The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Swiss sourdough youngster introducing herself

Salome's picture

Swiss sourdough youngster introducing herself

I've been reading here for years. Well, not constantly, but repeatedly. Finally I took the step to register because I've decided to devote more time to baking out of Hamelman's book instead of picking randomly recipes I find online. I've bought it, so I should use it, I think. Especially as I like it so much as well.

But anyway, I should better start to introduce myself here. My name is Salome, I'm Swiss, turning twenty this year and addicted to bread baking since I'm sixteen. Even though at that time I was more focusing on recipes that make my face blush today ;) . Sins like "three-minute-bread" and such stuff. Well, but I found out that bread can be much more advanced and, more important, much better than that. So that's how I became a little baking geek, fell in love with sourdough at my second attempt (the first attempt resulted in something like vinegar and the bread didn't turn out any better), and now I'm kind of on my third approach to sourdough. Not that anything went wrong the second time, exept, well, I failed to revive it after half a year of traveling. My dried sourdough let me down so that I had to start a new culture after coming back. But before that I enjoyed sourdough baking a lot and I'm very determined to NOT let my culture die another time.

So right now I'm having a levain ripening for the Vermont (or in my case "Graubünden") Sourdough - I'm starting with the very basic in Hamelman's book. Keep your fingers crossed for me so that I'll be able to show you a nice picture tomorrow night!

Talking about -Here you can see some pictures of bread I baked before I went to india

I have two main focuses on baking:

- bread with biiig volume (haven't reached it yet as I'd like to ...)

- healthy bread with rich flavour (I've definitely done it... ;) )

I'm looking forward to even more inspiration, now as I've "officially" signed up and am able to participate.

Warm regards from the alps!


Nomadcruiser53's picture

Welcome to the group Salome. It certainly looks like you will have lots to offer and your breads look great. I look forward to your new adventures in SD. Dave

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Salome.

Welcome to TFL!

From your photos, I'd say you are already an accomplished and adventurous baker. I expect you to make great contributions to our community.

Hamelman's "Bread" is a great book. He has a lot to teach, and his formulas make wonderful breads.

But you have already baked some wonderful-looking loaves. Do you have favorites or ones you are proudest of. Would you post some of you favorite recipes?


Salome's picture

Well yes, there are definitely some favourites of mine! For instance the Südtiroler Kartoffel-Nussbrot" (South Tyrol potato walnut bread), this recipe is incredible. Or this one Leinsamenbrot (Flaxseed Bread) I love for it's taste, even though I haven't mastered yet the high art of a very open crumb. Or the Bauernbrot (Farmerbread) which I love for it's subtle sourness and good keeping quality. Or the Herbstsonne ("Autumn sun") because it's just a very aromatic bread. You see, a lot of love there... ;)
<p>And still I have to admit that I've probably forgotten quite a bit during my long travelling, so I should have a look at my old recipe collection as well ... All of these breads you can find on my picasa page:

Südtiroler Kartoffel-Nussbrot

Herbstsonne, whole bread

Herbstsonne, the crumb.


Actually I can't find the picture of the Flaxseedbread.

But, how could I forget! My mom's best "Zopf", the traditional Swiss Sunday bread! It's something like the Berne Brot in Hamelman's book, but my mother's got a better recipe. :P

This is a Zopf which I didn't braid in the traditional way (meaning with two strings). I made this one with five, as I like to play around. I haven't got a picture of the traditional way of braiding, even though this is probably the bread which I've baked the most in my liftime. It's always been a standard here at home.

If you're interested in one of these recipes I could tipe or copy it in for you.



jleung's picture

Hi Salome,

I can't stop looking at the pictures of your bread on Flickr! They look amazing and you should be very proud of yourself.

I'm interested in the recipe for your mom's zopf - would you mind sharing it with us? By the way, I usually do six-stranded braids with my sweet breads but I think your five-stranded braid looks spectacular.

- Jackie

Steve H's picture
Steve H


I am relatively new here as well and the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough was a great way to start off!

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Salome.

I see you have many favorites, as do I.

I would love to see a recipe for your potato-walnut bread.


Steve H's picture
Steve H

And I for your Herbststonne!

Salome's picture

Allright, I'll run and get my recipe folder ... ;)

Salome's picture

I've baked the potato nut bread from south tyrol a couple of times, but I've only found the print out of the recipe and I don't remember wheter I changed something in handling the dough. (the ingredients are right, though). Follow your experience-based instinct!

Happy baking!

