The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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PiPs's picture

Miche and more …


What better reason to bake than catching up with family and friends for lunch. On a hot humid Saturday we drove down to Nat’s parents for a lunch with old family friends from her childhood. In our possession was our contribution to lunch … bread. A bread based on Gérard Rubaud’s formula for Pain au Levain.

It’s a bread at 75% Hydration with 15% of the total flour in a stiff 50% hydration starter. Gérard uses a flour mixture of 70% AP flour, 18% fresh milled wheat, 9% fresh milled spelt and 3% fresh milled rye for both the starter and final dough.

Much has been written about Gérard Rubaud so I will not delve into this further. I will say this though … I love this bread! His story has been an ongoing inspiration for me.

Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain

I made two of the Pain au Levains at one kilogram each. I left one with our landlord and the other travelled with us to lunch. The friends we met (one of whom is Sicilian) reside in a northern Queensland town with a large Italian community. He was eager to try the bread and soon our conversation turned to pizza and woodfired ovens. His son has a small business running a pizza oven on a trailer at local events … we had lots to talk about and the lunch was lazy, delicious and full of laughter. The bread was very well received. Sorry no crumb shot as the bread disappeared fast.


Today I woke early to beat the heat and humidity we have been experiencing. The bake was to be nothing new ... 3 grain country bread with two starters ... Consistency was the aim. The night before I spent milling, sifting and preparing starters. Also on a happy note, I have sourced some rye grains that are performing well compared to the previous batch.

I doubled my usual formula as I was making two x 1kg batards and a 2kg miche.

Slap and folding 4kgs of dough was lively start to my day. The dough came together smoothly and with a little help from some icebricks and a cooler bag I was able to control the temperature through bulk ferment while watching it like a hawk.

I proved the miche for 1 hour 45 mins while the batards went straight into the fridge to wait patiently…

The miche was baked first … slightly underproved … damn.

The batards came next … very pleased. Lovely gringe and a dramatic look … happy.

I sliced open the miche in the afternoon and was greeted with plenty of flavour and aroma that will only improve as the days go on.

The evening is around us now and a quiet night waits. The oven is cool and I need a rest.

All the best,



Baker Frank's picture
Baker Frank

Corn Bread

Several years ago Bread Alone sold a loaf they called corn bread that they no longer produce. Although I have gotten close to replicating it I have not been totally successful, I have tried contacting  Daniel Leader several times to ask for the recipe with no response, and have previously written in baking blogs to see if anyone knew this bread and the recipe, and again, without success.

So here I go again, if you are familiar with his corn bread and know the recipe please share it.

Thank you, Frank

OMyStarz's picture

Can a Starter be Too Active?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to your forum and to starters/bread baking.  I've done a little bread machine baking (actually dough kneading) using commercial yeast and maybe a few loaves on my own with my KA mixer, but that's about it.  I've not had any total flops, so I guess up until now I've been pretty lucky.

I started a starter from scratch about 2 weeks ago.  "Bob" was born on 10/28 using bread flour and water.  Yesterday and today he has way over doubled in just a few hours after feeding.  I wouldn't say he tripled, but increased his volume somewhere between 2-1/2 to 3 times.

My question is this normal for a 2 week old starter? 

Also yesterday, when I was washing out his jar I scraped out the tablespoon or so that was clinging to the jar and put it into another clean jar and fed.  After feeding again this morning I'd say this new jar of starter (to be named later) has doubled, 3 hours after feeding today I'd say there looks to be about a 1/2 cup in the jar. 

Does everything sound like it's going alright?  This is my first starter ever and I'm not sure how it's supposed to act at this stage.


laron's picture

Any cookie bakers out there?

Is there anyone out there that has a great recipie for a cut out cookie, either butter or sugar.  I had a really good butter cookie recipie but misplaced it and I don't feel like going through the trial baking again.  I promised my daughter that I would make cookies for her wedding favors and need about 300.  I want to make snowflake cookies for a December wedding.  Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

cantilevered oven door?

a door that opens down and into the oven when you hit it with the peel and closes when you remove the peel.

i saw one in a video on youtube and can't seem to find it again. if you've got one in your oven or even put some thought into making one, i'd love to hear it. 

the one in the video was cast, but.i'm thinking insulating castable poured into a welded frame, that folds into the oven, with a recessed area in the 'foyer' (if you will) so the door is flush with the deck when open. if i could figure out how to do anything with google sketchup i'd have a picture. sorry if this is hard to visualize.

Szanter5339's picture

Finest bread. Leavened white bread.

I Can Not Get Enough of her beauty!

I watch with wonder this beauty! Simply unbelievable that I baked. As I have already written most of the occupation of the bread baking. I always look forward to baking bread in the days and completely turned off by molding. They are not pre-plan model, and then point at the moment is the idea.


 Csodálkozva nézem ezt a szépséget! Egyszerűen hihetetlen,hogy én sütöttem.  Mint ahogyan már írtam a legszebb elfoglaltságom a kenyérsütés. Mindig nagyon várom a sütési napokat és teljesen kikapcsolódok a kenyér mintázásával. Előre nem tervezek mintát, pont akkor és abban a pillanatban jön az ötlet.

