The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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This loaf was proofed seam side doen again, Forkish style and baked seam side up. Though I took great pains to seal the seams in both the pre and shape, it looked like they would bloom open and they bloomed open beautifully!

I once again used 25 grams of sweet levain and 25 grams of yeast water levain, 300 grams flour and 231 grams water total. I used 30 grams durham semolina for flavour and colour boost.

I had an old friend over for dinner last night I hadn't seen in two years - before I started baking bread. He gave this loaf the best endorsement a baker can get! He ate most of it, repeatedly going to the cutting board and slicing off large chunks he wolfed down with his chili. There is barely enough left for toast this morning.

Now that I bake in a cast iron covered DO, my pizza stone gets little use, so I thought, why not place it on a rack above the DO to provide some radiant heat from the top to go with the radiant for the cast iron and the hot air convection bake. Baked 12 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered, turning often. Bake setup:

Time to get busy again.

Happy baking!  Brian

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Total flour 300 grams, strong bread flour

Total water 231 grams

Sweet levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Yeast water levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Salt, 1 tsp or about 7 - 8 grams, should have spent the extra five bucks on the digi scale that gives me the decimal. .  I once again took extra care when pre-folding and folding the boule, making sure the full length of the fold was tucked in nicely.

the dough was proofed seam side down and baked seam side up.

I scored a crescent across the seam I thought most likely to bloom.

The crumb.

So I refreshed my yeast water yesterday and as bake s per dabrownman's directions and made some YW pancakes today with the 'spent' YW,  I also refreshed my sweet levain at the same time and left it on the counter also. 

YW pancakes

100 grams spent YW

100 grams bread flour

I left it on the counter overnight for yesterdays's mix and today's bake and had a massive amount of bubbling dough! This morning I added 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 Tbs maple syrup adn 2 Tbs melted butter, 1/4 tsp baking powder and mixed it with the flour and YW. The mix took some doing, but when done I mixed in some fresh blueberries, fried it up in the same pan that fried my hone cured/ smoked bacon and YOWSER, some fine breakfast to celebrate myu first day skiing at Lake Louise!

Ahhh, topped with melted butter and real maple syrup.

I discarded the fruit this time. Next tie I will do something with the spent fruit

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This bake was a carbon copy of my previous 2 or 3 but I added 30g Durham semolina for a flavour upgrade. I also took extra special care pre-shaping and shaping. When I was folding the boule, I made sure that the seam was sealed along the entire fold, a details that had escaped me the last couple of bakes and in baking, I am finding the beauty is in the details. This care and attention to the shaping has finally resulted in the crumb I was seeking. The semolina added a nice taste and colour and I really liked this bread today at lunch.

Agian proofed seam side down, with WELL sealed seams, baked seam side up and scored ac

Well I am coming up on 3 weeks for the yeast water and I think it is time to do another YW levain loaf and see how the flavour has improved with some aging. The YW smells wonderful! Once again I used YW and sweet levain for the bake. I have another batch of soft, pull apart dinner rolls going with the YW/ SL build. I have written myself instructions so I get it right this time!

Happy baking! Brian

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This morning's bake was exactly the same as my last bake of this type:

The only difference was trying to get my shaping tighter. Getting there, but still needs work. I will give another half loaf away and bake one off again tomorrow. People are always happy to receive my bread and making people happy makes me feel good.

This made delicious sandwich! I guess there were a couple of changes, I put the extra YW in the fridge overnight to use this morning and I think it developed greater flavour and character. It sure did look robust!

Today's sandwich was smoked chicken, home cured and smoked c=bacon, lettuce and tomato with lots of mayo and Rene's Garlic Caesar dressing. Great sandwich!

I smoked a whole chikcken for dinner last night, brined it overnight, rested in the fridge for the day, gae it a dry rub and smoked @ 225F with hickory and maple until an internal temperature of 140F, then onto a hot grill for 5 - 10 minutes per side to crisp the skin and back into the smoker @ 275F until the internal temperature reached 165F. Rest for 20 minutes or so and OH MY!

Happy eating folks! Brian

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My first YW bake had amazing spring and crumb but was a little bland flavour wise, so I borrowed Josh's idea of using half YW levain and half of my sweet levain. I really like the flavour of my sweet levain and have sunk into a comfortable groove with it. I keep 75g sweet levain and every day or 2 use 50g to bake and refresh @ 1:1:1. I am going on 2 weeks now with a healthy fizzing yeast water culture and after another week after another refresh tomorrow and I can begin refrigerating it, I will try another 100% YW bake.

I proofed this in a SS wire mesh collander lined with 2 layers of well used linen, dusted with rice flour. I didn't score this time as it looked like the seams would open.

I try very hard in my shaping to ensure I get a tight seam and pinch my seams tight. I also try and get a tight skin on the loaf, gently shaping with my hands ans pulling the loaf across the counter while rotating with my little fingers. Richard Bertinet has an excellent youtube video demonstrating this. Despite my best efforts the seams were already coming apart after proofing.

And despite my best shaping and dough handling efforts I still have the 'hole where the baker sleeps.'

Total flour 300 grams

Total water 231 grams 77% hydration

YW levain 25 grams

Sweet levain 25 grams

Coarse sea salt 8 grams, 1 tsp

Thirty minutes autolyse with 90 degree water, filtered and absolutely de-chloriated. Mix in Levains @ a dough temperature of 78 - 80 degrees F. Rest 20 minutes, with salt on top. Mix well, rest 5, then mix again and rest 20 minutes. Four sets of S&F's with 10-15 minutes rest and a final fold after another 30 minutes. I retarded in the fridge immediately and let it finish bulk proofing for about 6 hours the next day after removing from the fridge, pre-shaped, rested for 10 then shaped, proofed as described above for 40 minutes and baked @ 500F in hot Lodge cast iron combo cooker.

