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Harvest King Flour Tips and Recipes

Nov 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

Rose’s Basic Hearth Bread
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, W. W. Norton & Company, 2003

This is the recipe as it appears on the back of the flour bag but with a few additions, variations and lots of tips! (Note: to print the out, select the text and copy into a word document)

Makes: About 1 3/4 pounds of dough: An 8 inch round loaf, or a 9 inch sandwich loaf, or 16 dinner rolls, or 12 hot dog buns, or 8 hamburger buns

3 cups/1 pound Harvest King flour (measured by dip and sweep)
1/4 cup/1.25 ounce whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, bread machine or other instant yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-1/3 cups/11.25 ounces room temperature water
1 teaspoon mild honey, such as clover

Optional for soft crust for sandwich bread or buns: 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Stir in the water and honey (and optional oil). Using a mixer with a dough hook or by hand, knead the dough until smooth and springy (about 7 minutes, or 10 minutes by hand). The dough should be soft and just sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If it is still very sticky knead in a little flour. If it is too stiff spray it with a little water and knead it.

Set the dough in a lightly greased bowl and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about an hour. (Stick a finger into the center of the dough and if it keeps the indentation it’s ready.) If baking it the following day, press down the dough and set it in a large oiled zipper type storage bag, leaving a tiny bit unzipped for the forming gas to escape, and refrigerate it. Remove it to room temperature 1 hour before shaping.

When ready to shape the dough, set it on a very lightly floured counter and flatten gently with your fingertips. Shape into a round ball or football. Set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or lightly sprinkled with cornmeal or flour. Cover with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in.

While the dough is rising, set the oven rack toward the bottom and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Set a cast iron skillet or heavy baking pan on the floor of the oven or on the lowest shelf. Preheat the oven to 475F. for 45 minutes or longer.

With a single edged razor blade or very sharp knife, cut one or more long, 1/4 inch deep slashes into the dough. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet, and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 425°F. and continue baking 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 210°F.). Halfway through baking, turn the pan halfway around for even baking.

Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool completely or until just warm.

Processor Method: Refer to the instruction booklet for your model to determine the maximum amount of flour allowable. Chill the water. Place the whisked flour mixture in the work bowl fitted with the dough blades. With the motor on, add the cold water and oil if desired. If the mixture doesn’t come together after 10 seconds, scrape down the sides. and scrape the dry part into the moist part. After the mixture comes together, continue processing for 1 1/2 minutes until a smooth elastic dough is formed. If it does not clean the bowl, pulse in a little extra flour. Remove the dough to a counter and knead it for 10 seconds to equalize the temperature.

Optional Seed Variation: Add up to 3/4 cup of mixed seeds such as cracked flax, sesame, poppy, sunflower or pumpkin to the flour mixture. (The sunflower and pumpkin seeds have the best flavor if toasted at 325F. until just beginning to color—about 5 minutes.)

Weekend Schedule:

1) Mix the dough first thing Saturday morning or as late as 1:00 in the afternoon and it will be ready for dinner at 6. or
2) Store the baked cooled loaf in a paper bag and reheat it for Sunday dinner in a 350°F. oven for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the crust and warm the crumb. or
OR Refrigerate the dough until Sunday morning. (This will give it a more open crumb.) Shape and bake it for Sunday dinner OR
If desired Double the recipe. Slice the second loaf. Place it in a freezer weight zipper lock bag and freeze it for week day lunches

* To measure the flour, dip the measuring cup with unbroken rim into the flour and with a straight edge such as a metal spatula or knife, level it off.

* Flour should be stored in an airtight container in a cool area. It will keep for about a year, and much longer if it is stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Old flour will not smell bad but it will lose it’s ability to provide good structure to the bread.

* Whole wheat flour will become rancid after about 6 months unless it is stored in the refrigerator or freezer where it will keep for over a year.

* Instant yeast will stay fresh for as long as 2 years if stored in an airtight container in the freezer after opening the package.

* If you have a recipe using active dry yeast, replace each teaspoon with 3/4 teaspoon of instant yeast.

* If adding seeds to the dough, taste them first to be sure they are not rancid and store any leftover seeds in the freezer.

