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AnnieT's picture

Today I baked a sourdough bread from another book from the library, Prairie Home Breads. It was published in 2001 and has some intersting recipes. The one I chose is called Hit-the-trail sourdough and begins with an overnight sponge. By this morning it was well risen and I added the rest of the flour and the salt. 2 hours later it was ready to shape and instead of 2 boules I used half to make breadsticks. My question is about the suggested baking temperature which was 375*. I did increase it to 400* and I used the stone and stainless steel bowl method. The loaf rose beautifully but is a pale golden color (with freckles) and it did sing when it tested at 204*. As I was daring enough to bake it "my way" does anyone have an opinion on starting at 500* as I usually do? Was the lower temp. an older method? I can't see that the ingredients are different from many of the other breads I have tried. I'm anxious to cut it to see how the crumb looks. Judging by the taste of the breadsticks it could use more salt - I use kosher salt and didn't increase it sufficiently. Next time... A.

dmsnyder's picture

100% Whole Wheat boules

100% Whole Wheat boules

100% Whole Wheat boules Crumb

100% Whole Wheat boules Crumb


I had made the whole wheat bread from Reinhart's BBA a couple of time. i liked it a lot. It was, for me, the perfect bread for a tuna fish sandwich or a BLT.


I bought Reinhart's newer book, "Whole Grain Breads" a few months ago and read, with interest, the introductory chapters right away. Following his "journey" and the evolution of his thinking has been really interesting. But I had not baked anything from the new book until today. I decided to start with his "foundational loaf," the "100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. As you can see, I decided to form 2 boules of around 1 pound each rather than making one sandwich loaf. 

 It's interesting that Reinhart's instruction have you hand knead this bread, even after a 2-3 minute machine kneading. This is a relatively dry dough. I hand kneaded it as instructed, maybe with an extra minute or two, and actually achieved window paning. That was a kick! 

 This bread is not really that different from the BBA version. The new formula uses milk (I used buttermilk.) in the soaker. The BBA whole wheat uses water. The BBA bread has an egg in it which the WGB bread does not. The end result is actually quite similar. I suspect that baking boules rather than pan loaves made as much difference as the different ingredients.


The crust felt a little soft, even after an extra 10 minutes left in the oven, but it crunched nicely when I bit into it. The bread has a pronounced whole wheat flavor but with many layers of flavor including sweetness that are lovely.


I bet this will make delicious toast for breakfast, even with competition from the banana bread from Crust & Crumb that I also baked today. 




BoiseBob's picture

I have been having a lot of fun with this recipe. I think I'll keep it; It's that good.

Cold Fermented Italian Bread

3¼ c  warm Water (110° F) 
1 t  Sugar 
2 T  Active Dry Yeast 
1¼ T  Malt syrup 
2 T  Basil, dried (Optional) 
2 med  Garlic cloves, crushed (Optional) 
½ T  Sea salt 
7 c  Bread flour 
See the Notes below.
1Pre-heat oven to 350°F
2Add the sugar, malt syrup and yeast to the warm water and let proof.
3Stir in 4 cups of flour, basil and garlic and beat until smooth. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
4Beat in the salt and then add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until as soft and smooth as a bambino's behind. Turn in a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size.
5Once doubled, punch down and divide into half. Place back in separate bowls, cover, and let rise.
6Once doubled again, punch down and form into two pudgy long loaves. Grease heavy cookie sheets and sprinkle with corn meal. Place the loaves on the sheets, cover with a towel, and let rise.
7Once risen, mist with water and place in a preheated 350° F oven. Mist loaves with water and turn occasionally while they bake. Bread is done when golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30-40 minutes. Optimum loaf temperature is 190°F.

Some notes: Try this: Using a standard mix - no herbs added to the dough - I am making 1 batch, 2 loaves, through the initial mixing stage. I am then dividing the dough in half, placing in a plastic covered plastic bowl and refrigerating the dough until needed, minimum of 16 hours. Use 1 batch at a time.

