The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


amandacookson's picture

Apt for me, that the first bread I bake from Jeffrey Hamelman's books would be on page 258. I had visions of starting neatly at page 1 and working my way through.

So, its Sunday, my alarm set for 7.00am and after some snoozing I got to work. I have been tasked with making the rolls for the bacon and sausage sandwiches to feed all the volunteers we hope will come and clear the plot of land behind the village institute we are hoping to turn into a community kitchen garden. i am working on the 'home' measurements as my order is for 24 soft white rolls.

I thought I'd start my blog while my dough proves or 'bulk fermentates'.

First observations on first recipe from the book

1: Are US cups and lbs the same as English ones?

Although my dough, nestling nicely in it's bowl, looks lovely and soft and rich and a bit cakey - I was a bit worried about the measurements as the home version gives you cups and teaspoons as well as pounds and ounces. my cups and teaspoons didn't weigh anywhere near what the equivalent pounds and ounces did. Any English folk using the book have the same issue?

2: Pop it in the mixer

This week I have been practicing making baguettes using a recipe from Richard Bertinet's 'Crust'. So it seemed very odd to be putting everything in the mixer and not flipping, banging and folding the dough until my arms hurt.

3: Until the Gluten network is moderately developed

In skim reading the front of the book, the information on mixing and overoxidizing your dough would have helped my understand of what this means, I do hope these rolls turn out OK.


robbyoung's picture

I am fairly new at this, What exactly is a ficelle and a batard?

dmsnyder's picture

A few days ago, DonD blogged about some gorgeous baguettes he baked using a combination of unconventional mixing and fermentation techniques adapted from formulas developed by Pierre Gosselin and Anis Bouabsa, both very highly regarded Parisian boulangers. His description can be found here: Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

Don used both the long autolyse under refrigeration of Gosselin and the cold retarded bulk fermentation of the complete dough employed by Bouabsa. He got such wonderful results, I had to try his hybrid technique.

I had been concerned that the double cold retardation would result in a dough that had so much proteolysis as to be unmanageable. However, Don described his dough as "silky smooth." Well, my dough was sticky slack. It was all extensibility and no elasticity. Fortunately, i have worked often enough with doughs like this to know they can make the most wonderful breads, so I shaped (best I could), proofed, slashed and baked. Voilà!


Since I was already afraid I'd over-fermented the dough, I erred on the side of under-proofing. The baguettes had almost explosive oven-spring. They about doubled in volume during the bake.

The crust was crunchy. The crumb was .... Oh, my!

The flavor was very good, but not as sweet as I recall the "pure" Gosselin Pain à l'Anciènne being.

These baguettes are worth baking again with some adjustments. I would endorse Don's decrease in the amount of yeast. I'll do so next time. And I will try a slightly lower hydration level. These were 73% hydration.

Thanks, Don, for sharing this very interesting twist in baguette techniques.


Lorna's picture

How about an understandable recipe for "Japanese Style White Sandwich Breadread"  I have no idea how to convert quickly. The bread looks wonderful.

Yolandat's picture

I had a choice today clean my house or bake. I opted for baking. Cleaning will have to wait until later today or tomorrow. I started to make PR bagels. It was an easy recipe to follow. I made no changes to the recipe. I found diastatic malt syrup at a local beer store and used that as the sweetener. I formed the bagels using the rope method. The first couple were a bit misshapen but got the hang of it. I put them in the fridge to retard overnight. I woke up at 3 and 5 AM but made myself wait until 6:30. I had to get up to boil and bake them to see how they turned out. I tried to wait the 15 minutes before tasting them. Oh MY these were the best bagels I have tasted! They were crunchy and chewy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. I will definitely be making these again...maybe later today. I made 13 4 oz bagels 


I also made Portuguese Sweet Bread. I was not quite as happy with this bread as with the bagels. The dough came together well. I didn't have any orange or lemon extract so I put a little orange and lemon zest in the dough. It gave the bread a wonderful scent. The recipe said to have the bread rise in the pan for 2 to 3 hours or until the dough fills the pans fully. I think I left them a little too long and the loaves were over proofed. They had large holes just under the crust. I didn't get any over spring. the loaves had a nice crust and you could taste the zest flavours. It is not my favourite bread. It was kind of blah.  


