The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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carrtje's picture

My three-day, rotational, Country White dough...and first attempt at blogging.

I bake this bread every third day or so, and it pretty much always turns out the same.  The original recipe is the basic white dough from Richard Bertinet's "Dough", which I absolutely love.  I stumbled upon this process one day by accident.  

I woke up early one Saturday and decided it was a good day for some fresh bread.  After mixing up the dough, and putting it in the oven to rise (I usually use the oven with the light on trick), my wife reminded me that we had to get ready to leave for the day...oops.  I slid the dough into an oiled plastic bag, and popped it into the refrigerator.  

Well, as we all know, life happens fast.  I kept remembering that dough ball in the fridge, but didn't seem to have time to bake it.  Finally, a few days later I had the crazy idea to use it like a starter.  I have since read that this isn't a crazy idea, but a pretty common one.  Now it's become my bread of choice.  Every few days I take the bag of dough out of the fridge, chop it into thirds, and make three batches of the original recipe, adding a third of the old dough to each.  I've even gone as far as a week and a half between baking, which makes a deliciously sour loaf!

A few days early, mix up this dough and stash it in an oiled bag in the refrigerator:

18 oz white bread flour

12.5 oz water

2 tsp kosher salt

1.5 tsp instant yeast


When you're ready to bake, here's what I do.

First, take your dough out of the refrigerator, and divide it by weight into three equal portions.  Take one portion, and cut it up into little strips or balls about an 1x1 inches.  The smaller it is, the easier it is to mix into the dough.  Measure out your water.  If the dough is really cold, I use pretty warm water.  Plop your old dough into the water and let it hang out while you measure out your other ingredients.  You end up making the recipe three times, so I like to get all the old dough in separate water portions, with three bowls of dry ingredients ready, too.

Old dough in water

I pour the first batch of water / old dough into the Kitchenaid bowl with the paddle attachment, and mix on low for a few minutes until it's pretty well homogeneous.

I mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl by swirling it with the dough hook by hand.

Next, I pour the dry mixture on top, replace attachments with the dough hook, and turn the machine on to level 2 for two minutes.  If it doesn't seem to be picking up the flour as well as I like, sometimes I stop the machine, and scrape the bowl with the hook a few times.

After two minutes, I turn the machine up to level four for seven minutes.  Notice it's a nice, wet dough.

I turn the dough straight out onto a floured surface, and tri-fold it into a ball.  I put this in a floured bowl, and place in the oven until risen double.

After the first rise, I gently pull it into a square, and tri fold it again.  I put it back in the bowl, and rise it in the oven for a second time.

After this rise, I square it, and form the final loaf.  I put it on a floured tea-towel.  I put a 12 inch dutch oven, with lid in the oven and preheat it to 525F

Pretty much by the time the oven is pre-heated, I take the dutch oven out and set it on a cutting board.  I flop the dough into it, put the lid on, and put it back in the oven for 20 minutes.  

After 20 minutes, I remove the lid and bake for 15 more minutes, or until it's nice and golden brown.

Now, just do it again.  The third batch I bag up and save in the refrigerator for next time.

This bread makes really yummy, crispy toast.  We ate it just this afternoon as chicken salad sandwiches.  It's our all-purpose bread.

blackbird's picture

1st try croissants
I used the "short method" from the Sunset book but next time I'll use the layered way as in the Sunset book or Jacque Pepin's "The Art of Cooking, Volumne 2".  

I think the oven should have been hotter (such as 425F instead of 325F).  I should have made more folds to try to get better layers but they are crunchy, chewy, and tasty........and like a magician, they  dissappeared.


1st try poolish
I think I got some oven spring, didn't over proof, I'm certain, must be doing something right, even if I'm not sure how I did it or what I did.  That's the fun part, eh?

Sunset's Sponge-method Peasant Rye Bread formula was the idea I based my loaf on, with a few changes.  I reduced the quanity by one-third.

One cup rye, one cup water, a little instant yeast, make the sponge (or poolish).

The basic idea was to compare the formula in an old Sunset bread book and ideas in Peter Reinhart's BBA book.  The Sunset book starts the mixing with a sponge but this seems to be matching the description of a poolish in Peter's book.  After 6 hours the aroma was very faint but pleasing.  At 24 hours the aroma was wonderful.

After 24 hours, two-thirds cup rye flour, one cup water, caraway seeds, are added along with a little salt, mixed well, and about three cups AP flour are added slowly. 

Knead for about ten or 15 minutes until smooth, adding AP flour as needed (pun intended).

Next a little oil to cover the dough, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let rise till doubled, or so, then knead (I did stretch and fold 2 cycles).

