The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour.ish.en's blog

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The two foccacias shown here use a variety of ingredients that celebrate the arrival of spring: herbs from the garden, sprouted flour and lemon. That's where the similarity ends. Same dough, baked less than 18 hours apart, presented vastly different results. Has that happened to you before?

- Baked the first loaf on Tuesday around 6 pm. after leaving the dough to rest at room temperature for 3 hours. Result: open crumb.

- A second piece of the same dough went into the refrigerator on Tuesday (while the first loaf was resting and heading to the oven). Took it out on Wednesday at 9 am. Shaped and baked it at 12 noon. Result: dense crumb. Why?

Yes, dough develops at different rates, the shaping may differ, and oven conditions change. But the results from two seemingly similar bakes (which was my intention) ended up looking so remarkably different, in terms of the crumb structure, more than I can adequately explain.

What could be done differently to ensure consistency of results? Should dry yeast be added if I want to make the dough ahead, allow it rest in the refrigerator and bake later?

A complete write up can be found here:

Welcome any comments and suggestions.

Flour.ish.en's picture

Nothing beats the aroma of breads baking in the oven, especially in blistery cold winter days, when going out is an adventure to be avoided. Smell of these breads would surely bring excitement and anticipation in the kitchen. That's before you taste the breads. Another big flavor bread I like, besides the caramelized onion bread, is the carrot walnut bread from Jeffrey Hamelman. Moistened crumb and specks of carrot brighten any wintery day. What are your favorite aromatic breads? Feel free to weigh in on this.

Sweet smell of aromatic breads and winter. Perfect antidote!

carrot walnut bread

Flour.ish.en's picture

I don’t make white bread; I've made something worst: brioche made with all-purpose flour and butter. “Everything tastes better with butter.” There is no shame in that, for some occasional guilty pleasure.

The best part of making brioche is in the making. I’ve made four versions of brioche over the last few months:


• Tartine brioche with natural leaven 


• Tartine brioche with olive oil


• Nancy Silverton’s twice-baked brioche, a.k.a. bostock


• My own version of bostock (twice-baked brioche) with microwave brioche



For taste, you have to give it to the brioche made with natural levain. For fun, you have to like the 1-minute microwave version. The joy of discovery is like no other.

I like posting here on Freshloaf. You can sense the passion and enthusiasm of the Freshloaf bakers who generously share their experiences and tips on their bakes. I make bread for more reasons than putting it on the table. Breaking bread with others is just as compelling!




 Welcome your comments, suggestions or a fifth way to make brioche!

Flour.ish.en's picture

I made a ricotta and rosemary bread pudding by using some Tartine country loaves I've just made. What I did not expect was how the humble bread can be transformed into an elegant light meal that I thoroughly enjoyed. The dish was large enough to serve a small crowd. The bread that keeps on giving!

Happy Labor Day!

Flour.ish.en's picture

I got some fantastic ideas from several Fresh Loaf members (Alfonso, AbeNW11 and dabrownman) since my last post comparing Tartine vs. Forkish process. I’ve followed their recommendations and thoroughly embrace the approach of no discard of sourdough starter and levain. I’m sure my starter, which remains nameless, appreciates that it gets to stay in my refrigerator perpetually. In addition, I refresh the starter these days following the three-stage builds that Alfonso recommended, discarding a small amount in the second build to make it quicker. These are all great helpful solutions in managing and maintaining the sourdough starter. Less wasteful and more efficient. Thanks for all the tips! These are images of some breads that have come out of my oven lately. The porridge and sprouted breads are getting a lot of bake time as you can tell. Can’t be happier piling on more whole grains and nutrients in my bread!

Flour.ish.en's picture

This is the first time I bake any Ken Forkish’s bread. This is the first time I post on the Fresh Loaf blog, although I’ve read and learnt so much from a lot of the active participants here. Rightly or wrongly, I feel I can’t be a complete bread baker, among other things, if I’ve never tried Forkish’s recipes. I started baking a lot of Chad Robertson’s breads after I read his two books, Tartine Bread and Tartine Book No.3, a year ago.

At the same time, I got a new heavy-duty dual-fuel range that is wide enough to bake full size baguettes. Most of these breads were posted on my blog ( Overnight country blonde was the first I baked from Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast. I figure the best start is to bake something closest to what I am most familiar with,which is the Tartine basic country bread. I followed the overnight country blonde recipe to a T, except for the part that you are not supposed to score the dough, which I did.

There are a lot of similarities between Forkish and Tartine’s approach, but there are enough differences, e.g. in building the levain, the fermentation process and baking temperature. To keep track of what I was doing and understanding the unique approaches, I put all the steps side by side in a spreadsheet.

Here are the comparisons and my takeaway from having baked the overnight country blonde and many variations of the Tartine country bread.

  • Both Tartine basic country bread (Tartine) and Forkish country blonde (Forkish) are excellent. It'd be akin to hairsplitting if I say that one is better than the other.
  • Tartine and Forkish have similar hydration level of roughly 77-78% using 90% white flour in the total flour amount. 
  • While Tartine uses one tablespoon of starter to build 400g of levain, Forkish uses 100g to build 1000g, which results in a greater amount of levain being discarded. 
  • Salt and small amount of water are added to the Tartine dough (levain and all) after 30 minutes of resting period, at which point the dough is relaxed, cohesive and easy to work with. Meanwhile salt and all of the 216g of levain are incorporated into the autolyse mixture to make the final Forkish dough, which I find much wetter and stickier to handle.
  • Bulk fermentation is 3 to 4-hr at 80°-85°F for Tartine and 12 to 15-hr at 77°-78°F temperature for Forkish. The longer fermentation of Forkish dough necessitates baking the bread the next day, spanning a two-day process from the time you mix the dough.
  • The longer bulk fermentation of the Forkish dough imparts a much sourer note in the finished loaf.
  • The higher oven temperature in baking the Tartine dough often results in a thicker and burnished crust, especially on the bottom.

Now I need to integrate these approaches in order to make better breads in my own kitchen setting. I want to move away from baking from recipes and develop a more intuitive feel for my breads. Any suggestions from someone who has gone down this path before?


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