The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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SylviaH's picture

I wanted to have another go at this delicious loaf 'my new love Scali', this time I used a natural biga, mixed the dough, put it into a lightly oiled container and fermented it overnight.  I removed it from the refrigerator and let it warm for about an hour and then shaped one braided loaf...brushed it with one egg white mixed with one cup of water and spread on the sesame seeds heavily and baked it under my enameled turkey pan the lid and oven a few spritz of water just before covering the loaf.  I don't know if I'm going to slice this loaf or freeze it..but I have a feeling the crumb is very nice and the flavor with be too and the crust is great on this bread, browning to a lovely mahogany!

This Scali Braided Loaf is a fairly simple and fun bread to make..use your favorite way of mixing.  The recipe is on

We couldn't wait to cut into it!




DonD's picture

This past weekend, I made a batch of Baguettes au Levain based on the recipe that Janedo had adapted from the Anis Bouabsa formula. This is my third try at this recipe and each time I tweaked it a little bit to correct some aspects that did not turned out to my liking. This time the loaves turned out pretty good with nice oven spring and airy crumb. The crust had nice golden color with small blisters, thin and crackly and deep caramel flavor. The taste was not sour but is rich and sweet with a slight tang.

The formula I used consists of:

- 125 g of stiff white flour levain at 67% hydration

- 300 g KAF AP Flour

- 150 g KAF Bread Flour

- 50 g Arrowhead Mills Organic Stoneground WW Flour

- 350 g water

- 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast

- 10 g Atlantic Sea Salt

I autolyse the flour mixture with the water without the yeast or salt for 30 mins prior to mixing in the levain, then added the yeast and the salt during the stretch and fold. I followed the 20 movements 3 times at 20 mins interval using the stretch and fold from Richard Bertinet (I like slapping the dough!). I let the dough ferment for 1 hr then refrigerate for 24 hours before dividing, shaping and baking.

I reduced the hydration to 70% to make the shaping and scoring of the baguettes easier. I also found that that little extra yeast really helps with the oven spring.

I proofed the shaped baguettes and scored them on a perforated pan lined with parchment paper which helps keep the shape, especially when working with a high hydration dough. To help me comtrol the scoring, I made a full size cardboard template as a guide while scoring.

I tranferred the loaves by sliding the parchment onto a jerry-rigged wooden peel made from a top cover of a Bordeaux wine case and from there onto the baking stone.

I baked 10 mins at 460 degrees F with steam from a cast iron pan filled with lava stones (thanks David!), reduce to 430 degrees and baked without steam for 13 mins, turned off oven and kept them in the oven with door ajar for another 5 mins ( thanks again David!) before removing them to cool on a rack.


I hope these little tidbits will be of help. Happy baking!


GabrielLeung1's picture

I really just wanted to put the dough into a bread pan and see what happened. This is pretty much the same thing as my CaP 2. The difference here was that I introduced two folds during the fermentation and I baked the loaf at 400 F, brushed with egg wash. This is in comparison to baking at 500 F with steam.

Overall, I thought that the flavor was lackluster, while the texture was good, like high quality store bought sandwich loaves, even. The crumb was fluffy, if not full of large bubbles, I believe this is the "cottony" texture described by DiMuzio. But it may also be that this is how bread springs in a bread pan, and that all sandwich loaves result in this texture.

For the next round of baking, I will cut the yeast to a quarter of what I used here. It should take much 4 times longer to rise, resulting in a 3 hour bulk fermentation rather then a 45 minute one. Perhaps this extended period of bulk fermentation will give me the flavor I am looking for.

hansjoakim's picture

It's been a while since I last tried one of Hamelman's rye loaves, so I pulled his book from the shelf and started browsing chapter 6. I have baked quite a few of his rye loaves before, but for some reason, his 70% rye with whole wheat and a rye chops soaker has escaped me up until now. The last couple of rye loaves I've baked, have been from doughs that I've composed on my own, and there's always some winging going on with regards to proper hydration and fermentation times. With Hamelman, it's safe to let one's guard down and simply roll along with his detailed directions.

