The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


joc1954's picture

Happy Easter to everybody!. 




dabrownman's picture

We have Cousin Jay coming over on Saturday for smoked prime rib.  Anytime he comes over it is a special day for sure and it is the end of Passover and the beginning of Easter so a special dinner is required and a special bread to go with it.

Lucy says this isn’t a special bread……. it’s just another 30%, 7 Sprouted grain sourdough white bread at 75% hydration.  Well doggies, not so fast.  This one is special because we made it in a way we seldom if ever use.  Yes…. it is 12% pre-fermented flour, 3 stage, 100% hydration bran levain and we did 3 set of slap and folds and stretch and folds each all on 20 minute intervals and used an autolyse, bread flour and baked it as usual in the combo cooker.

So, what was different?  We actually let this dough sit out on the counter for 8 hours overnight to bulk ferment in the SS bowl, then shaped it and put it in a rice floured basket seam side down so we wouldn’t have to score it.  But then we scored it too because Lucy forgot to remind me that no slashing was necessary.  I honestly don’t know what she is doing as a baking apprentice…… of any class!

To Lucy’s amazement, this bread really bloomed, sprang and opened up gloriously like it knew it was supposed to be special for Cousin Jay. We also then baked it to 210 F to get it bold on the outside too.  It reminds me of the beautiful Forkish loaves Skibum used to make years ago when he did the same thing.

So, there you go – we know what to do from now on when craggy, explosive is the bread looks required for a special Cousin Jay bread.  And Skibum though Lucy forgot……If the inside is half as good as the outside even Lucy will be impressed.  It smelled wonderful when it came out of the oven – surprising for such a white bread.  Will have to wait till tomorrow to cut it though and it should taste better then too.

This bread took on some serious sour as it cured ioer the next 24 hours,  It is delicious and about he best tasting white bread Lucy has ever formulated in her evil nap times.  We served it fio dinner but no one ate much of it because of the salad, smoled prime rinb and baby bakc ribs.  i nhad a beef sandwich for lunch today that was terrific.


Levain – 12% pre-fermented, 100% hydration, 7 Sprouted grain, bran levain with high extraction 7 grain flour for the 2nd and 3rd stages – 14 hours total.


18% high extraction 7 Sprouted grain flour - rye, spelt, red and white wheat, oat, barley and Kamut

70% Albertson’s bread flour

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt

Enough water to make 75% hydration overall.

Preheat oven to 500 F with CC inside.  Bake with lid on for 5 minutes and then turn the oven down to 450 F for 13 more minutes.  Remove lid and bake 6 minutes at 450 F convection and then remove bread from bottom of the combo cooker and finish baking on the bottom stone 6 more minutes – 30 minutes baking time total – This bread cost less than a dollar including the electricity.

Don't forget that special salad to go with the special bread.

Here is a Strawberry salad for Kendalm


alfanso's picture

Rye with Caraway seeds with 125% hydration all rye levain.  After a few vagabond months, I'm stationed back home until the summer comes around.  Just back from my now annual Spring pilgrimage to the Central Valley in CA for a week with old friends and I headed, once more, down to Fresno for another delightful afternoon with David Snyder and his wife.

Back home for a first bake I decided to wrangle a few changes to the rye with caraway seeds @100% hydration mixed levain I made last year.  Recently I've been enjoying baking with the Jeffrey Hamelman inspired 125% all rye levain. And so I changed out the other levain for this one and made appropriate flour adjustments otherwise.  I also swapped out AP flour for Bread flour, a change that may have resulted in a lesser oven spring.  

A far cry from anything other than good.  However the notation was made and next time I'll revert back to AP again.  I may well stick with this wetter and "rye-er" levain.  The overall hydration of this dough is 73.5%.  I should note that this bread gets a cornstarch glaze before and after the bake.

But my favorite part of all of this, and the reason for the post at all, is that even with some alterations to the components, there is a consistency that is clear.  One of my personal cornerstones in this hobby is to be consistent in output from bake to bake.

Here is the bake from July, 2016:

And here is today's bake:

350g x3 baguetes

615g x 1 batard


Crumb: vertical and horizontal...


Here is the formula pared down to 1000g.  This is an offshoot of an offshoot, with the baseline formula rooted in David Snyder's SJSD, from there to my prior effort, and now to this one.

