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Well, I'm back from a lovely week at the beach with family. I surely enjoyed the week, including Glenn's fabulous pastrami and corn beef with his and my rye breads. Glenn's Tartine BCB and my SFBI miche were also appreciated. 

Yesterday, I thawed dough made for pizzas 4 and 6 weeks ago and frozen. I made a couple of pies, one with each of the doughs made with Maggie Glezer's and Jeff Verasano's recipes.


Pizza using Maggie Glezer's dough

Pizza made with Jeff Verasano's dough

Glezer's pizza dough retained its distinctive crispness. Verasano's dough was still more elastic than Glezer's but not as chewy as it had been before freezing. I would say that neither was quite as good, but both were better than any you could get at the chains.

Today, I baked a couple bâtards of Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread. This has become a favorite. Today's tweak was to shape the loaves using the method portrayed on the KAF videos but proofing the loaves in cotton-lined oval brotformen rather than on a couche.


The loaves assumed a rounder/less elongated shape during baking. I wonder if, en couche, with lateral support but no support at the ends, the loaves spread longitudinally more. Hmmmm ….


I have dough for my version of Gosselin's Baguettes Tradition in the fridge to finish tomorrow. I'll update this entry accordingly.


dmsnyder's picture

The pizza I made two weeks ago (Pizza Napoletana) elicited many helpful comments and suggestions. That pizza had a cracker-crisp crust and minimalist toppings. This week, I was shooting for a more robust, chewy crust that would stand up to tomato sauce and cheese. (Heavier toppings yet await a future pizza-making session.

Based on the advice of several more experienced pizza makers, I chose to make my dough using Jeff Verasano's well-known method. His long and passionate treatise on pizza-making at home can be found on his website. (Jeff Verasano Pizza) His formula for dough is as follows: 

Jeff Verasano's Dough for one 13” pie


Wt. (g)

Baker's %




Flour (12.7% protein)






Liquid levain



Instant yeast (optional)






 This formula is scalable. For two pies, double the ingredients, etc.

Because of a variety of considerations (including whims), the dough I made was modified from Verasano's as follows:

dmsnyder Dough for five 11” pies


Wt. (g)

Baker's %




Flour (12.7% protein)






Liquid levain



Instant yeast (optional)






As you can see, I quadrupled the formula for one pie, but divided it into 5 pieces. I decreased the salt and increased the levain. The effect of doubling the levain percentage was to raise the actual overall hydration of the dough to 68%.

Verasano's instructions for mixing and fermentation are very specific about some steps but leave out some other information which would be helpful. Here is my method, annotated:


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water, salt, levain and 3/4 of the flour for 1-2 minutes at slow speed.

  2. Cover the bowl and let it rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.

  3. Mix at low speed for 5 minutes. (Note: Verasano is using a DLX mixer. I have not altered his mix times for the KitchenAid.)

  4. Add remaining flour gradually (over 1-3 minutes).

  5. After 6-8 minutes, increase the mixer speed to medium (Speed 2-3 for a KitchenAid).

  6. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then for another minute. (Note: For me, the dough formed a ball very quickly and cleaned the sides of the bowl. However, it was extremely slack and left a large portion of the dough in the bottom. In hindsight, I had not compensated for the increase in water and dough hydration resulting from my doubling the percentage of 100% hydration levain. I mixed at medium speed for about 15 minutes, at which point I had a rough window pane.)

  7. Let the dough rest in the mixer bowl, covered, for 20 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, dust the dough and your hands with flour, and divide the dough into 4 or 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. (Note: Verasano says that, after transferring the dough to the board, he kneads it for a few minutes before dividing it. I did two sets of stretch and folds, after which the dough had really good strength.)

  9. Place each ball into a lightly oiled container and either allow to ferment until increased in volume by 50% or refrigerate for 1-6 days to use during that time or freeze for future use. (Note: Verasano does not specifically say to divide the dough before bulk fermentation, but that is a common procedure, and I believe that is his intent. He also gives a huge range of estimates for fermentation time. He does not say whether these estimates are with or without the optional instant yeast. I suspect they are without the added yeast. I froze 3 balls and allowed 2 to ferment at room temperature. They were 50% expanded after about 2 hours, at which point I refrigerated them.)

