The Fresh Loaf

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Simon280586's picture

Some recent breads, and a few general questions

I need to start taking better notes. I've accumulated a lot of pictures recently, and looking through them I find I have trouble remembering exactly what I actually baked. Also, a couple of the breads seem to have fairly nice crumbs in hindsight (I tend to be quite critical at the time), so I wish I could remember my precise handling methods and timings. Oh well.


I think this was a Pain au Levain from Hamelman.



This was from Forkish's FWSY, either a white bread with poolish or biga. I made some pizzas with it too.





This was a white bread with poolish from Forkish, but I reduced the hydration to around 65% because I wanted to work with a less sticky dough:


I made it again a few days later, this time at about 63% hydration. Somehow the high percentage of poolish (50% of total flour) allows for a fairly open crumb even at this low(ish) hydration. Environmental variables and flour type may be partly responsible too, of course (I think the weather was a little bit more humid than usual when I made this).



There are some more (including a French boule which had a very nice crumb and noticeably sweet taste) but I took them on someone else's camera and still need to copy them off there. Just wanted to clear my backlog a bit.


I also have a few questions, if anyone is inclined to answer. These are mainly related to differences in approach I've noiced between Hamelman's recipes and Forkish's.

1) None of Hamelman's breads specify a volume (eg double, triple) for bulk fermentation. Nor does he (as far as I can tell) give much indication of how to assess whether bulk fermentation has progressed enough. Do any of you try to reach a specific volume, after folds? And what do you look for when deciding whether the dough is ready to divide and shape?

It may be because I'm not using American flours, or because I make smaller quantities of dough, but I've noticed that my doughs invariably take longer to rise during the bulk stage than specified. For instance, for the Forkish recipes where the dough is meant to triple, my dough can take hours longer than specified despite meeting the target temperature or even exceeding it. So I'd prefer not to rely solely on time. I do look at things like the amount of aeration and volume, but I'm interested in your thoughts.


2) The Forkish recipes I've been making recently (white bread with poolish or biga) involve 2 or 3 folds after a light hand mixing, no autolyse period, and a 2.5-3x volume increase during bulk fermentation. I found it interesting because Hamelman's recipes tend to involve a similar number of folds, but only after a good few minutes at second speed in a professional mixer, at which point the gluten is already moderately developed. Neither does Forkish include any preshaping in his recipes. In addition, the high-hydration of Forkish's doughs mean the gluten develops more slowly (if I remember correctly). So why are 2-3 folds after a light mix sufficient in his recipes? I suppose the longer fermentation times have something to do with it, as in no-knead recipes. I'm really just curious.


3) I'm still conflicted as to the appropriate amount of degassing during shaping. Forkish suggests not trying to degas at all, to preserve the gases and structure of the dough, which I've found to be quite tricky as the dough (when tripled in volume) is very light, fragile and gassy. On the other hand, Hamelman's method involves degassing multiple times, during both preshaping and final shaping. If you watch the King Arthur Flour Youtube video where he demonstrates shaping techniques, during the final shaping of the boule you can see he really squeezes his fingers quite firmly into the dough during the initial rounding, and seems to not be overly concerned about maintaining the majority of the gas. Both methods seem to result in beautiful, open crumbs, judging from the photographs in their books. What's your favoured approach?

hanseata's picture


Fellow bakers, many of you rose to my last year's challenge, re-creating a Vollkornbrot for Schlosshotel Cecilienhof in Potsdam ("When Taste Meets Tradition").

I fully trust you to come up with another loaf with a historical connection - a bread worthy of Götz von Berlichingen, the Knight With the Iron Hand.

This is what it is all about:

My husband and I are romantic souls. We like to visit fortresses and castles, and whenever we travel in an area where those are plentiful, we check for hotels with turrets and moats, commanding views and a rich history.

On our recent trip to Germany we stayed two nights at Schlosshotel Götzenburg in Jagsthausen. The medieval Castle Jagsthausen is the birth place of Götz von Berlichingen.

Götz von Berlichingen (1480 - 1562)

This notorious knight spent his life as mercenary, engaged in the never ending feuds between Emperor, nobility, church, wealthy cities and farmers, losing his arm, being incarcerated, outlawed and re-installed in the process (amazingly, he nevertheless lived to a ripe old age!)

He would have been probably long forgotten, if not immortalized by Goethe in his drama "Götz von Berlichingen with the Iron Hand", who turned the belligerent knight into a pillar of integrity against a deceitful and decadent society - in other words: a German Robin Hood.

