The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Benito's picture

This was last night’s dinner.  I made my usual sourdough pizza dough following the recipe that the PieKing shared with us for the pizza CB.

This pizza had homemade fresh pizza sauce for which I used Peter Reinhart’s recipe from his book Artisan Breads Everyday.  In order to keep the crust crispy and avoid sogginess from the sauce, I first put a layer of prosciutto then the sauce.  This was followed by mozzarella cheese, onions, pineapple, roasted red peppers and once out of the oven a bit more prosciutto.  

This definitely made a tasty pizza so long as you like pineapple which we do.

agres's picture

For a very long time, I have been fascinated by “pain de campagne”. In the cookbooks, it is made with mostly white bread flour, to which some (20%) whole wheat flour is added. Sometimes it is made with yeast, and sometimes sourdough and sometimes something in between. I have tried a bunch of these recipes and variations on them.  Then, there are stories and rumors about great breads made of fresh ground high extraction flours (e.g., ).

The color and texture of “pain de campagne” and Poilâne style miches can be similar, but they really are not the same bread!  The Poilâne style dough is what I want for my pain de campagne. I make it in a bunch of different shapes.

I use a mix of 5% rye, 10% spelt, and 85% hard red winter wheat. I keep that on hand and grind the day I make the dough. Then I sift through a #40 screen which gives about an 80% extraction. (The bran goes in our porridge mix.)

I put the flour on the bench, make a well, put  a piece of starter the size of a walnut in the well, add water, mix the starter into the water, and gradually incorporate the rest of the flour as I add water and mix with my fingers. I pull all the dough together with the bench knife and knead. The moisture content of my grain varies, thus the amount of water to make a good dough varies, and it is easier to gauge the hydration of the dough, when I am mixing by hand.  As the last step in kneading, I add the salt.

It goes into a covered proofing tub, and it sits on the kitchen counter all night.  It is winter, and the house is cool. First thing in the morning, it gets shaped, and goes into a proofing basket.  Yesterday, total process from starting to grind the grain to bread on the cooling rack was ~20 hours. The kitchen was cool, mostly below 67F and closer to 60F at 5 a. m.  I used a heaping teaspoon of very active starter for ~500g of flour. I am not sure why my dough rises faster.

Jeff P's picture
Jeff P

Or something like that...

To be honest, I'm just starting out as a baker. I've made a few loaves of bread, some cookies, and some dinner rolls.

I originally tried out baking as a way to relax on my days off. Something about the mindfulness associated with the whole process - mixing, kneading, waiting, working, baking, enjoying - really appeals to me. I don't have a lot of time or money, and so my baking is done "by appointment". I block out time, find some recipes or plan my day in advance, and do most everything by hand. No mixers, no scales. 

Recently, though, I've started paying more attention to baking. My wife, the ever-supportive taster, has encouraged me to make baking a more regular thing, and even found some books to inspire me. At this point, once a week is about all I can manage, but I try to squeeze several recipes in at a time to get the most out of my day.

I'm most interested in mastering a unique, natural breads. I also really want to try my hand at pastry, though I'm not sure I have the temperament for it. Being from Vermont, I have ample access to the great King Arthur Flour and their many great products. There is also a thriving Locavore movement here, and a huge emphasis on natural and organic alternatives. These are all things I'm interested in!

Lastly, I want to be healthy. I've always been overweight, and have had trouble with highly processed foods and sugars. I feel that baking may be the key to a healthier lifestyle, one where I can appreciate and enjoy smaller portions of rich food. 

So, healthier lifestyle, lower stress, and a deeper understanding and appreciation for baking. These are what I'm going for!

TwoCats's picture
  • Prepped 130g of levain (100% hydration, 70F in the microwave with the light on). At the same time, autolysed roughly 650g of flour (255g Central Milling ABC+, 70g hard white, 70g semolina) with 520g room-temp water.

  • 5 hours later, added all the levain (rose about 2.3x) to the autolysed dough and mixed

  • 45 mins later, added 16g Maldon salt

  • 1 hour later, divided dough (at this point, 650g each)

  • 1.5 hour later, coil fold

  • 1 hour later, coil fold

  • 3 hours later (woops, went somewhere, forgot about the dough, and came back), coil fold

  • 30 min later, bench fold

  • 30 min later, shaped

  • In fridge (41F) for about 10 hours

  • Heated oven 500F, baked loaf at left at 450F for 20 min, took cover off, then baked another 20 min at 450F

  • Same thing for the loaf at right (only difference was that the loaf was in the fridge for about 45 mins longer, which shouldn't really make any difference)

I chalk it up to minor differences in the coil folds and shaping during the proof. I like the lift of the loaf at left, but love the openness of the loaf at right.

The post-score interior of the crumb at right:

idaveindy's picture

For handy reference. Courtesy of Duckduckgo.

Celsius Fahrenheit

  • 180   356
  • 185   365
  • 190   374
  • 195   383
  • 200   392
  • 205   401
  • 210   410
  • 215   419
  • 220   428
  • 225   437
  • 230   446
  • 235   455
  • 240   464
  • 245   473
  • 250   482
  • 255   491
  • 260   500

C x 1.8 + 32 = F


ifs201's picture

I've really been enjoying reducing my levain to 10% and doing a longer bulk ferment this winter. I wanted to make some loaves to give away and to serve at a party, so I tried mixing dough for 6 loaves at once. Boy, that was a mistake! My scale couldn't handle the weight so all of my measurement were thrown off, but somehow the breads may be my best ever (at least visually).

