The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

The last loaf of 2010

Franko's picture

The last loaf of 2010


The Last Loaf of 2010

Earlier this month I made a trip down to Cowichan Bay to visit True Grain Bakery and to pick up 30K of Red Fife flour that I'd ordered for breadsong a fellow B.C. Resident and TFL member, and myself. Cowichan Bay is a small, rustic seaside village with a fair number of various shops and restaurants lining the sea side of the main drag, and is a popular tourist stop here on Vancouver Island.  The bakery itself has a funky eclectic look to it that is totally in keeping with the general ambiance of the village, with lots of bric a brac and paraphernalia decorating the walls. The staff were all very helpful and friendly, greeting me almost as soon as I walked through the door. When I told them I was there to pick up some flour that I'd ordered, the miller himself came out from the adjacent mill room with our flour and thanked me for the order, and asked if there was anything else he could help me with. Two weeks earlier I'd sampled some of their fabulous Christmas cake at one of our local craft fairs so I asked him to put one of those on the bill as well. After I'd settled the bill I asked if I could take a few pictures of the shop while I was there. He told me that'd be fine and allowed me access to the mill room so I could get a few shots of the mill setup.  I took a few photos of the bread display as well, but by now the small shop was filling up with customers, making it difficult to get any decent closeups of the breads. I can tell you that from what I saw of the breads it's all very good looking product, obviously made with a lot of skill and attention to detail. 

I'm looking forward to my next visit to True Grain,which will probably be in early Spring 2011, depending on how quickly breadsong and I go through our flour. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pics of the production area and the ovens at that time.


When breadsong and I were messaging each other to set up the arrangements for shipping and payment for the flour, she raised the question of whether the 75% sifted RF that we ordered would be considered a high extraction flour. At the time I wasn't entirely sure as I've never had occasion to use it either on the job or at home. After a quick search I found that high extraction flour lies between 75% and 100% . The best information I found was on Joe Sloan's 'Hamelman Challenge' Blog where he explains what high extraction flour is exactly and provides a conversion formula so that you can blend your own.

I've also noticed since then that Hamelman provides a description and formula as well in his side notes to the Miche recipe.

I sent breadsong the link and she ran the numbers through her Exel spreadsheet and sent me the results the next day. Darn good teamwork I thought.


Now that I had the information I needed I was finally ready to make a bread from Hamelman's book that I've wanted to make for a long time which is the Miche, Point a Calliere. This mix being a first run of the formula, I stuck as closely to Hamelman's recipe and instructions as possible, the major exception being that I built the levain over a 3 day feeding rather than 2 as the recipe calls for. One thing I've noticed since using the Red Fife is that it doesn't take quite as much water as regular bread flour to get a nice supple dough that's easy to work. In this mix however I stayed with the indicated overall hydration and made some minor flour adjustments during the second phase of the mix to achieve a very soft but cohesive dough that could be further developed through the fermentation and folding to follow. In total, I did a stretch and fold 4x over the course of a 2 ½ bulk fermentation,which gave it enough strength to hold a low profile shape after molding. The final proof was just a little over 2 ½ hrs and the dough weight before baking was 1.654kg /3.6 lbs and 1.371/ 3.0lbs after baking, a difference of just over 17%. The oven was steamed using Sylvia's method, and baked on the stone for 20 minutes @ 440 before removing the steam tray and rotating the loaf. Then another 30 min. @ 420 and 15 more minutes with the heat off and the door slightly open. Big loaf, long bake. I left the loaf wrapped in linen for 20hrs before I took the first slice just to let it settle and for the flavours to ripen. This bread is definitely not lacking in the flavour department, with a good sour tang, but the rich wheat taste of the Red Fife predominating overall. The crumb is chewy with some semi large holes and the crust is nice and crackly. This is one of those breads that doesn't need anything else with it to fully enjoy, but a slice of cheese or sausage, maybe a bowl of soup and a glass of red wine wouldn't take anything away from it either. Hmm, I think I just came up with what I'm having for a light dinner tonight. Some crumb and crust photos below.

Hope everyone at TFL has a Happy New Year, and all the best for 2011!





LindyD's picture

Great bread and great organization!

I was curious about the flour and discovered that Red Fife can be obtained here in the US, through Anson Mills:

Happy New Year!

wally's picture

I'm sure James MacGuire would approve - and I like the scoring you've achieved.

Great way to end the year, and thanks for introducing us to a very interesting bakery!

Good baking in 2011-


breadsong's picture

Hi Franko, A fantastic photo of your sunlit miche (wasn't today glorious?!) - beautiful scoring and a very nice bake! Thanks for showing and describing how you made this lovely miche. I love the photos from the bakery/mill and feel like I've been on a field trip, now that I've seen them! I've got my eye on that gorgeous diamond-scored miche on the upper left of that addition to your beautiful scoring ideas tucked away for future loaves.
So happy your flour blend worked and I am looking forward to trying a miche using this blend, seeing your success.
Thanks again for the flour!!!
Happy New Year and wishing you every baking success in 2011! from breadsong

Franko's picture

Thanks very much Breadsong! As for the flour, my pleasure, especially when I know that you're already putting it to good use making some fine breads,

Good baking in 2011!


