The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


golgi70's picture

Hey All, 

I finally started a project and unintentionally ditched the blog.  So much social media work and i had no blogging left.

Thought I'd say hello to any of the folks still hanging around and show some of my work/progress.

I've started my own cottage food operation in the way northern California coast using a reservation based model. Baking twice a week.  All whole grains are milled in house.  The large majority of the breads are naturally leavened but some classics with commercial yeast.  Or combination of both.  But I'm not here to advertise just check in as a peer.  

I owe a lot to this site.  When my obsession took hold this was a place that had tons of information, a place to document what I was doing, and real time like minded people. 

Oven:  Rofco B40

Mill : Jansen 8" stone mill

Mixer : offbrand single speed one direction spiral mixer (hands hurt after a year) 


Here some classic baguettes, NY Rye, pretzels, Sesame Wheat, and Multi Grain Vollkornbrot

Next some Big Bird which is my Spelt Country dough with sunflower, sesame, flax, and poppy seed

And inspired by this page so I left it's name as such

San Joaquin Sourdough with 25% Red Spring California (Yecora Rojo) wheat and 5% rye and a liquid levain

I'll be sure and get back over and share more often than not.  Hope all is well here at TFL


Josh (very new and not totally finished website)

JoshFox Bread @ Facebook

joshfox_bread_ @ Instagram


BanetheChirpractor's picture

Most fathers recant their fantastical endeavors to their children, often subjecting them to recollections of transient glimpses of glory, be it "that one time when..." or the figurative - or sometimes literal - "Big Fish".

My father instead opted to describe his affection for croissants.

My early childhood was dotted with early-bird endeavors to donut shops both dingy and dainty to find my father's favorite breakfast food: the infamous ham and cheese croissant, a savory symphony of swine and swiss, surreptitiously surrounded by a sterling shell that shone with such brilliance that naught but the finest of flavors could possibly be hidden within.

Being a Taiwanese man whose diet consisted of the constant companionship of rice, the presence of croissants in my father's dietary staples bewildered me. It was a stark deviation from his general principle of pairing any and all foods with Asia's staple starches. Only later in life did I realize that a croissant, in all its guilt-inducing, buttery glory, bore more mystic power than any love potion. If such a pastry could bewitch a man so, truly a frightening beast it be.

And now it was time to tame it.

My first attempt at making croissants produced woefully undersized pastries, a product of my own unfamiliarity with the general properties of proofing the croissants. I was satisfied with the layering, however, and strove to recreate them in a larger size.

As Fate, the fickle mistress she may be, would have it, my second attempt at croissants were wildly large - almost to a degree where I, in a panicked state, was frightened that they may overwhelm my oven.

As Luck, Fate's amiable assistant, would have it, they were released from their convection confinement unscathed, and they were indeed a sight to behold.

With a crispy crust and an open crumb, my father was ecstatic, to say the least.

In lieu of both ham and cheese, the only suitable sandwich condiment I had was egg salad, and though the pairing sounds mighty peculiar, a mighty fine pairing it was indeed.

Though not as aesthetically pleasing, the second set of croissants - a laminated brioche instead of a typical dough - were ultimately my father's favorite.

Note: With the dead dough from the croissant rolling process, I also received a round brioche as a byproduct of this endeavor: a buttery surprise, to say the least.



And oh-so brief in its time in the bread basket.

BanetheChirpractor's picture

To err in light of bread is not too err at all...

A terse, yet alarmingly pedantic, narrative:

After a brief to a local Le Pain Quotidien, my mother -the conductor of this crazy carbohydrate train- produced and prompted me to taste what I could only describe as the instigator of a newfound obsession: the walnut-raisin sourdough loaf.

For an uninitiated individual, the rapid descent into a vast spectrum of flavors unbeknownst to me was little less than a momentary venture into culinary euphoria; to suddenly be cast into an infinite expanse of gastronomic territories uncharted by my naivety almost too much to handle, too great a burden to bear. The crisp shatter of what I could only presume to be a perfect crust, immediately trailed by a chewy interior marred not by the repugnant sensation I associated with the (not-so-wonderful) Wonder Bread; a symphony of sensations that caused me to ponder my purpose for my 19 years on this planet.

