The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Mebake's picture

I've been yearning for some real Artisan bread, but fate seems to have it some other way. Sadly, plans to start a Bakery have taken a detour, as things did not work out. Among other reasons, lack of sufficient funds and professional experience, have  taken a toll at last. It was time to move back with the family to my Native Lebanon.

As Artisan bakeries rarely exist here, i did an apprenticeship in a local Patisserie shop in Beirut For about a month (not sure if that counts as an apprenticeship..) and although i've completed a pastry program 4 years ago, It was my first exposure to a bakery kitchen. Despite my brief training, I learned quite a bit about Pastry production lines, and  had some hand's on experience. I learned new lessons, and grew out of this experience, and now that i Reflect back at this past year, i have no idea how i made it through a career change! it was quite a ride.. But... I did make it , and i'm glad to be whole again. 

News: I'm set for another opportunity. Something  looms from afar.... Something off-shore. More on this in another post. 

Finally, i would like to convey a message to all home Bakers: you are lucky to be able to bake wonderful sourdough bread at home! About two months ago, i've given my starter away to a lady whom i taught bread-making lesson. (i still don't feel comfortable carrying a sourdough starter with me on the plane, but perhaps i shouldn't be too apprehensive)

(Note to self: always use the freshest, preferably organic, stone ground flours to start a new active sourdough starter.)


Yippee's picture

Another fun-filled weekend... Thank you again, Sjadad and Ian, couldn't have done it without your help and inspiration!

yozzause's picture



 Its been a year since i took up retirement and quite truthfully i've never been busier, but i do recommend it.

I actually got around to doing some baking, my sour dough stockpile back at my old work place had all been used up in my abscence and none saved for the future, which was a shame as it had been going for quite a few years now.

Anyway i was able to buy a 5kg bag of Wallaby Bakers Flour that comes from Adelaide in South Australia. I was also able to buy a number of interesting flours from Kakulas Sisters in Fremantle, that being some Stone Ground Wholemeal, a Multimix grain flour and some Rolled Rye Flakes.

Compressed yeast was available at our local IGA store 114g costing just 80cents, so it was going to be fun being reunited with that old friend after years of dried yeast or sour dough culture to do the work.


The first dough was going to use a total flour amount of 500g so the quick reckoning of 1% is 5g  to make the rest of the calculations easy

 I took 50g of compressed yeast crumbled it into 200g of Flour and added 200ml of water  which makes a bit of a sponge to get things rolling along.

remembering that compressed yeast is 2/3 moisture compared to dry yeast, so more weight is required compared to dry yeast formulas

The remaining ingredients were added, 200g White Flour and 100g Stone ground Wholemeal brings the total flour to the 500g

Salt 10g (2%) Olive Oil 10g (2%) Egg 50g (10%) and  Natural non fat Yoghurt  from Tasmania 100g (20%) I bought the dough together in the Kenwood chef but tipped it out onto the bench to complete the dough formation by had it was then placed in a bowl covered with plastic wrap  and into my car which was out in the sun and makes a great warm spot for the bulk fermentation especially these cold mornings, only 17 degrees in the kitchen but almost perfect 28 in the car.

The dough was then ready after a fairly quick one and a half hours BF

It was knocked back  divided into two  handed up and allowed about 10 minutes recovery time  and shaped into two boules placed on a baking tray and into a plastic shopping bag tent and back into the car  to proof it was then washed with a cornflour starch wash and seeded and scored  it went into a gas hot oven, initially with no fan force for about 10 minutes and then the fan was switched on for the remainder of the bake.



Overall quite satisfied with the resulting bread for me it has a different smell when baking very happy that it had a nice texture that didn't tear when being buttered, had good flavour and colour also made beautiful toast too.

three more breads to blog coming soon all with the compressed yeast, I had a busy week with that 114g of yeast!

Multigrain  with  yoghurt

50% Wholemeal  with Dark Ale and Rolled Rye Flakes

and a White with Italian Semolina

kind regards  Derek


isand66's picture

      Last week I took a few days off for vacation and my wife and I decided to do a day trip to the Mecca of baking King Arthur Flour in Vermont.  It was a fun and long trip starting out with the delay on the ferry ride due to a backpack that nobody wanted to claim.

In any case we had a great day and visited a couple of cheese and maple syrup shops as well.

Of course when baking a bread I needed to use some of the new ingredients I picked up and decided to make a nice moist and flavorful porridge bread using a smoked cheddar and smoked maple syrup we brought back from the trip.

