The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MickB123's picture

% hydration for wholemeal flour

Hi all

I've recently tried Richard Bertinet's white dough with 73% hydration - I enjoyed experimenting with the slap and fold technique (not sure my downstairs neighbours felt the same though!). Could anyone suggest what % hydration I should use for the following: 100% wholemeal flour; 50/50 wholemeal/strong white?



LousPeachy's picture

Hi from Houston, TX

Having been retired for nearly two years and bored with my current baking/cooking projects, I have decided to take up bread making.  I won't tell you how many years it has been since I made a loaf of bread!

Due to arthritis, I don't know how successful I will be in kneading the dough by hand.  I may have to resort to a.....bad word alert.....bread maker for that part.  You have a yummy forum here and I am salivating looking at the pictures.

Well, off to check out everything on the website.  Have a blessed weekend.


BarbaraK's picture

Crumb vs. Crust

Hi Everyone

I'm fairly new to bread-making compared with most of you and am still looking for the perfect balance between crumb and crust in a fairly rustic loaf with 700 gms. Shipton Mill White and 150 gms. whole rye, 650 gms water, 15 gms fresh yeast, 15 gms salt - long overnight proof in frig.  .

Sometimes it's all pretty good and other times it seems a bit of a fight between getting the crumb perfectly baked and the crust a bit too hard and vice versa.  I've picked up lots of useful ideas and  guidance from you all and will be trying them but I don't think I've come across anything about the handling of the dough before it goes into the oven. I know it should be fairly quick but don't know why.

Has anyone any ideas on whether too much handling of the gluten cloaking and final shaping can lead to hard crust (as too much handling toughens pastry) all other things being OK?






228_BREAD's picture

Levain storage

Hello all, 

What is the best way to store my active levain if I'm only baking say once a week and how should I do it?  It is currently sat in a six qt tub waiting to be used, but I'm not sure what to do with rest after Ive used a small portion for my bread. 

sorry if the question is too vague. 


ldavis47's picture

Field Blend

The photo is the fifth try at a bread loosely related to Forkish's Field Blend.

The smell was sweet and rich; crust crunchy; crumb was soft but chewy and very flavorful. I think it is the best levain bread I have made. Dough is 75% hydration, starter 100% Hydration and starter flour is 20% of total flour. The timing of steps is particularly useful for working hours if the second day is off or you like to get up early. 

My culture is an abused creature. It is 100% hydrated AP flour, refreshed once weekly 10/100/100 fermented overnight, and stored in the refrigerator after the ferment. But it thrives and makes great bread.

AM 1 (starter)

  50 g culture

  175 g water (90deg F because of the cold rye)

  175 g rye (I use a course rye some would call pumpernickel, stored in refrigerator)

mix well, starter temp 73, ambient temp 72. Ferment 8hrs or more. Should have bubbles underneath and holes on top. Fruity smell. 

PM 1(when the starter is ripe, at least 8hrs)

  100 g whole wheat (stored in freezer)

  700 g any combination of AP and bread flour (this try had 300 bread/400 AP)

  550 g water (warmed to about 85 deg)

mix until all flour incorporated, cover and rest at least 30 minutes. Dough temp about 75.

  15 g salt

sprinkle salt over dough and squeeze in with wet hands. Once there is no more gritty feeling from the salt, do a SF(stretch and fold), cover, wait 30 minutes and do SF, repeat wait and SF two more times.

Immediately after last SF, divide into 2 and approximately shape into rounds, cover and rest 30 min.

Dust tops, flip over, stretch and do letter fold, flip to put seams on bottom and tighten into a boule.

wait a few minutes to seal seams then place in banneton, place in plastic bag and into refrigerator.

AM 2 (12 hrs later, crown should be risen to the top of banneton, if not take out and let warm until risen, otherwise leave in refrigerator until oven preheated.)

preheat oven and covered pots to 500 F

Take breads out of refrigerator, place in pots score and cover

reduce oven temp to 450 and bake for 20 minutes, then remove covers

reduce temp to 430. (I switch to convection so bottom and tops brown evenly. With these settings the crust becomes a deep auburn in 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes with oven off and door ajar, then cool on rack.

