The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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alfanso's picture

Recently I had an urge to try to recreate one of my favorite breads.  This one originated in Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, OR.  To me it tastes almost like a dessert or sweet treat.  Eaten fresh, toasted, whatever, and with a slathering of butter or cream cheese across the top, the sweetness of the raisins just pop out on the taste buds.  It has more whole grain than any of the other baguettes I’ve made at home so far, and uses a stiff rather than a liquid levain.

A few differences to these include a “pre-shape" right out of the refrigerator as a square rather than cylindrical, a very short rest before final shaping and cross hatched scoring rather than the traditional baguette scoring.

This was my third attempt and I feel as though I am coming close to reproducing the original.  Well, as close as my taste buds will help me recall.  My first was working out the details, second was ironing out some of the procedures, and this attempt was the cleanup version, where I tried to make the baguettes shorter and more torpedo-like than traditional baguette.  These are actually about 12" long, although you wouldn't know if from the photos.

I still have a bit of work to do on the shaping, but think that I am almost there.

Here is my take.

And here is the only picture of Ken’s original version that I can locate, from his bakery website.

As the famous saying goes: “Man cannot live by Raisin Pecan bread alone”.  In between my attempts at the baguette, I decided to run a SJSD batch, but increase the volume by 25%, thereby making larger versions of David Snyder’s original beauties.  I also changed the SJSD liquid levain build, following dabrownman’s build schedule, albeit in 1 stage rather than his 3, and to sub out all of the levain flours with a 50/50 WW/Rye mix of flours.  So maybe this qualifies as a SoSJSD (Son of San Joaquin Sour Dough)  baguette!


I'm getting pretty consistent scoring (especially now that I've left my cold proofing experiments in the rear view mirror), but I'm not getting those big ol' ears, which I so love, with any consistency.  I'll blame it on the new oven (I'm certainly not going to take responsibility, now am I?).  

Or maybe I'll just Blame it on the Bossa Nova


bakingbadly's picture

Man oh man, how long has it been? 3 months since my last post on TFL? Well, it’s about time I post a quick update on my progress.

For those who don’t know, I’m an amateur baker turned pro (for about a year), now operating a sourdough microbakery called Siem Reap Bäckerei in Cambodia, Southeast Asia.


In my previous post, I mentioned the launch of a Farmers’ Market in Siem Reap, the first of its kind in the city. Initially, traffic was high and steady but since then has slowly dwindled.  

The future existence of the Farmer’s Market seems doubtful, but I’ll remain optimistic until the ship sinks.


About a couple of months ago I discontinued the production of my bread rolls. Too much effort for too little money. Some of my regulars were upset with the decision, but what else could I do? Plus, my health and happiness was compromised. The bread rolls weren’t naturally leavened and my heart belonged to sourdough. 


In early April, one of my clients, a luxury resort in Siem Reap, requested me to prepare challot (plural for challah) to their specifications for a Jewish event in March. Having little experience with challah, I was reluctant to accept the request but did so anyway. I had one month to prepare myself, so why the heck not?

Every week thereafter, I tested and adjusted my recipes, offered and sold my experimental challot at the Farmers’ Market.


Finally, trial after trial I was satisfied with my final product. Made with a stiff sourdough, unbleached T65 French flour, whole durum wheat flour, free-range chicken eggs, natural mineral water, extra virgin olive oil, honey, sea salt, and commercial yeast, topped with poppy seeds.

Praise the bread gods, my client and their customers were super happy with the challot!


Not too long ago, in mid-March, we celebrated the birthday of my business partner. We hosted 100 or so guests, with the majority being local Cambodians.

I was shocked to discover that my breads were depleted by the end of the party. Sourdough breads are generally incompatible with the palates of locals, and I was certain that the bulk of my breads would be left untouched!

For about 2 or 3 weeks I have been delivering my breads to an acclaimed Khmer restaurant called Garuda. Garuda is situated in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

It’s official! My bakery’s reputation has reached beyond our home base in Siem Reap!


Currently, I produce only 2 sourdough breads on a regular basis: a 7-grain loaf and a muesli loaf (containing walnuts, almonds, raisins, and rolled oats). I’m now working on a third loaf I call “Snow White”. It’s a French-style country bread whose greatest advantage is its food pairing versatility. Cheeses, cold cuts, sweet or savoury dips and spreads, soups, you name it.

Trials are nearly complete, perhaps as soon as the end of this week. I’m convinced the Snow White will be a big seller, so I’ve been anxious about its completion.


Look! Eco-friendly, paper bag packaging!

We’re now on our way to supplying sourdough breads to a few major supermarkets in town---but mini-sized. Why? Because we now know there’s high demand for tiny, adorable breads, more so than our standard 1 kilogram and half kilogram loaves.

