The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Portus's picture

I have been fiddling with flour types and quantities for my regular weekly bake using 123 as the base formula with an overnight proof in the fridge (~4C).  I enjoy a mix of white and whole wheat, and recently added some rimacintata.  I am really pleased with the results I am getting with 61% white, 21% whole wheat and 18% De Cecco semola rimacinata - quite a delicate, tasty and moist, but not gummy, crumb.  The main pic was (slightly over-) baked this morning, the one inserted below is from mid-October.

The famed “123” formula is such a useful template for any variety of loaves, but I think it has caused be to become less adventurous since October’s anniversary bake! New year’s resolution is to renew acquaintances with Mr Hamelman 😉


Danni3ll3's picture

I got 48 loaves done for my Xmas orders, and these are 12 extra loaves for those who missed out on the original ordering. I have a dear friend that owns a Fresh Fruit Bouquet place and she gave me space in her commercial freezer to store the loaves. These orders are being picked up there so she offered to do a mini Open House where a few of us will be selling pottery and a few other crafts. We have done a wee bit of advertising and so hopefully we will all sell some of our wares and make a few more people happy. I think I am crazy for having baked 60 loaves over a couple of weeks. 


On another note, you will see that I didn’t mill any flour for this recipe. I had a big bag of Wholewheat flour from the local miller so I decided to use that as it really is very good flour and I was feeling a tad lazy. I am still surprised at the amount of bran that I get out of his flour compared to mine. 





Makes 3 loaves





150 g dried cranberries

131 g crumbed feta (sheep’s milk feta)

50 g sunflower seeds



188 g sifted wholewheat flour from Brûlée Creek Farms (bran sifted out)

770 g unbleached flour

50 g freshly ground flax seed

725 g filtered water + 15 g

30 g plain yogurt

21 g salt

240 g 80% hydration levain

142 g of wholewheat flour from Brûlée Creek Farms (sifted to separate out the bran and used for the levain)


Two nights before:

  1. Take the 142 g of wholewheat flour for the levain and sift it to separate the bran. Reserve both for the levain.
  2. Take 3 g of starter and feed it 8 g of filtered water and 9 g of bran. Cover and let sit overnight.

The morning before:

  1. Feed your levain 15 g of filtered water and 19 g of bran/sifted flour.

The night before:

  1. Sift enough wholewheat flour to get 188 g of sifted flour. Save the bran from this for bran muffins or another use.
  2. Place the 188 g of the sifted Wholewheat flour in a tub, add the unbleached flour and the freshly ground flax. Cover and reserve.
  3. Measure out 50 g of sunflower seeds and toast in a dry frying pan until fragrant and lightly toasted. Set aside. 
  4. Before going to bed, feed the levain 31 g of filtered water and 38 g of the flour reserved for the levain.

Dough making day:

  1. Feed the levain 61 g of filtered water and 76 g of the reserved flour. Let rise till double. This took 4 hours in my 73 F kitchen.
  2. Two hours before the levain is ready, add 770 g of filtered water to the tub with the flour and flax, and mix well. 
  3. At this time, you can place the salt, the sunflower seeds, the cranberries and the feta on top of the dough and let it it there while the dough autolyses. Do not mix in!
  4. Let the dough autolyse for a couple of hours. 
  5. Once the levain is ready, add the yogurt and the levain to the tub and mix well. Let rest 30-45 minutes.
  6. Do three sets of French slaps and folds at 30 minutes intervals. The first set has 70 slaps, the second set has 40 slaps and the last set has 10 slaps. I did add 15 g of water to the tub after the first set of slaps and folds because the dough felt a bit stiff. Continuing on 45 minute intervals, do another 2 sets of folds. 
  7. Let rest an hour and a half in a warm spot (oven with lights on and door cracked open) and then retard the bulk for two and a half hours. The dough rose about 40%. 
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~872g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter. 
  9. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and 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. 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 a nice tight boule.
  10. Sprinkle rice flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10-11 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. 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 place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 17 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.




Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

I first baked proper, PROPER panettone last year, with sweet starter (lievito madre) fed every 4 hours - even getting up at 4am for it - and I have to say it's a serious project. Patience, hard work, at least some bread-making skills, standing mixer (can't really imagine without it), lots of leftover egg whites, a warm place for proving, a warmer place for growing the lievito, hanging apparatus - it's a mission.


