The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


isand66's picture

A new breakfast place just opened up in town and my wife took her Dad who is visiting with us to eat some brunch the other day.  They went without me, so that will need to be remedied in the future :).  They came home with some leftover cheesy grits which were screaming to be added to a some dough.

I had made a version of this bread a while ago and decided to change it up a bit using some fresh milled whole wheat and spelt.  I used some roasted fingerling potatoes which added to the super soft and moist crumb.

I love the way this one turned out.  The bread is full of flavor and makes some killer toast or grilled bread.  Give it a try if you get a chance.


Download the BreadStorm File Here


Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours in your mixer or by hand along with 385 grams of the water, until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 30 minutes or longer.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), potatoes, grits and the balance of the water and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours (If you use a proofer set to 78 degrees you can finish in about 1.5 hours).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1  hour.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 535 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 2 minutes lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

BreadBabies's picture

I haven't baked bread in awhile. When I do, we eat way too much and I have a beach wedding coming up that I need to prepare for. So, why am I posting here? Because I have interior musings that nobody on any other site would be interested to hear. I'm here to gather with other bread nerds about something that has been occupying my mind for the past several weeks.

Here it is...I love my Brod & Taylor proofer. No, this is not a commercial. Yes, I paid full price for it. No, nobody at that company has ever heard of me and I have no social clout such that they would even care what I have to say about this.

Why bother mentioning this here?  (Other than my personal need to belt a power ballad of love from the rooftops) I frequently see people discussing the engineering considerations of making a homemade proofer. Yes, you could do that. For some people -- the tinkering kind -- the joy is in the process itself. I congratulate you, you are a dying breed. But if you're considering that just to save a few bucks, let me tell you, the B&T is the most useful appliance I've bought in...maybe ever.  Its elegant simplicity is poetic. It takes up no space and its uses are many. Here's a short list of the things I have done with it, which barely scratch the surface of possibilities.

1. Making black garlic.

2. Pasturizing eggs in the shell at home

3. Keeping things warm for a party (a 200 degree oven is way too hot and dries out food)

4. Sous vide cooking

5. Defrosting (though this probably isn't safe with meat, but I recently did this with a frozen dough ball and it worked like a charm)

A few things I haven't yet done simply because I already have other dedicated appliances for this include making yogurt and using it as a slow cooker.

What have I not mentioned? Actual proofing or giving your sourdough culture a boost. Of course, it works beautifully for that, too. But the whole point here is that even though I haven't baked bread in ages, I regularly use this proofer. When I first bought it, I really hesitated. It seemed too pricey for what it was -- a very simple machine. I still kinda feel that way. But it has been so useful that I'm really glad I did it. I've wasted a lot more money on much less useful kitchen junk. feels good to share my obsession with someone. Thanks for listening.

leslieruf's picture

Objective: To see how the length of bench proof after shaping (before retardation) impacts on crumb. 

 So here is my formula  & method for 2 kg dough (enough for 5 x 400g batards):

Levain:  Refreshed yesterday, final build overnight.
34 g starter + 20 g wheat bran + 160 g water  + 140 g flour 

Today 11 am:  Autolyse 45 minutes
662 g flour + 282 g wholewheat freshly ground + 26 g gluten + 654 g water

11.45 am add levain.  squished dough out and smeared levain over, dimpled it in and folded dough - a bit like laminating.  repeated the folding then did 100 SLAFs. dough came together nicely but I felt it needed a little more water, so after resting it for 5 minutes I patted it out, sprinkled the 20 g salt over it as well as another 20 g water. folded it all up again and did another 110 SLAFs. Dough felt really good and was no longer sticking to everything.  

After 30 minutes I did 5 coil folds, rested 30 minutes and repeated the coil folds.  At this point I got interrupted and the next coil fold was 45 minutes later.   the 4th & final set of coil folds were done 45 minutes later again

About an hour and a quarter later, dough was somewhere in the region of 30-50% risen, surface was domed and here were surface bubbles.  Divided the dough into 5 and preshaped each into an oblong and rolled it up. 

Rested 30 minutes before final shaping.  Decided to try Trevor’s “un named shaping” method which is nice and simple.  I tried to treat each loaf the same. 

These photos are all just before loaves retarded. The first loaf I shaped was left on bench post shaping for 120 minutes

The second loaf was left for 90 minutes

The third loaf for 60 minutes

The 4th loaf for 30 minutes

The 5th and final loaf was shaped and popped straight into the fridge.

All tucked up and ready for sleeping!

Tomorrow morning I will bake them one after the other.  I had hoped for 10 - 11 hour retard but things went really well so they will actually get 14 hours in the fridge before baking.  Fingers crossed that the fridge stays cold enough to hold them.  Just looking at them when I made the photos, I think 2 hours was too long and that 1 hour or even 1.5 hours would be better. 

