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texasbakerdad's picture

This bake was new territory for me for 3 reasons...

  • Heaviest recipe I have ever made... 12.75 lbs of dough (5796g).
  • Recovered from 2 potential catastrophes during the bake
  • First time using Rye, even though it was just a little bit.

The almost catastrophes?

(a) I doubled the recipe on accident. I meant to bake 2 large loaves (12"x"4.5"x3.125" pans). I misread the king arthur recipe and made enough dough for 4 large loaves. I progressed 60% of the way through making the bread thinking... this seems like A LOT OF DOUGH. I loaded the shaped loaves into the pans and after looking at how full the pans were already, I thought I better double check my math. Sure enough... I made enough dough for 4 loaves. I dumped the dough back out of the pans, cut it all in half and reshaped everything. 1 last thing... I thought I was being smart before I realized my mistake with the recipe... I told myself... "This King Arthur recipe must be wrong, this is too much dough, I am going to make 3 loaves instead of 2." Then, when I realized my mistake, I just decided to keep my 3 loaf modification, so I ended up with 6 loaves (2 long pullman loaves, two 12x4.5x3.125, and two 9x5x3).

(b) Had to make an emergency run to the store and totally forgot the bread was already in the oven. Thank god my kids heard the timer go off and told my wife... otherwise, the bread would have burned.

Started with the 'Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread' recipe from King Arthur. I had to make some small tweaks to the recipe and the process to fit my time schedule, the ingredients I had on hand, and my pan sizes.


Changes from KA recipe: The original recipe was for 9x5x3 (135 square inches) pans. I increased all ingredients to fit two 12x4.5x3.125 (168.75 square inches) pans. Also, I didn't have time for an overnight levian and my sourdough is fast, so I took the levian quantities and combined them with the rest of the recipe. I also doubled the recipe. 

  • 1836g Hard Red Home Milled Wheat
  • 1076g HEB Brand Bread Flour
  • 150g Rye
  • 100g Sourdough Starter (50:50 hard red:water, fed the night before)
  • 10g Table Sugar
  • 60g Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 2564g Softened and Filtered Well Water


  • 9a: In one huge plastic tub, using my hand, combined the hard red wheat, bread flour and water. Smushed it together long enough to make a shaggy mess.
  • Let autolyse for 20 minutes
  • 9:20a: Rubbed sourdough starter onto top of autolyze mass. Then evenly sprinkled rye on top. Then added sugar and salt. Folded over and over again until I felt like there was an even consistency with all of the new ingredients.
  • 10a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 10:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 11a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 11:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 12a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 12:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 1p: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 1:30p: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • At this point, the dough was starting to feel quite full of air. I decided it was a good time to shape the dough and drop it into the bread pans.
  • Weighed the dough and split into 3 balls. 1638g for the smaller pan (9x5x3) and two balls of 2048g for the larger pans (12x4.5x3.125). Let the balls rest for 10 minutes before final shaping.
  • Prepped 3 pans by brushing with melted butter and sprinkling melted butter with AP flour.
  • Shaped the loaves and dropped in the pans. The PANS WERE TOO FULL. So, I reread the KA recipe and realized my mistake... the recipe was already big enough for 2 loaves, when I doubled it messed up.
  • Dumped the dough back out. Cut the 3 loaves in half by eye, preshaped them and waited 10 minutes.
  • While waiting the 10 minutes I pulled out 2 long pullman loaf pans (didn't use the lids) and one more 9x5x3 pan.
  • 2:30p Shaped the dough and dropped in the 6 pans. Put all 6 loaves inside of turkey basting bags and filled with air to keep them from drying out.
  • 6:00p Dough nearing 2x and poke test seemed to indicate it was about right. Preheated the oven to 500dF.
  • 7:00p Scored loaves. Loaded pans in oven. Dropped temp to 475dF, set timer for 20 min.
  • 7:25p (kids alerted wife to beeping oven). Looked pretty dark, wife covered with foil. Dropped temp to 450dF, set timer for 15 min.
  • 7:40p dropped temp to 425dF, set timer for 8 min.
  • Pulled out and set on racks to cool.

