The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I baked my fourth and fifth Tartine Basic (Whole Wheat) Country loaves this week, using freshly milled flour.  I used 100% whole wheat for the leaven and 70% Whole Wheat for the dough (which came to a 73% whole wheat for the total dough).

The flour that comes out of my Komo mill, was measuring at 105 degrees toward the end of the 700 gram grind, and the wheat berries were in the fridge for about 8 hours before grinding. 

The loaves came out nicely. I gave away the more distinctly patterned loaf to a family member and brought the other one with me for our weekend away, largely because I had a similar loaf in the freezer and wanted to see what this tasted like when it was fresh.

The bread was delicious and the crumb was very soft, moist and chewy.

I am starting to get more comfortable holding back some of the water because I have found that Robertson's formula and my flour (regardless of whether it is King Arthur or David Esq. brand), yields a dough that is too wet.  By "too wet" I simply mean a dough that seems "pasty" at the beginning and stays wet and sticky all the way through final proofing, and never really feels like "dough" at any point in the process.

Here is the heel of the bread:

Here is the crumb, though the white balance seems off in the first shot:

And here it is a few days later on my sandwich for today's lunch:

Overall, I am very pleased with the bread and think that I will try upping the grains for my next bake.  Ideally I want to see if I can get a 100% home-milled loaf that satisfies my wife and me -- not so much because I am bothered by having white flour in my bread, but because the fewer ingredients I need to make a delicious loaf of bread, the happier I am. Plus, there is a large degree of satisfaction involved in making everything from scratch, including the flour.

CatPoet's picture

I have been baking so much lately and a lot of biscuits.  The tradition here is 7  types of   small biscuits served with coffee when people come over and I been a good hostess.

I have made    Duche de Leche ,   Toffee,  Dark chocolate  with white chocolate chunks and macademian nuts,  Toffee with  white chocolate chunks,  plain dark chocolate,  Peppermint chocolate  and vanilla.

Pew, I  need a rest.

And that is beside the 3 loafs  I been baking and cakes and home made icecream ( four flavours) and dinners for 3 guest...

But my  pridest moment must be this cake, isnt lovely and you can eat everything  except the stalk for the bulrush. 

dabrownman's picture

Like everyone else around her, at least those who count, Lucy loves pizza just about more than she loves pumpernickel. It is a closer race than one might think.   We usually start off the weekend with grilled salmon on Friday night.


Then Saturday we do something Mexican, this year was grilled pork that was then made carnitas style by sautéing it with bacon fat in a cast iron skillet to really bring out the tastes of old Mexico.


Sunday night is reserved for pizza.  This year we made the crust a little bit different with some Desert Semolina from Hayden Mills, mixed with our favorite tortilla AP flour from La Fama with a combo levain of YW and Rye Sour.  Today is smoked ribs and chicken thighs in memory of those who died fighting to protect us and to let us do as we please today.


Don't forget breakfast and lunch.

.An added bonus, our daughter is off to Seattle and Vancouver to visit a sorority sister which leaves the cooking and baking field wide open this weekend to try something a new way.   You would think that being young you would be less set in your ways but our daughter likes her food made the traditional way she grew up loving - especially for holidays.


For the pizza, Lucy made a levain of 10 g of rye sour, 66 g of LaFama AP and 66 g of YW and let it sit out overnight for 8 hours.  it easily doubled over that time.  Then she mixed up 50 grams of Desert Durum and 350 g of LaFama with 260 g of water, 10 g each of salt and sugar and added them to the levain.   We let the shaggy mass let it sit for 30 minutes.  This gave us a 70% hydration dough.


Lucy then added 20 g of olive oil and did 3 sets of slap and folds on 5, 2 and 1 minute on 20 minute intervals and 3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points only - also on 20 minute intervals.  The dough was then refrigerated for 6 hours.  We warmed it up for 2 hours before forming 3 dough balls – freezing one for later ala Phyllis.


Once it warmed up the dough was formed into crusts on parchment easily, ala Ian, since we had planned on not doing a par bake of the crust  - also no rosemary, sun dried tomato or garlic in the dough and no mojo de ajo spread on top of the crust either so we are getting far a field from the taste an method of our regular pizza dough. 


