The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Light Rye, Caraway, and Emulsified Raisin
Yeast Water Loaf

 Updated: 110615-1100 Added Summary Table of the 3 loaves at the very end of this blog

For the initial two loaves,
see these link:s:

  This loaf combined light rye flour and caraway seed with emulsified raisins in the Raisin Yeast Water (RYW). I also made the overall development come very close to the initial loaf's 105 hour development timing, about 106 hours. However, rather than a 45+ hours final dough retard the major retardation was done with the Build-#3 of the 3-build RYW Levain.

  This loaf, was baked primarily to test two points: Firstly, was the prolonged final rise a result of the newness of the culture in the initial loaf's levain, or was it the extended retardation periods that most caused the slower final rise?  Secondly, how well would the emulsified RYW flavors work when combined with rye flour (and caraway seed, of course) ?

  Oven spring was comparable to both previous emulsified RYW loaves, as was the darkness of crust - although, the longer development loaves (this and the first) may have a slightly darker crust, but if so, it is marginally so.
  The two longer development loaves also did develop a more full bodied flavor, but even the short development loaf (second loaf) had an above average flavor – at least in my opinion. 

   The first and (this) last loaf had development times of 105 and 106 hours, respectively, from start of Build-#1 of the 3-build levain to the dough entering the oven, while the second shorter development loaf was developed over 28½ hours. The long cycled loaves took 10 and 9 hours respectively for final rise, while the short cycle only took 6¼ hours for final rise. Thus, I conclude that the culture's age had little, or nothing to do with the longer rise time, and that extended retardation, be it in the levain builds, or in the final dough, caused the observed increase in final rise's time that were observed.

   The crumb texture, moistness, and flavor of this final loaf were judged by me to be very good. The Rye and Caraway certainly did nothing to decrease my pleasure with the loaf.

   When I next make this combination, I will likely increase the percentage of rye flour and maintain the caraway seed at the 2 B% used here.

   These next links are to 3 baking logs in PDF format for this loaf, the initial loaf, and the previous 'replication' loaf.

loaf's baking log at
Google Docs link:

478g [Photos]_110623-14305 .pdf -

previous 'replication' loaf's baking log at
Google Docs link:

478g[Photos]_110619-1200 .pdf -

initial loaf's baking log
at Google Docs link:

[Photos]_110615-1540 .pdf -

Update - Added Summary Table of the 3 loaves below:

The above table, without a doubt, will have time entry errors of a few percent, but then I would hate being perfect ROFL





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Replication Bake of Emulsified Raisin
Yeast Water Loaf


For the initial loaf, see


   In the initial baking of a loaf using emulsified raisins in the Raisin Yeast Water (RYW),
the loaf's crust came out a very dark mahogany color.  The final rise took 10 hours, which was longer than my normal nominal 6 hour rise times. The flour used was 60% APF and 40% B/F, and the loaf volume was excellent. Loaf taste was a very pleasant, full bodied flavor without noticeable sweetness, nor raisin flavor, nor any trace of sour tang.

   The previous loaf was developed over 105 hours from the start of the first of 3-levain builds, until the dough was placed in the oven. Also, the RYW culture was only 48 hours at the start of the levain builds.

   In an attempt to get a better idea of how important the initial methods and ingredients were to the initial loaf’s resulting characteristics, this, 'replication' was made. The construction was was the same, however, the timing was shortened from 105 hours down to 28½ hours. The 40% B/F was replaced with APF. Also, the RYW culture was 7 day more mature at the start of these levain builds.

   I specifically wanted to compare four points: 1/ Crust color; 2/ final rise time; 3/ loaf volume; and 4/ loaf flavor.

   The loaf was perhaps very slightly lighter, but not to any significant degree. This leads me to believe the most significant factor in developing the crust color was the additional sugars introduced by inclusion of the emulsified raisin particles in the RYW levain.

   The final rise time was 6¼ hours for this loaf. This is well with in the minor variations around the nominal 6 hour times I normally expect. So, the added maturity of the RYW culture &or the shorter total development times would seem to account for the initial loaf's long final rise. To decide the role of the longer development time, I have another loaf undergoing an extended development with the last of the RYW culture.

