The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I have a stock of organic whole red fife flour purchased from a local farm several months ago. My first runs with it seemed to show that it was too weak to be the only flour in the bread - the dough would start breaking down around the time it was proofed to my eye- it made tasty bread, but the crumb was tighter than hard spring wheat loaves. So I was mixing it with some hard spring wheat and getting good results. Recently, I read that Red Fife is actually a high gluten wheat, so I reconsidered my process and ( after a few adjustments ) got this amazing loaf using only whole red fife, water, salt and starter. 

I think the main key was to let the flour soak for a few hours ( with salt) prior to adding the levain. It let the gluten develop well before the acid-producing cultures were introduced. No dough breakdown and I could let the proofing go longer. A further improvement could be to do shaping a bit later and/or shape tighter. 


400 gr whole red fife flour

340 gr water

6 gr salt

mix and rest 4 hrs

meanwhile make a starter build that will be ready in 4 hrs. 

mix in 100 gr starter with dough at 4 hr mark

knead well. Bulk ferment until small bubbles throughout ( about 5 hrs at current room temp ~68 F ). Preshape, shape. Rest an hr at room temp, fridge overnight. Cook covered in a 450 deg F oven 20 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to 400 F, cook 15 more minutes. 

i cut it before it was fully cool. But as the m&m says “not sorry”

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Very hot here. High temp around 110 F, so, to keep the kitchen cooler and reduce electricity use, i cooked a bread on our weber grill. I put a clay baker on to preheat for 15 min before loading the dough and cooking covered for 20 mins and then uncovered for another 20. The grill cover was on for all of it, besides to remove the clay baker cover. 

With some iteration, it could work. The bread was good, with a mild smoke flavor. It was slightly undercooked ( though that could be from cutting while hot). The bottom was very charred and had to be scraped off. 

It’s my ‘staple bread’ - bolted fresh ground winter wheat. 

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Today's bread is made from fresh ground, sifted Hard Red Spring wheat from Montana Flour and Grains

Very basic bread - 

400 gr bolted fresh ground flour

320 gr water (80%)

8 grams salt

30 gr olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

60 grams levain (stiff starter ~65% hydration)


2 hr autolyse flour and water

Mix dough including autolyse, levain and salt - let rest ~30 min

mix in honey and oil.

Bulk ferment until nearly doubled (~4 hr as warm room temp)

preshape, rest 20 min, shape - into refridgerator overnight

Bake in covered pot at 450 deg F directly from fridge. 20 min covered, 15 min uncovered

Here's the crumb (I cut it hot, so it's a bit wet in the picture. It dried off after a while). 

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WW flour 900 gr

water 700 gr

levain 150 gr

salt 18 gr

2 hr salt soak ( flour, water, salt) 

5 hr bulk fermented 

1.5 hr proof after shaping into 2 batards

baked at 450F for 35 min

one loaf cut right away. That’s why the crumb is wet in picture. 

malty-wheaty flavor. Soft texture. Crust is crispy 


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Weekly bread for my friends. Continuing the series of 100% red fife loaves. Hydration 78%, salt 2%. The reviews have been good. No crumb picture because they were all given away. 

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Today’s red fife loaf. I dropped the hydration a bit from the recent loaves. The past few loaves have been tending to relax a lot while in proofing and flattening out bit. So I brought the hydration down a bit from 78% to 75%. Added a small amount of olive oil for flavor. 
Very good wholewheat flavor with malty notes. Soft crumb - not at all chewy. I’m getting the hang of this grain, which is weaker than the northern red spring wheat I usually use. Could have proofed a bit longer, but not bad for 100% wholegrain. 

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I’m lucky to have (so far) a healthy household and furthermore employment that I can accomplish with telework. 

I continue to bake 100% wholewheat sourdough, thanks to buying flour from a local-ish farmer. It is California grown red fife and after a few experiments, I’m getting delicious, light ( for ww) loaves out of it. I’ve been sharing loaves with friends which has given us all a chance for a few minutes socializing in the driveway. One friend even brought his violin and played some tunes :-). 

Here’s a crumb picture 

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I bought some Glenn wheat berries from Kenter Canyon farm at the Atwater Village farmers market ( in Los Angeles). It was $2 per pound, not cheap but not too outrageous. The Glenn wheat is grown in Santa Rosa, California. I’m currently buying hard red spring wheat from Montana Flour and Grains by mail, and I would like to transition to a more local supplier. 

I milled it and baked my typical loaf- sourdough, 100% whole grain, no additives besides salt. The starter is rye and comprised 10% of the grain. The other 90% was the Glenn wheat ( replacing the montana hard red spring wheat). The hydration of the loaf was 80%. 2% salt. 

Impressions- the flour held up well to fermentation with sourdough. The final crumb was softer than the Montana loaf is typically. Probably lower gluten, but strong enough to get a nice enough profile with the usual treatment. Excellent aroma including malty notes. I have been adding spelt to my wheat loaves to reduce the chewiness of the hard red spring loaves, and I’d say the Glenn loaf is an excellent texture alone. 

Here is a crumb picture

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Using a recipe posted in 2013 by d_a_kelly for Panettone a tre impasti in June. My adaptation was to use mango yeast water as the water to build the first impasto and then a small amount ( 5gr) of stiff rye starter in the second dough build. 

The first dough made Saturday late morning, the second late evening Saturday. The last build made Sunday morning and baked when it had tripled ( or perhaps 4x) in a loaf pan. Hand kneaded each step. Used Montana Flour and Grain unbleached white flour. It is a high gluten wheat flour. Baked it when it had risen past the pan lip. It was still growing. Could have used a bigger pan. Great oven spring. May not be able to cool it fully before the family riots. 

Used vanilla extract + orange bitters to simulate fiori de sicillia, and it smells good. 


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This weekend’s bread was mostly spelt with a rye starter and some of last week’s leftover bread (altus). 

400 gr whole spelt (fresh ground)

270 gr water

6 gr salt

80 gr refreshed rye starter ( 100% hydration)

100 gr altus*

-autolyse spelt and water about 2hrs

-mix in starter, rest a bit, mix in salt and altus

-bulk ferment with occasional folds about 5 hrs

-preshape,shape proof in fridge overnight

-bake at 475 F covered for 20 min, 425 F uncovered for 20 more mins

*the altus was last week’s ww bread, crust removed, soaked in water and then squeezed out. 


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