The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Pizza Wednesday...05/22/19
Sourdough / 10% WHOLE GRAIN
N.Y. style: Sausage, pepperoni and peppers.
So it begins....80hrs. cold ferment, 11/2 hr. bench rest prior to stretch.

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pmccool's picture

Mr. Forkish designed this formula as a hybrid, using a levain and baker's yeast for leavening.  I elected to use only the levain because it was one of two things that I wanted to test with this bake. 

Some context is probably in order. 

The recent community bake of Maurizio’s oat porridge bread had left me questioning my flour, my starter, and my own capabilities.  The first attempt, which was chronicled in the CB thread, was an unmitigated disaster and a lot of that was due to one key decision that I made.  The second attempt (and no, you did not see an account of that) stayed closer to Maurizio's guidelines.  The results, while not disastrous, weren’t satisfactory, either.  Let's just say that I have a good supply of altus on hand now.  

Coming out of that debacle, I wanted to know whether my starter and my flour are performing as they should.  My curiosity about the flour stems from recently starting to mill whole wheat flour from a 5-gallon bucket of nominally hard red wheat that was gifted to me a few months ago.  This bread would give each component, starter and flour, the chance to display their functions without being swamped by other influences. 

Since I wanted to observe the dough as it fermented, I made the levain on Friday evening before retiring.  On Saturday morning, it had expanded to at least twice its original volume and was full of bubbles.  The formula calls for 360g even though Forkish tells you to make 1000g. I made 400g and called it good.  

I stayed pretty close to Forkish' process for the autolyse and the dough, although I did employ some slap and folds to ensure that the ingredients were thoroughly combined in the final dough.  One change that I did make was to withhold 60g of water from the autolyse, reasoning that some would be added to help disperse the salt and more would be absorbed during the stretch and folds when woorking with wet hands and a wet counter.  It seemed to have been a good choice.  

Bulk ferment ran from about 9:15 am to 3:30 pm.  Kitchen temperatures were 68F to 70F.  After shaping, the final fermentation, also at room temperature, ran to about 7:30 pm. The bread was baked on a stone with steam at 475F for 50 minutes.  At this point, their internal temperature registered as 210F so they were removed from the oven and cooled on a rack.  

They looked like this

Based on the oven spring, I could have extended the final fermentation.  Still, I’m pretty happy with the results.  When I cut into the loaf, the crumb looks like this:

Could it be more open? Sure, but this will be used primarily for sandwiches so it fits that need very nicely. The crumb is moist and chewy.  The fragrance is tangy and the flavor is about as sour as I care to have.  That seems to be a characteristic of breads with a high proportion of whole wheat flour.  

The upshot of all of this, aside from having usable bread, is that the starter has proven that it can still leaven effectively. And the wheat does, indeed, appear to be a hard wheat instead of a softer variety that I had begun to suspect.  I can go on with my baking knowing that those two elements aren’t causing problems for me.  

AmericanaIngredients's picture

We are a bakery ingredients and packaging distributor in Los Angeles, and move significant amounts of both Canadian flours and USA flours. Yes, flours from Canada are different from flours in USA.  The growing conditions in Canada are more favorable for spring wheat.  The colder temperatures during growing season often contribute to better quality starch and protein development.  During baking, the protein and starch quality are better with Canadian wheat.  The starches fuel yeast activity during baking and the better quality proteins provide for better gluten formation during baking, creating over all higher volume bread with more uniform gassing activity leading to overall enhanced characteristics of bread.  The additional and better quality of starches also help with higher water absorption with Canadian flours. The differences are negligible when it comes to taste.  Some of our big moving Canadian flours are high gluten Millennium, Galaxy and Blue Label.  Many key bread and bakery production companies use these flours for hearth breads, pizzas, sour dough breads, dumplings, pita, lavash, naan, baguette, focaccia, and much more. You may reach out with direct question via

Elsie_iu's picture

The bake was kept simple since it was exam period. We’ll have something less boring next week :)



20% Sprouted Ragi 30% Sprouted Red Wheat Sourdough


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

150g      50%       Whole Red Fife wheat flour

90g        30%       Sprouted red wheat flour

60g        20%       Sprouted ragi (finger millet) flour


For leaven:

6g              2%       Starter

32g       10.7%       Bran sifted from dough flour

32g       10.7%       Water


For dough:

268g      89.3%       Dough flour excluding bran for leaven

232g      77.3%       Water

70g        23.3%       Leaven

9g              3%        Vital wheat gluten

5g          1.67%       Salt



303g        100%       Whole grain

267g       88.1%       Total hydration (I found that most millet varieties absorb little water)


Sift out the bran from dough flour, reserve 32 g for the leaven. Soak the rest, if any, in equal amount of water taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until ready. It was ready after 5 hours but I extended the time to around 6 hours for more pronounced sourness (28°C).  

