The Fresh Loaf

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Rosalie's picture

I have a variety of grains in my arsenal, and I thought it was time I tried something other than the usual.  I settled on spelt and found bwraith's post on Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (

There were a few obstacles.  First was the uncertainty whether the 1/2 cup water used to dissolve the yeast came out of the 500 grams in the ingredient list.  I proceeded assuming it did, but the resulting dough was too dry, so I added it back in.  Then there was the question about rises.  Apparently the only rising is of the loafed bread in the heating oven.  Then there was the fact that I make mini-loaves (I got eight mini loaves out of this one-loaf recipe).  Finally, there's my own klutziness when it comes to matters of art and grace.

I pretty much followed the ingredient list.  I used double caraway seeds because I neither like nor have anise seeds.  But instead of going directly from mixer to loaf pans I went through my traditional bulk rise after a bit of kneading (which apparently was also not required).  I rolled the formed loaves in the sunflower seeds rather than just having them stick to the sides of the pans.  Finally, I was afraid to try the cold oven approach.  As it was, one hour in a pre-heated oven was more than enough.

The dough had a wonderful feel.  It reminded me of Play Dough.  But in the end, the bread did not rise particulary much.  Maybe that's okay.  I looked at Bill's picture, and it's about the same density.  Remember, I got eight mini-loaves out of the recipe - I shouldn't expect much height.

Bottom line is that I couldn't stop eating it.  One mini-loaf (177 grams before baking and before sunflower seeds) is in my stomach.  The taste is different.  I believe some of that is attributable to the nutritional yeast, but despite that it's wonderful.

If I define success in baking bread by how willing I am to eat the final product, then failure is extremely rare.  It may not be tall and light, but it's always good!


Janedo's picture

I don't really know what to call this bread. It is mostly based on the method of Nury's Light Rye. I made that one a couple of times and found it very good, but I wanted a bread with more rye and that had nice big holes but was a bit higher, blown up. I decided to modify the ingredients a bit and then go for a dough that was just slightly more compact. Not a normal bread dough that forms a ball, but not as hydrated. I also proofed it in a banneton for a couple of hours straight out of the fridge. These modifications produced this bread here:

Rye bread

Rye crumbRye crumb

The recipe goes like this (it can be halved. I just like making more of the long recipes):

I made a firm starter with 3/4 white and 1/4 rye (no WW like the Nury's) in order to have at least 200g the next day (I never measure, I admit)

Then, in my mixing bowl 800ml water, 200g T110 rye (medium whole?) and 750g T65 (bread flour?). 30 minute autolyse.  Then 4 tsp good sea salt, 200g starter and mixing. I don't mix until windowpane. Just until it really starts to look nice, but not overly. Now here is the thing... the dough should be well hydrated, but NOT as much as a ciabatta or the Nury's light. It won't form a real ball. In the mixer most of the dough will be ballish but it won't disconnect from the paddle. It still sticks. So flour should be added/or not to produce this.

Put it in an oiled bowl, rest one hour, fold, rest an hour, fold, rise another 2 hours, then in the fridge over night. 

The next day, pull the dough out, mise en couche even though it's cold. After 15 min, form the dough in two bannetons, or more (I once did two small and one big, whatever). Cover and let rise about 2,5 -3 hours depending on the temp. The dough is cold so it needs to come to room temp and then rise a bit so this time is needed.

The trick is, I think, to limit the handling of the dough. It forms lots of bubbles that should stay. So, no kneeding after it comes out of the fridge.

Preheat at 230°C, steam the oven lots, in goes the bread. Turn the oven down to 210°C and the baking depends on the size. 

The whole family is nutty over this bread, even the little ones (2 and 3 yrs).

The first time I made it I wasn't sure weather to score it. The dough is hard to score. It looked like this:

unscored rye

And the one I baked today didn't get folds and didn't have any room temp rise because I had to go out yesterday. It went straight in to the fridge over night (almost 24h). It had HUGE holes. Go figure!


holds99's picture

These are ciabatta loaves I made using Rose Levy's Bread Bible recipe.  She doesn't call for "stretch and fold" in her recipe but I did 3 very gentle stretch and folds during proofing, then divided the dough into 4 equal pieces and it seemed to give the loaves better rise and crumb.  The dough is very wet so I very lightly floured the work surface and top of the dough when doing "stretch and fold" (be careful with the amount of flour used to dust the dough or it will leave tell tale lines embedded in the interior of final loaf).  I very lightly dusted with flour before each of the 3 "stretch and fold" procedures (at 30 minute intervals).  Some folks use water on the counter and water on their hands but I found this dough to be so wet that if you use water you destroy some of the air bubbles that is so important for the light airy texture you're trying to achieve.  Anyway, after final proofing I divided and shaped them (her recipe is for 1 loaf, I made 4 loaves) for final proofing on parchment lined baking pans placed, coveded with a large clear rectangular plastic storage bin that accomodates two baking pans containing the 4 loaves.  I think the "stretch and fold" technique helped produce a better, more open crumb in the ciabatta loaves and gave them better oven spring.


