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Mebake's blog

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There are times when I stare at my pantry and decide to be creative and use leftover flours in bread, this is one of those times.

I had some Whole spelt flour, and Whole wheat flour, and therefore decided to use both in a 50% wholegrain sourdough hearth bread. I made up a formula that benefits from my ripe White liquid starter, here it is:


Bread Flour: 188 g

Water: 188 g

White Starter: 1.5 Tbl



Whole Wheat Flour: 280 g

Whole Spelt Flour: 120 g

All Purpose Flour: 251 g

Bread Flour: 103 g

Water: 470 g

Salt: 1.25 Tbl

Total dough weight: 1600 g

Total Dough hydration: 75%

Wholegrain %: 42%

% of Prefermented flours: 20%

The dough was not kneaded, instead, folded in the bowl 4 times every 30 minutes. The bread fermented as expected, with 3 hours initial fermentation, and 2.5 hours final. I baked the bread on stone, with a another stone on a rack above. The dough was quite soft, but behaved nicely after the third fold.


The flavor of this bread is clean, yet isn’t sweet-sour as i prefer, and is somewhat bland. The crust was chewy, and crumb moist and tender. In retrospect, I believe that with 42% wholegrain flours, I should have used a levain that contains some wholegrains. The bread was also baked on the same day, and not retarded.  DA, and Ian.. and many others here have come up with lovely tasting formulas because they utilize the wholegrain flours in their levain, thereby enhancing the finished product’s flavor. They also retard their doughs, while I’m unable to do so due to timing constrains. The flavor would have been better enhanced if I had used my white levain with a high proportion white flour, but I can’t resist adding more wholesome flours. This explains a lot, as Hamelman’s wholewheat levain (50% wholewheat) recipe calls for a wholewheat levain NOT white.

Therefore, from now onwards, I’ll add wholegrain flours to my levain for high Wholegrain doughs.  

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Last week, I wanted to bake something different. I also wanted to bake something light and soft, yet healthy for the kids sandwiches to school. I browsed through the books, and remembered that i had not prepared any preferment, so naturally i headed to Hamelman's book and right into the straight dough section. I have not made the oatmeal bread, so oatmeal bread it was.

I decided to bake 1.5 times the recipe, yielding a total 2.4 Kg dough. The recipe calls for 20% wholewheat, 12% oatmeal, milk, honey, and oil, so it is an enriched dough. The recipe also calls for 1.5 tsp of yeast, 2tsp for my dough, and a preferable overnight retardation immedietly after mixing. My dough was retarded for 4 hours in the fridge, folded once, and then allowed to warm up for 2 hours on the counter.

The dough was stiffer than i had wished, as a result of the oats. It was difficult to adjust the hydration for a 2.4 Kg dough in the mixer (mine is small).

The crust is soft, and the crumb was really soft. The flavor was slightly sweet and rich, and intensifies when the bread is toasted. This bread makes excellent toast, i loved it!


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Yesterday, i was meaning to bake Hansjoakim's (a TFL member) Pain au levain with Rye sour, but changed my plans at the last moment. I stared at the Ripe Rye sour sitting in the bowl and thought of possible alternatives to my intitial recipe. I wanted a 100% wholegrain bread so I browsed through the bread books i have and found that most recipes needed a soaker of some kind, which i had none. I decided to improvise and bake some bread with my whole wheat and whole rye flours. I weighed the sour and calculated the required flour and water to arrive at a medium loose consistency dough at 75% hydration. It is 22% fermented flour, all of which is whole Rye flour.



412 grams Rye sour (200g water, 200g Whole Rye flour, 12g rye starter)


700 grams Whole Wheat flour (finely ground)

480 grams water

Starter above

1.5 Table spoon salt

Total Dough weight: 1605 grams 

I mixed all the ingredients incuding salt using my mixer, made a dough of medium softness, rested it for 5 minutes, and finished mixing it at speed 2. The dough was rounded and left to ferment for 2 hours. The dough fermented very slowly, if at all, and on hour 3 i lost all hope and knew that it would be an unpleasently sour bread had i left it to ferment more. I have learned yesterday that a rye sour will not do quite well with wholewheat flour, as opposed to white wheat flour (as is the case with Hans' recipe - which contains some rye flour in the final dough too).

