The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dabrownman's blog

dabrownman's picture

Abe and others this past week have been posting about doing a bread that can take many hours on the counter with little baker help so that you can go off to work or play and not worry about the bread.  Trailrunner also did a series on her No Touch bread which this one relies on.  Lucy wanted to make one so that she could play and sleep all day and all night.

The key is getting the temperature and the size of the levain correct to allow 12-18 hours on the counter.  We chose to do the bulk ferment outside where it was in the high 50’s and low 60’s last night and to do the final proof in the kitchen where it was in the mid 70’s.  We picked 4% for the pre-fermented flour where 5 g of NMNF rye starter was used to inoculate 20 gr of bran and high extraction 6 grain flour.

This was a 100% hydration bran levain that took 8 hours to ripen.  We also decided that since we are retired and lazy that we would do as little as possible to make this bread so we chose it do an autolyse and use a no knead method.  In order to mix the dough; levain, salt, flour and water we started out doing 40 slap and folds.

That was it.  We oiled a SS bowl, rounded the dough ad plopped it inside, covered in plastic and put it on the patio table for 12 hours overnight.  It looked like it rose about 30% while we were sleeping.  We did 4 folds from the compass points to shape it and placed it in a rice floured basket inside a plastic grocery bag where it final proofed on the kitchen counter for 6 hours.

Grilled Salmon is almost as nice as Shu Mai and Pot Stickers

We slashed it T-Rex style after un-molding it on parchment on a peel and then baking it in a 425 F DO with the lid on for 25 minutes. of steam.  We felt bad about slashing it.  If we had put it in the basket seam side down we wouldn’t even have had to do any work to slash it either.  Being retired, keeping all work as far from Lucy and I as possible is the main theme and unofficial goal of every day. 

OK, we had to mill the 11% whole 6 grains and sift out the bran but we wanted a bread that tasted as good as it looked, at least tasting as good as an 11% whole 6 grain bread made with a bran levain.  The 6 grains were our usual, oat, red and white wheat, rye, spelt and  Kamut.

 Once the lid came off we baked in at 425 F convection this time for another 16 more minutes until it was 210 F on the inside.  This bread took a long time but it was hassle free, nearly no work at all and it sprang, bloomed and browned nicely.  It also smells great.  We will have to wait till tomorrow to see what is under this lovely crust though.  For sure you can do almost nothing making this bread and fit it into anything you are doing without having to worry one iota.

Here is what it look like out of the sun and sliced farther from the middle

It came out fairly open for being about and hour under-proofed even after 6 hours of proofing.  The crumb was very soft moist and sour and tangy.  Amazing how sour this bread came out.  Long proof and bulk really brought out the best in this bread.

Salad and Sunset go together


dabrownman's picture

It has been a while since dough.doc posted the Larraburu process for making their famous San Francisco SD bread from the late 60’s and early 70’s.  It really was great bread made by the thousands of loaves.  There were a couple, three things that hit me as being strange after reading the process.


First off, the hydration was in the 64 - 66% range and secondly the final proofing was as over 90 F.  I suppose I can understand both by saying the hydration depends on the flour used and if baskets were used for proofing.

The holes of the Larraburu bread were not like the gaping ones of Forkish that depend on high hydration and higher gluten flour – the crumb was open but moderate so ow hydration would be possible.  Low hydration would make sense if the flour was lower protein than what we use today and low hydration would be required if baskets were not used and the dough proofed free form.  I have a hard time seeing the stacks of thousands of baskets required otherwise - but who knows.

It was the high proofing temperatures that set me back.  Over 90 F, until I realized that high temps for final proofing, or all bench work, results in LAB making acid like crazy and the Larraburu bread of old was sour, much more sour the SFSD breads of today.

Another version of Grilled Chicken and Veggie Matzoh Ball soup

The 3rd thing that I thought was odd was that the baking temperature was only 425 F.  If I had to bake multiple loads of bread to get thousands out the door every day ,I would want the baking time to be less and 475 F would make that happen pretty easily.