This dough was remarkable to work with. It's 35% medium rye (all taken from a ripe sourdough), 35% rye chops (soaked overnight) and 30% whole wheat:

 70% rye

So that's the partial mise en place! I'll leave it to you to guess what the different bits are ;-)  Add water, yeast and salt and you're on your way.

As I said, I think this dough was great to work with, and it came together very quickly. After a couple of minutes in the mixer, I was ready to go:

 70% rye

For such a high proportion of rye, and where all the medium rye flour comes from a ripe, fragrant sourdough, a meager 30 minutes is enough for bulk fermentation.

After a short bench rest, the shaped dough is put into a well floured brotform:

 70% rye

... and proofed for 55 minutes:

 70% rye

The fully proofed dough did not look at all as fragile as I would expect. As a matter of fact, it was pretty robust and kept its shape well all the way onto the scorching hot baking stone:

 70% rye

Although Hamelman suggests baking this dough in Pullman pans, he states in the sidebar that giant boules weighing up to 11 pounds are frequently baked in Germany. That's why I hoped that a free standing loaf could be pulled off, although there's not a speck of ordinary bread flour in the dough. All delicious chops, rye and whole wheat.

I guess scoring a heavy loaf like this would do more harm than good, so I left the razorblade alone for this one. After baking it just short of the hour mark, I pulled it from the oven:

 70% rye

And another:

 70% rye

I was really happy with this formula, and taken by how quickly the dough came together and how straight forward it was to work with. Expecting sloppy wetness, I found a firm, relaxed dough. I'm thrilled by how it came out!

Crumb shot


Crumb shot


Now for something different:

Vincent Vega: "And you know what they call a ... a ... a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?"
Jules: "They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?"
Vincent Vega: "No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is."
Jules: "Then what do they call it?"
Vincent Vega: "They call it a "Royale" with cheese."
Jules: "A "Royale" with cheese! What do they call a Big Mac?"
Vincent Vega: "A Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it "le Big-Mac"."
Jules: ""Le Big-Mac"! Ha ha ha ha! What do they call a Whopper?"
Vincent Vega: "I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King."

Some months back, macarons, those tender, finnicky almond flavoured meringue shells sandwiched around a buttercream or ganache filling, seemed to be all the rage in the food blogging hemisphere. Magazine articles, websites, tutorials, heated discussions over which meringue method yields the toughest shell and the highest feet... and so on... I was taken by gorgeous food designer photos of these petit fours, and, with some practice, one can probably make sexy macarons with a shell as smooth as silk... I've just made my first batch of macarons, and I think I've learned a lot about their particular nature as I went along. First, I'm not going to get the ideal, smooth top shell since I'm not using finely ground almond flour - the item was nowhere to be found in any grocery store, so I settled on grinding blanched almonds as fine as my food processor would allow. I used a French meringue for the batter, and below is a photo of piped macarons resting for half an hour in order to get a surface crust:

Drying macarons

As you can see, they're a bit irregularly shaped (in a large part due to small chunks of almonds), and they've retained a little "beak", so I should've done a few more folds to get the "magma" consistency of the piped batter. While they were awaiting the oven, I could prepare the filling - a white chocolate ganache with raspberry preserves:

White chocolate ganache with raspberry preserves

And here they are: They got feet, they didn't crack, and they were incredibly sweet... **not in one sitting** ;-)


Shiao-Ping's picture

This is not the easiest sourdough starter to culture.  It took many days for the Golden Semolina starter to be ready and even then it did not look very robust.  It would not surprised me if this type of flour is extremely low in sugar content.   I was going to abandon the starter or even add instant yeast to the final dough, but I thought if it didn't work out, no harm - it's an experiment.   