* If adding grains such as polenta or bulgur to the dough, they should be soaked for at least 4 hours.

* Basic rustic bread dough can accommodate grains, seeds and nuts up to as much as 60% of the flour without becoming crumbly. My preference is between 10 to 33%. The addition of seeds and grains to bread dough adds excellent flavor and texture in addition to providing fiber.

* Add salt after the yeast is mixed into the flour. Avoid direct contact with the salt and yeast.

* If water is cold when added to the flour, it will take the dough longer to rise (except if using a food processor to mix the dough). The water can be slightly warm but hot water will kill the yeast. Cold tap water takes about 30 minutes to reach room temperature.

* If you are kneading the dough by hand, use a bench scraper to move the dough and add only as much extra flour as needed. During kneading, the flour absorbs the water evenly and as the gluten develops the dough becomes less sticky on its own.

* When shaping the dough, it helps if it clings a little to the counter so use flour only if it sticks to the counter.

* If there is no warm area in the house you can put the shaped bread in a microwave (NOT turned on) or cover it with a large container along with a cup of hot tap water to speed rising and maintain a moist environment. Change the water after 30 minutes to keep it hot. Alternatively you can increase the yeast up to a total of 2 teaspoons.

* For a rustic appearance, you can dust the surface of the loaf with flour before slashing it.

* A baking stone (or quarry tiles) is ideal for evenly retaining the oven’s heat after the door has been opened and produces the best rise.

* Keep the oven door closed during the first 15 minutes of baking.

* An instant read thermometer takes the guess work out of telling when the bread is baked fully.

* If the crust is getting too brown before the inside is baked, tent it loosely with foil.

* Burned bread is bitter but a deep golden brown crust is more flavorful than a pale golden one.

* The bread is continuing to ‘bake’ during cooling. For the best texture, allow the bread to cool completely or until just warm before cutting into it.

* For an extra crisp crust, return the cooled bread to a 350°F. oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

* For a sandwich loaf, before shaping, press the dough into a greased loaf pan. It should come no more than 1/2 inch from the top. Cut off any excess dough (use scissors or a knife—don’t tear the dough) and bake it as rolls. Roll or press the rest of the dough into a rectangle and roll it up tightly, pinching the seam with your fingers. Set it seam-side down in the lightly greased pan. Let it rise until almost doubled. Slash if desired. Bake the loaf at 375°F. for 40 to 50 minutes A lower temperature forms a thicker crust which supports the higher sides of the loaf.


guess what! i was looking for something else and uncovered my old little bag of ascorbic acid from king arthur. on it is written "use 1/8 teaspoon for 6 cups of flour i yeasted bread recipes!


King Arthur didn't know (or wouldn't tell me) but Sarah at baking911.com said basically a pinch per 2-4 cups of flour.

Happy Holidays!


mary, the information on poolish is in the bread bible.

frank, only a fraction of a % of ascorbic acid is recommended. on baking 911 she suggests 1/8 teaspoon per recipe. why don't you call king arthur flour on their toll free line. they carry it in their catalogue and surely can tell you the % in weight. do let us know!
i would use half bread flour half unbleached all purpose flour.


Hi Rose,

Thanks for your insight in the Bread Bible! I want to make my own version of the King Arthur European-Style Artisan Bread Flour. In the book you say to add 1-3% whole wheat...but what proportion of ascorbic acid should I add? Also, do I use all purpose or bread flour for mixture? Mille Grazie, Franco


I am wondering how much poolish to add to a receipe..if I want to make up a batch of poolish and add it to several recipes how much poolish would be added to each recipe.



they are all identical.


Since the new Better for Bread flour is the same as the old retail Harvest King, does that also make it identical to the Harvest King sold to professionals?

Also, how does this flour differ from the old pre-Harvest King Better for Bread?


answering beth i see i never answered the question just before: so yes! better for bread is the exact same as karvest king.

beth, i estimate the amount of salt for grains at the same % as wheat flour, app 2%.


If we're adding grains, etc., should we increase the amount of salt? By how much? I haven't been, but there's something missing, I think. I added about a half cup of the King Arthur seed/grain mix. In all honesty, the loaf was a little bit rushed - only an hour with the sponge, then 20 min. autolyze. It didn't rise overnight.