Chausiubao's picture

Hamburger Buns, Finally; Again

Hamburger buns, finally; again

My last journey into the recesses of my memories of pride and egotism brought out many a story of my declarations with respect to hamburger buns. “White bread is easy,” I declared to the world, but my heart having been shattered into a million pieces I return here to accomplish now what I could not then! That subsequent attempt resulting in a consecutive shattering of my heart, I return again undaunted in my quest for a good hamburger bun!

What I will say about my last attempt at hamburger buns via pain de mie was that the buns were both improperly proofed and slightly overbaked. The final product was both dense and tough. It is also possible that skinning over of the dough during the oven pre-heat cycle also hindered oven spring, contributing even more to the problem. That in mind, I've made a few changes to both my formula and my approach.

Here is my hypothesis: enriched white bread doesn't rely on fermentation for flavor, therefore focusing on flavor in the production of aforementioned enriched white bread is wasteful. Rather, these breads rely on the ingredients they contain, namely sugar, dairy, and other additions, so these ingredients should play first fiddle in the formula and the method of preparation. I have doubled the yeast in this particular incarnation of pain de mie to this end, no doubt I will need to refine this change over time.

In my previous attempt I was cold proofing the final shapes. I was hoping the sealed space of my oven was enough to facilitate the proofing of the buns. I believe I was wrong! So I'll throw in a boiling pot of water and see how that helps things along. Additionally, I baked the hamburger buns for 18 minutes at 400 F. This might have been excessive, considering the dough has much higher surface area compared to before, the dough will bake much faster. Perhaps, 400 F for 12 minutes, or 350 F for 20 minutes. Then again, I would imagine, a lower temperature would dry out the dough, so a fast, hot bake seems like the better option. I'll try 400 F for 10 minutes and see where that takes me. A secondary note to add to that is that a full bake doesn't mean the dough should be fully colored, as you could see in the last batch of hamburger buns. Ultimately what I am saying is, more yeast, warmer proof, and a shorter bake should give me better results compared to last time!

After an hour of bulk fermentation, division, rounding, and a rest, the shapes are flattened, maintaining the round shape.

This is about 30 minutes of final proofing in my oven with a steaming pot of water to provide heat. In the end, the dough was proofed about 45 minutes before they went into the oven.

A little less then 10 minutes in a 375 F oven, baked with steam, and double panned to prevent overbrowning on the bottoms.

And the final product, once out of the oven, brushed with heavy whipping cream and allowed to cool. Much better then last time, the first picture posted.

I admit, 3% yeast might have been overkill, and it was. But the results were quite attractive. Somewhere between 2% and 3% will get me where I want to be. Additionally the proof temperature definitely helped a lot, as did avoiding the skin from forming on the dough while it was exposed to the dry air outside the oven. This time, it took a mere 10 minutes to bake at a temperature of 375 F. I had to double pan the buns in order to prevent excessive browning on the bottoms, but it was well worth it. I declare this a success! I'll have to make burgers tomorrow.


dhyoung's picture

Non-diastatic versus Diastatic Matled Barley Syrup?

Hello -

I have taken an interest in bread making and I've been doing a lot of research prior to getting started.  I recently obtained a book called "Artisan Breads" written by Eric W. Kastel from a series called, "At Home with The Culinary Institute of America."  It is very informative from beginner to experienced baker.  The issue I'm running into is an inconsistency with the book and some research I've been doing online (including this site.)

Under Malted Barley, the book is quoted as follows:  "Non-diastatic malted barley contains an enzyme that helps break down the flour's carbohydrates into sugars, making them more available to the yeast.  This allows the yeast to do a better job fermenting, generally making for a lighter and tastier loaf of bread.  It also helps the bread's color.  Diastatic malted barley does not contain enzymes and won't work the same way."

When researching online, I am finding the complete opposite information.  It appears that Diastatic Malted Barley is the better choice. 

Can someone confirm either way?  I would like to use this in my recipe, but want to make sure I'm using the proper ingredients.



sitkabaker's picture

Scoring Baguettes-can't get it right!!

I have been trying to score baguettes but I continue to have a problem with sticky scoring. My blade is sharp and I am at the right angle. I have been proofing on a simulated couche made with parchment paper. I am wondering if using a linen couche would draw just enough moisutre out to make it easier....any suggestions??

Eyes_green's picture

HELP! I am really missing somthing about the feeding and keeping sourdough

Glad I found this forum and would appreciate if you guys can helo me out.  I am VERY new to baking, only made 5 loaves so far.  but I wanted to make one specific bread for my Dad (Soviet Borodinsky Rye bread) and it calls for 100% Rye Sourdough starter.  So I am now growing one and currenly on Day 4.  I understand the whole process of growing, but something I miss about the feeding and keeping - let's say my starter just finished growin (Day 7-8, whatever).  So please let me know if I understand it correctly:

I have about 200 grams of starter.  I take 20 grams and discard the rest.

 - First question - where can I use 180 grams that I am about to discard?  I kind of feel bad to through it away... Any recipes?

20 grams of starter put into loosely closed container, add 80 g rye flour and 80 grams water; Mix well, let it double in size and then refrigirate. Will it kill my very brand new starter?  I read that its better to keep it on the counter for a week or two and feed every 3 days, before it is ready to be refrigirated.  But this means I have to throw out a lot fo starter before each feeding and after each feeding?  This is what I am missing... It is confusing....  I bake once a week, sometimes once in two weeks. 

Please help me understand what I need to do.. It will be Day 5 tomorrow and I am hoping it will grow.