The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


varda's picture


I'm a simple person and I'm driven by simple hopes and desires.   So while I may drool over the pictures of impossibly gorgeous pastries that get posted with alarming regularity on this site, I have no inclination to emulate those bakers.   All I want is to master bread with essentially three ingredients:   flour, water, and salt.   And that's not so simple.  For the last several weeks I've been cranking out alarming quantities of the stuff and slowly tweaking the few parameters available when the ingredient list is so short: dough hydration, starter hydration, and percentage of flour in the starter.    (Oh and also mix of flour and proofing strategies.)    I finally put together a decent spreadsheet to help me with this tinkering.    And now I can just put in the hydrations, and percentage starter (and flour mix of course) and I'm off to the races.    While I started down this road with Hamelman's formulae, I find I'm unwilling to go back to that right now, as I find I prefer higher hydrations and starter percentages.  

The first loaf baked after 1.5 hours final proof.   The second which retarded overnight, had a bit more spring. 

Basic Sourdough bread baked on Jan 17, 18, 2011      
Starter 67% starter first feeding second feeding total  
starter seed 245   plus 3.5 hrs plus 12 hrs  
Heckers 138 50 45 233 94%
Hodgson's Mill Rye 2   5 7 3%
spelt 7     7 3%
water 98 35 32 165  
hydration       67%  
total grams       412  
  Final dough   Starter   percents
Bob's Red Mill White 500         Heckers 124    
Hodgson's Mill Rye 30                HM 3.7    
KA White whole wheat 70              spelt 3.7    
water 439   88   72%
total starter / flour in starter 219   132    
salt 13       1.8%
hydration of starter         67%
baker's % of starter         18%
Estimated pounds of bread     2.53    
Mix flour and water plus 30 minutes      
Mix salt and starter plus 50 minutes      
Stretch and fold plus 35 minutes      
Stretch and fold plus 65 minutes      
Cut and preshape plus 30 minutes      
Shape and place seam side up in brotforms.  Cover with plastic   Heat cup of water for 2 minutes in microwave.   Place one in microwave, other in back of refrigerator wrapped in a towel plus 45 minutes      
Turn oven to 500 w. stone plus 15 minutes      
Remove basket from microwave and place next to stove - put loaf pans plus towels in oven plus 30 minutes      
Turn heat down to 450 slash and place loaf in oven plus 15 minutes      
Remove steam pans plus 15 minutes      
Place loaf on rack          
After 19 hours remove second loaf from refrigerator, and preheat oven, stone, towels and bake as above.          

Second loaf: 

Slices from first loaf:


Gary61786's picture

  I am currently enrolled in an artisan bread class at the Art Institute of Nashville. The chef has instructed that we blog on this website as a homework assignment. Here is where I will keep you, my readers, informed on what all we do in our class.

The first day of class we started working on the dough for Toasted Sesame Bread, Middle-Class Brioche, and Croissant Dough. If you have ever baked bread you do know that some breads tend to take a couple of days to make. There is a lot of fermenting. The longer you ferment the better your flavor will be. So, during the times that we were waiting on the dough to ferment or proof we were able to make cranberry-orange scones. The scones turned out great. I have made scones before. With this recipe the scones are made like biscuits. The scones did have a little too much of a orange flavor but I think it is just because we added more orange zest then it called for. But it was great.

Now, on the second day is when all the magic happened. All the dough was finished and is ready to be proofed and baked. While the bread was proofing and in the oven we started on making doughnuts. I have always wanted to make my own doughnuts and now I can say I have. The doughnut recipe is something I am going to take with me for a long time. I will definetly use this over and over again. Another student made some simple icing and poured it over the doughnuts.

The Toasted Sesame Bread finished and turned out great. The color was great. I am not a big fan of sesame seeds but the bread was good. The crust was a little hard for me. The crumbs were so soft and very small. The Middle-Class Brioche is still my favortie. I have made this before in another class and it is the best. It is like a buttery dinner roll. The chef had brought some orange butter with him and allowed us to use it. The brioche is in measured in classes the more butter you have the higher in class it gets. I thought that was neat to know. Now, on to the croissant dough. This was are actually waiting until next week to work with. So, you will hear about this in the next blog. Something I have left out is that on both days while we were waiting on the breads to finish we learned some different mixing methods. Some methods we learned was hand, short, intensive, and improved mixing.

