The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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TwoBreadedBoy's picture

We bakers are always looking for creative ways to extract lots of flavor from grains. For me, the search for flavor took me to my local supermarket.
There's not much to a lean dough in terms of ingredients, is there? Just some water, some flour, some salt and (if I'm not making sourdough) some instant yeast. Bread always appealed to me because you could make an excellent loaf by virtue of your baking skills, rather than the quality of ingredients you can afford. Sure, the $6 flour may be a bit better than the store brand stuff. However, at the end of the day, I know that if I give my bread plenty of time to develop flavor and handle the dough firmly but respectfully, I can produce a loaf better than someone who uses the fancy flour, but skimps on fermentation time or abuses the dough. Musicians often say that a good player can make bad equipment sound good, but a bad player can't make good equipment sound good. I guess the same is true of bread.
I had just begun to contemplate this when an old friend called out to me.

"Hey there. It's me, Shaq. I'm only 2 for $1"
"Shaq? Is that you?" I saw him in the distance: Arizona shaq-Fu Grape Punch.
"You know exactly what to do."
I did. It was all so obvious. How had I not put it together before now? If good bread can be made with poor quality ingredients, then GREAT bread can be made with only the most disgusting ingredients! Time to make a mockery of the art of baking!

I came home with two bottles of the punch. I took a few sips from one. I almost vomited. It was sugary and tasted like watered down grape and pear juice. The ingredient list confirmed my suspicions. It was watered down grape and pear juice with a lot of sugar. Fantastic.

Here's the recipe I used:

350 g All-purpose flour
350 g Shaq-Fu Grape Punch
1 g yeast

Since the punch is so sugary, I only gave it a few hours at room temperature (at which point it was already very bubbly) and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I added the following:

85 grams All-purpose flour
3 grams yeast

I let this ferment for about 2-3 hours, stretching and folding occasionally.
I then preshaped it into a ball, tightened it after 20 minutes and put it in a proofing basket to rise for an hour, after which I stuck it in the fridge again. To be honest, I think it overproofed (due to the large amount of sugar in the punch). This caused the final loaf to be a bit flat (the inside doesn't seem dense. The loaf itself is just a but wider than it is tall).


I then preheated my oven with my baking surface and steaming apparatus.
I scored the loaf (to look like a basketball) and sprayed it with a little bit of water to delay crust formation.

I baked at 450 F for 10 minutes before removing the tray of hot water from the oven and letting the bread bake for another 20 minutes. I then glazed the loaf with a cornstarch mixture. It smells surprisingly good. The smell reminds me of a rosemary and grape focaccia I once made (though that had real grapes in it). I think Shaq would be proud of this loaf.


Well, I hope this little post has encouraged you to be disgusting like me and make bread out of strange liquids.

Pmccool's picture

We recently enjoyed a marvelous cruise from Vancouver (didn't get the opportunity to say hi to Floyd) up through the Inside Passage of Alaska.  We had port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau (emphasis on the 'eau', with 320 days of rain a year), and Skagway.  From there we sailed to Glacier Bay and spent a day marveling at the immensity and beauty of several glaciers.  Then it was on to our debarkation at Seward.  From Seward, we opted for the train excursion to Anchorage, then another train excursion to Denali, then a coach excursion to Fairbanks, and our flight home.  I will exercise massive self control and limit myself to one photo (of the more than 500 taken) that shows Denali on a clear day:

Since getting home, I've been futzing about with a couple of bread recipes, working the kinks out of them so that I can teach a class in September.  Trips and classes are nice events but work, and lunches, continue on.  In my case, that means bread for sandwiches.  

It's been a while since I've made a pain au levain, which remains one of my favorite breads.  This time I wanted something a bit grainier, so I went searching through the TFL archives, certain that someone would have posted something that fit the bill.  Sure enough, there was a post from Franko with just the type of bread I was looking for.  Even better, Franko included a link to the spreadsheet he had created for the bread which allowed me to scale it down for a single 750g loaf, just perfect for a chunky batard.

