The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Flour.ish.en's picture

I got some fantastic ideas from several Fresh Loaf members (Alfonso, AbeNW11 and dabrownman) since my last post comparing Tartine vs. Forkish process. I’ve followed their recommendations and thoroughly embrace the approach of no discard of sourdough starter and levain. I’m sure my starter, which remains nameless, appreciates that it gets to stay in my refrigerator perpetually. In addition, I refresh the starter these days following the three-stage builds that Alfonso recommended, discarding a small amount in the second build to make it quicker. These are all great helpful solutions in managing and maintaining the sourdough starter. Less wasteful and more efficient. Thanks for all the tips! These are images of some breads that have come out of my oven lately. The porridge and sprouted breads are getting a lot of bake time as you can tell. Can’t be happier piling on more whole grains and nutrients in my bread!

dmsnyder's picture

Nothing new this week, but two of our current favorites, baked yesterday and today.

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguettes. The left-most as an Epi.

We had finished off the last batch of these for dinner the night before - Sandwiches of Smoked Chicken/Apple Sausages with spicy brown mustard. Last night, we had some of the Epi, still warm, with a beet, fennel and blue cheese salad and cold roast chicken.

Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour from Hamelman's Bread

If I could have only one bread to eat the rest of my days, this one would certainly make the final four. Tonight, fresh out of the oven, it was particularly delicious with a thin spread of very fresh Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Yum!

Happy baking!


Skibum's picture

One of my favourite recipes on TFL has always been Floyd's blueberry cream cheese braid. I used a batch of pulla dough I had on the go for a half batch of the recipe. The fruit filling was 1/2 cup diced strawberry, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup diced raspberries, 2Tbs lemon juice, 1 Tbs icing sugar, 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar and 1Tbs corn starch. I cooked it down until it was a syrup and otherwise followed the published recipe. What can I say but YUMMM!!!

Happy baking, ski

Skibum's picture

My summer project has been to learn the batard shape and actually achieve an ear. So far, very mixed results, with a sort of ear on this bake. Getting the right timing on both bulk and proofing stages so that I can actually score with a lame has been surprisingly difficult with more failures than successes. I would go back to baking Forkish style boules, but my seams likely won't open. hmmmmm.

On the plus side, I have been tweaking my pulla recipe for natural levains, adding a little more egg, cardamom and sugar. I tried using yeast water levain only and it makes a tasty loaf, but I find I get better balance and volume using half YW and half liquid levain. The original yeasted recipe called for two bulk rises of about an hour before shaping, but I have found with the natural levains, I get better crumb and volume shaping after a single bulk rise, doubling the dough.

I was pleased to host our own Floydm, his wife and two children a little more than three weeks ago for a short visit as they were passing through. I invited them for, what else? Pulla and coffee. He said they liked the pulla so I guess I should have baked two loaves.

The loaf I baked for Floyd was a YW levain only and two bulk rises. The last loaf I baked was 50/50 YW and liquid levain, a single bulk rise before shaping and a much larger volume on more open crumb. Yummm!!!

Ready to bake



180 g whole milked scalded

6 large cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground, add to hot milk

1/4 cup sugar plus 2 Tbs raw cane sugar, add to milk

When milk mixture cools down to 90F add

40 grams YW levain, 40 grams liquid levain. I am at 4,420 feet above sea level. At lower levels you may want to up the levain to 50/50 g's.

You can also use 11/2 tsp instant yeast, 40g water and 40 g flour

To the levain, milk mixture add:

75 grams egg. Two large eggs are about 100 grams, so I have left over for the egg wash

180 grams strong bread flour

Let this mix get happy covered at room temperature for 2 - 4 hours with natural levain and perhaps a half hour with yeast.

Add 120 g AP flour and beat to add

Add 44 g melted unsalted butter and beat until the dough is smooth and glossy

Add 5 g salt and another 120 g of AP flour or more until a smooth dough is formed. 

Allow to bulk rise until doubled, then divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll out into long tubes and braid. Why do you braid pulla? As I discovered, if shaped as a batard the crust is over baked before the inside is cooked. Oops!

Proof until about 1.5 times volume, brush twice with an egg wash, ( that left over egg) and sprinkle well with sugar.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes with steam and another 15 - 25 minutes turning until the internal temperature is 195F+

Let cool for 20 minutes or so and enjoy a slice with a shmear of butter and strong cup of coffee.

Enjoy and happy baking!  Ski



Carissimi Amici,

dopo una pausa forzata dovuta ad innumerevoli impegni professionali ed un caldo insopportabile che non mi ha consentito di accendere il forno nella mia cucina, faccio il mio ritorno con un prodotto che io preparo spesso e con molteplici ricette, proprio perchè adorato da tutti in famiglia e dai nostri amici....i Bagels.

Mi presento non con una ricetta qualsiasi, bensì con una che mi ha regalato sempre grandi soddisfazioni in termini di gusto ed esecuzione, è una ricetta del Maestro CIRIL HITZ.....

Vi lascio il link per consultare, se lo desiderate, la mia esecuzione di uno straordinario prodotto....

