The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


leslieruf's picture

I have attempted to repeat my first bake for 2018 and do it better.  

Starter refresh Friday morning

mixed 10 g starter 20 g water 30 g flour and left on bench. Room temp was 23°c

8 pm took 7 g from this added 28 g water & 28 g flour mixed and left on bench overnight.

Saturday 9:30 am mixed up levain for

bake #1 1:2:3 with 20% freshly milled rye 10% freshly milled spelt

27 g starter 118 g water and 118 g flour. leave to mature 

 bake #2 1:2:3 with 20% new season yeast water (raspberry)

levain: 9 g starter 41 g water 41 g flour mixed and left to mature

Poolish: 65 g yeast water 65 g flour  mixed and left to mature. this was a pretty pink!

Final doughs

Bake #1 1:2:3 with yeast water

2 pm autolyse - 208 g flour and 116 g flour. This was a low hydration dough

2:50 pm add yeast water poolish and levain. Dimple in and incorporate into dough with lots of folds.leave 20 minutes.

3:20 pm 50 turns - very challenging as not very extensible

4 pm 50 turns and still a challenge

4:30 pm 50 turns incorporating 6.3 g salt

5:30 preshape leave to rest.

5:50 pm final shape into batard, retard overnight in banneton

Bake #2  Final dough 1:2:3 with spelt and rye

5:45 pm mix flours (518 g bread flour, 91 g spelt, 182 g rye), add 527 g water and autolyse. Went out for dinner so this was a little longer than planned

7:30 pm add levain and 18 g salt. I incorporated this with lots of stretch and folds. rested 30 minutes and did 30 s&f, repeated another 2 times.  rested 15 minutes, divided dough into 2 and preshaped (now 9:30 pm) rested another 30 minutes.

10 pm final shaping into 2 batards, into bannetons and into fridge for overnight retard.

Sunday morning

Oven set to preheat to 250°c by 7 am.  

Bake #2 is first up as I was trying to stick to dabrownmans suggested schedule. The 1:2:3 spelt and rye loaves were unmoulded, slashed and baked in DO s 15minutes lid on 15 minutes lid off with temperature dropped to 230 after 10 minutes. Happier this time as better oven spring

Bake #1 - oven and one DO reheated, yeast water loaf unmoulded, slashed and baked 15 minutes lid on 15 minutes lid off. lovely surprise when i took lid off half way through bake. Love the blisters, never had such big obvious blisters before.  Crust is thin and crisp!   Interesting colour to this loaf, it is a white loaf but dough was pink. after baking it is a light brown with a very slight tinge of pink, nice flavour.  The yeast water is only about 10 days old so was really just checking what impact it had on a simple white loaf.  


I found the stretch and folds for the YW loaf quite difficult and worried about getting a dense crumb.  Still not confident with less than 50% increase during bulk ferment but it seems ok.  I did less stretch and folds with spelt and rye because of this.  I am a a bit undecided on my approach - gentle gentle as per Trevor or lots of stretch and folds which ate difficult because dough is pretty firm.  would it be better to increase hydration a little?

Still lots to think about.  try different flours, add gluten flour to make flour stronger? 10 stretch and folds vs 100? 

2018 offers many challenges


Sour_Baker's picture

I've been meaning to buy a proofing box, but I figured it was too little for how much it cost. I needed a proofing box that would be able to have a normal size sheet pan fit in it so I would have enough room for proofing breads and, when needed, I can make my yogurt as well.


I've seen the older proofing box posts and they look great. I guess I'm still nervous about making one. One of the big things I'm wondering is about material for the box itself. Is there a preference between glass/plastic/wood? I wonder if condensation would be a problem. If it makes any difference, I would be in MN and that gets super cold in the winter, when I make my breads the most.

Filomatic's picture

I made a quadruple batch of the Borodinsky for half-loaf Xmas gifts.  It was an ordeal that required the assistance of my wife.  Stressful as it was, nothing went wrong, and the results were about as good as my maiden attempt a few weeks earlier.  Scaling up is very difficult in a home kitchen, as the photos show in part.  The dough had to be spooned into the loaf pans, whereas when I made a single loaf I was able to scrape it in the pan neatly in one piece.  All in all, I won't be doing this again anytime soon, but I'm glad it was successful.

Scald and Sponge

Scald-sponge after fermenting for 3 hours--these two barely fit in my Brod & Taylor proofer, bending the sides outward.  Luckily, much of this is air.  The final dough was a bit lower than the preferment, but had to be done twice.

