The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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David Wilson's picture
David Wilson

I've just been given some nice baking-related presents for high-school graduation: a proofing basket, electronic scale, pizza stone, and a copy of "The Bread Builders". Excellent!

Thus ought to improve upon my hitherto rather inconsistent volume-measured bread. The question now is, what should I bake first with my new tools? Any suggestions? =]

Shiao-Ping's picture

In my last post, French sourdough breads in Japan? ... and "variety breads"?, I mentioned the Taiwanese chef who won the second place in the 2008  the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris.  The chef who was responsible for the baguette/specialty breads section was Pao-Chun Wu from Kaohsiung, the second largest city in Taiwan.  The bread that won him the championship in the Asia qualifying tounament a year before the 2008 Olympics of bread-baking (to use SusanFNP's words at her Wild Yeast blog, as well as the 2008 "Olympics," is a creation incorporating a Taiwanese local dried fruit, longan, which was soaked in red wine and then made into a Pain de Menage style of bread.  (For a picture of this bread please refer to my comment in my last post.)

Longan (see pictures below) is a Southeast Chinese fruit, known for its rich syrupy aroma.  Throughout Chinese history, it is said that the North has ginseng and the South has longan.  The small town, near Kaohsiung, where chef Wu sources the dried longan for his championship boule, has been producing it for hundreds of years.  As soon as longan is harvested, it is roasted in a wood fired oven for six days and nights, during which time the town people take turns to mind the fire at night.    


Longan literally means "dragon's eyes" in Mandarin    

As I have no way of sourcing this dried longan or having access to chef Wu's recipe, I decided to make do with what I have.  I do have a reference point as I had the pleasure of tasting it five months ago when I was back in Taiwan visiting my parents for Chinese New Year.    

I bought a bag of the dried fruit from China town in Brisbane, soaked the fruit in red wine (with a touch of Grand Marnier) and refreshed my starter at the same time last night.  I am finding my starter has been performing much better since I changed its hydration to 75% from 100%.  This  morning I mixed my dough as normal, autolysed, salted it, then mixed again, then added the dried longan and mixed it again.  I then divided it into two portions; the larger portion I added extra toasted walnuts to make it into a boule; the smaller portion I made into two skinny breads.  First fermentation was 3 hours in the balmy wintry outdoor temp of 25C (77F) and proofing was 2 1/2 hours.  It was baked in a very hot oven at 240C (460F) with steam.


Red Wine Longan & Walnut Boule (It's early winter here in Australia but my bougainvilleas are still roaring with blooms.)    


The crumb of Red Wine Longan & Walnut Boule    


Red Wine Longan Sourdough    


The crumb of Red Wine Longan Sourdough    

I am very happy with the results of these breads.  The rich aroma from the longan and red wine is a cracker combination.   There is a delicate balance between the sweet longan and the added salt.  I was a bit shy with the red wine so the crumb color isn't as deep as in my memory.  In fact, a vintage port  may even be a better pair with the longan.  Both breads are delicious.  The crumb is moist and flavorsome and the crust is crispy and aromatic.  To further improve the flavor I could try retarding the dough next time.    

The silly thing is I thought I had my glasses on when I was weighing my ingredients (I was aiming for a final dough hydration of around 69%, counting the red wine) but the final dough was 400g more than I thought!  I do not know how much more flour or water that was actually put in.  My dough felt more like 72% than 69%!  As the flour I used was high gluten at 13.6%, I knew I could push the hydration to give the crumb a better chance of opening up; but I did not want too much hydration as my technique could not handle it.  My daughter asked me to write up the recipe for next time.  Well, it'll have to be a new one then.    


naughtyprata's picture

Hi, there!

I've been watching all this great content about bread making and have long wanted to participate in the discussions. I have been interested in baking bread for a long time and had taken some commercial bread making classes back in the Philippines, as well as some personal lessons from my old aunt who is a nun. It has best remained as a hobby for me till I got to Singapore where I wet my feet again. The Fresh Loaf site is quite inspiring and I have shared your site with some of my officemates. And yes, they get surprised that a guy like me is into baking.

Artisan flours are a bit hard to come by here except for some Gold Medal and Bob's Red Mill varieties and an occasional Waitrose strong bread flour from Down Under. The locally-milled flours do not perform as well specially with the extremely hot weather here.  

I've been trying out recipes from Reinhart, Bertinet and Berenbaum. Here are a few of my recent attempts - Bertinet's Guinness Loaf (w/o the Aniseed), Berenbaum's Flaxseed and White Sandwich Bread. I hope you enjoy these photos.


Guinness LoafFlaxseed LoafSoft White Sandwhich Loaf

SylviaH's picture

I hope I'm not the only one who does some strange experiments?  Like useing frozen pizza dough for a pate fermentee!!  I made french bread and another Daisy Ring yeasted coffee cake this time with Almond Paste filling.  They both tasted very good, lots of pleasing flavors in the both the bread and the yeasted coffee cake!

I used JH Baguettes with Pate Fermentee / tweaking the recipe to use my pizza dough!

Next time I will  need to make my Almond Paste filling a little more dryer.  I made a sourcream sugar glaze.

Delicious yeasted coffee bread I make in an assortment of flavors.  It's usually made as a straight dough recipe!

