The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


trailrunner's picture



Really happy with the crumb! Open and so sourdough tang at all with the YW influence. Very dominant flavor from the oats. Will definitely be trying this again. 


WI have Cedarmountain to thank for the idea of fermenting the soaker. I added 80 grams of my AYW to the rest of the water for an overnight fermentation. I used two levains both fed with Red Fife, one my SD starter and one my YW starter both are usually fed unbleached. The oatmeal was flaked on my new Marcato flaked. 

The next morning the oatmeal was wonderfully fragrant. I used some milled spelt and the rest unbleached  flour the oatmeal and the two levains. The dough was let to rest after mixing everything including salt  for two hrs. Only needed one s&f to be really poofy. I did one more s&f 30 min later just to see how it would feel.... beautiful satiny dough. In one more hour it had doubled.. yikes! My YW is so active I should have been more careful. I shaped gently dough,  was full of bubbles and really light. Retarded overnight so about 16 hr. Had really risen as you can see. Baked at 475 covered for 15 and then uncovered for 20. 

The crumb shot will be tomorrow. The loaves are so light and big and the area where I scored is glossy and beautiful. I can hardly wait to taste. 

(Sorry the pictures out of order... darn phone!)

Glossy crumb

Ready for the oven

Whoa.. overproofed


Ready to retard



Ready to shape

Ooops doubled! 

After autolyse:

prettyfish's picture

This weekend I baked my recent go-to Sourdough ft. my own starter (he's called Steve and is a 100% hydration rye starter). 

  • For flour I use a 50:30:20 ratio of wholegrain spelt, regular wholegrain flour and coarse white flour (type 1050 in the German system, its a bit like a "weak" wholegrain flour with a fairly high protein content). 
  • I autolyse for an hour, knead in KA for about 5 min, S+F for about 4 hours. I use 70% hydration and 10% starter, which is a bit sloppy and messy but makes for a tender, well airated dought despite the high amount of wholegrain flour.
  • I shape in the evening, bulk ferment in banneton in fridge overnight and bake next day straight from fridge. . I bake in a rippin' hot DO with plenty of water spritzing, 25 min covered and 22 min uncovered. This is a great recipe for a tangy SD that is also nutritious. The spelt flour is slightly sweet and very tender. Sometimes I top it with seeds etc. but this weekend I left it plain.

Happy baking!

Danni3ll3's picture

Everyone loves cinnamon raisin bread but I was leery of making some because of the negative effects of cinnamon on yeast. This is a shot at it adapting the recipe from Bourke’s Bakery Spiced Fruit  loaf. 


Makes 3 loaves of about 845 g raw weight 



700 g unbleached flour

200 g high extraction Durum flour (Mill 230 g Durum berries and sift. Save the bran for the levain.)

650 g filtered water

180 g golden raisins (or sultanas)

180 g Thompson raisins

40 g plain yogurt

50 g honey

16 g ground cinnamon

20 g salt 

465 g of 3 stage levain (100% hydration)(Procedure in recipe)

Extra bran and AP flour to feed the levain.



The afternoon before:

  1. To 32 g of your starter, feed 32 g of bran/wholewheat flour and 32 g of filtered water. 

The night before:

  1. Mill the durum berries and sift out the bran. Save the bran for another use. I usually save it for the following week’s levain.
  2. Place the unbleached flour and the high extraction flour in a tub, cover and reserve.
  3. Before going to bed, feed the levain 64 g of water and 64 g of unbleached flour/leftover sifted durum flour. 

Dough day:

  1. Feed the levain 128 g each of flour and water. Let rise in a warm spot till very bubbly. This should take about 6 hours.
  2. Two hours before the levain is ready, mix the flours and the water in a stand mixer to a shaggy dough with no dry spots. Autolyse for 2 hours.
  3. Rinse and drain the raisins. Reserve. 
  4. Once the Levain is ready, add the salt, yogurt, honey, cinnamon and the levain  to the mixing bowl. Mix on speed 1 for 2 minutes. Then mix on speed 2 for another 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the raisins and mix another minute or two until integrated and well distributed. Let rest for a half hour in a warm spot. 
  6. On 30 minute intervals, do 4 sets of stretches and folds in the tub. An hour later, do two more sets of folds, each an hour apart.
  7. Place the dough into the refrigerator for about 2 and a half hours to complete the bulk rise. The dough rose about 20-25%. 
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~845 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter. 
  9. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  10. Sprinkle rice flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 9-10 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. Take the loaves out to warm for 60 to 90 minutes before going into the oven. I normally bake right out of the fridge but these really didn’t look ready so I gave them a bit more proofing time on the counter. 
  2. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. 
  3. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside. 
  4. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 17 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.


This first batch was done with the shaping method described above. I have a second batch about to go into the oven where I shaped doing the “cinching” method to see if there are any differences in the result. 