Those in the know know you can't have Matzoh Balls without Pineapple Upside Down Cake

As much as I like the old SFSD breads I can hardly remember, there are things I would do different today to make it even better and fit my tastes.  I would bake it to look and taste better by doing a bolder, darker bake and having plenty of blisters on the crust.  I would want to keep the sour but want more tang.

That would mean using a NMNF starter, making a whole multi-grain levain, retarding it and then retarding the dough overnight.  Finally, I would want a bit more of an open crumb with a higher but not crazy high hydration so the holes have a better mix of larger irregular holes but not huge ones wither.  Plus, no mixing machines allowed. 

This bread gets it done for me today.  It is the closest thing to a SFSD bread of old that I like but better in the ways I want.  It tastes fantastic – wonderful really!  Plus, it only costs a dollar to make including the electricity to bake it at 425 F.  I know I could sell it all day long for 4 times as much and never have enough to go around. 

It has a 6 grain 11% pre-fermented flour, 100% hydration, single stage levain and all the whole grains are in the levain.  10g of NMNF rye starter was the base and the levain was retarded for 24 hours after it doubled.  The 6 grains were rye, spelt, red and white wheat, Kamut and oat.  Just enough whole grains to get the levain  sour but not too much to be noticed in the crumb.

We only did a 40 minute autolyse with the Pink Himalayan sea salt since the dough flour was half LaFama AP and half Smart and Final High Gluten.  You could sub any bread flour or even KA AP if you wanted.  Overall hydration was 73%.  We did 3 sets of slap and folds of 40, 10 and 4 slaps and 1 set of stretch and folds from the compass points to shape the dough - all on 40 min.   It was 88 F in the kitchen for all counter work for the levain and dough – nice and high.

It went into a rice floured basket, put in a plastic shopping bag and retarded shaped for 8 hours.  The next morning, we let it sit on the counter 3 hours of final proof before firing up the oven to 450 F.  We unmolded it onto parchment on a peel and slashed it hopscotch style.  As soon as the DO went into the oven, we turned it down to 425 F for 25 minutes of steam.

Once the lid came off we baked it for 8 minutes lid off at 425 F convection before finish baking, off the iron entirely, for 8 minutes on the stone.  It read 210 F when we took it to the cooling rack.  It sprang, blistered, bloomed and browned very well and the crumb was nicely open.  Best of all, it tastes terrific, wonderfully sour, moist and soft with a still crispy crust.  It will make some grand bruschetta for dinner.

We could have sprouted the whole grains and made an even better bread perhaps but we know SF bakers didn’t sprout their grains back in the day.


dabrownman's picture

Well, the main reason is that my daughter took half the last loaf for bruschetta, along with Parm, Basil and cherry tomatoes from the back yard when a Chi O and fellow PA from college came to town for a weeding they were both going to.  Then my wife went over there and helped them finish off the bread and the bruschetta sans Dad.....Ingrates abound I say!


So, we were out of bread and Lucy was getting the heebie Jeebies just thinking about the next recipe.  I was pretty much wiped out after making Green Chili Matzoh Ball soup for lunch and sliders for dinner.  So Lucy took it easy on me and made our normal 24% sprouted 6 grain bread,that we can do in our sleep, into one with 20% pepetias and sunflower seeds.

She calls this one PepFlower Sprouted 6 Grain Sourdough.  I call it SunPep Sprouted Sourdough with Bran levain.  Either way it was made the same, looks the same and tastes the same even though we haven’t even sliced it yet.  It sure smelled great too!  The seeds were folded in before the last set of slap and folds

The 6 sprouted grains were the same as the 7 grain one on Friday but minus the Einkorn.  OK we out 2 g of it in the mix but we are not counting it ....or even mentioning it for that matter.  The 10% pre-fermented bran levain was made in 10 hours overnight.  We did a 30 minute autolyse with the 2% PH sea salt sprinkled on top. Overall hydration was 75%.

For gluten formation, we did 3 sets of slap and folds on 45 minute intervals of 40, 10 and 4 slaps.  Then we did one set of stretch and folds from the major compass points to shape it into a boule and get it plopped into a rice floured basket for a 30 minute rest before bagging in a plastic grocery shopping bag and retarding in the fridge for 4 hours.