Final dough from the two mix mixes

Proofed dough after 60-75 minutes.

Shaped Loaves


Proofed Loaves

550 F for 10 Minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F

kendalm's picture

Anybody who's seen txfarmers sourdough croissants knows it doesn't get much better so having recently booted another round of stsryers and having a bit of an aversion to sourdough bread (just due to flavor) thought I'd give txfarmers formula a shot.  So far although nowhere near in the ballpark of txfarmer I'm pretty happy and think I may havw found a good challenge.  What I like about the sourdough formula is the added elasticity it seems to provide to dough.  What I have discovered with croissants is that final proofing can often result in the dough tearing especially along the top fold.  I would often see about 1/3 of my croissants rip in the last 30 minutes of proofing which results increally sad croissant.  In this case you can see some nice bulbous loaves here - would love to see the crumb open more but still this is encouraging and the beginnings of hopeful improvement seems to be in the works.  For the record these are the traditional French lamination technique of one double fold and one simple fold which ends up as 12 butter layers and 13 dough layers.  Additionally the butter that folded in is exactly 50% the flour weight.  Last week I decided to give 2 double folds a shot with a little less butter (40%) and was rather disappointed.  With that said it seems fewer layers, generous butter seems to work better.  The o,my regret here was not bakkng on the top rack,as I know thats the hotter zone in my oven and think there would likely have been l a more open crumb but oh well, not upset, a step forward is always rewarding ;)

Danni3ll3's picture

Since I got a few bread books as Christmas presents, (“Baking by Hand” and “Simply Bread”), I got a few more ideas for add-ins. As well, reading several of the posts (Leslie, Marianna, et al) on there in addition to Trevor’s book, I got inspired to try a few new things. 


One was the management of my starter. I fed it 1:2:2 for 3 feeds after removing a portion from my NFNM starter and then the last feed was a 1:4:5 to give me an 80% hydration starter which I prefer to use because the consistency seems to be easier for me to mix into my dough. Well the 1:2:2 feeds worked well by doubling after 7-8 hours. But the 1:4:5 feed also took 7 hours to barely double. Time was marching on so I used it even though it really didn’t feel very fluffy, nor had huge bubbles in it. If I redo this, I will make the starter the night before and give it a full 12 hours to come to peak. So far, I don’t see an advantage on changing my method of making my levain, but this new method might just need some tweaking (like lowering my expectations on how long it will take to double whenI feed it 1:4:5).


So the two breads that got inspired from “Baking by Hand” were a Cranberry Walnut and a Seeded Multigrain. Each batch makes 3 loaves.


Cranberry Walnut


215 g toasted walnuts

75 g ground walnuts

160 g cranberries



750 g unbleached flour

202 g multigrain flour

50 g ground flax seeds

700 g filtered water

32 g plain yogurt

266 g 80% levain

22 g sea salt


Seeded Multigrain

Seed Mix:

115 g sunflower seeds

115 g sesame seeds

115 g millet

60 g brown flax seeds

60 g rye flakes



550 g unbleached flour

202 g multigrain flour

220 g Arva mills wholewheat flour

50 g ground flax

700 g filtered water

32 g plain yogurt

266 g 80% levain

22 g salt


I used the same method for both loaves.


8 am Fed the starter 1:4:5 (30 g starter, 120 g filtered water, 30 g whole wheat/90 g unbleached flour) I doubled this since I was making a double batch of dough. I expected this to double within 4 hours as per my usual method but it was moving very, very slowly. Giving it a big feed really slows it down.

8:15 am Made up the seed mix and toasted it in a dry frying pan. I divided the seed mix into 350 g and 100 g portions and then set aside.

8:30 am Ground the walnuts for the Cranberry walnut loaves. Realized that I didn’t have enough walnuts so I added pecans. Chopped the pecans up with a knife and dumped the pecan/walnut combo into a dry frying pan to toast. Well of course the finer bits burned so I ended up picking out the larger nicely toasted pieces and threw out probably 30 g or so of burned crumbs. 

10 am Checked the levain, didn’t seem to be doing anything.

11 am Mixed flours, ground flax and water so no dry flour was evident and left to autolyse at room temperature of 73 F. Kept watching starter move at the speed of molasses in January. 

12 pm. Checked the levain, it had risen a smidgen or maybe it was my imagination.

