The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ananda's picture

Pain de Campagne with Gilchesters Farmhouse Flour

Pain de Campagne using a Stiff Wheat Levain and a portion of Gilchesters Organic Farmhouse Flour

Leaven Build


Recipe [grams]

1. Leaven Build One

Saturday, 15:00

Refrigerate Overnight



White Bread Flour

[Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour]








2. Leaven Build Two

Sunday, 11:00

Leaven from above


White Bread Flour








3. Leaven Build Three

Sunday, 19:00

Refrigerate Overnight

Leaven from above


White Bread Flour







Final Dough Formula


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Leaven from above

   Flour:  22.22

+ Water: 13.33

     Total: 35.55


+ 240


Carrs Special CC Flour



Gilchesters Organic Farmhouse Flour












Overall Pre-fermented Flour



Overall Hydration



Flour Mix

72.22% White Bread Flour

27.78% High Extraction Flour





  • Combine both flours with the water and autolyse refrigerated overnight
  • Combine the autolyse with the leaven and work up the dough for 3 minutes.   Add the salt and develop a further 3 minutes.   Rest for 15 minutes.   Develop a further 5 minutes.
  • Bulk proof for 3 hours.   One S&F after 2hours.
  • Scale and divide into 3 pieces: 1 x 650g, 1 x 930g and the remainder, 1492g
  • Final proof in Bannetons for 4 hours
  • Bake Profile for the largest loaf, I loaded the loaf, once tipped out and cut, into an oven at 250°C and utilised steam.   After 15 minutes I turned the heat down to 220°C.   After another 20 minutes I turned the heat down to 200°C and baked the loaf out a further 20 minutes.   Then I left the loaf in the oven, switched off, with the door propped open.   Finally I cooled the loaf on wires before the inevitable photo shoot.


One note: a long proof, accounted for by use of refrigerated autolyse and leaven.   The dough proof temperature ranged between 18 and 23°C.   Seven hours of total proving was just about right; the percentage of pre-fermented flour is reduced on most of the breads of this nature which I have been baking recently   Photographs are shown below; tastings have not yet been carried out.


Very best wishes


RonRay's picture

Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf

Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf  [Update:110530-1000] 

   If you are unfamilar with Yeast Waters, and wild yeast, you may wish to view

Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math)

This was my first chance to test Apricot Yeast Water. I have intend to for a while, but wanted to wait for fresh fruit to be available. I did find some this week and started a culture with 3 of the small fresh apricots, jump-started the culture with a bit of my Apple YW.

I have heard that the dark dried apricots make a very strong levain – the more common dried fruit that are a yellowish orange have been treated with sulfur-containing compounds to keep their color (and kill the WBBs). So, the only dried apricots to use are the dark brown unsulfured fruit. Not wishing to waste time and effort, I wanted fresh, organic apricots, which start being available May through August in the northern hemisphere.

I was impressed with how fast the culture became active, and equally surprised how fast the activity ended. I tasted the YW to see if, somehow , it had gotten too alcoholic so fast. All I detected was no noticeable sweetness, and decided it must be a lack of sugar. I dropped in a sugar cube and within a very short time it became very active – so much so, that I feared the foamy head might fill the remaining air space in the glass container. It did not take long before the activity decreased nearly as fast as it had restarted.

It only took a few trials to conclude the apricot WBBs have a real thing about sugars. So, I decided to do a test of the leavening strength of the new culture. I took a small quantity of just the water, about 20g and mixed it with an equal amount of AP flour. I set this up with a clock beside it, and in front of a time lapse digital video recorded. You can see the results on YouTube, Link:

The result was a doubling in about 2 hours. Certainly a good showing for a brand new YW culture. So, a test loaf seemed quite justified.

I started the Apricot Yeast Water Levain (AYWL) builds. Details of my standard test loaf can be found here:

Details of this loaf are in the table below:

A copy of my personal test log can be found at Google Doc Link:

I had some surprises in store, however. I generally, hold each of my chosen 3-build levain developments to a 24 hour period. Instead, a late afternoon to early evening completed Builds-#1, and #2 with #3 started and placed in retard at 40ºF/4.4ºC for an overnight. Details can be found in the log.


The next morning, I did the shaping that basically matches the pan bread version detailed by txframer here:

The dough pan was covered with food cap and place in the proof box at 82ºF/27.8ºC. Most loaves that I do, which are similar to these conditions, will need a 6 hour final proof. I was rather shocked when at 4½ hours I found it was as high as any “normal” fully proofed dough. I did a rapid catch-up and dough was in the DO, with the cup of boiling water, and into the oven, within a 5 minute period. Again, details can be found in the PDF log.

