The Fresh Loaf

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

After watching the UK TV programme In Search of the Perfect Loaf, following the progress of baker Tom Herbert who goes on an epic quest for the perfect loaf, and so the Shepherds Loaf was born. Tom’s journey helps him to come up with an enormous, two kilo, white, spelt, sourdough loaf made using his family’s 55 year old sourdough, organic spelt flour from Somerset, Cornish sea salt and Cotswold water from a local spring.

Well, I thought it would be fun (as you do) to create a smaller offering at home with my 18 month old rye starter, filtered tap water and hardly any salt. I did source the same reassuringly expensive white spelt, Sharpham Park (£3.50 a kilo!) so my 1st attempt is a 4-500 gram boule just to see if it works okay as I am not in the habit of using such expensive flour! test bake will be later today and I will post a pic of the crumb etc tomorrow and the basic recipe........ see also the links to Tom's bakery and the Sharpham Park websites.

Well..... the loaf turned out fine, 




As this was a test bake I only used 275grams of the Refined Sharpham Park White Spelt,  about 52% water to flour weight and a couple of tablespoons of rye starter. I mixed 125 grams of the flour with all the water and starter, left overnight and added the rest plus a little salt the next day, I did not leave to mature in the fridge overnight as I have been doing lately but it still came out fine and i'm tempted to try mixing the refined flour with some wholegrain spelt next time. 

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

OK, I'm going in. I've got the Glock, the BAD (Bad Ass Doberman) AKA Princess Lucy, and Chalupa the Chihuahua as reinforcement. Also in hand are sharp scissors and a 10" bread knife. Entering the house, I use all my senses trying to detect the CROB. I'm concerned that the soupy, pancake like batter of the sourdough converted cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread (CROB) has escaped it's container in the fridge and is hiding somewhere in the empty house.

I enter the house without a sound. The dogs seem calm. So far so good. I pull open the fridge and see The CROB- Oh, my!! It's eaten the aluminum foil off it's bowl. I didn't know it could do that. In the 36 hours or so since I locked it up in the empty fridge it's risen over my giant, commercial sized stainless steel bowl and has eaten holes in the aluminum. It doubled, it tripled!! And it ate metal!!!! I knew I should have used plasticrap!

I wrestle the beast out of it's cold, dark cave and drag it into the heat of the Arizona springtime. It's not going to like this I think. Hmmm, smells really nice. I carry the hefty monster back to the RV and take a peek. Despite the grayish looking spots all over the top from dissolved aluminum foil, it looks much more bread dough-like than it did 2 days ago. I may be able to train this dragon yet.

But what to do with all those aluminum foil spots? Well, thank goodness I came armed for battle! I go at it with the bread knife and scissors and show no mercy. I hack and cut and hack and cut. Throw that dough in the compost bin where it belongs. Nasty bugger, metal eating monster! Now it looks better and I bet I have a more manageable amount of dough to work with too.

Get out those scales! Yes, the one that screwed up this dough in the first place. I weigh the dough and find that I have enough for 3 large loaves, just what I started with. Hmm, what a strange coincidence. Shaped the loaves, jelly rolled with brown sugar, cinnamon and honey. Put them in the pans. The beast has been tamed!

All that is left are 3 yummy CROB loaves cooling on the stovetop (which pretends to be a countertop in my cramped RV). Sourdough starter makes wonderful CROB.

Moral of the story- Make no more than 2 loaves of bread when playing around with a formula. CROB Blob attacks are far more lethal within the confines of the RV. Woe to the person who gets this rental RV next. There is a baby CROB culture growing in the plumbing.

freckled's picture

speed and flour dustiness of impact vs stone mills (ie nutrimill vs fidibus)

May 8, 2010 - 8:28pm -- freckled

currently, i have an absolutely beautiful grain mill. its a vintage model called an all-grain mill 33x, all stainless steel.

gorgeous but also heavy, kinda slow and dusts flour (b/c of my diy setup).  i have to drag it outside to mill and take it apart to brush out all the nooks and crannies.  takes about 40-50 minutes to mill about 3-4 pounds. i mill once every 2 weeks to make 4 loaves of bread and to have extra flour between milling.