Having refreshed my lonesome starter, I set up the levain and the soaker on Friday night.  Knowing that I had some substantial yard work to do on Saturday, I was up early to mix the dough and let it autolyse while I fixed breakfast.  This marked my first departure from Franko's formula: I included the soaker as part of the autolyse rather than waiting to knead it in after the salt.  The Bob's Red Mill multigrain mix that I had was the texture of a coarse meal, so I wasn't concerned about larger flakes or other bits disappearing into the dough, rather than remaining identifiable.

After breakfast, I gave the dough a short knead to incorporate the salt, shaped it into a ball, placed it in the bowl, and covered it.  Then I headed out to deal with the crabgrass and dandelions and other weeds that seemed to have invaded while we were away.  After about 45 minutes, I came back in, washed thoroughly, then gave the dough its first stretch and fold.  Then it was back outdoors to continue the fray.  Forty-five minutes later, give or take a few minutes, back in again to wash up, then another stretch and fold.  Roughly 45 minutes later, I was back in to check on the dough.  Because of the warmth of my kitchen at this time of year, about 78F, the dough was moving along nicely and I judged it ready to shape.

At this point, Franko put the shaped dough in the refrigerator for a cold retard.  I elected to leave it out at room temperature so that I could bake it the same day.  And that was a good call because it made a delicious, if unorthodox, base for patty melt sandwiches just now.

The bake was exactly per Franko's timetable and temperatures.  I suppose it could have stayed in a little longer to put on some darker color but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it as is.  For once I caught the fermentation at just the right time, giving plenty of oven-spring while baking, a lovely ear, and a moderately open crumb.  

The loaf:

And the crumb:

The flavor, because of the shorter room-temperature final fermentation, is full bodied grain with only a hint of sourness.  The crust, which initially was quite hard, has softened to a very chewy texture.  The crumb is firm, moist, and cool, with a pleasing resistance when chewed.

Thank you, Franko, for sharing such a delightful bread.

The yard?  Well, the weeding is about half done.  I'll finish that next weekend when my quadriceps have stopped screaming at me.


STUinlouisa's picture

This bread has a history in experimentation. The other day I was contemplating what sort of side dish to have with smoked chicken and decided to try a savory porridge polenta style but made with various coarse ground grains. The mill was set on its widest and some barley, oats, Einkorn, rye,and Durum was ground, to that mixture some grits were added so that it came  to 1.5 cups. A 3 cup mixture of chicken stock and milk was brought to a boil and the grains were whisked in along with a green jalapeño that had fallen off the the plant, a jar of tomatoes that had failed to seal while canning and some salt and pepper. After most of the liquid was absorbed, about .75  cup of grated aged cheddar and a few basil leaves was  added. It came out pretty well but made more than we could eat.  The thought of making bread with the leftover happened the next day.

The bread was made with KA AP, natural starter and the leftover. It was retarded overnight after a short bulk fermentation due to warm temps and the presence of so much available food for the beasties. After the dough warmed an oval loaf was formed and put  in a banneton with the seam side down. It  was baked on the grill stone with an oval DO as the lid for 20 min then placed on an inverted pan to prevent the bottom from burning. This is the first time for me that the seam from forming the loaf opened up in such a dramatic way that ears were formed. I would go to the effort of trying  to name the bread but doubt that circumstances will ever repeat themselves. Such is the problem and the pleasure of winging it.


dmsnyder's picture

Multi-grain Levain – August 14, 2015

Today's bake is based on the “75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread” formula in Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. I have made this bread a couple of times before, most recently in November, 2014. I modified the formula today by adding 180g of "Harvest Grains Blend" produced by King Arthur Flour, which I soaked in warm water for a few hours and then mixed it into the autolyse at the time I added the salt and levain. The blend has about 8 different seeds and grains. This started out a very nutritious bread. The added whole oats, flax seeds and other goodies in the multi-grain blend just "kicked it up a notch" in both flavor and health benefits.

This made a very wet dough that did develop some strength with the stretches and folds and, especially, with rather tight pre-shaping and shaping. Still, with the high percentage of whole wheat flour and the additional seeds and flaked grains, loaf volume was less than most of the FWSY levains.



