The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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trailrunner's picture

I bought 5/500g  bags of Italian Chestnut flour a number of years ago. Somehow I never found anything that I liked to use it in so it sat in the freezer in its vacuum packs waiting...and waiting..and....well you get the idea. I have been cleaning out and sorting and using up . I decided to only cook from my larder for 2014  , at least as much as possible. 

I fed my starter with rye and apple yeast water. The dough was made with equal parts chestnut/whole wheat /durum. Dough water was 1/2  whey.  The flavor is remarkable. Very full of complex grains and earthy. Sweetness as you chew. Crumb is very tender and a lovely crunch to the crust. It is easy to get a bold bake with the chestnut flour , I have found. Baked at 500 in hot pots for 10 min and then 460 for 5 min and lid off for 20 min. I am really pleased with this bread.  

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trailrunner's picture

Ian had posted a date SD and I thought I would go with that basic idea. I added 100g toasted almonds and 2 tbsp grated orange zest. Levain was my rye starter fed with apple yeast water. I used whey for 292g of the dough water and AYW for the rest . I soaked the coarsley chopped dates in warm whey but didn't cook them down. I divided it into 3 boules. Great fragrance and very tender crumb. Sticky goodness when you get a date chunk. Baked in 500 degree pots for 5 min. and then 10 min at 460 lid removed and 15 more min. Bold bake and nice ears.  photo IMG_6918_zps1cd3db2d.jpg  photo IMG_6922_zpsdb03c173.jpg  photo IMG_6921_zps55cd753c.jpg

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isand66's picture

  It doesn't get much better than this.  A pretty simple ingredient list....for me at least put together with TxFarmer's amazing 36 hours method and you have an amazing loaf of bread.  When you can just eat the bread without anything else, you know you have done something right.

If you don't have any of the French style flour from KAF you can substitute AP flour or bread flour.  I used some excellent Parmesan that we bought from Costco and some dried Shallots.  If you don't have dried you can use fresh or substitute some onions.  I didn't rehydrate them but instead just added them to the flour and water that hydrated in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

As always this formula is pretty wet but not too hard to handle if you use wet hands and the crumb comes out amazing.


36 Hour Parmesan and Shallots Sourdough (%)

36 Hour Parmesan and Shallots Sourdough (weights)




Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  I actually mixed it up at the same time as the flour and water mixture for the main dough and let it sit overnight.  I used my 66% seed starter and basically converted it to close to a 100% hydration levain.  You need the final levain/starter to be like this so it is easy to mix into the main dough.

Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours and the ice water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Next add the  scallions and mix until incorporated.  Put the dough in a slightly covered oiled bowl and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

The next day add your starter, Parmesan cheese and salt to the dough and mix by hand or in your mixer on low speed until it is thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed.  Due to the high water content in the 100% hydration starter this dough is very easy to mix by hand and is very silky and smooth.

Bulk rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours until it grows around 1/3 in volume doing stretch and folds every half hour until it has developed the correct amount of strength.

Put the dough back into the refrigerator for around 20-24 hours.  I took it out about 24 hours later.

When you take the dough out of the refrigerator you want it to have almost doubled in volume, but if it doesn't don't worry as it will end up okay anyway.  Let it rise at room temperature for around 2 hours or until the dough has doubled from the night before.

Next, divide the dough and shape as desired and place them in their respective basket(s).  I made a bâtard and a boule and placed both of them into my proofer set at 82 degrees F. for 1.5 hours.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.



Set your oven for 550 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your oven on your oven-stone with steam and let it bake for 5 minutes and then lower the temperature  to 450 degrees.    When the loaf is golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 210 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.

Let the bread cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.


The first signs of Spring! Who would know it with the freezing weather we still have.


CAphyl's picture

I was inspired by David's San Francisco Sourdough Quest (see recipe link below) and set out to duplicate his fantastic loaves.  I stayed as close to the recipe as possible. I did follow his instructions for the starter and retarded it, as he described.  I was able to catch some of his suggested changes to the recipe that he amended later and added 10% whole wheat flour.  The loaves were a bit small, and I wondered if I didn't use enough flour, but I did weigh the ingredients per the recipe.  The dough was wonderful to work with throughout and really came up this morning during their room temperature proof after the overnight proof in the fridge.  The oven spring was really wonderful as well. The crust was excellent and very chewy.  My husband rated it very highly, so I will be making it again.  Thanks, David!

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy

I'd like to start a discussion on the direction that the baking industry is going in. Why is something so fundamentally essential to qualities of human life, trending towards inhumanity. Frankly, the logistics are this; It's a difficult industry to make a living at, the personal costs are innumerably higher than most professions and the overall quality, including of staff as well is decreasing dramatically each year. As in everything, income plays into it, not enough pie to pass around (Pardon the pun), but I'm curious if this is rooted much deeper, perhaps even in the overall outlook on food. This topic has been of interest to me in the last few years as the delusions of grandeur so subtly put out there by the celebrity cooks and 'Food" network has begun to dim. I'm interested in what happened to our industry? Where did it go astray? For how long has it been in decline? Are we seeing an end to professional kitchens and bakeries, and a furthering of assembly line production plants? It's disappointing to see such a progressive movement towards professional cooking/baking in younger people, especially those in their teens, whom actively pursue a respectable career and positively impact the public, end up wasting away at some minimum wage 'Rat's Nest' with no development into their 20's. 