From a cold oven start and oven set to max (450ºF/232ºC) in the DO it was steamed for 20 minutes. Lid removed at 20 minutes and the temperature dropped to 400ºF/204ºC with a total of 45 minutes for the baking.

The finished loaf had an internal 207.7ºF/97.6ºC and a hot weight of 437g – down 8% during the baking. The loaf was cooled on wire for over an hour, before cutting.

The loaf had a very nice aroma, but neither taste, nor smell indicated the apricot components in the loaf. The crumb color was softly off-white in the orange-brown range, but only in a small degree. Texture was moist and softer than my general SD loaves. A pleasantly fruity, slightly sweetish flavor. The top crust portion was chewier than I would have expected, but quite acceptable.

   I should, also mention, I could detect no tang at all. I had expected a bit from the apricot flavor itself. But, any tang vanished along with any apricot specific flavor.


The crumb was exactly as expected, given the 60% HL (hydration level) and the highly developed windowpane test it was kneaded to.

Based upon this single test loaf, apricot WBBs develop much stronger levain than any I have seen before. The Apricot YW rise times are somewhere between 25% faster, or if you are one of  the half empty glass types, the other Yeast Waters are 33% slower ;-)

Update:110530-1000I have just had a couple additional slices of this Apricot YW loaf. In the 23 hours since baking, there has been a flavor change. It is still quite pleasant, but definitely less sweetness. The change is hard to describe, but while it is NOT "astringent", that is the closest word I can think of to describe the very slight difference in flavor. My initial reaction was 'use a bit less than 2% salt, next time'.


tssaweber's picture

Did I hit the jackpot?

For quite some time now I gave up trying to find the European type flour “Ruchmehl” or “Halbweissmehl” here in the US, even though I still believe that the farmer’s style breads and rustic hard rolls would need this flour.

Two days ago browsing through Costco I found this flour and reading the label I felt this could be it.



 Two 10 pound bags for a little bit more than $6 was also a very good price and it is unbleached and not enriched, so let’s give it a try!

Coming home I prepared a preferment and later in the afternoon mixed the dough. No cold retardation for this time because I was too curious to taste the rolls and didn’t want to wait. The result was and tasted awesome!


Happy baking!



For the interested bakers:

Update from my trip up North:

Pmccool's picture

Must be time for croissants

There was a bit of frost on the grass here in Pretoria overnight and the temperature inside the house at 6:30 this morning was a bracing 55ºF.  By 3:30 this afternoon, the indoor temperature had rocketed all the way up to 57ºF!  Another day or two of this and the granite counter tops in the kitchen should be chilled enough to handle laminated doughs with no risk of butter breakouts.  That, of course, assumes that the butter block is soft enough to be malleable.  I may have to set it out in the sun for a few minutes...


codruta's picture

hydration, dough consistency

Hi everybody. I hope someone can help me understand what is "Correct the hydration as necesary. The dough should have a medium consistency". I've made hamelman's "pain au levain with mixed sourdough starters", but the dough did not feel wet enough. I added 25ml water (for a total dough of 1400g), and I think I should have added even more. Maybe the flour I used absorb more water than hamelman's flour, or maybe I was on the right side, but I did not knew it. Can anyone show me some picture with a wet dough, a medium wet dough, and a dry one? This is how my dough looked (1)after mixing, (2)before the first fold, and (3)(4) some pictures of the crumb next day:

thank you, codruta

tc's picture

Cold rise with poor results

Hey guys. I've been making Bouabsa's baguettes but having a problem with the loaves not rising well. The yeast is added the first day, then it's supposed to rise in the fridge. My dough does not rise, and when I shape it it also does not rise. I get minimal oven spring as well. The final baguette is rather squarish in circumference, instead of a roundish shape. I get awesome open crumb and crunchy crust, tastes great, but it's the lack of rising that I've been wrestling with lately. It seems like the yeast dies in the fridge. Any thoughts?

ps, also have a hard time scoring, which others on this forum say might be due to over proofing. So if I let it rise longer out of the fridge might make the scoring problem worse?

nasv's picture

retarding bulk-fermentation, when stretch-and-fold?

