The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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holds99's picture

This bread was made from the Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread recipe in George Greenstein's book Secrets of a Jewish Baker.  It's a really good bread, which has a very nice flavor and somewhat reminds me of a Scandanavian bread in texture; fairly open but substantial.  The recipe call for a sponge but this bread isn't difficult to make and is baked in a loaf pan.  As Mr. Greenstein says in the short intro: "The bread is best when baked in a loaf pan and sliced for sandwiches or toasted'  Oatmeal adds a distinct rough texture and nutty flavor and keeps the bread moist."  Like Mr. Greenstein said, it's excellent sliced and eaten with butter and marmalade or toasted.  My wife, who critiques the breads I bake really likes this bread.  I like to try different recipes and this one, for my taste, is a winner.

Greenstein's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

ehanner's picture

PR Italian
PR Italian

Italian Bruchetta & White Bean Soup
Italian Bruchetta & White Bean Soup

Last night I made a double batch of Peter Reinhart's Italian Bread with Biga. I think I did a review of this bread a short time ago so I won't bother with the formula now.  My daughter told me I had to make this bread every day from now on. She was quite emphatic so I'll have to put it on the short list. This Italian has such a nice flavor it takes you by surprise. I must say the after taste is my favorite in this style.

So what does one do with 4 loaves of delicious Italian bread? Make Bruchetta!! The tomatoes are ripe and plentiful now and all the herbs are in full swing so the time is right for a big batch. I discovered a new (for me) Balsamic vinegar made from figs the other day. I decided to try that instead of the usual dark and heavy variety I otherwise use. The result was a slightly sweet yet tart dressing that we all loved.

A few Months ago JMonkey turned me on to a great soup cookbook by Sally Sampson called Souped Up. He said at the time he thought it was the best in the genre and I have to agree. The White Bean with Basil above was delicious as has been everything I have tried in the book. I have tried maybe a dozen out of 100 very nice recipes. It's on Amazon and inexpensive. I have given 4 copies away so far to family members.

I baked these on a sheet pan without a stone from just barely up to temp. I forgot to turn the heat down for a while so the tops got a little too brown first but they are still fine.



apprentice's picture

This bread was begun with the highest hopes and a bubbly poolish...

Beer Bread poolish









The poolish had actually bubbled a little too long. It looked perfect around 15 or 16 hours, but I had other things on the go and left it for another two hours. Slight deflation. Couldn't be helped. The picture was taken right before mixing. What do you think?

Had all my ingredients measured the night before, ready to go. Because I couldn't find hulled malted barley kernels locally, only unmalted, I opted to use non-diastatic barley malt powder. I understand malting better now. It seems I could have produced the powder myself using the unmalted kernels. That's what malting is, I learned, thanks to Mini O and a bunch of reading. You sprout or germinate whole grain kernels (usually, but not only barley) under controlled conditions. Once malted, the grain is heated to dry and then ground into powder. Sometimes called crystals, flour or extract, just to confuse things further. :)

I chose a nut brown ale from a local micro-brewery. Bonus! The bottle held 650 ml, so there would be some left over to go with my supper of curried chicken.

Will make a long story short for now. Things looked promising every step of the way. Even had some fun experimenting with techniques for the final ferment because I don't own oval bannetons. I scooched one loaf up in a trench created with a piece of canvas and covered it with plastic. Also tried an idea in From Julia Child's Kitchen for suspending a long loaf in a canvas sling, weighted heavily, from the edge of a table. Both worked fine but bannetons are way easier. They're on my long wish list!

I loaded the bread in the oven. My dinner was ready. I'd already been sipping the ale, and it was utterly delicious! I'm usually more of a wine or single malt whiskey girl, but that ale made a convert of me. It also made me so impatient for the bread! I was beginning to see why Hamelman wrote in his recipe that this one would have a lively, robust flavour.