Thanks, Beth


Is "Better for Bread" identical to Harvest King? Are only the name and packaging changed?


Hello..two questions tonight...

Should I use bleached or unbleached flour when making cinnamon rolls?

In your recipe for butter-dipped rolls the measurement in volume for the dry milk powder doesn't weigh what it says it should. Which should I go by?



I've been making a variation of the hearth bread while here in Italy: equipment is a bowl, a spoon, and an oven. I've been using 50% bread flour (manitoba flour marketed in Italy), about 25% semolina flour (gran turco) and 25% whole wheat flour. I've added extra water so it's fairly slack, also added poppy seeds and walnuts. Bake for 40 minutes in a hot oven, then leave it in the oven another 20 minutes with the heat turned off. Yesterday I actually got a crust that stayed hard. I'm not using steam here. Anyway, it's been exquisite, judged so by me, my husband, and the hosts we took it to yesterday (1 Scotsman, 1 English, 1 Italian).



it's been renamed "Better for Bread"


George Barnum
George Barnum
12/13/2008 03:23 PM

I am trying to buy Gold medal Harvest King flour at Palm Springs Ca can any ony tell me where I can find it


Thanks, Matthew. My mind is spinning with all the possibilities - first rise in frig; second rise in frig. I could easily start a bread on Thursday afternoon/evening and bake it Friday morning, then bake a second different bread on Sat. afternoon. I hate not bringing "freshly" baked bread, but then it's still probably better than what the people normally bring to the potlucks.


If I were in your situation, I would probably make the beer bread. It has a pleasant yeasty flavor and I think it would complement the food nicely. Since you have the bread bible, read through this recipe and see if it would work for your time frame.


I somehow volunteered to bring bread to a potluck next Saturday evening. The only problem is I'll need to leave home on Friday about noon, not returning until fairly late; I'll also be away several hours in the morning on Saturday, and the potluck starts about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. I've been auditioning new recipes, and keep vacillating. Today I changed horses midstream, and after starting a different recipe, somehow found myself making Rose's sourdough. But I got started too late, and baked it off 5 hours too soon (sorry, Rose). Somehow it turned out great. I wonder what it would have been like if I could have allowed all of the rising time. At any rate, now I think I might try the hearth bread (with old starter) in order to keep things a bit simpler, which I haven't made before. If one puts seeds in it, is it OK to store it overnight in the frig, for about 26 hours (or without the seeds, even)? Or is that too long? Also, do the seeds draw moisture from the dough? I'd like to take 2 breads, but haven't decided on the other yet. On the menu is jambalaya and ratatouille. I wish I was like Hector and Bill and could stay up half the night baking, but that just doesn't work for me. Bill, I'm glad the lecture was exciting.

By the way, last week I made challah (Maggie Glezer's Chernowitzer) with a lot of old starter (more than usual), somehow turned the oven off after I put the challah in (instead of turning the oven light off; old habit of mine). I set the timer for 20 minutes, saw what I had done, and turned the oven back on. Luckily I had preheated for at least an hour, and had a stone in. The challah turned out wonderfully anyway! I'm beginning to think that bread can sometimes be VERY forgiving.



Do try the bit of whole wheat David. It adds an amazing amount of flavor.


glad to see i'm not the only one who misplaces decimel points--did you see my posting on bagels where i divided the salt fraction instead of multiplying it when increasing the recipe and then couldn't figure out why it tasted so flat and had to salt the baked bagel!


David Chessler
David Chessler
01/10/2008 10:04 PM

Then I better not admit that this time I misplaced the decimal point, and instead of about 2% rye I put in about 20% (about 80 grams instead of 8)!

The baguettes came out fine again. This time I doubled your basic recipe but made 3 baguettes. These were quite large and will be good for sandwiches. For this recipe I use Harvest King. I can't get artisan flour locally, and I rarely have enough of an order to be worth mail order. I'm going to see about adding a bit of whole wheat flour. Also, the salt is a trifle high for my taste, so I'll fiddle with that.


thank you for sharing all this. It's a pleasure to see how very knowledgeable you are both about flour extraction and the process.


