The Fresh Loaf

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CAphyl's picture

My first Vermont Sourdough

Before I joined this site,  I didn't realize how behind the curve I was as I had never made a Vermont Sourdough. I decided to get with it and make one today.  I have been schooled by the many wonderful bakers on this site and encouraged to try, so I did.  I used David's Hamelman's recipe, but altered it a bit by adding a bit more rye.  I was finishing a bag of bread flour and didn't have quite enough, and I thought the additional rye would add some nice flavor. Lately, I have been making lots of David's recipes, but the next one I would like to make is one of Khalid's....looking forward to trying that.

I was so impressed with this dough throughout the process. It proofed beautifully, the oven spring was really terrific, and the crumb was nice.

I am sure I will make some variations of this in the future. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but probably added a tad more water than called for in the recipe.

Here is the recipe I used (I made two changes to the original recipe, which I noted):

Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, from Hamelman's "Bread”

By dmsnyder




Bread flour

1 lb 11.2 oz.


Whole Rye

4.8 oz



1 lb 4.8oz



.6 oz



3 lbs 5.4 oz






Bread flour

6.4 oz



8 oz


Mature culture (liquid)

1.3 oz



15.7 oz.





Bread flour (I used 1.55)

1lb 8 oz

Whole Rye (I used 6.8)

4.8 oz


12.8 oz

Liquid levain

14.4 oz

(all less 3 T)


.6 oz


3 lbs 5.4 oz



  1. The night before mixing the final dough, feed the liquid levain as above. Ferment at room temperature overnight.
  2. Mix the final dough. Place all ingredients except the salt in the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass.
  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix using the paddle of a stand mixer for 2 minutes at Speed 1. Add small amounts of water or flour as needed to achieve a medium consistency dough.
  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 for 6-8 minutes. There should be a coarse window pane.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 2.5 hours with one stretch and fold at 1.25 hours.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form into rounds. Place seam side up on the board.
  8. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Form into boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couch. Cover well with plasti-crap or place in food safe plastic bags.
  10. Refrigerate for 12-18 hours.
  11. The next day, remove the loaves from the refrigerator.
  12. Pre-heat the oven at 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
  13. After 45-60 minutes, pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them.
  14. Load the loaves onto the stone and pour ½ cup boiling water into the steaming apparatus. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.
  15. After 15 minutes, if you have a convection oven, turn it to convection bake at 435ºF. If you don't, leave the oven at 460ºF. Bake for another 25 minutes.
  16. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack.
  17. Cool completely before slicing.
MaxQ's picture

Semolina Bread MK4

Well, in case anybody remembers, about a year ago I posted this. Well, the time of year has come again when the winter is over, and we have tons of left over semolina (we buy it to make porridge). A lot of water (and flour) has passed under the bridge since that naive attempt, and I had 2 other attempts (unpublished) before this, the final result.

Now, there seems to be some confusion surrounding semolina. Often it actually refers to fine Durham flour. But I mean the coarse grains. (Wikipedia has a good article and a nice picture of the grain.) This confusion means that finding recipes is hard, since (almost) nobody bothers to make the distinction. The purpose of this is to get rid of the semolina, but in a recipe that means something else.... that happened to me once. The result was edible, but only just. So, I decided to experiment, and thus finish the semolina. As a side result, I got a nice, soft, moist bread with a sweet flavor and an excellent crust.

So after a little trial and error (the 2 unpublished attempts) I arrived a good recipe, that I like. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the process, just the end result.

Semolina bread (one loaf)

Step 1

  • 1 cup coarse semolina
  • 1 cup water

Mix together so you get a nice thick porridge. Depending on the size of your grains you may need more water. Let this mixture sit for at least an hour, but the longer, the better. This is to soften up the grains, and to prevent them from drinking all the water from your dough later.

Step 2

  • 1 tbs dry yeast
  • 1 tbs honey or molasses
  • 1 cup warm water (~40 C)
  • 2.25 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix the yeast, honey and water together and let sit for 10 minutes or so, until it gets foamy. This is not strictly necessary for dry active yeast, but I like doing it because it smells nice. Alternatively, just follow whatever instructions necessary for activating your yeast.

Add the flour and salt (I used AP flour) and mix on low until a dough forms.

Add the semolina mixture and continue mixing on low until well mixed. Then mix on medium-high for a few minutes, until gluten starts to form. You'll notice at this point that the dough has much more of a batter consistency than dough. That's fine. It needs to be very wet because of the coarseness of the semolina. Keep mixing on medium-high until there is enough gluten. How much is enough? I don't know. Until it looks right.