Recipe and pictures are following.


Toasted Sesame Bread (Kalanty)


Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Sesame Seeds                        5 %                       45 grams

Milk (90 deg)                          57 %                   450 grams

Instant Yeast                                                           7 grams

Semolina flour                      28 %                    225 grams

Sugar                                       2.3 %                      20 grams

Eggs                                         6.3 %                      50 grams

Olive Oil                                    5 %                       45 grams

Bread flour                             72 %                   560 grams

Salt                                              2 %                     15 grams



1.  Lightly toast sesame seeds.  Reserve.

2.  Mix together milk, yeast and semolina flour on 1st speed until just mixed.

3.  Rest 10 minutes.

4.  Whisk egg and sugar.

5.  Mix in egg/sugar, olive oil, flour and salt on 1st speed.

6.  Mix on 2nd speed 4 minutes.

7.  Add in sesame seeds and mix on 1st speed 4 minutes.

8.  Ferment for 45 mins at room temperature.

9.  Stretch and fold.  Ferment another hour.

10.  Degas and divide in half.  Shape into boules.

11.  Rest 25 minutes.

12.  Oil mist and roll in semolina to coat.

13.  Place on parchment and proof at 80 deg humidity 1 hour.

13.  Bake with steam in 400 deg oven 6 minutes.

14.  Vent and bake at 360 deg until internal temp is 190 deg.

15.  Prop oven door open and bake 3 - 5 minutes.  Cool


Mixing Methods Demo


Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Instant Yeast                            0.3 %               1.4  grams

Water, 84 deg                         75 %                  340 grams

Bread flour                            100 %                454 grams

Salt                                                 2 %                      9 grams


1.  Mix all ingredients by hand.  Knead to windowpane and dough temp is 75 deg.

2.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Fold twice.

3.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Fold twice.

4.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Divide into two parts, rest 5 minutes and preshape into boules. 

5.  Proof, slash and bake in 375 deg until done.  Cool.



Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Instant Yeast                            0.3 %               1.4  grams

Water, 78 deg                         75 %                  340 grams

Bread flour                            100 %                454 grams

Salt                                                 2 %                      9 grams


1.  Mix all ingredients on 1st speed for five minutes.  Knead to windowpane and dough temp is 80 deg.

2.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Fold twice.

3.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Fold twice.

4.  Chafe and ferment 1 hour.  Divide into two parts, rest  5 minutes and preshape into boules. 

5.  Proof, slash and bake in 375 deg until done.  Cool.



Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Instant Yeast                            0.8 %               3.6  grams

Water, 60 deg                         65 %                  295 grams

Bread flour                            100 %                454 grams

Salt                                                 2 %                      9 grams


1.  Mix all ingredients on 1st speed for five minutes. 

2.  Increase speed to 2nd speed for 5 minutes.

3.  Chafe and ferment 20 minutes.

4.  Divide into two parts, rest  5 minutes and preshape into boules. 

5.  Proof, slash and bake in 375 deg until done.  Cool.



Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Instant Yeast                            0.6 %               2.7  grams

Water, 64 deg                         68 %                  309 grams

Bread flour                            100 %                454 grams

Salt                                                 2 %                      9 grams


1.  Mix all ingredients on 1st speed for five minutes. 

2.  Increase speed to 2nd speed for 2 minutes.

3.  Chafe and ferment 75 minutes.

4.  Divide into two parts, rest  5 minutes and preshape into boules. 

5.  Proof, slash and bake in 375 deg until done.  Cool.


Croissant Dough


 80 grams water, room temperature

  7 grams active dry yeast

 67 grams pastry flour


 27 grams sugar

  8 grams salt

117 grams milk, room temperature

 37 grams butter, room temperature

 80 grams pastry flour

220 grams bread flour


231 grams butter (for book)