David Chessler
David Chessler
01/ 5/2008 10:20 PM

More on this recipe:

When I made it in the past I took 1 1/2 C of white sour (13.5 oz) from my crock, added 1 1/2 C (7.5 oz) of bread flour and about 8 or 8.5 oz water, and set it out overnight to make 3 cups of white sour (sourdough; starter) for 2 loaves. I did this because my stoneware crocks are too small for 3 cups of starter, and they're about the biggest I can get into the refrigerator without creating an "issue."

The last time I baked the bread (Friday), I didn't have 1 1/2 C of white sour in the crock. I could take a cup (9 oz) easily, but this would leave just enough to feed and start the next batch. So I put the 1 C in a bowl, added 2 1/2 oz of bread flour and 1/3 C of water, and set it aside overnight. When I came back to it after swimming on Friday (about 14 hours ferment) it was very soft, like a poolish or sponge (equal weights flour and water), and not as stiff as usual.

In making the bread, I increased the rye to a full 2% of the flour, without increasing the water. Even so, the dough came out much moister than usual. (There was also about 1 1/2 grams of soy flour as an amendment, and the usual about 40 grams (roughly 1%) of whole wheat for flavor.

I ended up having to add a couple of tablespoons of bread flour to get it dry enough to process in the cuisinart. However, I got a MUCH better rise, with a very nice crumb and crust. Indeed, I gave my wife a slice at bedtime, and she didn't eat it until the next morning and it was not yet stale.

So I'm going to start feeding the sourdough the night before making the bread. Theoretically, this shouldn't affect the water, but apparently it does affect the absorbancy of the flour (King Arthur Bread).

The rye did not have a noticeable affect on flavor, but, since the French permit 2% rye in a baguette, I'll keep adding it for a while.

As for the whole wheat, French flour, copied in this country as "artisan", is about 76-78% extraction, vice 70% for American unbleached flour. If you add 20 per cent whole wheat to the mix, so the final flour is 83% unbleached (70%) and 17% whole wheat (100%), you get flour that is the equivalent of about 76% extraction. Not exactly, because you're getting the larger particles of bran from the whole wheat, which would be removed if the flour were milled and sifted to 76%. Anyhow, this seems to be giving good results in some other recipes, so I may adjust this one, too.

I have been working with your baguette recipe from the Bread Bible. I'm getting excellent results with good crumb and crust. A couple of points. My baguette mold has 3 loaves, so I had to increase the recipe by a factor of 1.5. (The resulting baguettes are more like "ficelles" so I may increase it by a factor of 2 and still use 3 parts). Secondly, the dilution of the yeast is easier if you dilute it in flour rather than water. I could mix up a batch using 319 grams of flour and 4 gms yeast, and then use more water and less flour in each stage, replacing it with the yeast mixture.

This for 3 baguettes of pate ancienne, I use 75.6 grams of water (rather than 88.5), 62.3 grams of flour (rather than 86.3), 24 grams of yeast-flour mixture and the same 1.8 grams of salt.

In the poolish, I use 105.8 grams of flour (vice 112.5), 112.5 grams of water (vice 101.3), 6.8 grams of flour-yeast mixture (rather than 11.3 grams of the liquid yeast mixture).

The rest of the recipe is the same.

Most usefully, 319 grams of flour is about 2 cups and a quarter, so I have a Ball canning jar mostly full of flour-yeast which will last for a long time in the refrigerator, rather than the fiddly small amount of yeast and water, which I would not be able to hold over for the next baking session.

Timing: For Friday evening, I start the pate ancienne Wednesday night. Thursday evening I start the poolish. Friday after swimming I start the main dough. It's really hard to fit this one into my schedule.

This may also be a candidate for dough amendments, particularly a bit of rye and some whole wheat (probably white whole wheat in a fancy loaf), or maybe even make the "all purpose" flour by sifting much of the bran out of whole wheat (if I can find an appropriate flour sifter).


David Chessler
David Chessler
12/ 2/2007 11:31 PM

Forgot to say, when you pour water into the cast iron frying pan try not to let any splash on the door, and use an Orka or other silicon oven mitt, because there is a lot of very hot steam.!


David Chessler
David Chessler
12/ 2/2007 11:18 PM

My starter is relatively stiff. I remove 9 oz and call it a cup, and refresh with 5 oz of bread flour and 5 2/3 fluid ounces of water. I can't really stir it, but I can mix it up pretty well with the stiff silicon spatula.

The starter is relatively new, and I've been using it more than usual (I'm baking one loaf every second day rather than 4 loaves every saturday). I've been keeping it in the refrigerator, though last time I left it out for 24 hours.

I was using Red Star active dry yeast, from the jar. I believe SAF is now manufacturing Red Star, and claims there is no difference between them. I keep the jar in the refrigerator, not the freezer. The expiration date was 2008, so it was fully active.

I put flour first, and may blend it to mix. I then put in other dry ingredients except yeast. I then put in the starter, and start processing (kneading). As I add the water to the spinning mass, I put in the salt. Or I can put the salt on top of the starter, since it then won't kill the yeast.

One reason I use the amount of rise, rather than the time, to control the fermentation and proofing of the dough is that my kitchen is almost never in the 75-80 degree range for which recipes are calibrated, especially since we opened it up in the last remodeling. In winter we keep the thermostat under 65 deg, though it gets warmer in the kitchen because of our big west windows. In summer it's usually well over 80 deg. during the day.

With the addition of sourdough the bread has a noticeably sour taste. Not strong, but more noticeable than most of the "sourdough" loaves sold in supermarkets. Not everyone will like this, but my wife does.

At one time this was the recipe in George Greenstein, Secrets of a Jewish Baker, (1st ed) but there are several major changes. I give much longer rises than he does, especially the first rise. I use dough amendments to "feed the yeast." I am dropping the barley malt: I like the taste and the texture of the crumb better without it. And I make a 3-cup long loaf rather than a 6-cup round loaf. French country breads are usually round, but we prefer to slice it, and sometimes use it for sandwiches.

I'm not sure about the percentage of water in the original recipe, but I think my calculation is correct, or maybe I'm using the new math.


p.s. two questions:
what kind of starter, liquid or stiff?
what kind of yeast, active dry or instant active dry?


thanks for the contribution--great to have a new bread to try!


David Chessler
David Chessler
12/ 1/2007 06:43 PM

I use a slight variant of this, and have gotten good results. I've been working on it and have finally gotten consistent results again. Some months ago, before my layoff from baking, it was my most popular bread.

1 1/2 cups starter (= 13.5 oz, starter refreshed with 7.5 oz of bread flour and 1 cup of water)
7.5 oz bread flour (1 1/2 cups)
1.3 oz whole wheat flour (1/4 cup)
1/2 t soy flour (1.5 gms) dough amendment (use fava bean flour if available--that's what is used in France)
1 t rye flour (3 gms) dough amendment, but rye is sometimes used in French peasant loaves..
1 pinch ascorbic acid dough amendment
1/2 pkt yeast 3.5 gms (maybe a bit more)
6 oz water (makes recipe about 59% water)
11.5 gms salt (a bit more than 1/2 t)
1 t barley malt (forgot it this time--yeast food--may continue to leave it out)

knead together (food processor for 1 min, rest 5 min, 1 min)
Put in greased container, grease top, allow to double. This takes about 2 hours, depending on dough temperature. (Standard French dough temp is about 75 degrees F (24 deg C), which is a bit cooler than standard American dough temperature of 80 deg.)
Knead out, folding. Do preliminary shaping to loaf form. Rest 5-10 min, and finish shaping to fit banneton (long thin basket lined with cloth, heavily floured).
Allow to rise until roughly doubled, about 2 hours at 75 deg.
Put bread on floured and corn meal covered peel. Dust with flour. Slash with blade.
Oven at 475 deg. Tiles on bottom shelf. 15 inch cast iron frying pan containing 2 half-thickness firebricks (one broken) on top shelf. Steamer made of tea kettle, wire-wrapped plumbing hose (faucet connector), a bunch of brass fittings, and a 1/4" copper tube bent to fit through the door and be clipped to the shelf. This should be steaming when you start, but the steam will not be visible (won't condense in a hot oven). You'll hear the kettle boiling.
Put bread in oven. Pour boiling water in frying pan to top of firebricks. Close oven. May have to hold door shut because of the copper tube.
At 10 min turn off teapot for the tube arrangement
At 30 to 37 minutes (20-27 minutes later) bread is done. 30 min is a minimum, which gives a thin, pale crust. 37 min is about the way we like it. 40 min makes the crust too thick and hard. Internal temperature reads about 210 deg on mechanical instant thermometer.
Cool on rack. You can slice it when it's still a bit warm, but not when it's hot to the touch.