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or a wet towel or whatever you like to use and let rise for an hour. It won't grow very much in size, but it will add flavor.

Pour the dough into a well-greased loaf pan.

Preheat the oven to 210 C. When it reaches temp, put the bread in the oven and lower the temp to 180. Bake for half an hour. Watch the oven spring! It's magical.

Once a light crust begins to form (after 20-30 minutes) lower the temp to 150 C and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until golden-brown.

Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Serve warm.

I particularly like that the bread has a moist, spongy texture, and I somehow managed to get a nice even crust, with no sharp delineations between shades of brown.

As a final note, I arrived at this recipe via trial and error. I would like to thank my wife for being a good sport about the whole thing, and even eating the bread from the failed attempts. She said that the end result was worth it.

MisterTT's picture

French Bread with Week Old Pâte Fermentée

Hi everyone!

A few months ago I gave my colleague some rye starter, using which she's been successfully baking 100% rye breads at home. Now some more people have expressed interest in baking a "rustic" white bread. My job was to develop a simple formula that a someone new to bread baking could easily follow, while at the same time yielding a good-looking, crusty loaf with good flavor. I pondered whether to develop a simple formula using sourdough or commercial yeast and finally decided on the later.

After making that decision I knew that one of the most important factors will be for how the bread keeps, so using a simple preferment and having somewhat higher hydration was inevitable. After baking trials using each of three preferments: poolish, biga and pâte fermentée, the decision was made to go with pâte fermentée since it really made the bread keep much better than the other two, while the taste from all three was similar.

The next step was to see what is the optimal fermentation time for the old dough, meaning that you shouldn't have to wait too long, but the end result should also be good. Baked a few trials of that and chose a week long pâte fermentée, given a couple hour kickstart before refrigeration.

Now this formula is ready for more widespread use and I think it honestly makes a good crusty white bread with a nice flavor. The bread keeps very well for a non-sourdough, about three days: the first day unpackaged, later kept in a plastic bag (yes, the crust does soften, but between that and staling I think it's better with a soft crust).

I baked the bread using a stainless steel bowl as a cover. It could have baked up better, but the results in the pictures are, if not great, at least OK. I chose this way of baking because it is a reasonable approach for people new to the game. The scoring pattern consists of random shallow cut along the top of the loaf. No crumb shot -- gave the bread away uncut.

A final note: you can use sourdough pâte fermentée for this bread, but I don't recommend keeping it in the fridge more than 4 days, lest you risk significant overfermentation.

Link to worksheet with formula.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Multi-Grain Levain with Multi Photos

Yes, same old multi-grain loaves this weekend, but I don't mind.  Healthy, easy, tasty...

Less words this time and more photos. was a good lunch.


sirrith's picture

Pain de campagne troubleshooting


I've been trying to get nice open crumb in my bread for a while now.  This represents the best I've achieved so far, I'm not unhappy with it, but there are a couple of things I would like to ask.  I'll first go through my method though.
The recipe was:

100% flour (80% French white T65, ~9% protein.  20% strong WW, ~14% protein)

65% water

2.5% salt

1% ADY

I skipped the poolish phase because I didn't have the time today (I normally include it).

Autolysed water + flour for 10 mins, added yeast, mix for a few minutes in stand mixer, added salt, mixed more (total about 10 minutes mixing time).

Bulk ferment for 3h30mn, it grew about 2.5-3x in size, finger poke test showed it wasn't over proofed (indentation filled back slowly).

Stretch & folded 4x letterbox method, then divided into 2, shaped into boules, placed on parchment paper and let rise for final proof.

Let boule rise for just under 3h before putting in preheated dutch oven and baking (20mn covered, 40 uncovered).

I messed up the scoring by doing it too slowly and probably a bit too deeply, so I got a flat, unpronounced scar.


So my questions:

Was my dough over proofed?  It did rise in the oven, so I'm thinking no, but I would like a second opinion as I'm not too familiar with this yet. 

Why did all the big bubbles appear at the top of the boule?

How do I know if I'm scoring too deeply, or too shallow? 



isand66's picture

Hamburger Onion Parmesan Rolls Vs. 2

  Finally the weather is starting to turn and actually feel like Spring after one of the longest and coldest winters we have had in a long time.  It was time to fire up the grill and make some hamburger and hot dogs to really make it feel like a new season.

