The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

daily bread

Gail_NK's picture

When did our daily bread take a wrong turn?

August 31, 2012 - 5:48pm -- Gail_NK


This forum has helped me turn my "meh" bread into yummy bread - and I've learned the true meaning of "stretch and fold!"

I recently wrote this piece for and wanted to share it:

How did we get from people who ate 2 to 3 pounds of bread a day to people who eat 6 to 8 ounces daily?


Gail N-K

jefklak's picture

I have been baking sourdough for three months now and it's starting to come together. I'm working through Mr. Hamelman's BREAD book (with other mellow bakers) and I've experimented with a few of the recipes I have found to be the tastiest (and easiest to bake). I've derived a base recipe based upon the "pain au levain with wholewheat" recipe. I know a lot of people out here love the "Vermont Sourdough" (which I also do), but I love wholewheat and don't see a lot of difference. 

Read more here:

It's the first time since I've seriously tried to employ the french fold technique, and it really does work wonders with wetter doughs. I've had a lot of trouble trying to mix these by hand (I refuse to use mechanical kneading). I've modified the recipe to allow for a higher hydratation value (as wholewheat does soak up a lot more water):


  • 145gr. stone-ground organic wholewheat flour (got at a local mill)
  • 10gr medium rye flour
  • 145gr water
  • 2 tablespoons of your starter (mine’s a white wheat 100% hydratation one)
final build
  • 605gr high-protein flour (all-purpose bread flour will do nicely, I didn’t have any at this point)
  • 40gr medium rye flour
  • 200gr wholewheat flour (also finely stone-ground)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 590gr water
  • the preferment
This should give you a 65% wholegrain bread with 73% hydratation. These are the methods I've used:
  1. autolyse for 30-60 minutes
  2. french fold (still very sticky & wet, stopped doing this after about 10 minutes)
  3. stretch & fold 3 times during 2 hours as the dough is still very slack due to the hydratation level
  4. retarding final proofing in baskets in the fridge

I love the big holes in the bread, it was very "mushy" and has a good bite, but there was only one problem, I want a more sour bread (not tangy but mellowy now)

I retarded the bread for 24 hours as an experiment, and another loaf for 40 hours. 
After baking the latter showed clear forms of overproofing (very flat, lost it's strength after pushing it onto the baking sheet)

I wanted to taste the difference but could not find any difference! Wow, how come?
Tried another taste test this morning and let my girlfriend do the same, same conclusion - we could not find any difference. Strange.


I'm baking the very same thing right now, but tried another thing: 100% hydratation preferment and 24 hours of resting  on the counter instead of 12 hours. It really smelled sour (!), hopefully it'll help. I did accidentally mess up the flour/water ratio and now it's close to 75% (gave me a lot of trouble with french folding and shaping)
Conclusion: still need to wait for the last bake, but 24 hours retarding > 40 to keep the form but not for the taste.  

namadeus's picture

First blog post - like the site very much. I am a keen home baker and been baking since coming across Andrew Whitleys book in Easter 2009 whilst on holiday near Lyme Regis.

Todays bread is a "Millers" Levain - or "lots of bag ends".

Interested to know how many people bake with a Levain and how they maintain / feed it on weekly / daily basis ?


clazar123's picture

So what do you do to streamline baking your daily bread?

March 9, 2009 - 9:51am -- clazar123

I am finally settling into a pattern of baking 3-4 loaves every weekend for our daily use-WWsandwich, fruited morning toast, french and maybe 1 extra as experimental,giveaway or to perfect a recipe.

It occurs to me their are many little things I can do to streamline the process of making the repetetive loaves such as pre-measuring out my flour into ziplocs and even adding all the dry ingredients to it.

Apple Rige Farm's picture


February 26, 2008 - 2:58pm -- Apple Rige Farm

I've baked several loaves of bread using the "My Daily Bread" recipe on this site. Every time it's come out very good but I can't get the crust right. When it comes out of the oven the crust looks perfect, dark brown, and crusty, but as it cools it gets paper thin and soft. Am I not baking it long enough, to long, or something else? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Darkstar's picture

Well it's been since I first found TheFreshLoaf in 2006 that I posted to my bread blog. Up until recently I hadn't had much time or energy to do much baking. Couple that with my love of crusty breads and whole wheat and my wife likes non-crusty, white breads and all the married folk can understand how this variable can decrease the amount of bread time for Jason. Well I had the time recently and wanted something to challenge me and get me back in the swing of baking so I scanned the site and decided on Floyd's Pain sur Poolish recipe.


I don't have much experience with working high-hydration dough but the best way to learn is to do so I dove right in. I guess I was feeling cocky from finally ordering and reading BBA but I felt I could handle it or add enough flour to make it a lower hydration loaf. :)


I followed the recipe to the letter with minor variations caused by the weather and temperature in the Chicago area recently (freaking cold). I am pleased and proud to have turned out a lovely boule and to have achieved a crisp crust with a creamy interior; both firsts for me as I usually bake enriched breads. I was doubly pleased and proud when my wife came home and not only tried my bread but actually liked it! I quickly made another poolish and baked up a second batch the next day for around-the-office gifting this time making two smaller boules for my usual "bread-head" and a newly discovered loaf-lover. The picture below was taken of the crumb from one of the smaller loaves my "bread-head" friend devoured. I thanked her for photographing it before it was all gone.


Darkstar's Daily Bread


I got sidetracked after I baked this as my sourdough starter became ready to bake with and I made this same recipe with a cup of starter in place of some of the flour and all of the yeast. I used pieces of info from JMonkey's lesson Squeeze more sour from your sourdough and other suggestions from another site to make a very, VERY tasty loaf. I plan on doing this again to photograph as my wife and I decimated the sourdough loaf before I could take pictures of it.


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