The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Boboshempy's picture

Here is one of many loafs I have made following Peter Reinhart's instructions for the Poilâine-Style Miche in his book Bread Baker's Apprentice. I really just wanted to make this blog entry to share some of my pictures of this loaf. I have been making a Poilâine loaf every weekend for the past couple of months and I continue to tweak everything, especially the flour types/brands, blends, and siftings. Depending on these factors, especially the flour, the hydration also gets tweaked. I love making these loafs and I have never made one that wasn't delicious and eaten within a week but I continue to chase Poilâine nirvana. As we all know, as for the real Poilâne loaf, the key is in the proprietary French T80 flour he uses. This odd gray flour, most likely, can't be replicated BUT it is possible to make a loaf at home that is as good, if not better than his loaf!



In this loaf's rendition I used 100% Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour which I double sifted to remove some of the bran. This flour is stone ground from hard red U.S. dark northern spring wheat and has all of the bran and germ still intact. This flour is an over the counter flour in my area and the grind is somewhat finer than the local organic, freshly ground, whole wheat flour that I have been recently using...that is a whole other blog entry. So, it is not as easy to remove this finer bran. If I used this flour again I would sift it some more to try to remove a little more of the bran.

I love how this loaf came out. The loaf sang like a woodpecker when it came out of the oven creating a beautiful crackly crust as it cooled. The aroma was amazing, a rich caramelized wheaty aroma that reminded me of a bowl of hot grape-nuts cereal...I know, I'm crazy. The crumb was tight, yet light, moist, and springy. I was pleasantly surprised by the awesome flavor, the crumb had a distinctive wheaty and lightly sour taste and the crust had a deep caramel flavor with a fantastically sour bite. After I cut into it I kept it in a brown paper bag and it stayed fresh, except for the drying of the exposed cutting areas, and totally edible for an entire week.

I currently have daily access to actual Poilâine loafs here in New York City from Agata & Valentina so I am aware of what it looks and tastse like and this loaf is quite different, haha.



Enjoy the pictures,


Baking_Bear's picture

I briefly introduced myself this morning in the forums, but here is my longer introduction.

I have been baking pretty much my whole life, but never regularly until a couple years ago. As a girl growing up it was the standard Wonder bread for sandwiches. If we wanted something special for Sunday dinners one of my sisters or I would mix up a batch of rolls or maybe a loaf of fresh bread, but that was it. My passion for baking began a few years back when I stumbled upon this site (really, I've been lurking for about three years). I was looking for a pretzel recipe, but I found a whole lot more. What really intrigued me were the discussions here about sourdough and starters.

About a year ago I decided I was finally brave enough to tackle the great hurdle that is natural yeast; and following the directions in BBA I started my very own starter. The first few sourdough breads I made were... unpleasant... at best. I had come that far though, and wasn't about to give up. Using the knowledge I picked up here, from Bread Baker's Apprentice, and Bread I have improved greatly. In the last year I have gone from sandwiches on the baked wheat paste (really un-extraordinary bread) that the local megamart sells to this:

(Ham, sharp cheddar, and tomato on Vermont sourdough, if you were wondering)

I have also developed a passion for all baked goods and the science behind them (that's the engineer in me coming out, I suppose). I also bake cookies, brownies, croissants, pizzas, you name it. Unfortunately my schedule and current situation keep me from baking as much as I would like. I am a senior in college, civil engineering major, and only really have time to bake on weekends, but there is now way that I can give it up now. Every time I go home I am expected to make bread or rolls or some sort of pastry for my family. I love being able to share what I bake with my family. Sharing something you made with people you love is one of the greatest parts of baking.