3 pm Time was marching on and the levain finally barely doubled so I added the yogurt and Levain. Once well mixed in, I did 100 stretches and folds. The extended autolyse gave me a nice window pane even before the 100 folds. Kept dough on counter as I knew we needed to go out and I didn’t see the point of having it move too fast and then slow it down in the fridge.

3:40 pm Did another 100 folds.

4:15 pm Put the add-ins and salt through stretches and folds and once mixed in,  and did the last set of a 100 folds. 

4:45 pm Since we needed to go out (sis in law’s birthday), the dough was put into the fridge.

8 pm We got back at 8 pm and pulled the dough out of the fridge and into a warm spot which is the oven with the lights on. The dough felt really stiff and unworkable at this point. 

9 pm The dough was still cold and I did 4 very gentle folds to avoid tearing the dough. This was more to let the warmth reach the interior. 

10 pm Did another 4 gentle folds as the dough was still quite firm.

11 pm By this time, the dough was much more supple and I sort of followed the method outlined in “Baking by Hand” to strengthen the dough. I wet the counter as per Alan (Alfanso) and then folded the dough in 3 letter folds from side to side and then from top to bottom. Then, I put the dough back into its bucket and back into its warm spot.

11:30 Did another set of letter folds on the wet counter. The doughs felt really heavy because of the amount of add-ins. The book recommends doing these every half hour so I followed suit.

12 am Another set of letter folds on a wet counter.

12:30 am Last set of letter folds on wet counter. I then figured that I had manhandled this dough enough by now with the 100 folds, the letter folds, the killing it in the fridge and so on, that I would just leave it alone until it was ready to divide. At 1 am, I thought it was ready because I saw some bubbles on the edge of the tub but when I turned it out, it felt like a brick and not airy at all, so I put it back into the tub and back in the warm spot.

1:30 am Finally, at 1:30 am, it looked and felt much better. Funny what a half hour will do. I divided the doughs and gave them a preshape on a floured counter. Once shaped, they were left to rest about 20-25 minutes.

2 am By this time, I had just about enough of this dough, so it gave it a final shape. The bannetons were sprinkled with a rice/AP flour mix and on top of that, I used the remaining seeds mix in the 3 bannetons that were going to hold the Seeded Multigrain. I put the dough into the bannetons seam side down and popped them into the fridge for 10-12 hours. Then I put the Golden🐕 in his crate and went to bed. The Golden was quite disturbed that I woke him up to move to his crate. The Sheltie is always loose so he just did his own normal thing which is to find a cool spot to sleep. ;)


Baking Trials

Since I had 6 loaves on the go and none were for sale this weekend, this was the ideal opportunity for a few trials in baking methods. I had done the cold dutch oven/cold oven method as well as the hot dutch oven/hot oven method, but I hadn’t tried the cold dutch oven/hot oven. With 6 loaves, I could do all three and see what happens. I always put a round of parchment paper down first before placing the loaves in the pots to prevent sticking.


  1. Cold oven/Cold Dutch oven

Put one loaf of each kind in cold oven and cold Dutch ovens. Heat oven to 475 F. When oven reaches temperature, bake 20 more minutes. Then remove lids and drop temp to 425 F for another 22 minutes.


  1. Hot oven/Cold Dutch oven

Heat up the oven to 475F but keep the Dutch ovens on the counter. Once the oven reaches temperature, place the loaves in the cold Dutch ovens and load into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes at 450 F covered, and then bake 22 minutes at 425 F uncovered.


  1. Hot oven/Hot Dutch oven

Heat up both the oven and Dutch ovens to 475 F. Place the dough carefully into the hot pots and bake covered for 25 minutes at 450F and then bake a further 22 minutes uncovered at 425 F.


Final thoughts:


Loaves are from left to right: # 1 baking method to #3. Seeded multigrain are in the back while the Cranberry Walnut (aka Pecan) are in the front. 



I don’t see many differences between the two cold Dutch oven bakes whether started in a cold oven or in a hot oven. The loaves don’t have a lot of rise and are more squat or of a larger diameter. They also don’t have much of the characteristic tears that I have come to expect from my breads. The ones baked in the cold Dutch oven and hot oven have practically none.



On the other hand, the preheated Dutch oven and oven produced loaves that had more oven spring and do have that characteristic tearing at the top. They are smaller in diameter and just look more attractive to me overall. This replicates the results I got from doing method #1 and #3 in a previous bake. So in terms of what I prefer, the preheated method wins hands down and I will continue with it. 


I will try to get crumb shots when we cut into the loaves.

