The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


davidg618's picture

There are numerous threads on TFL about the benefits of retarding fermentation and/or final proofing by reducing yeast amounts or, more commonly, refrigerating the dough.  However, other than using higher temperatures to manage production scheduling, and a few posts discussing warm fermentation increasing lactic acid production in sourdoughs there doesn't seem to be an equivalent interest in other benefits (if any exist) warmer temperature fermenting and proofing might bring to our baking. I have read cautions against working at warm temperatures--I think in Hamelman's Bread and Hitz's Baking Artisan Bread--but I don't recall any discussion of benefits. I haven't taken the time to refresh my memory, so if I'm wrong, apologies to the authors, and please point me in the right direction.

As some of you know, I've recently completed building a proofing box, and I've been using it regularly but not, until this morning, at significantly elevated temperatures. Yesterday, I mixed a kilogram of dough to make baguettes. For about six months I've been using the same formula--68% hydrated straight dough. all AP flour, 2% salt--and the same techniques: DDT 55°F (I use ice water in the mix) and begin chilling (55°F) immediately. 1 hour autolyse, 1 round of sixty in-bowl folds after autolyse, and 2 or 3 S&F's at 45 minute intervals. Total retarding time is 15 hours. As usual, this morning I divided the dough into three equal portions, and pre-shaped baguettes. Normally, I let them rest, and warm, at room temperature for an hour, before shaping. Today however, because the house temperature was a chilly 65°F (and I wanted to play with my new toy) I decided to use the proofing box to warm the preshapes, and suubsequently final proof the loaves. I set the thermostat control at 82°F, and warmed the covered pre-shapes in the box for 1 hour. I didn't measure the dough temperature when I removed it, but the box temperature was holding steady at 82°, and the heating lamp was mostly off: an indication the dough is at or near the same temperature. I returned the shaped loaves--couched and covered--to the box. I did a poke test after fifty minutes, and checked the dough's temperature: 80° and a fraction, within the accuracy limits of the thermostat and the Thermopen.  Ten minutes later I loaded the loaves on a pre-heated stone (500°F) and lowered the oven temperature to 450°F; baked 10 mins with steam, and ten minutes without. Except for the elevated warming and proofing temperature everything was the same as numerous times before.

Perceptively, I thought the finished loaves seem to have slightly more oven-spring than usual, but nothing surprising, and my main weakness continues to be inconsistent shaping and scoring. However, when my wife and I cut into one still warm--we have no patience when freshly baked baguettes are cooling--the crumb was clearly more open than usual. This formula and techniques consistently produces an open crumb, but this time noticeably more so.

I can't help wondering if the elevated proofing temperature was the cause, and more to the point, is there something going on here besides just more yeast production. For instance, does the dough's elasticity and extensibility change significantly at this slight temperature change from normal room temperature? And, as always my curiosity kicked in and I am also wondering, are there other phenomena, in-your-face or subtle, we can exploit fermenting and/or proofing at above normal room temperatures?

David G


longhorn's picture

Bread authors have slowly nudged me toward buying some organic and stone ground flours to experiment with. Exploring the web and other sources led me to hone in on War Eagle Mill (WEM) in Rogers Arkansas for my source for they have a good reputation and are closer than most. When they ran a 20% off sale with free shipping for orders over $100 I had to give it a try so I ordered 25 pounds each of organic AP and BF (roller milled), and 10 pounds each of stone ground organic WW and White WW. The flour came Wednesday so I cranked up the oven to make Tartine yesterday. Photo below.

I only used the BF and WW and the dough is mostly BF. The BF has more aroma of wheat then the KA AP and BF I normally use. The BF is about 11.5% protein according to War Eagle. The WW had a wonderful texture and aroma also. The dough seemed a bit touch dryer than KA for the same hydration - but softer. During the bulk ferment the "wheaty" aroma of the flours really grew evident. Tasting the dough revealed it to be sweeter and "grassier" than KA. The dough responded very well to S&Fs but, despite its drier feel, remained a tad stickier than the KA AP and stuck to the bannetons - and also flowed rather dramatically on removal from the bannetons, giving a rather flat disk in my cloche. Oven spring was very good and the expansion almost hid the folds from the banneton sticking. Flavor was wheatier than KA.

