The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


TerryD's picture

I dug the sweet potatoes a few weeks ago and they are cured enough to start eating. The apples have been harvested and the wild hazelnuts along the back fence are ready to pick... it's time to make some bread to celebrate the fall season.

This is based on a basic sourdough formula, adopted fairly successfully to accommodate the sweet potatoes and seeds.

350 gr         100% levain

1000 gr        KA Artisan Select

600 gr          Water


350 gr         Baked sweet potatoes

200 gr         Roasted/shelled pumpkin seeds

30 gr           Salt


50 gr           hazelnuts (a delicious decoration)


I run the sweet potatoes through medium plate on a food mill, and lightly roast the pumpkin seeds in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes.

Prepare ingredients to get 80 F dough temp.

Combine flour, water, levain; mix to shaggy dough and autolyse 30 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes, salt and seeds; fold/knead until well mixed.

Keeping dough temp in the 75-80 range, ferment 3-4 hours with turn/folds at 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes. (This dough was pretty wet - it took a lot of folds to get it to tighten up.)

Divide, with enough flour to keep dough from sticking, lightly round and rest for 30 minutes. Form the final shape, brush water on top of the loaf and stick the hazelnuts to it, and proof about 2 hours.

Preheat oven and dutch ovens to 500. Place loaded DOs into oven, lower temp to 450 and bake 25 minutes; uncover, bake another 15 + minutes; when internal temp reaches 210,  I turn off the oven and leave the bread for another 10 minutes.

The crumb is a little tighter than I’d hoped.  The color from the sweet potatoes is nice.  The flavor is quite good – the bread is just a little sweet from the sweet potatoes, though the actual sweet potato flavor not obvious. The pumpkin seeds add a clear flavor note.  A dollop of home-made apple butter ties it all together very nicely.

I feel like I’m on the right track.  For the next batch, I intend to add more sweet potato and reduce to overall hydration. Also, I will use a portion of high extraction and some whole wheat -- I usually bake with at least 50% whole grain flour. (I used all AP this time to make sure the dough would support the addition of the sweet potatoes.

Elsasquerino's picture

And showing off a bit :-)

Following on from earlier posts about confusion with under/over proofing I decided this weekend just to push it as far as I dared on the bulk stage and see what happened. I'm very pleased with the results

My first bake was basically Hamelman's Vermont sourdough. This seemed to take forever to get going, think my starter needed some maintenance. After about 6 hours on the counter (very cool kitchen) it went in the fridge overnight and still needed about 4 hours the following morning before I felt I was risking going too far and knocked back/shaped.

Wonderful loaf and having used my wholewheat starter still had a robust flavour. I'll try this one again.

After some tlc on both my rye and wheat starters I had a bit of discard and decided to do a second bake using some interesting malted flour I had neglected for a while.

This one is a very complex flavour, I'm not even sure if it's not too complex.  I used 300g of starter (mixture of rye and wheat) to compensate the chill in the kitchen, hoping to complete and bake in a day. It bulked on the counter for 9 hours then after shaping had another 3 hour proof. It's high proportion of rye shines through and the malted wheat and barley in the flour (Cotswold Crunch from F W Matthews), makes for a very intriguing taste. 

Thanks for the ongoing support network guys, makes the journey a lot more fun sharing it with like minded types.  Back to the porridge bread this weekend I think... Decisions, decisions.

hbrochs's picture

Hello, my name is Howard from NY and I’m learning how to bake. This started a couple of years ago when I learned to make pizza dough. I was talking to a local bakery manager about my dough and he was appalled to hear I was using dry yeast. He gave me a little container of live culture and then it started, lol. My dough got better and then I realized that my dough wasn’t so differe from bread dough. I’m going to pause and see if my post works/sticks then I’ll continue.

suminandi's picture

baked into 3 loaves. 


1100 gr white whole wheat ( fresh milled)

400 bread fl

30 gr wheat malt 

1050 h2o

rest 2 hrs ( errands done)


150 gr oatmeal soaked in 200 gr h2o

200 gr active rye sour 

30 gr salt

200 gr chopped pecans

230 gr dried cherries 

50 gr h20 ( to dissolve and spread salt)

ferment 2-3 hrs with some folds in that time. 

> refrigerate 2/3

> the last third, allow to double. It took about 8 hrs. preshape, shape, put in fridge. 

