The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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golgi70's picture

PVM Again

Another batch of Pane Maggiore. This time with no intention I made another change. i built the levains (1/2 rye sour stiff/1/2 white wheat liquid) and got exhausted by mix time so i retarded them to finish the following day. I decreased my total pre fermented flour in the recipe to about 15% as this dough gets very active and this would give the time for folds in accordance with ferment times. 1 hour autolyse followed by a soft finished mix. Then three sets of folds at 50 minute intervals and divided at the 3 hour mark. Unfortunately the dough got a bit too strong this go which made for a tougher shape and finer crumb. My mind makes me think this could be due to the retarding of the levains and bringing more acidity to the dough than regular. So i could have gotten away with just 2 folds @ 1 hour marks.  All this followed by about 10 hours in the fridge before a late nite bake.  PVM seems to be good no matter the variations as long as the central theme stays intact.


Happy Baking All



lew_c's picture

Measuring hydration

I mixed up my first batch of carefully weighed and measured dough with a target hydration of 65%. It came out a little more wet than I was expecting, though as a complete novice I don't really know what to expect. So I tried to measure it: Took a 27.4 gram sample, pre dried it in the microwave and then put it in a 400 degree convection oven for 40 minutes till it seemed dry and the dough was very dark brown and got a 14.4 gram reading which is ~48% . I've put it back in the oven at 250 and will leave it for 4 hours and re measure. But I was wondering if there is a protocol for this procedure with dough.

Edit:      Perhaps true hydrates are formed?

Edit:      Well, obviously, so I guess the question is how strong are the bonds?




Skibum's picture

I didn't know what to do today, so I baked you a cake!

I have been skiing five days a week now for a while, so not much time to browse TFL. My baking thoughts have turned from bread to sweets. this is a three layer orange chiffon cake from ITJB, filled with apricot jam and chocolate butter cream and iced with the same chocolate. The chocolate didn't adhere to the orange slices, so I painted around them. YUMM!

Other recent bakes were my send off on Floyd's blueberry cream cheese bread in the most bookmarked section. Here is my bumbleberry cream cheese bread. This was a yeasted bread with about three times the fruit Floyd rec's in his formula.

Well we cannot forget the walnut filled Hungarian rolls from ITJB -- easily one of the best things my oven has ever produced!

Happy baking folks!  Brian

emkay's picture

Tartine country loaf

I made the Tartine country loaf on two separate occasions and both didn't turn out right. Maybe the Tartine country loaf was an overly ambitious first try at a bread made with a starter? Before making my first Tartine country loaf, I had never made nor maintained a starter before nor had I ever made a leaven. But I followed all the directions laid out in the Tartine Bread book. When my starter was rising and falling predictably, I made the leaven. I tested the leaven and it floated so I guessed it was ready to use.

Attempt 1. The flavor was a bit bland for lack of a better description. It was nowhere close to the real Tartine country loaf. The exterior slices were edible, but as I got to center of the loaf, it was so dense that I couldn't even eat it.

tartine_country_1c tartine_country_1d

Attempt 2. A couple weeks later I tried again. I had to make a new starter since I didn't maintain the first. This time the flavor was quite nice. I could detect hints of that "Tartine flavor". It had more holes and was less dense than loaf 1. 

tartine2a tartine2c



20140308's picture

Seeking wholemeal bread advice


I'm pretty new to baking bread. I've made maybe about 12 to 15 loaves so far. I was using a recipe which was a quick 4 step recipe which required mixing the ingredients, putting the dough in the bread tins for 1 hour to rise, and then baking from there.

I found a more conventional recipe today in a UK Good Housekeeping recipe book, a good old fashioned book.

That seems more conventional, in that you mix the dough, knead it, and then leave it in the bowl to double in size. That I did today, and it really rose well. Then the recipe said to knock all of the air out of it and squash it flat with your knuckles, knead it again, and then place in the tins and leave to rise again. I did that, and baked the bread.

Unfortunately the loaves have a huge hole in the middle (they looked great from the outside). The texture of the bread around the hole is very dense and pretty inedible. It's like thick stodgy dough.

