The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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GabrielLeung1's picture

Further improvements on my white bread included three changes.

1.) Salt-less autolyse period

2.) Decreased amount of preferment

3.) Decreased hydration

Because an autolyse is meant to increase extensibility, salt would be a bad addition, this would counter the decrease in extensibility of a drier dough. However, I should be able to score these loaves because they are drier.


Purpose: To improve on a sandwich loaf with good crumb and flavor.



 100%   Bread Flour        (13.5 oz)

 66%     Water               (9.0 oz)

 0.8%    Instant Yeast     (0.11 oz)

 1.33%  Salt                   (0.18 oz)



Day 1-preferment

 6.750 oz Bread Flour

 9.000 oz Water

 0.055 oz Instant Yeast

All the water is combined with half the flour and half the yeast and fermented for an hour, then retarded overnight in a refrigerator.


Day 2-main dough

 6.7500 oz Bread Flour

 0.0550 oz Instant Yeast

 0.1800 oz Salt

 15.805 oz Preferment

Autolyse- Combined the preferment with the flour and autolyse for 20 minutes.

Knead in the yeast and salt, and developed

Bulk Fermentation- 45 minutes at room temperature

Folded the dough

Secondary Fermentation- 45 minutes at room temperature

Divided the dough into two pieces, shaped them into batards.

Final Proof- 60 minutes

- Preheated oven to 450F after 30 minutes

- Scored loavves, filled slashes with sesame oil before the loaves went into the oven.



- The fermentation was too quick. I can easily cut the yeast to stretch out the fermentation.

- If I quarter the amount of yeast, the fermentation should take 3 hours, a more reasonable time.

- It wasn't as difficult to knead in ingredients after the gluten was developed as I had thought.

- It was possible to score the loaves, 66% hydration is a good number, but it can still go higher I feel.

- Sesame oil is a good addition in terms of fragrance and flavor. It isn't too powerful.

- I need to work on the volume.


- I must shape the loaves to maximize surface tension

- Slashing the sides may improve volume

- less yeast, or several folds to slow down the yeast

- experiment with increased hydration, return to 70%.



GabrielLeung1's picture

A good white bread was made yesterday. This was my attempt to bring together all the techniques I've been learning about from books and this site.



 100%  Bread Flour

 70%    Water

 1.33% Salt

 0.8%   Instant Yeast



Day 1-preferment

 9.0000 oz Bread Flour

 9.5000 oz Water

 0.0275 oz Instant Yeast

All the water was combined with an equal weight of the flour and a quarter of the yeast to be used here. This mixture was fermented for one hour, then retarded overnight in a refrigerator.


Day 2-primary dough

 4.50000 oz Bread Flour

 0.18000 oz Salt

 0.08250 oz Yeast

 18.5275 oz Preferment

The preferment was warmed up at room temperature for 90 minutes. The flour, salt, and yeast were then added and kneaded in.

Autolysed for 20 minutes.

Fermented for two hours, the fermenting dough was folded half way through. 

Shaped into a round boule, and proofed for 60 minutes.

Baked at 450 F with steam until it reached 200 F within, and was golden brown on top (probably around 25 minutes).





Here I combined the preferment, autolyse, secondary fermentation, folds, and final proof to maximize gluten formation and flavor. The autolyse and folds should have enhanced the gluten development, while the preferment and secondary fermentation should have enhanced flavor. The final proof was 60 minutes long to achieve maximum volume.


Next Time-

*I can probably still push the maximum flavor by scalding the flour in addition to retarding a preferment overnight.

*I can also increase the openness of the crumb by increasing hydration.

Oddities- scoring loaves is essential to maximum opening of the crumb, yet its difficult with high hydration doughs.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I think I forgot to post in the Introductions Forum, so I'll make up for that here...

I'm Keith, and I live in Long Beach, CA, near the Orange County border. That puts us about 40 ft. or so above sea-level, if you find that interesting!

I have one adult son from a previous marriage, and am currently a stay-at-hom pop with a 3 yr old boy (Patrick Keith aka Bunka Bunka) and a 4 month old precious little girl (Samantha Jeanne aka Tweety Bird). I retired from a business telephone systems installer to my computer, where I design websites and write web scripts in PHP. I also do a fair amount of database work in MySQL. This transition took me out of the field and into my home, where I'm afforded the opportunity to care for my children. When my adult son was growing up, I was obsessed with career and the usual rat-race stuff, and didn't really get the chance to enjoy fatherhood. This time around, I enjoy every minute of it, every day.

