The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Brotkraft's picture

Beware:  this video scores high on the geek-o-meter!  So grab your favorite pilsner, get comfortable on the sofa, and prepare yourself to watch a long video outlining the science and mathematics behind the Detmolder Two-Stage Rye Sourdough Feeding Method (aka Detmolder Zweistufenfuehrung). 

This method is practiced widely throughout Germany and Austria. I have a preference for this method as it has wonderful complexity in flavor and a lot of leavening power. There is no necessity to use commercial yeast in conjunction with this sourdough.

I look forward to your questions and comments.

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alfanso's picture

A second run at Danni's semolina cranberry/wild rice levain.  With some obvious changes afoot compared to my first attempt.  The wild rice didn't float my boat so I 86'ed it.  The quick and dirty on this version's mods:

  • hydration now at 72%
  • Semolina boosted to 35%, AP flour dropped to 65%
  • added pecans, and a hint of orange peel
  • eliminated 2 of the 4 Letter Folds, now down to 50 & 100 min with final 20 min rest before retard.

These were begging to be baked dark, and who am I to argue?  Although I adore semolina based breads, the orange peel and cranberry combination, while delicious, overwhelmed it.  May try using a whole grain next time instead.

Gerhard suggested the orange peel, and he was right on the money, as it adds a distinct flavor that marries well with the cranberry.

If this were a production bread, the cost of it would be fairly high as the inclusions here are quite costly compared to a FWS version.

I was pleased that the scores went well, as sometimes these types of baguettes, laden with fruit and nuts, will get oven bloom, but not a decent enough ear.  I also find that, in general, these breads in baguette form are less likely to display an open crumb for me.

A modestly intermittent problem is the even distribution of inclusions.  As I mix by hand, the add-ins don't arrive until the first Letter Fold, and as often as not wind up being unevenly spread across the length and breadth of the dough.

A thin crust with a distinctive snap/crack to the bite.  Just my style.


Semolina Cranberry Walnut Levain w/ Orange peel      
Danni, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1100 Prefermented15.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%541.9 100.00%81.3 Final Flour460.6
 AP Flour65.00%352.2 100%81.3 AP Flour270.9
 Durum35.00%189.7 0%0.0 Durum189.7
 Water72.00%390.1 100%81.3 Water308.9
 Salt2.00%10.8    Salt10.8
 Walnuts, toasted15.00%81.3    Walnuts81.3
 Dried Cranberries13.00%70.4    Cranberries70.4
 Orange Peel1.00%5.4    Orange Peel5.4
 Starter3.00%16.3 20%16.3   
 Totals203.00%1100.0 220%178.8  1100.0
Autolyse Water, Levain, Flours 20 min. Hold back 10% water for bassinage.    
Bassinage salted water.  Incorporate, rest 5 min.       
20-30 French Folds.  Rest 5 min.  20-30 FFs.  Into oiled tub.      
Incorporate inclusions at 1st LF.        
BF 2 hrs: LFs at 50, 100.  20 min rest.  retard       
Retard 12-16 hrs. with divide and shape somewhere in that time.      
Preheat 480dF, Bake 460dF with steam for first 13 min.  Then rotate to finish bake ~13 min more. Final  2 min venting.

365g x 3 long batards

Brotkraft's picture

Recently there have been many excellent posts and information on The Fresh Loaf about baguettes. Here is a small contribution focused on shaping. 

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Danni3ll3's picture


I usually make bread that is around 40% whole grain. This time, I wanted to make a simple mostly white sourdough. So this one has just a touch of wholegrain in it.


Makes 3 loaves


850 g strong baker’s unbleached flour 

100 g freshly milled Selkirk flour

50 g freshly milled rye flour 

22 g pink Himalayan salt 

700 g filtered water 

30 g yogurt

250 g sourdough starter (procedure in recipe)



Two afternoons before:

  1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of any kind of wholegrain flour. Let sit at cool room temperature for about 8 hours. 


The two nights before:

  1. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature overnight. 


The morning before:

  1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of unbleached flour. Let rise until doubled (about 6 or 7 hours). 
  2. Place into fridge until the next morning. 


The night before:

  1. Mill the rye and Selkirk wheat berries and place the required amount in a tub. 
  2. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and reserve. 