Take aways...

  • The crust was a bit overcooked on some parts. Not sure if that was the recipe's mistake or something else.
  • The 1024g in the log pullman loaf would have been the perfect size for a pullman loaf with the lid on. The pullman would have trapped the moisture and the bread would have just barely filled the size of the container. I am going to try that next time.

texasbakerdad's picture

Round 3 of the same recipe with mostly hydration changes.


  • 346g HEB brand bread flour
  • 346g Home milled hard red wheat
  • 585g water
  • 48g sourdough starter (50% home milled hard red, 50% water)
  • 1 heaping TBS of salt

Original Recipe:

Problem 1: Just like the previous bake. Baked this loaf in 1 day. Had a major hiccup though, had to take the kids to swim team at right after I shaped my loaf. So, to play it safe, I popped the loaf in the refrigerator. I think? this had a negative impact on my crumb, because it seems like the faster warming outside of the loaf had bigger holes in crumb, than the inner parts of the crust which would have taken longer to warm.

Problem 2: My loaf was slightly too big for my romertopf, when I tried to close the lid, I couldn't avoid pinching some of the dough with the lid.

Compared to the 55% and 75% hydration loaves, this loaf rose a lot more. Also, the dough was finally supple and extensible. Now... I am debating in my head whether or not the 55% and 75% loaves were underproofed. Even this loaf might have been underproofed, but the emergency trip to the refrigerator is complicating the analysis.


  • 30 min autolyse
  • fold in the bowl every 30 minutes or so for about 6 hours
  • preshape, wait 20 minutes, shape and drop in to long banneton
  • 30 minutes on counter, then into fridge while we were at swim team for 2 hours.
  • Out of fridge and back on counter for 2 hours
  • Preheated oven with romertopf to 550df
  • dropped dough into romertopf with aid of parchment paper
  • reduced oven to 450df stuck in oven and topped, cooked for 45 min
  • Took top off and cooked for another 10 min.
  • Cooled on wire rack for 8 hours before slicing.

texasbakerdad's picture

My last bake went so well that I thought I would do it again and try to tweak 2 things about the bake. Here is the link to my blog entry for the last bake:

My 3 complaints about that bake:

  1. The dough was too dry, I wanted a supple and extensible dough.
  2. The crumb wasn't the super open. It was a great crumb, but not that super open tartine crumb and I want to try and get there.
  3. The top might have gotten a bit too dark. Honestly though, it looked and smelt a bit 'singed' when it came out of the oven, but after letting it rest overnight, I think it was perfect.

#1 and #2 are related. I need to raise the hydration, the dough was just too stiff. So, I bumped my hydration to 75%. The bread came out almost exactly the same as the 55% hydration. It was a great loaf, but the dough still felt a bit dry. The crumb was great too, just not open tartine style crumb.

The only major difference in this loaf compared to the previous other than the bump in hydration, was that I did the loaf in 1 day, instead of an overnight bulk ferment. Also, I used even less starter.


  • 338g Home milled hard red wheat
  • 338g HEB brand bread flour
  • 80g 50:50 sourdough starter
  • 1 TBS Salt


  • 30 minute autolyse (recipe minus salt and starter)
  • folded the dough every 30 minutes until the dough had some bulk to it (about 8 hours)
  • preshaped, then waited 30 minutes, and shaped and dropped into long banneton
  • preheat oven to 550dF with long romertopf in oven
  • let rise for about 2 hours
  • transferred into hot romertopf bottom from banneton using parchment paper and cut off the excess parchment. Scored with razor blade. Covered with top of romertopf and stuck in oven.
  • Reduced oven to 450dF, baked for 45 min with top on. Then, 15 min with top off.
  • Let cool on wire rack overnight.
  • The whole bake minus the cooling started at 9am and finished at 11pm.  

Problems with this bake:

  • Still seemed a bit dark coming out of the oven, but then was perfect after it cooled overnight.
  • Crumb wasn't as open as I am striving for.
  • I think, maybe, I could have let the dough rise for another 30 min to an hour... I am thinking I will keep tweaking the recipe until I get the hydration right, and then, I will bake the same loaf over and over again, trying to get the proofing just right.

