The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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rossnroller's picture

Hi folks. ABC Rural Radio's 'Bush Telegraph' program has a regular segment called 'Food On Friday', and last year they broadcast a feature on sourdough bread. This included an interview with John Downes, the so-called "father of Australian sourdough", who is currently spreading the love in the UK.  I found the whole program compelling listening.

Because of the time that has elapsed, the segment is no longer archived on the ABC Rural Radio site, but a staff member kindly made it available to me on request. I have now embedded an MP3 recording of the segment in my recent blog post, so it can remain a publicly available resource. Thought people here might be interested in having a listen. If so, you'll find the MP3 at the following link:

Sourdough Rising - The Artisan Bread Baking Revolution


Cheers all

ananda's picture


Caraway Rye Bread.

This is a favourite with my wife, and one I want to truly perfect in the next few months, for "Competition Bread" purposes.   It works as follows: 75% Strong White flour, and 25% Dark Rye in the form of a 15 hour sourdough culture.   Black strap molasses and caraway seeds for flavour; overall, just shy of 65% hydration.

Formulae, method and photographs shown below:

Rye Sourdough Refreshment and Final Dough for 2 large "Miche-style" loaves

Materials, etc.

Formula [% of flour] 

Recipes in Grams

1.First Refreshment: 11.02.2010. 20:30


Ferment, ambient for 24 hours [approx 18 - 20°C]

Leaven from stock [wheat: 100 flour, 60 water]

Flour: 7



Flour31, water19

Dark Rye









2.Second Refreshment: 12.02.2010. 20:30


Ferment, ambient for 15 hours [approx 22°C]

Leaven from above



Dark Rye






TOTAL @ 31°C




[Flour 100, Water 155.2]

[Flour 431, Water 669]

3.Final Dough: 13.02.2010. start mixing 11:30, finish 12:20



Rye Sour [from above]

64 [flour 25, water 39]

855 [flour 333, water 522]

Strong White Flour






Caraway Seeds



Black Strap Molasses



Water @ 40°C







Pre-fermented flour [all rye] 25%



Overall hydration 64.8%




  • Follow the refreshment timetable to create an active culture
  • My kitchen was cool this morning [13°C], and flour and sour very similar [sour actually 18] Addition of cold syrupy molasses, so the water I used was bath temperature; even then the final dough was only 21°C. This is fine, although I would have liked 25; end result 2 hour bulk instead of 1½ hours. Anyway, you end up with a very sticky mass, so here is how to combine materials relatively pain-free. Weigh the hot water, and dissolve the molasses into this. Add this to the sour, and add the salt and caraway seeds. Mix together til blended. Add the white flour and loosely mix. Autolyse 30 minutes. Mix on the bench top, and between the hands in front of you [Andrew Whitley's "Air Kneading"; Breadmatters, 2006]. The Rye and Molasses make it sticky, but the strong flour means it will mix into a strong and developed dough, so persevere. Do not add any flour; that goes without saying, of course!
  • Brush the bowl sparingly with olive oil, and store the dough, covered with plastic sheet for bulk proof in a warm environment. I do this on the hearth, just below and in front of our trusty wood-burning stove.
  • Stretch and fold twice, after 40 minute intervals; see photos.
  • After 2 hours bulk proof, scale and divide and mould. Set to final proof in bannetons, in similar conditions to bulk time.
  • Pre-heat the oven for up to 2 hours to store heat in the bricks. Add boiling water to the roasting pan of hot stones at the oven base, to create steam. Tip the first dough piece onto a pre-heated tray, cut diamond-shapes across the whole crust surface, and place on top of the hot bricks to bake.
  • Turn down the heat on the oven to 200°C after 15 minutes, and slide the dough directly onto the bricks. Use the hot tray to cover the roasting dish and thus prevent further steam formation in the oven chamber. I baked the first loaf [1290g weight] for 45 minutes, and the second loaf took 35 minutes [just over 1050g]
  • Cool on wires.

Photographs , in sequence, are attached below, but no video, as these were made at home.