Anyway, thank you to everybody who has posted their experiments, tips, recipes, and knowledge over the last few years. It has helped get me to the level I am at today. I hope to be a contributing member of the community over the next few years while I continue to improve.

trailrunner's picture

We are taking a day off . YEAH. This is the first one so far.

day 7--- rode 45 mi avg speed 11 mph. we spent the night in Chipley after stopping in Marianna FL. This is a funny story...we asked in Marianna how far to a motel and the lady in a store said " oh it is just on the other side of that bridge...about a mile". Well it was on the other side of the bridge but....let's say her idea of a mile and ours are different LOL. This is a good lesson to learn when you are on a bike and asking directions. What seems like a "little piece up the road" in a car is usually a LOT further when you are on a bike. Pete had a flat today. A great use for tweezers...pulling out the tiny metal strips from steel belted radial tires...they are cyclists nightmare. The day was sunny and not much wind , very pretty. Another funny..we stopped in Careyville. I sang my "worm song" for everyone in the little store. Noone had ever heard it know the one...Nobody loves me everybody hates me , I'm gonna eat some worms...So we get back on our bikes and the VERY next town has the distinction of being Westville FL...the worm fiddlin' capital of the world ! How auspicious. We all had a good laugh...should have gotten a pic. Look it up if you don't know what it means :)We are on our way to DeFUNiak Springs FL. Again we stopped ( usually every hour to hour and a half). I asked a lady in the little gas station "where is the FUN in DeFUNiak?" she said" oh darlin it is at the VFW on Karioke night ! AH....well maybe NOT ! Stayed the night in DeFuniak , very pretty town ! Took pics of the lake and baby ducks.

Day9--- rode 59 mile avg 11 mph. to Milton FL. Went to a bike shop. He stayed open for us , usually closes at 4 PM. Believe it or not I have done this many days w/o padded bike shorts OH NO! Got a pair as my A&* is sore. Had bike tunes and A&* too ! Sent home another 3 1/2 #. Boy do I feel lighter :) I have lost about 5 # body weight so far too. Stayed in Milton.

Day10--40 miles today avg 11.5 perhr. Rode to the far side of Pensacola. This is one guys last night. He had planned to ride with us and then he is going to Cheaha in AL and hike with friends. He is selling me his great is a tarp tent, single wall 2 person and only weighs 1 1/2 # !!! Look into it if you want a great light tent. Another remember Laugh In the old TV show. Do you remember the little fellow on his tricycle pedaling very very fast and then falling over ? Well I was going up a huge long hill on Escambia River Bridge and started thinking of this...I began to laugh as I was the perfect image of this guy....very low granny gear...I DIDN'T fallover though. We ate lunch at Hopjacks in Pensacola. Great place. We met up with the new woman who is joining us. She is AMAZING. Two time breast cancer survivor, 45 yrs old and a powerhouse of inner and outer strength. We stayed the night at the Black Warrior River campground. Attacked by Killer Raccoons...(that is my story and I'm stickin to it ! ) The got a pbj bagel and made a mess of our campsite.

Day 11 ( Monday) - you will note that I put the number of the ay and the name and the date...and still Pete and I were laughing that we can't keep them straight. The usual comment is " are you SURE that was yesterday?". It all becomes a blurr. Due to the new shorts I bought and Butt Butter, which is EXACTLY what you would think it is, my riding is perfect. 62 miles avg 12 MPH !! WOW. Took the ferry from Pensacola to Dauphin Island. A pretty ride. $5 w/ bike. Got pics. We stopped at Smokey's for a $1 bbq slider...boy are they great. Smokey also has a cool way to keep all insects and bugs away. Take gallon press and seal plastic bags. Draw wavy lines on them with Magic Marker. Fill them half full with water. Hang them where the sun will shine on the moving water...all insects including mosquitoes hate it. What a terrific and safe way to help your environment. Rode the Intercoastal Bridge...remember the image...pedal pedal faster faster ! Saw a flyswatter on the bridge...why is it here haha ? Staying the night in Bayou la Batre LA.Got a great pic of an oysterman coming in with his haul....don't want to start here about the failure of the U.S. to support the efforts of the coastal people to save the marshes etc. It hurts too much to see the loss of approx 25 acres a DAY from coastal LA. Did laundry in a laundromat owned by a very funny Vietnamese man...had Mexican food as the BEST seafood restaurant was " a little way up the road over the bridge" uh...nope not going to fall for THAT again. sigh.

