The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Abelbreadgallery's picture

Rye & olive oil ciabatta

75% bread flour, 25% whole rye, 66% water, 10% olive oil, 2% salt, 1% fresh yeast. 12h bulk fermentation in the fridge. 1h final proof.

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Four favorite breads I make over and over

Top 4 breads from the first 40. These are all sourdough recipes and most are good for a normal working schedule of someone who has not yet opened the oft-fantasized bakery.

The breads are a rye, a whole wheat, a spelt and a white.

LevaiNation's picture

What the Forkish? Flat country Brown...

Hello breadies,

After many fantastic loafs, standing ovations, and jaw dropping results baking my way through FWSY, i had my first flat, sad, disappointing bread yesterday. I know, it was bound to happen, and in a way, i'm happy about the opportunity to challenge myself and harness this Pure Levain Country Brown recipe.

This is what I did (and in parenthesis, what Mr. Forkish suggests); maybe someone can spot the trouble area and help me decide where to start fixing the problem.

73f. room temp. 604g WF + 276g WW + 684g H2O @ 90f. Autolyse for 20 min. (Just like the book)

3:15 pm. Added 22g salt + 216g happy levain that passed the floating test. Final Mix, Dough temp 78f. (5pm in book)

3 folds first hour, 1 fold 11pm. Overnight room temp 70f.

7:30 am. Dough looked lovely and airy. It tripled in volume. Shaped into Bannetons. Super sticky, hard to shape......(8am in book. 1:15 over rise time)

11:15 am. Proof finger test looked good-I think-. It appeared to have risen nicely. Dough stuck to Bannetons (argh!!$%#@). Very Slack and soft dough. Went into hot DO's. 475 oven.

12m. Barely any oven spring. Pretty dense. Tastes lovely but crumb is quite moist and lacks air pockets.


All of this is written down in my bread journal. Looking forward to try the Country Brown again. Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read all the way to these lines...


Peace and dough, 



breadsong's picture

Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

A week before Christmas, Chad Robertson's new book, Tartine Book Nº3 arrived – earlier than I was expecting!,
and most welcome :^)

One of the things I really liked about the design of the book was the arrangement of the letters spelling out the author’s name, on the book jacket.
Turned 90º clockwise, the author’s name becomes the number “3” :^)

While I was waiting for the book to arrive, various recipes from the book were popping up online, one of them on the Food52 site – the Oat Porridge bread.


The Oat Porridge bread link above includes responses from Mr. Robertson to reader questions – some helpful information there - I’m going to make note of his responses in my book.

And Floyd – you’ll probably like this! – he refers one of the readers to The Fresh Loaf: “…I often direct people to this site http://www.thefreshloaf... and check it myself when I have questions like this. You'll find many excellent bakers posting a ton of knowledge here - lots of it geared towards making professional quality breads in a home kitchen and how to find the best tools to accomplish this.”   
:^) !

I really love oat breads, and the description of this bread and its flavor in the book was amazing...very happy to have had the chance to try making this one.

The Oat Porridge bread makes two loaves, so I decided to bake one as I normally would (Nº1) , and one in the recommended baking vessel, a cast iron Dutch oven (Nº2).
The scoring (not so beautiful!) follows the numbering…loaves Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3 :^)


I like the look of the Dutch oven-baked bread better – I was a little uncertain baking Nº1 at 500F for the full 20 minutes, so backed off the temperature to 450F after 10 minutes; it was also getting a little dark around the edges, so I took it out 10 minutes or so before Nº2.
Crust color for Nº1 suffered as a result, I think.

I scored around the edges of the free-standing loaf, fearing it might blow out being baked cold right out of the fridge.
The scoring pattern was like this and may partially account for the less-than-round shape after baking?


When making the dough, I didn’t include the leaven in the autolyse as I wanted to soak the flour for the 4-hour period.
In place of high extraction flour I used locally-grown, whole-milled whole wheat flour, and I added the optional roasted (unblanched) almonds, and almond oil.

The dough I thought very beautiful, the steel-cut oats prevalent, the roasted color of the almonds a pretty accent.


Tasting this bread, the nuts softened but have that wonderful roasted flavor, the crumb is very tender and moist
(50% cooked-until-creamy organic steel-cut oats!), and the flavor is complex – there is a sweetness from the oats as Chad suggests, and caramel flavors from the crust – but also a pepperiness I wasn’t expecting! Very delicious.

