The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
sergio83's picture

Hi All,

I tried again with the baguettes.  This time I used 1.25 cups of flour and .5 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast (i bought the glass jar in spite of some of ya'll's advice so i'll be using it for a while.) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (i should've used more salt)...

So, does it count as an autolyzing if I've already added the yeast and the salt? Since i've got the active dry stuff i have to soak it first and since i'm using so little water i don't have enough to divide it.

Anyway, the dough was a lot firmer than I'm used to and I'm thinking I might try an extra .25 cup of water to see what happens.  I transferred the shaped baguette onto a hot cookie sheet and that seems to have helped with oven spring.  This time the shaping was a lot better-- I took occidental's advice and dusted the flour with a sifter and that combined with how the dough was a lot more dry than what I've been using so I managed to shape a pretty pretty loaf.

My knife obviously isn't cutting it ;) when it comes to scoring.  I went to the local wal-mart to look for straight razors (is that what they're called... oops, double edged razors) well, the saleslady looked at me like i was crazy.  I also went to the hardware store to find drop canvas-- more on that in a bit-- and some quarry stones.  All the tiles they had were glazed.  There's this place down the road that has a lot of rocks and stuff so maybe they'll have some.

The bread came out a bit darker than I like and i'm not too crazy about the taste of it.  Also it's missing some salt... actually, i've got some more dough in the fridge, let me go add salt to that now...

I'll let you all know what happens when you add salt 10 hours into a cold fermentation/rising.

Here's the crumb

The bread came out sort of dry but that may have been because i tried baking at 500 for the first 10 minutes-- i won't try that again...

I don't reckon I'll count this as a victory-- except for the shaping; it's the best shaping i've been able to manage so far...

I think i put too much salt in the dough for next time... it'll be a half teaspoon for ~1.25 cups of flour.

anyway, regarding couches-- i went to the hardware store and got canvas drop cloth.  It says it's heavy-duty tight cotton weave, absorbent, washable and reusable, 8.oz. 4'x5' finished size

sorry about it being sideways... and here's as good a closeup of the weave as i could get with my camera

It's still in the plastic in case i've made a terrible mistake I can return it.

Does anyone know whether it'll work or not?  By the way, I need to wash it (with bleach as well as detergent?) then once it's dry rub flour into the weave?  is that how one turns it into a couche?

CeraMom's picture

How fast can a starter um... start?

January 30, 2010 - 6:44pm -- CeraMom

Yesterday morning, I mixed up a cup of water and a cup of flour in an empty plastic jar. This morning it was gloppy when I fed it. I poured off half, added 1.2 cup water and unbleached AP flour.

It certainly smells sourish and yeasty, and its risen about an inch. It is full of teeny bubbles, as well.

I'm sure it isnt ready for baking, but it is still awfully exciting. How fast could a starter start?

will slick's picture
will slick

Will slick Method 100% naturally leavened, white  Maltese bread.

Flour 100% ( Including flour from starter )

Starter 33% ( 100% hydration )

Water 67% ( Including water from starter)

Salt 1.6%

Sugar 2.5%

Butter 2.5%

Milk 1 TBS @ 600G total flour

The final dough was built with two additions of flour and water keeping the braum at near 100% Hydration. Then the addition of the remainder of flour and the other ingredients.The final dough was kneaded into a fairly smooth elastic ball, then fermented till nearly doubled with one stretch and fold after about two hours. the fermented dough was shaped and proofed till near double then baked at 475f for 30min.  total time from start to bake about 11hours.


arlo's picture

Converting Hamelman's Liquid Levain to a 50%

January 30, 2010 - 2:38pm -- arlo

So, I thought I could do it, but I am a bit untrustworthy of my skills. I am looking at converting my liquid levain from Bread by Jeffery Hamelman, a 125% white starter to a 50% firm starter. I thought I could do it, but I am afraid to mess up and wreck my dear, dear starter.

So what I am seeking is anyone know what measurements of liquid levain, to white flour to water I should use to switch my 125 to 50? I was thinking along the lines of:

225 G Levain (Original 125% levain)

150 G Flour

125 G Water


korish's picture

Yesterdays recap.

11 hours since I started my bake n blog day, I finally completed my bake. At first the dough was giving me some trouble, by being stubborn and not wanting to double fast enough, luckily my wife came up with a great solution, I took it into our baby room where we keep it warmer, and with in two hours it popped wright up.

I divided the dough into 1.5lb loaves and let it rise free formed on my granite counter. Last week I tried using tea towel but all my loaves got stuck to it and the bread fell flat as I was removing it from them. All together I had 16 loaves of bread and 20 paninis. As with my previous bake I still had trouble mastering the slashing, I will need to practice more with that.


One of the accomplishments is that I was able to place the bread in the wood fired oven in such a way that I baked all of them in just to bakes, so that is great, It means that I can bake more bread with out having to fire the oven again.

On the Pain au Levain I added extra steam to the oven about 7 minutes after placing the bread in, that resulted in a much crustier crust which I liked.

The spelt bread is the best variation that I have tried so far, it's definitely going to be one of the breads that I will bake regularly. One of the main thing I learned in this bake is to just relax during the whole process and don't try to rush things, sometimes the little beasts in the starter like to work on there own schedule and we just cant do much about it. It was lots of fun and I know that my family and many of my friends will enjoy the bread for the week to come.


Please visit my site to see more pictures from the bake.


Healthy living.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

This subject arose on another blog. As an initial blog post, I offer these photos as illustrations of my idea of a translucent crumb. I hope that the photos adequately show this characteristic.

I am not a science guy. I can't tell you how it happened. I can say that these breads, a 100% whole wheat sourdough and a basic sourdough boule, were roughly 70% hydration, mixed by machine, bulk fermented for about 4 hours at about 80 degrees and proofed overnight, formed, in the refrigerator. They were baked on preheated stones, with steam but no cover. The white flour is KA AP; the whole wheat, Bob's Red Mill.

I find that the stretch and fold breads that I've been making lately, baked covered but without steam, produce a somewhat cake-ier crust and, of course, the beautiful open structure. Guests and gift recipients are more impressed with the stretched and folded breads, but I think the former ones taste better and are more fun to eat.

Comment and criticism invited.


vincenttalleu's picture

100% hydrated bread

January 30, 2010 - 12:16pm -- vincenttalleu

Hi all, I just wanted to bring up the subject of baking bread in a tin with a 1 to 1 ratio flour/water

I don't know if it's been discussed already but I think it's something really cool.

I started making it because I broke my shoulder and wanted to make super simple bread, I'd just mix the dough with beater for 2mn, then leave it overnight.

In the morning I poor the mixture in a greased tin (or tin with baking paper), and bake it as soon as the oven's hot (40mn)


Here's the result:

Lindley's picture

Freeze ahead of time

January 30, 2010 - 11:22am -- Lindley


I ended up with quite a bit of discard (1-2 weeks old), and want to make something with it that I could freeze now and bake later. I was thinking Banana Bread, Bagels (freeze after boiling), Pizza crusts, and Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Hamburger Buns. Will these work? Any other ideas are welcome :) Oh, by the way, can I freeze onion rings in batter? Thanks!


Subscribe to The Fresh Loaf RSS