The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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. . . okay Karin, dab my first take at this style of bread. I just crossed over to the 'dark side!'  I was almost afraid to cut into this loaf and now I am wondering what to pair it with --  pickled herring, lox with onions and capers and stinky cheese come to mind, but I welcome any suggestions.

So in the end my mix was Karin's Friesisches-schwarzbrot:

To which I added 25 grams steel cut oats, and 20 grams each of wheat germ and sesame seeds, toasted and added as 'toadies.'  and 11/2 Tbs canola oil. Not having molasses, I used malt syrup.


Hey in the loaf pan and topped with seeds it almost looks like a loaf after 8 hours in the fridge.  I baked this one up after about 24 hours in the fridge and 2 hours to warm up on the counter.  I didn't get big rise and didn't expect it.

After 30 minutes as per directions, I could not get the loaf out of the pan, so finished baking in the pan for 20 convection, turning at the half, finally got the loaf released and baked on the stone for a further 6 minutes turning at the half.

Karin, thanks for starting this, it has been a fun and very different bread baking experience for me and I am enjoying the complex flavours and textures in this bread.  Very cool!

Thanks!  Brian

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Wow is this EVER a TASTY loaf!!!  I proofed this in a plastic bowl lined with fine linen.  I only used 1 layer of linen and when removed from the proofing container the linen was wet and clinging to the dough.  I used enough rice flour that it removed well and didn't damage the dough, but the seam never opened and there is a large nose blister on the right and some holes where the baker sleeps on top.  Note to self:  for these wet breads at least 2 layers of linen in the bowl and perhaps 4.

Baked this in the covered DO for 30 minutes @ 475F and the full 20 @ temp with convection off and turning every 5. 

In his book Ken mentions he sells this bread to restaurants who pair this with cheeses.  He also mentions it is tasty toasted with honey.  TOTALLY RIGHT on both of those calls.  Lunch today was a lightly toasted, (still warm from the oven!) buttered slab with old cheddar melted and buttered with honey for dessert. Very yummy stuff.  No photos of lunch, but here is a crumb shot:

The volume I am getting on HALF of a Forkish recipe is such that I will either have to go to 1/3 of his formulas or get a longer bread knife. My 8" Henckels was barely able to slice this beast of a loaf.  I followed this recipe to the letter and it makes mighty fine tasting bread.

I had enough starter left over to make a 1/3 overnight levain pizza dough which was mixed yesterday and bakes for dinner tonight.

Well so far a BIG tip of the hat to Ken Forkish for an excellent and compelling book -- particularly for 'sourdough' or levain bakers as he likes to call it. I really like the idea of being able to change the flavour profiles of your bread by manipulating the hydration and other aspects of your starter. Very cool stuff indeed to this old ski bum.

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My first bake from Ken Forkish's Flower, Water, Salt, Yeast.  Ken says to bake it down dark.  Okay!

This was baked at 475F n a hot covered DO for 20 minutes then uncovered and baked at 475 convection.  After 10 minutes turning at the half, this was the result and though Ken says bake for 20 uncovered, I thought things were dark enough using a convection bake.  This loaf really crackled and hissed once removed from the oven.

I had planned to follow Ken's instructions to the letter, but sometimes life gets in the way.  Uncle skibum had too much medicine the night before starting this project, so instead of starting the levain at 7:00 am as planned it didn't get done until 9:30.  Oops!  The result was that I was too tired to shape at the end of the day, so the dough went into the fridge in bulk to be shaped, proofed and baked the next day.

Forkish has a most interesting take on adjusting your flavouring by adjusting the levain -- neat concept!

I halved this recipe and the loaf still had so much volume, my bread knife was nearly not long enough!

Now I'm sure my overnight bulk in the fridge changed the flavour profile, this is a tasty bread with an almost creamy crumb.

Next up is Ken's Walnut Levain Bread and the starter was mixed by 8:00 am, so I should be able to exactly follow the schedule today.

Happy baking !  Brian

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. . . website recommended by the trailrunner -- thanks carolyn!!!  And a photo of what is left of the buns!

Well my mini buns today were an adaptation of one of the recipes.  I actually used Peter R's base recipe from ABED and used the suggestions on the above cool site. This was a small mix with total flour representing 300 grams. The process involved using about 20% levain, all of the milk and half the flour to build a sponge. Mine was bubbly and ready to mix in 8 hours as opposed to the suggested 12, as it has been warm here FINALLY -- summer in the Bow valley finally mid September.  Oh well, in this country, better late than not at all!

I mixed the rest of flour, salt and sugar and mixed, rest 5 mix again and rest 10.  I followed with 4 S&F's with 10 rest, then 3 S&F's with 30 minutes rest, 1.5 bulk on the counter, then pre-shape, rest and roll it out and fill it.  I brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with about 3 Tbs sugar and 1/2 Tbs cinnamon, then layered n slivered almonds.  Rrrroled it up, sliced and proofed for 1.5 hours. Baked @ 350F convection, 8 & 8, then 3, 3 and 2 minutes turning at the time points.