I also made some Ciabatta with "00" flour, a wheat levain and super-hydration of 85%.   More details to follow; apologies for not quite capturing the full quality of this finished bread.   It is quite superb in terms of flavour.

Best wishes




turosdolci's picture

Torta di Ricotta e Riso

Torta di Ricotta e riso is an Easter specialty. Some might call this a calzone or pizzagaina, but this torta has no meat. Ricotta is the favored cheese for Easter dishes in Italy and is made into pizzas, pasta's, cheesecakes and connoli.




Freestylin's picture

So i really hope that someone out there can help me??????

For the past two weeks i have been growing a sourdough starter which i refresh daliy with 70g organic white flour, 30g organic rye flour and 100g spring water (disgarding most of the starter before feeding). I'm very pleased to say that my starter is ready to use, doubled in size over 24 hours, lots of bubbles and a thick layer of froth on top - only problem is i have no idea where to go from here!!! I have been reserching the net but dont seem to be getting anywhere so thought i would give this a shot!!!

My starter reaches its peak at about 7pm and by the morning it has subsided sightly....what im really looking for is a great recipe for a large white crusty loaf and the same in granary or brown. I am wondering if i should use it when its at its peak, and if so can i leave the dough to prove overnight so i can bake in the morning???

I have spoken to people who suggest that you can use yeast along side your starter as this gives good effects....have anyone used this method? does it work well and how would i go about doing this (working out how much to use of each).

Also i plan to bake at least every other day so do i need to put my starter in the fridge or is it ok to leave it out, refreshing it everytime i use it..up until now i have left my starter out in the kitchen.

Wow so many questions!!! im really keen to get going, and i would love to get some help from people who have been there and done it!

Thanks in advance!


davidg618's picture

I've been baking artisanal bread only eight months. TFL has been my primary mentor, and inspiration. Prior, I baked bread, weekly, in our Zojirushi bread machine, dutifully turning out three loaves of sandwich white bread, or 40% whole wheat sandwich bread: machine kneaded and proofed, oven baked. For hearth-baked breads we sought out commercial bakeries--San Antonio in the winter months, eastern Connecticut in the summers. On rare occasions I'd buy a packaged bread mix, and bake it in our Zo; we were usually dissapointed.

Yesterday, I was rumaging around in a cupboard, looking for something. I didn't find what I was looking for, because far in the back I found a long-forgotten bread mix: 9 Grain, Hodgson Mill, at least a year old, likely even more ancient. Let me quickly add, I have never been employed by nor reimbursed in any way by Hodgson Mill--I don't even know what state they call home. Neither is it my intention to write this post to praise their mix, but as things turned out...

For the moment, I forgot what I'd been looking for. The bread mix caught my full attention. I opened it; the sealed-cellophane enclosed flour appeared bug free--hard to tell for certain among the ground seed specks scattered throughout. I was doubtful, however, about the yeast packet enclosed; I searched for a date stamp, but found none, and the label's ink looked...well, faded. I briefly considered tossing it all in the waste bin; my Yankee frugalness kicked in, and I considered saving the scant four cups of flour mix to incorporate into one of my future loaves.

Finally, I decided to just make it.

I got out the bread machine--we still use it every third or fourth week--to make our favorite sandwich breads, but it no longer has its own place on the kitchen counters. I tossed out the yeast packet, and substituted a tsp. and one-half from our freezer-kept IDY, known to be fresh. I put the machine on dough cycle, and bulk proofed the dough an additional forty-five minutes, for a total of one hour and fifty minutes. I panned it, and let it rise until slightly more than doubled, slashed it and baked it at the recommended 350°F. Other than replacing the yeast, extending the bulk-proofing time, slashing the top, and steaming for the first ten miuntes I followed the manufacturer's directions.

Nothing unrecognizeable (nor unprouncable) in the ingredients. I toasted two pieces this morning, and added a bit of butter and a dab of honey. Mmmm-m-m-m!

So what's the point?