The toppings were a little different.  Andouille sausage replaced the hot Italian one.  Store bough pepperoni replaced the home made one.  We caramelized the Andouiille first and then the red onion, crimini and button mushrooms all together, instead of separately, in the fat .  We didn’t caramelize the hot chili and pepper mix of yellow banana, Serrano, Poblano, Hatch green and jalapenos.  The green onion and the red bell pepper were left fresh.


We only used the standard 3 cheeses of mozzarella, Pecorino and Parmesan.  There was some fresh basil flowers from the back yard but we forgot to put them on.  We were very hungry and when hunger strikes around here we forget who we are… much less if there was basil to go on top.  I’m not sure Lucy remembers who she is even today.


We like our pizza crust very thin, as thin as a cheap paper plate and so crisp it doesn’t bend or fold like NY style pizza.  We want it to crunch when you bite into it even if it is cold.  We also like them loaded up which makes the crunch part tough and why we normally par bake the crust for 3 minutes.


In the smoker they go - can't wait for them to get done later today!.

This curst came out perfect even without the par baking but it took 8 minutes at 550 F to get it just right and not burn the crust - top or bottom.  My wife loved this pizza and I thought it was almost as good as Lucy can make it, except for out SD version that has the herbs garlic and sun dried tomato in it – and mojo de ajo on it.

Lucy says not to forget the salad!

Hopefully the ribs and chicken will turn out all right to cap off a fine Memorial Weekend.  Hope yours was just a good as Friday's sunset.


PMcCool's picture

Between wanting a break from my GF experiments and my starter requiring a refresh, it was time to bake something different, something with sourdough.  For reasons not entirely clear to me, I keep going back to Leader's Local Breads in spite of its known defects.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the breads, when they work, are just so good.

A case in point would be the Polish Cottage Rye.  It's the very last formula in the book and it has no errors.  Moreover, it is a very pretty and tasty bread.  At 1215g, unbaked, it is also a hefty loaf but not in any way a brick.  I'm getting ahead of myself...

Since I had Friday off, one of my morning tasks was to pull the starter out of the refrigerator and give it a good feeding.  Thinking that rye flour might be a good pick-me-up for the starter, I used the whole rye flour that I had on hand.  At that point, there was no plan for a specific bread, just getting the starter back in fighting trim was the primary goal.  Even though the kitchen temperature is in the 75-78F range these days, the starter was a bit sluggish from it's 2-3 week stay in the refrigerator.  It was midafternoon before the starter showed real evidence of activity and late in the evening before it was ready to launch a levain.  By then, it had more than doubled (with rye flour, remember) and was eager for more food.

Since there was only finely milled whole rye flour on hand instead of the white rye that Leader calls for, that was what went into the levain build.  After a thorough mixing of the starter, water, and rye flour, the levain was covered and left to its own devices through the night.

It was about 7:45 Saturday morning when I walked into the kitchen and found a levain that was ready for bread.  All that was left was to combine the levain, water, bread flour, and salt into the final dough and give it a good knead.  About 15-18 minutes of kneading, according to Leader.  So I set to with vigor, using the slap and fold method because of the dough's relative softness.  There were a couple of intervals where I used the traditional push-turn-fold method of kneading but I found myself adding more flour than I wished to because of the dough's stickiness, so then it was back to the slap and fold method.

Per Leader's directions, the dough was set to ferment until it had expanded about 1.5 times its original volume.  I suspect mine was somewhat closer to doubled but without any adverse effects.  The dough was then shaped into a single round and placed in a floured banneton for the final fermentation.  While the loaf was fermenting, the oven was set up with a baking stone and a steam pan.

When the loaf was nearly doubled, the oven was switched on.  After it had preheated to 450F, boiling water was poured into the steam pan.  The loaf was immediately tipped out onto parchment paper, slashed, and slid onto the baking stone.  The loaf looked well proofed before going into the oven.  Once there, though, it experienced even more expansion; perhaps less than doubling but certainly a 1.5 expansion from the pre-bake size.

The fragrance while baking was wonderful.  Lots of roasty/toasty notes with sourdough highlights.

We had to leave as soon as the bread came out of the oven, so I simply plopped it on a cooling rack with a towel over it.  When we returned home, we found that it had been singing during our time away:

Quite a bit, actually.

