The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Passion for baking

hansjoakim's picture

Passion for baking

***brushing dust off of a forgotten blog***


Hi everyone, this will be my first post in a good years' time, I think. I have been keeping up to date with TFL regularly, and I'm very happy to see a lot of new faces around, baking wonderful breads. And of course, I've followed the impressive efforts of old friends, who keep on supporting new, budding bakers and that are always happy to share new recipes and lessons learned from their baking experiments. This community is one of a kind, and I'm very happy to be a part of it.  

The last year has seen some changes for me personally (moving from Trondheim to a much smaller village outside Stavanger, Norway, and starting in a new job), but everything has worked out for the better. I've also been pursuing some other hobbies and interests, and haven't really found space for much bread baking before now. After being away from baking for a good 12 months, I felt the inspiration gradually returning a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to mix up some rye flour and water to get a new sourdough going (my old, reliable starter didn't join me for the move). Sure enough, within five days it was good to go, and ready to leaven bread.

For my first breads in about a year's time, I settled on some old, well-worn formulas. Baking is almost like playing tennis or riding a bike; at first, your coordination might be a bit off, but with a little patience and effort, it comes back. The scent of baking loaves, and the sound of crackling, singing crust as the sourdough loaves were pulled from the oven reminded me of why I love baking so much in the first place. It's something immensely rewarding that we can share with our friends, relatives and neighbours, and it's an activitiy that somehow connects us with our ancestors as well.

Below are some snaps from this weekend's bake; first a "pain au levain", made from a rye sourdough:


Spring has just arrived, so I was lucky with the natural lighting in these photos. Below is a photo of a 40% rye; I wanted to ease back in with rye flour, so this 40% was a very nice way of getting to grips with the slightly sticky, clay-like consistency of rye doughs. The bread had that unmistakable, poignant rye flavour in the crust, and a soft, even crumb. In short, 40% whole-rye, roughly 75% hydration, and 20% of the total flour weight from a rye sourdough. Approximately 2 hour bulk followed by 75 mins final proof. Very satisfying.


As a cold and/or warm accompaniment to the newly baked breads, I roasted a boned pork shoulder butt (I believe that's the English/US name of this cut of pork). A beautifully marbled piece from a local farmer - it was simply rubbed with fresh thyme, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and then roasted on a bed of some vegetables until done.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!


HeidiH's picture

That third loaf of bread is a strange color.  What?  It's not bread?  Had me confused for a minute.  ;-)

It all looks absolutely delicious.

(Oh, and in the US a pork shoulder is called a "butt" for reasons that are very unclear.)

dabrownman's picture

in the NE and mid atlantic it was called Boston Butt, in some parts of the south it is called Pork Butt and out west it is called Pork Shoulder and you don't want to know what the north calls it.  Butchers were never able to agree on much when it came to name calling :-)

HeidiH's picture

It becomes a smoked shoulder, a picnic ham, or, if boned and tied, a daisy ham.  Go figure.

Janetcook's picture

So nice to see you posting here again.

I am new since you have been busy putting you life into a new order but your posts from the past were ones that I frequently visited to help me get a start baking with rye so it feels like I have 'know' you for awhile now.  Nice that what you left here remained here while you were occupied doing something  else :-)

These loaves look wonderful!  I love the color of the crust and how the light in your photo reflects off of it and how they then blend in with your furniture color.  Very pleasing to gaze upon.

You clearly have not lost your touch :-)  Friends and family must be happy to have you back in the kitchen again!

Take Care,



dabrownman's picture

very nice looking rye bread hans.  Welcome back. 

varda's picture

the beautiful red crust of your bread.   It almost matches the table it's sitting on.   And beautiful crumb as well.   So glad that you decided to bake and post again.  -Varda

dmsnyder's picture

I've missed you! It's hard to believe it's been a year, and even harder to believe you haven't been baking! In any case, it is quite clear you haven't lost your touch. It's a pleasure to see your lovely breads and great photos of them again.

Happy baking!


rossnroller's picture

Said everything I was thinking. Just superb, Hans, both crust and crumb. Big welcome back!


Syd's picture

Hansjoakim, so glad to see the passion is still there.  Great to see you blogging again. I have always looked forward to reading you posts.  Such attention to detail and such beautiful loaves.



GSnyde's picture

What David said.

Welcome back.


hansjoakim's picture

Thank you ever so much for your replies, everyone!

I remember very clearly what got me interested in baking in the first place: I was still at university when a friend showed me a newspaper article about something called "sourdough". I think this was about five years ago, and the article was written as a background story to a larger piece about "Åpent Bakeri", a Norwegian chain of semi-artisan bakeries that experienced a significant growth in the Oslo-area. I remember me and my friend reading the sourdough article with amusement, and we both had a feeling that some witchcraft was definitely in order to master this obscure craft. Some months later one of us accidentally landed at TFL, and that was it. I read blogs and was astonished by what fantastic bread dedicated home-bakers can achieve with some practice and understanding of the steps involved in baking. I now hope that someone else can find similar inspiration from the blogs we write today, and that we keep TFL the fertile, leavened and welcoming community it is.

Thanks again, everyone!

Mebake's picture

Welcome back, Hans!

Well written post, very inspiring. you come back with style my friend.

Neat bread, Hans! the crust is especially attractive, and the crumb is to die for. (looks like the ultimate sourdough).

 There is always something special to the looks of your loaves, very neat and professional.

(btw: your rye pain au levain is my favorite now)


hansjoakim's picture

Thanks, Khalid!

I don't think I deserve all your praise, but I'll tell you that I'm very happy to know that you're baking and enjoying one of my formulas! For this last bake, I developed the dough minimally in the mixer, instead relying on the autolyse and two folds to develop sufficient dough strength. The dough looks quite weak and extensible after mixing, but it responds surprisingly to the first fold. A gentle second fold strengthens it a bit further.

Thanks again, and keep on baking, Khalid!

wally's picture

I, too, have been absent, but in my case it's just been the demands of work.  And like you, I still lurk around the site when I get a moment and soak up the beautiful breads I see.  You obviously haven't lost even a step in your talents.  Both loaves are beautiful looking and your 40% rye reminds me that I need to tear myself from my addiction to my 72% cocktail rye and return to one that I can make sandwiches with - or enjoy with a wonderful pork roast.

Good to know you are well .... and still baking!


hansjoakim's picture

Thank you so much, Larry!

How's it going these days? I take it work is keeping you busy :)

ananda's picture

Hello Hans,

"ease back in with" 40% rye flour"

What a way to ease back in!

All good wishes


ehanner's picture

Nice to see you baking and posting hansjoakim. I'm on a bit of a sabbatical myself. And as usual, Bold is as bold does I see. Beautiful crumb!



PiPs's picture

Hi Hans,

Great to see you baking again ... beautiful results.


pmccool's picture

And that's a very good thing!  Good to see you here again, Hansjoakim.


LindyD's picture

Congratulations on your new job and home, Hans!  You certainly haven't lost your touch and it's wonderful to see you back at TFL.  

The crackling and crumb on your pain au levain are beautiful.


hansjoakim's picture

What a welcome...! And thanks everyone! I'm very glad to hear from you all.

breadsong's picture

Hello Hans,
It really is quite a "dust-off" and I am glad you are back posting pictures of your almost impossibly-beautiful loaves.
:^) breadsong

lumos's picture

Hi Hans, really lovely to see you back! Your loaves look as great as ever! Looking forward to seeing more your beautiful loaves again. :)