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This baguette has many inspirations: the long cold autolyse from Anis, long cold bulkrise from Gosselin, SD instead of instant yeast from David's San Joaqin SD... With 12 hr autolyse, 24 hr cold rise, the process last at least 40 hours from start to finish, however, very little time is spent on real work, most of the time, I just have to wait and let time do its magic.


"Little hands-on work" does NOT equal to "easy to make", in fact, with the extra long process, there could be a lot of variations on how much to S&F, when to start and stop fermentation, etc, not to mention shaping and scoring continue to be a challenge at 75%+ hydration. With plenty of tweeking and adjusting, tthe end result is DELICIOUS: thin and crackling crust dark from all the caramalized sugar, airy and moist crumb, sweet and layered flavor - in the past 2 months, this is our weekend dinner of choice. I have made it at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.


Right now, this is my favorite bagette to eat - and to make.


36hr+ SD baguette

100% hydration starter: 150g

flour: 425g (I usually use KA AP)

ice water: 300g (sometimes a tad more when I feel extra daring)

salt: 10g

1. mix flour and water into a lump of mass, cover and put in fridge for 12 hours. (let's say Thurs morning, takes <5 min)

2. add starter and salt to the dough, use hand to mix until roughly evenly distributed. Note that the 100% starter here has two purpose: it's levaining power to raise the bread, AND it's extra water acts as the "2nd hydration" step in the original Anis formula. To make it even better, the consistency of the starter is much closer to the dough than pure water, so it's easier to mix.

3. bulk rise at room temp (70 to 75F) for 2-3 hours until it grows about 1/3 in volume, S&F every half hour until enough strength has been developed. Put in fridge. (Thurs evening, 3 hours, with 15 min of hands-on work.)

4. 24 hours later, take out dough, if it has not doubled or nearly doubled, give it more time to rise at room temp. I usually have to give it about 1 to 2 hours, depending on temperature, which means the dough can probably be stored in the fridge for even longer than 24 hours.Do make sure it has a sufficient bulk rise, so the dough is strong enough; but don't let it go too long, the dough will be so bubbly that the shaping would be difficult - this is where you need to experiment with timing a lot.

5. divide and rest for 40min.

6. shape and proof for 30 to 50min, score, bake with steam at 460F for 25min. (about 2 to 4hours on Friday night)


There is a lot of room here in term of how to arrange the bulk rise timing - more time before fridge, less during/after; OR more in the fridge; OR now that it's cooler at night, put the dough outside instead and skip fridge all together... The goal is to give the dough a long sufficient bulk rise, regardless how it's done. The key for me is to learn how the dough "feels" and "looks" when it's properly fermentated, so I know I've gotten to the finish line, using whatever fermentation schedule. Before I thought the most difficult part of making baguettes is the shaping, now I thihk it's in managing fermentation - even though I am really not doing anything in that step.


Since we love to eat it, I will conitnue to make this bread a lot, hopefully I will get better with scoring this wet dough! Right now, I am not even trying to get ears, just aim to have the cuts expand properly in the bake.



Sending this bread to Wild Yeast's YeastSpotting event.

txfarmer's picture

This year Chinese Mid Autumn Festival falls on 9/22, Wed, even though it still feels like high summer here in Dallas, I have been making traditional mooncakes to mark the occasion.


Traditionally, it''s a holiday for people to gather with loved ones. The round moon symbolizes "togetherness" and "family". My parents are in Seattle, while my husband's family is all the way in China, so we can only celebrate with them spiritually.

These mooncakes in the picture are of "Cantonese" style: the dough was kneaded then filled with various fillings (usually sweet), pressed with a special mold with different patterns for the top surface, then finally baked. The process of making them was long and tiring since I had to do everything from the scratch, while in China one can often buy the fillings or other ingredients readily made. It took me a whole day to make 40+ of them, with 3 different fillings: red bean paste with salted egg yolk, chestnut paste with salted egg yolk, and finally coconut cream.

The hard work was worthwhile though since we took them to my parents' home in Seattle last weekend, and had an early celebration there. My husband made very nice packaging for these so they don't get destroyed during the trip.

