The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


codruta's picture

This was the first time I used Yeast Water (almost 2 weks ago) Since then, I made 6 loaves, using different formulas, but I wanted to share with you this one, because it has a funny shape, it was my first attempt at using yeast water, and because it was particularly good. My apple yeast water looks like this:

The overall formula was:

- Bread flour: 273 g ……………………………… 91%
- Whole wheat flour: 27 g …………………….. 9%
- Water: 57 g ………………………………………. 19%
- AYW: 147 g ……………………………….......... 49%
- Salt: 6 g ………………………………………….… 2%
Amount of dough: 510 g ……………………….. 170%

Final dough:

- Bread flour: 255 g
- Water: 39 g
- YW: 120 g
- Levain 100%: 36 g
- AYW whole wheat starter 100%: 54 g
- Sare: 6 g

I made the build for the levain and for the YW starter  8 hours before the final dough.

I mixed by hand, with folds in the bowl, than I did 3 S-F at 30 min interval, for a first fermentation of 2 hours. I shaped it, and proofed it for 5h:30min (3h in the fridge, 1h:30min at room temperature). I baked it with steam for 15 min, then without steam for 20-25 min.

I wasn't sure if my yeast water is good, that's why I made such a small loaf, to test it (which was not a smart idea, beacause we were four peoples at the table). We ate it with a-kind-of-babaganoush ( it's an eggplant dish, a romanian version, that doesn't use tahini, only olive oil and seasonings), cheese and tomatoes. This bread was a hit, everyone loved it. The hint of apples was discrete, the crumb was rather sweet than sour.

You can see more about it an my romanian blog,  Apa.Faina.Sare.


Winnish's picture

Avocado Brioche

Brioche - challahs and rolls, made with..... avocado instead of butter.

When I first heard of this idea, it took me a few minutes to digest the idea, but seeing the photo convinced me that I just have to try it. So I did - and my family just looooooooooooved it!

I took one of my own recipes, "played" with it and combined it with this great idea - and these are the results

For the recipe and more photos - please check my post here
If you find any problems with the translating the recipe (translators are on top left side-bar) - please don't hesistate to ask me.  I wonder if it's gonna be hilarious as usual..... :)










lumos's picture

So, the third experiment with the T55, today....I’ll try to be short and quick this time…for a change. :p

 In the third experiment with T55 flour, I decided to find out if the very long fermentation time in the first trial was too much for low gluten of this T55 to bear, especially the potion (about 50%) I used for poolish (6-7 hr + 21 hr = 27-28 hrs).  So instead of using 100% T55 (save for small amount of Rye for poolish), I replaced about a half of poolish flour to my regular Waitrose Organic Strong flour  to bring up the hydration level back to my usual 70% to see how and how much difference it’d make to the character of the dough.  Because I’ve been using Waitrose Organic flours for a while and I’m quite familiar with its characteristics, I hoped hopefully it wouldn’t be to difficult to distinguish which characteristics in the dough were due to T55 and the others due to Waitrose’s one.

This is the combination of ingredients I used…..

Poolish - T55: 60g + Waitrose Organic Strong: 55g + Rye: 10g + Water: 125g

Main Dough – T55: 135g + salt: 5g + Water : 55g

Total hydration = a bit under 70%

All the procedures are left unchanged from the regular methods of my original (I mean, after borrowing and stealing the ideas from THE original formulae by Mr.Hamelman and M. Bertinett, mimicking and mutilating them as I wished) Hamelinet Poolisgh Baguette recipe. 


The dough felt noticeably firmer than that of the first trial after all the ingredients for the main dough were mixed, though it wasn’t as firm as my regular dough with improvised UK flour mix, of course. But I could feel a sort of ‘core strength’ when S & F-ed in a bowl, which I didn’t feel when I once attempted to make a baguettes by using very similar combination of flours to this, the only difference being plain flour there instead of T55 flour this time (Yup! Been there, done that, too. :p)  I found it very interesting because the protein level of the plain flour (Waitrose Leckford Estate Plain) I used then was much higher (11.8%) than this T55 (10.5%).  Obviously the protein level, gluten level and, also, gluten quality are all different beasts, as I’ve been told many times by various books and experts, confirming that you really can’t fathom from simply by looking at the protein content on the packet. 

After the 21 hrs cold retard, the dough looked much more promising than my first trial and it looked more ‘familiar’ than my second trial,  maybe because the hydration level was back to my usual and, possibly, because of the inclusion of 25% Waitrose Organic Strong, my regular flour for poolish.

The ‘feel’ of the dough at pre-shaping, shaping and scoring stages were not bad, quite similar to my regular dough, though it was slightly softer and stickier, naturally. The razor got caught a bit when scoring, just like when working on higher hydration dough (←discreetly preparing an excuse for the pics that are coming), but doable enough (just…). Nothing like the first ciabaguetta disaster.


