The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Andra Magda's blog

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

I must admit that white bread is my favorite. I sometimes cheat it with rye bread, but only for a short while. I always return to my first and never ending love, as we’ve been in a good relationship so far as I can remember:) .When I was a little child, my grandmother used to say that if I don’t eat white bread , the rest of the food won’t feed me and I always paid attention to her sayings :).   

From all the white breads I’ve eaten, San Francisco is my all time number one:). I like its special sour taste when the crust meets the crumb inside your mouth and you think are in heaven:).

 I’ve tried the recipe several times, and even when the looks were bad, the taste was great.


This weekend called again for a San Francisco Sourdough. I used Codruta’s recipe ( based on David  Snyder’s recipe ( ).  I don’t have a San Francisco bread starter. I’ve used my usual 100% starter and transformed it into a 69% one. I increased the hydration of the dough to 78% and accidentally increased bulk fermentation time to 3 ¼ hours, instead of 3, because... it was late at night and I fell asleep. I retarded the dough in the fridge for 14 hours, scored it and put it directly in the oven. First batch below:




I like its looks and shape. Frankly, I would like a darker crust on the top, not on the bottom of the bread, but we can’t always get what we want, can we? :) Next time maybe.

Second batch… well, I wanted to try a new scoring type, with 3 parallel cuts. It didn’t turn out as good as I hoped... When I took the bread out of the oven it had 4 cuts instead of 3 :|. The 4’th was a crust break :(.  And I would also like a darker crust... the taste is great however :).



 Nevertheless, San Francisco Sourdough remains my favorite bread.

May we all have a wonderful baking time!

Happy baker Andra :).                                         

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

 Hello everybody:),

It was a cold weekend here in Timisoara, Romania, just good for baking:). In this case, the oven is a good friend who offers both baking and warming. I’ve decided to take my chance with two breads: a semolina bread, that I’ve tried two times before and I failed every one of them and a sesame tartine bread, that I’ve never made.

First about the semolina bread. I’ve read about it on Codruta’s blog ( , I’ve liked the looks of it and what she said about the taste. Unfortunatelly we don’t have durum flour in Timisoara and that kind of specific flour Codruta used is made and can be found in Italy. I've tried some other type of semolina flour but it was not good. It was a little adventure to get a batch of semolina rimacinata De Cecco, but finally I’ve got one. The result was as you can see below:



I retarded the dough in the fridge overnight for 11 hours, I baked it directly from the fridge but it seems to me like the dough was a bit under proofed. I would appreciate a piece of advice :). The taste is good, but I have a hunch that it could be better if the baker has all the knowledge and abilities to do it right :).

Secondly, about the sesame tartine bread: I’ve seen this bread also on Codruta’s blog that has been my first source of inspiration for almost one year. I don’t have Chad Robertson’s book  (, but it’s on my shopping list for the next months.  I’ve tried the recipe in September  from Codruta’s blog and the results were great:



 But this week I found Pip’s Tartine sesame bread ( ) and I started to think more about it.

Note: In the last two  months I must admit that I’ve had two little “obsessions”, borrowed from txfarmer blog: 1. croissants, where I think I’m heading in the right direction and 2. baguettes, where I am a total disaster, despite the fact that I’ve had at least a dozen tries (seems to me like I am not able to master the final fermentation  yet:( )...As a result, my bread baking had been limited to some Vermont breads and their variations , as there were easier to make and the results were great.  Considering all mentioned above, tartine bread seemed to me like a good way of reentering the universal bread world :).    

Finally, I’ve decided to make Tartine bread with black sesame and raisins inside and white sesame seeds on the crust. The result can be seen below:


Not so good looking, from my point of view, but extremely good taste:). My husband loves its taste also.  But I feel the need to make a few notes:

-          In addition to the basic recipe of tartine bread, I used oatmeal (10% of the overall flour), black sesame (6% of the overall flour) and raisin (5% of the overall flour). The addition of seeds and raisin made me belief that I should use more water. After the autolyse of sourdough, flour, water and oatmeal,  I put the salt, more water and mixed the dough until medium gluten development . Then I put the sesame seeds and raisin. As a result the hydration of the dough was ~81%, some of the highest I’ve ever worked with.  Frankly, I though the seeds would call for more water than they actually did.  The dough was a bit difficult to handle.

-          Codruta’s recipe was for two breads of ~ 750 gr each. I’ve made one bread of ~ 1.000 gr. It was too much dough for me to handle correctly in shaping as I have small hands. Moreover, it was my first time to put sesame seeds in the crust. I’ve done it using the method Hamelman suggests in his book, with a wet towel, but I think I handled the dough too much.  For a beginner in putting seeds on the crust, I would recommend to work with a smaller amount of dough and a smaller degree of the dough hydration than I did.

This is my first bake of this year :). Hope the next one would be more successful. I would very much appreciate any piece of advice you could offer.

Happy baking everyone! See you soon!

Happy baker Andra:).

Ps: Please excuse my English. It’s my first time writing in “bread English language”.  Some of the word associations may sound odd for you, as I might translate them from Romanian :|.

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Hello everybody:),

 My name is Andra, I live in Romania and I am 33 years old. I discovered the wonderful universe of bread 10 months ago, thanks to Codruta ( 

The bread and I are in a very special relationship ever since:). And I can say, it was not love at first sight;), as you can see below.




I don't know why, but every failure I had made me more determined to get to know "The Bread" better:). With Codruta's help, after a lot of practicing, I succed in making bread my friend:).


1. Sourdough Fennel Bread


2.  Sourdough Olive Bread



3.  Sourdough Seeds Bread


4. Stureby de Luxe


5. San Joaquin Sourdough

5. Vermont Sourdough


6. Pain au levain

I still have a lot to learn, but I consider myself lucky to get to know this wonderfull world of Bread:).  I love baking and talking about bread and pastry:). I bake everytime I can, usually once a week, during weekends. My familly and friends are, most of the time, delighted to be in the "testing squad":). 

Two months ago I discoverd txfarmer blog (, and her wonderfull croissants:). I've been practicing ever since, I still have a lot to learn , but I think I am heading in the right direction:).



8. Sourdough croissants with poppy seeds and small pieces of raisin

One of this year's resolution is to write my own blog articles on TFL and I thought that January 1'st would be a good time to start doing it:).

May we all have a wonderful baking year and may the bread & pastry God be with us!

Hoping to get to you soon,


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