The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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WoodenSpoon's picture


  • 120g 100% hydration levain (11%flour and 11%water)
  • 171g fresh milled kamut (31%)
  • 284g bread flour (50%)
  • 45g ap flour (8%)
  • 160g wine soaked figs (20% fig 9%wine)
  • 112g wine (20%)
  • 298g warm water (58%)
  • 100g toasted walnuts 18%
  • 12g salt (2%)


  • 1 hr autolyse
  • mix in levain & salt
  • slap and fold @ 5 minutes
  • slap and fold @ 10 minutes
  • fold in figs and nuts @ 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 1 hr
  • fold @ 1 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 2 hr
  • fold @ 2 1/2 hr
  • preshape/rest/shape @ 5 1/2 hr
  • retard @ 8 hr
  • bake @ 21 hr

I baked this on my stone, covered by a large mixing bowl at 500F for 25 minutes then uncovered at 460 for 45 minutes.

Lately I have started to shy away from loaves with ingredients whose flavors will over power the taste of the grains and fermentation, but my house has been so cold lately that coaxing out those subtle flavors has been a bit of a up hill battle, so I gritted my teeth and made a flavored loaf and I'm glad I did.

 This loaf is so good that I'm going to make it again, and I usually don't make things twice in a row as I really only bake on my weekends and over the course of a week I'v got a hundred new ideas that I want to try. But this will be an exception, the flavor was good enough that I think its worth taking a crack at upping the whole grains to a percentage I'd be more proud of.

If any of you take a shot at making this keep in mind that my house is very brisk, >60f so take that into account and possibly adjust yer levain percentage or fermentation times accordingly.

PY's picture

Im kinda getting a hang of this bread and i love it. Mixed by hand instead of a mixer which the recipe called for and did 4 stretch and folds at 30 mins interval. After that into the fridge it went for 4.5 hours (because i had to go out). Recipe called for it to be shaped before being retarded, if desired. pre shaped straight from fridge, benched for 30 minutes. Final proof for 45 mins before loading into oven with towel steam.

alfanso's picture

About a year and a half ago, The New York Times featured the formula for the Tartine Country Bread in their food section.  I dutifully copied it off and even more dutifully dropped it in the back of my pack of formulae for "sometime in the future".  Finally deciding to make the loaf as baguettes, I didn't stop to consider that there is a Tartine baguette formula also and that it is quite different than for the Country Bread, and with a much lower hydration.  

But that would ruin my narrative and my string of converting boules and batards to baguettes and vice versa.  So off I went to see some notes on TFL about it.  And I discovered that txfarmer knocked it off way back in 2010, years before I was around these parts.  And to quote her, verbatim, "Who's up for shaping this dough into baguettes?".  Well, I am!

With a new oven to learn to deal with (that's another tome for another day), I made it last week and had some slight difficulties.  Nothing earth-shattering but it could have been better.  Was the problem the formula as a baguette, me, the new oven, or any random combination.  Who knows just yet.  The bread didn't get the standard bloom and oven spring that I've come to expect, but it also is far from entering into the Frankenstein range of bakes.    

Rescaled from the original weight down to ~1500g for each bake, on my second attempt I dropped the overall hydration down from 77% to 75% to make the dough a bit more manageable, and it probably worked in my favor, although I'm not quite sure about that.  Living on a couche overnight in the refrigerator, the dough shed a lot of moisture.  Even with the amount of flour that I used to dust the couche (still quite nominal), the dough was a bit resistant to cleanly flipping from couche to hand peel, but not much of an issue.  Just not a completely clean transition.

I'm also surprised at how long these baguettes baked for, 13 minutes with steam and then another 19 after that.  That's a pretty long bake at 450dF for baguettes.  The one batard (how could I resist?) took an additional 6 minutes.

3x300g baguettes, 1x550g batard, created using my standard methodology of 300 French Folds, bulk retard for x hours and then divide, shape, couche and retard until bake time.  The lead picture is from the first bake.

