The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ananda's picture

 This loaf contrasts well with the high rye posted on very recently.   A large boule, leavened with a rye sourdough, comprising just short of 25% of the total flour in the formula.

[A 1.7kg Boule made with Rye Sourdough; that's 3¾lb!]DSCF1521


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sourdough [2 builds]



Bacheldre Dark Rye









2. Final Dough



Rye Sourdough [from above]



White Bread Flour [Allinsons]












% pre-fermented flour



Overall hydration




  • Utilise the autolyse technique with the flour, water and rye sourdough, for 50 minutes.
  • Add the salt and mix using Andrew Whitley's "air-kneading" technique for 15 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes on an oiled-counter, under cover.
  • Mix a further 10 minutes.
  • Bulk proof covered in an oiled container for 1½ hours. Knock back, then rest for 15 minutes.
  • Mould and place upside down in a Banneton, prepared with dark rye and semolina.
  • Prove 1½ hours; meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 250°C.
  • My Bake profile as follows: Pour boiling water onto a pan of large stones in the base of the oven, 3 minutes prior to baking. Tip the loaf onto a tray, and slash the top. Cover this with a large roasting dish, and place all of this onto the hot bricks in the middle shelf of the oven. Add further boiling water to the pan of rocks. Leave for 20 minutes. Then, remove the cover and turn the heat down to 210°C. Bake a further 20 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 200°C and bake out a further 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Cool on wires.




  • It's freezing in the UK just now! Kitchen temperature 10°C, Flour temperature 11°C and Rye Sour just 12°C [but wonderfully active, all the same!] 4 times DDT [26°C] = 104. Take the 3 above numbers away, and the required water temperature is an astonishing 71°C! So, I used the kettle and drew water at exactly that temperature, and, lo and behold the DDT was just what I wanted: 26°C!
  • This is one big loaf! The roasting pan method was almost successful, but I really needed a bigger vessel. The Lodge Logic Combo Cooker is on my Christmas list. I'm not big on volume. If anyone can advise on the diameter of pan which I need, I would be truly grateful. I'm guessing somewhere between 20 and 24cm?
  • Photographs attached. Some may call this "well-fired". But, I'm really pleased with the crust, and the close-up shots give some good detail of prized qualities. The crumb? Beautifully moist; so looking forward to my sandwiches for lunch at work tomorrow: French Brie with salad.DSCF1520DSCF1522DSCF1527DSCF1523DSCF1524


Best wishes to you all



ehanner's picture

A few weeks ago I posted on Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread titled A Dissenting Viewpoint. Several other members have posted reviews about the book and their breads since then. One thing I didn't care for was Robertson's confusing and incorrect description of bakers math through out the book. It is true however that if you follow the directions, you will get a great bread, regardless of the math.

Aside from the above, there are a few interesting, and I would say ingenious details within the book that need to be discussed. First, I like the idea of with holding 50g of warm water in the final dough to be added with the salt, after the autolyse. I haven't seen this procedure suggested by any other authors and it works well. I have never been convinced that the salt is properly distributed and dissolved when added after the autolyse. The water helps dissolve the salt and get it incorporated into the dough. Robertson suggests using your wet fingers to cut the additional water into the dough. Again the use of fingers to cut the new water and salt in is a new procedure that is simple and works well. It feels a little funky at first but the dough comes back together in the bowl later just fine.

Another more subtle thing that the author suggests is using 80F water in the dough. It's a way to assure that the culture starts off in a temperature range that wakes the culture up and gets it started eating and multiplying and creating co2. The result will be a more airy loaf, earlier in the proof. Judging by the loaves other members have posted on, I'd say the warmer water is a good idea.

Then, the Lodge Combo Cooker. I resisted buying the suggested combo cooker and used instead a couple of my collection of DO's and a covered steamable pan that I use on the stone. That is until yesterday. I found the Lodge CC at my Ace Hardware on sale for $33. It isn't that I didn't get good results using my other covered baking solutions. But as they say here in Packer Football country, "Good is the enemy of Great". I see DMsnyder has posted about his first Combo Cooker bake also so I suggest you read his details about his use. After Sylvia and Franko showed us how beautiful their bread are using the CC, I started wondering if the proportions of the cooker were helping the spring. Also the idea of not heating the pan first is definitely worth checking out.

