The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I followed Hotbake's lovely recipe with my own process and I also increased some of the amounts to get a larger loaf (in the future I'll probably make the loaf even bigger)


340g bread flour

30g whole wheat

20g rye

325g chai concentrate


60g honey

60g salt

80g starter



1. Mixed 26g starter/26g water/13g bread flour/13g whole wheat flour to make levain and let it sit for 4 hours at 85 degrees

2. Make the Chai concentrate

- 300g milk

- 100g water

- 1 cinnamon stick

-1 tbsp ground ginger

- 3 slices fresh ginger

-3 cardamom pods

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 English breakfast tea bags

-20g sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, black pepper

Put everything but the teabags together and bring to a simmer, turn off heat, add teabags and 60g honey, and cover for 1 hour

3. Autolyse the flour and chai concentrate for about 3 hours

4. Do 70 slap and folds, wait 30 minutes and do 40 slap and folds (incorporating chocolate chips and 1 tea bag), wait 30 minutes and do 10 slap and fold. Now do 3 sets of stretch and fold over the next 1.5 hours. Total bulk fermentation of 4 hours.


5. Preshape, wait 20 minutes and did final shaping and put in fridge overnight (7 hours)

6. 1 hour fermentation on counter in the AM

7. 25 minutes at 450 degrees with lid on (on parchment paper on cornmeal as per the recommendation) followed by 20 minutes without lid and with dutch oven on a baking sheet


ifs201's picture



I took inspiration from this fig and anise levain, but then swapped out the mix-ins and followed

my own process:



50g starter

58g water

100g flour (50/50 whole wheat and bread) 


Final dough

208g levain

787g bread flour

138g whole wheat flour

375g Mix of dried cranberry/golden raisin, apricot/walnut

15g fennel

712g water

50g schnapps used to soak dried fruit

20g sea salt



1. Cut up fruit and soak in 50g of peach schnapps. Toast the walnuts. 

2. Mix levain and let ferment for 4 hours at 85 degrees

3. Mix flour and water and let autolyse over the same 4 hour period

4. Use pincer method to combine the flour, salt, and levain

5. Do 70 slap and folds, wait 30 minutes and do 40 slap and folds (incorporating fruit and nuts at this point), wait 30 minutes and do 10 slap and fold. Now do 3 sets of stretch and fold over the next 1.5 hours. Total bulk fermentation of 4 hours.

6. Preshape, wait 20 minutes and did final shaping and put in fridge overnight (7 hours)

7. 1 hour fermentation on counter in the AM

8. 25 minute bake at 450 degrees followed by 15 minutes without steam 


ifs201's picture


I copied this recipe from Danni . Following her comments I increased the amount of cornmeal, but otherwise I pretty much followed exactly. My apartment was hot and humid (NYC summers!) so I reduced I lot of the fermentation times. 

at 7:30am I poured 220g of boiling water on 120g of coarse cornmeal and at the same time I built my levain of 33g starter, 33g rye, 66g whole wheat, and 66g cold water (my apartment was about 82 degrees). 

At noon I did an autolyse of all of the cornmeal soaker (about 340g) with 300g whole wheat and 700g bread flour and 560g water. This sat for 1 hour.

Given how hot my apartment was, at 12:30 (5 hours later) I mixed the dough adding the levain and 22g of salt. I did 70 slap and folds, waited 30 minutes, and did 40 slap and folds during which I incorporated the 150g of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I then transferred the dough to a container and did 3 stretch and folds over the next 1.5 hours. The bulk ferment was about 4.5 hours and the dough rose maybe 30-40%. 

I then pre-shaped the loaves and did a final shape 10 minutes later. Given how hot my apartment was, I was nervous about over-proofing. 

I then refrigerated the shaped dough for about 15 hours and baked right out of the fridge for 25 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. 

This is by far the best oven spring I've ever had. I was worried because the loaves hadn't risen much during the fermentation process. I am so excited to cut it open! 

ifs201's picture

I just tried my first recipe from Sourdough by Sarah Owens. I used the Sweet Potato Levain recipe and doubled it, but substituted canned pumpkin for sweet potato. The recipe used 300g leaven, 680g water, 360g pumpkin puree, 20g molasses, 900g bread flour, 240g whole wheat flour, 60g rye, and 24g sea salt.


