The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
dmsnyder's picture

I made the Whole Wheat Levain from Hamelman's "Bread" this weekend. It turned out just okay. The taste and texture are fine, but, although there was pretty good oven spring, there was disappointing bloom.

 I score the loaves as I would a mostly white flour batard but didn't get the result I expected. I'm wondering if one needs to score a whole wheat loaf deeper. I haven't found any advice in this regard in any of my bread books. However, looking at the photos in Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads," it does appear he is scoring those loaves deeper than he does a white flour loaf.

 Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Levain

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Whole Wheat Levain - Crumb

Any advice regarding scoring whole wheat levain batards would certainly be appreciated.


dmsnyder's picture

Jewish pumpernickel is one of my favorite breads. I have made it only a couple times before, once from Greenstein's recipe in "Sectets of a Jewish Baker" and once from Reinhart's recipe in BBA. But I've never really followed Greenstein's recipe to the letter, because I've never had any stale rye bread with which to make altus.  Well, a few weeks ago, I put what was left of a loaf of Greenstein's Sour Rye bread in the freezer with which to make altus, and this weekend I made "real" Jewish Pumpernickel using altus, pumpernickel flour and first clear flour.

For those not in the know, altus is stale rye bread with the crust cut off, cut into cubes and soaked in water, then wrung out and incorporated into the dough of a new loaf of rye or pumpernickel. It is said to have a beneficial effect on the texture of the bread, and my experience certainly corroborates this.

 Greenstein uses cold water and lets the altus soak overnight. My schedule did not permit this so I used hot water, and it saturated the rye bread cubes in 10 minutes. Wringing it out only resulted in first degree burns.

 Greenstein's Pumpernickel

Greenstein's Pumpernickel

I'm not uploading a "crumb shot." The crumb was very handsome, but it was the texture that was remarkable. It was a bit chewy but with a "creamy" mouth feel. It was simply the best pumpernickel of this type I have every had the pleasure of eating.

My idea of a good time is a slice of this bread, smeared with cream cheese and eaten with eggs scrambled in slightly browned butter. It's pretty darn good with a slice of lox, too.

 Anyone into baking Jewish rye breads who hasn't made Greenstein's Pumpernickel using the ingredients he specifies is missing a real treat!


breadnerd's picture

We don't really watch the superbowl, and in fact don't have a tv this year (don't ask) but why not eat silly food anyway?


Not my greatest photo, but we ate all the pretty samples so there's no chance for a re-shoot. In the bowl (impossible to make out) is homemade nacho cheese sauce. I made a simple white sauce with cheddar and monterey jack, and added some chopped whole jalapenos that I froze from the garden last year. Could be thicker but WAY tastier than the kind you get at the cafeteria!


These are from Daniel Leader's Local Breads (newest cookbook acquisition) and the dough was lovely to work with.


Also have my first ever batch of baked beans in the oven. May have to post a picture (they are baked so that counts, right?) because I'm quite smitten with them--they take forever though and your house smells good ALL DAY.


Anybody else making fun food for super sunday?



mse1152's picture

Hi, it's raining here in San Diego, how about where you are? Here are some photos of things I've made in the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, we had our neighbors over for dominoes, and I made a king cake. They're from New Orleans (pre-Katrina), so I thought I'd bake the traditional Mardi Gras cake and see how close it got to the real thing. They said, 'yep, that's it'. I thought it came out rather dry, but I guess that's why you dump a box or so of powdered sugar icing on it. The recipe I used is here.















This weekend, I finally made Essential's Columbia, which so many people here have done. I read lots of the previous posts to glean all the helpful hints first. This was a real lesson in letting the dough get ready in its own sweet time. Almost five hours fermenting, and about four hours in the brotforms (my Xmas presents!). I came upon a method to help getting the loaves out of the forms when they're sticking a bit. I put parchment on top of the brotform, then the peel on top of that, and quickly flipped it over. Then I tapped briskly on the bottom of the basket several times to loosen the dough. It really helped.