And this is how it turned out….

It’s not much of a looker  at all, especially compared to the second trial’s (= 65% hydration, with accidentally shorter cold retard of 16 hrs).


However,  inside was….….

Not too bad. ….though it’d be utterly outrageous to call it ‘honeycomb’ crumb. Far from it.  Actually it's rather similar to my usual baguettes made with my regular, improvised flours.  (which confirmed, again, I'd need  more practices... a LOT of them.)

 And the all important taste and texture….Wasn’t too bad, either. It was light and soft but definitely not fluffy,  with a difinite light chew, almost just as I would like from a baguettes. When you pulled the crumb apart, it tore in a different way from my urual improvised UK flour mix baguettes; hard to describe how, but it was more properly ‘baguetty’ way; tore more easily with less resistance into narrower shreds than fatter chunks of torn crumb made from non-T55 flours, and, more significantly,  the torn crumb pieces were more (sort of) transparent and  with slightly more sheen. The crust is thinner and crispier than my usual; more properly baguette-like here, too. The taste was definitely better than the accidental-16 hr cold retard baguette I made last time, but not as deep or complex as the ciabagutta with 100% T55.  And here again, the first taste you notice as soon as you but a piece in your mouth is saltiness, in a very pleasant and appetizing way. It’s milder than the ciabaguetta, but it’s there. Actually when I made the ciabaguetta, I also made a loaf of our current-favourite sourdough, replacing all the white flours with T55 to see how much difference it’d make, and the result of the flavour profile was the same; you taste the pleasant saltiness first and then all other flavours follow and mingle.  Very interesting…..I first thought the lower protein level might be the cause of it, higher protein in UK flour masking the saltiness somehow, but then remembered my experience with all-plain flour didn’t show that ‘phenomena,’ so now I’m just intrigued and curious.

And the aroma was again, quite nutty, sweet and lovely, almost as good as the ciabaguetta, only slightly milder. I could also detect the familiar aroma of my regular Waitrose Organic White mingled with the French-y nutty aroma of the T55, and thought, “I actually quite like that, too” which was a bit comforting. ;)

 So, now I know this particular T55 does have better flavour but could be difficult flour to work on with 70% hydration combined with 21-hr cold retard......And now you know I’m totalyly incapable of writing a short, concise blog entry. Sorry…..


Building on these experiences, my next experiment will be……………….Watch this space! :p

best wishes,



Lumos the Long and Winding

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Often used in Chinese cooking, Goji berries are known to have all kinds of health benefits. I often have dried Goji berries on hand to make soup, congee, or even tea with.They are good for me and pretty looking, but don't really have any strong taste, so I combined them with pine nuts in this loaf to jazz up the flavor.

Light Rye Sourdough with Goji Berry and Pine Nuts
Note: makes a 730g loaf

- levain
medium rye, 136g
water, 110g
rye starter (100%), 7g
1. Mix together and leave at room temp for 12 hours.

- final dough
bread flour, 295g
medium rye, 23g
water, 207g
salt, 8.5g
levain, 245g
dried Goji berries, 57g, soaked in water for 20min then drained
pine nuts, 57g

2. Mix together flour, water, and levain, autolyse for 20 to 60min, add salt, mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope. Add Goji berries and pine nuts, mix @ slow speed until evenly distributed.

3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90min.

4. Shape into batard .

5. Proof face down in basket until the dough spings back slowly when pressed, about 90min in my case.

6. Bake at 450F with steam for the first 15min, lower the temperature to 430F, keep baking for 30 min.

My rye starter is VERY fast, please adjust fermentation schedule to fit your own starter if you decide to give it a try.


Goji berries add visual interests, while pine nuts made it so fragrant.


Nutty and fragrant, it's perfect with some PB.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


This is my first attempt at bagel-style bread - Obwarzanek Krakowski :-)

I used the bulk formula given in the wall street article. Thank you, GSnyde for the inspiration.

My version of thar formula reads:

Wheat flour (T55) 90%

Light Rye 10%

Water 48%

Sugar 3%

Salt 1.5%

Instant Yeast 0.5%

Butter 2.5%

Scaled at 100g per obwarzanek.

Bulk rise 45min at 26C, saped, rested for 10 minutes

boiled with 1 tsp honey in 4 l water

baked at maximum heat without steam fot 14 minutes

I am very pleased with the looks. They taste deliciuous, very slightly sweet. Quite authentic, as far as I can remember from my two visits to Krakow. They could be a bit chewier.