  10. If the dough is expanded 50% before you are ready to use it, refrigerate it.

  11. If the dough was refrigerated, allow it to warm for 60-90 minutes while you pre-heat your oven for baking the pizzas. If the dough was frozen, I would thaw it in the refrigerator and then proceed.

I made two Pizza Margheritas. I made the crust quite thin. The sauce was that in Floyd's A Pizza Primer. I used a very soft fresh mozzarella. Fresh basel was added after the pizzas were baked.

Pizza, dressed for baking

Ready to slice

Slice crumb

This crust stood up to the sauce and cheese rather well. It was not soggy at all. It was very chewy under the toppings, but the corona was crisp. The flavor was good, but I bet it would have been better if the dough had been cold retarded for a day or two. That said, I covertly watched my wife eat her pizza slices. The truest test of pizza crust is whether she eats the rim. She generally doesn't eat the crust when we have pizza out. Tonight, she left not a crumb. I guess it was pretty good.

Personally, I'd like to split the difference between this crust and the one of two weeks ago. Maybe I'll try adding a little oil to soften this dough or use a lower gluten flour. I'm less tempted to try a much lower hydration dough, because I like the extensibility of this dough so much.

Thanks to all of you who contributed to my previous pizza blog. The quest continues! 



dmsnyder's picture

Okay. I know this is a baking forum, but consider: Rye bread cries for pastrami, and pastrami sandwiches cry for pickles. In fact, the respondents to my recent blog on Jewish Sour Rye Bread  and Eric's blog on home-made pastrami have more or less demanded I share my mother's recipe for the best ever garlic pickles.

But, first,  you have to hear a story about them, you should be warned.

I don't make pickles often. Typically, several years go by between picklings, so there are things I forget.

A few years ago … about 25 years, actually … I put up a case of my mother's garlic pickles. (See the recipe, below.) My wife and I disagreed about the process, which is a normal step in the pickle-making procedure, but I am in charge of pickling in our household, so I did it as I remembered my mother doing it.

Well, after the pickles were in the jars and three days had passed, we took the jars out of the box to tighten the lids. The brine in the jars was fizzy with gas, and the contents were extremely cloudy. My wife, whose first career was as a clinical microbiologist, wanted me to throw them out; they clearly had bacterial contamination and were unsafe to eat. My memory was that my mother's pickle jars always got cloudy. This was normal. They hadn't killed anyone yet. I was sure they were just fine.

We continued this “discussion” for several days. Then, in exasperation, I called the University of California, Davis Agricultural Extension Service, after getting my wife to agree they would be a reliable source of health safety information regarding home preserved vegetables.

I spoke with the nice young women to whom I was transferred who identified herself as a consultant on home canning. I described the condition of my pickles. She asked for my recipe, and I gave it to her. There was a long pause. She asked, “No vinegar?” I confirmed that the pickles were made without vinegar. She told me that vinegar was absolutely required. Acidification of the brine was essential to prevent growth of bacteria, including Clostridia botulinum. Another long pause. “Sir, I believe you have a very dangerous product there,” she announced, with considerable emotion.

My wife, of course, reminded me she had “told you so!” But, I was unconvinced. I told the nice Cooperative Extension Service Canning Consultant I was just positive my mother's pickles always turned cloudy and gave off gas, and they hadn't killed anyone yet. I was sure they were fine. She said she was still sure I had a lethal “product,” but she would talk to the Cooperative Extension Service Pickle Consultant when he returned from vacation in 2 weeks and get back to me.