I tried a banneton for the final rise which didn't take long while the oven was pre-heated to 450F.  Two deep scoring cuts were added.

A small pan of hot water went into the oven, then the loaf, then fine water spray, close the oven for 40 minutes maximum for an internal temperature of 202F.

I'm a hopeless loafer, always have been a loafer. hope to be a better loafer, when I grow up. 



Yippee's picture

I'm grateful to the people here who have helped me advance in my bread making techniques.  I want to share my joy of success with them and the rest of the community. Even though my projects are not perfect, I've always made progress. Given time and practice, they will continue to improve in the future.

In this project, credit must go to dmsnyder (David), for his thorough write-up of the formula here and instruction/illustration on scoring; to MC, for her detailed explanation and encouragement on shaping; and to SteveB, for his video demonstration which makes the baguette shaping process vividly clear. 

I followed the Anis Bouabsa's baguette formula posted by David almost to the letter, except for the retardation part.  This dough had been given a cold shoulder in the fridge for six days.  Therefore, a hint of sourdough flavor has developed.  It lost its priority on my to-do list due to my hubby's recent grumbling about dwindling variety of good foods in the house since I started baking bread a few months ago.  "Bread again?" has been a frequent moaning I hear lately.  Therefore, I have diverted most of my energy and focus back to cooking in the last week or two, to appease all the 'hungry' mouths in the house.

And here's the link to my latest creation:



I've seen many TFL members' creations posted on YeastSpotting! and I think I'm going to give it a try this time.


Shiao-Ping's picture

Making breads must be a disease like any other addiction.  You don't want to stop once you get going.  


We just planted a baby avocado tree in our backyard.  A big storm last November uprooted one of our jacaranda trees and there was a spot available.  It will be years before our avocado bears fruit if it survives, but I am getting ahead of my game and practising my skill.  

Hass avocado is our favorite variety of avocado here in Australia.  Apparently in the U.S. it accounts for more than 80% of the avocado crop, including 95% of the California crop.  So, plenty is available.

I once made an avocado moose with orange cream and the kids loved it.  I haven't tried avocado in breads.  The tricky part would be how to let the sourdough shine - would the oil in avocado interfere with the sourdough culture? and, how to preserve the vibrant green color?  I know I will need the help of a little bit of instant yeast.  As well, I am pairing orange with avocado as avocado on its own may be a bit bland.  There may be one too many flavors but this is just my first try.



 250 g starter (refreshed last night at 75% hydration)

 485 g King Arthur Flour Sir Lancelot white bread flour

100 g water

100 g orange juice (about 1  1/2 navel oranges)

10 g very fine orange zest (about 1  1/2 navel oranges)

20 g honey

1.5 g instant yeast (1/2 tsp)


the avocado mixture

150 g roughly mashed avocado (about 1  1/2 medium size avocado)

10 g lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

11 g salt


I was aiming for a final dough hydration of around 63.5% and I figured the oil/liquid in avocado is anywhere from 40 - 50% its weight. 



              orange zest                                                                       mixing with avocado


I first mixed the starter, flour, orange and honey (for no more than 30 seconds), and while the sticky mess was being infused in orange flavors in resting, I prepared the ingredients for my avo mixture.  I chose the avocado slightly under ripe as I find if avo is too ripe it tends to oxidise too quickly once it's open.  I left it to the last minute to cut open my avo, mashed it with lemon juice and salt - the mixture is great to eat as is - then, chucked it right into my bread machine and turned it on at low speed.  I had to help the machine as the avo was swept aside and not being mixed in.


The rest of the procedure is pretty standard.  Today the weather was warmer than yesterday (around 21C); the first fermentation took 4 hours.  I divided the dough into two pieces and shaped.  Proofing was another 1 1/2 hours.  And here is today's bake:


The boule



The...(what do you call this shape?)



                                         The bread basket


The crumb was a little bit on the dense side, but the aroma!... the orange fragrance really comes through the crumb!  The avocado was also there. The crumb color was a pale olive green (somehow the crumb photo below does not show the color accurately but the open sandwich picture further down is more true).  We sliced the bread after 30 minutes from the oven (couldn't wait any longer), the first thing that hit us was orange, then a slight hint of avocado.  The interest thing was, after the bread rested for another hour and a half, the sourdough taste comes alive.   It was only then that all flavors and sourdough have come together nicely. 


The crumb


There is definitely room for improvement on the crumb.  I am sure Sir Lancelot flour was not the right choice of flour as it is a high protein, hard wheat flour.  I used it because I've only just received it from America and wanted to try it out.  For a more open crumb I should have used a lower protein and more balanced flour.   Nontheless, for the moment, I am happy to have it on its own or in a sandwich...