While in Seattle, I also made a batch of "Suzhou" style mooncakes. They have a different wrapper than the ones above, laminated similar to danish dough, and the filling is often savory. Here we used grounded pork and salted cabbage.

txfarmer's picture

Another very tasty bread from Dan Lepard's "A Handmade Loaf", I mostly followed the formula, but left out the instant yeast, using rye starter only, which means the bulk rise was 3 to 4 hours at room temp, then shaped and retarded the loaves in the fridge overnight. The next morning, took out, warmed up for 1 hour, then baked.


Made "twisted fendu" rolls (each around 210g), inspired by wildyeast's post here. Came out pretty good.


Since currants soak up different amount of liquid and they are added at the end of kneading, it's hard to know how much extra water to use. The first time I added extra 30g, the dough was still on the dry side, the 2nd time I used the same amount, yet the dough was unbelieablely wet and sticky. The wet dough did lead to a more open crumb - even though it had 50% of ww flour and rye flour, as well as a lot of currants.


Something new I learned while researching about this bread, "dried currants" are made from a kind of small grapes, not fresh black currants; while cassis is a liquor that's indeed made from black currants, so Cassis and currants in the bread are in fact not "related" as I had imagined. Doesn't matter though, they complement each other perfectly, resulting a very rich tasting bread.


My old cheap point and shoot camera died during the Africa trip, so I bought a new DSLR, this is my first batch of bread photos with the new camra/lense. A lot of learn and get used to, the pictures are definitely a working progress.



txfarmer's picture

Just got back from my 2 week vacation in Kenya/Tanzania last weekend. It was our first time visiting Africa (one more continent off the list, Antarctica is the only one left to tackle now), so much too see! We did 10 days of safari trips, 4 parks in Kenya and 2 in Tanzania.


Saw all  Big Five. Lions are lazy, especially the male ones. Both my husband and I are leos, I told him: no, I am NOT going to hunt and do everything for him while he sleeps and poses. And NO, he can't have 4 wives. :P

African Elephants are BIG. And gentle. In the lower right picture, two baby elephants are napping, 3 big ones are guarding them. :)

Cheetas, very hard to see since they are so alert and fast. We got lucky on the last day, saw them twice! They are my favorite animal.

African Buffalo, I think their horns look comical.

Black Rihno, even harder to see than cheetas, since there are so few of them. Also saw it on the very last day. Stretching the zoom on my digital camera to the limit here.

Lots of other animals and birds to see. Hippos, apparently they are dangerous and lethal. I just can't comprehend since they are huge and move soooooooo veryyyyyyyyyy slooooooooowly.

We were there to witness the annual wildebeest migration, boy there are a lot of them. 2 million in Masai Mara alone.

Flamingos, so pretty when they all fly, but so hard to catch that with my crappy camera

Look at me, look closely, are you getting sleepy?

Don't raise your head too quickly, might get dizzy

These are blue monkeys, because they are an unmentionable area, neo-blue too, I at first thought they sat on some paint!

Yeah, the little one looks cute, but don't be fooled...

Bald Eagle, my favorite bird

Hippo's personal massage therapist

Vulture, and their breakfast

Ostrich, they are allover the place

I like this one's "headpiece"

For the last 4 days, we went to Zanzibar, a tourist island off Tanzania's coast. Superb beach and water, one of the best scuba diving locations in our experience. So many fish, and they are not afriad of people.

Between beaching and diving, we visited the historical stone town on the island

Doors from past

Great vacation, there are so much more to see, we definitely want to go back. One day I will climb kilimanjaro!


before we left for vacation, I baked Hamelman's hazelnut and prune bread from "Bread", easy and straightforward formula, delicious too.

Since the formula is quite easy, I played with shapes to make it fun. The oval one is cut into pieces then proofed and baked with the pieces together, nice effect without having to score.

