The Fresh Loaf

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Benito's picture

I'm going to be on vacation and away from my starter for almost a month.  So no baking while on vacation.  So this is what I am doing to ensure my starter, John Dough is healthy and ready to go when I return.

I took the remaining 3 g of starter I had left from the last week and placed him in a bowl, to which I added 6 g of filtered water.  The starter was dissolved and then 9 g of whole rye was added and mixed until very little dry flour remained.  I allowed this to hydrated while I cleaned the tiny house (Weck Jar) that John Dough lives in.  It hadn't been cleaned since he moved in a long long time ago.  I don't usually worry about cleaning his jar because the dried starter on the sides is fully of the LAB that help reduce the chances of contamination.

Next I formed John dough into a firm ball and then flattened him into a thick disk.  Into the dried cleaned Weck jar I placed 3 g of whole rye, then John Dough and then covered it all with 4-5 g of whole rye patting it all down.  The starter was next given an hour at room temperature and then will be placed in the fridge set at 3ºC for the duration of vacation.

The low temperature, low hydration and extra whole rye should keep the microbes quite healthy while I am away.

Yippee's picture



To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




It must have been nearly a decade since I bravely "declared" to take up Michael's 100% spelt @ 100% hydration challenge. I haven't forgotten about it in all these years, but I haven't done anything about it either. Well, until now. 


Back then, I was confident that, with double hydration, I could easily develop the dough with my Zojirushi, even if it's at 100% hydration. I'm still sure that will work. But these days, we all know that we can achieve similar results if we give the dough some time and a few folds. So instead of intensely staring at how my Zo is mixing👀👀👀, I will handle the dough (and the entire bake) with a minimalist approach. 


Nowadays, the only white flour I keep is AP because I am tired of throwing away bags after bags of rancid flour. If I need flour other than AP, I grind it fresh from whole grains. So I will be using fresh, whole spelt flour to take up Michael's challenge. I specifically made a spelt CLAS for this event so that my bread is truly 100% spelt. 


So Michael, here it goes:


85% fresh, whole spelt flour, ground by Vitamix

15% whole spelt CLAS

30% water - whole spelt CLAS

70% water

2.3% salt

0.3% yeast



everything in Zo until barely incorporated; ~3 mins; DT 29C

Transfer the shaggy mass to a greased plastic container. 



30C x 150 mins

fold every 30 mins




load it into a granite roaster



35C x 20 mins 



Cold oven 

Leave a lid on the roaster the whole time

Heat to 425F; ~ 24mins

425F x 45 mins (possibly can reduce 5-10 minutes next time; I'm still new to cold-oven baking)







My "crème brûlée" whole spelt CLAS.  It's so dark because I forgot I was making a new CLAS and left it in the Instant Pot for days. 





A shaggy mass after a ~ 3-min mix





The dough at the end of bulk after folds at 30-min intervals





Read to prove











The tasty pancake - flavorful with a pronounced, lingering tangy aftertaste.  Crisp and slightly "smoky" due to the charred (but not burned) bottom. 














idaveindy's picture

Wow. I haven't milled anything since fall 2020. The pandemic, moving during the pandemic, and life's hassles.

Milling is currently a 2 step process for me:

  1. Crack the grain in a hand-crank 3-roller Shule brand mill. 
  2. Run the cracked grain through a Vitamix blender for 30 seconds.

If I don't crack the grain first, the grain scratches and clouds the plastic container, takes longer to grind, and heats up more.

You can see the Shule "mill" in this other person's blog page:
in the first photo. The Shule is the pink box on the left. And it's the mill featured in the 4th photo. Again, that page is not mine. I'm just using it as reference.

Here's the same mill at Amazon, where it goes by the name Norpro:

Label from bag: (purchased from )


Here's the output of the 3-roller mill in a bag. I think I used setting "1." (Don't hold me to that. I won't be able to verify until the next time I mill, as I might have changed the setting when I cleaned it.) The fines and smaller particles settle to the bottom:


Here's the output of the 3-roller mill next to the whole kernals for size comparison:


Here's what passes through a #20 seive, it has been shaken so that the larger particles float to the top:


Here's a side by side comparison of what is retained in the #20 seive (on the left) with what paases through the #20 seive (on the right):


idaveindy's picture

Jan. 24, 2022.  82nd bake.

Denisa's rye, take 2.  First bake for the Rye Community bake.

Her formula here:

My previous bake of it here:

The goal is to divide her formula by 3 and make one loaf of about 835 g.