1.  Warm water to 112 deg.  Place in mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over surface.


2.  Cover with pastry flour.  Let forment until cracks form.


3.  Shape butter for book and chill.


4.  Mix sugar, salt, soft butter and milk in bowl.


4.  Add milk mixture and flours to starter.


5.  Mix with dough hook on low until dough wraps around hook.


6.  Put in oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.


7.  Degas and chill overnight.


8.  Combine butter and dough and chill ½ hour.


9.  Roll out and give two single book turns.  Chill overnight.


10. Roll out and give single or double book turn.



Source:  French Pastry School

Author: Chef Jacqay Pfieffer and Sebastian Canonne


Middle-Class Brioche (BBA)


Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Bread flour                            100 %                   64 grams

Instant Yeast                                                        6 grams

Milk (95 deg)                                                      113 grams



Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Eggs                                                                       250 grams

Bread flour                            100 %                 390 grams

Sugar                                                                       28 grams

Salt                                                                             9 grams

Butter                                                                   227 grams

  (room temperature)



1.  Mix together flour and yeast.

2.  Mix in milk, cover with plastic and ferment 30 - 45 minutes.

3.  Mix in eggs with paddle on 2nd speed until smooth.

4.  Stir together flour, sugar and salt in separate bowl.

5.  Add dry ingredients and mix with paddle 2 minutes on 1st speed.

6.  Let dough rest 5 minutes.

7.  Work in butter in four additions with paddle on medium speed.

8.  Line half sheet pan with parchment paper, mist with cooking spray.

9.  Spread dough into 6" x 8" rectangle, mist with cooking spray and wrap in plastic wrap.

10.  Chill overnight

11.  Remove from refrigerator, divide for shapes and shape.

12.  Mist with cooking spray and proof at room temperature.

13.  Egg wash and proof another 20 minutes.

14.  Bake in 375 deg oven until internal temp is 185 deg.

15.  Cool


Cranberry-Orange Scones (Hitz)


Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

AP Flour                                                               220 grams

Sugar                                                                        28 grams

Salt                                                                              2 grams

Baking Powder                                                     12 grams

Butter (Cold)                                                         74 grams

Eggs                                                                          41 grams

Buttermilk                                                           115 grams

Dried cranberries                                               55 grams

Orange zest                                                        ½ orange



1.  Sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

2.  Cut butter into cubes and work into dry ingredients by hand until pea sized.

3.  Whisk together eggs and buttermilk..

4.  Form well in dry ingredients and add liquids.  Blend using plastic dough scraper until batter just come together.

5.  Hand mix in cranberries and orange zest.

6.  Gently form dough into ½" thick disc on floured surface.  Cut into 8 wedges.

7.  Place on parchment line half sheet pan and let rest 30 minutes.

8.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

9.  Bake in 375 deg oven for about 15 - 18 minutes until golden brown.  Cool.


Yeast Raised Doughnuts (LaVonne)


Ingredients                         Bakers %              Weight

Water                                                                   454 grams

Instant Yeast                                                      19 grams

Sugar                                                                      85 grams

Shortening                                                            85 grams

Powdered Milk                                                    15 grams

Eggs                                                                       1/4 cup

Bread flour                                                       852 grams

Salt                                                                           14 grams


1.  Cream sugar, shortening and powdered milk.  Add eggs and cream.

2.  Sift together flour and salt.

3.  Mix in water and yeast.

4.  Mix in flour mixture on 1st speed.

5.  Mix on 2nd speed for 7 minutes.  Cover and ferment 1 hour.

6.  Let dough in half.  Rest 30 minutes.

7.  Roll out dough on floured surface to ¼ inch thick. Do not overwork dough.

8.  Cut out doughnuts and proof.

9.  Fry in 375 deg fat until done.

10.  Drain and coat with sugar.

TreeseRB's picture

French Bread

I love bread. I have always loved bread. I often decide where I want to eat out solely based upon what kind of bread they serve. I love french bread, sour dough bread, bread pudding. You name it, I love it. And I also love to make it. For a while now, this recipe from Steamy Kitchen has been my go-to for french bread. It comes out perfect every time and it is quite simple and quick, considering it is a yeast dough. It makes 2 loaves.

