The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Please let me know if you don't get your spreadsheet as requested. I sent out all requests and one was returned undeliverable. I'm not sure who's it was as I deleted messages while I was sending. Sounds like those who have tried it so far say it's working properly.

I would post the attachment here but I have no idea how to do that.


will slick's picture
will slick

I don't want to hijack Kathleen's thread any further so I will Blog about my first attempt at at sourdough starter.

It's day four about 4hours before I was scheduled to discard all but 1/4 cup and start feeding 1/4 cup water & 1/4 cup A.P. flour. Two TFL members who's advice I respect felt that the starter had already peaked so I fed Slow Moe early. On a whim I used the discard in a formula for white bread I have been making regularly. We will see how it turns out. Here is Slow Moe two hours after his first white flour feeding He is growing nicely! I will give him a stir before bed and feed him tomorrow.

 I checked on slow Moe at around 7:00P.M. Last night To my surprise the bubbles were gone and he went completely flat. Oh my! I gave him a stir he smelled pretty much the same. Not a bad smell at all but hard for me to describe. I gave him another stir at 10:00P.M. At 8:00A.M. this morning There was no change, smell was not unpleasant. No activity at all the mixture looked very thin. I decided to go on my gut and feed slow Moe again. Happy right after his second white four & water feeding Slow Moe was bubbling once again. I was so perplexed that slow Moe was inactive I did not take any photos. Here he is at 10:20A.M. today. That's my boy!



Here is aside by side crumb shot of the bead I made using the discard from Slow Moe before his first white flour feeding, and whats left of a bread I made Sunday. I used the exact same procedure on both. Except I used only 1/2 teaspoon of yeast on the slow Moe bread. After setting aside 1/4 cup of slow Moe I weighed the rest at 64grams. I assumed a 100% hydration so I add 32g less water and 32grams less flour in the finale dough. You can see that the Slow Moe bread has a more open crumb. Nice! I would not expect a very open crumb this being a very low hydration dough. I can not say for sure if it was Slow Moe that made the difference, But I can not say it was not.

 New entry 4:00PM 01-20-10

I was busy most of the afternoon today, work sometimes gets in the way of my hobbies. Slow Moe looks like he needs a feeding. Very liquidity and not as many bubbles. discard all but a 1/4 cup and fed a 1/4 cup flour and a 1/4 cup spring water. At the next feeding in 8hours I am going to use grams instead of volume. I am going to a three times a day feeding. Seems to me Moe is going though his meals quite fast!

 Here's a photo before his 4P.M. feeding.


New Entry 01-21-10 Day six

Last night at 11:00 P.M. It looked to me like slow Moe had peaked again, and began to reseed. Remember This is my first try at this so I have no idea how it should smell or look like I am going on my gut. Moe had a nice smell but I could not put my finger on it. So I asked my wife to take a whiff. It took a min. to convince her then she did. She said right away it smelt like beer. This made me very happy. OK so now I took about 58 grams of Mow mixed with 58grams of water and 58 grams of flour. Mini help! right after I mixed it up it lost that nice smell. It just had a faint smell of flour. I checked in on Slow Moe before I went to bed some small bubbles he had  no smell. Boo Hoo. So now Moe is a lot thicker I was using 120% Hydration without knowing it. ( Thanks Mini) I think I may have slowed the process down with my enthusiasm. Its been 12 hours now and there are bubbles but not near as much as yesterday and still no nice aroma. I am going to stir him once or twice till tonight then feed him in another 12hours.

Here's what he looks like today

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

My wonderful engineering husband was watching me do calculations by hand yesterday. He does everything on the computer.  Anyway, he was kind enough to write a small program on an excel spreadsheet that does my calculations for me. I can share it with anyone that would like, if you'd like to send me a message for a request. It's so simple! You can input the total amount of either dough or flour that you want and the percent of the different ingredients, the calculator will fill in the number of grams for each ingredient for you.

Say you have the baker's percentage for something out of Hamelman's Bread, which gives you the percentage and for some crazy reason has the metric for "36" loaves, US measurements and  volumes for the home baker and still gives me the amount for "3" loaves which is too much. I want to bake only one loaf. So,  I fill in the amount of dough, say for sake of this exercise 1,000 grams. Fill in the percentages of each ingredient and I know exactly how much I need, in grams to use. It is so slick!

