The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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This was the first time I used Yeast Water (almost 2 weks ago) Since then, I made 6 loaves, using different formulas, but I wanted to share with you this one, because it has a funny shape, it was my first attempt at using yeast water, and because it was particularly good. My apple yeast water looks like this:

The overall formula was:

- Bread flour: 273 g ……………………………… 91%
- Whole wheat flour: 27 g …………………….. 9%
- Water: 57 g ………………………………………. 19%
- AYW: 147 g ……………………………….......... 49%
- Salt: 6 g ………………………………………….… 2%
Amount of dough: 510 g ……………………….. 170%

Final dough:

- Bread flour: 255 g
- Water: 39 g
- YW: 120 g
- Levain 100%: 36 g
- AYW whole wheat starter 100%: 54 g
- Sare: 6 g

I made the build for the levain and for the YW starter  8 hours before the final dough.

I mixed by hand, with folds in the bowl, than I did 3 S-F at 30 min interval, for a first fermentation of 2 hours. I shaped it, and proofed it for 5h:30min (3h in the fridge, 1h:30min at room temperature). I baked it with steam for 15 min, then without steam for 20-25 min.

I wasn't sure if my yeast water is good, that's why I made such a small loaf, to test it (which was not a smart idea, beacause we were four peoples at the table). We ate it with a-kind-of-babaganoush ( it's an eggplant dish, a romanian version, that doesn't use tahini, only olive oil and seasonings), cheese and tomatoes. This bread was a hit, everyone loved it. The hint of apples was discrete, the crumb was rather sweet than sour.

You can see more about it an my romanian blog,  Apa.Faina.Sare.


codruta's picture

I baked  this bread, using david's formula found here

I made the bread with some mistakes on the way: first, the dough was very wet (maybe I should have add 1T of flour??), I think I developed the gluten too much when I mixed it, I degased it more than I should have when I shaped it, the pan was too big for the given amount of dough ( I was certain that my pan is 8 inch, but in fact is 9 inch), I try to shape it really tight, and the skin fissured. I put the pan in the fridge, imediately after shaping, left it there for 12 hours, then 2 hours at room's temperature in the morning. I baked it with steam for 20 min, then without steam for 30-35 min. The crust darkened very fast, while the bottom remained kind of soft.

I halved the recipe, and I used 100g WW flour, 200g bread flour and the rest AP flour.

After all these, the result:

The crumb is soft and moist, but not very opened, the shape is asimetrical, as the dough didn't touch the pan all around. I also think the dough was not fully proofed when I baked it.

But the flavour is very very nice. The crust especially has a oily nutty aroma, and a smell that I adore. I will definitely make this again. I think I can do better than this. (I shaped a lot of boules lately, with great results... why I failed this time...I don't know, but it's annoying)

You can see in the picture below the dough after 12 hours+2 hours of proofing, and the fissured skin (the skin was fisured right from the beggining, when I shaped it, but the fissure became more evident after proofing time).


codruta's picture

hello from Timisoara!

I baked recently "Roasted Hazelnut and Prune Bread" from Hamelman book, page 185. I removed the butter and the instant yeast, and I increased the hydration from 66% to 68%, and I left the dough in the fridge overnight for the final fermentation.

The bad: I didn't know what to expect of it, I ezitated when I slashed it, cause it's still not clear for me when I have to give a perpendicular slash (with a straight lame) or an "almost-parallel-with-the-surface" kind of slash (does the shape of bread dictate it, or the kind of bread -rye, whole-wheat, white). The bread didn't have a spectacular oven spring. I think I incorporated a little raw flour in the dough when I shaped it (or else why do some prunes have a dry layer around them?). I think I could have roasted the hazelnuts for a longer time. I wish the prunes were more even distributed.

The good: I like the crumb, the contrast of textures and colours. I loved the combination of sweet, sour and nutty. Lovely for breakfast, with a cup of coffee aside. Lovely with goat cheese, or other kinds of cheese. Excellent with butter. I regret I didn't try to toast it...

