The Fresh Loaf

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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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I used 1/3 of the Forkish recipe and made a couple of change ups. First, I left the WW flour out of the levain, but kept everything the same. Second, the first 2 KF loaves I proofed in plastic mixing bowls lined with linen. When proofed, the linen was wet and stuck to the loaf. Ken proofs in wicker bannetons and I am going to have to get off of my wallet and order one.

The other change I made was mixing in a larger bowl 12" diameter rather than my usual 9 inch bowl.  I did 4 S&F's in bowl with 20 minutes rest and found it much easier to do the S&F in bowl in the larger container.  It did seem strange having this small lump of dough in the big bowl, but I did seem to get better dough development and KF uses a 12 quart container for his mix.

As has been suggested on this site, I handled the dough as little as possible.  I did 1 gentle letter fold and proofed on bakers parchment on a linen couche.  After an hour, I rolled the loaf over onto another piece of parchment as per PR in ABED and found the dough stuck to the parchment! The nothing sticks to parchment myth just got busted!

Baked it in my Lodge DO covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 10 @ 500F convection.

Happy baking! Brian

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Take 2 of Karin's challenge loaf almost ended in disaster, but turned out well.  I made more or less half of her Friesisches Schwartbrot recipe:

I halved the flour amounts but reduced the seeds to 20 grams each of flaxseed, sesame and pumpkin seed. I had a skibum moment of in attentiveness when toasting the toadies and nearly burnt them black.  I caught it in time, but the seeds toasted quite dark brown. The resulting loaf tasted almost toasted fresh cut -- quite a pleasing flavour.

Also added to the mix was 11/2 tsp kosher sale, 2 Tbs malt syrup and 1 Tbs honey. Did I mention a very nice tasting loaf?

I think I will make this 'mistake' part of the process for this bread! I am loving this bread with stinky cheese and stone fruit -- thanks dab!  I also goes very nicely with smoked chicken breast and the smoked bacon, (store bought) placed on top the breasts while smoking.  Awesome flavour and texture!  So thanks again Karin for your idea of this challenge! It has introduced me to a new style of bread AND sandwich. My only trouble is I find a couple of glasses of red wine really help wash all of this down -- at lunch . . . Okay, today's lunch was after 2 pm and it was certainly after 5 somewhere . . .

This bread also pairs well with home smoked steelhead trout:

A special shout out to dabrownman for the inspiration of getting a smoker. I could not be happier with the results! Anyhow I have about 1,260 grams of pork belly in your maple cure for 2 days now and a brisket on order . . .

This whole business of baking bread and smoking food is WAY TOO MUCH FUN! It is a mighty tasty path as well!

Happy baking and GREAT eating!

Smokin' Skibum . . .

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Well I got delayed on my shopping today and this is a great example of an over proofed loaf.  It was ready to bake when I got home, but the oven and DO were cold, call this one 45 minutes over proofed.  It was the blob upon removing it from the plastic proofing bowl. The seam was totally sealed despite proofing in 4 layers of linen, so I scored and it was nearly impossible to get a clean cut -- WAY over proofed! I need to get off of my wallet and get a wicker banneton.

I love the flavour profile of this Forkish bread and well the crust and crumb didn't turn out shabby:

I will give this one another go and pay closer attention to my proofing. Ken recommends 4 folds, 3 in the first 11/2 hours or so and another later. I found the dough @ 78% hydration very slack and somewhat lacking in development. I did the s&f's in the bowl with a wet hand as he recs in this book. I am somewhat tempted to do a couple of more folds, but will hold off on that change until I bake at the perfect proof stage. Not all of my bakes go perfectly, but hey I am just an old skibum . . .

Regards, Brian

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The only twist was to add a scant 1/4 tsp of instant yeast after I added the salt to the top of the dough.  Ken Forkish recommends using a little commercial yeast for increased volume and a more open crumb.  Check on both points!

This bake used 300 grams total bread flour @ 75% hydration, about 20% 100% levain, 11/4 tsp coarse salt and 1/4 IY. This made some very tasty bread and is part of my loaf a day plan. I have good friends who were flooded out of their home in Exshaw last June.  After 3 weeks living in the local school, sleeping on cots, they were loaned a large travel trailer and are now in a local hotel -- not the best summer. . . Anyhow Marg said her son devoured the French style loaves and loved them. I always bake more than I can eat and frequently give bread to my neighbours, but for the next while, I will make sure Marg and her family have fresh bread every day, if I can manage it. Here is today's crumb:

I had a real skibum moment he other day. One could also call it a 'senior' moment . . . My plan was to bake 2 batards side by side, one using a levain fed 1:1:1 and the other with a 1:4:4 feed.  My object was to see if there was any difference in the flavour profile of the 2 breads.  So immediately the 1:4:4 mix felt different -- very slack with  little structure. Well it finally dawned on me that I had used all of the water in the second mix, forgetting to back out the h2o in the levain, so my slack dough was 85% instead of 75%.  Good practice folding in bowl with wet hand aka KF. I had a good laugh at myself when I finally realized.  For a bit I was thinking, wow it is incredible that a starter can make such a profound difference -- DOUGH!  There was no difference in  the flavour profile of either bread.

Here are yesterday's batard and boule:

Batard crumb

Boule Crumb -- should have done it as a ciabatta, next oops mistake!


Today's experiment involved mixing the same batch as above @ 77% hydration, bulk on the counter, which after 21/2 hours was at least 21/2 x in volume, the most volume I have ever seen from 300 grams total flour.  This has been shaped and will proof until morning in the fridge.  It is my first time trying this and it will be interesting to see the result.

Happy baking folks!


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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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