The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Joseph's picture

Week three and bread three. Last time, i felt the structure of the dough was lacking, so I did a few more stretch and folds before shaping. To facilitate fermentation, I also did some more folds early and slightly decreased the salt. In this i was certainly right, for the first time, the dough doubled in bulk overnight and proofed very well.

Final Ingredients
   1.6 oz   Starter: 100%H Sourdough, Fed separately
   8.0 oz      Flour: Hard Red Wheat K.A.F.
   6.8 oz     Water: Cold, Filtered
  1-2  tsp      Salt: Fresh Cracked Sea Salt

Thurs.    ~21:00   Levain: Take Starter (Abuelito) out of the fridge
Friday      ~7:00                Feed Starter
              ~19:30                Feed Starter
                          Autolyse: Mix 8.0 oz Flour and 6.8 oz Water in covered bowl
Sat.         ~7:30  Ferment: Add 1.6 oz Starter, then salt, on dough, between stretch and folds. Cover
             ~20:00                  Degas, stretch and fold. Re-cover
             ~21:30                  Degas, stretch and fold. Re-cover
Sunday     7:00                  Degas, stretch and fold. Re-cover
                 7:30 Preshape: Move dough to counter, fold 4 times and place seam side down
                 7:40      Shape: Gently tighten, tucking dough underneath
                 7:45                  Place same side up in proofing basket. I line a loaf pan with damp paper towels. Cover
                 9:45                  Preheat oven, with whole Dutch Oven inside, to 450F. Uncover Loaf
               10:00                  Transfer bread, put ice cube in with it, cover, place in oven.
                               +35 minutes: Uncover. Reduce heat to 425 F.
                               +15 minutes: Remove from oven

Inoculation: ~9.6% final dough weight.        Salt: Roughly 2 b%, maybe a bit less
Ferment: 24 hours at room temp. 68 F.       Proof: 2.0 hours at room temp. Baked for 45 minutes

-----After Cutting

Like the last, this had a great flavor. It rose well and sprung decently, shaping could have been tighter though.
The extra five minutes covered seems to have helped firm the crust more, which was very crunchy once toasted.

Danni3ll3's picture

This was inspired by both Ian and Cedar Mountain. 




Makes 3 loaves of ~735 g cooked weight each



100 g black rice

50 g barley flakes

50 g hemp hearts

50 g honey

30 g yogurt

50 g water


100 g high extraction rye flour (115 rye berries, milled and sifted)

200 g high extraction Selkirk wheat flour (230 g Selkirk berries, milled and sifted)

700 g unbleached flour

700 g filtered water

22 g salt

250 g levain

Bran and barley flakes for the bannetons


Mid afternoon the day before:

  1. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g of wholewheat flour. Let rise in a warm place (oven with one light on and door closed- 91F. ). 
  2. Mill the grains and sift to obtain the needed amounts of high extraction flour. Save the bran for dusting the baskets as well as for another use. 
  3. Place the high extraction flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Cover and set aside.

The night before:

  1. Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight.
  2. Place the barley flakes and the hemp hearts in a heatproof bowl and add the honey, yogurt and 50 g boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight. 
  3. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g of AP flour flour including any left over high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of AP flour and let rise 5-6 hours in a warm spot. 
  2. Drain the black rice. Add fresh water to cover by an inch and cook gently until the black rice is tender. This should take about 30 minutes. * Drain well.* Add to barley and hemp hearts soaker, cover and set aside to cool. 
  3. Two hours before the levain is ready, mix the water with the flours on the lowest speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for at least a couple of hours.
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the add-ins and the levain to the bowl. Mix on one for a minute to integrate everything, mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes. This makes a very soft wet dough.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes. 
  6. Do 4 sets of folds at 30 minute intervals, then do another set an hour later. The folds really help strengthen the dough. You can feel the change right from the first set of folds. Place the dough in a cold fridge for 4 hours. The dough rose about 40%. 
  7. 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 one hour on the counter. 
  8. 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.
  9. Sprinkle rice flour, then hemp hearts and barley flakes in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. 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. 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 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 17 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.



Nice oven spring considering how wet this dough was. 

mikedilger's picture

I was six when the Larraburu Brothers Bakery shut down. I don't recall what the bread tasted like, and I'm not even sure I ever had any. But I'm fascinated by the history and how widespread and adored this bread was. The number of loaves, the loaves shipping around the world, even to France, indicates that it wasn't just a small group of aficionados that were keen on this bread.

