The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

squarehead's blog

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Hi everyone in TFL land, I haven't posted in quite some time, but I have been baking as much as ever and am including some pics from the last few months. I hope to start posting more frequently and will include my formulas for wharever turns out well. All of my formulas are naturally leavened only and use organic ingrediants whenever possible. Thanks everyone, I look forward to catching up with what everyone has been baking.


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Merry Xmas everyone. For this morning's bake I did 2 loaves, both my standard 20% whole wheat sour (loaf on right), and a cultured spelt flake porridge (loaf on left) am quite happy with the result. The taste is great, nice and sour from the addition of the extra fermented spelt flakes, and the crumb was better then I expected, as there was additional hydration present from the porridge, and I was worried about excessive spreading. On the contrary the loaf has a nice open crumb, both springy and well gelatinized. (I assume the other loaf, without the spelt flakes, may have an even better crumb, as it had better oven spring, 1 hour less cold retard, and weighed nearly 300g less (porridge weight), but it went to my wife's coworker, so I don't know for sure.) Anyways the quick of the formula: 

3 stage levain 70g

ap flour 320g

ww 80g

H20 340g

salt 11g

Cultered (24hour) porridge (cooked):

spelt flake 100g 

H20 200g

levain 10g


Autolyzed 1 hr, salt and porridge added, stretch n folds at 20,40,60, 90 min. 2 hour rest, shaped and basketed, 12 hr cold retard, baked in DO at 450 covered 20, uncovered 20. 


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Howdy everyone. So I'll start out by saying I wasn't entirely happy with this bake, and I used both rice flour and hard white whole wheat, both of which (to my understanding) have lower gluten forming abilities, though I may be incorrect on that. My problems began by missing a feeding of the mother the day before and so it was less active then it should have been, then the dough fermented and rose at a slower pace than usual, when I turned it out onto the board it was smaller then it should be and so I preshaped it and gave it an extra hour board rest, and finally because my timing was off for the start time (and the whole day), I ended up choosing to cold retard for only 5 hours and bake last night instead of this morning.....and after all that it still seems over fermented or shaped incorrectly, as there is a presence of large holes near the top and the oven rise was less then desired. 

All that said it still tastes nice and my goal was to achieve a more shattery thin crust such as I enjoyed with some banh mi sandwiches at a restaurant last week. It is my understanding that this crust is achieved with the addition of rice flour and so I decided to do a little experimenting, and the crust did seem to be headed in the right direction so i'll play around with this some more.

As this loaf is still in the works I won't get too technical on the formula: mixed, autolyzed, s+fs (x4) at 20m, rise 2hrs, pre-shaped n rested 1.5 hrs (usually 30m) shaped, cold retarded 5hrs (usually 10-12) baked 450, 20min covered, 20 min uncovered. 

whole wheat flour (hard white) 22.75%

white rice flour 14.75%

bread flour 62.5%

levain 20%

hydration 85%

salt 2.75%


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So I'm going to attempt to post more frequently, assuming my kids allow me the free time and I can get the photos to post. (As I type this the baby just knocked over my cup of coffee across the table)

alrighty then, so I'll make this one quick, reduced the Levain seed down to 16.5% from 20%, the whole wheat (15% flour weight) is a local mix from the bin at the co-op (different ranch from the last loaf I believe). 10% flour weight is whole grain spelt, and the remaining 75% is my usual bread flour. Hydration 80% (Not including soaker). Salt 11g.

soaker: 30g cornmeal, 20g flaxseed meal, 50g dried dates (pitted) diced small. 50g boiling h20.

mixed all but salt, autolyzed 1hr, added salt, pinched, stretch n folds at 10m, 20m, 30m 1hr. Rested till doubled, preshaped n shaped as usual, retarded 12 hrs. 

450 Dutch covered 20 min, uncovered 23 min (turned it down to 425 for the last 8 min - got a bit too dark, I'm guessing from the extra sugars from the dates)

 just tasted it's good, the dates are nice and sweet. 


squarehead's picture

hello everyone it's been awhile since my last post but I've still been baking 3-5 loaves a week and have been having more consistent results and I was quite happy with this bake. The formula was fairly simple:

I started the Levain with 20g active and ripe starter, fed 10g of my mother mix (80% AP, 15% WW, 5% RYE) and 10g H2O, then about 6 hrs later fed again 20g mix and 20g h20 and was left to rest until doubled (about 4 more hours).

The ripe levain was dissolved in 300g h20, then went in the 80g local whole wheat, a variety called Marquis, from an area about 2 hours to the south. I was quite happy with this flour and will be seeking it out again. Anywho I added an additional 320g bread flour (Central Milling company Artesian Organic from Costco) to bring the total up to 400g. Autolyzed for a hour and added the 11g salt and an additional 40g H20, pinched all together, stretch n folded at 30m intervals 3 times, doubled (hourish? I wasn't watching the clock) then preshaped, 30 min rest, shaped, into the basket and bag and into the fridge for 12 hours. 

The next morning it was slashed and baked at 450 in a Dutch covered for 20 then uncovered for 20 more.

As I said earlier I was quite happy with the taste of this one, it had a pronounced sour without being overwhelming and the rise and crumb didn't seem to have any problems either and I tend to be a crumb critic. 

I'd like to thank everyone on TFL with an extra thanks to DBM, Golgi70, and the long lost TXFarmer for all of their in depth posts, they've helped shape the bread I bake today.

