The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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madisonbaker26's picture

Madison Sourdough Shaping Video

I was lucky to snag a spot in one of Madison Sourdough's bread classes recently and I thought I'd share a video that the co-owner/head baker put together.  Unlike a lot of videos I've seen on the internet, his batard shaping technique seems to be a little different and there are also a couple unusual shapes he demonstrates (such as the fendu and the tabatiere).


davidg618's picture

Challah braiding crutch

I bake challah rarely, once every two or three months, usually two loaves. One I pan bake; it gets sliced and frozen for French toast, two or four slices thawed each time; it lasts a good while. The second loaf I braid, only because I like the way the shiny, chocolate-colored, bulging braid looks: eye candy. However, each time I bake challah I have to relearn six-strand braiding--my favorite. I baked challah two days ago, and the braiding was especially frustrating, in part because I'd tried a new recipe--it turned out delicious, but I'd made the dough softer than usual--as well as having to, once again, look at my cheat-sheet, make a move, look at my cheat-sheet, make a move, answer the phone, try to figure out where I was...well, you know the rest. I finally got it to look half-way decent; proofing, oven spring and browning aided considerably.

Yesterday, I recalled how, when I was about ten years old, I'd learned to braid four strands of flat, plastic lacing--called "Gimp"--into an attractive round braid. With a metal snaphook on its beginning end,  a yard of it, doubled back on itself and the loop closed with a square-braided slide finished in a Turks-head knot it made a handsome lanyard. I got so good at making lanyards I supplemented my meager weekly allowance by making them for other, less-talented Boys' Club campers, and kids in my neighborhood. I recall I also made a few dog leashes too.

With that memory recalled...

I made my self a practice string which I carry with me in my shirt pocket.  Now, at most free moments, I take it out; my latest mantra is, 6 over 1, 2 over 6, 1 over 3, 5 over 1, 6 over 4,...etc., etc., etc.

David G

bryoria's picture

Rustic Sourdough & Sourdough English Muffins

Today's bread was a rustic sourdough using my wild yeast starter:

I was out of aged whole wheat, so used all white flour instead (the recipe usually calls for 13% whole wheat).

  • 300 grams starter (100% hydration)
  • 725 grams white flour
  • 495 grams water
  • 1 tsp malt powder
  • 17 grams salt

Mixed all together with a 30 minute autolyse before adding the salt, then let it sit for 4 hours with one stretch and fold halfway.  Made fairly freeform loaves, being careful not to de-gas the dough, and let them proof at room temperature (on parchment on the back of a cookie sheet) for 45 minutes while the oven preheated.  I cover them with a smooth kitchen towel tucked around the well-floured loaves and put a paper towel roll between the loaves to keep them from spreading into each other.  Very high tech!

After proofing I slashed them and baked them at 425F for 45 minutes, putting a cup of hot water into a hot cookie sheet in the oven at the same time to make steam.  I think the slashes should have maybe been deeper.  When the loaves sprung (?) up the oven they just sort of flattened.   But other than that, I have no complaints. 

I've made the rustic sourdough a few times since I developed the starter last fall and I am always amazed and thrilled when the loaves rise so beautifully in the oven, with no added commercial yeast.  It's very magical.  Also extremely chewy, sour and delicious!

It was dark by the time we sliced it for supper, but I managed to get an okay photo of the crumb:

And as a bonus, while the bread dough was sitting for most of the day in between stretch and folds, I used the rest of my starter to make sourdough english muffins using the recipe from Wild Yeast blog.  This was my first time making english muffins, and I was really pleased. 

My only modification was to use all white flour due the aforementioned whole wheat flour shortage in the house.  The dough was very, very sticky and stayed that way, so I did add a little more flour as I mixed.  I cut them out with a 3" crumpet ring, and proofed them on the back of a baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap.  I baked them on my Oster griddle set to 275F, 8 minutes per side. The griddle is known to stay pretty cool, so I can't guarantee that the 275 setting is really 275, but whatever it was, it worked well.

