The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

breadsong's blog

  • Pin It
breadsong's picture


I've been watching shaping videos, including brand a new one! from Mark at The Back Home Bakery, thanks to freerk's recent post (please see his post here...) and everyone who responded! And many thanks to Mark and those who take the time to make these videos; they are such a great resource.

There was nothing to do except get my hands in some dough!

My husband had a craving for a simple white bread, so I made a batch of Mr. Hamelman's Toast Bread (I snuck in 3% of my Red Fife whole wheat flour for some extra flavor). I made 1.5 times the recipe so I would have a little extra to practice shaping with. 
This quantity made a pullman loaf, a small batard, and two different sizes of couronne bordelaise:

I shaped the small batard trying to use Mark's technique he just posted.
I shaped the couronnes using 1.5 ounce boules for the small one (proofed in a plastic wicker basket), and 2 ounce boules for the bigger one.
I rolled the dough circle for the small couronne a bit thicker, and am happier with the result after baking.

I gave my firebricks (I use these in place of a baking stone) a rest today, and was happy with how the bread baked and rose in the oven in the absence of using a stone. The loaves were nice and crackly too, after baking.

Still having some candied orange peel left over from Christmas baking, I made Gibassier (Ciril Hitz's beautiful recipe).
This is an orange and anise-flavored enriched dough, and the flavor is absolutely-out-of-this-world!!!
I am so glad I made these!:

SylviaH made these too; I found her post today - please see here.
I think she did a much nicer job than I!

Happy baking everyone! from breadsong


breadsong's picture

Hello, This is my first attempt at making a miche, substituting a 13% spring wheat bread flour and a 75%-sifted Red Fife whole-wheat flour for the high-extraction flour called for in the formula.

Here is the result (springy! wasn't expecting that):

 mmm mmm good - we love the flavor!

Franko kindly sent me this link, which explained how to approximate high-extraction flour (thank you Franko!):
The calculation in the above link returned a 53% bread/47% whole-wheat substitution for the high-extraction flour.
This is factored into the baker's percentages I used, with the baker's percentages per the original formula listed below for comparison, in this table:

From SUAS. Advanced Bread and Pastry, 1E. © 2009 Delmar Learning, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

AB&P Miche       Final Dough weight in grams        
  Baker's Percentages Weights Baker's
  Dough 1st Levain Final Levain Dough 1st Levain Final Levain Total %
Bread flour 0.706 0.53 0.53 205 24 136 365  
Red Fife 75% whole-wheat flour 0.094 0.47 0.47 27 21 121 169  
Medium rye flour 0.2     58     58  
Water 0.1 1.2 1.2 29 54 308 391 66.0%
Salt 0.038 0.006 0.006 11.00 0.27 1.54 12.81 2.2%
Starter (stiff)   0.1     4   4  
1st Levain     0.4     103    
Final Levain 2.306     670        
 Totals 3.444 2.306 2.606 1000 103 670 1000  
Original formula:                
High-extraction flour 0.2 1.0 1.0 58 45 257 360  
Bread flour 0.6     174     174  
Medium rye flour 0.2     58     58  

The first levain fermented for 16 hours, and the final levain for 7 (instead of the recommended 8 hours), but the final levain was starting to recede at 7 hours so I proceeded with the mix. I dissolved coarse gray Brittany salt in some of the water and added at the beginning of the mix and did not let the dough autolyse.

*Added to original post: The first levain and final levain didn't double during fermentation - perhaps only a 75% rise;
I am assuming because these levains are both salted and the salt slowed them down. I am used to seeing my starter/levains doubling after feeding/refreshing.
I was worried that maybe my levain for this bread might not be active enough so I threw in 3g of diastatic malt at the last minute when mixing, hoping this would help the dough through its long process. I'm not sure how much of an impact this may have had on the outcome.*

This dough was only supposed to bulk ferment for 15 minutes - there is a high percentage of preferment - I was curious about trying this formula as it's different from others I've tried. 
After the mix, my dough was a bit cool (72F instead of 75F to 78F as recommended) so I let it bulk ferment for a bit longer, a little longer than half an hour. Preshaped, rested boule 20 minutes, shaped and retarded in fridge for 12 hours.
I proofed the boule at 80F for one hour and 15 minutes prior to baking. The oven was preheated to 500F, reduced to 460F after loading and steaming, then reduced to 440F after 10 minutes. Total bake time was 38 minutes; left boule in oven with door ajar for 10 minutes.

This is a tasty miche and I'm glad to have tried it.
Happy baking everyone! from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, What a pleasure to discover farine-mc's post on her blog about Noah Elbers and his talented group of bakers, and this bread.
Thank you Farine!!! (Farine-mc's post is here: - great information on how to make this bread, and video from Mr. Elbers' bakery, too!)

