The Fresh Loaf

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Yesterday I did the 2nd part of my experiment to see how degree of proof affects the crumb. First part was done using 4 deg C  final proof – here is the link

Now part 2 is a repeat but using a warm over night proof.  Well, warm proof is a bit of a challenge – my proposal was to do it at about 8 deg C.  Forecast overnight temperature was to be 5 deg C, a bit cooler than planned, but inside I though ok, it will be a few degrees warmer.  So here goes.

Method and formula are exactly the same as part 1.  I added an extra 30 g water.  I only made enough dough to do 4 x 400 g loaves as I decided not to do the 120 minute bench proof.  I started 2 hours later in the day so that I would do the shaping and bench proof after dinner when temperatures were dropping. 

So 4 loaves preshaped (actually ended up at 450 g each)  and left for 30 minutes, final shape and bench rest for 0, 30, 60 & 90 minutes.  Kitchen temperature was 21 – 22 deg C throughout.  As I placed shaped dough into my conservatory the temperature was 12 deg C - at the start of the 0 bench proof @ 7:30 pm. By 9 pm it was 11 deg C, 10 pm it was 10 deg C, 2:30 am it was 8 deg C and at 6:15 this morning it was 6 – 7 deg C.  Outside it was a toasty 3.5 deg C!! 

Pre bake photos:

0 bench rest

30 minutes bench rest


60 minutes bench rest (is that overproof? Some degassing when I scored


90 minute bench rest (definite degassing when I scored.)


These were baked side by side in 2 DO at 240 deg C convection for 11 minutes lid on, 12 minutes lid off.  Internal temperature was 208 deg F at least at end.

First set of loaves – 0 bench rest & 30 minutes. Loaves have flattened, spread out a bit but not much in length. Oven spring, ok not too bad


Second set of loaves – 60 minutes & 90 minutes.  Definitely flatter. Loaves have spread lengthways and only a bit of oven spring. 

 I also made up a small batch (same formula) to see how different the oven spring/crumb would be if I did 60 & 90 minute bench proofs, with dough constrained in my small bannetons, then overnight retard in the fridge.  These loaves were 550 grams each.

60 minute bench proof, pre back



90 minutes bench proof, prebake

These are looking much better. They were baked 15 minutes lid on @ 240 deg C and 15 mins lid off.

Now if I compare to the warm proofed ones (the cold proof is about 100 g more dough but still..)

Wow! huge difference in oven spring

Now 90 minutes comparison.  warm proof is definitely flatter

I was sitting across the room and glanced at the kitchen, had to laugh as it is so obvious.

Crumb shots will come as we eat them.

Conclusion so far - don't think I like warm proof overnight, will stick to my cold overnight proof.  Just took the last of part 1 out of freezer (90 minutes) and when comparing size and shape of loaves there is not much difference.  I also realise that my choice of warm proof  spot was a bit dodgy - I don't have a proofer but this was a warmer proof than the fridge, even if the temperature was not ideal to start with, and that is probably why some overproofed, but it has shown me a few things.  Homebakers must often come up with a work around. 

Anyway, love your feedback on this and the other post.  The final crumb shot for part one will pop up shortly.


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Objective: To see how the length of bench proof after shaping (before retardation) impacts on crumb. 

 So here is my formula  & method for 2 kg dough (enough for 5 x 400g batards):

Levain:  Refreshed yesterday, final build overnight.
34 g starter + 20 g wheat bran + 160 g water  + 140 g flour 

Today 11 am:  Autolyse 45 minutes
662 g flour + 282 g wholewheat freshly ground + 26 g gluten + 654 g water

11.45 am add levain.  squished dough out and smeared levain over, dimpled it in and folded dough - a bit like laminating.  repeated the folding then did 100 SLAFs. dough came together nicely but I felt it needed a little more water, so after resting it for 5 minutes I patted it out, sprinkled the 20 g salt over it as well as another 20 g water. folded it all up again and did another 110 SLAFs. Dough felt really good and was no longer sticking to everything.  

After 30 minutes I did 5 coil folds, rested 30 minutes and repeated the coil folds.  At this point I got interrupted and the next coil fold was 45 minutes later.   the 4th & final set of coil folds were done 45 minutes later again

About an hour and a quarter later, dough was somewhere in the region of 30-50% risen, surface was domed and here were surface bubbles.  Divided the dough into 5 and preshaped each into an oblong and rolled it up. 

Rested 30 minutes before final shaping.  Decided to try Trevor’s “un named shaping” method which is nice and simple.  I tried to treat each loaf the same. 

These photos are all just before loaves retarded. The first loaf I shaped was left on bench post shaping for 120 minutes

The second loaf was left for 90 minutes

The third loaf for 60 minutes

The 4th loaf for 30 minutes

The 5th and final loaf was shaped and popped straight into the fridge.

All tucked up and ready for sleeping!

Tomorrow morning I will bake them one after the other.  I had hoped for 10 - 11 hour retard but things went really well so they will actually get 14 hours in the fridge before baking.  Fingers crossed that the fridge stays cold enough to hold them.  Just looking at them when I made the photos, I think 2 hours was too long and that 1 hour or even 1.5 hours would be better. 

Just had a quick look at one of loaves, so far so good and fridge temperature is nearly back to 4 degrees C. 

More photos and the actual bake tomorrow


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This is not my first baguette, but definitely the best effort.  Used Hamelman’s Baguette with poolish.  I have upped the hydration a bit to 72% and replaced a bit of flour with some soya flour 2% (after reading Abel’s comment I thought why not!) so here we go..
Last night mixed poolish and left overnight.  
156 g flour + 156 g water + 0.3 g instant yeast
Today: Mid morning poolish looking good, mixed final dough ingredients together and added poolish. 

301 g flour + 7 g gluten flour + 9 g soya flour + 9.5 g salt + 1.5g instant yeast.

100 SLAFs, rest for 5 minutes then another 110 SAFs.  Dough was very soft and didn’t feel really smooth until second batch of SLAFs. Final dough temperature 25°C, room temperature  about 22 - 23°c. 

Although Hamelman says do 1 fold after an hour, I decided to do 3 x coil folds 30 minutes apart. I kept to the 2 hour BF though. Dough was definitely poofy and risen.  

So I tipped dough out and divided into 3, supposedly each 275 g  - don’t know where it went but 3 dough balls were only 260 g each! Did a sort of preshape and rested only about 10 minutes.  Final shaping was a bit hit and miss. I wanted to have a quick look at SFBI video but wouldn’t you know it, the internet went down!!! Anyway tried to remember. I think I should have rested dough longer but got there in the end.  Used my couche, covered with wet towel and left to proof.  At the 1 hour mark, I popped the dough in the fridge as I wanted it a bit cooler for scoring.  After about 20 minutes I checked with finger poke which indicated the dough was ready.  Baked 20 minutes with steam at about 430°F.

I know they aren’t perfect but I am reasonably happy with them. The scores didn’t open properly and as you can see, the middle one had a blowout instead.  It’s funny, since doing SLAFs (200 approx) I find I am having much much less trouble with shaping - dough is definitely easier to handle and less sticky.

Next time - same formula I think (baguettes are light as anything), tighter preshape and definitely longer and retard dough longer so scoring is easier.

Will post crumb shot once I cut one, maybe tomorrow.


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I am still jet lagged after 2 longhaul flights but we were running out of bread.  so over the weekend I dug my starter out of the refridgerator, refreshed it and then built enough 100% hydration levain for 2 loaves.  I used some bran left over from earlier bakes as well.  My brain isn’t yet upto much so I stuck with the 1:2:3 formula making 1 all white loaf and 1 loaf with 25% rye.  

After 30 minute autolyse I added levain to the rye dough, mixed it a bit then did 100 SLAFs. Dough was quite sticky but came together well enough. At this point I left it to rest and repeated the process on the white dough.  The white dough was very soft but easy to work with. 

Now I went back to the rye dough, added salt with about a tspn extra water and did another 100-110 SLAFs.  Dough much better now, not so sticky and the little extra water helped with the texture.  Left to rest while I repeated the process with the white dough but did not need to add any further water.  