The open sandwich


The forefathers in 18th century Paris making sourdough breads in their little dark dungeons in the wee hours of the morning, had they had access to ample fresh avocado supply, and fresh oranges supply, would they not have tried the combination?

I've got to finish reading S L Kaplan's book before I get any older.                 




xaipete's picture

I made David's famous Pain de Campagne AKA San Jaoquin Sourdough today. I followed his excellent instructions exactly making one large batard. I baked the loaf on a stone in the center of the oven which proofed to be the wrong rung for my on-the-small-side wall oven as the loaf got a little too brown.

pain de campagne

The crumb is nice and open, and the flavor has a lot of sour and complexity to it. I'm not sure why I only have a hint of an "ear" but perhaps I didn't get enough surface tension when I was shaping.

pain de campagne

Thanks, David, for this and all the other wonderful variations on the theme!


weavershouse's picture

I was refreshing my starter to make pain de campagne when I saw this post. Your Italian bread is beautiful inside and out. I decided to try this and was VERY happy with the results. A really delicious bread, we ate half a loaf already.


I doubled the recipe to make four batards. The only thing I did different is I used Barley Malt Syrup instead of the powder because that's what I had. Next time I'd mix it with the water first because it was hard to mix in. I don't have a mixer so I did stretch and folds and a couple of minutes kneading. My crumb is not as open as yours. The first two loaves overproofed a little because my grandkids were getting ready to go home just as the loaves were ready to go in the oven. By the time we said our goodbyes I knew the bread had gone too long. You can see which two they are. The second two had time to sit and ferment while the first two were baking and by the time I formed them they had lots of air bubbles. I formed carefully and only let them proof for a little more then 30 minutes. Absolutely delicious! After all the lean breads a litte bit of sugar and oil were very tasty. I like the lean breads for toast and this Italian will be a favorite sandwich bread. Thanks for the post. 

Jw's picture

I have been making a lot a lazy bread lately. Takes me 20 minutes (incl. cleaning up, excl. baking time) for two breads. I always add seeds, makes the taste much better.

For flour I use 2/3 white, 1/3 rye or 1/3 five grain flour. I have tested the different percentages, mostly I go with 1/3 en 2/3.

The round bread: I was trying to make a bread for a bigger party. This would make cutting a bit easier (and it did).

The eary bread is pain de provence (I believe). I used wild yeast instead of instant for these.

I like this close-up!

The piggy bread is full rye. Very heady and solid, didn't rise very much. Great taste with a brettlejause! (just a table with good food, bread, sausages, cheese etc),

I'll have some more exiting pictures next time, finally got a new camera.

Happy baking!


xaipete's picture

I tried those pot stockers featured on this week's Wild Yeast blog. I was amazed how incredible easy they were to make and roll out. This was my first time and I noticed they were a little chewy where they were sealed. I think this was because I didn't roll them out quite thin enough, but the chewiness could have also come from my choice of flour (see below). I sprinkled them with a little cornstarch to prevent sticking. I will never used purchased won ton wrappers for pot stickers again!

pot stickers

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (I used KA AP but next time I will use a softer flour, e.g., Guisto's Baker's Choice)

1/2 cup (113 g) warmish water

Put flour in food processor. Pour in water and run until combined. Form dough into a ball and divide into 4 sections. Roll each section out into a log and cut into about 10 pieces. Flatten each disk into a round and roll out with a pin until you have a round that is about 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Cover unused dough logs to prevent drying out.

I used Hugh Carpenter's Santa Barbara Pot Stickers recipe for the filling. I doubled the sauce recipe per batch and ended up with extra filling mixture. I'm going to make some more today and freeze them.

pot stickers


12 ounces spinach trimmed (or use one box of frozen chopped spinach)
2 green onions
2/3 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 egg
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (you may want to leave this out until you make sure the dish isn't too salty but I put it in and it seems fine to me)
24 homemade pot sticker skins
cornstarch for dusting
2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

Drop the spinach leaves into 1 quart rapidly boiling water. when leaves wilt (about 10 seconds) drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze out water (if you are using frozen spinach, squeeze it dry), then mince by hand. Mince green onions. Combine spinach, green onions, pork, ginger, orange peel, egg, soy sauce, chili sauce and salt. Mix thoroughly. (I think it is best to make the filling in advance so it can firm up a bit in the refrigerator.)

Within 5 hours of cooking, fold filling into dumplings.