I had developed a shallow interest in baking during my first year in college, but only then did I realize that the use of an oven reached far beyond simple scones or common cookies. What I sought - and currently seek - is a mastery of undertones and overtones, a blend of subtle undertones that enunciate the intricacies of flavor with uncharacteristic brash avowal.

Approximately one year has passed since that introduction to naturally-leavened breads. My fascination with sourdough has surpassed even that of my mother, who, in all her being, never could have foreseen that her culinary comrade would develop such a vested interest in a foodstuff that our household was initially void of. My ventures shifted from mindlessly meandering about to studying baking techniques and venturing to every bakery I could to garner inspiration from every facet imaginable. A short journey to Seattle devolved from seeing the Space Needle to waking up at 5:00 am to walk four and a half miles to reach the opening doors of Columbia City Bakery... two days in a row. A similar story occurred in San Diego, involving a 6-mile morning round trip at 6:30 am to purchase walnut scallion loaves, still warm from the oven, from Bread and Cie on University Avenue. I myself am, at times, intimidated by this ravenous desire to sample scrumptious breads wherever I go, and now, with a functioning whole wheat starter at 100% hydration and an insatiable appetite for a malformed, bronzed-to-burnt, perfect loaf, I present my Frankenstein's monster: A Blueberry Blackberry Sourdough Boule.

My fourth attempt at sourdough, the first being an unpalatable whole-wheat slab made with what I now realize was a sorely underfed starter, the second a most peculiarly moist apricot walnut loaf that resembled a damp sponge in both appearance and aromatic allure, and the third being a flawed reproduction of Robertson's classic Tartine loaf, this loaf is the first that I feel truly resembles the first loaf I tried in the gastronomic sense: a fine, crispy crust with a lightly chewy crumb, and an earthy aroma derivative from a blend of whole wheat, semolina, spelt, and bread flour. The smattering of fresh berries, which I find are quite an infrequent addition to sourdough breads, hearkens back to the blueberry muffins I used to eat at during family outings to a local Souplantation, though their intense sweetness no longer suit my tamer tongue. It was this memory, and memories of my mother raving over these muffins so many years ago, that make it feel suiting that my first successful loaf would be  some distant offspring of a treat the one who introduced me to sourdough once loved so dearly.

Apologies for the extensive tangent. Perhaps my excitement over my first acceptable sourdough is radiating a tad too strongly and irradiating my writing habits.

The crumb on this bread is fairly underwhelming; as my first loaf with actual rise, however, I am excited to see where I can proceed from here with further experimentation with long autolyzes and gluten development.

One note I should make, however, is that the heat radiating from the dutch oven I used was only paralleled by what I can assume to be its burning hatred for my unprofessional practices. The reason I have no full-loaf photos is because the entirety of the bottom of one of the loaves adhered to the dutch oven, and it took a fair bit of coaxing (tough love from a now deceased and dearly missed wooden spoon) to remove. I can only assume it was the fruit juices that burnt into the oven as it was baking that cause this to occur. This, however, did not hinder me from scraping out the bottom half of the loaf and consuming the crispiest crust I have ever encountered.

Another note: The bitter tones of burnt bread compliment blueberries surprisingly well.

Though I wrote down my process, I can't say with certainty that it was recorded with the greatest integrity.

My measurements, however, are as follows:

150g 100% Hydration Whole Wheat Leaven

630g Water, warm

600g Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur)

35g Semolina (Bob's Red Mill)

35g Spelt Flour (Bob's Red Mill)

80g Bread Flour (Lehi's)

15g Salt

50g Blackberries

75g Blueberries

Thank you all for the wonderful information frequently shared amongst the annals of the forums. As a long time lurker and a first time poster, I can say with certainty that the advice proved invaluable in this endeavor.