I do have to say I was disappointed that you really didn't taste the smoked maple syrup at all which is surprising considering how strong a flavor it has.  Maybe it would work better with a higher percentage of white flour.

I also incorporated some dehydrated onions into the porridge phase which added to the overall flavorful outcome of this one.

I used a 6 grain flake mixture from KAF for the porridge which was very tasty.

The hydration on this one was about 85% and it certainly helped create a super moist bread.

Beware if you make this one that the maple syrup will cause the dough to rise quickly in the refrigerator during the bulk fermentation.  I should have shaped and baked directly instead of letting the dough sit out at room temperature for 1.5 hours.  The dough was slightly over-proofed so next time I will learn my lesson but all and all still a great outcome.


Multi-grain Smoked Cheddar Porridge Maple Bread (%)

Multi-grain Smoked Cheddar Porridge Maple Bread (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.



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.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.   Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, and salt and mix on low for 5 minutes.    Now add the cubed cheese and mix until incorporated.  You can also add the cheese during the stretch and folds if you desire.  I think this recipe could easily have doubled the amount of cheese used.  You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but  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.

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 5 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.






yozzause's picture

I recently had a friend visit from Scotland , Peter originally  came from the same small Hampshire village of  LISS that i grew up in . In fact Peter and his wife Hazel both came from the same village. they moved to Scotland after graduating from Uni and have worked there ever since.

I had already moved to Australia when i was 15. Anyway Peter had been visiting his sister in Adelaide who had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, Peter came and stayed with us for 2 weeks on his return trip to Scotland via Perth in Western Australia and Singapore for a couple of days then Dubai and back to Glasgow.

Peter had been here previously with Hazel and  we had toured the Southwest down to Albany and Margaret river. So this visit  being winter and all i asked if he would like to go North  and we decided upon Shark bay, Kalbarri and the monastic town ship of New Norcia

Peter didn't think the temperature in Perth was cold at all saying Glasgow was cooler and it was  supposed to be summer.


We set off in my wife's slideon camping vehicle a Toyota workmate V8  with a German Tisher slide on camper attached on the tray, i elected to also take my swag  as neither Peter or I felt like sharing the double bed together.

Our first day's travel took us along the Indian Ocean Drive which took us to some very pleasant coastal communities  rather than the busier Brand Highway that has big road trains using it. 

 We stopped at Dongarra a coastal town for a bit of a look  and then into the major town of Geraldton where we had  a nice roast chicken takeaway just on dusk. I had planned to stop at a free camp listed in an old book  but when we arrived it didnt seem to match the pictures and directed to a spot several  klm down a dirt road  So instead we pushed on a bit further to a free camping spot GalenaBridge beside the Murchison River that i had visited before.

It took just minutes to roll out my swag and have a bit of a night cap in the camper as well as re-arrange the rough plan that i had worked out. it seemed pointless to backtrack to visit Kalbarri when we could do that on the way back.  A reasonably good nights sleep was had although those road trains kept going all night long and  certainly make a bit of noise.

We were both up in time to see the sun rise and after a breakfast were on our way again, a quick stop at a remote Service station called the Billabong  Roadhouse also gave Peter the opportunity to have a drive of the beast, there had been very few roadside casualties Kangaroos and sheep and certainly no fresh ones so i felt he would be fairly safe, he was cautioned about swerving to miss any of our fury friends. We did come upon a fresh fox that was providing breakfast  for a magnificent Wedgetail Eagle where i explained  to Peter that Eagles have to take off into the wind  and if they had dined well can be quite slow and can become road victims themselves. Males weigh in at 4kgs with females over 5kgs  and wing spans of 6ft and 7ft 7in respectively. Peter did slow down and the eagle did show all the characteristics that i had predicted and with the camper being quite tall may well have  connected had he not slowed.

We drove into the town of Deneham  and had a walk along the foreshore and a nice fish lunch we then went the other side of the peninsula to Monkey Mia  world famous for the wild dolphins that come in and mingle with the visitors  we were to late for the organised feed time where there had been 4 dolphins come in that morning, but whilst

on the jetty 2 came by within a metre of the shoreline much to the delight of a young girl that ran alongside them on the beach for 100metres or more. As we were leaving to make for our overnight stay  a family of emus came by, dad with 6 of his juvenile youngsters that he had reared, the females lay a clutch of eggs and leave the males to it sometimes repeating the dose for another male. They were very friendly even sticking their heads into the cab of the camper van.

We drove back then to The Hamelin Pool Homestead for our overnight stay with hot showers and a good camp kitchen. Hamelin pool is also famous for its Stromolites  so we followed the sign that took us to the beach area and were able to walk along an elevated platform to see these strange  things.