I was surprised at the size of the Combo Cooker. It is perfectly sized for a 2# loaf. If you cut the handles off it would fit inside most of my DO's.  At Sylvia's suggestion, I proofed the first loaf in the smaller component pan, covered with the deeper pan. I sprinkled some grits on the bottom before loading the dough from the banetton. No extra oil or parchment were used.

As for the actual baking. I thought the crust was to thin and after cooling, not crisp for my tastes. I followed Robertsons advice on this and left the cover on for 20 minutes followed by another 20 uncovered. I thought it was a little pale so I baked it another 5 minutes for a total of 25 minutes. The second loaf was placed in the still hot base with a small handful of additional grits under the dough first. The top was still slightly warm and I spritzed some water on the inside of the cover. At the end of the second bake, I shut the oven down and let the crust dry for an additional 5 minutes. I liked the second crust a little better.

The next time I use this method, I'll take the cover off after 12 minutes. This will make the crust a little thicker and crispier I believe. Here are my first 2 boules of Tartine Basic country Bread, using the Combo-Cooker.

Robertson has brought  several ingenious methods to light in his new book. I think it's worth taking a look at to learn and understand these unique hand methods.


taparker's picture

I decided to try my hand at making this bread.   I don't think I quite have the hang of making the starter.  Need to work on that.  Glezer's book seems to indicate that the starter should be made in a semi-airtight container and I've read elsewhere that the starter should be allowed to breathe and collect wild yeasts from the environment.  I ended up with a not-quite-sour starter but used it anyway.  Instead of using the non-diastatic malt syrup I settled for a barley malt powder from my local brew shop.  I let the first rise go for 3 + hours, divided it, rested it, then shaped it before proofing for another 2 to 3 hours.  I put both batards on a silicon mat to proof and then just transferred everything to the baking stone when the time came.  I thought I had botched the batard shaping process but the loafs were very forgiving and came out looking better than I expected.  The recipe called for spritzing the loaves with water before baking and the use of a garden sprayer arrangement to add additional moisture.  I opted for a pan in the bottom of the oven to which I added a cup of water immediately after inserting the loaves.


I liked the color and crumb however the taste was not sour enough(have to work on starter) and the malt flavor was not subtle enough.  I'll try reducing the amount of malt powder the next time as well as using a more sour starter.



breadsong's picture

Hello, Recently, Floydm made a lovely potato bread, and SylviaH made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pugliese - both really beautiful loaves!
Inspired by their efforts, I wanted to try making something similar. I saw this formula for Pugliese in Advanced Bread and Pastry, which included mashed potato in the formula. It's hard to say what the ultimate hydration is, as I'm not sure how much water the potato contributed. These loaves really crackled and sang when they came out of the oven; the bread has a wonderful aroma and the crumb was very moist.
I scored the boule but not the second loaf; it made no difference in the final height of the baked loaves.
Here are the results:


Here is the formula: From SUAS. Advanced Bread and Pastry, 1E. © 2009 Delmar Learning, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

      Final Dough weight in grams      
  Baker's Percentages Weights Baker's
  Dough Sponge Dough Sponge Total %
Bread flour 0.93 0.8 230 198 428  
White whole wheat flour 0.07 0.2 17 50 67  
Water 0.6 0.55 149 137 286 57.8%
Yeast instant 0.0048 0.004 1.20 0.99 2.19 0.4%
Salt 0.05   12.40   12.4 2.5%
Sponge 1.5532   386      
Mashed potatoes 0.82   204   204 41.2%
 Totals 4.028 1.554 1000 386 1000  

Here is a link to the manufacturer of the square banneton I used for the unscored loaf, in case anyone is interested: (this page shows the engraved bannetons)

With thanks to Mr. Suas for this really, really good formula!  Regards, breadsong



louie brown's picture
louie brown

The Accidental Baguette

I had a build going for a bread I am working on, but realized too late that I had forgotten to prepare an ingredient. So when I opened my eyes at 5am on Friday morning and stumbled into the kitchen, I looked at my beautiful levain, ripe and bubbly with nowhere to go, I couldn't just throw it out. The easiest thing was to mix up a straight dough, which I did by feel, with no regard for measurements. I threw in a favorite addition from the fridge, some wheat germ. The dough was way too stiff. It was tearing after just a couple of folds. I just didn't feel like fighting with it. So I made up a couple of baguettes and proofed them in the fridge.