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

rye spelt

I had another baking day in the RV. I baked a 100% whole wheat miche. I didn't use a recipe this time. Simply modified a "1-2-3" method, making it into a my own. I used 150 grams whole wheat starter,  (100% starter) 375 grams water and 450 grams whole wheat flour. 2% salt. I mixed until it came off the sides of the mixer in the Kitchen aid. This was an incredibly stretchy dough, I guess because of the very high hydration! Certainly don't believe that whole wheat is low in gluten because it isn't true!!

I calculate the hydration of this at a whopping 85% when including the starter. Can this really be right? When doing my folds, I could literally stretch this baby about 18 inches each direction on the first set of s/folds!! It was pretty amazing. I did three sets of s/f's, 1 hour apart. Fermentation time was 10 hours, shaped and 1 hour later I baked. It actually held it's shape pretty well, only flattening slightly.

What a nutty flavor, crispy crust and incredibly open crumb for a WW loaf! Nice! I might try the same in a loaf pan and see what I get in the way of a sandwich bread next time.

The same night, I made a 75% rye, 25% spelt loaf, using Mini's favorite rye formula and my Pullman pan. Spices were dried onion, caraway and anise at a scant tablespoon each. I've found that the exact amount that Mini uses for her big pot works for my Pellman pan. How easy is that? I also found this time that it is the perfect overnight recipe, needing no shaping at all! I put it directly into the Pullman pan at 5:30 in the evening and baked at 3:30 AM. Although Mini says this will self-destruct in 8 hours mine held up for a full 10 and came out absolutely perfect. Rose to the top of the pan, held up, had a small amount of oven spring and with the spelt had a slightly milder, nuttier taste than the 100% full rye that I made a couple of weeks ago.

I'm making plans to start my Hamelman's baking challenge. I'll be starting with something from the levain chapter and something from the rye chapter. I'm waiting on an order of flour and a couple of days off in a row. Perhaps I'll start a levain tonight if I get extra motivated, we'll see.

Looking at about another month in this little camper. Starting to get some cabin fever. It's been an experience, that's for sure!

tssaweber's picture

Just a little sign of life to say hello and to show that I'm still happily baking, not as much as I would like too but still enjoying it very much.

The pictures show a freshly egg-washed Zopf and my spelt multigrain boule.


Painterjke's picture

New to blogs--75 years old--forgive blunders, please.  This is the third time I've tried to complete this question!

Want to make cinnamon rolls so the baked product has 'pull' instead of crumb.  Is this a gluten matter, or ??

Thanks for any help.

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

I just posted this recipe over at my blog ChewsWise, where I give much longer description. But I thought bakers here would be interested. This recipe makes two large batards or boules.

70 grams stiff starter
80 grams water
60 grams organic white bread flour
60 grams organic spelt flour

Flax Seed Soaker
1/2 cup (85 grams) organic flax seeds
75 grams water to barely cover the seeds

Final Dough
250 grams sourdough
Flax seed soaker
280 organic white bread flour
280 organic spelt flour
400 grams water
14 grams coarse sea salt

1. Mix starter, cover and let sit overnight (8-12 hours) at room temperature of about 75 F degrees. Pour the flax seeds into a separate bowl and just barely cover with water. 

2. Combine the starter and water in a bowl and mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add the flours and using a plastic bench scraper, spoon or mixer with dough hook, mix the dough until all the lumps of flour are gone. This will take about 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Add salt and mix on a slow speed, about 4 minutes. Add the flax seed soaker and using your hands or the mixer, continue mixing until the seeds are evenly distributed. 

4. Form into a ball and place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover for the first rise. Fold at 50 minute intervals. Total rise is 2.5 hours. 

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in two and form into rough batards or boules. Let rest for 15 minutes, then finish shaping the loaves. 

6. The final rise should take 90 minutes. Or, to build up the flavor of the loaf, cover the loaves then let them sit for 30 minutes before putting them in the refrigerator in a closed plastic bag. (I use Ziploc Big Bags ). Retard the loaves for 8-12 hours,.

7. Turn the oven to 460 F with a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a rimmed sheet pan on the bottom. Preheat for at least one hour. 