Shark Bays’ stromatolites are significant because they represent a major stage in the Earth’s evolutionary history, one of the reasons forShark Bay's World Heritage listing. When the stromatolites were discovered by scientists in 1956, they were the first ever recorded living examples of structures previously found only as fossils in ancient rocks. Although SharkBay’s stromatolites are just 2,000 – 3,000 years old, the cyanobacteria that build them are similar to life forms found on Earth up to 3.5 billion years ago! This means the stromatolites are modern-day examples of life in Precambrian times. 


There was plenty of room at the homestead  so we picked a good spot  and the swag was rolled out onto the shells that form the parking area


Another good sleep ensued and again up in time for the sunrise a fellow camper asked if the slide on was mine as they had a similar set up i said that it was my wifes and that i was sleeping in the swag as my mate had the double bed to which she replied that i must be the snoring man! i could do little else but admit that i had been known to snore! We took advantage and visited the old shearing sheds where  there was heaps of information on the heyday of the shearing shed  and the hardships faced by those pioneers.

We were soon on the road again heading south a quick stop at the Billabong to top up a fuel  tank noting that diesel was some 20cents a litre dearer there than just before Geraldton, we were headed for Kalbarri  where i hadn't been before we elected not to drive to the gorge as Peter has been to the grand canyon so ours would seem tiny by comparison but it is on my list for a return visit with the wife during the wildflower season in a few months. i'd quite like to see the Grand Canyon too.

Kalbarri where  the Murchison river enters the Indian Ocean was very pretty indeed. apparently it can be very busy in the summer with lots of visitors and even more flies,we were spared both. Again the local fish was superb for lunch, we stopped off at many lookouts to admire the views and could see dolphins and sharks in the clear waters below



We pressed on and decided to stop at the place we had first given a miss to this was Oakabella homestead  it was find a spot in the paddock and Lorreta would be around to collect the $9.00 a head fee. We were soon set up and joined some campers that were French backpackers travelling around our big country, they spoke excellent English  and i invited them to share some

good Australian wine that i had bought along on the trip from my cousins vineyard. they thought it was delightful as they were drinking the chateau cardboard 4litr wine cask. We were soon joined by two more backpackers this time from Germany it was very interesting to hear of their travel exploits, they had worked in an onion factory to be able to have an extended visa and were travelling around Australia having a ball.


The senior contingent went to bed about 9.00 and left them to it. They were talking till about 11.30 we were sure that we had met the young man that would one day hold down the job currently occupied by Angela Merkal

 We were again up in time to see the sunrise, we were showered and  away before anyone stirred in the tents.  We called into Geraldton had a quick look around the Sunday market and found a nice place that did a real big breakfast which set us for the long drive down the midlands highway that would take us through lots of small country towns avoiding the main Brand highway with its triple road trains,  This route is supposed to be second to none when the native wildflowers come out in spring time.


We arrived at our intended destination the  Benedictine monastery town of New Norcia  Peter was keen to experience some of the monastical delights and booked in to the monastery retreat for the night and the light evening meal . i parked the camper down on the sports oval but didn't need to roll out the swag as i was going to sleep in the double bed in the camper i did break out a chair and a bottle of my home brew Ruby porter and sat back until i realised that i was being attacked by ants its amazing that they can climb half way up your body before the order is given bite now chaps and you suddenly realise that you have dozens of angry ants biting  i was able to dust them off but found the ground was alive with very busy fairly big angry ants  i decided to move the camper  just 20 metres or so where the ground was a little more moist which wasn't to their liking i finished my beer and went off to find father Peter  and was able to use the shower in the guests retreat we then went off to vespers in the church making it just in time the service was quite interesting with the monks chanting  and the congregation encouraged to participate unfortunately their are only14 monks left, there were once 170.  a simple evening meal was taken in the retreat  where 8 of us were fed  one of the monks came in from their area to have a chat with us which was very informative. Rain had set in as i made my way back to the van  and the track was awash  the field was also covered with a sheet of water i got into the van  and praised the lord that i wasn't in the swag tonight. Much rain fell and the morning found the camper in several inches of water but at least it was sunny.


 I had breakfast and started the camper up to go and collect father Peter i didn't require 4 wheel drive  but it was quite muddy. We joined the official tour of the town and all its historical buildings of particular interest to me was the bakery and flour mill.

I had known that for some time the name New Norcia bread had been sold to a Perth business  Unfortunately and a great shame is the bakery is  not part of the tour.