For me, it was a reminder, and a little lesson in humility. I don't have to go to the obsessive degree I do to have good bread. Tasty and nutritious home-made bread is within reach of anyone willing to take a very few steps beyond grabbing a loaf in the bread aisle. I choose to bake because it's fun, and I get an ego boost proportional to the loaves' oven spring, its flavor, and my family's and friend's praises. But at the end of the day, I'm only doing what my ancestors have done, at times with only their hands for tools, and an open fire: baking our daily bread.

David G.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Another original idea. Lamb/wine braising liquid and ground rosemary mixed to about 75% hydration with KA AP flour. Stretched and folded in the bowl twice over three hours, left on the counter overnight at about 70 degrees. Further bulk fermentation of four or five hours due to the interference of a dentist's appointment. Back out on the counter for an hour, then gently plopped out of the bowl, stretched and treated like grissini, only fatter. Some were shaped with care. A crumb shot of one of these is shown.

This concludes the experiments with flavored liquids for the moment, as I have run out of stuff that needs to get out of the freezer. There is really no limit to what one could come up with. As far as I know, there is not much, if any, of this kind of thing going on beyond the pain marin at Ledoyen in Paris. High end restaurants could have a field day with this approach, and home bakers can dress up their dinner parties with something novel. Crackers and flatbreads are other obvious ways to go.

As always, comment and criticism invited.


submitted to yeastspotting

zoltan szabo's picture
zoltan szabo

Hello to everyone,

I would like to share with you guys my todays loaf.

I made it with brown flour feed 100% hydration sourdough starer.


375gr strong flour

127gr starter

245gr water

8gr salt

10gr vegetable oil

extra flour for dusting

1. first kneading time is for about 10minute by hand.

2. rest for 4-6hrs.

3. knead back for 10minute again by hand.

4. proof in banneton for 2.5hrs.

5. bake in 220C oven for 30min with some steam.

6. 5 minute on 180C with half open oven door.

7. rest on wire rack

By the way guys, I really like this site and I think some of you's have an absolute great talent for this bread baking!





Mebake's picture

This is getting really exciting, beside being a daily food!

I baked this on friday. I stayed upto midnight to get it out of the oven because i don't have a space in my refrigerator for a proved dough.

It is basically a 75% hydration dough with 40% all purpose, 15% Rye, 45%  frshly milled whole hard wheat. The batard was baked under an aluminium foil pan for 25 minutes, and without for 30 minutes, oven door left open at the end of the bake for more crust.

David (dmsnyder), i love your idea (or was it?) of using an aluminum foil pan to trap steam. It worked!

Here the loaves proofing en couche:



inlovewbread's picture

Pain au Levain a la Vanille ( sourdough bread with vanilla )

I recently was gifted some beautiful organic vanilla beans. They have been calling to me from my pantry for a few weeks now. I wanted to incorporate them into some sort of bread but couldn't think of something that would pair well with the vanilla bean and still be good in a bread. I decided to let the smell and taste of vanilla to shine through and just use it on its own. 

I found it most interesting that vanilla beans come from a type of orchid. The vanilla pod is the fruit. Vanilla beans are the second most expensive spice behind saffron; mostly because of what the cultivation entails. For centuries, only a certain type of bee was able to pollinate the vanilla orchid and the vanilla beans could not be grown outside of Mexico and parts of Central America. Until in 1841, a 12-year old french-owned slave developed a method of hand pollination with a bamboo stick. Vanilla was then able to be grown commercially. Although, the process is still painstaking as the vanilla flower only remains open for one day, the vines of the orchid must be inspected daily and the flower pollinated immediately. Harvesting the vanilla pods is labor intensive as well. After reading such a history, I was so appreciative of these beautiful "fruits" to use in my bread. 


The most wonderful smell was emanating from my oven as these loaves baked. 