Bulk fermentation was 18 hours in the refrigerator.  The dough needed extra long time for second fermentation - 14 hours - in cool room temp (16C/61F).   This is the batard that came out of my oven this morning:  

Minced Corn Sourdough with Golden Semolina Starter    


                                The crumb  

My formula:  

285 g Golden Semolina starter at 55% hydration

300 g white flour

167 g water

75 g corn (pan-fried with 1 stalk of green shallots in 2 tbsp of olive oil, then minced)

9 g salt

polenta for dusting


final dough weight 860 g and approx. dough hydration 68 - 69%



SylviaH's picture

With all the chat lately about the 'Baguette Monge'  I pretty much followed that recipe.  I used my K.A.A.P. flour and a poolish..was what I had and I did want to try it with some added Olive Oil as suggested a while back by Jane!  They where baked under a steam cover with added steam!  Just out of the oven so I will post a crumb shot a little later this evening!


SylviaH's picture

Scali loaves make a wonderful flavored Italian bread!  I think I will will use this recipe from King Arthur Flours to make some torpedo rolls even though it is traditionally braided with added sesame seeds.  The crumb is perfect for sandwiches and the crust is crunchy good with the added flavor of the sesame seeds.  We loved it even with my fresh made "Bing Cherry Jam"!  Oh, the cherries are so sweet and good this year and well worth the pitting to make jam!



Nomadcruiser53's picture

A quick entry today because I didn't do much. The raisin bread is wonderful and filled the house with that "to die for" smell, but I can't take much credit for it. I had a mound of dough left over from the sticky buns yesterday so I figured I'd just stretch and fold some raisins into it and let er rip. It sat and proofed for another hour and into the oven for 40 mins at 350. I think the neighbors could smell it from the street cuz it's going fast. I just made myself a "moscow mule" and browsed BBA for SD tips. I have a firm starter getting ready for a basic white SD tomorrow. I need bread for work sandwiches. Anyway, here are the raisin bread shots.

A nice crumb and tasty treat with fresh coffee. Dave


xaipete's picture

I tried making the grilled pizza margharita featured last week on WildYeast over the weekend. The recipe makes two pizzas so I grilled one Friday night and the second, Saturday for lunch.

Friday night's pizza was about a 10" round. I had difficulty getting our gas BBQ to heat evenly (it has three elements running front to back but the backs of all three are hotter than the fronts). Consequently, it cooked too fast, got too brown on the back side, and was slightly underdone in the middle (didn't cook all the way through).

To remedy the problem I decided to make Saturday's pizza into a rectangle and lower the heat so it would cook all the way through. My second attempt was much more successful: nothing got burned and the pizza dough was cooked all the way through.

Grilled pizza is definitely different than its oven baked cousin. It was thicker and the crust had a nice crunch, but the flavor of the mozzarella just seemed a little blah on the grill. Would I make it again? Yes, but with a stronger topping, e.g., sausage and firmer, perhaps marinated mozzarella or pesto and shrimp. It was nice not to have to preheat the oven for an hour on a day when the temperature was nearly 100ºF here!


Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

-- Recipe revised on July 7, 2009 | Shaping technique revised on July 7, 2009 --

I have been developing this recipe for about 4 months now, and it has become one of those breads that's always around the kitchen. I use to make it solely for hearty dinners like stews, roasts, etc. I started off making one dinner sized submarine style loaf and freezing the rest. That worked great, but then I started making clover dinner rolls, and those were great too. This last time, I was rushed, so I just made one large hybrid boule/batard and hoped for the best. It turned out well for the roast we had that night, and lived on the next day in the form of morning toast and afternoon tuna sandwiches. The nuttines of the Whole Wheat really compliments tuna for some reason... very good stuff! Anyways, using only honey and molasses for the sweeteners keeps this bread pretty honest, and allows for the bread flavor to remain dominant.

 - Keith

-- Recipe revised on Jul 7, 2009

-- Edited on Jun 29, 2009 to include recipe

Recipe for Honey-Molasses Whole Wheat Bread (a work in progress!)

Disclaimer: As of right now, I do not use any machines in processing my bread dough. I use a combination of autolyse, frisage (see Technique Notes below recipe), classic stretch and fold, Bertinet stretch and fold, and good old fashioned kneading to get to the proofing stage. Which combinations I use depends on the recipe and time constraints. I will try to define gluten development as light, medium, or heavy so that those of you who do use machines can use your own due diligence and experience with your particular machine.