After looking at that link i wonder just how much is still baked at New Norcia  especially as they also claim to be using flour from the mill, that has been out of action for many years. The old flour mill was quite interesting though.

At the conclusion of the tour we availed ourselves to the comfort of the old hotel for lunch and another product that is licensed out by the monastery  Abbey Ale.

From here it was just a short 132 klm back to the city, and our country trek was over. Peter had enjoyed a brief stay at the monastery and I would have loved to have been able to get into the bakery, perhaps I will have to chase up the current operators.

regards to all Derek 

Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain


Khorasan Spelt Seeded Sourdough Bread

I was not happy with my first attempt at baking a seeded nut sourdough bread so I decided to have another go at making a seeded bread. As has become my habit of late, I used the Master Recipe from Chad Robertson's Tartine 3 as the basic dough for this bread.  30% fresh milled grains (spelt, khorasan, and a bit of rye for flavour; 70% all purpose unbleached white flour.  The flours were autolysed for 4 hours at a very warm room temperature of 24 C (I got sidetracked with some other things so the autolyse was a bit longer than usual) with 750 grams of water before adding 25 grams sea salt and 220 grams levain (4 hour levain made with a very active starter). Between the first and second folding I added a 450 gram mix of a flax seed soaker (100 g), toasted pumpkin seeds (100 g), toasted sunflower seeds (100 g), toasted sesame seeds (100 g, slightly cracked in a mortar to release more flavour), toasted almond pieces (50 g) and a tsp of sesame oil. This was incorporated with the dough stretched flat on a slightly wetted bench, gently folding and pushing the mixture into the dough. The final hydration including the water in the flax soaker was approximately 85%.  I did a total of 6 folds over the first three hours of the bulk fermentation (room temperature 23 C) and let the dough rest; interestingly, the dough temperature stayed within 78-80 F for the entire bulk ferment (maybe because I started with a cooler temperature water to mix the dough?).  After 4 and 3/4 hours the dough volume had increased by about 25 % and was nice and bubbly; room temperature throughout was a consistent 23 C.

I pre-shaped and bench rested the dough for 30 minutes before final shaping and placing into proofing baskets. I retarded the loaves overnight in the fridge.  After 14 hours I baked them directly out of the fridge in a preheated 500 F oven; combo cookers on a baking stone, middle rack.  Covered at 500 F for 20 minutes; 450 F for 10 minutes then uncovered at 450 F for 18 minutes.  The bake is still dark but at least this time it was because I wanted it that way; the oven is still running hot but I am very happy with this bread.  The combination of spelt and khorasan makes for a bread with a beautiful chewy crumb and with the seeds the flavour (especially the crust!) is nutty and toasty.  I will be adding this to my list of favourites.






Danni3ll3's picture

Last week, I participated in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Bake and ended up with a delicious if dense bread. We were not eating it very quickly so I decided to turn it into crackers. The density was right and with a few minutes in a 350F convection oven, my dense bread turned into delicious Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed crackers.

Sliced thinly ready to go into the oven

Baked to a golden brown

All ready for eating and storage!

This is delicious with homemade hummus. I discovered an amazing low fat hummus recipe that actually tastes good. I love garlic and this delivers.

1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), drained

2 Tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons of PB Fit or powdered peanut butter

1/2 Teaspoon of coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic in oil

6 Tablespoons of water (I use the liquid from the drained chickpeas)

1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (Optional-I skip this)

 Blend and enjoy. :-)



Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

Sometimes you get tired of the big loaves and fancy something smaller, a housing for a cheese sandwich or a bacon butty. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite bread rolls, in no particular order...

Alehouse rolls

Alehouse rolls: excellent, with toasted oats (try to say it quickly several times…) soaked in ale or stout - the best use of home brew if you ask me ;-). They are dark and quite heavy but hellishly tasty, proper brown bread rolls.

Bridge rolls

Totally different, fluff central. Bridge rolls - or finger rolls - dainty little things, almost brioche-like.


Flutes with sage and parmesan - like really big, fat breadsticks. They are so tasty, probably best just with butter, Parmesan is such a magic ingredient.


Could I miss out bagels? Definitely not and this is a really foolproof recipe. They do spring in the oven massively, go for malt extract to add to the boiling water, I think it makes a difference in the flavour.

Parker House rolls

Parker House rolls, invented in the Boston PH hotel: they look a bit like Pacman and infuriatingly open up whilst being baked. Very, very nice though – all that butter doesn’t go in there for nothing.