Preliminary conclusions: The WEM BF is similar in behaviour to KA AP but with more nose and more color. The aroma gives the bread a "lighter" taste profile. The crumb has a bit less bite than the same bread make with KA AP and WW. The WEM WW appears lovely and worked very well in the role of supporting flour. I think I will next try it or the white WW in a miche - or maybe one of each.  Given the WEM AP is supposed to be about  a percent lower in protein I am guessing I won't use it much but I will try it in Banh Mi for I have been struggling to get the crumb as delicate as I want. Overall I was pleased with this initial foray into organic and stone ground flours.

The loaves were made following the Tartine recipe with one exception. My starter is less sour so I use 50 grams of starter to make the 400 grams of levain in the first step. Then I used 200 grams of the levain and followed the recipe. Key difference was that my kitchen was around 67F so the bulk fermentation ran about 7 hours. The Hamelman videos at KA on loaf forming reinforced the need for the dough to be airy and I gutted it out. After shaping I moved to a warming drawer to accelerate the proof. The loaf I cut had a small peak at the top and I guessed it indicated larger holes and that was verified. The other loaf will be more uniform. I tried moving the preheat down to 475 with the bake at 440 and the loaves came out a bit light for my taste (internal temp 210). The surface has a duller finish than I like because I used rice flour in the flour mix to coat the banneton since the dough was pretty sticky. More photos follow.

mdunham21's picture

As promised, I am keeping you up to date with my recent baking adventures.  I have a love for baguettes but nothing has given me more grief than this elusive bread.  I have baked these loaves a number of times but have failed to develop the nice open airy crumb that beckons me to bake them as often as I do.  


            Today’s bake started as a result of needing bread for dinner.  I had a hunger for chicken seasoned with garlic, oregano, thyme, and s&p with a piece of provolone cheese melted on top, sandwiched between a baguette slathered with garlic basil mayo, tomato, and lettuce.  This was all in my head however; I still didn’t have any bread.


            So I removed the pate fermentee from the refrigerator and cut it into small bits to remove the chill.  I mixed together the flour, pate fermentee, salt, and yeast.  The water was added and I mixed everything into a coarse ball, and then poured the contents out onto the counter.  I worked the dough until it was smooth and silky tacky not sticky.  I wanted to experiment with higher hydration this go around, so I added an additional tablespoon or two of water to the dough.  In the future I will use warmer water because I have not been able to increase the internal temperature of the dough to around 80 degrees through kneading.


            The dough was put into a lightly oiled bowl and covered with plastic wrap.  My house is a chilly 62 degrees so I have to be creative with finding a warm place to let the dough rise.  I place the bowl on top of an electric heating pad set to low, turn on overhead heating lights, and plug in a space heater.  The thermometer in the room reads around 78 degrees with all of this extra heat.  I let the dough rise until doubled while stretching and folding every 30 minutes for the first hour and a half. 


            When I was satisfied with the dough 2.5 hours later, I removed the dough and scaled it down on the counter top.  Each scaled piece of dough weighed approx. 390 grams.  I let each scaled piece of dough rest for about 20 minutes and then formed each portion into a baguette utilizing the counter to create surface tension.  The baguettes were allowed to rise for about 45 minutes, then were scored, and baked.  The oven temp was 500 degrees for the first 2 minutes with steaming every 30 seconds of that period.  The temperature was lowered to 450 and the loaves were allowed to bake until golden brown and the internal temperature was 205ish. 


            The loaves were Fantastic for dinner tonight and I have decided to look into a job baking with a local bread company; I might as well considering I love making bread anyway.


The recipe for the main dough is as follows:


5oz unbleached AP

5oz bread flour

16oz pate fermentee

1½ teaspoons salt

¾ teaspoons active yeast

¾ cup water warm to touch plus a few tablespoons extra


That ever elusive crumb continues to fight me but i will not waiver I will not lose hope, I will continue baking baguettes.





Babs514's picture

today is my first blog! Our teacher has suggested blogging about the breads we bake in class so here it goes.

our projects for this week are baguettes and tiger bread... we shall see tomorrow how they turned out, so hopefully they're

GBD-golden brown and delicious :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Seeds everywhere!  Lots of seeds!  Seeds in the dough seeds around the dough.  Seeds, seeds, seeds!  A few nuts too and my favorite flours, Rye and Spelt.   Lots of fibre! 