I grew up on Colombo rolls and sliced bread, Oroweat rye, and 'artificial' sourdough baguettes from Safeway.  And I always had a Boudin bread bowl with clam chowder whenever I visited San Francisco.

Living in rural New Zealand, it's very hard to find San Francisco style sourdough bread. A local baker looks at me quizzically when I ask for sourdough bread that is intentionally sour. He tries to explain how people misunderstand, and that sourdough doesn't mean the bread tastes sour. I then have to counter-explain that I know this, and that bakeries in San Francisco did intentionally ramp up the sour because some people like that taste.

Like many on this board I'm still searching for my perfect bread to make every weekend. I'm pretty sure it won't be a Larraburu clone, but I think I will borrow some aspects of that bread. Understanding it is still a worthwhile endeavour.

Anyhow, this post is about my research into Larraburu Brothers bread, and my attempts at making it.

In comparing the NYT article ['NYT'] to the Galal et all paper ['Galal'], I notice some differences, but also a lot of confirmation.  Here is the superset of data from those two sources, including my take on why they conflict and how to resolve the conflicts.

GALAL: Each day a piece of straight dough or starter sponge known as the "Mother" is saved and refrigerated to be used as a starter sponge the following day.

NOTE: we don't know the refrigeration temperature, but we know that regular refrigeration is part of this starter's life.

NYT: A baker will take about two pounds of dough for a previous day's batch, and this is the starter for the next day's run.  The starter is left to rest for a few hours and is then placed in a dough mixer with salt, flour, and water. When this is blended, a sponge, as it is called in breadmaking circles, is produced. The sponge in this case weighs about 600 pounds. It is then divided into a dozen 50-pound pieces.

NOTE: At 50% hydration (from Galal) this is a 1/100/200 feeding, which is quite substantial.

GALAL: The starter sponge consists of 100 parts of clear flour (14% protein), approximately 50 parts of water, and 50 parts of the starter sponge

NOTE: This is a 1/1/2 feeding, 100-fold different from the NYT article. Personally I trust researchers to get facts more correct than I do newspaper reporters who are notoriously error prone. However, the bakery did have to make a hell of a lot of bread, and the reporter specified "two pounds", "600 pounds" divided into a "dozen" "50-pound" pieces, which is all self-consistent.  One way to resolve this difference is if the Galal paper had a single misprint. If it instead read "and 0.50 parts of the starter sponge" it would be exactly in line with the NYT article. Nonetheless, that is a very heavy dilution of starter material, and so I am still somewhat skeptical.

NOTE: The other inconsistency is that the NYT article suggests that the sponge contains salt. The Galal paper doesn't include salt in the sponge.

GALAL: The ingredients are mixed and fermented for 9-10 hr at 80F

NYT: Each of these pieces is put back into the mixer and more flour, salt and water is added. Each of these produces about 800 pounds of dough.

GALAL: The bread dough is made by mixing 100 parts of flour (12% protein), 60 parts of water, 15 parts of sponge, and 1.5-2% salt.

NOTE: Based on NYT, the sponge is 0.0625% of the final dough weight. Based on Galal, the sponge is 0.0849% of the final dough weight. These values aren't too far off each other. My best guess is that the bakery in 1976 was operating on a slightly different recipe than back in 1964.  And I suppose the value from 1976 by Galal is probably more reliable and/or represents improvements that the bakery made over those 12 years.

GALAL: The dough rests 1 hour, and then is divided, molded, and deposited on canvas dusted with corn meal or rice flour.

NYT: This dough is allowed to rest for an hour and is then molded, weighted and shaped.

NOTE: nice to see some consistency here between the two accounts.

GALAL: The dough is proofed for 4 hr at 105 F (41 C) and 96% relative humidity...

NYT: The resulting loaves are "proofed" in a dry steam box for four hours

NOTE: Again, nice to see some consistency here between the two accounts.

NYT: When they are removed, they are left to stand for another two to three hours.

GALAL: ...and baked at 420F (216 C) for 40-50 minutes in a Perkins oven with direct injection of low pressure steam (5 psi).

NYT: Finally they are baked 40 minutes.