Baps, my favourite, soft, floury, white - totally old-fashioned. Replace the butter in the recipe with lard and you're back in the 50s...

dabrownman's picture

After seeing David’s sourdough white bread post this week, poor Lucy got the willies for it worse than ever.  When you don’t eat much white bread, the ramifications of missing it can be dangerous when the White Bread Willies strike.  I tried to get Lucy back on her trans humanist project since the sun burns hotter every day and it won’t be long before the oceans boil away and we need to be permanently somewhere else – not that she isn’t most of the time anyway.

But she had the WBW’s bad and just wouldn’t think about more important things.  So she came up with one to get her paws back on earth where they belong….. even though the pavement is so hot she burns them every time she goes outside when the sun is out – poor thing – thank goodness for grass that can handle 114 F heat for months at a tie as long as an ocean of water is poured on it every day.  Better to use it before the sun boils it away.  We really need to get that solar oven set up!

This was a simple recipe.  No sprouted grain, only 10 whole grains, a bran levain, plain old water used for the liquid, an overnight 12 hour, retarded bulk ferment made it pretty straightforward.  The 12 whole grains were rye, spelt, white and red wheat, emmer, einkorn, quinoa, oat, barley and buckwheat = 12 grams each.

The 3 stage 100% hydration bran levain was made with the sifted hard bits that came out at 27% extraction and 20 g.  The 2nd stage was added 2 hours later - 10 g of 73% extraction multi-grains with an equal amount of water.  3 hours later another 10 g each of whole extraction multi -grain flour and water were added for the 3rd stage when the 2nd stage had doubled.  The 3rd stage doubled in 2 hours at the 7 hour mark.  The levain ended up to be 10% pre-fermented flour using 8 g of NMNF rye starter.

The remaining 32 g of high extraction multigrain flour and the remaining dough flour, consisting of LaFama AP flour, were autolyzed with the dough water for I hour, with the pink Himalayan sea sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hit the mix we did 30 slap and folds to get everything mixed together and then 3 sets of 8 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals to develop the gluten.  We then placed the dough in the fridge for the 12 hour bulk retard.

The next morning, we took the dough out and let it warm up for an hour before pre-shaping and final shaping 20 minutes later.  We then placed the dough in a rice floured basket and bagged it in a plastic shopping bag and let it proof for 30 minutes before retarding it again for 4 hours.  Once the dough came out of the fridge the oven was preheated to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.


We un-molded it, slashed it straight out of Jurassic Park; T-Rex style.  Since this was only a 700 g loaf, we steamed at 425 F for 20 minutes before taking the lid off finished baking it with the fan on for 5 minutes, before removing it from the bottom of the combo cooker and finishing it on the stone.  When we took it out it read 210 F on the inside.


It sprang, bloomed and browned up well with some blistering.  Now we have to wait for the crumb shot later.  This one is very tangy, just the way we like it.  It is very soft and moist and the crust went soft as it cooled too.  It is open but not crazy open so it holds nti butter and jam.  Can't help but like this bread as least as much as you like your inlaws:-)  It made for some fine toast for breakfast and we know it will make great sandwiches for the week.  This is our kind of SDSF for sure.

There is that breakfast and last nights Chicken, bean cheese and grilled veggie enchiladas


3 Stage Bran Levain - 10% pre-fermented flour @ 100% hydration

18% Whole 10 grain

82% LaFama AP

85% hydration

2% salt

How about a nectarine , peach, blueberry and banana Really Deep Dish Pie  To go with that salad

alfanso's picture

A few days ago David Snyder posted his version of the San Francisco Baking Institute's pain au levain (almost) all AP flour batard.  Seeing this as the equivalent of an open invitation, I decided it was time to strike quickly.  And I'm so glad I did.

Using my 75% hydration levain starter as the base for building the liquid levain, I came up a few grams short of the water, but made up for it in the mix.  After the standard 300 French Folds, I gave the dough 2 hours of bulk rise with letter folds at 40, 80 and 120 before packing it away for an overnight nap in the refrigerator.  A morning shape and afternoon bake directly from the retard.  For a relatively low hydration dough, the crumb is modestly open. 

With an increase in formula yield of 25%, the bake was 340g x 4 demi-baguettes at 460dF, steam for 13 minutes, rotated and baked for another 17 minutes with a final 2 minutes for venting.  The dough was easy to handle and shaped nicely (except for that one slightly bludgeon-shaped critter).  And they scored and opened beautifully.  The flavor is slightly tanged with a crisp snap to the crust and fresh flavor.  Boy oh boy, I love nicking some of the stuff I see on this website.

The other day, just as David was posting, I pulled a set of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW out of the oven.


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