At 10pm the night before the bake I built the levain.

At 6am the following morning I mixed the water, pumpkin, flours, and water with the starter and allowed to autolyse for 30 minutes. I then sprinkled salt on top and then did 70 slap and folds. I let rest for 30 minutes and then did 40 slap and folds. I then did 3 stretch and folds. I didn't touch it during the last hour of bulk ferment. The dough had almost doubled after 3.5 hours. 

I pre-shaped and then shaped the dough and put in the fridge for an 8-hour retarded  fermentation. I baked for 22 minutes with lid on and 17 minutes with lid off. I think I could have let the crust brown a bit more, but was worried about it catching because of the sugar in the dough. 

Tastes good, but a bit disappointed in the crumb. Decent oven spring. 


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For my second sourdough loaf I tried this awesome recipe:


I followed it pretty exactly, but added caramelized onions and 1/4 tsp instant yeast. I still want to work on getting a slightly better oven spring and more open crumb, but it tasted amazing! I'm still trying to figure out if I am over proofing, under proofing, or not developing the gluten enough.


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This was my first attempt at the FWSY 80% biga. As usual I made the dough using 25% whole wheat, I reduced the water temperature given the temperature of my apartment, and slightly reduced the proofing time. Given the lack of oven spring and tighter crumb structure, maybe I should reduce the proof time further? It tasted good, but definitely room for improvement. Is a good rule of thumbs for FWSY to end the bulk ferment when the dough is 2x the original volume? 

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I am a sucker for fruit breads and decided to try this one. I would highly recommend this recipe, but I had a real issue getting the fruit to be well-dispersed. All of the fruit seem to be on the very top of the loaf which was frustrating. I didn't have fresh yeast so I used 1/2 tsp of instant and then 1/3 cup of fed sourdough starter. I put 5g of starter in the overnight pre-ferment and the rest when I mixed the dough the next day. I decided to make 2 smaller loaves.


Makes: 1 large or 2 small loaves

For the pre-ferment
175g white bread flour
5g fresh yeast
125g water, at about 25°C

For the fruit and nut soaker
100g crystallized ginger, chopped
100g raisins or sultanas
100g dried cranberries
50g pitted dates, chopped
50g dried figs, quartered
100g almonds or Brazil nuts, chopped
50g / 3⅓ tbsp rum, brandy or fruit juice

For the dough
220g white bread flour
100g  butter, plus extra for greasing
70g dark brown sugar
100g lightly-beaten egg, (about 2 eggs)


Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together thoroughly, cover and leave in the refrigerator for about 12 hours overnight. Meanwhile, mix the soaker ingredients together in a bowl, substituting similar fruits, nuts and liquid if you wish, according to taste, allergies or simply what you have to hand. Leave this mixture at room temperature for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Mix the dough ingredients into the pre-ferment and knead until the sticky mixture becomes a soft, smooth and glossy dough. Cover and leave at room temperature for 2–3 hours. At this point you can give it a fold and leave it for another hour or so, but this isn’t essential.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle about 20x25cm. Spread the fruit and nut soaker over almost all the surface. Roll the dough up carefully, turn it through 90 degrees and gently roll it up again, taking care not to force the fruit through the surface. The aim is even distribution, but it is better to leave the dough a bit lumpy than to work it so much that you end up with a mess.

Grease the baking tin (or tins) with butter, shape the dough to fit and place it in the tin(s). Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doesn’t spring back instantly when gently pressed. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4.

Bake a large loaf for 45–60 minutes, smaller ones for about 30–40 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown.


ifs201's picture

I got a copy of FWSY a few weeks ago and this was my first attempt at making a levain. My previous 3 efforts all used biga or poolish pre-ferment. I stuck to the recipe, but reduced the proof times somewhat given recommendations on this site and the temperature of my apartment (about 82 degrees). I also used about 75 degree water instead of the 90 degrees recommended since my home was warm. I also reduced the amount of instant yeast from the recommended 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp and increased the amount of whole wheat flour to 20% of the total flour used. I am very happy with how these turned out for a first attempt using my starter! I think the crumb is pretty good, but should I have expected it to be more open? 


ifs201's picture

This was my second attempt at making bread. I replaced 20% of the four with whole wheat. I had trouble getting the bread to split naturally during the bake. 


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This was my first attempt at making bread

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