Two weeks later, as good as her word, the Cooperative Extension Service Canning Consultant called me back. She had talked with the Cooperative Extension Service Pickle Consultant, and she had learned something new which she shared with me: “You have not made pickles,” she announced. “Pickles are made with vinegar. What you have made is fermented cucumbers.” The Pickle Consultant had told her to tell me the way to be sure they were safe to eat was to look for carbon dioxide gas generated by the fermentative process and a cloudy precipitate in the brine, which was made of dead yeast bodies.

After waiting a week after I had eaten a few, to be sure the pickles didn't kill me or make me sick, my wife and children joined me in enjoying the delicious fermented cucumbers. 

Phyllis Snyder's Garlic Not-Pickles


  1. Pickling cucumbers

  2. Peeled garlic cloves

  3. Celery cut into 1/2 x 3 inch sticks

  4. Dried hot red peppers

  5. Fresh dill weed

  6. Pickling spice

  7. Brine made with 1 part un-iodized salt stirred until dissolved in 21 parts water.


  1. Glass canning jars and lids

  1. Large pot to sterilize jars and lids

  2. Tongs to handle hot jars and lids

  3. Clean kitchen towels to drain sterilized jars and lids

  4. Large colander


  1. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place jars and lids in the water and boil for 7 minutes.

  3. Remove jars and lids from water and drain on kitchen towels until they are room temperature.

  4. Scrub pickling cucumbers well. Drain in colander.

  5. Pack each jar tightly with a layer of cucumbers, upright.

  6. Over this layer, pour 1 tsp pickling spice, 1 or 2 garlic cloves, 2 dill sprigs (stems and flowers) and 1 pepper. (These quantities are for quart jars. If you are using pint jars, use half these quantities for each jar.)

  7. Pack the rest of the jar tightly with cucumbers.

  8. Insert 2 or more celery sticks in among the cucumbers. (These supposedly help the pickles stay crisp. Anyway, they are good to eat too.)

  9. Fill the jar with the brine to cover the jar contents completely.

  10. Screw the lids onto the jars loosely.

  11. Leave the jars in a cool place for at least 3 days. (If you want “half-pickles,” refrigerate the jars immediately at this point.) There will be significant carbon dioxide gas generate which will appear as tiny bubbles in the brine, and the brine will become cloudy with a white sediment which will eventually settle to the bottom of the jars.

  12. Tighten the jar lids and store them. The pickles can now be eaten, but will keep for a few years.




dmsnyder's picture

This 2+ kg miche is for an upcoming family gathering. Eighteen of us - most of 3 generations - will be getting together at the Central California beach town where my generation vacationed with our parents in the 1960's and '70's. There are lot's of wonderful memories of those Summers.

The formula for the miche is from the SFBI Artisan II workshop I took last December. I have described the formula and methods here: This miche is a hit! Since then, many TFL members have made this bread and seem to have enjoyed it as much as I. That includes brother Glenn, who has promised to bring along a matching miche.

The only modification of the original formula for this bake was to use half WFM Organic AP flour and half CM Organic Type 85 flour.

 The crust has lots of lovely crackles.

No crumb photos, since I'm taking it intact to the gathering.

I also baked a couple 1 pound loaves of the San Francisco Sourdough from AB&P today. The formula can be found here: Crackly Crust & Shiny Crumb: San Francisco Sourdough from AB&P

I think the "group photo" puts things in better perspective.


dmsnyder's picture


It has been a while since I last made Jewish Sour Rye, but it is still a favorite of mine. Learning to make this bread, which I could no longer get locally, was a major reason I started baking bread again 4 or 5 years ago. I use a formula based on that in George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker.” In 2008, I worked out the ingredient weights. Greenstein gives only volume measurements. The formula for my version can be found here: Sour Rye Bread from George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker”

Traditional Jewish Sour Rye is made with white rye flour and first clear flour. Once I started making more German and Russian style rye breads, the flavor of white rye became less appealing to me. I started making a version of Jewish Sour Rye using dark rye instead.

