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Sourdough Italian Bread: A SJSD Variant 

David M. Snyder

October, 2017

 

 This is one of my favorite breads. It uses the San Joaquin Sourdough method but a different flour mix and enrichment with a bit of sugar and olive oil. The dough is lovely to work with, and the flavor is scrumptious - both very tangy and rich. I have made a variety of breads with differing proportions of fine durum flour - from 10% to 100%. So far, I like the breads with 20-40% durum best, and this one best of all.

 One warning: I have fed this bread to family members and to attendees at an Italian community potluck. Every time, I have observed many individuals coming back repeatedly for "just one more slice." It does not seem truly addictive. I have not observed any abstinence syndrome ("withdrawal"), but I would exercise caution when offering it to others - reserve a loaf for yourself. 

 

Total Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

AP flour

334

60.7

Fine Durum flour

200

36.4

WW flour

11

2

Whole Rye flour

5

1

Water

415

75

Salt

10

1.8

Sugar

14

2.5

EVOO

14

2.5

Total

1003

181.9

  

Liquid Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

Liquid starter

40

40

Water

100

100

AP flour

70

70

WW flour

20

20

Whole Rye flour

10

10

Total

240

240

  1. Disperse the liquid starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Ferment at room temperature until expanded and bubbly (8-12 hours). If necessary, refrigerate overnight and let warm up for an hour before using.

Note: You will only use 100 g of the levain for this recipe. I usually make enough for more than one use. You can, of course, scale down the levain ingredients if you only want enough for this recipe.

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

AP flour

300

Fine Durum flour

200

Water

365

Salt

10

Sugar

14

Active liquid levain

100

EVOO

14

Total

1003

Procedures

  1. In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.

  2. Add the flours and sugar to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.

  6. After 30 minutes, do stretch and folds in the bowl.

  7. After another 50 minutes, do a stretch and fold on a lightly floured board. Repeat after another 50 minutes.

  8. Continue bulk fermentation for another 30-90 minutes, until the dough is puffy. If fermented in a glass bowl, you should see lots of little bubbles throughout the dough. Volume of the dough may have increased by 50% or so.

  9. Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

  10. Divide the dough into 2 to 4 equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds or logs. Cover with a clean towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.

  11. Shape as Bâtards, Demi-Baguettes or Ficelles.

  12. Roll the loaves on damp paper towels, then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  13. Proof for about 45 minutes seam-side up on parchment paper or seam-side down on linen, pleated to separate the loaves and supported at both long sides by rolled-up dish towels. Cover with a damp towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap.

  14. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  15. When ready to bake, uncover the loaves. Pull the parchment (or linen) from both long sides to flatten out the pleats and separate the loaves.

  16. Transfer the loaves, on the parchment, to a peel, or, if proofed on linen, transfer using a transfer peel. Seam side should now be down. Score them as baguettes or bâtards, according to their shape. Transfer them to the baking stone. 

  17. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  18. After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 8-15 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.

  19. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before eating.

 

Enjoy!

David

 

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San Joaquin Sourdough Two Ways

David Snyder

September 28 and October 2, 2017

 

Background

My San Joaquin Sourdough originated in Anis Bouabsa's baguettes which had won the prize for the best baguette in Paris in 2008. Bouabsa's baguettes departed from convention in utilizing a 21 hour retardation after bulk fermentation and before dividing and shaping. Jane Stewart (Janedo on TFL) and I initially modified Bouabsa's formula by adding a bit of rye flour and some sourdough starter for flavor. I then omitted the commercial yeast altogether and began using the modified formula to shape as bâtards. Over time, I have tweaked the formula and method in various ways, but have settled on the current one as providing the best product.

I most often make my San Joaquin Sourdough as bâtards of about 490 g, but I have used the same dough for baguettes quite often. I have also modified the formula in minor ways to make an “Italian bread,” and have used it for pizza too.

This week, I made two batches of San Joaquin Sourdough. One I used for bâtards. The other I made as “pains rustiques.”

Professor Raymond Calvel, the renowned French baking teacher and bread scientist, was the man who taught Julia Child to bake “French Bread,” the author of “Le Gout du Pain” and the inventor of the autolyse. Shortly before his passing in 2005, Professor Calvel visited the United States and taught at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. The C.I.A. and the Bread Baker's Guild of America produced a series of videos which included interviews with Professor Calvel and documentation of his baguette formula and methods. These were available for downloading and also as VHS tapes at one time. Now, they are available on youtube. They are well-worth viewing for any serious baker.