DOUGH    in order:

  • 170g rye sourdough starter 100% hydration
  • 600g water at about 20°C  (68°F)    Stir until starter is well dispersed
  • 70g dried walnut rye sourdough altus crumbs
  • 5g bread spices (blend of crushed coriander, caraway, fennel)
  • 100g spelt flour
  • 600g rye flour

       Mix until all flour is wet, cover and set aside for about 2 hours.  Then add:

  • 13.5g salt
  • 70g hemp seeds
  • 8g roasted sesame seeds (1 tbs)
  • good handful sunflower seeds
  • a good handful of crushed poppy seeds 

Work everything in well and let it rest covered 2 hours (22°C)

Here is where things got hung up... getting ready to shape the loaf... didn't like the last loaf shape in the last bake...  Had a couple of hours to think this out so I started debating with myself what other seeds variations I wanted in the loaf, what shape or form to use, banneton or no banneton, clay baker or free form.  I wanted seeds on the outside, liked the way chia seeds made a sort of support on the outside crust and then again, I wanted something interesting going on too.   Ready for a change...  approx. 1650g of dough or too much for a 9x5x4 bread tin.

Staring at a fresh bag of crushed flax and having just had potato flakes on my mind, what if?  What if I rolled the dough in mixed seeds?  What if I rolled them in seeds and piled them up inside my woks to bake?  Would the dough support itself better as smaller dough pieces?  Or would it go flat?  It likes to go flat.  Unmixed seeds?  Testing seed covers?  Little blobs of dough in different colors piled up on each other?  This was beginning to sound like a "monkey bread."  Then I could see rolling balls of rye dough (or dropping globs of wet cement) falling into bowls of various seeds, rolling around and stacking themselves up to make a loaf.  Might prove interesting...  or one big mess.   Will the bread balls separate or allow for slicing?  Mmmm.

Unlike the overly sweet sticky monkey bread, this is the savory version:  Seedy Nutty Monkey Rye

It is actually quite easy with two large wet soup spoons!  Once covered, the dough balls are easy to place and move around.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough (about the size of an egg) into soup bowls with about 1cm deep

  • crushed poppy seed (dark gray/black)
  • crushed flax seed (brown with shiny specks)
  • whole green pumpkin seeds (they turn a beautiful chestnut brown)
  • chia seeds (light gray)
  • potato flakes (turn dull brown) 

Arrange into a buttered bundt pan (or a pullman pan) cover and allow to rise 3-4 hours. 

I actually used a poke test!  Amazing!  I first steamed the bundt pan inside two woks, one inverted over the other.

Preheat the oven with one wok (2 cm of water inside) to 225°C using the fan setting. 

Place the filled bundt pan inside, cover and steam bake 30 minutes, then remove from oven, quickly take out bundt pan with loaf returning it to the oven to brown and finish baking at 200°C using upper & lower heat setting.  Done when inside loaf temp reaches 96°C and it has rich brown color.   Place rack onto bread and invert.  Remove pan and allow to cool.  Bag overnight.  Cut the next day.

I don't know which side of the loaf should be up, the top or the bottom.  I started out calling it monkey bread.  When it landed on its rack it had mutated into turtle shell bread.


And now for the crumb shots.   An interesting thing happened and it shouldn't be of any surprise... but the coatings that absorb the most amount of water, tend to create the separating problems in the crumb.  The oil containing seeds seem to let the rye dough pass around them to join with neighboring dough balls.  Potato flakes and chia seeds seemed to create natural seams  .  This might be corrected if sprayed with water while arranging.  I could still cut off 1cm slices nicely but to cut .5cm  led some sections to separate. 

The bread tastes like a vollkorn should (yum!) and has an enjoyable bite and flavor that lingers.  We've been eating from it and have not yet spread anything on it.  It is not dry.  Still waiting on the sunshine but as the snow is beginning to fall again...  I'll post what I have.  I used a sharp knife to first cut the loaf in half and then the electric slicer.  Chia was a knife deterrent with its thin tight shell on the crust.

