The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ifs201's picture

I try to keep my loaves around the 50% whole grain level for health reasons and decided I should just bite the bullet and go for 100% this time.


  • 350g home milled hard red winter wheat (Redeemer)
  • 75g home milled spelt
  • 85g starter at 100% hydration (my starter did contain some KABF so technically the loaf is more like 95% whole grain)
  • 360g water
  • 10g salt



  • Mill grain 
  • Sift out biggest pieces of bran and soak in hot water to reincorporate later (only got about 20g of bran since I don't have a real sifter) 
  • 2-stage levain build
  • 3 hour autolyse
  • Added starter and soaked bran to autolyse at 4:45pm followed by 5 min Rubaud method 
  • After 30 minutes add salt followed by 6 min Rubaud method 
  • After 15 minutes do 2 more min Rubaud method
  • fold on counter
  • laminate 30 min after fold
  • let dough rest for 1 hour
  • coil fold, wait 30 min, coil fold again (I had planned on 3x coil fold, but when I went to perform the 3rd I decided the dough was at risk of overproofing at the 3h 45min mark with room temp around 77)
  • Shape and proof in fridge for 7-8 hours
  • Bake in DO for 22 min at 500 and then with lid off for 21 min at 475 


idaveindy's picture

This is my first loaf bake in six months. I have been making small flatbreads in the meantime.

I milled seven pounds of flour on Friday the 11th -- 3 pounds of Prairie Gold hard white spring wheat, 2 pounds of Kamut, and 2 pounds of hard red winter wheat.

The goal here was to re-do the previous bake, #19:

with a longer autolyse, and a shorter ferment. 

Previous bake had 58 min autolyse, 12 hrs 11 min bulk ferment, and 1 hr 15 min final proof.  That was over-fermented. It also had 90.3% hydration.  I  checked my paper note sheet, and didn't see any mention of it being too wet. I should have re-read my blog entry, where I noted that 90% was too slack.

This had 2 hrs 2 min autolyse (no yeast/no salt), 9 hrs 14 min bulk ferment, 1 hr 22 min proof.   This was also over-fermented, but not as much as previously. Less yeast, or less bulk/final time, or doing part of bulk in fridge may have been the right move. 

For this bake, #20, after adding the salt, the dough mass was very stiff and tight.  But after the bulk ferment, it was too wet and slack.  Hence.... use less water next time too, and wait for it to slacken to do kneading or stretch and folds.  But it was late, after 11pm, and I did not follow my own advice (that I have already blogged about.)


9:09 pm. Mix 586 grams home-milled flour (400 g Prairie Gold, 120 g Kamut, 66 g HRWW) and 497 g bottled spring water. 84.8% hydration at this point. It felt just right for an autolyse of WW.

[ 2 hours 2 minutes autolyse.]

11:11 pm. Added 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast, folding it in. Added 32 g bottled spring water mixed with 11.7 g salt (mix of Himalayan pink salt and generic iodized salt.  It became very stiff, but did some gentle kneading and stretch and folds to get it well incorporated.

Total dough weight: 1127 g.

11:23 pm. Finish S&F.  Was very tight still. Should have waited for it to relax and do more S&F.


[ 9 hours 14 min bulk ferment. 11:11p - 8:25a ]

8:25 am. Fold and shape. (Forgot to pre-shape.) Put in lined and floured banneton, floured with 1/2 rice flour, 1/2 generic AP flour.

8:33 am. Finish above.

9:06 am. Start oven pre-heat, 495/475 F.*  With Lodge 3.2 qt combo cooker.

9:45 am. Oiled cast iron pot, sprinkle with corn meal.

[ 1 hr 22 min final proof.  8:25 - 9:47 ]

9:47 am. Bake covered, 495/475 F, 10 min.

9:57 am. Bake covered, 470/450 F, 10 min.

10:07 am. Bake covered, 450/430 F, 12 min.

10:19 am. Bake UNcovered, 420/400 F, 20 min.

10:39 am. Bake uncovered, 400/380 F, 2 min.

10:41 am.  Internal temp 209.7 F.

* First number is thermostat setting, second  number is actual.


Oven spring was not as good as my better sourdough loaves, but it was better than #19.  I couldn't resist, and cut into the loaf after 1.5 hrs.  It is a little too moist.


So next time I use IDY:

1) Bring total dough weight up to 1200 g.

2) Only 1 hr autolyse.

3) 87% final hydration.

4) Wait for dough to relax after adding salt, and do more S&Fs.

5) shorter bulk, or put in fridge.

