The Fresh Loaf

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Kid #2 wanted something non-sourdough, so I decided to take  another shot at English Muffins.



100g AP flour

100g water

1 packet commercial yeast

Ferment for ~12 hours



200g AP flour

150g water

Sit for 75 minutes


Final Dough:

All of the poolish

All of the autolysed flour

75g AP flour

25g WW flour

75g water

(I forgot to add salt (d'oh!!!))

Knead in Kitchen Aid (KA). Use a paddle to combine into a wet mass, then switch to a dough hook and knead at speed '3' for ~3 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Knead for 6-10 minutes at speed '6' (I saw a ciabatta video where this was done, and the dough "slaps" against the bowl at high speed).

Bulk ferment overnight (did this last night in my cold room (about 60F)).

This morning I did about 5 stretch and folds by hand with the dough in the KA bowl using a spatula. I then spread about 2/3s of the dough out on my cutting board which was dusted with cornmeal. I warmed the oven to 80+F and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes, then cut, then placed on a hot cast iron griddle.

Results were ok. Crumb was exactly where I wanted it to be, but the muffins were a bit thin because based on the last batch of muffins I thought it would be good to roll them thinner and then let them rise. I had one with breakfast, and it was very tasty after being toasted. These were pretty close to Thomas' ... I think to get even closer I would reduce the hydration, add salt (d'oh!), and roll them out a little thicker.

The remaining dough I made into a small loaf. In the pic the teeny 'loaf' (more like a large roll) is sitting on the knife handle so as to illustrate the crumb. The oven spring was amazingly good, the crust was nice, and the flavor excellent. I try to eat low carb during the week (and eat carbs during the weekend) but this little guy was tasty and I lopped off 2 slices and ate them with butter. I think I'll try Jason's Ciabatta next.




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I thought it might be interesting to try The Weekend Bakery's version of tartine.

I deviated from the recipe in many ways. First, I mixed the "Water 1" with the flour and let it autolyse overnight while the poolish fermented (I did this on Monday night 12-9-2013). The second deviation was that I only performed 4 stretch and fold sessions. Third deviation was that I used my silicone spatula and stretch/folded the dough in the KA mixing bowl ... each S&F session included 100 folds. Fourth deviation was that I shaped the dough ball into a boule and let it rest for 15 minutes, then shaped it into a batard. Final deviation was that the final rise was 75 minutes and not 150.

When I shaped the dough into a boule, I floured my work surface with WW flour (cleans up more easily) and used my hands to work the dough. It did seem to tighten up a bit, but when I formed the dough into the final batard it flattened upon itself. I'm not sure how y'all are getting "surface tension" with these higher hydration doughs.

Got a nice oven spring, the crumb looks pretty good, and the taste is nice. Kid #1 had a piece with breakfast and thought it was good.

Seems to be a better result, but I am still puzzled as to how I can get surface tension, good oven spring, super open crumb, and a nice cut on the surface. Seems I can get some of these results but not all.



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Mmmm. English muffins.

So I used floydm's recipe with commercial yeast and a glob (about 200grams) of leftover old fermented dough (I saved it after it overproofed). I made an overnight sponge with the yeast and also let the majority of the flour autolyse overnight before combining all into the final dough. I let it bulk ferment overnight and cooked them in the morning.

I guess the gluten development was lacking. Also, I think that after forming they should rise a bit ... the resulting crumb was rather fine and although tasty not what I had in mind. Of course cutting the muffin with a bread knife didn't really help (as noted in the piccy).

The batch made 12 muffins, I gave 4 to a neighbor who loved them. My wife had one and loved it (I found that a bit surprising as she is getting a bit tired of my SD experiments).

For the next batch I will focus on gluten development, and then a decent rise after cutting (maybe 45 minutes at 80F).


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My kids were starting to complain about SD bread. So I made a loaf of My Daily Bread.

I went with a lower hydration on this one as well - in the KA the dough ball was only mildly sticky and the kneading hook certainly worked the dough over. It windowpaned after roughly 10 minutes of kneading.

Interestingly the final loaf was less crusty and slightly firm and springy. Hard to describe, but definitely less crusty than previous loaves.  It was cooked on a pizza stone at 500F for 10 minutes, then 450F for another 10 or so until golden and internal temp 205F.

Crumb was a bit on the fine side, oven spring was significant. I'm noticing that the SD cultures result in large holes in the crumb, and the use of commercial yeast results in a much finer crumb. Why is that?

The kids freaked out over the loaf, they loved it ... it was obliterated in about a day.



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So I put together a loaf of SJSD last week. Used 1/4 tsp of commercial yeast, kneaded into the dough after the bulk fermentation, as an "assist." Seemed to work well.

I didn't take notes on this one (or the next few as y'all will see) ... sorry. I made the dough slightly sticky - not sure what hydration this corresponds to but IME less than 70% (I used my KA and the dough easily cleared the sides of the mixing bowl).

Oven spring was OK, flavor was good ... crumb was OK.

Ever onward ...



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Another day, another loaf. Same concept here, use the "My Daily Bread" recipe as a basis for modification. In this case it is also a basis for education.

CONCLUSION(S): I think that I have been chronically underproofing my loaves and I think the "retarding" in the fridge is really exacerbating this problem ... so in the next loaf I'll wait longer for the final rise. I also have been very loosey-goosey with my measuring, I don't like this approach (mostly because I am not sure of the final hydration) and therefore I'll 1) formulate a recipe and 2) follow it.

The bread looks OK (well, OK, it looks bad), smells nice, and I lopped a slice off an the taste is good. Crumb is a bit on the dense side but once it cools off a bit more and dries a little it should be pretty good.