Südtiroler Kartoffel- Nussbrot (Potato Nut Bread from South Tyrol)



200 g ready to bake Wheat Sourdough (100% hydration, made of bread flour)

500 g breadflour

400 g potatoes

2 t salt

2t ground coriander

150 g hazelnuts

100 g walnuts

250 g water

  1. cook and peel the potatoes.
  2. chop the nuts roughly and toast in a pan until they smell goodn
  3. mix all the ingredients (press the potatoes while they're still warm to the dough)
  4. knead for about five minutes in the machine, let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then knead again. The dough is pretty sticky, but don't add flour!
  5. let it rest for about three hours at room temperature
  6. shape the dough as desired (I remember that it was a little bit tricky because of its stickyness, but I think it's worth it! The bread always turned out great, so I don't mind the difficult handling)
  7. let the loaves rest again for about two hours at room temperature
  8. preheat the oven with a baking stone to 450 degrees, bake for about 30 minutes, with normal steaming. Lower the temperature if the loaves should turn to dark.
dmsnyder's picture

Does it matter how you cook the potatoes (Boil? Steam? Roast?). 

Do you mash the potatoes or put them through a ricer before adding them to the dough?

You give times for fermentation (Step 5) and proofing (Step 7). I assume you want to ferment the dough until it has doubled and proof to a little less than doubling. Does that sound correct?

The hazelnuts I can get now are not very good. I may wait for the new crop or substitute walnuts. But I definitely want to try this bread. It sounds wonderful!


Salome's picture

wow David, you're fast!

I cook my potatoes in steam normally, but I guess the other methods would work as well, especially the baking could add a nice flavour! (adjust water as required)

Yes I do mash the potatoes,  I just mashed them with a big fork!

You're right about the fermentation times

I'm sure you can substitute the hazelnuts with walnuts, should be tasty as well. Even though I really like the mixture of both.

Tell me how you like the bread when you've tried it! I really like sharing recipes, it's always excited to see the other results.


Salome's picture

just one last comment, about the fermentation. I'm not sure whether this dough exactly doubled in volume. Do you know your sourdough? I think it was pretty good for me just following the times and "feeling the dough" (tip it . . .).

When I started baking this recipe, I did a lot just after feeling, so that's why it doesn't is as exact as a professional recipe. Maybe we could improve that together? I wouldn't mind to bake this next week as well...=) (o no, I'm only living with my sister for the next week, and she doesn't eat nuts... =/ - In that case as soon as my parents and my brother are back home again, alright?)

dmsnyder's picture

I bake with both a (mostly) white sourdough and a rye sour. I would expect that this bread would be good with either starter. The rye sour ferments dough faster and generally gives a more sour flavor.

I have a long baking list already for this weekend, but I'll see about making your bread this week or next. Hmmmm ... I have some nice potatoes in the pantry and lots of walnuts in the feezer.

I agree. It's lots of fun to do "parallel" bakes of the same bread. I'm sure you have noticed that we love doing that on TFL. 


Salome's picture

go for the rye, I'd propose. This bread can handle strong flavors.

Salome's picture

Herbstsonne - "autumn sun"



50 g oats (1)

50 g sunflower seeds

35 g dark flaxseeds

135 g water (50-60°C)

500 g ready to bake rye sourdough (100% hydration, I don't remember whether I took whole grain rye or medium rye ...)

250 g wheat flour, the german type 1050 (That's not completely white bread flour nor is it whole grain, it's in between. If you can't get that, just mix WW and bread flour)

100 g rye flour (and again, I took the whole grain flour or the medium rye...)

2 t salt

180 g water, ca. - adjust! It depends a lot on the flour...

50 g oats (2)

  1. soak the oats (1), the sunflower and flaxseeds in the 135 g water for 2 - 3 hours
  2. add all the other ingredients exept the oats (2) and knead on low spead for three minutes, then on higher speed for another three minutes
  3. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes
  4. shape in one big round loaf or two small ones and let them rest in bowls with floured cloth in them, until the volume has more or less doubled. 
  5. Slash the loaves like a sun (check out the pictures above).
  6. bake 20 min at 480°F, then another 40 minutes at 400°F. If you've shaped the dough into two loaves, bake shorter!  

I'm sorry that I can't give mor exact information, it's been a long time since I've baked this bread the last time.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Thank you!  It looks like in the US you can use First Clear Flour as a substitute for 1050.  If/when I can get my hands on this stuff I will give this a try!

Salome's picture

My Mom's Zopf


Swiss Zopf is not sweetened and therefore perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast - good with butter/jam, butter/honey, butter/cheese and more cheese and again more cheese... or dried meat.