Have to work on joining the ends.



codruta's picture

I baked  this bread, using david's formula found here

I made the bread with some mistakes on the way: first, the dough was very wet (maybe I should have add 1T of flour??), I think I developed the gluten too much when I mixed it, I degased it more than I should have when I shaped it, the pan was too big for the given amount of dough ( I was certain that my pan is 8 inch, but in fact is 9 inch), I try to shape it really tight, and the skin fissured. I put the pan in the fridge, imediately after shaping, left it there for 12 hours, then 2 hours at room's temperature in the morning. I baked it with steam for 20 min, then without steam for 30-35 min. The crust darkened very fast, while the bottom remained kind of soft.

I halved the recipe, and I used 100g WW flour, 200g bread flour and the rest AP flour.

After all these, the result:

The crumb is soft and moist, but not very opened, the shape is asimetrical, as the dough didn't touch the pan all around. I also think the dough was not fully proofed when I baked it.

But the flavour is very very nice. The crust especially has a oily nutty aroma, and a smell that I adore. I will definitely make this again. I think I can do better than this. (I shaped a lot of boules lately, with great results... why I failed this time...I don't know, but it's annoying)

You can see in the picture below the dough after 12 hours+2 hours of proofing, and the fissured skin (the skin was fisured right from the beggining, when I shaped it, but the fissure became more evident after proofing time).


lumos's picture

A bit of a breather to ease the tention created by my obsessive baguette journey. :p

I was browsing through internet leisurely yesterday, searching for some information about Eric Kayser for Andy (ananda), and totally by accident, I came across a blog entry which mentioned…..Pain aux Algues, SEAWEED BREAD, by Maison Kayser!!!!!  Apparently he got the inspiration when started his operation in Japan, travelling to and fro France/Japan and spending some time there,  and conjured up a formula of bread aimed at Japanese market, initially, with chopped up wakame (the most commonly used seawwed) mixed in the dough, which quickly joined the array of breads in his branches in France, too.

Pain aux Algues (海藻のパン) sold by MK’s Japanese branches


A blogger in Paris reporting her experience of Pain aux Algue by MK


So, maybe a hint of seaweedy aroma I detected in the pain au levain my daughter got it from Paris wasn't entirely an illusion my  aging brain created????? 

I hastily continued my search for more info on his seaweed bread, and, admittedly, and a bit disappointingly, I found Pain aux Algues they sold had light, white crumb with chopped-up pieces of  seaweed clearly visible.  So obviously the bread we had was not that.


Crumb of Pain aux Algues sold at MK Japan


French blogger’s attempt to re-create MK’s Pain aux Algues (Firefox translation)


But what IF M.Kayser was taken to the idea of using seaweed to add an extra dimension and depth to the flavour and aroma (seaweeds are known to have lots of ‘umami) and  has conjured up another new bread which included seaweed in more discreet way, like just as the extract of seaweed rather than as more obvious chopped-up form?

I don’t know……But maybe?.......or may be not?


I  close this blog entry by just reporting the other loaf my daughter bought for me had a similar flavour profile but  in a milder way and with more open and softer texture and lighter coloured crumb, and it did NOT  have any hint of  the seaweedy aroma the first one had.


Gros Pain au Levain by Maison Kayser

(Sorry, I couldn't resist...... the centre bit sliced off for quick tasting before taking the photo....)



MK's Gros Pain au Levain sitting with't remember what they were..... whatever....


best wishes,





wassisname's picture

I have a zinfandel grape in the yard, originally planted more as a whimsical tribute to our favorite wine grape than for any practical purpose.  It is now producing grapes, something I should have seen coming, but what to do with them?  They are tasty enough to eat fresh if you don’t mind the seeds but still…

Grape focaccia!  Of course!  I’ve never tried it but it sounds tasty and fun.  The catch? The seeds.  These are small grapes, so I needed a lot.  After about 10 minutes of seeding I had a much better idea of what I was in for, stopped seeding, and split the dough in half.  I decided to top the other half with tomatoes and resumed seeding.  Later that day… I finally had enough grapes.

I wanted to know what the grapes would do on their own so I kept it simple.  Just a little olive oil and a very few bits of rosemary sprinkled on.  The other half was topped with rosemary and yellow pear tomatoes.

In spite of a lackluster focaccia dough (no formula posted – I am confident that you can make a better one)  they were both tasty.  I was amazed at how sweet and concentrated the flavor of the grapes became.  If I can work up the enthusiasm to seed all those grapes again I’ll make a thinner bread, maybe even a regular pizza crust so the grapes will stand out more.  A great seasonal summer treat! 


ananda's picture

Pane Nero di Castelvetrano and my new Oven

In my previous post, here: I told the tale of running through the village to find an alternative oven, having blown up my own early in the bake cycle for my first attempt at the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano.   The result was a minor miracle, given the circumstances, but not one yielding a particularly dark crust, implied as pre-requisite in the real loaf.

