The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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hullaf's picture

 Susan's sourdoughSusan's sourdough    

Susan's sourdoughSusan's sourdough    


Like 'dmsynder' I baked Susan's sourdough this last week. (And somehow the above date is wrong, it is October 27, 2008.) I have tried it before without very good results but this time it was right! If you don't succeed . . .  The recipe was similar, only 2/3 of the recipe made, with the flour being  50% General Mill's "Best for Bread" and 50% KA all purpose flour (hoping for less chewiness). My starter was my whole wheat version (1:3:4 ratio) refreshed for two times before using. I made the dough as directed though "mixing" and folding was questionable as my dough wasn't loose enough for doing the "french fold"; it was moreso a "stretch and fold".  I felt the dough gluten development was sufficient and only folded for two times. It doubled in 6 hours. I formed it into one boule, put it into a well floured (I thought well floured) banneton and let it proof 1 hour and then into the refrigerator overnight. It then proofed at room temperature for 5 hours. And then when I took it out of the banneton, it stuck! Yee - I tenderly helped it out but it collapsed a bit and I thought, there it goes. But I put it in the oven with lots of (Hamelman type) steam -- it's difficult with my gas oven of course -- but it rose to the occasion wonderfully, the best oven rise I didn't expect! It came out tasting moderate sour.   Anet

TinGull's picture

Well, I've been MIA in the bread baking world for a loooong time, as I've been busy with my other passion, baking dog biscuits (Barkwheats).

I decided to make these baguettes following the simple recipe.  Holy.......smokes!  These were the BEST baguettes I have ever made in my entire life!  I've NEVER before been able to get a crust that crackled when I bit into it and a chewy crumb that was nice an open.  OH....this makes me want to do this every day now.



Click for full size

Click for full size

I used KA AP flour with Maine sea salt and SAF instant yeast and my well water.  yummmmmmmmmzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

dmsnyder's picture

Susan's Sourdough

Susan's Sourdough

Susan's Sourdough

Susan's Sourdough

The sourdough bread recipe from SusanFNP is wonderful.

 These bâtards were made with 10% Giusto's whole rye flour and 90% Giusto's high-gluten flour. The starter had been last refreshed 2 days before mixing. This resulted in a 6 hour fermentation. The formed loaves were allowed to proof for 1 hour then refrigerated overnight. They then proofed for 4 hours more before baking. I baked them on a stone, under a disposable aluminum roasting pan for 10 minutes at 480F, then uncovered for another 15 minutes at 460F.

Crunchy crust. Chewy crumb. Moderately sour, delicious flavor.


msj's picture

I have been trying for several years to bake a bread that has what my husband describes as a yeasty flavor that he and I remember from our mothers' bread.  The closest thing I have found is Bob Evans dinner rolls.  I have tried different flours, different brands of yeast all to no avail.  Anyone have a suggestion?

Yumarama's picture

Yeah, it's been a fair while. Not that I haven't made bread, I have, numerous batches in fact. But they were really mostly "sandwich" bread and all basic yeast things; specifically "Susan's Farmhouse White Sandwhich Bead" but using part whole wheat. Not as tasteless as store bought "Wonder" type stuff (which they were meant to replace) but not terribly exciting, either. On the up side, these numerous plain breads allowed me to play with the oven's temp a bit and I think I have it tweaked to be pretty accurate now so things don't burn too much. So let's get on with today's bake.

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

Vermont Sourdough

"Today" is a bit of a misnomer, of course. I started this batch three days prior after feeding Audrey 2 and Carl out of a two week stint in the fridge. By their third feed they were back to bouncy and fluffy within 8 hours (I was off at work, so I don't really know how quickly they doubled). So this has been a few days process. The pre-build took a while - but thats' expected - then the fermentation period took the better part of a day and the final proof took over 16 hours of fridge time. This recipe is the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough which I got off here.

This time around, the dough was decidedly stiffer than the Norwich Sourdough I'd made which is a take off from this one. Not exceedingly stiff but stiff enough that when I slashed, it didn't all just collapse and make flat brad as the others I have previously made. (This is decidedly my fault for not yet knowing what the dough should be like and adjusting.) 

The crust is also more solid although it looks like it may have been a bit overdone here. The recipe says 460ºF for 40 minutes but I pulled it out at 30 as it was already rather dark. Looking at the bottom, it's a tiny bit burned, though just a small black stripe along the center. So the oven is still not 100% accurate. But the loaves' insides had reached 200ºF therefore it was done enough already.

I picked Audrey 2 as the starter for this one simply because as I was feeding the two starters, she seemed to bulk up the most - maybe 3 times vs Carl's 2.5 times. So both would have worked well. In fact, Carl seems to have a slightly stronger smell and taste. So maybe I'll give that one a try next in this recipe.

And here's the crumb. Nice mid-sized holes, not too fine or too big, the loaf shape is decidedly oval as opposed to pancake so we're good here. The flavour is nice although not terribly sourdough-ish. Perhaps it will develop a little over the next day or so. Although I expect the loaf may not survive long enough to see. The other one needs to go in the freezer as there are already a couple of types of bread on the counter.

All in all, this one is a success. We'll be making Hamelman's Vermont again.

Jeanro49's picture

My name is Jean, the Belgian version (I am a guy).

 I have been baking bread for the last 30 years in an electric home oven,  never getting the perfct loaf.

I am loking forward to check out all the techniques you are using to get an artisanal loaf out of an electric home oven.

my field of experimenting now is "no Knead" bread.

I was impressed with the results i had in getting the texture and crust I have been looking for.

My last recipe has been the best, I reduced the size to reflect the fact that only my wife and I are the only ones left and one of us doesn't appreciate two days old bread.

Here is the formula.

It is in grams  Sorry.

Organic Flour                        250 g

Potato flakes                         30 g

Instant Yeast                      1/16 tsp

Salt                                      8 g

Starter (sour) 90% hydrated   40 g

Beer Lager                           50 g

Tap water                           200 g

oven                                475 deg F

Bake                                 30 min

Crust (lid off)                       5 min

It is not quite no knead since i knead the dough for 1 min after the fist rise (12 hour).

Process is as follows:

Mix dry ingredients (first four) in large bowl.

Mix wet ingerdients (last four).

Combine both in the dry mix bowl until well mixed.

Cover and let stand for 12+ hours.

Flour kneading surface, scrape very wet dough out of the bowl on to kneading surface, flour hands, knead dough for 1 minute

Clean bowl and grease, I use unsalted butter.

Return dough to greased bowl and let rise for 2 hours.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise turn the oven on to 475, put baking dish in oven (I use a corning ware lidded dish).

After the 2 hour rise time i take the dish out of the oven remove the lid (carefull,It is hot) and sprinkle some wheat bran in the bottom of the dish.

I then carefully turn the bowl with dough over the hot dish the dough kind of rolls out gently plpos down pu the lid on in the it goes for the baking times noted.

The smells call you to the oven when done(set a timer just in case).


proth5's picture

Oh the controversy!  So I thought to myself, the recipe cited in some posts was from a "Best Worker of France."  Why not consult the bread book I bought last April with recipes from the MOFs in Boulangerie.

Sure enough, we find the formula, method, and pictures from M. Auzet himself.  Although he hails from Avignon and at the time of publication lived in Cavaillon, one can consider him just a "stone's throw" from Beaucaire.  His picture makes him seem like a right jolly old elf and he is an MOF - so I'm going to take his advice on this.

The recipe I will not repeat.  It is a fairly simple levain dough with 17% of the flour pre-fermented  in a stiff levain and a total hydration of 60%.  He adds  commercial yeast - which some of us would prefer not to add.

Although I understand the French, I do not have that peculiar gift that allows direct transation, so I will summarize.

Note the technique.  He is mixing the ingredients in a spiral mixer at first speed for 15 minutes (so, I'm thinking no stretch and fold here...).  The dough is not getting a true bulk ferment because of the long development in the mixer.  The dough is rested for 15 minutes.  It is then patted out with the hands into a rectangular form.  It then rests for 20 mins.  After that the ends are folded to the middle.  It is then flattened and folded by hands would fold croissant dough (for you Francophones "(comme pour faire un tour aux croissants)" - don't know if that could be any clearer...)  What is unclear is if the dough is folded in half, so that with the addition of the earlier folds it is a "tour double" or if it is folded in thirds in addition to the folds to the center in order to do a "tour simple" - my speculation is that it is folded in half to create the double turn. It is left to rest, covered for 30 minutes and then is rolled with a rolling pin to a rectangle 2.5 cm thick.

Then a slurry of 5:1 water to flour is used to moisten the top of the dough (but not too much) and the dough is left to rest for 10 mins.

The dough is cut lengthwise and one part stacked on the other.  It rests for 15 mins.

It is then cut in the way of a  "racle a Beaucaire"  (which roughly translates to a Beacaire scraper) but he assures us this just means to cut into loaves- one would assume, because the original rectangle was cut lengthwise that this is cross wise - but helas - he does not elaborate.  The loaves are placed on a floured couche still in a stacked position.  He cautions us to make the folds of the couche very high so the dough does not fall over.