For this particular loaf, time was of the essence (dinner), so I needed to get from mix to bulk fermentation as fast as possible. To that extent, I used some Bertinet folding for quick gluten strengthening, then some regular kneading before rounding into bulk fermentation. The rest of it, up to baking, was pretty standard fare.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS (Baker's percentages provided)


Ingredient Final Dough
  % Grams
Whole Wheat Flour 57.71% 160.42g
All Purpose Flour 42.29% 117.58g
Water (110° F) 67% 186.26g
Salt 1% 2.78g
Butter (unsalted, softened) 9.3% 25.85g
Honey 13.89% 38.61g
Molasses 6.9% 19.18g
Active Dry Yeast 1.15% 3.2g
Totals 199.24% 553.88g


Notes: This recipe was revised to reduce hydration. After experimenting over the last week with several loaves, I found what I feel is the best starting point for the intial hydration in relation to the type of shape for the end product. You will still need some bench flour during the final kneading, but probably less than 1/4 cup. Please keep in mind that this dough has honey, as well as molasses in it, therefore it will be sticky. Judging when the dough is perfect takes a few times working with it. For me, this 'sweet spot' during the final knead is, it does not stick to my work surface (but I am working with it quickly.. if left to sit more than about 5 seconds, it -will- stick). It will slightly stick to my hands, but I keep them lightly floured.

If you are unfamiliar with scaling recipes using baker's numbers, please just ask and I'd be happy to scale for any amount of dough you need. ~550g of final dough was a perfect size for this particular loaf.

Ok, so onto -


[Added Jul 7, 2009 - Summer is here, and it is over 80° F in my kitchen and work area. I have therefore dropped my target liquid temperature from 110° F to 90° F. My bulk fermentation has dropped from 90 mins to 60 mins, and final proofing dropped from 40 mins to 20 mins. These temperatures and times are using Active Dry Yeast.]

Add flours and salt to a mixing bowl, whisk briskly. Combine water, honey and molasses to micro-safe container and heat in micro to about 120° F. Add butter to liquids. Whisk, and once it has melted in, water mixture should have dropped to about 110° or so (exact temp not real critical here - +/- 5° is fine). Add yeast and allow to work about 5 mins, or if you have used instant yeast, add that to flour instead and skip this step. Make a slight well in flour bowl and add water mixture to the well. Begin incorporating flour into water mixture by stirring from inside the well towards the wall of the mixing bowl. Do as best you can until you cannot mix further. Dump onto work area (no extra flour at this time). Perform Frisage (see note below). Put back into mixing bowl and let autolyse (rest) for about 30 minutes (20 mins during summer heat). After autolyse, return to work surface and begin Bertinet folding. Do this type of folding for about 10-15 minutes. Use windowpane test to check for medium to heavy gluten development. If you use this dough in some sort of a pan, less gluten is necessary. If you intend to make a freeform loaf (as is pictured), lean toward the heavy end. If you are doing this by hand like me, it is very difficult to overwork dough. Once you have a well-developed dough that is also smooth, round it (watch the very end of the Bertinet video) and return to a lightly oiled (I used veg oil, but canola or olive should be fine) bowl for bulk fermenting. Bulk fermenting should take 1 hour to 90 minutes, depending on temperature. Use a floured-finger poke test if you're unsure. Lightly turn back out onto work surface, this time with some bench flour on it (I also use Wondra for my bench work). Shape however you want.

Expert dough handlers: This next section is to walk novice shapers through the process of creating internal dough pressure and external dough tightening. You can skip all of it, and I'll just say, this shape is initially a boule, super-tightened, and then rolled on its side to elongate. The end shape is a batard middle section with a bull nose on each end. The middle section, after final proofing, should be a decent sandwich loaf width.