Lots of flavor in the tender crumb!



Bixmeister's picture

I heated my Kamado to 700ºF.  I used the temperature gauge on the Kamado to get an idea of inside temperature.  I placed one stone under my main grill to create an indirect baking oven.  Next I placed my rectangular baking stone on my main grill where I would do my pizza baking.  I used an infrared temperature thermometer to make measurements of the stone temperature.  The pizza dough recipe came from the King Arthur Flour website.

Picture of the bake follow.

Temperature of the Baking Stone Temperature inside the Kamado

Pizza on Peel Ready for Baking in The Kamado


Pizza inside Kamado Baking


Pizza after Baking 7 Minutes at 600ºF


I as always welcome comments and suggestions.



bblearner's picture

I followed the 2nd recipe on davidg618's post "Adjusting Sourdough Starter" which allows a pure sourdough baked bread to be finished within 6 hours.  This is the first time that I could bake a sourdough bread with some height.  All my past ones were flat because they spreaded sideways once they were released from the form they were final-proofing in.  Also, the colour of the crumb is no longer greyish. 

Here is how it looks like

A big 'thank you' to davidg618.


dmsnyder's picture

Last bread for the day - Polish Cottage Rye from Leader's "Local Breads." This is another of my personal favorites. Today, I made it with a rye sour fed with whole rye rather than the white rye Leader calls for. I like it both ways.


ArtisanGeek's picture

Hello everyone, I've been trolling around here for a while and I decided its time to finally post something. This is my version of soft pretzels. For the formula and details, check out my blog , The Bread Portal. This is very similar to the Pretzel formula post in the "Favorite Reciptes" section of this blog.

Easy Pretzels

dmsnyder's picture

The "San Joaquin Sourdough" is my own recipe. It evolved through multiple iterations from Anis Bouabsa's formula for baguettes. Most of my deviations developed in discussion here on TFL with Janedo, who first suggested adding sourdough starter and rye, and, then, leaving out the baker's yeast and making it as a "pure" pain au levain.

I got a pretty nice ear and grigne on this one.





Active starter (67% hydration)

100 gms

KAF European Artisan-style flour

450 gms

Giusto's whole rye flour

50 gms


370 gms


10 gms

Note: Whole Wheat flour or White Whole Wheat flour may be substituted for the Whole Rye. Each results in a noticeable difference in flavor. All are good, but you may find you prefer one over the others.





In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Using the plastic scraper, stretch and fold the dough 30 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 3 times more at 30 minute intervals. 



After the last series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Ferment at room temperature for an hour, then place in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. (In this time, my dough doubles in volume and is full of bubbles. YMMV.)


Dividing and Shaping

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide as desired or leave in one piece to make a 980 gm loaf. To pre-shape for a bâtard, fold the near edge up just past the center of the dough and seal the edge by gently pressing the two layers together with the ulnar (little finger) edge of your hand or the heel of your hand, whichever works best for you. Then, bring the far edge of the dough gently just over the sealed edge and seal the new seam as described.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes, with the seams facing up. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, fold the near edge of the dough and seal the edge, as before. Now, take the far edge of the dough and bring it towards you all the way to the work surface and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Rotate the loaf gently toward you 1/4 turn so the last seam you formed is against the work surface and roll the loaf back and forth, with minimal downward pressure, to further seal the seam. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .


Preheating the oven

One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack and both a cast iron skillet (Mine is filled with lava rocks.) and a metal loaf pan (or equivalent receptacles of your choosing) on the bottom shelf. Heat the oven to 500F. Put a kettle of water to boil 10 minutes before baking.



After shaping the loaf, transfer it to parchment paper liberally dusted with semolina or a linen couche, liberally dusted with flour. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel or a fold of the linen. Proof until the loaf has expanded to about 1-1/2 times it's original size. (30-45 minutes) Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!



Put about a cup full of ice cubes in the loaf pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and close the door.

Slip a peel or cookie sheet under the parchment paper holding the loaf or transfer to a peel, if you used a couche. Score the loaf. (For a bâtard, hold the blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. Make one swift end-to-end cut, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaf and parchment paper to the baking stone, pour one cup of boiling water into the skillet, and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 12-15 minutes, remove the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door.

Bake for another 12-15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

When the loaf is done, leave it on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry and crisp up the crust.



Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.




Submitted to Wild Yeast Spotting on Wildyeastblog

dmsnyder's picture

SusanFNP's "Norwich Sourdough" is her adaptation of Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough from his book, "Bread." The recipe can be found on, Susan's wonderful baking blog, under "My New Favorite Sourdough."

I followed Susan's recipe with the following differences: 1) I used Guisto's Baker's Choice and Guisto's whole rye flours, 2) I baked three 500 gms loaves and froze the remaining dough in two pieces for future pizzas, 3) I cold retarded the loaves overnight, and 4) I baked the boule at 440F, 20 degrees cooler than the bâtards, to see how I liked this bread with a lighter-colored crust.

We had a few slices of the just-cooled bread with a salad for lunch. It was delicious - moderately sour with a crunchy crust and chewy crumb.

Something for blister lovers: The crust of the boule


And for the crumb-obsessed:




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