The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


breadsong's picture


I was looking a library book this past long weekend - Amy's Bread - and this one piqued my interest. We've had some drizzle and it looks like we're going to have a wet week ahead here in the Pacific Northwest - I thought it might be nice to bake a little sunshine.

This recipe actually made three loaves. I took pictures of two of the three baked loaves; I think the last one turned out the nicest as I got some foil on top before it browned too much. The dough has a nice yellow color from the durum flour. The boules are misted then rolled in medium-grind yellow cornmeal before shaping. Love all that yellowness, and the apricots that taste like sunshine to me... I'm also thinking of Daisy_A's Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread and wondering how this dough might be with lemon zest and other fruits and/or herbs.

I am learning so much reading other people's posts on this site and am grateful to all of the writers and the website manager who contribute so much.  Regards, breadsong



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hi All,

I seem to be baking a lot these days...  It's still hot though here in NYC so things are rising fast around here...  Last night I was reading Local Breads by Dan Leader, page 105 which talks about the Poilane bakery loading their breads into the oven every 2 hours...  I wanted to see how quickly I could make a pain au levain, assuming the levain was ripe and ready...  Also, a have recently converted my storage sourdough starter from liquid to very stiff (50% hydration).  Here's what happened:

Stiff Levain Recipe:

400g Stone Ground White Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur)

200g Water

80g Stiff Sourdough Starter (50% hydration)

680g Total Stiff Levain


Final Dough Recipe:

1374g AP (King Arthur)

926g Water

32g Kosher Salt

680g Stiff White Whole Wheat Levain (approx 50% hydration)

3012g Total Dough Yield


Method of Madness:


5:30pm - Mix stiff levain, knead into ball, cover and let rest.

5:45pm - Knead stiff a few times until smooth, lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil, place in covered plastic tub, refrigerate at 40F 23-36 hrs.  If you are going to make the dough within 12-16 hours, and it's not too hot, then you can probably leave it out on the kitchen counter...


6:35pm - Come home from work, get settled, take stiff levain out of fridge, measure out all ingredients using a digital scale.

6:55pm - In a large mixing bowl, pour in exact amount of water, then cut up the stiff levain into small golf ball sized pieces and place it into the bowl in the water.  Then add all the flour on top, then the salt.  Start mixing with a large rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms.  Then using wet hands, squish the dough until the levain is well combined, knead for about 10 minutes.  Do all kneading in the bowl without adding any extra flour.  If your hands get sticky, use a plastic scraper to scrape the dough off your hands, then dip your hands in water and continue kneading.

7:10pm to 7:30pm - cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

7:30pm - Turn dough in bowl, and knead for about 15-20 seconds, cover and let rest.

8:00pm - Turn dough in bowl, and knead for about 15-20 seconds, cover and let rest.

8:30pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

9:00pm to 9:10pm - Divide dough into 4 pieces, preshape into boules, place them seam side down on a proofing board with no extra flour.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

9:30pm - Final shape into batards, place them seam side up in a very lighty floured couche, cover with tea towels and plastic bag, proof for approx 1 hr and 30 minutes.

10:20pm - Place 2 baking stones in oven on 2 different levels along with steam pan, preheat to 550F with convection.

11:10pm - Turn off convection.  Turn out loaves onto peel/flipping board, slash as desired, place into oven directly on stone.  When all the loaves are in, place 1 1/2 cups water into steam pan, close door, turn oven down to 450F, bake for 45 minutes rotating batards halfway through the bake between stones.  After 45 minutes, check weight and internal temp.  They should be about 15% lighter than their pre-baked weight, and the internal temp should be between 205F to 210F.  I prefer 210F.  Turn oven off, and place batards back into oven for 5 minutes.  After this, let batards cool completely before cutting...

12:00am - Done...  Time for sleep...  Pics up tomorrow sometime...

8:50am - Upload pics...









breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hi All,

Just wanted to share with you my bake from Monday, 9/5/10...  I had some friends in from San Francisco, who have never had my bread, so I wanted to make them something special to take home with them after brunch...

Here is a pain au levain, that I will call my 5/10/20 pain au levain...  It was inspired by JT's 85x3 bread that Farine blogged about here:

I did not have any T85 flour, but I could make 3 starters...  This bread is basically 95% AP (king arthur) 5% rye (hodgson mill), approx 66% hydration, 2.4% kosher salt.

