The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ifs201's picture

I got a copy of FWSY a few weeks ago and this was my first attempt at making a levain. My previous 3 efforts all used biga or poolish pre-ferment. I stuck to the recipe, but reduced the proof times somewhat given recommendations on this site and the temperature of my apartment (about 82 degrees). I also used about 75 degree water instead of the 90 degrees recommended since my home was warm. I also reduced the amount of instant yeast from the recommended 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp and increased the amount of whole wheat flour to 20% of the total flour used. I am very happy with how these turned out for a first attempt using my starter! I think the crumb is pretty good, but should I have expected it to be more open? 


Danni3ll3's picture

Alan posted delicious looking cinnamon raisin batards ( so I had to jump on the bandwagon too. I scaled up the original recipe from Maurizio to make three boules of my usual size which is usually around 1100 g of flour. 

I didn’t go as far as Maurizio to make my own raisins but I certainly thought about it! Due to it being a crazy week, I went with unsulfured Thompson raisins and soaked them in some bourbon overnight. His wholewheat flour was replaced by freshly milled Red Fife wheat done on the finest setting I could get on my Komo mill. I did not sift out the bran. It took a bit to find the Saigon cinnamon but one of the local health food stores had it.

As well, I used my Kitchen Aid Pro Line mixer to mix and develop the gluten instead of using slaps and folds. When it was time to integrate the levain and the salt, I put the mixer on speed one for 1 or two minutes, then I put it on speed two for 9 minutes to develop the gluten. After the 9 minutes, I added the cinnamon and the raisins and mixed for another minute. The rest of the recipe was followed as per Maurizio’s instructions. This is the link to Maurizio’s original recipe:


So here is my rescaled recipe:


Makes 3 loaves



60 g trice refreshed sourdough starter

30 g strong bakers unbleached flour

30 g home milled red fife flour

60 g of filtered water



740 g strong bakers unbleached flour

300 g freshly milled red fife flour

830 g filtered water (divided into 730 g and 100 g)

22 g salt

180 g levain from above

220 g unsulfured Thompson raisins

22 g Bourbon

12 g Saigon cinnamon



The night before:


  1. Soak the raisins in the bourbon and cover overnight.
  2. Be sure that your starter has been refreshed a couple of times already and give it one more feeding. You should have a total of 60 g of starter.
  3. Mill the required amounts of Red Fife berries on the finest setting possible. Reserve. 

Dough making day:


  1. Early in the morning, add the water and flours for the Levain to the starter and let sit for 3 to 4 hours.


  1. About an hour before the levain is ready, mix the dough flours and 730 g of the water together in a stand mixer on the lowest speed for a minute or two, and then let autolyse for an hour or so.
  2. Add the salt, part of the reserved water, and the levain and mix for a minute on the lowest speed. Then mix on the next speed up for 9 minutes. 
  3. Then add the remaining water and the cinnamon. Let that mix for 30 seconds or so and then add the soaked raisins. Mix until the raisins are fairly well distributed. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place.
  4. After 30 minutes, give it a set of stretches and folds until it feels quite firm.  
  5. 30 minutes after that, do another set. Then let rise for another 3 or 4 hours. My dough temperature was 76 F when Maurizio called for 79F. I placed the dough in a warm spot (oven with the door cracked open and the lights on) to compensate for the cooler dough. I let it rise until I saw a number of large bubbles on top and the volume had expanded by 50%. This was an additional 4 hours and 15 minutes after the folds for this particular dough. So the total bulk was 5 hours and 15 minutes. 
  6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~775 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 
  7. 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.
  8. Place the dough seam side down in rice floured bannetons. Cover, then refrigerate overnight. The loaves spent 15.5 hours in the fridge. 

Baking Day:

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to 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. Watch that they don’t burn. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.
  3. The house smells amazing!
bakergrun's picture

 The challenge for this weekend: Vollkornbrot from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread. This is one of my favorite recipes because it’s surprisingly low maintenance for rye bread, and the results are fantastic. 

I substituted BRM 7 grain cereal mix for rye chops, and it worked surprisingly well. The bread is a little less chewy than with rye chops, probably because the chopped grains in the mix are smaller. The crumb is more open than the last few times I’ve made this recipe, but I think I could still push the proofing a little farther. I was getting intimidated by the spreading pinholes. 

