The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


MTloaf's picture

Since the baguette brigade has moved to blogging about bread I thought I should follow along. I have been making this bread for quite some time. It was one of the first videos that Trevor Wilson posted. He calls for pecans but I always use pepitas instead. I make it more often than any other bread because it is great for morning toast and is a good vehicle for Nutella. 

Other than mixing baguettes and pizza dough by hand, I have switched to my Bosch mixer for the rest of my breads. My weekly whole wheat Approachable loaves that go through the spin cycle for ten or more minutes until shiny. I am doing some machine learning to replicate hand mixing of an open crumb sourdough loaf by doing a short mix with a pause then a bassinage to get the hydration up and letting the mixer incorporate the add ins. I have switched to a stiff starter(60%) recently and am liking the results. It is a little more effort to feed and knead but it does seem to add some lift to the dough.

The recipe is 80% bread flour, 20% spelt(milled and sifted at home) 75% water 10% fermented flour. 20% Craisins and 10% sprouted pumpkin seeds 2% salt.

I put the water and the stiff starter in the mixer and use the cookie paddles to break up and mix until frothy. Switch to the dough hook and add the flour until just combined. Fermentolyse for 30 minutes then add the salt and mix at speed two while adding the last 25 grams of water. The mixer does a great job of incorporating the added water in less than two minutes after a brief pause I dump in the add ins and mix on low until barely mixed in. Sometimes I leave it in the mixing bowl for 30 minutes and then dump it out and coil fold it into shape with another coil fold or two the rest of the way.

Retard the shaped loaf overnight and bake straight from the fridge on a stone with a graniteware cover for 20 minutes and then remove the lid and finish baking until done.

spelt crannberry

Benny's Yin and Yang S slash worked well for avoiding the cranberries

cranberry crumb

You can get an open crumb with a mixer if you don't overdo it. A thorough mix will lead to a tighter softer crumb but the holes allow for maximum Nutella without leaking through. 

gavinc's picture

Pane di oliva verde – Local Breads – Daniel Leader

These are made with a biga that sits overnight in the refrigerator after one-hour bench rest. After mixing and incorporating the chopped green olive, a bulk fermentation of 2 hours at 24C.

Divided into 70-gram portions and shaped into mini baguettes of 150mm (6 inches) mini baguettes. Proofed on a covered baking tray at room temperature about 30 minutes until puffy.

Baked at 230C for 20 minutes.

These are 75% hydration with BF 11.5% protein. IDY was used for leavening. A new experience using this formula and made more interesting by adding chopped green olives. Gentle handling was essential. 



isand66's picture


If finally feels like fall here on Long Island with temps in the low 50's today.  Perfect weather for a hearty nut and cranberry bread.  If you love nuts, this one is for you.  You get nuts and cranberries in every bite.


Feel free to vary the flours and porridge ingredients and this one will still turn out a winner.  I used yellow sweet potatoes but you can use any style you have on hand.  I like to roast them until they are super soft and sweet when they are at their optimal flavor.







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 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 liquid 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, sweet potatoes  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 3 minutes.  Add the nuts and cranberries and mix until incorporated.  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 545 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.


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.


peacecow's picture

Followed 100% whole wheat recipe from full proof baking.

Hard white spring wheat

Yecora Rojo



Turkey Red

Einkorn specific starter. Reduced hydration- 360-370g for wheat, 320-360g for spelt, 260-320g for Einkorn.  30min-1hr autolyse for spelt. Started at the low end and splashed in water until it seemed comfortable to work with. Tried taking aliquots. I need to take more dough, so that the rise is easier to judge as I always question whether I'm over or under proofing.

White wheat- home milled. most mild. Whole wheat for people who don't like whole wheat.

Yecora Rojo- home milled. I like this one a lot. Very smooth/buttery? flavor at the beginning.

Einkorn- home milled. First einkorn loaf. Very sticky at the beginning, so handle as little as possible. Read many different thoughts on whether to long vs short autolyse and what hydration to use. In the end I just had to try it out and see. I definitely prefer a higher hydration. Will try to keep better notes next time. It felt too stiff otherwise. At the end of bulk fermentation, it was a little sticky, but could still be shaped. The most flat loaf by far. Mild nutty flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I will play around more.

Spelt- not home milled. Very nutty. I liked the taste a lot. Surprised that it didn't flatten out more.

