The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MarkS's picture

Basic math question... How to change the hydration in a starter?

OK, my mother starter is 100% hydration. For a recipe I am working on, I want to use a 70% hydration starter.

If I start with 150 grams of 100% starter, how do I build this to 450 grams of 70% hydration starter? The math escapes me. The problem is that the 70% figure isn't 70% of 450, but 70% of the total flour weight. However, how do I arrive at the total flour weight? It would seem a simple problem, but none of the figures I am coming up with work.

I know that 100% hydration starter is 50% flour and 50% water. A 70% hydration starter should be 42.8571% water (100/70). This doesn't work, however. Obviously, I am miscalculating.

Understand that I am not asking what the total flour weight is in 450 grams of 70% hydration flour, but how to arrive at that figure.


I would gladly do a search, but I have no idea how to word this in search terms.

trailrunner's picture

Multigrain with YW rye levain and chestnut flour

I bought 5/500g  bags of Italian Chestnut flour a number of years ago. Somehow I never found anything that I liked to use it in so it sat in the freezer in its vacuum packs waiting...and waiting..and....well you get the idea. I have been cleaning out and sorting and using up . I decided to only cook from my larder for 2014  , at least as much as possible. 

I fed my starter with rye and apple yeast water. The dough was made with equal parts chestnut/whole wheat /durum. Dough water was 1/2  whey.  The flavor is remarkable. Very full of complex grains and earthy. Sweetness as you chew. Crumb is very tender and a lovely crunch to the crust. It is easy to get a bold bake with the chestnut flour , I have found. Baked at 500 in hot pots for 10 min and then 460 for 5 min and lid off for 20 min. I am really pleased with this bread.  

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dmsnyder's picture

Pane Valle Maggia, ver. 3 3/18/2014

After the last bake of this bread, I wondered if I could get a more open crust by doing all the mixing by hand, rather than some by machine. So, that's what I did. The formula was the same as that used in Pane Valle Maggia, ver. 2 3/7/2014, except I did not take the time to grind fresh whole wheat flour. I used Giusto's Organic Fine Whole Wheat flour instead.

My procedure was as follows:

1. The two levains - rye sour and whole wheat - were mixed the night before mixing the final dough and fermented at room temperature for 13 hours.

2. Around 11 AM, I mixed the levains with 500g of water and the AP and WW flour. This was left on the counter for a 3 hr. "autolyse" while I raced to the hospital and taught a class for pediatric residents. (How you spend your autolyse time is your choice.)

3. The salt was added and mixed into the dough with a spatula. Then about 60g of additional water was added. This was mixed in by hand, using the pinching maneuver recommended by Ken Forkish in FWSY.

4. Bulk Fermentation was done at room temperature for about 3 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

5. The dough was then divided into two equal pieces and pre-shaped as rounds. These were allowed to rest while I washed the container I had used for bulk fermentation and floured my linen-lined bannetons.

6. The pieces were shaped as boules and placed, seam-side up, in the bannetons which were then placed in food safe plastic bags and refrigerated. 

Note: This was one of the stickiest doughs I have ever worked with. Not surprising given the combination of lots of rye and lots of water. Shaping was a real challenge!

7. After about 12 hours, the oven was preheated to 500 dF with a baking stone and my usual steaming apparatus in place. 

8. The loaves were transferred to a peel and scored. 

9. The oven was steamed and the loaves were transferred to the baking stone.

10. The loaves were baked for 13 minutes with steam and then another 20 minutes. Note: Inadvertently, the whole bake was done with the convection fan on.

The loaves sang loudly as they cooled, and nice crust crackles developed.

I sliced the loaves after 3 hours. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was somewhat more open and, overall, less dense-seeming than the last 2 bakes. It was tender and chewy. The flavor of the bread was mildly tangy with a nice wheaty flavor. I really can't say it was noticeably different than the bake using fresh-milled whole wheat flour.

Bottom line: This is a delicious bread. It is similar to several of the breads I have been making from FWSY since last Summer with mixed flours, except that this bread has the highest percentage of whole grain flours. It is a type of bread that has become our favorite.

My next variations may be to add mixed seeds and cracked or flaked grains and to try a version with added dried fruit and nuts. I have also though about baking this bread in the Lodge Combo Cookers, as I bake Forkish's breads and the Tartine Basic Country Bread.


aptk's picture

Cinnamon Cranberry Sweet Bread with Sunflower Seeds

My basic white bread recipe with the following additions:

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. cinnamon

2/3 c. Craisins

1/3 cup Sunflower seeds

Powdered sugar glaze.

SylviaH's picture

Sylvia's Irish Soda Bread


I haven't posted recently and would like to wish everyone a very "Happy St. Patrick's Day"!  

Family has kept me busy lately and in a few days my youngest grandson is having some very extensive corrective overbite surgery done.  It's going to be a long recovery.  He's taking it very well and wants to have it done.