Just had a quick look at one of loaves, so far so good and fridge temperature is nearly back to 4 degrees C. 

More photos and the actual bake tomorrow


leslieruf's picture

This is not my first baguette, but definitely the best effort.  Used Hamelman’s Baguette with poolish.  I have upped the hydration a bit to 72% and replaced a bit of flour with some soya flour 2% (after reading Abel’s comment I thought why not!) so here we go..
Last night mixed poolish and left overnight.  
156 g flour + 156 g water + 0.3 g instant yeast
Today: Mid morning poolish looking good, mixed final dough ingredients together and added poolish. 

301 g flour + 7 g gluten flour + 9 g soya flour + 9.5 g salt + 1.5g instant yeast.

100 SLAFs, rest for 5 minutes then another 110 SAFs.  Dough was very soft and didn’t feel really smooth until second batch of SLAFs. Final dough temperature 25°C, room temperature  about 22 - 23°c. 

Although Hamelman says do 1 fold after an hour, I decided to do 3 x coil folds 30 minutes apart. I kept to the 2 hour BF though. Dough was definitely poofy and risen.  

So I tipped dough out and divided into 3, supposedly each 275 g  - don’t know where it went but 3 dough balls were only 260 g each! Did a sort of preshape and rested only about 10 minutes.  Final shaping was a bit hit and miss. I wanted to have a quick look at SFBI video but wouldn’t you know it, the internet went down!!! Anyway tried to remember. I think I should have rested dough longer but got there in the end.  Used my couche, covered with wet towel and left to proof.  At the 1 hour mark, I popped the dough in the fridge as I wanted it a bit cooler for scoring.  After about 20 minutes I checked with finger poke which indicated the dough was ready.  Baked 20 minutes with steam at about 430°F.

I know they aren’t perfect but I am reasonably happy with them. The scores didn’t open properly and as you can see, the middle one had a blowout instead.  It’s funny, since doing SLAFs (200 approx) I find I am having much much less trouble with shaping - dough is definitely easier to handle and less sticky.

Next time - same formula I think (baguettes are light as anything), tighter preshape and definitely longer and retard dough longer so scoring is easier.

Will post crumb shot once I cut one, maybe tomorrow.


Cedarmountain's picture

Sourdough donuts....some coated with cinnamon sugar, some with a cardamom honey glaze.  I used an egg, milk, sugar, butter dough with a sourdough levain; slap and folded, proofed at room temperature for 5 hours; refrigerated over night; rolled/cut into rounds and proofed at room temperature for another 2 hours before deep frying at 350 F for about 2 minutes per side.  I didn't spend a lot of time folding and shaping each donut so they turned out pretty "rustic" looking but I think they tasted pretty good, nice soft bready texture too.   





pul's picture

Fellow TFLers,

 I decided to have some fun this week creating a new stater based on 100% whole wheat and blending my own flour in a vitamix. This is the first bake using the new starter.

It is a small loaf containing, 280 gr total flour, 73% hydration, and 3.5 gr salt. The flour mix was 60% white flour (11% protein) and 40% home blended whole wheat. I did not blend the berries too  fine to avoid overheating, so there was a lot wheat bran visible particles. I prepared a stiff levain at 60% hydration, which had 15 g whole wheat starter at 100% hydration and 30 gr whole wheat flour. Bulk fermented for 4 hours and short retarded in the fridge after shaping for another 5 hours. I baked it straight out of the fridge in cold oven initially. Overall the result was quite positive including crispy crust, soft crumb and subtle flavors.

Even though I am not actively blogging or commenting, I have been following you all and checking out all nice pictures posted every day.

Happy Baking



solano's picture

Now that I've been able to protect the bottom of my loaves well, I'm trying to get darker crusts without burning the bottom.

I still work with weak flour, the two loaves were my usual recipe, 1000g dough, 100% white flour, 65.03% water, 2.19% salt, 18.58% levain (100% hydration). Final hydration, 68%. Temperature in my refrigerator was about 9 ° C and in my kitchen during the day ranged between 21-24 ° C.

1st bread, was made as follows:

- mix (flour, water and levain) - 30 min "autolyse"

- add salt and mix (rubaud)

- coil folds every 30 min (total time of BF, 3 and a half hours)

- put in refrigerator for 14 hours.

- remove, pre-shape, bench rest 30 min, shape

- Final proof for 3 hours at the counter and 5 hours in the refrigerator, straight to the oven, bake for 20 min with lid and 35 without lid, temperature was 250º C from start to finish.