1 cup fed starter, at peak of rise

1 cup filtered water

1 cup unbleached AP flour

1 teaspoon of Greek yogurt (for the LAB bacteria)

Mix and let sit 8 hours (or overnight) in a warm room to ferment. (I left the sponge out overnight and then didn’t use it until after I got back from work … total fermentation time = 16 hours). (The sponge rose significantly … easily 2x in volume)


1 pound unbleached AP flour

12 ounces filtered water

Place ingredients in a mixer and mix at low speed until the flour and water are just combined. Leave in the mixing bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours (or overnight) in a warm room to autolyse. (I left the dough out with the sponge, as noted previously I left the sponge out for 16 hours, so the autolyse was also 16 hours).

Final Dough:

Autolysed dough


Pour/scrape the sponge into the dough. Attach the dough hook to the mixing machine and knead until the dough and sponge are combined (the dough was like batter). At this point I add flour until a high hydration dough is achieved, then once the flour is incorporated I let the machine knead at lowest speed for 5 minutes. (I did this before going to bed)(this is where I made my first mistake … I had not planned on a recipe or a target hydration, so I did not measure the amount of flour used … I have no idea what the hydration was).

Leave the final dough out for bulk fermentation. (The final dough was left in a warm room overnight (about 7 hours)). (the next morning the dough had risen TREMENDOUSLY … it had easily doubled in volume).

Add salt and knead for 5 minutes at lowest mixer speed using dough hook. (I realized that morning that I had forgotten to add the salt, however I had planned on kneading anyways so no problem ... I think).

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl, and cover. Let rest for 3 hours in a warm room.

Knead using mixer for 5 minutes at lowest speed using dough hook.

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl and cover.

Place dough in a cold room for 8 hours (or overnight). Remove dough from bowl and shape. (this is where I made another mistake … the dough was very loose and I tried folding it … it stayed very loose. I was thinking of shaping it into batards but I decided against it because I was worried the loaves would over proof, so I decided to place the entire dough ball into a bundt pan (I’ve used the pan previously for Portuguese sweet bread with great success). I left the dough in the warm room for about an hour and it rose very slowly. I then warmed my oven to ~90 F and put the dough in there for about an hour. The dough rose a fair amount (not doubled, though) and after the final bake I’m convinced that it should have stayed out in the warm room all day for proofing).

Bake at 530F for 15 minutes, then 480F for 15 minutes; use a baking stone and a small metal bowl with water for steam. Cook until an internal temperature of 200F is achieved (I cooked until following this protocol but the internal temp wasn’t 200F at the end of the 480F bake so it stayed in the oven for another 15 minutes at 480F until 206F was attained).

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I didn't know I couldn't post more than 1 pic for a blog entry. D'oh.

Here is a pic of the crumb of Loaf #1 (there were 2 loaves from the batch of dough).



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As I mentioned previously I decided to try "My Daily Bread"  with SD starter instead of packaged yeast. So I added 1 cup of fed starter to 1 cup unbleached AP flour and 1 cup of filtered water to make a "poolish" (I used quotes because I'm not sure what to call it when using SD starter). I let it ferment at room temperature overnight, and then proceeded to use 8 ounces of filtered water and enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough (I did not record the amount of flour used so I don't know the hydration, but it definitely is less than the 70% used in many SD recipes posted on TFL). I kneaded the mixture with my Kitchen Aid for 5 minutes at "1" with the dough hook, let it rest for 15 minutes, then kneaded again for 5 minutes with the KA at "1." I let it ferment at room temperature for about 6 or 7 hours, then put it in the refrigerator overnight. Yesterday evening I split the dough ball in half and formed 2 boules, put each boule on a piece of baking parchment, and let them rise overnight at room temperature. I baked them both this morning by preheating the oven (with a stone and a metal pan of water) to 550 F, slashing the loaf with a "+" and then baking the loaf for 15 minutes at 550 F then 10 minutes at 475 F. Final bread temperature was 212 F for loaf #1 and 208 F for loaf #2.

Oven spring was OK, shape of each loaf was a little wonky ... each dough ball formed a thin dry skin on the surface and it looked like the dough was rising unevenly as a result. Crumb development was OK but not great (not a big surprise considering the hydration was low (at least lower than 70%)). I took off a thin slice and tasted it, tastes pretty good but we'll see how the flavor develops over the next day or two. I think the pics are a bit deceiving as the crumb seems slightly dense to me.

I can see how the higher hydration leads to such a spectacular crumb ... I am thinking that in addition to poor gluten development in my SD loaves, the higher hydration doughs are a bit more fragile and prone to "deflation" while being handled after the final rise. I think I can handle that, now that I've learned a bit.



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Here is a pic I took this past Sunday.

On the left are failed attempts at Dave Snyder's SFSD and SJSD. I suspect it has to do with inadequate gluten development. Starter could be off but I've been able to work it up to the point where it will double in 3 to 4 hours ... we'll see.

Loaf on the right is "My Daily Bread" baked in a gas-fired oven, with a pizza stone, with a metal bowl of water, at 550deg F, until an internal temperature of 205 deg F was attained. Appears to have come out well, which I suspect has to do with 1) sufficient kneading (I used my Kitchen Aid), and 2) a tad lower hydration. SWMBO decided we'd save it for Thanksgiving, so any crumb pictures will have to wait.

As you can see it had quite a bit of oven spring, so I'm fairly certain that it was a bit underproofed when it went into the oven.

I've decided to try a version of MDB using starter (instead of packaged yeast) for the poolish...

More later.



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