Ciabatta Loaves No 1Ciabatta Loaves No 1



Ciabatta Loaves No 2Ciabatta Loaves No 2

I had mentioned previously, in a response to a question re: getting the ciabatta loaves off the work surface and onto a parchment lined pan or baking stone, that I made a bread board using a legal size clip board with the clip hardware removed.  My wife purchased a pair of panty hose for the project and here's a photo of the front side of the bread board with the panty hose stretched over the surface.  It works well with wet dough, as the dough doesn't stick to the nylon.  I moved the loaves from the work surface onto the nylon covered bread board and then onto parchment lined bread pans for final proofing.  This photo below (Bread Board No 1) is the work side of the board, where the loaf is placed on the board.  It is hard to see but the board is covered with the nylon hose.  If you wanted to make a longer bread board (and have an oven that will accomodate longer loaves) you could use thin plywood cut to the size you need and sanded to take of the rough edges after cutting the shape.


Bread Board No 1Bread Board No 1


The photo below is the back side of the bread board, with the nylon hose tightly pulled across the front side of the board and tied on the back side.  You could, if you wish, tape the back side with packing tape.  I didn't bother and it works fine.  I also use the board for baguettes (up to 18 inches long) and batards, when removing them from the couche and placing them onto parchment lined pans.  During the final 10 minutes of baking they can be removed from the parchment line baking pan(s) and placed directly on the baking stone to finish out the baking phase, if one wishes to use the stone as the preferred method.  After use I let the board dry completely at room temperature, dust off the excess flour and store it in a plastic bag for the next use.

Bread Board No 2Bread Board No 2

dolfs's picture

A birthday present and long time no baking: had to use the present and bake some!

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls

Ever since I started baking, now about 2 years ago, I hated our tile counter tops which are not suitable for working dough etc. I had worked on a marble slab since, but it was small and got me into trouble with larger batches, or longer breads (like large challah). Yesterday my solution arrived (two day early father's day/birthday present) in the form of a maple countertop, standard depth (25"), 48" wide and 1.5" thick. You can see it in the background of the photo above. While meant to be an actual counter top, I put some rubber feet under it to prevent sliding, and put it on top of the counter. Heavy lifting, but solid and immobile (might leave it on permanently). Wonderful! Now I needed to make/bake something.

I got Suas's book (Advanced Bread and Pastry) a while ago and read almost the whole thing (the technical stuff, not all formulas) in just a few days. I really like this book. This weekend I finally had time to make something from it (work has been incredibly busy, so little baking happened in the last few months, except the routine sandwich bread). The choice was actually from the Viennoisserie section, page 360/361: Cinnamon Rolls made with "Sweet Roll Dough", and  "Sticky Bun Glaze" (p. 394) on the bottom and "Flat Icing" (p. 646) on top. Although not in the recipe, but apparently present in the photographed version, and consistent with that, I added golden raisins.

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Inside
Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Inside 

Of course, and as fairly typical for me diving into formulas in books, I found an error in the "Sweet Roll Dough" formula right away. I found this because I use my Dough Calculator spreadsheet and it comes up with different answers. In this case the conversion from metric to US decimal was wrong in the formula on the line for Cake Flour, and as a result, the fractional representation of the decimal was wrong as well. In the formula, as presented, cake flour is 0.748 pounds, or 0.424 kg. That is incorrect. The correct number: 0.935 pounds (which is indeed 424 g). Also, the lbs & oz number, given as 12 should be 15 oz. Here is the formula I used (with different numbers because it was scaled down to produce 2 lbs of dough):

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls
Suas' Cinnamon Rolls (12 rolls)

I did not have milk powder, so I used the Dough Calculator to convert to "real" milk (and presented above). Although the formula does not describe it here (but does in the book), I used SAF Osmotolerant Instant Dry yeast (available from King Arthur's Catalog). The high sugar content of the dough can make life a little difficult for regular IDY but OT IDY can handle this better. Fear not if you do not have it. You can use just a little more regular IDY and allocate a little more time for the proof and you should be fine. A similar comment applies to the use of cake flour. The texture will be better with it, but if you don't have it, try AP flour instead. 

The instructions for making the dough are pretty standard. This dough should come out of the mixer fairly cold (72F) so you may need to use cold(er) milk. You can see the calculation for my case in the formula above, where I had to use 42F milk. My fridge happens to be set at 40F, so I used it straight from the fridge. Put all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Add wet ingredients, except butter and mix at second speed (even 3rd on KA mixers) until full gluten development, adding the butter in small batches starting about 2/3 of the way through mixing. Dough should clear the bowl and be fairly stuff, although supple because of the butter. If you desire raisins, knead them in by hand at this point (I used about 100 g).  Let proof on the counter for about 1 hr and then refrigerate overnight.