[Updated shaping technique added July 7, 2009 - For this loaf, I used my fingers to press out a rectangle, with the long edge running top to bottom. Use firm finger pressure to degas while flattening. Roll edge furthest from you towards you, overlapping the dough by about 1/2" to 1". Press down firmly all along the inside of this overlap, building tension on the outside skin. This technique is commonly used for making French loaves, and you are doing two things: building up inside dough pressure while degassing. Continue rolling towards you and pressing each seam. You will do this 7 or 8 times before reaching the edge nearest you. Lightly pinch together final seam along bottom. You should now have a nice French loaf type log. Fold left side 1/3 of the log over the middle, from left to right. Fold right side 1/3 over onto the left side, creating a 3 layer log. Flip upside down, and flatten firmly (but do not smash it). Pick up entire dough ball, and start tucking all of the bottom edge down and force into underside middle. We are now forming a quick and dirty boule. Move the dough ball around in a circle in your hands as you continue tucking under. Watch the surface area on top as the skin tightens. We already tightened once while rolling up the log, we are super-tightening it now. Once you have a nice tight boule, pinch together bottom seam area where all the edge dough gathered. It is -important- to thoroughly seal this seam, or the boule tension will release slightly. Set boule on the work surface, seam side down. It should sit up nice and tight. Very lightly dust your work surface. Now roll the boule back and forth (away from you, then back towards you) over the seam area. Do this fairly quickly, and apply slight pressure to the middle section. Your goal is to elongate the boule a bit, almost to the shape of a large batard. How much you do this last step actually determines the final loaf shape. Doing very little pressure here results on a very fat loaf which more resembles a boule. Using quite a bit of pressure and elongating it farther results in the shape pictured above, which is more of a sandwich loaf with a bull nose. The bull nose is the result of the intial boule shape. You have built up massive internal pressure, and now a super tight outside skin. Effectively, you have created a nice little hand grenade! This is going to maximize your oven spring, and provide for the nice bloom in the middle section. Handle carefully from here on out...]

Transfer to parchment paper or baking sheet for final proof, seam side down (I use an Airbake cookie sheet, which bypasses the need for using parchment paper and provides me with a perfect bottom crust). Final proof is about 25-40 minutes, so begin preheating the oven to 350° F now, or even a bit earlier if yours needs more time. Again use a poke test if you need to determine when the final proof is ready to load into the oven. Lean towards a slight underproof if you like good oven spring. On the loaf pictured, the timing was just about perfect. The batard rose nicely in the heat, but didn't literally explode out the top. I spritzed the proofed loaf with a fine spray of plain water and slashed. The slash was a straight line lengthwise, with a slight angle on the blade. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp melted butter down the slash. This is optional. I omitted the melted butter on two loaves, and ended up with a nice smooth grigne on top. The melted butter loaves keep the slash area very moist and allows for the ear and bloom in the middle (if you like that rustic look).

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a digital thermometer reads 205° F or more (insert on underside, and make sure probe goes to middle of the loaf). When finished baking, turn off oven and let the loaf stay on the slightly pulled out rack to dry (about 5-10 minutes). Retire loaf to an actual cooling rack. You can slice into it within about 15-20 mins or so if, like us, you need it immediately. As with most breads, this loaf cuts best once completely cool (90-120 mins).

I would rate this recipe as Easy to Moderately difficult, the moderate part due to handling a sticky dough with honey and molasses. Anyone with some baking experience should be able to get reasonable results without much hassle. The honey and molasses content also creates a very nice dark golden brown crust without the need for any type of wash. You can experiment with any seeds or additional grains (like oats) for crust toppings. I've done the oats for a very nice result.

Techinique Notes:

Video of Richard Bertinet performing his stretching technique to develop gluten without the aid of a machine:


Frisage is a french term for massaging the dough on the work surface in order to crush and hydrate any dry bits of flour after the intial mix. This, in effect, does by hand what a mixer would do. Although it looks messy, it really isn't that bad, and only takes about 2 minutes to do an entire load of dough. I have found that by doing this, and then following it with an autolyse period, leaves me with a dough that already has a light gluten formation. This makes for less kneading for the next phase. A video demonstrating this is available at the PBS Julia Child video library, where her guest chef is Danielle Forestier. The technique is performed several minutes into the video, right after she is finished combining the flour and water. The difference between what she does and what I do prior to the frisage is, she creates the well in the flour right on the work surface, where I use a mixing bowl. I do not have enough work surface space for that big of a mess! hehe Anyways, video link is HERE.


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