Hi everyone... I recently picked up the Tartine Bread book, country artisan bread is my favorite and I'm working on working the process to my schedule.  Very simplified, with an active starter, this is how I breakdown the major steps in Chad Robertson's process:

  1. Create leaven from starter
  2. Mix dough and rest/autolyse, then add salt + some water
  3. Bulk fermentation (3-4 hours at warm ambient temperature); during bulk fermentation do stretch-and-fold about ever 30 minutes for the first 2-3 hours
  4. Divide, form into rounds, bench rest
  5. Form final loaf shapes, proofing/final-rise (3-4 hours)
  6. Bake, rest, eat

In trying to tailor this to my schedule, I understand that I can retard the final-rise in the fridge, then take it out of the fridge to warm up a little bit, and then into the oven for baking... but the book also suggests retarding during bulk fermentation.

I think in my ideal schedule, I'd like to mix the leaven on day-1 morning, and then begin bulk fermentation during the evening and let it go the night (to be followed with day-2 final-rise/proofing and baking).  I understand I can bulk-ferment with cooler water, or even stick the dough in the fridge to retard the process (what I'd likely do).  My question is where/when does the S&F fit into this?  Especially if I should do this every 30 minutes for a few hours... is the need minimized with the longer fermentation?  Do I need to do this just a few times before setting aside for colder longer fermentation?  S&F a few times, instead, before dividing into rounds and bench rest?





breadsong's picture

Chive Blossom Bread

Hello, I tried making Chive Blossom Bread this week.
A lucky venture to the local mill yielded a new-to-me flour product: purple wheat flour (sold as Anthograin).
Purple chive blossoms and purple flour are combined in this bread, with no resulting purple color in the finished bread whatsoever :^)

The baked breads (I tried scoring chives on one loaf and stencilled chives on another; the loaves at the front were scored to make them look like chive blossoms (the little one was snipped with scissors) – didn’t really turn out like I’d hoped!):
 The purple flour:


My chive patch is just coming into blossom, with pretty little purple flowers.
Individually, the chive flowers look like lilies to me :^)

Chive blossoms have a very delicate oniony flavor; I've infused vinegar with them and enjoyed the blossoms sprinkled over salads.  Not sure how their flavor would hold through a bake, I also added chopped chives to the dough.
These are the chive blossoms I added to the dough:
The base dough is Pugliese, from Advanced Bread and Pastry, using 20% purple wheat flour both in the sponge and final dough, an extra ounce of water, and a generous teaspoon of chive blossom vinegar (thanks to Karin for this idea; her recent post, using vinegar as an ingredient, is here).

The sponge and final dough had some nice purple color:

Here are some crumb shots. The flavor is nice and oniony!
 bits of chive in the crumb:  

see the little chive blossom peeking out?

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




MadAboutB8's picture

Tartine's Morning Bun - best eaten fresh in the morning, every morning


I came across the famous Tartine Morning Buns when I was searching for croissant images of Tartine Bakery (as I was on my mission to perfect the croissant making, I figured I should look up to the best:))

The buns received rave reviews on the blogosphere and I was curious to find out myself how good they are. I just bought Tartine cookbook (the pastry version) recently and look forwards to Morning Bun recipe. However, the recipe wasn’t included in the book.  I managed to locate the recipe online on 7x7 website. The bun is an indulgence version of cinnamon rolls and made with laminated (croissant) dough. That’s perfect, another recipe I can try to keep practicing on croissants.  The rolls are filled with the mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for success, buttery flaky pastry filled with orange cinnamon sugar? Indeed, it was the success. It tasted soooo good, pure heaven.

 The rolls were baked in muffin tin coated with butter and sugar, which gave it sticky caramelised bottom. A nice touch to the buns.

 Though I enjoyed the bun made with croissant dough, I had the feeling that sweet bread dough should have been used in the recipe instead of laminated dough. A close look at the actual Tartine's Morning Buns gave me that impression. The bun didn’t have layers of pastry. It was simply a bread bun. Moreover, baking laminated dough in muffin tins somehow limited its ability to expand. As a result, the pastry didn’t achieve its full flakiness potential and became slightly doughy, especially the parts that were sitting inside the muffin cup. If I am to make these Morning Buns again (which I’m sure I will), I will make them with sweet bread dough or brioche dough instead.

 Full post and recipe is here (


bobchristenson's picture

Earth oven collapse

Well this sucks. After many days (and a few dollars) I finished my earth oven last friday. Two layers (thermal and insulation with straw mix). I didn't have time to cover it and it rained heavily today completely collapsing both layers of the top of the dome.

Now what?

I had to buy fireclay and I don't want to have to do that again so reuse is crucial. . Anyone have ideas for rebuilding without refilling it with sand (which would basically be impossible, plus my sand is now gone that I used the first time)? I don't want to tear it all down because I think I'll lose too much clay and end up with straw mixed throughout.

If I have to tear it all down I may just rebuild with firebrick instead of earth.

Any help or sympathy?