Turkey Red- home milled. Also like very much. Most flavorful, but not sure how to describe.

Notes from previous bakes

100% Red Fife- more neutral whole wheat

100% Kamut- the only grain I haven't liked thus far. Very sour note. Didn't get any nuttiness from it.






Benito's picture

I decided I’d try to apply some of what I’ve learned making baguettes to my hearth loaves.  One thing that has been in the back of my mind for a while has been whether or not my use of high protein Canadian bread flours 13.3% protein could be preventing my heart loaves from having a more open crumb.  I know that achieving an open crumb is multi factorial and for many not worth the trouble, but it is something I wanted to see if I could eventually achieve.

I threw together a formula with:

50% strong bread flour

30% low protein (10%) white flour

15% whole red fife 

5% whole rye

9% prefermented flour 

2% salt

0.05% diastatic malt

78% hydration

I did an overnight levain build 1:4:4 and a saltolyse dissolving the salt and diastatic malt in the water and then adding the flours.  Mixed until a shaggy mass.  Both the levain and dough were left on the counter at a cool room temperature overnight.  The ripe levain was added to the dough and pinched in then a bowl scraper was used to stretch and fold until it was well combined.  Structure was built with a strong bench letter fold followed by a lamination and then four sets of coil folds.  A good windowpane was attained.  Bulk was ended when the aliquot jar reached 60% rise.

In retrospect the hydration was a bit too high for my flour, I forgot that lower protein flour doesn’t absorb water as well as high.  I should have taken my own advice and held back some of the water when mixing.  The dough just felt wetter than usual.  When I shaped the dough it didn’t keep “standing proud” very well, so I added stitching in the banneton hoping that it would help keep that surface tension.

The next day, about 20-30 mins prior to baking I put the dough into the freezer hoping that it might help keep its shape better when turned out of the banneton.  Somehow things worked out alright, I didn’t get a pancake after all. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it wasn’t a disaster.  I will try this again but with less water.


Danni3ll3's picture


Sardo makes this incredible Olive Bruschetta mix as well as a Sweet Pepper Bruschetta. Ever since I tasted them, I’ve been dreaming of putting them into a loaf. So here goes:




Makes 3 loaves


Add ins:

150 g Sardo Olive Bruschetta, undrained 

100 g Sardo Sweet Pepper Bruschetta, undrained


Main dough:

700 g Strong Bakers Flour

200 g freshly milled Selkirk flour 

100 g freshly milled Einkorn flour 

700 g filtered water

20 g pink Himalayan salt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)


Two afternoons before:

  1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of any kind of wholegrain flour. Let sit at cool room temperature for about 8 hours. 


The two nights before:

  1. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature overnight. 


The morning before:

  1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of unbleached flour. Let rise until doubled (about 6 or 7 hours). 
  2. Place into fridge until the next morning. 


The night before:

  1. Mill the Selkirk wheat and Einkorn berries and place the required amount in a tub. 
  2. Grind the flax seeds and add to the tub. 
  3. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and reserve. 


Dough Making day:

  1. In the morning, take the levain out of the fridge, give it a good stir and put it in a warm spot to get nice and bubbly. It will rise again but not necessarily double. 
  2. Put 700 g of filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Cover and autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature (73F).
  3. After the autolyse, add the salt and the levain to the dough. Mix on the second speed for 9 minutes. 
  4. Add the Olive and Sweet Pepper Bruschettas to the bowl and mix until well combined. 
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot to begin bulk fermentation. My warm spot is the oven with the door cracked open and the lights on. I get an ambient temperature of around 82F. 
  6. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minutes intervals and then 2 more sets of coils folds at 45 minute intervals. Then let the dough rise by 40-50%. Total bulk was about 4 and a half hours. 
  7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~740 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let it rest 20-30 minutes on the counter. 
  8. Do a final shape by 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 or big bubbles. 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. Sprinkle a mix of rice  and all purpose or baker’s flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl covers or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.


Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475 F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour.
  2. 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. 
  3. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.


I think I over proofed these. They felt super soft as I was putting them into the Dutch ovens. As well, I usually try to stay under 12 hours of proofing in the fridge but these were 13+ hours in there. Oh well, they may not have sprung in the oven as much as I wanted, but they will still taste good. 