The flavor of this bread is wonderful! Just enough whole wheat and rye to deepen it...very satisfying, and pretty too.

























jeffbellamy's picture

 3 c. proofed starter1 cup plain yogurt2 tsp salt4 cups bread flour

Tangy Yogurt Bread:


3 c. proofed starter

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tsp salt

4 cups bread flour 



bakerb's picture

Does anyone grow & use kefir...I've been growing it for 10 years, or's a wonderful product & it's very easy to grow!   I've made "cream cheese" & "sour cream"'s a wonderful substituted for buttermilk in baked goods & I've made sourdough starters with it.  If you'd like to know more about it, I recommend this site: it's everything you'd want to know about kefir!

I bought my kefir grains from Dom, I'm not sure if he still sells them, but the above site will tell you.


bakerb's picture

Hello...I'm looking for an organic farmer & miller in Michigan, I'd like to buy fresh-ground unbleached bread flour, locally.  I live in Bay City.  Tomorrow I'm headed south (Linden, Michigan) to Westwind Milling Company to try their products.  Does anyone know of another place?  Thanks!

scubabbl's picture

Having a young son is hard on an budding bread maker. So, I've relegated myself to some late night baking. I just pulled this loaf out at 1am. It's just a basic loaf of white bread variation 2 (i.e. liquid milk instead of powdered) from my new newly purchased copy of "The Bread Baker's Apprentice".

Late night bread bakingLate night bread baking 2



Thegreenbaker's picture

I donbt know what I am doing at the moment, but the last 3 batches of bread I have made have sucked.

Seriously sucked.


Undercooked, no oven spring, dense, the only thing I can say is that they were tasty enough.

I tried the 5 mins a day master recipe and I didnt like it. I used whole wheat and that may have been the problem but I found it waaaaaaaaaay toooooo salty for my linking.

I used 1/3 of that to make a loaf and the oven spring was really nice so was the crumb, but I just didnt like the taste. I use the rest as a preferment and added it to approximately an equal weight of flour. I didnt add any more yeast or salt and it turned out nicely. By nicely I say It tasted much better, but the crumb was still a bit moist yet the outside was going to charr if I left it in the oven.

Then yesterday I made my usual oat bread.....and it was terrible.

UNDERCOOKED. My hubby who  a. has a cold and cant taste anything and b. really, hasnt got a highly developed pallette for bread or food said the bread was fine and I even after tasting it before him and deciding it was cooked just moist from the oats....believed him and ate a piece..toasted....nope. TERRIBLE. UNDERCOOKED> It also was almost charred.

I had the oven set to 240 degrees celcius for 10 mins then turned it down to 190-210 for the remainder of the cooking time. It still didnt DO much at all.

I am not happy. What a waste offlour and money.


Thwe only thing I have been doing differently is not sifting the flour and not adding a bit of unbleached strong while flour. Its cheaper to buy organic WW strong bread flour than it is to buy Organic strong white/unbleached bread flour. I also began sifting my wholewheat flour as I suspected a bug infestation, and my bread which was already suprising me with its results, improved immensely. (No bugs though) So I kept sifting. Then a few days ago I decided to try not sifting again because I really DO LOVE the flavour of wholewheat bread (and not ading that 1/2 cup of white flour) and the bits that were cooked well were soooo delicious, the rest was doughy half cooked crud. *sigh* The thing is, I even had window pane! Window pane after autolyse and kneading my whole wheat OAT bread! yet it still didnt do anything :( Perhaps I over proofed yesterdays loaf. It collapsed after I slashed it.

Even my pancakes this morning were undercooked.  I used a mix of white SR flour and my WW bread flour and they were just gloopy on the inside! I wonder if it has anything to do with the flour. :S


I am going to try one more time today. I will go back to my treacle loaf recipe and follow it step by step and see what happens.

Fingers crossed because I am missing my new standard of bread. 


I am going to go bonkers if I cant eat yummy bread again!  :( 

manuela's picture


I found three interesting ways to shape Vienna rolls in an old professional bakers’ manual published in London in 1909. I scaled down the recipe given in the book—which originally called for 17 lb of flour—but I left it otherwise unchanged. The rolls bake beautifully crispy on the outside and have a nice layered interior. —— Clockwise from the bottom in the picture are shown the cannon roll, the horseshoe, and the twin or double roll.
instructions and pictures are here



Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries