Basic loaf: Laurel Robertson (Thu 28.01)

Try-out of “A Loaf for Learning” from “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book” by Laurel Robertson. The book has as second title “A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking”. Most of the recipes use whole grain flour, but also other types of grains and breads are covered. A lot of attention to sourdough baking, but never in a ‘fanatic’ way. No full color pictures in this book, but plenty of sound advice.

The recipe takes from page 33 to 67, including a: rockbottom essentials section, evaluation guideline and a questions part. Advise to read all before starting. Every step is explained in a clear and detailed way. Whole grain as a first loaf is challenging, but this turns out to be an excellent bread.

Ingredients (the metric ones, and doubled).

  • 180 ml water
  • 30 g fresh yeast (recipe used 7g active dry yeast)
  • 900 g whole grain wheat flour (finely ground)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10 g)
  • 160 ml yogurt
  • 320 g hot tap water
  • 60 ml oil (used somewhat less +- 50 g olive oil)
  • 50 ml honey

1. Mix the yeast with the first 180 ml water in a a small bowl. Probably mainly relevant if using dry yeast. Have always the impression that part of the yeast will remain in those little bowls.


Put the flour in a bowl and mix with he salt.

Mix yogurt, water and oil together (another bowl 😉 ).

Put the wet ingredients (do not forget the yeast ) and the flour together and start mixing with your hands. Dough will be very sticky.

In the next phase the recipe indicates to check the dough consistency and to add flour if necessary. This dough was more of a batter than a dough. Maybe a measure mistake, so added some additional flour.

If all well mixed turn out on work surface.Knead for 20 minutes. At least that’s what the book says. 10 minutes or 300 strokes normal recipe, to be doubled if using 900 g of lour. Did 300 strokes, dough was coming allready nicely together.

Had to leave the dough for 10 minutes.

After this 30 seconds kneading were enough to get a very smooth dough. This is the technique used by Dan Lepard (use it often). 2 to three short kneadings at 10 minutes interval.


Leave to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a cool place. This dough doubled easily in size after just under 1 hour.


The original recipe contains a second rising of 1 hour before making the loafs. As it was allready getting late I had to skip this one an formed the loaves after the first rise.

2. Form into 2 loaves and leave to rise for 1 hour. Book suggests using tins for a first loaf.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 220 C for about 35 to 40 minutes.

leave to cool on a wire rack.


Recipe contains lots of advice on all steps, some I often use:

– leave to rise in a (cold) oven,

– test if dough is well risen by pressing with a fingertip (formed loaves) or by poking a moist finger in the dough