The Fresh Loaf

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I have been making a ton of whole grain breads lately, breads were the flavor comes entirely from fermentation and the actual flavor of the grain, and while I think that is essentially the only way that great bread should be flavored every once in a while I feel like messing around and experimenting with flavors that would be otherwise impossible to coax out of grain alone.


Hence, the Almond Joy Levain was born, with a crunchy crust and heavy additions of toasted coconut, toasted almond, toasted wheat bran and coconut chocolate this loaf is great with peanut butter and/or salty butter. In hindsight I would of upped the hydration by 7-10% but the autolyse was so darn wet I was scared to add more, and by the time I was folding in all the additions it was to late to add the liquid that it was suddenly painfully apparent I needed.


Heres how I made it

  • 206g sifted white wheat (sift it yourself and save the bran)
  • 34g unsifted red fife
  • 80g T85
  • 40g Ap
  • 40g Bf
  • 80g Youngs chocolate stout (20%)
  • 268g Coconut water with pulp (67%)
  • 80g Levain (20%)
  • 10g Salt (2.5%)
  • 47g Toasted coconut flakes (12%)
  • 72g Toasted sliced almonds (18%)
  • 92g Chopped coconut chocolate (23%)
  • 23g Toasted previously sifted white wheat bran (6%)


  1. autolyse @ 0 min
  2. mix in salt and levain @ 40
  3. stretch and fold @ 50
  4. fold in almonds, coconut and bran @ 80
  5. fold in chocolate @ 120
  6. stretch and fold @ 180
  7. preshape @ 220
  8. shape @ 255
  9. retard @ 360

The next morning, bake at 550 for 10 min with steam, then turn the oven down to 480 and continue baking for 15 minutes, then down to 465 for 10 or so minutes, then down to 450 until the loaf is done.




WoodenSpoon's picture


  • 120g 100% hydration levain (11%flour and 11%water)
  • 171g fresh milled kamut (31%)
  • 284g bread flour (50%)
  • 45g ap flour (8%)
  • 160g wine soaked figs (20% fig 9%wine)
  • 112g wine (20%)
  • 298g warm water (58%)
  • 100g toasted walnuts 18%
  • 12g salt (2%)


  • 1 hr autolyse
  • mix in levain & salt
  • slap and fold @ 5 minutes
  • slap and fold @ 10 minutes
  • fold in figs and nuts @ 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 1 hr
  • fold @ 1 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 2 hr
  • fold @ 2 1/2 hr
  • preshape/rest/shape @ 5 1/2 hr
  • retard @ 8 hr
  • bake @ 21 hr

I baked this on my stone, covered by a large mixing bowl at 500F for 25 minutes then uncovered at 460 for 45 minutes.

Lately I have started to shy away from loaves with ingredients whose flavors will over power the taste of the grains and fermentation, but my house has been so cold lately that coaxing out those subtle flavors has been a bit of a up hill battle, so I gritted my teeth and made a flavored loaf and I'm glad I did.

 This loaf is so good that I'm going to make it again, and I usually don't make things twice in a row as I really only bake on my weekends and over the course of a week I'v got a hundred new ideas that I want to try. But this will be an exception, the flavor was good enough that I think its worth taking a crack at upping the whole grains to a percentage I'd be more proud of.

If any of you take a shot at making this keep in mind that my house is very brisk, >60f so take that into account and possibly adjust yer levain percentage or fermentation times accordingly.

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  • 62g bread flour (11%)
  • 196g all purpose flour (35%)
  • 96g fresh milled spelt (17%)
  • 146g fresh milled hard red (26%)
  • 120g 100% hydration, rye levain (11% rye 11% water)
  • 415g warm water (74%)
  • 280g strained, fermented, cracked spelt berries


1/2 hr autolyse 

mix in levain and salt

slap and fold for fifteen minutes

after a brief rest fold in the cracked spelt (strained/drained)

3 sets of stretch and folds at 1/4 hour intervals

an additional 2 sets of stretch and folds at hour intervals


15-30 minutes later shape and proof at room temp for 4 hours

retard for 15 hours

bake @ 500 for half and hour then an additional 45 minutes or so at 460.