Here is a link to a printable copy of the recipe:

Noodlelady's picture

In March I demonstrated 19th century Pennsylvania German Open Hearth Cooking at a historic site near me. I mixed up a batch of my favorite sourdough the night before and brought it along to rise near the fire in my rye straw baskets. My sourdough is now over a year old and very reliable. It's always amazing to me how well the loaves come out. (Sorry no photos this time.) The site does not have oven, so I baked a loaf at a time in a pie dish inside my cast iron dutch oven. I also baked a batch of sticky buns with a sweet dough. Visitors were amazed that the baked goods came out of the dutch oven. While I was waiting for things to proof and bake, I boiled up some chicken bot boi (pot pie), fried up scrapple, and boiled eggs in water and onion skins to color them (it was an Easter event). Being able to bring history alive by baking and cooking as historically accurate as I know, gives me great satisfaction. More events to come this spring and summer. Fun!

At home I've been hungry for cinnamon raisin bread, rye bread, and oatmeal bread. So those were baked in the last few weeks. I also baked a fennel seed bread. Wow, you really have to like the anise flavor! Interesting though!

umbreadman's picture

So, in my last post many weeks ago I mentioned that I wanted to make this bread. It's finally happened in this second to last weekend of school. This is it, sort of put together myself with a few checks against Hamelman and Leder's olive bread formulas to check proportions.


I used 8ozs of a spicy olive mix from Whole Foods that had both green and black olives of different shapes and sizes; I also crumbled up a fair amount of blue cheese into it in the final folding before shaping, though I forget what kinds I used. It was really good in the end, and the cheese was bubbling up pretty intensely towards the end. Good work food.


PS: My girlfriend thinks olives and blue cheeses are gross, so I guess it's good that I waited until after she went to study abroad to make this! She might have had something to say to me if I actually asked her to eat it.....she might be reading this right now.....hi honey.....its not so bad if you can't smell it right? ....right?

dmsnyder's picture



Baguettes crumb

Baguettes crumb

The latest episode in my ongoing quest for a classic baguette.

 Today's attempt was with the Poolish Baguette formula in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." I made the poolish last night and made the dough and baked the breads this afternoon. I used Guisto's Baker's Choice flour, which makes a dough with a lovely, silky, soft, extensible quality. It's a pleasure to work with this dough.

 While I ended up with a wonderful tasting bread - crunchy crust and sweet tasting crumb, I was disappointed in the lack of bloom. I do believe my scoring of the loaves was good. I believe I was overly concerned about underproofing the loaves and ended up over-proofing them. If anyone with more baguette experience (and success) than I has other thoughts and suggestions, I would really appreciate them sharing. Making "the baguette of my dreams" remains a dream for now.

Here are photos of the baguette just after forming and placing on the couche and when proofed, just before baking:

Baguettes shaped

Baguettes shaped

Baguettes proofed

Baguettes proofed

Minor frustrations aside, today's breads were thoroughly enjoyed with dinner.

Baguette and Sunflower Seed Rye slices

Baguette and Sunflower Seed Rye slices


dmsnyder's picture

Sunflower Seed Rye

Sunflower Seed Rye

Sunflower Seed Rye Crumb

Sunflower Seed Rye Crumb

The Sunflower Seed Rye from Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" is made with a pumpernickle rye soaker, bread flour and toasted sunflower seeds plus yeast, salt and water. It is shaped in a couronne and marked with a square around the hole with a dowel.

 Reinhart's instructions are to make a boule from the divided dough and, after resting, punch a hole in the middle and enlarge it. I shaped these couronnes by rolling them into a 24" "rope" and joining the ends. My technique in marking the loaves apparently didn't work. I did dust the grooves with rye flour, which was supposed to keep them from closing, but they sure disappeared! I don't know if I didn't make the grooves deep or wide enough or I just got too much oven spring. Whatever.

 Visual aesthetics aside, this is a very tasty bread. My wife ate a slice with apricot preserves as soon as it was cooled and declared her approval. We had some with a crab louie for dinner.