I tasted the bread after it had cooled for a couple hours. The crust was crunchy-chewy. The crumb was very moist and somewhat chewy. The aroma of whole wheat predominated. The flavor was similar to previous bakes of this bread with a prominent whole wheat flavor and moderate sourdough tang. The seeds added a bit of a crunch. The only specific ingredient I could taste was the sunflower seeds, but the flavor of the basic bread dominated. We'll see how the flavors evolve. Forkish says this bread's flavor develops and improves over two to three days.


I had some of this bread with dinner. It was delicious both with a thin spread of sweet butter and with a thin slice of aged Gouda cheese. It is so moist, I expect it to be fresh-tasting without toasting for several days.

Happy Baking!


victoriamc's picture

Finally, the air has cooled enough to go and into the garden and grill.  What better way to showcase your favourite homemade hamburger with a lovely Spelt hamburger bun.  These buns are perfect for hamburgers because they have just the right amount of resistance in the crust to hold all the trimmings but are soft enough to avoid a messy squidge out when you take a bite.  for details stop by

KathyF's picture

So, my first loaf turned out really well. But I thought maybe I would tweak it a bit and see if I could adjust the flavor a bit. The original recipe for the levain was 35% in the final build. I decided to up it to 50% so that more of the whole wheat flour would be in the preferment. Certainly made for a very active dough. I only bulk fermented for a little over 2 hours and the final rise was a little over an hour.

I also added butter (actually, I had added butter in the first loaf too), diastatic malt, and a little honey. I have to say, I think the malt and honey added just a touch of sweetness that worked really well with the whole wheat flour. I liked it a lot.

Here is a crumb shot:

dabrownman's picture

I am always amazed what Lucy manages to come with in her spare time when no dreaming up bread recipes.  This week she has developed a new piece of software that turns an existing piece of hardware into something truly unique and transformative for all bread bakers.


As we well know, Lucy loves Pumpernickel bread and she thinks every other kind of bread is inferior and almost woossie like.  Every time she takes a bite of another kind of bread, she wishes it tasted like pumpernickel.  Now she thinks she has fixed that problem once and for all.


The green tinge of yogurt whey is unmistakable.

She took a pair of Bluetooth headphones and reprogrammed them not only to deliver sound waves to your ears, but also the taste of Pumpernickel bread.  Now she claims she can listen to her favorite tunes and TV shows but when she bites into any kind of bread it tastes like this Pumpernickel – her mist recent favorite  Really Dark Old School Sprouted Pumpernickel – In memory of Barbra


So to test out her new invention, she came up with one of her most white sourdough recipes at a bit less than 19% whole sprouted 4 grain.  She thought  that if this bread, which is nearly as bland as she gets, could end up tasting like her most powerful and complex tasting bread of all time, then she is one step closer to her dream of being the first Billionaire Baking Apprentice 2nd Class .


This white SD bread isn’t as tame flavor wise as one would thinks though.  She subbed yogurt whey for the dough liquid, used the 15 week retarded rye sour starter, retarded the levain for 24 hours after the 3rd stage doubling and retarded the dough for 40 hours of bulk ferment after the gluten development.  This bread is really retarded!


We did our usual sifting of the sprouted grain flour, after it was sprouted, dried and milled and fed the 14% hard bits and some of the 86% extraction to the starter to make the levain and in the fridge it went.  The gluten development was also our recent 3 sets of 30 slap and folds, this time on 20 minute intervals (10 minutes less each), and 2 sets of 4 slap and folds on 30 minute intervals (15 minutes less each).


This reduced our normal gluten development phase in the 88 F summer kitchen heat by a full hour.  This was Lucy’s plan since she wanted a 40 hour bulk retard instead of the usual 21 hour one.   The levain pre-fermented flour amount was a low 10.6% so she thought this would work out as an even trade of time.


When the dough finally came out of the fridge this morning, we immediately did a quick pre-shape into a boule and placed it back in the plastic covered  oiled bowl for a one hour warm up before the final shaping and placing the boule in the rice floured basket seam side up for a quick 30 minute high temp proof out side where it was 102 F.


Had to plug the hole in the Chinese clay pot with some aluminum foil to keep the steam in.

