The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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JMonkey's picture

MountainDog's blog entry on overnight Colombia loaves struck my fancy, so I made a single loaf for the family. What a hit with my family!

I was a bit pressed for time in the morning, however, since I need to have the loaf ready to make sandwiches (I get up at 5am for work, and I work from home). They should have risen another hour, probably, so the crumb was not as open as it could have been, but the loaves tasted fantastic. It's amazing what a small amount of toasted wheat germ and barley malt will do for a loaf's flavor and color.

Earlier in the week, I also made sourdough pizza.

It's easy to do, and, since I made four doughballs, it allows me to bake a couple and then put a couple more in the freezer for another time. All I have to do is put them in the fridge the night before, and then take them out a couple of hours before I'm ready to shape the pies.

Here's how I do it:


  • Whole wheat flour: 60%

  • All-purpose white flour: 40%

  • Water: 80%

  • Olive oil: 5%

  • Starter accounts for 2% of the flour at 60% hydration


  • Whole wheat flour: 420 grams

  • AP flour: 290 grams

  • Water: 572 grams

  • Salt: 15 grams

  • Olive oil: 36 grams

  • Starter: 25 grams

The night before, I first dissolve the starter into the water, and then add the salt and the oil. Finally, I mix in the flours, until everything is nicely mixed. Then, let it rest for about an hour, and then do three stretch and folds with about 20-30 minutes between each. I then cover the dough, and let it rise all night.

The next morning, I see whether the dough has risen enough (8 - 10 hours is usually enough) and then divide it into 4 doughballs of about 340 grams a piece. Two dough balls go into the plastic baggies in the fridge, while the others go in plastic baggies in the freezer.

I remove the fridge doughballs two hours before baking, and shape them into tight balls. I then cover each with a cereal bowl. While they warm up, I prepare the toppings.

Tomato sauce (for two pies)

  • 1 14 to 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes

  • Oregano: 1/2 tsp

  • Basil: 1/2 tsp

  • Garlic: 2 cloves, diced

  • Lemon juice or red wine vinegar: 1 Tbs

I mix this up, and set it aside, adding salt if it needs it. Some canned tomatoes are already well salted. With the brand I use, though, I usually have to add 1/2 tsp or so.

Cheese blend (for two pies)

  • Whole fat mozzarella, grated: 4 oz.

  • Parmesan, grated: 2 ounces

  • Feta, crumbled: 2 oz

Other toppings are, of course, up to you. I like chicken sausage, black olives and mushrooms, myself. Roasted red bell peppers are awesome. Fresh tomatoes are great (under the cheese), when available, as are fresh basil leaves, added just after the pie comes out of the oven.

Shaping the pie
First, an hour before I'm ready to bake, I insert a stone and set the oven as high as it will go. When I'm finally ready to shape, I generously dust my peel with semolina flour or cornmeal. Then, I make a small pile of AP flour next to where I'll shape. I coat my hands in flour, take a dough ball, coat it in flour on both sides, and then place it on my knuckles. I bounce the dough on my knuckles in a circle, gently stretching the dough with each bounce. When it's halfway there, I place it on the peel, and stretch it all the way out. make sure you stretch the edges apart -- don't stretch across the dough, because the center will be fairly thin and will tear.

Before adding the toppings, I make sure that the pie will move on the peel. Then I add sauce, cheese and toppings and then bake on the stone for 9-11 minutes. I let it cool for a few minutes on a rack before cutting into slices.

holds99's picture

I really like Hamelman's light rye bread (from his book "Bread", page 197).  I bake it fairly frequently and use it mostly for sandwiches and toast. I prefer a little tighter crumb so I don't use his 6 fold French method (page 249) nor Bertinet's slap and fold method when making this bread.  I simply use my Kitchen Aid and give it a couple of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation.  Anyway, for my taste this is a great bread, as is his Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat (on page 154).  For those who haven't made this bread, it's a winner and fairly easy to make.

Note: I doubled the recipe and these boules are approximately 3 pounds each. 


In the oven


Cooling rack


mountaindog's picture

I've always liked the walnut raisin pain au levain Dan Leader sells at Bread Alone Bakery near me, and I've been wanting to try something like this for awhile and finally got around to it this week, but with cherries and pecans.

Both Susan's yeasted version on her Wild Yeast blog and SteveB's version on his Bread Cetera blog gave me a craving for cherry pecan bread when I saw their photos....thanks for the ideas you two, your baked goods are so mouthwatering and professional looking...(I am unworthy of breadblogging in the same sphere as you two!)

I made this as a sourdough-only version and mixed about 30% whole wheat and 2.5% rye with AP flour. This mix gave a nice dark-colored but light-textured open crumb that tasted good with the fruit and nuts. You could obviously substitue rasins and walnuts, or anything else you can think of. I find it especially tastes great sliced, toasted, and served with cream cheese, and lasts a long time.

I soaked the cherries for a bit too long as they were a little too mushy and a some color washed out, but the bread tasted great, I'll be making this again a lot I think. It was very easy.

Here are the loaves just before slashing and loading into the oven, after their overnight cold retarding:

Here's the formula:

Pecan Cherry Pain au Levain

Makes 2 large 2.5 lb batards or oblong loaves.