Brotkraft's picture

The single most important discovery for me as a baker the past year has been the double-fed sourdough.  Up until this time, both Stinky (wheat) and Sourpuss (rye) received single feedings that would ripen overnight and be incorporated in the next morning's mixes. Of course there were many considerations and deliberations and decisions to be made: the changing temperature of the room overnight, the temperature of the water, the amount of lead time before the final dough mix, the mother:flour:water ratio, and so on, and so on.  Although I was generally satisfied with the product, there was more variation than desired.  And an underlying feeling of uncertainty of how loaves would turn out persisted and nagged at my conscience.  There must be a better way!

As it turns out, there is a better way.  Many of the principles outlined in my video for the Detmolder Two-Stage Feeding Method (Detmolder Zweistufenfuehrung) used for a rye sourdough culture can be applied to a wheat sourdough culture with incredible results.  There are some slight differences, though, so I will walk you through an example below.


Need:  800g of levain at 100% hydration (equal parts water and flour)

Feed #1:  20g mother + 200g flour + 200g water, Target Temp: 70-75F, Time: 12+ hours 

Feed #2: 400g Feed #1 + 200g flour + 200g water, Target Temp 90F, Time: 3-4 hours


  • Amount of needed levain (100% hydration) is divided by 4 to determine how much flour and water for each feeding
  • Feed #1 is cooler and longer; Feed #2 is hotter and shorter
  • Water Temp = Target Temp + (Target Temp - Ambient Temp) 
  • Use mixer with whisk attachment! This incorporates oxygen, which promotes duplication of yeast
  • Cover loosely, allowing sourdough to have some exposure to oxygen
  • For those of you wanting more open cell structure in your wheat-based loaves, you can autolyze your dough at the same time as Feed #2.  See my video on autolyze

I look forward to your comments, questions, and sharing of results!

Follow me for more!


Brotkraft's picture

There is an infinite number of ways to shape rounds. This particular stitching method works well with high hydration doughs. The dough in this video is 85% hydration.

Follow me for more.


alfanso's picture

Last week Stephen (Brotkraft) posted his first blog entry.  A short video on how he recommends getting an open crumb.  Okay, after a very few back and forth Qs & As with the engaging Signore Brotkraft, I decided to take the plunge.

His method generally involves a 3 hr undisturbed autolyse from shaggy mass to window.  I couldn't quite replicate his level of window, but it was successful.  At the same time, his second build of levain is timed to meet the 3 hours set aside for autolyse.  So, what did I do that was different from my standard Hamelman Vermont SD?  The first 4 on the list were my changes from my standard M.O.

  • Bumped the hydration from 65% to 72%, else the autolyse would be way too dry.
  • With no first build, used existing refrigerated starter.  Mixed all of the rye flour in the 100% hydr. levain to get a more active build within the target 3 hr. window.
  • Hand mix levain & salt to incorporate, 5 min rest.  40 French Folds, 5 min rest, 20 FFs.
  • Bulk Fermented for 2 hours with only a single Letter Fold at the 60 min. mark.
  • Retard.  Divide, pre-shape w/30 min rest, and shape somewhere in the middle of the 12-14 hr retard.
  • Bake w/ steam 460dF 13 min, rotate loaves, 10 min more, 2 min venting.

A different approach than my usual usual!  But for a first time out I think that the evidence is at least compelling to start. When I next replicate this method, I'll form a shorter pre-shape as the dough was quite extensible and just about rolled itself out.

The open crumb? The proof is in the pudding.  Or in this case, the bread...

Thank you Stephen, your input was put to good use within a week of your posting.


300g x 4 long batards.

At this rate, I might catch Benny!

texasbakerdad's picture

For years I have wanted to try making focaccia, but since I am a bit obsessive about researching new things before I try them, I kept putting it off. Finally, my wife forced my hand... she made focaccia, and halfway through her bake (After bulk ferment) wanted me to step in and finish off the bake. Well, that bake went terrible, the dough had already way over-proofed and the focaccia came out quite dense. My wife likes to follow recipes as close to exact as possible and this often gets her in trouble with bread recipes because we live in Texas and our house is usually hotter than average (76dF to 80dF), so our dough typically rises faster than what most recipes suggest.