Here they are:

beer bread loaves









And here's the crumb:

beer bread crumb









And here's the part I've been sighing about since Thursday. Why I haven't really wanted to write this blog entry. The taste...I'm so sorry, Jeffrey...was disappointing. Insipid even.

Gasp! Even typing those words, let alone saying them aloud, feels sacrilegious to me. I've always found Hamelman's recipes completely reliable. Oh, the temperature might be a little hot for my oven. I also had a lot to learn about handling rye before I could produce something similar to the promised results in those breads. But taste? He's never failed me there.

And probably still hasn't. It might well have been a mistake on my part. For one thing, I ended up with about two ounces less than the total weight he indicates. I have a sneaking hunch I might have mismeasured the salt, using the 1 1/4 tsp amount from the next line in the text, instead of 1 T. But that wouldn't account for two whole ounces!

So I'll make it again, especially if I hear from someone at TFL that they had a good result with this recipe. It's basically a nice white bread with some whole wheat and malted barley thrown in. The poolish, the ale...altogether it should have been tasty, as advertised. We'll see.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Thanks for your interest.


Added by EDIT: Please be sure to read my post in the comment section below on the results of the second bake. I did change my story! This is a lovely bread, well worth your time and attention.

shimpiphany's picture

cooking in the wood fired oven is very different than cooking in the house. it is both easier and more difficult - easier in that the oven holds its heat steady so there is none of the temperature compenstation strategies, and the hearth makes a huge difference in the crust. more difficult in that it takes SO MUCH LONGER and the timing is really tricky.

overall, though, i want to retire so i can just cook all our meals in it. this is the best and most satisfying project i've done yet.

anyway, here are some pics from the last few weeks:

olive sourdough, rye sourdough, and 100% sprouted wheat and rye berry bread


jim's basic bread - this was the tastiest sourdough i've yet made. the crust was beautiful, with wonderful fermentation bubbles, and the crumb structure was great.

i'll post more pics of the pizza party when i get a chance to download from my camera.

abbieannie's picture

I would like to start milling my own flour and would appreciate any information as to where to purchase the wheat berries, etc.  I have searched but can not locate a source.  If you could help I would so much appreciate it.  I would also like feedback if you are milling your flour.

Thank you!




apprentice's picture

It was the nicest kind of serendipity that drew me into working with barley. A friend asked if I could make her some sprouted barley bread. She heard that sprouted grain breads are healthy, and she knows how much I enjoy a challenge.

Naturally, my first stop was TFL. Mini O, how did I miss that you were working with barley, too? I guess I was too focused at that point on "sprouted barley bread" as a search term. I found some references to other barley breads and looked further afield.

I accumulated lots of info about barley in general, its different forms and many uses. See here, if you want to delve further. Who knew what an important role this humble grain played in creating the world we know today?

Didn't find recipes for SBB, but I found references to a product made by the Alvarado Street Bakery of Sonoma County, California. They bill themselves as a global supplier of whole grain breads and bagels. Their loaf has sprouted barley and wheat berries plus a few other things including raisins. That wasn't what my friend had in mind. I kept looking.

My research ultimately led me to some non-sprouted barley breads that I really wanted to try. Also found a sprouted wheat bread recipe I figured I could modify for my friend to include sprouted barley as well. I reasoned that the plain barley breads would teach me what I needed to know to make a success of the sprouted version. Good excuse? We'll see how it works out. My wonderful friend said, "Carol, I'm sure I'll be happy to eat whatever you're happy to make."  :)

First up was Jeffrey Hamelman's Beer Bread with Roasted Barley. That will be my next blog entry – with pictures.


chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Dear friends

I made a pumpkin recipes festival on an arabic site , on the cooking forum.I made a lot of plates from the pumpkin: salads , jams , cakes & muffins , ice cream , pumpkin pie & this bread.

I will show you the pumpkin loaf , it was very tasty and very light, easy & simple to make.

