The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Kasiaw's picture

We scarfed down half the first loaf in minutes for lunch today.  I am lucky I got a picture of the inside before it was gone!  This is the best bread I have every made, and I've been baking for more than thirty years.  I already have a request for more for this weekend, so now I have to learn how to take out the starter from the fridge and liven it up...  Back to the forum for advice!

golgi70's picture

Still baking.  Pretty much got it down to just my once a week routine and the occasional farmer's market.  Every week I offer two varieties.  One that is a levain bread and retarded in form.  One that is baked in a pullman pan and cut into quarters (usually a rye).  And then when I'm in the mood I'll throw in a baguette, rusitque, focaccia, or ciabatta.  

This week I fiddled around with my 70% Rye with Whole Wheat ( to come up with a Raisin Rye.  I went with a pairing of raisins, toasted sesame, and toasted fennel.  A combo I've seen in levain loaves that I thought might be nice as a denser tinned loaf.  I discarded the Whole Wheat for a stronger white flour and followed a Detmolder approach.   The results are so very good.  Plain it has a lovely tang from the staged fermentation with a lovely sweetness that cuts through from the raisins.  The sesame adds a nice nuttiness and the fennel adds a lovely note.  This one is in the books folks.    

Since I'm here this weeks levain loaf was my "Ode to Rubaud".  I've read much about him, watched the youtube videos, and gave his formula a go some time ago.  My results were good but not great.  I needed to adjust my approach as I retard in form and he does not.  My take is more focused on the blend of fresh milled flours and the three build levain.. This time around I decreased my PF from 15% to 13%, added an extended autolyse (4 hours).  I got pretty good results but they may be a tad over fermented.  The lovely three build levain and extended autolyse makes this loaf mildly acidic, sweet, and earthy from the fresh whole grains.  I'll come back to this one soon to find the proper timing.

Hope all is well in everyone's worlds


And here are some pics of the "Ode to Rubaud" from this past bake




sunnybunnybread's picture

This is my first time making a ciabatta shape




WoodenSpoon's picture


  • 269g BF (52%)
  • 103g Kamut (20%)
  • 78g Semolina (15%)
  • 140g Levain (13% bf 13%water)
  • 26g Toasted SesameSeeds (5%)
  • 346g Water (67%)
  • 10g Salt (2%)

The evening before baking I mixed up my levain using 7g active chef and 200 or so grams of both water and flour and let it ferment at an albeit cool room temp overnight plus some of the following morning.  I made extra for a different project and the additional flour and water with out a significant increase in chef caused for a slower fermentation for the levain, which was fine. When I was ready to start mixing I added everything but the salt and sesame seeds and let it sit for an hour, during this time I toasted the seeds in a dry cast iron and made sure they were cool. 

After the hour had passed I mixed in the seeds and salt and gave the already pretty developed dough a minute or so of slap and folds followed by a rest and a few more folds. Then I let it ferment for an additional four hours at room temp with a few stretch and folds at the 1, 2 and 2 and a half hour marks. 

Five hours later I shaped the loaf and rolled it on a wet towel then rolled it on a plate full of black sesame seeds and popped it in my pullman pan for 4 hours.

Four hours later I baked it at 450 for an hour then took it out of the pan and baked it for another 10 minutes.


mmmmm mm this is some tasty bread, its both buttery and earthy and the sesame seeds both on the inside and out contribute a great nuttyness that I am a big fan of. I was also very pleased and a bit surprised at how well the dough came together with two flours that didn't contribute much gluten to the mix. I expect this one will go fast and I will make it again for sure. 

isand66's picture

I really loved the way the first version of this bread came out but I wanted to change it slightly and see if I could make it even better.

The only changes I made was to build the levain using Durum flour in a 2 step build.  I also used garlic infused olive oil instead of plain olive oil.  I also used a new proofing basket I just purchased which fit the amount of dough produced perfectly.

The results were excellent.  I like the flavor and creamy texture the increased durum starter imparted on the final bread.


Durum Tangzhong Sourdough Act II (%)

Durum Tangzhong Sourdough Act II (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Tangzhong is the technique of heating a portion of the flour and liquid in your recipe to approximately 65C to make a paste (roux).  At this temperature the flour undergoes a change and gelatinizes.  By adding this roux to your final dough it will help create a soft, fluffy, moist open crumb.  It is also supposed to help prevent the bread from going stale.

It is not very difficult to do a Tangzhong.  Use a  5 to 1 liquid to solid ratio (so 250g liquid to 50g flour) and mix it together in a pan.  Heat the pan while stirring constantly.  Initially it will remain a liquid, but as you approach 65C it will undergo a change and thicken to an almost pudding like consistency.  Take it off the heat and let it cool before using it in your recipe.  Some people will refrigerate it for a while but you can use it right away as soon as it cools.