Syd's picture

Beautiful looking loaf, Franko!  I love the scoring.  Happy New Year!


SylviaH's picture

Lovely scoreing, crumb and the bakery photos...a great finish to the old year and welcoming the New Year!

Happy New Year!


dmsnyder's picture

You have a happy New Year and Happy Baking!


Franko's picture

Thanks very much David!


Franko's picture

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for sharing your steaming system with all of us. It was a major player in this bake. No way that dough was going fit under a dutch oven, nor do I think I would have used one for this bread.

All the best in 2011!


arlo's picture

Great way to end the new year! Thanks for the bakery pics too, always delighted to view other bakeries!

ananda's picture

and a great post, too, Franko.

The mill is fascinating.   Are you implying that their regular flour is based on 75% extraction?   And, did you also buy some wholewheat Red Fife flour, and combine the 2 to form your "High Extraction" flour?

The photo of the mill indicates to me that the flour is "bolted", once it is milled to wholemeal.   The box on the left will contain a sequence of sieves which become ever finer.   There are 3 pipes off the bottom.   The first takes the bran, the next the semolina and the one after will take the middlings, or, maslin flour.   The residue would be the white flour.   At 75% the extraction is still quite high, so I'm not sure how much of the middlings will actually be taken out.  

For the high extraction flour, all the bran would be removed, and I guess just some of the semolina.   So the flour would not be passed through the final sieves.   This is a little different from blending white and wholemeal flour.   However, modern milling takes the flour down to white, then the bran and germ are added back.   That is why it is quite difficult to truly replicate Poilane's favoured grist.Hamelman states his high extraction flour has an ash content of 0.92%.   I'm pretty sure he bases that on Poilane's preference for a Type 92 flour, which is the same thing.    Wholemeal is generally sold as Type 150, or 1.5% ash content.   You will know the French also mill their whiter flours down to between Types 45 and 65, so between 0.45 and 0.65% ash content.   There is also a Type 80, or, 0.8% ash content.   Whitley mentions a Type 110 in "Breadmatters", and I'm pretty sure shiao ping posted on this on her blog too.

Have to say; great job Franko, fine way to end the year, and a lovely bakery to post on.   Many thanks, and a Happy New Year


Franko's picture

Hi Andy,

First off let me say thanks for your kind words about the Miche and the post. Very good to hear from you.

The 'high extraction' flour I approximated was made entirely with RF. I purchased a 10k bag of 75% sifted and one of Whole Wheat. Breadsong bought the other 10K of sifted. As far as using the 75% sifted as their regular flour all I can tell you is that they use it in a fair number of the breads they make in place of an unbleached white. They do use unbleached white for Focaccia, Ciabatta,Baguette, etc. See the scan I've sent of their product list below as well as the link to the grains section of their webpage.

I'm glad you were able to provide a little more info on the mill since I've never seen a small one like this before and wasn't entirely sure how it worked. If the place hadn't been so busy when I was there I would have asked a few more questions of the miller. Wouldn't you love to have one these beauties to play with?

The bags of flour have no nutritional labeling on them, let alone anything regarding ash content so it's a little frustrating having this flour and not knowing exactly what it's properties are, but my best guess from the feel of a dough is somewhere in the 12% range of protein. I've included a photo of the RF high extraction that I blended to give you some idea of the colour. The 75% sifted itself is a beautiful creamy, light tan colour. Not like any flour I've seen before.

I know that the farm in Saskatchewan the bakery buys the grain from has a website, but I'll have to track it down and see if they have any tech info on the grain, so bear with me until I can send that on to you.

Always a pleasure Andy,




Franko's picture

Hi Andy,

I was able to contact the farmer who grows the Red Fife grain that supplies True Grain bakery, and asked for whatever nutritional info he could provide on it. It seems like I was way off in my guess as to the protein content of the flour and yet when working with it as a dough it doesn't exhibit the same resistance during kneading that bread flours in the high12% to mid13% range show. Interesting.

The falling # seems to be fairly high going by what Suas indicates in AB&P (my latest book aquisition). Suas writes;  "a falling # between 250-350 seconds represents the preferred level of ensyme activity for artisan baking."

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on this info Andy, given your scientific background and expertise in such matters.

Best Wishes,


Link to site below:

Marc Loiselle wrote me back saying:

"Thanks for contacting us through our website about the exceptional wheat that is Red Fife which we've been privileged to grow and market since 2001.

True Grain Bread is one of our premier customers on whom we rely to help support our family farm.

 The only things we test our wheat for is protein and falling number, besides moisture content, germination, and fusarium. Seldom do we get asked about ash content, but I hope to remember to get that done next time round.
So for the current lot of Red Fife that True Grain has the numbers are as follows:
protein: 14.8%
falling #: 364
moisture: ~13.3%

For your interest I've attached a document we prepared about how Prairie Red Fife wheat is non allergenic for a good number of our clients. This page is accessible on the website but this version attached has been updated. The whole website needs to be updated as it hasn't been since ~Sept '09.

I hope this helps you.

All the best in this new year 2011.