No more conversion charts for me!

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

If your starter is over fermented... Don't mix the final dough with it...  This happened to me again this morning...  I proceeded to mix the final dough with the overfermented starter...  The dough never came together and remained a sticky mess...  Yuk!


I should have just tossed out the starter and started over and not wasted 2kg more of flour...

dmsnyder's picture

The Honey Whole Wheat pan loaf from Advanced Bread and Pastry is made with a white levain, more as a pre-ferment for flavor than for leavening. It also uses instant yeast. It is otherwise 100% whole wheat. I used KAF Organic WW.

Suas' formula calls for a "double hydration" method, where most of the water is mixed with the other ingredients and the remainder is added gradually, after the gluten is moderately developed. The dough is rather high hydration - quite gloppy at the finish of mixing. Suas doesn't call for any stretch and folds during fermentation, but I added some to strengthen the dough. By the time it was ready to shape, it was surprisingly manageable.

This dough was so different from the whole wheat breads I had made before from Reinhart's BBA and whole grain baking book. His doughs are quite dry in comparison. This dough had me kind of spooked until after fermentation was complete. But the results were quite satisfactory, some cosmetic issues aside.

The spots on the crust are from oil I sprayed on the loaf before proofing it. Not pretty.

The crumb was not dry, but less moist than I expected. It was somewhat chewy. It has a wonderful wheaty flavor with none of the grassiness that I find in some 100% whole wheat breads and even in some white breads with as little as 10% whole wheat. It was slightly sweet, but not so sweet as to detract from the wheaty flavor. 

This is pretty close to my personal ideal for a whole wheat sandwich/toast bread. I'll be making it again, probably with a bulgur soaker and maybe some sesame seeds.


Yippee's picture

I've been very curious about other bakers' enthusiasm for rye breads, which, from their appearance and my past experience, I could only associate with tree bark and the nasty tasting caraway seeds. Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye bread has completely changed my impression.  Not only did this bread turn out moist, but it also had that complex, mild, tangy aftertaste which evolved slowly and lingered in my mouth. This was a new experience for my taste buds.  The earthy, almost chocolaty aromas of the flour plus the crunchy crust have made my biscotti-shaped slices a perfect tea time snack.

These loaves were not sliced, tasted and pictured until three days after they were baked, since I left them inside of the cooled oven and forgot about them.  They tasted both moist and crunchy on that day. However, the next day, they started to taste a little dry.  I then froze half and left the other half at room temperature in ziploc bags.  Today, it is day 12 and the slices left in room temperature have shown no signs of molding but they have lost most of the moisture in the crumb.

This formula used the Detmolder method, which required precise temperature controls at three different stages, to develop a rye sour with vital wild yeasts and well balanced flavors.  With the help of my new proofer, I can say that monitoring temperature is piece of cake!   

The following is a summary of my interpretation of Mr. Hamelman's formula and procedures:




With my background of growing up with all the Asian style fluffy white breads, it's probably too soon to make a statement that I'm falling head-over-heels for rye bread, but it is an interesting category I'll definitely explore further. This was the first bread I made from Mr. Hamelman's book and it was also my first bread in this new decade. I'm celebrating these 'first time occasions' by doing something special: I'm taking the extra time and steps to resize and attach a photo in my normally text-only entry.  I think it's about time to learn, at least for once, how to upload pictures and add some colors to my blog.


For the remaining pictures, please visit my album of Mr. Hamelman's 90% rye at Flickr.



This post will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!


Shiao-Ping's picture

It has been so hot that I am taking a break from baking.  I went out the other day for a walk and when I spotted these birds (below), I turned back to get my camera.  As I moved closer to the birds to take my shots, I noticed the color of the green became whiter and whiter because of the scorching sun. 



We've had so much rain that everything is luscious looking, especially the grass.  I have never known my street has so many fruit trees (mango mostly).  My husband called me to the yard where he was doing the hedges.  He wanted to show me that a branch of our neighbour's fully-loaded fruit tree was on our side of the fence.  We never knew that their fruit tree existed. 


It is very strange.  This fruit is popular in Taiwan and is one of my favourite fruits over there, but I had never seen it before over here in Brisbane.  I don't know why my neighbour has this fruit tree... unless ... I have a Taiwanese countryman right next door??