On one of the tapes, almost as an aside, the narrator said Professor Calvel's personal favorite bread was what he called “Pain Rustique.” He made this with baguette dough, but, rather than shaping it in the traditional manner, the dough is simply cut into rectangular pieces with a bench knife, proofed and baked. I made this bread once a number of years ago, and it was very nice. It was similar to ciabatta in that it was very puffy with large air pockets.

Today, I made a variation on pain rustique, using San Joaquin Sourdough dough and methods, except for the shaping. Note: The formula used for these pains rustique was actually only 72% hydration. Based on my results, I would increase the hydration to 76% hydration (as in the formula below) or even higher for my next bake of this bread.

Formula 

Total ingredients

Wt (g)

Bakers %

AP Flour

479

89

WW Flour

33

6

Medium rye Flour

29

5

Water

412

76

Salt

10

1.8

Liquid starter

17

3

Total

990

180.8

9.2% of the flour is pre-fermented


Liquid Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Bakers %

AP Flour

29

70

WW Flour

8

20

Medium rye Flour

4

10

Water

42

100

Liquid starter

17

40

Total

100

240

 1. Mix the levain by dissolving the liquid starter in the water, then add the flours and mix well.

2. Ferment at room temperature, covered tightly, until the surface is bubbly and wrinkled. (8-12 hours)

 

Final dough ingredients

Wt (g)

AP Flour

450

WW Flour

25

Medium rye Flour

25

Water

370

Salt

10

Liquid levain

100

Total

990

 

Method

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water, add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes.

  2. Add the salt and mix to incorporate.

  3. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  4. Bulk ferment for 3-4 hours with stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours, then a stretch and fold on the board after 2.5 hours. The dough should have expanded by about 50% and be full of small bubbles.

  5. Refrigerate the dough for 18-24 hours.

  6. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured board.

    For Pains Rustiques

  7. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and pre-shape as logs or round.

  8. Cover the pieces and allow them to rest for 60 minutes.

  9. Stretch each piece to a rectangle 8-12 inches long, depending on the weight of each piece.

  10. Proof for 45 minutes, covered.

  11. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to your peel. Turn down the oven to 480ºF. Score the loaves, if desired, and load them onto your baking stone.

  13. Bake with steam for 10 minutes, then remove your steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes.

  14. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

For Bâtards

  1. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

  2. Pre-shape as rounds, cover and let rest for 1 hour.

  3. Shape as bâtards.

  4. Proof on linen or parchment, smooth side down for 45 minutes.

  5. Pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Turn down oven to 460ºF.

  7. Transfer loaves to peel.

  8. Steam oven and transfer loaves to th baking stone.

  9. After 12 minutes, remove steaming apparatus.

  10. (If you have a convection oven, turn switch to convection bake and turn the temperature down to 435ºF). Bake for 18 minutes more in a dry oven.

  11. Transfer loaves to a cooling rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.

Photo Gallery

San Joaquin Sourdough Pain Rustique

 

SJSD dough, fully fermented and ready to divide

Dough divided for Pains Rustiques

Pre-shaped

Shaped and proofed, ready to bake

SJSD Pains Rustique - some unscored, others scored in various ways.

 

San Joaquin Sourdough Pain Rustique crumb

San Joaquin Sourdough Bâtards

Pre-shaped piece

Shaped loaves proofing

Loaves proofed and ready to bake

San Joaquin Sourdough Bâtards

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb

Enjoy!

David

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This week, I baked another dried fruit and toasted nut sourdough bread. I really like the combination of eathiness from the nuts and the sweet tanginess of the pieces of dried fruit. The nut flavors seem to permeate the crumb while the fruit yields surprising little explosions of tartness when you bite into a bit.

I have baked cherry-pecan sourdoughs several times, but this is the first time I based one on Hamelman's "Fig-Hazelnut Levain." It is very good and was a big hit at a pot luck to which I took it. I think it could be improved though with a bit more hydration and the addition of some rye and more whole wheat. 

Here are some photos:

Happy baking!

David

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I baked two breads this week (so far). It wasn't until I was well into the process that I realized both were originally posted by Hansjoakim a few years ago. Both are leavened with rye sour.

"Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye"

"Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye" Crumb

 

Pain au Levain with Rye Sour

The Pain au Levain is still cooling and hasn't been sliced.

Both of these breads are uncomplicated to make yet fabulously delicious. The formulas for both can be found on TFL. They are highly recommended.

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

This week, I have baked two batches of Forkish's "Field Blend 2." The whole rye and whole wheat flours in both batches were milled in my Mock Mill KitchenAid attachment (Highly recommended!)

One batch was baked in Lodge Dutch Ovens at 475 dF for 50 minutes (30 covered, 20 uncovered). The other batch was baked on a baking stone with my usual oven steaming method at 460 dF with steam for 15 minutes, then at 435 dF convection bake for 30 minutes. The DO loaves are the boules. The hearth loaves are the bâtards.

The following crumb photos are from one of the DO bakes. From past experience, I would say the hearth bakes' crumb structure is pretty much identical. (I'm not showing it, because those loaves are going to a family barbecue at a nephew's house in Oakland.)

At least in my electric home oven, these two methods yield very similar, equally satisfactory results. I would not say there is much difference in oven spring, crust consistency, crumb structure or bread flavor. 

Happy baking!

David

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Having heard the stories home-millers tell about the superior flavor of their breads, I finally bought a Mock Mill attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. I have milled both rye and wheat flours with this mill and used them in breads with around 30% whole grain flours. The breads were very good, but I honestly couldn't say they were superior to those made with commercial flours of good quality.

For the first time today I baked a loaf that is 75% whole wheat. This is a bread from Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. My only modification to the formula was to leave out the instant yeast.

The wheat used was a Hard Red Winter Wheat from Palouse Farms in Washington State. The mill was set to a very fine setting, and I was pleased at how fine it mills. The dough, as it bulk fermented, was surprisingly soft and extensible - much more so than the KAF and Central Milling WW flours I have used. I emailed Palouse to ask for the Protein content of this wheat, and they promptly replied that it was 11%. I was also amazed to observe that fermentation seemed to proceed much faster than with other flours. This is a bread I expect to take 4-5 hours to bulk ferment. It was fully fermented in 3 hours.

Although Forkish calls for this bread to be baked in a Dutch oven, I baked it as a hearth loaf - 15 minutes at 450 dF with steam, then 30 minutes at 435 dF convention-bake.

The crust was crunch and nutty-flavored. The crumb was moist and tender - amazing light and airy for a 75% Whole Wheat loaf. The flavor was wheaty with a bit of sweetness. It was delicious plain and also with a thin spread of sweet butter. 

I have made this bread before with Central Milling Fine Organic Whole Wheat, and it was very good. I do think it is a bit better with the fresh, home-milled flour, but not dramatically better. Again, the bread made with CM flour set a pretty high bar.

The Mock Mill is easy to use, and I am impressed with how fine it grinds. I'm looking forward to baking other breads with other home-milled grains. I have also bought a No. 40 flour sifter, and will be making some high-extraction flours. Lots of new bread baking adventures ahead!

By the way, I also make a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough with home-milled rye and whole wheat. It was also maybe a bit tastier than usual, but I am not really sure.

Any comments or pointers from more experienced home millers would be very much appreciated.

Happy baking!

David

Example of a pointer

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Italian bread with currents, fennel and pine nuts

May 6, 2017

David M. Snyder

When I started baking sourdough breads, Susan Tenny's “Wild Yeast Blog” was, along with The Fresh Loaf, a major source of inspiration. Susan was also very active on The Fresh Loaf as “susanfnp.” Well, sadly, Susan has not kept up her blog, but it does remain accessible and worth a visit.

In November, 2007 Susan blogged on a somewhat accidental bread (You just will have to read her blog to understand.) It was a 50% semolina bread with currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. I was starting to explore sourdough breads with various nut/dried fruit combinations at the time, so I gave this one a try. I liked it a lot, although my wife doesn't like fennel or pine nuts as much as I do. So, I only made this bread the one time.

Today, I attended a pot luck at a home that has a very large wood-fired oven. The group is mostly Italian, so Susan's semolina bread came to mind as one they would enjoy. I have had good success with an “Italian Bread” based on my San Joaquin Sourdough, so I used that approach rather than Susan's for this formula.



