The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Posting a bit late - last weekend it was Purim, so I baked the traditional Hamantaschen and cinnamon rolls :) I think this year the Hamantaschen are the best ones yet.

ReneR's picture

Inspired by the Red Miso Furikake SD loaf by Benito and the Miso Light Rye Sourdough with Seaweed by txfarmer I tried the above Wakame and fermented tofu (Chao) 50% white spelt loaf.

Very interesting and satisfying bake. The ingredients were as follows:

190g white spelt flour

25g strong wholemeal wheat flour (just to use it up)

150 strong white wheat flour

1/2tsp spelt malt

20g 100% hydration liquid SD starter

20g chia seeds (fully hydrated overnight)

5g dried wakame (fully rehydrated and chopped up)

20g fermented tofu (Chao), mashed and dissolved in 10g of water

2g salt

3tsp of gomasio (an Italian version of Furikake) sprinkled on the flattened dough before each of two laminations 

234g water

I used all the spelt flour, 90g of the water and the SD starter to make a shaggy biga that was fermented for 24h and then mixed all the rest into the final dough which had 4x S&F, 2 laminations during a 5h BF and then final forming and prooving in the banneton before baking at 230C in a dutch oven, 25min lid on and 10min lid off.

With hindsight, seeing that the crust was fairly light and since the loaf was nice and moist upon cutting, I could have left it for another 5min in the oven to brown a little more.

The loaf has a lovely sea smell and flavor, with a little of the fermented tofu (Chao) coming through. The Chao is very pungent, so I was very cautious about putting too much, but it could have taken more to have even more of that super intense umami taste it has. 

Very satisfying to eat, filling (high protein and soluble fiber), and very comfortable to prepare, form, and bake. 

Will fine-tune and post changes and their results here as and when they are incorporated. 

But for next time, I want to try with miso (as per Benito's loaf) and see how it compares with the Chao used this time.

cfraenkel's picture

I need a treat. (those usually involve flour and yeast in my house)  Deb Pearlman (Smitten Kitchen) posted a recipe for a cheater braided brioche with lemon curd and cream cheese (A la Danish) I'm tempted. But I don't do regular will convert to starter - minus orange blossom water this time. 

Can't decide if I want to do do that or if I want to do a bunne-tone repeat, or an actual Pannetone.  Not sure I have time for Pannetone ( as IMHO it has to have candied fruit, and for corn allergy girl here that means making my own, and I don't actually have any at the moment)

What are you baking for easter?  I will definitely make some buttery dinner rolls, but other than that I'm still pondering. 

Happy Baking! and Happy Easter!


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Enjoy my finalized rendition of Ken Forkish's Pain de Campagne. 

Significant changes


1. Formula hydration was lowered a significant 7 percentage points.


2. Flour composition was changed to include slightly more, and different whole grains


3. The yield was increased to achieve four rustic hearth loaves at 480g ea. 



4. One aggressive on the bench letter fold replaced the last stretch/fold.

Pain de Campagne (Country Bread)

 Finalized formula

Inspired by: Forkish, EIB

Total Formula

Flour - 1100g - 100% (includes prefermented Flour)

Water - 800g - 73% (Includes water from levian)

Levian - 440g - 40% * At 100% Hydration 

Sea Salt - 22g - 2%


Final Dough

Artisan Bread flour - 630g -  57%

Einkorn Whole wheat - 120g - 11%

Tibetan Purple Barley - 65g -  5.9%

Gazelle Whole Rye - 65g - 5.9%

Filtered Water 580g 

Levian AP Flour - 440g (Mother 60g, 30g Rye/30g, AP)

Sea Salt 22g 



Total Dough 1922g

Four at 480g


Phase 1 Levian

Three stage build

Phase 2 Fermentolyse 




Twenty minutes at room temperature (73°F)

Phase 3 Mix


The salt was poured evenly on top of the fermentolyse mixture during Phase 2

Fold and pinch the salt into the dough until a very shaggy cohesive dough is achieved.