Dough Making day:

  1. In the morning, take the levain out of the fridge, give it a good stir and put it in a warm spot to get nice and bubbly. It will rise again but not necessarily double. 
  2. Put 700 g filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Cover and autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature (73F).
  3. After the autolyse, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the dough. Mix on the second speed for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot to begin bulk fermentation. My warm spot is the oven with the door cracked open and the lights on. I get an ambient temperature of around 82F. 
  5. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minutes intervals and then 2 more sets of coils folds at 45 minute intervals. Then let the dough rise by 30-40%. Total bulk was about 4 and a half hours. 
  6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~675 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let it rest 20-30 minutes on the counter. 
  7. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities or big bubbles. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.
  8. Sprinkle a mix of rice  and all purpose or baker’s flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl covers or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.


Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475 F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour.
  2. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  3. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I have finally managed bread with a significant content of spelt flour that didn't turn into a near-puddle before/during baking! I was really struggling with the elasticity it brings to the dough. But this time, while the bread is not super tall and did flatten out a little bit, it still has a decent shape. I was worried about scoring it too deeply which could cause more flattening, so I think I didn't score it deep enough... So the batard actually got some cracks on top.

I simply followed Maurizio's recipe:

But the main point is flavour! I added a sesame seed coating, and together with the spelt this produces fantastic taste. And the crumb is amazingly soft, a bit shiny and almost moist.

Benito's picture

I love the effect that sweet potatoes have on tenderizing the crumb and the sweet flavour of sweet potatoes and thought I should make another sweet potato sourdough but instead of pecans, this time adding black sesame seeds.  Those who know me know I love the flavour of sesame seeds and black sesame seeds in particular.

This formula makes a 900 g dough.

I built both the levain and saltolyse dough in the evening starting both with fridge cold water and some fridge time.

Levain 1:4:4 10 g starter 40 g 2ºC water and 40 g whole wheat

Saltolyse dough mix.

290 g water 2ºC dissolve 2% salt 8.18 g then mix 331 g bread or all purpose flour and 41 g whole wheat flour. Then place in fridge.

Just before bedtime take both out of the fridge and leave at a cool room temperature overnight.

In the morning once the levain has just peaked, spread 74 g of levain over the top of the dough, then pinch or dimple into the dough with wet fingers.  The stretch and fold in the bowl followed by 150 slap and folds on the counter.  Let rest in bowl for 20-30 mins in proofing box at 80ºF.  Bulk fermentation has started and fermentation at 80ºF for remainder of bulk.

Clean 1 sweet potato and poke all over with fork.  Microwave 5-10 mins until well cooked/soft.  Cut open and remove meat and mash thoroughly.  If the potato is dry, add some neutral oil while mashing and a pinch of salt.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Edit - an alternate and better way to prep the sweet potato.  Clean and poke sweet potato with a fork.  Rub all over with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake at 375ºF until soft.  Cut open and remove meat and mash thoroughly adding a pinch of salt.

Divide dough in two and do a counter letterfold to the first half then placing it back in the bowl in proofing box.  To the other half of the dough do a strong letterfold smearing the mashed sweet potato on the dough prior to each fold incorporating all the potato.  Place dough in a separate bowl into proofing box.  The sweet potato may interfere with gluten formation so incorporating it separately helps ensure that the gluten is maximized.

After 30 mins do a double lamination as in my video incorporating the black sesame seeds during the lamination.

Remove 30-40 g of the dough and set up your aliquot jar.  See video for further information on how to use the aliquot jar to assess bulk fermentation.

The aliquot jar should be kept next to the dough throughout bulk fermentation to ensure that the temperature and rate of fermentation is as close to the main dough as possible.  Each time you remove the dough for coil folds remove the aliquot jar as well from the proofing box.

Do 3-4 sets of coil folds for the remainder of bulk fermentation at 30-40 mins intervals until a good windowpane is achieved.  Bulk fermentation ends once your aliquot jar reaches 60% rise.  Go directly to final shaping, the last coil fold will act as your pre-shaping one of the advantages of using coil folds.

Once shaped and placed in a rice flour dusted banneton, place into a plastic bag or cover with reusable plastic shower cap (this is what I use now to cover the dough in banneton or in a bowl) and place in fridge for cold retard overnight.

