The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I've been baking rye sourdoughs over the last few days, for a special customer request. They turned out fairly nice, but I still have challenges with my rye starter staying strong enough to rise the bread properly. As a result some of them were a bit dense and wet (unlike the previous rye bake, where they rose nicely; not sure where the difference lies). Still fairly happy with them. From left to right they are:

  1. Pumpernickel (from Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's "How to Make Sourdough"). I used fresh sprouted rye berries for this one, rather than just soaking them as in the recipe. However, they turned out a little hard. I like this recipe because it used three barley malts - plain (Maris Otter), crystal and a very dark chocolate malt
  2. A whole grain rye from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" - I cook the rye berries along with some buckwheat groats and millet seeds for this one
  3. Hadjiandreou's Orange Coriander Rye - very fragrant with grated orange zest and crushed coriander seeds
  4. Not sure what to call this last one - it's the Lazy Loafer take on Stan Ginsberg's variation of Auerman's variation of Borodinsky rye! Again, turned out rather nice but too dense and heavy (even for a Russian rye). Not quite there yet. It does use a sponge and a scald, as well as red rye malt

Here is the crust and crumb of the Pumpernickel:

And here is the sort-of Borodinsky. Note the wet, dense layer.

alfanso's picture

Last week I posted my first run of the Hamelman Vermont SD as baguettes.  Quite happy with the results.  But a recent thread started by ifaey about problems with higher protein baguettes had me rethinking my own run.  

The formula calls for a virtually all bread flour (90%) formula to which I applied 3 Letter Folds during the bulk rise. It seems that "all" of Mr Hamelman's breads use "bread flour" rather than AP flour, so when his formula states "bread flour" I take that literally.

My change here, aside from adding other shapes, was to replace all of the non-levain Bread Flour with AP flour so that the dough would more closely resemble T55 French flour based dough.  I still used the 125% hydration bread flour levain which accounts for 15% of the overall flour component.  I also backed down 1 Letter Fold, from 3 to 2 in an effort to provide a little less "strength" to the dough.  

One significant difference I noticed during French Folds was that this dough was more extensible and less "rubbery".  And that continued on through the Letter Folds and into final shaping as well.  And strangely, although both runs are 65% overall hydration, this batch seemed wetter, by a fair margin.

I corrected my one lament from the prior run in that I did bake these a shade darker.

  • 620g x 1 batard
  • 375g x 1 baguette
  • 250g x 4 batard-ettes



Flour.ish.en's picture

This bread was inspired by dabrownman and lucy’s “a special Saturday” sprouted multigrain bread (April 14). He commented on my 100% sprouted struan bread (April 16) and suggested I should try making this bread, since I wanted something with similar characteristics to the Vermont sourdough.

The formula I used: 20% liquid levain build with only bread flour. Mixed the dough with 50% bread flour, 30% sprouted wheat flour and 2% salt. Hydration level was an upward of 70%. The final dough looked like it needed some water. I kept my hands very wet as I performed series of stretch-and-fold. After three hours of bulk fermentation, I shaped the dough and left them to proof in the fridge overnight. See the cheat sheet below for details.

Dabrownman was spot on. Thank you for being my bread (and best) guide. But somehow I fell short in my execution in making this bread. The crust came out nice, but the crumb was a little problematic. When you compare pictures of the Vermont sourdough and the sprouted version, you couldn’t really tell the difference. But the devil is in the details or the crumb!

Close to the base of the bread, there were areas of dense and compressed custardy clumps. Was the bread underbaked? Did that have something to do with the shaping of this particular loaf? The bread had a soft and slightly moist underbelly. Not what you’d expect in a perfect loaf. What can be done differently to make them better? I want to know before I push this bread up to 40% sprouted wheat. 

For more details: and



teketeke's picture

Hello everyone,

I have a question of this flour "  King Arthur Special Patent Flour " , which I found at local bakery supply wholesaler.


12.7% Protein.50% AshMalted, Enriched

 This "short patent" is a classic spring wheat bread flour milled from the center of the wheat kernel resulting in high protein and low ash. A good fit for hand or machine production. Provides good tolerance and oven spring and is ideal for hearth breads, pan breads, and buns. Also works well for yeasted breakfast pastries.


I found this article about this flour below..


But I am wondering what is the difference when I make a sourdough loaf with this flour? 
 I often use King Arthur All Purpose flour and 0.93% of Bob's Red Mill's vital wheat gluten flour for my sourdough loaves.


I would appreciate for any thoughts..

Happy baking,








Skibum's picture

Well friends, I have had this appliance for a month or so now and LOVE it! Vacuum sealing food in plastic keeps it fresher, longer, saves space in my freezer and compared to double zip locked bags, I can actually see what is sealed and frozen.