As a test, last Sunday I made mini 7-grains (200g each) for the first time at the Farmers’ Market. Unexpectedly, they all sold out within a few hours.


My latest project: opening Phsa Aha (i.e., Cambodian for “food shop”), a cooperative artisanal food shop and restaurant.

For months my business partner and I searched high and low for a cafe or restaurant to house our breads. But, then, we realized dozens of food artisans in Siem Reap were in a similar position.

In the span of a few weeks, we’ve hunted down some of the best food artisans residing in Siem Reap, including a master butcher from Germany, a pastry chef from France, a former barista / now coffee consultant from Australia, a cheese producer from Italy, a free-range egg producer from Switzerland, several farmers of organic produce, and a few other skilled persons in the food arts.

Phsa Aha is coming into fruition, folks, and I can hardly contain my excitement!


Although I’m not around as often as I like, please feel free to message me for tips, thoughts, or whatever. It’s nice to stay connected with fellow bread bakers, especially in a country where they’re far from many.

Thanks so much for reading up on my bakery. Farewell and may your breads give you and others everlasting happiness!

Head Baker 
Siem Reap Bäckerei

CAphyl's picture

Like many of you, we end up having lots of leftover bread from my bakes.  I always like to have a fresh bread on hand, so that leaves the rumps of many loaves to be thrown out or made into bread crumbs. I ran across a recipe in Cooking Light for a sourdough artichoke and spinach strada, and I was intrigued.  On closer study, I saw that the reviews said it was bland, so I spiced it up a bit.  I actually used a chunk of the gluten-free sourdough I baked, cutting it up into cubes.  This is a very filing recipe, so I suggest using more vegetables and fewer bread cubes.  I think broccoli and sautéed peppers would be good as well.  I added a few ripe tomatoes, but don't advise this as they cause the strada to be more watery.  I added onions, hot pepper and mushrooms along with the artichokes and spinach from the original recipe.  My husband and I enjoyed it with a salad on the side. You can also add more cheese to make it really cheesy. I suggest experimenting with the vegetables and cheeses you like.  For meat eaters, I think cooking a bit of pancetta, draining it on a paper towel and then using the fat to cook the onions and vegetables would be a nice idea as well. I think almost anything would work in this.   Hope it is helpful.  Phyllis

Sourdough Artichoke and Spinach Strada


1 bunch of fresh spinach

One small onion, chopped

1 can or bottle of artichoke hearts, drained (at least nine ounces)

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

Dried chile flakes (optional: I used a full dried jalapeno pepper from our garden, and it really provided a kick to the dish. May not be suitable for young children!)

8 ounces sourdough bread, cubed (I didn’t need as much, as I used a smaller casserole dish)

4 ounces cheddar, shredded (about 1 cup) (use your favorite cheese and add more to make it more cheesy)

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (you can use any vegetables you like)

3-6 cloves garlic, minced (depends on how much garlic you like)

Cooking spray

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

1-3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk (depends on the size of your dish and # of eggs; I used 1 cup)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Dash of ground nutmeg

3-4 large eggs (Use 4 eggs if you use a larger baking dish).


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Heat olive oil in large pan.  When hot, add onions and cook at medium high heat for about 4 minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and toss for one minute.  Add mushrooms and cook for several minutes; before they are done, add your fresh spinach and turn continually until it wilts. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. (Try and remove excess moisture from the spinach).

3. Combine slightly cooled spinach mixture with sourdough bread cubes in a large bowl; toss. Add in cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly. Arrange bread mixture in a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. (I used a smaller, round ceramic dish). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.

4. Combine milk, Dijon, pepper, nutmeg and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until set. Turn broiler to high (do not remove pan from oven). Broil 4 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

5. Serve with a leafy green salad.


alefarendsen's picture

Ideally I'd like to have a nice bread that I mix the dough for in the evening, bulk ferment it overnight on the counter and finish by shaping, proofing and baking in the morning. To get there I started experimenting yesterday with the Basic Country bread from Tartine and modifying the schedule and levain % to extend the bulk fermentation.

While at it I mixed two batches of dough, each with different %s of levain, one at 6% and one at 10%. Room temperature started at about 18C/64F in the early morning, to about 68F later in the morning and for the remainder of the day and evening.