They ended up looking pretty close to the storebought Costco ones my kids devour when they go to their grandparents, but taste so much better!  And I recognize all the ingredients!  I'll be doing this recipe again, with the whole wheat flour next time.


dabrownman's picture

I've been working on a new home made Gas Regeneration BBQ /Smoker

that I hope to eventually use to make pizza.  It's like a mini wood fired oven.  It's built out of huge hominy can and a 40-56 oz can of beans. It's the best BBQ and smoker I have ever owned and it was nearly free! I'm pretty sure I could get a small 12" stone for it and turn it into a pizza oven fairly easily. It works on a small pile of 1/4" twigs and 4 charcoal briquettes. Amazing heat from that beast.  Throw some wood chips on top you have a smoker that makes the best meat you have ever had.  I can see a Pizza oven too .......

MAde a very nice apple smoked chicken breast for dinner.  Just yummy, especially with the YW orange turmeric bread!

TastefulLee's picture

No Knead Jalapeno & Cheddar Sourdough ala Lahey

I am loving all the great ideas and helpful advice on this website. I have been using a 1 – 2 – 3 sourdough recipe that involves no kneading, from another valuable and wonderful post on this site, but decided to try the famous No Knead bread for the first time. I mixed up the dough last night, subbing 1/4 c. each whole wheat and rye for the bread flour. 11 hours later I flattened the dough into a rectangle and topped with 2 seeded, chopped jalapeno peppers, which I folded in. I gently flattened the folded dough and added 5 oz. of extra sharp cheddar cheese and folded the dough again. I then allowed the dough a 15 minute bench rest before proofing in a bowl lined with parchment for about an hour. I transferred the bread on the parchment to my preheated cast iron dutch oven and baked according to the original recipe. All I can say is O.M.G. The bread is gorgeously browned, caramelized beautifully. It sang loudly when removed from the oven and I can hardly wait for it to cool. Thanks to the two posters who did this before me for giving me the courage to try it. I have to say that I was getting very nervous when I was folding in the peppers and cheese and the dough kept ripping…but it didn’t seem to matter in the end. Just had to share! I will be adding some photos later but since my son needs the internet and our upload speed is pathetic I'll have to wait a bit. 

I only started baking with my sourdough starter last week and the results have been wonderful thanks to so many experienced bakers who are willing to share their expertise with a newbie like me. Many thanks for all your support  :)

dabrownman's picture

Chad Robertson's Country SD - Modified

Isand66 (Ian) has been using a much greater percentage of starter/Levain in his recent SD breads.  As I was looking around for a place to start with this idea, I ran across Chad Robertson's Country SD that uses this same technique.  I also prefer at least 10% rye and WW in the finished loaf and wanted to make sure that was the case in this bread.  I also wanted a higher hydration dough and one that had more AP flour and less bread flour.   This bread sure looks good on the outside but I can't cut into it yet until my wife gives the OK since she is taking it into work tomorrow.  I'm hoping the crumb is fairly open this time - and it was fairly airy.  It was also delicious, especially toasted with butter.  This one is a keeper!

 Chad's Sourdough - Modified - makes 1 large boule

Levain Build - Two days before bake day

  • 82 g starter @ 100% hydration (50% rye and 50% WW)
  • 45 g bread flour
  • 60 g rye flour
  • 60 g WW flour
  • 125 g water

Mix and ferment for 6  hours at 68 F and the refrigerate overnight

Noon -  before bake day

  • 370 g starter @ 75% hydration (all from above)
  • 185 g bread flour
  • 185 AP flour
  • 280 g water
  • 14 g salt

Mix all except salt for 2 minutes on KA 1 and autolyse for 1 hour. Then add salt and mix on KA 3 for 4 minutes.  Move to an oiled bowl and let rest 30 minutes.  Do 10 S&F's in the bowl and let rest 30 minutes.  Do 5 S&F's in theowl and let rest 30 minutes.  Do 1 S&F on a floured bench, return to the oiled bowl and let rest 30 minutes.   Do 1 more S&F on a floured bench and form into a ball, return to the oiled bowl and let rest 1 hour.  Retard dough overnight.    The dough will rise about 10-20% in the fridge.

