The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Some lavender baking for Karin, a sourdough, and a ciabatta

breadsong's picture

Some lavender baking for Karin, a sourdough, and a ciabatta

These are some breads made using some new flour: Central Milling's Organic Artisan Baker's Craft flour (malted).
The flour is unbleached, hard red winter wheat, 11-11.5% protein; it is a joy to work with!

This weekend's baking with lavender is for Karin...she posted about her lovely Lavendelbrot recently...
such pretty little breads!
I love Karin's formulas; her methods and instruction are always so good, and breads, so flavorful. 
My little lavender plant in the garden just sent up a small, second batch of flowers :^) ... a good sign it was time to try making Karin's bread.

I used 50% of the CM Baker's Craft flour, and 50% purple wheat flour, upping the hydration slightly and decreasing fermenting/proofing time a little bit because of the flour adjustment. I added some lavender syrup in place of sugar (being lavender weekend in my kitchen!, I was making lavender syrup to glaze a poundcake...decided to throw some into the bread).

The bread has the most wonderful scent and taste of lavender!

When baking, I tried something I read about in (I'm pretty sure it was from) one of the SFBI newsletters; after loading the bread and steaming the oven, I closed the oven door and turned the oven off, setting the timer for 2-1/2 minutes. After 2-1/2 minutes, I turned the oven back on. (Turning the oven off is supposed to help the steam settle on the dough's surface, to help with expansion while baking. I was happy with how the little batards opened up during this bake -
may try this again).

Trying to score some of the little breads (using scissors) to look like lavender flowers was not successful!:
A crumb shot:
  ...purplish from the 50% purple wheat flour?
                                                                                                                                 Or is it my wishful thinking? :^)

My local herbfarm lady introduced me to culinary lavender last summer - I fell in love with with lavender lemonade;
I thought it might be nice to combine those flavors in my favorite lemon poundcake. The poundcake is a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. I added a generous half-teaspoon of lavender flowers to the dry ingredients when mixing the cake, and glazed the cake with a lavender syrup while it was warm from the oven. Mmm, mmm, good, imho!:
It was a lovely slice, for dessert last night:


These next two breads are a two-feed Sourdough with liquid levain, and a poolish Ciabatta, taught to us at the Guild class
I recently took at SFBI. This Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft flour is everything I hoped it would be!
It's absolutely wonderful flour!

A sourdough boule:

This is the poolish Ciabatta:
  <--- this loaf, horizontally sliced--->

Two close ups of the crumb - I included these pictures because I liked the little bubbles, and gluten strands :^)

This is the crumb shot from another ciabatta loaf, from this bake:

I really did have fun making these breads. Thanks again, so much, to Karin...and Central Milling! And of course, big thanks to Mac at SFBI, for his helpful and patient instruction!
Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong



arlo's picture

Goodness, those are some very excellent examples of proper baking! The ciabatta ensures all possible sandwich fillings make it onto the lap of the 'eater' before entering the mouth!

Just kidding of course, Breadsong, you never cease to impress with your loaves.

breadsong's picture

Hello arlo,
Thanks so much for your nice comments :^)
good formulas+good flour=happy baker !
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture

and you are so fortunate to have access to such high quality flour.   Your ciabatta absolutely sets the standard.   -Varda

breadsong's picture

Varda, thanks so much! :^)
The Ciabatta from the class is a hand mix. I've tried making Ciabatta a couple of times before, the last time mixing in the Kitchen Aid. I far prefer SFBI's hand mix method for Ciabatta.
For these breads, the dough developed so nicely using this flour!!! Imho it is of fantastic quality.
Central Milling is also known as Keith Giusto Bakery Supply? I also picked up some pumpernickel rye when visiting Central Milling, and the bag says "Keith Giusto Bakery Supply". 
I read on one of farine-mc's posts, about Keith Giusto; it seems Mr. Giusto is a baker!; how fortunate that he applies his knowledge and talent to his supply of flour products - bakers, rejoice!
:^) from breadsong