Here is the crumb (both loaves had proofed up overnight in the fridge and I baked them from cold as the book instructed…but reading Mr. Robertson’s response to a question about this in the Food52 link above, he recommended a warm-up period after refrigeration at colder ‘home’ refrigerator temperatures – so I will try that next time – and see if the extra proofing helps this bread open up at all… 
                                              …it’s going to be a lot of fun working through the breads, sweets and flavors in this book!

For some great photos of Tartine Bakery’s porridge loaf, please see this post from France about her visit to Tartine Bakery, 
at Tartine Bread Experiment…Chad’s beautiful bread, and the gorgeous loaves I know France is going to make,
will be my inspiration to keep working at it!

Thank you, Mr. Robertson, for your journey of exploration through these countries, breads and grains; and thank you to all of the talented people who worked to put this book together, as well.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong



Premium Value Products's picture
Premium Value P...

The Easiest Artisan Bread Recipe Ever

Artisan bread is probably the easiest bread recipe ever. It literally takes no kneading, but it yields an airy, fragrant bread with a nice, crunchy crust and a soft, flavorful inside. Plus, it is very versatile as well because you can add all sort of additional ingredients to it, such as walnuts, chopped olives, fresh or dried herbs, sesame seeds or poppy seeds and even salami or some vegetables.



Prep time: 15 hours
Cook time: 50 minutes
Yields: 2 loaves


4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil


You will notice that there is a lot of water compared to flour, but the idea behind this bread is that it takes more liquid than other recipes in order to yields a soft, fragrant bread. It’s very easy to make. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and set aside.

In another bowl or jar, combine the yeast with the warm water and let it bloom 5 minutes. Pour the water over the flour and mix well with a spoon. Add the olive oil and mix for 5 minutes. It doesn’t require kneading at all.

When you’re done with mixing, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this dough rise for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours in the fridge or just a cold place. If you leave it at room temperature, 12 hours is more than enough.

After 12h+ the dough will look like it’s tripled its volume and be very airy.



Sprinkle some flour over your silicone baking mat and transfer the dough there. Cut it in half then carefully shape it in 2 balls. try not to knead it at all, just fold it until it looks like a ball.

You want to preserve the air found in the dough. Place the mat with the bread in a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven at 450F for 40-50 minutes. When done, it should be crunchy and golden brown on the outside.

Let the bread cool down completely before slicing.

Use promo code JBC6CALN for 30% savings on a premium silicone baking mat when you visit


dmsnyder's picture

New Years Pizze

My wife and I had a quiet New Years day. Very mellow, except for dinner. My wife gets pretty excited when I make pizza.

I again used Ken Forkish's formula for a sourdough pizza crust. After my successful experience fermenting my SFSD dough in my proofing box (San Francisco-style Sourdough and dishes made with it), I did the same with the pizza dough. The result was pretty much the same as I had had last Summer with this dough (Pizza Bliss), which is to say it was delicious - very flavorful with a mild to moderate sourdough tang. The rim was puffed up and very crisp. Really good eating.

I made two mushroom pizza. One had olive oil, finely chopped fresh rosemary, sliced garlic and mozzarella. The other had olive oil, tomato sauce (from Floyd's Pizza Primer) and mozzarella. 

Wishing you all Happy Baking and a delicious 2014!



CeciC's picture

Hamelman's 5 Grains Bread with RYW and Commercial Yeast

Hybrid YW Five-Grain Bread        
Total Weight884.5      
Weight per Serving884.5      
Total Flour 500     
Total Water 429     
Total Hydration 85.80%     
Multi-grain % 33.80%     
Total Levain 270     
 Build 1Build 2Build 3SoakerFinal DoughAdd-InTotal
White Starter (100%)      0
Wholewheat Starter      0
Rye Starter      0
Yeast Water Levain (100%)60     60
 60     60
Flour      0
Extra-High Protein Flour (>14%)      0
Bread Flour 30  271 301
AP Flour      0
Wholemeal Flour      0
Wholewheat Flour 90  79 169
Rye Flour    0 0
Water 45 189120 354
Milk      0
Yeast Water 45    45
Others      0
Yeast    2.5 2.5
Salt    13 13
Cinnamon (2 Tbs)      0
ADD-IN      0
Chopped Wheat berries    35  0
Flaxseeds   35  0
Sunflower Seeds   40  0
Oats   40  0
- Autolyse all ingridient (except Salt & Yeast)60 Min      
- Add Salt, yeast  Mixed with Pincer Method       
- S&F 2 times @ 30, 60min interval       
- Total Bulk Fermentation @ 66F3h 30mNeed more as the crust was on the pale side     
Second Proof1.5HR      
Bake - Cover20      
Bake -Uncover25      

I got Hamelman's book as my christmas present I decided to use its 5 grains bread as my New Year Bake. I deviated from the book by

1) sub YW levain with Pete Fermente

2) pre-ferments hydration increased to 75%. 