  • 22:10 mixed 25 grams of starter (100% hydration) with 125 grams of starter mix (40% WW, 10% rye and 50% Italian tipo 2) with 125 grams of water (18C/65F) and let rise overnight
  • 08:50 the levain has little over doubled in volume and I'm starting the autolyse on the two batches of dough, both 450 white (tipo 0), 50 grams whole wheat, 350 water @ 11C/52F (no levain added, as I'd like to postpone the fermentation for as long as possible)
  • 09:30 mixing two final doughs with the levain (60 grams on one of them, 100 grams on the other), salt (10 grams each batch) and a last bit of water (50 grams @ 52F). This brings dough hydration to 73% and 75% respectively. Bulk fermentation starts with DT of 64F and volume is about 1 liter.
  • 10:05 stretch and fold
  • 10:35 stretch and fold
  • 11:05 stretch and fold. DT is now 66F. The two doughs are still very much alike
  • 11:35 stretch and fold
  • 13:50 DT is now 68F (which is also the ambient temp). Dough in first batch (the one with more starter) seemed to have risen a tiny bit more than the second batch and more airpockets seem to have developed in the first batch. Volume has still not increased a lot though. Maybe now that temp has gone up to 68F things will speed up a bit.
  • 14:55 The difference between the first and the second batch is now clearly visible. The first has risen slightly more and there are definitely more and bigger airpockets in the dough. Also the surface is showing more signs of bubbling in the blue (first) batch than in the second. Now leaving for a few hours, probably coming back at around 6'ish.
  • 21:50 Just came back. Wasn't supposed to stay out this long but friends invited us over for dinner and I had some trouble parking the car. Volume has increased on both doughs, to about 1.4 liters in the first and 1.6 or 1.7 liters in the second. Not sure when bulk fermentation is finished. Poke test has the doughs both spring back, but not really fast. It's been almost 12 hours now. Decided to start dividing and shaping. DT is still 68F. Starting with a pre-shape. Dough feels elastic, not feeling a real difference between the two batches. Doing a bench rest
  • 22:20 After a 30 minute bench rest doing the final shape now. Not noticing a huge difference between the loaves so far
  • 22:30 Retarding the boules in bannetons the fridge (42F) for the night. Wouldn't normally do this, but don't want to stay up all night ;-)
  • 09:00 Taking the first batch from the fridge and letting them proof a bit more while heating the oven at 245C/475F
  • 09:45 - 12:30 Baking the loaves in a Dutch oven (22 lid on & 10m lid off) with a 5 minute reheat in between to get the oven back up to 245C/475F

I was hoping and actually expecting to see a lot of differences between the two batches of dough having different levain percentages, but there wasn't any really... Taste, crumb, crust, looks, they're all the same. Taste was wonderful by the way. Not overly sour, just great!

So in short, by modifying the levain percentages I was able to extend the bulk fermentation to about 12 hours.


Bulk fermentation of the dough with 10% levain.

Bulk fermentation on the second dough (lower levain %). You can clearly see the difference.

Crumb looks great IMO. Crust in some places a bit bold, but that's probably due to my not lowering the temp after removing the lid of the DO. Scoring is still not very good, I have to get myself a lame.

Any comments / recommendations?




jungnickel's picture

this time i made them a bit heavier, round 300 g before baking, 240 after, 69 % hydration, i do an autolyse, then i  mix in salt and yeast by hand, then it goes in the fridge. after a day of fridge rest i divide the dough and preshape, 15 min later i shape it and let it proof for 25 min, cut, oven for 25 min.

nmygarden's picture

Okay, so I started with the brown rice, which is so good in bread... and of course added polenta, with its homestyle goodness, and a 50/50 blend of WW (Red Fife from Grist & Toll in Pasadena) and BF... then wanted a little something more to really establish a theme, and found some shallots that were begging to be included, and added some poppy seeds for color and a bit more texture. And this is what happened.

Big, sturdy and boisterous, a bit moist (could have left it on the stone in the oven for a few minutes more), but sliced up beautifully and the aroma is so tempting. I'm thinking Panini sandwiches with cheese, artichoke hearts and roast beef.

I love making it up as I go and using anything and everything in the kitchen (but perhaps not all at once) as inspiration. Everyone enjoy your baking this week!!!


thedoughycoed's picture

Thanks to everyone who responded to my cry for help, I established a rye starter, invested in a dutch oven, and made sourdough for real. This is my first loaf without training wheels, and I'm quite pleased. After some research this is my approximation of FWSY's Field Blend #2.


a_warming_trend's picture

A Southern Twist: Pimento Cheese Sourdough!

This might be my favorite sourdough variation ever. Okay, maybe second to my Dark Chocolate Chunk endeavors. Anyhow, the red pepper and cheddar cheese compliment the tang of the sourdough so perfectly...and the slight sweetness of the white flour and's good, y'all. It's really good. The following is the formula I developed for one loaf.

Note: I don't have crumb pictures for the boule/batard...only from a ciabatta version I baked. The crumb for the boule/batard looked similar, but rose more with the 76% hydration given below.


400 g all-purpose flour (could, alternatively, replace 50-100 g with whole wheat!)
280 g cool water
200 g 100% hydration white starter
11 g salt
10 g malt powder (optional)
3 g ground black pepper
60 g roasted red peppers, finely diced and drained of liquid
60 g finely chopped cubes of sharp cheddar cheese
15 g cream cheese


1) Prepare your starter/levain however you like, such that it will be ready in 8-12 hours.

