The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Sjadad's picture

Tartine Baguette

I've baked many loaves of the Basic Country Bread out of the Tartine Bread book and they have all come out very good to great. Many friends and family members have told me it's their favorite of all the breads I bake. So I decided to try the Tartine baguette, and my expectations were very high. Either I screwed up (a distinct possibility) or this recipe/formula has some issues. First of all, it makes a huge batch of dough. The directions say to form it into two or three loaves. Perhaps if I had a commercial oven and could make 24 inch baguettes, three would be the right number of loaves, but limited by a 16 inch baking stone, my loaves are not what one would consider to be proper baguettes.Baguette of Unusual Size! The timing and manner of the salt addition is also a bit awkward. About 40 minutes into the bulk fermentation you are directed to add the salt when you do the first S&F. I didn't think the salt got incorporated very uniformly.

The loaves proofed up like balloons in the Macy*s parade and exhibited prodigious oven spring (I use Sylvia's wet towel steaming technique).

Big Oven Spring

The loaves came out of the oven looking like edible zeppelins. The crumb was not as airy as I would have expected, but that is probably my failing.

Crumb Shot As for the eating - Tasty, but not the best baguette I've eaten by a long shot. These are my baguettes a l'ancienne, which are of proper size and are much tastier:Baguettes a l'Ancienne To be fair, the crust is very good; thin and crackling. You should have heard how it sang when it first came out of the oven.DSC_0133

Has anyone else made this Tartine baguette?

Franko's picture

80% Sourdough Rye Bread- adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread'


This bake started out with two things in mind. I wanted to make an 80% sour rye bread and to bake it in my Pullman pan, which I’ve used only once since I bought it this past summer. While I was looking through Hamelman's 'Bread' for a recipe to use, I stopped on the photo page showing the assorted rye breads from Chapter 6, and not for the first time thought what a marvellous display of craftsmanship it was. The one in particular that has always stood out among the others for me is the Pullman loaf at the back, sitting vertically with a series of diagonally crossed slashes the length of the loaf. I've wanted to try that slashing pattern ever since seeing it, so now I had a third thing I wanted to do, but first I needed to find a recipe to use. Unfortunately the photo in the book doesn't say what particular bread the Pullman loaf is. The only rye in the chapter other than the Horst Bandel Pumpernickel that calls for a Pullman pan is the 70% Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker and Whole Wheat Flour, and that didn't fit with what I had in mind. I decided to make Hamelman's 80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker, but to make it using only natural leavening rather than the combination of sour and bakers yeast called for in his formula, and to substitute dark rye for whole rye in the soaker and final mix. Somewhere along the line I decided to throw some toasted sunflower seeds into the mix as well for a bit of added flavour and texture.

When I was making the sour/levain the night before the final mix and looking at the tiny little portion of mature sour expected to convert all that raw rye flour into the only source of leavening for this bread, I must admit I had some doubts. 18 hrs later it was clear that I had underestimated just how active my starter was. It had just about popped the lid off the container, looking more like a ripe, dark, poolish than any rye sour I've made before. Simply amazing how voracious natural yeast can be in the right environment.

Three hours before the final mix the seeds were toasted in a 350F oven for 10 minutes before I checked them for colour. I was looking for a medium to dark colour to bring out a rich nutty flavour, which I think is a key component of the overall flavour of this loaf. The time will vary for different ovens, but the smell and colour of the toasted seeds is the best indicator to watch for.

The mix was started in the stand mixer and finished by hand. In retrospect I should have done the entire thing by hand and saved myself the trouble of cleaning sticky rye paste out of every possible space it could get into on my mixer. It was just too large for my small KA to handle properly through to a finished mix, but it did get it off to a good start, needing only 2-3 minutes of handwork to develop it into a cohesive paste. Final ferment, rise and bake notes are included in the recipe to follow. Molding the bread into the pan properly is a fairly critical step to have a symmetrical finished loaf, and I spent enough time with this stage to ensure the baked loaf would be level on top and that the corners would be as even and square as possible. One thing I should point out to anyone who might make this loaf or something similar. When you place the paste in the pan, make sure that the bottom and sides of the paste are dry by blotting off any excess water from the initial molding with a towel of some kind. I didn't, and had a bit of a sticking problem in one spot when it came time to unmold the loaf. Once it had cooled a bit, along with some very gentle persuasion, it did release cleanly, but a word of caution on this point. The loaf was set to cool, wrapped in linen, for 16 hrs before slicing.