I had a real 'skibum' moment yesterday. Two days ago, I had mixed a sweet levain dough enriched with all milk, egg and lots of butter. My plan was to bake off pull apart dinner rolls. Anyhow, yesterday when it came time to pre shape and shape I had my 'skibum' moment. I had forgoten thta I was making dinner rolls and shaped up another Forkish style boule.. The enriched dough baked too hot and too fast and despite being nearly blackened on the outside, not cooked on the inside and of course I didn't bother to check the internal temperature. Definitely a skibum moment. Some would say senior moment . . . So now, rather than just writing out a list of ingredients I am adding SHAPING AND BAKING INSTRUCTIONS DUMB SKIBUM! This is the prettiest loaf I have ever had to throw straight into the trash! :-(

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Well I got a successful yeast water culture going and it is bubbling and fizzing like a can of Vernor's ginger ale! A big shout out to dabrownman for pmi'ng me detailed instructions, followed to the tee. I baked this exactly as the last sd boule only using YW to build the levain. The dough felt immediately different -- more extensible and felt nearly fully developed after the second set of S&F's. Nice volume, nice open crumb and very mild flavour and great chew - almost too mild, so I guess I have come to appreciate the flavour profile of my sweet levain!

I think this is some of the nicest looking crumb I have baked. Anyhow here is my new tool in the kitchen, a nice healthy fizzing yeast water!

Thanks again dab!  You are DMAN!!!

Happy baking folks! Brian



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This bake was done almost exactly as the last boule bake with a couple of exceptions. I upped the hydration to 77 from 75% and compensated by autolysing for 40 minutes and proofed for 50 instead of 45 minutes.  I also increased the bake time in the covered cast iron DO from 10 to 11 minutes and finished with 10, convection, turning often.


Ken Forkish seems to like to push the limits on his bakes and it is fun pushing things up on my baking!I I proofed this one Forkish style, seam down and prior to baking decided to once again score a deep half moon across the seam I thought most likely to case the seams didn't open. Well, I got great spring and the seams also exploded and created perhaps the most interesting looking loaf I have ever baked. Among other things I like is Ken Forkish's bake seam side up for that 'organic' look. 

Well the slash opened nicely and the seams burst to create this interesting KF style 'organic' loaf!

I am getting a great kick in pulling stuff like this out of my home oven!

I really love the crumb, crisp crust and flavour of this bread and I have found feeding my starter daily and baking off half has improved my breads. 

Finding my chops . . .

Happy baking and best regards! Brian

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I would like to make a big shout out to dabrownman for pm'ing his detailed for producing and maintaining a YW starter. I have tried and failed twice and this time I was anal: boiled the glass jar, boiled the Brita filtered tap water and sat in the sun in a glass jar for the day to fully eliminate the chlorine. Next as per dman, 1/2 un-washed organic apple cored and minced and half crushed, ditto 20 organic raisins ditto. I am going to follow the dman's instructions to the tee and post daily photos. Another new fun project.

Thanks again dab, you are DMAN!

Regards, Brian

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Well after 2 disastrous bakes in a row, it was nice to get a good result. I have borrowed tips and techniques from Ken Forkish, Chad Robertson and Peter Reinhart. I prefer a sweet rather than sour loaf so use the levain when is quite your, like CR.

I autolysed for 30 minutes usiong 100F water, then added the levain, mixed, added salt and yeast and rested for 20. After a lengthy bulk on the counter and overnight in the fridge, I shaped and proofed in a wire mesh collander lined with  2 layers of rice floured linen  for 45 minutes and baked this @ 75% hydration in a hot cast DO for @ 500F for 12 minutes, then uncovered for another 10, turning. I am getting better at both pre-shaping and shaping and I proofed this seam side down, so it would bake seam side up ala KF. I was worried the seams wouldn't open so I scored a single crescent shaped slash. It also looks like the seams did burst as well.

I like the boule format for sandwiches and although this is only 300 grams of flour, a small loaf I am going to need a longer bread knife!

Final formula:

300 g bread flour, total

225 g water, total

Levain @ 100% 50 g

Coarse sea salt 7 g

instant yeast scant 1/4 tsp

So fresh baked bread, home smoked pastrami, smoked tomato and corn salsa and smoked carrot and squash soup. Rats, out of creme fraiche . . . but still mighty fine eating!

Happy baking folks! Brian


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This bake was based loosely on Norm's onion buns recipe and hey, the way the buns lined up in the Lodge cast cooker looked somewhat like the Olympic logo. I soaked 2 Tbs dehydrated onion and 1 tsp dehydrated garlic in boiled water until reconstituted, then used the resulting water for the mix and the onion and garlic for topping mixing salt and oil as per nbicomputers - I think. I used about 20% white levain, forgot to add the egg, but used lots of malt syrup and sugar . . . The house smelled amazing when these were baking, covered in the Lodge CC for 10 @ 450, then another 12 @ 425 convection, turning. Great crisp crunch to the crust! and really nice flavour!!  Just a schmear of butter is good when warm, but these are calling out for smoked meat, grainy mustard and Rene's garlic ceasar dressing!

I forgot to add fresh rosemary and sauteed garlic on this bake. Oh well next time. . . 

Happy baking, cooking and eating TFLoafers!


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