The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bakingbadly's picture

Searching for Collaborators for the Sourdough Library


The Sourdough Library is a free, online index of sourdough-related resources, specifically for amateur homebakers. The problem: it hasn't been updated for months. Since opening my bakery, I've gotten busier and busier and therefore less time to write and post articles on the Sourdough Library.

Presently, I'm searching for volunteers with great writing and research skills, with a passion for bread, to develop ideas and submit articles to the Sourdough Library. There are no deadlines, articles can be technical or informal (remember, our primary audience are amateur bakers), and topics are not restricted but must be relevant to bread or sourdough. I will take responsibility of the editor and accepted submissions will be attributed to the author, using their real names or an alias. 

If you're interested and wish to write for the Sourdough Library, you may post below or message me privately.

Other ideas and feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you! :)


emkay's picture

Tartine 80% Whole Wheat, GF Cornbread, Macarons

I was in a Chad kind of mood this week, so I baked an 80% whole wheat boule ala Tartine.

Tartine 80% Whole Wheat

80% whole wheat flour
20% all purpose flour
5% wheat germ
85% water
2% salt
20% levain

  • 5 hours of bulk fermentation at room temperature (about 69 F) with S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 min.
  • Preshape and bench rest for 20 minutes.
  • Shape retarded in the refrigerator (about 38F) for 16 hours.
  • Baked in an enameled cast iron combo cooker at 450F for 45 minutes (cover on during the first 20 min).

The whole wheat bread tasted great, but it was a bit dense from being overproofed. 16 hours in the refrigerator is long time for 80% whole wheat, but my schedule didn't allow for baking it sooner. No biggie.

I bought some Cup4Cup, a gluten free baking blend made by Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry). I made cornbread muffins for a GF friend who would love to have cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving. She loved the muffins and so did I. I couldn't tell that they were gluten free, but I think cornbread is something that can be made with mostly cornmeal/polenta and no wheat flour and still taste just fine.




I took a macaron class on Saturday. I have been making macarons on and off for a few years now. Sometimes they turn out perfectly, and other times not so much. I wanted more consistent results so I signed up for the macaron class at the San Francisco Baking Institute. I highly recommend the SFBI. Whether it's one of the week long courses or weekend workshops, it's a treat to learn from the talented and knowledgeable instructors in a facility with high quality equipment.


During the 8 hour class, the 24 students along with our instructor, Miyuki, made 15 different flavors of macarons. We learned the French meringue method (uncooked sugar) as well as the Italian meringue method (cooked sugar) for the shells. She exlained the differences between the two methods as well as the pros and cons. Most of the fillings were premade for us, but the students made variations on a 64% chocolate ganache. There was chocolate, chocolate orange, chocolate strawberry and chocolate cherry ganaches. The other flavors were peppermint, eggnog, chocolate praline, raspberry, pistachio, lemon, passionfruit, cassis, rose, vanilla, and mocha. Each student took home a big box of macarons.


pmiker's picture

crumbs, texture and falling apart

Sometimes, after a day or two, I notice the bread wants to break or fall apart.  A piece here or corner there.  Is this a result of the ingredients, the baking, the kneading or just the nature of the bread?  I made be imagining it but it seems more frequent now that I am hand kneading.  The doughs appear adequately kneaded.

AnnaInMD's picture

My new posts, my answers to questions posted, etc.

Used to be able to just click on "my posts"  etc in the list of forums.  Now I cannot do this and unfortunately will come across as very discourteous when not answering a question because with my advanced years and calcifying brain cells I do not remember what I read or answered this morning, let alone last week.   

Floyd, you were telling us that this is a new software.  Will my concerns be addressed as well?

Thanks so much,


deniselucas's picture

no-knead sourdough bread with steel crust - suggestions please

Hello Fresh People!

I've been baking sourdough for a few years now, and have always used the knead method.  I've had good luck baking in my cast iron dutch oven and even better luck in my romertopf clay oven.  I've been looking for a sourdough that will fit my lodge 4lp loaf pan so it would be more sandwichey, and came across a no-knead recipe on sourdough international which has been interesting.  This might work, but it will need some tweaking for my use.  I'm hoping to get some good help from you all on here.

The recipe calls for three proofs, the first one a culture proof.  "Mix 1 cup of the fully active culture with 1 cup of flour and sufficient water to form a thick pancake batter consistency and proof it for 6 to 8 hours at 65-70oF if you prefer a mild flavor or at 75-85oF if you want it more sour."

My culture is a Carl's Oregon that has been going strong for about six months.  I take one cup of starter and feed it 1 cup of King Arthurs Bread Flour with about 1 scant cup of spring water mixed and left to bubble up for 6 to 8 hours.  I always make sure to use the start for the culture proof when it is at the top of its yeasty bubbling.  The culture proof has been nice and bubbly, lots of good gas action going on. 