Final dough

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour

300

60

Fine durum flour

200

40

Water

350

70

Salt

10

2

Active Liquid levain

100

20

Olive oil

14

3

Whole fennel seeds

9

1.7

Dried currents

115

21

Pine nuts (lightly toasted and cooled)

72

13

Total

1170

 

Notes:

  • I know the table above does not fit current BBGA conventions. So sorry. I hope this doesn't place my membership at risk.

  • Hydration is 73%, taking into account the levain.

  • The liquid levain is my usual 100% hydration levain made with a flour mix of 70% AP, 20% Whole Wheat and 10% Whole Rye flours. 9% of the total flour is pre-fermented.

  • I generally mix the levain late at night and ferment it a 70-76ºF overnight, and mix the final dough in the morning. If I mix the levain early in the day, I ferment it then refrigerate it until an hour or so before mixing the final dough. If it is still cool, I compensate by using warmer water for the final dough.

 

Procedure (using a stand mixer)

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water using the paddle at slow speed.

  2. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover and rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Switch to the dough hook. Add the salt and mix at Speed 2 for 6-7 minutes or until there is moderate gluten development.

  5. Add the olive oil and continue to mix. The dough will first come apart and then reform a ball incorporating the oil.

  6. Add the currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. Mix at low speed until they are evenly distributed – 1-2 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and ferment at 70-76ºF for 3-4 hours with stretch and folds on a well-floured board at 50 and 100 minutes. The dough should have increased in volume by half and be filled with small bubbles and feel puffy, although it will also remain a bit sticky.

  8. Refrigerate the dough 8-12 hours.

  9. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Pre-shape as balls, cover them, and let them rest for 1 hour.

  10. Shape as baguettes.

  11. Proof on a couche for 45 minutes.

  12. Bake at 460ºF for 20-22 minutes with steam for the first 12 minutes.

  13. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

This bread was very well received. Actually, they loved it. In my estimation, while the taste was really good, there is lots of room for improvement. The dough was underfermented. I haven't yet been able to adequately humidify this huge WFO when baking such a small amount of bread. My next step is to make this again, probably using the same formula, fermenting the dough more completely and baking it in my familiar home oven. Stay tuned!

David

 

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This was a busy baking week (for me). I baked for two potluck dinners and for my wife and me.

Thursday, I had a committee meeting in the evening. I brought a San Joaquin Sourdough.

I bake a SJSD for home as well, but also a 90% rye bread, my currently preferred base for cream cheese and lox.

Today, I had another opportunity to bake in wood fired oven. I baked a Forkish Field Blend #2 pair and a newly devised formula for an Italian-style bread with currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. I will blog on that one in a bit, but, meanwhile here's a photo of the bake:

As you can probably tell from the dull crusts, our biggest problem was humidifying the huge oven with only four loaves loaded. On the other hand, this is the first bake I've done in this oven where the temperature was not too hot. So progress is being made.

Happy baking!

David

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I have made sourdough breads with tart dried fruit and toasted nuts for many years. Recently, I have been less happy with the ones I have been making. I don't think the breads are any worse. I think my standards are higher. So, this week I tried adding figs and walnuts to my current favorite sourdough just to see how it worked. Well, it is a winner. It's my new favorite fruit/nut sourdough. It is lighter with a better aerated, moister, more tender crumb than others I have made, and the flavor is as good if not better than my previous best. The crust is nice and crunchy. Here are  the formula and methods I used:

 

Walnut-Fig Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

(based on Ken Forkish's “Field Blend #2” from Flour Water Salt Yeast)

David M. Snyder

April, 2017

 

 

Total Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour

350

70

Whole wheat flour

62

12.5

Whole rye flour

88

17.5

Water

390

78

Salt

10

2.1

Walnut pieces (toasted)

100

20

Dried figs (coarsely diced)

100

20

Total

1100

220.1

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour

72

75

Whole wheat flour

18

25

Water (85-90ºF)

72

75

Active starter

18

25

Total

180

200

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the active starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  4. Ferment at 70-76ºF for 8-12 hours. It should have doubled in volume, have many bubbles on the surface and have a wrinkled surface. It should not have collapsed.