For those who haven't tried it yet, I absolutely recomend it.

I decided to make this bread, because food-bloggers from Romania make a dish every month, with a chosen theme; and for august the theme was the plum. (They accepted me with prunes.) The challenge is called "Sweet Romania" and I was glad that I could participated with this lovely bread.

The recipe and details can be found here on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare.

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I made this Pain au Levain, from Hamelman's book, as a gift for my sister who lives in France. My mom went to see her, and she called me next day to tell me that the bread was fantastic, and the kids loved it.

I respected the formula, but I increased the hydration from 65% to 67%. I baked it the same day that the dough was made, as hamelman suggests. Next day my mother flew to my sister, and that evening they had my bread at the dinner table. They told stories, shared memories and probably laughed and had a good time. I miss them.

I only cut the loaf to take photos, I smelled it but I didn't taste it...

Complete formula and method can be found on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare. (Water.Flour.Salt.), link here.


codruta's picture

Hi from Timisoara! This bread is adapted from Hamelman's book, page 172. A couple of weeks ago while making this bread, I posted a question on forum, link here. The dough felt very stiff, even though I increased the hydration a little over 74%. I omited the yeast from the recipe, and I adapted the fermentation time.

Overall formula was 348 g bread flour, 87 g whole wheat flour, 325 g water, 9 g salt, 44 g old fashioned rolled oats, 110 g raisins. (The prefermented flour was 15% from the total amount of flour, and the levain was liquid, at 125% hydration). First fermentation was two hours, with 2 S-F (it was a very hot day, that day), second fermentation was 8 hours in the fridge (overnight) and 1:30...2 hours at room temperature (in the morning)

This is how the bread turned out. I was surprised to see how light and open is the crumb, with all the raisins and rolled oats, and whole wheat in the dough. I think it was a good bread, we (me and my boyfriend) enjoyed eating it with butter and coffee, or cheese. The boule was a present for a dear friend blonde lady, so I don't have photos of the crumb.

I don't know why, but this bread makes me think of summer, hot sun, and laziness.

Complete recipe and more photos can be found on my romanian blog, with translation available, Apa.Faina.Sare., link here.


codruta's picture

In the last 2 weeks, I baked a lot of breads. I hope I'll have time to write about every one of them, and I start with these two loafs.

The first one was 50% whole-wheat with roasted wheat germ using a liquid levain. The hydration is 75%, and prefermented flour is 20% of the total amount of flour. I kneaded only by hand, with folds in the bowl, then I transfered the dough in a lightly oiled container and I did 2 S-F at 50 minutes interval for 2h:30 min fermentation time. Shape a batard and refrigerated for 21 hours (I didn't intended to ferment the dough so long, but I had a busy day). I loved the aroma of this bread, tangy with a nutty flavor. My boyfriend took a half of it on a mountain trip and it held very well, in sunny and rainy weather. I ate the other half toasted, and this increased the nutty flavor. It was a simple formula, with a good result.


The other loaf, made two days later, was 50% rye with roasted fennel seeds, using a liquid levain. The hydration was 80%, prefermented flour 20%. I thought I could refrigerate the dough overnight, but I checked the dough after 4 hours in the fridge and it was proofed, so I had to bake it in the middle of the night (bad planning, sleepy eyes, ugly scoring). The aroma of rye and fennel filled the room. The bread was light (the huge amount of water evaporated during baking?), and I was surprised to see the open crumb, given the fact that was so much rye and the dough was at the limit of overproofing. I loved eating this bread, especially with goat cheese and olive oil.

Here is a picture with a comparative section of this two breads.