The other one was just 3 triagle pieces proofed and baked together

Nice open crumb studded with yummy hazelnuts and prunes

Due to the butter in the formula, the crumb is quite soft, so the dough can be made into buns or sandwich loaves.

txfarmer's picture

Another recipe from "A Handmade Loaf", using the beer barm starter. Anyone who knows of traditional English barm cake, or have seen the picture of this bread in the book might object and say: hey, what's in this picture?! It's not a barm cake, it's two sandwich loaves! Well, trust me it's the same recipe, just done differently.


Here I have to digress and talk a bit about Asian syle breads - sometimes in the form of a loaf, more often in the form of a stuffed bun. Very soft crumb with small pores, "shred-able", easier to peel off pieces than cutting it. It's essentially a slightly enriched dough (often with egg, butter, sugar, milk powder, milk, cream in the dough, but in small amounts), and the key to the soft and slightly spongy texture is in the kneading and shaping. The dough is VERY WELL kneaded to complete gluten developement, so that the bread gets maximum volume and a very fine crumb, which translate to a soft texture. During shaping, the dough is roll out thin, then roll up like a jellyroll TWICE before loading into the pan, this is to ensure the finest possible crumb - with the smallest possible pores. While artisan bakers here obsess over big holes in baguette, Asian bakers invest in the same effort and techniques to achieve even crumb with absolutely NO holes. It's sort of like a Pan De Mie bread, but much lighter. For the same pullman pan I bought from KAF (4X4X13inch), KAF Pan De Mie formula asks for 40oz (1100g+) of flour, while my Asian recipe only needs 800g, you can imagine how the bread is much lighter.


This kind of soft breads are what most Chinese people like, and I started out liking and making them 2 years ago. Soon after that, I got into sourdough and other Eureopean style breads, my taste evolved. I still like Asian style breads, but want the flavor to be a bit more layered and complex. As the result I have been trying to make these Asian style soft breads with pure sourdough, which add a tangy aftertaste in addition to the soft and slightly rich flavor. I am still perfecting the process in terms of how long to fermentate, how long to proof etc, but so far so good, I really like how the breads are more flavorful, yet still soft, tall, and spongy, the best of both worlds. (I will post when I am settled on the "best" procedure.) Some may ask why these soft breads are better than supermarket wonder bread, answers are: more flavor, soft but still has body (not squishy), slightly chewy.


When I see this barm cake recipe in the book, I wanted to keep the ingredients the same, but change the techinque to make it into Asian style sandwich loaves - tall and soft, rather than dense and cake-like. Nothing wrong with the latter, just not what we wanted at the time. Only two concerns: 1)the barm stater has been in the fridge for 5 days at that point, was it still strong enough to raise a loaf to 4+ times of it's original size? 2)the butter (15%) and sugar (15%) ratioes are both slightly higher than my normal Asian sandwich formulas. I was especially worried about the sugar, at 15%, it's on the verge of being "too much" for a natural starter. However in the end, it all worked out, the dough rose just fine, and I got two very soft, very tall, very flavorful loaves. Nothing like an English barm cake, more like a light Asian chiffon cake.

fruited barm loaf (adapted from "A handmade loaf")

Note: the following formula is suitable for a standard US 8*4inch loaf pan, but I used a Chinese loaf pan that's narrower and taller. I also had more than 64g of barm starter, so I infact made more dough than specified below, that's why you see a large loaf and a small loaf in the top picture.


beer barm starter, 64g

water, 106g,

bread flour, 212g (I used KAF bread flour)

AP flour, 38g

egg, 47g

brown sugar, 38g

zest from one orange

salt, 5g

butter, 38g, softened

currants, 39g

golden raisin, 39g (I used half dried cherries and dried cranberries instead)


1. mix water, starter, flour, egg, sugar, zest, autolyse for 30min

2. add salt, knead until gluten is well developed, add butter in 3 batches, until you get a very thin and strong windowpane. The stronger the gluten network, the higher the bread, but be careful not to overknead, it's a fine line. this is a VERY wet dough, even before adding the butter. It never did completely cleared the bottom of the mixing bowl, even though it's kneaded until very elastic.