During bulk ferment I did 4 sets of coil folds 30 minutes apart then left dough to did it’s thing.  Once dough was looking a bit poofy, I decided I had to risk it as the jet lag was kicking in again so I preshapped and bench rested for 30 minutes. I tried extra hard with shaping - trying for good structure so dough would hold it shape. Planned on bench rest of at least and hour after shaping but at 45 minutes I hit the wall and needed to go to bed.  so popped both lots into he fridge and baked them early this morning. Preheated oven to 250°C but turned it down to 225° C with convection, 15 mins lid on DO and 15 mins lid off.   Really happy how they came out of the oven.  Cut one for lunch too.

Crumb shot. left hand one is 25% rye.

Happy with the crumb on both. Yes they were both simple loaves but I paid extra attention to several things.

 Maturity of levain - not sure if I understood this right, will reread but the overal levain weight had dropped by 2 grams and it certainly looked good to use.

The number of slap and folds. Last bake I did 300 SLAPs  but felt it was too many so dropped back. I think it is better this time.

Timing of salt addition. Normally I would add salt when I add the levain. This time I did it i. the middle of the SLAPs and I could see the dough tightening up.

Shaping - really keen to get good volume and height and minimize spreading. The white in particular had come out well with nice rounded shoulders. The rye one a little flatter but not too bad.

Final proof - my fridge is colder these days and I think fermentation is slowing a bit to fast. I think the bench rest after shaping before retarding is helping.

So still much to think about, but overall this was a good bake.  It is sooo good to bake again.

Bake happy everyone.




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Today was my traditional day out in Zurich with some of my sistersin law. Stadelhofen is where we meetup and luckily both bakeries I wished to visit were within a short distance of each other.  Kat suggested John  Baker and what an amazing shop. Tucked away in a little side street. would love to have been able to actually talk with bakers but they were very busy.  

The bread is made from organic flours and the flour bags are stacked up in the shop! locals can even have their bread delivered by bicycle!  they make 11 different breads and the baguettes looked gorgeous. Dinner tonight we will cut our loaf - ruchbrot!

here is pic of the bike trailers they use for deliveries etc


Then I had to follow up on  kendalm’s suggestion of Luxemburgerli from Sprüngli (it was raining and this shop is right beside the tram station so I couldn’t get a better shot!)


Inside I was confronted with this! 11 different flavours to choose from.....


they are not cheap but oh wow, just divine - our treat for the day - I think I have gone to heaven!!

Next Wednesday we head home and I am looking forward to baking again.  there have been so many interesting posts here - I can’t wait to try some of the ideas.


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I decided to repeat my last weekend yeast water/sourdough levain bake.  I had run out of the flour I prefer to used my second choice.  The dough was really wet, although the gluten development was good, it was a really soft dough and I was happy how it baked up.

This weekend I decided to use 50% of that same flour and 50% of my normal flour.  I checked the formula and now see that yes it is a really wet dough!!  50% water (Bakers percent) and 30% yeast water!!!  

Friday night late I made the levain: 9g starter + 42 g flour + 42 g water and left it overnight.  

Also mixed up a yeast water poolish: 60 g flour + 60 g active yeast water.  Left this on bench overnight as well.

Saturday: As I was keeping the microwave at 80 deg F for Maurizio's 50:50 ww bake, I put both levain and poolish in there for a while as both were a bit sluggish.

13:15 autolyse 196g flour mix + 107 g water and 30 g yeast water.

13:40 Add levain and yeast water poolish and mix.  200 slap and folds.  dough has come together beautifully! even though it was wet (but not as wet as last weekend's dough).  Oh darn I have forgotten the salt!  Added salt and did another 30 slap and folds.  

This was followed by 4 sets of 5 coil folds every 30 minutes then left to BF. 

17:00 I suddenly realised it had increased  about 80% so preshaped, rested 20 minutes then shaped and retarded overnight.

Baked this morning in DO preheated to 250 deg C - 15 minutes lid on (dropped temperature to 230 deg C convection)  then 15 minutes lid off.

Blown away by the bloom and oven spring in this 550 g loaf!! 