I was determined to recover from the previous focaccia disaster. I think I watched 5 youtube videos and read 10 websites with focaccia recipes. Finally went with bwraith's sourdough focaccia recipe here, as a base recipe, but made lots of changes:


  • 100% sourdough leavening, no commercial yeast
  • Cooked on pizza stone, no pans
  • Molasses instead of malt syrup (I don't own any malt syrup)
  • Zero folding after initial mixing and kneading
  • Added toppings to focaccia right before loading into oven vs. adding toppings and allowing to proof more.
  • Other small changes

Highlights from the Bake

  • My sourdough is a beast! The dough rose 2.5x and was still going strong in bulk. Kept rising during proofing. For years, I was a terrible sourdough maintainer, now I have it figured out!
  • There are sooooo many different ways people make focaccia... (Pour water brine on top before baking, add toppings before proofing, no-knead, knead, zero folding, folding, in a pan, not in a pan, lots of dimples, a few dimples, stretch out the dough, let the dough stretch itself, etc., etc., etc.)
  • I watched an episode of "The Chef Show" on netflix titled "Tartine", where Jon Favreau goes to the Tartine bakery and they bake focaccia pizzas. After seeing that, I said, I want my focaccia to look like that. I think I got pretty close for my first try, except that I didn't make pizzas with the focaccia.
  • I really wanted to push the proofing... I overproofed the dough a bit, but the loaves that had more dimpling don't show the overproofing because the heavy dimpling acted like a "punchdown and rerise".
  • I want to try less proofing next time to see if I would have been rewarded with an even more open crumb.
  • I think the recipe needs a bit more oil in the dough to get that silky smooth dough texture that many people talk about with focaccia dough.
  • I put too much effort into my kneading... I could have stopped after 5 minutes, but I kept going for 15 minutes thinking the dough would develop further, it never did. I don't think this had any negative side effects other than just wasting my time.


  • 14g Sourdough Starter (50:50 water, hard red wheat)
  • 196g Water
  • 215g Bread Flour (HEB Brand)


  • Poolish
  • 1008g Bread Flour (HEB Brand)
  • 200g Hard Red Wheat (Home Milled)
  • 24g Salt
  • 13g Dark Molasses
  • 73g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1021g Water


  • 10p night before: mix poolish and put in fridge for 1 hour. My house is 76dF and I didn't want the poolish to overproof during the night. So I stick it in the fridge for an hour to slow things down just a tad.
  • 11p night before: pull poolish out of fridge and put on counter.
  • 7a (Autolyse): mix all dough ingredients EXCEPT for the poolish into shaggy ball, let sit for 20 min.
  • 7:20a: Spread poolish over the top of the dough, then start kneading. I knead by folding and stretching inside the bowl. Similar to what this guy does:
  • After Knead: Add 1/8 cup of olive oil to clear tub and spread it around. Transfer dough to tub for bulk ferment and mark dough level.
  • At this point, I went outside and working on installing some cross fencing on my farm with the plan to come back in at noon and shape then final proof. Unfortunately, I ran into some snags with my fencing work and didn't get back into the house until 2pm. When I finally got back inside, the dough had risen 2.5x above the initial dough mark.
  • 2pm: Pour dough onto counter (I floured the counter, but that turned out to be unnecessary). Using dough scraper, split dough into 7 semi-evenly sized loaves. Cut 7 sheets of parchment that fit nicely on my pizza peel. Gently pick up each of the 7 loaves and without very much manipulation try to center them on the sheets of parchment in a squarish shape.
  • 4pm: Preheat oven with pizza stone (I tried out a few different temps while I worked through baking all 7 loaves, until I finally found one that worked best)
  • 5pm: Dimple dough, add olive oil, add flakey sea salt, oregano, cracked rosemary, add more oil
  • 5pm: Bake


  • Ideal baking: 500dF (non-convection) for 10 min, 450dF (non-convection) for last 10 min.
  • First Loaf: 550dF convection for 10 min. Too dark on the outside and not dry enough on the inside.
  • Second Loaf: 500dF convection for 10 min, 500dF non-convection for 4 min, A little less dark, better but not best
  • Rest of loaves: 500dF for 10 min, 450dF for last 10 min, dough got dark and crust was dry and chewy, this was just right.

Right After Shaping:

First loaf, after seasoning and dimpling, about to load into oven

First Loaf, a bit dark

First Loaf Crumb, large bubbles at top indicate overproofing

The Rest of the Loaves


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