Not too patch work like inside.  Some interesting lines between the sections that run together.  Crumb looks very consistant.

txfarmer's picture

Yet more variations on my 36 hours+ sourdough baguette formula. ((original recipe here, 3 earlier variations here, 3 more variations here) I love the taste of wholegrain, also like the nutritional value, but mostly I actually just love the rich sweet fragrant taste. I also love baguettes for their light, airy, cool crumb, and thin crackly crust. I want to use as much as wholegrain in my baguettes to maximize the flavor, at the same time still maintain the light mouthfeel. In another word, I don't just want a heavy wholegrain bread in stick shape - that's neither a baguette, nor a good wholegrain bread (they tend to have thicker/chewier crust, and the stick shape is just too much crust IMO). Since I am making these 36 hour sourdough baguette every week, I put a bit more wholegrain each time, and observe the results.

1) 20% wholegrain

AP Flour, 400g

barley flour, 25g

ice water, 325g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 150g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.

There are 75g of rye flour in the stater, along with the 25g barley, the whole grain ratio is 20%. The lightness of these baguette is similar to a white flour one, with much improved flavor. However, 5% of barley didn't contribute too much in term of taste, rye starter did most of the work, can't say it's much different from my usual rye starter baguette.

2) 30% whole grain

AP Flour, 350g

barley flour, 75g

ice water, 325g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 150g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.


Barley flour ratio is increased to 15%, along with the 15% rye in starter, this batch is super flavorful. I just love the earthy sweetness of barley flour, and it's much more detectable here. The bread did feel "heartier" and "heavier" but still qualify as "delicate".

3) 45% wholegrain

AP Flour, 275g

barley flour, 75g

whole wheat flour, 75g

ice water, 340g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 150g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.


15% each of ww, barley, and rye, hydration is increased to 83% (from 80% for the previous two). Rich whole grain flavor, each of the ww, barley, rye provides a different dimension. Looking at the picture, they still have open holey crumb, but, they do taste "heavy". The main culpit is the thicker crust. Even though the crust is still crispy, but when they are thick, the chew is different, even the airy crumb can't offset the "dense" feeling.


I think even more water may help, since the dough felt tighter than usual, and my scoring came out beautiful - a sure sign that the dough was not deadly wet.


So far, I like the 30% one the best, the 45% tastes great, but a bit heavy to my taste - it still qualify as acceptable baguettes though. I wonder what would happen if I increase the wholegrain even furthur.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.


geraintbakesbread's picture

Pictures of bagel making process & finished product now on flickr:

Will blog about them later.

dmsnyder's picture

One of my favorite uses for several days old sourdough bread is crostini. These little open-faced sandwiches can be topped with all sorts of meat spreads or vegetable combinations. They are very traditional in Tuscany as antipasti. I am usually prompted to make them when I get a chicken that includes the giblets. A spread of chicken liver, generally sautéed and mashed with diced vegetables, wine and herbs is among the most common topping for crostini, although I often flavor mine more in a French style with shallots, dry white wine, thyme and tarragon than in the Italian style.

Another traditional Italian topping for crostini is cavolo nero. This is a very dark green, curly-leafed kale which has a wonderful flavor. It is also delicious mixed with crumbled Italian sausage in a sandwich, on pizza or with pasta. This time of year, there is lots of cavolo nero in our local farmer's market, and tonight I made crostini di cavolo nero as an appetizer to eat while the trout and fennel gratin were finishing baking. I adapted the recipe from Flavors of Tuscany, by Maxine Clark.



6 thin slices of crusty sourdough bread

3 T EVOO, plus more for brushing the bread

10 oz (more or less) Cavolo nero, leaves cut from the tough central stem and cut into thin shreds.

2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper

1 T balsamic vinegar

Fresh herbs to garnish (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 375ºF

Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, place the bread on a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. They should be browned somewhat. Keep them warm.

In a 10-12 inch sauté pan or in a wok, sauté the garlic in 3 T olive oil on medium heat until they just start to color (about 1 minute).

Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the cavolo nero and a dash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and stir continuously.

When the cavolo nero is limp (1-2 minutes), add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook and stir until the vinegar has evaporated.

Place generous portions of the cavolo nero on the toasts and serve immediately.

Slices of bread (SFBI Artisan II Miche), ready to brush with olive oil and toast

De-stemming cavolo nero

Mis en place - balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic, shredded cavolo nero

Buon appetito!


Submitted to YeastSpotting

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

I'm finally able to drag myself to my computer to edit photos and do a fancy write-up of my latest bakes…  I've been spending too much time at work lately, and have not had time to write about baking, which seems to take more time and effort than just baking alone…  

Anyways, I had some yogurt that had been sitting around, and I've been too lazy to eat it for some reason.  I remember seeing a recipe on Zorra's blog for a Yoghurt loaf:  

These are my versions.  Version 1 is direct proofing, using more yeast, and making the bread in a few hours with direct proofing.  Version 2 uses less yeast, some honey, and refrigerated proofing.  I think version 2 is much better in all aspects, especially crumb and flavor…  Enjoy.