Crumb shot later, but so excited that I got such a good bake with a high hydration dough!  the loaf is super light too so I can hardly wait to see the crumb. 

I have to rethink soooo much!  


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This bake was quite a change in method for me.  Normally I mix, bulk ferment and shape during the day, cold retard overnight and bake first thing in the morning.  This time I started late in the day. 

I had some levain left from another bake so just added a bit more flour, some bran and left it to mature.  My formula was a simple white 74% hydration sourdough with 8% prefremented flour.  I made 2 loaves, 1 with a pinch of ascorbic acid (to see if it made a difference) and 1 standard.  This was just something to try after DanAyo had brought this topic up recently.  The loaves were both 550 g. both loaves treated exactly the same.

5:30 pm Mix flour and water for a 1 hour autolyse, Ascorbic acid treated dough felt very wet and I worried a bit.

6:30 pm added salt and levain, gently dimpled levain and did a few stretch and folds followed by 80 slap and folds (I am still working on getting good strength in my doughs).  

7 pm 15 stretch and folds in the bowl followed by 4 of Trevor's coil folds. This was repeated 3 more times and just before 9 pm I placed dough in covered bowls in my conservatory with windows cracked open. Overnight temperature was forecast to be 10 - 11 deg C and I kept my fingers crossed that the bulk ferment would hold till this morning.  Both doughs were very soft but had come together well.

8:15 am this morning I preshaped dough, rested 15 minutes then shaped.  the ascorbic acid treated dough felt and looked a little puffier.  The dough was proofed for about an hour and a half only.  The heating was on in the house so room temperature was probably about 21 deg C,  I prefer scoring cold dough so this was a bit of a challenge and it looked quite flat as it went into the oven.  Standard bake 15 mins lid on in DO and 15 mins lid off at about (230 deg C) 475 deg F.

Left hand loaf is treated with ascorbic acid. 

Ok, they look good, sprang very well in the oven.  Not a great deal between the two in fact.

Late afternoon I cut the loaves to slice and freeze and got quite a surprise.

Top slice is the standard bake, the lower slice is from the Ascorbic acid treated dough.  I am a happy camper. Didn't set out to achieve this but will definitely attempt this again.  Not sure if it was the long long bulk ferment at relatively cool temperatures or the slap and folds or something else all together.  No retardation either.  I don't make many straight white breads anymore and while I don't always want a crumb like this, it is really fun to have achieved it.  

Earlier in the morning I had baked 2 loaves of Trevor Wilson's European Peasant bread a l Danni3113.  I remembered to fix the levain % and this too turned out really well.  I won't write out method etc it is a repeat of an earlier bake.


Must admit this is a very nice bread indeed.  I mucked up the actual weights of the differing grains but I think I got it about right in the end.  It didn't matter, it tastes wonderful and we really had to hold back at lunchtime.

I think I need a rest now, I have "baked up a storm" over the last few days but we have an interesting selection in the freezer.

happy baking everyone


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My planned Solstice bake has not eventuated, it may still in a few days time.  Still this bake started on 20th, and finished today.  My very first 100% Rye bread - Madelaine Jude's Danish Rugbrod.  Here in NZ,  it is the winter solstice so maybe it is fitting.

20th June

9 am - 20 g Rye starter + 20 g water + 20 g rye flour leave on bench

8 pm Add 60 g water + 60 g rye flour and leave overnight

21st June 

8 am Add 60 g water + 60 g rye flour and leave on bench.  Cover 125 g whole rye berrieswith boiling water and leave to soak.

11:15 am Mill 65 g chocolate malted grain (I think it is probably barley, it should have been rye but that is all I could get) on the coarsest setting on my Mockmill.  It had a few chunks but milled quite fine and quite easily. 

Add 55 g boiling water to 62 g choc malted grain + 63 g kibbled rye, cover and leave.  It was like a very thick paste but almost crumbly.  Smelt like dark dark coffee.

7 pm Cook the soaking grains for about 12 minutes until tender but had to add a little water. Cover and leave.

Mix the final levain - Add 80 g water and 80 g rye flour and leave on bench overnight.