Phase 4 hands on gluten development/fermentation.

After resting the dough for thirty minutes the first of 2 sets of in the bowl stretch/folds is preformed.

At sixty minutes the second set stretch/fold in the bowl. At ninety minutes an aggressive on the wet bench letter fold is performed. 

Phase 5 Undisturbed fermentation

Room temperature in bulk fermentation to a volume increase of 100% (At 73°F this took four hours)

Phase 6 divide, preshaping. 

After the division, the four equal weight dough balls are lightly shaped into balls. Minimal to no extra bench flour should be used.

Phase 7 shape

Using just enough bench flour as needed to not damage the dough, shape two Boules & two Batards.

Phase 8 cold proofing

The well shaped bannaton incased flegling rustic breads at cold proofed overnight ten to twelve hours. My proofer is at 36°F

Phase 9

The bake

45 Minutes before bake off, pre heat to 550F. Immediately before baking slash, load, and add steam. Lower oven temperature to 475°F bake 15 minutes. Rotate racks high to low and front to back. Bake an additional 15: minutes or until the rich shade of brown is achieved. Rest on a rack for two hours before slicing.

Isand66's picture


My wife recently bought me a Traeger pellet smoker for my birthday and I decided to smoke a brisket for its maiden voyage. I needed a nice deli rye to make a killer smoked brisket sandwich and this bake didn’t disappoint!

I wanted to try a interesting technique that I have not used in over 20 years to add more onion flavor to the dough. The idea is to chop up a small onion and wrap it in cheesecloth and submerge it in the levain. When the levain is ready to use in the main dough you remove the onion and discard it.

I also added some dehydrated onions to main dough which were soaked briefly in olive oil and added at the end of the final mix. I was going to add some toasted onions to the top of the bread but decided it may have been overkill, but maybe next time it’s worth a shot.

I used King Arthur High Gluten flour, some Caputo 00 and some fresh milled Ryman Rye from Barton Springs Mill which was sifted once with a #30 sieve and re-milled. I only sifted out 3% of the bran for this bake. Normally I would use First Clear style four instead of 00 flour but KAF stopped selling it and I have not had a chance to take a drive to nearby Queens NY to buy it from a new source I found. I think this turned out great even without the First Clear but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt it.

I was pleased with how this turned out. The crumb is ideal for sandwiches and the onion flavor is subtle and not too strong but definitely adds a wonderful complexity and flavor to this bake.


Levain Directions 

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and submerge a small onion wrapped in cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap.

Let it sit at room temperature for around 6-7 hours or until the starter has almost doubled. I used my proofer set at 76 degrees so it took around 5 hours for me. Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Note: I use an Ankarsrum Mixer so my order of mixing is slightly different than if using a Kitchenaid or other mixer. Add all your liquid to your mixing bowl except 50-80 grams. Next, add all your flour to the bowl and mix on low for a minute until it forms a shaggy mass. Cover the mixing bowl and let it rest for an hour.   Next add the starter and salt and remaining water as needed and mix on medium low (about speed 3) for 12- 24 minutes.  When the dough is almost fully developed, add the olive oil and dehydrated onions and mix for another minute or 2 to fully incorporate the onions. If you are using a more traditional mixer you would only mix around 7-10 minutes.

Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 1.45 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours. I use my proofer set at 79-80 degrees. If you are leaving it at room temperature 72 degrees I would let it sit out for 2 -2.5 hours before refrigerating. Depending on how developed the dough is after the initial mix you may not need to do as many S&F’s.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours or if using a proofer set at 80 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove the dough and do a pre-shape into a round(s). Let it sit covered for around 15-20 minutes. Next shape as desired and add to your proofing baskets/bannetons and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap Sprayed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  (I use my proofer set at 80 F and it takes about 1 hour.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 540 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 455 degrees.  Bake for around 35 minutes or until the breads are nice and brown and have an internal temperature around 200-210 F. 

Take the bread(s) out of the oven when done and let them cool on a bakers rack for as long as you can resist. 