(I add 15% to the levain build amounts to account for levain lost the sides of bowls, tools, etc. during the build.)

Rye w/Caraway, 125% hydration rye levain       
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Rye100%   
 Total Formula   Liquid Levain  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%562.4 100%84.4 Final Flour478.1
 Bread Flour75.00%421.8 0%0.0 Bread Flour421.8
 WW5.00%28.1 0%0.0 WW28.1
 Rye20.00%112.5 100%84.4 Rye28.1
 Water73.50%413.4 125%105.5 Water307.9
 Salt2.00%11.2    Salt11.2
 Caraway Seeds2.30%12.9    Caraway Seeds12.9
 60% Starter2.25%12.7 15%12.7   
 Totals177.80%1000.0 240%202.5  1000.0
     2 stage liquid levain build @125% hydration
     Stage 1    
     Stage 2    

DAY 1:

  1. Mix liquid levain. Ferment at room temp covered, until at least doubled in volume. (6-8 hours or more).  Less starter and more flour and water can be used to get the same total weight.

DAY 2:

  1. Dissolve levain in water, add flours and mix. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes.
  2. Add salt and mix to incorporate. 300 French Folds split into 150FFs/5 min rest/150FFs.  Dough will be quite sticky throughout FFs.
  3. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover.
  4. Add caraway seeds to dough during first Letter Fold.
  5. In 80dF kitchen - Bulk ferment for 80 minutes with 4 Letter Folds every 20 minutes, then refrigerate.  Dough will smooth out and lose stickiness with LFs.
  6. Total retard for at least 10 hours.  Dough can be divided same day or next day, it just doesn't matter.

DAY 3:

  1. Divide, pre-shape and shape as desired.  10 minute rest between pre-shape and shape.
  2. Onto couche, cover couche in plastic bag and back to retard for x hours more. Dough will require minimal to modest flour, at most, on couche.
  3. An hour before baking, pre-heat oven to 500ºF, with baking deck and lava rock pan* in place.  Sylvia’s steaming towel into oven 15 minutes before the bake.  *or other steaming device.
  4. Prepare cornstarch glaze: whisk 2/3 TBS w/1/8 cup water and mix into ½ cup boiling water, whisk until smooth and incorporatedDo not discard as it will be used again after the bake completes.
  5.  Apply 1st coat of glaze to dough on baking peel.
  6. Bake at 480ºF ~13 minutes with steam (2 cups very hot water on lava rocks), separate & rotate 180 front to back.  After rotating bake for ~13 minutes additional (or more) for baguettes or 17 minutes additional (or more) for batards.  Vent two minutes.
  7. Reapply cornstarch glaze to completed bread while still hot.  Sprinkle on more caraway seeds across the top of bread.  Optionally seal the seeds with a final slather of the glaze.
Cooper's picture

In a never-ending quest to improve, for the next couple of loaves I decided to make some changes.  The loaf above had the water upped just a bit to 73.5%, because  want to try making an even more airy crumb.  I also had a mix of flours 50/50 of KA bread flour and Wegmans unbleached all-purpose, simply because I ran out of BF. :-) 

Levain (100% hydration) - 50g starter, 50g warm water, 50g  KA WW flour, mixed in the morning and put in warm place.
Water - 290g + 20g for salt
Flour - 200g KA BF + 250g Wegmans AP
Salt - 10g
Flour total 450+75 (from levain) =525
Water total 310+75 (from levain) =385 

Baker's math:
Flour - 100%
Water - 73.3%
Salt - 1.9%

My schedule was thrown off somewhat because we had friends visited, decided to go out, and the dough sat for 2 hrs in a bowl after the first stretch and fold.  Still, I think it recovered fine in the end.

I tried to create a flower when scoring it, hoping it would bloom in the oven like a tulip, but I don't think it worked.  Will try again next time.

I also made the same recipe with some seeds, because I just love breads with "stuff" in them.  it came out perfectly:

I simply added 45g of lightly toasted mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, white sesame, flax, and chia (that's all I had at home).  Mixed it all in when I was adding salt, after the autolyse was done, and baked the same way. In retrospect, I probably should have toasted pumpkin seeds first, and then add the rest, since they still felt a bit raw.

The crumb looked nice, and the taste was wonderful!



