The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Here's the latest bake...  70% Whole Wheat Pain Au Levain...  I'm trying to make a WW bread that also tastes good.  I think this is one of my more successful results...  I'm also working on a new boule shaping method that I'll call the "snail" method...  I think this is the best method as of late for shaping...  I'll post the recipe and method if anyone is interested... For now, here's another 360 degree view along with crumbshot.  Enjoy!


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Inspired by one of Shiao-ping's early bakes...  I'll post a description shortly...  For now, here's a 360 degree view of the loaf...  It's cooling now, so I'll have to post crumbshot pics tomorrow...




500g AP

300g Water

150g Sourdough Starter @ 100% Hydration

12g Kosher Salt

7 Scallions/Green Onions

Sesame Oil

962g Dough weight not including scalions/sesame oil.




10:00am - Feed storage sourdough starter 100g AP and 100g water, leave on counter covered.  Should increase by 50% in 2-3 hours.

12:40pm - Mix all ingredients in large bowl with wooden spoon.  When a rough dough forms, squish out all the lumps with wet hands, cover and let rest.  This should take no more than 5 minutes.

2:24pm - Stretch and fold dough in bowl, cover and let rest.

3:29pm - Stretch and fold dough in bowl, cover and let rest.

4:20pm - Stretch and fold dough in bowl, cover and let rest.

5:30pm - Stretch and fold dough in bowl, cover and let rest.

6:00pm - Wash, dry, thinly slice scallions, place in bowl and set aside.

6:30pm - Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Stretch dough out like a pizza.  Brush dough lightly with sesame oil, and distribute scallions on top of dough.  Roll dough into log, then with the seam side up, roll dough up into a snail.  Please seam side up in floured banneton, place into plastic bag.  Proof for 3 hrs.

9:00pm - Arrange baking stone on 2nd rack from bottom along with steam pan (loaf pan filled with lava rocks, fill halfway with water).  Preheat oven to 500F with convection.

9:45pm - Turn off convection.  Take banneton out of plastic bag, sprinkle boule lightly with flour.  Lightly flour peel.  Turn dough out onto peel, slash lengtwise (along the roll), place into oven directly on stone.  Bake 500F for 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes, remove the steam pan, turn oven down to 450F and bake for another 35 minutes.  After, turn oven off, leave loaf in for another 10 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing and eating.

Sent to Susan @ Yeastspotting on 10/17/10


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There was a period of time where my brother and I were buying each other different salts for fun…  He went to Hawaii one time and brought me back a small bag of  Alaea Sea Salt (Hawaiian Red Salt).  Time passes, I buy him some other salt…  Then he goes to Hawaii again to visit a friend of his, and she sends him back to the mainland with 3 more bags of the stuff, which he gives me…  So now, after a few years, I still have tons of the stuff, so what better idea to get rid of some of it by trying some in bread… 

Interesting stuff.  It contains a small amount of harvested reddish Hawaiian clay.  You can reference this website: for more info.  The salt has an interesting clay/mineral taste to it.

I decided to make a simple pain au levain and try the stuff out… 

900g AP (King Arthur)
50g WW (King Arthur)
50g Rye Flour (Mix of Hodgson Mill and Arrowhead Mills Organic)
250g Liquid Levain @ 100% Hydration
660g Water
26g Alaea Sea Salt
1936g Approx Dough Yield

7:00pm - Feed storage starter 100g AP and 100g water.  Starter should double in 2-3 hrs.
10:00pm - Weigh out all ingredients, grind the salt with a mortar and pestle.
10:15pm - In a large mixing bowl, add in the following order, liquid levain,  water, flours, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula until a rough dough forms, then with wet hands squish dough until there are no dry lumps.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Place bowl in large plastic bag, rest.
11:00pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.
11:30pm - Lightly oil a large plastic container (4L).  Turn dough (stretch and fold in bowl), place in plastic tub, place in refrigerator.  Go to bed.

8:45am - Take dough out of refrigerator, turn dough in container, cover, return to refrigerator.  Go to work.

6:15pm - Divide dough into 2 equal pieces (975g), preshape into boule.  Let rest 15 minutes seam side down.
6:30pm - Final shape, let proof in floured linen lined bannetons seam side up.  Place bannetons in plastic bag to prevent drying.
8:45pm - Arrange baking stone and steam pan (loaf pan with lava rocks.  Fill halfway with water).  Preheat oven to 500F with convection.
9:30pm - Turn off convection.  Turn boules out onto a lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place into oven directly onto stone.  When last loaf is in the oven, close door.  Turn down to 450F.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Remove steam pan 15 minutes into bake.  Rotate loaves halfway through bake.  At end of bake, check internal temperature and weight.  Should be between 205F to 210F, and weight approx 15% less.  Return loaves to off oven for another 10 minutes.  Let loaves cool overnight before cutting and eating…

Notes:  I should have let the boules proof for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

8:45am - Cut, take picture of crumb, eat...