Here's the stone-ground whole rye flour that I used for both the pre-ferment and the final dough:


  • 17 g rye starter. 
  • 140 g spring water. 
  • 140 g whole rye, Malsena brand from Lithuania. 
  • 8:45 am to 5:47 pm, at about 71 - 73 F. Levain doubled. Denisa had 10 hours at 70 F.

Final dough:

  • All the levain. 
  • 242 g bottled spring water. 
  • Mixed.
  • 5 g salt. 
  • 1.5 tsp ground bread spice. The original formula did not call for this. (By volume, prior to toasting: 1 part anise, 1 part fennel, 2 parts caraway, 4 parts coriander. Ground after toasting.)
  • 10 g jaggery, plus 6 g water, to substitute for 16 g barley malt syrup.
  • Mixed. 
  • 275 g whole rye, Malsena brand, mixed in at 6:00 pm.
  • Covered with plastic wrap. 

So bulk is about 1 hour, as per Denisa's recipe.

7:00 pm. - Panned, in a Lodge cast iron loaf pan, part # 4LP. Inside coated with butter, and then dusted with corn meal. (Original formula called for butter with AP flour.) Re-covered with the same plastic wrap. 

Here it is immediately after panning:



8:15 pm. Took the loaf pan out of the oven. Started oven preheat to 500 F, highest it will go. Oven is off by 25 F, so 500 on the thermostat setting is 475 F actual.

I forgot to take a photo of it at the end of the proof stage.

I also forgot to put a steam pan in the oven at the beginning of pre-heat. So I applied some water to the top of the loaf, and put on a layer of raw pumpkin seeds to protect the top. 


The paper plate is 9" in diameter.


jl's picture

This is the first recipe in the rye chapter of Hamelman's book. I'd like to bake them all eventually, but I currently don't maintain a wheat starter, so rye it is.

I tried to  follow the instructions as close as possible. He seems to use a relatively stiff (80-83% hydration) rye sourdough for all these breads. It's hard to tell when it's mature and I forgot to taste it. Another new thing to me was the relatively high percentage of rye in the dough (I usually bake whole rye breads or mostly white flour breads) and I was surprised when it actually came together. Mixing it by hand would have been very unpleasant though. 

The dough was surprisingly strong, but I was afraid it would suddenly fall apart and decided to bake it sooner than usual. There's no picture of this bread in the book, but I'm pretty certain it's not supposed to be this dense.

So far, I've only come across caraway in rye breads (which this is most decidedly not, despite the name) and I absolutely hated it (to put it very mildly). It was actually a bit more tolerable in a mostly wheat dough. Figured it could work with something sweet on top, didn't like it one bit with cloudberry jam. And it's absolutely jarring with Earl Grey tea.

There's a fitting passage in Calvel's book about panettone, which he classifies as a regional brioche:

The panettone is a very rich and highly scented type of hearch cake made in Italy. They are little known in France, and to be quite frank, are not greatly esteemed there, even though they are generally of excellent quality. This lack of acceptance is doubtless ecause they seem to many Frenchmen (and women) to be too strongly scented and flavored. It is unfortunate that excessive use of orange flower water, orange essence, and vanilla seem to overpower the delicate flavor notes from alcoholic fermentation and the use of eggs and butter in the formula, but these practices are suited to Italian taste.

I feel the same could be said about Germans (and by extension Americans) and caraway. I want to try this bread without it.

happycat's picture

What can you do with brioche breads? Transform them into amazing desserts.

Last month I shared a bostock (brioche with an orange zest frangipane)

This month I share a dessert my wife remembered enjoying many times in her younger days with her sister in Japan. It's simple but the process transforms the brioche into something completely different. She had no name for this. If anyone does, let me know.



  • generous slices of brioche (especially good with fruit in it - I used my kugelhopf)
  • dollop of ice cream (I used Kawartha, which uses real cream and sugar)
  • salted butter (I used Emma grassfed butter imported from New Zealand)
  • honey (I used real honey packaged by Bee Maid cooperative)


  1. spread butter generously on one side of brioche
  2. toast brioche in oven (400f) until browned
  3. plate the brioche
  4. scoop ice cream onto the brioche
  5. drizzle honey across brioche / ice cream
  6. serve and enjoy with a fork
WatertownNewbie's picture

Recently I posted about baking the Borodinsky 1940 bread.  This bake is the Borodinsky Supreme based on the recipe in a TFL post from February 2014.