We glazed with about 4 Tbs icing sugar, 2 Tbs maple syrup, 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbs water, 1 tps vanilla liquid and zest of half said lemon; cooked it down to a syrup and glazed the warm buns.  Oh my!

Anyhow, thanks carolyn for sharing the sourdough surprises link --  a very cool site!

Regards, Brian

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Today's SD batard included about 2% toasted wheat germ as 'toadies.'  These add a really nice and subtle, nutty flavour enhancer and you can definitely taste the toadies in the finish. 

I baked this at 75% hydration, autolysing the flour and water over night, mixed and developed the dough as per my previous post.  I baked this in the new Lodge combo cooker for 8 minutes covered @ 500F and surprisingly 12 minutes 450F convection.  Next bake I will go 10 minutes covered and then judge.  A pretty satisfying small loaf.

I received Ken Forkish's book WFSY from out library system today and have been waiting all summer for it. A most interesting read and a very interesting take on life and baking!  I will be baking 2 or or 3 of his recipes shortly and may actually have to drive into the big city for some Caputo 00 for the pizza dough . . .

My most interesting take is his target of 78F for the autolyse and his opinion that the temperature of your autolyse has a big impact on the bread flavour.  Okay, this one is a totally unique take on an eye opener! I can't wait to try his techniques.

I have a batch of SD cinnamon buns going from this interesting site provided here by another poster, can't find the link or I would shout out:

Happy baking!  Brian

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Yesterday was a big day for this old skibum.  I made a trip to the big city and picked up my new Kitchenaide SS fridge to go with the KA SS stove bought in the spring AND stopped the Bass Pro store and bought a Lodge combo cooker for $50, which is WAY easier to load than my 4" deep enameled CA DO, which was taking a bit of a beating doing bread and is my favourite cooking tool, both stove top and oven.  The Lodge CC rocks!

I took yet another page from dabrownman's book in this bake going with 25% whole wheat and 15% organic rye. For 2/3 of the WW I used 1/3 red wheat berries and 1/3 white berries ground in a small coffee grinder I use mostly for grinding spices.  All of the flour and water was autolysed overnight @ 85% hydration.

This was about a 3 day build due to schedule.  Day one feed the starter, let it rise and fall , then into the fridge overnight.  Mix in the am with 4 S&F's with 10 minutes rest and 3 S&F's with 30.  Bulk on the counter for 1:30 the into the fridge for 24 hours.  Pre-shaped, rest 10 min and shaped.  I proofed in a mixing bowl lined with linen dusted with rice flour for an hour, scored and baked in the new Lodge for 20 minutes @ 500F covered, then 10 uncovered @ 450 convection, turning at the half. Crumb shot:

This made a nice bread with a good open crumb, but I still like the flavour profile of my 15% WW, 10% rye and will back down to those numbers next bake and once again use ground wheat berries and toadies.  i also added 1Tbs oil, 1 Tbs honey and 1 Tbs malt syrup and 11/2 tps salt.

The new love in my life:

Now I just need to change out the flooring and my kitchen reno is complete.  It sure is nice to have quality kitchen appliances!

Happy baking!  Brian


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. . . once again a boule and a batard.  After 5 days away I fed my starter 1:1:1 using about 10% organic rye and strong bread flour for the feeding.  My mother must have liked seeing dad back as she more than doubled and fell back within 4 hours, so it was into the fridge to mix the next day.

For the batard I went to 75% hydration using an overnight autolyse of the flour and water doing 4 sets of S&F's with 10 minutes rest followed by 3 more S&F's with 30 minutes rest.  After an hour of bulk on the counter into the fridge for 18 - 20 hours of retarding.  After an hours rest this morning, I pre-shaped, shaped, proofed for 35 minutes and baked @ 500F for 8 minutes with steam, then 450 convection with steam removed for another 12 minutes, turning often.  I got a good deep score with the lame and the oven spring on this loaf was enormous!  I wish I had before photo.

 The boule was prepared side by side the batard using the same method.  For the boule, I used 15% organic rye and 10% whole wheat and went 85% hydration autolysing the flours and water overnight.

For both loaves I used 20% of recently fed and vigorous starter, adding it to the autolysed flours, mixing well and then adding salt after about 20 minutes.  To the boule I added 1Tbs oil and 11/2 Tbs honey.  Next time I will add 'toadies.'

The boule was proofed in a linen lined bowl and at 85% kind of flopped flat when I turned it out.  This was baked in a hot DO though and with the sides supported also achieved amazing spring.  I baked in a covered DO @ 500F for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 10 @ 450F convection turning once.

And the boule in some lunch action today:

Roast chicken, bacon, Hungarian salami and tomato make a fine sandwich!  Very satisfying bread.