Today's bake was made with a rye sour built from my stock sourdough, which is kept at 50% hydration and is fed with a 70:20:10 mix of AP:WW: Dark rye. I went through 3 builds at 12 hour intervals, doubling the volume of sour with each build. The first two were fed with BRM Dark Rye. The final build, which contained approximately half the total rye flour, was fed with a nice, finely milled medium rye flour from I kept the half-ripe, final sour build refrigerated overnight and let it warm up for an hour before mixing the dough. The first clear flour I used was also from I also added a half cup of altus – German-style pumpernickel (baked 5 months ago and frozen) cut in cubes and soaked overnight in cold water, then wrung out before adding to the dough. 

I needed to add an additional 1/2 cup or so of first clear flour during mixing to get the dough consistency I wanted. I suspect this was necessary because of the additional water in the altus. This dough is very slack and very sticky as it comes out of the mixer, but it shapes well with judicious flour dusting and a light touch when handling it. I divided the dough into three 528g pieces and shaped as logs. For the first time, I proofed this rye on a linen couche. This stuff is magic. Even these sticky loaves released with no dough sticking to the linen. I transferred the loaves to a sheet of parchment on my peel, because I didn't want the cornstarch glaze getting on it. The bake was as described in my previous blog entries.

I sliced and tasted the bread about 3 hours after it came out of the oven. I feared I had somewhat over-proofed the loaves. They had less oven spring than usual. However, I was very happy with the crumb structure and the texture of the crumb. It has a delicious rye with caraway flavor. It was moderately sour. The pumpernickel altus added a depth of flavor, as well as a different texture due to the cracked rye berries in in the pumpernickel dough.

This bread is still a favorite.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

You can go nuts trying to find the perfect pizza dough formula. The cookbooks and the web are full of recipes for various types of dough and full of opinions regarding the type of flour to use, the ingredients (beyond flour, water, salt and yeast) and the mixing and fermentation methods that work best.

My goal for today was what I understand to be classic pizza napoletana. The dough should consist of the four basic ingredients only – no oil, sugar, malt or other stuff. The crust should be very thin and crisp on the bottom, not soft or soggy. The toppings should be minimal, so the crust is the main attraction.

After reading through many, many recipes, I settled on the one in Maggie Glezer's “Artisan Breads.” It uses the 4 ingredients only. It is for a Naples-style pizza. It is credited to Emanuele Leonforte of Hosteria restaurant in Port Chester, New York.

Leonforte uses a mix of Doppio Zero and high-gluten flour that Glezer calculates as resulting in about 12.5% protein. He uses a remarkably short mix. He ferments the dough for a long time but only once. Glezer gives the option of retarding the dough overnight and fermenting it the next day, and that fit best with my schedule. The method I used is described below.




Baker's %

KAF Bread Flour

500 g


Instant yeast

1/4 tsp



10 g


Water, lukewarm





  1. Measure the flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix them.

  2. With the dough hook in place and the mixer at slow speed, gradually pour in the water.

  3. Mix until the dough forms a ball and cleans the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes.

  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.

  5. Mix the dough at Speed 2 for about 3 minutes. It should be fairly smooth but will not pass the window pane test.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and divide it into 4 equal pieces of about 200 g each (to make 10 inch pizzas).

  7. Shape each piece into a tight ball.

  8. Place each ball into a 1 qt Ziploc bag with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roll the ball in the oil and seal the bags.

  9. The dough can be refrigerated overnight, frozen for later use or allowed to ferment at room temperature for 5 to 6 hours for use the same day. (I refrigerated two balls and froze two.)

  10. For refrigerated dough, remove it to room temperature 3-5 hours before you plan on making the pizza, depending on room temperature.

  11. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF (or more, if possible) with a baking stone on the middle shelf.

  12. Remove one ball at a time from its bag and shape into a 10 inch round by your method of choice.

  13. Top the pizza as desired, immediately transfer it to the baking stone, and bake for 8-10 minutes until done. Repeat for additional pizzas.

The toppings I used for each pizza were:

  1. Brush the entire surface of the shaped pizza dough with olive oil.

  2. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary.

