The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I baked Maurizio’s sourdough Pain de Mie today.

Based on his recipe and recommendations I made a 700 g dough to fit in my 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan, however, it came out rather small, I’d say it could easily have been 800 go for that size.

Anyhow, as per his recipe it is all white flour, 12% butter unsalted, 7% honey, 22% milk, 48% water, and 2% salt.

See what I mean, it is rather short and squat for sandwich bread.

How much dough do you guys use for this size of pan?  What it underproofed or just not enough dough?

I’ll post photos of the crumb tomorrow once I cut it open.


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I’m feeling more confident now with this sourdough recipe.  I’ve had pretty good success now that I’ve baked it a few times with the hydration lowered to 74% from about 78%.  This is Maurizio’s beginner sourdough recipe which fortunately we love the flavour of.  The only change this time was that I added 0.5% diastatic malt powder to the dough during the autolyse.  I believe it did make the fermentation go faster than usual as the dough appeared nicely fermented after 4 hours at 80ºF and with my starter it usually takes 4.5 to 5 hours before it appears nicely fermented so I think it does what it advertises.  Tonight we’ll cut it and taste it to see how it affects the crumb texture and flavour.  The other change I made during the baking process was that I baked it in my DO at the highest rack that I could still fit it on and place a cookie tray on the rack below to shield it from the direct heat.  Also, I’ve started to pull the bread out of the DO after taking the lid off and then placing the bread with the parchment onto the rack in the oven directly.  I’ve made this change to try to get the bottom crust to be baked more similarly to the sides and top as I’ve often found that the bottom crust to be much thicker than the rest of the crust and I’m hoping that this will help make it less thick.  Again we’ll see if these changes help.  I’ve continued to use slap and folds and coil folds with the dough and I think I’m building pretty good structure this way.

I also tried to score a bit of a pattern on the side of the loaf.  I will need to put a bit of flour on the dough prior to scoring in the future if I want the pattern to actually show, but not a bad outcome for a first try.


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I loved last weekend’s apple pie and needed to bake another dessert to go with dinner tonight with friends.  I decided to make this Cranberry Apple Bourbon Pie this weekend.  I tried to do a plaid lattice design to also do something different than I have tried before.  As I have been doing, I used Bravetart’s all butter crust again as it has become my favorite.

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I am still lacking consistency bake to bake.  One reason is that I’m only baking sourdough every 2 weeks on average, but this week got another bake in.  I’ve still been trying Maurizio’s Beginner Sourdough as that was the first one I started with and wanted to gain some confidence baking it.  Two weeks ago I made an error and added way too much water and the dough lacked structure, it tasted fine but it was a bit on the pancake side of things.  This week I decided to hold back 20 g of water during autolyse, so rather than 78% hydration the bread would be 74%.  I estimate that the water I wet my hands with during the three sets of coil folds I did added back another 10 g or so, so perhaps the bread turned out to be 76% hydration?  The bread is about 80% white strong flour, 16% whole Red Fife and 4% whole rye.  I’ve also adjusted down the temperature after baking in the Dutch oven.  For this bake I turned the temperature down to 400ºF after taking the lid off the Dutch oven and then also placed the bread directly on the oven rack instead of back in the Dutch over uncovered.  I have found that the crust has been a bit too thick for my tastes, I would prefer slightly thinner.  We shall see if this change made any difference.

I will post crumb shots later tonight or tomorrow as this bread part of tonight’s dinner with friends.

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Well a year and a half into my pie baking “career” I’ve finally made my first apple pie.  I know a lot of people love apple pie, but I hate peeling apples and have no space for a dedicated apple peeler in my apartment kitchen.  However, this apple pie turned out so well I might have to make room.

I followed the Bravetart Apple Pie recipe almost exactly and overall it turned out well.  I used once again the all butter crust recipe from Bravetart however, this time I subbed 40 g of the water for 40 g of vodka to see if it would make the pastry a touch more tender.

The mistake I made with the filling was that I didn’t leave it out at room temperature for 3 hours to macerate.  The idea being that the macerating fruit would not only give up some of its sweet juices but also that the fruit would shrink so that when baked one wouldn’t be left with a large air gap between the top crust and the fruit.  Unfortunately I didn’t follow that part of the recipe, instead focused in on the line that red it can be kept in the fridge for up to 8 hours.  So after mixing the apple, sugar and spices in a ziplock bag I immediately put it all in the fridge and planned to get up early enough to bake it the next morning.  So I had more of an air gap than I would have liked to have.

Overall the Bravetart recipe is excellent, despite the large amount of juices apple release (Granny Smith in this case) the pie wasn’t runny at all and the Granny Smith stayed in their sliced form with a pleasing amount of bite left to them.