I have to say this is the best tasting hi ratio rye bread I've made so far, largely due to the sour itself, but also how well the flavour of the toasted seeds compliments not only the sour, but the dark rye flour. A thin slice of this bread has that level of flavour that lasts in the mouth for the better part of an hour and makes you want to come back for more. The crumb itself is moist and dense, and even after 6 days shows no sign of staling, due to the soaker and pan baking I'm sure. The bread is a dream to slice, yielding slices just about as thin as you could possibly want them without crumbling. Although I didn't get the nice definition on the slashing as pictured in Hamelman's 'Bread' it's a fact I can easily live with when the bread tastes as good as this one does. My favourite rye? No doubt in my mind this one is it for quite some time to come.



80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker and Sunflower Seeds-adapted from Hamelman's 'Bread'









Whole Rye Flour






Mature Sourdough Rye culture @ 100%












Dark Rye Flour












Final Dough



Dark Rye Flour



High Gluten flour






Sea Salt









Toasted sunflower seeds



Total weight






Overall Formula



Whole rye flour



Dark rye Flour



High gluten Flour









Sunflower seeds




Notes: The total weight of this mix is scaled a little heavier than what you need for a 13x4x4 Pullman pan. Scaling weight for these pans is 2.050kg. Because the dough is very sticky, I found I lost some of the dough to my hands, paddle etc. The final weight of this formula should be more than enough to compensate for that. Scaling weight for the bread pictured was 29 grams short of 2.050 .




Before final mixing:

Mix the sourdough and leave for 17-18 hours to ripen at 65-70F.

Next mix the soaker, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave over night at room temperature.


Final mixing:

DDT -80F

Mix all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds on 1st speed for 3 minutes. Adjust the hydration so that the mix is loose and sticky.

Add the sunflower seeds and mix on 2nd speed for 3 minutes. The mix should resemble a paste rather than a typical wheat based 'dough'. It should be soft and sticky.


  • Depending on the size of the mixer you may need to turn the dough out on to the counter and finish mixing by hand. If so, have your hands wet, and use a scraper to help fold the dough over itself several times until it's uniformly mixed.


Place in a bowl, cover, and let bulk ferment for 30 minutes.My dough was cool after mixing and at 74F. It was given a slightly longer 45 minute bulk ferment.



Using wet hands, form the paste into a log and place in the pullman pan.


  • the pan I used has only been used once previous and the glaze is intact. Because of this I didn't oil or dust the pan with flour. My preferance is that the sides of the loaf look smooth and free of flour if possible. With an older pan it should be either oiled and dusted, or lined with parchment to prevent sticking.

Press the paste into the corners of the pan with wet hands, then using a wet plastic scraper pressed flat on top of the paste, press down firmly, working the paste so that it's even along the edges of the pan on all sides. Try to get the corners as square as possible and then use the scraper to smooth and flatten the top so that it's level across the entire surface.


Final rise and baking:

Final rise of 2- 2 ½ hrs at 70-72F, covered with a clear plastic box if possible or a plastic sheet. Keep the paste damp on top if needed by spraying with water. The bread does not need to be scored, but if scoring do it just a few minutes before loading in the oven to allow the slashes open cleanly.

Bake at 465F for 15 minutes then at 435 for 45 minutes. The loaf should have pulled away from the sides of the pan, similar to the way a cake does when it's baked. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for a few minutes before tipping it out. Cool on a wire rack, wrapped in linen, for 12 hrs before slicing.



tomcatsgirl's picture

As promised pictures of my vermont sourdough in loaf pans


Had a very nice oven spring you can see the line have not sliced into one yet. Hope it's good as I already delivered one to my father in law. He placed his order the other day.

txfarmer's picture

36 hours+ sourdough baguette with 60% whole grain - it works even when I mess up, a lot.


Continue to push the limit on how much whole grain flour can be used in baguettes, yet still maintain the light texture. (original recipe here, 3 earlier variations here, 3 more variations here, previous whole grain experiments here)

AP Flour, 200g

barley flour, 75g

ww flour, 150

ice water, 375g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 150g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.

15% rye (in starter), 15% barley, 30% ww, which makes 60% whole grain flour in total. Since my last try of 45% whole grain baguettes were a bit heavy, I was not holding too much hope for this batch, which means I was reckless and not paying too much attention. (Quote from my husband: you were BEGGING to fail!) And boy, did I mess up in so many ways:

1. Didn't have enough rye starter ready. The 12 hour autolyse was done, but I only had 100g of rye starter, Ugh! Decided to use that, and added another 25g of water and 25g of rye flour to make all the ratio "correct". However, 1/3 less starter means much slower rise, so I knew I had to really read the dough carefully.