1000 g All Purpose or Bread Flour (My mom and I often substitute a little bit of the flour with whole wheat, like 100 g)

50 g unsalted butter, in small pieces

150 g Quark*

1 Egg

20 g salt

40 g fresh yeast or the equivalent of dry yeast

1 tablespoon glucose, sugar works well as a substitute

5 dl Milk, 2% fat content or higher (In Switzerland people normally use 2.7% or 3.7% milk for everything!)

1 egg yolkand a little water for brushing

* Quark: o my, I think I haven't seen this on american supermarket shelves! (But maybe I've just not noticed it, as I've only been in the States for holidays). Anyway, Quark is a fresh cheese, a little sour in taste. I just found this which could help you identify what Quark is.   And here's a recipe how to make this curd-like cheese at home, but I haven't tried it so far. Otherwise, I think it should be possible to substitute it with ricotta (fat content aroun 10 %) or high fat yoghurt.

  1. mix the yeast with a little bit of the milk and the sugar. When dissolved, add the rest of the milk.
  2. put the flour, the egg, the Quark and the butter pieces into a mixing bowl. 
  3. add the milk mixture and knead the dough in a machine or by hand to a smooth dough. add some flour or additional milk during the mixing, if required.
  4. let the dough double in size on a nice warm spot without airdraft
  5. divide the dough into two pieces, braid the Zopf in the style you like it (for my five braid style, check out Hamelman's braiding instructions or google)
  6. let the bread rise under a piece of cloth. When the dough seems to be ready (little less than double in volume) brush it with the egg yolk (which you can dillute a little with water). 
  7. Bake in 400°F until the Zopf seems to be ready... (I'm sorry, I've never checked time so far, and my mom doesn't do it either). Fourty minutes maybe? Knock on the bottom, when it sounds hollow and the bread is nicely brown, it should be alright. No steaming, otherwise the crust turns bubbly!


jleung's picture

Thanks, Salome, for your quick reply!

That certainly sounds like it would go very well with butter/jam, butter/honey or butter/cheese. This is going right to the top of my to-bake list. :)

plevee's picture

You are certainly a very talented baker.

Can you tell us more about the 'heidekrustchen' in your pictures? They look like something I would love to bake/eat.


photojess's picture

I'd love to know what the 4th picture is on the bottom row of your picassa link.  I think you did master height, looking at that one.  Would love to know and thanks.

At 20 yrs old, I certainly wasn't baking breads-congratulations on being so successful at doing so.


Salome's picture

hi Photojess. Are you talking about this bread:?

It's the fifth in the bottom row in my browser, but I don't see the connection between my fourth picture ( height. Anyway, they're both made of a potato dough again, the latter one I modified and added whole grain and seeds.

If you would include a link to the pic you're talking about we could make sure that we're talking about the same.


photojess's picture

I was talking about this one in particular:

love looking at your pics again.

Salome's picture

Hi Jess, here it is!

Bauernbrot (Farmerbread)


250 g whole grain rye flour
250 ml water
200 g ready to bake sourdough (I don't rembember whether I took rye or wheat, but it was for sure 100 % hydration)

(2) final dough
500 g whole grain rye flour
500 g First Clear Wheat Flour
750 ml lukewarm water
27 g salt
1 tablespoon honey (I normally take malt instead)

1. Prepare the sourdough (200 g), let it ripe.
2. Mix all the ingredients of (1) in a bowl ("Preferment"), cover it and let it rest for 12 hours on a warm spot.
3. mix this "preferement with all the other ingredients of the final dough. Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes (by hand)
4. for the baking in pans: grease two big pans and flour them OR line it with baking paper. (this bread can be baked as a hearth bread as well, but I normally don't). I don't know how big American pans normally are, so don't overfill them, if it's to much dough just take a third or bake a small hearth loaf as well.
5. divide the dough into two and put it into the pans, let it rest until they've risen quite a bit. (I'd say a little less than doubled, if I remember correctly.) This took me the last time only two hours (I wrote this beside of the recipe), but watch your dough and judge yourself.
6. preheat the oven to 430 degrees, turn down to 415 sometime later during the baking. I baked my bread for about 45 minutes.


photojess's picture

for posting this one too.  You've been busy with all of this typing for everyone!

I think it may have been on here somewhere, but first clear is equal to what type of flour here?  I'll have to re-read and see if I can find it.

thanks again

Salome's picture

"First Clear" is the wheat flour that isn't completely white, but not whole grain either. Something in between.