I decided to add instant yeast, and i'm glad that i did. I spread the dough to a rectangle and dissolved 3 tsp of IDY in water and poured it on top of the dough, i then kneaded the yeast in until it diappeared.  The bread rose in 1.5 hours, shaped and fermented for 1.5 hours in my bread pan.

The bread's crumb is medium soft, and the crumb is soft and slightly moist. the flavor is very good, with a nice sour tang with each bite. The Rye sour really came through

A really good save, and a lovely wholesome result.




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It has been a while since i have posted any thread, baked any bread, or joined in any conversation with the TFL community. 3 months have elapsed since the day i had my spine fused, and i now feel good, and have recuperated enough to be able to bake bread again.The bread shown is one of my favorites: Hamleman's Whole Wheat Multigrain.

As far as pain, it is mild, yet tolerable. I have removed the brace now, so i can bend easily.

It is worth mentioning that i had kept my BDS (aka Baking deprivation syndrome) at bay by engaging in yet another addiction (like i need one). I have sketched away for days and weeks, and sought to increase my skills at drawing/digital art, and have been pleased with the results. Anyway, enough about me, and here is the bread:

With soaked millet/buckwheat/roasted sunflower seeds/Flaxseeds, and wholewheat freshly milled at home, this bread is mindblowing! Superior to any multigrain bread i have tasted.

I'm glad to be back!


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Dear TFL'ers

I'm on an obligatory pause from baking, as i've underwent a spinal fusion Surgery in my lower back. Can't bake nothing now, nor bend forward... It is a dead pause for 3 months at least!  I'm bound to this dreadful back brace, so the only bread related activity i'll do is watch TFL, and learn more, take it easy, and enjoy some time in some personal reflection (remembering how vulnerable we are as humans, and that without God's mercy and grace, we are helpless).

In the meantime, my dried starters are now dormant in my freezer, and i'm looking forward to the day when i'm ready to fire them up again :)

My thoughts and wishes to you all, especially those of you experiencing tough times.




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Recently, I have been limiting myself to a weekly baking routine, as I nurse my back after the spinal Steroid injection. I have been on and off TFL, viewing other members’ posts, and drawing inspiration from their contributions.

Having baked a Volkornbrot from Hamelman last week, I wanted something lighter, and the oblack olives sitting in a corner of my fridge was I all the nudge I needed to choose Olive levain. I have baked this recipe last year, and did not care much for its flavor, but this time, I decided to give it another go.

The recipe is from Hamleman’s “Bread”, which calls for a liquid white levain, and 10% whole wheat. I used Waitrose strong white bread flour for 1/2 the flour quantity, and the rest was an ordinary all purpose flour. The whole wheat flour was freshly milled. I wanted to mix the dough very minimally, and significantly increased the hydration in hopes of achieving the random open cell structure depicted in the book. I mixed the dough with a wooden spoon, slowly, adding water gradually, until a shaggy dough was formed. The dough contained only the levain, flour and water, and was rested while pitting the olives. 15 minutes later, the salt was sprinkled on top , olives were mixed in, and the dough was folded gently in the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients, which was a clear deviation from Hamelman’s instructions which state that everything should be mixed, including salt, but the olives, and after slightly developing the dough, the olives would be added. Remaining steps were exactly as Hamleman’s. I don’t know how significant my deviations were to the outcome. Any ideas? 


The dough was shaped, rested for 1/2 hour, and then refrigerated for 8 hours. It sat warming up for an hour while the oven was heated.

The Bread came out crackling from the oven. The crust was very crispy, and the crumb was cool and and soft: the perfect sourdough.