Complete recipes and more pictures can be found on my romanian blog,  Water.Flour.Salt., first one, here, and second one, here.


codruta's picture

Hi everybody. I made a light loaf with 19% rye flour. I took my inspiration from hamelman's Vermont Rye Sourdough and from txfarmer I used a liquid levain 100% and 20% of the total flour was in the preferment. The dough had a 72% hydration, but I was surprised of how easy was to handle it. I usualy have difficulties in handling very wet dough, especially in final shaping.

The formula was:

270g AP flour

80 g Rye flour

230 g Water

160g Liquid Levain 100%

9 g salt

9 g caraway powder

zest from a big orange.

After autolyse, I added the salt and caraway, I mixed the dough with my tiny spiral mixer, I added the orange zest, and did the rest of the mixing by hand. I let the bulk ferment for two hours, with 2 S-F at 40 minutes interval. It is very hot here, maybe 29-30C, or even more. After shaping I put the dough directly in the fridge for 10 hours. It increased its size very much during second fermentation. I baked it directly from he fridge, on a baking stone, with steam in the first 15 minutes.

I thought the taste from the orange zest would be more fragrant, but it wasn't. Even the caraway flavor got lost somehow... it's distinct, but not like it would have been if I'd used whole caraway seeds. The loaf was very very light, like a feather, I have no idea why. The crumb is sweet, soft, with no sour taste at all. I liked it, but I don't consider it a favorite.

You can read full post with more pictures at my romanian blog, with sidebar translation. Apa.Faina.Sare.

codruta's picture

A few weeks ago I made a pizza I wrote about here . It was delicious, I loved it. This time I decided to try another method, to compare the results. This recipe it's been on my mind for a long time, I tried it few times, without noticeable results. I knew the recipe is good, and I knew that one day I'll be able to make it right. That one day happened last week. The recipe I talk about is from Jeff Varasano site, I'm sure you all know it.

I made dough for two pizza, and I baked them in two different days. Both were absolutely delicious, and using a home oven, I guess it's the best you can get. The dough was made only with flour (00), water, sourdough and salt with 67% hydration. I made two balls of dough (about 295 g each) and put them in the fridge for 24, and 48 hours. Maybe next time i'll let the dough in the fridge more days, J.V. says it can be kept for maximum 6 days.

Complete recipe, more pictures and funny english translation cand be found on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare.


codruta's picture

This is my first atempt to bake a 66% rye bread. I don't know if it looks as it should, but it was incredible good! Sweet, not too sour, nice crumb texture, I enjoyed eating this bread, plain, or toast, with goat cheese or salmon.

I begin with hamelman's recipe for 66 percent sourdough rye, but it helped me a lot reading other's TFL members posts about 66-70% rye breads, and I decide to eliminate the comercial yeast from the recipe, I increased the first bulk fermentation to 1 hour, and the second fermentation to 1h:45min. I'm not pleased with the shape, it is more oblong than I wanted to be, but the taste compensates.

I made the rye sourdough in two builds (5g mature active sourdough + 40g water +40g rye flour... wait 5 hours, and then I added 114g rye flour and 83g water, and wait again 8 hours)

The recipe was:

-283g rye sourdough 80% hydration, made as described before

-soaker: 10g caraway seeds and 70g water (made 12 hours before)

-133AP flour + 3g gluten

-103g rye flour

-100g water

-8g salt.

dough hydration: 75%

I baked it with steam for 15 minute, and then without steam 30 minutes.

I only cut it after 20 hours (that was a hard wait...)


Complete recipe and more pictures can be found here, at my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare.


codruta's picture

Hi everyone! Here is one of my latest "creations". I'm very very pleased with the "look" the "taste", the "smell", the "everything". The loaf filled the house with its aroma, I could sniff it from the other room. I followed Hamelman's instructions, only I didn't toast the seeds in the oven, but in a frying pan. I did 2 S -F at 50 min interval, and retarded the dough in the fridge for 10 hours.

You can find complete recipe and more photos at my romanian blog, with a funny translator available Apa.Faina.Sare.

codruta, from Apa.Faina.Sare.


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