A presto ed un caro saluto a tutti voi.

Felice Panificazione a tutti.

Anna Giordani


FrugalBaker's picture

Just realised that I have not been posting anything for more than a month now. Am still baking a couple of times a week but have been so caught up with my recent busy schedule, hope all TFL members are well. 

Abe had shared about his Tomato SD recipe about 3 weeks ago and I promised to post should it come out looking ok. (thanks for sharing, Abe)

I had a go at it two weeks ago but the dough was over-proofed, still edible but I was expecting it to be better. Of course the current climate didn't help either (with over 30 dc in the shade). Persistent I was....had another try and this time I reduced the levain a bit. Also, I had scaled down and tweaked the recipe to suit the local climate and availability of some ingredients too.



Preferment - 40gm of 100% hydration levain  : 100gm water : 100gm bread flour (total = 240gm)


  • 240gm     Bread Flour
  • 80gm       All Purpose Flour
  • 8gm         Salt
  • 1.5 tbsp   Chopped Rosemary
  • 1 tbsp      Black Sesame Seed (toasted)
  • 20gm       Sunflower Seed (toasted)
  • 160gm     Water
  • 1 tbsp      Olive Oil / Extra Virgil Olive Oil
  • 32gm       Tomato Paste
  1. Make preferment and wait till it is triple or quadruple of its original volume. Mine rose 4 times of its size within 5 hours as it is really hot here nowadays.
  2. Stir in olive oil, tomato paste,water and preferment in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients including seeds and herbs.
  4. Combine both wet and dry ingredients in a stand mixer for about 5 mins till homogeneous. 
  5. Bring the dough out and perform slap and fold for about 8-10 mins or till good gluten formation is evident.
  6. Oil a container and place the dough in it.
  7. 2 sessions of stretch and fold with 30 mins interval.
  8. Shape and place dough in banneton.
  9. Refrigerate dough overnight and bake the next day
  10. Bake at 230dc for 25 mins in a dutch oven with the lid on and at 220dc for another 10-15 mins with lid off or till crust is golden brown.
  11. Lastly, please wait for the loaf to be cooled completely before slicing.


Note : I have baked with this recipe twice and all I could say is the dough can be tacky at times but do not be tempted to add in more flour, oiled or wet hands should be good enough to tackle such issue. Also, with the large proportion of preferment, the dough can ferment rather quickly than one could expect from an SD,so watch out, it is summer after all in most part of the world except Australia. As usual, all comments are welcomed!


Dough in a banneton. The colour is similar to cooked salmon.



1st attempt and it was slightly over-proofed.                       2nd attempt.....better : )




Happy Baking,


Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

Berry season. Strawberry Focaccia for brekky. It melts in the mouth.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I really love creating boules and batards. But there are times that a standard loaf shape just makes more sense. Metal loaf pans never did what I wanted, but a few months back I received the Emile Henry Loaf Baker and today I gave it a try.  

Normally in the summer I only bake breads outside, but because I was baking for a party, I turned on the oven and decided to finally give the new baker a try.

I did a standard pain au levain and decided to bake side by side with a boule to get some comparison. I didn't proof the loaf in the baker because I like my cloche to be hot and thought I would use the same approach. The only problem was the warm weather had caused my dough to expand a little too much and needed a little squish to get in. But it recovered from that quite nicely.

Here are the two loaves side by side. I got pretty much the same results as the boule with oven spring and coloring (The loaf hit the top of of the baker so it was just the right size) I had absolutely no sticking or any problems at all. Looks like it will make nice sandwich slices.


The boule was quite musical today. It sang to me for a very long time. Never get tired of that sound! I have been extremely impressed with the Emile Henry products. Next on the list is the baguette baker.




bakers are such nice people's picture
bakers are such...
Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

Sounds like ice cream, but nicer. Full of fruit and 100% rye it does not rise a lot, but it is a really tasty little loaf. A different method from my usual. I opted for sultanas and used a different rye flour too, so it was not as dark as the previous loaves I made. Really good with cheddar, blue cheese or just butter.



Wet mix. Mix 150g rye flour, 100g starter and 200ml water in the morning. Put a plate over it and let it stand all day, at least 12 hours to bubble. I used a glass bowl. It does not build in volume, but you can see the bubbles from the side.

Late evening. Prepare a loaf pan (approx. 8 x 4 inches/900g)

Mix 200g rye flour with 1 tsp salt and 200g raisins. Tip it over and cover your wet mix. Then gently pour over 150ml warm water and mix all together quickly, before the warm water reacts with the dry flour. Ladle into the loaf pan. Wet a plastic scraper and smooth over the top. Cover with a big bowl and let it rise on the counter overnight to bubble up again. It will rise only about 1-2 cm. (You can sift white flour over the top if you like, but is was out of flour, which is why I made the rye loaf.)

Oven to 220C with fan and with a roasting pan in the bottom. Put in the loaf and pour a cup of hot water or 6 big ice cubes into the roasting pan. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 200C and bake another 20-30 minutes. It makes quite a nice chewy crust too.


There was a beautiful moon out there last night.




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