6) WAIT before cutting open!


I cut it open way too early, as you can see at the top.

gavinc's picture


My liquid white flour starter gets gradually weaker over time, although was created from rye flour. My regimen was to feed my culture a couple of times a week and refrigerate after the starter had ripened on the bench. The culture is 125% hydration and is fed with white bread flour.

The culture was initially strong with good rising power. After about three weeks it becomes weak and has a reduced ability to give a good rise and volume to the loaves. I have to occasionally freshen the starter with stone-ground rye to return its vitality and power.

The problem is that I did not notice the weakened state of my culture until I elaborated the starter to make the levain. The ensuing bake yielded a loaf with poor rise and volume.


I stumbled across Jeffrey Hamelman’s ISO videos. In the Vermont sourdough episode, Hamelman revealed that the culture he maintains at home is a stiff rye sourdough. He gave the formula as 10-gram stiff rye sourdough, 20-gram rye flour and 17-gram water. I calculated the baker's percent to be 50% stiff rye sourdough, 100% rye flour and 85% water. He feeds it every morning and has been doing so for 40 years, without alteration.

I was immediately interested in trying out a stiff rye starter in the hope it would solve my issue.

Furthermore, in the Deli Rye Bread episode, Hamelman again used his stiff rye sourdough to make the Deli Rye Bread. He also included some liquid starter. He does not maintain two starters, only the stiff rye sourdough. When he needs a liquid white flour levain, he first converts some stiff sourdough to a liquid starter over two feeds.

I was convinced that this would provide me with a consistently lively starter that I could rely upon.

My experience

I fired up my Excel spreadsheet and made the calculation: Liquid stater to a stiff rye sourdough to match Hamelman's.

The process is in two stages:

1.       Convert the liquid starter to a stiff starter. This is only needed to be performed once. To 56 gram of my 125% hydration liquid starter, I added 68-gram of stone-ground rye flour. Cover and leave on the bench until next morning.

2.       Commence Hamelman's regimen. Mix 10-gram stiff rye culture with 17-gram water. Mix in 20-gram stone-ground rye flour.

I repeat the feeding once a day first thing every morning.

Using the stiff rye starter

Many of the sourdough formulae I bake with requires a liquid levain of 125% hydration.

Again with my spreadsheet, I calculated that I could easily create the liquid levain over two feedings. At the time of feeding the stiff starter in the morning, I use the leftover starter to make a small amount of 125% liquid starter: 37-gram stiff rye starter, 20-gram water and 9-gram bread flour. Then leave on the bench until about 5 pm that day. I then elaborate the starter to make the levain for the next day. The levain requirements for a Vermont sourdough is to pre-ferment 15% of the overall flour. Bread flour 100%, water 125% and mature liquid starter 10%. (I put the levain in a proofing box overnight at 24C). The levain is ripe when needed at 7 am the next morning.


The elaborated levain was very bubbly and appeared lively, more so that I have ever seen.

Dough development

I noticed at the end of the bulk fermentation, that the dough had a nice feel of lightness, and had good structure.

It was easy to pre-shape and shape into an oblong. I placed the dough into a banneton to proof.  After 2 hours I checked the dough and determined it was ready for the oven, half an hour earlier than the usual proofing time.

The dough was easy to score after being inverted onto a wooden peel. It did not flatten out on the peel and held it's structure.


I baked the loaf on a stone in a pre-steamed oven, and steam for the first 10 minutes after loading. Finished in a drying oven.

The oven spring was much better than before. The ear and gringe opened up nicely.

This will now be my new sourdough starter regimen.





leslieruf's picture

Well I couldn’t resist because I love kamut & durum bread. I often add spelt but not this time. And obviously not a baguette

I made sure my starter was really active before I started. 
Bread flour 62.2%
kamut flour 40%
durum 7.8% (all I had left)

water 80%
salt 1,8%

Autolyse 45 minutes, mix using slap and fold followed by 1 lamination and 3 coil folds. Bulk ferment was nearly 5 hours followed by Pre-Shaping, 30 min rest then final shape. I rolled it on wet paper towel then in sesame seeds. I left it at room temperature maybe 40 minutes before retarding overnight. Baked this morning.


crumb shot

Had some for lunch - absolutely delicious- the sesame combined with the kamut and durum - just yum! Lovely tender crumb


Danni3ll3's picture



This is Cedar Mountain’s Grass bread with a few minor tweaks. The last time I made this, my notes has several comments about how wet this dough was so I cut the water back by 25 g and the yogurt by 10. Initially the dough seemed pretty stiff but it loosened up when I added the add-ins and as it fermented. I was also careful to cook the porridge until it was very thick. This time I ended up with a beautiful elastic dough. It resulted in nice well sprung loaves. 



