The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


fredsambo's picture

Well I finally went ahead and signed up, I have been a reader for quite some time. I am a professional baker by trade, but love to mess around in my conventional kitchen as well. I needed some old dough for my next adventure, so I decided to make a nice straight yeasted bread. I also noticed that some of the bakers cover the loaves in the oven to simulate injected steam, so I decided to try it!


The formula for the dough is pretty simple and based on Joe Ortiz's Direct-Method Compagnon:


1/4 ounce active dry yeast


1 3/4 cups cold tap water


3 2/3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour


1 3/4 teaspoons salt


I mixed the yeast with a little bit of warm water and then poured the rest of the water into the wet mixture. After adding two cups of the flour, using my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer, I mixed with the paddle on first speed for two minutes. Then added the salt and the rest of the flour, graduating to the hook. Then I mixed on first speed until the flour was somewhat incorporated, and then 12 - 15 minutes on 2nd speed. The doulgh was velvity and somewhat slack when it came off the mixer.

Next I cut three small pieces out and shaped them into little boules. I set all three boules in the fridge, in glass bowls, coverd with plastic wrap.


About four and a half hours later I grabbed two of the boules from the fridge (the other is my old dough for tomorrow), flattened and reshaped them, and then covered them with a cloth, on a floured board, for about 45 minutes to an hour.


I scored them and put them right on the stone in my oven at 450 degrees, covered by a large cooking pot. I prepped this "cover" by pouring hot water out of it right before I put it in the oven, being careful not to touch the boules with the cover. After 12 minutes I carefully removed the cover and then baked them for another 15-17 minutes.


So here is the result:




I am pretty happy with the look of the crust, the crumb is dense as I expected from such a short proof time. Overall it is dense and chewy but with zero taste:


aladenzo's picture

How to retard using my fridge?

September 20, 2007 - 9:43pm -- aladenzo

Hello everyone... I haven't done this before but I'm actually planning to mix some dough in the evening, shaping it into small buns, and retarding it in my fridge. My question is, how long should the dough be retarded for... and could I actually put these buns straight from my fridge to my proofer....  or should it stay first at room temperature before proofing... OR .... does it go straight to my oven? And how about the temperature of my fridge? Sorry for all these questions... thank you!!!

beenjamming's picture

Retarding dough during its bulk fermentation

August 18, 2007 - 11:02am -- beenjamming

In every bread book I've read, it's always suggested to retard dough during while its proofing (with the exception of pain a l'ancienne). Is there any reason one shouldn't do this during bulk fermentation? I imagine the yeast population is a lot smaller at that point, so It may not have as drastic of consequences. Also, since the cold makes dough much more elastic, it may have a negative effect on doughs that need folding. Has anyone tried this?

mse1152's picture

Hello there, flour-heads,

This weekend I made my usual sourdough, but added the extra step of retarding it in the fridge after 4 stretch & fold cycles. It was in there for 19 hours. Then I let it warm up for 2.5 hours, shaped it, rested it for 30 minutes, slashed and baked. It's a two sponge recipe that I began on Friday morning and finished baking about midday Sunday. It has the best tang of any I've made so far -- wouldn't really call it sour, but a nice lingering aftertaste.

The first sponge usually begins with just one tsp. of starter, but for some reason this time, I thought 1/4 cup would be good. So now I have introduced two new variables: more starter, and the refrigeration. Oh well, now it's hard to say which change affected the flavor. Guess I'll have to do it again, playing with more variables. It's hard to limit myself to just one change each time I bake this!

The Blob after 19 hours in the fridge

The Blob after 19 hours in the fridge


I only recently figured out how much to slash the dough to avoid blowouts in the oven. I go over the initial cut a time or two to make sure the dough has room to expand. Who cares if it's not traditional? Neither am I!

Slashed just before baking

Slashed just before baking





This recipe/formula claims to be about 65% hydration, so I guess I won't get the big holes unless I increase that. But it sure tastes good!

I use Bob's Red Mill flour exclusively right now. The sponges contain some whole wheat and some rye, thus the tan color. The rest of the flour is organic unbleached, protein approx. 11.75%.

The un-holey crumb

The un-holey crumb

Now as a last note, I must thank Susan for suggesting that I resize my photos to 640 x 480 in order to post. I was at my wits' end trying to post pictures. They just would not appear. So resize those buggers and start posting! Susan, I owe you a loaf of bread....someday....just not one of understand....!



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