I can share the recipe if there is anybody interrested in, let me show you:

another shape:

the crumb, light,very light

I will never stop making it , wish you enjoy it .

Thank you all.

Floydm's picture

It is the third week of school and preschool and we are coping with the third cold to sweep through the house in that short time. Here's to hoping they get better about handwashing (or we build up immunities quickly!).

So I'm at home today, drinking lots of clear fluids and watching my preschooler paint the deck with a bucket of water. I just read an article in The Atlantic on the break up of the Sullivan Street Bakery that I suspect many folks here would be interested in. I'm sure that uncredited recipes taken nearly verbatim have been posted on TFL, but the article is a good reminder that we should give credit where credit is due.

Off to get more juice.

apprentice's picture

Seems appropriate to make my first blog post about pumpernickel. Mentioned in my intro post yesterday that it was Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel in Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread that brought me to The Fresh Loaf. Growing up in multi-cultural Winnipeg, Manitoba, I was exposed to so many wonderful ryes. So while I was at baking school, I made whatever breads (and other things) we were assigned and then worked overtime on the ryes.

To say there's a learning curve with true pumpernickel is an understatment! Made JH's recipe countless times. Thought I'd share pictures of the first decent loaf I produced, along with the grateful and happy email I sent to  my instructor in the wee hours that day before graduation. I might flub picture posting this first try. Bear with me.

The final dough, ready for the pan:






After the long night's bake:








The crumb:






Email to my instructor (excerpt):

"Best graduation present ever! I seem to have cracked the pumpernickel at last. Not completely there yet, as you can see from the concave bit, centre top. But I think I know how to solve that, too. Several insights made the difference... But most importantly, I saw a reference in side note on page 216 that his Pullman pans are 13" long rather than our 16". Meant I was vastly overproofing by trying to get the bread close to the top of the pan. Even overproofed this one because it was supposed to get 50 to 60 minutes and could not believe that it seemed to be ready at 20! I turned the oven on to preheat, and the loaf continued to rise before my very eyes like time-lapse photography. That's what produced the concave bit, I would guess. Could think of no one I'd rather share this joy with! And yes, that is one of the school's Pullman pans. It's right by my front door to bring back today."
dmsnyder's picture

San Joaquin Light Rye 1

San Joaquin Light Rye 1

San Joaquin Light Rye 2

San Joaquin Light Rye 2

San Joaquin Light Rye Crumb

San Joaquin Light Rye Crumb

 This bread evolved from Anis Bouabsa's formula for baguettes which he generously gave to Janedo when she visited his bakery in Paris. I have had fun applying Anis' long cold primary fermentation to variations on his baguette formula.

I have enjoyed the breads made with added sourdough starter and about 10% rye in particular.I have written about my pain de campagne made with these modifications. However, the second time I made it using a flour that absorbed more water, the crumb was less open. I decided to try the same formula but with a somewhat higher hydration. I added an additional 15 gms of water, boosting the hydration from 74% to 77%. This resulted in a dough of almost identical “feel” to the original dough made with the less absorbent flour.


Active starter                        100 gms

KAF French Style Flour           450 gms

Guisto's Rye Flour                    50 gms

Water                                    385 gms

Instant yeast                           1/4 tsp

Salt                                        10 gms

 The method I used was otherwise identical to that described before: ( )

Jane opined that this could no longer be called a “pain de campagne.” I'm not sure why, but I accept her authority in matters of French terminology. So, I am calling it “San Joaquin Light Rye.” I also am not sure what to call the shape of the loaf. Maybe it is “a stretch bâtard.” Or “an obese demi-baguette.” In “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. II,” Julia Child pictured a French loaf shape called a “Jaco.” I have not heard of this shape otherwise, but it looks sort of like what I made today.

 If asked to describe the crust and crumb, I would say it is close enough to Nury's Light Rye that I would have difficulty telling which was which in a blind tasting. And that's not bad!




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