My soft pull apart dinner rolls have stayed baking day fresh, shrink wrapped and frozen. You just need to stop the vacuum motor before it squishes the rolls, breads etc. What sold me on the product was the idea, I could re-heat my slow smoked BBQ pulled pork butt sous vide style. I comes out just like day one pulled pork.

As a serious cook, I give this appliance 5 stars and 2 thumbs up!


Happy baking! Ski

will slick's picture
will slick

40% W.W. English muffins

Hello friends, the aim for today’s experiment, will be to modify an existing recipe, (,) to create a formula for 40% W.W. English muffins.


The Will Falzon method, 40% W.W. English muffins


Milk (I used unsweetened Almond) 370G                      61.6%

Water                                                     120G (Divided)    20. %

W.W. Flour                                             240G                     40. %

 A. P.  Flour                                             360G                      60. %

Yeast                                                        21G                         3.5%

Melted Butter                                        32G                          5.4%

Sugar                                                          4G                          0.6%

1 Lg. Egg                                                  (60G)                        10%

Salt                                                               4G                          0.6%

Vinegar                                                        4G                          0.6%

Corn meal (As needed)


1.    The Autolyse

Combine milk, 70G water and all the flour, till the flour is completely wet. Set aside to rest covered for 1 Hour.

2.    Combine yeast, sugar and the remaining 50G of water at 100Deg.F. Mix well, allow to rest for 5 minutes, till frothy.  Incorporate the yeast mixture well into the autolysed dough. Cover and set aside.

3.    In a small bowl combine the melted butter, 1 egg, salt and vinegar. Once cooled, incorporate the egg mixture into the dough. Mix well.

4.    Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes. While still in the bowl work the dough with very wet hands for a few minutes, until a shaggy dough ball is formed. At this point the dough will be very wet and unmanageable.

5.    Cover with well-oiled plastic wrap and a dish towel. Set aside to rise in a warm draft free place.

6.    At 15 minute intervals, preform stretch and folds at the four corners. Continue for one to one and one half hours, until the dough achieves enough strength for a “window pane” to be pulled.

7.    At this point, coat your work surface generously with corn meal. Begin to preheat the griddle to medium heat (350F).

8.    Turn out the dough on to the work surface, coat the top with corn meal.

9.    Using your preferred method, roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ inch.

10.                      Using a cookie cutter or jar lid cut out 16, 3inch muffins.

11.                      Place the muffins on the griddle and cook for 7 minutes on each side. Or until they are well browned and the sides are stiff.


Today’s exercise was mostly a success. However, I rolled out the dough much to thin, (1/8th”) so most of the muffins are way too small. Also I feel the muffins need a little more sweetness. Next week when I revisit and tweak the formula, I will eliminate the sugar and substitute 3 TBS of raw wild flower honey. Also I used almond milk because I realized I did not have enough cow’s milk.

Cooper's picture

So, like an Icarus who flew too high too fast, long before he learned how to build an airplane, last weekend I got too cocky thinking that I could do variations of my own, without having to research proper recipes.  The result was two utterly lifeless loaves, which, albeit still edible, definitely wished they have never been baked at all. 

Since I'm of a firm belief that we can learn just as much - if not more - from failures as we can from successes, I am posting it here as a warning to others like me: "Learn to crawl confidently before you do... well, practically anything else". 

I started with the same simple SD recipe I used a few times before, but decided to split the dough into two parts and make two battards, one with Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes, and the other with walnuts and figs. After autolyse and final mixing, I allowed the dough to BF for 1 hr. (It was supposed to be 30 min, but it took me much longer than expected to prepare the extra ingredients.)  I then did one set of stretch/fold, divided the dough, flattened each half, spread additional ingredients, and did another couple of stretch/folds. I am not sure where exactly I went wrong, other than I think I loaded waaay to many "extras" into the dough.  Each battard was about 460g of dough, and each received about 70g additional of mixed extras.  As you can see from the photos of the crumb - if you can even call it that - that was definitely too much.

I followed that by my usual stretch/fold every 30 min 3 more times, but the dough, especially one with olives and tomatoes, never became elastic as I expected. I shaped it the best I could, placed into well-floured bannetons for overnight retardation in the fridge, then warmed up for 2 hrs in the morning before attempting to bake. Both loaves stuck to the banneton badly, the one with olives and tomatoes worse than the other one, to the point that both completely ripped when I tried to extract them onto the baking sheet.  I baked with steam for the first 15 min, and they did rise in the oven just a tiny bit, but nowhere close to be called loaves of bread.

I definitely learned my lesson; now I just need to figure out what that lesson was. :-)  Happy baking everyone!


will slick's picture
will slick

My starter is at day five, Slow-Moe2 is looking active and smelling delish! However, still far from a stable strong starter. I needed to bake something, quick bread was just the ticket! One spur of the moment Irish soda bread.

Photo #1 - Good housekeeping recipe, Irish Soda bread.

Photo #2 - Slow-Moe2 at day five after 40g/40g/40g feeding. Such a happy little guy! 