ReneR's picture

Finally managed to make two vaguely comparable loaves, one using a 'shaggy' SD biga and the other, in effect, a SD poolish (not dissimilar to the liquid levain I was using in pre-biga bakes, minus the small regular feeds).

Both loaves were 30% wholegrain rye flour and 70% strong white wheat flour (total flour 400g). The biga loaf had 7.5% flaxseeds while the poolish loaf had 7.5% chia seeds (run out of flaxseeds). Salt was 1% in both and both had a 70% final hydration. 100% hydration SD starter at 10% of the total preferment flour was added to both the biga and the poolish, but the biga was 50% of the total flour while the poolish was 25% of the total flour. The biga was 50/50 strong white and wholegrain rye while the poolish was entirely wholegrain rye. The biga was left for 24h to ferment while the poolish took about 18h to fully rise and reach peak activity. Temperature around 19C for both.

My observations were as follows:

Bulk fermentation much faster with the biga than the poolish. Biga BF around 4h, poolish still not fully fermented after 6h, so had to leave it overnight in the fridge and make the next day.

Final dough more liquid and less strong/more sticky with the poolish than the biga. The biga dough was much easier to handle and shape. Both had 4xS&F and 2xlaminates. 

Prooving was also faster with the biga (about 40min vs. 1h40min) and the biga loaf had risen significantly more than the poolish in the banneton. 

Both were baked at 230C in a dutch oven, 25min lid on 10min lid off.

Biga bakePoolish bake

Oven spring was more with the biga than the poolish. (biga left, poolish right in the photos)

Crust thinner and more more crunchy with the biga. Color similar. 

Biga crumbPoolish crumb

Crumb was pretty open with both, but slightly more uneven with the poolish. (biga left, poolish right in the photos)

Texture was more more light and airy with the biga than the poolish, which was slightly heavier, more moist and more chewy.

Flavor was more more nutty with the biga and slightly more sour with the poolish.

Both were similar in terms of staying fresh after the bake, being reasonably moist and nice to eat even the 3rd day after the bake. 

Overall, my conclusion is that, for me, the biga has the edge in terms of convenience, ease of dough handling, speed of BF, dough structure, oven spring, crust, crumb, and texture. I also like the flavor, although the poolish is maybe more traditionally sourdoughy. 

Some final thoughts about these methods with regard to spelt

 As I was originally motivated to experiment with the 'shaggy' biga method as a way of baking free-form loaves with a high spelt flour content with good results, I also tried to make a 50% white spelt flour loaf using my previous liquid levain method , just to remember how it was and have a more recent comparator for my biga spelt bakes.

In the end, the loaf had to be converted to a focaccia type flatbread because it was not able to retain enough shape in the prooving stage to be made as a free-form loaf. While the final dough would tighten up nicely with the S&Fs and laminations and final forming, it would quickly loosen up again and spread out. 

As far as I am concerned, to make a free-standing loaf with a high proportion of the white spelt flour I have, it is only possible to do it using this 'shaggy' biga technique. The ability to hold its form and the oven spring generated make this method ideal for baking with flour with the characteristics of white spelt. 


JonJ's picture

A few years ago, Dan Ayo posted here about his experience with using chocolate malted barley from the brew shop in a bread. It made a big difference to the colour of the bread and the flavour of it too.

Thinking the same, I made small taste testers using three different kinds of barley malt that I picked up from a craft brew supply store.

The malts that were tried were called: BEST chocolate malt, BEST caramel Munich I, BEST biscuit malt. I assume, from the names that the original source is You can see the theme that all of the names of the malt promised a different flavour experience, although that would be with beer!

Taste testers in this case were seven different doughs each made with a base formula of 100g white bread flour, 65g water, 20g levain and 2g salt. I tried two different concentrations of each malt - 2% and 0.5%, and made a seventh dough with no malt in it for taste comparison. Credit is due to Paul for the idea of the 100g sample loaf.