Pre shaped and waiting to become something...


bakingbadly's picture

Sometimes when my heart's heaving, when I'm struggling to smile or lift my head high, I think about my friends, my beloved customers.

One time, a regular at the farmers market gifted me a bag of organic rye flour (non-existent in Cambodia) & a glass bottle of baker's yeast... manufactured in 1956!

My jaw dropped.

Another time, another regular surprised me with a bottle of 100% pure, natural maple syrup (another scarcity in Cambodia) harvested by her family in Canada.

As a Canadian, f**king eh!!

Other times I reminisce about enthusiastic encounters with visiting bread bakers from across the globe---USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, wherever---a few who took time & effort to find me!

When I reflect deeply on my life as a bread baker, I'm reminded of 3 critical things: I am respected; I am appreciated; And I am loved.

Despite the hardships of running a traditional sourdough bakery in Cambodia, combined with personal afflictions, its moments like these that pushes me forward.

Mr. Zita
Head Baker
Zita's Bakery​
Siem Reap, Cambodia

A brief timeline of my progress this year:

  • Earlier this year I acquired a new, triple deck, stone hearth oven from Taiwan. No steamer. I named her "Poppling". 

  • My bakery's new logo (previously "Siem Reap Bäckerei") & business cards. Made from fibrous banana tree stalks in Cambodia. Natural, biodegradable & fair trade.

  • My bake sale stall at the Sunday Farmers Market.
  • Front row: Muesli Sourdough (left) & 7 Grain Sourdough (right). Back row: an assortment of yeast breads (bagels & German-style bread rolls). 
  • Notice the "Z" on my 7 Grain loaves? They're my bestselling breads. 

  • Me, organizing my bake sale stall at a cafe. Yes, those are pretzels I'm handling.

  • My breads can be found in a few luxurious, top rated restaurants & boutique hotels in town---my preferred clients. Why? Because they make custom orders (I love new challenges) & they're willing to pay higher price for greater quality.

  • I launched a separate brand called "Kookie King" months prior to my bakery's new branding (Zita's Bakery). Besides my reputation as the "Bread Baker" in town, I'm also known to do cookies well. 

  • Challenged by my friends, I created a tropical, vegan, gluten free cookie, using as much local ingredients as possible. I call them "Cashew Kiss". Inspired by the Italian "Baci di Dama". Contains salak (snake fruit) & lime cream. 
  • Next steps: create a variety of flavours, design & produce packaging, sell them in specialty shops, cafes, restaurants, & hotels across Cambodia. (Yes, I'm highly ambitious.) 

  • Latest creation: Cider English Muffins & Swiss Cheese Buns. (Bagels are my second bestselling breads.)

An invitation to serious bread bakers: if you're heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia, please feel free to contact & visit me. I'd be honoured to meet other bread fanatics, especially established, experienced bakers. (I still consider myself a novice baker.) 


dabrownman's picture


With Lucy’s success, after 3 tries, at the Methodist Ladies, 1906 Witch Yeast, Lucy thought she could move on to a more difficult starter - especially now that she has finally passed the last of the aluminum foil wrapped Hershey’s Kisses she ate a couple of days before Christmas – nearly a whole bag of them.  So much for chocolates being poisonous for dogs too.

When it comes to Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads, you never know where he came up with some of his starters, or what he was thinking, since most of them have commercial yeast in them.  This one is fairly odd though in that the first 3 days it doesn’t have any potatoes in it of any kind.


It could just as easily have been called Scalded Corn Meal and Milk Starter with some sugar and salt in it since that is how it begins.  You can find the recipe on page 284.  You just let this sit at 80 - 85F for 2 to 3 days, stirring it once a day until it ferments and becomes frothy.  How it does this I have no idea since the mix is scalded which should kill of f and denature most all the stuff in it that would make a starter.