As I type this, I am working on a 3rd loaf, this time with 85% hydration. The dough, this time, finally feels wet enough. I think it will turn out great.

texasbakerdad's picture


  • 100g Sourdough Starter (50/50 Hard Red Wheat)
  • 286g Whole Red Wheat (Home Milled)
  • 376g HEB Bread Flour
  • 18g Salt

This recipe was derived from the following King Arthur recipe:

With the following modifications:

  • Swapped out 286g of bread flour for home milled hard red wheat.
  • Reduced starter from 227g to 100g (since I didn't have 227g available)
  • 20 minute autolyse before adding salt and starter.
  • Ignored time recommendations since I had less starter and my starter is very active. Instead, judged the progress of the dough by feel/size. 5 folds in the bowl every hour, then shaped the dough after about 8 hours.
  • Used a banneton and a long romertopf

texasbakerdad's picture

550 dF convection bake with Pizza Stone.

  • 15% half whole wheat sourdough starter
  • 5% whole wheat
  • 80% all purpose flour
  • 70% hydration

Bulk ferment for 2 hours in fridge and 2 hours at room temp. 

used parchment paper to make sliding pizza onto stone easy. 

texasbakerdad's picture

franbaker and I are going to be baking the same recipes and comparing the results. My bake yesterday is the first of our cooperative bakes. We both attempted PiPs' "Home with Bread/Fighting Gravity" recipe. I am looking forward to see Fran's post about her bake day results.

franbaker's post about her bake:

100% WW Cooperative Baking with Texasbakerdad


Recipe (thank you PiPs!):

Home with bread / Fighting gravity


Cool things about this bake:

  • Proofing in my clay baker and cooking the dough without an oven preheat worked out quite well:
    • Pro - Saved electricity (No need to time the oven preheat with proofing completion)
    • Pro - Zero risk of deflating dough when transferring to final cooking vessel
    • Pro - No loading of dangerously hot vessels
    • Pro - The oven steam production was impressive
    • Pro/Con - The crumb was softer and the crust was softer and chewier, I think I can change my baking temps, times, and top removal to achieve a crisper crust and a dryer crumb.
    • Pro/Con - The Romertopf retained so much moisture that even after baking for 40 minutes with the top on, the dough's surface was still wet looking. This could be adjusted by soaking the romertopf lid less, or pulling the lid off earlier, or cracking the lid open earlier.
    • Con - You have to use parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to the vessels. Not having to use parchment paper would be a perk.
  • Breaking the dough hydration into multiple stages seems to do wonders for gluten development.
    • This is the 3rd or 4th recipe I have made in which the water is added in multiple steps to the flour. It seems like gluten development happens on its own pretty much when you have just enough water but not too much. Once you have the developed the gluten structure, you can add more water while retaining the initial gluten mesh.
    • I don't understand why this recipe called for french folds, after the 1 hour autolyse, the dough was pretty well developed. A french fold at this point seems like it would have done more harm than good.
    • I need to play with multiple stage hydration some more and develop some confidence that it 'always' works.

For convenience reasons, my plan was to make the following tweaks to the recipe:

  1. Halve the recipe and bake entire 2kg in my large Romertopf clay baker.
  2. Use my Ankarsrum mixer instead of doing the recommended french folds.
  3. Do the final proof in the clay baker and load clay baker into cold oven with dough inside. Adjusting cooking times to compensate.
  4. Skip the fridge retard

What actually happened

  1. 2kg seemed like too much for my Romertopf, so I split it into two, 1kg went to the romertopf and 1kg went to a dutch oven.
  2. After the 1 hour autolyse, the dough felt great, and I questioned the need for additional kneading. After adding the leaven and salt water, the dough still felt great. So... I decided the Ankarsrum was overkill for this dough and ended up doing about 10 stretch and folds over 1.5 hours to get to window pane dough.
  3. I proofed half the dough in the Romertopf, the other half was proofed in a boule banneton and then carefully loaded into a cold dutch oven.
  4. I tried to skip the fridge retard, but I had to go run some errands and ended up retarding the bulk ferment for about 1 hour.

