The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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jimcornwall's picture

Baked French bread and came out great except the crust just wasn't crunchy enough.

The oven was set at 425 F .  25 to 30 minutes

Pizza stone and baguette pan used.

I had a small amount of water in a pie pan at the bottom of the oven.

The oven was preheated and the temperature checked.


Any Advice would be appreciated

Thank You





Kaipea's picture

Bread Flour100%1000g300g
Shortening (butter / Margarine)5%50g15g
Milk Powder5%50g15g
(30g/ 64pcs)
(30 g/ 18pcs)
 Filling for Spanish Bread: 1/2 cup butter1 cup Brown Sugar1 cup Bread Crumbs Notes: - Knead till dough feels tacky, windowpane should show less "veins", at least 10 - 15 minutes kneading with 2 minute rest. - Bulk Fermentation 1 hour  - Dough is ready when it feels taut and leave small impression - Scale, and Preshape into small balls, Rest for 30 min or until it doubles in size   -With a rolling pin flatten the dough into a rectangle - at least cover the middle of dough with a lot of filling, then Roll. - Cover the dough with Bread Crumbs  - Ferment: 1 hour - Bake at 365 f for 20 minutes or until golden brown, Rotate pan.   - The bread is soft and slightly sweet  - Filling wasn't enough so I added a lot more above -Don't use dark trays
Hippytea's picture

As a moderately experienced baker with instant yeast, but an utter beginner at sourdough, my experiments so far extend only to this. If you’re a person who thinks it’s simply not worth baking with sourdough unless you’re going to do a long ferment, slap and fold, and aim for a beautiful free-form artisan loaf, look away now:

200g starter (100% hydration, before feeding)

400g strong white flour

275g water

5g salt

Combine, stand for 30min. Knead, 10min by hand or 5min in mixer (speed 1). Shape and place in greased loaf pan. Let rise 3-4 hours, until not quite doubled. Score or snip with scissors, place in cold oven with 1 cup cold water in pan on bottom, set to max, bake 30min. Remove from pan, return to oven, reduce temp to 180C, bake until it knocks hollow on the bottom (10-20min).

As I mentioned in my previous post, this is a hacked-about version of James Morton’s basic sourdough recipe. It amounts, if you do the maths, to a basic lean white loaf at 75% hydration, with quite a high starter content.

“But,” I hear you cry, “you can’t produce proper sourdough without the proper fermentation times/slap and tickle/whatever!” No doubt you’re right – but I did warn you to look away!

The thing is, this recipe is not intended to produce an optimum loaf. What it’s intended to do is let me, as an utter sourdough beginner, produce consistently edible bread within an easy timescale, while slowly learning how the starter affects the handling of the dough, how it rises, and so on. I’m someone who gets hugely discouraged if I produce a bad loaf; to keep my motivation I need most of my experiments to produce something which can be buttered and consumed. So far the butterability strike rate is 100%.

So far I’m intrigued, puzzled, and enchanted. It’s been a long time since I felt this far in-over-my-head while baking. I don’t know where to start with handling this dough. It’s very wet, and very weak. It seems to lose cohesion very quickly, as if it were over-kneaded, but 10 minutes doesn’t seem like much. I can handle it – just – and shape it, but it doesn’t feel strong at all, and it puddles out as it rises. I have only tried adding a bulk ferment once – it survived, but I worry in general that it might just suddenly lose structure.

Perhaps it’s just the hydration – 75% doesn’t seem that extreme (I’ve made quite a few loaves at that hydration with instant yeast – I’m a high hydration fan) but it just doesn’t seem to be holding up. Maybe my starter is wetter than I think, though I do weigh in the feedings. Or maybe it’s just that I live in a damp old house in a damp corner of the damp and soggy West of Scotland, so my flour is already saturated. Whatever the cause, I think I need to back off on the hydration and see if that helps.

I’m studying with my brain as well as my hands, but however many threads, blogs etc. I read, I can’t quite get a handle on all the many, many parameters involved.  Acidity, proteolysis, acetone smells, inoculation, preferments, builds, and on and on and on. This is going to take a lot of time.

In the meantime, here’s today’s loaf. Two challenges for the sourdough to tackle today:

-          #1, it was ABSOLUTELY BALTIC FREEZING in my house, so this thing took about seven hours to double.

-          #2, I have cracked a nail into the quick.

What does #2 have to do with baking? I hear you say. Only that I have it strapped up with surgical tape, and jamming a thumb covered in surgical tape into bread dough grosses me out. I can’t take the tape off or the dough will get trapped in the cracked nail, which grosses me out even more. CSI gloves are the only possible solution, but I don’t have any.

So, long story short, I couldn’t knead today, nor shape. The mixer took care of the kneading, but its shaping skills are dismal (it promised it would practice, but I don’t think it can be bothered. Lazy kitchen robot). In the end, I gave up and just poured the wet, weak, unshaped dough (batter?) into the pan.