That second picture also gives a sense of the amount of oven spring.  You can see how there was some tearing at the intersection of two slashes on the right-hand side. It's also evident when looking at the top of the loaf:

The deep chestnut tone of the crust is just as appealing to the tongue as it is to the eye; lots and lots of malty and nutty flavors.

Given the length of the kneading, it's no surprise that the crumb is very regular and rather finely textured:

Some of the crumb texture may also be attributable to the use of whole rye, rather than white rye, flour.  Since I made no adjustments in the formula's hydration, the perceived hydration may be lower than it would otherwise be.  

This is a very satisfying medium rye, at least in this incarnation with whole rye flour.  With white rye flour, it would no doubt be an equally satisfying light rye bread.  The flavor is a delightful combination of rye and wheat, with the additional richness of the sourdough flavors.  Neither seeds nor bread spice are needed in this bread; it is complete as is.  

If you have, or can obtain, a copy of Local Breads, I heartily commend this bread to you.


hungryscholar's picture

It's not hot here, not yet, but I am dreading the season of too hot to bake. What we have now is the sort of weather that has me firing up the grill only to have to call the whole thing off due to rain. So I am crossing my fingers for today, Memorial day.

In any case, I've made something resembling pizza on the stovetop with my cast iron grill pan and this week expanded to focaccia and something shaped reasonably like ciabatta, but lacking in the sort of holes I was hoping for, which I think means it's time to toss the last of that batch of yeast.

The focaccia was 70% hydration with about 5 % olive oil, and the "ciabatta" was 80% hydration with again about 5% oil. Both were made with King Arthur AP flour. I shaped them on a parchment to fit in my grill pan and put the dough, parchment paper and all, into the preheated grill pan with the burner at medium. The dough was in the pan for about 5 minutes and once the bottom cooked sufficiently I removed the parchment. Then it went under the broiler on low for another 5 minutes or so. It's not the way to go if you want an even crust color, but I'm rather pleased with the result and the lack of a long preheat for the oven.


Foccacia side viewCiabatta in grill pan




WoodenSpoon's picture

For my second crack at this pumpernickel I upped the hydration as well as the percentage of scalded pumpernickel flour and cracked rye. I also finally picked up a pullman pan and baked this rascal for 5 hours of active time and an additional 4 hours in the oven as the oven cooled down. This thing smells crazy good, like caramel and chocolate. It is wrapped in cotton for the time being but I'm hoping it tastes as good as it smells.

Here is my formula

  • 300g Dark Rye 87%
  • 104g Pumpernickel Flour 30% (dry weight)
  • 104g Cracked Rye 30% (dry weight)
  • 90g Levain (13% flour 13% water)
  • 245g Water 71%
  • 6g Salt 2%

First I scalded my cracked rye and pumpernickel flour, then rinsed it in cold water and wrung it out in cheese cloth then rinsed and wrung it out again. I added this to my autolyse of flour, water and levain, I let that sit for two hours then mixed in the salt with a wooden spoon. I mixed for around a minute or less. I then scrapped the clay like lump onto a pumpernickel dusted counter, shaped a log and maneuvered it into my pan dusted the top and let it proof, I proofed it until I saw the tell tale cracks (around two hours) then popped it on the middle rack of my preheated oven with my stone on the bottom rack. I baked it for an hour at 375, then turned the oven down to 275 and continued baking for four hours rotating the pan every hour. After that I turned the oven off and let the bread cool down with the oven for four more hours, now its de paned and wrapped in cloth and I will cut into it later this evening.

golgi70's picture

I'm on some sort of "white bread" kick lately.  You delve deeper into whole grain and every now and again need to come back to white flour just to remember how incredibly different it is.  But I'll have to get back to the grains here very soon.  But since a simple sourdough is on my list of breads to fine tune I embrace it.  This one is made with three builds of a stiff levain @ 66% hydration all with freshly milled Hard Red Winter Wheat.  It turned out quite nice from flavor profile but it's time for me to by some new proofing bowls and some couche to get the longer and less fat loaf I seek.  None the less they are just looks.  