I decided to use the basic formula for my popular Onion Parmesan Rolls which I posted about here but change things up a little.  I didn't have any cheese powder left so I used some fresh shaved Parmesan which certainly could only help matters.  I also wanted to use some Caputo 00 flour in place of some of the European style flour.  The idea would be to make the rolls a little harder similar to the German style rolls I had made last year which came out just like Kaiser rolls.  I also added some fresh ground Red Winter Wheat and since I didn't have Durum flour I used the grainier Semolina version.

The other main change I made to the recipe was to use minimal mixing and stretch and folds along with a bulk fermentation in the refrigerator.  I was going to bake these the next day, but I caught the stomach flu so the dough rested for 2 days before I finally had the strength to bake them off.

I also increased the hydration by adding 144 grams additional milk to compensate for the thirstier Caputo 00 flour as well as the freshly milled whole wheat and spelt.

If you want a soft fluffy roll than don't use this recipe, but if you want a nice semi-hard style roll that goes great with a burger than you will like this formula for sure.  I've been eating them for breakfast everyday this week with a little cheese or butter and I'm sorry that I just ate the last one a few minutes ago.


Hamburger Onion Parmesan Buns Vs.2 (%)

Hamburger Onion Parmesan Buns Vs.2 (weights)


Bring the milk up to a boil in a heavy-duty sauce pan and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature before using.

In the mean time leave your butter out at room temperature or soften in your microwave.

Mix flours with yeast to combine.  Next add remainder of the ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Next, knead on medium-low speed (or with hands) for 2 minutes. Dough should be supple and still a little bit sticky (adjust with water if needed). Continue kneading for 4 more minutes, increasing speed to medium-high for last 30 seconds.

Take the dough out of your mixer and form it into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl or dough rising bucket.  Let it sit for 10 minutes and then do a set of stretch and folds.  Repeat the same procedure a total of 3 times within 40 minutes.  Place covered bowl with dough in your refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.

On baking day, take the dough out of your refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for around 2-3  hours until the dough is nice and puffy and has completely doubled from the original size.

Next gently deflate the dough and form into rolls and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours until the rolls have almost doubled in size and pass the poke test.

Around 30 minutes before ready to bake the rolls, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and prepare your oven for steam as well.  I use a heavy-duty pan in the bottom shelf of my oven and pour 1 cup of boiling water in right before placing the rolls in the oven.

Right before you are ready to bake the rolls prepare an egg wash, paint your rolls and add  your topping of choice.

Bake the rolls at 450 degrees for the first 5 minutes and lower the oven to 425 degrees until they are nice and brown.

These should take about 25 minutes to cook thoroughly.  When done  let them cool on wire rack for at least half an hour before digging in if you can wait that long.




ccsdg's picture

Bread making app?

After countless bits of paper calculating amounts for the daily/bi-daily sourdough bake I've resolved to write an app to do it instead (web app, aka website). I very seldom use commercial yeast and often have either too much starter or too little, and must adjust my proof time accordingly. A record of proving times of all my previous bakes and their ingredients/hydrations etc, as well as a way to quickly enter them and maybe even view their trends, would be singularly helpful. Also something to instantly tell me how much flour/liquid to add after starter, given hydration and bakers' formula (or whatever it is called, the one where flour is 100%).

Does anyone know if someone has written such an app already? On any platform. Especially if it was free.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Delicious pizza is so easy to make.

I live in New York, and I have a pretty good selection of fine pizzerias from which I can get pizza.  The same can pretty much be said for having a good selection of fine breads.  In fact, every day, I walk through Grand Central Station and pass by a market that has some very good loaves at reasonable prices (unlike everything else in that market.)

That said, I wanted to make my own bread, and with my own bread came the desire to make my own pizza. Fortunately, among the first books I picked up was Tartine Bread.  I say "fortunately," because the Basic Country Loaf that forms the foundation of the book, is also recommended for pizza dough.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone!  In Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson recommends the use of the Lodge Combo Cooker, a cast iron set of frying pans, one deep, the other shallow, which works perfectly for making the Basic Country Loaf.  Once I had that bread down, I decided to buy a Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan, based on the reviews I had seen.

Now, there are those who make better pizza then I.  I've seen the photographic evidence of it. They also make better bread than I.  But, I am happy to say that I have been making a lot of very fine pizza in addition to a lot of very fine bread.  I have found the Super Peel to be a pretty good aid in getting pizza dough onto a hot pan, whether it is the cast iron combo cooker or the cast iron pizza pan.  (I heat both to 500 degrees, and find the Extra Long Oven Gloves to be great for handling the hot cast iron.

By now, I am seeing that I have spent a boat load of money buying bread baking stuff, but it all pales in comparison to the grain mill I am still waiting to pull the trigger on...