We never knew our hedges would flower either; if not for the rain....


Have you ever had the experience of searching for something high and low when it's right before your eyes? 

Well, there is a new French-style village bakery right in my neighbourhood now.  Open just two weeks ago, it is only a stone-throw away from my house.  A lovely big tree provides a shady area for their car park, enough for 6 to 7 cars.  A couple of deck chairs are outside their shop door.  What a lovely spot.   The owner-baker is a young chap from the French Riviera.  He is a cyclist.  Fifteen minutes from my house is a popular mountainous area for cyclists, so he moved to my neighbourhood.  (Every other weekend, we hear the ambulance siren going on loud because some motorcyclists had been riding too fast and had accidents.)


                                                                bread display at Banneton Bakery

I brought my own bread board, bread knife and butter this morning and went with my son to Banneton Bakery to have breakfast.  He had hot cocoa and chocolate croissant while I had my flat white coffee with a slice of this pain au levain:   


                                                               Plain Sourdough, Banneton Bakery

The bread tastes wonderfully "creamy," if that is possible.  The sourness is almost undistinguishable, or should I say, almost all lactic acidity.   I have never had a bought-one that is so much to my taste.  What a lovely bread that is. 

Recently, MC's Gérard Rubaud story is stirring up a lot of interest in the man and baker's specially prepared levain in search for a delicately balanced and yet full-flavored French-style pain au levain.  Good bread cannot be made in a hurry.  When you bite into a bread, if the aroma and flavor continue to unfold and linger about you as you chew, this is got to be a special bread.  But good bread cannot exist in a vacuum.   Good bread exists because of bread connoisseurs.  Gourmet food exists because of gourmets.  One cannot exist without the other.  Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Chinese poet-musician, Bo-Yia, played qin for his friend Chong Tse-Chi because Chong understood his music.  When Chong Tse-Chi died, Bo-Yia destroyed his qin and never played again.

Back home I enjoyed a pot of Oolong tea with my husband.  A couple of birds came to visit outside my tea room.  The mid-morning sun cast beautiful shadows over our backyard.


                                                                                  Where is Waldo?


davidg618's picture

We've been baking and cooking for the past week for our annual open house. We started doing this four years ago to share our homemade wines and brews with our friends and neighbors. With my new-found interest in improving my baking skills, my wife dubbed this year's efforts "Breads and Spreads". We served two sourdoughs, baguettes, vollkornblot, and light rye. We also offered a potpourri of rye sourdoughs: one with walnuts, one with walnuts and blue cheese, and the last with chestnuts and feta cheese. Our forty-five guests ate them straight or topped with capacollo, tappenade, sun-dried tomato and basil pesto, butters (plain, roast garlic, herbed, or whipped with honey).  We made three hummus (traditional, roasted red pepper, and sundried-tomato with roasted garlic), and baked lavash to scoop them up.

We also made three biscotti--tart cherry and walnuts, citron and hazlenuts, and a savory choice: parmesan and black pepper--to pair with the wines.

The wines: sauvignon blanc, viognier, pinot noir, a super tuscan, bergamais, and cabernet franc ice wine. We also made a pilsner, nicknamed "Better than Bud", and our three year old Barley Wine (technically a beer) tastes like fine sherry, with a hint of hops.

The steamed up plastic cover in the center contains just-toasted baguette slices for the bruschetta to the right of it.

The label photos are mostly of critters and crawlers in our pastures, or a nearby state park.

David G

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

This was a busy baking weekend for me.  Thursday night I started the levain for a batch of "my" sourdough bread, which I baked on Friday night.  It turned out quite acceptably in the end, but I was most excited about the maiden use of my new 1 pound oval willow proofing baskets that I picked up on a Christmas week field trip to SFBI/TMB Baking.  I made this dough with a pretty low (64%) hydration because it was my first use of these baskets.  I did not want the dough to stick to them and mess them up before I could get them seasoned and broken in.  Given that, I had little trouble with the dough in handling, but I continue to struggle with proper proofing.  I have adequate conditions, but my "tester" is not yet properly calibrated.  All in all, though, they turned out pretty well.  They were good enough that the loaf we kept for ourselves dissappeared with tonight's lasagna dinner!

Here are the loaves after baking and cooling.