3. bulk rise for 4 hours until well expanded, almost double.

4. for my narrow and long loaf pan, I divide the dough into 3 portions, for a 8*4 loaf pan, divide into two. for each dough round and rest for 30min. then, pat/roll each one out into a long ovel/rectangle, roll up from the narrow end like a jelly roll, keep the surface tension tight, press out all bubbles.Now you have 3(or 2) cyclinder like below:

rest for 15min, rull out each cylinder along the long axis into a flat long oval, smooth side down, press out all air bubbles

roll up from the narrow end again, press the seam tight with each roll, keep surface tension tight, load them seam side down into loaf pan. As you can see they only fill the pan 1/4 to 1/3 full, seems impossible to fill the pan, but don't worry.

5. proof until it's 80 to 90% full, for me , it took 6 hours, pretty normal for this kind of doug. Note that the height of each roll is uneven, this is because the dough was very wet, and I didn't keep the tightness the same for each roll. Ideally they should be all at the same height. 

6. brush with egg wash and bake at 400f for 15min, 350 for 30min, tent with foil for the last 15 so the top doesn't get too dark. unmold immediately after bake, cool on rack. The loaves are so soft I was afraid to touch them, but no fear, they are infact baked through.


This kind of soft bread is great as a snack, or smeared with some PB and J, or just pulled off piece by piece and eaten plain like we did. We often think of sourdough breads as the crusty lean loaves (which I love too), but sourdough is just a method to raise the dough, it can make any type of bread, including enriched ones. This bread is like the sourdough pandoro and sourdough challah I made before, rich and tangy.

txfarmer's picture

Harbin(哈尔滨) is a city in Northeast China with a heavy Russian influence. Around 1913 the first generation of Russian immigrants came mostly to work for the Chinese Eastern Railway, since then they left noticable marks on local culture, one of which is : 大列巴(pronounced: Da Le Ba). This is a miche like sourdough bread that' was first introduced to the locals by a Russian baker, and has been sold in Harbin bakeries for over a hundred years. Even its Chinese name was originated from Russian word khleb (bread). The fact that this bread was accepted and welcomed by Chinese people, even became a famous "traditional Harbin food" is very interesting since its sour and chewy taste is decidely different from other traditional Chinese foods. In recent years many bakeries have been opened all over China, but they mostly sell soft and fluffy Asian style breads, very few sourdough breads, nothing at all like 大列巴.


I have been wanting to recreat this flavorful bread for years, but only one local company has the recipe, they have been making it the same way since the beginning, obviously they are not spilling the secret. With the power of internet, I did manage to find some clues:


Firstly, this is how they look (the following two pictures are from a Chinese news article on the web):


- According to the articles: the bread is made from "beer hops liquid natural starter", not commercial yeast, which brings sourness and "beer taste" to the bread. I am assuming the "hops liquid natural starter" is a "barm", either traditional ale beer barm or simply liquid natural starter with hops added in. For my version, I simply used the barm starter I created last time with Dan Lepard's method (see details here).

- Various articles mention that the bread went through a 3 stage fermentation process. To mimic that, I used the miche forumla in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" which also use a 3 stage fermentation. Hoewever, my fermentation timeline is a little different from what they do for 大列巴. Their total fermentation is 16 hours, while mine is 24 hours + an overnight cold proofing in the fridge. It fits my schedule better, and makes the bread more flavorful IMO.

- The ingredient list for 大列巴 reads: flour, salt, water, beer hops, so I am pretty sure it's a lean dough with no sugar or fat, but I am unsure what kind of flour they use. Traditional Russian breads would have a high percentage of rye, but judging from the pictures, and people's comments on flavor, I think there is very little rye flour, if any at all. This is reasonable since rye flour is not easily or cheaply available in China, plus local people would much prefer the taste and color of white flour. I used a little bit of rye in the final dough, and KA Bread Flour for the rest.

- It's baked in a traditional brick oven (which is again very rare in China) with high heat, and the breads come out of the oven with a hard and crackly crust. That one is easy - I simply baked it on my baking stone like a miche.