  3. Sprinkle with a large clove of garlic, sliced very thin.

  4. Distribute on the pizza a cup of cherry tomatoes, halved, cut side up or a cup of fresh roma tomatoes peeled, seeded and cut into quarters.

  5. After baking, optionally top with fresh arugula or basel leaves.


Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, pre-bake

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, baked

Pizza with Roma Tomatoes, pre-bake

Pizza with Roma Tomatoes, baked

The results were wonderful! The dough stretched easily to paper thin without tearing and baked so crisp there was no sagging when a slice was help up by the corona. Biting into it was a noisy crunch. The flavor of the crust was delicious. The whole experience sold me on minimalist toppings.

Pizza bottom crust

Thin crust


I don't think adding a few capers, or olives or mushrooms would do any harm, but I don't think making pizzas with heavy saucing, lots of cheese or lots of anything will be tempting again.

 The pizza was a nice follow-up to last night's bruschetta.

Bruschetta with fresh funghi porcini and with tomatoes and basel


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

Franko's recent blog about his project to bake Pane tipo di Altamura (Pane di ongoing project) reminded me that this bread had gotten lost on my “to bake list.” I have baked a number of breads with semolina and a couple with durum (finely milled durum flour) my favorite of which has been Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads".  However, I've never before baked an 100% durum bread. My reading about the Pane di Altamura and Franko's blog inspired me to attempt this bread, finally.

I have three books with formula's for Pane tipo di Altamura: Carol Field's “The Italian Baker,” Franko Galli's “The Il Fornaio Baking Book” and Daniel Leader's “Local Breads.” The first two use a yeasted biga and additional commercial yeast. They also use a mix of bread flour and semolina. Leader's formula uses a biga started with yoghurt and semolina flour. Leader's formula also differs from the other two in specifying a higher dough hydration. Based on my bias in favor of wild yeast and my past positive experiences with breads from Leader's book, I based my formula on his.

I deviated from Leader's formula and method in a number of ways which I will describe. I converted my stock starter to a durum biga and did not use yoghurt. The major compromise was that I only fed my starter once with durum flour. I had planned on three refreshments before the final mix, but the weather forecast is for temperatures over 105ºF for the rest of the weekend. Since it is only expected to get to a chilly 98ºF today, it seemed prudent to bump up the baking schedule and try to avoid using the oven when it's 105 or 107ºF. So, what's described is what I actually did, with notes indicating significant deviations from Leader.

Semolina biga


Baker's %

Active sourdough starter

50 g


Fancy durum flour

70 g



57 g



177 g


  1. Disperse the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12-14 hours.


1. Ideally, one would add one or two additional builds to convert the biga to 100% durum.

2. Leader's formula for the final dough calls for 200 g of semolina biga, but his formula for the biga produces only 177 g. If you follow Leader's formula, you need to build more biga than this.

Final dough


Baker's %

Semolina biga

170 g


Fancy durum flour

500 g



350 g



15 g



1035 g



  1. Leader's formula calls for 200 g of biga. I was only able to use 170 g. Given the very warm kitchen temperature today, using less starter is probably reasonable.

  2. Accounting for the flour and water in the biga, the final dough hydration is actually 71%.

  3. Leader specifies 3% salt in his formula without indicating why this bread has more salt than the usual 2%. Note that, if you calculate the baker's percentage of salt accounting for the flour in the biga, 15 g is actually 2.6% of the total flour


  1. Mix the final refreshment of the biga 8-12 hours before the final dough mix and ferment it at room temperature.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, disperse the biga in the water. Add the flour and mix with the paddle for 1 minute.

  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for an autolyse, and, as far as I can tell, this is not used in Altamura.)

  4. Add the salt, and mix with the dough hook at Speed 3 for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and pass the window pane test. (Note: Leader says to mix at Speed 4 for 10-12 minutes. However, my dough was very smooth and passed the window pane test after 5 minutes at Speed 3. Perhaps this was a benefit of the autolyse.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2 qt container.

  6. Ferment with the bowl tightly covered for 3-4 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume. Stretch and fold in the bowl at 30 and 60 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for the S&F's.)