014 (2)

I also made home made butter. Easiest thing ever! You basically just put whatever amount of heavy whipping cream you want into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat it until the cream separates. It will look something like this.


At this point, strain the mixture by squeezing the liquid through some cheesecloth or even a kitchen towel. Return the solid butter to the mixing bowl and add sea salt and rosemary, or any other combination of seasonings you would like.

I love every single part of baking bread; kneading the dough, seeing it rise, the smell that fills the whole house. For me, it is one of life's best simple pleasures.


ehanner's picture

I have tried my hand at various recipes for Greek bread over the last couple years. People who visit Greece rave about the wonderful bread and I long to create such a loaf. David (Dmsnyder) has posted his latest improvement which I tried today with a couple of minor modifications. I won't re-post the recipe as David's is all you need to make this wonderful bread.

As David suggested, I lowered the oven temperature to 430F from the beginning. I made two full batches and on the second pair of loaves, I lowered the temp to 420 after 20 minutes and continued for another 20 minutes. After the 40 minutes baking time, I left the breads in the oven with the door ajar for another 5 minuets to harden the crust. The color is less dark, more towards golden although it looks darker in the photo. The crumb image is of the first loaf that was baked more boldly. The second two loaves are destined to be delivered to my son for his Greek dinner with friends.

The inclusion of Durum flour adds a very nice nutty note to the aroma. I almost feel as if I am smelling or tasting the sesame seeds on the outside. The Durum lends an unusual flavor. It is most delicious. The crumb is open well enough and the cells are gelatinous. The dough was 7.3 Lbs in total divided into 4 parts, mixed by hand and folded twice during the 2-1/2 hours of fermenting and proofed in round linen lined baskets. I pinched the dough while in the baskets across the sides to make them oval just before turning on to the flipper board. I spritzed the dough and sprinkled the seeds over all before slashing.

This is a terrific bread. The added honey helps it brown early. Next time I will start at 420F for 40-45 minutes to an internal temp of 205F.


longhorn's picture

Today's bake involved my interpretation of the Tartine Semolina loaf along with baking the boules simultaneously in a Cloche and in a Combo Cooker. The finished loaves follow! The black crumb is primarily a combination of poppy seeds and black sesame seeds. The Combo Cooker loaf is on the left and the Cloche loaf is on the right.

Tartine Semolina Loaves

Last fall I bought some durum flour and I have been intending to try it in bread. Since I have been working on the Tartine Country loaf I decided to try the Tartine Semolina recipe. I pretty much followed the recipe except that I use a higher dose of starter in my levain for my starter is rather mild. This recipe is very similar to the Country loaf in my opinion except that it uses 70% semolina/30% AP in the building the final dough AND it uses seeds (fennel, sesame, poppy) both in the dough and as a finish to the crust. I normally do a double batch of bread (around 5 pounds) and usually make four loaves. Time constraints today led me to divide the bulk ferment at 2 1/2 hours and retard half to finish tomorrow. As a result this posting will have a follow-up report tomorrow on the retarded dough.

My key comments involving the recipe would be that the recipe is not fully written. It has you roast fennel and sesame seeds in a skillet and grind them. Then add poppy seeds to the roasted seeds (and poppy seeds are not listed in the ingredients). This seed meal is added after the second S&F. The recipe needs to be read carefully for it is confusing.

I used very fine durum flour and it was lovely, and the resulting dough was strong and easy to work with. I will be using durum flour more often, I think.  I also found the roasted fennel and sesame seeds very appealing for the aroma they gave the loaves. (The poppy seeds were not roasted and didn't smell.) 