Once the half hour was up we left we brought the boule inside but left it to proof on the counter as we heated up Big Old Betsy to 435 F with our pre-soaked Chinese Sand Clay Pot inside.


It has been while since we baked any bread in it but my wife got an other glazed clay pot bread baker (no lid) from a co worker that was made by Ayers Pottery in Hannibal MO, just down the river from my wife’s hometown of St Louis.  The pot is small but might hold a half a tin of dough – around 500 g.  The pot came with a brochure that lists 101 ways to use the pot and #65 was - fill it with Easter candy.


Once the temperature hit the 435 F mark, I left the pot in the oven for another 15 minutes so the clay could catch up to the oven temperature.  After upending the dough out of the basket onto parchment on a peel, it was slashed T-Rex style and slid into the clay pot then lidded for 20 minutes of steam.


Once the lid came off we turned BOB down to 425 F convection to brown and dry the crust.  5 Minutes later we took it out of the clay pot to finish browning on the bottom stone.  It looked done but didn’t thump done on the bottom so we left it in another 5 minutes before removing it to the cooling rack.


My daughter did make a fabulous avocado chicken salad with walnuts and pepitas with this bread for lunch - delicious!

It did blister, bloom, spring and brown up pretty well but we won’t know what the crumb looks like till after lunch but I really can’t wait to taste the bread wearing Lucy’s headphones and listening to Led Zeppelin or maybe some Neon Trees.  I did get out a frozen hunk of her favorite pumpernickel to compare it too.  She wants me to do a blind taste test to verify it really works.


Lucy's favorite pumpernickel for comparison and the test for her new headphone app.

This week was our anniversary #29 and we celebrated by going with our daughter to the Barrio Queen Restaurant in downtown  Gilbert for their happy hour appetizers, tacos and margaritas.  Their Carnitas en Chili Verde appetizer is killer, the barrio Pollo Con Chorizo tacos were the best of all we sampled - we sampled quite a few and the margaritas were strong and tasty if a bit small.


Pork carnitas fajita quesadillas this time.

In keeping with the Mexican anniversary theme, I made a classic Mexican Pepitas Cake with Mexican chocolate, vanilla and tequila for dessert at home with a cute doily powdered sugar stencil with some French Silk ice cream and whipped cream sides.  This cake is one of my favorites, a good fit for special occasions and healthier than some others.  The crumb came out soft and moist and nit as open as i would have thought but it also wasn't overly sour either. A different sour taste for sure because of the yogurt whey but civil' my daughter loved this bread and knows which side hers is buttered on!



SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



15 Week Retarded Rye Sour






14 % Extraction Sprouted Multi Grain






86 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain
























Levain Totals






Sprouted 4 Grain












Levain Hydration












Dough Flour






Smart and Final Hi Gluten






Sprouts AP






86 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain






Total Dough Flour


















Yogurt Whey












Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter & Scald






Yogurt Whey 272  & Water












Hydration with Starter and Scald






Total Weight






% Whole Sprouted Grain












4 grain sprouted flour is equal amounts of wheat, rye, spelt and Oat



 All gussied up Pepitas Cake and don't forget that salad


isand66's picture

  Last week I went on a short vacation to Vermont and usual we visited King Arthur Flour and several cheese shops.  We also visited Sugar Bush Farms where they tap their own trees for 4 different grades of maple syrup as well as numerous varieties of cheddar cheese.  We of course loaded up with a ton of different cheeses and assorted grades of fresh maple syrup.

These rolls use some of the dark grade of maple syrup which is the most flavorful.  Unfortunately you don't really taste the maple syrup very much in these, but it does give the rolls a slight sweet flavor.  You can substitute brown sugar if you don't have any maple syrup.

I used some of the barley flakes I purchased at KAF with steel cut oats for the porridge.  In the main dough I used some KAF European style flour  along with some freshly ground whole spelt flour.

These rolls came out great with a nice moist crumb and tasted great.  They make great hamburger rolls as well.