Syd's picture

Beautiful breads, all of them, breadsong, but that sourdough boule takes the cake.  Perfect crust, crumb and crackles.  Malted flour makes all the difference.  Since I started adding my own homemade malt to my flour, it has made the world of difference.  Lovely to see what you are baking, breadsong.  :)

All the best,


breadsong's picture

Hello Syd,
Thank you so much! Glad you liked the SD. It has 5% dark organic rye in the levain builds, and the levain really took off :^)
I've tried adding diastatic malt to unmalted flour before, but this CM flour, with the malt added in, was a charm!
I am very curious to know how you make your homemade malt.
:^) from breadsong

gary.turner's picture

Check with home brewing shops and books.  Many serious home-brewers malt their own barley. The process is not difficult:

  • sprout the grain
  • roast to stop the growth, dry, and control the color/flavor
  • mill
The brew shop will have barley and instructions for you.



breadsong's picture

Hi there Gary, thanks for the information - so nice of you to write.
I'll try to find out more.
:^) from breadsong

Mebake's picture

Artistic Scoring, wonderful savoury boules, and dessert.. Whats not to like, breadsong!

Way to go... the baking cources you had did pay off.


breadsong's picture

Hello Khalid,
I so appreciate your comments - thanks!
I'm trying to work my way through every formula from the class, wanting to remember what Mac taught us!
:^) from breadsong

wassisname's picture

Putting the "art" in the art of baking, as always.  These crumb close-ups are mesmerizing.  Terrific stuff, breadsong!

breadsong's picture

Hello Marcus,
Thank you for your compliments! :^)
I'm so glad you liked the close up shots of the crumb.
:^) from breadsong

JoeVa's picture

The crumb of the sourdough boule and the ciabatta loave is from a very well fermented dough. Bravo.


breadsong's picture

Hello Giovanni,
Thank you so much for your comment!  :^)
I definitely did notice a difference in how the dough developed and fermented using this flour.
Judging when bulk fermentation is complete is always tricky for me.
:^) from breadsong

ananda's picture

Hi Breadsong,

Great formulae, materials and processes, and a very skillful baker too.

All are lovely

Best wishes


breadsong's picture

Andy, you are so kind - thank you!
:^) from breadsong

rolls's picture

breadsong, your breads look absolutely beautiful! and the pound cake does too! i'll be trying that recipe :) thanks

breadsong's picture

Hello rolls,
Thank you and I hope you enjoy the poundcake!
:^) from breadsong

Franko's picture

Hi breadsong,

I've  come to regard you, as well as Andy, as TFL's masters of the multiple bake post for the fantastic quality and variety of breads, and pastries the two of you manage to display on a regular basis. All of the items you've posted here are simply gorgeous, but as many have already noted, the crumb and crust on the Sour and Ciabatta are just perfect. Wonderful baking breadsong!


breadsong's picture

Hello Franko,
You say the most flattering things! Thank you!
I was so happy to work with this flour, and to bake some really-good-tasting bread.
I was feeling good about the dough, right from the start of each mix and through the whole process.
Seeing the dough bubble to life was great fun - really!
:^) from breadsong

sitkabaker's picture

Hi...would you be willing to share your formula...lovely breads. I have not attempted Ciabatta yet....just getting comfortable working with really wet doughs.

Sitka Baker

breadsong's picture

Hello Sitka Baker,
Thank you!; here are the formulas. The class formulas are identical (for the sourdough) and very similar (for the ciabatta) to that in Mr. Suas' book, Advanced Bread and Pastry.
The publisher previously granted me permission to share:

Sourdough, Two Feed, Liquid Levain
From SUAS. Advanced Bread and Pastry , 1E. © 2009 Delmar Learning, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

Mix first levain, DDT 70F. Ferment 12 hours, 65-70F.
When first levain is ready, mix second levain, DDT 70F. Ferment 12 hours, 65-70F.
My levains were tripling in volume :^) with the 5% dark rye.

As second levain is nearing readiness, start the final dough; mix flour and water, autolyse 30 minutes.
Add levain and salt, mix to incorporate, continue mixing to improved mix, DDT 78-80F.