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So for Saturday's bread I decided to play with the ol' sourdough formula and to add some dried onion flake and poppy seeds. I had considered using fresh onions and caramelizing them but with a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old calling the shots at home I'm often forced to juggle the kids and the cooking at the same time so the onion flakes seemed like a suitable solution and I figured they might help keep the dough manageable by absorbing some of the liquid. In this bake I kept the levain at 100% whole wheat (organic) and the dough flour at 100% central milling artesian bread flour (organic). 


80 g h20

80 g whole wheat flour

37 g starter 

The levain was left at room temperature until ripe, about 7 hours, it had nearly tripled in volume and was domed and bubbly


400 g bread flour

321 g  + 21 g h20

200 g levain

11 g salt

20 g dried onion flake

10 g poppy seed

The ripe levain was dissolved in the 321 g h20, the bread flour was added and mixed to a shaggy state and left to autolyze for 30 minutes before the salt, additional 21 g h20' dried onion flakes and poppy seeds were added and pinched in. The dough was then transferred to a clean bowl and 4 stretch and folds at 20 minutes followed by one more at 30 minutes and then left to bulk rise at room temp until ready for shaping, about 2 1/2 hrs (though I wasn't keeping as close a track of time as I was just watching the dough and dealing with the kids) The dough was then upended onto a floured dorado and pre-shaped by turning the edges up to the center, flipping the enough over, and then using the bench scraper to push the edges under in order to round up the loaf. 20 or so minutes of bench rest and I shaped Tartine style and placed in a rice flour / AP flour coated lined basket. Into a plastic bag and into the fridge it went overnight (12 hrs). The next morning I took it out, sprinkled cornmeal on the dough and it was turned out into a cast iron dutch at 450and baked covered for 20 minutes, the uncovered for 20 more.

All-in-all I'm happy with this bake the spring was good, crumb is fairly open and the crust is thin, cracked and crispy. The flavor has a nice degree of sour without being overpowering and the onion and poppyseed add a nice sweetness. I'll definitely be doing this one again.


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Always tinkering with the formula but basically this loaf came in at 30%ww, 10%rye, 60% artisan bread flour (central milling). The hydration came in at about 81% this time. Mixed, autolyzed, 3 s+f at 20 min plus 2 more s+f at 30 min. Bulk rise 1.5 hrs, divided, preshaped, rested 20 min, shaped and placed in rice floured basket, then cold retarded for 10 hrs. Baked in cast iron Dutch oven at 450 for 20 min covered, then 20 min uncovered. I was pretty happy with this one, the crumb came out as I was hoping and the loaf had oven spring. 

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Hi all im wondering if anyone out there has tried the Devil's Tooth Bakery (Outer Sunset, San Francisco) cinnamon rolls? They are a molten caramel buttery wonder, but the dough is thinner and more carmelized then a "traditional" cinnamon roll. I wonder if this is the result of the laminating process? Anywho I was just wondering if anyone out in TFL world knows what I'm talking about so that I can attempt to re-create the recipe at home. I live 5 hours from SF so I can't just pop in to grab one. ; )

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Howdy y'all. So I decided to go for it and upped my SD from 70% hydration to 80% and am quite happy with the results. I still have hit and miss success with the higher hydration doughs so I was very pleased with today's bake. Anywho here's the formula, I welcome any comments/suggestions. 


40 g ripe starter (taken from mother culture)

80 g H2O

80 g flour

-dissolve starter in water, stir in flour, place in warm location till doubled (12 hrs) I keep the levain in my stove with the light on and door cracked open. It remains about 80 degrees F.


final dough:

400 g artisan bread flour (malted) Central Milling Co.

290 g water

levain - all of it

salt - 11 g


-Dissolve  levain in 250 g of H20, add flour. autolyze 30 min.

-Add salt, remaining 40 g H2O, squish through fingers.

-stir with spoon or hand until mass comes together, should not be shaggy but don't worry about developing too much gluten. Transfer mass to a clean bowl sprayed or greased with butter.

-Stretch and Fold in bowl every 30 minutes for a total of 4 sets

-bulk retard in bowl 1.5 hours after final S+F

-pre-shape into round, bench rest 30 minutes

-shape using technique outlined by Chad Robertson for higher hydration doughs

- place into lined basket dusted liberally with rice flour

-retard at least 16 hours (this loaf was about 18 hours)

-bake 450 in hot Dutch Oven covered for 13 minutes, uncovered for 23 more

-cool on wire rack at least 2 hours before enjoying (in this case with EVOO and balsamic vinegar)


* sorry the photos all are rotated 90 *


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Hi everybody. So I decided to make a chocolate bread pudding this weekend using some stale chocolate SD/YW bread i had laying around. The pudding was dense, rich, and over the top delicious. While I'm still working on the chocolate SD/YW bread recipe itself, the pudding batter recipe is pretty straightforward and adapted from an old Alton Brown recipe:

2 eggs

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Dutch Cocoa powder (this is a chocolate bread pudding after all)

1 cup whole milk

3 1/2 cup half n half

1/4 cup espresso

2 tsp vanilla extract

handful of chocolate chips or disks for topping the pudding

1 stale loaf chocolate bread, skin removed (mine was just shy of 20 oz)


---whisk egg yolks and eggs in bowl until pale

---add sugar, cocoa powder, milk, half n half, espresso, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

---remove skin from bread loaf and tear remaining loaf into pieces. Add to bowl. Soak At least 8 hours. 

---butter walls and bottom of 13x4 loaf pan

---add mixture to loaf pan, top with chocolate chips

---bake 325 for about 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out (relatively) clean. 

---cool completely or refrigerate before serving


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