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This is my second attempt at the multigrain Struan from Peter Reinhart’s wonderful book: Whole grain Breads. This is no easy dough to deal with, and I remember now why i have chosen to put it off for a second trial. The high proportion of soaked grains (I used some seeds too), held loosely by 100% whole wheat flour, some butter, and honey; makes for a very sticky dough.

I have used a sourdough preferment instead of a yeasted preferment, to give my dough a boost of strength, and flavor. The final dough was leavened with commercial yeast @ 2.5tsp. I also chose not to add any more flour, so the dough was stickier but soft. Ultimately, the dough should come together coherently and form a ball.

Notes to self:

1 – Use a mixer. Your hands will get messy with this one.

2 - Add some more whole wheat flour to the final dough.

2 – Bake it in pans, NOT free form.

3 – Apply egg wash prior to Poppy seed garnish. Water will not do the job properly.

4 – Bake *4 the recipe quantity, as this bread disappears almost immediately.

Sourdough Preferment (Wholewheat) - Freshly prepared:


Soaker: (Millet, Cracked Oats, Buckwheat, flaxseeds, Sunflower seeds, toasted sesame) in Hot water.

Formed Batards:

The flavors, texture, aroma are all out of this world. The crust is sof, yet crunchy from all the popp seeds. The crumb is soft, crunchy, isn't chewy at all, and very aromatic. Overall, the bread isn't dense  it is just closed textured.

The bread was praised by all members of my household. The extra crunchiness brought by the addition of millet was just the right addition to compement the rest of the textures. This is one absolutely magnificent recipe from a magnificent bread book.


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I don’t know why I sometimes push myself to the extremes, but I can’t resist having excess ripe sourdough, without putting it to good use. I have adopted a lazy method of feeding my starters prior to my weekend baking, and building it to a leaven similar to the ones used in Hamelman’s Bread. No planning involved as to which bread I’ll bake, and I often end up with an excess leaven when I decide to change my recipe at the last moment.

As a result, I had a 2.48 times more Rye Sourdough than my recipe called for, and the final dough mass was 4.22 KG! Why did I fail to notice that I’m actually doubling the recipe? Again, the thought of an excess ripe Sourdough distracted me.

The recipe is a 17% Whole Rye flour, and 8% Whole wheat, taken from TFL member Hansjoakim. The recipe has become quite popular with my wife, and makes a very versatile bread.

Mixing is a nightmare here, as i had to manually mix the ingredients to a 75% hydration wet dough. My back didn't thank me for that :) However, once the dough rested for 1/2 hour autolyze, and subsequent stretch and fold regime, i was content to the fruits of my labor. I have never mixed or baked such amount of dough before, and the size did pose challenges, although i did eventually manage it.

I preheated the oven for 1.5 hours with two stones on two different racks, and loaded two loaves on each rack. During the oven spring, the loaves were cramped in space, and were seen edging beyond the stone surface towards the oven window. All was well, in the end.

I will not bake such dough quantity at once, nor would i recommend it to anyone.

The Ripe Sourdough:

1 Kg loaf, each:


Next day, three loaves were sliced and frozen, and the third was given away.

The flavor, crust, chewiness, all were consistent with what i'm used to. A very good daily bread that is good with almost everything.






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Oh, boy i feel at home, again!

Not only baking is addictive, it has become a part of me now. Almost 3 months of bed rest, and ayurvedic therapy, 1 of which was spent in Kerala, the beautiful southern city of India; has never detached me from thefreshloaf site, nor did my enthusiasm for bread baking waver.

Despite the restricted indoor stay, I was fortunate to witness the onset of monsoon on June 5th from the view of small balcony. Kerala, is a southern district of India blessed with lush green pastures, abundant rain, and intense vegetation. The climate was humid, rather hot when I arrived there, but the weather soon changed, and the westerly ocean winds brought breeze and rain.

Monsoon clouds from afar:

Drawing nearer:


Rain Pours, not falls!

Although I was not fully satisfied with my therapy program, I was strangely ecstatic about the fact that I was returning home, and will soon resume baking! after all, baking is therapy all by itself.   

Upon arrival, I wanted to bake some bread, as no stock was in my freezer. Due to my almost  de-conditioned body, I chose to bake some yeasted whole wheat bread from Laurel’s book, and I elected the basic recipe.

Days ago, I diluted and fed my dried starters (Wheat, and Rye), and baked yesterday a 40% Rye – no caraway. (note to self: Next time I’ll add caraway, regardless of what my wife likes :) )

Left is Rye, Wheat is right:

The flavor of this bread never disappoints. Pity, i excluded the caraway seeds.