I've approached my daily cooking and baking from both a hobby perspective and one of necessity. The health benefits are also factored in. I was raised by a grandmother who meticulously cooked all things from scratch. The memories of the smell of fresh spaghetti sauce simmering all day are well-branded into my gray matter. As I went on into the rat-race of young adulthood, I became a fast-food junkie. It was never satisfying to drive through some place, toss whatever I bought down the gullet, and move on to the next event. Food became an annoying necessity. After 5 or 6 years, I grew tired of this, and started slowly learning to cook on my own, unfortunately without the help of my grandmother who had passed away. She left me several old (1950's) Better Homes and Gardens Cook Books and a recipe box stuffed to the brim with chicken scratched recipes on them. Everything that comes out of my oven to feed my family and friends I lovingly dedicate to her.

It has been a long journey to bread baking. Although from pie crusts to specialty cookies, I was very flour-friendly, I always avoided any recipes that contained that dreaded word 'yeast'. How easy all of this eventually was underscores the silliness of my avoidance of it for a good 20 yrs or more. What eventually got me to break down and buy a packet of Active Dry Yeast was my obsession with the common waffle. I had this recipe for a State Fair type of belgian waffle, and it stared at me for probably a year or more before I decided to give it a go. It went wonderfully, they were excellent, and thus I realized that yeasted recipes aren't voodoo at all... but it still took another 2 or 3 years before I tried my first loaf of bread.

Fast-forwarding, and skipping the chase altogether, today I bake almost all of the bread our family consumes. I maintain 3 active sourdough starters, and it is the sourdough journey that eventually brought me to,, and here to TFL. While both of the previous sites and owners have tremendous gold mines of information respectively, the interaction between them and the fan base was very limited. TFL was obviously setup for the specific function of user-to-user interaction, so I found myself posting and getting involved. My inability to afford hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on bread making equipment led me to a belief that making good bread was not possible without these things. The internet proved me wrong, and challenged me to try. I was amazed to find that by perfecting my technique, I easily bypassed all of that expensive equipment to begin turning out wonderful healthy breads. It never really dawned on me that 'technique' was the only tool available to our ancestors, but I completely understand all of that now. My only real 'technological' tool is my digital scale. The rest of my equipment is rather sparse... my mixer cannot accomodate any attachments other than standard beaters, so I have no use for it in bread making. I use bowls, spoons, and a 14" x 18" pastry board. I recently went out and bought a Wilton dough cutter/board scraper, but that's about it. I also could not afford a $40 or more baking stone, so a $12 box of Saltillo tiles came in to line my oven. I couldn't be happier with the changes it made to my oven, as those changes taught me to actually 'operate' an oven versus just turning it on. My wife's not so happy... heheh

I have to close this first entry... Tweety Bird has popped an eye open and will be expecting a bah-bah within about 2 mins, or nuclear warfare will ensue. She likes her food. ; D

Thanks Floyd, for TFL.


- Keith

Shiao-Ping's picture

My formula  

190 g rye starter @100% hydration

95 g Rye meal unbleached flour

95 g organic stoneground whole meal flour

95 g KAF Sir Lancelot flour

50 g water

204 g orange juice

7 g salt Quinoa for dusting  


final dough weight 640 g    dough hydration 67%  


Mixed at mid-day yesterday, stretch & folds 4 times (as the dough was very slack) at 50 min intervals, then shaped, then bulk fermented in refrigerator for 8 hours to around mid-night, then cold retarded at 15 C (59 F) for another 8 hours.  Baked this morning at 8ish.   

50% Rye & 25% Wholemeal Orange Sourdough  


                                            The crumb  


I am learning to resist using diastatic powder, Vitamin C, or any other similar ingredients that are supposed to help the sourdough bread.  I am learning to do sourdough as is.  In this try of a rye and whole wheat sourdough, I couldn't however resist using orange juice as part of the hydration.  In my younger days I've had many Jewish friends and was introduced to pumpernickel bread very early in my life.  I love the smell of caraways seeds, but find pure rye lacking in taste; hence, orange juice to redefine its taste somewhat.      

Well, I like the result, and therefore I am giving you ...  

more crumb.  


p.s. A bad idea to roll dough in quinoa; with their round-shaped body, they dance unprovoked - they are everywhere as the bread is being sliced.  Sesame would be smarter.  


                                                                                                                I fed all the dancing quinoa to my garden worms  



xaipete's picture

A good friend of mine sent me this recipe last weekend. She and her husband used to eat this excellent appetizer or meal at Sayat Nova in Chicago many decades ago. She was pleased to see that it is still on their menu after all those years!

To call this "pizza" really doesn't tell the story of either its base or topping. The base has crackerish qualities lacking in bread and its topping, rich only with meat, fragrant spices and herbs, and devoid of any cheese-like quality. We gobbled down these meat pides last night with astounding speed.