   The physical characteristics of the crumb were fully comparable to those of the previous loaf. However, I felt that the very impressive full bodied flavor had suffered some from the shortening of the retardation of the final dough.  That portion of the initial loaf's development was 45½ hours, whereas, this loaf development gave 10¼ hours to the final dough's retardation  This loaf has a very nice flavor, but I do feel it does not fully match the full bodied quality the initial loaf had.

are the links to my baking logs in PDF formate for both the initial loaf, and this 'replication' loaf.


loaf's baking log at Google Docs link:

478g[Photos]_110619-1200 .pdf -


initial loaf's baking log at Google Docs link:

[Photos]_110615-1540 .pdf -



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Emulsified Raisin Yeast Water Loaf

          Creature in the crumb
   It is not uncommon when using a Yeast Water (YW) to strain out the food portion (vegetable, herb, or fruit) and use only the clear water portion of the culture. When the culture is fed with raisins (Raisin YW, or just RYW) the raisins tend to become empty skins after a few days. Before that, the raisins go through a transition from simple raisin into an alcoholic tasting fruit and as the WBBs consume the insides of the raisins, finally into the empty skins.   Around the second or third day, the raisins make a fine treat to use in raisin bread, or salads, etc. However, by the time that only the skins are left, all the taste that is left is a bitterness of the skin. Thus, if the raisins go through the full cycle, one is left with just another form of discard, and basically a worthless one to strain from the balance of the RYW.   In this test loaf, I tried using everything, but not as any "raisin bread" one would recognize from that name - in taste, nor appearance.    I started a fresh RYW culture, using organic raisins, water, and a jump-start from my stock Apple YW. After 24 hours, I totally emulsified the soften raisins. At 48 hours I used 15g of this very active Raisin YW (RYW) plus 15g KAAP to start Build-#1 of a 3-build RYW levain at 100%HL (hydration Level). Builds #2 & #3 followed and resulted in a total levain of the desired 354g of RYW levain.    The levain was combined with 118g of bread flour and 2% fine sea salt. Kneaded until a satisfactory windowpane was obtained, and then retarded for just over 45 hours.   After the retardation, the dough was removed from the fridge, allowed to warm up for an hour, and then, shaped in a simple log form and placed in my standard A7½ (7.500” x 3.750” x 2.250”) buttered bread pan. Covered and placed in a proof box at 82ºF ( 27.8º C) for the 10 hour final rise.    The dough top, was scored from each end to make two 80% parallel scores. Place in TP Dutch Oven & 1 cup of boiling water poured on the floor of the DO. DO lid added at once. The cold oven stones removed. The DO placed at the lowest position, and the oven set to the max - 450ºF ( 232º C) for the first 20 minutes of baking.   After 20 minutes, the DO cover was removed The oven was reset to 400ºF ( 204º C), and the door of the oven was cracked open 1/2” (12 mm).  After a total of 45 minutes the loaf        was removed and cooled on a wire rack for about 2 hours before cutting.   I found the variation in the color in the sliced loaf surprising.  I have seen this in other loaves, but not where I knew first hand that the kneading had been over 20 minutes on a Kitchen Aid hook at fourth speed. From the uniformity of the crumb, there can also be no doubt that the levain was well distributed through the dough. Since the total coloration came from the levain, I am left to speculate that the lighter portions of the crumb were colored primarily from the water portion of the levain and the darker areas are the larger raisin portions that were less capable of physical migration through the flour in the final dough mix.   In any event, I fancied I could see a creature in the crumb.  In order that you might more easily see what I refer to, at the lower right hand portion of the next image, I inserted a small marked up copy exaggerating the creature's position.   A copy of my baking log is available on Google Docs using this Link:Z-110614-10_RYW_478g [Photos]_110615-1540 .pdf -
  The crumb was softer than would be the case with SD. It also was less open than the last several loaves, excluding the Pullman enriched loaves. It looks as if it were a 30% rye, and could be mistaken in a photo – IMHO.  The flavor is distinctly NOT like, SD, App.YW, Apr.YW, Potato YW, and despite the very dark crust, it is not sweet to my sense of taste.  I believe that the tartness of the emulsified raisin skin, contained in the levain, somewhat offset the sweetness that a strained RYW has.  As fully expected, there was no tang to the flavor, but a very full flavor that seemed more of a wheat than raisin. Indeed, there was no trace of any identifiable raisin flavor. I thought it a very pleasant flavor that might go well in combination with rye, which might be well worth testing.Ron
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Sourdough, and Yeast Water Combinations  From Sour to Sweet and Way Back Again
Previously, I posted details on the loaf I use as a 'standard', for purposes of testing. Link:A Standard KISS Loaf, or Keep It Simple Smiley The Fresh Loaf
In that post, I gave a table for three basic types of loaf - White Sourdough [WSD], Yeast Water Levain [YW], Sourdough & Yeast Water Hybrid [SD&YW].These three basic types were shown with there formulae given in two batch sizes, 680g and my 'standard' 478g
In this post, I provide photos of these 3 types, as baked in my standard nominal 478 gram size. At the end is a fourth type loaf, which I will simply call "Aged-SD". The four loaves generated a range of flavors, "nice tang", "fruit and sweet", "sweet with a mild tang", and finally "Strong tang with sweet overtones".

The first images are of the "Straight Sourdough" loaf.  It gave a very nice, mild SD tang to the loaf.

This second set of images is from a totally Apricot YW loaf.There was no sign of any SD tang, nor any apricot flavor, however, there was a very nice flavor with a fruit-like sweetness, and the slightest hint of the type of "tang-like" taste one might detect in an apricot itself.  

This third loaf was a combination of the same sourdough culture used in the first loaf, and the apricot yeast water culture use in the second loaf.

I found the flavor was all I hoped for, a lovely blend of the sourdough tang and sweet, fragrance of the fruit with a slightly different tang from the Apricot YW.

This forth, and final loaf offers a flavor, not unlike the third loaf, but with a "jacked up" sourness. The "Aged-SD", is explained in the PDF copy of my baking log's detail comments, which you can access from Google Docs at the following link:Y-110610-07_Aged-SD+SD&AprYW_478 [Photos]_110611-1115.pdf -

Extremely good oven spring. Of course, the final rise went 6 hours + 45 minutes, and it was 40% bread flour in the dough. Nonetheless, the 11% levain, which was this first testing of Aged-SD surly didn't cut into the levain's ability to leaven this loaf. The top of crust was strong and very chewy. If you like a good good tang with note of apricot tang, but without identifiable fruitiness and a soft touch of sweetness, then, you would like the loaf's flavor. Crumb was more open than my recent enriched sandwich breads, but still more than tight enough to be an excellent sandwich and toast loaf.   The levain method of adding Aged-SD most definitely accomplished my desired objective of combining SD and YW merits into a Hybrid Sour Sweet and Sour loaf.

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Apricot Yeast Water Pullman Loaf

Previously, I posted a short Pullman loaf leavened with Potato Yeast Water (PYW). Link:

In that post, I concluded that “Although, I found PYW worked well, and made a good loaf, I decided that the making of the levain, and creating another YW seems unjustified just to introduce potato flakes and sugar into a loaf.” In this post, I simplified the process by introducing the sugar and potato flakes in the Final Dough, and used a strong Apricot Yeast Water (AYW) culture as very nearly the total water used in the loaf. The only other water was the approximate 3.8g contained in the unsalted butter used.

The formula above provides the Baker's Percentages of the ingredients, as well as the weight of ingredients actually used for the reduced sized Pullman pan, which only required 482g of dough. The percent hydration level was about 62.2%HL.

A fuller account of the formula, Apricot YW (AYW) 2-stage levain builds, method, and observations can also be found in a PDF of my baking log at this link:

D-b_110529_Apricot YW Pullman 482g_[Photos]_110602-1635 .pdf -

Actually, a 3-Build Levain had been planned, but in a hectic kitchen moment, I started the Final Dough with only the first two levain builds. Fortunately, I caught my error in time to simply add the remaining 100g of AYW and 100g of AP flour into the Final Dough mix and all worked well.

The short Pullman loaf measured (5-5/8” x 4” x 4”)/(14.3 cm x 10.2 cm) and the 482g batch size managed to fill the pan with a 9 hour rise at 82ºF ( 27.8º C) . For additional details, see the notes in the above mentioned PDF.

The crumb texture was soft, but firm, moist and quite flavorful, with a very pleasant fragrance, however, there was no discernible taste of apricot that I could detect.

It worked very well as both a sandwich bread and for excellent toast.

It has survived three and one half days, as of this writing (I had a loaf in front of it to eat, too). I just had another sandwich made from it and it seems as moist and fresh as it did when first cut. The flavor enhancement resulting from the Apricot YW, rather than just the Potato YW used in some previous loaves, is a fine improvement of the formula. I do think, however, that I will do the Build-#3 as a levain build on the next loaf, rather than mixing the 100g of AYW and AP flour in the final dough. On the other hand, this accident demonstrated that a great loaf can be made this way, as well.


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Potato Yeast Water Pullman Loaf

Long before I had every heard the name 'Yeast Water', I actually had made a culture and had maintained it for months. In fact, I used a 1/4 tsp of the Potato Yeast Water (PYW) to jump-start my first Apple Yeast Water (AYW) culture. Link:

I had come across a YouTube video called a 'Potato Sourdough Starter' and I was curious. I grew it, but never tried the loaf that was given in the same series of videos, they simply had too much sugar for me to even want to try. Link:

Months later, after becoming involved with other Yeast Water (YW) I dumped the PYW for need of space and lack of usefulness. But, a little while back I thought I would close the loop and use AYW to jump-start and small test culture of PYW.

At this same time, I wanted to do a test loaf in my crazy attempt to make a Pullman pan shorter. I decided that I could use the excessive sugar called for in the PYW culture as part of a test sandwich loaf. I did just that, and both the Pullman 'Shorty' idea and the loaf work well. Link:

When Build-#1 was combined with the ingredients in Build-#2 all the sugar really set off a rapid rise in the levain. The rise was not above normal in the final dough. That seemed to confirm that it had to be the sugar that made the rapid growth. I further confirmed later,  in a second loaf, that was pure PYW –which also confirmed the AYW from the jump-start was uninvolved, as well.

The Potato Yeast Water 'Shorty' Pullman (5-5/8” x 4” x 4”)/(14.3 cm x 10.2 cm) made a pretty little loaf.

The softness of the bread can clearly be seen in the bending of the 2 slices against the balance of the loaf.

The crumb had a taste that was pleasant, moist, and with no trace of either sour or potato. It had a very good shelf life extending over the limited 'test period' of a bit over 3 days. As a toast, it was above average.

Although, I found PYW worked well, and made a good loaf, I decided that the making of the levain, and creating another YW seems unjustified just to introduce potato flakes and sugar into a loaf. Yesterday I tested an alternative made with Apricot YW that was, at least equal – if not better, in qualities and certainly simpler in the levain builds. But that is for another posting.

Additional information can be found in the form of loaf-log in PDF format on Google Docs. Link:


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Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf  [Update:110530-1000] 

   If you are unfamilar with Yeast Waters, and wild yeast, you may wish to view

Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math)

This was my first chance to test Apricot Yeast Water. I have intend to for a while, but wanted to wait for fresh fruit to be available. I did find some this week and started a culture with 3 of the small fresh apricots, jump-started the culture with a bit of my Apple YW.

I have heard that the dark dried apricots make a very strong levain – the more common dried fruit that are a yellowish orange have been treated with sulfur-containing compounds to keep their color (and kill the WBBs). So, the only dried apricots to use are the dark brown unsulfured fruit. Not wishing to waste time and effort, I wanted fresh, organic apricots, which start being available May through August in the northern hemisphere.

I was impressed with how fast the culture became active, and equally surprised how fast the activity ended. I tasted the YW to see if, somehow , it had gotten too alcoholic so fast. All I detected was no noticeable sweetness, and decided it must be a lack of sugar. I dropped in a sugar cube and within a very short time it became very active – so much so, that I feared the foamy head might fill the remaining air space in the glass container. It did not take long before the activity decreased nearly as fast as it had restarted.

It only took a few trials to conclude the apricot WBBs have a real thing about sugars. So, I decided to do a test of the leavening strength of the new culture. I took a small quantity of just the water, about 20g and mixed it with an equal amount of AP flour. I set this up with a clock beside it, and in front of a time lapse digital video recorded. You can see the results on YouTube, Link:

The result was a doubling in about 2 hours. Certainly a good showing for a brand new YW culture. So, a test loaf seemed quite justified.