The taste is very nice. Almost like cake batter but without the sweetness. The vanilla flavor was complimented by the subtle acidity of the french-style sourdough I keep. All-Purpose flour was a good choice with this bread because of the "fluffiness" it lent to the crumb- more of that cake-like quality :-)

This would make a great Valentine's Day bread. I served a slice of it today with fresh strawberries :-) 


Levain Build:

45 g Firm Starter

95 g King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour

5 g Whole White Wheat 

50 g Water


Final Dough:

350 g KA Organic All-Purpose Flour

125 g White Whole Wheat Flour (I used Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana, freshly ground)

25 g Rye Flour (I used finely ground whole rye)

350 g Water (I used warm water for a desired dough temp. of 76F)

All of Levain Build

10 g salt

Contents of two long vanilla bean pods



Elaborate your starter the night before you plan to bake. Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

The next day, mix flours and water. Rest for 30 minutes, covered. 

Add levain in pieces on top of dough and sprinkle on the salt. Mix until incorporated and then add scrapings from two vanilla bean pods. 

Knead for about 8 minutes or until medium gluten development is achieved. 

Ferment at room temp for I hour, then fold.

Continue fermenting for 2-3 more hours. (Mine took 2 1/2 hours at 71 degrees F)

Divide and shape into two batards. 

Ferment en couche (or on flour dusted parchment which is what I did) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (mine took 1 hour).

Pre-heat oven to 475F with steam pan in place.

Score as desired and load onto baking stone and bake with steam*. Immediately turn down oven to 450F. Remove source of steam and turn down oven to 400F after 15 minutes of baking. Bake 20-25 minutes more. I left my loaves in a turned-off oven w/ the door cracked for an additional 5 minutes.

*Steam by your method of choice. I used a loaf pan with river rocks in it, and poured 1/2 cup water on top.

Cool completely. Or, cut into one a bit warm if you want to! Warm and vanilla go very well together.


This post is being submitted to Susan at Wild Yeast Blog for YeastSpotting. Be sure to check it out for an amazing array of beautiful breads!


ehanner's picture

Shiao-Ping's excellent post on Mr. Nippon's Baguette formula and the images of her crumb and those in the book inspired me. From what I can tell, the 12 hour cool autolyse as a significant effect on the dough. The dough is sticky as Shiao-Ping cautioned and acted differently from any other 75% hydration dough I have worked with. It was trying to wind it's way up the shaft of the dough hook on my DLX mixer for one thing. It was window paining BEFORE kneading. After an initial mixing with the hook, I let it set for 15 minutes to allow the salt time to melt and the pinch of IDY time to incorporate before kneading for 1 minute on first speed and only 2 minutes on speed 2. The dough was smooth and silky from the first seconds of kneading. Quite beautiful really, if you know what I mean. I had pulled a small amount of dough after the initial 15 minute pause since it looked so smooth and was surprised to see how transparent the film was. After 2 minutes on speed level 2, I stopped and placed the dough in a lightly oiled plastic container and proceeded with the stretch and fold procedure that SP laid out. The total bulk ferment time was 3 hours with 5 S&F's.

One issue I had was that the 12 hour autolyse is supposed to be done at 60F. I looked around the kitchen for a drafty garage door that would serve as a place to maintain the cool temperature I had established with cool water. It worked out perfectly. The outside temp was a balmy 5F this morning and my bowl of autolyse flour and water measured at 61F. However, after adding the starter, salt and IDY together the DDT is 22C or about 72F. The friction factor isn't any where near that spread so I floated the dough bowl in warm water during the first 20 minutes in preparation for the first S& F. It worked out fine but it's a little clumsy having to make that adjustment. I wanted to follow the protocol as closely as I could and being wildly off the DDT would be a big error.

Shaping and proofing was as normal. I wanted to try the scoring pattern of SP's second set of images where the chef is trying to suggest wind in his slashing pattern. To me it looks like a series of slashes that wrap the long loaf with one following the last and the gaps bridged by another set of cuts. I won't pretend to suggest that it turned out anywhere near the chefs pattern. It took me a few years to be just moderately proficient at the traditional pattern. This is way harder but I will continue to practice. I think the effect of so many cuts will be to allow the crumb to expand more giving room for that airy open crumb structure. We will see. As I write this, I have just removed the three baguettes from the oven. I spritzed 2 of the loaves and left one with the surface flour on it. I can see I should of cut deeper already.

I will cut one open and we shall see if we are going out for dinner or not.



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