But the end result is really worth it. I made five large ones at one go last week, doubling the ingredients and I was completely exhausted afterwards. The recipe - or rather instructions! - can be found on my website: CuisineFiend's traditional panettone if anyone's interested.




dabrownman's picture

Lucy has been crafting bread for my wife of late.  I’m still not eating carbs but she is which is good if you like to make bread and can’t make any for yourself.  We have been trying to stick to her what she likes as best we can and, this week, we didn’t add in a yeast kicker.   The 5 grains were red and white wheat, rye, oat and spelt in equal proportions.


She isn’t much for seeds, nuts or fruits so add ins are no, nos and she wants bread that has whole grains in it, but still tall, soft and moist with a soft crust.  She likes her less open traditional, loaf bread the beat so that is what she is getting.  She is coming around to sourdough slowly but this one we hope will get her over the hump.  

Going in the fridge for bulk ferment.

This one has an 18% pre-fermented flour ,100% hydration, bran levain made with 15g of NMNF rye starter with all the bran from the whole grains in the levain.  Once it had doubled we retarded it for 24 hours. 

Going in the pan for final proof

We did a 1 hour autolyse with the rest of the HE, and the 25% King Arthur bread flour and 25% LaFama AP and enough water to get the hydration up to 80% with the 2% PHSS sprinkled on top.  We took the levain out of fridge to warm up, stirred it down and used it when it had risen 50% after 2 hours.

Ready for the heat.

We did 3 sets of slap and folds of 150, 25 and 25 slaps on 30 minute intervals. It seemed tight during the first set so we added another 5% water to get to slap a bit easier.  We then did 3 sets of starch and folds also in 30 minute intervals and then let the dough rest in an oiled SS bowl for 30 minutes before bulk retarding it for 12 hours.  No over proofing that way - yea!

After warming up 2 hours, we shaped it and put it into a wide loaf pan instead of the tall oriental Pullman and let it proof until it reached about ¾ of an inch above the rim of the pan in the middle.  It hit the heat at 550 F with 2 cups of water poured over the lava rocks to make Mega Steam.

It stayed at 500 F for 18 minutes of total steam because Lucy forgot to turn the oven down again.  Once the steam came out, we turned the oven down to 425 F convection for 8 minutes of dry heat.  At that point we took the bread out of the pan and baked it I the stone for 8 mire minutes at 400 F convection to try to compensate for the extra heat it got at the beginning.

It worked because the bread was only 208 in the middle but really boldly baked to perfection.  We will have to wait in the crumb shot till tomorrow when my wife needs sandwich slices.  The crumb ended up like a sandwich loaf should.  Soft moist, not so open but not dense either.  Just the way she likes it!


Its a plate of meaty, juicy, smoky ribs for me but Lucy says a salad a day will keep her at bay - she lied! But a good breakfast on bake day with veggie noodle soup for lunch can't be beat.

DesigningWoman's picture

Something about the holiday season and the general prettiness of them gave me a hankering to try my hand at challah bread. Mind you, I don't think I've had it since childhood, but I remember a golden, shreddable crumb under a toothsome crust.

TFL is loaded with all kinds of challah recipes and I finally decided upon zolablue's sourdough spin on Maggie Glezer's recipe, which seemed accessible enough for a relatively new baker and an absolute beginner when it comes to challah.

Starting the morning before, 8g of my 100% rye starter got transformed into 35g of stiff white starter. Early that evening, the 200g of stiff levain got made. Never made a stiff levain before, it was extremely neat and tidy. It was supposed to ferment at room temperature overnight, but knowing that I needed to be out in the morning, I left it out until about 3:00am and then stuck it in the fridge to slow things down. Possibly mistake number one.

The next morning, the levain was taken out of the fridge to continue at room temperature while I went about my business. When I came back to it in the early afternoon, it had about tripled and was full of bubbles, so I mixed up the dough.

Except, never one to leave well enough alone, I decided that I wanted to add in some grated orange zest and ground coriander. And that, while I was at it, to use orange juice in place of the water. Probably mistake number two.