I wonder what I did wrong? Would it be not kneading it enough after I'd knocked the air out before placing the dough in the tins? It had certainly risen to the top of the tins before I baked it, and I baked it on gas mark 8 for about 25 minutes.

Any advice would be much apprecaited.


the blind meat cutter's picture
the blind meat ...


I cannot get my baguettes to come out nice and round like a long log. They always rise outward even with a baguette pan. The recipe is a basic French bread with 66 percent hydration. and I am rolling the loaves out like logs pushing  out from the center. What gives. Thanks

jaye's picture

Tartine bread just won't rise enough.

I'm sorry if this has been covered a lot, but I haven't found my solution and I'm wondering if I'm missing something very basic.   I've looked at many posts and blogs on here about Tartine bread. 

I've been baking the basic country loaf on and off for over a year.  I have only had a few really successful loaves.   Everything seems fine during the process EXCEPT the final loaves come out heavier and denser than they should, with not a lot of height and sometimes very large holes inside, or it's sort of gummy with very small holes.  So discouraging after investing that much time. 

Am I over or under proofing?   I have a very cold kitchen and have tried several different ways - either a much longer bulk rise time or keeping my oven between 78- 82 degrees with pot of hot water.   My loaves seem to be rising, and they shape nicely - but I notice in the videos of Chad Robertson that the loaves he is shaping are very bouncy and pillow-y (?)  - they seem lighter than mine.   

Sometimes one side will rise but then there will be a noticeable dent on the top.  

Also when I slash with a razor I don't get those awesome ears that I see all over.  

I try to follow the book's (sometimes vague) directions very carefully.  I don't knead the dough much - maybe I should fold and shape a few extra times?  

It is still the best tasting bread I've ever made, if I could just get it to rise like the pictures in the book or on this site, I would be thrilled.   Thanks for any advice!

kensbread01's picture

Proofing not proofing much

I mixed up some dough last night, mostly just KA bread flour and freshly milled Spelt grain.  60% BF and 40% Spelt.  I used my wild yeast starter, added some honey and diastatic Malt... left in garage overnight (39 F.) for retarding dough after a good hour or two of autolysing.   This morning I noticed the bread did not move much.. hardly any bubbles forming.  So, I heated up the oven (150 F.) and let it sit there for about 1/2 hour then let it all sit in sun.  Still not proofing much.  Not sure what to do.   Can I add some dry yeast now?  Perhaps I killed off the yeast in the oven but I doubt it.  The dough was cold when I put it in and it did not stay in too long.

Any suggestions?  How can I salvage this dough?   If I do nothing and it does not rise, I feel I have to add dry yeast or this becomes nothing but a trip to the trash.  It's been at room temperature for about 3 hours now.

CharSiu's picture

Weight of sourdough starter?

Hello, I'm just going to ask a possibly silly question.


My starter's total weight is 120g. About three days ago I had doubled the amount from 60g to 120g. After that, I started discarding 60g.


But today, after feeding it, I noticed that there seemed to be less starter. So I weighed it, and found the total weight is 90g! 


Why is this? Is it because the starter becomes lighter after rising? So now I discard 30g and that seems to be working. Can I do that? Or is something just wrong with my starter/me?


Thanks in advance. 

gansmyman's picture

I just can't grow a healthy starter

I've tried four times so far too grow a healthy starter and it just isn't working, so I'm looking for some suggestions.  My first attempt looked good for about three days then grew mold.  At least it smelled healthy, though.  My second attempt grew mold the second day and never looked right.  My third attempt had pink liquid in it and smelled off by the third day.  My fourth attempt got knocked over by the cat, but was smelling pretty cheesy.  

I'm using unbleached all-purpose flour and the recipe that calls for just flour and water.  It's always is bubbly so I know something is living in there, it's just never the yeast I'm looking for!  I'm using a plastic container.  My first attempts I kept the top ajar, third attempt the lid was on but not tight, fourth I used plastic wrap.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help me out?  I really want to make my own bread and I love sourdough.

Thanks for any help you can give!