The Fresh Loaf

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

Homemade Proofing Cabinet

March 26, 2016 - 3:46am -- Selasmit

Hey all,

After lurking on here for a while soaking up info about proofing my doughs, I decided it was about time to join (first every post).

As a long time baker (I believe I made my first loaf of break unaided when I was about 7) and I have been into more advanced shapes recentsly (taught myself to make cinammon scrolls, bagels, platted loaves etc) I knew I'd need a more consistent way to proof my dough (my house temp can vary between 15 deg celcius up to 35 deg celcius).

Heikjo's picture

How is my spelt starter doing?

March 26, 2016 - 2:31am -- Heikjo


Edit: The video failed after a while. I updated the video with the starter after going from 200% hydration feeding to 100%.

This is my first attempt at a starter and I'd like some feedback on the current status and where to go from here. I am using this recipe and started Monday, March 14, so I'm on day 12. I've followed the recipe as it is on the link. I also added a bit of apple cider vinegar about 5-6 days ago.

dmsnyder's picture

Semolina Capriccioso


March 25, 2016


This bread combines many streams of inspiration – my own Pugliese Capriccioso and San Joaquin Sourdough, Hamelman's Semolina Bread and Tom Cat's Semolina Filone, as described by Maggie Glezer in “Artisan Baking.”

 This is a high hydration dough that is a challenge to mix and shape. Because it was so gloppy, even after machine mixing and multiple stretch and folds in the bowl, I decided to retard the dough in bulk and use the techniques and timing of the San Joaquin Sourdough for shaping and proofing. I had intended to coat the loaves with sesame seeds before proofing, but – again because of how loose the dough was – opted to load onto parchment after proofing and apply the seeds by brushing with water and sprinkling the seeds onto the loaves.


Total Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour



Fine durum flour









Sesame seeds, toasted



Sesame seeds (un-toasted) to coat loaves






20% of the flour is pre-fermented.


Biga Naturale Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Fine durum flour






Active starter (50% hydration)






  1. The day before baking, mix the biga.

  2. Ferment until doubled in volume at 76ºF.

  3. Refrigerate overnight


Final Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

AP flour


Fine durum flour


Water (Warm - 80-85ºF)




Biga naturale


Sesame seeds, toasted






  1. Take the biga out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about an hour.

  2. Mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass, cover and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt on the dough and add the biga in chunks.

  4. Mix at Speed 1 for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are well-mixed.

  5. Mix at Speed 2 for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite slack. It will not clean the sides of the bowl but will form a ball on the dough hook,. A large portion of the dough will still be on the bottom of the bowl.

  6. Add the toasted sesame seeds to the dough, and mix on low speed for a couple minutes to distribute them.

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl with a tight-fitting cover.

  8. Ferment at 76ºF for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold in the bowl every 30 minutes.

  9. The dough will not expand much, but, if fermented in a clear container, tiny bubbles should be seen throughout it.

  10. Cold retard the dough at about 40ºF until the next morning (8-18 hours).

  11. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape into balls, cover, and let the dough rest for 50-60 minutes.

  12. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards.

  13. If bâtards: Place the loaves on a linen couche seam-side up and cover. If boules: Place the loaves in a well-floured banneton, seam-side up, and cover.

  14. Proof at room temperature until the dough springs back slowly when you poke a finger into it. (About 40 minutes)

  15. 45-60 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  16. Transfer the loves seam-side down to a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking stone and slide a peel under it.

  17. Brush the loaves with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Score the loaves as desired.

  18. Steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  19. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  20. After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (If you have an electric convection oven, switch to Convection Bake and turn the temperature down to 440ºF.) Bake for another 14 minutes or until the loaves are done. The crust should be nicely colored. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  21. (Optionally) Leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  22. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.


After the loaves had cooled, the crust was soft. On slicing, the crumb was moderately open. The crust and crumb were quite chewy. The flavor was sweet and nutty.

I cut a bite-sized piece for my wife who was up to her elbows in washed lettuce for our dinner salad. “Mmmmm ….,” says she. “Why are we making all this other food?”

 This is a delicious bread. It has earned top ranking among my Italian-style sourdough breads. I may try making it with a somewhat lower hydration. Might try “shaping” this dough as Ciabattas. It should be tried as rolls as well. Gonna be a fun set of experiments!

