The Fresh Loaf

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occidental's picture

I recently baked Pain au Levain from Hammelman's book 'Bread..."  This is the second formula I've tried from this book, following two fairly sucessful attempts at Vermont Sourdough.  There are a few differences between the two.  Vermont SD starts with a liquid levain while PaL starts with a stiff levain.  Hammelman calls for whole rye in Vermont SD while calling for medium rye flour in PaL.  Also, a long final ferment is called for with Vermont SD while it is recommended not to go for the long ferment with PaL.  I didn't vary from the formula and had pretty satisfactory results.  I also had good results with a new brotform following a previous episode where the dough stuck and I ruined a couple loaves a week or so ago.  Here are a couple pics of the look of the loaf and the crumb:


From bread

From bread

I've just run across the roasted garlic levain on page 183 and am thinking that is going to have to be one of the next attempts. Have any of you tried this formula?

utahcpalady's picture

My first try at chocolate sourdough was a success!  Chewy, not too sweet, the kids loved it, the crust was perfect!  Oh, the joy! And the calories and the treadmill to come...he, he, he.  Thanks for a great recipe SP!

josephine's picture

I have just made my first successful sourdough loaves and I am excited.

jombay's picture

Also my first blog entry and first post ever. Been lurkin for a while but I decided to post today's bake. I think they turned out pretty well. Crumb is amazing but I still have more work to do on my shaping and scoring. Thanks to everyone who made this recipe happen.



saraugie's picture

I want to purchase Brotforms and/or Bannetons and need some advice.

Lined or unlined, that is the question ? I'd hoped to stop at that one question, since I could use the Shakespeare ending, I will anyway :)

I want to get one round and one oval, what sizes should they be ?

hansjoakim's picture

There were no loaves in my previous blog post, so I guess it's time to make things right again.

I still have some dried fruit and different nuts lying over from various Christmas projects, and with my chronic sweet tooth, I just couldn't resist putting them to good use as soon as possible. I mixed two batches of Hamelman's "Whole-wheat Bread with Hazelnuts and Currants" (p. 124). In the first batch, I replaced the currants with chopped prunes and shaped four mini batards. For the second batch, I used walnuts and chopped dates instead of hazelnuts and currants, and shaped regular batards. Some of the mini batards and a crumb shot of the walnut-date bread is shown below:

Whole-wheat bread with dates and walnuts

An instant classic in my book, especially the walnut-date combination. The dough has a relatively high hydration (73%), so the crumb is open and light. It's made slightly buttery by the walnuts and the dates add a rather sophisticated sweetness to the bread. It's also pretty good when toasted (trust me).

I've also been baking my everyday pain au levain:

Pain au levain with whole-wheat flour


A couple of days ago I came across a book called "Technologie der Backwarenherstellung" by Claus Schünemann and Günter Treu. I don't recall how I got there, it was probably the result of some oddball Google search, but I eventually ended up at Google Books, which has a limited preview of this German title. It appears to be a textbook for the budding German baker, and I found some interesting bits regarding Detmolder sourdoughs. My German is getting increasingly rusty, but I managed to extract some information from the preview at Google Books. I was particularly looking for information regarding the simple Detmolder one-step build, and found a table that will come in handy. The book gives a table with recommended amount of prefermented flour, based on the overall flour combination of the dough. That is listed in the left table below. The column "Rye sourdough" gives the amount of total flour that should be prefermented for the specified rye:wheat combination. The "Prefermented rye" column gives the corresponding amount of rye flour that is put into the sourdough. The book also gives figures for what level of inoculation should be used in a Detmolder one-step build as a function of the average temperature of the sourdough during ripening. That is listed in the right table below.

DEF table

I decided to try out these numbers, and baked my favourite rye (click here for David's complete write-up) based on the above two tables. This loaf is a 70% rye, so I prefermented 28% of the total flour (before: 35%), and inoculated the sourdough with 15% of my ripe, white starter (it's bitingly cold here these days...*brr*... and neither me nor my starter like it).

The bread turned out really good I think! The crumb is not quite as open as before, but the loaf profile is comparatively taller. No distinct differences with regards to taste. The one thing I did notice, was that the mixed dough was a lot less sticky than what I'm used to. Not very surprising probably, since the total amount of prefermented flour is reduced. This is my "other everyday" bread, so there'll be plenty of time to experiment with temperatures, proofing times and formula variables to optimise the loaf.

70 percent rye


Finally, for dessert, a chocolate cake with luscious hazelnut cream (that was the rest of my hazelnuts...):

Chocolate hazelnut cake

La masa's picture
La masa

The Roscón de Reyes is the traditional breakfast in Spain for the Epiphany day. It's also found in many Latin American countries and it's very similar to the Gâteau des Rois from the Provence.

I don't have a mixer, and don't really miss it... except when I make this bread. Kneading this dough is hard work, by far the hardest of all the doughs I make.

Fortunately, it's the traditional breakfast for the Epiphany day, and not the traditional breakfast for Saturdays :-)

For this dough, you need a flour with a pretty high protein content.

Make a preferment with:

  • 50 gr flour

  • 40 gr milk

  • 10 gr fresh yeast

While it's rising mix in a bowl:

  • 200 gr flour

  • 100 gr milk

  • 55 gr sugar

  • 3 gr salt

  • 1 egg

  • Grated lemon zest

  • Grated orange zest

You'll get a very wet and sticky dough, almost a batter:


Now, you'll have to work out some way of kneading this thing. Well, you cannot really knead it. I did a kind of light French fold.

Pour the dough onto the counter, pick it with one hand and stretch it upwards, repeat for ten minutes, wait ten minutes (keep an eye on it, it could fall from your counter!), knead again for ten minutes. At first you'll think that you will never get a workable dough, but eventually things change. You'll still have a very wet dough, but now you can see a good amount of gluten strands and it looks like a dough more than a batter now.