NOTE: Again, complete consistency


So these accounts are rather consistent, and they fill in the gaps in the other's story. The biggest inconsistency is the amount of mother added to the sponge. Is it 1/1/2 or 1/100/200? I should think if it was 1/100/200, 9-10 hours at 80F would not be long enough to visually activate the sponge. So the bakers must have been working blind.  It does, however, allow for a long (4 hour) hot (41C) bulk ferment.

This weekend made a bread with mostly white flour, a smallish 10% sponge, and 5 hours fermenting at 39C (the hottest my incubator runs at). It worked out just fine - it may have overproofed slightly, but it still had some air and oven spring and a nice enough crumb for my tastes.

alfanso's picture

Last time I made the Scott MeGee Ciabatta, but with a biga.  Today, I converted it to a 125% hydration AP levain.  Whereas the biga had 40% of the flour pre-fermented, I dropped this down to 20%, and also dropped the IDY by at least 2/3.  The overall hydration stays at 76%.

I kept the large bread at 750g but decided to not stretch it so far this time so it has more girth, which I like.  The taste is sweet and delicate and this ciabatta makes great morning toast.

Steam released, & rotated.

~750g x 1 beast, ~370g x 2 ordinary sized.


Ciabatta w/ 125% Levain @76% Hydration       
Scott MeGee, alfanso        
500g  will yield 3" diameter loaves - small        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1500 Prefermented20.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%827.4 100.00%  Final Flour661.9
 AP Flour100.00%827.4 100%165.5 AP Flour661.9
 Water (cold in final dough)76.00%628.8 125%206.8 Water cold337.6
 Olive Oil3.00%24.8    Olive Oil24.8
 Salt2.10%17.4    Salt17.4
 IDY0.20%1.7 0.00%0.00 IDY1.7
        Levain COLD372.3
 Totals181.30%1500 225.00%372.31  1500
KA mixer: "1",  “2” & "6" to incorporate, 2nd hydration @ "4"to add, “6” to mix, “8” to finish. 
In mixer: IDY into COLD water, COLD Levain flour.  MIX ON "1" until water is taken up, then "2" until shaggy.  Pinch and fold.
Remove dough from mixer,  ~50 FFs, 5 min rest, 50 FFs.      
Back to mixer: bassinage of COLD water, salt and olive oil ADD VERY SLOWLY - MIXER ON"4" THEN  "6" & "8" to finish.
Mix done with slapping sound, pulling off bowl onto hook, then dropping back to bowl again.  
bulk proof - 2 hr., 3 folds - 0, 40, 80        
scale at 500g, no pre-shape, couche seam side up       
40 min final proof        
Roll and stretch dough as it goes to baking peel       
Preheat @480dF        
Bake w/ steam @460dF, ~13 min, another ~15 min, then vent      

Some additional notes:

  • Shaping and placing onto oven peel copied from Scott MeGee.
  • If the flour is scaled out separately from the water and levain, the IDY can be placed into the flour and then whisked in to incorporate.
  • My KA mixer has the "smaller" bowl.  I don't like the dough hook, but that's what there is.  a pretty constant need to stop and scape the hook and bowl sides down with regularity.
  • Shift the speed in the mixer back and forth to accommodate the activity needed, like the addition of the bassinage, but end with speed of "8".
  • Even starting out with cold water and cold levain/biga, mixing friction on my mixer brings the temperature up to ~81-82dF.  Flour can also be refrigerated or placed in freezer to further delay overheating the mixed dough.
  • As with everything else, I don't do a window pane.  Rather relying on the slapping of the dough on the bowl sides and the aforementioned lifting and dropping of the dough from the hook as my indicators.
  • First letter fold is right out of the mixer and is "aggressive".  Second and third are succedingly much more gentle.
  • For obvious reasons, the couche takes a fair amount of flour, the oven peel (with parchment paper) takes none.
  • Dough is quite sticky, so flour the bench well.
  • The less handling of the dough, the better.
  • Shaping into a "barrel" and apply light pressure when tightening the skin of the dough - don't overdo or overthink
  • There is a lot of moisture in the dough so it takes a longer bake than one may think.  That is one reason why the coloration is dark.


Valdus's picture

A Sourdough Crossroads 

Don't think for minute because of the title that I am going to give up this wonderful hobby (using the word hobby seems a bit limited to me but it is what it is- another expression I have never liked). If I gave up baking sourdough I would have to go back to brewing beer, and there is nothing more messy and demanding that that. I once ruined a perfectly good carpet with an exploding mead recipe. 