In the morning- preheat oven, bake loaf 1. Take out the rest of the dough, divide, preshape, shape. Cook first loaf. Slightly overdone- when the timer went off, it was slightly underdone, so left in oven- but left a bit long. Still edible, slightly bitter exterior. 

Loaf 2&3 proofed about 4 hrs ( kitchen was cold). Then cooked. Those look perfect. 





man_who_eats_bread's picture

In preparation for Thanksgiving I wanted to figure out dinner rolls, so I portioned off half my dough, and turned that into 6 buns (two of which didn't last long enough to make this photo).

The dough was the Overnight Brown from Flour Water Salt Yeast (78% hydration, 30% whole wheat). I followed the recipe (more or less) exactly for the loaf.

For the buns, I baked on a pizza stone for 15 minutes, which worked pretty well. The buns were each about 140g, but I think that's a bit bigger than I'm looking for. Next time around I'll aim for around 100g.

Crumb shot to follow...


dabrownman's picture

Over the last 5 years Lucy has baked a lot of bread.  Little did I know how famous she has become as a bread baker.  At the wedding, I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and said I’ve had Lucy’s bread before and it was great!  I thought how can this be, I don’t even know who this person is.

Well, it seems that my daughter and son in law over the years have been taking Lucy’s bread back to New Mexico, Chicago, Denver, Texas and who knows where else and the friends have had the chance to taste Lucy’s recipes and have been following this blog.   Several are now baking bread, even SD too!

The bread for a wedding reception appetizer was a hit as was the dipping sauce.  The guests wolfed them down, Including the large, 4.5 pound, signature H slashed bread pictured first, after her new last name - a sprouted 6 grain SD miche which was the centerpiece of the table until it was sliced up and eaten.

I did get to take half of it home until my sister in law from Texas and my nephew from Chicago split it and took it away too!  I did have a quart of pipping sauce left over but no bread to dip in it.  So, I made a couple of 6 grain SD loaves which my wife latched onto for gifts.  I’ve at least started some pizza dough yesterday for pizza tonight!

The two loaves were 10% pre-fermented 6 grain SD with the 10% whole grain all in the 100% hydration levain.  The bread came in at 78% hydration with 2% pink Himalayan sea salt.  The levain was made with a bit of new NMNF rye starter but was stored for a week in the fridge before using.

The dough was not autolyzed or retarded but was ready for the oven 8 hours after the initial mixing.  It smelled wonderful as it baked. It is nice to have the wedding behind us and be back to a more normal schedule.  The Newlyweds are off to Hawaii for their honeymoon - the same place my wife and I went 30 years ago – even the same Islands, Maui and Kauai.  How so much life changes as so much stays the same. 

Lucy reminds us to never forget the salad - so we enjoy them often.

My personal favorite bread of the wedding was this Seeded Multi-grain SD Chacon!

sadkitchenkid's picture

So I'm sitting here typing this with a dent on the bridge of my nose from the safety goggles, and slightly tingly fingertips (shoulda worn gloves), and I know what some might be thinking: was using lye worth it? 

Well yeah duh. 

Here is the recipe video I made for them



Anyway, the pictures speak for themselves. I'll include the recipe at the bottom. 


230g bread flour
230g water
1tsp molasses
80g rye starter

Mix this first then let ferment for 8hours

rest of dough:
330g water
19g salt
710g bread flour

Lye bath: 

2.2kg cold water

4g lye

After the levain is ready, mix in these remaining ingredients, knead for 15 minutes,  and let ferment for about 6 hours. Then refrigerate overnight. The next day, take out the dough, and divide it into 16 balls. Let the dough rest on the counter covered for 15 minutes then shape into rings. Place the rings onto two baking sheets dusted with cornmeal and place a pizza stone or a couple of upside down baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 475F (have your oven preheating for around 2 hours). Let the rings proof while you prepare your toppings and the lye bath. It took my bagels 1.5hrs to proof. 

For the lye bath: Wear goggles and gloves and weigh out the water in a pot and then add in the lye. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Prepare your toppings. I did Flax & Fennel, Everything, Sesame, and Poppy, and spread them out among some plates (one plate per topping) Once the water is boiling/simmering, drop in your bagels (my pot fit 5 at a time) and boil for 1 minute on each side before placing on a sheet of parchment paper. Then take each bagel and dip it into its topping and place it TOPPING SIDE DOWN, back onto the parchment. When all of your bagels have been topped, using a pizza peel or baking sheet, slide the sheets of parchment onto your hot pizza stone/upsidedown baking sheet. Bake for two minutes, then flip over the bagels, placing the topping side up. Bake for another 18 minutes. 