Below is a copy of of the attachment Marc included:



Red Fife heritage wheat - hypoallergenic food           -    Loiselle Organic Family Farm

Contrary to popular belief, Red Fife wheat does not have a lower total gluten content than other newer varieties of bread wheat; this was confirmed by lab testing we commissioned at SunWest Food Laboratories in Saskatoon in 2006.


However, and besides Red Fife’s exceptional taste and baking qualities; we have preliminarily determined (prior to expected laboratory testing) that the gliadin protein level is 35 to 40% of this wheat's overall gluten protein content. Wheat gluten comprises gliadin and glutenin proteins. This compares to ~80% gliadin protein levels found in a popular modern bread wheat variety that we last grew in 2003. Elevated gliadin protein levels are primarily what cause people to have allergic reactions/intolerances to most wheat. (see references at page bottom)

We used kinesiology/muscle testing to determine the gliadin protein levels; something we have practiced for many years in our family.


We suspect that many decades of wheat plant breeding, to primarily achieve higher yielding wheat varieties, has caused the protein composition to shift. This would be especially so in the post World War II era when synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides were introduced into agriculture. The result would be greater dietary intolerances and also loss of particular attributes such as taste!

          Consider also that in the last decade some wheat has been the focus of invasive alteration by agro-chemical multinationals using transgenic (genetically engineered) processes to impart herbicide tolerance or other unnatural characteristics.

Red Fife wheat was never subjected to toxic chemical inputs, and we insist that all present day growers respect this by using only certified organic or biodynamic management for their farms and soil; and therefore necessarily excluding synthetic toxins and GMOs.


Our Prairie Red Fife's hypoallergenicity was recently confirmed by a naturopath to whom we had given samples of our wheat kernels, flour and also heritage rye flour. She often recommends to clients that they should follow a ‘gluten-free’ diet which usually means no wheat; but for Red Fife wheat she says: "Your Red Fife & Rye are excellent.  People here are taking your number. I suspect your clientele will increase. Indeed we'll keep you on the newsletter list and publish your great grains!" Sr. Theresa Feist:  Flaman-Morris Centre - Lebret, SK


...from the website of one of our Prairie Red Fife heritage wheat distributors in British Columbia:

Gluten is the protein which remains behind when wheat flour is washed with water to remove starch. Wet gluten is like soft rubber which in bread-making binds the flour and water into tough dough. Glutenin and gliadin are the two major protein components of wheat gluten. When gluten was fractioned with solvents, it was shown that toxicity resided in the gliadin fraction. The gliadins of wheat are members of a class of cereal proteins called prolamins. The prolamins in rye, barley, oat and other cereals differ in their chemical and toxic properties. However, the exact nature of the toxic factor is still unknown. Thus it is only a portion of the gluten which is toxic to those with allergies. Many workers in the medical or nutritional aspects tend to use the term gluten as synonymous with the toxic proteins of all cereals, but actually gluten is not a suitable term for the protein of cereal grains other than wheat.”


…highlites from a Radio Canada news report July 6, 2009:

  • There has been a ~7% increase in ‘gluten intolerance’ in past 50 years; especially to wheat…
  • ~1% of people have such intolerances and only ~5% of these people know they suffer from it

gluten/protein intolerances are precursors for celiac disease, a chronic disorder

nicodvb's picture

Hi Franko, great loaf indeed!

To me that falling number (364) seems to be a lot on the high side and that 250-350 range is too wide to be meaningful, it's a bit like saying "from optimal to much less than optimal".

As far as I know a value arond 250 is optimal. Bread flours generally are enriched with malt (if necessary) to get to this number

Franko's picture

Hi Nico,

Thanks for the kind words on the loaf, greatly appreciated.

As far as the falling numbers and alveograph readings go I must confess that this particular aspect of baking science is one I need to learn over the coming months. It's something that was never even touched on during my training almost 25 years ago, and I feel a bit 'out of the loop' so to speak, when the discussion turns that way. However your recent query on the subject has kindled my interest in both topics so hopefully it won't take too long to get up to speed. Expect a few questions from me along the way Nico.

All the best,


ehanner's picture

Wonderful Bread and post Franko. You certainly are a well rounded baker and all around good guy. I'll hoist a glass  for you and all of our fellow TFL'ers for a great year past and hopes for a full year of new challenges in bread.


GSnyde's picture

Good story and good bread, Franko.  Happy New Year.


Franko's picture

Well let me just say "Wow" to everyone's comments and compliments on the bread and the post. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and wishes for the coming year!

It's been a great 1st year for me here on TFL with all that I've learned...and relearned about baking in general, but particularly about making artisan style breads, which is why I joined in the first place. More than that though is the privilege of being able to participate in a world wide community of bakers, amateur and professional alike, and to make a few friends along the way as well. That's a good year in my book!

Thanks again and best wishes,


Mebake's picture

i'am on the lineup! Not for flour, alas, iam so far away.. But for the Praises...

I love Wholewheat..!

Happy New year, Franko!

Franko's picture

And a Happy New Year to you as well Khalid!

Sorry to hear of your starter problems, but I'm sure you'll have it sorted out in no time.

All the best in the coming year my friend,