No, it seems that I am at a crossroads, meaning that I think I am done "playing" with sourdough and I would like to start baking. I want to pick one recipe, just one sourdough recipe and turn it to perfection. Turn it into a consistent assembly line press that I can do over and over again without much deviation. 

The small, trivial, if not amusing problem I have is which recipe to use? I have done Emilie Raffa's Everyday Sourdough over and over again but don't like the ignoring overnight bulk ferment. I think I would prefer something that needs action, something I could practice my slapping and folding with. 

I have done the infamous Tartine Bread, of baking and internet fame, with good results and positive family tasting reviews ("As in, if I am on a diet never make this bread!) and it gives me two loaves to experiment. Yet I sense that Tartine Bread has just too many variables. Since I am still obsessed with more and more bloom I want to reduce the amount of variables to a minimum. 

After a good talk with DanAyo, actually a great talk, I have decided to go with one of the most basic sourdough recipes out there- the 1-2-3 method using 50/50 AP/Bread Flour starting at 150g starter for a loaf of 900g. I plan on sticking to this recipe until it bursts the sides of my oven. I'm probably going to bake other things, but this one will be how I solve the great oven bloom goal. 

Elsie_iu's picture

Sprouted spelt was used in this bake because… well, that was all I had on hand at the moment. See! It’s wise to sprout some grains ahead of time in case you don’t have time to do so someday :) 



Sprouted Spelt & Red Fife Wheat SD


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

120g      40%       Whole red fife wheat flour

120g      40%       Whole spelt flour

60g        20%       Sprouted spelt flour


For leaven:

4g         1.33%       Starter

38g       12.7%       Bran sifted from dough flour

38g       12.7%       Water


For dough:

262g      87.3%       Dough flour excluding flour for leaven

133g      44.3%       Whey

100g      33.3%       Water

80g        26.7%       Leaven

5g          1.67%       Salt



302g        100%       Whole grain

273g       90.4%       Total hydration


Sift out the bran from dough flour, reserve 38 g for the leaven. Soak the rest, if any, in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 9 hours (23.5°C).

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt and let it ferment for 15 minutes. Fold in the salt and ferment for 2 hours 15 minutes longer.

Preshape the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. Shape the dough then put in into a banneton. Retard for 10 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Score and spritz the dough then bake straight from the fridge at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.



For whatever reason, the dough spread in the oven. The crumb is not bad for whole grain bread with sprouted grains though.



Before tasting the bread, I thought it’d surely be very sour as the leaven smelled pretty acetic. However, it turns out to be rather balanced in flavour: both sweet and sour but not too much of either. As with all bread with sprouted spelt, this loaf filled the house with a pleasingly malty aroma.




Pad Thai, seasoned with home-extracted tamarind paste, not ketchup…


Super juicy garlic chives stuffed YW spelt flat bread


Three cheeses pizza (Provolone, Blu Di Bufala, 24 months Parmigiano Reggiano) with half spelt SD crust


Blu Di Bufala risotto topped with pan grilled king oyster mushrooms


Pork Carnitas with limes and cilantro, Mexican spiced rice with fried eggs and shrimps, homemade flour tortillas and mixed veggies


Indian appams (barley, urad dal and rice) with mushrooms korma


Skibum's picture

Greeting fellow bakers and happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends and happy Presidents Day to my American friends!

Sorry for the repetition, but this P. Reinhart recipe has become my favourite sandwich loaf. I use a whole light rye starter and it is delicious sandwich bread!

I have baked this recipe in a loaf pan, free standing in the oven with the pizza stone but this time decided to try baking in a hot cast iron Dutch oven, 20 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.

Now Forkish style invlolves proofing in the banneton seam side down and baking seam side up. On this bake, the way the seams broke down, the finished loaf had less loft the the final proofed dough. So when I next bake this bread, I will proof seam side up and bake seam side down. I hope this change in method will give the dough more volume.

Happy baking! Ski

DesigningWoman's picture

Having pretty much healed from a lost argument with my mandolin slicer, I decided it was time to make another attempt at the 5-grain loaf and put into practice the kind advice given by the great folks here. 

So built the 3-stage levain, made the soaker (toasted 5-grain flakes, flax, poppy and black sesame seeds), mixed the dough as per the recipe, first whisking together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet stuff in another, then added the dry to the wet. Per Dan's advice, gave the dough two sets of 150 SLAFs, adding a few grams more water to make the dough slappable. Over the course of the next 90 minutes, gave the dough two sets of letter folds on the bench.

