The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Mini Oven's blog

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

since before Christmas.  You know how it is, down in the bottom of the fridge hidding between the spuds and onions.  Na ya, keep or toss?  Opened the bag and removed the top inch of kraut.  Hmmm, about a cup of nice juice and great smelling sauerkraut in there.  Put it into glass added a little water and sprinkled several heaping soupspoonfuls of white wheat on top.  Stirred in making a milky lumpy thin batter.  Covered and came bake later to notice nothing going on.  Next day nothing.  Ah, waking up the sleepy beasties.  Added another spoonful of flour and the next morning it was finally smelling very yeasty.  So, what now?  

I strained off part of the juice and fed it like a sourdough starter.  The rest of the kraut and juice got puréed and 450g bread flour was added plus any water as needed while mixing by hand.  I tasted for salt (sauerkraut can be salty) and added about 4 g. Added a tablespoon of raw honey and 10g of fresh yeast. (Yikes a hybrid! I was a little worried about all those Bacteria working a bit fast to deteriorate my gluten.)  And let it rise. It did, a lot about 3x volume, maybe more.  

Dropped the bowl to deflate brutally. (Rough love.) Folded the dough from each corner and then a rest. Spreads out the dough pouncing onto it like a panther, shaped the loaf and placed into a large loaf pan.  The sauerkraut starter was already one third risen so it went into the fridge to join the other starters.  The dough was rising fast after a very good deflating so turned on the oven immediately after panning the dough.  (It felt strong and puffy enough to make a 4" high focaccia! Maybe next time.) Left the top of the dough open without covering as it was rising fast, the dough is a bit much for the pan (already took up almost half the space) and the dryer skin could be scored to help hold the rising dough as it rose up in the oven.  (Didn't want a mushroom top.)

As the oven heated up I played with how to score... sharp down the middle?  A smile?  ///?  Off to one side? ( XXX might have been fun) and settled on deep off center, straight line with the cut to the oven door. Angled toward the center of the dough.  Lately I've moved my shelf down a notch so baking on the bottom shelf for the extra electric heat under the loaf.  Then raise the shelf when rotating the loaf pan.  Done in 35 min 210°C.  

Fell out of the pan onto the rack and has lots of lovely dark crusts specks all over the surface.  Baked on Wed, photo on Monday. With the aroma of sauerkraut bits in the bread there is an old reminder of school cafeterias gone by.  Its the cabbage family aroma.  One of those you like it or you don't kind of smells.  Toasting disperses most of it.  Not good with jam or nut butters.  Delicious with cheese and variety of meats, pickles, black pepper and garlic.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just throwing something together... a 300g spelt, 200g wheat bread flour, half a cup of yeast water starter, apple yeast water some scalded milk, blob of butter and a decent shake of ground caraway, 10g salt.   Forgot how rubbery wheat dough can be.  Had to let it relax so often!  After bulking, stretched the dough into a two foot long narrow pizza like shape, rest, and cut triangles to roll up.  

Something different and easy.  Brushed with milk and let 'em rise under a wet  towel.   210°C hot oven with steam. 20 min. 

"Ding!"        Who cares if da sun don't shine!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It started with an Einkorn Poolish.  What was I thinking?   Should drink my morning coffee first before doing this.  Desperate to try out my new crown cane banneton, threw the last of my Einkorn flour onto the scale, 138 grams.  Matched that with equal weights of water. Whoops! A tad too much, no biggie, Einkorn loves to soak up water if given the time and gee whiz, only 10 extra grams.  Then found a 7 g package of instant yeast, tore open and tapped in a gram or two saving the rest for later.  Stir, cover and forget for the rest of the morning while I enjoy my coffee and get into my day.   

As I poked and prodded my Einkorn Poolish over the course of the morning, it reminded me just how sticky Einkorn dough can be.  I hope it works out.  I slipped a small hot freshly peeled boiled potato into the bowl, along the side, warm things up a bit around 10 am.   Rising nicely and doubling which it doesn't have to do but looks like an afternoon bake.  Around noon, grated the potatoes and stirred it into the poolish.  What a mess to clean the spoon!