The next morning, pre-heat oven 500ºF with dutch oven inside.  After 1 hour when oven has reached 500ºF remove dough turning out onto parchment paper.  Brush off excess rice flour and score.  Brush dough liberally with water, this helps with blisters and increases the steam in the dutch oven for excellent oven spring.  Transfer to the dutch oven dropping the temperature to 450ºF and bake in dutch oven covered for 20 mins.  After 20 mins remove cover and drop oven to 420ºF.  Bake for another 23-25 mins turning the dutch oven halfway through continuing to bake without the cover until the crust is a rich mahogany brown.



JonJ's picture

The sourdough fridge ferment method doesn't seem to get enough love on the internet, so I thought it might be of interest to everyone to describe a fridge ferment bread that I've just made. Additonally, there are  two things that make today's bread further unique - the use of 'almond milk', and the main flour is a white bread flour that also contains some bran and wheat germ.

My friend Laura is the one who taught me about the fridge ferment method, and this recipe is based on one of hers. She deserves all the kudos. What I like about the technique is that it is fairly low effort, and the low temperature ferment means it is easier to not overferment, giving you greater leeway for timing when to bake.

In total, this bread spent around 2.5 hours out of the fridge during making, with the majority of the bulking and final proof taking place in the fridge at a temperature of around 5°C.


  • 290g almond milk (unfortunately sweetened, try and find less sweet, or use milk)
  • 350g coarse white flour
  • 100g wholewheat flour
  • 100g levain (young, at 100% hydration from a mix of 50% Indian atta flour and 50% white bread flour)
  • 10g salt

Used an all-in-one mix, no separate autolyse but the dough did get an hour's rest after mixing. Firstly mixed the almond milk and levain in a separate bowl, and used an electric egg beater to ensure the levain was fully distributed in the liquid and the almond milk [1] was not separated. Added all the dry ingredients together in another bowl and stirred the dry ingredients together. Then formed a cavity in the dry ingredients into which was poured the levain/almond milk mixture. Stirred with the handle of a wooden spoon and had to mix a little by hand for at most two minutes, then left the shaggy mixture to rest for one hour. After this hour the next 45 minutes were spent doing 3 sets of stretch and folds 15 minutes apart and it passed a simple window pane test.

The fairly stiff dough was then placed in a plastic tub in the fridge. Around 24 hours later the tub was removed, and final shaping was done immediately. It was left to rest covered (with a pot) for 45 minutes, then placed directly into a 'banneton' which consisted of a tea towel heavily floured with rice flour covering a ceramic bowl. The tea towel was folded gently over the top of the dough, and the bowl was placed in the fridge for a further 4 nights with baking the following morning.

4 nights is too long and I knew it, but life grew too busy to bake on the originally planned day which would have been after 3 nights which is what the recipe calls for. This method is forgiving and is known to work with 2-4 nights, and the true range is almost certainly wider than that! It does depend on the fridge temperature, my fridge is set to 5°C,  and the bowl was placed on a middle shelf of the fridge pushed to the back away from the door. A few weeks ago I attempted measuring my fridge temperature and can tell you that it fluctuates wildly, sometimes as low as 3.5°C and as high as 7°C when the door was open to remove food. Unfortunately, I didn't measure dough temperature which would have been more accurate.

After the dough was removed from the fridge it was scored cold and baked immediately in the dutch oven at 260°C for 30 minutes covered followed by 230°C for a further 10 minutes or so until the desired colour was reached. It was immediately removed for cooling on a wire rack and cut after an hour and a half.


Scoring was my interpretation of the scoring used by Nikolai Meling. Didn't expect any ear with the decorative scoring, but as you'll see got one where the scoring from the 'wheat sheaf' ran into the one leaf.



Got it in the oven, and then I threw down my gauntlets! Recently bought a pair of welders gloves to use as oven gloves when handling the cast iron dutch oven, and what a difference they make! Baked at 260°C for 30 minutes covered and then 230°C for around 10 minutes plus. To be fair I normally bake for 20 minutes covered at the higher temperature followed by a slightly longer time uncovered, but lost track of the time today.


Out of oven on lid

Sitting on the lid of the dutch oven after coming out of the oven. The parchment at the bottom is probably why I get the pale band at the bottom too, and now I understand why folks use corn grits on the base of their breads, but still haven't got my head around the trick of lifting the bread onto the hot dutch oven directly.  Interestingly, I don't get the band when I bake in the body of the dutch oven rather than on the lid as was done today.