Good for country French meals, or for hearty sandwiches. Or as Tartine with butter and sugar.

Tonight we served it with Choucroute Alsacien


thank you for the lovely compliment and feedback. obviously you are a born bread baker!


I just started baking bread earlier this year with the NYT no-knead recipe. When June came and the weather became warm, I began turning out no-knead flat loaves, so I looked for other recipes. Your recipe on the Harvest King Flour bag has produced very consistent, nice and crusty bread and has worked well in many variations. I have even had success baking it in a dutch oven like the no-knead bread (though I prefer your recipe).

At first I was hand kneading the dough, but a couple of months ago I got a bread machine for kneading, though I still shape and bake the bread as usual. The results are the same as with hand kneading. For Thanksgiving, I divided the dough to make two small loaves which came out really well and were excellent with dinner.

Thanks for a great recipe.


i think you'll be just fine using the harvest king flour instead of bread flour in the bread machine. it is very slightly lower in protein than bread flour and might make the bread a little more tender but this might not even be noticeable unless you did a side-by-side comparison. it is also wonderfully extensible so you may get a drop more height as well. do let us know.


Hello! I would like to know if I could use this flour in my bread machine? Do I need to make any changes to a standard white bread recipe if I use the Harvest Bread Flour? Thanks!


thanks fran! since you alerted me i got permission to announce it so it's now posted on the blog. i'll now have to try your/my flat bread version next!


I just read the transcript of today's Free Range food discussion at the Washington Post, and they said you'll be offering a hamburger roll recipe in their food section on May 23. How exciting!

But I wanted to tell you I've already found the perfect hamburger roll recipe - in your Bread Bible. I make a double batch of your Potato Flatbread Pizza and form it into 4 rolls. They're wonderful: soft enough so the burger doesn't slide out the other side when you bite into it but with enough character to hold up to all the juices. We travel a ways to a good butcher to get freshly ground beef to go with them. They deserve the best. Thank you.


thank you giles--i've forwarded your posting to gold medal so that they can update their site. the harvest king has replaced the better for bread and this is indeed the one they recommend. we all love it (that is everyone who tries it).
thank you for alerting us.


Hi Rose,
Thanks for the recipe on the back of the Harvest King package- got me started baking bread up on the mountains of northern New Mexico- elevation 7500 ft! My question is why, at the Gold Medal website, they don't recommend Harvest King for breads? Seems they think one should use Gold Medal full strength or some of their other flour products. Best regards.


organic rye has not been sprayed with insecticides so there are more yeast friendly bacteria needed to cultivate the starter.


In making the sourdough starter, why is organic rye necessary instead of ordinary rye?


you can. i just don't like the smell of burning flour on my oven stove.


In a lot of bread recipes in the Bible you use a cookie sheet and place it on the preheated stone.
Why can I not use a peel and place the risen dough directly on the hot stone, or slide it into the hot Dutch Oven?


spongy is good, moist isn't bad either unless pasty in which case you can correct that by leaving the oven door ajar during the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.


I have recently gotten the Bread Bible and have tried a few recipes. I have tried the basic hearth bread and the heart of wheat bread. The inside of these breads were moist. Is that correct for these breads? They tasted great but I am just not sure if they should have been moist and spongy inside.


David Chessler
David Chessler
02/13/2007 08:46 PM

I baked a loaf today. I used about 9 ounces of water and it came out very well. A very light loaf with a nice thin, crisp crust.

This weekend I had to do a lot of baking for a friend of my wife who came home from the hospital. I made 4 loaves of "Country French", which is a bread a lot of people like. It's based on Greenstein's Country French, but with longer rises.