The second proof is a dough proof:  "In a large bowl briefly mix the flour, culture, water and salt.  The consistency should be firm and shaggy.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and proof over night ( 10-12 hours) at room temperature (65-70oF) for a mild flavor or at 75-80oF in a proofing box for a more sour flavor."  I leave it out on the counter overnight for the 10 to 12 hours, and it more than doubles itself.  The temp is around 76 to 77 degrees.  It goes from being a shaggy mess to a wet sticky gloppy mess.  The instructions say to flour your surface and leave the sticky dough for 15 minutes to relax the gluten, which I do, but feel is unnecessary.  

The third proof says to use enough flour to shape the dough into a boule.  I don't do that, I use enough flour to form the wet mess into a loaf the size of my Lodge LP4 Cast Iron Loaf pan, which I grease with butter or Crisco, and then leave it to rise for an hour - hour and a half, in my cold electric oven.  After the dough has risen over the pan an inch, I do the poke test and make sure the dough is springing back. I do follow the cooking instructions, which are to turn the oven on to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit and cook for an hour and ten minutes, leaving the loaf pan in the cold oven. 

I go an extra step and put several ice cubes in a cast iron corn bread skillet so that they will melt and give off humidity.  I also attempt to score the top of the loaf but it is so wet it makes no difference.  I think so far all I have done is make the dough laugh at me.  You can barely tell where I score it, there are no ears.  The surface of the loaf is not smooth at all.  But I've had great oven spring - it is doing exactly what I wanted and rising up to make a sandwich type loaf.  But the crust is a pale greige, that's the only color I can think to describe it.  It is NOT the lovely golden brown of my kneaded loaves.  The crumb is pretty good, there are some holes in it, but it is still just slightly a little gummy and for as wet as the dough is - I would have thought the holes would be a tad larger. I do check the temp before pulling the loaf out and it was 182 degrees Fahrenheit.  The crust is also so crisp you can break your teeth on it and there are no ears, no crackling crust when it is cooling on the rack.

Please post any suggestions on what to do to get a nice lovely golden shade with some good crisp ears, larger holes in the crumb and a chewy crust.  I did try one loaf at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and the color was almost perfect and it did crackle while cooling.  The crust was more chewy as well but the crumb was gummy.

I am thinking the oven needs to be hotter, but should I turn it up to 450 and then down to 400 when the oven reaches temperature, or should I just crank it up to 400 and leave it for an hour instead of an hour and ten minutes?

Any suggestions you have are appreciated!

Thanks and happy baking!

Denise in Texas



Nominingi's picture

Help needed with shaping loaves please

My loaves are misshapen. I can't get rid of of flaps that form when I shape the loaf. Please help.

Many thanks

Kiseger's picture

Swirly Whirly SJSD

A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.

Rumi - The Secret Turning

And so it came to pass that I ended up on "gardening leave" from my job, waiting for a release date so that I could start my new job.  It was, in fact, "baking leave" but only a handful of my colleagues understood this!!  On my first day home, as I tried to read through the overnight posts on TFL while recovering some sort of humanity via a cup of coffee, The Husband was wandering around the house in his sports kit, minus a sock, frantically looking for said sock, as one does.  I take comfort in the hope that I am not alone and that somewhere, out there, live many happy ladies whose beloveds run around looking in kitchen cabinets for a missing sock.  I have also wondered whether, perhaps, my parents pay The Husband a monthly stipend to do things like this.  Maybe he even has a blog somewhere called "Inexplicable Oddities and Bizarre Behaviours I have invented to drive my wife nuts".  Having duly ascertained that no stray socks lurked in our kitchen (cabinets or elsewhere), he stopped to ask me whether I really planned to spend my entire time off work making bread.   Hearing the answer, he nods briefly and says "OK.  Have you considered that you may need some form of counselling when you pick up your new job, I am worried about the withdrawal symptoms when you have to sit at your desk instead of baking…..".   It was too early for a glass of wine, so I gave him That Look and had another coffee.

I loved the SJSD so much, I wanted to try again.  Between the odd calls from "old work" and from "new work", mainly trying to find out what my news was, I pulled out my large mixing bowl and flour and set to it.  At this point, Mother calls.  After establishing that I am not at work, she offers up: "I hope you're not going to spend the whole time making bread!"  In lieu of an answer, I ask if she has been paying The Husband to do weird stuff around the house.  Silence.  More silence.  "Do you want to speak to your father?" she says.   And so, on with the SJSD.

A few small changes in the formula below, what with the Great Sock Palaver, I was distracted and added 50g each of rye and whole wheat, as opposed to 25g each.  As a result, I winged it a bit and added some more water to a total of 390g.  I also didn't have 100%n hydration levain to hand, so used the 80% hydration I had ready.