Day12----what a day. 63 miles 11 mph. We left Bayou la Batre ( it is pronounced battry) and headed for a campground in Vancleve MS. All was well till we got the 50 miles to the campground...what a pit...filthy and nasty and I got got dog doo all over my bike shoes. So we asked where the nearest place was with a motel. We were watching the sky get heavier and heavier...we were in for a "po'down" as we say in AL. Several folks pointed us to Seaman road and said head to the coast...well we booked it on down to Ocean Springs MS exit 50 off of I10. Whew a horrible scary and unsafe ride if ever there was one. Narrow 2 lane, dark and rainy and the close was that truck? He was so close I could have reached through the passenger window and taken the cigarette out of his mouth ! So here we are. We are doing laundry and catching up on rest.

************ We have ridden approx 620 miles so far and no day off. I am amazed. I am not beat up at all. Huge difference from the trailrunning and road running. After a 50 mile trail race I was ready for a week off and my feet would be worn out. As we say in the South...I would be stove up ! Not the case with cycling. My trailer is perfect, my load is light and as the little man in a store in Gretna FL said " you people on bicycles, I see you all the time....riding just leave all you cares behind..." well sorta. If it were not for my sweet Robert holding down the fort and loving me every day like it was the first after 39 years I would not be here...on the journey of my life. Thank you Robert for were right...we were always meant to be. c


davidg618's picture

These two loaves were treated identically through bulk proofing. They were divided into exactly equally portions (737g)  both Preshaped, within 30 secs, rested 15 minutes, shaped, proofed, slashed, and loaded into the oven within one minute of each other.  They were Baked, rotating the loaves positons in the oven--after steaming--and removed within a few seconds of each other.

As you can see in the photographs there is a significant difference in the oven spring realized in each loaf. Three things may have effected the difference.

1. I may have tightened the surface skin on one tighter than the other.

2. I turn off the convection mode during steaming; consequently one side of the oven may be hotter than the opposite side.

3. The different slashing patterns restrain or encourage the oven spring upward.

I'm going to repeat this event, as best I can. (This is our weekly, go-to sourdough bread). I will repeat the different slashings, and reverse the loaves' positions in the oven. Otherwise, I will keep all things identical as best I can.

I've had a recent experience with crust bursting on another bread (entirely different, Jewish Rye); it sensitized me to the effects of slashing, although I've wondered about it in past baking, but I've never experienced such a side-by-side difference.

I'll post the results when I do it again.

David G

Doughtagnan's picture

We had a recipe for Pumpkin and Feta pie on a shortcrust pastry base and thought it would work well on a pizza base (though purists will deem it an abomination!) The topping was a mix of oven roasted butternut squash & whole garlic cloves (squeezed out after roasting) mixed with fried red onions & balsamic vinegar plus feta cheese & chopped rosemary.... all on a hand stretched pizza base.... i'm thinking it would work very well as a starter sized pizzette with some rocket on the side........  it made a very nice change.  Steve

Mebake's picture

Great thing about baking is that you learn something new with every bake.

This was a 100% Wholewheat boule milled from Red hard spring (I think) Wheat. The wheat was milled too fast too fine, and i found the hard way, that finest stone milling causes starch damage. The results were as this:

This is the Wheat i milled (Hard Red Winter?).Very hard, like durum. I suspect that this wheat is a damaged crop. Frost maybe?

This is the pathetic Boule i spent 2 days preparing (No rise whatsoever), and baked under stainless steel bowl on a stone:

 The so called crumb:

 On another account, i have baked a successful (40% White WW, 30% Spelt, 30% AP)

(The Dough stuck a bit to the brotform because i pressed it in when i first put it):

After scoring:

Baked under a stainless steel Bowl on a stone for 15 min. uncovered for 25 min:

The crumb:

All I can say, it tasted Wonderfull, with soft creamy yet chewy crumb. I made a biga and a soaker for this. Then 24 hrs later, i combined both and did the (slap and fold french folding technique..hehe),followed by the fold in the bowl method i learned here. The overall dough hydration was 73%, and after the folding it was silky and smooth, with good gluten body.

ritav's picture

I recently purchased a 25 lb. bag of all trumps flour.  With all this flour on hand, I  wanted to see how it worked for bread.  So I made a loaf of raisin fennel bread.  The texture is lighter; however, the cells look good.  It was worth the try.

zoltan szabo's picture
zoltan szabo

Hello to everyone,

I would like to share with you guys my white loaf I baked the other day.