Makes 3 loaves. 



25 g hulless oats

40 g wild rice

boiling water

25 g barley flakes 

50 g large flake oats

175 g water



75 g rye berries

75 g spelt berries

75 g kamut berries

75 g Red Fife berries

750 g unbleached all purpose flour

700 g filtered water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g local yogurt

250 g 3 stage 100 hydration levain (procedure in recipe)

All purpose flour and a mixture of wholegrain flour for feeding the levain


25 g hulless oats

40 g wild rice

boiling water

25 g barley flakes 

50 g large flake oats

175 g water



75 g rye berries

75 g spelt berries

75 g kamut berries

75 g Red Fife berries

750 g unbleached all purpose flour

700 g filtered water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g local yogurt

250 g 3 stage 100 hydration levain (procedure in recipe)

All purpose flour and a mixture of wholegrain flour for feeding the levain


1. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of all purpose flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night. 

2. Place the hulless oats and the wild rice in a heatproof bowl and add boiling water to cover by a couple of inches. Cover and let soak overnight. 



The morning before:

1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of whole grain flour (a mix of rye, spelt, kamut and red fife). Let rise until doubled (about 5 hours). 

2. Place into fridge until the next morning. 

3. Drain the wild rice and hulless oats. Add fresh water to cover by an inch and cook gently until the wild rice has bloomed and both grains are tender. Drain well. Cover and set aside to cool. Then refrigerate. 


The night before:

1. Mill all the berries for the dough on the finest setting of your flour mill and place in a tub with the unbleached flour.


Dough making day:

1. Take the levain out of the fridge and place in a warm spot.

2. Mix the water with the flour on the lowest speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until all the flour has been hydrated. Autolyse for at least a couple of hours.

3. Take the wild rice oat mixture out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. 

4. Cook the barley flakes and the rolled oats in the 175 g of water until the water has been well absorbed and the porridge is very thick. Add to the hulless oats and wild rice.

5. After the autolyse, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 7 minutes. 

6. Add the add-ins to the bowl and continue mixing another 2 minutes or longer until well distributed.

7. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub in a warm spot (oven with light on). Let rest 30 minutes. 

8. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals, then switch to hourly folds for another 2 sets.

9. Let the dough rise about 50%. The dough was there by the fourth coil fold so I just gave it another half hour after that.

10. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~825 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 

11. 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 as tight boule as you can considering how wet this dough is.

12. Sprinkle barley and oats flakes in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons and cover. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge until the next morning. 

Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour. 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 but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.

mwilson's picture

In recent times I have been baking exclusively with durum wheat and the results have got progressively better with each bake. I wanted to explore the typical traditional process whereby an old-dough technique is employed although in real terms I applied the method in my own way.

Continuous old-dough process:

Old-dough (sourdough) (60% hydration and 2% salt).
refreshed 1:1 (old-dough:flour) + enough water to make a firm dough.

Make bread using refreshed old dough at 20%, reserve a piece.

In all cases the reserved old-dough and its refreshed version were stored in water to help speed up fermentation and reduce acid development, this being a common approach with lievito madre storage.



The following durum loaf was made at 80% hydration. A two-hour autolyse at 60% hydration was employed and the final mix was worked to full development. 


Old dough in water:


The loaf made following this one, despite all quantities being the same was much softer, something I was aiming for as the process continued. However, adding the last of the water broke the dough - in split, like curdling, thankfully I managed to work it back together with slap and folds. The lesson being that over-hydration with durum wheat is perhaps more of an issue when the gluten is highly resistant.

Semola rimacinata can be difficult to work with because its gluten is overly tenacious (high P/L values) which means it requires much energy input to work it into a plastic and elastic dough. Using a starter that is on the reductive spectrum really helps to improve the properties whereas acidity makes the situation worse. Durum wheat works best where acid content is very low and the salt in the process positively helps to bring about that condition, improving dough properties.