Straight 64% Hydration Sourdough


Here is a shot of the crumb of one of the loaves.

Straight Sourdough Crumb

The crumb came out about as expected at that hydration.  It was tender, and not too chewy, and the flavor was only mildly sour thanks to the pretty short bulk fermentation I allowed.  It's gone though, so I'd best not be too critical!

That was Friday.  On Saturday I was looking through Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible" over my morning coffee, wondering what I should bake.  When I came across the recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye I recalled how often my wife has reminded me that she loves good rye bread.  I recently purchased some good rye flour in hopes of trying some pumpernickel bread one of these days and thought:  "Why not?".  So I read the recipe a couple of times through and then gave it a try.  I must say it turned out to be less difficult than I expected.  I had the most difficulty judging the proofing (big surprise eh?) and would have over-proofed it.  I was saved by my own poor planning.

I planned to bake these loaves one at a time in my La Cloche baker.  Because of that I decided to go ahead and start baking early, so we could get on with dinner.  I had the oven and La Cloche preheated, and although I did not think it was quite proofed enough yet, I baked the first loaf.  It turned out to be a good thing I think.  The loaves below were baked sequentially, one after the other.  The La Cloche only had a few minutes between bakes to recover temperature, so it was probably a little cooler when the second loaf went in, compared to the first.  The difference in size between the loaves is more owing to differences in my handling during shaping though I believe.  In any event, the loaves baked up very nicely, and here they are.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Loaves

And the crumb looks like this.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb 1


A final crumb shot, with a thank you to Rose Levy Beranbaum for her wonderful book.

RLB - Real Jewish Rye Crumb

I'm pretty sure that big hole in the dough is from my shaping of the loaf.  I was trying hard not to knock all the gas out of it while shaping it, and I think I did not get it well sealed together.  I consider it a petty good first effort though, and look forward to having another go at it.  I know I can get rid of it easily enough.  My wife raves about this RLB recipe almost as much as the Cracked Whole Wheat I bake from the same book.  The more I bake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book "The Bread Bible", the more excited I get.


proth5's picture

The couple of folks who actually read my posts may have noticed that I seem to be posting at crazy hours.

I've been working in the Ryukyu (or Okinawa) and although beginning to suffer from baking withdrawal have been absolutely blown away by the beautiful breads in the nearby department store.  Unfortunately, to a Western palate, many of these breads are tasteless - but they sure are beautiful.

I finally bribed a colleague who has both a camera and photography skills to take pictures.

 Here is a shot of a "simple" pain de mie that seems to have been laminated and twisted in some way to produce a wide open, fluffy crumb and a parquet style crust.  If anyone out  there knows precisely how this is done - I would love to know.

pain de mie

These pastries reminded me of my days at the Back Home Bakery (Was that even in this same lifetime?). That is if we had put our inner pastry chefs on steroids.


These sweet little pussy cat buns are almost too cute to eat.  You just want to pinch their little cheeks.pussy cat buns

These chocolate breads are an enriched bun only very lightly flavored with chocolate (again, beautiful, but not much flavor.)  The lighter flecks are sweet crispy peanutty things.

chocolate buns

That layer on top that looks like extra chocolately goodness is actually just an egg wash.

 There are many more, but we were becoming an embarrassment by acting like insane tourists.  I really wanted to ask if I could spend a week being free labor in the bakery, but my limited Japanese language skills stood in the way.  I tried my normal means of communication (pointing, smiling, and nodding...) to no avail.

I also had the chance to visit a store with a baking factory in the back.  Even on the street we could catch an unusually delicious buttery aroma.  The factory was dedicated to baking little boat shaped tarts filled with purple sweet potato filling.

This machine took a large chunk of pastry dough and measured it out into the tart molds, then tamped it down.

tamping machine

You can see the finished tart shells exiting the machine in the next picture.

tart shells


This one squirted in the sweet potato filling and it was a hoot to watch it make the little curlicues.


 Then the pastries were baked and a machine delicately lifted them onto a conveyor where gossamer wheels straightened them on the belt in preparation for wrapping.  They are quite delicious and no baker required!


Of course, this isn't all I've done  - but I'm trying to stay "on topic."  I will just say that I haven't had a bad meal since I got here, and as I type I'm watching the tide go out on the East China Sea.

Happy Baking!


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