For one loaf, I start with 1 1/2 C (13.5 oz av) of sourdough. I then use 7.5 oz bread flour (Harvest King these days) 2.5 oz whole wheat bread flour, 1/2 pkt (3.5 gms) yeast, 11.5 gms salt, about 1 to 1 1/2 t barley syrup (this is almost impossible to measure or weigh accurately), a pinch of vit. C., and about 3 oz water. (My sourdough is a bit more liquid that common because I refresh with 5 oz of flour and 2/3 cup water, per cup of sourdough used.) This time I added about 1/4 t soy flour (I had wanted to use fava flour, but I can't buy it, and I nearly wrecked the blade of my food processor trying to chop up dried fava beans).

I gave it two doublings and punch-downs at room temperature (which is about 65 degrees). I then shaped a loaf and let it rise inverted in a cloth-lined basket, about 15 inches long by 4 inches wide by 3 inches deep, covered with a floured towel. When it seemed ready (about doubled and a good texture), I inverted onto a peel (with flour and cornmeal), dusted the top heavily with flour, slashed it, and baked 1/2 hour at 475, with steam, until the internal temperature was about 198 degrees.

I shaped and baked your loaf the same way, except only one punch down prior to shaping and proofing. I proofed it in the basket, but sprayed the top before baking with steam, per the directions on the bag. I think your loaf is a bit lighter, with bigger holes, but they look much alike.

I also bsked 3 loaves of "Levy's Jewish Rye" with your Bread Bible recipe. They came out very well, and a bit better taste than the Rose's Celebrations recipe. The second time I reverted to 5 oz rye flour per loaf (vice 3.3), and added about 2 oz of water. I used about 3/4 T of sugar per loaf, and 3/4 T of barley syrup.

Baking the second batch, I formed the balls and then got distracted waiting for them to relax before I could form the loaves. As a result, they had dried out when I went to form the loaves. I wet my hands and moistened the surface until it was somewhat slippery, formed the loaves, and put them to proof in the cloth-lined baskets, with more flour than usual. When they came time to bake, the surface was sort of alligatered, so I wet it very thoroughly with my hands, then slashed it much more than usual, and then baked without a glaze (just water and caraway). Even so, the crusts came out well: the cracks were interesting and made it somewhat primitive-looking.

I also baked a loaf of "epiphany wheat", but had trouble with it over-rising, even when left in the refrigerator. Thus, it was heavier than might be desired. Still, I'll try again.


David Chessler
David Chessler
02/13/2007 03:57 PM

I make 1 1/3 C of water 10 1/3 fl oz or about 10.8 oz avoirdupois. You have 11.25, which is a bit more but less than 1 1/2 cups.

I'm trying this now, and I guess I'll make the dough a bit slack.

I also notice that the recipe on the bag says 3 1/3 cups. But the bag also says 3 1/3 cups per pound. I guess they are figuring a cup to be about 4.8 oz.

Most recipes assume about 4.5 oz per pound of wheat flour. But you can't be sure. Some say dip and sweep, and some say "spoon in," which is less. I usually figure 5 oz per cup, which makes the math easier, and then try to adjust the water.


Thank you for your response! I used the HK recipe with the oil and then substituted an egg for part of the water and only used 1 cup water. I needed a couple of extra tablespoons flour to get the dough firm enough to handle. I then used your egg white glaze recipe from the BB and sprinkled on some sesame seeds right before baking. The rolls were picture perfect and delicious.


too late for this superbowl dinner but i adore hamburger buns made with the soft white sandwich loaf--the sweet potato version in particular bc it makes them so golden. i use these for crab cakes sandwiches in summer as well.
just this week made hamburgers of kobe beef on them--so little flavor from the meat--they weren't worthy of the rolls!


Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Our tradition is Sloppy Joes for SB dinner, and I've sometimes made homemade hamburger buns but not with great results. Since I've gotten sold on my Bread Bible, I searched the index and then your blog for a recipe. This basic HK recipe showed up, but I'd been imagining a somewhat richer bread. Not as rich as brioche! Any suggestions? I thought of just substituting milk for the water in this recipe, but I'm not sure what that will do. As always, thank you for your advice and recipes!


let's hope corning still makes it!