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Shape into a boule.

  8. Dust the boule with semolina flour and place it in the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel dusted with semolina. Bring the corners of the towel to the center and tie them, “to make a snug bundle.” (Note: Leader describes this procedure being used in the Altamura bakery he visited and by the village women who brought their own dough to the bakery for baking. However, the videos I've seen of Altamura bakeries in action show the loaves being proofed en couche.)

  9. Proof the loaf at room temperature until it “balloons inside the kitchen towel” - 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The loaf is ready to bake when an indentation made by poking a finger into it springs back slowly. (Note: My loaf was proofed for 90 minutes in a 78ºF kitchen. The surface of the loaf was quite dry at the end of proofing. I imagine this contributes to the famously chaotic blooming of the folded loaf during baking.)

  10. About an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  11. Transfer the loaf to a lightly floured board.

  12. Stretch the loaf into a rectangle about 6 x 16 inches, with a narrow side nearest you. Fold the near edge all the way up to meet the top edge, and seal the seam. Now, bring the folded near edge 3/4 of the way up towards the far edge, and seal the seam all the way around so the lip of the far part of the loaf is flattened. The loaf should now be shaped as a half-circle. (Note: An alternative, shape, which is also traditional, called a “priest's hat” is made by cutting a very deep cross into the boule with a bench knife and pulling the corners well apart. The opening is then dusted with semolina flour to keep it from sealing during oven spring.)

  13. Transfer the loaf to a peel dusted with semolina flour and dust the surface of the loaf with flour.

  14. Turn the oven temperature down to 400ºF. Transfer the loaf to the baking stone . Steam the oven lightly.

  15. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the loaf is “mahogany-colored all over and golden where it splits open.” (I removed my steaming pan after 15 minutes and switched to convection bake at 375ºF for the remainder of the bake.)

  16. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

    Initial mix before autolyse

    Dough mixed, ready for bulk fermentation

Pre-shaped boule, ready for proofing



Proofed and ready for the final shaping

Dough stretched out. First step in final shaping.

Shaped loaf, ready to bake

Pane tipo di Altamura

Pane tipo di Altamura crumb

Pane tipo di Altamura crumb close-up

The aroma and flavor of the bread are most remarkable for a prominent sourdough tang. The flavor otherwise is very nice, but I cannot identify distinctive flavors I would associate with durum, as opposed to other wheat flours. The crust is chewy over the fat part of the loaf but quite crisp over the flatter part.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

It's much nicer to live with my wife, along with San Joaquin Sourdough, than alone. And if there is any bread that makes her happier than San Joaquin Sourdough, it's the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA. So I baked some today.

One of these days, I will try Glenn's variation with pecans and dried cranberries. See Another Spice-Fruit-Nut Bread

And, for those who are wondering, Glenn and I did not discuss what we were baking this weekend. It's just one of them synchronicity things.


dmsnyder's picture

While I enjoy a variety of breads, the San Joaquin Sourdough remains my “go to” bread. It's easy to fit into a busy schedule. It uses few ingredients. It always tastes delicious. It's wonderful freshly baked but also makes great toast, French toast, garlic bread and croutons for salads or onion soup. It is almost as good after being frozen as fresh. What's not to like?


I first developed this formula about 3 years ago. Since then, I've tweaked the formula and methods in many ways. I know many TFL members have made this bread and enjoyed it. So, I thought an update on my current recipe might be of interest.

To summarize the changes I've made in the past 6 months:

  1. I substituted 25 g of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of the rye flour in the original formula. The difference in flavor is subtle, but I like it better.

  2. I adopted the oven steaming method for home ovens we were taught in the SFBI Artisan I and II workshops. 

    SFBI Steaming method

  3. I switched from using a parchment paper couche to a baker's linen couche. (Highly recommended! Here is my source for linen: San Francisco Baking Institute)

  4. Most recently, after trying several different methods, I've settled on the method of pre-shaping and shaping bâtards taught in the King Arthur Flour instructional video. (See: Hamelman technique videos  The relevant instructions are in the fourth video, starting at about 7:00 minutes.) The SJSD dough is very extensible. This method forms a tighter loaf which is shorter and thicker than that produced with the method I had been using.