I'm incredibly happy to be a member of freshloaf, as it is a community of people committed to good cooking. This is a far cry from the shite we're served on a general basis. Yet it seems, from personal interaction, that a majority of the population does have some interest in good food. Otherwise this would all be for not. I've been in hospitality for a number of years, including a kitchen apprenticeship leading me into Pastry/ Baking. A trade, I came to love. That was then however, this is now. And watching standards get lower, cost competition get higher, and wages stagnant, is overwhelming demoralizing to myself and more importantly my family, whom suffer the burden equally with me. I've trained countless apprentices in those years and it breaks my heart that they're not leaving my hands a competent baker. (Now before you attack me and say, it's an obligation to better them, I agree with you, but it is not so. I am not an owner and would quickly find myself unemployed with dependents at home.) Back on topic; These students of baking are not introduced, to pre-ferments, hybrid levains, sourdough, scalding, traditional designations, or seasonality. Direct dough is the industry norm. Shaped and in the store in several hours. What legacy is being left on the trade? Why glamorize something which is at it's essence filthy? Is it like this across the board?

So here are a few questions, for whomever wishes to read this. I'm looking forward to discussing ideas and opinions concerning extremely unsettling trends and realities plaguing a function so vitality close to our humanity.


Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

In case you missed it, here is the latest instalment of my bakery adventure blog.


Hope you enjoy it!





dmsnyder's picture

After the last bake of this bread, I wondered if I could get a more open crust by doing all the mixing by hand, rather than some by machine. So, that's what I did. The formula was the same as that used in Pane Valle Maggia, ver. 2 3/7/2014, except I did not take the time to grind fresh whole wheat flour. I used Giusto's Organic Fine Whole Wheat flour instead.

My procedure was as follows:

1. The two levains - rye sour and whole wheat - were mixed the night before mixing the final dough and fermented at room temperature for 13 hours.

2. Around 11 AM, I mixed the levains with 500g of water and the AP and WW flour. This was left on the counter for a 3 hr. "autolyse" while I raced to the hospital and taught a class for pediatric residents. (How you spend your autolyse time is your choice.)

3. The salt was added and mixed into the dough with a spatula. Then about 60g of additional water was added. This was mixed in by hand, using the pinching maneuver recommended by Ken Forkish in FWSY.

4. Bulk Fermentation was done at room temperature for about 3 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

5. The dough was then divided into two equal pieces and pre-shaped as rounds. These were allowed to rest while I washed the container I had used for bulk fermentation and floured my linen-lined bannetons.

6. The pieces were shaped as boules and placed, seam-side up, in the bannetons which were then placed in food safe plastic bags and refrigerated. 

Note: This was one of the stickiest doughs I have ever worked with. Not surprising given the combination of lots of rye and lots of water. Shaping was a real challenge!

7. After about 12 hours, the oven was preheated to 500 dF with a baking stone and my usual steaming apparatus in place. 

8. The loaves were transferred to a peel and scored. 

9. The oven was steamed and the loaves were transferred to the baking stone.

10. The loaves were baked for 13 minutes with steam and then another 20 minutes. Note: Inadvertently, the whole bake was done with the convection fan on.

The loaves sang loudly as they cooled, and nice crust crackles developed.

I sliced the loaves after 3 hours. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was somewhat more open and, overall, less dense-seeming than the last 2 bakes. It was tender and chewy. The flavor of the bread was mildly tangy with a nice wheaty flavor. I really can't say it was noticeably different than the bake using fresh-milled whole wheat flour.

Bottom line: This is a delicious bread. It is similar to several of the breads I have been making from FWSY since last Summer with mixed flours, except that this bread has the highest percentage of whole grain flours. It is a type of bread that has become our favorite.

My next variations may be to add mixed seeds and cracked or flaked grains and to try a version with added dried fruit and nuts. I have also though about baking this bread in the Lodge Combo Cookers, as I bake Forkish's breads and the Tartine Basic Country Bread.


CeciC's picture

This is my first attempt at tartine country without messing with its flour blend. Yew~~ this is really difficult not to add more whole grains. 

Tartine Country loaf       
Total Weight1770      
Weight per Serving885      
Total Flour 1100     
Total Water 850     
Total Hydration 77.27%     
Multi-grain % 13.64%     
 Build 1Build 2Build 3SoakerFinal DoughAdd-InTotal
White Starter (100%)100     100
Wholewheat Starter100     100
Rye Starter      0
Yeast Water Levain (100%)      0
Extra-High Protein Flour (>14%)      0
Bread Flour    900 900
AP Flour      0
Wholemeal Flour       
Wholewheat Flour    100 100
Water    70050750
Milk      0
Raisin Soaker Water      0
Yeast Water      0
Others      0
Yeast      0
Salt    20 20
Cinnamon (2 Tbs)      0
ADD-IN      0
Raisin (2 Cups)      0
Autolyse all ingridient (except Salt)30 Min      
Add Salt and 50G withheld water, Mixed with Pincer Method       
S&F 4 Times @ 30min interval15Mins      
Total Bulk Fermentation4 Hours      
Refridgerate /8Hours      
Bake - with steam (using heated kitchen towel)20-25      
Bake  without steam25      

I guess my oven wasnt hot enough so the skin form before it breaks open. Its better to have it baked in dutch oven. It has very nice blister from the overnight retard. Not too sour and very nice balance loaf. I wouldnt mind having it everyday~!!

This is the one I dropped before I pop it in the oven. Lucky enough it still sprang up in oven.

aptk's picture

My basic white bread recipe with the following additions:

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. cinnamon

2/3 c. Craisins

1/3 cup Sunflower seeds

Powdered sugar glaze.


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