Around 2 pm I did my maths.  Let's see....  at least 750g dough.  A two-three water to flour recipe would be 300g H2O to 450g flour.... subtract the poolish and get my water and flour weights for 66.6% hydration.  Add the potatoe and it should be in the 500g range for figuring 2% salt.  (Used 8g table salt.)   I decided on AP flour, no bread flour in cupboard.  Hey, did discover I had two kinds of spelt flour from the same manufacturer, one sifted "white" and the other whole flour.  The carb. and fiber contents are very different.  

Two o'clock mixed up the dough with rest yeast and after half an hour rest, used wet hands to knead shaggy dough into smooth dough. Still sticking and wondering if the dividing and shaping will be just as sticky.  After another half hour of sitting, turned out onto a lightly AP floured bench and no problem dividing with a bench scraper as long as the cut edges got a little flour on them in the process.  Six balls at  approx 120g each and one seventh ball with 145g.  That's how it came out from original instructions of 100g each with one at 150g.  20 min rest under a damp towel.  Rolling out large ball into a disk, draping well floured banneton, reshaping other balls and spacing around middle.  Cutting hump into a 6 point star and pressing points onto each ball to secure.  Dusted a little bit around the edges with raw sesame seeds.  Let proof under damp towel on rack.  Oven 220° C with steam pan baked on heavy pre-heated pizza pan.  Fine soft crumb with a crusty yummy loaf.  

Reflecting back on flattening and draping the heavier dough ball,  it could have been a smaller disk with less dough spread out at the bottom of the banneton.  Seeds would have to be rolled into outside surface before draping.   You can see I almost covered the bottom.  There is so little room at the bottom of this banneton.  Not sure if I like the looks of the cane lines as compared to a smooth cloth lined form at the Wild Yeast Blog



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Inspired from a more basic recipe posted from Kaydens,  Einkorn bread with 47% starter and 1200g total weight with 62% hydration.   I've added a Tangzhong, toasted and cooked whole grain, and upped the hydration a wee bit adding a trace amount of fat. So a little bit closer to 1350g dough.


Toasted Einkorn 100% Einkorn Bread with Tangzhong:


  • 30g einkorn starter
  • 130g water
  • 120g einkorn flour              280g total


  • 90g einkorn starter
  • 100g water
  • 90g einkorn flour               280g total   

I'm doing a faster build starting with 90g of active starter instead of 30g. When bubbly and smelling ripe and yeasty, the plan is to mix up the dough, wait an hour and chill overnight.  Make Tangzhong and toast berries while waiting on the Levain. Covered the cooling tangzhong with the drained berries to prevent a "skin" forming on the surface.


  • 30g einkorn flour 
  • 150g water            

Mix up in Microwave dish and allow to fully hydrate 30 minutes before zapping at high on 30 sec intervals until thickened.  Weigh dish and flour soup before and after heating to replace any missing water lost in the heating process.  Allow to cool.

Toasted Einkorn:

  • 50g whole einkorn berries      
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil for frying
  • 30g finely chopped onion, or soaked dried onion, (optional, thought about it but haven't tried it yet)
  • about 220g or one cup of water  (berries will absorb their own weight in water so anything over 50g should work)

Wash einkorn berries in sieve under cold water and drain.  Heat up butter in small sauce pan and add berries (and onions) Medium high heat stirring constantly until berries start to pop and onions glassy.  Pour in a glass of water and bring to boil, stir and simmer 5 minutes, cover and turn off heat to swell the berries for the next 10  minutes.  Eventually drain and save liquid to use for dough water.


  • 280g Levain
  • 180g Tangzhong 
  • 100g swollen soft cooked whole berries
  • 216g drained berry water + water
  • 14g salt
  • 570g Einkorn flour                                                                    

Total dough weight:  1350g    

Added in the order above and stirring to blend the salt into the "liquids."  Flour added on top and used electric mixer 5 minutes with dough hooks medium speed.  Cover and chill overnight 10 to 12 hrs at 15°C (59°F)   

Return dough to mixer and using dough hooks, mix medium speed for a minute.  (I added one Tablespoon of water to dough during this time, I thought my dough too dry.)