Of course water temps will have to be adjusted based on flour temps and ambient temps. I tried to keep the dough temp close to 75.


vickwithpc's picture

need someone's math skills..dough quantity to use for 9x5x2.5 pan

My white bread dough recipe results in 1104gram.   I bake that in an open 13"x4x4 pullman pan.  If I fill that empty pan with water, it holds 2739 grams in weight.

I want to bake that dough in a 9x5x2.5 pan ( that has straight sides like a pullman pan.  If I fill that empty pan with water, it holds 1305 g in weight.

Which lead me to think that I could pretty much use half my dough in the 9" pan with success.  I must be wrong.  I did not get the height that I need.  My goal is to produce a nice square slice of bread that I can use 3.5" circle crimper/cutter (from pampered chef) to make peanut butter/jelly sandwiches.  Using the cutter from bread made from the 4" pullman pan get too close to the crust and makes it hard to seal. 

Can somebody better at math or logic than me help?  :)  :)  thank you SO MUCH!!!


le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Olive & Oregano Focaccia Pure Heaven

Made this today wow it tasted wonderful



sourdough_lou's picture

Buckwheat ciabatta problem

Hi everyone,

It's my first time posting in the forum and need some help and advice.

I am working on different ciabatta recipes, and got a very good result with a blend of AP and strong flour and a little experimenting.

I would like to come up with a recipe which includes buckwheat, a flour that I love.

My first attempt has been ok, the ciabattas rose well even thought they were not as holey as hoped and were very crispy when straight out of the oven. Crumb too moist for a ciabatta. Didn't take long before they became soggy/rubbery. I was suggested to try double hydration, and I wonder wether reducing the percentage of semi-wholemeal and maybe putting a little AP flour would balance the gluten content and make the bread less humid.

Here is the formula.I am open to any suggestions and criticism ;)

Buckwheat ciabatta
130 gr levain 100% hydration
70 gr buckwheat flour
200 gr spelt flour (13% protein)
80 gr semi-wholemeal flour (14% protein)
300 gr water
6 gr salt

Dissolve levain in the lukewarm water and add 200 gr of spelt and semi-whole meal flour previously sifted together.
Rest covered for 30’.
Add the rest of flours previously mixed with the salt, and rest covered for 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough with the help of a flat spatula, at least 10 times.
Rest covered 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough at least 10 times.
Rest covered 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough at least 10 times.
Rest in the fridge, covered, for 14 hours.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and fold.
Cover and rest 1 hour.
Preheat oven at 275°C, with the baking tray in the oven.
When 1 hour is passed take out the tray, sprinkle with flour.
Cut the ciabattas and transfer them onto the hot baking tray, put in the oven lowering at 250°C, hot air mode on, bake 10’.
Lower on 200°C and bake 5’ more.


msova's picture

Focaccia not cooking thru

So im having trouble getting this focaccia to cook all the way through. Initially I thought it had to do with the water and oil poured I too prior to baking. But it's definitely just not cooking ( bottom and too brown nicely, but top 1/4-1/3 stay doughy). I'm cooking very high heat (preheat to 500 then lower to 450 upon putting it in). this last batch I had it on the middle rack and neatly burnt the bottom. Do I just need to be at 375 or something? Or maybe put another empty pan below it to shield some of the direct heat? I'm under the impression the high heat is necessary. I'm doing rel focaccia Genovese. Following a few different authentic recipes and videos. Thanks. 

MaraZedan's picture

Burning the bottom of my bread

Hello. This is my first post on here and I'm hoping someone can help.

The recipe:

I am using a Lodge dutch oven, center rack in a gas oven. I can't move it any higher up as the dutch oven will not fit. The recipe calls for placing the dough+dutch oven into a cold oven then heat to 450. I heated to 425 instead, baked for 50min then removed lid (the edges already looked VERY dark). I then popped in my thermometer, waited until it came up to EXACTLY 205 degrees, then pulled it out.


Any thoughts?