- Each 大列巴 weights 2KG, about 8 to 10 inches round. I scaled it to about 1KG, 6 inches round. From the pictures above you can see there's a softer/lighter colored portion around the sides of the bread, I think it's because they bake a lot of them in each batch, so breads grow into each other, the areas that touch don't get a hard crust (sort of like a pan of pull apart buns). Even though I like a good crust, to make it look more authentic, I baked the bread in a bottomless mousse ring, to get the light colored softer sides.

Here it is!

When I used the barm starter, it had been in the fridge for 3 days, but it raised the two starter doughs and the final dough like a bat out of cage. When I loaded the final dough into the mousse ring, it's about 60% full, after 10  hours in the fridge, it has went over the rim of the ring. I was afraid I had over-proofed the dough, but it kept rising in the oven, crazy oven sping, that barm starter is STRONG!

Crispy and crackling crust on top, and soft sides, just like the real thing. Since I do like crust, next time I will skip the mousse ring and just bake it free form.

Nice and chewy crumb. Just like the real thing, there's no big holes but thats expected with the lower hydration, and how the dough handled in the process.

It's noticably sour, very flavorful, crumb is chewy and moist, one of the best miche breads I've made!

I've only had the authentic 大列巴 once, many years ago, but I think my version is pretty close in flavor. Next time I will use high extraction flour intead of white flour, and increase the ratio of rye, that will match my current taste preference better.

大列巴 (fermentation procedure adapted from "AB&P")

-first dough

barm starter, 14g(see details here)

bread flour, 39g

water, 39g

salt ,1/8tsp

1. mix and cover, fermentate for 16 hours.


-second dough

first dough

bread flour, 234g

water, 280g

salt, 1/4tsp

2. mix and cover, fermentate for 8 hours. Mine became so very light and bubbly.


-final dough

2nd dough

bread flour, 212g

rye, 54g

water, 25g

salt, 10.5

3. mix and knead until medium gluten developement.

4. bulk rise only for 15 min, lightly preshape into boule, rest for 20 to 30min

5. shape and drop into mousse ring, cover and put in fridge immediately for overnight

6. next morning bake directly from fridge, 440F with steam, 50min.


*This bread is going to YeastSpotting

txfarmer's picture

This bread is from Dan Lepard's book "A handmade loaf", also well documented here and here. The basic idea is to make a starter with heated beer + flour + sourdough starter to mimic the traditional beer barm starter. Since beer is first heated, whatever yeast is there in the bottle aged ale are all killed, so the rising power is completely from the natural starter, not from the beer. Dan still recommends to use bottle aged ale beer, I think for 2 reasons: 1. authentic flavor; 2. the other micro organism and "stuff" in bottle aged ale would more likely coexist with the natural starter better, while lager or even a different ale with additives, might interfere with the health of natural starter.

I used Chimay Ale, the starter became bubbly and matured after 24 hours, longer than what the book says (overnight), shorter than some other people's experience.

The hydration was around 70%, nice open crumb.

I changed procedure so the proofing was done overnight in the fridge (shape, fridge, take out the next morning, keep proofing for another 90min at room temp, bake), however it was not sour at all. Mild and slightly sweet taste. Can't really taste the bitterness from beer hops, but overall flavor is very good. Crumb is moist and chewy, crust is crispy.

The barm starter can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, I will do some more experiments with what's left.


Tried to make pure rye sourdough again, this time I think my proofing and baking timing were better. Proofed less, and baked with higher temp for longer (480F for 10min, 450F for 10min, 430F for 10min, 410F for 10min).See my last attempt here.

Crumb is more even, rise was better too.

They didn't become moldy after storing for 4 days, but also stayed moist, so I guess the baking time was good.

My husband, who started out liking softer Asian breads, later started liking sourdough and baguette, now is getting a taste for this pure sourdough rye. Yes! My "training plan" is working! :P


*This post is being submitted to YeastSpotting.

txfarmer's picture

This past weekend was big for our household - July 30th is my birthday and our 5th anniversary, July 31st is my husband's birthday, lots to celebrate. Made some baguettes and the following Polish Cottage Rye from "Local Breads"

This bread has been well documented and recommended on TFL, see here for formula.