Lucy says it is ‘wee beastie magic’.  Then you add boiled mashed potatoes, a huge amount of the potato boiling water, both cooled, along with some more sugar and salt.  You let it sit at the same temperature for another day, stirring every few hours, before refrigerating the soupy mass for 3 days to ‘age’ it.

So this another one of those no wheat flour potato starters but this one worked the first time because, unlike the Witch Yeast, the direction on how to make it were fairly clear and easy to follow.  When done it did smell a bit like a young fruity SD starter.  Clayton didn’t give a recipe to use it in, like he did the Witch Yeast, so we had no idea how to use it.

Holiday cookies aren't complete until the puff paste rugalach are done.

We cut the formula In half since the original would have ended up with 2 quarts of the stuff which seemed excessive – especially when the only things we keep in that mega size around here are beer, bourbon and wine.  Lucy thought we should just treat it like a finished levain but it was too soupy for my reckoning.

A nice small 8 pound Christmas Turkey.  Sweet limes (a new citrus for us) , butter, fresh sage and rosemary under the skin - after 24 hours in an apple cider brine.

So I, being the master in charge, overruled my apprentice and decided to feed 180 g of this stuff with 60 g of whole grains - 10 g each of rye, wheat, oat, barley, spelt and Kamut just to see if it could live once off a corn and potato diet and thicken it up to a more normal levain consistency.  4 hours later it seemed to be happily bubbling away so we fed it to the LaFama AP dough flour and some more potato water, this time half sweet potato water, until it felt like a 75% hydration dough.

Since the starter had so much salt in it, we had to guess at how much more was need and decided 1% the flour weight would work.  We sprinkled it on top of the dough ball and let it sit for 30 minutes so the white flour could hydrate.  We then did 3 sets of 30 slap and folds on 30 minute intervals and 3 sets of stretch and folds, from the compass points only, on 45 minute intervals.


Last week's Witch Yeast, Fig and Pistachio bread with a nice smoked pork. chili spiced, noodle soup.

 Once shaped we put it in a rice floured basket and then bagged it for a 20 hour cold proof.  We took it out of the fridge the next day and let it warm up on the counter for 2 hours hoping it would finish proofing since it didn’t do much in the fridge.  These young starters tend to be weak so you have to be patient or just love potatoes more than you do the average, aluminum pooping, bread baking apprentice!

We decided on using a hot aluminum pot for a cloache so that Lucy would know what aluminum should really be used for……. instead of makeshift, intestine rippers.  We preheated to 450 F and baked at 425 F for 15 minutes with the lid on since SFSD is baked at lower temperatures and this was a smaller loaf to begin with at 850 g. 


Once the steaming was done, we continued to bake at 425 F, convection this time, for another 15 minutes until the bread thumped done. It bloomed, blistered and sprang well enough under cover and browned up nicely with the dry heat.  We will have to wait to see how the crumb came out when we slice it for dinner.

Got to have corn bread for Christmas Dinner!

For a brand new corn and potato starter only 5 days old, this bread really stunned Lucy.  It has only the mildest of sour but it is fairly open, glossy, soft and moist on the inside.  It isn't super open for a 15% whole grain bread but the rest of the sought after crumb characteristics are there in spades.   The girls are going to like the left over cranberry, stuffing and turkey sandwiches we will make with this bread.   This is just the kind of bread they love.  You have to love Clayton! 

Yea!  The oranges are finally ripe


STUinlouisa's picture

This bread was the last minute thought to accompany some left over vegetable, squid and bay scallop chowder that is a mainstay at Christmas Eve dinner. It also served as a means to use up some starter that needed refreshed and some cheese left over from the same meal. Since time was short it is a hybrid with 125g starter and a pinch ( too small to weigh with my 1g minimum scale) of commercial yeast. The flour,500g total, is 50% fresh ground white whole wheat and 50% AP. The cheese is a combo of Jarlsberg Swiss and Colby Longhorn diced in about .25 inch chunks, didn't weigh or measure but guess a total of .75 cup, and there is one very large clove garlic run through a press both added at the first S&F. Hydration ended up at about 72%. Baked in a DO on parchment to avoid a burnt on cheese cleanup.