Benito's picture

I’ve wanted to make a mashed potato bread for some time and just got around to it.  This has 25% butter mashed potatoes, 82% hydration, 9% prefermented flour.  I did an overnight levain build which grew to over 3x and was used young just as the dome started to flatten.  A saltolyse was done also overnight, both starting in the fridge to slow things down.  The mashed potatoes were added to half the dough after Rubaud mixing when the levain was added.  Then was fully mixed with slap and folds on the counter.  The two halves of the dough were combined using a lamination and then the black pepper and fresh rosemary were added during lamination as well. Three coil folds were done.  I was aiming for a 60% rise in the aliquot jar because that is what seems to be ideal, however, for some reason the bulk was going really fast and I was late to shape the dough and there was at least a 65% rise by the time bulk ended.  I believe evidence of the over fermentation can be seen in the lack of ear and relatively poor oven spring of this bake.  It also has more slopping shoulders than I like.  I suppose the 25% mashed potatoes may also contribute to this, but I don’t think so.  

This bread smells so good right now with the rosemary and black pepper aromas filling my kitchen.  I will bake this again and watch bulk more closely than I did this time to get a better bake.  There’s always room for improvement.

Benito's picture


Here is my take on Alan’s (Alfanso) Sesame Semolina Baguettes.  I used his formula generally but made a few changes.  I added 0.07% IDY and also did an overnight Saltolyse and levain build.  I forgot how low hydration this was going to be so in the future I wouldn’t do the overnight saltolyse and would  instead just mix the levain IDY water and flours in the morning then add salt 20 mins later.  I ended bulk at 25% rise in the aliquot jar and placed the dough en bulk in the fridge until the next afternoon.  26 hours or so after the start of cold retard the dough was divided and pre-shaped and left to rest in loose rolls for 20 mins.  Shaping was a bit of a mismash of different shaping techniques but I think I like shaping ala Abel the most and will try to stick to that in the future.  These were very easy to roll out to 16” and in fact with the first one I had to cut one end because it rolled out to 18” way too long for my steel.  It was a challenge to roll these on the wet towel and roll them in the sesame seeds, each time I felt like I was degassing them a bit and then stretching them as well.  I wonder if the next time I was to make these again, if I should proof to 20% and then after shaping let them have a bench rest at warm room temperature to try to bounce back a bit from the shaping, wetting and sesame seed applications.

Having never baked anything with semolina to such a high percentage before I didn’t know what to expect, but the dough was nice and extensible. The flavour of this baguette though, for a sesame seed fanatic is just outstanding.  I’m not sure what the Semola Rimacinata is contributing for flavour but this is my favourite tasting baguette I’ve ever made.   I dare say that it tastes better than the sesame baguette I used to buy at my favourite local bakery Blackbird.

The crumb has a lovely yellow hue from the Semola and is nice and tender without too much chew.  The crust is very crispy with that amazing sesame flavour.

I have a line of dense crumb near the center of the baguette that when I examine it closely, I can faintly see white flour.  I suspect that the dense crumb section is because of raw flour that got into the middle of this baguette when pre-shaping or shaping.  I’ll need to be a better job of brushing off the excess flour.  If it wasn’t for the yellow hue of the semolina I would never have seen this line in the dense area.  I wonder if this causes some of the density in baguette crumb we see?

Anyhow, these baguette taste so good I just downed out plain no butter or anything for dinner.

alfanso's picture

Last week I posted about Abel's Semolina with pistachios, and I wasn't all A-Ok with my results, so back to the drawing board for me.  MTloaf correctly pointed out that I had miscalculated the overall hydration at 70%, rather than the 75% it would seem to be.  The correction to the formula sheet was made.  

I still stubbornly stuck to my tritordeum T150 levain but decided that the pistachios weren't the ticket for me.  Pistachios were subbed out and replaced by an equal weight (not percentage) of toasted pine nuts.  While reliving the occasional problem child my parents found in their stead, I also went whole hog and added both fennel seeds and soaked (and drained) golden raisins.  Also decided to roll the two baguettes in sesame seeds for the coupe de grâce.  The third in the line-up is a batard.  Still filled with the same internal goodies but no sesame seeds.

The baguettes are somewhat flat, potentially from the amount of fruit and nuts.  As before, the additions create a problem however minimal, for getting a straight barrel on the baguette.   Minimally open crumb, again the suspected culprit may be  the amount of additions.


Regardless, this is one delicious bread, a fantastic combination of seeds nut and fruit with a great flavor profile, almost like a dessert.  A perfect bread to slather a soft cheese across and break out a bottle of wine.

As of now, I still haven't cut into the batard to review the internal workings.  I've been on and off experimenting with proving the dough on the couche seam side up, something that I've virtually never done until very recently.  As promoted by Abel and a few baguette compatriots here.  So far I'm not sold on the change. 

340g x 2 long batards, 720g x 1 batard. 



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