The Bake:

Hard Red Wheat Starter (4 hours):

I started the sourdough 24 hours prior to usage, with a seed of 25g 100% hydration hard red wheat. I added 25g hard read wheat and 25g water. 8 hours later, added 50g hard red wheat and 50g water. Then, stole 46 g of that starter as a new seed for my final starter build. 46 g seed, 93 g hard white wheat, 60 g water. Waited 4 hours until usage.

46 g seed 100% hydration hard red wheat
93 g hard white wheat freshly milled
60 g water

Autolyse (1 hour):

950 g hard white wheat freshly milled
800 g water

Mix 1:

1750 g Autolyse (84% hydration)
199 g Starter  (71% hydration)

4 Stretch and Folds, then, wait 10 minutes...

Mix 2:

1949 g Mix 1 (81% hydration)
55 g Water
44 g Salt

Final Hydration: 88%

Bulk Ferment/Shaping/Final Proof:

  1. 4 Stretch and Fold, then, wait 30 minutes
  2. 4 Stretch and Fold, then, wait 1 hour
  3. 4 Stretch and Fold
  4. Bulk Ferment for 1.5 hours
  5. Retard for 1 hour
  6. Bulk Ferment for 2 hours until dough felt airy, but not bubbly
  7. Divided into 2, preshaped, bench rested for 10 minutes.
  8. Shaped 1 batard and put into parchment lined romertopf, Shaped 1 boule and put into rice floured banneton.
  9. Filled inverted romertopf lid with water.
  10. Proofed for 4 hours until poke test went from firm to a little bit bouncy
  11. Transferred boule into parchment lined dutch oven.


  1. Drained romertopf lid and wiped off excess water.
  2. Using double oven, put one vessel in each oven and set temperature to 550 dF.
  3. At 35 minutes, reduced temperature to 460 dF.
  4. At 45 minutes, removed tops.
  5. At 65 minutes, removed bread from oven.
  6. Waited 6 hours before slicing.

Final Comments

  • The loaf cooked in the romertopf held onto its moisture much longer, I think that was due to soaking the lid. I am assuming why the romertopf loaf had about 20% more oven bloom than the dutch oven loaf.
  • The bread tasted great! Sort of a salty coffee flavor with a soft crumb and a chewy crust, it was really quite flavorful.
  • I like this loaf a lot. I would like to try this loaf with a harder crust and a dryer crumb. I would also love to achieve a lacy crumb at some point, because I want to know that I have learned to skills to do so.

Above: Dutch Oven Crust

Above: Dutch Oven Crumb.

Above: Romertopf Crust

Above: Romertopf Crumb

Above: Up close romertopf crumb

texasbakerdad's picture

I take photos with my phone. The Fresh Loaf upload procedure is too slow for me. I want to test out posting an image hosted from a different website.

If this works properly, you should see some pizzas we baked tonight.

texasbakerdad's picture

Stole a recipe out of "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book". Fresh Milk Bread. Milk, Butter, Water, Yeast, 100% whole wheat. The bread turned out beautifully and sliced easily. I was much more confident today deciding when the dough was fully proofed and everything worked out quite well. On the first loaf, my scoring was too hesitant, on the second loaf I just went for it and got a clean score right off the bat, even though the score should have been a bit deeper. I feel like I am getting better every loaf!

The wife said the bread tasted a bit like burned milk. I didn't taste any off flavors, but, I know she doesn't like milky breads. A couple of years ago we made a few loaves of JAPANESE TANGZHONG MILK BREAD because we heard it had a longer shelf life. This bread tasted similar. This recipe is a little dry, but not as dry as Tangzhong Milk Bread.

texasbakerdad's picture

I joined The Fresh Loaf a week or two ago when I realized I was going to need help to achieve more open crumb. What a wealth of knowledge on this site!