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Last week, I have been milling my Turkish wheat berries (don’t quite know the type-probably ordinary winter wheat, but definitely not red) using my trusty Hawos easy mill, and noticed that during the first phase of my intermediary milling (coarse), I found tiny bran particles along with the middlings . I decided to try a labor intensive method of separating the bran from the other particles. Bran weighs less than the coarse endosperm particles, so I used a hair drier to blow air through the coarse mixture while stirring it. ½ hour later, this method left me with copious amounts of bran scattered on my laps and on the floor and the endosperm particles with some bran intact remained in the bowl. I know.. I must be crazy, but I was testing a reliable way to remove bran from equally sized endosperm particles, and that surely isn’t practical. I milled the remainder mixture into fine flour, sifted it with a fine mesh sieve, and obtained really fluffy yellowish flour, with tiny specs of powdered bran. I declared it: Mebake’s high extraction flour. It was very soft and fine textured, and had a beautiful wheaty aroma. I didn’t know the extraction %, but assumed that it belongs to the league of artisanal flours. My wife made some chocolate cookies with this flour and the result was the best cookies I’ve ever made at home: Crunchy, delicate, and full of flavor. I wish I had a 50 kg sack of this stuff. I decided to put the flour to test, and bake genuine artisanal bread with it: Miche a callier, from Hamelman’s BREAD. I stuck to the recipe and the procedures, although the stiff levain did ripe in less than 8 hours. The dough received 3 stretches and folds at 40 minute intervals. I noticed some tears during S&F, and I would attribute it to the flour being green (freshly milled), and the milling heat. Here it is:

The flavor at 12 hours is wheaty / nutty and very aromatic. The crust was crunchy / chewy, and the crumb soft and creamy, but not as moist as i guessed it would be. 

The flour

The flour, although difficult to obtain using my method, was worth it.

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I’ve always wanted to bake a Volkornbrot, and Peter Reinhart’s Version in “Wholegrain Breads” was appealing enough, though challenging too. The Recipe involves a soaker and a biga, as usual. However, the Biga was in the form of a Stiff Rye Sourdough, and the soaker was a Mash/scald. I have elected to skip the called for yeast, and went by the baking instruction of Hamelman’s version of volkornbrot in “Bread”.



120 g      Whole Rye Meal

300g       Water

3T           Flaxseeds

½ tsp     Malted Flour


- Preheat oven to 200F (93C)

- Add all ingredients except flaxseeds to a 165F (74C) water, stir, cover and insert into the oven. Reduce temperature immediately to 150F (66C). Leave the mixture in for 1-3 hours at 66C.

- When done, remove the mixture, and taste it. It should quite sweet. Add the flaxseeds, stir, and cover. The Mash can be used within 24 hours at room temperature, or up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (Note: On baking day, remove the Mash from the fridge 2 hours early to de-chill)



 213g     Whole Rye Meal

170g     Water

71g (1/3cup) Mature Sourdough Culture


 - Mix all ingredients well, cover and let ferment at room temperature from 6-8 hours until the mixture is well ripe. Degas it by stirring it, cover then refrigerate for up to 3 days.(Note: On baking day, remove the Mash from the fridge 2 hours early to de-chill)



454g     Sourdough

425g     Mash / Scald

255g     Whole Rye Flour

50g       Water

42.5g   lightly toasted Sunflower Seeds

1 ¼  tsp   Salt


 - Mix All Ingredients together to a thick sticky paste. If the consistency isn’t so, add water/flour as needed. Oil a bowl, and insert the paste into it. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Scrape the paste onto a floured surface (Rye flour), and work the paste into a log shape, incorporating as little Rye flour as possible. Insert the log into an oiled + Rye Floured pan, cover and let ferment for 45-60 minutes at 82F.

- ½ hour prior to the bake, preheat your oven to 460F and prepare your steaming method. 5 minutes, before the bake time, insert the steaming device. Finally, insert the pan carfully into the oven, as dough is fragile at this stage, and turn down the oven to 370F. Bake 10minutes under steam, and 45 without. During the last 15 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan, and bake bare until it brows evenly.

- Remove the loaf and immediately wrap in a kitchen towel for 24-48 hours prior to slicing.

The aroma of the baked Volkornbrot was as expected, fragrant, and sweet. 24 hours after the bake, the crust was chewy, and the crumb was moist and tender, and speckled with toasted nuts, and seeds. The Typical earthy Rye sweetness lingers in your mouth minutes after you swallow, with a pronounced sour note.

The Mash has created a very manageable dough, unlike most Rye bread without mash/scald. Flavor-wise, the mash did add up to the subtle sweetness of the crumb.





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I've blogged about this bread many times before, however, this time i wanted to stay true to the spirit of Hamelman. Mixing instructions for this recipe, as with most recipes in BREAD call for moderate gluten development, and i have lately deviated from his mixing instructions by applying hybrid mixing, where french slap and fold, Laurel's kneading using a bench scraper, and other mixing techniques. What i wanted was to have a well developed soft dough that raises well in the oven. Not applicable to all breads! I should not have overlooked the significance of mixing instructions of hamelman.