As usual, even though today was cold, my yeast was faster than allowed for in Chad's book. When I applied the poke test it indicated the dough was ready (even though I felt it was still a bit early). The results seem to suggest I should have given the bulk ferment another 20 minutes or so. The Cloche and Combo Cooker were heated for 1 hour at 475. The oven was turned down to 450 for baking. The loaf in the cloche was naked on the ceramic, the loaf in the Combo Cooker was on a layer of parchment. The bottoms of the loaves are shown below.

The Combo Cooker loaf on the left is a bit darker. I personally prefer the cloche loaf on the right, but as in the case of the oven spring and loaf baking the results are close enough that either is acceptable or can be with minor tweaking.

The crumb on these loaves was not as open as I am used to from the country loaf. I suspect that results from the introduction of the seed and seed flour but underproofing is also a suspect. It is worth noting that the Eric Kayser Pain aux Cereales has seeds and huge uneven holes so that tends to point the finger at timing or handling or even water absorption from the dough by the seeds. I would welcome comments by others regarding the influence of semolina on loaf volume. Flavor is delightful. I really like the subtle anise flavor from the fennel. 

Franko's picture

A plate of pastries

January has seen me doing more reading about baking than actual home baking due to three new additions to my book collection. Advanced Bread and Pastry-Suas, Breadbaking-An Artisan's Perspective-DiMuzio and Swedish Breads and Pastries-Hedh are all fine books to own and I've been enjoying them immensely over the last few weeks for their technical information and variety of recipes and methods. AB&P is easily the best text on baking in general that I've ever read, making it my 'go to' reference for some time to come I imagine.


Well eventually the time comes to put the books down and get back in the kitchen for a little practical application, so it was welcome that early last week my wife Marie asked me if I could bake a few pastries or muffins for a breakfast meeting she had scheduled with some of her colleagues at the college where she works. Nothing large or too fancy just something to nibble on during the meeting. I decided I'd make the Danish dough with Sponge from AB&P, along with some apple turnovers and a few carrot muffins for anyone wanting something a little less rich. The carrot muffin formula I've always used is one from my old trade school text and is still one of the best tasting and easiest versions of this muffin I've run across yet. Recipe to follow. The puff pastry for the turnovers was made earlier last year and the last piece of it has been taking up space in the freezer since, so I was glad to have an excuse to finish it off at last.  As for the danish dough, it's been ages since the last time I made one but this mix went well, the only changes being that I used AP flour (the closest to white bread flour I had on hand), added some ground mace to the mix and increased the overall ratio of butter from 31% to 35%, requiring me to give it an extra fold for a total of four single folds. Whenever I've made danish dough in the past it's always been done using the straight method of mixing, so the sponge is an extra step to make, but worth it for the flavour boost in the finished product and one I'll use in any future danish mixes. While I didn't get anything near as flaky looking as what's pictured in the book, it did make a very passable danish with a nice soft crumb and plenty of flavour from the butter and preferment. For me, taste testing danish is an exercise in restraint, and a good reminder of why I rarely make this pastry for myself. I did manage to keep it reasonably (Marie laughing in the background) analytical....this time, however the real test will be this summer when we'll be taking a river cruise on the Danube through Austria, Slovakia and finally to Budapest. Something, or more accurately someone, tells me I'll be eating nothing but rice and vegetables for a long time after that vacation is over.


75 gram carrot muffin

blueberry and lemon twists

chocolate and hazelnut rolls

small apple turnovers

Danish Dough with Sponge-adapted from AB&P




Sponge Formula






Bread Flour









Mix all ingredients with a DDT of 70F Ferment 12-16@ 65F-70F






Final Dough






Bread Flour












Mace powder















Butter for roll-in





Mix all ingredients for final dough on 1st sped for 5 minutes and on 2nd speed for 3 minutes to a DDT of 72F-77F. Bulk ferment for 45-60 min. Laminate 4x single fold resting 30 minutes refrigerated between folds and final make up. Proof final product for 1.5-2 hrs. Bake at 385F 10-12 minutes



Carrot Muffins





Cake Flour




Vegetable Oil




Baking Soda




Baking Powder





































Sift flour and baking soda, add salt and reserve.