As much as anything, I was interested in another trial of my latest steaming method, using two hot towels, per Sylvia, although not microwaved, with a preheated brick between them, all in a roasting pan. Boiling water is poured over the brick and the towels, which produces very good steam for the entire ten or fifteen minutes. The slimmer one was baked cold from the fridge; the fatter one after about 90 minutes out on the bench.

These are the results. I'm liking the torn crumb shots these days so I include one. For a dough that was so dry, and for a process that was made up as I went along, without formula - or discipline - the results were acceptable. More to the point, the form and the taste were pretty good. The wheat germ is a nice addition. It would have been a shame to waste the levain.





ronnie g's picture
ronnie g


My conversion of Peter Reinhart’s Pate Fermentee and French Bread

To begin, this is just the process I used to work up to 455 grams (just a frac over 16 ounces) of 65% hydration Pate Fermentee.

Build up 100 grams of 100% hydration starter to 455 grams at 65% by adding 129 grams water and 113 grams each AP unbleached flour and unbleached bread flour (total flour added 226grams). 

I delayed adding the salt for 30 minutes.  (Who knows why!  I just thought that if I added the salt straight away it might inhibit the production of the yeast.)

Okay, then knead for 6 minutes until tacky but not sticky.  Well mine was a bit sticky so I incorporated a little more flour before setting aside in an oiled container for the night.  I’m thinking by morning, it’ll be right to go.  We’ll see.  I had a feeling 3:00 AM would be the mark.

No.. I didn’t stay awake all night, but I thought the pate fermentee would be risen and by 3 AM it had, so a one minute knead and into the fridge.  Not too hard to manage.


I didn’t realise that PR’s final dough contains commercial yeast!!!  I thought I was going to convert this bread to a fully wild-yeasted dough.  Oh well, I don’t have time to figure all that out now and I’m sure if I had just left this dough without the yeast it would have been perfectly alright.  It just would have taken a few more hours to develop and I don’t want it too sour.  So commercial (only ½ tspn) it is.  Ten minutes kneading it by hand took it to a nice ‘window pane’ test.   So at 8:30 AM the dough is set aside to prove.  It may take longer than 2 hours to double because of my addition of natural starter to the pate fermentee, I don’t know.   Once again, we’ll see.

I went out for a couple of hours and home by about 10:30 AM.  Oven on for a good pre-heat, then slash loaves (oooh I hope I do it right!)  Here is the result.

As usual the crumb shot is missing.  That's because it is still not that impressive.  No nice big holes!  At lease my French bread looks nice this time.  My first attempt (using a different recipe) turned out like mini bommy-knockers!  These tasted so good we ate two of them for afternoon tea with friends.  They were a big hit!


My Peter Reinhart semi-conversion??

dmsnyder's picture

Brother Glenn coerced me into making Challah over Thanksgiving. Prior to that, the only Challah I'd made in recent years was Maggie Glezer's sourdough challah, which I like a lot, but it does have a distinct tang. So, we made the yeasted version of Glezer's own challah, and it was good. Trying a different formula prompted me to try others.

Today, I made the Challah from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." It is made with high-gluten flour. I mixed this very stiff dough in a Bosch Universal Plus. The mixer rocked and rolled, but it didn't "walk." I don't think my KitchenAid could have handled it. The ropes were a challenge to roll out. They required several rests to relax the gluten enough to permit sufficient lengthening. It braided nicely. I wish I could say the same for the braider! I'm sure I didn't lay out the ropes correctly. Back to the books.