  5. If you are not ready to use the levain when it is ripe, it can be refrigerated for up to a couple days.

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

AP flour

270

Whole wheat flour

42

Whole rye flour

88

Water (85-90ºF)

310

Salt

10

Walnut pieces (toasted)

100

Dried figs (coarsely diced)

100

Levain

180

Total

1100

Procedure

  1. Toast the walnut pieces at 300ºF for 9 minutes. Cool completely.

  2. Cut the figs (Calmyrna, preferred) into pieces about marble-sized. Place in a sieve and rinse under running water. Place the sieve with the figs over a bowl to drain.

  3. In a large bowl, mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl and let it rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough, then add the ripe levain in 4-6 portions.

  5. Using a spatula or your hands, mix the dough to evenly distribute the salt and levain. Note: My preferred method is by hand. I wear a food-grade “rubber” glove, dip the fingers in water frequently and use the French technique of squeezing the dough between my fingers many times, alternating with stretching and folding the dough.

  6. When you feel the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled clean container and cover it.

  7. Bulk ferment for 50 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a floured board. Stretch is to a rectangle about 12 X 18”. Distribute the figs and walnuts evenly over the surface of the stretched out dough. Fold the dough. Repeat the stretching and folding a few times to distribute the figs and nuts evenly. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.

  9. Bulk ferment for another 50 minutes. Do another stretch and fold and return the dough to the bowl.

  10. Bulk ferment for another 50-90 minutes. The dough should be well aerated.

  11. Transfer the dough to the board and pre-shape as a ball. Cover with a cloth and let the dough relax for 10-30 minutes.

  12. Transfer the loaf to a well-floured banneton or brotform. Note: flouring the banneton/brotformen with a 50/50 mix of AP and Rice flour works best to prevent the dough from sticking to the proofing basket. Place the loaf in the basket in a food-grade plastic bag or cover well otherwise. Let the dough relax and start proofing at room temperature for a half hour or so.

  13. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

  1. Take the loaf out of the fridge but leave covered.

  2. With a baking stone on the oven's middle rack and your steaming apparatus of choice in place, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 45-60 minutes.

  3. Allow the loaf to proof for up to 90 minutes. It can be baked right out of the fridge I am told. (I never have done that.)

  4. Uncover the loaf and sprinkle it with semolina or cornmeal.

  5. Transfer the loaf to a peel and score as desired.

  6. Turn down the oven temperature to 460ºF. Steam your oven and transfer the loaf to the baking stone. Note: My method of oven steaming uses a 9” cast iron skillet filled with the kind of lava rocks used with gas grills. This is pre-heated along with my baking stone. The skillet sits off to the side on an oven rack below the one that holds the baking stone. To generate steam, I fill a perforated pie tin with a single layer of ice cubes. This is rested on top of the lava rocks just before I load the loaves onto the pizza stone.

  7. After 15 minutes, remove the steam apparatus.

  8. If you have a convection oven, switch to convection-bake at 435ºF. Otherwise, leave the oven at 460ºF conventional bake. Bake for another 30-35 minutes. Check the loaf after 30 minutes. If it is not fully baked but is getting too dark, turn down the oven temperature by 10ºF or so and bake until fully baked.

  9. The loaf is fully baked when the crust is darkly colored, tapping the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound and the internal loaf temperature is 205ºF or higher.

  10. Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

 

 

Enjoy!

David

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dmsnyder

I had made sourdough pita breads a few months ago with 50% whole wheat flour. They were much better than "store bought," as everything I had read led me to expect. I had experimented with two methods of shaping - rolling out versus stretching (like a pizza) - and thought rolling out had better results (a surprise). I also didn't allow any proofing time. I divided, shaped and baked. This time, I shaped all the pitas by rolling and allowed a rather brief proof period - about 10-15 minutes. I think this improved the puffing out of the pitas. I had some, still warm out of the oven, with hummus and olives as appetizers for my dinner tonight (chicken cacciatore and broccolini).

I've been meaning to make sourdough bagels for a long time. "Long time," in this case, means I found I had asked TFL member rossnroller to share his recipe back in 2010. I finally got around to doing it. Although I didn't use Ross's recipe but converted Hamelman's bagel recipe in "Bread," which has worked well for me in the past, to a sourdough version. I think they turned out pretty well.

Finally, I also baked a couple loaves of what has been my favorite "daily bread" for the past several months. It is roughly based on Forkish's "Field Blend #2.j

Happy baking!

David

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