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Modern Jess

(Baked 2/3/17)

This ended up being a particularly sticky loaf, and I had considerable trouble getting it out of the banneton when it was time to bake. Hence, the loaf is a bit malformed. Still, it was moist and delicious and had very good crumb.


  • 500g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 350g water @ 80°
  • 150g starter @ 70% hydration
  • 12g salt
  • 300g oatmeal porridge (1:1.5 dry to wet by volume)


  • Mixed flour, starter, and 300g water
  • Left to autolyse 30 minutes
  • Mixed in salt + 50g water
  • Turned once
  • Folded in oatmeal
  • Continued turns @ 30 minute intervals
  • Formed loaf and proofed overnight in banneton @ 65°-ish
  • Baked @ 500° covered for 20 minutes (forgot to turn down oven after loaf went in)
  • Baked @ 450° uncovered for 18 more minutes

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Modern Jess

(Baked 1/30/2017)

Another Oatmeal Porridge loaf, this time with some added whole wheat instead of spelt. 


  • 450g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 50g King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
  • 300g water @ 75°
  • 150g starter @ 70% hydration
  • 12g salt
  • 250g oatmeal porridge (1:1.5 dry to wet by volume)


  • Mixed everything except oatmeal together
  • Turns @ 30 minute intervals for 4 hours
  • Oatmeal folded in during turns
  • Bench rest for 30 minutes
  • Formed loaf and proofed ~8 hours in banneton
  • Baked for 20 minutes covered @ 450°
  • Baked for 20 minutes uncovered @ 450°

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Modern Jess

(Baked 1/28/2017)

I do believe this was the first of many many loaves that where I added rolled oats. The way in which I added them continues to change and evolve, but on my first attempt, I actually precooked them.


  • 1 cup Quaker rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cook covered for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool while still covered.

Bread Ingredients

  • 450g King Arthur bread flour
  • 50g sprouted whole spelt flour
  • 300g water
  • 12.5g salt
  • 250g cooked oatmeal porridge


  • Mix flour, spelt flour, starter, and 250g of the water
  • Rest for 30 minutes
  • Add salt and remaining 50g of water into the dough
  • Turns at 30 minute intervals for 3 hours, mixing the oat porridge in a bit at a time at every turn after the first one

I don't have baking times for this loaf, but it was almost certainly 450° for 20 minutes covered followed by 12-15 minutes uncovered.

My tasting notes say that this was a very well risen loaf, moist and fluffy, with excellent flavor. This would turn out to be a pivotal loaf for me, as the addition of oatmeal proved to make a huge different in my loaves from this point forward.

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Modern Jess

My apologies for the extended absence. Again. I've been baking bread, on and off, but I've also been doing lots of other stuff, and posting my progress toward my 2017 Bread Challenge kind of fell by the wayside.

As we now seem to be winding down 2017, I figured I would make an effort to finish what I started. You'll be seeing a bunch more of these blog posts in the next 24 hours. Maybe I'll even finish!

From way back on January 28th, 2017, here's loaf #14: another variation of my Country Spelt Loaf. This one doesn't seem to have any crumb pictures, a sure sign that I took it to work for my team.



  • 450g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 50g sprouted whole spelt
  • 150g starter @ 70% hydration
  • 375g water @ 75°
  • 12g salt

Turns every 20 minutes for 3 hours, no bench rest. Formed loaf and proofed overnight for about 10 hours. 

Baked at 450° covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 20 more. Definitely an attempt at getting it strongly baked.


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Modern Jess

I've made substantial progress on my goal of baking and documenting 50 loaves this year, but I'm way behind on actually posting the results. This loaf was baked way back on January 26th, and I'm only getting around to posting it now. I have quite a backlog, actually -- apologies to anyone who might have been following along.

This loaf continues my fascination with spelt, which actually started on a trip through Italy last year, and had nothing at all to do with bread. While staying in Bagni di Lucca, we were served a regional specialty soup made with farro, beans, and tomatoes. It was really good, and I recreated it as soon as I got home.

While researching farro, I discovered it's just what the Italians call spelt, and spelt is just an ancient form of wheat, unmodified by the Green Revolution. So why not bake with it? It adds a nice nutty taste to the bread, and makes for a nice change of pace.

This particular loaf is strongly baked, and the crust was almost as shatter-y as I was hoping for.


  • 400g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 100g whole sprouted spelt
  • 150g wheat starter, 70% hydration
  • 375g water @ 75°
  • 12g salt


  • Turns @ 30 minute intervals for ~3 hours
  • Proofed overnight in a cool kitchen in oval banneton ~8 hours
  • Baked 20 minutes covered @ 500°
  • Backed 30 minutes uncovered @ 450°



Modern Jess's picture
Modern Jess

I've made this loaf many times before, and it's one of my favorites. It's also a bit of a crowd favorite, at least among those who like olives.

I make this a bit differently than most of my other loaves, which is necessitated by the need to have access to the top of the loaf a few minutes before baking. Rather than proof in a banneton, I proof instead in parchment inside a mixing bowl, apply the black salt no more than 5 minutes before baking (or the salt will dissolve into the crust) and then left the entire loaf, parchment and all, into the screaming hot dutch oven. The dutch oven that I use is a round 3.5qt, which makes for a tight fit for a loaf this size. That in turn makes a nicely-risen loaf (or at least, appears nicely risen) with crinkly sides from the parchment.