Sedlmaierin's picture

Let's see...this bake went pretty much according to recipe and it ended up having a seriously low profile(3.75"thickest- 1.5" at it's thinnest). I don't know if the lowness of my bread's profile is acceptable! I wish I had written down more detailed notes on my previous Miche bakes(even though neither one of them had as high of a rye flour percentage as this one), in order for me to see how to augment my bake so that the loaf has just a tad bit more height.

Anyways, as I have said before...I am developing into an absolute Miche LOVER! This bread is amazing! The crust is so yummy and dark and caramelized tasting-grrrrrrr-it makes me crazy! The crumb is nicely sour, substantial, but light and so healthy tasting with all the whole grain goodness.I swear I have already eaten a quarter of this bread all by myself today-I don't even know why I bother freezing half a loaf.....really silly and not necessary!

So, I......

-used 50% hard red wheat and 50% hard white wheat flour and sifted out the biggest bran particles myself

-also used arrowheadmills organic white flour

-the proofing times were pretty much as printed( I did three folds), but I felt for the final proof things were progressing so fast that it ended up going in the oven after about 1 hour and 45 minutes.....I feared overproofing

-final proof was in a pastry cloth lined bowl, seams up., time I will try seams down,this bread definitely did not need any extra encouragement to flatten possibly an extra s&f

- baked as recommended in book plus a 12 hour rest

pictures here....and please, if you have any advice as to how to get it to have a slightly higher profile, let me know.oh, and i tired to do another stencil, but I was in such a hurry to get the bread in the oven that I pretty much had no time to make sure the stencling went is supposed to read "Ceci n'est pas une Miche"..which I think is befitting since you fellow bakers only get to see pictures ;p

csulliva's picture

Convection oven problem: lack of luster

May 8, 2010 - 6:53pm -- csulliva

Hi all,

We have recently begun baking our bread in a commercial gas convection oven.  This is a big step up for us, as we have been baking in our little home oven until this move.

In addition to the expected changes from the transition (lower temp and shorter baking time required), we are noticing that all of our loaves are lacking in luster.  We are currently baking at 400F and steaming the oven with 1.5 cups boiling water into a preheated heavy pot at the bottom of the oven at the start of the bake.

00Eve00's picture

New to starters--Unsure about feeding

May 8, 2010 - 2:16pm -- 00Eve00

I have a 6 day old AP flour starter.  Today was the first day I switched over to AP flour and water from rye and orange juice.  This morning I fed him and he doubled and collapsed in 4 hours so I fed him.  Ive been watching him and I noticed that he's doubling again and it's been about 4 hours.  This has all been happening at 68 F.  

Should I feed him again, but switch from a 1:1:1 to a 1:2:2?

He smells like alcohol (like a fuzzy navel lol) and yeast, and is nice and puffy so I don't think his vigor is due to leuc or other flora....but I could be wrong.

dlstanf2's picture

Merlin's Magic (by the book)

May 8, 2010 - 12:55pm -- dlstanf2

After some of the comments on my other post, I tried another recipe, KAF's Merlin's Magic Sourdough. This recipe omitted the sugar, but still used the Vital Wheat Gluten which I used to boost protein and make a softer crumb. I took the recipe, by volume, but I did weigh at each process.

Basic Recipe

½ Cup Sourdough Starter (130gr)
¾ Cup Warm Water (180 gr)
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 ½ Tsp Salt
⅛ Cup Olive Oil
3 to 4 Cups AP Flour (420 gr/3 Cups A-P F)

Feistywidget's picture

cream-filled buns

May 8, 2010 - 11:17am -- Feistywidget

Sorry if this is a double post on the forum, but when I tried to post it on the forum initially to my knowledge, it  never bothered posting the topic.  I have a question about what type of filling to use in this recipe.  It's a Japanese dessert called custard buns and traditionally they're steamed (at least to my knowledge they are).  If somebody could please help regarding this I'd appreciate it.  In Japanese, they're called kurimu-pan (cream bread is the literal translation).

Feistywidget's picture

custard buns

May 8, 2010 - 11:12am -- Feistywidget

I have a basic Japanese recipe for custard buns.  Custard buns are filled with some type of cream.  However I'm not sure what to use as the filling.  I don't want the filling to be so runny it leaks out of the buns.  If I could get clarification regarding this I would very much appreciate it.


Traditionally to my knowledge, they're steamed.


I've come up with these possibilities:

*Pastry cream





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