If using a dutch oven these baking times may very dramatically.

If you have a warm house the fermentation times will very, dramatically. If you have a nice room temp I would suggest knocking down the amount of preferment.

Also you all may notice that my percentages sometimes have some fractional wiggle room, my scale goes in one gram increments and I want to keep my percentages free of decimal points so there ya go.

I have been having a heck of a time getting good results this winter due to a 60ish degree house, so this time around I bumped the preferment % up a lot more then I would of otherwise enjoyed. Also I gave it a much longer room temp proof then I would of if my house was ten degrees warmer.

This bread turned out real nice tasting, sort of nutty from the fermented cracked spelt but probably a touch more acetic then I shoot for due in part to the long cool/cold fermentation.

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  • 460g bf
  • 60g ww
  • 120g rye levain (50% hydration)
  • 452g water (hold 52) (should of held more)
  • 116g boiled purple potato
  • 59g hard goats milk cheese (roughly cubed)
  • 83g hard cured salami (roughly cubed)
  • 1 small sweet onion (well caramelized)
  • 12g salt 

After the autolyse I soaked/mashed the levain in the 52g of water that I had held back from the final dough. I often employ this technique to more easily incorporate the very very firm rye levain into the final dough. This time absolutely held back too little water so if anyone tries this I would hold more like 100g.

Once I incorporated the levain and salt I gave the dough a few sets of slap and folds then over a period of folds I added the cheese, meat, potato and onion. after a few more stretch and folds I bulk fermented for around six hours, then proofed for probably another four then baked the loaf in a 450 degree oven for around an hour, After the loaf was baked and the oven was off I let the de panned loaf finish up in the hot oven for a bit. 


WoodenSpoon's picture

Over my last few days off (and the few days proceeding) I made this rye bread. The name means Cherry Rye Bread, I liked how it sounded and it accurately describes the bread so bam! Kirschroggenbrot is born. I started out a few days before starting the bread by sprouting a little more then 1000g of rye berries. This is the second time I'v sprouted anything and I'm pretty pleased by how straight forward and apparently foolproof it is.

Once the berries were sprouted I took half of them and dried them for around 4 hours at 105F in a dehydrator, and the other half I put in a jar in the fridge 

Once the berries where dried I ground them very coarsely and got to work on the levain builds.

Build one: 10g coarse rye, 10g water, 10g rye chef

Build two: 30g coarse rye, 30g water, 30g (all of previous culture)

Build three: 110g coarse rye, 110g water, 90g (all of previous culture) 


Once the culture builds were good and finished I started on the final recipe,

500g super coarse, sprouted rye flour. (77%)

300g coarse rye levain. (23% rye, 23% water)

600g sprouted rye berries. (92%)

233g dried cherries. (36%)

293g german black beer. (45%)

142g water. (22%)

16g salt. (2.5)

First I mixed the flour, beer and water and let it sit for 25 minutes. then I added the berries, cherries, levain and salt. Mixed with my hands briefly and packed right into my 9x4x4 pullman pan. 

4 hours later I put the pan with the top on into a 450F oven and baked for 30 minutes

30 minutes later I turned the oven down to 420 and baked for 30 minutes

30 minutes later I turned the oven down to 375 and again baked for thirty minutes

half an hour later down to 350

half an hour later down to 300

half an hour later I removed the top of the pan.

15 minutes later I removed the loaf from the pan and finished it up on the stone for 15 minutes.

after 15 minutes I took the loaf off the stone and put in on a oven rack, turned the oven off and let the loaf and the oven cool down together for an hour or so.

Then I waited 24+ hours and cut it.

This bread is crazy filling and just great tasting. My house smelled like caramelizing sugar, spicy wet rye and cherries for hours.


another thing I did differently this time was lightly rub the inside of my pan (including the top) with butter on a paper towel, then I put a generous amount of rye flour in the pan, closed the lid and shook. this gave the loaf a nice covering of rye and served as a non stick barrier for such a wet loaf.