Cooper's picture

So, my scale finally arrived, and I got a banneton for proofing as well. I've been experimenting a bit, and I think I finally got it. Since all the folks here were so helpful, I figured I could contribute by sharing my results. Would really love to hear your comments too!  You can see the final product in the photo above.

The recipe:

In the morning, take starter from the fridge and feed it 1:1:1, i.e. equal amounts of starter, water, and flour.  Cover and let it sit in a warm place for 6-8 hrs.

Levain (100% hydration) - 50g starter, 50g warm water, 50g  KA WW four, mixed in the morning and put in warm place.
Water - 280g + 20g for salt = 300g total
Flour - 450g KA BF 
Salt - 10g

Baker's math:
Flour - 100%
Water - 71.5%
Salt - 1.9%

Mix everything (except salt and some water) until all flour is absorbed. Cover and let stand for 60 min, then add salt and remaining water, and mix for 3-4 min. I use stand mixer, but you can use anything you like.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, let rest for 30 min. Take it out on a lightly-floured surface and stretch and fold from 4 sides, then put it back in the bowl. Repeat rest and stretch and fold 3 times (4 times total, cover during rest). BF for 2 hrs. On lightly-floured surface pre-shape, let rest 10-15 min, then final shape. 

Flour the banneton, and the surface of the dough (lightly), place the dough into the banneton and cold proof overnight (10-12 hrs). Next morning, take the dough out of the fridge and let warm up on the counter for 1.5-2 hrs. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500F, then drop the temp to 475F. I baked at first under a "dome".  I have this old cast-aluminum pot, which I preheat in the oven and then invert and cover the dough with it to create hot and steamy environment, similar to a Dutch oven or Cloche. It looks like this:

I am baking right on a cookie sheet, lightly covered with corn meal to prevent dough sticking. Take the dough out of the banneton, dust off any excess flour (I found that I really don't like the taste of the roasted rice flour, which I use in my banneton :-) ), and score the bread.  I scored at a shallow angle, trying to create an "ear".  I think I succeeded.

Bake under the dome for 20 min at 475F, then drop temp to 460F and bake uncovered for 20 min more, rotating once in the middle.  I waited for about 2 hrs before slicing the loaf, and I must admit that was torture! :-)  The crumb looks fine, although I would prefer it a bit more airy.  The taste was wonderful, and the crust was the crunchiest I ever achieved!

Hope this helps someone too!


hanseata's picture

When I heard about breads made with spent grains - leftovers from beer brewing - I was fascinated.

How interesting! But, where on earth, could you come by those mashed grains, unless you worked at a brewery? We have two micro-breweries in Bar Harbor, so I left a message, asking whether I could purchase a small amount of their spent grains.

The sobering answer: the mash goes to the (dogs) hogs. All sold to pig farms - sorry!

Spents grains, though cooked, retain some of their sweetness

So I gave up on the idea. Then, two years ago, I found a Groupon in my emails with a real bargain on a small brewing kit. A beer drinker, and always curious, I ordered it  - but then the bulky package ended up in the basement, with other rarely used kitchen equipment, like the lobster pot.

The best of all husbands needs some quality solitude now and then, playing his guitar and recording his music.

Left to my devices, I unearthed beer kit and lobster pot (just the right size for the mash!), and went around in the house with a thermometer.

Our guestroom closet proved to be the ideal environment for beer fermentation: cool, but not cold. And dark. 

Looking at the packages with malted barley, I realized: here was not only the base for my first (hopefully successful) stab at brewing, but, also, finally, the source for spent grain.

I visualized us drinking my very own Pale Ale, while enjoying a loaf made with the leftovers.

It's alive - my nascent beer is bubbling away in the guestroom closet

Whether the beer will be drinkable or not, I don't know, yet. Its precursor is foaming, happily bubbling away, next to our winter boots in the closet.

Many of my bread concoctions are based on porridge breads à la Tartine, tweaked to meet my needs (a bit tangier) and accommodating all kinds of grain/nut/seed combinations, like the squirrel-channeling Acorn Levain.

The bread I came up with contains a good measure of spent grains along with whole wheat. It turned out to be a very pleasing, hearty loaf - this newbie brewer was delighted! Definitely a keeper.

Freshly baked Brewer's Bread

And I still have a bag of barley mash stored in the freezer, for my next recycling adventures.