3) Increase Water to compensate my substitution of WW for Bread flour to increase its multi-grains content. 

Since the room temp has dropped to 66F, I extended the Bulk fermentation to 3:30, but I think its still hasnt fully fermented. Next time I would have give it another hour. 

I baked it in a dutch oven covered 20min and uncovered for 25mins. 





The dough was on the stiff side, Next time another 100g of water should be added. 

Crumb shot:



This post has been submitted to

breadforfun's picture

SFBI Miche and Fig Pecan for New Year

It has been a while since I posted, although I have been baking regularly.  For New Years I made a few breads and thought I would add my voice to those who have had wonderful success with David's posting of the SFBI Miche on TFL.  When I first started baking sourdough breads I was totally intrigued by the photo of a large miche on the cover of Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I spent months trying to master it, with only moderate success.  But an attraction to the miche loaf has stayed with me, and I really enjoy making these large loaves.

Since David posted the SFBI recipe, I have made it half a dozen times.  The picture of a miche that I have in my head, though, is something a bit flatter and more spread out.  I thought I might be able to attain this look by increasing the hydration above the 73.4% in the recipe.  Over my last three bakes, I have worked the hydration up to 78%, and I'm pretty sure it can take even more water.  Still, the 78% results are worth sharing, so here are some photos.  I will continue to try for the flatter loaf, but in the meantime I'm happy to enjoy these.

Like David, I keep Central Milling's Type-85 high extraction flour in my pantry just for the miche.  I made a batch of 3.6 kg of dough that required a 4 hour bulk ferment, keeping the temperature at 75˚F.  I did a total of 4 stretch & folds at 30, 60, 90 and 150 min.  It was divided and shaped into two ~1000 gm batards (see below for a variation) and one 1550 gm boule and proofed at RT for one hour.  One batard and the miche were refrigerated overnight (about 18 hours) and baked on a stone directly from the refrigerator the next day.

The crumb on the loaf is light, airy and transparent.

The flavor is tangy, wheaty, even a little earthy.  The crust had a good chew and the crumb was somewhat soft but with a good mouth feel.

There was one other variation that I made.  Varda's post describing fig and anise bread, with links to several other posts, made me want to try another attempt at a fig bread.  My earlier attempts were not that successful, and I also wanted to add nuts to the bread in place of the anise.  I felt that this dough would lend itself to this so after the first 30 min. of the BF I divided off 1000 gm of dough and folded in 20% each of soaked dry figs and toasted pecans.  Phil made a similar loaf, so I borrowed his technique of final proof in the refrigerator for 3 hours rather than an overnight retard.  The results were quite respectable.  The crumb is not as open, unsurprisingly, which gave the bread a nice chew.  Perfect as a base for a bit of soft cheese.


Happy New Year everyone!


Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

Another Baker's Percent Calculator

Happy new year everyone! I have made a lot of replies but haven't started any threads. I have written a baker's percentage calculator that runs online (no downloads necessary). Unlike many other calculators, this one is geared to the amateur baker (especially to those who use measuring spoons for such ingredients as salt and yeast). Here is the link to my calculator:

I hope some folks will find it useful.

Bob S.

Bakingmadtoo's picture

To discard or not?

A question that came up the other day. I try not to discard any starter. I keep just small amounts in the fridge. I bake a couple of times a week. I build the small amount I keep into enough for my recipe plus a small amount to go back in the fridge.

Another friend who bakes was showing a friend who works as a chef in a Michelin starred restaurant her starter, he sniffed it and asked her if she ever discarded any, telling her she should discard some regularly.

If I am feeding my starter the same ratio of fresh ingredients to starter, what difference does it make whether I discard some or not?  Should I be discarding some each time I feed it?