The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ph_kosel's picture

On July 2, 2011, I drove from Sacramento down to the San Francisco Bay area and (among other things) visited two rather famous bakeries, Acme Bread Company and Tartine Bakery.

Acme's store in Berkeley was first stop.  It was a very small place and there was a line of customers out the door.  I snapped a couple photos of their sign and the profusion of breads visible through the window.  When I got inside I was a bit flummoxed and felt I had to decide what to buy quickly so as not to hold up the line.  I hastily chose loaves of whole wheat walnut sourdough, olive bread, and braided challah covered with sesame seeds.

^Acme's sign

^Acme's Window

^Loaves from Acme ( top to bottom: Olive, Challah, and Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough)

^Acme Olive loaf crumb

^Acme Challah crumb

^Acme Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough crumb


After leaving Berkeley my wife and I drove across  the Bay to Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.  Acme was busy, but Tartine was a total zoo, line out the door no place to park for blocks around, and us arriving too early to buy the bread that only goes on sale at 5PM.  We found a place a couple miles away where we could actually park and get some coffee and wait until Tartine was ready to sell bread, but it wasn't easy.  We went back to Tartine at the appointed hour and my wife circled the block while I braved the line and finally scored three loaves of their country bread and a cookbook.  By the time we left my wife was having panic-like shivering fits from the crowded city, narrow streets, and outrageous traffic.  Tartine was not a convenient place to shop and San Francisco is not a nice place to visit in a car, especially on a holiday weekend.  The bread from Tartine was nice but I never ever want to go there again - way too stressful for me!  Once I worked in San Francisco years ago, but these days I'm too old and gimpy to ride the bus and hike up and down hills in a town not designed for people in cars.

I was too dazed by the mob scene at Tartine to snap photos of the place.  The Tartine loaves I bought looked exactly like the photos on the website and the cover of  the "Tartine Bread" cookbook.

Here's a crumb shot:

^Tartine Crumb shot.

It was all great bread.  I gave some to friends and ate at least half a loaf of everything I bought over the next few days (my wife, being on a perpetual low-carb diet, was not competing with me).  The olive bread was great for snacking on while on the road.  The Challah was soft and nice.  The Tartine bread was great although I never want to face that mob scene again.  The Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough from Acme was really great, so good I had a whack at trying to duplicate it, but that's a story for another day.




Franko's picture

 Last week I posted on a bake I did of a bread called Le Pavé d’Autrefois that didn't turn out the way I'd hoped it would , particularly the crumb. Click on the link for all the grisly details and graphic images. Even though last weeks bread was under fermented, it held the promise of great flavour if a few procedural changes on my part were made. By allowing myself more time and having better control over temperatures during the bulk fermentation and final proof, I was confident I could produce something a little closer to what Alan/asfolks was able to achieve when he posted on this bread back in August.é-d’autrefois

This bread does need a lot of time. I began at 6:00AM by mixing the flour soaker of all purpose, whole wheat, rye and buckwheat which then sat covered until 10:00 AM when I began the final mix. By the time bulk ferment, resting/shaping, proofing and baking were finished it was almost 5:30PM. I realize this amount of time for a single loaf might sound slightly mad to folks who don't bake these types of breads, my wife being a good example, but I was on a mission of sorts that I'm sure many TFL'rs can relate to. As it was, I had a few other non bread projects going on in the kitchen as well, so for me it was time well spent. time I make this bread I'll try doing it with an overnight retard just to see if there is anything to be gained from it other than an extra hour or two of sleep.

This session yielded what I feel is a much improved loaf, with a more open, though not even, crumb. The crumb on Alan's Pave is the benchmark for me, and this one is still a ways off that, but it's getting there. The flavour of this loaf is much better as well. With a proper fermentation the flavours of the various grains are more balanced and without the 'green' or raw taste of under fermented dough. I think the best thing you could pair with this bread is a favourite cheese and a good glass of wine or beer. Just on it's own it has more than enough deep flavour to satisfy any sourdough or multigrain lover. Generally I'm happy with the results, not entirely satisfied yet, but closer to the mark this time around.