I found it overproofed, the dough degassed a little when I cut, not much, but it was perceptible. The dough was strange when I took it out of the banneton, even though getting in the refrigerator was difficult to cut, it was kind of soft, very soft. The bottom held up well and did not burn, I thought it was even lighter than the rest of the crust, could have baked even more. I do not know if it made a difference in the taste, that bread went to my mother's house and I did not eat it.

2nd bread, was made as follows:

- mix (flour, water and levain) - 30 min "autolyse"

- add salt and mix (rubaud)

- coil folds every 30 min (total time of BF, 3 and a half hours)

- put in refrigerator for 8 hours.

- remove, pre-shape, bench rest 30 min, shape

- Final proof for 4 hours on the counter and direct to the oven, bake for 20 min with lid and 20 without lid, temperature was 250 ° C from start to finish.

A friend came to visit us this weekend and said that he wanted to eat bread, so I had to speed up this bread a little so that it would bake before he left, as this one was baked first than the other, I used it to test how much it was going to change the bottom if I left the temperature at 250 ° C all the time. I let it cool for 1 hour and we cut it, it was very yummy and the crust was really very crispy. This bread had this strange opening again, as in my last post.

Happy with the results and tests of this weekend, probably this week I will have strong flour again and there will be other tests.



not.a.crumb.left's picture

Hi friends,

I baked 80/20 mainly white loaves letting it go to 50% rise in bulk based on the recent thread discussing the difference between a 30% and 50% rise and considering the thoughts from Trevor and Maurizio....I realized that I probably was more a 50%ish it happens but also experimented with 30% rise in the past...

If you go 50% rise then this also affects retarding and 2nd proof and Trevor mentions this actually in his book at the very end....reading it yet again afresh....

Now, there is not that much difference in weight between the two of them but I am intrigued what different shape I get with the 25CM cane banneton (used with a cloth) and the 33Cm long pulp Brotform used just with rice flour.

Some people on IG say that the Brotform can dry the dough out more and decrease  chance of blisters...not sure what I think about this...

Does anyone have a preference in shape and type of banneton...I quite like the Laurel and Hardy on my bench! :D Kat

Oh, sadly no crumb shot as I gave both away!

Danni3ll3's picture


I always make a bit more Levain than I need because some sticks to the walls of the container and then I would end up short. This time, I guess I made a bit too much, and since I hate throwing away something I nurtured along, I figured a quick 1-2-3 bread with left over durum semolina and a touch of honey would do the trick. 


155 g mature Spelt Levain (100% hydration made with Spelt bran and sifted Spelt flour)

325 g water

90 g durum semolina 

375 g unbleached flour

11 g salt

10 g yogurt 

25 g honey


  1. Mill the durum semolina into a finer flour. 
  2. Mix water and levain well. 
  3. Add durum and unbleached flour. Mix well and let sit for 75 minutes. 
  4. Add salt, yogurt and honey. Mix in and do 75 slaps and folds. 
  5. Let rest 30 minutes, do 40 slaps and folds. 
  6. Let rest another 30 minutes and then do 10 slaps and folds. 
  7. Do 2 sets of gentle folds at 30 minutes intervals. Let rest 15 minutes. Dough should be bubbly and jiggly. 
  8. Place on unfloured counter and sprinkle with flour. Preshape into a round. Let rest 20 minutes and then shape into a batard. 
  9. Place seam side down in a rice floured banneton. Cover and retard in fridge for about 9 hours. 
  10. Heat oven to 475 F with granite ware roaster inside. 
  11. Place parchment paper on bottom of pan, carefully tip loaf into hot pot, score, cover and place back in oven for 30 minutes. 
  12. Uncover and bake a further 15 minutes at 450F. 


Crust feel a bit hard so I wonder if I overbaked it. It is 3 am so I will see in the morning. 

Danni3ll3's picture

 This won’t be much of a write up because I used the same recipe and method as my last bake except for the following:

1. I used Roger’s Oats with Ancient Grains instead of plain large flake oats. 

2. I added all of the water at the beginning which made for easier mixing. 

3. I threw in an extra fold but kept the total fermentation time at 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

4. I retarded the loaves for only 8 -9 hours and baked directly out of the fridge. 

5. I tried baking for 30 minutes with the lid on and 17 minutes with the lid off. 

The last one is because I feel that sometimes the loaves seem to lose some height when I switch the pots from top rack to bottom rack and vice versa when baking 6 loaves at once. I thought that maybe baking a tad longer with the cover on would strengthen the structure of the loaf so they would be more able to handle the move. Seemed to have worked as they came out just gorgeous!

Once again, I am really happy with what is coming out of the oven. I was definitely over bulking and over proofing my loaves! 


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