This oatmeal bread is made with cooked steel-cut oats, maple syrup, levain and a poolish. I had to try it!:

These are the weights I used (to make two loaves, 680g each)
(My baker's percentages may not correspond exactly to farine-mc's percentages;
I keep my starter at 100% hydration):

Noah Elbers' Maple-Oatmeal Bread       1360 Desired Dough Weight in grams       <----      
  Baker's Percentages Weights Baker's
Ingredients Dough Levain Poolish Dough Levain Poolish Total %
Bread flour 0.75 0.2 0.9 438 23 53 514 76%
WW flour 0.25 0.05 0.1 146 6 6 158 24%
Steel-cut oats, cooked 0.2     117     117  
Water 0.54 0.25 1 316 29 58 403  
Maple Syrup 0.16     94     94 75.05%
Yeast instant     0.004     0.2 0.2 0.03%
Salt 0.0264     15.43     15.43 2.30%
Sourdough Starter   0.5     59   59  
Levain 0.2     117        
Poolish 0.2     117        
Total 2.3264 1 2.004 1360 117 117 1361  

Here's the crumb shot (this bread has a gorgeous flavor, very moist crumb, and a slight sweetness, not definable as maple but still very good):

Happy baking everyone! from breadsong
breadsong's picture

Hello, With many thanks to Franko for sourcing this wonderful Red Fife flour for me (so very kind)!
I've now the luxury of baking with this heritage, organic, stone-ground, 75% sifted whole-wheat from True Grain Mill, and I am very grateful.

These breads were made using Mr. Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat (Red Fife) Flour, as Franko had done.
Franko really did a beautiful job on his bread; his post is here.

The Red Fife is a lovely, top-notch flour to work with, and my husband and I were very happy with crust, crumb and flavor it produced in this bread.
We cut into the small loaf, trying to wait a decent amount of time to let it cool off!
The dough was retarded in the fridge for 20 hours before baking.
I included a picture of the Red Fife flour below (on left side of plate; my other stone-ground whole-wheat flour on the right side of plate, for comparison).

Happy New Year everyone! from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, I am taking a trip down memory lane in trying to make this sourdough rye with walnuts.
I got to taste a rye bread with walnuts, made by Mr. Hamelman, at the IBIE show in Vegas in September.
His bread was absolutely delicious!!! I'm afraid I'd never had the pleasure of tasting good rye bread prior to tasting his.
Using his formula, I hoped to re-create the flavor here at home. I just tasted a tiny slice and although my bread could never match his, it is good and tangy, and I love the walnut flavor in this loaf.

I did two things differently from the formula/instructions...I added 15g of vital wheat gluten to the mix to try and strengthen the dough, to compensate for the 50% rye; and for some unknown reason, thought I had to proof the loaves seam side up (consequently scoring after proofing, not before proofing).  Also, running behind schedule this a.m., I just caught the sourdough as it was starting to deflate and am not sure if that had an impact on how this bread turned out.  Having never baked with 50% rye before, I didn't know if I should be expecting any oven spring or not, but I didn't get any.

Here are my pictures: First loaf, no blowout; second loaf, side blowout; and a crumb shot


Here's Mr. Hamelman's bread from the IBIE show (demonstrating what this bread actually should look like!):

I will definitely try this bread again, maybe at 40% rye overall and see how it goes.
Regards, breadsong




breadsong's picture

Hello, These loaves are to bring to a New Year's potluck (no crumb shot...although the bread smells so good I'd dearly love to cut into one so I can taste it!).

Inspired by louie brown's Olive Leaf scoring to evoke the olives in his bread, I tried to score little garlic bulbs on the tops of my loaves.
They turned out looking more like strange, animal paw prints...!   :^)

This dough fermented beautifully - I hope there will be a nice crumb once it's cut & that everyone likes it!
Happy New Year! from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, There have been so many beautiful Panettones baked and posted about here on TFL this Christmas season.
Thanks Daisy_A, SylviaH and others for your inspiration!

These Panettone are from Artisan Breads at Home by Eric Kastel. This is a sponge bread, mixed and baked today. They are flavored with orange zest, candied orange peel, chopped chocolate and chocolate ganache! Advanced Bread and Pastry has a chocolate glaze for Panettone so that's what I used. It is thinner than the glaze Sylvia used - next time I may try hers - it was so attractive.

Here are some pictures, before baking (one unglazed, one glazed), and two after baking.

We'll be cutting into one of these for breakfast tomorrow.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Regards, breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, and special thanks to Larry for posting about his Cheese Bread!
My husband loves cheese bread so I made this for him, shaped as a Celtic Knot, for Christmas.
I followed Mr. Hamelman's method for retarding the dough, to help with shaping with the strands.
Somewhere along the line I found this post on shaping, so tried it out:

The baked loaf:

The proofed and glazed loaf:

Husband's eager to cut into this and taste it!
Merry Christmas from breadsong



breadsong's picture

Hello, I wanted to have some good bread to make the turkey stuffing with. Mr. Hamelman's formula for Un-Kneaded, 6-Fold French Bread looked good so I wanted to give it a try. Instead of the 5 baguettes as instructed, I roughly shaped two big loaves. This dough was 73% hydration.
We couldn't resist and cut some to make sandwiches for lunch today.
Another really, really good bread from Mr. Hamelman!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, I made a big batch of Sourdough with Liquid Levain from Advanced Bread and Pastry, adding about 23% dried cranberries and homemade candied organic orange peel. I had tried to make a similar bread earlier this month, and wanted to try again, to give as gifts - thought friends and family might like this bread for making turkey sandwiches next Sunday! Will be freezing these in the meantime.
Here are the pictures, first, the dough (about 4750 g after the fruits were added), and then the bake,
2 x 1000g, 5 x 350g, and 4 x 250g):

(Took Larry's advice, and cut into this is good stuff!)

With thanks to dmsnyder for posting notes from his recent class at SFBI - based on that instruction, I held back the levain until after autolyse, as I wanted the dough to do as much of the work as possible developing gluten. I mixed by hand, folding the dough in the bowl for a bit then moved it to the counter to finish mixing. It was a good workout.

Happy holidays everyone! from breadsong


Subscribe to RSS - breadsong's blog