Le pavé d’autrefois









Mature Rye Starter-100%



Whole Rye Flour-Rogers






Total Weight









Organic AP Flour



Whole Wheat Flour-Sloping Hills Farm



Medium Rye Flour-bulk generic



Buckwheat Flour-Nunweiler's






Total Weight






Final Dough



Organic AP flour









Sea Salt-Sel Gris






Total Weight






Total Flour



Total Hydration







Mix levain 14 hours prior to mix with 2 feedings, and ferment at 70°-75F. Mix the soaker ingredients 4 hours previous to the final mix

Mix Levain, Soaker, Final 286g of AP flour and salt. Cover with plastic and begin the bulk ferment.

Stretch and fold 4 times during a 4 hour bulk ferment. Turn out dough onto heavily floured surface and fold over on itself. Rest 30 minutes. Spread out dough by lightly dimpling with fingertips, being careful not to degas the dough. Cut into rectangular slabs roughly 1/3rd longer than the width, place on floured linen for a final rise of 45-90 minutes. Bake on a 500°F preheated stone for 10 minutes, with steam system in place. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 475F, remove steam, unblock the vent, and rotate the loaf for even colouring. Continue baking for 20-30 minutes. Check for an internal temperature of 210F , then leave in a cooling oven with the door slightly ajar for 15-20 minutes. Wrap in linen and cool on racks for 8 hours or overnight before slicing.


The other loaf pictured is a Francese, the formula from Advanced Bread & Pastry by Michel Suas. Back around the weekend of March 18/19 of this year I'd planned to do a bake of this bread and coincidentally it turned out, so had David Snyder, posting his usual meticulous writeup along with photos of his excellent Pan Francese.

For anyone wanting to make this bread David has provided the full formula and procedure in the link above.

I thought OK, no problem, I'll stick with the plan and make mine on Sunday to post on Monday. If I recall correctly I was email chatting with breadsong that evening and discovered she was so taken with Davids loaf that she decided to do one as well. Breadsong's loaf is posted a little further down in David's post and it's gorgeous! Well now I'm thinking do I really want to add a third Francese to the mix when two of the best bakers on the site have contributed stunning examples of the loaf already. I decided to make something else and do the Francese at another time. Six months have passed since then and I thought maybe it was time to finally have a go at it. Like David and breadsong I just followed the formula and procedure from AB&P, but only making a single loaf. In terms of flavour I don't know that I prefer this to a baquette, but I do prefer it to baking a baquette in my home oven. The stone I have isn't long enough to accomodate a decent size baquette so I don't make them, but the Francese works just fine. It's a good bread, with lots of crunch and chew to it, and relatively easy to make since there's no molding to speak of involved. It needs a minor tweak in the flavour profile but I can't put my finger on just what it is yet. My guess is it's probably rye or sour...likely both.





loydb's picture

After seeing, I knew I had to try it, and grapes were on sale at the grocery store. It's cooling now, dinner soon!


MarieH's picture

I baked two sandwich breads yesterday - sandwich buns and a multigrain sandwich loaf. Kind of had a theme...

The sandwich buns are adapted from a King Arthur recipe. I added white whole wheat flour and milled golden flax (both from King Arthur). I have used the golden flax a few times and really like the nutritional goodness and the texture it produces. Pictures first, then the recipe.

For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in a humid
environment, the greater amount in a dry climate and something in between the rest of the time.

Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer bowl, on the lowest speed mix all of the dough ingredients until they come together.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on speed number 2 for 10 - 15 minutes to make a soft, smooth dough. Cover the dough, and let it rise until it's nearly doubled in bulk - 1 to 2 hours.

6 to 8 ounces lukewarm water

1 ounce soft butter

1 large egg

7 ounces whole wheat flour

7 1/2 ounces AP flour

3 tablespoons ground golden flax

1 3/4 ounces sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about
3" across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.

Lightly beat 1 large egg and 2 TBS water together and brush the top of the buns. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.

Multigrain Sandwich Loaf

jamesjr54's picture

A week of triumphs and face-plants! The good: a really nice version of Lumos' Swiss/Bernese Oberland-style Sourdough Loaf,–-heinz’s-swss-artisan-bread-made-sourdough, awesome Honey Wheat from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes, and some nice versions of Anis Bouabsa's baguettes.