Remove from fridge and let rest on counter for 1 hour.  Do 1 S&F gently  and do final shape into a boule.  Make sure to tighten the skin properly.  Place in cloth and floured bennaton and let rise in a plastic trash can liner for 2 hours. 

One hour before boule is proofed, heat oven to 500 with stone and steaming apparatus in place.  Remove boule from benetton onto parchment lined peel and put in the oven.  After 2 minutes turn down oven to 450 F .  After 15 minutes total, remove steaming apparatus and bake at 400F convection for  another 15- 25 minutes until the temp hits 205 F in the center of the boule.  Turn off oven and  left bread sit on the stone with the oven door ajar for 10 more minutes.  Remove bread to cooling rack until completely cool.

isand66's picture

Two-Fifths Sourdough Rye Beer Bread

This recipe is an adaptation from Veronika at  It uses the no-knead method and allows the gluten which is very weak in rye breads to develop slowly.  I decided to add some dark beer to give it an extra kick and also used First Clear flour instead of Bread or AP flour.  I ended up keeping the dough in the refrigerator for an extended period since I ran out of time to let it rise completely at room temperature.  I think this ended up creating an extremely sour sourdough rye which is not for the faint of heart.  If you want a more mellow tasting bread, I suggest you follow the directions below.

All in all, the bread turned out fairly well with a nice crispy crust and chewy, moist crumb.  The beer definitely added another flavor profile which makes this bread ideal for a nice sharp cheese and beer.



5 oz. water (90 degrees F.)

3 oz. Rye Flour (I used medium grade from KAF)

2 oz. First Clear Flour (you can substitute Bread flour or High Gluten flour)

2 oz. Refreshed Starter (100 % Hydration White Starter or Rye or Whole Wheat)

Final Dough

7 oz. Dark Rye Flour

10.5 oz. First Clear Flour (or Bread flour or High Gluten)

2 Tsp. Salt

1 - 2 TBS Caraway Seeds (more or less depending on your preference.  I used 1.5 TBS)

12 oz. Dark Beer


Prepare the starter and let it sit out at room temperature for 5-8 hours until it is nice and bubbly and ripe.  You can use it immediately or put it in the refrigerator overnight until ready to use.

Mix the starter with the room temperature beer and break it up.  Next mix in the flours and salt until the dough comes together and is still sticky. You don't need to over-mix the dough as it will now sit covered with some plastic wrap for 18-20 hours at room temperature.  (This is the point where after around 8 hours I put it in my refrigerator).  After 18-20 hours the dough should be nice and puffy and ready to turn out on an either a lightly floured work surface or lightly oiled one.  Do several stretch and folds and then put the dough in your floured banneton or bakers couche for its final journey which should take around 1.5 - 3 hours.

When the final dough is nice and puffy and passes the finger poke test, prepare your oven for hearth baking.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Shut the oven off and leave the bread inside with the door slightly open for 10 minutes.  This will help dry the loaves out and keep the crust crunchy.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

raqk8's picture

Oh-So-Buttery Dinner Rolls!

I get the feeling that dinner rolls are one of those things that don't come out of the oven very often. We all love them. There's something about the soft melt-in-your-mouth inside, the buttery outside... it's nearly impossible to resist a freshly made dinner roll.

That's just the problem though. That whole freshly made thing is hard to do. I don't know about you, but it is rare I have the time to be home early in the afternoon to throw a batch of dough together to be ready for dinner. I would absolutely love to (and so would AJ... he managed to finish all but one of the rolls I made), but it's just not that feasible very often....

Please visit my blog over at to see the full post and recipe!