I mixed the ingredients slowly, adding a batch of flour at a time, to avoid lumps. I increased the hydration by 108 grams. then, when everything was incorporated (including yeast), i scraped the dough down to a work surface, and kneaded using the conventional way for 5 minutes, rested for 5 minutes, and then kneaded for another 5 minutes. I then oiled a bowl, insterted the dough, and covered for a 2 hour fermentation. I folded (letter fold) half way through, and placed the dough back, i was surprised at how silky and smooth the dough became after such a minimal initial mixing.

At the end of final fermentation, the dough was very smooth, extensible, and pliable. While preshaping and shaping , i made sure not to aggressively form the dough, to retain as much gases as possible.

Here is the result: The tallest crumb profile i achieved for a wholewheat multigrain, with superb flavor.


 The aroma of the bread was very sweet as a result of the the multigrain soaker (cracked wheat, flax seeds, buckwheat, rolled oats). The crust was crunchy, and the crumb tender, yet intact. Toasting will take the flavor up to another level of excellence.

The moral of this post is, (note to self), never underestimate the mixing instructions.







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This is baked from Hamelman's "BREAD", in levain section. It is naturally leavened, with 10% wholewheat or so. I increased the hydration from 68% to 78%, as i like a softer dough. everything went as scheduled, but i ended up in bed at 1:00 am! a chronic symptom of my late sourdough baking...!

Therefore, i thought of an idea, which is reducing the prefermented flour to 10% to allow 21 hours retarded bulk fermentation, and consequently allows me to continue baking next day without having to sleep late.

I have not turned the oven down from 500F once i loaded the loaf in, and this is the crust i got:

The cavern at the loaf's top is a result of ignoring the significance of patting the dough even during preshaping.

The flavor is not bad, considering that it recieved no retardation. As dull as it may seem, the flavor will awaken once a slice is toasted!


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Once more, reminded by Karin's blog, i bake another recipe out of Hamelman's "BREAD". The recipe, cast away behind Volkornbrot with flaxseeds in Sourdough Breads section, was unintentionally overlooked. Karin (hanseata)has Praised the bread, and i had to bake a mutigrain SD sourdough sometime, so i did.

The Recipe is 75% Bread flour, and 25% Whole rye flour. The hydration was 99% with all the grains, but i felt it needed 100g more water to the final dough. The dough was sticky, as noted by Hamelman. I slaped and folded the dough in 5 minutes intervals for 30 minutes, in order for the dough to have enough strength. At the end of the slap and fold, the dough was finally coherent and held shape. i suspect that such moderately intensive kneading did leach out much flavor from the Bread flour. How could it be avoided?

I adhered to Hamelman's instructions to the word, including final yeast addition. The fermentation with this dough is very fast, with bulk fermentation of 1 hour, and final fermentation of 1 hour. No folding was required.

The crumb was delightfully open, and was soft, not chewy. The crust was crunchy, and full of wholegrain flavor.

However, i would say that i was somewhat disappointed with the flavor, initially. The flavor will develop in time, but i believe that this bread lacked the intense SD flavor associated with the removal of yeast from final dough. God willing, I'll try this next without the yeast. However, i believe this bread excells when toasted!

Added by Edit:

This is a photo of  tweaked steaming method i used for this bread:


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This is my second take at Golden date bread, the recipe found in Laurel’s Wholegrain baking book.  As I did in my previous post here, I have added a poolish to the formula to increase the extensibility of this dough, and improve flavor.

This time, however, i reduced the date puree to 50% of the original formula, as I found it to be on the sweet side, and increased the final dough water by 50 grams to compensate.

Admiring fellow TFL baker’s loaf shaping skills, like Janet and Breadsong, and Txfarmer, I tried shaping rolls in a pan myself. I’am impressed with the results.

Added by edit: It is note worthy to say that i have heeded Andy's advice of autolysing the flour and water first , and avoid adding the Dates puree at the beginning as they tend to compete with flour for water. I did that but i autolysed everything except the puree for 30 minutes. It worked! thanks Andy.

The bread was soft, light, yet wholesome. It was not sweet, but has a hint of dates flavor. The crust was soft too.

This bread is best eaten alone, and needs no accompaniment. Top Notch!

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 One year after Txfarmer showcased her lovely bake of Laurel's Oatmeal bread,  I decided to bake one myself. It is a 100% wholewheat, enriched direct dough, leavened with commercial yeast. Having excess rolled wholegrain oats at home, i decided to give the recipe a try.

The dough was very thirsty. I ended up adding 240g of water to the dough. Intensive kneading for this dough is a must, otherwise the bread will be dense, due to all the oatmeal.

I used finely milled wheat flour for this recipe.

The crust is crunchy, and the crumb moist and tender. The intrinsic qualities of this straight dough bread shows most when toasted.

If i want a wholesome toast for a meal, this is the bread to go to.



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