Bröterich's picture

I coped this from the Breadtopia website (

I am very impressed with the outcome. The was this morning's bake:


cristina.w's picture

Back on the site after a long hiatus, though I've been baking away! Thought I'd post some photos of my version of Hanseata's butter croissants recipe! Her formula is so descriptive, and the timing breakdown was wonderful to plan out my attempt. 

It was so exciting to see the layers in the pastry after shaping the croissants!Buttery heaven is pretty apt... Thank you so much for sharing your formula, Hanseata!
suminandi's picture

I’ve been working on consistency with my bake of 100% fresh milled whole wheat sourdough for the last several weeks ( about 4 loaves a weekend since thanksgiving). 

I think I’ve got what I want for my family’s basic bread. Soft texture, airy enough crumb, blistered and thin crust. And, importantly, 3 bakes in a row that are about the same. 🙂

formula: ( with dough mix time equals t-zero)

-12 hrs: refresh refridgerater starter 1:2:2. I use 100% starter 

-2 hrs: mix 400 gr flour and 300 gr water until all dry stuff is wet (shaggy mass)

0 hrs: knead well the shaggy mass plus 100 gr refreshed starter. ~300 folds. 

+ 0.5 hrs: incorporate 8 gr salt plus a small amount of water to help it dissolve 

-fold about every hour. Was not totally consistent with this, but always managed the one at t=1.5 hrs. Room temperature is 70 F

+6 hrs: preshape

+6.5 hrs: final shape, put in fridge

+18 hrs ( approx). : put in covered baker, slash; preheat oven to 475 F, lower heat to 425 once bread is loaded and temp is back to 475. 20 min covered, 15 min uncovered 

The picture is after about 30 min cooling, would cut better with a longer wait. 

pasdedough's picture

This is an unusual enriched bread for me!


I started with Hamelman's levain bread with increased wholewheat recipe, but having seen some breads including cream cheese I could imagine how soft and creamy and substantial the crumb would be! I decided to add quite a bit of cream cheese, guessing that it would not add that much hydration, so I wouldn't need to make too many changes.

I usually work from Hamelman's metric recipes, but make 1/20th of the recipe, which gives on each large loaf. It fits in my casserole and it's by far the easiest way to scale down. 

I made my sourdough/levain in the morning before work (7.30 am). After about 11 hours it was ready to make the dough. I beat 100g of cream cheese into the water for the main dough, taking out about 50g of waiter initially, but I actually added that back in as I mixed and slap & folded. It took the whole amount of water plus cream cheese very easily. 

I don't have a mixer, so did an autolyse with the levain but without salt for about 50 minutes, then two sets of 100 slap and folds. 3 sets of stretch and fold, 40 mins apart, and I added a couple of big handfuls of broken pecans on the second set. I didn't manage to get the pecans distributed very well! 

I gave it another 90 mins bulk in the microwave with the light on, as my flat is about 15'c, then put it in the fridge for 21 hours.

Next day I took it out & let it come to room temperature, preshaped, and shaped (badly) and rolled it in oats, put it in my new banneton.

I should have let it final prove for longer but at 11pm I wanted to go to bed! It stuck to the banneton a bit coming out (I'd not floured enough right on the top couple of loops) but I got it out & tucked the torn bit under. It baked for 20 mins with the lid and another 25 without, smelling AMAZING.

this is the best tasting bread I've made yet, definitely! I'll be making it again (probably with walnuts so it is more savoury, although the pecans are lovely too).

Darling Jeffrey!

alfanso's picture

At some point I started to occasionally snap a photo halfway through the baking cycle, after steam was released and the loaves rotated.  Ordered from oldest to most recent.

David-based (Son of) SJSD

Son of SJSD

PiPs 100% WW

WoodenSpoon's 33% Rye Levain

David-based SJSD based Italian Sesame Levain

PiPs WW Sesame Levain

Forkish Country Blonde




 David-based Sesame soSJSD

Hamelman Pain au Levain Batards

Hamelman Pain au Levain Baguettes


 (some other) Pain au Levain


 Hamelman Sesame Semolina Levain


 David's Pugliese Capriccioso


Pane di Altamura 100% Semolina 

Hamelman Semolina w/Rye Levain

Hamelman Pain au Levain w/Mixed Starters

Hamelman Pain au Levain w/125% hydration Rye starter

Hamelman Vermont SD w/125% hydration Rye starter


 Amy's Bread/Susan's Wild Yeast Semolina Levain w/fennel seeds, pine nuts and raisins

Forkish Field Blend #1

Abel's 90% Biga


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