 Happy baking!




BillyBold's picture

Hello to everyone

March 25, 2016 - 9:00pm -- BillyBold

Just like to say hello to all, and thank you for the wonderful recipes and ideas.

I'm an expat kiwi, and have been living in South Korea for the past 17 years.

I'm also a total newbie to bread making, and have tossed many loaves of bread into the bin.

 However, thanks to 'The Fresh loaf,' I am starting to have some success.

Cheers everyone!

margaretx's picture

Dough spreads

March 25, 2016 - 12:02pm -- margaretx

The color, texture, flavor and crumb of my sourdough loaves is quite good. The dough rises well in bannetons. However, when I load the loaves into the oven onto a stone, they spread. This results in flat loaves. They do rise, but not nearly enough.

The dough seems a bit wet, but again the texture and whatnot are fine. I'm tempted to start baking this delicious sourdough in loaf pans, just for the pleasure of having bread more than two inches high.


dabrownman's picture

The garden had volunteer daisies and Red Romaine lettuce growing side by side.

Lucy has been busy working on here new billion-dollar invention of bio-nanobots that you put into the flour after milling that would go to work as soon as you added water to mix for an autolyze and then tell you when to add the salt and leaven.  That sounded pretty good since I have forgotten to the salt before but she wasn’t done. 


 Then they would knead and bulk ferment the dough, pre-shape and shape it into what ever shape you specified so you could place it in the form and bag it for retard and then tell you when it is properly proofed to get it out of the fridge to unmold.

The bio-nanobots would talk to your oven to get it properly preheated for you to bake, slash the bread for you and then tell you when the bread was perfectly done.   I told Lucy that these new bio-nanobots don’t leave much in the bread making process for us poor humans to do in the future and I’m not sure we would like that very much.


Lucy said that she was just fixing the bread stuff humans, especially me,  do poorly.  All she had to do to prove her point was look at my bread blog which turned out to be the inspiration for her latest invention.  I thought that was a low blow even for a her and any Bread Baking Apprentice 2nd Class for that matter.  Her response was that the truth doesn’t change just because fools like me don’t agree with it.


It quickly went downhill from there.  I asked her if she knew that people used to eat dogs for Easter or if she knew that I was especially fond of dogs after that late night evening in a fine Korean restaurant in LA 25 years ago where Canine was King.  Well, you get the drift.  So she came up with this ridiculously complicated recipe for this week’s bake ……so….. I just ignored one whole days’ worth of it to get down to 4 days instead of 5 – after I forgot to start the recipe on time on Monday by starting the sprouts!


This one started with 9 grain sprouts for 50% of the flour with the other 50% KA bread flour.  Once the sprouts were dried, milled and sifted to get pout the 17% hard bit extraction we came up with 42 grams of them.  These were fed to the 3 stage levain build for the first 2 feedings with the high extraction sprouted flour making up of part of the 3rd levain build.


Normally we would retard the levain for 36 hours but this is where the 24 hour reduction came into the equation.  We dropped 24 hours of it and settled for a 12 hour retard.  Lucy also specified a weird Tang Zhong of a bottle of Full Sail Amber Ale and 100 g of KA bread flour.  Once it hit 158 F we took it off the heat to cool down


The 2 hour autolyze was all of the Tang Zhong, the rest of the bread flour and the remaining portion of the high extraction 9 grain flour with the salt sprinkled on top.  Once the autolyze was mixed we started on the 2 hour baked seed scald.


First we toasted the seeds and then ground them in the coffee mill into flour. Then we added twice their weight in water (160 g) and 40 g of the of the autolyse dough mix, with the red malt and white malts and baked this mass in the mini oven for two hours stirring every 30 minutes.

Finally got around to making that French classic, or Italian, Lettuce Soup that Reynard reminded me of not long ago,  This one had smoked sausage and grilled chicken in it too,

The we added the 15 g of extra water to the autolyze to pinch in the salt before doing the first set of 60 slap and folds to mix in the salt and get the gluten development going.  We then did 2 more sets of 20 slap and folds before adding in the baked seed, autolyse and malt scald on the first of 3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points


Poblano and sweet corn kernel, Witch Yeast and YW corn bread takes a lot longer to make than the BP kind:-).