One new thing I had this time was a baking iron.  With the pie baking on a cookie try and then on the preheated baking iron on the lowest rake, the bottom crust was wonderfully browned and crisp, no soggy bottom anywhere.  Again this was remarkable to me because there was at least a cup of juices after the overnight refrigerated mace ration process.  The baking iron isn’t an amazing tool for baking pies!  

Oh, I think that the extra 40 g of Vodka did make this pasty a bit more tender, but I’ll need to make it again the same way to know for sure.  I was also more careful not to knead this pasty too much when forming it too so that might have made the difference.

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I am still working on my skills with sourdough, having had some recent success I thought I see if I can replicate that success.  With this bake I also thought I’d try shaping using a spritz of water on the counter and my hands, unfortunately that didn’t go so well.  I’m not sure why it didn’t work, perhaps I used too much water, that is the most likely cause.  After the shaping didn’t go well with water, I let the blob rest and then reshaped using flour, this went a bit better but not as good as my previous bake.

Same formula as before except 78% not counting any water added during coil folding so probably even higher.

I think that some of the huge spaces in the crumb are from my shaping issues, as the slices of bread further out from the center have a nice crumb structure.  The crumb wasn’t wet or gummy at all and the bread tasted good with a slight sour tang which tasted great with the curry tomato poached cod that I made to go with this.  I do plan to bake this again and next time will reduce the hydration a bit and I’m hoping for better results again.  Sorry about posting this same recipe but I like to document my progress even if it feels like two steps back sometimes.  All good though as it will always be a learning process.  Fortunately we like the flavour and texture of this bread.


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I’m sorry about posting another Beginner’s Sourdough loaf but I wanted to repeat it a few more times to see if I am getting any more consistent results.  I reduced the hydration by 20 gms when mixing to try to account for water added while doing coil folds etc.  I found that the dough was quite stiff despite a several hour autolyze, I think this was the reduced hydration unless I actually reduced by even more than I thought.  The lower hydration made slap and folds very hard.  As more water was used with coil folds the dough gradually seemed to be a bit more of what I was used to when bulk fermenting sourdough.

I’m hoping that I watched fermentation better this time so that this isn’t underfermented as the last one seemed to be.  Shaping went quite well, this is likely in part because of the reduced hydration but also this time I used much less flour, a lot less actually.  

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Tonight’s dinner.  Again I used the Community Bake Recipe for sourdough pizza dough, thanks again to Danny and ThePieKing for the CB.

I have found that the dough is even better after a 72 hour cold fermentation and that the gluten hasn’t broken down at all.

I marinated Kalamata olives, sun dried tomato stuffed green olives, artichokes, grape tomatoes, and roasted red peppers in a blend of red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and some of the marinade of the artichokes.  Directly on the crust is shaved Grana Padano cheese to protect the crust from this very wet topping combination.  Baked for 8 mins and topped with fresh basil.  Delicious.

As you can see putting this low moisture cheese directly on the crust protects it from the very wet toppings leaving you with a nicely crisp crust and can hold the weight of the toppings  relatively well sort of like a Neapolitan Pizza.


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Sourdough Pizza with balsamic olive oil marinated arugula and grape tomatoes with egg and avocados.

Tonight I made two individual sized sourdough pizzas using my trusty cast iron skillet again.  These are almost the same as my last pizzas I made except i started the pizzas in the oven without the egg for two minutes, pulled it out to add the egg and then once done after a total of 8 mins topped with a few more marinated tomatoes and arugula and the avocado.  I like the creaminess of the avocado to contrast the sharpness of the balsamic vinegar and I preferred the yolk a bit less cooked which I why I shortened the cook time on the egg as described.

All in all a good pizza.  Have two more doughs in the fridge that I’ll make tomorrow just not sure what to top them with yet.

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These are a tasty way to use up your sourdough starter discard.  Here’s the recipe.


  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) mature sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) bread flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons (12g) rye flour
  • 12 g extra virgin olive oil
  •             20 g toasted sesame oil 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  •             2 teaspoon black sesame seeds            
  •             1 teaspoon flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt      
  •             Pink Himalayan salt, for topping



  • In a bowl, combine sourdough starter with flours, olive oil, sesame oil, seeds and salt. Mix to combine, kneading until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  • Position oven racks in the upper 1/3 and lower 1/3 of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  • Cut dough in half; put one half back in the fridge while you roll out the other. Cut dough again into 4 smaller pieces.
  • Roll out each piece into an oblong rectangle. You can do this with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, or using a pasta roller for super thin crackers. I like to roll my dough out to the #6 thickness setting (out of 8). If you are rolling by hand, just roll it as thin as you possibly can.
  • Lay out two oblongs of dough side by side (not overlapping) on each baking sheet.
  •             Dock each oblong of dough with a fork (to prevent bubbling of the flatbreads)
  • Spritz or brush lightly with water; sprinkle with flake salt.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crispy, rotating the pans top to bottom and back to front part way through baking.
  • Let cool, then transfer crackers to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


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