Best regards,


will slick's picture
will slick

Very Berry Pie

By, Will Falzon



  1. 2 pie crust 9” (My recipe to follow)

  2. 32 oz. Frozen mixed berries

  3. 1 Pink Lady apple, grated and squeezed dry

  4. ½ Cup Brown sugar (Not Packed)

  5. 1 Tsp. Lemon juice

  6. ¼ Cup Balsamic Glaze

  7. ½ tsp. Salt

  8. 1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour




Preheat oven to 350F. 15Min. Before the pie is ready for the oven

  1. Rinse berries in cold water, place in a large colander/strainer, over a large bowl. Let the berries defrost and release there juices. Ether, over night in the fridge, or on the counter. Reserve all of the berry juice.

  2. Add the salt and Lemon juice to the defrosted berries, allow to macerate

    for another 20min. At room temp.

  3. Reduce the collected berry juice to ¼ the original volume. You should have about two cups worth. Reduce to ¼ cup. Place the juices in a microwave safe glass, 4 cup measure. Microwave on high, 2min. at a time, stirring to release trapped air bubbles; at the 2min. Intervals.

  4. Combine the reduced berry juice, Berries, Apple, Brown sugar, Balsamic glaze and Tapioca flour. Mix well

  5. Place one pie crust in a 9” pie pan.

  6. Place the berry mixture into the pie shell

  7. Cover with the second pie pastry. Fold the top pastry under the bottom pastry and press to seal.

  8. Flute the edge of the pie all the way around

  9. Slice 6 vent holes in the center of the pie

  10. Bake in the 350F preheated oven for 1:15min. Or until the filling is bubbling at the vent holes.


Optionally, you can paint the pie top with some egg white and sprinkle with a little white sugar before baking.




Yippee's picture

                                                       Where there's a will, there's a way.




Fingers crossed...





Looking good...BUT






I took the dough out of the Pullman too soon and it collapsed in the oven...

Well, lots of altus for future bakes




one more try...





Docking with bamboo skewers made BIG holes...






65% rye @85% hydration



100% pre-fermented

starters: WW 7%, Rye 25%

levain: whole rye 18%, rye flakes(porridge) 22%, Giusto Ultimate Performer - highest protein flour 28%


20% each: double raisins and walnut

salt 2.2%

IDY 0.3%



Retard @39F x 3.5 hrs



395F x 1.25 hrs in Pullman with lid

395F x .25 hr out of Pullman






An extra loaf goes to Arizona - hope all is well...






Re-bake to perfect the loaf...







No docking this time to avoid messing up the surface...

Longer retarded proof:  36F x 6 hours






 Very pleased, pretty inside and out...




SusanMcKennaGrant's picture

These past two years I haven't baked much sourdough bread. Since I left Petraia I've been working with a pretty poor oven. But recently a friend inspired me to try baking with a cast-iron combo-cooker. After testing the technique the first thing I did was to pay a visit to the Mulino Marino in Italy's Piedmont region where I have been sourcing flour for over 20 years.  I picked up a supply from their wonderful stone ground range including farro, enkir, macina di grano, burrata, and rye.

Here's a look at my first effort and a few pictures I took at the mill. The bread is my whole grain sourdough from Piano, Piano, Pieno.  It is made with a liquid levain, 72 % hydration, 70% macina (whole wheat) and 30 % burrata, retarded 17 hours. My long dormant starter was a little over-excited to be back in business so the loaves ended up slightly over-proofed. Since my banettons and lame are deep in storage it was scored with a dull blade and proofed in makeshift paper towel lined plastic bowls (the paper towel worked surprisingly well). Lots of room for improvement, but I am really excited to be producing decent loaves again. I've also included a picture of my chia "crack", the flatbread I've been making for years to use up leftover starter and some sea lettuce maltagliati.

I don't always retard but when I do its always immediately after shaping and for somewhere between 12-18 hours. I bake straight from the refrigerator. I would love to have some feedback about this because there are so many different opinions out there. For instance, after shaping, do you get the best results from retarding? If you retard, do you put the loaves straight into the refridgerator after shaping or do you let them sit at room temperature a bit first? If so, how long? How long do you usually retard?  After retarding, do you bake straight from the refrigerator or do you let the loaves sit at room temperature? If so, for how long? Thanks in advance to everyone at the Fresh Loaf for all of your inspirational posts, generosity of spirit and for any light you can shed on this subject! 


and by the way, its hazelnut harvesting time in Piedmont right now!