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the leaven and salt, autolyze for 15 minutes. Knead in the reserved ingredients and ferment for a total of 3 hours. Construct a set of stretch and fold at the 15 minute mark.  

When I got home, the dough rose by roughly 50% rather than the expected 30%, likely due to the use of mature leaven. It was thus shaped right away and retarded for 11 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Score and spritz the dough then bake at 250°C/482°F with steam for 20 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let it cool for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing.



Unsurprisingly, the dough over-proofed during the retard. I had really under-estimated how much the microbial population can grow in an extra hour. Guess the doubling rate is pretty high at 28°C… The purpose of using a mature leaven was achieved though: the bread is distinctively sour. That’s not say it’s lacking in sweetness, quite the opposite in fact, thanks to the malty sprouted grains and fruity Red Fife wheat.



Ragi is rather mild in flavor that I can’t really detect anything special it contributed. Also, it didn’t sprout very well so I’d consider toasting it prior to milling next time. The crumb can definitely be more open yet it’s not too bad being over-proofed.  




Calamarata al Ragu di Pesce with pan-grilled baby cuttlefish. Feels so sophisticated!


Spaghetti in paprika lemon sauce with mushrooms and smoked duck breast


Mushroom, caramelized onion & mozzarella omelette


White bread of the week: 10% ragi 10% ragi porridge (dry weight) 10% spelt 

Hmm... Rather bland…


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just throwing something together... a 300g spelt, 200g wheat bread flour, half a cup of yeast water starter, apple yeast water some scalded milk, blob of butter and a decent shake of ground caraway, 10g salt.   Forgot how rubbery wheat dough can be.  Had to let it relax so often!  After bulking, stretched the dough into a two foot long narrow pizza like shape, rest, and cut triangles to roll up.  

Something different and easy.  Brushed with milk and let 'em rise under a wet  towel.   210°C hot oven with steam. 20 min. 

"Ding!"        Who cares if da sun don't shine!


Bread1965's picture

I've been wanting to get into dark rye seeded breads. I didn't have much time this weekend and found this recipe online and gave it a try.  I looked at Stanley's (Rye Baker) recipes but they involved more time than I had available.  The recipe I used called for cocoa powder instead of a dark beer which i wasn't sure about, but without experience thought it might be work. The results are perfectly fine and the bread is nice, but has too much of a cocoa flavour and aroma too it. And if that's your thing, this is a good bread to try - but it's not for me. The recipe gives you the option to use instant yeast or starter, and of course I used starter. My bread also doesn't look as dark as the one posted with the recipe - maybe they used a darker cocoa powder than I did.  Next time I'll try one of Stanley's recipes.


Tandem Tails's picture
Tandem Tails

Hibiscus flowers (flor de jamaica) make an extremely vibrant pink/purple tea with some really nice floral and tart flavors.  I'm starting to experiment a little bit more with using other hydration sources instead of water for my bread baking.  I recently baked a loaf of bread that only used a milk stout instead of water and it turned out really good.

I was hoping this bread would pick up some of the purple coloring from the hibiscus tea but it really just turned out kinda grey.  I wasn't sure how much hibiscus to use and only used 10g of dried hibiscus flowers in 420g of water.  Next time I'll up that to 30g in a similar amount of water to see if that boosts the color at all.

The addition of the lemon zest gives this bread an incredible smell that reminds me a lot of scones.  I was a little hesitant to use the zest since I thought i might be restricted to only making toast with this bread, but it actually made great toasted sandwiches as well.

Rather than using my sourdough starter I've been using bakers yeast to quickly turn around some of these experiments.