The bad: 10-grain whole wheat from HBI5 that I put in a loaf pan and undercooked even after 65 min@ 400F.

The ugly: whole wheat bagels: in my haste I misread the recipe and use 3 stead of 2 C water. (recipe said 3 quarts, hence the "3") Added lots of flour but ignored my misgivings and now have a dozen ugly - but tasty - bagels.

Lessons - gotta figure out how to balance - and schedule- life and baking! And mistakes at least taste good.

wassisname's picture

     This bread is growing on me.  If I'm going to keep baking it, it needs a name.  A really cool sounding name that may or may not make sense in it's native land.  A name like: Doppelsauer Bauernbrot.  Now, that's a name that sounds like it means business.  There's something about Oktoberfest season that always brings my German roots bubbling to the surface!
     The first version of this bread was so tasty I couldn't help but try it again, especially after getting so many insightful comments.  My first impulse was to change everything!  Then I came to my senses and decided to keep the changes to a minimum.  I wasn't looking to end up with an entirely different bread, there's time for that later.

     I made a number of small tweaks based on how the last one behaved, but the primary change was to let the rye starter ferment twice as long.  In the last version both starters were at a stage where I could have let either one raise the bread on it's own.  That didn't really test the idea I was trying to work out in the first place so this time around I let the rye ferment far longer than I would if I were expecting it to raise the bread.
     The monkeywrench in all of this was the vigor of my starter.  It was a little too happy.  The WW portion of the build that was meant to be the lively, energetic component was already past it's prime and sagging by morning.  Oh, well.  I can test that next time, along with the myriad variations I already have swimming around in my head. 

     The result was another nice loaf of bread!  And, what seems to be a fairly forgiving recipe.  The crumb was a little more uniform than the last one.  The flavor had a more distinct tang from the well-soured sour.  There was even enough spring in the oven to get the scores open.  I am a happy baker!  A thin slice with a little butter is just... something to savor.
     Someday I will try this without the WW starter and see if it even makes any difference.  Of course, then I would have to come up with another name...


A note on the scoring - I've always liked the swirly, organic look of seam-side-up ryes.   With breadsong's recent posts imprinted on my brain I just couldn't resist trying it.  I'm sold.  Not only is it easy on the eyes, but now there's no more standing over the loaf, knife in hand, frozen by indecision.  Let the loaf be what it will be... with a little help now and again.


varda's picture

On Thursday we are invited to friends for a Rosh Hashanah dinner.   I asked what they wanted me to bring hoping they would say bread, but no ... dessert.   I'm not much of a dessert maker, but my year plus exposure to this site has begun to show me the possibilities.   I was well on my way to trying the Cherry Galette (or as Chef John puts it - Cherry Folditup) on Food Wishes.   Then I saw Floyd's grape foccacia and that got me to thinking.   Here's what I thought:

I started with Jim Lahey's Focaccia Dolce (page 144 of My Bread) but made many, many changes: 

Cherry Focaccia













Korean Flour
































2 T



Beaten egg


1 egg



Canned cherries

























Mix flour (less 60g) water, yeast and autolyze for 30 minutes

Add flour, salt, sugar, honey, butter and egg


and mix for 5 minutes in stand mixer at medium speed

Stretch and fold in bowl after 20 minutes


Stretch and fold on counter after 20 minutes


brush off excess flour




Press into 1/2 inch thick disk



Transfer to lightly oiled baking sheet



Cover top with canned cherries in syrup


Proof for 1 hour 10 minutes




Bake at 400 on preheated stone for 15 minutes


Then decrease heat to 300 and bake for 30 minutes more

Until internal temperature reaches 205degF







 Now this was really delicious:

But my beta testers decided that the ratio of bread to topping is just too high:

Which got me to thinking that what this really needs is a filling - perhaps a sweet ricotta filling.   Does anyone know if one should, and if so how to make a filled focaccia?  Any other suggestions for how to make a tastier sweet for a sweet New Year?   Thank you!  -Varda

Chausiubao's picture

The last time I made a lean dough, the results were dissatisfying. A small opening, poor flavor, and a lusterless crust having none of the virtues of oven venting. Truly, it was my own fault. I neglected the mantras of pre-ferments and long fermentation cycles. And it is very likely I under-proofed it as well. Taking the time I've been given, I've decided to try and rectify those oversights. I went about making my preferment, calculating the proper water temperature. But it was all for nothing! I overlooked the need for cold pre-ferment and cold water, and as a result, lost control of the fermentation process. But in the end I achieved one of my goals of getting a more open crumb.