Starter 1 (Rye Sour): All of the rye flour (5% of total flour) prefermented at 83% hydration for 24hrs at room temp.  Use 4% sourdough starter.

Starter 2 (Liquid Levain): 10% of total flour (AP) prefermented at 100% hydration for 1 hour at room temp, and 23 hours at 40F.  Use 20% sourdough starter.

Starter 3 (Stiff levain): 20% of total flour (AP) prefermented at 55% hyrdation for 1 hour at room temp, and 23 hrs at 40F.  Use 20% sourdough starter.

I'll continue this if anybody is interested...  The result I think speaks for itself...

This is the walnut raisin pain au levain using the same dough as above but adding buttermilk powder, a little sugar, butter, toasted walnuts and raisins...  I think it turned out really good...  Note to self: Mix this dough separately...  Trying to knead in powdered buttermilk is an excercise in futility.  Some of it combined OK, but the stuff that didn't clumped in the dough, and I had to spend about 15 minutes kneading and picking out the clumps before kneading in the butter, walnuts and raisins...



kb's picture

Inspiration, for some, comes very easy. I am one of those people. Every time I walk into one of my local bakeries I cannot help but desire to create the same smell, warmth, and crackling texture of a beautiful artisinal bread. I look down in awe at the masterpiece that I am holding and wonder who lost sleep, tended to, and perfected the art of making such a bread. Don't get me wrong, not every bakery in my state is of this calbor but we are fortunate to have a multitude of bakeries to choose from, some of which provide a bread from a particular nation, others that have the markings from the master artisan baker.

My desire to make bread has been around for some years, but my love of bread runs deeper. Growing up in a Portuguese familly, I watched as my grandfather broke bread over every Sunday meal. Originially from Lisbon, my grandfather was always very particular about where his bread came from. As a teenager he jumped a ship in the Bristol port and made his home in Massachusetts. Using the skills he learned from his mother, he became an apprentice in a bakery. As the years past, he eventually owned two of his own. In his early 50's he sold and went to work as a professional chef on an oil tanker. For six months of every year he was out at sea, but his presence when home left a lasting impression. He had his favorite bakeries and would make frequent visits throughout the week buying two, three, and sometimes four loaves of bread. On Sundays, two loaves were always broken. One bread for the family and one for himself. Yes, he could take down an entire loaf of Portuguese bread. Throughout my childhood years I remember my family teasing but as time went by, I began to pay attention to the very bread my grandfather loved. The crust was hard and gave a satisfying crunch yeilding to a soft but chewy crumb. Who knew that I would have an incredible appetite for the same bread and in my teenage years could rival my grandfathers ablitiy to consume the same quanity of bread. Of course the teasing moved unto me, but isn't that what family is for?

Years ago I decided to make bread. First I wanted a bread machine because aren't we promised delicious bread from such a convinient device? Then I began making quick breads for my husband every autumn. You know the kind: pumpkin, cranberry, apple swirl, etc. I knew this isn't what I really wanted though. I wanted to feel the warmth of my oven as a glorious aroma filled my home but years went by and my intention pushed aside to make way for other life adventures. Maybe it is because almost every book I have picked up lately, I love to read, just so happens to be about bread. Maybe it is because my grandfather recently had a stroke and has entered a nursing home. Maybe it is because I am tired of being awestruck of such great breads in my area and need to get my hands dirty to make my own. One of these reasons, if not all, is inspiration enough for me to try this year to take on the challenge of making a great bread. May my grandfathers' baking genes run through my veins!



Przytulanka's picture


I am finally proud of my bread...It looks gorgeous. My special thanks for the web

 tutoring go to Australian Baker WARWICK QUINTON.






600 h whole-wheat flour

260 g whole-rye flour

100 g buckwheat flakes

850 ml cold water

Mix and flours and water and place in  a box with lid and leave them in the fridge overnight. This method softens the whole grain flours.




10 g whole-wheat starter (100% hydration -from the fridge)

100 g  whole-wheat flour

60 g water

Let to ferment for12-14 hours.


Remove the box from the fridge and add:

240g altus ( 60 % rye, 40% wheat)

160 g stiff sordough

Mix it through with your hand for a few minutes.

Allow to rest for 30 minutes.


Add the salt (24 g ) and work it through the dough. Let to rest for 30 minutes.

Give it turn and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Continue the process allowing about half an hour between turns until  your  achive silk consistency.