Barley Oat Porridge Rolls (%)

Barley Oat Porridge Rolls (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Levain Directions

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 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, maple syrup and salt and mix on low for 6 minutes.      You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

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 into rolls around 125 - 135 grams each.  Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a moist lint free towel on top or use plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 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.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 435 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes until the rolls are nice and brown.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

A really crazy, busy week. I fed the starter, but did not get round to making the dough until the next evening. There was no time to make the loaf, so the dough sat in the fridge for another night and day. The next evening I took it out, briefly kneaded it and formed a loaf. Back in the fridge overnight. She did not look impressive by the next morning. I was in a rush and left the oven on too high a temperature. She burst out of her skin, and rewarded my neglect with a really tasty loaf with a great crumb. Thank you sourdough!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I've been thinking of different methods of baking crusty lean loaves in my clay pot (it's my only baking gear, no oven or fancy grills) lately. One that should be easy but gives me results as close as an oven can get, that means a brown crackly crust, scores that bloom and an open crumb. The heat of the pot is very uneven, the bottom is extremely hot while the top is too cool so the only way to get an even bake is to let the top and bottom of the bread face the extremely hot bottom of the pot. My "pot sticker" method gave me good results but the bread lacked volume, so I tried another 5 different cooking methods so I can test which one will give me the best results. I made a basic dough since the method is the focus here rather than taste. As for the taste; they are sweet with a complex wheaty flavor, slight slight tangy note with the right amount of salt for flavor and very fragrant with some just having a moister crumb than others. Even though they are have burnt spots, they still beat many store bought breads here by a mile. All loaves are made the same way except for the cooking method so there is only one variable to consider for evaluation of results. Some are "ugly" and I hesitate to post them but I decided to post them anyway so I'll learn from them when I do modifications in the future.

The dough is made with bread flour, water, salt and instant yeast. I planned to do a 70% hydration dough but it felt wetter than that maybe because I added more water since I didn't use a scale since I don't have one. The flour was autolysed for 12 hours in the fridge; salt and yeast were added and the dough was fermented at room temperature for 2 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes; to the fridge it went for a retardation of another 12 hours.

The dough was then divided into 5 equal pieces straight from the fridge, pre-shaped into a boule with a refrigerated bench rest for 25 minutes then shaped then refrigerated again. I took out one from the fridge every 30 minutes since that is the approximate cooking time for a loaf; each loaf was proofed for 1 hour and 20 minutes approximately. They are baked with steam for the first 10-15 minutes.

*This is just a sneak peek  of the 5 loaves. I have summarized each method below in detail along with a crumb shot for each. In general they all have a thin crust; some just have a crisper bottom and/or top crust.

Here they are:

*I can't think of better names for my methods so these are just what came to my mind first (might be funny :P)


THEORY- My idea/reason why I employed the method

PROCEDURE- What I actually did for that particular method

RESULTS- The actual observations/results when I evaluated the breads

POSSIBLE CAUSES- The reasons I thought of behind the results

1) Seam-side up 

Theory: The loaf will not be scored so there are no scores to squish and shape to compromise (ex: boules with a flat top where it should be rounded) when the bread is flipped since the top and bottom of the bread are relatively "flat".

Procedure: Shape into a tight boule. Proof seam-side down on a floured cloth. Invert on an oiled parchment and baked on a preheated inverted cake pan for 15 minutes. Release the steam and flip the bread. Continue baking for 15 more minutes until brown.

Results: It came out really FLAT! The center of the "top" was burnt when it was inverted. Although FLAT, crumb is open, moist and chewy.

Possible causes: I was not careful when i flipped the bread so it deflated. I didn't seal the seams tight enough so there is a lack of support. It might be overproofed.


2. Side cooked pan loaf

Theory: By tilting the bread on its side where the top is perpendicular to the bottom of the pot the top and sides are exposed to the radiant heat and they will be brown and crisp.

Procedure: Shape into a batard. Proof in a llanera (oval flan mold), oiled and lined with parchment. Score 2 overlapping cuts before baking for 15 minutes then release the steam. Turn the bread on its "side" and bake 7-8 minutes per side.

Results: Oven spring was good. The top and sides are brown and crisp with some blistering though some areas are burnt/pale. Crumb is pretty tight but moist and chewy.

Possible causes: The mold supported the structure of the bread The bread was not rotated evenly. Too much handling/harsh shaping or a tad underproofed.