8. When ready to bake, slash the loaf in a square pattern with a bread knife or blade, then place in the oven on the heated stone. (Batards can be slashed lengthwise). Pour 2/3 cup of water into the sheet pan and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 420 F and keep baking for another 15 minutes. Check the loaf. It is done when you rasp it on the bottom with your knuckle and it makes a distinct hollow sound. If not yet done, turn down oven to 400 F and keep baking for 10 minutes. Then turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the loaf sit for another 10 minutes. Repeat with the second loaf.



ananda's picture


DonD's Baguettes à'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

A short while ago Don posted his latest work on these techniques he has been developing recently.   You can view his most excellent work here:  

Just over a week ago in a post which you can read here:

Don clarified a technique discussed by Daniel Wing in "The Bread Builders" book he co-authored with Alan Scott, known as "Bassinage".   This seems to be a dough mixing technique whereby the dough is mixed slightly tight, but then has additional water added late in the mixing.   The consensus seemed to be that this was not a way we would enjoy mixing dough.   But Don, and David Snyder before him; see here:

had adopted this technique using a long cold autolyse first, then adding salt yeast, and the extra water the next day, after an overnight refrigeration period.

Well, ideally you need a mixer for this to be effective, and I mix most of my dough at home by hand.   I do have a small hand-held electric mixer which has hook attachments as an alternative to the usual whisks.   So, I mixed the dough in small batches and developed a very fine dough.   The recipe I used is identical to the one given by David Snyder as shown above; except that I use fresh yeast and not dried.   I then followed Don's method of combining the Gosselin formula with the Bouabsa method to give long autolyse, mix and part ambient ferment, chilled ferment, then final proof and bake.   For the record I used the T65 farine de tradition French flour, as described here: and here: at 94% and 6% Dark Rye Flour, with hydration at 71% in total, as is David's formula from Peter Reinhart.

First time round I encountered the following problem:   I used 3 times the amount of fresh yeast to David's dried, all the time thinking that 1.5% was too much!   And it was.   Also the heat rise to mix the final dough took the finished dough temperature to 20°C.   This despite the hard work I put in to make sure the autolyse temperature was a cold 5°C.   So, the dough was kicking after just 2 hours and a S&F each hour.   This first time, I had made double quantity too, so the larger bulk really was moving.

I held the dough in the fridge til evening, giving a 6 hour cold fermentation period, but then decided I had to bake it before I went to bed.   On reflection, I should have divided the dough, semi-shaped it, then put it back in the fridge overnight.   The loaves came out looking somewhat under-proved, with a long split along the side of each baguette.   I made a boule as well, and that had similar betrayal of under-proving.

A brief report back to Don and David, then underway with the second attempt.  This time I used 1.5 times the amount to convert dried to fresh yeast.   Also, a smaller dough with a final temperature of 18°C, which was much easier to manage.   It had the full 3 hours with S&F, then back into the fridge overnight.   This morning, I watched Ciril Hitz's video on YouTube, see:

Then scaled and shaped 4 baguette pieces at just over 200g each, and set them en coûche.   The dough temperature in my warming kitchen reached 20°C, after a half hour's proof.   This was where I was still unsure how long to keep proving the dough.   This is where the beauty of long cold fermentation really comes through.   The dough is so stable, even though it is very well-matured.   I baked the first batch of 2 after 1½ hours final proof; not long enough, I soon realised.   I took an important phonecall regarding progress on my latest Food Policy assignment for my Master's Degree.   That was quite a blessing, as it held me up half an hour.   By this time the dough was becoming a little sticky, but still handled really well.   The resulting bake was very pleasing.

I made some egg mayonnaise with fresh dill, parsley and spring onion, and a salad to go with it, then took some photographs of this and the finished bread.   My wife and I ate 2 of these baguettes with the salad and eggs for our lunch straight after.   I know the crumb is not so open, although it was spot-on for translucency, and I have still to master proper cutting techniques.   The grignette I purchased has helped, but the scoring is not deep enough.   That said, the balance of crispy crust to soft tasty crumb was just right, and the bread was so fresh too.   Just a hint of rye, no pre-ferment; the first time I've really tried to work through such a formula.

Thanks again to Don and David; there is no obvious extra work involved in the longer ferment, if anything, it fits in well with a daily work pattern.

Photos shown here:


Best wishes



Subscribe to RSS - blogs