Let to ferment for 4-6 hours 

Shape your bread into cylinder, using the flats of your hands.  Brush with water, and dust with buckwheat flakes. Put into the  proofing basket.

Proof the bread for 3 hours . Slash diagonally 4 times.

Set your oven to 500F and bake:


  •  15 minutes with steam in 480F.
  •  20 minutes in 450F
  • 15 minutes in 400F.


Recipe adapted from:


evth's picture

Finally the first blog entry:

I made these empanadas for a potluck over the weekend and they are well worth the effort. Easy to follow directions and the recipe was flexible enough to be modified. Substituted sweet potatoes, regular 'ol button mushrooms and poblano peppers for the filling and left out the broth. Added some Latin spices too, e.g. oregano, cumin and cinnamon. I made extra filling to use up all the dough. Speaking of, I reduced the butter amount down to 3 sticks which still produced an unbelievably flaky, buttery and tender crust. This dough is fantastic--one of the most stress-free times I've ever endured while rolling out pie dough. Love this dough because it will definitely love being rolled out!!! Makes a great fruit pie too--just tried this, blog entry to come. Lightly brush the dough before baking with a beaten egg wash for a nice golden hue.

As they say in Spanish, Delicioso!

Here's the web address for the recipe:

Bake well TFLers,



bnom's picture

Have an excess of zucchini blossoms in your garden?  Here's what I did with a little leftover dough (Hamelman's French bread) thin sliced mortadella, fresh mozzerella. I tossed the zucchini blossoms with a little olive oil and S&P and tossed them on the pizza for the last minute or so in the oven.  Shaved some parmegiano reggiano on at the end and bellisima!  


I love this tart.  The fresh prunes are simply tossed with a little sugar (1/3 cup) and then baked in a tart shell for about 50 minutes.  

breadsong's picture

Hello everyone,

This bread is Whole Wheat Bread, from Eric Kastel's Artisan Baking at Home with the CIA.

This is a straight dough which includes whole wheat and honey. After shaping the boule, it was sprayed with water, gently picked up, turned over & rolled around in a bowl full of sesame seeds; then gently placed seam side-up in a cloth-lined banneton for final proofing.

After proofing & turning out onto a parchment-lined peel, the boule is misted & left to sit for a few minutes, scored, then misted once more before loading into the oven. (When misting, be careful not to get the parchment wet - I learned tonight that damp parchment doesn't slide well when trying to load the stone!).

I think the sesame seed crust is kind of pretty - and the loaf smells sweet and wheaty. We're going to slice it tomorrow for breakfast so I'll try to take a crumb shot then.

Regards, breadsong

smarkley's picture

Heh heh... had a baking weekend, every morning. Friends are wondering if I am OCD now!


Started out with a fun Multi Grain Bread... Using Stone Buhr AP and WW flour, toasted sesame, toasted steel cut oats, toasted sunflower seeds, then a menagerie of rolled grains, oats, barley, rye, and wheat! This bread is very good, nutty and with lots of good grain flavors.

and the crumb shot....


Then I did some Pain de campagne... 

Finally finished up with 8 baguettes... 4 of them here, the rest were still proofing! Hat tip to SteveB. I used his recipe and method, which is wonderful by the way! Can be seen here at his Breadcetera site:



Very productive weekend... pass the butter please, and hold the electric bill! 


hmcinorganic's picture

Tonight I needed a quick loaf for sandwiches and I had a bit of free time, so I made this loaf from Bernard Clayton's new complete book of breads.  After making so much sourdough lately, it was nice to get a completely different smell in the kitchen.  This is a standby recipe;  when I opened the book, this was bookmarked already.  

I forgot all about it while making it;  its supposed to be a single rise bread but I left it in the mixer while helping the kids with piano lessons.  After about an hour, it had risen in the mixer nicely.  (I had meant to mix for 5 min, let rest 20 min, then finish kneading for 3-5 more).  Instead, I loafed it (it was very sticky for some reason) and let it rise.  And proceeded to completely forget about it AGAIN.  At one point, I looked up and saw the loaves, so quickly preheated the oven (425 for 35 min, no steam).  The crust is nice and dark.  They smell great.  Toast for breakfast.  Mmmmmm.

Nothing rustic about it.  Just some good quality bread.  Very yeasty aroma when I opened it up.  Nice even soft crumb with a hard crust.  Lovely.


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