The Fresh Loaf

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I followed Reinhart's recipe for "Basic Sourdough" and made 2 loaves (1 to give away to a friend).

I finally got some KAF bread flour which seems to have made a major difference and improvement (got good fermentation rises at all phases, and got a very nice oven spring).

1/8th of the flour is WW, and 1/8th is medium rye flour.

I'm watching my carbohydrate intake (am managing my weight ... have lost 20 lbs in the last year) ... so I had a very thin slice with butter - delicious! (although not sour, which is fine)

As evidenced by the crumb shot, the hydration is "low" at 65% ... I have to say that the dough was extremely elastic. I'm thinking on the next go-around to increase the hydration to 70% to see what happens.

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Made 2 of these for Christmas ... one for my family and one for my sister and her husband.

The pastry is a "Swedish Tea Ring" ... I know of a few versions of the recipe. I can post if there is any interest.



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As previously suggested I made a go at SJSD using commercial yeast. I used the TFL feature (where the SJSD recipe is posted) to make a half batch of dough.

Notes and Deviations from normal SJSD recipe:

1. Used 1/4 tsp of commercial yeast

2. Added yeast to 25g flour and 25g water and put it in fridge (to replicate 50g of starter called for in recipe)

3. Autolysed all of the flour for about 24 hours (was supposed to be overnight but timing got fouled up and had to go even longer)

4. Used "Jasons Ciabbatta" method with the Kitchen Aid to knead the dough after combining the autolysed flour, yeast, and salt ... I set the machine to "8" and let it go until the doughball cleared the sides and bottom, then went another 2 minutes.

5. I had intended to use the Kitchen Aid again at "8" to knead for 2 other 1-minute intervals but again life got in the way.

6. Not sure this is a deviation ...the dough went into the fridge for about 24 hours.

7. Because I wasn't able to use the KA to knead on 2 other occasions, I stretched and folded on 2 separate occasions after removing the dough from the fridge and in preparation for baking.

8. Shaped the dough into a ball and let it rise in the oven warmed to 80F for about 45 minutes. The stuff was so slack that it spread under its own weight (like the blob).

9. Shaped the dough into a batard. During both shaping events I worked the dough over pretty hard in an effort to build surface tension.

10. Warmed the oven to 80F, placed the dough on a floured surface (also between 2 towels to form a "couche" of sorts), and let rise for about an hour-and-a-half.

11. Transferred batard to parchment, let rise for another hour or so, slashed with DE razor blade.

12. Baked at 515F for ~12 minutes (with steam), then reduced oven temp to 475F and baked for 15 minutes (and a bit longer until loaf was brown).

13. I noticed the bread, upon removal from the oven, was making a high pitched squeal which I assume is the steam "squirting" out of the crust! Interesting!!

The crumb was almost a brown color, much darker than the previous loaf of SJSD made with SD starter ... because I used the KA at "8" to knead the previous loaf I'm assuming the gluten in that loaf became oxidized and did not in this loaf.

Oven spring was pretty good, not as good as the previous loaf. The slash definitely expanded but for whatever reason there is no ear or "tearing" of the crust.

Flavor is excellent. The kids love it and I do too. We polished off about 1/2 of the loaf last night.

Next time I try SJSD with commercial yeast I think I'll make the sponge a bit larger in mass.

It looks like I need to flip the dough prior to baking ... while Christmas shopping I noticed that the local Crate and Barrel sells linen dishcloths for about 12 bucks, so in the near future I'll get one. I also saw the metal batard pans at Williams Sonoma ... interesting but I'm not sure if I'm going to get one. My batards appear to be uniform/consistent in shape which is entertaining.

I'm still struggling to understand how y'all that make high hydration doughs 1) get any surface tension, 2) get such excellent oven spring, and 3) get an "ear" on your slash.



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So I made another attempt at San Joaquin Sourdough and it seems that I'm making progress.


Made half a batch (enough for 1 batard)

Switched to Gold Medal unbleached AP flour (from store brand AP).

I chose to mix the dough and water and let autolyse overnight as the levain rose as well.

Instead of stretch-and-fold I thought it might be interesting to try the "Jason's Ciabatta mix-the-hell-out-of-the-dough" approach. So when the levain was ready I mixed it, the autolysed flour/water, and salt using the dough hook and Kitchen Aid at speed 8. After the dough lifted from the bottom of the mixing bowl I let it continue mixing for another 60 seconds. Then I let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Then I ran the KA at 8 for another 60 seconds, then rest for 30 minutes, then 60 more seconds of KA at 8.

I put the dough in the fridge overnight.

Yesterday evening at 9PM I took the dough out of the fridge and formed it into a ball.

I let the dough rest overnight in a floured bowl (really a deep glass baking dish with a lid) ... this was placed in the coldest room of my house (about 60F).

This morning at 5:30 AM I shaped the dough into a batard, placed in a DIY "couche" (kitchen towels rolled up and floured), and put the shlamozzle into the utility closet (80F) where it rose for 3 hours until 8:30AM. The loaf sat on baking parchment. I did not flip it over prior to loading in the oven.

I scored the top with a double edge razor.

I put a metal baking pan in the bottom of the oven, and when I loaded the loaf I also put water in the pan.

Baked at 510F for about 12 minutes, then 475F for about 15 minutes. Oven spring looks pretty good (for me, anyways). The cut did expand but no "ear." Some nice little blisters on the crust.




In the crumb pic you might be able to see a tear on the lower left part of the crust. There is a little "ear" there ... I only noticed it after I cut the loaf and inspected it. I guess I need to flip the loaf next time??

Am I right in thinking it's a bit underproofed?



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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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