Blend all but flour mix, raisins, nuts. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients and mix on 1st speed to incorporation, then an additional 30 -60 seconds.

Fold in raisins and nuts.

Let rest for 10 minutes, then scale 60g per muffin cup.

Bake at 380 for 15-18 minutes


em120392's picture

Today, I made Peter Reinhart's Rich Man's Brioche from BBA. I've never made such a rich, buttey bread, but it was delicious. I could only eat one slice, but with raspberry jam, it made the best breakfast.

I posted this on the blog my brother and I share ( ) We're both trying to complete the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, and also, I'm completing a high school project about artisan breads.

Anyway, here's the post!

Nowadays, we know brioche as a rich bread, enriched with enormous amounts of butter and eggs. The name brioche is derived from the Norman verb, "to pound." The Norman region of France was well known for the butter which they produced, and excessive kneading was required to incorporate all the butter into the dough.

Brioche came to Paris in the 1600s as a much heavier and far less rich bread than the one we know today. Supposedly brioche became well known with Marie Antoinette's famous quote, "qu'ils manget de al brioche" during the 1700s, which translates to "let them eat cake." This referred to the peasants who rioted because there was a lack of bread. The different butter contents of bread were baked for different classes-even the food reflected the social-class divides in 18th century France.

In the Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart provides three different recipes which vary in the butter content. Rich Man's Brioche has about 88% butter to flour ratio, Middle-Class Brioche has about 50%, and Poor Man's Brioche has about 20%. Since I had never made brioche, I splurged and made Rich Man's-why not? The recipe makes three loaves- In my head, the idea of three loaves somehow justified the pound (?!) of butter in the bread.

Traditionally, brioche is baked in molds as brioche a tete, which are formed with two balls of dough. Served with jam, brioche makes a perfect breakfast, and topped with meats and cheese, it can be served for lunch or dinner, thus making brioche a truly versatile bread.

I began the brioche with a sponge of flour, yeast, and milk. After the sponge rose and collapsed, I added five eggs. Next, incorporated the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar), and mixed until the flour was hydrated.

After a few minutes, I mixed in a stick of butter at a time, making sure they were fully incorporated before the next addition. The dough looked smooth, and almost icing-like, because of the butter. I had never worked with such a fluffy, light bread dough, so I felt kind of intimidated in new waters.

After all the butter was added, I mixed for a few more minutes until the dough was soft, and tacky, but not sticky. I spread the dough onto a cookie sheet and put it in the refrigerator to firm up and retard overnight.

Since I don't have brioche molds, I used three loaf pans. I cut the dough into three even pieces, and with a rolling pin, I formed a rectangle. Like sandwich bread, I rolled the dough up, and placed them seam-down in the pan, and let it rise for about two hours. After it had risen for the second time, I brushed it an egg wash, to form a shiny crust.

In a 350 degree oven, I baked the bread until it was golden brown, and the internal temperature reached 190 degrees. However, when I tried to take the bread out of the pan, it kind of stuck to my not-nonstick pans, which I didn't grease. With some slight prying, I got the bread out, but slightly crushed and deflated a loaf. Also, when forming the loaves, I didn't seal the seam well, and when baked, it split on the sides.

Once cooled, I cut the bread, which flaked like a croissant, and tasted so rich and delicious. Since there is so much butter, one slice is more than enough, but every bite was so delicate and smooth. I'm glad I splurged for Rich Man's brioche, but I'm not sure how often I'll make it because of it's richness. With raspberry jam, it honestly made the best breakfast.


Baking Mama's picture
Baking Mama

Kalanty was one of the many breads we made in class this week. I really liked this bread the best because of the toasted sesame seeds worked into the dough. Just before baking we rolled the tops in more sesame seeds and then scored the tops two different ways for different looks. We baked these breads in deck ovens with steam. One loaf was baked directly on oven bottom and the other was baked on a sheet pan. I could not tell much difference in the two loafs. I will do this bread again at home.


darren1126's picture



I'm going to try making an olive bread recipe and it calls for a "salt starter". I have no idea what this is. I'm not sure if this is just regular salt, sea salt, or something I'm supposed to create. I tried googling it but that wasn't any help. Could anyone offer some assistance.