1/18/11 - Yogurt Bread - Part One - Direct proofing

900g AP
100g WW
620g Water
22g Kosher Salt
200g Yogurt (Stonyfield Organic Cream Top)
176g Sourdough Starter (Storage starter at approx 68% hydration)
10g Instant Yeast
2028g Total Dough Yield

8:05pm - In a large mixing bowl, add wet ingredients, and then all dry ingredients on top.  Mix with rubber spatula for approx 3 minutes, or until dough forms shaggy dough.  Cover with plastic bag and let rest.

8:30pm - Squish dough with wet hands to make sure all the lumps are gone.  Turn dough in bowl using wet hands and plastic scraper 3 times using letter fold method.  cover and let rest.

9:00pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

9:30pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

10:20pm - Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, shape into boules, place seam side up in well floured, linen lined bannetons.  Place bannetons in plastic bag.  Let proof for approx 1 hr.

10:30pm - Arrange baking stone (14" x 16"), and loaf pan with lava rocks and water filled about 3/4 way.  Preheat oven with convection to 500F for 1 hr.

11:30pm - Turn boules out onto floured peel, slash as desired, place into oven directly on to stone.  Bake for 10 mins at 500F with steam, no convection, then turn down to 450F, remove steam pan, rotate loaves, bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 210F and loaves weight 15% less than pre bake weight.  Cool overnight on wire rack before cutting and eating…

1/22/11 - Yogurt Bread - Part Deux - Retarded Proofing

900g AP
100g WW
600g Water
20g Kosher Salt
30g Honey
200g Yogurt (Stonyfield Organic Cream Top)
190g Sourdough Starter (Storage starter at approx 68% hydration)
4g Instant Yeast (1 tsp)
2044g Total Dough Yield

1/22/11 - Evening
10:26pm - In a large mixing bowl, add wet ingredients, and then all dry ingredients on top.  Mix with rubber spatula for approx 3 minutes, or until dough forms shaggy dough.  Cover with plastic bag and let rest.

10:32pm - Squish dough with wet hands to make sure all the lumps are gone.  Turn dough in bowl using wet hands and plastic scraper 3 times using letter fold method.  cover and let rest.

10:45pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

11:30pm - Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, shape into boules, place seam side down in well floured, linen lined bannetons.  Place bannetons in plastic bag, place in refrigerator overnight.  Go to bed.

1/23/11 - Next Morning
9:10am - Take bannetons out of fridge, place on counter.  Arrange baking stone (14" x 16"), and loaf pan with lava rocks and water filled about 3/4 way.  Preheat oven with convection to 500F for at least 1/2 hr.

9:45am - Turn boules out onto floured peel, place into oven directly on to stone.  Bake for 10 mins at 500F with steam, no convection, then turn down to 450F, remove steam pan, rotate loaves, bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 210F and loaves weight 15% less than pre bake weight.  Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and eating…

Sent to Susan at Yeastspotting on 1/26/2011

ehanner's picture

Let me start by saying that I have always thought of my self as the kind of guy who when faced with a self made disaster, would take credit for it. My reply on another thread that I thought stove top baking in a dutch oven is possible, is why I'm posting my trial bake. Not everything I try is beautiful, as you can see. I think I learned enough to make corrections in the burner level and have a better result. Who ever said you can't really burn bread hasn't tried this method.

This is a 68% hydration French style Pain au Levain. I made enough dough for 2 loaves baked at the same time. The fire detectors didn't alarm, better check the battery!

Enjoy my disaster.

Cast iron trivet to hold dough off the bottom. Parchment to hold dough.

Slashed and ready to cover. Cover on holding 320F +~-

Tented to hold heat in on top. This seemed to work.

Parchment was scorched from medium burner heat. The crust is very thin and some of the color is from the burning of the bottom.

I made 2 loaves. One for the oven and one for the combo cooker. The bottom of the DO loaf was carbonized. Evidence of way to much burner heat.

The blackened bottom made the crumb inedible in a civil world. I am pleased with the crumb structure and over all profile.


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