Sent to Susan @ Yeastspotting on 10/6/10

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So this is my last bake of the week...  Rustic slabs...  These are very large loaves weighing between 790g to 830g after bake and are about 15" long x 6" wide x 3 1/2" tall .  The total dough batch was about 4kg...  They contain 5% rye, 10% WW and 85% AP at 70% hydration.  I also used a 10% of my storage SD starter.  Enjoy!


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Sorry for the late update of this post...  This is my attempt at a no knead ciabatta a la Jim Lahey.  It's basically his same ciabatta recipe at 87.5% hydration but with a little more salt, and some improvisations with technique.  I am very happy with my result except that I should have squished them down with my fingertips during the initial stages of the final proof to prevent the cavern that you will see in one of the crumbshots.  This result though is the most aerated crumb that I have ever gotten...  Ever...  I got a 28% water loss after bake...


400g AP

350g Water

10g Kosher Salt

1g ADY

761g Total



11:07pm - Mix all ingredients in bowl, cover.

11:54pm - Stir again, cover.  Go to bed...


8:15am - Dump dough out onto well floured surface, turn dough, place onto well floured iinen couche, cover and let rest.

8:40am - With a bench knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise, flour more, pull up couche to separate the two loaves, cover and let proof for 1 hr.  Arrange baking stones in oven along with steam pan.  Fill pan with water and lava rocks, Preheat oven to 500F with convection.

9:40am - Turn off convection.  Turn loaves carefully onto floured peel and place them into the oven directly on the stone.  When last loaf is in, pour 1 cup water into steam pan, close door.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450F, no convection.

9:50am - Take out steam pan, close door, bake for another 30 minutes, rotating loaves half way through bake.  Loaves are done when the internal temp reaches 210F, and are about 15% lighter than their pre baked weight...

Note: Here is my kitchen set-up.  I have a gas/convection oven, which vents out.  In NYC, we don't have exhaust systems that exhaust to the outside.  Instead, they exhaust into your face...  Fortunately my stove/oven is near the window.  I have a big fan that I point towards the outside.  When I start preheating the oven, I turn the fan on full blast...

10:10am - Let loaves cool before cutting...  At least 1 hour or so...  Notice the crackly crust, and the slug like shape...

Here are a bunch of crumbshots...

Oops!  That hole is big enough to put a sausage into...

Playing with bread...

Notice the crispy crackly crust...  This was so messy...  But really yummy...

Some more parting crumbshots...  Enjoy!


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Hey all,

Just wanted to share with you this bake from 9/23/10.  It is a Tourte Auvergnate inspired by the recipe in Le pain, l'envers du décor by Frédéric Lalos.  His version is basically 80% rye, and the rest in white flour, which is made into a stiff levain.  I decided to make mine with 75% rye flour, and 25% AP flour.  I made the AP flour into a stiff levain, and then with some of the rye flour, I made a rye sour.  Here's the formula, process, and pictures.  Enjoy!

Overall Formula

750g Whole Rye Flour

250g AP

720g Water

18g Kosher Salt

1738g Total Dough Yield (approx)


Stiff Levain

250g AP

150g Water

50g Storage Sourdough Starter at 100% hydration

450g Total Stiff Levain


Rye Sour

150g Rye Flour

150g Water

8g Storage Sourdough Starter at 100% hydration

308g Rye Sour Total


Final Dough

600g Rye Flour

420g Water

18g Kosher Salt

450g Stiff Levain

308g Rye Sour

1796g Total Dough Yield Approx




6:30pm - Mix rye sour and stiff levain, cover and let rest on counter.

7:00pm - Put stiff levain into refrigerator.


9:00pm - Weigh out all ingredients, and place into large mixing bowl in the following order, water, levain, rye sour, rye flour, salt.

9:15pm - Mix for 5 minutes starting with a rubber spatula and switching to wet hands as the dough gets harder to stir.

Switch to wet hands and knead dough.

9:20pm - After mixing and kneading, cover and let bulk ferment for 1:30...

10:50pm - Dough after bulk ferment.  Notice the poke in the top part.

10:55pm - Divide and shape.  I made 3 relatively equal size boules.

Place in floured bannetons seam side down.

Cover and let proof for 1 hour.  Place 2 baking stone/stones in oven with steam pan filled with lava rocks and water.  Preheat to 550F with convection.

11:55pm - Turn off convection. Turn boules on to floured peel/flipping board and place in oven directly on stone.  When last one is in, pour 1 more cup of water into steam pan, close door and turn oven down to 500F no convection.  Bake for 10 minutes at 500F.


12:05am - Take out steam pan, turn oven down to 420F.  Bake for 20 minutes.