Knead in 50 gr of soft butter, and knead again, and again, and again. The gluten develops more and more, and you'll begin to feel more confident.

Knead in the preferment, wich at this stage should have doubled, and knead again till you have a proper dough. Now you should be able to do a proper French fold.

Shape in a ball (if you can). Cover and let rest in a greased bowl until doubled.

Punch down the dough, make a few stretch and fold and let it double again.

Transfer the dough to a slightly floured surface (I like wood), poke a hole right in the centre with your finger and gently ease the dough outwards (as shown in BBA for the couronne):

In a perfect world, the crown would be the same width all around. But this is not a perfect world.

Let it proof. You'll have to trust your experience now. If in doubt, bake it. If it's overproofed, when you take it out of the oven, it will colapse.

Paint with egg and spread a fair amount of moist sugar over the top:

Preheat the oven to 200C or 400F. Place your dough into the oven and lower the temp to 160C or 320 F. Bake for 35 min.

The smell while it's baking is awesome.

It should be reddish brown, tender, slightly moist in the inside. The crumb is light, soft, fluffy. This size is plenty enough for four persons.

¡Buen provecho!


ananda's picture

Welcome to my second blog.

I have posted some details below regarding production of English Hot Cross Buns.



Makes: a, 45 buns @ 65g each; b, 12 buns @ 80g each



[% of flour]

Recipe a


Recipe b






Strong White Bread Flour




Caster Sugar




Fresh Yeast




Water @ 38°C












Ferment [from above]




Strong White Bread Flour








Milk Powder












Caster Sugar




















Mixed Peel












Soft Flour
















Caster Sugar









Oven Profile: Deck oven; 190°C for 10 - 12 minutes top heat 5, bottom heat 5.   Dampers are closed, no steam used.



  • In a large bowl, and crumble and dissolve the yeast into the warm water, then  whisk in the sugar and flour to form a batter.   Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for half an hour.
  • In the meantime, prepare baking sheets lined with silicone paper and weigh up all materials, ready to be mixed as follows:
  • Weigh the dried fruit into a separate container.
  • Weigh all the other ingredients for the final dough directly into the mixing bowl.   You need to use the strong flour to ensure the high liquid content is taken up.
  • Attach a dough hook, add the ferment to the mixing bowl contents, and mix for 2 minutes on slow speed to form a soft dough.   Scrape down the bowl to ensure all materials come together in the mixer.
  • Turn the mixer onto a higher speed; no more than 3rd speed should be necessary, and mix for 8 minutes to form a smooth, elastic and soft dough.   This dough is very soft, so care is needed to ensure thorough scraping of the sides of the bowl.   Mixing should result in the soft dough eventually pulling away from the bowl to allow the hook to do the development work needed.   It is quite difficult to mix this dough by hand, but a Kenwood Mixer, or a Kitchen Aid should do the job providing the scraping down is thorough.
  • Take the dough off the mixer and store in a bowl lined with a little shortening to condition the dough.   Allow up to half an hour for this.
  • Place the dough on the bench, spread it out and pile the fruit on top of the dough.   Fold the dough over the fruit to encase it.   Then, take a scotch cutter and cut the fruit into the dough until it is very evenly distributed [see attached photo; this is an excellent way to add fruit without damaging either the fruit pieces, or the strength of the dough].
  • Scale the dough off into 65g pieces, and mould each piece round.
  • Place the dough pieces close together on a baking sheet so they will kiss, and batch together when they bake [6 x 3 on the baking sheets normally used].   Brush with a little milk if you like, or beaten egg for extra colour.   The glaze at this stage will particularly help if you have no enclosed prover.
  • Set to prove for 40 - 50 minutes at 38°C, 85%rH, in a prover.
  • Meanwhile make the crossing paste by crumbing the fat with the flour, then whisking this with the water to form a smooth paste [AP will be fine].   Empty the contents into a disposable piping bag with a very small hole cut in the end.   Pipe up and down, then across back and forth to form crosses on the top of the buns [see attached photo, and the accompanying video link].
  • Bake to the specifications above, as soon as the crosses have been piped on.   Domestic oven should be set at 195°C [170°C for the ferocious fan oven type]
  • As the buns bake, dissolve the sugar in the water to make the stock syrup.   Bring this to the boil in a pan and remove from the heat.
  • Brush the baked buns with the hot syrup as soon as they come out of the oven [see attached photo].

Empty the buns, as a batch, from the trays, and cool on wires


Here is a video demonstration of how to pipe the crosses onto the buns prior to baking.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hi All,

I just wanted to share with you my final bakes of 2009.  I was unable to post them earlier as I went to Japan for Christmas and New Years...  This was a year of much improvement for me, perfecting my version of baguettes, getting the hang of sourdough, refrigerated bulk fermentation, baking very large loaves, making pizza dough, and kneading large quantities (7-8kg) of dough by hand successfully.

Wishing all of you much baking success in 2010.  Now I'm off to do my first bake of the 2010.



Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

So here we are...baking again. Thank God. Seriously. Grocery store bread really does suck. Eating that crap through my entire pregnancy almost killed me. Since the bouncing baby boy is now sleeping a lot better than before, baking once again commences.

Eric's Fave Rye

This was a riff on Eric's Fave Rye. I forgot the sugar and caraway so it isn't really right. I plan on making it again.

My Daily Bread

This was my final formula for my everyday, I-need-something-tasty-that-I-can-be-lazy-with bread. The write-up on my new and improved blog is on my new and improved blog.

Next up I'm hoping to tackle San Joaquin Sourdough and some bagels. All this week.

Maybe a little too ambitious?


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