Michael Davis's picture
Michael Davis

I've made exciting progress on my 100% whole grain loaf (pain integral). This particular loaf is made from home-milled whole wheat (77%) and whole rye (23%), and 85% hydration (I also dusted it with some white flour). It's been my ambition since I started to bake naturally fermented bread to make whole grain loaves like this (with good oven spring, open crumb, pleasing taste, and hardy crust). I still have a lot of improvements I want to make but I know it's just a matter of time now :)

The current area that I'm trying to improve is dough structure. Even though I get decent spring, I am unable to shape the dough beforehand into a very cohesive structure, so it just spreads out in the dutch oven pan during the bake. I have a few techniques that I'm going to tweak, and I'll hopefully have an even better loaf to show you soon!

alfanso's picture

For as long as I've been an attendee at TFL University I continually see postings galore for both the Vermont SD and the Norwich SD.  Which, in an odd way, had me keep my distance from them both.  Until today.  Mr. Hamelman's Vermont SD is the first, foundational entry in his book's entire section of levain based breads, preceding even the venerable Pain au Levain entries.  I'd skipped over it before.  

But I had an urge to get back to building one of his ubiquitous 125% hydration bread flour levains after my romance, still underway, with my bastardized rye version of the same.  So now what to bake, what to bake?  Well, here I am.  As with other breads that I wish to make into baguettes, I did some diligent searching for evidence of this being made before as baguettes.  This time there were a very few instances where someone in the distant past did so (drat!).  I was on board anyway.  Stubby baguettes are my thang, if you haven't yet figured that out.

This is a 90% bread flour, 10% rye flour dough with a 125% hydration bread flour levain.  Clocking in at 65% overall hydration it leans toward the more rubbery side of things during the French Folds.  15% of the flour is in the levain.  Next time out I'll give these loaves another shade of dark before venting them.

375 x 4 baguettes.

and the crumb:

Here is the formula at 1000g, and the way that I do it:

Vermont Sourdough        
Jeffrey Hamelman        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Prefermented15.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%599.2 100.00%89.9 Final Flour509.3
 Bread Flour90.00%539.2 100.00%89.9 Bread Flour449.4
 Rye10.00%59.9 0.00%0.0 Rye59.9
 Water65.00%389.5 125%112.3 Water277.1
 Salt1.90%11.4    Salt11.4
 Starter3.00%18.0 20%18.0   
 Totals166.90%1000.0 245%220.2  1000.0
     2 stage liquid levain build 
     Stage 1    
     Bread Flour44.9   
     Stage 2    
     Bread Flour44.9   

This dough is very workable at the shaping stage.

  1. 2 stage build of the levain.  It will hardly grow and will only display frothy bubbles to indicate ripeness.  Depending on ambient temp each build can take from 6-12 hours.  I refrigerate mine if I'm not ready to start a mix.
  2. levain, flour & water to "autolyse" for ~30 minutes.
  3. Add salt and incorporate.
  4. I hand mix "everything" so: 150 French Folds, a 5 minute rest, another 150 French Folds.  Dough into oiled container and covered.  Dough will be rubbery during FFs and break apart and then come together several times.  This is normal with a drier hydration on some doughs.
  5. Approx. 2 hour bulk rise.  Letter Folds at ~minutes 50 & 100.  Cover and retard for a total of at least 12 and up to ~18 hours.
  6. At some point after 1-2 hours or more, divide, pre-shape, rest 10 minutes, final shape, onto barely floured couche.  Cover couche with plastic bags.  Back into retard.
  7. Oven set to 480dF an hour before bake time
  8. Sylvia's Steaming Towel into oven 15 minutes prior to bake.
  9. Score and load dough into oven.  2 cups near boiling water onto lava rocks in pan after loading.
  10. Oven down to 460dF.
  11. ~13 minutes with steam.  Then release, rotate loaves and continue baking until ~205dF internally.
  12. Vent loaves with oven door cracked for 2-3 minutes.

Caveats & notes:

  • My kitchen remains at ~78dF at all times, as most are cooler, then a little more bulk rise time is suggested.
  • I don't temp the water, the dough, the finished loaves.  
  • For the bulk rise I don't watch the dough, I watch the clock (gasp!).  I know how dough performs in my environment.
  • I do hand mix using French Folds (pinch and folds in the bowl for initial incorporation).
  • I do use a couche instead of banneton and it rests on a jellyroll pan.  
  • The LFs are on the wetted bench with wet hands - no raw flour is ever employed at this stage.
  • Bake directly from retard. 
  • My lava rock pan permanently resides on the lowest rack in the oven.
  • I bake on a granite slab which sits on the rack just above the steam engines.
  • Parchment paper facilitates the transfer from oven peel to baking deck. 
  • If the levain is from the refrigerator I add it to very warm water.  The levain warms up, the water cools down and a happy medium is reached.

Darth Baker


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