Salome's picture

- Pleeve: The Heidekrüstchen are rye-sourdough bread rolls, made with an addition of yeast. It's made with particular German flours which aren't that easily available in the States, as far as I know. I'm talking about the kind of flour which is in between white and whole grain, in Germany normally called Type 1050 or 1050 or 950. As I'm swiss, I have to substitute these flours with Swiss flours that seem to be the same for me, but they're not labeled like this. I've simply got one rye flour which for sure isn't white, and I've got whole grain. Of the wheat flours I grind my own whole grain, I've got all purpose flour (12% protein; in Switzerland it's hard to get by any high protein flours. Even Swiss bakers are complaining about the "poor" flour quality made of swiss grain . . . So the flour is kind of challenging for me, because so far I couldn't get my hands on Vital Wheat Gluten either. But yesterday I finally was lucky - one of my favourite bakers is willing to sell me some. Buying 50 pounds from the factory is just not an option for me ;) )

I've only baked them once so far, the recipe is from a German cooking and baking community called

Heidekrüstchen ("Heath crusts")




250 g Medium Rye flour (German Type 1150)

22 g water

10 g mature culture (I take what I've got on hand, if it happens to be rye, then fine, otherwise I use wheat starter)


125 g chopped/coarsely ground rye or something comparable

125 g hot water, about 70°C

Final Dough:



25 g butter

15 g yeast

17 g salt

10 g "malt" (the one whith encyme activity . . .)

1/2 t honey

~230 g water

optional: bread spices (like cumin, carraway, fennel seeds, cardamon ... I often skip that, bread spices are particularily a German thing which I'm not always fond of)

  1. prepare the sourdough and the soaker on the evening before baking
  2. mix a dough out of the ingredients. (In the recipe is now certain technique explained, so do as you normally do)
  3. let the dough rest for 20 minutes
  4. forming the rolls: Cut the dough in pieces of about 40 - 50 g. Flour the pieces well and put two on each other. Press the "tower" flat. Fold the flat dough from two sides towards the middle and roll the bun a little, then put the roll with seamside down on a floured counter.
  5. fermentation: about 40 min
  6. baking: turn the rolls so that the seamside points now upwards. 20 - 25 minutes at 440°F, steam in the first five minutes.

I remember these rolls being very delicious, but I got a weird stomach afterwards. I suspect it's maybe because of the yeast/sourdough mixture. I'd reduce the amount of yeast in this recipe for a next time and just let it ferment longer.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is fresh cake yeast.  Yes, I would reduce that in half too.  But I can't imagine that giving a belly ache.  Maybe they were so good too many got eaten!    Welcome to Fresh Loaf!

Quark?  Sort of like.... I put unsalted cottage cheese into the blender, make it fine and use that.

Salome's picture

yes, that's it. fresh cake yeast. Even though I've read some english baking books plus I've read here a lot, the vocabulary is still quite often passive, meaning that I can't find the right english terms.

Your quark substitute sounds fine. The fat content is probably a little low, maybe just adjust the butter amount.

Thank you and all the others for the warm welcome here! It's great!

Salome (who's kind of confused about what happened to the vermont sourdough loaf... I mean it's a 800 g loaf and already more than half of it is gone. My sister and I seem to do a good job . . . )

plevee's picture

It looks as if there ought to be more flour in the final dough to soak up all that water?

Your breads are amazing!  Are all Swiss Misses as talented? Are you self taught or have you taken some baking classes? It took me 20 years to make bread a quarter as pretty as yours. Patsy

Salome's picture

o my god Patsy, I just discovered two mistakes in this formula. Sorry, I was kind of hurrying while I was typing it.

Corrections to the recipe "heidekrüstchen":


So: The Sourdough is made of 250 g medium rye flour and 220 g water and 10 g mature culture! (I typed 22 g water . . . )

To the final dough you have to add 225 g of medium rye flour and 250 g "medium wheat flour". (Somebody above mentioned what this kind of flour is called).

I am self thaught. I've always enjoyed good food, and I enjoy it even more when its homemade. So when I became a vegetarian at the age of 14 I slowly discovered cooking and baking. When I turned 17 I started to get deeper interested in baking. I started at this German food internet portal called, which has got a good bread baking section as well. Later I discovered all the english pages on the web and found book recomendations. I started with the BBA and then went pretty soon on to Hamelman. (Actually I've hardly baked more than two recipes out of BBA... somehow I was disappointed of the book.) But still I'd say that most of my "knowledge" comes from pages like this one!

Fellow bakers out there who dedicate their time to comment on my introduction here - Thank you a lot for your attention! And for all your compliments . . . you make me blush. =)

Salome's picture

O, I completely forgot! My Vermont Sourdough came out of the oven!

(after remembering that I just run up the stairs and cut into the loaf. And had a huge slice... )

I took pictures.


my Japanese garden house


I couldn't wait, sorry!