Thank you, I will start looking.

My 5th attempt at the NYTIMES Lahey bread using your revsisions 3 tbls ww and 1 1/2 +1 1/2 tsp water worked wonderfully. I could only let it rise for 13 hrs and then did the fold etc for 1 hr, baked it in a 450 convection oven in a 6 qt amber colored Corning glass "pot" with cover. After 32 minutes it was 210, I took off the top and in 7 minutes it became golden brown crust. Absolutely perfect. I tried to buy another Corning glass pot at Target, no luck. I like the glass because you can see trhe bread baking. I did not need nor want to use my LeCreuset 14 qt oval.

I have your Bread, Cake and Pie Bibles and they are "baking" bibles for me. I'm still having trouble with baking Chalah.



i've seen it in the flour section of every supermarket in ny and nj i've frequented.


Where can I buy Harvest King flour IN NYC or preferably in Suffolk County, NY

Marc R


Linda Christopher
Linda Christopher
12/ 8/2006 11:37 AM

very interested in artisan bread recipes


it was from my book "the cake bible"


Martin Eichman
Martin Eichman
12/ 6/2006 11:12 AM

A number of years ago, the NY Times printed a recipe for your Gran Marnier cake. (It contained sour cram, almonds, orange juice,chocolate, etc.) I recently lost this trecipe and I am wondering if you could provide it to me. It is my wife's favorite cake.

Thank you,
Martin Eichman


it's too high for cookies and cakes. for those you want bleached all-purpose such as gold medal or pillsbury.
ww flour is low in gluten.
the only way i know of for a home cook to test gluten is by baking with the flour. but if you mix it with a little water for a few minutes you get an idea by how stretchy it becomes.


Hi Rose,
Is Harvest King too high gluten for my regular use? If I really should have a separate "all purpose" flour, is there one you recommend?

Also, I got some flour labeled "whole wheat bread flour" at a local natural foods store. But if anything, my breads seem flatter than they used to be! Is there a good way for a home cook to test relative gluten content?

Thank you!


thanks max! please put in a search on this blog for kitchen aid and you'll see my response to the speed issue--it's a ? that comes up very often.


Hi Rose..Max Martin here..Got your Bread Bible..I love it! I have tried several recipes and they have all been great. One question though..my Kitchen
Aid 6 says in its bread recipes to only knead on 2, while in your book you say to knead on 4, does it make an important difference? The only thing that hasn't come out for me were the englisn muffins, which I did at 4 so I am pretty sure I did something else wrong. (they never seems to really rise once on the griddle and never got the bubbly
but tasted great.

Thanks again for another great book!


it's in the cake bible!


Without the baking website, I cannot make the "rose" bundt cake using gran marnier. My daughter loves this cake. Where can I obtain the recipe?

Many thanks.



ted, i'm so glad you asked! it's exciting to see that mark bittman and jim lahey have synthesized aka put together several already existing theories of bread making to make it more approachable for time impaired people to turn out a good loaf! there is, however, nothing new here. baking in the preheated dutch oven is no different from baking in a preheated la cloche dome. stirring instead of kneading was first introduced by the book "no neeed to knead." and it's common knowledge that a small amount of yeast and long slow rise results in better flavor.

i would try it using harvest king because it's such a great flour. then i would try adding a small percentage of whole wheat flour or kamut as i usually do for hearth breads.

the hydration listed as 42% is not the baker's % which would be more like 82%. i consider 1 cup of flour to be 156 grams/5.5 ounces but the salt is less than the 2.1 % i would normally use (1 3/4 teaspoons as opposed to 1 1/4 teaspoons).


hi rose--
i'm an immense fan of The Bread Bible, and am interested (very very interested) to hear your take on Mark Bittman's recent piece in the Times' Food page, where he proposes, via Jim Lahey, that you can produce excellent bread with an 18 hour rise, no kneading, baked in a big pot, etc. i imagine you saw the article. is this all that he says it is? can it be improved upon? what about a different flour mix? would love to hear your thoughts--



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