2) Mix flour and water in a large plastic bowl and autolyse for 8-12 hours (if you're unable to do the super-long autolyse, you'll be just develops the gluten and sweetness of the flour in such a nice way).

3) Add the levain, salt, malt, black pepper, red pepper, cheddar, and cream cheese, and squish through your fingers until incorporated (the technical term is the "pincer method," but I have to be honest. I just squish!). Stretch and fold the dough over itself for an additional 3 to 4 minutes after mixing.

4) Stretch and fold the dough 4-16 times (1-4 full turns) at 30 minute intervals over the next 1.5 to 2 hours. Watch the dough to determine whether it needs three or four folding sessions.

5) Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 2-4 hours after the last fold, or until increase roughly 80%.

6) At this point, you can either put the container in the refrigerator for 4-72 hours before shaping and proofing, or shape and proof immediately.

7) Shape into a boule or batard and proof in a brotform/banneton for between 2 and 3.5 hours at room temperature, or 30 minutes at room temperature and between 8 and 18 hours in the refrigerator. In any case, try to proof until 45-55% increased in size.

8) If you've shaped and proofed at room temperature, pop the loaf in the freezer for 20 minutes before releasing from the brotform.

9) Bake at 475 F for 18 minutes with steam, 20-25 minutes without.




Cher504's picture

 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….”

 And here in the northeast, winter 2015 just didn’t know when to quit! Don’t get me wrong, winter is not my season of discontent; I love the snow and bracing winds. But at some point, enough is enough! I’m ready for spring and flowers. I've spent a good part of this winter trying recreate a loaf that comes close to my recollection of the Raisin pumpernickel bread from my youth…not to put it on a pedestal or anything. Here’s a few pix of the first several tries.


This was from Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker.










 This one's from the Silver Palate Cookbook, and there was a no-knead version...Something just wasn't right, and I'm continually misjudging the fermenting time - usually too short...

I even did some research; here’s a few slices from a well-known bakery across town. It looks great, but...

it doesn't taste much like rye at all. It’s very light; in fact you can actually see right through the crumb. That’s not the pumpernickel I remember. My ideal is a dark, chocolate brown, a little dense and chewy, studded with raisins. Deciding I needed a heftier rye flour to continue on this quest, I ordered of bag of coarse pumpernickel meal (from It's even coarser than I expected.







After setting it to ferment, I took a walk in the park. It was the first day of spring.

               Central park is really lovely in the snow.

     The next day I mixed the coarse rye sour with the final dough ingredients. Basically I followed the formula from ITJB, using the coarse rye meal for the final build of the rye sour, (first build was medium rye). I added 1T each of molasses, espresso powder and cocoa powder in lieu of the caramel color, otherwise I followed the formula as is. The dough seemed a bit dry, but I figured the coarse meal was just thirstier…so I went with it. All seemed to be going well…the loaf expanded nicely in bulk ferment and in the final proof. Although, to be honest I find it tricky to judge whether it’s double or triple it’s size, still I was hopeful. After the loaf came out of the oven I went for another walk. All the snow from the day before had melted and lo and behold…

Finally, the first harbinger of spring. I felt like she was smiling at me! Unfortunately, the change of seasons did not cause the pumpernickel raisin gods to smile upon me. ;-( 

My loaf was too dense - although I loved the texture of the coarse meal and I thought the flavor was very nice.

I then stumbled upon an errata sheet for ITJB (didn’t know about that..) and discovered that I should have added another 1/2 C of water - sigh! Teaches me to trust my instincts when the dough seems too dry. Oh well, looking on the bright side, I’m one step closer, I’ve got some old slices ready to be added as altus on the next try. And…the squirrels really like my breads. I think they’re getting to know me.

If any of you trouble-shooters out there can give me some advice I’d be very appreciative. I’m wondering if I should soak (or scald?) the coarse meal before using it in the rye sour. And if so, how much water? how long to soak and do I drain it afterwards? Would some yeast water open up the crumb in this type of bread?  Also,with regard to the coarse rye meal, do I have to keep it in the freezer? If I use it up in say, 3 months, can it remain in a room temp cupboard?


Thanks and happy spring to those of you in the northern hemisphere!







Cari Amici,

vi lascio l'idea per Un buon Pane Fatto con i grani antichi della provincia di Parma Che mi e piaciuto tanto.

La ricetta Prevede l'utilizzo di Un buon Lievito Naturale e la Lavorazione Un po 'articolata lo Hanno reso Prezioso also alla vista dei miei Ospiti Per un pranzo domenicale Recente.

Volevo cogliere altresi L'occasione per augurare a tutti voi serena Festività Pasquali.

Un grande abbraccio e felice cottura a tutti voi.



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