NetherReine's picture

Surprise Sourdough with Chia Seeds


An adaptation of Norwich Sourdough by Susan @ Wild Yeast


360 g ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter (I use wholewheat starter)

100 g chia seeds

510 g bread flour (I use King Arthur)

510 g white wholewheat (I use Wheat Montana Prairie Gold)

710 g water at 75 degrees Fahrenheit

25 g salt


Mix the flour, water, chia seeds and starter on low speed until combined. (About a minute in my KA mixer).

Autolyze the dough for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and mix on medium speed (depending on your mixer) until dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. (4 minutes in my KA)

Place dough in an oiled container – I always use olive oil.

Ferment for 2.5 hours with two stretch and folds at 50 minutes apart. (I ferment in my “oven proofer” (oven with pan of hot water) at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Turn the dough onto counter that has been sprayed lightly with olive oil. ( I never use flour for counters). Divide dough into 3 equal parts and preshape into balls.

Cover the balls with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Form loaves into desired shape (I usually make batards) and place in proofing containers. (I use bannetons dusted with rice flour to prevent sticking).

Cover bannetons with plastic and proof for 2 to 2.5 hours. I put mine back into the “oven proofer” at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

After 1.5 hours I pull the dough from the oven and preheat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time I am also preheating my baking stone and cast iron skillet (which I use for steam). The dough continues to proof on the counter for the remaining hour.

Once the dough is fully proofed (use the “finger poke” method), turn them onto parchment. Slash each with your preferred method and design.

Turn the oven temperature down to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the loaves, parchment and all, onto the baking stone. Pour 1 to 1.5 cups of hot water into cast iron skillet (or use your preferred steaming method). Bake with steam for 10 minutes and then remove the skillet from the oven. Rotate the loaves at this time for even browning. Continue to cook another 15-20 minutes until the crust is very brown and the internal temperature of the bread is approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cool bread on a wire rack.

isand66's picture

Multi-grain Sourdough

I get a kick out of trying new types of flours and grains in my bread baking.  I frequently shop on-line at King Arthur Flour and like to try new and different products when I can.  I've read many recipes on The Fresh Loaf using soakers and have tried a few recipes from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread book with mixed results.  I decided the other day to try my own formula using a multi grain soaker from my baking supply bin and also used some of my existing refreshed sourdough starter mixed with some rye, whole wheat and first clear flours.  The results were surprisingly good considering I had no idea what to expect.  The final bread had a great nutty sour flavor with a nice thick crust and moist crumb.



2 oz. Rolled Oats

2 oz. Malted Rye Berries

2 oz. Barley Flakes

1 oz. English Malted Wheat Flakes

1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water

Final Dough

15 oz. White Starter recently refreshed

3.5 oz. Whole Wheat Flour

3.5 oz. Medium Rye Flour

4 oz. First Clear Flour (you can substitute bread flour or High Gluten Flour)

2.5 Tsp. Salt

6 oz. Water, 90 degrees F.


Mix all ingredients for soaker in a bowl and add boiling water.  Let it sit for 2-3 hours covered until the grains are soft.

After 2-3 hours add the soaked grains along with the remaining liquid in your mixing bowl and add the flours, salt and remaining water and mix for 2 minutes.  The dough should come together in a shaggy mess and should be relatively moist at this point.  Let it rest for 5 minutes and mix for 4 minutes more on medium low-speed.

Remove dough from mixing bowl to work surface and do a stretch and fold.  You may need to wet or oil your hands and the work surface since the dough will still be very sticky at this point. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest uncovered for 10 minutes.  Let the dough rest uncovered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and cover the dough with a moist lint free towel or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Do another stretch and fold two more times letting the dough rest 10 minutes each time.  After the last stretch and fold put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it tightly.

Let the dough sit in your bowl for 2 hours at room temperature.  It should only rise slightly at this point.  After the 2 hours are up put in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread take your bowl out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for around 2 hours.  After 2 hours shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.

Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a moist cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Shut the oven off and leave the bread inside with the door slightly open for 10 minutes.  This will help dry the loaves out and keep the crust crunchy.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here: