The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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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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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