Everyone has had Matzoh Ball Soup but how many have had Green Chili Pork Matzoh Ball Soup?

We warmed it up on the counter, it was 95 F today, for an hour before firing up Big Betsy to 450 F.  It won’t be long before we are baking in the Mini Oven outside on the patio for the rest of the summer.  We un-molded it and slashed T-Rex style and slid it into the Combo Cooker without spritzing even though it was right there begging to be spritzed.

The bread didn’t know one spritz worth of difference as we suspected.  It bloomed and sprang well after 24 minutes of lid on steam and then baked to brown at 208 F with 16 minutes of dry baking.  We took the bread off the bottom of the CC after 8 minutes of dry baking.  It was perfectly baked on the bottom as a result.

Can’t wait to give this one a slice and toast for tomorrows breakfast.  If you aren’t having SD pancakes on bake day then shame on you!

dabrownman's picture

This one is 28% whole sprouted grains consisting of equal parts red and white wheat, rye, spelt, Kamut, oat and einkorn.  It has a 10% pre-fermented bran and high extraction 7 sprouted grain, 100% hydration  levain made with 15 g of NMNF rye starter retarded for 1 week.The levain was retarded overnight after it doubled.  We did a 1 hour autolyse with the PH sea salt sprinkled on top and enough water that brought the overall hydration to 75%.  The dough flour was half LaFama and half High Gluten from the bins at Smart and Final.We did 3 sets of slap and folds of 25, 8 and 4 slaps on 1 hour increments and 1 set of stretch and folds to shape the dough right before we plopped it into a rice floured basket.  We slashed it hopscotch style, spritzed it (something we never do) and placed it into a 450 F CI Combo Cooker for 20 minutes of steam and then we baked it 16 minutes lid off at 425 F until it reached 208 F on the inside.It bloomed sprang and browned well enough but we will have to wait on the crumb till tomorrow morning.The crumb is soft. moist and open - just what you want from a white SFSD style bread - plus it tastes great too with that extra bit of tang to go with the sour.  We eat a lot of cornbread with corn and Jalapenos.  Yummy!
dabrownman's picture

I suppose that I know I am jaded.  I got some half decent bread at City Market in Houston for 5 weeks.  It said it was sourdough and it looked OK on the outside but it wasn’t like any sourdough that Lucy and I make at home.  It didn’t look the same on the inside.  But it wasn’t 25% sprouted 6 grains using a 10% bran levain made from a NMNF rye starter either.


It also wasn’t even close when it came to smell or taste either ….and that is where the City Market SD really fell short - not even close.  It wasn’t nearly as sour and the 1% red rye malt, that Lucy chucked into the mix, makes a huge difference when it comes to the smell and taste.  It was also 4 times more expensive too at $4 a loaf instead of the $1 Lucy’s set us back.

But Lucy and I fell way short when it came to the rest of the City Market grocery shopping and food experience no matter how nice the T-Rex slash, blistered and bold baked exterior of our SD loaf.  We can’t get that fantastic Spanish Manzanilla Olive oil to dip our bread in or spread that great butter on like they have for tasting at CM.  It is worth going to Texas just to shop at City Market and a good enough reason to move there too.

I had refreshed the NMNF starter the week before we left for Houston but had forgotten to do the stage 3 build to stiffen it up to 66% from the 2 stage 100% hydration after it had doubled.  It was fine 6 weeks later but it did take 20 hours to double a new bran levain for this bread in my 68 F kitchen.  After taking out 15 G for this levain I refreshed the NMNF rye starter again and it is back in the fridge at 66% hydration for another half a year of no muss no fuss solitude.

The 25% of 6 sprouted grains were: red and white wheat, rye, spelt, oat and Kamut.  The 75% dough flour was LaFama AP, the salt 2% pink Himalayan sea salt and the overall hydration was 75%.  We did a 1 hour autolyse. 3 sets of slap and folds of 40, 10 and 6 slaps and 1 set of 4 stretch and folds - all on 40 minute intervals.  We then let the dough bulk ferment for and hour before gently shaping with folds and pulls before dripping it into a rice floured basket for 1.5 hours of proofing.