DesigningWoman's picture

 It's been awhile, and this entry is more to try and keep track of what's been baked lately.

After my third shot at the Hamelman five-grain, I went back to my usual formula, but adding the Hamelman-style hot soaker. One of the loaves actually made it down to Burgundy, where spring had put in an early appearance, as in all of France that week.

Taking a page from Ian

Finding myself with a batch of overcooked brown basmati rice, I decided to try adding some to my dough, along with a grain and seed soaker. And because it seemed a natural thing to do with basmati, I also grated in some fresh turmeric, which gave the dough a lovely color and interesting perfume. I made two loaves, but never got to taste any, since grandson was not only heading off to Brussels to see his girlfriend, but also down to Lyon to see his brother. He was kind enough to send a crumb shot and to describe the crumb as "dense, but voluptuous". So, thanks Ian!

Revisiting an old friend

Many months ago, Abe taught me how to make a do-nothing bread, and it was one of those midweek, off-the-cuff bakes. I added a handful of seeds, but cannot for the life of me remember if I added a soaker. Probably not, since I was unsure of what would happen to it during the overnight, room-tempertaure bulk ferment.

Which brings us to this weekend's bake.

Camargue red rice with multigrain seeded soaker

Since I never got a chance to taste the rice loaf, I made some extra Camargue red rice a couple of nights ago, and actually wrote down what I was going to do:

130g of 3-stage 100% hydration WW levain, starting with 10g of rye seed at 66%

100g of cooked Camargue red rice

65g toasted multigrain flakes
20g flax seeds
15g nigella seeds
110g boiling water
2g NaCl

320g T65 bread flour
200g T150 whole-wheat flour

364g water

10g NaCl

I was curious as to what a "young" levain would do, compared to the usual "mature" one, so I did the first build on bake day -2, and made the soaker in the same evening. Sifted the bran out of the whole wheat (came to about 12g), and added it to the soaker, with 9g of water (that I forgot to deduct the next day when making up the dough!).

Bake day -1, built the second stage before heading to work, then stage 3 when I got home. Let that bubble up for about three hours, made the dough, mixed in the levain and let it sit for an hour or so. Then added the soaker, rice and salt. The dough felt lovely before adding in all of that stuff. Lots of pinching and folding before a long session of SLAFs.

Two sets of STAFs half an hour apart, then into the fridge (about 3:30am) for an overnight snooze.

(And while I was waiting around, decided that I'd also make a batch of yogurt cake with a tweak; I'd read somewhere that it was possible to swap out yogurt for starter. Since I had a little levain left over and a small handful of semolina that was bugging me, I made up 130g of semolina levain and put it aside.)

On bake day, removed the dough from the fridge and let it warm up for about three hours, turned it out onto the counter and did a pre-shape, 45-minute bench rest and final shape. Coated the loaves in seeds and plunked them into their baskets. The dough had been quite cold, so I reckoned that the final proof was going to need some time. I did remember to stick a small lump of dough into a little container to keep an eye on the rise.

In the meantime, made up the yogurt cake batter, then dithered about whether I should bake the cake first (which had the advantage of heating the oven partway and providing desert), or hold off on the cake until the bread was done, whenever that would be. Opted for the former.

Oh, the suspense! Would the cakes be baked and the oven heated up enough before the bread overproofed :-D

This batch made a dozen and a half of these little cupcakes; they were supposed to include toasted walnuts, too, but I ate them all while I was making the batter. And I simply forgot to sprinkle over spme flaked almonds or blond cane sugar… oh, well, we ate them anyway. The sourdough added a nice flavor to these apple/prune yogurt cupcakes.

The loaves finally went into the oven when the little lump of dough had risen by about 25%, I'll try going for longer the next time.

The flavor of the rice really comes through, especially when the bread is toasted. Crumb is soft and moist, crust is a little chewier than usual, but good. It'll be interesting to see the shelf-life of this loaf. One of the things I love about the soaker, aside from the flavors, is the fact that the crumb stays soft the whole week. Amazing.

Next stop, CedarMountain's fermented oat soaker!

While I was building the levain for this bake, CedarMountain posted a gorgeous loaf using a fermented soaker, adding
a bit of starter to a "standard" hot-water soaker. I'll try to keep notes this time!

Two questions

Can anyone help me figure out the hydration of this loaf, based on the numbers above? I get all befuddled when there's a soaker involved.

I have two sets of baskets, both of about equal width; one is about 24cm long, which works quite nicely for loaves of about 700-750g of dough, and a pair of smaller ones that work well with about 500-550g. These loaves were in the neighborhood of 630g and could have been smooshed into the smaller baskets, but I decided to give them room to grow and used the longer ones. Would proofing in the shorter baskets have forced the bread to rise higher once it hit the oven?

Just realized: my starter is a year old this weekend! Thanks, Debra Wink!

JeffUK's picture