The recipe says to knead the dough for no more than 10 minutes. Tu parles! I had a shaggy, wet, sticky (but very fragrant) mass that needed about an hour of SLAFs to come together. Not a happy puppy.

Well, it did finally -- sort of -- come together, and I let it rest for a couple of hours.

Came the time to shape, dividing the dough in two, then each half into six pieces and rolling them out to ropes. I don't think I found a "best way" to do them until about the sixth rope, by which time I was beginning to worry about the remaining dough drying out, despite the cloth covering them. So the next batch of rope was of a slightly fatter caliber (in retrospect, that made for a plumper loaf, which I preferred). Braiding was the easiest (and thus my favorite) part.

Egg wash and rest. Recipe called for five hours, till tripled. Well, it was already 10:00 pm. Five hours would have meant baking at 3:00 and probably not getting to bed before 4. Hmm. I dithered about it briefly and was too nervous about retarding the loaves, since I have no idea what an enriched dough does when it's put to sleep. So I stuck it out, waited four and a half hours, gave the braids a poke and decided to preheat the oven. They hadn't tripled, but they weren't bouncing back at all quickly, so I thought it would be better to bake them under- rather than over-proofed.

More egg wash, sprinkle on poppy seeds, into the oven for about half an hour. They smelled wonderful, and as I peered through the oven door, I was relieved to see that none of the braiding had torn.

And out of the oven they came. Not as zaftig as I'd hoped, but not the puddle I had feared, either.

I cut it open this morning and was surprised by the crumb.

Not shreddable, not golden! Harrumph. But wonderful as toast, with a taste of childhood. I will most definitely be trying this again, especially if I can avoid the sticky, wet phase that this bake went through.

So, some questions:

  • did I set myself up for trouble by using orange juice in place of dough water? Is that what gave me the stickies?
  • could the braided loaves indeed have been refrigerated overnight?
  • is the loaf overbaked?
  • should challah have a more open crumb than this?
  • can any bread be braided? can I take a favorite lean loaf and bypass all the preshape/shape/score angst and just braid? If so, how should the buk/proof timings or methods change?

Any and all feedback are welcome, as always.

Happy Hannukah!

Elsie_iu's picture


Cilantro Goat Cheese & Spicy Salami SD


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

150g      50%       Whole red fife wheat flour

90g        30%       Sprouted durum flour

60g        20%       Sprouted kamut flour


For leaven:

10g      3.33%       Starter

35g      11.7%       Bran sifted from dough flour

35g      11.7%       Water


For dough:

265g     88.3%       Dough flour excluding flour for leaven

130g     33.3%       Whey

110g     36.7%       Water

80g       26.7%       Leaven

9g              3%       Vital wheat gluten

5g          1.67%      Salt



60g       20%       Crumbled goat cheese

30g       10%       Spicy salami, thick cut and crisped (weight measured before crisping)

9g           3%       Cilantro, leaves only



305g       100%       Whole grain

280g      91.8%       Total hydration


Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 3.5 hours.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt and let it ferment for 20 minutes. Fold in the add-ins. Ferment for 1 hour 40 minutes longer.

Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Retard for 11 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F.

Remove the dough from the fridge to warm up for 30 minutes. Score and spritz the dough then bake at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.



This is a re-attempt of this formula as I over-hydrated the dough at the first try. I really like this combination that it seemed wasteful for not sharing it. Nevertheless, this time I struggled with determining when to stop the bulk so the dough was under-proofed... It had quite a lot of fragile goat cheese, which hindered me to get an idea of its degree of fermentation by poking it.



The flavor is nice though. You know for sure it’d be sweet with 50% sprouted grains, especially when they’re kamut and durum, the candies of grains. The red fife wheat contributes to some grape-like flavor, which ups the complexity by giving the bread a bit of tanginess. Since I love to serve goat cheese honey and black pepper, I thought it would go well with sweet grains and spicy salami. The cilantro is not optional: the bread would be a tad heavy without it.