Take out of the oven when golden brown, and enjoy. 

Happy Baking!

isand66's picture

  We just went from Spring/Fall to Winter in one day on Long Island New York.  It was in the low 20's last night and this morning, perfect for a nice hearty porridge bread!

I recently bought some nice plump organic dried cherries from Trader Joe's and we had bought some Parmesan Cheese rinds at Whole Foods to use in sauces, etc. so of course both went into the porridge mixture along with oats, malted wheat flakes and cracked spelt (left-over from sifting the spelt flour).  I used milk to add some extra creaminess in the porridge.

The majority of the flour in this one was freshly milled with my Mock II grain mill and sifted to get the big bits out.

The cherries and cheese were a perfect combination.  This is one of the those loaves you can eat with nothing on it, but a schmear of butter or cream cheese doesn't hurt either :).

Download the BreadStorm File here.

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. (Note: I cut the Parmesan cheese from the rind into small pieces and added it to the levain).   Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.    Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, olive oil and salt and mix on low for 5 minutes.  Add the cheese and mix until incorporated or you can add it by hand during the stretch and folds.  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.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  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 550 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 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 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.



Flour.ish.en's picture

The chocolate cherry sourdough bread recipe is published recently in the New York Times article, "slicing through the myths to rethink bread." The article reviews the new bread book, Modernist Bread, chronicling the history and science of the bread making in-depth. It addresses the key question: how do you make the best bread possible?

Do I need another bread book? I own the Modernist Cuisine at Home and have read it from cover to cover. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoy the deeper explanation and useful variations the "modernist" books provide. This bread book can be useful. But it is also seriously expensive ($600), there is just no way to justify it for a home baker, isn't there? Why not start baking one of its recipes?

This chocolate cherry sourdough bread has earned a place on your holiday dessert table. What is different about this bread as compared to most sourdough breads I make?

  • The use of yeast as leavener, in conjunction to the basic one-stage sourdough starter.
  • Sourdough starter is in excess of 100% of flour weight, a large amount of sour culture where lactic-acid-producing bacteria or LAB dominates.
  • Hydration is about 89%, considering the high percentage of 100% hydration sourdough starter used. However, the dough was quite manageable.
  • A copious amount of cherries and chocolate chips are added at the second fold, making the bread a delectable celebration dessert/bread.
  • High degree of gluten development is desired.
  • A cold ferment in the refrigerator for 14 to 16 hours is an option. Or proof at about 55 degrees until the dough has increased in size.
  • Cold dough is brought to room temperature in a cold cast-iron Dutch oven. (This reminds me of Westphalian Pumpernickel and Icelandic thermal bread that cook low and slow, in sealed pans. The slowly rising internal temperature creates the ideal conditions for the amylase enzymes to transform starches into sugars and the bread carries a slightly molasses notes.) Then bake in the 500°F oven for a total of 43 minutes.
  • The final bread has a subtle sweetness, produced by the enzyme activity and as the sugars caramelize during baking. Meanwhile, there is no sugar at all on the ingredient list.

The addition of yeast, the high percentage of sourdough starter, the cold-temperature proofing and the use of a cold Dutch oven are some of the measures bakers often use to manipulate the yeast, enzyme and LAB balance. They work wonderfully well here to create the complex flavor profile of this bread. This recipe is reminding me what I've read in the bread-baking books and the true notion that "baking is biochemistry." Indeed!


For details on the recipe:

Gillpugh's picture

been meaning to make a rice bread for a while. i decided to make the brown rice bread from the tartine no 3 book

50% white. Shipton mill no 4

50% whole meal sifted

7% wheatgerm

15% levan

2.5% salt

80% water

70% cooked brown basmati with wild rice

i added chopped sage and orange zest

autolise 3 hours,   Added levan and salt.  the bulk was 6 hours as it didn't seem to want to rise, room temp was 17c.  Put the dough in oven with light on for 1 hour and I finally got some rise.  Bench rest 20 min and then shape.  In fridge for 10 hours,  some rise shown when I took it out of fridge so baked in lodge for 15 covered 20 off

dissapointed with rise oin oven. Pancaked out.  Taste is lovely though, moist and slightly sour.    Crust is chewy, but in a nice way, would liked a bit of crunch.  Not much evidence or rice or sage, but they have probably contributed to the overall taste.  

how can I stop the spread when I take it out of banneton?  


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