Thank you!



dmsnyder's picture


We baked a miche the last day of the SFBI Artisan II (sourdough baking) workshop. This was one of the breads we mixed entirely by hand. The students' miches were scaled to 1 kg, as I recall, but our instructor baked a couple larger ones, using the same dough.

These miches were among the favorites of all the students for the wonderful texture of their crust and crumb and their flavor. I gave one of mine to brother Glenn, who has stopped reminding me in the past few days that I promised him the formula.

This formula is substantially different from the miche formula in Advanced Bread and Pastry. I blogged about the background of that miche last month. This one is more similar to contemporary versions such as that of James McGuire, Hamelman's adaptation of which is found in Bread.

The formula we used at the SFBI calls for mostly white flour, with a little whole wheat in the levain refreshment and a little toasted wheat germ in the final dough. From my reading, a high-extraction flour is preferred for miches. I had some of Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” high-extraction flour on hand, so that is what I used.


Total formula




Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour






Wheat germ (toasted)










  • The SFBI formula used 96.67% “Bread flour” and 3.33% Whole wheat flour. All the whole wheat flour is used in the levain. I used Central Milling's “Organic Type 85 Flour” for both the levain and the final dough

  • I did not use wheat germ since I was using high-extraction flour, but this ingredient did contribute to the great flavor of this bread as we made it in Artisan II.






Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour






Liquid starter






  1. Dissolve the starter in the water and mix in the flour. Desired Dough Temperature: 78ºF.

  2. Ferment for 8-12 hours.


Final Dough




Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour






Wheat germ (toasted)













  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. DDT: 75-78ºF.

  2. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  3. Ferment for 3-4 hours with 4 folds at 50 minute intervals. (I did this by the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique.)

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Pre-shape as a tight boule.

  5. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.

  6. Shape as a tight boule and place, seam side up, in a floured banneton.

  7. Cover with plastic and retard overnight in refrigerator.

  8. Remove the boule from the refrigerator and allow to warm and complete proofing for 1-3 hours. (Watch the dough, not the clock!)

  9. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the over to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  10. When the loaf is proofed, transfer the boule to a peel. Slash the boule as desired, and transfer it to the baking stone. Steam the oven and reduce the temperature to 450ºF.

  11. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove any water remaining in your steaming apparatus.

  12. Continue baking for another 40-50 minutes. (If you have a convection oven, switch to “Convection Bake” and reduce the oven temperature to 430ºF at this point. But see my tasting notes.)

  13. Remove the boule to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Notes on procedure

  • Traditionally, we were told, this bread is scored in a diamond pattern, but any scoring pattern that pleases you is fine. Just be aware that the diamond pattern tends to yield a flatter profile loaf than a simple square or cross.

  • This bread benefits from a very bold bake. The crust should be quite dark. It may look almost burned, but the flavor and crunchiness that is desired requires this.

  • This type of bread often improves in flavor very substantially 24 hours after baking.



    Crumb close-up

Tasting notes

I sliced and tasted the bread about 4 hours after removing it from the oven. The crust had crackled nicely and was very thick and crunchy – the kind that results in crust flying everywhere when you slice it. The crumb was well-aerated, but without any really large holes. The crumb structure is similar to that I got with the miche from BBA made with this flour, but a bit more open. The crumb is chewy-tender.

The flavor of the crust is very dark – caramelized-sweet but with a bitter overtone where it is almost black. The crumb is sweet, wheaty, nutty and absolutely delicious. My note above notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine the flavor getting any better in another day.

I am enormously impressed with the flavor of the breads I have baked with Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I want more of it, and I want to try some of their other specialty flours, including those they mill for baguettes.

I will definitely be baking this bread again. I would like to make it as a larger miche, say 2 kg. Next time, I will lower the oven temperature to 420 or 425ºF when I switch to convection bake for the crust to be slightly less dark.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


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