Subsequently, I dismantled the old electric oven and found that the wiring point where the mains lead enters the cooker was completely melted through.   I weighed up a couple of alternative solutions.   Firstly, to call out an Electrician to repair the wiring and re-assemble the cooker safely?   I figured that the oven just wasn’t up to the job, and that the same situation would only happen again soon, with further risk of setting fire to the kitchen.   Not a good idea!

Alternative Two was therefore necessary.   I’d better find a new oven.   A good trawl through E-bay, and I’d found a great solution.   I needed an oven with a much better specification to cope with bread baking, that wasn’t going to cost a small fortune.   Given that the expensive ovens all have fancy features which I have no use for, there was no point me buying something with “all mod cons”.   So, I happened upon a SMEG oven, some years old now, yet brand new and unused, if you get my drift?   It had been displayed in a Showroom, but certainly never turned on.   The oven door still had the protective plastic covering attached, and everything arrived pristine…by Courier on a pallet, just a couple of days later!

I had fitted the oven and it was up and running by teatime, but didn’t use it that evening.   Yesterday [Saturday] we stayed in and watched back episodes of MadMen on the dvd player on my pc to take us to the end of Season 3.   I cooked Fassolia, and baked a tray of Spanokopita for a really tasty meal.   Yes, I did make my own filo pastry too!

Anyway, I set to, and baked another Pano Nero di Castlevetrano today, to see if I could test out the new oven.   The formula is the same as before.   I made 1.15 times the quantity in the last post, giving just over 2 kg of dough, which I divided into a 600g loaf and a loaf just short of 1400g.

First revelation; the oven will pre-heat to 280°C!   I replaced the old 3 bricks with 3 firebricks left over from building the wood-fired oven.   These are really heavy, and I am not going to keep them in the oven like I did with the ordinary bricks in the old oven.   Other than that, the set up was the same.   I pre-heated the oven for 1 hour with the fan, then another half hour without the fan at 250°C, before cranking it up to 280°C again ready for baking.

I used boiling water poured onto hot stones for steam, and kept a steady supply going for 10 minutes, with the oven set at 250°C and the fan switched off.   Then I dropped the heat back to 235°C and kicked the fan in for convection for the rest of the bake.   For the last 10 minutes, I switched over to top heat only, with the fan off, and the oven door just slightly ajar.   This was an attempt to darken the loaf top.   Personally, I would have fired the small loaf some more.   However, Alison is less fond of well-fired loaves, so the pictures show what is actually a bit of a compromise.   I managed to go completely over the top with the big loaf, and had to scrape off the layer of charcoal on the top, just to rescue it from oblivion.   Hence, no pictures of this loaf, sorry!

Wow, it’s so good to have a good oven in the kitchen to bake on, although I need to pay more attention in order to know exactly how it works!

Meantime, my brother is visiting in a couple of weeks’ time.    We have a mission to set up the wood-fired oven so it functions well and without hindering other peoples’ lives [the smoke situation!!!]   If we enjoy as much success as I have with my new SMEG, then I’ll be very happy indeed!!!

All good wishes


Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Hi to everyone on TFL! I've been lurking here for a while, trying to absorb as much information as I can. I finally feel like I have some success worth sharing.

I've been practicing baguettes for some time now and the past few weeks I've been more determined to make small tweaks and hopefully improve the results.

My most recent attempt used 50% KA AP and 50% KA bread flour. This gave me the best combination of chew and crisyness to the crust.  I've been reducing my hyrdration (I started at 78% originally) and I've more or less settled at 72%. I was worried the lower hyrdration wouldn't yield an open crumb, but that hasn't been an issue. The lower hyrdration has made the dough much easier to work with and my scoring results are improving. Though I'm waiting for a proper lame to arrive in the mail. I'm still waiting for the grigne that let's me hang the bread from my fingertip!

I start with a short bulk fermation, using cold water so the dough never really 'explodes' with gas. I just autolyse for 30 min they stretch and fold every 20min for about 2 hours.

Then it's into the fridge for ~20hs. Once I take it out of the fridge I let it warm up over 1 hours time, stretching and folding a few times. Then a pre-shaping, bench rest, final shaping and a 25min proof. I think I'll try a longer proof next time.

The baguettes are all 250 grams and just fit in the oven at 18", so they are quite thin. This time I let my oven (and stone) warm up for almost an hour, which made a huge impact on the bottom crust. It was nice and thick, but not burned.

I spray the oven with a water bottle ever few minutes during the first 10min of baking. Another trick I've been using (mentioned on TFL frequently) is to leave the bread in the oven for another 5min once they've finished baking. This helps ensure a crisp crust.

I've been lusting for a mixer, but the stretch and fold approach works so darn well I'm not sure if I can every justify the cost. The oven stone was worth it though!

Here are some pictures:


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