One of the problems with this book (in particular for the home baker) is that it provides formulas  (of course using baker's percent) for both large amounts (typically a 10lbs dough) and "test" amounts, but does not specify the yield for either. My prior baking experience told me to make a 2lbs dough to get about 12 rolls (I actually got 13). Likewise it talks about using the "Sticky Bun Glaze", but does not tell you how much you need, nor does it say how much cinnamon sugar and icing you need. I guessed the cinnamon sugar wrong, but here is how to make the right amount (prepare whenever, and store in moisture tight container):


Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar 100% 0.1103 1 3/4 oz 4 T 50 g
Sugar, Brown 100% 0.1103 1 3/4 oz 4 3/4 T 50 g
Cinnamon 8% 0.0088 0.14 oz 1 3/4 t 4 g


Next morning, take the dough out of the refrigerator about 1-2 hours and let it warm up. While it warms up, prepare the "Stickly Bun Glaze" (optional) from the formula below. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients and set aside. Alternatively you can heat everything up in a pan until the sugar is dissolved and then let things cool down.


Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar, Brown 100.00% 0.3314 5 1/4 oz 7/8 C 150.0 g
Butter 56.67% 0.1878 3 oz 5 3/4 T 85.2 g
Salt 0.83% 0.0028 0.04 oz 1/4 t 1.2 g
Honey 38.33% 0.1270 2 oz 2 1/2 T 57.6 g
Vanilla Extract 2.50% 0.0083 0.13 oz 3/4 t 3.8 g
Cinnamon 0.83% 0.0028 0.04 oz 1/2 t 1.2 g


Degas the dough and roll out into a rectangle about twice as wide as it is long, about 1/8" thick. Brush the whole rectangle with water and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to leave a 1" strip at the far (wide) end uncovered so the dough can stick. If you didn't do the raisins already, you could add them here (I prefer to do them earlier so the dough absorbs the raisin flavor). Roll up the dough somewhat tight, starting at the wide, sprinkled end, and ending at the other wide end, where a little pressure will "glue" things shut.

Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper and spreading the "Sticky Bun Glaze" evenly on top of the paper. The glaze will melt and be absorbed in the bottom of the rolls and cover the bottom. Take a wet and sharp knife and cut 1" pieces of the rolled up dough and place sideways on the sheet. Leave room between the rolls for expansion. Twelve rolls, evenly spread out, will be about the right spacing on a standard home oven baking sheet. Let proof until about 1.5 to 2 times size. Pre heat the oven to 350F and bake on middle rack. You may want to consider putting another baking sheet immediately under it, to prevent the bottoms from burning. The rolls will be ready in about 15-18 minutes.

Now comes a tricky move. Take the sheet pan out of the oven, place a cooling rack on top, and then, without pressing, flip the whole deal over and place on a surface where you can deal with the dripping glaze. Remove sheet pan and parchment paper. If you used the paper this will be extremely easy! Now, to prevent too much glaze from covering the sides and top of the rolls, use a second cooling rack and invert again. Now let cool. This seems convoluted, but you do not want to handle the hot rolls with your hands: they're really hot, very sticky, and very fragile! Meanwhile prepare the "Flat Icing": 

Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar, Powdered 100% 0.2197 3 1.2 oz 7/8 C 100.0 g
Lemon Juice 3% 0.0066 0.11 oz 1/2 t 3.0 g
Water (hot) 14% 0.0308 1/2 oz 2 3/4 t 13.9 g

Mix this together with spatula and try to not incorporate any air in the mixture. If you desire it thinner, add more water. This was just about right though, I think. Now, when the rolls are still somewhat warm, but not hot, put the icing in a piping bag with fine tip, or if you don't have fancy equipment, use a plastic baggy (sandwich size or so), and cut just the tiniest piece of a corner. Drizzle the icing over the rolls in the desired amount and let the icing set (a few minutes). Then, get set and eat!

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Sample

Cinnamon Roll Sample



See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dmsnyder's picture

Baguettes with Poolish

Baguettes with Poolish

Baguette crumb

Baguette crumb 

In my ongoing efforts to make wonderful baguettes at home, today I baked the Poolish baguettes from Hamelman's "Bread."

 The poolish was made late last night. This morning it was about doubled and very bubbly. I used King Arthur AP flour for the poolish and for the dough. This worked well. I think the dough had the desired consistency with the exact amounts of ingredients called for in the formula. No adjustments were necessary. I mixed the dough for 3-3.5 minutes in a KitchenAide mixer, fermented 2 hours with one fold at 60 minutes. The dough was scaled and preshaped, then rested 10 minutes before shaping. I proofed the baguette for 60 minutes and baked 24 minutes at 460F with steam. I propped the oven door slightly open after I removed the skillet with water at 10 minutes in hopes of a thinner, crisper crust. I think it helped some.