I started the Apricot Yeast Water Levain (AYWL) builds. Details of my standard test loaf can be found here:

Details of this loaf are in the table below:

A copy of my personal test log can be found at Google Doc Link:

I had some surprises in store, however. I generally, hold each of my chosen 3-build levain developments to a 24 hour period. Instead, a late afternoon to early evening completed Builds-#1, and #2 with #3 started and placed in retard at 40ºF/4.4ºC for an overnight. Details can be found in the log.


The next morning, I did the shaping that basically matches the pan bread version detailed by txframer here:

The dough pan was covered with food cap and place in the proof box at 82ºF/27.8ºC. Most loaves that I do, which are similar to these conditions, will need a 6 hour final proof. I was rather shocked when at 4½ hours I found it was as high as any “normal” fully proofed dough. I did a rapid catch-up and dough was in the DO, with the cup of boiling water, and into the oven, within a 5 minute period. Again, details can be found in the PDF log.

From a cold oven start and oven set to max (450ºF/232ºC) in the DO it was steamed for 20 minutes. Lid removed at 20 minutes and the temperature dropped to 400ºF/204ºC with a total of 45 minutes for the baking.

The finished loaf had an internal 207.7ºF/97.6ºC and a hot weight of 437g – down 8% during the baking. The loaf was cooled on wire for over an hour, before cutting.

The loaf had a very nice aroma, but neither taste, nor smell indicated the apricot components in the loaf. The crumb color was softly off-white in the orange-brown range, but only in a small degree. Texture was moist and softer than my general SD loaves. A pleasantly fruity, slightly sweetish flavor. The top crust portion was chewier than I would have expected, but quite acceptable.

   I should, also mention, I could detect no tang at all. I had expected a bit from the apricot flavor itself. But, any tang vanished along with any apricot specific flavor.


The crumb was exactly as expected, given the 60% HL (hydration level) and the highly developed windowpane test it was kneaded to.

Based upon this single test loaf, apricot WBBs develop much stronger levain than any I have seen before. The Apricot YW rise times are somewhere between 25% faster, or if you are one of  the half empty glass types, the other Yeast Waters are 33% slower ;-)

Update:110530-1000I have just had a couple additional slices of this Apricot YW loaf. In the 23 hours since baking, there has been a flavor change. It is still quite pleasant, but definitely less sweetness. The change is hard to describe, but while it is NOT "astringent", that is the closest word I can think of to describe the very slight difference in flavor. My initial reaction was 'use a bit less than 2% salt, next time'.


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Time Lapse Video of Apricot YW LevainI started a new test Yeast Water culture. Yesterday afternoon, it look active enough to consider a rise test. In the past. I have spent too much time running back and forth checking and writing down the data. This time I just did a time lapse video of the process. The 1 frame every 40 seconds of real time.

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    I really enjoy baking artisan loaves, but I decided that if I wanted test the results of changes in my breads, the artisan loaf was a poor choice. I wanted something where each loaf could be compared with the other test loaves - primarily based upon photo records and detailed method writeups on my part.

 For a while I used Flo Makanai's 123 formulation:

It work okay, but still wasn't what I wanted.

  I finally realized I need to eliminate the variation in shape of the serious “test samples”. So, I switched to using a pan bread as my standard. Since it is either myself or the birds that will eat everything I bake, 2 kilo loaves would be a very poor choice in size. Going through my stock of pans, it came down to a choice between a 636 ml, 1037 ml, or 1475 ml capacity pan.

The smallest, a 5-3/4” loaf pan did fine for a 293g size, the 7-1/2” work well for 478g size and the standard 8” loaf pan did well 680g loaves.

Small 300g range example Link:

One pound 500g example Link:

Standard 8” - 680g example Link:

I settled on using my 1 pound loaf pan. It is 7-1/2” x 3-1/4” x 2-1/2” (19 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm) and generally, a 478g dough batch size.