Bread Flour  450g
Rye  50g
Whole Wheat  50g
Water  390g
Salt 12g
Levain 150g (80% hydration, 50% bread flour, 50% whole wheat, 8hrs build)

1. Autolyse all flour and 350g water, 2hrs
2. Mix 40g water, 12g salt and 150g Levain
3. S&F 4 times at 30min. intervals, total time on counter is 3.5hrs
4. Cold Bulk Ferment - set in fridge for 22hrs
5. Preshape and bench rest for 20min
6. Shape and proof for a wee snippet over 1hr
7. Bake in DO, oven at 250C for 20min then reduce temp to 230C and remove lid at 25mins and continue to bake for another 15-20min


I got my courage together and decided to try for a swirly whirly scoring pattern, which led me to think of whirling and dervishes and therefore Rumi again, hence the turning poem.  This one was slightly more sour than my first attempt at SJSD, and again a delicious "universal" bread.  As expected, it passes The Husband test, and is declared to be tastier because it has a bit more tang.  He was terribly nice all evening, there was no mention of socks and he even offered to wash the dishes.   He got a little reward by way of a stray sock (discovered in the sock drawer, of all places), rolled up and tied with a big red ribbon, on his pillow.   

The lover's food is the love of the bread;
no bread need be at hand:
no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.

Rumi - The Interest without The Capital

markf1988's picture


Hi all, bit of a novice here seeking guidance!

left this ciabatta to proof overnight in fridge...think it's over! when I moved it to oven it was really saggy and full of air bubbles. And after the bake there are large air bubbles under the crust- is this from over proofing? 

Otherwise tastes alright!

thanks for the feedback

WoodenSpoon's picture

Semolina&Kamut&PoppySeed Levain


  • 269g BF (52%)
  • 103g Kamut (20%)
  • 78g Semolina (15%)
  • 140g Levain (13% bf 13%water)
  • 26g Toasted SesameSeeds (5%)
  • 346g Water (67%)
  • 10g Salt (2%)

The evening before baking I mixed up my levain using 7g active chef and 200 or so grams of both water and flour and let it ferment at an albeit cool room temp overnight plus some of the following morning.  I made extra for a different project and the additional flour and water with out a significant increase in chef caused for a slower fermentation for the levain, which was fine. When I was ready to start mixing I added everything but the salt and sesame seeds and let it sit for an hour, during this time I toasted the seeds in a dry cast iron and made sure they were cool. 

After the hour had passed I mixed in the seeds and salt and gave the already pretty developed dough a minute or so of slap and folds followed by a rest and a few more folds. Then I let it ferment for an additional four hours at room temp with a few stretch and folds at the 1, 2 and 2 and a half hour marks. 

Five hours later I shaped the loaf and rolled it on a wet towel then rolled it on a plate full of black sesame seeds and popped it in my pullman pan for 4 hours.

Four hours later I baked it at 450 for an hour then took it out of the pan and baked it for another 10 minutes.


mmmmm mm this is some tasty bread, its both buttery and earthy and the sesame seeds both on the inside and out contribute a great nuttyness that I am a big fan of. I was also very pleased and a bit surprised at how well the dough came together with two flours that didn't contribute much gluten to the mix. I expect this one will go fast and I will make it again for sure. 

ElPanadero's picture

Going Dutch !

Figured it was time I tried a bake in a dutch oven.  We have a Le Crueset pot but it is wide and shallow and thus not suitable.  After hunting around I figured I could use this steamer pot which was sitting in a cupboard.


Seemed ideal, plenty deep enough, round and with a lid.   Turned out to be really good.   The proofed loaf dropped in smoothly with parchment paper and the loaf rose very well.  I think I'll be using this pot quite a lot from now on !

The loaf I made was loosely based on Chad's Tartine Country Bread, however I wanted more wholewheat than his 10%.   I used a wholewheat starter and I also had a bag of Malthouse flour to hand (a blend of wheat, rye and flaked malted grains) so I threw some of that in as well.  So plenty of wheat in this loaf.  Hydration was about 70% and the crumb came out pretty well.

White Bread Flour - 350g

Wholewheat Flour - 100g

Malthouse Flour50g

Water - 330g

WW Starter (@100%) - 100g



Autolyse (F+W+Y) - 30min

Added salt then rested - 30min

Stretch+fold every 30min for 2hrs

Shape and banneton

Retard in fridge overnight - 12 hrs

Rest 45min at room temp then baked 15 mins lid on, 25-30 mins lid off

I made a similar loaf to this last week and baked on a stone and it came out much flatter as the dough spread after being turned out.  The Dutch oven approach clearly offers side support and produces a nicer looking loaf imo.