2. At first S&F, something is off. What? Oh, the salt! I had forgot to mix in the salt! Luckily the rise is long due to less starter, so I had plenty of time to add salt and S&F to distribute it evenly. On the other hand, it may have helped the dough to rise faster by "holding back" the salt.

3. I literally "forgot about" the dough after taking it out from fridge to finish rising. Again the reduced starter was a blessing, the dough was way bubbly and expanded, but not disasterously so.

4. The hydration was 90%, yeah, you read that right, remember? I was "begging to fail"? That hydration, along with too long of a bulk rise, made shaping and scoring...interesting. UGH.

5. When it's time to score, I knew it wasn't gonna be easy, so I decide to install a new blade on my lame. Apparently I was so careless that it was not properly installed, it came loose during scoring, and by second baguette, it fell!! Into a puddle of dough. Sigh, fished it out and continued.

6. Forgot to prehead the oven well in advance, so when the baguettes went in, the stone was only reheated for 30min, much shorter than my usual 1 to 2 hours. 

After all that, I was expecting bricks and making alternative dinner plans, yet this is what I got!


Was I ever surpised! Talking about a no fail recipe! The weekend after, I made this formula again, properly this time. The results were even better.


Here's the best part: due to my reckless 90% hydration, the crust was not too thick - unlike my 45% whole grain baguettes, so the battle with super wet dough was well worth it! Nice crispy but "not too thick" crust, along with open crumb with lots of holes, and great whole grain flavor, make this formula a winner.When I started out this "whole grain in baguettes" experiment, I didn't expect anything beyond 50% whole grain would still produce light baguettes, but this formula proves me wrong. Of course, now I have to try even more whole grain flour, and even more water!


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

kimemerson's picture

how to figure levain % for dough hydration % question


What's the math or method for figuring out how to add a levain with a differnt hydration than the dough will be? So if I have a 130% hydrated levain and I want to make a dough of 70%, 75%, 80% - whatever it is - how do I figure out how to compensate? I'm just ignorant enough to not even know how to phrase the question so I sure hope someone can decipher this. The 130% and the 70%, 75% and 80% are just examples. It could also be a 50% levain to an 80% dough.



BeekeeperJ's picture

Impossible to Overknead in Kitchen Aid

I just picked up Reinharts book, The Bread Bakers Apprentice.  In it he mentions a detail about kneading and goes on to say that the home mixer will burn out before it overkneads dough and the human body will cramp up before IT over kneads the dough. Anyone have other ideas about this. I feel the home mixer ie. Kitchen Aid could break down the dough before it burns out. Opinions? Or personal experiences ?

prijicrw's picture

White Levain Multigrain


By adding some yeast to speed up my winter sourdough baking I received teriffic results. I used my Cuisinart 5 quart mixer for kneading and 8 inch proofing baskets.


White Levain Multigrain



270 grams H2O

¼ teaspoon (heaping) yeast

170 grams starter (100%)

460 grams flour

10 grams salt

1 cup mixed seeds/grains (add ¼ cup boiling water during autolyse)


1.     Autolyse 20 minutes

2.     Mix 6 mins medium speed, 4 mins med-high, then at seeds for 2 mins

3.     Bulk ferment 2 hours at about 78-80 degrees (warm oven) w/ fold at 1 hour

4.     Divide - preshape – rest 15 mins

5.     Shape

6.     Proof 2-2.5 hours

7.     Bake at 475-500 for 30 mins w/ steam at 3 & 6 mins 


tomcatsgirl's picture

baking soudough in a loaf pan?

Can I retard vermont sourdough in sandwich loaves (pans) and bake in the same pan? I want a tradtional sandwich loaf. Sorry for the dumb question

supperstone's picture

Pizza problems

These forums have always been invaluable to me in the past so I thought I would throw my latest problem out there and see if anyone can help. I would also like to point out that I have done much searching on the internet and have found many conflicting opinions regarding pizza dough/bases.

I suppose the real basic problem is that I cannot get my pizza dough really thin and crispy. I try and try to stretch it but it always springs back. (FYI, I have a pizza stone and a paddle. I cook the pizza on baking paper on the stone and I remove the paper a couple of minutes after cooking.)

I have taken to rolling the dough out on baking paper which definitely helps but I still get very thick edges and it is always shrinking back. Then of course it all puffs up in the oven. It tastes great, my wife loves it but it is far too bready for me. You get full quickly.