Sesame puddleshiny brick

Have you ever wondered what the results would be if you just didn’t bother to shape a high-hydration dough at all? Behold. Pre-rising: a sesame-coated puddle. Post-baking: an unnaturally shiny, pointy-cornered loaf. It’s not heavy – it’s risen pretty well. I’ll be interested to see what the crumb is like, but it hasn’t quite cooled yet. An update will follow.

I know my path to sourdough wisdom is a slightly odd one, but it’s working for me. Perhaps it will help someone else. At the very least my flailings might be funny to watch. As for me, as long as I can spread butter on the results, I’m happy enough.

golgi70's picture


I've had it about two weeks now and so far I'm pretty happy.  As I hoped for it does make a very nice fine flour.  Soft and without grittiness.  But to get this it is not very fast.  I think it took 20 minutes to mill about 3 kilos of hard wheat if memory serves correct.  The flour warms to about 100F which is just fine.  When i do larger millings than that I'll break it up and let the machine cool for 30 minutes between.  The best part is milling range.  I can go as coarse as cracked grain all the way to powdery fluffy flour.  Something the impact mill can't do.   Also the way the machine was built makes it very easy to access the stones and clean or dress if ever needed.  So far so good.  I'll keep you posted as I use it more and more.  

Pic at top is the mill, 100% Whole Wheat with Honey (hybrid), Multigrain Boules, and 50% white wheat tortillas

Here are some of the first loaves made using flour from the Nutrimill Harvest Grain Mill

Some sourdough with 12% Fresh Milled Wheat


"Country Bread" from J.H.'s "Bread" (with 7% Wheat and 3% Rye freshly milled

Cheers and Happy Baking



dosco's picture

On Saturday 1-17-2015 I baked this loaf. As I've mentioned previously I've been tinkering with Reinhart's BBA Basic Sourdough recipe. For this bake I aimed for 77% hydration:


10.2 oz preferment, 70% hydration

20.25 oz flour:

   1.5 oz Arrowhead Mills Rye flour

   1.5 oz Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Wheat flour

   5 oz KAF AP flour

   5 oz KAF White Whole Wheat flour

   7.25 oz KAF Bread flour

16 oz water

0.5 oz salt

I mixed the flour and water and autolysed overnight. I then mixed the preferment with the shaggy mass and added the salt. I kneaded with my Kitchen Aid for a total of 20 minutes using 5 minute kneading intervals with 5 to 10 minutes of rest between.

I let it ferment at room temperature (65dF in my house) for 2 hours, then put it in the refrigerator overnight and most of the next day; in the evening I stretched it out and formed it into a ball and put it back in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I removed it from the fridge, did the final forming into a boule, and put it in a brotform dusted with white rice flour. It stayed in the kitchen for about6 or 7 hours to do the final rise (picture attached), then into the oven set at 550dF with ice cubes in a pan for steam. The boule was baked on a Pampered Chef pizza stone.



Side note: I have not independently verified the temperature of the oven.

The loaf baked for about 20 minutes at 550dF and then 475dF until finished.

Crumb shot also attached.



The loaf is delicious however I was not happy with the oven spring. I did some thinking.

1. I am not sure my steaming method is optimal for my oven (gas fired and vented).

2. As I've mentioned in several recent posts, I received a copy of Forkish's FWSY and I am considering using a DO.

3. My slashing technique for boules is not correct ... I was using the "angled lame" approach for batards which is not correct for boules.


I am now looking for an inexpensive cast iron DO ... I am looking to borrow someone's to try it out before I spend $50 on a new DO. I have several ceramic DOs, and I am considering using one as a "cloche" (I am concerned that if I preheat one of these to 500+dF and I drop in some dough that it will cause the DO to crack).


Next loaf will be 80% hydration.


Question: what are your thoughts on proofing? Does this loaf seem underproofed? I'm still getting used to the brotforms, which has been a significant change from the batards I was making using a jury-rigged couche system. I am a bit unhappy with the tight crumb ... I know it is mostly the result of my kneading process, but could the crumb be a bit more open if I let it proof more? Note the bottom of the loaf, the crumb is a bit dense. Opinions are welcome/encouraged.




jimcornwall's picture

Hi :

I am starting to bake and do so awhile back.  I want to do some sourdough breads that use starters from various places.  In looking at the recipes some same use unbleached bread flour others say bleached is ok. I don't want to waste money buying the wrong kind. Thanks for any advise

Jim Cornwall

mycroft's picture

a simple, very clean, 4-ingredient pancake. it is wheatfree and perfect for those who are into clean eating and health.


1 cup sourdough (mine is a rye, hence wheatfree. sometimes i take two weeks of feeding to convert it fully to buckwheat for gluten-free option)

2 cups wholegrain buckwheat flour

2 - 3 cups of milk (depending on consistency of pancake that you like0

just a small dash of agave nectar. (or omit this if you like)


i mix them up, keep it overnight, and cook as you would any pancake!




a_warming_trend's picture

A long weekend means just that much more time to experiment with intimidating techniques!