Spoon into a very well floured banneton  throwing more flour around the edges and across the top.  Cover with a folded dry cloth and allow to almost double.  (Another option is to butter a bread pan and dust with nut flour.  Spoon in the dough and smooth the surface with a wet spoon or scraper into a nice rounded form.  Dust the top with nut meats.)

Release dough from banneton first with a rolling motion, cover with parchment and peel  and then cautiously flip over and slowly raise the banneton.  Score a large shallow x across the top. 

Bake in a  oven 230°C with steam 1 to 1.2 hours.  Turn down the heat to 200° at 30 min. to prevent burning and finish the one hour bake.   Baked to 100°C inside temp or 212°F.

(If you use a bread pan or form,  cover with a double layer of aluminium foil shaped first over the bottom of the form.  Remove, turn upright, mist the inside with water and crimp onto the bread pan.   Bake 230°C for 50 minutes then remove foil and lower heat to 200°C to brown top of loaf.  About  10 to 15 more minutes.)


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I regret I hadn't photo documented and tasted that yam loaf.  It took much longer rising  (influenced by long rises on the Tartine theme) ending up on the porch overnight, and because that was too cold in the morning, I did some microwave low voltage zaps to it and then when it got to rising, had to tip it out of the banneton (no problem, rice flour) and fold the dough.  It was so full of rice flour (fear it might stick) I ended up holding it under the running tap to wash off the flour.  A few folds in the air with wet hands and I was in business.  Dusted the banneton with more rice flour, plopped dusty rose tightened dough ball to rise.  Covered with inverted bowl.

Excuses, excuses.  I was trying to bake and finish up packing with dog washing, and the hundreds of things to take care of.  At one point I turned on the oven, tossed the loaf in with a pan of boiling water.  With 15 min left to the 50 minute bake (200°C)  I threw myself into the shower.  I heard the timer and hurried dripping wet to pull the loaf out of the oven...  not bad!  Nice spring and not so purple, with a deep brown crust and lovely overall form.  I parked it on the rack and it was still warm when I headed out the door to the airport with bags and dog. (She was the first in the car.)  Called my SIL from airport security to collect the rest of the flour, the loaf and report back what she thought of it.  She's been bitten by the bread bug only recently.  Golly, the crumb colour, I so wanted to see the inside and taste that loaf.  Wish I had a hunk of it now, here in Bangkok with a midnight hunger that could rip open the crustiest of loaves without a knife.  A little butter would also be nice.   :)   

We did get a some food and rehydrated ourselves mid afternoon,  we in transit, Dolly and I, settled down for a long AC nap.  We were so tired.  Now we're awake and I have only one question... when are hotels going to put some decent baked goods in the mini bar?  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Basically a 1-2-3 Sourdough formula using two fresh baby Rye and Einkorn sourdough starters.  Started respectfully on Friday and Thursday of last week, this is their first loaf.  Last night they had peaked in activity (4 and 3 days old) and I combined:

1)   215g sourdough starter,  predominantly a rye sour 

2)   350g water with 50g Whole Einkorn flour Tangzhong.      Making a 70% hydration dough

3)   600g of flour:  100g fine Rye, 100g Whole Einkorn, 200g fine Spelt, and 200g Organic AP wheat.  (not much strength there!)

   14g salt    14g Bread Spice

Mixed up, covered and let sleep 16°C overnight or 14 hrs.  It did rise about 1/2 so did one set of folds in the morning followed by a shaping.  The dough just seemed to be far enough along at 11 am that no other handling seemed needed.   Banneton rise at 24°C.   

Bake 240°C for 20min with steam pan.  Remove steam, rotate,  reduced to 200°C for 20 minutes.  Inside temp 100°C (212°F)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The No Stir Sourdough Starter

This last week I started a vigorous rye starter by simply pouring water over rye flour and leaving it alone, covering it.  No stir, no mixing, just stand alone at 75°F and watch.  