Goethe turned Götz into a German hero

 When besieged by the Imperial Army and asked by its captain to surrender, Goethe had Götz say the famous (and, in the last part, often quoted) words of defiance:

"Me, surrender! At mercy! Whom do you speak with? Am I a robber! Tell your captain that for His Imperial Majesty, I have, as always, due respect. But he, tell him that, he can lick me in the arse!"

My husband quotes Götz von Berlichingen

 Schlosshotel Götzenburg doesn't only offer an lovingly restored medieval environment, beautiful views, and fine dining - its courtyard also serves as stage for the annual theater festival Burgfestspiele Jagsthausen.

One of its highlights, is, of course, the drama about the outspoken knight with the iron hand.

Scene from this year's theater production "Götz von Berlichingen"

The (comparatively moderate) price for our hotel room included breakfast (thankfully, something you still can expect in most German hotels!)

The ambiance - dark paneled dining hall, solemn ancestors looking down from the walls, body armor and tapestry - couldn't have been more appropriate. The dinner the night before had been fabulous, so we had high expectations for the breakfast.

Everything was fine - except for one thing that really matters for this bread loving baker: the rustic looking loaf on the table was sadly lacking - in crustiness as well as in taste!

Breads at the breakfast buffet - a mass produced disappointment

When I asked about it, I learned that it was not baked in a local bakery, but supplied by a whole grocer: hence its blandness and rubbery crust. Not at all worthy of the legacy of a fierce old knight! (He might have fed it to his dogs.)

Grumbling at the breakfast table, I pondered what to do. Whine about it to the manager? Or smite this nice hotel with a nasty comment at TripAdvisor? I had a better idea.


So, please join me, dear friends, in creating a special loaf, worthy of the noble Götz and his beautiful castle (which is, by the way, still owned by the Berlichingen family!)

Even though this loaf is meant for a medieval castle hotel - please, refrain from submitting an "Authentic Bread" à la Don Sadowsky. The tough old fighter might have had his share of those, while embattled, but he surely would not have served them to guests of his castle.

I won't give you a deadline, most of you are hard working people with little spare time, and if you want to participate, you will bake your bread as soon as you can, anyway.

Every contribution will be posted and linked to your blog (if you have one).

I will present our results to Schlosshotel Götzenburg, and, hopefully, when any of us visits there next time (it is well worth it!) you'll find a bread that (like Cecilienhof Vollkornbrot) marries taste with tradition.

Schloss Götzenburg


yozzause's picture

baked before work


Hi Folks been a while since i last had a bit of a bake at work, i had been tending my culture regularly but just didnt get the time to do a batch.

But that changed i made a dough during the lunch break just the bog standard 3 flour: 2 water :1 sourdough culture, also being 3 kgs: 2kgs: 1 kg:

The dough was stretched and folded every hour 1.00 2.00 and 3.00 the dough was taken at 4,00 scaled pre shaped rested and then moulded placed on couches and into the cool room for overnight.

Next morning i got in @5.30 am and was going to process another dough for the restaurant/cafe whilst i was waiting for the sour dough to bake.

I got everything into the mixer including the water only to find that the mixer would not start,  i checked the micro switches, and still couldnt get it to go, i then tried to fire up the oven with the same result nothing happening.

I quickly looked up and saw that bug zapper was off too, a sure sign that the emergency stop had been tripped, i knew where the switch was but where is the reset key, i contemplated the early morning call to the Hospitality technician and decided to wait until 6.00 but kept looking and eventually found the key and got everything going.



 all above the sourdough the loaves scaled @500g the stcks at 300g, below the 100g  2% everyting (almost) dough these mini loaves were

served cut diagonally and served with a hearty soup, the restaurant cafe outlet is in the west end of Fremantle next to the University

of Notre Dame with customers being students and pensioners that know good value @ $7.50 and the serves are generous!



So there we have it  the Sour dough turned out well  and the 100g mini's that were destined to accompany a french onion soup  were looking good in the oven too this was a reasonably rich dough, one i call MY 2% Dough

In this case 2kgs of flour 2% salt 2% milk powder 2%butter 2% egg 2% yeast .0.5% dobrim 500 bread improver which allows this to be an instant dough, water was not measured i'm afraid in my haste to get things underway. From the mixer onto the bench scaled preshaped rested (whilst i put the sourdough into the oven, and then shaped onto flutes on trays and into the proover. 

All in all a nice little wake up starter before the real job, a quick shower to start behind a desk for 7.45.   

