The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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This is a bread I made one year ago Saturday for my little sister, her favourite was the last opportunity to bake for her, she died a few days later, March 9th, 2022 from multiple myeloma.  I miss her. 

Oat Flax Sourdough for Diane

  • organic fresh milled Marquis heritage wheat, sifted, 500 g
  • organic golden flax, coarse ground, soaked in hot water for an hour, 25 g
  • organic cold rolled oats, cooked as porridge and cooled, 100 g
  • sea salt, 10 g
  • filtered water, 375 g 
  • active starter, 115 g

I did a one hour autolyse, then mixed in the starter and did four series of folds over two hours.  After the first hour I added the salt, cooked oats and flax soaker.  After the bulk fermentation was complete the dough was turned out on the counter, rested for 15 minutes and then shaped.  The loaf was placed in a linen lined banneton with a little bit of rolled oats to coat the sides and cold proofed in the fridge overnight.  I baked the loaf in a pre-heated Le Creuset, 500 F for 22 minutes covered; 10 more minutes at 450 F then finished baking directly on an oven stone, 450 F for 20 minutes.










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An accumulation of small amounts of various leftover grains motivated this bake, a cracked grain sourdough bread. I had some rye berries, hard red wheat, spelt, barley and whole oats, 175 g total - coarse cracked and then soaked in 70 g hot water for two hours. The bread was made with 200g fresh milled whole wheat, sifted flour, 800g all purpose flour, 20g sea salt, 220g starter and 750g water. The FDH was about 82% after mixing in the cracked grains soaker.  I cold proofed the loaves overnight in the fridge, 11 hours.  I am very happy with the taste and texture, lots of flavour and a soft, chewy crumb.








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This year's CSA organic grain share has arrived and it was a good harvest despite pandemic and incredible summer heat and wildfire challenges.  I received several bags of organic rye, a bag of Canadian Marquis heirloom wheat and a bag of Manitoba wheat, a cultivar of Marquis. Marquis was first developed as a cross between Red Fife, Canada's oldest wheat variety and a variety from India called Hard Red Calcutta; it combines the best traits of both parent lines and by the early 1900's was grown on over 20 million acres, about 85%of the wheat acreage in North America. Many other new varieties of wheat have been bred in Canada over the past hundred years but the heritage of every one can be traced back to crosses made with Marquis.  It's always a treat, a privilege, to receive such high quality organic grain; the connection with the local farm where it is grown and the heritage of the wheat makes me grateful for every loaf of bread. 

My first bake with this year's harvest, bread for the farmers - a 30% Rye Seeded Onion Sourdough with Dark Malt Beer - 40% fresh milled sifted Marquis flour; 30% fresh milled sifted rye flour; 30% organic all purpose flour; 22% levain; 2% sea salt; 67% filtered water; 15% dark malt beer; 15% caramelized onions; 10% mix toasted black and white sesame seeds and poppy seeds; 3.5 hour bulk ferment with 4 sets of stretch/folds, then shaped and into the fridge for an overnight cold proof.  Baked in pre-heated covered pots, 500 F for 21 minutes, 450 F for 10 minutes and finished out of the pots on a baking stone, 450F for 19 minutes. 





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This is a variation on Chad Robertson's Oat Porridge Bread in his book Tartine 3. It is essentially the same bread but with slightly less oat porridge and the addition of some cooked whole oat berries. It is one of my favourite breads.


  • fresh milled organic Red Fife flour, sifted (80% extraction)  20% (200g)
  • organic unbleached all purpose white flour  80% (800g)
  • filtered water  78%  (780g)
  • sea salt  2%  (20g)
  • levain (4 hours)  25% (250g) 
  • organic rolled oats, cooked  30%  (300g)
  • organic whole oat berries, cooked  7.5%  (75g)
  • flaked almonds  2.5%  (25g)

I did a 1 hour autolyse before mixing in the salt and levain, The bulk fermentaion was about 5 hours at room temperature, 30% rise; a series of stretch/folds was done every 30 minutes for the first two hours with the oat porridge, cooked oat berries and flaked almonds added after the second series. The FDH after additions was probably around 80-82%, by feel.  I separated the dough into two loaves, rested them for 30 minutes and then did the final shaping.  The loaves were cold proofed overnight for about 12 hours in linen lined wicker baskets with some rolled oats sprnkled along the sides of the loaves ( I like to leave the tops of the loaves bare to show the crust colour).  

The loaves were baked directly from the fridge in a pre-heated oven, covered pots, 500 F for twenty minutes, 450 F for ten minutes and then finished out of the pots directly on a baking stone, 19 minutes.   









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 Well, it's been almost 6 months since my last post...this pandemic thing has been occupying lots of time and energy, so much so there's little left at the end of the day for even simple, everyday things like baking bread.  I am trying to stay optimistic as things continue to unfold but admit to being more discouraged than encouraged these past few days what with the growing social unrest, ongoing disruption of the way things used to be, ever increasing pressure on front line/first responders and economic/financial hardships all around. It seems things are falling further and further out of balance, natural harmony and synchrony giving way to chaos, feels like we are all on a very narrow edge right now.   