This time I want to avoid, skip over the stinky bacterial population growth in the starter so I'm pouring sauerkraut juice over flour to see what happens.  Same 74°F to 75°F  temperature.    


  1. Spoon rye flour into clean tall narrow jar.   About one inch or 2.5 to 3 cm. deep.  (I used 30g Rogers whole rye flour)
  2. Pour strained sauerkraut juice gently over the flour.  Should make a top layer of about half an inch or 1.5cm deep.    (I used 40g strained Bick's Wine Sauerkraut)   Do not stir.
  3. Mark the level, time and date with a permanent marker pen.  Cover loosely with lid or plastic wrap and loose rubber band. 
  4. Stand in warm spot 75°F (23.8°C)  out of drafts and danger.  Do nothing but observe but this includes daily removal of cover and noting aromas before recovering.  

That is it.   Just for information my culture growing glass is about 2" in diameter, 5" tall and weighs 178g empty.  The sauerkraut contains sodium as well as vitamin C, wine and sulphites.  The last of which may or may not interfere with yeast activation.  It is not raw sauerkraut juice which might be preferable.  When the starter takes on a beer aroma, it will be fed more flour.

Anyone wishing to participate is welcome.  

Options might include other flours, other sauerkraut juices, other temperatures.  As sauerkraut is fermented around 60°F it might be interesting if a 60°F sourdough starter could be developed (might take more time?)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It's a Spelt & wheat loaf, with rye, chia, and fluffy hemp hearts.  It speaks Italian.

Cranked out a sourdough loaf with a rather slow starter based on the famous 1,2,3 ratio recipe.  Letting the dough retard in the fridge overnight gave it an edge and I didn't have to worry about it.  Set it out to warm up, gave it another fold and rested it in a make-shift banneton lined with a large paper napkin.  Baked it around noon.

The loaf is decorated with a slurry of rye, water, lemon juice, active malt, salt.  A small coffee cup transferred the "rings" from the plate of slurry to the flour dusted loaf.  Scoring could have been a bit deeper but I'll take it.  


150g wheat starter (just peaked) 

285g water

 15g fresh lemon juice

13g or 1 Tbs olive oil


200g spelt flour

150g white wheat flour (I used Antimo Caputo 10% protein) (that's where the Italian comes in!) 

 55g dark rye (Rogers)

 25g hemp hearts

 20g chia seeds

10.5g salt  (2% of 525g total flour)

Mix dough by spoon adding the oil after the flour and seeds have been moistened.  Rest 30 minutes and lightly knead the dough one minute.  Let stand until the dough starts to puff up about a third.  In my case with a weakly yeasted starter, 4 hrs.  First firm stretch and fold followed by another in one hour.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.  

Next morning (about 12 hrs before baking) remove and let dough come to room temp and rise.  When almost doubled, turn out,  degas and fold to shape.  Place top side down in a basket lined with a large flour dusted paper napkin (wow, it works!)  (The dough had so nicely risen before I took notice that I think shaping sooner and letting double in the banneton or tin is also another way to go with this stiff dough.  Pretty easy to manage and not sticky.)

Heat oven to 230°C (450°F)  just before dough has risen enough.  Turn out onto parchment.

A slurry of 20g rye flour, 1/2 teaspoon of active malt (for a dark colour) lemon juice (for stretch) pinch of salt, and water( to make a thick paint) is mixed on a plate.  

Dip the rim of a glass or coffee cup into the slurry and then "print" it onto the dough. Easy!

These make the olympic Rings on the floured surface of the dough.  I got a little carried away adding more rings.

Slash and bake about 40 to 45 minutes turning down to 200°C (400°F) halfway into the bake.  

Inside temp measured 208°F (98°C)  


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just an update, a study feeding those with irritable bowel syndrome ancient vs modern wheat.

and this right next to it using Kamut vs whole wheat


Subscribe to RSS - Mini Oven's blog