It turned out well, I'd say. I made this bread with my two week young starter. The oven spring was interesting. ;) I baked it in a big iron pot, that's how I manage to get a good crust even with my stupid "wannabe-steamer-oven" that cant produce any heat higher than 430 Degrees... (often my loaves' crust turn soft after cooling.) Even though I had it for over 18 hours in the fridge and let it stand outside for a little while afterwards as well, it was apparently still a little bit to much underrisen. That's why the bread looks like a Japanese garden house.

Still, I am dissapointed. The crumb isn't as open as I wished it to be. I did knead it for a loong time and I nearly started to worry that the Gluten would break down again, the dough passed teh windowpane test extremely well, I think I never had such a thin window before. but still ... And I tried to add some more gluten trough washing some flour before (like making Seitan, then i chopped the extracted gluten into small pieces and added that to the normal ingredients), but appartently it didn't change much.

What else can I do? Can I blame my young starter? or the slightly underrisen dough? I can't believe that it was the dough handling.

Any hints are very welcome!

Salome (who just learned how to insert pictures into a post, yeyy)

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Salome.

Yes. Your boule looks like it was a bit under-proofed, but many like that look. The crumb actually looks pretty close to typical. Sometimes it is more open than yours. Assuming good dough handling (and I think I can assume that), you may have under-fermented the dough. Did you let it double before shaping?

If you want the crust to stay crisp longer, try leaving the loaf in the oven, with the oven turned off and the door partly open for 10 minutes after the bread is fully baked.

I'm going to make your potato-nut bread today. The levain is bubbling. I just need to get to the farmers' market before I roast the potatoes and nuts and mix the dough.


Salome's picture

wow, David, I'm excited to hear how it went! And wheter you enjoyed the bread. Maybe don't add to much of the coriander if you're not familiar with the taste. I like it a lot in this bread, but don't overdo it. Two teaspoons were perfect for me.

well I think you're right about the underfermented dough. I think you've just opened my eyes actually. I don't remember exactly how the dough was before I shaped it, but especially when I'm baking with sourdough I find it sometimes kind of difficult to decide when the dough is ready, because especially rye sourdoughs or whole grain sourdoughs often don't rise as much . . . Probably I was simply to fast!

I'll give it a try, to let the bread a little longer in the turned-off oven when the loaf is done. I've especially got the problem when I bake small loaves, (~1 pound) I'm worried to overbake them.

Thanks for this inspiring post, David!

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Salome.

The bread is half-way through the final proofing as I write.

I like coriander in Indian food, but, except for caraway seeds (kummel?) in rye, my experience with spices in bread has been in sweet breads and pastries only. I used one tsp of coriander. We'll see.

You weren't kidding about the dough being "sticky!" I mixed it in a stand mixer for about 12-13 minutes after an autolyse of 30 minutes. It was still very loose, so I did folds at 40 and 80 minutes. As the time approached to divide and shape it, I was sure it would be too sticky to raise in a banneton, unless I used a ton of flour. In fact, I was thinking I might have to treat it like ciabatti and just fold it.

But, while still sticky, it was quite workable on a generously floured bench for pre-shaping and a clean bench for final shaping. I'm proofing on a parchment paper "couche." I'll then slip a large peel under the parchment and transfer to the oven.

Regarding when sourdough is fully fermented: The yeast in most sourdough cultures is not as strong as commercial yeast, and the dough takes longer to ferment. Of course, you have some control over this by varying the amount of yeast or starter in the dough and by controlling the fermentation temperature through dough temperature and room temperature.

For most breads, the dough should double in volume during fermentation, and this is the measure I use most. The "finger poke test" is also useful. When the dough is fully fermented, when you poke a finger into it, the hole fills up very slowly.

I don't have much experience with whole wheat sourdoughs, and I add some commercial yeast to most rye breads. However, my "pure" whole wheat sourdoughs and rye sourdoughs do rise pretty well. Note that the room temperature makes a surprisingly big difference in how fast dough rises.


SylviaH's picture

Welcome to the TFL, Salome!

You are such a very talented baker..your introduction, photos and recipes are so very much enjoyed..I would very much enjoy the recipe for your Brotsuppen when you have time to post!  I often use soup bowls and this one is very pretty!

Sylvia in San Diego, CA

Salome's picture

Hi Sylvia, Thanks to you for your very nice feedback as well! The recipes on your blog are very nice, too.

The Soup Bowl Recipe is from Bertinet's book "Dough". Can you get your hands on that? I don't find the copy of the recipe right now and I don't own the book . . .


Warm regards to everybody out there

Salome (who is thinking about what to bake tomorrow. . .)