly baked while still very moist and tender.   





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