 Gotta work on that groove, because I sure like the couronne shape. It makes for a great crust to crumb ratio for crust guys like me.

canuck's picture

Hello Folks, this is my first post on The Fresh Loaf, altough I have been reading and trying out recipes for a long time.

I wanted to share a very easy recipe for Sourdough Onion Rye, which is an adaption of pretty much everything I have learned from this site. It's really quite easy to make and comes out fine every time, so good luck and please give me feedback, I would love to hear about your experience.

The Starter

I use a fairly wet "batter" style sourdough starter. I keep it in the fridge and refresh it after I use it and then let it sit out for a while. Right now I am living in Zambia, this starter is therefore infested with Zambian yeast - I wonder if there is a difference? In any case, it's pretty active and works really well.

The Flour

I love reading the discussions about the various types and properties of flour, and how important a specific type of flour is for one recipe or another. In Zambia, we get two types of flour: Bread Flour and Cake Flour, that's it. I use Bread Flour and it works great. Rye flour is harder to come by, I get mine from a local bakery that imports it from South Africa. I have no idea exactly what kind of Rye it is, it looks sort of a like a medium extraction. I have learned not to worry too much, it all comes out tasting pretty good.

The Recipe

The night before baking, start the poolish.

about 1/2 cup starter

3 cups bread or all-purpose flour

1 cup Rye flour

2 cups of water.

Mix it all together, cover and let sit overnight.

The Next Morning.

Add to the poolish:

3 cups of flour as before

1 cup of Rye, as before

1 large (raw) Onion, finely chopped

(Optional) 1 Tablespoon Dried Dill

1 Tablespoon Salt

3/4 Cup water.

Mix well and let sit for twenty minutes.

This makes a pretty wet dough, one of you scientists can figure out the hydration. Because of the rye flour its quite sticky. I find the best way to mix it is to just get my hands in there and squish it all together.

After it sits, knead for 10 minutes. You will need to use quite a bit of flour as the dough is very sticky. After kneading cover and let rise until doubled, about two hours.

 Sourdough Onion Rye dough, just after kneading

After rising, dump the dough onto a well floured surface and cut in half. Stretch each half **gently** into a ball, then **gently** stretch into a loaf shape. You don't want to squish the air bubbles. I find the "envelope" method of shaping just a bit too vigorous.

Transfer the the loaves onto baking paper, cover and let rise for about an hour.

 Sourdough Onion Rye - Shaping the loaves


Sourdough Onion Rye - Ready for the Oven

Sourdough Onion Rye - Ready for the Oven

Meanwhile, preheat your stone and your oven to 450/220. Then transfer your loaf onto the stone, I use the back of a cookie sheet as a peel. When the loaf is in the oven use whatever steam method you prefer, I simply toss a cup of water into the bottom of the over and shut the door. Bake for about 25 minutes, turn the loaf once. I have a very small oven, so I can only bake one loaf at a time.

Take the bread out, and let it cool for as long as you can, and then enjoy! Also makes great toast!

Sourdough Onion Rye - The Finished Product

Sourdough Onion Rye - The Finished Product

Your feedback greatly appreciated



AnnieT's picture

I just ordered this book (along with Crust and Crumb) and wonder whether anyone has any comments or has tried any of the recipes? One of the many bed and breakfast owners on the island expressed interest in having me bake bread for her visitors and I figured she would want more breakfast type breads and rolls than plain old sourdough. I found the book in the library and like the sound of many of the breads - so of course I had to add it to my baking shelf. (Any excuse, right?) I would like to hear any comments, good or bad. I would also like to put in a plug for a book I re-read for the umpteenth time, This House of Sky by Ivan Doig, a really good read.

Floyd, I know this is a bit late but is there any way to help TFL to benefit from Amazon orders? A.

coffee1619's picture

It would be really great if all the recipes were not only in grams and ounces, but also in cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.  That way everyone would be able to use these great recipes. 


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