The worst part about making rye bread is waiting to slice into the loaf! The recipe calls for waiting 24-48 hours, but I only lasted "overnight," which was around 18 hours. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning the day after I make a beautiful loaf of rye bread!


rgreenberg2000's picture

My weekly bake this week, and I decided to go back to my favorite flour mix - 10% WW, 10% Semolina, and 5% Rye.  Of course, the WW % is actually higher since I feed my starter with WW flour, but you get the idea! :)  I tried very hard to be as gentle as possible with my stretching, folding, and I like the results thus far (still cooling, so haven't cut into them.)  In particular, I think these loaves seemed to hold their shape after being removed from the bannetons better than any loaves I have made before.  Here are the particulars, and some pics.....


950g AP (GM)

80g WW

80g Semolina

40g Rye

240g levain

769g water (70%)

25g salt

Total Dough - 2,184g

Total Flour - 1,270g

Total Water - 889g (70%)


6:15a - Refresh starter 50:100:100

9:00a - Initial mix - flour, water, starter

9:30a - Pinch in salt, 30x slap/fold

10:00a - 20x slap/fold

10:30a - Stretch/fold, proof 1.5-2 hours @ 75F

12:00p - Divided and pre-shaped

12:15p - Final shape, into bannetons to proof @ 75F

1:30p - loaves into fridge

8:15p - pre-heat oven, loaves out of fridge

9:15 - loves into oven

9:35 - remove loaves from DO, bake in stone for 20 more

10:00 - remove loaves from oven to cool

agres's picture

I have 4 bins of "wheat" in the pantry. They are all fresh from the vendor, at a moisture content of ~11%. If I take samples of each, mill them, and mix each sample to the same hydration, the result will range from a "brick" (Kamut) to "soup" (spelt).

If you are grinding your own flour, you need to account for the kind of wheat as you choose a hydration level.  Hard spring wheat and hard winter wheat have different hydration requirements.  If your bread making process uses  a particular hydration level,  then you need to stick with that kind, or blend of wheat so that you have a consistent flour that works at that level of hydration. Certainly, there are flours that are more or less interchangeable to a certain extent.

Selecting, blending, and processing different kinds of wheat into a consistent product is what millers do. Consistency is why flour is more valuable than raw wheat berries, and why bakers buy flour from millers rather than wheat from farmers.

If a recipe calls for a certain level of hydration, then is is assuming a certain kind or blend of wheat processed in a certain way into meal/flour. It is assuming consistency. If you not have that kind of flour/meal, then you need to adjust your recipe.

If you are grinding your own meal/flour, then you need to recognize that wheat varies from cultivar to cultivar, by location grown, and from season to season. Then, you need to make adjustments to your milling or baking accordingly.

Often this is as simple as adding a bit more flour or water to the dough. However, you need to recognize what dough of the right consistency looks like.  As much I disparage commercial flour, it is consistent. You can use it to learn what dough of the proper consistency looks and feels like. Mostly standard commercial flours work with standard recipes, and standard recipes work with the recommended commercial flours found at any supermarket. 

However, millers that supply real bakers, offer many different kinds of flour - and each different kind of flour has its use. And bakers use different kinds of flour for different kinds of products.

The home miller can produce an infinite variety of flours, and the art is in putting each kind of flour to its best use.


Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

A basic sourdough, Rye, WW, Bread flour..  then bagelized.

TwoCats's picture

I fed my starter, and, at peak, instead of discarding it, I saved it in a jar to use as a "levain" the next day.

This was the resulting bake.

  • 255g Central Milling Bread ABC+ flour
  • 70g Central Milling khorasan flour
  • 260g H20
  • A sprinkle of poppy and sesame seeds (untoasted, although I realized I should've toasted these)

Let the oven heat up at 500F for about 1 hour before throwing the bread in.

Threw it in, baked it at 500F for 20 minutes, then lowered it to 450F and baked for another 20 minutes. No dutch oven, just on a pizza stone.

Edges are a bit singed—not sure how to avoid this, other than turning the oven down.

Happy with how it turned out! Didn't taste it because I gave it to our neighbor. :)

ifs201's picture

This was my second attempt at making bread. I replaced 20% of the four with whole wheat. I had trouble getting the bread to split naturally during the bake. 


ifs201's picture

This was my first attempt at making bread

dabrownman's picture

After making tortilla pizza a coupe of times we decided to go the other way with this one.  Too hot for pizza made indoors, so we decide the gas grill, with a stone, was the way to go for Sicilian Pan Pizza.  SPP isn’t like thick crust Chicago style pan pizza but it isn’t thin crust pizza we love so much either – it is more like focaccia with pizza toppings.