I have used three different recipes, one was from Jamie Oliver's Italian book using strong white bread flour, another was from the same book using just '00' flour and the third was from Bertinet's 'Crust' or 'Dough' - I forget which. They all give me the same problem so I am reluctant to believe it is a recipe problem.

Where I think I am going wrong: - many people say you must rest the dough if it is shrinking back etc. Unfortunately we don't always have a lot of time as either my wife or I are going back out again for the evening so time is sometimes quite short. 

Once my batch of dough is made, I separate it into balls and freeze it. On the day of baking I take the dough out of the freezer in the morning and leave it on the kitchen side all day. When I get home from work it has puffed up a lot. I deflate it and start the painful process of getting it thin. I tend to think it has all day resting and so I just get on with it - perhaps this is where I am going wrong. I have also tried defrosting it in the fridge but of course it is very cold when I get home and I just don't have an hour or so to get it to room temperature.

I have never tried making the pizzas as soon as the dough is ready - it always get frozen - could this be my first problem?

My dough is NEVER like the dough on youtube where they just hand stretch it to super transparency. Mine fights me.

Base rising in oven:

There are a few recipes online for no-rise pizza dough. like here and here. You make the dough, stretch it and bake it. This appeals to me as I am low on time. Is the rising period just for developing flavour? Can you skip this part and still get a decent pizza base? Would the fact that there is no initial rise keep it thinner in the oven and stop it puffing up quite so much?

So to simplify - 1.I have never been able to produce a thin pizza base with my hands or a rolling pin - they defy me every time.

                       2. Even when I get the base as thin as I can manage it rises in the oven and becomes quite bready (more like a deep pan I                         suppose). This could be because it wasn't thin enough to start with. See problem 1.

Any help appreciated, many thanks.

txfarmer's picture

100% WW cottage cheese lemony sandwich loaf - my sourdough starter declares defeat!


This recipe is adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", my favorite WW bread book. There's nothing wrong with the formula itself, other than needing quite a bit more water, however, my attempt to convert it to sourdough has failed completely. Oh, don't think I haven't tried many time. Different rising schedule, different starter ratio, different cottage cheese, even added baking soda to offset the acidity of cottage cheese, they all ended up the same: the dough started tearing and collapsing 3 to 4 hours into the rise, no ovenspring to speak of.


2 huge tubs of cottage cheese later, I declare defeat. Here's my guess on why this formula doesn't work with sourdough, but I am in no way certain, and welcome all advices and theories!

- cheese has extra protease

- this formula has quite a bit of cottage cheese mixed in as part of liquid (35%)

- since it's part of liquid, cottage cheese were kneaded into the dough from the start, so it's very integrated into the dough structure

- using sourdough starter, my rise schedule is way longer than the 3 hours in the original formula. The loaf in the picture were made according to original formula with instant yeast, as you can see, there's no gluten break down, the loaf is tall and proud. so I guess my sourdough verion simply takes too long to rise, giving extra protease enough time to destroy the gluten structure.

- I could try to reduce the cottage cheese ratio, or shortened the rising time, but then that defeat the purpose of making pure sourdough verison of THIS formula


Anyway, here's the (slightly adapted) original formula and pictures using instant yeast, the bread is very delicious, even without sourdough.

Lemony Loaf (adapted from "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book")

*formula is good for a 8X4inch loaf pan


ww flour, 413g

wheat germ,14g

instant yeast, 3.5g

water, 247g

cottage cheese, 145g

honey, 21g

butter, 14g

salt, 5.5g

lemon zest, from one lemon


1. Mix cottage cheese, honey, and 120g of water, heat to almost boiled, well mixed. Cool to room temp.

2. Add the rest of cold water, flour, wheat germ, yeast, salt, lemon zest, autolyse for 30min. Knead well, add buter, knead until past windowpane.

3. Rise at 80F for 1.5 to 2 hours until double, press with finger the dough won't bounce back. Punch down, and rise again until double, it will take half of the time as the first rise.

4. Shape and put in a 8X4in loaf pan

5. Rise at 90F until the dough is about 1inch above the rim, slowly bounce back a bit when pressed. About 45min to 1 hour.

6. Bake at 350F for 45min. Brush with butter when warm


You can't taste cottage cheese perse, but it does make the crumb very soft. This effect makes me wonder whether it also completely "breaks down" the gluten given enough time.


As delicous as this loaf is, the questions are still nagging me: "WHY exactly has my sourdough version failed?", "Can it work somehow?"


Submitting to Yeastspotting.