I don't know why I waited so long to make this one, it definitely lives up to the hype. The rye flavor is surprisingly noticable even though there aren't that much rye flour in the dough.

Even with the long kneading (13 mins!), the crumb is surprisingly open, I guess the high hydration made up for intensive mixing.

With such dark and crackly crust, it's big and beautiful 

I will join others to highly recommend this bread!

For our 5th wedding anniversary (year of "wood"), I made Yule Log cake, with chocolate swiss roll + chestnut cream filling + cream cheese chocolate frosting, yum!

Love the cute meringue mushrooms

Hey, it's all about the details, I don't feel guilty carving this tree!

For DH's part, he gave me hand-made tree leaf bookmarks and card, with patterns he designed himself. He used peach tree leaves for their natural heart shape.

Also gave me an anniversary ring, with 5 diamonds. Designed the ring himself. to match the wedding band and engagement ring.


All around a great weekend, we spoiled each other silly. I found time for a birthday run as well, with my trusty running partner! This is after a 15 miler long run, it was hell-ishly hot. Trust me, you don't want to know the temperature.


txfarmer's picture

This is the bread that's haunting me lately. My first two attempts at 100% sourdough rye failed miserably - and asked for help here. I am glad that I asked, TFL has so many knowledgable and helpful people willing to help out. Specifically Andy directed me to his recipe here, and provided me with many tips. Mini, whose post and pictures on her favorite rye has been studied to death by me, also provided encouragement and some helpful hints.


My rye starter is very active, so I reduced the pre-fermented flour ratio in Andy's formula to about 29%, the final rise was still <2hours at 30C, next time I might reduce even more. A lot of people responded to my question thread mentioned that it's important to use the right tin, so I used two mini pullman pan, narrow and long, each took about 370g of dough. Filled to 60% full, when I put them in the oven, they were 90% full. Baked at 460F for 10min, then 410F for 15min.


Still no great ovenspring, but at least the top is domed. Maybe I am still overproofing it?


Looking at the crumb, I see it's "heavy" in the bottom, is that also a sign of overproofing? Or maybe when I put the dough in the pan, I pushed the dough down a bit too much?


This size of bread is perfect for cocktail rye, I in fact used some for a party, with honey/mango, and cheese/avacado, very well received


It stayed moist and flavorful for days after, very yummy. BUT, it got moldy after staying in the plastic bag for 5 days, how do I prevent that? Andy's formula is very good, I will definitely make it again and again, hopefully timing the proofing better. Will also experiment with soaking some rye flour with boiling water.

txfarmer's picture

JT's 85X3 formula can be found here, I made several changes:

1. I don't have type 85 flour, so I followed Farine's advice and mixed 80% bread flour with 20% ww flour

2. I didn't use yeast in the final dough

3. I added a 30min autolyse before mixing, and let it rise for 3 hours at room temp, with 3 folds (one per hour), after that I shaped the dough and put it in fridge overnight for about 10 hours

4. The 2nd day, I took the dough out and left it warm for 20min before baking, judging from the dough, I thought it could be baked directly from the fridge, but my oven was not preheated enough until 20 minutes later


Made a boule and a fendu loaf, scoring opened pretty well, and nice singing crackling crust

Hydration is 76%, even with thirsty ww flour, the dough was wet enough to grant an open crumb

Flavor is nice and complex, it tasted great this morning, and got better by tonight.


Also made fougasse using recipe from "Bread", with following modification:

1. In addition to olives, added cooked bacon and fresh thyme in the dough

2. Brushed dough with olive oil before baking, and sprinkled one with fresh thyme, the other one with grated chedda cheese

3. Tried to score before/after proofing, no difference IMO

Golden and crispy on the outside, with very open crumb, so basically the whole bread is 99% crust, like the way it should be. Can you see the bacon hidden inside?

They went down so quick and easy,  maybe I shouldn't make these too often :P


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