Yesterday, I found a video demonstrating how to make them on youtube. Before watching it you might want to mute the sound because the music, which they offer for sale, is a bit harsh for my ears.

The authentic choice of meat is lamb, but if you object you could substitute beef. I ground my own lamb with the grinder attachment of my KA, but mincing it with a food processor would also work nicely. Of course you can also just buy the product already ground, if you choose.

The flavor of the finished pide is greatly enhanced by a lot of fresh lemon juice.

I took a lot of pictures, but, alas, didn't have the CF card in the camera except for the last shot.



(Makes 12)

7 g instant yeast
227 g warm water
7 g salt
7 g sugar
56 g shortening (I used Crisco, but you could probably use olive oil with good results)
340 g AP flour

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground lamb
3/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or passed through a garlic press
1/4 cup tomato paste
14 oz. can pear-shaped tomatoes (you can also use peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Lemon wedges, fresh mint, and olive oil

Mix dough ingredients together adding enough extra flour, if necessary, to make a soft pliable dough.  Knead for about 5 minutes to make it smooth and non-sticky.  Turn into greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces, each slightly under 2 oz. Shape into balls, arrange about 2” apart, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450º with rack on lowest level, and prepare topping. Drain tomatoes and finely chop the pulp.  Add pulp to remaining topping ingredients and mix with a fork until completely blended.  Divide meat mixture into 12 portions of about 1/3 cup each.

Take 2 pieces of dough and roll each to a 7 to 8” circle (dough will be very thin).  Place them slightly apart on ungreased lipped baking sheet lined with either parchment or a silicon baking pad.  Using a fork, spread meat mixture evenly to edges of dough.  

Bake one sheet at a time at 450˚ for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom but still capable of being folded. Remove and cool on racks. Repeat until all are baked.

Serve with lemon wedges.  Armenians put pickles or salad on top, and fold in half to eat.  

Store in sets of 2, with meat surfaces together (I put waxed paper between.)  Wrap well, and refrigerate or freeze.

To reheat:  Thaw, if frozen.  Leave in sets of 2.  Bake at 450˚ for 5 to 7 minutes until piping hot.  Separate and serve with lemon wedges.

Notes: May be top with salad dressed with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt & pepper, and lots of fresh chopped mint.


Shiao-Ping's picture

This sourdough was inspired by MC's fantastic Double Apple Bread at her farine-mc site.  My family is big on apples and when I saw her post I knew I would have to try.    

I used to wonder how apples in a good apple pie don't stick to the pastry.  Last November I was in New York  for a rare Chinese concert of Liu Fang and in one of my sleepless nights adjusting to the time zone difference, I was watching the American Iron Chef Boby Flay in a quest trying to find the best apple pie in America.   In the show, the brown paper bag apple pie won the contest.  Ever since then, my apple pies have seen great successes (I've tried it with frangipani built in, I've tried it with a custard centre, I've tried it with both - they are all good) and even my father-in-law loved it.   I admit this is a convoluted way to explain why I ended up with excess custard in my fridge and why it found its way into this apple sourdough.  To me, custard goes so well with apples.   

While I made my custard bread every now and then (I use custard to hydrate the dough) and my kids love it, I was not sure how my sourdough culture would react to custard.  One would say you don't need custard as sourdough is flavorful enough.  In making this bread, I also resisted using any instant yeast.     

I followed MC's instruction on fermenting the fresh apples for 5 days here with double quantity.  But I am scared of soaking muesli overnight as she did because it reminds me of the many failed gluten-free breads that I used to make.  So, I just used rolled oats in this instance.   

Here is my formula:  

200g rye starter @ 75% hydration

360 g Lucke's Wallaby unbleached baker's flour (11.9% gluten)

50 g rolled oats (and extra for dusting)

75 g shop-bought dried apple slices (chopped)

30 g water

120 g of the sweet , alcoholic juice from fermenting the apples

100 g cooked Granny Smith apple puree

55 g home-made vanilla custard

75 g of the fermented apples, chopped (the rest of the apples went with bacon under griller as part of yesterday's breakfast!)

 9 g salt  

I've been wanting to try David's beautiful San "waa-keen" Sourdough but there is a picture of a crown bread from Auvergne, France, in Leader's Local Breads (page 100) that really took my fancy.  I am not confidant if I bulk ferment my apple-loaded dough for 21 hours, as in David's method, that I would be able to shape it into the crown shape without deflating the dough too much.   So, before all is said and done, I mixed, did 4 stretch & folds in a space of 3 hours, shaped, and then put the dough into my refrigerator just before mid-day yesterday.  Here is the shaped dough before it went in:   


    the shaped dough  

I was however uncomfortable with the varying temperatures in my big old fridge, -1C to 7C (30F to 45F).  It was quite cold last night - the air through my kitchen window registered 14C (57F); I thought, perfect, that's the temp that I want my dough to be in; so at the last min I took the dough out of the fridge (it'd been there for 12 hours) and placed it right next to the window before I went to bed. 