In this pic you can see the testers after baking. In columns, from left to right, they are: chocolate, caramel, biscuit. The top row is at 0.5%; the bottom row at 2%. And the lone one on the far right had no malt added to it.Called the whole family to taste and we had a pleasant time sniffing and tasting each sample. As you can see the chocolate malt one was quite visually distinct, even at 0.5% but especially at 2%. It had a taste like 'coffee' and not chocolate. The other two didn't bring in enough flavour to notice, but they did improve the dough and bread texture, especially the biscuit malt. If you sniffed them very carefully you could pick up some interesting malt notes even with the pale malts.

In conclusion I'd say that the chocolate malt was worth the try and can see why Dan found it interesting too. There are many other interesting malts used by brewers that I'd like to play with as well, obviously there are rye and wheat malts, but also curious to know if anyone has opinions on whether things like an acidulated malt or a malt with high dextrins that might have an effect on the Maillard reaction would be a worth a try. And then there is the approach of including the grains themselves in the bread which might be a better way to go.

SueVT's picture

Good result with this recipe, which includes a tangzhong. I used lemon essence instead of the larger volume of limoncello, and this worked well. 

Shaping:  I placed dough as one piece in the molds, rather than the traditional wings and body approach. I did this by laminating dough into a diamond shape and rolling it from left and right into the center. This created a batard-like shape, heavier in the center. When place in the mold, I gently reach underneath to spread the dough somewhat toward the wing edges. 

Taste, crumb, texture all very good. 11 hours first impasto fermentation, 4.78 pH at the end.  Five hours final rise at 28C. 


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

OMG! These dog treats smell like Amazeballs!

Hello, dog lovers! And sourdough bread people. Today I have some sourdough discard dog treats working.  The formula I referenced is from Food 52 " Sourdough Discard dog treats"

Enjoy the pictorial formula. I went off the reservation after bring the dough together. My process is listed with the photos. Stop back later, we will have Gronky taste test.

Two eggs are missing from the wet ingredients photo.

The original formula called for no bulk fermentation I. I added one hour of bulk. Also the shaping method was different.

fredsbread's picture

Last Christmas my wife bought me some wheat berries from Barton Springs Mill. Unfortunately, she started a major allergen elimination diet not long after that because we thought our newborn was sensitive to something she was eating. That turned out not to be the case, and we're all back to eating everything we want, so I was finally able to compare the two hard red wheats that she got me (Yecora Rojo and Rouge de Bordeaux) to the regular hard red wheat I get from the LDS Home Storage Center. My main curiosity was to find out if any differences in bread quality would be worth the drastic difference in price ($18 plus shipping for 5lb from BSM vs $17.61 local pickup for 25lb of my regular wheat).

I compared one BSM wheat against my control per bake. Every loaf had 392g freshly milled whole wheat flour, 8g vital wheat gluten, 9g salt, 1/4tsp instant yeast, and 340g water.

RDB was the first one I tried. Chad Robertson writes in one of his books that RDB is more extensible, and that matched my experience in this little test. The RDB dough was more slack than the control at the same hydration. The dough spread out more during baking and didn't spring as tall. The main difference in flavor was that it tasted more like wheat bran than the control. Since the berries are smaller, I'm sure that it did actually have more bran in it, rather than just having a higher polyphenol concentration in the bran or whatever.

The YR had the opposite effect on dough consistency, which also matched my expectations based on Robertson's writings. The dough was very strong and springy, and I wonder if it would produce a strong dough even without added VWG. The flavor of YR is very pleasant, but hard for me to describe. It definitely has a stronger flavor than my control, but not in the same way as RDB. It reminds me of when I had cracked wheat cereal as a kid. It tasted more like wheat without tasting more like bran. However, this flavor was only noticeable when I ate it by itself, not when I used it for sandwiches. I've been thinking about what I could make to best appreciate the flavor, but so far I haven't thought of anything that I would want to eat exclusively unaccompanied. I'd also be interested to see if the flavor difference remains as strong if I use sourdough instead of commercial yeast.


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