Garlicky linguine with cabbages, spicy salami and seared scallops


Semola milk buns


Mixed vegetables Thai green curry with capelin, Spicy chicken drumsticks, and sweet & sour slaw with toasted cashews



Homemade dumplings (pork, cilantro and water chestnuts) I know they look ugly…

1st way: steamed


2nd way: pan fried


Japanese hot pot (enoki beef rolls, leek, fried tofu skin, Konjac Noodles and carrots), homemade udon, sugar snap peas, pea shoots & king oyster mushrooms salad with shio koji yuzu dressing, pan fried dumplings and oven fried potato croquettes


kendalm's picture

figured a few tricks - these are browning evenly every time now with zero muffin top / bottom.  Will follow up with some more pics of the process for those interested ...

solano's picture

Long time since I shared my breads here, was trying to read more than bake, trying to understand the dough at each stage of the prepare. The temperature here has increased a lot, my kitchen is always at 28-32 celsius degrees, day or night. The main problem I am having with my doughs are in shaping, it has been so hard to shape lately, sometimes the dough feels nice at the BF, holding shape nicely after the coil folds, but when I try to shape it become loosely, air escaping on the sides and cant hold the shape anymore. It is very difficult to move the dough to the banneton, but I do and when I bake it will turn in a disc, but well fermented bread because of the long retard at the refrigerator. Well, I'm reading Trevor's book, and seems like under fermentation is my problem. My starter is ok, my levain get ready in nice time, so I am not pushing BF enough or maybe I am unable to develop the dough structure with strenght. I need to read more, for sure. But yesterday I had a better result, it's clearly to me that this is a case of "fools crumb", still better than what I was having. Now let's get to what matters, how I did the bread of the pictures. Levain was build from 6g of starter, 3 feeds 1-1-1, 100% hydration. 1000g final dough, 68% final hydration, 2% salt, 10% levain. It's 100% white flour. I did a premix (flour, water and salt) at 6 am and put it in the refrigerator. At 1 pm I removed and let it rest on the counter. At 5:15 pm I added the levain, mixed very slowly to not break the gluten that was developed at the premix and started the coil folds. As the dough was holding shape already, I did folds with 1 hour interval aproximately, when the dough spreaded enough. At 10:40 pm it seemed the dough was fine, some bubbles on the surface, not sticking a lot and holding shape for longer time. Here I changed my plans, usualy I turn the dough on the counter and pre-shape using my bench knife and turning the dough in to a boule, but I decided to remove and pre-shape at the sametime using the coil folds. I put the dough on the counter and it holded shape nicely, 20 minutes and it almost not spreaded, so I decided I was not going to shape anymore, I just used the bench knife to try to create some tension scraping the dough on the sides and moved it to the banneton and to the refrigerator. At 8 pm of the next day I removed it to bake, it standed tall and firm after removing from the banneton in to the pan, it was really easy to cut. Baked for 20 minutes with lid, 25 without it, all at 250º C. At the temperatures of my kitchen, a BF of five hours seems more than enough to me, it's hard to believe it was under fermented, but I think I should probably let it BF for more time. 

pul's picture

I tried to use some fresh dill from the garden. My idea was to roast few cloves of garlic, but at the time of mixing I realized that I had forgotten to roast them. So I decided to use few cloves of black garlic that I had available around here. The following were the ingredients

86 g levain (whole wheat at 100% hydration)

30 g semolina

100 g blended whole grain berries (60 g whole wheat + 40 g rye)

167 g bread flour

174 g water

4 g salt

Handful dill

5 black garlic cloves - chopped


Dissolved the levain in water, added all the flour and mixed into a shaggy mass. Waited for 30 min to add salt, dill and black garlic, kneaded for 1 min to incorporate. Applied 3 to 4 stretches and folds at 20 ~ 30 min intervals. Bulk fermented for about 5 hours, shaped and stored in the fridge for another 5 hours. Baked at 230C for 35 min with lid on + 3 min with lid off (oven and pot were preheated). 

The loaf bloomed OK, the crust is crispy and the crumb moist as expected. The fresh dill has pretty much disappeared while the black garlic can still be seen. The texture is similar to adding raisins or cranberries. However, I think the black garlic made the flavor quite savory. I still want to fine tune and use roasted garlic to make things a bit more subtle.



Esopus Spitzenburg's picture
Esopus Spitzenburg

I made Reinhart's Sunflower Rye from BBA, and it was a nice change from our typical 10% WW/rye sourdoughs that we've been making. A tighter crumb than I'm used to getting from lower % rye recipes, but still very light.


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