I also wanted a formula that was as basic as I could find, but that offered good flavor development, and a high degree of certainty in judging the levain activity level. I settled on converting the common French formula of 100-60-2-2, where in barker's percentages that was 100 flour, 60 water, 2 salt, and 2 fresh yeast. Well, since I had no easy access to French flour, nor fresh yeast, and since wild yeast is where my interest lies, I chose to take the 60% liquid and use 60% of the total flour as my levain. I simply refer to this as 40-2-120.

I use a 3-build levain sequence, which provides more than enough opportunity to judge the levain activity as it is moved through the three builds. And, I generally manipulate maturity of each build to stretch over a 24 hour period, which generates plenty of flavor from the flour as it matures. Finally, having 60% of the final dough in the levain builds, I have found no need to be a purist about autolysis and generally add the salt in with the last 40% of the flour at the beginning of the final dough. I do give a long rest following the mixing, but since the salt has been added, I will simply call it what it is – a rest.

To ensure that there are still plenty of the goodies remaining that the Wee Bonnie Beasties (WBBs) need to generate the leavening gases, I limit the rises in the 3 levain builds to a target range 60% to 90% as acceptable rise, but I try very hard to never let it exceed 90%.

Kneading, bulk fermentation, shaping, retardation, and final rise are all interrelated variables that I experiment with in any given loaf. Of course, additional ingredients are another class of experimental variables open to extend the “playtime” called baking bread.

Naturally, you come across things that may seem unimportant, that really do make a difference. One example the comes to mind is the old belief that pan breads really do not need to be scored.... Be a skeptic of all “rules”.


I do think scoring creates benefits....





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One Pound Pullman Shorty


A one pound loaf is just right for me. I can comfortably go through two loaves a week, without getting too overweight...


I use an Alum-7½ (7.500” x 3.750” x 2.250”) bread pan, which converts 478g of my test doughs into loaves of about 1 pound. Those pan-breads allow me to make reasonable comparisons later based on photographs and my data logs. This has worked well for my purposes, but what happens when the loaf pan itself is what I want to compare?


That was my problem when txfarmer's posting got me interested in her Sourdough Pan de Mie – Link:


Then there where all those other formulae that best fit the Pullman pan form factor, Even the shorter 9” pan requires a much larger dough than the 478g that most of my testing has been based upon.


A possible solution occurred to me when reading txfarmer's Kasutera (Castella) cake posting – Link:

In that posting, she mentions what to do if you wanted to make a wooden pan for the cake. She includes how to treat the wood before you baked using it.


I measured the cross-section of my most recent loaf that had been made in my A7½ pan. With that, I could calculate the volume. It came to about 90 cubic inches, or 1475 cubic cm. Armed with that information, it was easy enough to determine that the Pullman's approximate 4” x 4” cross-section would need to be 5.625” long for an equal 1475 cc of volume.


I made a paper pattern of the Pullman's cross-section and transferred it to a piece of picture matting material and used that to make my cutting lines on 2, 1-1/2” pieces of yellow pine and 1, 3/8” piece of solid teak. And then cut the pieces out and sanded them for a better corner fit. I let the thin teak piece remain slightly higher than the other 2 pieces. I wanted the lid to press against it so as to hold the wooden spacer firmly at the unused end of the Pullman during the final rise and baking.


Following txfarmer's posted instructions, I soaked the new blocks under water overnight, towel-dried them the next day, and then baked them at 350ºF ( 177º C) and went longer than the 30 minutes, giving them a full 45 minutes and then let them cool in the oven on the still warm oven stones. There was a strong pine smell during the baking and for some time after that.


My test bake was of 478g of dough in a preheated oven on oven stones without steam for 45 minutes at a temperature of 350ºF ( 177º C) and removed the loaf from the Pullman as soon as it was taken from the oven.

There was no smell of wood during the baking and nothing unusual in the taste of the finished loaf. Everything worked as well as I could ever have hoped for.


The resulting loaf can be seen with the light colored end piece being where it was pressing the parchment paper I had wrapped around the thin teak block. The 3 wooden blocks are shown as they were positioned during the baking – only the parchment paper was removed with the loaf.

I labeled the items in this photo, which has the parchment paper still wrapped around the teak block. Notice the wrinkles in the parchment paper were transferred into the end crust of the 1 pound loaf. The actual ending weight of the original 478g dough was 440g while still hot.


I am well pleased with the method of reducing a Pullman's baked loaf to suit the user's desires.




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