The taste surpassed what I had imagined especially when dunked in the soup. The flavor of the cheese is prevalent with a strong undertone of the garlic. It was one of the few breads that half got frozen immediately for future consumption at a special meal.


isand66's picture

  I made a version of this bread in the summer and decided to bake it again with some modifications to bring to our friends house for Christmas dinner.  I usually bring some type of rye bread to go with the Christmas ham and figured a nice moist porridge bread would do the trick.

I decided to add some beer which usually gives Rye a wonderful flavor and I also added some toasted onions to the second build of the starter to really enhance the onion flavor profile.

I cut back some of the liquid to compensate for the wetter porridge which seemed to be a result of increasing the total yield of the formula to end up with 2 large loaves.

The end result was a very wet dough but it ended up springing up nicely and the crumb was as moist as I've ever achieved.  The onion and rye flavors came through brilliantly and everyone seemed to like it very much with their ham.



Porridge Rye Beer Bread (%)

Porridge Rye Beer Bread (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Levain Directions

If you have a rye starter you can simply refresh and use the correct amount in the final mix.  If not, mix all the levain ingredients for Build 1 together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  One trick you can use to see if the starter is ready for build 2 is to sprinkle some rye flour on-top and when it cracks you are ready to go.  If you have a proofer you can cut down the time by setting it to 78 degrees.  It usually takes me about 3-4 hours using the proofer.

When you are ready for Build 2, mix in the remaining ingredients and hold back some of the rye flour and sprinkle it on top after mixing.  When you have a nice grouping of cracks on the top of your levain you are ready to mix the main dough.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the water called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the water is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the water and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and 550 grams of the beer for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  While the dough is resting stir in the onions with the remaining beer.  If you use fresh onions you can simply add it to the dough when going to the final mix step.  When the dough is rested, add the levain, cooled porridge,  salt and beer/onion mixture and mix on low for 6 minutes.     You should end up with a very sticky dough.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 30 minutes. Remove the dough and shape as desired. (Note: this is a very sticky dough, so use wet hands and your dough blade to help you shape the dough.  Do not deflate the dough and add a ton of flour or you will not be happy with the result).  I suggest using a basket with a liner floured with rice flour to prevent sticking.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.



FrugalBaker's picture

The year end is approaching once again and it is time to reflect on what I have done and have not. Though, this time around, I chose to count on all the blessings instead and TFL is definitely one of them as I have benefited so much from the helpful community around here.


Many thanks to Abe, dabrownman, Alan, Minioven, Gordon and so many more people out there...


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and as always....Happy Baking : ) 



Warmest Regards,


Bröterich's picture

This was first described here by freerk. 

I modified the recipe by not using yeast and using a very active rye starter (100% hydration). As high extraction flour I used Red Fife. The dough was very slack so that I could't really formed a batard, and I used an oblong cloche. The taste was beautiful.


Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

pecan cherry breadWell typically I make hybrid breads using commercial yeast and my starter. Earlier this month  during a thrift store jaunt I picked up a used dutch oven, and I decided that I wanted to to test it out by revisiting my old nemesis Sourdough bread. 

So I pulled the starter out of the fridge and fed it twice  over a period of 12 hours, with flour and water; its been warm here . In the second feeding I also added a small amount of cornmeal.  I let that set overnight. Then the next day I added some sprouted wheat berries that I ground up in the bullet blender with some water. I let it rest somewhere but I dont remember how long. Then I added some more flour.  And I let it rest. Finally I added some pecans, salt and cherries. I let this proof in the refrigerator for a 90 minutes.I slashed it It could have been longer I preheated the pot and the top in the 450  Fahrenheit degee oven then I carefully unloaded the bread without burning myself!


But it is actually edible!

Happy Challidays to All My Fresh Loaf Virtual Friends


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