Here is a shot of Takakaw Falls in Yoho National Park in BC.  The falls is 258 meters high and is easily accessible by vehicle and about 11/2 hours drive from my home in Canmore.

Happy baking folks!  Brian




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I have baked this in the past as a yeasted recipe and thought I would try a half recipe using my SD starter.  I fed the starter 1:1:1 and 4 hours later it had more than doubled, so I mixed as per the recipe only using dabrownman's sourdough process:  knead for 5 minutes, 5 rest then knead for another 5.  Bulk proof on the counter with S&F's at 30, 60 and 90 minutes, 11/2 hours on the counter then into the fridge to retard overnight.  An hour to warm up this morning, then divide and scale the dough, pre-shape and bake.  I baked about 25 minutes @ 400F on convection, using steam for the first 10 minutes, which is something I have never done with pulla.  The steam seemed to help.

This bake nearly turned into a gong show as I ran out of bread flour before the dough was mixed and ended up using about 5% each cake & pastry flour and durham semolina.  The result is some of the best tasting pulla I have ever baked!  Fantastic with strong, fresh coffee!

I also let the dough tell me when to bake and proofed for 40 minutes, rather than the suggested 20 in the original recipe.  I had 2 loaves, so I proofed the 2nd for 60 minutes and saw no difference in the loaves, so 40 minutes is right.

I paid a visit to this morning and gifted the head baker a half loaf and was able to purchase another 20 kg bag of Bakemark Deluxe Strong Bakers Flour for $20 and that should keep me out of trouble for another 4 or 5 months.

Happy baking TFLers!


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I used the SD method, sorry the dabrownman method once again on this one, using 10% organic rye, 10% duram semolina and 5% WW.  All aspects of this bread went together well and I can't wait to taste the results. So I did an overnight autolyse on the whole grain flours @ 100 hydration and another hour of 100
% auto when the bread flour was added.  I did manage to add the rest of the bread flour  this time.  Mixed in the levain @ 20% and rested it with the aslt on top of the dough, in case I forget to add it.  Four S&F's with 10 minutes rest then 3 more with 30 in between, 1:20 on the counter, then into the fridge for an 18 hour bulk retard.  One hour rest on counter, then pre-shape, rest 15 and shape.  I find boules much easier to shape than batards and baguets and have consistently got great results baking boules in a hot dutch oven.

I also baked a batard today and even with 35 minutes proof as per my last batard bake, I was not able to get a clean score with the lame and though got a tasty loaf, the score was not deep enough to open the grigne. . .   :-(  

I have another batch going for tomorrow morning's batard bake and will proof for only 30 minutes and see if the lame works.  It seems feeding the starter daily and baking daily creates a very active starter!  

Here is the crumb on today's multi-grain boule:

Sorry folks, only 2 out of 4 ears today, but the loaf did bloom beautifully!  

Along with the batard dough that is bulk proofing, I have a first half batch of sourdough Pulla.  Now this will be an interesting bake on two levels:  1.  1st crack at SD pulla;  2.  I ran out of my strong bread flour I buy from the local artisan and ended up using about 10% pastry flour and another 10% duram semolina to get things together. I really, really hope head baker Angela is working tomorrow so I can get another 20 kg of fresh bakery level flour!

Happy baking TFLoafers!



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I made a couple of adjustments with this bake.  For the batard, I reduced the proofing time to 35 minutes and voila, the lame worked like it was supposed to and for the first time I have the grigne I have been trying for.

I reduced proofing time on the boule to 50 minutes and once again got a clean score with the lame.  The boule contains 10% whole wheat, 15% organic rye which were autolysed in an equal weight of water overnight, oil and honey.  I baked the boule in a hot DO as I wanted to try and get it right today after a poor effort yesterday.

I had an adventure mixing this batch!  somewhere along the line I read of autolysing the flour in equal weight of water and adding the balance of the flour after auto, in the mixing stage.  So I tried this, then forgot to add the additional flour to BOTH batches of dough and was wondering how I was going to get these soupy masses together.  Then I found my notes and DOH, after 40 minutes of futile mixing added the additional flour and everything came together well.  So for both loaves, 4 S&F's with 10 minutes rest as per PR, followed by a 21/2 hour bulk ferment on the counter with S&F's at 30, 60 and 90 minutes, one hour to develop on the counter, then into the fridge for an 18 hour retard. I rested the dough on the counter for an hour ,started the oven early, then pre-shaped, rested for 10, shaped and proofed.

My shaping has improved a great deal after watching Richard Bertinet's video an making bread from his book "Dough."  I found the entire video useful and in particular the detail he goes into on shaping:

I'm not brave enough to try the slap and fold yet i'm afraid!  This video is a must watch if you haven't seen it.

And now the crumb:

Plenty of bread for my upcoming road trip!

Happy baking TFLers!  Brian


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