Active starter (100% hydration)

150 g

All Purpose flour (11.7% protein)

450 g

BRM Dark Rye flour

25 g

Whole Wheat flour

25 g


360 g

Sea Salt

10 g



In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using a plastic scraper or silicon spatula, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals.


After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes with a stretch and fold after 45 and 90 minutes, then return the dough to the container and place it in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. 

Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

To pre-shape for a bâtard, I now form a ball rather than a log. Place each piece of dough smooth side down. Pat into a rough circle, degassing the dough gently in the process. Bring the far edge to the middle and seal the seam. Then go around the dough, bringing about 1/5 of the dough to the middle and sealing it. Repeat until you have brought the entire circumference of the piece to the middle. Turn the piece over, and shape as a boule. Turn each ball seam side up onto a lightly floured part of your board.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 60 minutes. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, I now favor the method portrayed in the King Arthur Flour instructional video. I encourage you to watch the video, but here is a verbal description of the method:

  1. For each piece of dough, place it in front of you on an un-floured board.

  2. Hold down the near side and stretch the far side of the piece into a rough rectangle about 8 inches front to back.

  3. Now, fold the far end two thirds of the way to the near end and seal the seam with the heel of your hand.

  4. Take each of the far corners of the piece and fold them to the middle of the near side of your first fold. Seal the seams.

  5. Now, the far end of the dough piece should be roughly triangular with the apex pointing away from you. Grasp the apex of the triangle and bring it all the way to the near edge of the dough piece. Seal the resulting seam along the entire width of the loaf.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side up and pinch the seam closed, if there are any gaps.

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and put your steaming apparatus of choice in place. (I currently use a 7 inch cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks.) Heat the oven to 500F.


After shaping the loaves, transfer them to a linen couche, seam side up. Cover the loaves with a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaves have expanded to about 1-1/2 times their original size. (30-45 minutes) Test readiness for baking using “the poke test.” Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!


Pre-steam the oven, if desired.

Transfer the loaves to a peel. (Remember you proofed them seam side up. If using a transfer peel, turn the loaves over on the couch before rolling them onto the transfer peel. That way, the loaves will be seam side down on the peel.) Score the loaves. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Steam the oven. (I place a perforated pie tin with about 12 ice cubes in it on top of the pre-heated lava rocks.) Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door. (If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake, and turn the temperature down to 435ºF.)

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 7 minutes to dry the crust.


Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.



Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

We've been traveling a lot the past few months, and I haven't had many weekends at home to bake. Now, we'll be home for a few weeks, and I can bake more regularly. This weekend, I baked two of my current favorites – the SFBI Miche and Hamelman's Pain au Levain. (See: Miche from SFBI Artisan II - 2 kg. The formula for the Pain au Levain is found in Hamelman's "Bread.")

After a long, cool Spring, we're starting to get some Summer weather. It's been in the low 90's. Temperatures of 105ºF are predicted for the middle of the coming week. Frankly, I could do without the 105º days, but my starter and doughs are enjoying the warmer kitchen temperature. My old dictum - “Watch the dough, not the clock” - was applied. For example, the pain au levain, which Hamelman says to proof for 2 1/2 hours was ready to bake in 90 minutes after shaping. I feared the bâtards were a bit over-proofed, but the oven spring and bloom I got suggest proofing was pretty much on target.

SFBI Miche

Miche crust

Miche crumb

Pain au Levain

Pain au Levain, up close

One thing I learned and applied for this bake of the pain au levain: The last few bakes of this bread have had many excessively large holes. I suspected this was due to insufficient de-gassing before pre-shaping. So, this time, I de-gassed a bit more vigorously. I like the results.


Pain au Levain crumb

Happy Baking! And Happy Father's Day to all you fathers!




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