3. Inverted "Dimple loaf"

Theory: By forming a fissure at the center of the loaf there is something where you can anchor the loaf on the side/edge of a baking pan to let the top and sides face the radiant heat once the structure is set and the bottom has browned for a brown and crisp top crust.

Procedure: Shape into a batard. Proof in a llanera, oiled and lined with parchment. Make a fissure in the center of the loaf just before baking and bake for 15 minutes. Release the steam. Invert the loaf on the edge of the llanera (ideally the fissure should be used) so one side is exposed directly to the radiant heat while the other side is shielded by the llanera, bake for 15-18 minutes switching sides halfway.

Results: The fissure was almost negligible so the top was anchored to the baking pan by "wherever it will stick" part of the bread forming those two arcs on top. There are some blistering but with burnt and pale spots on the top crust. It is a bit flat but crumb is pretty open, moist and chewy.

Possible causes. The fissure was not formed at the right  time so it rose to almost the same height as the rest of the loaf. The loaf was not rotated evenly when the top directly faced the radiant heat. The bread might be a tad overproofed.


4) Side-scored heart loaf

*Inspired by the German Pretzel
Theory: By creating a loaf that is taller than it is wide like a heart shape which is very close to a German pretzel, scoring will tend to go at the "side" rather than at the top eliminating the risk of squished "top score marks" when the loaf is flipped at the same time encouraging expansion of the loaf. The idea is like method no. 2 but with the bread turned on its side already at the beginning of the bake. 

Procedure: Shape into a pointy batard. Coil the ends around to form a heart and proof in a floured cloth. Place in an oiled and lined baking pan. Score the side with the blade pointing downwards (this is to encourage the formation of an ear which did not happened here!) and bake for 15 minutes. Release the steam and invert the bread on the baking pan and bake for another 15-20 minutes allowing conduction to brown the top.

Results: The loaf was roughly heart shaped and a bit flat. The score didn't open fully. Only the center of the top browned and crisped while the surrounding areas are pale and soft though there is some blistering. Crumb was pretty open,moist and chewy.

Possible causes: The dough might lacked support because I struggled with the shaping and it was proofed without something to conform its shape. The pot didn't have the high enough temperature because I used less firewood for that roaring fire required or because the fire was not maintained well enough for I am busy doing other things. The baking pan insulated the other areas of the top crust from the fierce radiant heat and only the center was browned by conduction.


5) Avoid the center!

*Meant to be an improvement for my pot sticker (double cooked) lean loaf 

Theory: By scoring around the center, a good spring on the loaf (especially for a wet dough which should be baked at high temperatures) will be encouraged while at the same time creating a small portion of the crust (rather than the crumb) as the contact point when the dough is inverted on a surface only as large as the contact point exposing the top crust directly to the radiant heat avoiding a "crispy crumb" while maintaining a crispy crust.

Procedure: Shaped into a tight boule. Proof seam-side down in a covered container. Transfer to an oiled and lined baking pan and score in a square pattern. Bake for 15 minutes then release the steam. Flip the bread on a smaller baking pan and bake for another 10-15 minutes until brown and crisp.

Results: Top crust is browned well and extremely crisp with good blistering and less burnt and pale spots but the crumb showing through the score marks became indistinguishable from the rest of the crust and became crisp too! The "contact point" is pale at first so it was browned by conduction at directly at the "floor" of the pot after the rest of the crust was browned. Crumb is open, moist and chewy; more open than that of the pot sticker bread.

Possible causes: It is the reverse of method no. 4 where the "center" was the one insulated by the pan so the surrounding areas are exposed to hotter temperatures though farther than the heat source. The higher temperature at the pot gave the loaf a better spring than the steaming temperatures of my previous bake.


Personal Opinions:

*For structure, I think the best is method no. 2 as you can see in the photos.

*For crust, color, crumb and overall appearance, method no. 5 clearly wins for me.

*I will combine those two in the future with further modifications for a good lean loaf.

Thank you for your patience for reading through this LONG post! Please let me know what you think and pick a favorite. Your comments, questions and suggestions are very helpful and encouraging and will allow me to learn more.

Thank you very much!


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