Ooh la la - la petite grignette est vraiment croustillant!


Texture and fluffiness is similar to what I would call a "brown bread". Was a little disappointed that it didn't have more open crumb than this, which is what I had with the milk variant. Soft and fluffy, however at the same time this is not the same soft texture you get with full cream milk either. Thought this bread would be sour from the long ferment, but it wasn't sour. Unfortunately sweeter than I would like, definitely don't buy sweetened almond milk next time. The same milk was used in making Maurizio's sandwhich bread with preferment though and for that recipe you can't tell it apart from his bread made with milk, probably because the sweetness is hidden by the sweetness of the honey. But, the texture is still quite nice and pleasant to eat and I'm not finished with experimenting with nut milks either.

Single slice

After baking, I took the time to read the packaging for the flour used. Probably would have made sense to read it before baking, eh? What I didn't realize is my flour is "Coarse White flour has a granulated texture, with wheat germ and bran in small pieces, in addition to the endosperm." [2] Oh dear, thought it was like a normal bread flour and didn't "keep refrigerated", for the last month or more that I've had the bag. Luckily not rancid. No idea of protein content. Thinking now that the smallness and tighter crumb were because this is more like a bread with higher amounts of wholewheat.


[1] The almond milk I used has these ingredients: water, sugar, 4% almond, sunflower lecithin and sea salt and is marked as sweetened and suitable for cooking, product of Spain!

[2] The coarse white flour is this one.

Brotkraft's picture

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, "How do I get an open crumb in my bread?" This video shares some processes I employ that hopefully will be helpful to you.

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chelseasf's picture

I'm trying to up my whole grain percentage and think this is a pretty successful attempt, using mostly white whole wheat flour. I calculated the whole grain percentage figuring the Type 85 is equivalent to 50% whole wheat, 50% white. 

Nice (though fairly mild) flavor, a decent crumb though could be more open. Not sure if I over-fermented. I may want to try adding a little rye and/or spelt next time for a richer flavor. And it's a bit too salty.  But mostly happy with this! Comments and advice welcome....

(Sorry I'm not using baker's percentages, I know I should!)


1 T. ripe starter, 75g. Central Milling organic Type 85 malted, 75g.water

Final dough:

Levain from above
700g. Central Milling organic white whole wheat
234 Central Milling organic Type 85 malted
760g. water
24g. salt


Levain 6.5 hours

Autolysed flour and water 3.5 hours (overlapping with levain)

Added levain and salt to autolysed flour, pinched in

Mixed for 12 minutes, alternating slap-and-folds and rubaud method (broke it up out of boredom)

Put in Brod & Taylor proofing box at 75 degrees.

Performed 3 stretch-and-folds at 30,60 and 90 mins

Total bulk fermentation 4 hours

Divided, preshaped, rested 20 mins, shaped, put in bannetons, refrigerated 12 hours

Baked in covered Dutch oven at 500 for 20 mins, 450 for 10 mins, uncovered at 450 20 mins.




idaveindy's picture

A "Sot-sot" flatbread. Some of this - some of that.   Nothing was measured except for a scant 1/8 tsp of salt.

1. Some starter discard, last fed 8 days ago. 100% hydration. Store brand AP flour.

2. Some bottled spring water.

3. Some home-milled whole grain Prairie Gold, hard white spring wheat.

4. Some home-milled whole grain Kamut.

5. Some home-milled whole grain generic hard red winter wheat, at least 9 years old. It had been sealed in a pouch with oxygen absorber.

6. Some whole chia seed.

7. Slightly less than 1/8 tsp salt.

8. Hand mix. Hand knead. The above flours were added until it "felt right."

9. Ferment for "a while," maybe 1 to 2 hours.

10. Hand pressed it out to about 8", maybe 1/8" thick.

11. Final proof for "a while," maybe 1 to 2 hours.

12.  Cooked in non-stick skillet on stove-top. Larger burner, setting 4 (out of 10). Flipped several times, until brown spots on both sides. Maybe 5 min total each side. Maybe 10 min overall.

13. Plus 11 seconds in microwave on high, "just to be sure."  It did partly inflate in microwave.




World Bread Day, October 16, 2020


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