If it isn't too vain of me, I really want to make attractive bread. Then again no matter how beautiful your bread, that first bite solidifies that love that sets in when you see a particularly pretty loaf, so you need both. But if structure is function, a beautiful baguette is a well made baguette. Part of the reason I mixed this formula was to get a little experience making bread with a more open crumb. As a home baker, that goal has been elusive; but I also want to make tasty bread!

The pre-ferment had to go through the night without over-proofing so I mixed it dry at 60% hydration with one third of the formula's yeast, bringing the pre-ferment to 0.5% yeast. It was mixed just enough, then allowed to bulk ferment overnight. The mix itself was a straight mix, and was developed to just shy of an improved window, three periods of 45 minute bulk fermentation followed, each period was punctuated with double letter folds. Ultimately two, one-kilogram rounds sprang from the dough and were shaped into batards. Baked at 450 F until done, they were vented around eight minutes.

My, my that was boring. But it got the job done. I made a number of mistakes this time, on top of the mistakes that I made the last time. But luckily, those mistakes I didn't make again, except for the possibility of over-proofing, rather then under-proofing. But these things happen. I probably should have put the pre-ferment away after it got some momentum, better results would have come from letting it go long and slow in the cold. I also should have put my water pitcher in the refrigerator so I'd have the option of cold water for mixing. Since I did neither of those two, I couldn't control my dough temperature. With all my temperatures in the low 80s, 15 F is the water I needed. The best I could do was 78 F water. Ultimately the dough came out at 82 F, a bit higher then the 75 F sweet spot. All manner of other troubles befell my bread, I'll list them for you; lack of tension in my finished shape, perpendicular scores of varying lengths, and skinned over shapes.

The flavor was definitely less robust then I'd like, I'm certain this is a result of the fast fermentation the dough went through. 0.6% yeast and it was probably doubled in size within 60 minutes. The water was too hot, something I could have avoided. And that is the easiest error to fix. If I had but remembered to put away the pre-ferment or put away my water pitcher. No bigger problems lie in the smaller mistakes. I must shape tighter, score more consistently, and wrap my mind around some type of proofer. I cannot have my shapes skinning over! And I don't have a couche, and even if I did, the air is so dry here in Colorado. I'll have to figure something out to fix that. It is by far, the largest of my problems. I will put it beside my mind until my next day off; farewell!


loydb's picture

I've been disappointed that all the sourdough biscuit recipes I found included baking powder. A search here, however, revealed David's attempts at an all-sourdough version (

I keep 8-10 oz of starter at 100% hydration in small quarter containers in the fridge. Yesterday it had been 7 days since I fed my King Arthur New England starter. I divided into a 3 oz portion and a 5 oz portion. Both were fed 1:1:1, and left on the counter. After 5 hours, the 3 oz batch (now 9 oz) was returned to the fridge. I left the 15 oz batch on the counter overnight in a larger container. It was bubbling wildly this morning. I followed David's recipe with the following alterations:

1) All butter. I had no lard (rectified that at the grocery this afternoon, I'll try again with 50/50 lard/butter). I used a food processor to mix the chilled butter with the AP flour (KA bread flour in this instance), sugar and salt. I hand mixed in the starter, and just barely got it to hold together as per David's advice. After a 45 minute rest, I did the 4x stretch/fold/roll.

2) Nearly a 5-hour proof. They hadn't risen enough after 2.5 hours, so I went to the grocery store. When I came home, they were nearly doubled, and got to sit another 45 minutes while the oven warmed.

3) 19 minutes @ 425 versus 15 mins.