The dough was 10% levain, 2% salt, 45% KABF, 50% T85, and 5% rye. I would guess the hydration ended up being around 80% but my calculations were thrown off. I find my Farmer Ground Flour T85 to be very thirsty. At the lamination stage I divided the dough into two cheddar/jalapeno, two leek/mustard seed/shallot, one rosemary olive, and one raisin/walnut. 

The autolyse was about 2.5 hours. I kneaded the dough on the counter to add the levain and then kneaded salt and extra water (about equal amounts salt and water) 15 minutes later. I did one set of S&F before the lamination. I think I did 2 sets of coil folds, but it is possible that I did 3. The bulk ferment at 69 degrees went for about 8.5 hours, shaped, on the counter for 30 minutes, and then 13 hours in the fridge. 

I can't figure out why these loaves came out so well! I just hope I can repeat it. I think having a slightly higher hydration versus my last bake with the same flours helped. I also think I got the length of the bulk ferment about right.


Rhody_Rye's picture

This is my first time attempting the couronne Bordelaise. I followed the instructions given by Susan at Wild Yeast Blog, using her Norwich Sourdough recipe as well, though I scaled the recipe down by 25% to produce two (roughly) 750 gram loaves. I did a test run two days ago, which turned out pretty well, though I had some problems with execution. I rolled the center disk out too much, and that piece didn't separate to produce the "crown" effect. The first of the two I baked this morning similarly failed to crown thoroughly. Third time is the charm. These are going with me to a New Year's Day party this afternoon.

I don't have a couronne proofing basket, so I rigged two up using cake pans and small ramekins covered by cloth napkins.

Proofing in the proofing "basket"

Couronne #1, ready to go into the oven.

Couronne #1 baking.

Couronne #1 - this one didn't "crown" much.

Couronne #2 - success!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Same as last year's, the only differences are I used the best butter I found and I already got hold of the traditional Edam Cheese (Queso de Bola) used for a Filipino Ensaymada. Of course, I served it with traditional Filipino hot chocolate.

My colleague makes the best cooked ham so I made a version with ham, similar to our province's style of making ensaymada—the only thing missing is salted egg. Queso de bola is also saltier and more pungent/flavorful than most cheeses so a sprinkling is all that is needed for both versions.

It is already just a few more minutes before 2020 here! I wish all of us a happier, healthier, and more blessed 2020!

Happy New Year!

idaveindy's picture

12/29/2019.  Goal:  1200 g boule, all WW except for what's in starter.  Overnight bulk ferment in cold (71 F falling to 67 F) kitchen.

9:00 pm. Mix: 500 g home-milled Prairie Gold hard white spring wheat, 100 g home-milled Kamut, 11.7 g salt, 56 g levain of 125% hydration ( 25 g flour, 31 g water), 472 g bottled spring water.

11.7 / 625 = 1.87% salt.

25 / 625 = 4.0% prefermented flour.

9:19 pm. Mix in 26 g additional water, 2 heaping tsp of ground  chia seed, 1 tsp caraway seed. (I'm guessing  add-ins are 3 gr.)

529 / 625 = 84.6% hydration.  Total weight:  1168.7 g.

Leave in bowl. cover with plastic wrap.  Two series of stretch and folds. 


6:30 am. Fold/shape put in floured lined banneton.  Slowly pre-heat oven.

Put in deep part of 3.2 qt Lodge cast iron combo cooker.  Bottom of pot lightly oiled with refined coconut oil, sprinkled with corn meal.  Dust top (seam side) of boule with corn meal and cover with round piece of parchment paper.  Invert pot over banneton, flip both over.  Removed banneton and scored with a circular cut all around the edge, plus X on top.

7:56 am.  Bake covered, 495/475 F, 5 min.

8:01 am. Covered, 475/455  F, 10 min.

8:11 am. Covered, 430/410 F, 20 min.

8:31 am. Uncover,  bake at 400/380, 35 min.

9:06 am. Internal temp: 209.1 F.

Turned off oven, place pot and loaf back in for 5 minutes.

9:12 am. Internal temp 208.8.  Remove, start cool.

Some oven spring, acceptable.  Probably over fermented a bit.  4% was too much innoculation for an overnight bulk ferment outside the fridge.

Good crumb.  Chia darkened the color.  Caraway taste goes well with whole wheat.


PalwithnoovenP's picture

When I was a little kid, when parents want to show off how good their kids were in spelling (it's a double-edged sword actually for it is also often used when you want to give someone a hard time :D), they will make them spell "Czechoslovakia." Being so foreign sounding and with a peculiar arrangement of consonants for our eyes and ears, it was really difficult for kids in this side of the world to spell and really shows how good they were in actually "memorizing" letters for the correct spelling.

We only know the word but we really don't know what Czechoslovakia actually was. It was only in high school during geography class I finally knew that it was a country that has peacefully became two independent countries. While browsing bread videos, I randomly saw this cute little buns called buchty and was surprised that it came from those countries The memories just came rushing back. If you want to know more about it, here is an excellent information and recipe. It is also popular in neighboring countries and goes by many other names.

Here is my sourdough version. (Pardon for the rushed photos and lumpy icing sugar, I did not have my little sifter with me...)

I did not have plum butter so I filled them with a dark raisin jam. I did not have the chance to cut one bun in half (because they were demolished so quickly) but you can see the filling peeking in the lower right corner of the next photo.

I served the way it is served in Austria, with vanilla sauce. So delicious!


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