This weekend, I have baked two two-loaf batches of sourdough, using a formula that involves a short bulk fermentation and a long cold proof. 


50 g starter (I have a rye and a white, and either will work great)

75 g AP flour

75 g water

(200 g total)

Final Dough


700 g AP fl

100 g WW fl

560 g water (water #1)

20 g water (water #2)

10 g malt/sugar

19 g salt

Any "mix-ins" imaginable, really!


1) Mix levain; wait 8-12 hours. 

2) Mix levain with flour and water; rest for 45 minutes (mini-autolyse--no salt, but fermentation has begun!)

3) Mix in salt and sugar/malt using pincer method (2-3 minutes)

4) Mix in any "extras": cheese, nuts, fruit, etc.

5) Rest for 30 minutes. 

6) Stretch and fold 1-2 full turns (4-8 stretches) every 30 minutes, for 2.5 hours

7) Rest on the counter for 1 hour

8) Retard in the refrigerator for 1 hour (boy, do I need this for shaping. AMATEUR ALERT.)

9) Divide and bench rest for 10 minutes

10) Pre-shape each half, rest for 10 minutes

11) Shape and place in bannetons

12) Proof at room temperature for 1 hour

13) Place in refrigerator for anywhere from 8-16 hours (in both of my cases, the cold proof was 10 hours)

14) Remove from refrigerator for the time it takes to heat the oven (30 minutes or so)

15) Score/adorn and bake (as you'll see, I added "everything bagel" seed topping to one loaf, and asiago cheese to another. I like baking plain loaves with exciting crusts!)

First bake:

Second bake:

Focusing on a long cold proof is just genuinely more stressful than focusing on long cold bulk. The "first fermentation" really is more forgiving. But the quality of the crumb of my long-proofed loaves keep me coming back for more experimentation. thus far, for me, the key is to find that "sweet spot" of levain percentage where bulk fermentation lasts for about 3-4 hours (allowing for 4-5 stretch-and-folds plus some resting time), and the loaves get about an hour outside of the fridge before heading in...but still don't overproof with 8-20 hours in that cold environment. I really like 12-14% levain for this purpose.

Oh, and here are a few bonus pics from the week. Still really working on shaping and scoring, especially of batards. This site gives me SERIOUS ear envy...

And my next experiment? Inspired by lepainSamidie: Long cold bulk WITH long cold proof. Oh boy.

And just really, really excited imagining my future with soaked and sprouted grains (which I haven't even approached to this point, but want to...). 

Can't stop. Won't stop!





AbeNW11's picture

Here is the website:


Semolina Tartine 

250g mature whole rye starter 100% hydration 

200g semolina 

300g bread flour

300g water 

12g salt

30g extra virgin olive oil 



Combine all ingredients minus the salt and olive oil.

Autolyse for one hour.

Add salt plus olive oil and incorporate.

For first two hours do stretch and fold every half hour. 

For last two hours of bulk fermentation finish off in the fridge. 

Take out of fridge, do first shaping and let rest for 15 minutes. 

Then shape into banneton and final proof in the fridge overnight. 



By the third stretch and fold I could tell there wasn't enough gluten development so on the fourth I kneaded till the shaggy mass formed a dough. Then placed in the fridge for 2 hours. After I shaped into banneton I did not refrigerate straight away as was concerned my final kneading knocked all the gas out so left out on counter top for one hour then refrigerated and proceeded as normal. The next time I try this recipe I'll do this kneading when incorporating the oil and salt.



 Nice oven spring


Crumb and texture


STUinlouisa's picture

Bought a pullman pan so I could attempt to make a better version of store bought sandwich bread requested by family members. Used the recipie from K A flour website for small honey oat pain de mie substituting white whole wheat for half the unbleached white.

At the same time in order to use up the rest of the WWW that was ground last weekend I decided to  make a sourdough boule. There was 145 g left after the pain de mie was mixed to that 225 g unbleached white was added. Then mixed 200 g starter that had just tripled after feeding with 260 g water at 90 degree F until well disolved. The flours were added and mixed till just combined and autolysed 30 min. 7 g salt was added and incorporated with pinching and folding. The bowl was covered, did stretch and fold every 20 minutes four times then let bulk ferment for 3 hours. Formed a boule, put in brotform, bagged and placed in fridge. A couple hours later noticed that it was almost doubled so decided to go ahead and bake. Preheated oven to 500 degrees F with a Dutch oven in it, scored with an * placed the boule in the Dutch  oven with the lid on put in oven and turned down to 450. Baked 35 min removed the lid and turned down to 425 baked another 10 min put on cooling rack.

I thought the pain de mie was way too sweet and as unspectacular as most sandwitch breads are, will  cut down honey  by a third next time. The boule had a much more complex flavor and a transluencent crumb due to the better fermentation. It is a keeper.







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