Anyhow, my usual process is to drain a can of crushed tomatoes (lately, I have been using and preferring organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes), saute some chopped onions in olive oil, mix in the crushed tomatoes and divide it into 1/2 pint wide-mouth mason jars. Incidentally, this is what I store my starter in as well.  I use a screw on plastic lid but don't screw it down tight. 

Typically, I have been sauteing chopped onions and then adding a can of crushed tomatoes to make the sauce. I also keep my chopped onions in one of the jars as well, but use the standard rings to keep them sealed tight.  This keeps the onion odor out of the fridge and lets me store onions all week for use whenever I need them.

 On Saturday, I made some dough and let one pizza's worth sit in the fridge until Tuesday evening.  When I went to make the pizza I realized that I did not have any of my sauce made, and I did not want to dirty a pan, so I opened up the can of crushed tomatoes, poured it into a colander to let the water drain out cooked my pizza dough.

The process is as follows: I put the lodge pizza pan in the oven and heat it to 500 degrees.  I take the pan out of the oven, drizzle olive oil on the pan (which lets the dough brown better in my experience) and then use my peal to put the pizza dough on the smoking hot pizza pan for a 5 minute bake.  Once the dough is set and maybe a little browned (in this instance, I actually overcooked the dough since it was very thin in the middle and it became crisp like a cracker....turned out delicious), I add the sauce (1/2 pint jar is enough sauce for the whole pie) and top it with sliced mozzarella, at which point I return it to the oven for a few minutes, and once the cheese is all melted, I take it out, sprinkle some fresh Basil leaves on top and return to the top rack of my oven where I put the broiler on High and broil for a few minutes until the cheese just starts to brown.

The result:


dosco's picture

Recipe ... Portuguese Sweet Bread

Posted below is the recipe I use for my Portuguese sweet bread. I am interested in suggestions from the collective audience that may result in improvements in taste, texture, oven spring, etc.

In my last bake I used about 50g of leftover levain ... not sure it made any difference and it might be interesting to experiment with adding even more to assess its affects on the final product.





6 ½ cups flour (910g) (to date I've only used all-purpose (AP) flour ... I plan on trying *some* bread flour in near future)

½ cup mashed potato, unseasoned (115g)

2/3 cup potato water (159g)

½ cup milk (125g)

½ cup butter

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp grated lemon peel

¼ tsp ground mace

1 packet of active dry or instant yeast (Reinhart recommends Instant because there is more yeast cells in it when compared to other forms of commercial yeast)

Confectioner’s sugar (optional)


In a mixing bowl combine ½ cup flour, sugar, lemon peel, mace, and dry yeast. Feel free to experiment with the type of flour used, to date I have only made this bread using the cheapest store brand all-purpose flour … the bread always rises to double or triple its original volume and is always delicious.


Heat potato water, milk, and butter to about 120dF (49dC), add to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes.


Add the eggs, mashed potato, and another ½ cup flour; mix for 2 minutes.


As the mass is mixing, continue to add the flour until it is all incorporated into a soft dough.


Knead until the dough is smooth and it passes the windowpane test … this will depend on the type of flour used (all purpose vs. bread flour). If using an electric mixer, this can take between 5 and 10 minutes.


Once the dough is formed set it aside to bulk ferment “until doubled” (depending on temperature this could be about 90 minutes).


After bulk fermentation, gently stretch or roll the dough out and form a rectangle of about 10 inches (25.5 cm) by 16 inches (40.5 cm).


Roll the dough into a cylindrical shape and place it, seam side down, into a greased/oiled “10 inch tube pan” (I use a Bundt pan). Pinch the ends together to form a continuous ring.


Let the formed dough proof “until doubled” (depending on the temperature this could be about 60 minutes).


Bake the bread at 350dF (177dC) for 40 minutes, or, until the center of the dough is 205dF and the crust is browned to your liking. Feel free to experiment with baking temperature, time, and steam … I have successfully baked this bread at 400dF with steam although I am not sure if this conferred any benefit to the quality of the bread.


Cool in the pan before serving.


Optionally, dust the top of the bread with confectioner’s sugar.

jimtr6's picture

hard roll or kaiser roll

years ago in CT my dad was a baker and the small bakery made that were called hard rolls, these were a nice thin but crispy/flakey egg shell thin crust with poppy seeds and the star shape on top, these were light rolls and not heavy or dense, they were unbelievably delicious and left crumbs all over the table when eaten. Sadly they are a thing of the past, they were popular in the NYC area, anyone know anything about them?