I have my full write-up with more photos and method here:


  • 500g bread flour
  • 390g hibiscus tea
  • 10g dried hibiscus (for tea)
  • 11g sea salt
  • 3g lemon zest
  • 2g bakers yeast


  1. Make your hibiscus tea.  I knew I needed 390g of tea so I heated up 420g of water and added my hibiscus.  The hibiscus will absorb some of the water so you don't want to start with your final amount of water or else you won't have enough.  Let this steep for about 10 minutes, or until the temp of the tea drops to about 92-93'F
  2. Strain the tea and collect 390g
  3. Autolyse the tea with the flour for 30 minutes
  4. Mix in the salt, zest and yeast
  5. Perform 4x stretch and folds over the first 90 minutes of a 5 hour bulk fermentation
  6. Shape and let the dough proof for about an hour
  7. Baked at 450'F in a dutch oven for 38 minutes covered, then 14 minutes uncovered

Here are some photos from the experiment:

foodslut's picture

Haven't posted in a while, but need some advice, so sharing this over a number of forums for advice.

I've been finding my pan loaves are coming out tacky & sticky in the middle.  I don't encounter this problem with my free-form loaves.

Did a batch of my house bread (formula below), mixing a soupy "sponge" with some of the flour & placing the rest on top like a blanket.  I left it to ferment for about 3-4 hours at 18-20C/64-69F until the flour blanket started showing cracks from the sponge poking thru.  Mixed the dough & kneaded it for a few minutes, then left it @ room temp overnight (14-18C/57-64F).


After the ferment, I shaped the loaf and placed it in a heavy loaf pan to proof (~60 minutes @ 20-22C/68-72F) until it was about level with the top of the pan -- no, I didn't do the poke test :)

Into the oven at 450F for 55 minutes, where it's at 200F internal temp.  The sides of the bread felt a bit soft, so I took the loaf out of the pan, and left it in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Below are the results -- darkish crust (which I don't mind) and what the thermometer says is done, but still a tad sticky in the middle after cooling for 7 hours at room temperature.

Sticky Loaf Bread Crumb 1

Had this happen to a previous pan loaf, so I thought I'd bake it a bit longer to make sure it was cooked.  This loaf is better, but tackiness inside not down to zero.

All input appreciated - thanks in advance!

Danni3ll3's picture

I had a huge bag of apricots and decided to use them in a bread. Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered. 🙄 I remember another time using apricots and the loaves bombing. 




Makes 3 loaves 



125 g Rolled Oats

250 g Boiling Water



800 g Unbleached Flour 

200 g High extraction Spelt Flour (230 g Spelt berries)

540 g Water + 50 g

22 g Salt 

30 g Yogurt

250 g Levain

100 g Pecans (chopped)

150 g Dried Apricots (chopped and a tsp of flour addd to prevent sticking)


Mid afternoon the day before:

  1. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g of bran or wholewheat flour. Let rise in a warm place. 
  2. Mill the Spelt berries and sift to obtain the needed amount of high extraction flour. Save the bran for the levain or another use. 
  3. Place 200 g of the high extraction flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Cover and set aside.

The night before:

  1. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g of AP flour flour including any left over high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of AP flour and let rise 5-6 hours in a warm spot. 
  2. Place the rolled oats in a bowl and pour the boiling water over the oats. Cover and let cool. 
  3. Two hours before the levain is ready, mix the 540 g of water with the oat soaker on the lowest speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until the mass has been loosened up. Add the flour and mix on speed 2 until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes just a minute or two. Autolyse for a couple of hours.
  4. Once the levain is ready (mine was starting to recede), add the salt, the yogurt and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Add the last 50 g of water gradually. A minute or so before the end of the 5 minutes, add the apricots and the pecans.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes. 
  6. Do 4 sets of folds at 30 minute intervals, then do another 2 sets an hour apart. Let rise an additional hour if the dough seems to be developing slowly like mine was. I placed the dough in a warm spot for the last 3 hours as it didn’t seem to be getting puffy and aerated. Place the dough in a cold fridge for 3 hours. The dough rose about 25%. 
  7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~835 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter. 
  8. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.
  9. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for at least an hour on the counter. I let mine go for an hour and 45 minutes or so. This dough is very firm due to the amount of add-ins so it needs a head start on proofing before refrigerating overnight. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. I felt the loaves needed more proofing so I placed them in the counter while the oven was heating. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 17 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.


Well, I sure hope they taste good to make up for the lack of oven rise! Not terribly impressed at all! They look better in photos than in real life. 🙄 Note to self: Give up on apricots and bread. 

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Sourdough crust, 10% Whole grain, (spelt & whole wheat.)

Fresh mozzarella, cooked crumbled hot Italian sausage, fire roasted red peppers and parmigiano reggiano.



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