Formula:  15% Stiff Whole Wheat Levain (3 builds 12hour, 8 hour, and well about 5 hours on the last one)

84% Baker's Craft

14.5% Hard Red Winter Wheat  (MIlled Fresh for the levain builds and dough)

1% Whole Rye

80%  H20 (roughly)

2.16%  Sea Salt


Fermentation:  3:30 hours with 4 soft folds @ 40,80, 120, 160

Final Ferment:  Cold 8-12 hours (I was on the short side so they needed an hour or so to warm up before baking)

Bake 480 with steam for 17 minutes  460 Vented for 20-30 more. 


Forgot to take the bounty pics but I got a couple cans of local tuna, some local shitakes, strawberries, zukes, snap peas, greens and more greens. a couple donation loaves, and a bottle of wine owed to me.  

Cheers All


emkay's picture

Every once in a while I buy a loaf of bread from Tartine for "research purposes". Here's their buckwheat porridge bread. It's a large loaf weighing 1130 grams.


wassisname's picture


Loafgeek posted these masa slider buns right around the time I was putting a lot of polenta in my breads.  With corn already on the brain the wheels began turning.  A large amount of masa would wreak havoc on the sourdough loaf I was picturing, so what to do?  The first possibility to pop into my head was to make some fresh corn tortillas, chop them up and use them like an old-bread soaker.  It never happened.  That would be an awful lot of work just to test kind of a goofy idea.  Besides, fresh tortillas tend to get devoured and I wasn’t sure I could muster that kind of self-control.  So, the idea went on the back burner.

I must have looked at the can of hominy in the cupboard a hundred times before it dawned on me that this was the answer.  So simple!  The kernels are pretty big, so I gave them a light chopping before adding them to the dough. 

From there it was just a matter of deciding what other flavors to layer into the bread.  A little rye sour sounded like a good match, along with a little whole wheat.  Both were freshly ground and left slightly coarse.  Some kind of herb seemed like a good fit, too.  In the end I couldn’t decide which to use (it was a dead heat between thyme and rosemary) so I decided not to decide and instead wandered around the yard and picked a little of everything I could find.  Thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano were all looking good so they all went in, with the mix weighted toward the thyme and rosemary.

So, what began as kind of a lark turned out so tasty I keep going back to it.  The formula and method are below but, really, you could make this with just about any dough you like.  The herbs and sourdough really make it work for me.  Hominy tends to mellow other flavors, so without stronger flavors to play off it would probably be a fairly bland loaf.  With a bowl of tomato soup?  Magic!




CeciC's picture

Overall Formula
Stone Ground Spelt Flour25.00%100.00
Wheat flour, white (industrial), 13% protein, bleached, unenriched37.50%150.00
Wheat flour, white (industrial), 10% protein, bleached, unenriched37.50%150.00
Water, tap, drinking75.00%300.00
Salt, table2.00%8.00
Add some notes here...
Stage 1: Preferment 
Stone Ground Spelt Flour50.00%5.00%20.00
Wheat flour, white (industrial), 13% protein, bleached, unenriched50.00%5.00%20.00
Water, tap, drinking100.00%10.00%40.00
Stage totals20.00%80.00
10% seeds and fermented for 8 hours overnight at 22C its doubled with sweet aroma
Final Dough 
Stone Ground Spelt Flour22.22%20.00%80.00
Wheat flour, white (industrial), 13% protein, bleached, unenriched36.11%32.50%130.00
Wheat flour, white (industrial), 10% protein, bleached, unenriched41.67%37.50%150.00
Water, tap, drinking72.22%65.00%260.00
Salt, table2.22%2.00%8.00
From: Preferment22.22%20.00%80.00
Stage totals177.00%708.00

Mixed all ingredient except salt. 

Autolysed for 30mins

Add salt with Pincer method till it reaches medium gluten development. About 4 squeezes alternate with 10 folds.

S&F 4 times @ 30mins

1 hour left un-touch

Pre-shaped, rest 20mins and shaped. 

Over-night proof in the fridge for 9 hours. Bake right out of oven in a dutch oven at 240C covered for 20mins, 20mins uncovered. 

This bread is really tasty, one of the best I ever had. I can barely stopped myself from finishing the loaf after having 4 slices plain. Evilish bread.


This post has been submitted to Plotziade No.2 and Wild Yeast




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