Anyway, this formula makes about 3 1/2 lbs of dough. I made two Challot. They had huge oven spring, and I think they turned out pretty well, in spite of my ineptitude in braiding. Most important, they have a delicious flavor. This challah is less sweet than Glezer's. The crumb is more open but much chewier - no surprise given the high-gluten flour. I'm betting it makes wonderful toast and French toast!

Addendum: The challah did make wonderful toast. The crumb was quite tender. The chewiness is no longer there.


dmsnyder's picture

Today I baked in the Lodge Combo Cookers for the first time. I debated what bread to bake and decided on the San Joaquin Sourdough. The results pleased me.

The boules weighed 510 g each before baking. The oven was pre-heated to 500ºF. When proofed the loaves were transferred to the shallow half of the combo cookers which were not pre-heated, scored, covered and baked at 480ºF for 20 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered.

Boules proofed

Ready to bake

Uncovered after 20 minutes at 480ºF

Out of the oven after another 15 minutes baking uncovered


I'm happy to find that the Combo Cookers work well with smaller loaves that do not cover the base. I did shape these with a very tight gluten sheath, so, even though this is a pretty high hydration bread, the loaves did not spread when transferred to the Cooker bases.


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Hopefully this isn't seeming too much like a broken record.  This is now my 10th week of baking Hamelman's Baguette's with Poolish.  After my slightly ridiculous post last week, I'll keep it brief.  This week I used my new postal scale to get exactly 0.067% yeast in my poolish (0.1 grams).  I also decreased my preheat temperature slightly to prevent burned bottoms from an overheated stone, and kept a closer watch on final proof, checking every 5 minutes once the baguettes had proofed 55 minutes.

Poolish after 12 hours






Crust could have been darker--I tried baking for an extra couple minutes (28 total) before turning the oven off, to get a more caramelized crust, but I think I just overbaked them.  Crust a little chewy, but not bad.  Crumb decently open, although not consistently throughout the baguette we had with dinner.  Flavor and texture were good, although the outer edges of the crumb seemed dry (hence my suspicion of overbaking).  A little flatter than some weeks--I tried doing just two "over the thumb" folds in the final shaping, and I think that wasn't sufficient surface tension.

Next week, I'm going to try making my oven a little hotter.  My oven seems to bake cooler than it should, and while I've been assuming that a setting of 485F approximated the desired 460F, that may not be the case.  That, and practice, practice, practice at shaping and scoring.

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I used to love buying the delicious multi-grain breads that were so popular at New England bakeries. At my new home in Northern California, good multi-grain loaves are surprisingly hard to find.

So I set out to make my own multi-grain bread, and thought it would be fun to see how many I could pack into one loaf. Depending on how you do the math, this is about a 17-grain loaf. I don't think you get credit for both white and black sesame seeds, or for brown rice and pearl rice. This was mostly just for fun; I won't pretend that adding 2 tbsp of amaranth does much to change the flavor or texture of the loaf.

17-grain crust

17-grain crumb

A key ingredient is a product I found at a nearby Asian supermarket, the superlative 99 Ranch, a California chain. It's a product imported from Taiwan called Greenmax Fine Multi Grain, a blend of 8 whole grains (the berries, not ground into flour). It's mostly rice and barley seeds and wheat berries, but there are a few obscure grains in there. Job's tears or Gorgon Euryale seeds anyone? I cooked it like rice, and used it just like in Brother Junipers Struan.

The rest of the grains came from raiding the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl (perhaps the world's best grocery store, if you can out-elbow the aggressive locals). Here are the 17 grains:

1. Wheat (white flour, whole wheat flour, and wheat berries)
2. Rye flour
3. Rice (brown and pearl)
4. Buckwheat
5. Barley flour
6. Sorghum
7. Pearl rice
8. Oats
9. Job's tears
10. Gorgon Euryale Seeds
11. Millet
12. Kamut
13. Cornmeal
14. Sesame seeds (black and white)
15. Suflower seeds
16. Qinoa
17. Amaranth

Anyone out there who can top this by making an 18-grain loaf? :)


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