All of the dough manipulations were done on 20 minute increments.  We let the dough rest for 30 minutes before pre-shaping and shaping into a squat oval and placing it into a rice floured basket and bagged for a an 19 hour shaped retard in the fridge.


When we took the dough out the next morning we got the New BOB (Big Old Betsy) preheated to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.  We un-molded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed it twice and loaded it into the CC.


After 20 minutes of steam at 425 F we baked it for 5 minutes at 425 F convection with the lid off before taking it off the CC cast iron bottom to let it finish on the stone for another 30 minutes of baking till it hit 208 F – then temperature we like for a 50% whole grain bread.


Grilled chicken and cheese sandwich to go with a very tasty carrot, butternut squash and Swiss chard soup for lunch today.  

It spread a bit more than it bloomed and sprang but it did eventually brown and crisp up.  We will have to see how the crumb came out after it cools. It sure smelled good coming out of the oven.  Lucy nearly pulled out all of her bag of tricks to get this one to taste just right.  We shall see.   Well I'm kind of stunned that the bread isn't more open but It isn't totally dense either.  What saves it is the taste - It is delicious.  Plain, toasted with butter......the seeds really come through, very complex, hearty and earth earthy  ........  I've eaten a quarter of it just trying to figure out why it isn't as open as it looked like it would be.  I won't mind eating it with my eyes closed and dreaming about what should have bene:-).   Maybe I should ave baked at 475 to begin with instead of 425 F?  Any ideas?  .

Don't forget that salad 


Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



2 Rye Sour






87% Extraction Sprouted Multigrain






13% Extraction Sprouted Multigrain



















Levain Totals




 Sprouted / Whole Rye & Wheat








Levain Hydration



Dough Flour




Smart and Final High Gluten




83% Extraction Sprouted Multigrain




Gr. Flax, Poppy, Sesame & Chia Scald




Red Malt




White Malt












Full Sail Amber 355-Scald Water 160







Dough Hydration



Total Flour w/ Starters



Total Water



Total Weight



% Sprouted Grains



% Whole Grain



 Hydration w/ Starters & Add Ins



Sprouted multigrain flour is equal amounts of barley, Kamut,


rye, spelt, wheat, einkorn, Oat, emmer and Pima Club


Baked scald: 40 g of autolyse dough, 5 g of red malt, 2 g of white


malt and 160 g of water


Tang Zhong is 100 g of High Gluten and 355 g of Full Sail Amber Ale



JonnyG's picture

Newbie, My sourdough story.

March 25, 2016 - 11:14am -- JonnyG

Hi all.

I'm a baker from Belfast, been in the bakery trade for 20 years.  I came to learn about sourdough when I took my latest job 2 years ago.

The head baker started a 100% hydration starter 18 months ago.  After a few months of growing, we tried several small batches, following a few different recipes, with not a lot of success.  We split our starter and converted one to a brown starter, by gradually feeding only brown flour.

isand66's picture

  I've made a similar bread before and loved the way the dates add a natural sweetness to the bread.  This time I decided to add some more natural sweetness with some caramelized onions.

I made one large miche style loaf but you can easily make 2 loaves out of this formula.

The final bread as before came out great with a moderately open crumb and a nice dark chewy crust.  The dates really add such a unique pleasant flavor to the overall bread and that combined with the sweetness of the caramelized onions really make this a bread worth trying.


Sour Dough Date Bread Act 3 (%)

Sour Dough Date Bread Act 3 (weights)

Download the BreadStorm file here.



Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.   At this point you can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator and use it the next 1 to 2 days.

Date Preparation

Make sure there are no pits in the dates.  Simmer the dates in 200 grams of water until they are soft.  After you remove them from the heat, add 100 grams of cold water and let the dates sit until they come back down to room temperature.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the remainder of the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour  (Note: I ended up letting the flour and water mixture sit for about 20 hours since while mixing the dough and cooking dinner I managed to burn my hand and had to go to the Emergency room!).  Next add the dates, butter and salt and mix on low for 2 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

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.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 1 large Miche for this bake.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 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.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




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