We are under a new temporary social lockdown here with mandatory face masks now for all indoor spaces, strict social distancing rules. People are being encouraged/advised to stay home, minimize unnecessary travel. So these are my lockdown breads for this week, two for the neighbours and one for us...amazing what all ingredients can be found stashed away in various cupboards if one is sufficiently motivated to find them again - "motivated" as in not wanting to go out for more! These loaves were made with sifted organic Red Fife and organic all purpose flours; some toasted millet, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds; a bit of hemp hearts, cracked flax and chia; and cold rolled organic oats. Cold proofed overnight and baked in covered cast iron pots. The scoring on the "Yin/Yang" loaf came to me in a moment of optimism, sort of a bread graffiti - daring to carve out a symbol  of balance in a time of chaos.The other two were scored same old, same old...maybe that too comes from an optimism there will be a return to a more predictable everyday life. And yeah, maybe it's no big deal in the scheme of things, just bread, a little thing...but keep doing the little things, do what you can, be safe, be well.

* "When you can't do what you do, you do what you can"  ~ Jon Bon Jovi





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This is a strange and turbulent time...a viral pandemic upon us, the world in an ongoing struggle to survive and the best and worst of humanity on display every day. There is little comfort to be found anywhere as the debates, misinformation, disuptes and yes, death and suffering as a result of covid-19 fill our days. The reality of life with covid-19 is simple  - until there is a vaccine or effective treatment we are constrained by it, our 'freedoms' and personal 'rignts' are superceded by the needs of the greater common good, if everyone stays apart, wears a face mask, washes their hands then ALL of us will be ok.  It's not that hard.  And for any of you with lingering doubts, personal grievances, disuptes with the best advice from the health authorities, I encourage you to volunteer your time at a local hospital ICU/ER, offer your help to first responder paramedics, nurses, doctors....perhaps first hand experience will convince you, help you understand what's really going on!

 It's a habit I have, when things are wierd, challenging, just do what I know and then try to figure out the other stuff. So in these strange times I fall back on this, more of the same old, same old...what I know. Stay well, stay safe.

Seeded Sourdough Bread 

  • fresh milled sifted rye, Marquis and khorasan 30%
  • organic all purpose flour 70%
  • filtered water 80%
  • young levain 28%
  • sea salt 2%
  • toasted sunflower seeds 3.5%
  • toasted pumpkin seeds 3.5%
  • toasted sesame seeds 2%
  • soaked flax seed 3.5%
  • sifted bran coating

2 hour autolyse; 3.5 hour bulk ferment (the dough was very active, it's really hot this week) with 4 series of stretch/folds over the first 2 hours; pre-shaped/final shaped and cold proofed overnight 10 hours; baked 500F covered for 20 minutes, 450F covered for 10 minutes and 450F for 19 minutes directly on the baking stone.




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My last blog entry was back in November 2019...right at the end of the world as we knew it.  This new way, this surreal reality with it's need for self-isolation, self-distancing, economic and social shut down under the ravages of a global pandemic is our present and our future until the hope of a vaccine/treatment is realized.  Everything is different, we struggle to adapt to the new world order and way of doing things in order to survive, fear and anxiety are the underlying emotions of the day, hope is the what keeps us going. We are all in this, there are no privileged or special people that can sit this one out, the moment to moment stuff is what we have before us with no certainty beyond that.  So in those moments stay engaged, be kind to each other, do what we need to do even if it doesn't seem important or significant and stay home, stay distanced, self-isolate as necessary.  The world has changed since my last post, profound changes -  but some things are the same, I am posting this bread bake as evidence of that, a simple cracked khorasan/oat porridge sourdough coated with sifted bran, flaked khorasan and sesame seeds. It's the same. Baked for neighbours and friends . It's the same.

Each of us can make a difference, each of us has a responsibility to everyone else... stay home, stay distanced, stay well!


































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My first bake with this year's organic grain harvest CSA share from Cedar Isle Farm - an Oat Rye Sourdough - sprouted oats and rye, rolled oats/cracked flax soaker, sifted bran and sesame seed coating.  











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 A stalk of Marquis heritage wheat still standing tall in the field after last week's harvest.  The picture is courtesy of Cedar Isle Farm - Organic Grains CSA, Agassiz, BC.  The Marquis and soft spring wheat were harvested last week just before a rare late summer rain storm passed through the valley. This wheat was in short supply last year but after a successful growing season and harvest the farm will be offering it again this year to all the *CSA members....very good news, happy baking ahead!

*Community Supported Agriculture

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This is a khorasan oat sourdough, a lighter bread than I usually bake. I wanted a light, soft crumb while still including as much fresh milled whole grain as possible. In "Tartine 3" Robertson explains how he accomplishes this by way of various additions to his basic doughs using high extraction flours, porridges, soakers, sprouted grains.  So for this bread I mixed 300 g fresh milled high extraction khorasan flour with 700 g all purpose white flour, autolysed with 750 g water for 3 hours. Then I added 15 g sea salt, 250 g young l.evain (4 hours) and mixed with a series of stretch/folds to start the bulk fermentation; I did four more series of stretch/folds over the first two hours and left the dough to ferment.  After the second series of stretch/folds I mixed in 100 g cooked coarse ground khorasan and 100 g cooked steel cut oats (hoping the little bit of oat porridge would help keep the crumb soft and chewy).  I estimate the FDH about 85%.  The loaves were pre-shaped, rested for thirty minutes and then shaped and coated with a mixture of rolled flaked khorasan/oats/sifted bran.  I cold proofed the loaves overnight and baked directly from the fridge the next morning, covered 500 F for twenty minutes; 450 F for ten minutes and then uncovered directly on a baking stone 450 F for 20 minutes.  I also used the same recipe to make enough dough for a a separate pan loaf - wanted to see how it would work for a sandwich bread.   



The crumb shot


To bake the pan loaf I used a large covered roasting pan. pre-heated and then loaded with some ice cubes and a small container of boiling water and the pan loaf


I removed the loaf from the pan and finished it directly on the baking stone


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