To cook: place a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat (I used my 12-inch stainless All-clad without any issue). Add oil and immediately add dumplings (I add the oil, then the dumplings, then place the pan on the stove). Fry dumplings until bottoms become dark golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in orange sauce. Immediately cover pan, reduce heat to medium, and steam dumplings until they are firm to the touch (about 2 minutes).

Remove cover. Over high heat, continue frying dumplings until sauce reduces completely (about 1 minute). While cooking, shake the pan so that the dumplings are glazed all over with the sauce. Tip out onto a heated serving platter.

Serves 6

pot stickers
These dumplings can be frozen. Cook frozen dumplings over medium heat until dark golden (about 3 minutes). Because they take longer to cook, you may have to add a little water to the frying pan during the steaming stage.

Notes on ingredients:
Chinese chili sauce: best brands are Cock Brand Delicious Hot Chili Garlic Sauce and Szechuan Chili Sauce
Hoisin sauce: no oriental condiment varies so much in quality from brand to brand. Buy only Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce
Oyster sauce: Lee Kum Kee Oyster Flavored Sauce (best) or Old Brand Oyster Sauce
Light soy sauce: Superior Soy Sauce (not Soy Superior)


Shiao-Ping's picture

You can see it a mile away, right?    

This time I am trying it with fresh shallots.  The result is refreshingly different; I felt I was back to my childhood when my mother made us swirl shallots pancakes in winter time.  The other version she used to make with shallots were steam buns - you cannot get anything more Northern Chinese than that!  The interesting thing about food is that the same ingredient in different parts of the world is prepared differently and cooked differently.  Chinese would steam their dough, whereas Europeans bake it; Chinese have their noodles with soy sauce whereas Italians have it with tomato sauce; and so on and so forth.     

With this bread, essentially my ingredients are the same as my mother's; where we differ is in the procedure - she steams but I bake; where she uses the instant yeast, I use sourdough culture.    

My formula:  

250g sourdough starter prepared last night @75% hydration  


This morning  

all of the starter

297g strong white flour @13.6% protein

167 g water*

a small pinch of vitamin C  


shallots mixture:

150 g chopped fresh shallots* (about 3/4 cm pieces)

19 g sesame oil

8 g salt  

*The tricky part here is to determine the moisture that will come out of the fresh shallots.  My past experience is that at least 35 to 40% of its weight is liquid.  I aimed to have a final dough hydration of around 79%.  For the sake of calculating how much water I would need, I used 38% of the shallots weight as the hydration coming out of them.  To be sure, I held back some water for adding later until I felt my target hydration was reached.  

Before I started the dough process, I prepared my shallots mixture by adding salt and sesame oil to the chopped shallots.  The salt in the shallots helped draw the liquid out of the green (the liquid is like an intense shallot "juice").   I then mixed the starter, flour and water; autolysed for 20 min, then put the shallots mixture in and kneaded for 3 min at low speed and 3 more min at medium speed until all were combined.    It is important to try to resist the temptation of adding more water as the dough will further hydrate while it rests because of the shallots.  It will not feel hydrated enough when mixing stops.   

The rest is standard.  



It was very cool today; it seemed to have taken forever for my starter to work - 5 hours bulk fermentation and 3 1/2 hours proofing. 



Here are my first ever ciabatta:  

Chinese Sourdough Ciabatta with Shallots  

The crumb  

This sourdough is delightful to taste (to a Chinese, that is).  The sourdough starter has made it exceptionally moist - it feels heavy in your hand and yet it is so light to the taste.  I think the flavor is beautiful (a Chinese would not complain about that).  It is definitely much healthier than the last one I made.  The vitamin C in shallots and vitamin E in sesame oil - how better can it get!

I am indebted to my mother.  Many things I have learnt from her unknowingly when I was a kid are finally making an impression.  


ArtisanGeek's picture

By trade, I'm a .NET web programmer....who happens to be a former professional artisan baker. I decided to create a tool to make life a little easier. I have seen many questions posted here in regards to volume, weight, and baker's percentage in bread formulas. The tool I have created allows you to convert a "recipe" where the quantities are expressed in volume  to a formula where the quantities are expressed in grams, along with the baker's percentage of each ingredient. This is a database driven tool. I have added the most common bread ingredients and the most common volume measurements (US, Metric, and UK). Once the baker's percentage is calculated, you have a total weight and total baker's percentage you can work with to create any batch size. Right now, the tool resides on my home testing server. I will be moving it to one of my hosted websites in the future. For now, just go to and click the link for the tool. Keep in mind, this server is in my home so I can't guarantee it will be up all the time. I will be creating another tool soon (where weights are known) for creating formulas for breads with up to three preferments.

Baker's Percentage Tool


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