22nd June

9 am Mix together 150 g rye flour + 400 g levain + 15 g malt extract + the rye berries/kibbled malted grain mix (about 175 g).  This was such hard work, no way was it wet enough.  Double check recipe.  No additional water.  I decided to keep adding water until it became as author said  "stiff dropping consistency" - this took about an additional 140 g. By this time I am exhausted!! really really difficult to mix by hand - all I wanted to do was have a lie down!!

Here is dough just before I put it in the pan.

No salt?? double checked but no salt, ok.  Transfer to metal bread form, smooth top with wet spatula

and leave to double. It took 4 hours even though kitchen was probably at about 20 - 21 deg C.

Covered and tented bread form with foil and baked for 30 minutes at 220 deg C and 30 minutes at 180 deg C.  Internal temperature was only 170 deg F so I put it back for  another 30 minutes but uncovered. Internal temperature now 208 deg F so all good.

I will follow instructions and wrap bread and leave it for 2 days before slicing.  This was on my husband's wish list as he had spent some time in Denmark as a young man and wanted me to replicate the bread.  Time will tell if this is a true replication to the Danish bread he remembers.

It was quite a different bake for me, will post crumb once we cut it.






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I loved the look of Ru's seeded SD so decided to have a go.  I made the exact quantity that she did but because I couldn't find any black sesame seeds I used black chia seeds instead.  

I refreshed my rye starter that sulks in the fridge without being wanted for weeks on end.  Wednesday at 8:30 am I mixed together

20 g starter + 40 g water + 38 g rye (all I had in the pantry)  and left at RT.

15:30 pm added 13 g water + 13 g rye flour and left to mature.  

10 pm mixed the levain as per recipe: 20 g starter + 36 g water + 46 g rye flour.  RT was 22 deg C but it dropped overnight.

Next morning:

8:30 toasted seeds separately, ground the flax seed. I added 100 ml boiling water to seed mix ( 17g chia + 42 g sesame seed + 25 g flax seed), covered and left.

11 am.  Autolyse - 279 g flour + 6 g spelt (left over from another bake) + 73 g wholewheat flour + 4 g gluten flour + 234 g wter

13:30 pm.  Added the seed soaker and did a few stretch and folds to roughly mix into dough. then added  101 g of levain and did a few stretch and folds until incorporated.  Instead of sets of stretch and folds I decided to do 150 slap and folds before adding the salt and doing a few initial stretch and folds then about another 10 slap and folds.  Dough felt good 

2:45 pm about 6 coil folds (a la Trevor Wilson) then left for 45 minutes.  Repeated this 2 more times before leaving to bulk ferment.

17:30 pm preshaped and left for 15 minutes. Final shaping went well, dough was poofy but easy to manage.  I placed it in a banneton and then in my conservatory (temperatures were quite cool) to 2 hour proof before retarding overnight.  No seeds on outside as hubby prefers it that way.

Baked at 240 deg C for 15 mins lid on 15 minutes lid off at 230 deg C. 

We were going away for the weekend so wrapped and took with us about 11 am.  Crumb shot - taken on Saturday when I cut the loaf.

Crumb is moist and this is a very delicious loaf. 

2nd bake of the day was  my version of Fieldblend #2

My standard white starter was refreshed on Wednesday - 10 g + 20 g water + 30 g flour and left until mid afternoon

I took 15 g of this and added 15 g water + 15 g flour and left.

10 pm mixed 16 g starter + 21g mixed rye & wholewheat bran + 83 g flour + 85 g water and left overnight

11:30 am  Autolyse - mixed 287 g flour + 10 g wholewheat + 115 g rye + 5 g gluten + 271 g water (I held back an additional 45 g water)

1 pm Added 10.4 g salt and 205 g levain and did about 100 slap and folds adding back 30 g more water.  

13:45 pm coil folds. This was repeated 2 more times before dough left to bulk ferment.

4:50 pm dough has probably increased 70% so preshaped, rested and at 17:05 shaped and left on bench to start final proof.  At 5:55 pm it was placed in fridge as I had to go out. 

Next morning baked the same time as Ru's seeded loaf. It is a little bigger than the seeded loaf. 