Notes: Crispy crust even after a few hours, nice soft inside, very good lightly toasted as part of a good bruschetta.



  • 1kg flour

  • 45g fresh yeast

  • 20g salt

  • 40gr pork lard

  • about 700ml luke warm water


 1. Day before mix 400gr flour, all the yeast and 200ml luke warm water together. Cover with a floured cloth and set aside to a warm place until next day.

2. Next day add the rest of the flour, water, salt and soft lard. Mix on KA speed 2 for 3 minute then on speed 4 for 10 minute. The dough should be soft smooth and elastic. Place into a gently floured bowl and dust the top with flour and cover with a cloth. Rest it for 45 minute.

3. Place back to the bowl and mix on speed 2 for 5 minute then on speed 4 for 10 minute.

4. Form a large round loaf and place on a gently reased baking tray.

5. Brush with water. Cover with a cloth and rest for about 45-60 minute.

6. Brush gently with water then make a few cut on top and bake in moderate oven until golden.

7. When ready remove from the oven and place on wire racks, gently brush with water to give a nice gloss.

Happy Baking!


flourwateryeast's picture

Hi everyone, this is my first blog post on this website, although I have been an avid reader for some time now. I have already made many of the wonderful breads that the contributors to TFL have shared, and I thought it was about time for me to contribute something myself.

What better bread to start with than my favourite everyday sourdough, which I made again just this past weekend. The recipe is Susan's Norwich Sourdough from her inspiring website I won't repeat the recipe again here, but if you're interested you can find the formula in the recipe section of Susan's website under the name Norwich Sourdough. I highly recommend that you give it a try!

The weather here in Cape Town (South Africa) has been absolutely scorching hot over the last few weeks, and my sourdough starter was in fine form on the weekend. It definitely seemed to enjoy the hot weather, even if I didn't quite so much... The result was that I spent a lot of time making bread, as you can see below. Sigh, it's such a tough life!

This sourdough is definitely my go to sourdough bread, and the results I get with it are consistently good:


Norwich Sourdough 

Norwich Sourdough



Happy baking everyone.



Yippee's picture

This is a very exciting moment.  Many weeks of research and planning have paid off.  My dream of making elegantly curved, crescent-shaped croissants has finally come to fruition.  Along the research process, I’ve consulted sources from American, Chinese, French and Japanese professionals and reviewed several forum and blog entries at TFL about croissants.  If any of my procedures sounds familiar to you, it is probably inspired by your input and I thank you for sharing your experience with our community.

My procedures are a conglomerate of all the essence from different sources that I found helpful in achieving an effective workflow which produces quality results. This is a primary principle I’ve stood by in my day-to-day practice. There are numerous good croissant formulas out there.  It’s just a matter of settling down on the ones that best suit my needs.  For my first attempt, I was looking for a simple formula that doesn’t take forever to produce. After all, it’s merely a big lump of butter encased by bread dough.  It shouldn’t be that complicated to handle.  Luckily, I’ve been very familiar with the sweet dough used from making many loaves of Asian style breads. Therefore, once I understood the fundamentals of preparing a butter block and making turns, I was ready to tackle this part pastry, part bread challenge. 

I adapted the croissant formula from “Teacher Zhou’s Gourmet Classroom” (周老師的美食教室), a Taiwan based Chinese website dedicated to introducing foolproof recipes of a broad variety of foods. The host of this site is an author of three well-received cooking and pastry books in Chinese.  She currently lectures at a baking institute and is also a high school home economics teacher. The reliable recipes and formulae on her website are a guarantee of quality outcomes and I consider this Classroom the Chinese version of "the America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated". I particularly like her systematic approach of coaching and scientific approach of handling food.  I simply felt that our styles ‘clicked’.  Her croissant formula caught my attention because it was the easiest one I’ve seen and it only takes a few hours to complete.  With this formula, I won't end up having a full freezer of uneaten croissants.  The portion of flours called for is so small that I could even use my semi-retired Zojirushi to handle the job. 

The following is an outline of my formula and procedures:


I am very happy with my first croissants.  They look and taste like the real deal.  Next time, I’ll try the sourdough version.  The following are some pictures and photo credit goes to my husband.  Thank you, honey, for your help.


This post will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!


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