The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Recently, I'm reading Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread before sleep. His concept and method in bread baking are unique. I tried the Tartine Country loaf before reading his book, while I decide to try it again sticking to his procedure. 

Here's the recipe(I can't get good whole wheat flour here, so I replace it with whole rye flour).

1.Make the leaven. I fed my starter(4g) with 25g bread flour, 25g whole rye flour, 50g water. At 26C, it takes about five hours to pass the floating test.

2.Mix the dough. Mix all the ingredient except salt and 25g water. It's shaggy. Don't worry. Gluten will develop in later procedures.  Autolyse for 30 minute. Incorporate salt and the rest of water with the dough by hand. Transfer the dough into a plastic container.

3. Bulk fermentation. At 26C, it takes about four hour and the dough increases 20~30% in volume. Do stretch and fold every half an hour. I did 5 S&Fs. The dough is no longer shaggy but cohesive, which means good gluten development.

4. Shaping. Dough cutter is an useful tool in shaping this kind of wet dough. There's an useful shaping video  on youtube, which inspired me a lot.

Initial shaping:In this procedure, we want to incorporated as little flour as possible into the dough. Fold the side of dough onto itself so that the flour one the surface of the dough is sealed on the outside of the dough.The outer surface of the dough will be the crust, so we can use more flour to avoid sticking.

Bench rest: 30min.

Final shaping: Flip the dough so that the floured side is resting on the surface. Shape the dough like folding the envelope. Round the dough on the surface to achieve surface tension. The dough is soft and jiggling, so every movement needs to be gentle. Transfer it to the proofing basket.

5.Final proof. At 26C, it takes about 3~4 hours. At the end of this stage, I was too sleepy, so I popped it into the oven after only 3 hours. However, I think 4 hours might be better.

6.Baking. Preheat the dutch oven  40min before baking. It proves that dutch oven is the perfect device in baking this bread. It can restore heat and trap the moisture, and it's like a auto steam generator. Transfer the dough into the dutch oven and score the dough.(My scoring turns out to be awful.) Remember to wear oven mitts, otherwise it can burn your fingers. Pop it into the oven. Bake with the lid on for the first 15 minute. Take the lid out for the rest 25 minute.

There's a hugh oven spring inside the oven. And the cracking sound is the loudest I've ever heard, which owes to the dutch oven. This time, my loaf is no longer a flat bread. The volume increased a lot, comparing my last trial. The crumb is open, but still has room for improvement. I'm going to make them into some delicious sandwiches for my New Year's brunch.

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I got fascinated by panettone since I tasted my friend's homemade panettone. The aroma and texture is extraording. I decided to make my own panettone this year.  A friend of mine in U.S bought some beautiful panettone molds for me. I started my panettone journey this month. 

I got all the recipe from txfarmer's Chinese blog. Thanks txfarmer for sharing all precious tips and details in making panettone. Txfarmer's orginal blog from TFL: Igino Massari; Francesco Elmi.

Making panettone is like a marathon and really time-consuming. I try my best to arrange the baking schedule according to my daily life, so that I can get enough sleep.  Feeding sweet starter takes 48 hours, two stage fermentation takes about 20 hours or more. 

I try two different recipes, Igino Massari's and Francesco Elmi's(recipe link from Mwilson's Blog), candied orange peel+raisin or candied chestnut only.

Final proof:

After baking:

Crumb shot:

Igino Massari Version:

Francesco Elmi Version:





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Last night, I baked the sourdough seed bread. The recipe comes from "Bread: A baker's book of techniques and recipes". This bread contains a lot of seeds, including flaxseed, toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted sunflower seeds. Seeds match the sourdough bread quite well. The complex aroma is attractive. 

Here's the recipe. It's quite easy to make.

1.liquid levain build

2.Make the flaxseed soaker with cold water. Bake the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

3.mixing all the ingredients with KA mixer on second speed for 3~4minutes. Do two stretch and fold during the bulk fermentation, every 40 minutes interval. Bulk fermentation: 2.5hrs, 24~25C.

3. Preshape, then final shaping into boule. Final proof at room temperature, about 24~25C. The dough can also be retarded for 18 hrs at hours.

4.Baking: Preheat to 270C, with normal steam, for the first 15 minutes. Then reduce to 230C for 25~30 minutes.

Cumb shot:

I had a really busy weekend last week. Except for baking bread, I cooked some delicious food. I would like to share with you guys. 

Home made dumplings:

Crawfish cooked with beer: 

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I had a try on Tartine country bread on Friday night. I saw many videos on youtube about Tartine bread. And I'm curious about the tartine method, high hydration, long time fermentation, with little starter portion. The doughs in those videos are jiggling and the crumb is airy, which attracts me. So I decide to have a try.

Recipe adapted from txfarmer's chinese blog:


Starter 7.5g (mature)

whole wheat flour 50g(I replace 30g with whole rye flour)

bread flour 50g

water 100g

Temperature: 25C

1.mix all those ingredient above. When it passes the floating test, it's ready to use.

 Final dough(make 2 big loaf):

Levain 200g

bread flour 900g

whole wheat flour 100g(I replace 30g with whole rye flour)

water 750g

salt 20g

Temperature: 25C

Bulk fermentation: 5hours

Final proof: 3hours

1.mix all those ingredient by hands. It's a shaggy and sticky mass.

 2.S&F every half hour during the fermentation. Adapt the folding times according to the gluten development. I fold three times during the first two hours. (When I did the first fold, it was already 1:20am. I feel really sleepy. I planed to retard the dough after S&F. However, I'm too sleepy. Then I forgot to retard and fell asleep! ZZZZZzzzz. At about 6:20 am, I woke up. The dough seems to be over proofed. I felt a little bit upset and blamed myself for sleeping.)

3. I divided the dough then preshaped. Bench rest for 30minutes. Then final shaping. It's sticky, so I sifted some rice flour onto the work surface. Maybe too much rice flour, excessive rice flour can't be well incorporated into the dough. I used scraper and hands to shape.

4. Final proof: 3 hours. 

5.Preheat the oven and baking stone to 270C. Pop the dough in then turn the oven to 230C for 40minutes,with steam in the first 15minutes. 

My scoring and shaping technique needs to be improved. It's crunchy with moist crumb. The taste is sweet and not too sour. I love this bread!

I also find a problem that the crumb of the center is not as open as the outer part. How can I fix this problem?Thanks.



Some slice~

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