12:25am - Rotate loaves around, or between stones.  I am baking on 2 stones, starting them off on the bottom, transfering them to the top.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

12:45am - Take one loaf out to check weight and internal temp.  Should be at least 15% lighter than prebaked weight, and internal temp should be about 210F.  Turn oven off, and leave loaves in for another 10 minutes.

12:55pm - Take loaves out and let cool at least 24hrs before cutting and eating to let the crumb stabilize and dry out a little.

8:00am - I was a little impatient so I cut into one so I could see the crumb...  Slightly gummy as I had expected, but after a little toasting and butter, it was all good...  Enjoy!


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So my friend sent me this link to check out:

I need to figure out if this will make it to the theaters here in NYC...

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Hey All,

Just wanted to fill you in on my latest baking installment...  I have this older German lady that lives in my building that I've been baking for for the past few years.  Once or twice a week, I will bake something, and drop it on the little table outside her door before I go to work.  She has taken a liking to my breads, in particular the dark hearty ones that reminder her of Germany...  She's been here for many year now...  She's on this weird schedule and only comes back to the city randomly... and she notified me that she would be in town only for an evening before heading back to the woods...  I had to bake something for her to take back to the woods...

I've been experimenting with pain au levains which were mostly AP flour with a WW levain.  They were about 5% rye, 10% WW and 85% AP.  I wanted to flip that around and try something like 70% WW, 20% AP, and 10% rye...  I also did not make a starter the day before, so I needed to figure out how to make a starter in a short period of time so I wouldn't have to stay up all night..  So it went something like this:

Fast Liquid Levain:

75g Rye Flour

75g WW

104g Sourdough Starter at 100% hydration preferably fed a few days ago, or the night before.

10g Honey

464g Total Liquid Levain


6:40pm - Mix liquid levain, let sit covered on counter for approx 4 hours.


Final Dough:

625g WW

200g AP

25g Rye

550g Water

24g Kosher Salt

464g Liquid Levain

1888g Total Dough Yield

10:40pm - In a large mixing bowl, place the ingredients in the following order: water, levain, flour, and salt.  Mix with large spatula until dough forms, and mix with hands to make sure all the lumps are out.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Cover and let rest.

11:00pm - Knead for 1 minute, cover and let rest.

11:20pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

11:40pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.


12:00am - Divide dough into 2 equal parts, preshape into boule, let rest seam side down on work surface.

12:10am - Tighten boule, flour top, place in well floured linen lined banneton/basket, place in plastic bag and let proof.  Place 2 baking stones into oven along with steam pan in oven.  Go to bed.

5:00am - Wake up, fill steam pan with some water, put thermometer in oven, turn on oven to 500F with convection.  Make sure your kitchen windows are open for ventilation.  Go back to bed.

6:00am - Wake up, turn convection off, turn boules onto a lightly floured peel, place in oven directly on the baking stone.  When the last loaf is in, pour 1 cup water into steam pan, close door.  Turn oven down to 450F no convection.  Bake 50 minutes, taking the steam pan out at 20 minutes, and rotating the loaves between the stones at 25 minutes.  After 50 minutes, take a loaf out and check the weight and internal temp.  Should be 210F and weight 15% less than the prebaked weight.  Turn oven off and place loaves back into oven for 10 minutes.

7:00am - Take loaves out and get ready for work...

8:00am - Deliver loaf to my friend and go to work...  I left my loaf at home and didn't cut into it until today...  Here's what I found:


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Maybe this is unsolicited advice, but here goes... 

For those of you who have tried recipes and have failed, my advice to you is to make note of what went wrong, and try it again.  Try it again until you it works for you.  And keep trying until it comes out how you want it to.  This is the only way to get better.  Success is not a very good teacher.  Learning from your mistakes is...  This applies not only to baking bread, but life in general...


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Hey All,

So my mother keeps pestering me to send my brother a birthday card for his birthday on September 22nd...  Personally I think sending a $5.00 card + $0.44 postage that just says Happy Birthday is sort of lame...  I don't think sending birthday cards is really a guy thing either...  So what's a guy baker going to do for his brother who lives on the West Coast?  Bake bread and ship it to him via USPS Priority Mail...  So here's the project.  How to bake a loaf of bread large enough to survive the 2 day trip out West without drying out and getting stale, and fit into the large priority mail package box which is 12" x 12" x 6"...   Hmmm...  Here's what happened:  I had some lasagna pans that were as close to square as possible, and my floured linen couch fabric...  Here goes...

Here it is!  It's about 13" x 10" x 5" and weighs about 1800g after bake...  Total dough weight before bake was about 2150g...  It took a little work getting it into the box, but it worked...  The cool thing about this big priority mail box is that you can ship up to 20lbs for $14.70...

Side profile and crackly crust!

More crackly crust!

Close-up of crack!

Some little ones for me and my friends at work...

Crumbshot of one of the little ones...  I hope the big one as a nice crumb like this one...  Maybe my brother will be nice enough to send me a crumbshot when he gets it...




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