I baked it this morning at 9 (21 hours altogether for proofing!).  And here is the Triple Apple Custard Sourdough (what a tongue twister):  


                           Triple Apple Custard Sourdough  


                                                                                                      close-up 1


                   close-up 2



                                The crust


I am very happy how this sourdough has turned out.  The crumb is as open as I could have hoped for.  The mouth-feel is quite heavy as it is very moist with loads of apples.  Thank you, MC, I know you are travelling at the moment, but you'd be happy with this apple sourdough, knowing how much you like fruits, dried fruits and all that healthy stuff!  And, thank you, David, for your ever detailed instructions in all of your wonderful posts.



Susan's picture

This little loaf is a perfect example of overproofing.  This is not a good thing.  Note the light color of the crust, the short stature, the spreading, and the more biscuit-like crumb.  I made a pizza with half the dough, and forgot the rest for a few hours.  A little bird told me to go ahead and bake it, but being hard-headed, I shaped it and put it in the fridge for the night.  You see the result.  My apologies to the little bird for not following her suggestion.

Susan from San Diego

Yippee's picture

I'm very happy to have worked out this recipe, not only because I am adding a new variety to the many existing recipes using sourdough starter discard, but it has also brought back a lot of fond memories from my childhood.

Egg puffs were one of my favorite after-school snacks that I picked up from a street hawker outside my elementary school.  Those freshly made egg puffs had soothed and warmed my rumbling stomach at winter dusk-I was in the PM section of my elementary school.

To make egg puffs, a thin batter of eggs, sugar, and evaporated milk is prepared. A two-piece egg puff iron is needed to produce these hollow, crispy egg-shaped waffles, giving them the Cantonese name that literally means 'little eggs'.  Street hawkers heat their irons on charcoal stoves, which are much more powerful than my electric stove at home. 

Street hawkers also use the same batter to make 'grid biscuits', which are very similar to waffles.  They are round in shape and have four quadrants.  These biscuits are usually served with a spread of butter and peanut butter and sprinkled with sugar on top. Therefore, if you dont' have an egg puff iron at home, you may try this recipe with a regular waffle maker.

Even though I'm thousands of miles away from my hometown across the Pacific, distance, thanks to these 'little eggs', only makes the heart grow fonder.

100% hydration starter = 1 cup          
Evaporated milk = 2 oz          
Eggs = 2            
Tapioca starch = 1 oz          
Castor sugar = 4 oz          
Baking soda =  1/4 tsp          
Baking powder =  1/2 tsp          
Custard powder = 2    TBSP          
Vanila extract = 1    tsp          
1 Whisk all ingredients until well mixed        
2 Heat up both pieces of egg puff iron and lightly spray with oil      
3 Pour batter to the base piece to about 90% full      
  Close with another piece, then turn upside down       
4 Take turns to heat both sides until the egg puffs are done  (It took Yippee 20 minutes on her electric stove)
5 Cool egg puffs on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving      

 A non-starter version recipe:

All purpose or cake flour = 4 oz
Tapioca starch = 1 oz
Castor sugar = 4 oz
Baking powder = 1 tsp
Water = 4 oz
Evaporated milk = 2 oz
Eggs = 2  
Custard powder = 2    TBSP
Vanila extract = 1    tsp

This will be submitted to Wild Yeast Yeastspotting!

ArtisanGeek's picture

I have relocated my Bread Baker's Toolbox (Volume Conversion Formula Tool , Custom Batch Formula Tool) to one of my hosting servers at Now I can finally shut down my server at the house. I hope you can get some use out of these tools and I will be making more of them soon. If you have any suggestions for formula or conversion tools that would make your life easier, just let me know.

audra36274's picture

    I couldn't let Sylvia and Pamela have all the red stained shirts! I did use Sylvia's meatball recipe, but instead of rolling the out by hand used and ice cream scoop to put the meatball in the bread crumbs. NEXT time I will only use a cookie dough scoop. They were way too big! I was scooping, rolling and putting them straight in the oil when I stopped to count. Sylvia had 18 or so and here is 10,11, 12. Uh oh. Too late. Good thing I have a big mouth. They were great ya'll. Thanks for the inspiration. My bread crumbs vanished somehow, but they were great.


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