Kind regards Yozza


Theresse's picture

Pics of my first sourdough bread using my first sourdough starter

...which surprisingly turned out pretty perfect!  I was following a Ken Forkish recipe but put in sourdough starter instead of dry yeast without altering anything else in the recipe.  I thought it would be a major flop but it turned out not only attractive to look at but VERY delicious!

I first made the starter in Dec. '13 but have only used it in pancakes and waffles until now!


FrenchNyonya's picture

Raw bread!!!

Is there a way to save a 70% baked bread? I baked 3 french country batards 2 days ago. They came out with almost burnt bottom but pale top.  When cut into one of's gummy. Is there anyway to save them? May be freeze then bake in a hot oven again? Advice please.. 


Conjuay's picture

Anti-bread sentiments

I'm coming across more and more negativity about bread recently that I'm really starting to get annoyed by it.

Why has bread become another dietary whipping boy?


ExperimentalBaker's picture

Raisin Yeast Water with SD Hybrid White Sandwich Loaf

Baked this in the morning before going to work.

Process is similar to the one from the original post here.

Some changes on my side:

1) My yeast water is not that active. Maybe I have not been feeding it enough and left it in the fridge. So it took more than 10 hours to get it to double after making the levain. So, in my main dough, I added in 60g of my active sourdough (100% hydration) and more sugar (60g). I adjusted the remaining flour (-30g) and water (-30g) accordingly.

2) For the main dough, instead of using water, I used more yeast water.

3) I knead the butter into the dough after the salt is mixed. All kneading is done by my bosch mixer.

4) I added 20g of white sesame seeds and 20 g of black sesame seeds. They are toasted in the oven slightly beforehand. I added them after gluten formation is moderate.

5) I did a bulk fermentation of 2 hours because my room temperature is 30C.

6) The proofing time is much longer than 2 hours. Like I mentioned previously, the yeast water is not very active. So, after proofing at room temperature for 4 hours, it has not reached the top of the tin. And because it is my bedtime and I don't want it to over-proof while I am sleeping, I put it in my wine cooler at 15C.

This morning when I woke up, the dough is about 1cm above the top of the tin. I baked the dough using the cold start method mentioned in the original post. 20 mins of 210C was enough to nearly charred the top of the loaf. Internal temperature is 90C when I pulled out the loaf.

Next bake, I will have to reduce the temperature to 200C.

I made another different loaf last night, now it is slowly proofing in the fridge, it is the chocolate sourdough recipe from shiao-ping's post. I won't get to bake it till tomorrow night, ie. close to 48 hours of fridge time.

Felila's picture

How to use up ten pounds of brown rice flour

They cleaned out a freezer at my Zen center today, and sent me home with some unwanted flour.

Someone, at some point, was fond of brown rice flour. I am wondering how best to use it up. I searched for rice flour discussions here and they all seemed to involve rice flour to dust bannetons, or rice flour as a substitute for wheat flour in gluten-free bread.

I do not have any bannetons, not that dusting them would use up ten approximately ten pounds of flour. I am not interested in baking gluten-free bread. I buy white bread flour, higher gluten than AP, for my sourdough bread. 

Probably I should just substitute brown rice flour for some percentage of the wheat flour in a recipe. Perhaps substitute for whole wheat in struan bread. What would be a percentage that would still give me a good rise, crumb, and crust?

P.S, Got small bags of other odd flours. Garbanzo-fava flour? Tapioca flour? Millet flour? Suggestions?


trangha2201's picture

Pineapple juice starter being... a bit too active?

Hi everyone,

Recently I've been up to the challenge of making my own wild yeast starter by mixing pineapple juice with rye flour. I followed a simple recipe that calls for 2Tbs of juice and flour everyday for 4 days and feed normally thereupon. Its been day 3 now and the yeast is extremely bubbly after only 8 hours from the last feed while the recipe suggested 12 hrs or so. I've read that the yeast being active is a good sign but  I'm also worried that i might be doing sth wrong because this is my first time catching yeast therefore i should be following the recipe exactly. Should i feed it twice? Should i double the flour? Should i start feeding it white flour and water? any suggestion is welcomed. Thanks guys.


PS the room temp is about 30C or so. 

dosal's picture


Could you, please, tell me how you store malt. I had mine in a snap top plastic container and it formed a solid mass.

Our humidity is high during the summer. I had no problems during the winter months.

Since it was a plastic container I could rap it against the counter top and break the whole into smaller chunks which I put into a glass container with screw on lid. This went into the fridge.

Any ideas how to break up the chunks further? Everything I use on it gets sticky quite fast.