Levain Build

% flour of levaingrams
starter (100% hydration with WW flour) 32.1% 45
warm water 85.7% 120
All-Purpose flour 100.0% 140

Final Dough

% flour final doughgrams
All-Purpose flour 66.4% 750
100% whole wheat flour 31.0% 350
100% whole rye flour 2.7% 30
flour subtotal 100% 1130
warm water 69.5% 785
sea salt 2.0% 23
ripe levain 27.0% 305
dried pitted sour cherries, soaked   240
toasted pecans   240

1)  12 hours before making final dough, create the levain using some ripe starter that has been fed and doubled. Mix well and cover in bowl until levain has risen to over double but has not yet begun to collapse, aprox. 10-12 hours at 65-70F. Toast the pecans at 350F for 10-20 minutes and let cool, then coarsly chop and set aside. Soak dried sour cherries in water overnight and strain next morning before making final dough.

2)  When levain is ripe, create final dough by mixing warm water with levain to dissolve. Mix all flours and salt in large bowl until evenly distributed, then add watered levain to flour mix with dough whisk, spoon, or hands until well combined. Cover and let rest for 1 hour at @ 70F. Tip dough onto counter, knead in the cherries and pecans lightly, and french fold for approx. 10 minutes with short 1-2 minute rests as needed to scrape together dough or relax it, and tuck in the fruit/nuts. The cherries and pecans may fall out and it will be quite messy at first, but eventually the dough will come together into a neat lump after 5-6 minutes or so. At end of kneading, round out the dough so that fruit/nuts are tucked inside and good skin of dough is on outside. Place dough in lightly oiled container and cover to rest for 30 min. After 30 min., turn out dough onto lightly oiled counter to give it one good gentle stretch and letter fold, then place dough back into oiled covered container. Repeat one more stretch and fold after another 30 minutes, then let dough continue to rise until doubled at @ 70F (approx. 2 more hours).

3)  Shape dough into 2 batards, place batards in floured couche, cover well so loaves don't dry out, and let loaves cold proof overnight at 40-50F for approx. 8-10 hours. Next morning, place loaves in warmer area (65-70F) while oven preheats for 45 minutes to 450F. Bake loaves on oven stone with steam (I pour 1 cup hot water from tea kettle into pre-heated cast iron pan on oven floor) at 450F for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 400F for another 30-35 minutes until center registers 200-205F with instant read thermometer and crust is well-browned.

On a slightly different note: my last few batches of bread have been coming out smelling and tasting better than ever, I think it may just be this new flour I was able to pick up in a 50lb bag from Bread Alone Bakery down the road from me. It is an All-purpose flour from Canada with 11.5% protein, not sure about ash content. Anyone ever used or heard of this Oak AP flour before?I like it a lot. It handles nicely in dough.

holds99's picture

Sorry to belatedly report that Dunwoody Baking School has closed its doors.  I'm making inquiries as to the status of future class reunions...I'll keep you posted.


Article from: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) : Rick Nelson; Staff Writer

The National Baking Center at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis has closed its doors, possibly for good. The center, a kind of elite graduate school for bread and pastry makers, has trained more than 2,000 professionals from around the world since it opened in 1996. It also operated a popular Saturday series for baking hobbyists. The center was founded by Bread Bakers Guild of America and the Retailers Bakery Association, two trade groups.

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

One of my friends made those , I liked it so much , and wanted to share with you these pics, her name is Roza , she is really a wonderful woman.Here you are the pics!!!!
































الحشوة التانية جبنة مثلثات + زيتون






الفطيرة الثانية


dmsnyder's picture

Ever since Jane prompted me to add levain to the Bouabsa baguettes, I've wondered what this bread would be like raised by wild yeast entirely, without the small amount of baker's yeast it calls for. And, more recently, I made the best tasting ever Miche with the first clear flour Norm sent. I wondered how much of its wonderfulness was the method, and how much was the flour.

So, today I explored both questions by baking a couple loaves with Norm's first clear as 100% of the flour and used Anis Bouabsa's technique of a long cold bulk fermentation. This is a 75% hydration dough, while the Hamelman Miche is 82% hydration.

The result was a really nice, moderately sour bread with the distinct flavor of first clear flour. The crust was crunchy, but it needed 10 extra minutes in the turned off oven to crisp up. The crumb was quite open with a lovely cool feeling and chewy texture.

I will use this technique again, but with the same AP/WW/Rye flour mix I have liked best with Bouabsa's baguettes.




m2scq's picture

Sweet roll with pulled pork.  I ran out of raisins for the eyes so I used sesame seeds.

moto127's picture


SylviaH's picture

After seeing David's scrumptious cinnamon roll's we just had to have I thought as long as I was doing sourdough recipes from the Northwest Sourdough site I would give these a try!  They turned out with a wonderful flavor....I bet the midnite snacker shows up tonite. 

I put these in my favorite cinnamon rolls pan I've had's an old daisy wilton cake pan! 

Im still learning a lot about sourdough...these taste really good so it was worth the effort!



SylviaH's picture

Im still learning a lot about sourdough baking and enjoy the recipe's from Northwest Sourdough...this is my first sourdough Kaiser rolls..they really sprang in the oven!


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