Now i realized that i underestimated the subtle flavors that this bread carry. This bread's flavor shines exceptionally well when dipped in olive oil. Lovely bread! and an excellent way to make use of surplus olives.


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This is an illustration i made of shaping a Sandwich loaf, that i wanted to share with you all.



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This is my third take on Peter Reinhart’s Multigrain Struan from his excellent book” “Whole grain breads”. My first two bakes were on stone, but this one is in a Pan. I have made few changes:

1 – Doubled the recipe to fit two Pans: 1kg, and 700 gr. (The loaf shown is the 1 Kg)

2 – Used only white sourdough starter for the Biga.

2 – Added 113g White Bread flour to the final dough, not whole Wheat flour.

 The dough was mixed and left to ferment for 12 hours at room temperature.

Soaker mixed and covered immediately, and left at room temperature for 12 hours. I used Rolled Oats, millet, corn meal, Buckwheat, cracked wholegrain rice, cracked wheat, toasted sunflower seeds, toasted Pumpkin seeds.

The dough was weak, given all the seeds, but was never crumbly. The fermentation was fast, and should be watched closely.

The Crust was soft, and the crumb was smooth. A sour flavor was very much present, but not dominant. It tastes, and feels closer to a volkornbrot (though much lighter), than a regular whole wheat. It is not dense at all.

This bread is rather a sourdough than what Peter Rh. intended it to be, it is nicely sour-ish, and i think i have used a bit too much SD starter, it is bound to become assertively sour in a few days.

With 50% preferment, a wild yeast starter is not the choice, if someone hates sour notes in a bread.

Absolutely Lovely bread, though.


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Nothing new here, my old favorite: Hamelman’s Whole-wheat multigrain.  This time, though, and as I have come to appreciate sourdough preferments, as opposed to yeasted ones; I chose to skip the Instant yeast altogether. I have also chosen a new collection of grains for my hot soaker: Rolled oats, millet, Semolina,  and sunflower seeds.

The initial fermentation took 3 hours, while the final fermentation was  5 hours. I increased the hydration as the dough was stiff, and ended up with an over hydrated dough. To adjust, I added 50-50% whole wheat flour  to bread flour to arrive at a medium to loose hydration. It was wet, still.

The preferment % was reduced as a result of adding more flours to around 9% from 12%.

My Rye Sourdough is dead. I have rushed it once by adding more than comfortable warm water, and since then it seemed to go down the path of demise. Luckily, I can create one easily from my white levain.

For a change, i wanted to bake this bread in a pan.

Although i have not tasted the bread yet, i could describe it as follows:

Soft crust, with rich sourdough aroma. Crumb is open, cool and moist, with an appreciable sour aroma.

I have yet to decide whether or not the 100% sourdough version is better tasting than the sweeter yeasted version.

Update: The flavor of the bread was great. the extended final fermentation did mask the subtle sweetness and wheatiness of the bread, and the sour tang was clearly present. Lovely bread, nevertheless.


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I’ve always wanted to try Laurel’s Whole wheat buns, and last weekend I had the chance to try one. I’ve chosen the feather Puff recipe, which is an enriched 100% whole wheat bread from the book: (Laurel's Kitchen bread book: a guide to whole grain breadmaking). The recipe calls for  eggs, honey, butter, cottage cheese, and good deal of kneading (15 minutes kneading at least), and makes for wonderfully light buns (for whole wheat, that is!).I had no cottage cheese, and decided to do without it altogether.

The author does promise outrageous lightness of the bread when kneaded properly, and boy was she right!

Shaped Buns:

Fairly light buns!

Even, smooth texture:

A close look:

The crust is soft, and full of flavor, and the crumb is light, soft, yet dry. The eggs have contributed to the dryness of the crumb. The sesame seeds add a nutty flavor to the buns, and the bread has some pronounced sweet under tones, due to the Honey.

Although the recipe is a straight dough, with no preferment, it is an excellent healthy, and all purpose bread that is good with any food.



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