The Fresh Loaf

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Fresh loaves

hansjoakim's picture

Fresh loaves

Here are some of my recent loaves: This weekend I had a go at a Pain Meunier ("Miller's bread"), which is a great tasting wheat loaf. Apparently, this kind of bread was invented by boulangers as a way to thank their millers for reliable flour and grains. The whole wheat kernel is used in these recipes; in addition to wheat flours, cracked wheat, wheat germ and wheat bran are often added. The result is a wonderful, nutritious wheat loaf, with an appealing golden colour.

Pain Meunier

I used the overall recipe from Suas' ABAP as my jumping off point, added some more whole wheat flour, increased the hydration slightly, and tweaked it so that I could use my firm, white starter for the loaf. A very nice everyday wheat loaf!

Pain Meunier crumb

I've also had great success with turning this dough into rustic wheat baguettes, but then I've opted for a poolish instead of a firm starter as the preferment. This dough yields baguettes with a crisp crust and a full wheaty flavour. Recommended.


The next loaf is the whole grain loaf from the same book. My first go at this formula, so you can see from the photo below that I was slightly "optimistic" in scoring the loaf... The oven spring wasn't exactly tremendous, so the cuts just barely opened up, but the loaf held its profile very well during the bake. I guess a thorough mix followed by gentle shaping is the way to go with loaves like this.

100% whole grain bread

The formula calls for a whole wheat levain, so the only white flour comes from the stiff starter used to seed the levain. The rest is a mix of whole wheat flour, rye meal, medium rye flour and a soaker of flax, sesame, sunflower seeds and rolled oats. I just had a slice with some chèvre and one with herring, and I found both to be "most agreeable" (i.e. "great"). The dominating taste in this loaf for me, is the soaker combined with a certain spicyness that I'll ascribe to the rye meal.

100% whole grain bread crumb


Yesterday I baked two Gibassiers - a flat bread from the Luberon region of France. The dough is rich, made up of milk, eggs, olive oil, butter, orange blossom water (I couldn't find any, so I used Cointreau instead - perhaps making this the "grown up version" of the Gibassier?), candied orange peel and anise seeds. Mixing this kind of dough is pretty labour intensive, as it should have a good windowpane before mixing is over, and sugar and butter need to be added late in the mixing process to not inhibit gluten formation.


To be perfectly honest, I was slightly disappointed by the resulting loaves. Don't get me wrong: The taste was remarkabe, the crumb was velvety soft and delicate and the kitchen filled up with the most pleasing orange scent. It was just that, at every second bite, I was a bit reminded by my favourite scone recipe... And that's something one pulls from the oven about 30 minutes after mixing has begun - the Gibassier is made with an overnight sponge and needs to see some pretty intense mixing. Of course, a scone can never compete in terms of crumb texture, keeping qualities or the full taste complexity of the Gibassier, but I'm still undecided whether the end result is fully worth it. Well, it certainly is if you want to bake something special for a celebration or a holiday, but perhaps not as a mid-week treat... Let's leave it at that for now. I'll probably change my mind the next time I make them ;)


xaipete's picture

All your loaves look beautiful, Hans. What an artist you are! And, your photographic skills match your baking ability.

I looked at the Miller's bread recipe in Suas but didn't see the inclusion of whole wheat kernels. Was this your addition to the soaker?


hansjoakim's picture

Thank you! I always find it difficult to get enough lighting and correct focus (and being rather retarded when it comes to photography), I always snap dozens of photos every time I haul out the camera. Of a dozen, hopefully one turns out decent :) By the way, you made some great croissant photos yourself, Pamela!

No, I didn't add any whole wheat berries to the soaker - I meant to say that all parts of the berry is used in the formula - I think that's why it's called "Miller's loaf". Endosperm (flour), bran (I added some wheat bran and used whole wheat flour with bran particles) and germ (in the final dough) are all here. I've made the bread once using Suas' recipe with prefermented dough, which also turned out tasty, but if you want to bake the Meunier, I recommend you try it with a white levain instead!

blackbird's picture

hi hans,

can you write the formula for the orange flavored bread Gibassiers or is it in the Suas book? 

hansjoakim's picture

thanks :)

the formula is given in suas' book. i'm not sure if i can post it here without breaking copyright stuff? anyways, a google search came up with a pretty similar recipe by ciril hitz: click here!

SylviaH's picture

always shines through on your baking skills and way you display them, Hans!  It's encouraging and fully understandable for me when you say tweaked what you have done and I can almost taste your breads by the way you describe them.  All are very nice!

  I still have some candied lemon peels left....did your left over candied orange peels help in your decision to make the Gibassier?  The French certainly have some sweet tooth's...I love these kind of breads...Looking in my cupboards has a big influence on what my next baking project will be...for me it goes along with the 'In Place' part of baking to keep perishables rotating.  Anyway, lovely use of your homemade candied orange peel ; ) 



LindyD's picture

Your breads are beautiful (as usual), Hans, and the Gibassier is intriguing.  Adding the Cointreau was brilliant - although I usually have mine in a Margerita.  

Good thing you didn't include any of your gorgeous pastries, or I'd be looking for my luggage (and dish cloths)!  ;-)

hansjoakim's picture

Thanks Sylvia! You guessed it - a leftover pile of candied orange peel tipped me in favour of that formula :) Judging from recipes and formulas, the French really enjoy their Viennoiseries and pastries rich and decadent! It's pretty amazing how they disguise the richness of their creams and pastries though; take their crème mousseline - a scoop of ordinary pastry cream combined with a mountain of soft butter. By the time you add the last spoonful of butter, invisible magic forces combine to make the end result appear light and fluffy. Really astonishing stuff. I guess that most food and nutrition experts deem those delightful creations unhealthy, but hey, what do they know?? I mean, something that good can't be bad for you!

And Lindy - boy, what can I say? I'm pretty hopeless at these things, and somehow I always mess them up... For some silly reason (probably to "stay in tune with the post title 'Fresh loaves'" or something equally ridiculous) I left out the pastry showpieces this time... I guess this means the dishes are stuck with me for now (or I'm stuck with them rather). Good thing there's still some Cointreau left in that bottle... A Margerita sounds like a not-too-shabby prospect about now.