Current Goals

  • Decide on a 100% whole wheat sandwhich loaf recipe for my family and become proficient in making that loaf.
  • Decide on a flavorful, beautiful, healthy, rustic, wild yeast, and open crumb loaf recipe that I can use to sell/barter in my community and become proficient in making that loaf.

I realize my dough handling skills and my experience working with wet doughs is lacking. So, I am trying to become comfortable with wet dough, otherwise, I find myself avoiding certain recipes out of fear of having too much trouble. Over the past few days I tried (with little success) to bake high hydration 100% whole wheat bread. 8 flying saucers later and I learned a lot, but, struggled to get the proofing and shaping right. Things got better each loaf, but, I have a lot more learning to do.

I am not focusing on flavor yet. Thus, I am using commercial yeast for now. I am going to switch to leaven soon though.

Yesterday's Bake

I wanted to make things easier on myself and also check to see if some of my intuition about how dough 'works' was correct. So, I decided to make a 100% bread flour recipe. I decided to make 2 batches of 2 loaves each, which worked out great, because each loaf was an opportunity to observe how small changes in the baking process impacted the loaf. For example, the 2nd batch bulk proofed much more than the 1st batch, so much so that I worried i over did it. Well... the 2nd batch came out better than the 1st. 

Recipe (Made 2 batches, split each batch into 2 loaves)

Bread Flour 580 g (100%)
Water 406 g (70%)
Instant yeast 3 g (0.5%)
Salt 12 g (2%)

Bread Flour 193 g
Water 193 g
Instant Yeast (a pinch)

Bread Flour 387 g
Poolish 386 g
Water 213 g
Instant Yeast 3 g
Salt 12 g

I mixed the poolish and left on countertop (house is air conditioned to 78 degrees). Loosely combined the additional flour (387g) and water (213g) for autolyse and left on counter for 30 minutes, then put it into the fridge until the poolish doubled.

The autolyse didn't have enough water and it the gluten developed into a very very very elastic stress ball. I had to work real hard (fingers and arms hurt) to combine the poolish and the autolyse. Then added instant yeast, followed by salt.

After 8 loaves of high hydration dough, I realized today's dough was going to be a different beast... it seemed like it was too elastic. To develop gluten, I kneaded it in the bowl, stretch fold, stretch fold, stretch fold for about 10 minutes, then I took a 10 minute break and did it again. I did this until most of the dough's stickiness was gone. Then I transferred the dough to a clean bowl. And did a stretch and fold until the dough ball got taught to the point of almost tearing every 30 minutes until I was ready to shape the dough. I think I did 4 stretch and folds with the first batch and about 7 with the second batch (the second batch went in the oven a lot later).

Baked in a dutch oven for 20 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered at 500 dF for first 10 minutes and 460 dF for last 20 minutes.


Post Bake Thoughts

  • Weirdly, scoring the dough was much easier on the loaves proofed in my round banneton versus the oblong banneton. My round banneton has been used more and I think is depositing more rice flour onto the loaf.
  • When I remember to dampen my hands first, getting the loaves out of the banneton into the dutch oven is working ok. I can tell after another 20 loaves, it will be easy.
  • If you look at the 2 slices of bread, one looks better than the other. The 2nd slice has a volcano formation in the middle of the loaf. Denser crumb in the volcano and more open crumb outside of it. This is because of the way I shaped the dough. I will no longer shape the dough that way.
  • The 2nd batch had 20% more open crumb, those slices are from the 2nd batch. The 2nd batch proofed much more during bulk proofing. At the end of bulk proofing, the dough was pretty bubbly. But... this dough had so much more elasticity compared to my earlier high hydration doughs. I think bubbly is good as long as you have enough elasticity to handle it.
  • I really think my crumb would have been even more open if I had upped the hydration by 10%, the dough was very elastic and I think it kept the air bubbles from growing larger.
  • I wish I could do the entire bake again, but this time, let the final proof go even longer. I think this dough could have handled it without over-proofing.
  • I wasted a ton of electricity keeping the oven preheated while waiting for the loaves to finish proofing. I need to figure out a more efficient way to do this. Probably, need to figure out how long preheating everything takes, then, work on being a better judge of how much time is left till proofing completes.
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