The dough was a one day affair, with no retards, made with a half teaspoon of IDY for 2 ½ C of flour. The half being sprouted Khorasan and 1 C each of LaFama AP and Safeway bread flour, 2% salt 1 T of EVOO and ½ T of sugar and about 1 3/8 C of water.  We also put in our standard 1 clove of minced garlic. ½ T of dried Rosemary and 1 T of minced dried tomatoes.

This dough makes great focaccia bread all on its own but topped with pizza cheeses, grilled sausage, smoked pepperoni, fresh pizza sauce, mushrooms, red onions and red peppers with fresh basil for garnish, you have a real winner on your hand if you don’t mess up all that hard work like Lucy did.

The sauce was based on Chris Bianco’s fresh sauce but modified to use fresh home grown cherry tomatoes instead of canned San Marzano plumb tomatoes plus we used Thai Basil instead if regular Genovese and we added red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and one clove of garlic to the mix and then crushed it with our bare hands for 5 minutes until it made a nice fresh pizza sauce.

We liked this sauce a lot.  We put the stone on the gas grill and turned the 4 burners up to full whack to get the temp up to 600 F and get the stone screaming hot.  Sadly, the grill was full of grease from all the meats made on it and it caught fire with flames shooting up 2’ over the stone and smoke billowing.

Grilled Salmon

My neighbor came over thinking the house was on fire.  I showed him the grill n fire and he just laughed saying he was glad I was just stupid rather than the house on fire.  That grill hat to be 1,000 degrees for sure and it wouldn’t stop burning even after I turned off the burners.

Grilled Chicken - half for tacos.

Soot covered the entire patio concrete and the outside, of the once shiny stainless steel grill, was black.  When the fire finally went out I waited for the temperature to get to 450 F before firing up the burners manually on low because the battery for the igniter had melted.  Oddly the once dirty stone was completely clean like it had been in the oven on cleaning cycle.

There is that salad ....or two

When The temperature got back to 550 F, the same temperature I make pizza inside in the oven, I put the panned pizza on the stone and closed the grill setting the timer for 5 minutes.  Normally it takes 7 minutes inside to get a thin crust perfect, but when I opened the lid to check it, the crust was totally burnt around the edges dark as charcoal as was most of the bottom. 

A bake day SD breakfast or ......another omelet or two

I forgot the stone was lagging in temperature and still about 800 F when I checked it with the infrared thermometer. 2-3 minutes would have been way, way better for sure.  Better to use your tools before committing the pizza to the stone for sure but – oh well, maybe next time.

My wife just cut off the burnt bottom and said the edge pieces were fine.  Being lazy,  I ate the middle of the pie that was not nearly as burned without cutting off the dark part.  it didn’t taste burnt but was crispy like no thicker crust style pizza ever was supposed to be.

So, all is well that ends well. Next time, Lucy will remember to empty the drip pan and the slide out bottom of the grill like normal people do before making pizza on the grill.  Thankfully we also got a chance ti redeem ourselves by making my wife’s Sourdough Sandwich Loaf with a 22 hour retard.  It turned out way, way better than the pizza for sure.

This one very similar t the last 2 except it has 20% whole grains, all of it in the 100% hydration levain begun with 15 g of NMNF starter.  Once the larger than normal levain had doubled, we retarded it overnight for 12 hours to bring out the sour. My wife is liking sour bread recently. Yea!

 We eat a lot of salad. 

We also had 5% each Sprouted Spelt and Sprouted Khorasan in the dough flour with the remainders split half and half with Signature bread flour from Safeway and LaFama AP.  We upped the hydration to 80% for this one too keeping the PH sea salt at 2%

The method was a bit different with only 2 sets of slap and folds. of 100 and 50 slaps and 2 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points - all on 45 minute increments for a change.  After shaping and placing it into a wide loaf pan sprayed with pan release, we let it sit for half an hour before bagging and putting it into the fridge for a 22 hour retard.

It wasn’t quite finished proofing so we left it on the counter for another 2 hours before spritzing the top and baking it in a 500 F preheated oven with lave rocks for Mega Steam.  We turned the oven down to 450 F when we closed the door after putting 2 C of cold water on the hot rocks.  After 18 minutes of steam, we took the rocks out of the bottom of the oven and turned the oven down to 425 F Convection for another 18 minutes ff dry heat.

When it hit 207 F we moved it to the cooling rack.  It Blistered and browned well but the bloom and spring was limited because it was 100 % proofed when it hit the heat.  The crumb came out perfect for sandwich bread and the way my wife likes it.  The next morning when I sliced it, the crumb was moist, soft and sour with a nice tang.

Breakfast Sandwich with this bread

This is one of many delicious white sourdough breads that everyone should at least like a little bit.


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