The loaves proof for 3-4 hours.

His picture shows loaves that truly look like two narrow loaves that are stuck together.  The ends of the loaves are distinct and blunt - they show no taper.

He does go on and on about how the folding is what makes the bread and regrets mightily that it is so seldom baked.  He concludes by saying that it requires a baker not just a bread merchant to make this bread.

I'm trying my own version of this today, but perfectionist that I am always hesitatant to publish pictures unless I am happy with the loaf (and I never am...)

So, friends, this is what I find.  I cannot but believe the source is authentic.  That being said, the bread belongs to the baker (unless it is controlled by French law) and I am sure there are many excellent variants on this theme that are just as authentic and delicious (and that's what matters.)

The book from which I have cited is "20 Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, L'Equipe de France de Bouangerie, et Medailles D'Argent se Devoilent et Vous Offrent Leurs Recettes Choisies" published in 1994 - a book that is not really accessible to all, but which I treasure...

When will that ABandP arrive? Ah well.

Happy Baking!



dmsnyder's picture

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb


Back in May, 2007, there was an extended discussion about Greenstein's book and how come he provided only volume and not any weight measurements for ingredients. For anyone interested in that discussion, the link is:

I have made Jewish Sour Rye from Greenstein's recipe many times. It's one of my favorite breads. But, although I always weigh ingredients when the recipe gives weights, I have always made this bread according to the volume measurements in the book – that is, with adjustments to achieve the desired dough characteristics.

Today, I actually weighed the ingredients and can provide them for those who get all upset when they encounter a recipe that instructs them to use, for example, “4 to 5 cups of flour.” By the way, if you make this bread using ingredient weights, and the dough doesn't seem right, I advise you to add a little bit more water or flour accordingly. (Irony intended.)


750 gms Rye Sour

480 gms First Clear Flour

240 gms Warm Water (80-100F)

12 gms Sea Salt

7 gms Instant Yeast

½ cup Altus (optional but recommended)

1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds

Cornmeal for dusting the parchment or peel.

Cornstarch glaze for brushing the breads before and after baking.


  1. If you have a white rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with white rye flour over 2-3 days.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  3. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  7. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  9. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 375F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  11. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  12. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  13. After 5 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more.

  14. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.


  • Comparing Greenstein's recipe to Norm's, the former is a wetter dough and also has a higher proportion of rye sour to clear flour. Both recipes make outstanding sour rye bread. Interestingly, Greenstein says, if you want a less sour bread, use less rye sour.
  • Having never weighed Greenstein's ingredients before, I've never even thought about baker's percentages and the like. FYI, the rye sour is 156% of the clear flour. A rough calculation of the ratio of rye to clear flour indicates that this bread is a "50% rye."



Traci's picture

So!  This time there were numerous changes in my method.

1. Ingredients were weighed instead of measured by volume

2. The dough was kneaded longer

3. I paid strict attention to the time - 

   a.1.5 to 2 hour ferment

   b. 20 minute rest

   c. proof for 60-90 minutes

   d. bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees midway

4. Brushed the top with egg wash

5. Scored the loaf



sandwich loaf #2

sandwichloaf #2 cut 


Is my loaf pan is too big for that much dough? It says to use an 8.5in x 4.5in loaf pan and mine are 9x5.  Doesn't seem like that would be that much of a difference. It did rise very well, it just rose out and not so much up.  Kinda like me!

This loaf tastes really creamy.  It also smells really good.  (Wait does bread baking ever not smell good?) Good thing even bread mistakes taste great!  The french toast I made from this same loaf last week was really good. I think this loaf will be utilized that way also!




ahhoefel's picture

Today I baked my first loaf that came from a real recipe; Reinhart's pain de campagne. I had attempted a version of pain a l'ancienne before I had the book in my hands, but found it hard to shape. After reading the real recipe, I found that this is how the dough is intended to be --- pulled instead of shaped in a traditional way. 

The loafs made with the pain de campagne recipe were very easy to shape. I was able to tighten the skin quite readily and when I scored it, the bread peeled away from the cut nicely. The cuts are almost too deep.

So here are a few questions I have:

  • How big should a boule be? This one is 10oz and I found it rather small. I made 2oz buns along with this that also seemed small.
  • Also, how deep should the cuts be?  These seem disproportionately large for such a small loaf.

Cheers, Andrew.

 Pain de campagne from Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. This is my first attempt at a loaf from this book, as well as my first post.


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