To keep things on a cheerier note.  A little St. Pat's Day feast.  Along with the traditional dinner of Corn beef with all the trimmings.  

I make this soda bread a lot.  Everyone loves it and you will find it here on my blog along with some other versions. 


Just out of the oven and warm sliced with some Kerry Gold butter.


A family tradition now for 4 generations no that would be 5.  My 22 yr. old grand daughter loves to bake.




And a little added note of fun for today!  I haven't quite been together the past few days with worry.  Can't believe I did this..but here it is.


Too late now...guess you missed it : )


Watch out for the Leprechauns!  They can be real pranksters.


Have a great green day!




proof419's picture

Delaying fermentation

I love my naturally risen breads.  However, I'm trying to delay fermentation so I can mix dough one evening, and bake the next evening.  

I follow something like the tartine process.  If I change the proportions of leaven to dough so that it will take 24 hours for the bulk ferment do you think the dough will be more sour than sweet?

Refrigeration is not an option, due to space and the quantity of dough I'm working with.

I'd appreciate any input from more experienced bakers than myself!


amberwavesofgrain's picture

Bread Formula Illiteracy

Hello all! Can anyone point me in the right direction to better reading and understanding bread formulas, more specifically on this site? I understand bakers percentages (read about them on google earlier). I do not get the builds and charts as much though on this site, I have seen about 3 or 4 different charts here on The Fresh Loaf. I am very into furthering my knowledge about bread formulas to enhance my experience making bread. If anyone could provide me with some knowledge that would be awesome. Thank you! :)

Brown Butter Financier

Brokeback Cowboy's picture
Brokeback Cowboy


This recipe is formulated for a dessert menu so the quantity is larger than perhaps a home baker truly needs, or is able to consume ;). The quantity produced will fill a 1/2 sheet pan, at a height of around 1 inch, before rising in the oven. It is imperative to not over whisk any ingredients in this recipe as air pockets are unsightly. Banging the pan on a firm counter top is advisable. The results are consistent and have produced this delicate little cake countless times. At the restaurant we paired it with strawberry compote, lavender and Chantilly cream. I list vanilla pod in this recipe, however it is  optional luxury, if not available, don`t concern yourself as we did not include it our restaurant version. The Ingredients are as follow;




Prep time15 minutes
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time45 minutes


330 g
Brown Butter (Use a full pound of butter at the opening phase to compensate for evaporation)
540 g
Icing Sugar
540 g
Egg Whites (Lightly whisked, to break albumen)
100 g
all purpose flour (Sifted)
380 g
Ground Almonds (Sifted)
Vanilla Bean (Optional*)


For Brown Butter;

Pre-heat a medium saucepan and add a full pound of fresh butter. Cook until the butter colors hazelnut, the butter can overcook quickly at this point so take of heat immediately. Strain while hot.

For Financier Loaf;

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Allow brown butter to cool to room temperature. Whisk brown butter in to slightly foamy egg whites until combined. If using vanilla bean, incorporate at this stage. In a separate vessel, sift ground almonds, all purpose flour and icing sugar together. Sifting allows air to incorporate into the mass during baking and produces a delicate texture. Gently whisk wet mixture into the sifted flours, until combined. Transfer cake batter to a sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Bang pan several times on a countertop, bringing bubbles to the surface of cake. If large bubbles exist, pop them with a sharp pin, needle, toothpick, etc. Bake the financier cake until the edges begin brown, about 30 minutes. Baking times are subjective, so be sure to use your instincts while it cooks, as opposed to timer. Best serve at room temperature, or slightly warm. It is advantageous baking this in a sheet pan because once cooled, it can be cut in to invidual portions with a sharp knife, or ring molds.


Financier is the a dainty French cake revered for it's crumb less nature, hence it's suitability as a snack cake for well dressed individuals. Traditionally this cake is baked individually in 'gold bar' shaped molds.Shaped financier molds are easily found from online sources, typically in silicone. Silicone molds are suitable for aesthetic purposes, however some lovely crispness on the edges will be sacrificed as a result. When available, always use well butter metal, ideally copper. Best of luck with your baking, and if any practical questions come up while executing this recipe, I'll be happy to troubleshoot and get you back baking.

trailrunner's picture

homemade pasta...

My husband is an artist when it comes to pasta. Always wonderful . Tonight homemade tagliatelle and a shrimp topping based on one that our son , the Chef , makes frequently. Preserved lemon and capers are the key...oh...and the homemade hot cure peppers. If you want the recipe just ask...I will be glad to forward the gist of the idea .c 

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trailrunner's picture

what to do when you have extra pizza dough...

oh pie !  



before baking...  photo IMG_6914_zps8118b68c.jpg after...most amazing...2 apples and a small amount of " goop"...if you want I will post the link to easy.  photo IMG_6915_zpse6e5f0c6.jpg