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Over the last few days I took my first crack at sprouting grains. It was a resounding success that I feel has probably opened the door to more experimentation and exciting flavors in my bread. This one is primarily sprouted rye flour, sprouted rye berries and seeds. It's a great loaf of dense hearty bread. It smells super malty and sweet and the flavor of the seeds come through nicely.

Here's how I made it

192g Sifted fresh ground hard red (34%)

343g Whole fresh groung sprouted rye (61%)

54g Rye Levain (5% water, 5% rye)

341g Sprouted rye berries (61%)

84g Toasted sunflower seeds (15%)

28g Toasted sprouted pumpkin seeds (5%)

14g Salt (2 1/2%)


30 minute autolyse

mix and rest for 45 minutes

shape and ferment for two hours at room temp

16 1/4 hours in the fridge

5 1/4 hours warming up on a heating pad

bake at 450 for 45 minutes then at 430 for 50 minutes

cool for 24 hours and slice.



WoodenSpoon's picture

Over my last two days off I made this really big Oatmeal Miche. Its subtle and earthy and maybe a little too big but it will last all week until I have time to make another so I'm pleased.

Here's how I made it

Levain build one 

  • 20g rye chef
  • 50g fresh ground hard red
  • 20g water

Levain build two

  • 25g firm levain
  • 100g fresh ground hard red
  •  50g water

Final Dough

  • 1100g Bread Flour (69%)
  • 320g Hard White (20%)
  • 70g Hard Red (4%)
  • 10g Rye (1ish%)
  • 150g Levain (6.6%hard red 3.3%water)
  • 1150g water (72%) (hold 100g)
  • 400g Cooked oatmeal (25%)
  • 235g Toasted Hazelnuts (15%)
  • 32g Salt (2%)

First I mixed all the flours and let the dough autolyse  at room temp holding 100 grams of water for later.

Eight hours later I dissolved the levain in the leftover water and incorporated it into the dough. Fifteen minutes later added the salt and have the dough a few slap and folds. followed by a ten minute rest and a set of stretch and folds followed by a 20 minute rest.

During that 20 minutes I roasted and cracked the hazelnuts and cooked the oatmeal.

I incorporated the nuts and oatmeal and for the next hour and forty minutes I have the dough 4 sets of semi evenly spaced out stretch and folds. then I left it alone for around six hours. Then I shaped it and put it right in the fridge to proof

21 hours later I removed it from the fridge and put it right in a 500degree oven. 5 minutes later I reduced the heat to 450 and continued baking for another 55 or so minutes. once the the loaf was done I turned the oven off and left it in with the door cracked for an additional ten minutes.



WoodenSpoon's picture

I have been busily working away on my Rye levain formula and the one I just baked off this morning on one of the best yet. Recently I have started to shy away from my standard 100% hydration white or primarily white levain towards much firmer entirely whole grain levain starters. I still keep my chef at 100% hydration and I think that going from a cold wet chef to a warm dry levain to a warm wet final mix is really contributing to the flavor complexity.

Here's how I made it.

Levain build #1

  • 3g 100% hydration rye chef
  • 21g fresh milled whole rye
  • 10g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Levain build #2

  • 5g 50% hydration rye levain
  • 50g fresh milled whole rye
  • 25g warm water
  • 12 hr ferment at room temp

Final dough

  • 480g bread flour 70%
  • 170g fresh milled whole rye 25%
  • 45g levain 7.5% (5%rye, 2.5% water)
  • 55g rye chops 8%
  • 536g quite warm water (hold 36g) 79%
  • 13g salt 2%

First I mixed the flours and rye chops and hydrated them with all but 36g of the warm water and let it sit for 45 minutes. Then I added the salt and in a different bowl I moistened/mashed with a fork the 45 grams of firm levain in the remaining 36 grams of water and added that to the dough. After a quick mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the salt I mashed the whole dough in my hands and as adding water to already partially developed dough isn't always the easiest thing to do. 

Once the dough came back together I gave it a firm two or so minutes of slap and folds followed by a twenty minute rest, then I gave it another quick set of slap and folds and a ten minute rest then another quick set and a fifteen minute rest then another quick set and an hour rest.

After an hour I have it a good stretching and folding in the bowl followed by a very quick slap and fold half an hour later and one more another half an hour later. 

By now the dough has been fermenting for around 3 hours and forty minutes. I gave it an additional 5 hours and forty minutes of room temp bulk fermentation shaped it and popped it in the fridge for 19 hours.

Around noon today I put the loaf in a 500 degree oven, poured hot water over my preheated lava rock and baked it for 55 minutes turning the oven down to 450 after the first two minutes.

This is one heck of a good loaf with a pretty prime aroma to boot. Earthy, hearty and lactic with that characteristic rye spiciness followed by a light acetic zing. So tasty.

WoodenSpoon's picture

I haven't been posting/reading much on the fresh loaf lately and I haven't been super pleased about it, but due to lots of work around the holiday season and general lazyness my TFL activity has decreased but my bread baking is still at a fever pitch.

Last month or maybe early this month, after a bunch of saving and waffling I finally joined the I have a mill club and I'm super excited about it. After my initial first few attempts and semi passable failuers I'm getting the hang of the fresh flour deal and with the new sifters my lady friend got me for christmas and the Bob's Red Mill factory outlet store a really hard stones throw away I expect I will only delve deeper.

This rascal pictured above was my first real success with fresh flour and it tasted tops. I used an all fresh ground rye levain and an additional 13% fresh ground hard red wheat that I sifted with cheese cloth to 82% extraction (thats what cheese cloth leaves you with) to bring the fresh ground total to 20%. 

Right now I'v got some hard red tempering (a first for me) and I'm building my levain up with plans to bake on monday. This time around I will up the fresh ground percentage to maybe 30% and with my glorious new sifter I will sift the red to 70%.

If yer interested the formula for the above loaf is as follows

  • 37g fresh ground sifted hard winter wheat, 7%
  • 423g BF, 80%
  • 138g whole rye levain, 13% Rye&13%Water
  • 360 warm water, 68%
  • 10g Salt, >2%

1 hour autolyse

lots of slap and flolds

a 5 hour bulk ferment

a four hour proof

and an hour bake @450F with steam provided by lava rocks


Happy holidays yall


WoodenSpoon's picture


  • 269g BF (52%)
  • 103g Kamut (20%)
  • 78g Semolina (15%)
  • 140g Levain (13% bf 13%water)
  • 26g Toasted SesameSeeds (5%)
  • 346g Water (67%)
  • 10g Salt (2%)

The evening before baking I mixed up my levain using 7g active chef and 200 or so grams of both water and flour and let it ferment at an albeit cool room temp overnight plus some of the following morning.  I made extra for a different project and the additional flour and water with out a significant increase in chef caused for a slower fermentation for the levain, which was fine. When I was ready to start mixing I added everything but the salt and sesame seeds and let it sit for an hour, during this time I toasted the seeds in a dry cast iron and made sure they were cool. 

After the hour had passed I mixed in the seeds and salt and gave the already pretty developed dough a minute or so of slap and folds followed by a rest and a few more folds. Then I let it ferment for an additional four hours at room temp with a few stretch and folds at the 1, 2 and 2 and a half hour marks. 

Five hours later I shaped the loaf and rolled it on a wet towel then rolled it on a plate full of black sesame seeds and popped it in my pullman pan for 4 hours.

Four hours later I baked it at 450 for an hour then took it out of the pan and baked it for another 10 minutes.


mmmmm mm this is some tasty bread, its both buttery and earthy and the sesame seeds both on the inside and out contribute a great nuttyness that I am a big fan of. I was also very pleased and a bit surprised at how well the dough came together with two flours that didn't contribute much gluten to the mix. I expect this one will go fast and I will make it again for sure. 


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