We unmolded it onto parchment on a peel, slashed it and put it into a 50 F Combo Cooker for 18 minutes of lid on steam at 450 F.  We then baked it at lid off for 20 minutes at 425 F till it reached 208 F.  The bread sprang and bloomed, blistered and browned well enough.  The crumb was moderately open, soft and moist but the smell and taste were just plain wonderful.


10% pre-fermented 6 sprouted grain flour using all the bran. 100% hydration using 15 g of 6 week old 100% hydration NMNF rye starter


75% Lafama AP, 1% red rye malt and 2% PH sea salt

Got to love the Purple Hybiscus

dabrownman's picture

that are perfectly ripe.  Made a tomato, fresh basil, cracked black pepper, tangerine balsamic vinegar, manzanilla olive oil, mini fresh mozzarella ball and parmesan cheese salad.

dabrownman's picture

Lucy was more giddy than usual with this week’s baking experiment that actually ended up making bread instead of a scientific oddity – as seen on TV.  The premise was simple enough.  Do as little as possible and then do less than that but still squeeze in moderate glass of wine – in a plastic glass of course.

They don’t let the Inmates here have real glass and rightfully so and no stainless steel or metal of any kind for that matter.  At least the menu is mainly bread and water and that is where this post gets interesting ….we had to make 2 loaves for all the special ones trying to steal my tooth paste and floss when not using them or even after wards in case of the floss.

This post also has a bunch of important history in it that goes back, well….. nearly half a week by now which is especially a good thing as I get older, my memory gets weaker and forget what happened during say the Aroostook War of 1838 and 1839 in Maine, where 550 Americans and British died.  There was no combat but the ‘pork and beans’ were apparently very bad.

A very nice bean pepper jack cheese, potato and beef chorizo breakfast baked smothered burrito with Pico on top.

The history we are trying not to forget was Trailrunner’s post this week on not doing much of anything and making a great loaf of YW/SD combo bread followed up by some No Touch Rolls.  Lucy and I have been banned from Combo YW and SD Bimbo bread after that nasty episode in 2013, that we can’t forget, but that is another story hardly related to this one if I remember right.

A crown of thorns in full bloom. 

So, we made a separate Fig YW and NMNF sourdough bread that were identical except for the leavening agent.  Each had 10% levain, 10% whole 7 grains, all in the levain, at 100% hydration.  The 7 grains, were oat, spelt, Kamut, rye, red and white wheat and einkorn.  Both were mixed all together including the salt with a spoon to a shaggy mass except for the levain which was added 1 hour later.  The hydration overall was 72% for both.  We did a whopping 10 slap and folds one each and then let each one sit for 4 hours.

This is the crumb if the darker loaf that looked like it bloomed naturally and not as much

Then we did 3 sets of stretch and folds of 4 stretches each from the compass points - all on 1 hour increments. 30 minutes after the last one we just dumped the dough into rice floured baskets, seam side down, with no shaping at all and let them proof for 2 hours before starting up the oven for 500 F pre-heat and the Mega Steam Lava Rocks on the bottom.

This is the lighter loaf that looked like it was scored and split right down the middle.

Once hot the loaves were dumped out onto parchment on a peel and slid onto the bottom stone.  2 cups of water were poured on the lava rocks as the oven door was shut.  The temperature was turned down to 450 F for 15 minutes of Mega Steam.  When the steam came out the temperature was turned down to 425 F convection for 24 more minutes of dry baking.

All the plants with the exception of the cactus are blooming right now in the front yard.   This was the last one to bloom  today

One came out of the oven at 210 F and one read 208.f even though was taken out last but it was the 2nd one loaded.  One looks like it was scored but it wasn’t and one baked up darker even though the temperature inside was lower.  They both sprang and bloomed about equally.  So which one was the SD and which the Fig YW?

dabrownman's picture

 See it is more matt.  I took the picture out to protect the innocent

dabrownman's picture

With the Blue Blood Full Moon striking this week for the first time in 130 years, which won’t happen again for another 150 years, it was, if you missed it, you weren’t ever going to see it again……. unless if you are young and future medicine cures death for everyone.