 The biscuits are light, and perfectly sour with just a little butter (also great with honey). We'll be having them with spiral ham and Tillamook cheddar tonight.


yozzause's picture

Yesterday was the dinner  for CHAINES DES ROTESSIUERS

I had agreed to make my home brew stout bread for the occassion so after starting off the soak of stout and wholemeal at 8.30 in the morning i took to my normal purchasing duties until lunch time and then with thanks to my manager was allowed to go down to the kitchen.

The soak consisting of 2kgs of organic wholemeal and 500g of ryemeal 200g of sour dough starter 2.1Litres of home brew stout and a further 700mls of water, i could have used my last bottle of stout but wanted to reserve that for colleagues to sample to see if they thought that the flavours had carried through.

The rest of the dough was formed by 2.5Kg flour 100g salt, 100g gluten, 75g dried yeast 200g malt extract from a brew kit, 100g butter.

As the mix was coming together a generous litre of water was added which bought the liquid content to 76% it was sticky and possibly a little less may have been better.

The dough when mixed was placed in a large bucket  and for the benefit of the two mature age overseas students that were assisting me a mark placed on the side. the 2 students one from Taiwan and the other from Malaysia along with another 3 from our college have just been chosen to assist with the food for CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) that is being held in Perth very soon. 

DOUGH MIXED IN BUCKET FOR PROOF I was anticipating a 2hour bulkfermentaion period with 1.5% yeast but with the soak in active bottle fermented stout and an addition of sour dough culture it came through quicker than anticipated

in fact as can be seen ready in 1 hour

50 g dinner rolls  out of the oven




there wes plenty of extra dough so sticks and a couple of loaves were made the sticks i gave to the visiting chefs to take home and was much appreciated

some bread with the french butter

also attached the menu for the evening i didnt stay for the meal and got away not long after my normal knock off time i did have the stich with some nice blue costello and tomato and cucumber.





Chef Marco Bijl –

Prawn with jackfruit and lime chutney

Crevettes et son chutney de jackfruit et citron vert

Peppered beef with caramelised onion jam on a German rye

Boeuf au poivre avec sa confiture d’onion caramelisee sur canapés de son

Duck breast on orange salad

Magret de canard et sur salad a l orange

Smoked Salmon with Japanese mayonnaise topped with Wasabi

Saumon fume avec sa mayonnaise Japonaise et wasabi


TEAM CHALLENGER INSTITUTE: fresh breads & beurre d’isigny (normandy)

Pain du jour et beurre d’ Isigny (Normandie)

CHEF PHIL WESTWOOD/ CHALLENGER INSTITUTE – quail flambé with port/pink pepper jus, golden egg & enoki mushroom garni

Caille Flambee et son jus de poivre rose au porto

Oeuf d or et champignon Enoki garni

d’Arenburg sparkling red chambourcin (Aus)

CHEF GRAEME SHAPIRO/ WILD POPPY- pork belly in caramel with crispy crab, pork & crab relish

Travers de porc au caramel et crabe croustillant, accompagnee d une compote de crab and porc

trois mont bier (Fr.)


CHEF DOUGLASS KERR/ BOUCHARD RESTAURANT-Pan fried line caught fish, petit pois a la francaise, potato and clam veloute.

Poisson de ligne et son veloute de  petits pois a la francaise, pommes de terre et coques


CHEF LUKE WAKEFIELD/ NATIONAL JEUNE CHEF 2010- corn fed chicken gallontine, sweet corn croquette, chanterelle fricassee, tomato essence

Gallantine de poulet de ferme aux grains, croquette de mais, fricassee de chanterelles et essence de tomate

Tricastin La Ciboise Blanc (cotes du rhone) ’09 (Fr.)

CHEF SOREN KOBERSTEIN/ GEORGE ST. BISTRO- sour beef cheeks, almond & sultana jus, brussel sprouts

Joue de boeuf aigre douce au jus de raisins et amandes

pirathon by kalleske ’09 (Barossa)

CHEF MATTHEW LADKIN/ FRIENDS RESTAURANT- coconut pannacotta, pineapple carpaccio & raspberry and mint salad.

Crème de noix de coco accompagnee d un carpaccio de framboises et ananas



Café, petits fours

Service: Jeanette Paladino & Clare Russel.              Beverages: Gary Bird.

Supported by Food and Beverage Students & Trainees

 regards yozza


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