Levain Directions Build 1 (Using AP Starter at 66% Hydration for Seed)

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.  I used my Proofer set at 81 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Levain Directions Build 2

Add the ingredients to the Build 1 levain and mix thoroughly and cover.  Let it sit at room temperature until the starter has doubled.

Main Dough Directions
Prepare the Tangzhong per directions above and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix the flours, Tangzhong and 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.  Next add the salt, oil and starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and  mix on low for a minute.   Mix for a total of 6 minutes in your mixer starting on low-speed and switching to speed #2 for the last 2 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 78 degrees and only leave the dough out for 1 hour to 1.5 hours before placing in the refrigerator).

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 desire and cover with a moist lint free towel or sprayed plastic wrap.

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.  Note: I used my proofer set to 80 degrees and it took a little over an hour to be ready.

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.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown.

Let them cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




Kasiaw's picture

Hi everyone!

I have been lurking for a while, baking loaves from FWSY using poolish and biga.  I finally decided to try the Levain recipes, but couldn't bring myself to use the quantities of flour required to follow the starter instructions in that book.  After reading Deborah Wink's instructions on the site here, and not so patiently tending the goop for 10 days, I finally had a starter that seemed promising.  I decided on making the Field Blend #1, as I am partial to rye flavor, and this is the result.  It's still too hot to cut, but it looks pretty good to me!

ElPanadero's picture

Figured it was time I tried a bake in a dutch oven.  We have a Le Crueset pot but it is wide and shallow and thus not suitable.  After hunting around I figured I could use this steamer pot which was sitting in a cupboard.


Seemed ideal, plenty deep enough, round and with a lid.   Turned out to be really good.   The proofed loaf dropped in smoothly with parchment paper and the loaf rose very well.  I think I'll be using this pot quite a lot from now on !

The loaf I made was loosely based on Chad's Tartine Country Bread, however I wanted more wholewheat than his 10%.   I used a wholewheat starter and I also had a bag of Malthouse flour to hand (a blend of wheat, rye and flaked malted grains) so I threw some of that in as well.  So plenty of wheat in this loaf.  Hydration was about 70% and the crumb came out pretty well.

White Bread Flour - 350g

Wholewheat Flour - 100g

Malthouse Flour50g

Water - 330g

WW Starter (@100%) - 100g



Autolyse (F+W+Y) - 30min

Added salt then rested - 30min

Stretch+fold every 30min for 2hrs

Shape and banneton

Retard in fridge overnight - 12 hrs

Rest 45min at room temp then baked 15 mins lid on, 25-30 mins lid off

I made a similar loaf to this last week and baked on a stone and it came out much flatter as the dough spread after being turned out.  The Dutch oven approach clearly offers side support and produces a nicer looking loaf imo.




bakingbadly's picture

Nearly 2 months has passed since my last post. Since then, a few major events has happened. For anybody who doesn't know, I've been trying to open a specialty sourdough bakery in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Southeast Asia).

It ain't easy, that's for sure!

  • Roasted lamb, potato fries, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, tzatziki (Greek yogurt sauce), wrapped in a pocketless pita

I've made over 1,000 Greek-style pitas by hand now---my best seller and unexpectedly a favourite of the locals. And it still amazes me that I learn something new with each batch of pita dough. Most a small, minute lesson, but all accumulates into practical knowledge.

By the way, the photograph above is a Greek-style gyro by a popular pizzeria in town, fitted with my pitas. It was offered as a one-week special and, surprisingly, sold out in 2 days. Although the lamb was the main attraction, I'd like to think my pitas played a vital role in its deliciousness.


Because of my pitas, my business partner Michael and I were hired to cater for an event for the Embassy of India and APSARA, an organisation responsible for protecting the Angkor archaeological park.

Apparently, the host of the event wanted to sample my pitas for personal reasons at a local craft market. I was absent at the time, but Michael told me that she purchased a pita, tested it on spot, and was so impressed that she requested our staff for contact information.

The rest is history.

As Michael enlightened me with this story, my eyes began to well up with tears. Of course, I had to look away from him to retain my composure. It'd be strange to cry in a public setting, now wouldn't it?


Many, many months ago, don't know when, I sporadically tested an assortment of sourdough multigrain breads. Most were what I considered failures, few were satisfactory in flavour and aesthetics, but never both. For whatever reason, I halted my experiments and dove into other breads.

That changed after reading Golgi70's (Josh's) blog post on his 5 grain levain in May. It was the kindling I needed to reignite my interest in multigrain breads.


  • The Se7en Grain (Siebenkornbrot), final trial

On the 27th of September, or late last month, I finally took the plunge and sold my first sourdough bread to the public: the "Se7en Grain". Prior to then, I was strictly selling yeasted German bread rolls (Brötchen). Easier and less temperamental than sourdough, but not what my heart longed and desired.