Crumb shot

This bake day I have concentrated on trying to make sure I have good dough strength so have gone back to slap and folds.  Normally I don't do so many so was keen to see the difference.  Also to try out Trevor's coil folds and see what effect that had.

Both doughs were easy to work with.  Partly I think because I am not allowing BF to go so long and partly better gluten development.  Still some way to go I think but not too bad.  I would like more height in the loaves and I think other scoring patterns would help this.    Mind you, Trevor seems to be able to get incredible height even when he does a single score so that is why I think I still have a way to go.

Ru"s recipe is really great and next time I will try to find some black sesame and see what difference it makes.  I did add more liquid because of the chia (100 g instead of 55 g as chia can soak up to 5 x its weight if I remember correctly) so hydration will be a bit higher.  When I added the soaker it had absorbed pretty much all the liquid  but it did add a little to the dough.  We cut the loaf the day after (Saturday) and then finished it on Sunday and it was still moist and soft. 

My Field blend #2 version is a great everyday formula but I would like the crumb to open up a bit.  I didn't add the little bit of yeast that Ken Forkish does in his book, but will next time will try final proofing a bit longer on the bench before retarding (it is working for Dan!!) which means I will need to plan to start mixing the dough earlier in the day.   I would like to give it a bit more "omph!"  too next time but not sure what I will try for this - adding kibbled rye (textural effect) maybe a little carraway? maybe something out of left field.....

But pretty happy with how it went. 



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It was absolutely bucketing down and as we had been warned of the approaching storm I decided to make yesterday a bake day.  Refreshed Yeast water and levain on Saturday and made initial builds of levain and left overnight.  It is winter and so things are moving a bit slowly.

First off the rank was a repeat of Abe’s Swiss Farmhouse bread.  I followed the recipe here

pretty much so won’t repeat the whole method.  The changes I made were to use a mix of pecan and brazil nuts as I didn’t have enough pecan nuts and the bazil nuts needed to be eaten.

 The other change was instead of mixing gently by hand, I actually did 150 slap and folds to incorporate everything except nuts and raisins.  Once I felt I had enough gluten development I patted the dough out and spread nuts and raisins over it and continued with gentle stretch and folds until they were mixed in thoroughly.  Only one stretch and fold after about an hour.  Baked the loaves late afternoon.  Dough was easy to work with, shaped well and I think baked up beautifully. Here is the Crumb shot


Just before lunch I mixed up the flours and water for a 2nd try of Ru’s Toasted Oat sourdough.  I wanted to see if I needed as much water as last time.  I added all of the water as I went and the dough just sucked it up.  I ended up adding another 30 gms so hydration was actually more like 100%!!    My method was the same as here

I shaped the easy to manage dough, put it in the banneton seam side down (first time ever!) and gave it a bench rest of 1 hour before retarding overnight.  This morning I baked as usual.  The seam opened up and seems to have created a bit of a hole in the centre, probably poor shaping on my part.  I think I prefer the way a score opens on a batard so don’t think I will do this again.

 Crumb shot

Lastly I made Teresa Greenway’s Potato water Blister Crust sourdough BUT I found a little kamut in the fridge left over from another bake.  I substituted this small amount for 1.55% bread flour.  The dough certainly felt different – a bit more grainy, but by the time I had finished bulk ferment all the liquid was absorbed and dough was quite poofy.  I made 3 x 550 g loaves, retarded overnight and baked this morning.  I wanted to try different scoring patterns so each was scored differently.  They baked up really well and I was happy with oven spring.


The crumb is not at all what I expected.  But it is slightly yellow from the very small amount of kamut, the texture is fine and soft and although I haven’t tried it yet, a friend to whom I gave one loaf said it was delicious!

this one inspired by isand66"s lovely scoring patterns!



The crumb is not at all what I expected.  But it is slightly yellow from the very small amount of kamut, the texture is fine and soft and although I haven’t tried it yet, a friend to whom I gave one loaf said it was delicious!



So a busy day, a really good bake and we had thunder, lightening, rain (142 mm in 24 hours) but although we are expecting more rain tonight, it has been quieter! Thank heavens.  



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