This specific loaf is perhaps my best attempt so far. Previous versions had a very thin crust, despite cooking in the dutch oven, and I really couldn't quite wrap my head around why. For this loaf, rather than proof with a sealed lid on top of the mixing bowl, I proofed with just a linen over the bowl (overnight for ~8 hours) which left the top of the loaf quite a bit drier than when I proof sealed. That, in turn, made the top easier to score, and gave me nice crisp ears. Still not quite as crisp as my other loaves proofed in bannetons, but still better. My takeaway from this is that dough loses more moisture than I thought to the banneton, and a glass bowl with a lid on it really keeps that moisture from escaping.

Recipe is as follows:

  • 500g KA Bread Flour
  • 350g cold water
  • 150g starter @ 70% hydration
  • 12g salt
  • 150g kalamata olives (sliced in half)
  • Hawaiian black lava salt (to taste)

Turned dough at 30 minute intervals for ~4 hours, incorporating a few of the olives at a time.

Proofed overnight in parchment, covered with a linen cloth

Sprinkled generous amount of Hawaiian salt on crust at the very last minute before baking

Baked @ 450° for 25 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered


Sorry, no crump shot on this one -- I took it to work and fed it to my team at our Monday staff meeting, and it was rapidly devoured.


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Modern Jess

After my previous attempt at brioche (where I tragically left out the salt) I thought I'd try again. For this attempt, I just went with a straight loaf shape, and skipped the pseudo-braid I used previously. It's not a very exciting looking loaf, but the flavor was really very good. Pretty happy with the way this one turned out.

As before, I used this recipe from TheKitchn.


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Modern Jess

I mentioned in an earlier post that my wife was not so enamored with "artisan" bread. For this loaf, I did a complete 180 and baked something that was far, far outside of my wheelhouse. Actually, my wife was specific about it, after I pressed her on why she wouldn't eat my bread for the fourth time that day.

"I want brioche" she said. "Make me brioche and I will eat it."

"How hard could it be?" I said, foolishly, and not for the first time.

So for my first attempt at brioche, and having no idea what brioche is really about, I turned to the interwebs for help. I came across (and discarded) a bunch of recipes that said things like DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES UPON PENALTY OF DEATH and other such foolish things. It's as if the brioche process were some sacred indoctrination rite, like fetching a bucket of steam or a sky hook.

Finally, I stumbled on a recipe that seemed accessible, had informative pictures, and generally didn't make such a fuss about how Julia Child would have wanted it done.

It went well, actually. I don't use the stand mixer very often (mine sounds like a two-stroke engine with a broken crank, actually -- but it still works) so it was a nice change of pace.

The dough behaved mostly like the recipe said it would, and after an overnight rest in the fridge, I had no problem forming the dough into balls and making the pseudo-braid in my very large hearth loaf pan, using all the dough for a single loaf instead of two smaller loaves. 

It baked as it was supposed to as well, though I had to cook it longer to get the internal temp up to 190°, as per the instructions. It wasn't until it had cooled off and I took the first bite that I realized what I had done wrong.

No salt.

Darn it! I forgot the salt! I could tell right away, even though all the butter and eggs kicked in enough flavor to make it somewhat less of a tragedy than it would have been for one of my regular loaves. In fact, my wife still liked it, and my MiL loved it. She's been asking me to bake another brioche loaf ever since.


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Modern Jess

One of my coworkers has a serious problem tolerating wheat, though she is not celiac. She agreed to try some experiments (with her as the subject!) to see where the boundaries of her wheat issues lay.

Our first experiment, some time last year, was a very, very long ferment sourdough. That loaf was modestly successful -- her symptoms were relatively mild.

For this loaf, I came at it from a different angle, creating an all-spelt starter (through many successive feedings of a branch of my regular starter over 2 weeks) and 100% sprouted spelt flour. The theory here is that wheat underwent a fairly radical change in the  middle of the 20th century, so I thought her tolerance might be related to that. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, of course, and so didn't get transformed by the green revolution. It seemed like it might be worth a try, and I've been digging the nutty flavor that spelt (in smaller quantities) gives to my loaves.

It's not a very attractive loaf, but she said it was really tasty. Unfortunately, it made her just as sick as regular bread, so modern wheat is not the source of her problem.

Recipe as follows:

  • 450g sprouted whole spelt flour
  • 300g water (76°)
  • 130g spelt starter @ 100% hydration
  • 50g honey
  • 10g kosher salt

Regular turns at 20 minute intervals for 3 hours, followed by overnight proofing (~8 hours) on the countertop.

Baked (in parchment) for 20 minutes @ 450° covered, 15 minutes @ 450° uncovered, then 10 more minutes @ 350° covered, until internal temp reached 210°.

(Sorry, no crumb shot -- I gave this loaf to my coworker unmolested)

Modern Jess's picture
Modern Jess

I'm falling behind on posting. Still baking, but I have a backlog of photos and posts to do. Trying to catch up.

Here's a loaf to change things up a bit. My wife is actually not super fond of "artisan" bread. She'll eat it, but she prefers softer bread, and always cuts the crust off regardless of what kind of bread it is. This is, needless to say, a bit of a sore point in our household.

I thought I'd experiment with some alternative forms to at least get closer to a loaf she would like. This one is just my standard sourdough method, but baked in a large "hearth pan". It's a big loaf.

Recipe as follows:

  • 900g KA bread flour
  • 630g water (73°) (overshot and poured too much)
  • 300g starter (70% hydration)
  • 25g kosher salt

Irregular turns for ~4 hours. I didn't form a loaf on this one, just put the dough into the hearth pan (after spraying with a light olive oil). Proofed overnight for ~8 hours on the countertop in a cool kitchen. 

Egg wash applied right before baking. Baked 20 minutes @ 450°, then 45 minutes @ 350°.



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