 I think the result was my best baguettes to date. I attribute this to less mixing, gentler shaping and not over-proofing the loaves. My scoring is better but still far from what I would have liked. The crumb color was distinctly yellowish. I assume this is from the carotene I usually oxidize by over-mixing dough. The cut baguette had a somewhat yeasty smell, which is not desirable, but it didn't taste yeasty. The taste was less sweet than some baguettes, but nice and wheaty. 

Hamelman's recipe makes 3 lb 6 oz of dough. I scaled 2 portions at 12 oz. The rest I make into one batard shape and tried to cut it to make a "Viverais," one of the fancy shapes in "Advanced Bread and Pastry." It didn't really work, but the result was ... interesting ... and the bread was very good tasting.

 Viverais made with baguette dough

Viverais made with baguette dough

Viverais crumb

Viverais crumb 


The photo of the crumb doesn't do justice to the lovely yellow color it had. 


GlindaBunny's picture

It could probably use a little less flour next time, but I'm glad the holes aren't too big to hold a little butter.



dmsnyder's picture

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Crumb

Russian Rye Crumb

Sauve posted the formula for this bread in Kosher-Baker's blog topic, "Diary of a Starter." As a confirmed rye bread lover, I was curious about how it would compare with the Jewish, Czech and Polish ryes I had already baked. I'm glad I tried it.


Firm starter (73% hydration):

43 g. rye starter
195 g. whole rye flour - must be finely groud
142 g. water

Mix, cover and leave for 6-7 hours at 85-90 F.  The original recipe calls for 1/3 of the mother starter and fermenting for 3-4 hours, but I find that using more traditional proportions and doubling the fermentation time works equally well.

Dough (69% hydration):
97 g. whole rye flour
290 g. high extraction flour
333 g. starter
261 g. water
9 g. salt
17 g. sugar
1 g. instant yeast

Mix all ingredients and knead until you have well developed gluten.  In KA it takes me about 12 minutes at second speed.  Ferment 80 min at 85-90 F.  Flatten the dough and shape a tight boule.  Proof in basket, seam up, 50 minutes at room temperature.  There's no need to slash.  Spray with water before baking and 1 minute before taking out of the oven. Bake with steam 50 minutes at 440-450.  Let the bread cool thorougly, 2 hours at least.  The loaf should have shiny surface without tears and tight uniform crumb.  Using medium rye flour instead of whole rye and/or bread flour instead of high extraction flour also works well.


I used my white rye starter and fed it with Guisto's Organic (whole) rye flour. I used this rye flour and KA First Clear flour in the dough. I mixed in a KitchenAid Accolade. Rather than making one large boule, I divided the dough in half and made 2 boules of 525 gms each. They proofed in wicker brotformen. I baked them on a stone with steam from hot water into a hot cast iron skillet. The boules were baked for 25 minutes at 450F. I turned the oven down to 440F, because the boules were getting pretty dark pretty fast, and continued to bake for a total of 40 minutes.

The crust remained very firm, even after the loaves were fully cooled. The crumb is like that Suave showed - rather dense but not dry or "heavy" in the mouth. The taste is decidedly sour (surprisingly so). If I were doing a blind taste of this bread, I would not identify it as a rye. It tastes more like a whole wheat sourdough bread to me. There is a noticeable sweet taste, too. I assume this is from the sugar. I don't think I have ever baked a sourdough bread with added sugar before, although I have used malt and honey in sourdoughs, when the recipe called for them. I expect the bread to mellow overnight and taste significantly different tomorrow.

My thanks to Suave for sharing this recipe. If he (or others) would like to tell us more about the background of this bread, I'm sure it would be appreciated.


Eli's picture

I posted a White Loaf a few days ago. I converted it from a commercial yeast loaf that I have been making for some time now. I haven't tried to ferment this recipe until today. I covered with plastic after the first rise (placed in loaf pans) and refrigerated overnight. I assumed that the sour flavor would be dominate after the retarding. After taking out the loaves and a 4 hour rise I baked them; I found the sourness still there but the bread was much sweeter than the ones I do in "a day". They also had a browner crust. The sour flavor is still there as an aftertaste however, seems more of a sweet flavor.

Since I have only been baking sourdough for a few months I find everything a learning experience with every loaf.

margiedlc's picture

Hi, I need help, my husband is scheduled for a radioactive idodine cancer treatment this Friday, and is unable to eat anything with regular salt. Therefore, he can not even have store bought bakery goods. He has been on this diet for a couple of weeks already, and I would love to surprise him with a sandwich!  but my bread is not raising. The last loaf could have been used as a sledge hammer!  Any suggestions?


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