To see the recipe and procedure, including a downloadable BreadStorm formula, please, follow me to my blog "Brot & Bread".

chapstick's picture


I've tried a few methods of making naan without using dairy or eggs. This was the most successful yet. It had the right soft, fluffy texture and slightly tangy flavour. They are a bit dark in colour because I used a little bit of wholemeal flour and some ground flaxseeds.

I based my recipe on Dabrownman's, and followed some tips in the comments there and on Skubum's post last year.

I replaced the yoghurt and water with oat milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Oat milk doesn't curdle the way that soy milk does, because it has far less protein. Next time I'll try with soy milk to see if that has an effect on the texture.

I had some leftover "no muss no fuss" starter in the fridge that I'd built up over the weekend, so I included that in the poolish. I think this might have been the key to getting that tangy flavour. I also added a ground flaxseed "egg" to the dough for richness and a bit of extra rise.

The dough was quite wet, so I threw in a tablespoon of wholemeal flour during the stretch & folds.

I wanted to bake on the same day, so I skipped the overnight rest, and rolled out half an hour after the final set of stretch & folds. I let rest for another half hour after rolling out and before cooking. I imagine that giving them more time would make them even lighter, so next time I'll definitely make the dough in advance. I cooked them on a pre-heated grill plate on the stove, for three minutes on each side, brushing each with a little oil.

I don't know if you can still call these "naan" after so many adjustments, but they hit the spot for me.

Total dough:
200g flour
158g water

20% in poolish:
40g flour
44g water
+ approx 25g sourdough starter + 4g yeast

remainder in dough:
160g flour
124g oat milk + 2t apple cider vinegar (in place of water and yoghurt)
20g sugar
1T ground flaxseeds + 2T oat milk

4g salt - add at same time as poolish, after approx 1 hour autolyse

20g melted nuttelex (vegan margarine) - add in 2nd set of stretch/slap and folds

1 clove minced garlic - add in 3rd set of stretch/slap and folds

4g oil - for brushing.

Salumeria's picture

My first post is to say thank you to all the contributors on this site. I have learned a great deal about sourdough since I started out a good few months ago. I have eventually managed to bake a few loaves that have the taste and texture we like. The next effort is to make the loaves look pretty *wipe brow*.

I used a combination of Richard Bertinet's basic sourdough recipe and Flo Makanai's 1-2-3 formula. I baked three different loaves over a period of five days to see what the taste difference would be. The bulk ferment went into the fridge for 36 hours and loaf one proofed for 24 hours. We liked loaf two quite a lot, but loaf three was the best so it looks like a five day ferment/proof combination suits our taste buds.

The other brilliant news is that hubby, who has been battling IBS-D for the last four years, does much better on the five-day-old ferment. He cannot eat anything with "normal" yeast anymore. Whether it is only due to the sourdough or in combination with the other interventions I cannot say, but he had no discomfort with the last loaf despite eating almost half of it last night! My next efforts will be to make sweet goods with sourdough, which this site has plenty of to keep me busy for the foreseeable future.

Once again, thank you for all the information from seasoned bakers as well as amateurs who share their mistakes and frustrations. My sourdough path doesn't look so bumpy anymore!

isand66's picture


I've made bread with sweet potatoes before, but I have to say this is my best one yet.  Moist and flavorful there's not much to complain about on this one.

I used a combo of freshly ground flours as well as Caputo 00 type flour.  The cottage cheese, eggs and roasted sweet potatoes created a moist and flavorful bread.

Note: Water content of whole eggs is 80 grams, Cottage Cheese 81 grams, Sweet Potatoes 145 grams for a total of 306 grams.  This was not included in the formula so the hydration of this bread is much higher than listed.


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, roasted sweet potatoes, cottage cheese, eggs and 200 grams of water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes up to an hour.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), walnut oil and water (as needed) and mix on low for 5 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 have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 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 1.5 to 2 hours.  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 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 1 minute 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 200 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.

leslieruf's picture

My timing was out, had to shape when I should have been cooking dinner so no cross!  

Used Hamelman's recipe from bread, scaled to give 20 buns at about 80 gms.  ready to proof.

The only changes were to replace peel with cranberries and similar amount of raisins, reducing currants a little and my own spice mix (don't remember where I found this recipe)

very yummy recipe!



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