Retarded the dough overnight, then preshaped, rested and shaped loaves the next morning with sunflower-seed coatings before proofing in baskets for a couple of hours. Placed the 3 loaves (about 450g each) in the roaster, spritzed, slashed and spritzed, then baked covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for 20.

While I'm still a long way from the lacy, round slices that everyone else seems to have come up with, I'm pretty happy with the progress that's been made. I didn't get to taste these, they were given away, but have been assured that this is "great bread".

Skibum's Double-chocolate Biscotti

Well, then it was time for a little douceur. I could make my usual yogurt cakes, or try Skibum's chocolate biscotti, for which he generously shared the recipe. It didn't take long to decide in favor of the double chocolate. I swapped in a quarter-cup of chopped crystallized ginger with the chocolate chips; other than that, I followed the recipe as closely as I could (except that I didn't have an AP flour, so used half bread flour and half golden plain flour).

Edit: just remembered that I replaced the 6 T of butter with just under 5T  of coconut oil...

Once again, whisked together the dry in one bowl and the wet stuff in another. Added the dry to the wet in thirds. Tossed the choco chips and ginger in the last third of the dry (the little bit of flour coating helps keep the add-ins from sinking to the bottom).

The stuff felt like clay! I'd been wondering how I was going to shape a log, but it was pretty much the only thing that could be done with a dough that stiff. Ski says to form one 12x4 log, I opted for two 12x2. Easy peasy.

And, boy, are they good! I can see that I already need to make another batch.

Shiao-Ping's cashew, carrot and turmeric no-knead bread

Whew, time for something hands-off.

Shiao-Ping's cashew, carrot and turmeric bread was one of the first loaves I bookmarked when I discovered TFL. I've had the ingredients on hand for months, so finally decided to give it a go.

Mixed up the 81% hydration dough per her recipe and let it sit. And sit. She's right: it was too tempting: one has to fight the overwhelming urge to scoop up the mass of soup and try to give a few good rounds of SLAFs. But it would have been a very messy procedure  This was almost a batter, more than a dough. It smelled and looked lovely, so I just contented myself with a couple of letter folds about four hours into the bulk.

Oddly enough, the pre-shape went quite well, but I found it too hard to get good tension on the final shape. So wound up with a couple of flat loaves that have okay crumb and wonderful taste and texture.

This was excellent toasted, with just a scraping of butter! The nigella-seed coating works well with the turmeric and the cashews. Will be trying this one again, perhaps lowering the hydration a bit to get a more shapeable dough.

Edit: There were, in fact, two things that differed from Shiao-Ping's recipe: I used fresh grated turmeric, rather than dried. And instead of freshly extracted carrot juice, I used some organic stuff out of a bottle. I was chagrined to read -- after mixing the dough -- that there was an added acidifier: lemon juice! Whether one or both of these had an impact on the dough's soupiness, I may never know.

Valdus's picture
  • I tried the 1-2-3 loaf starting with 100g of starter.
  • I mixed it up but the dough would not come to together. 
  • After about 4 hours I did 2 sets of 50 slap and folds. That seems to have improved it. 
  • Did a preshaping and a shaping. I was not very impressed with the dough, very watery. 
  • I put it in the basket and put it in the fridge for over 24 hours. 
  • When it came out of the fridge it had hardly risen, didn't rise as the oven heated. 
  • Baked at the usual 450 after heating at 500 for 20 covered, then 30 minutes uncovered. 

Considering what I saw before it went into the oven (nearly a pancake) I am pretty happy with the results. Next time I think I will start with some slapping and folding. Also I feel that 1-2-3 needs more water, is it 71% hydration?

Here is a visual journal of the steps...

1-2-3 Second Attempt

Special thanks to DanAyo for his help on this attempt. 



Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Last month I participated in the Community Bake for Hamelmans 5 grain sourdough bread. I made it 3 times because I was intrigued and pleased with the results. 

I found it was not a dough that it did not knead machine mixing. It benefited from putting some pepita seeds in the soaker, and an autolyse for the flours before adding the starter .

I really benefitted from all the information that others provided. I did not have a charming canine assistant but I did have paper towels. I used these to prevent icky sticky taps.

The pictures came out crappy , but the bread did not!


And of course I had to share the breads with my writing group.

child eating



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