Lucy is a big believer in technology and our future of Meta Verse 2.0 where we get rid of our bodies entirely and move the cloud in the next 50 years or so where you can do and be what ever you want and see a Blue Blood or any other kind of moon whenever you want.

Personally, I would rather see something else but I am sure there is something each of us would rather see, especially if you saw one this week like most of us did.  Lucy could care less about these moonie things and just wanted me to get off the white bread kick of late and get back to our roots of a more substantial bread that we prefer.  So we did.

I would like to tell you how Lucy came up with this recipe but that would require me to fib more than normal and I’m already under FISA surveillance as a Dark Side Spy as it is so, I will just note it in a special unbreakable code, using invisible ink, in a double secret memo that the FBI will likely illegally leak to Fresh Loafians later for sport.

It is my birthday today and the daughter is coming over to pick tomatoes from the garden for her special goat cheese bruschetta made with this bread - grilled.  I’m picking red romaine and salad bowl lettuce from the garden for a salad and making our special garam masala Indian sockeye salmon with saffron rice made with homemade chicken stock and a nice zinfandel.

This is not a birthday dinner because we are going to Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria tomorrow for that celebration.  But let’s back to this fine bread.  The 10 grains are red and white wheat, barley, rye, spelt, buckwheat, Kamut, emmer, oat and durum semolina.  Whole Foods bins were back in stock for a change and Lucy stocked up her pantry.

The 12% pre-fermented flour, 2 stage, bran, 100% hydration levain was made with a 12 g of NMNF rye starter, the bran from the whole grains and some of the high extraction flour.  We did a 1 hour autolyse with enough water to get the AP, HE mix up to 74% hydration with the Pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top.  We stirred the salt in and then sprinkled the red malt on and then added the levain.

After 60 slap and folds everything was seemed pretty up to snuff.  When the autolyse started we took 50 g each of red wheat and oat groats and simmered them for 45 minutes in chicken stock to make a double grain mash.

We did 3 set of stretch and folds with the mash going in on the first one. Even though we drained the mash and then took some paper towels to it trying to sop up the slimy gel.  It was still going to add too much wet for this mainly AP flour bread so we sprinkled 25 g of potato flakes right on top of the mash when we added it.  This seemed to work pretty well and the dough felt lie it as about 78% hydration – still wet for sure.

We let the dough sit in the oiled bowl for 40 minutes after the last set of folds before bulk retarding it for 10 hours in the fridge.  The next morning, we let it warm up for 2 hours before we pre-shaped it and let it rest for 14 minutes before the final shape.  Make no mistake this is a wet dough but not too tough if you are used to such things. 

Wow, great bruschetta - yummy!  Grilled the bread then it rubbed with fresh garlic, my daughter schmered some herbed goat cheese followed by the cherry tomato marinated in fresh basil, onion and garlic powder olive oil salt and pepper and then drix=zzled with a balsamic vinegar glaze and topped with grated Parmesan

We dropped it into a rice floured basket for a 1 ½ hours of proofing before we fired up the oven to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.  We unmolded it onto parchment on a peel  slashed it T-Rex style and slid it into the cooker for 20 minutes of steam at the 500 F.  A larger bread  that is this wet can take the higher heat for steaming and you will cut the overall baking time while you are at it.

Lucy says not to forget that salad


Once the lid came off we baked it at 425 F Convection for 24 more minutes till it reach 207.5 F.  It sprang and bloomed well and it baked to that nice deep mahogany color we love so much.  We will get tio see the crumb tonight!

Every time we make stock in the Instant Pot we make chicken noodle soup.


12% pre-fermented flour 10 grain HE and bran 2 stage levain t 100% hydration


12% High Extraction 10 grain

76% LaFama AP FLour

5% potato flakes

2.5% Red Malt

10% dry weight Red Wheat Berries simmered in chicken stock

10% dry weight Oat Groats simmered in chicken stock

2% PH sea salt

It is important to have a good breakfast on bake day.  Here is last week's YW Hokkaido milk bread toasted with pineapple strawberry jam and butter, sausage and pepper bacon Irish white cheddar and and egg on top




Subscribe to RSS - dabrownman's blog