Bulk ferment at 78F for two hours, with stretch and fold after 1 hour.
Divide, preshape, rest 20-30 minutes, shape, place in prepared bannetons.
(I varied from instruction here) Proof 30 minutes then retard overnight.


Remove dough to room temperature while oven preheats. (450F)
Unmold bread onto peel, score, load on baking stone, steam oven, reduce oven to 450F.
Total bake time approximately 35 minutes.
Turn oven off, leave bread in for 10 minutes with oven door ajar, to let loaves dry further.
Remove bread to cooling racks to cool.

Ciabatta with Poolish: (note yeast is double the amount shown in the book)
From SUAS. Advanced Bread and Pastry , 1E. © 2009 Delmar Learning, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

I hope you like these breads as much as I do!
:^) from breadsong


highmtnpam's picture

bread song, could u explain malted flour??

breadsong's picture

Hi Pam, and thank you! -
I waited to reply because I thought I should write to Central Milling and confirm what kind of malt is in the flour.
Mr. Giusto wrote back today and confirmed it is diastatic malt added to Central Milling's organic flours.
Your question brought me back to Mr. Hamelman's excellent explanation about malt in his book -
I've tried to paraphrase and hope this is reasonably accurate :^)  :
- the enzyme (amylase) that converts starch to sugar, is pretty much inactive while the grain is intact
- if the grain stays too long in the field after harvest, or if it's rainy at the end of the growing season, amylase activity can elevate and potentially spoil the flour
- farmers prefer to harvest early because of this, so amylase activity in the flour may actually be low
- when amylase activity in the flour is low, diastatic malt (which has active amylase enzyme) is added to the flour;
the added amylase enzyme converts additional starch to sugar, for the yeast to have enough food during fermentation, and to leave residual sugar for a good crust color during the bake
- there is another form of malt called non-diastatic, in which the amylase enzymes are deactivated;
non-diastatic malt contributes flavor to the bread
:^) from breadsong

highmtnpam's picture

Thank you so much for the information. I have just gotten some of this flour and can hardly wait to start baking. I will compare a couple of other flours side by side( same recipe) and see if they bake the same. So much flour, so little time. I'll send pics.

breadsong's picture

Hi Pam, I'd love to hear how your comparison turns out - and look forward to pictures!
:^) from breadsong

lumos's picture

One of the best looking ciabata I've ever seen, EVER. Period!   Thank you for sharing, especially the recipe, because, as you know,  I don't have that book.  Though I'm not sure if I can make a great ciabata like yours even with the recipe....:p

The sourdough boule (beautiful crumb!) and the lavender cake look fabulous, too!  Coincidentally, I've got a jar of leftover lavender sugar from my last cookery class, so maybe I can use it to make the cake.

Thank you, always, for being so generous and inspirational, breadsong. :)



breadsong's picture

You are so welcome! re: the formulas :^)
Mmm, lavender sugar, that would be a lovely ingredient for the pound cake.
I really appreciate you writing and thank you for your nice comments!
:^) from breadsong

lumos's picture

Well, I thank you for being always so nice and generous...and sharing your great bread life!  Pity we're only in the virtual world  and can't physically enjoy your creation.

Lavender sugar is interesting ingredient to have.  White chocolate panna cotta with lavender sugar is to die for! (Wanna recipe? )  Unfortunately the recent health check showed my cholesterol level was high, so I shouldn't be eating that sort of stuff too much or I may really die for it....

Best wishes,


breadsong's picture

Hello lumos,
White chocolate panna cotta with lavender sugar? Sounds amazing! I would love the recipe if it's not too much work for you to send it along...thanks for offering. You've reminded me of a perfect, silken lavender creme brulee I tasted once years ago...thanks for that!
I know what you mean...I try not to make things like that too often; I used to bake a lot more cakes and sweet things, just for the love of it...and now when I bake something really decadent I try to make sure there's lots of people around to share it with.
:^) from breadsong