The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Test Tube Baking [1] continued: White French Bread - overproof


In my blog entry Test Tube Baking [1]: White French Bread I investigated how the final proof  affects the outcome: Where does underproof end and where does overproof start, and what are the symptoms in the finished bread...

I chose to make batards proved seam-side up, and I think the choice of this method somewhat carmouflaged the effects of overproofing: Because the loaves had to be turned over onto a peel the fragile areas just under the skin collapsed, resulting in loaves with a surprisingly even texture. (this is my interpretation)

I wanted to see those big holes!

This time I decided to make 200g boules and avoid all handling during and after the final proof: after shaping I put them on buttered baking trays.

3 boules at 200g each, proved for 60, 120 and 160 minutes. The environment was slightly coolet than last time, about 22 to 24C.

At 60 minutes the boules seemed well risen and the poke test showed a slow response.

At 120min the remaining 2 boules had spread quite a bit, and when poking the dough it didn't resist any more.

boule raw 60 min


At 160 min the piece of dough which had been a boule looked more like a focacia, but it had all those bubbles. Poking the dough created bubbles places far away from the dent.

boule raw 160 min

A sad sight.

Here is a picture of the baked loaves:



Oven spring: the 60 min boule had good oven spring (30%), the 120 min boule had little oven spring, and the 160 min boule had no oven spring at all.

Blowouts: The 60min boule had a blowout near the base.

All loaves had fairly weak bottom crust due to them being baked on baking sheets, which were cold.

Some crumb shots:

crumb 60min

A big hole! at 60 min proof!

proof 120min

A different kind of a hole at 120 min. And quite a different crumb. Signs of gluten breakdown.

proof 160min

Total gluten breakdown at 160 min.

The crumb of this last specimen is more like the crumb I know from 100% hydration rye breads, just much dryer. The bubble structure of a bread at 60 min has turnted more into a complex structure with no distinct air pockets: everything is connected. There is no springiness, and the feeling in the mouth is more like cake, the taste a bit yeasty.

Here a direct comparison of the crumb:


The huge blowout at 60 min was a surprise, I attributed it to a lack of slashing.

So I made 2 more boules with 60 min final proof, on buttered cold baking trays, one slashed, the other not.

slash 1


Both had blowouts of some degree, and the area under the skin was still very weak in the slashed loaf, while the unslashed loaf had a big hole.

slash crumb


I attribute this crumb to the cold baking tray- when put in the oven the top of the boules start fermenting immediately while the bottom gets going only after the baking sheet gets hot.

So many things to consider.


In this experiment I produced some overproofed loaves with visible effects of gluten breakdown.

The reference loaves proofed at "optimum" time showed blowouts and flying crust which (I think) are effects of not slashing, and using cold baking trays.

I hope you find my investigations useful.

My family found these experiments tasty, and you will be glad to hear nothing has been wasted.





wally's picture

Great series on shaping and slashing doughs

Sharon (fishers) posted this video series originally and we both felt it should be easily available to TFL members.  The series, entitled Formes de pains covers a variety of breads, either baguette- or batard-shaped originally, and demonstrates how to decoratively slash them as well.  It's a gold mine of both familiar and less familiar breads you would run across in a French market.