I was struggling to bake larger quantities of sourdough breads because of high ambient temperatures (above 30C / 86F). However, the game changed after dedicating an air-conditioned room to bread / dough prepping.

For months I told myself the first sourdough bread I offer to the public must WOW them, blow their taste buds away, and redefine what bread was to them (particularly if they're only familiar with mass produced white bread). Did I do that? Well...


  • Crumb of the Se7en Grain

I had mixed responses.

The majority of my American, Australian, British, and European clients were WOWed by the Se7en Grain. In contrast, the local Cambodians and other Asians weren't sure what to think of it. 

Ingredients of the Se7en Grain: Sourdough (cultured bacteria & yeast), Unbleached wheat and rye flour, Natural mineral water, Toasted seeds (Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin), Rolled oats, Cornmeal, and Sea salt.

The Se7en Grain was inspired by Jeffrey Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain (Bread, pg. 182, 2nd edition), with minor influences from Chad Robertson's Oat Porridge Bread. It has a nutty, wheaty flavour, accompanied by a subtle to mild tang. And the flesh is soft, somewhat custard-like, yet pleasantly chewy.

"We sell bread, not air."

Our new slogan.

It's a humorous (and arguably disparaging) attempt to help differentiate ourselves from the French bakeries in town. At present, we sell the most heaviest, densest breads in Siem Reap, which I reluctantly admit to take pride in. But hey, a handful of our clients and passerby were amused by the slogan. On several occasions, people would stop at our stall, read it, then crack a smile or break into laughter.


Last Friday Michael (my business partner) and I opened our trial restaurant called "The German Bistro". It's a small, modest, Bavarian-style restaurant, opens only on Friday and Saturday evenings, featuring all-you-can-eat menus with authentic German dishes and central European-style breads (made by me, of course).

Now I know what some of you are thinking: "How the heck does Zita have time to open a restaurant?!"

The answer is simple. Because it requires little to no effort for us to open a restaurant. Michael and I already operate a thriving and reputable catering business. We have chairs, tables, tableware, and cutlery, and plenty of staff who are willing to get involved in our latest project. Our workplace also has a spacious, fully functional kitchen that's inactive during the night. And the premise can accommodate 30 or so guests. 

We don't know if our concept will work in the long run, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the restaurant succeeds. If it does, I can create new specialty breads and have a permanent location to station my breads for the community---a problem I've been having since my bakery startup.


This weekend at our local craft market I'll be selling my newest bread called "Farmer's Field" (Bauernbrot) to a wider audience. I'm still anxious about it. It's a sourdough with 55% rye flour, therefore a "Roggenmischbrot", and contains freshly ground German spices. It has a sharper tang, a crustier crust (which may be problematic since most of my clients don't own bread knives), but is the most authentic German rye bread in Siem Reap. Actually, I don't know that for certain, but I'd say it's a high probability.

Wish me luck!

Farewell for now and best wishes to my fellow bakers, supporters, and everybody who watched me grow into the baker I am today. You're all lovely and inspirational people, to me at least. :)

Head Baker
Siem Reap Bäckerei

maojn's picture

 If you read Chinese, here is the link of my blog:


Hobart A200 with a 12 quart bowl.


12 Quart vs. 20 Quart


The whole wheat bread used

Whole wheat flour 700g
gluten 2 TBSP
mix well and sift, do not skip this step
water 420g
Instant yeast 5g

mix until no dry flour
30C 30 minutes
keep overnight in refrigerator


Main dough:﹕
all biga above cut to small pieces
milk 410g
whole wheat flour 300g
salt 17g
honey 150g
milk powder 30g
big eggs x2, about 120g
instant yeast 5g
softened nonsalt butter 1stick 114g add it after dough cleans the bowl


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blackhatbaker's picture

Hello, everyone. I thought it was time that I should try out a new bread making process, as I've been baking a lot of tartine bread and have made enough small changes that I feel comfortable with the formula. So, I decided to scale down the formula for traditional 3 stage pain au levain from The Bread Builders to make a little over 4kg of dough. I did make a couple of very small changes, for convenience's sake: I let the levain seconde ferment for 10hrs instead of 8 (but mixed it with cooler water) so I could get a better night of sleep, and I increased the hydration to 68% and utilized a 1hr autolyse so I could knead it in the bowl instead of having to transfer it to the counter to knead for a long time. I also used 25% whole wheat flour to try to simulate medium-extraction flour, but I think I'll use 50% next time for "high-extraction".

As you can see, they are scored like pain poilane

Crumb shot

Another thing I baked but didn't take pictures of (oops!) was a sourdough pizza crust that I used for fennel pizza and mushroom pizza. It followed a similar procedure from my last pizza post, but used 200g of 100% hydration starter, 400g of flour, 10g of salt, and 5g yeast. I also refrigerated the preshaped dough for 24 hours, as suggested by David Esq.



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