Valentinaa's picture

This bread takes two days to make and it needs to rest for 24 hours until it can be cut into. You have to prepare 3 different starters (a preferment and two soakers), have to then boil the rye berries, I even had to crack the rye berries using a manual coffee grinder as I couldn't find any cracked rye. Then the loaf needs to bake for 14 hours at a low temperature (yes, you read that right, 14 hours) and rest for another 24, whilst you are out there drooling next to it.

Having said that, it's worth every second, it's the most hearty bread I have ever tasted - during the slow bake the sugars in the rye will caramelize and give the loaf a very juicy full flavour. Moreover, the long fermentation and baking in addition to using whole and cracked berries makes for a very healthy bread too - tasty and healthy? Yes, please!

So, let's get to it - what do you need: a sourdough starter, rye berries, cracked rye (as I didn't have any, I just cracked some rye berries myself), water, salt and some maple syrup (or molasses). This recipe yields two medium size loaves.

1. For the preferment: 50g sourdough starter, 350g cracked rye, 350g water

2. For the Rye Berry Soaker: 200g rye berries, 200g boiling water

3. For the Cracked Rye Soaker: 200g cracked rye, 200g water

4. For the dough: 500g cracked rye, 150g water, 22g salt, 100g maple syrup.



1. First day:

   - prepare the perferment

   - put the rye berries in boiling water and cover

   - place the cracked rye in water (room tem) and cover

   Leave to rest for about 16 hours.

2. Second day:

   - place the rye berries in boiling water on the stove and boil until soft (about one hour). Discard any remaining water and leave to cool down

  - Prepare the dough by mixing the preferment, rye berries soaker, cracked rye soaker and remaining dough ingredients and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

  - Place the dough in baking tins. Because the loaves will be baked slowly over 14 hours, it is paramount that steam does not escape, as such cover them thoroughly in both baking sheets and foil (I used 5 layers just to make sure, after all I didn't want 3 days of my life to be completely wasted). :)

 - Bake for 14 hours at 120 C. The classical method states that the temperature should be gradually reduced, but I skipped that part and baked it at 120 for the entire time.

- After the 14 hrs have elapsed, shut down the oven and leave the tins inside the oven for 1 hour longer.

- Take the loaves out of the tins and leave to rest inside linen couches for at least 24 hours more. Resist the urge to cut through immediately after being removed from the oven at all costs.

The next day, you can finally enjoy the pumpernickel bread. 



Ref: Hamelman's Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel and 

Cfraenkel's picture

The interesting thing here is that both loaves were from the same dough. You can't really see in the picture but the rise was very different. One proofed in a linen lined bowl and one in a banneton.  The one in the bowl didn't split for some reason and is much smaller.  They smell great though, hopefully they will taste good too.  I took my inspiration from Dani's current and honey loaf. I'm just starting to get brave enough to try putting my own spin on things. 

9g hemp hearts (what I had left in the bag) ,50 g chia seeds,50 g sesame seeds,50 g raisins (found some that I could eat! - these are just dried grapes, no oil added),25 g dried blueberries

Soaked all above in 30g honey and 200 g hot water for about an hour and a half.

Autolyse 550g AP flour, 250 g sprouted spelt, 200 g whole wheat with 50 g ground flax and 50 g kefir and 660 g water. I left it about 30 mins

Mix in 20g salt and 360 g levain - 3 sets of folds and let ferment for (not long enough because it was late and I needed to get up early) about 3 hours.  Shaped into banneton/bowl and left to proof in the fridge for close to 15 hours. 

Baked at somewhere between 450 and 410 (my oven isn't the greatest at regulating it's temperature) in DO with lid on 30 mins and lid off 20 mins. 

markgo's picture

Fellow weir-doughs, 

Here's a timelapse video I took to evaluate and compare how my sourdough develops when fed with just bread flour, versus 50% BF and 50% rye flour.  I used filtered water. 




Subscribe to RSS - blogs