Our kitchen was 72F yesterday, and the whole process took a bit longer than in the original post.  Nonetheless the final result was pleasing (although I am still struggling with the gelatinization of cornstarch and did not get the glaze I was seeking).  Perhaps the inclusion of molasses rather than malt extract made the taste different from the Borodinsky 1940 version, but this bread seemed a little sweeter and not as sour.  I intend to bake both types of Borodinsky in the future.

Here is a view from the top.

And here is the crumb.

My wife really liked the flavor of the top crust with the coriander seeds.  Although rye is a dense bread, this loaf is springy too and not at all a brick.

albacore's picture

I have been struggling with crumpets for a while. I've tried several recipes and always ended up with blind crumpets (no holes).

So I gave up for a while but not liking to be beaten, I decided to have another go. This time I tried Andy's (Ananda) TFL recipe from way back.

To my surprise I had success! Nice tasty crumpets with open holes, crispy exterior and good flavour. One thing that stands out with Andy's recipe is the large amount of yeast used - 6%! But it does seem to work.

Note that this is 6% fresh yeast. I used fresh yeast. If you ever try this recipe and use IDY, multiply the yeast quantity by your favourite factor - I use 0.4X




happycat's picture


My wife saw Yippee's stunning kouglof and she asked me to bake one.

Having no experience with this kind of bread, I chose a simpler instant-yeast-based version to see if I could pull it off.


I modifed the recipe as follows

  • used dried cranberries instead of raisins
  • soaked cranberries in fresh lemon juice instead of liquor
  • added fresh nutmeg and vanilla bean seeds
  • used instant yeast (SAF red) instead of cake yeast, and adapted amount
  • incorporared fruit using a spread and roll up method
  • used silicone tube mould instead of a proper kugelhopf "flowerpot"


adapted from:



  • 500g flour
  • 10g instant dried yeast
  • 200g milk, lukewarm
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g sugar (I food-processed to caster fine)
  • 1/2 Tahitian vanilla bean seeds
  • zest 1 small lemon (I would use a lot more)
  • juice 1 small lemon (24g)
  • 1.4g fresh ground nutmeg
  • 80g dried Sultanas or cranberries (soak in the lemon's juice)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 50g almonds
  • 10g salt
  • tube pan (silicone worked fine)



  1. Set out eggs, milk, butter to come to room temp
  2. Soak fruit in lemon juice or rum  
  3. Add yeast to 100g of warm milk, add 100g of flour and mix and let rise
  4. In separate bowl, mix 400g flour, eggs, 100g milk, sugar and salt for 10 minutes until doesn’t stick
  5. Add butter, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg, doubled levain 
  6. Cover and let rise one hour
  7. Stretch dough into recranglemon work surface
  8. Sprinkle dough evenly with fruit
  9. Roll up dough into long cylinder
  10. Roll cylinder in sliced almonds
  11. Butter mould, coat with sliced almonds
  12. Fit cylinder into mould and pinch ends together
  13. Let dough rise second time, until above edge of mould.
  14. Preheat oven 180°C (350f) 
  15. Bake 40 minutes (note: for a tube pan, might want to reduce by 5 mins?)


Here are the main parts of the recipe (except butter which was softening a bit in the microwave and missed the photoshoot... maybe the non-name butter was a little annoyed that I keep praising that butter I tasted once in Limerick...)

Here's the dough after incorporating the above ingredients

I stretched the dough out like you would with pizza and sprinkled the soaked cranberries over it.

I rolled up the dough, then rolled it in sliced almonds

I fit the dough into my silicone mould. I wasn't expecting the dough to fill all those soft grooves. I had no idea what it would look like.

Surprise! The dough filled all those whirls and sharp edges just fine. Wow, I was surprised and delighted. The bread came out pretty easily... just used two hands to stretch the silicone here and there to free it up.

Decent crumb on this one. It was WAY easier to slice next day with a smooth knife after spending overnight in a plastic bag. And it had more flavour.

I'm a convert to brioche breads with inclusions. I can't really handle high fat croissants and kouign amman anymore. This bread was moist, light tasting, had a freshness from the lemon. And I love the lemon juice-soaked cranberries. Really wonderful flavour.

The vanilla and nutmeg and lemon zest didn't come through strongly so I would use a lot more in the future.

I would also put in more fruit... delicious and not cloying... fresh lemon juice plus dried cranberry is surprisingly balanced. And the juices left over would have made an amazing glaze or spread with the fruit.



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