The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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?

varda's picture

Suggestions for using Whole Durum flour?

I recently bought a large bag of Atta Durum flour.   I didn't really need a 20 lb bag in my closet - already have too many small bags there - but there it is.   I have been making semolina this and semolina that and don't really want to make that all the time, so I am looking for suggestions on how to combine this flour with others in a nice way.   For instance, does it play well with whole wheat flour, rye?    Or is that just weird.    Looking for suggestions....   Thanks.

teketeke's picture

Tomato pretzel with tomato yeast water and the thin pocky and crackers.

Actually, Japanese call this "Tomato pretzl", I think that is come from pretzel. So, I will write it Pretzel here that is understandable for everyone, even though it doesn't look like pretzel that I usually get here. The texture is very crispy and keep the crispiness for days as same as Ron's *sourdough cracker. They all gone within a couple days. So I don't know the thing exactly. Ron's great formula

( *Here:

and ,I made a Japanese snack, Pocky recently ( Here: ) After I posted strawberry pocky,  Robyn (RobynNZ )who gives us great information on TFL told me the great link of the pocky that we can make at home.  Thank you for all your help, Robyn. ( Bowー お辞儀)  ( Here : )  That motivated me to make thinner strawberry pocky. Although I was intrigued to make healthier one because my daughter tends to suffer with irregularity.  My brother and mother who are in Japan love Tomato pretzel which is used tomatoes and vegetables..   Tomatoes? Yes, I made tomato pretzel with tomato yeast that I used jump-start with my raisin yeast water.It is very thin sticks that I really wanted to make.     Here is the recipe: Ingredients: Levain:
  • Smashed ( 20g raisin yeast water + 80g grape tomatoes by FP )+ filtered water =100g
  • KA AP 100g
  • Honey 16g

* Note:  After I smashed the tomatoes with raisin yeast water by FP and taking them out, the actual weight was 82g around. So I added 18g filtered water to get total 100g.

Final dough:
  • 216g levain
  • 108g KA AP ( Levain 216 x0.5=108)
  • 43g butter
  • 4.3g salt
  • 0.6g black pepper ( as you like)
  • 0.4g vegetable broth powder or consomme powder ( as you like)

Optional : Topping for sesami seeds

  1. Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until doubled   The grape tomatoes + raisin yeast water + filtered water mixture. After I made the levain.                             .  Doubled.           
  2. Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule.                                                                                       * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry                                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.                                            
  4.  Bulk fermentation: 4-5 hours until doubled at 73 F around.
  5.  Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some sesami seads both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .                                                                                                                             2mm thick.                                                                                                                    
  6.  Make the string: Cut the dough to make a string by a pizza cutter or a knife.                                        
  7. Make thin and long strings: Roll the string using both hands like rolling the pie dough.
  8.  Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 10-11 minutes until golden brown. Light yellow is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...                                                                                                                                                                                        
Note: When I make this tomato pretzel, I measure the levain's actual weight before mixing the final dough. I got this idea from Ron ( Ronray's great sourdough crackers) Thank you, Ron!Example:
  1.  Actual levain weight : 200g
  2.  200 x 0.5 = 100g -- Final dough's flour
    Threfore, Final dough:
  • Flour  200g ( 100g levain's flour + 100g final dough's flour which means the actual levain amount)               100%
  • Butter  40g                                                                                                20%
  • Salt  4g                                                                                                        2%
  • Black pepper 0.6g                                                                                    0.3%
  • Consomme or vegetable broth powder 0.4g                                              0.2%


Thin pocky turned out crackers:

 When I achieve to make thin pocky that I want, I made a mistake at the shaping process. It ended up crackers.. but I though it will be good and easy to make. 

Here is how I made:

#Strawberry mix yeast water#   Smashed all the 4 ingredients by FP               

  • Raisin yeast water                20g
  • Fresh strawberries              5 pieces
  • Fresh lime juice                  2 drops
  • Honey                                 27g   

After taking out the yeast mixture from the FP ----Total 160g  



  •    Strawberry mixed yeast water         160g 
  •     KA AP                                               160g

 Final dough

  • Levain  287g ( that was the actual weight from the total levain 320g)
  • KA AP  144g
  • Butter     72g
  • Salt       5.2g
  • Sugar    8g

For topping    Some walnuts ( as you like)  or you can use any kind of nuts you like ..



1.    Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until tripled.  * strawberry mix yeast will rise well.

*  Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule. * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry

2.  Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.

3. Bulk fermentation: 3-4 hours until doubled at 73 F around.   *It fermented faster.

4. Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some walnuts or any kind of nuts that you like both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .   ** This method for when you use tiny seeds or making crackers!   To make pocky shape with bigger topping, It should be shaped before using the nuts. ***

  Chopping the walnuts...

 Dipping the dough in the walnuts..   That is not for shaping a stick!!  roll the dough until it is 3 mm thick.

  So I cut it into cracker -shape.  I also tried to make a stick .. but it was really hard.. because the big walnut doesn't stay in the dough nicely.. 

 I made holes in the cracker to have some air to make it good texture ( crispier)when I bite.

5. Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Light color crust is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...  This oven temperature will be vary depends on your oven.  * If the crackers are not crispy enough even it is cooled, You can bake them again that will be super crispy. 

6. Place them on the rack to cool. When it is completely cool, put melted white chocolate in a ziplock and cut an edge like a triangle shape then drizzle it over the crackers.

 I still made the pocky but it was irregular shapes... I will update it when I am succeeded.

  It was the best flavor so far.. 


* In summer, This chocolate doesn't firm quickly, so I put them in the refrigerator. I also keep them in the refrigerator too when ants are looking for food in my house !   but, when I put the pocky with chocolate to firm in the refrigerator as soon as I drizzled, the chocolate didn't stick to the pocky. so I recommend to leave the pocky with the chocolate for 20 minutes before putting in the refrigerator.

Next day:  I tried another thin pocky again. Yesterday's crackers above were gone within the day I made. My son shared some of them with his friends.  I felt little guilty to give my daughter the kind of sweets..  Next time, I want to try Pizza pretz !! Thank you for reminding me! :P Great idea, Sue!

  Here is the result:


This ingredients are as same as the crackers above.  The method is almost the same with the cracker too except the shaping and   baking methods.

* Shape-  Roll it out until the dough thick is 3 mm around without any topping,and make a string shape, then dipping the string in the topping.

*Bake at 380F for 12-13 minutes until slightly golden brown. 


You can use any topping , any kind of chocolate for your taste and convenience.



Happy baking,


yaunae1432's picture

More Bread Fun

Okay so my first starter was stolen. But, whoever thought there were goodies or some money in that bag were highly mistaken and very disappointed :) they got a healthy, 3-month-old, fermented sourdough starter and probably didn't even know what it was.  I've started another but this time I added milk. It called for half a cup but since I'm vegan I did 1/4 c dairy milk and 1/4 c almond milk.  I was scared almond milk wouldn't do what dairy does and might ruin the recipe. It's moving along very slowly and I'm worried it won't turn out but patience will tell. Since then, I've experimented with different recipes.  I got one of Paul Hollywood's books and made a brioche the other day.  It turned out pretty good but now how I wanted it to. Practice makes perfect! I'll just have to try it again. I want to try out a saffron bread and maybe invest in mastika or mechlebe but I'm hesitant because it's so expensive! Has anyone ever baked with mastika or mechlebe?

breadbythecreek's picture

The Fruit-fed Yeast Adventure/Madness

Over the last couple of weeks I've been experimenting with the properties of fruit based yeast waters. Starting with a strawberry water, I've so far transformed Txfarmer's 36+ hr baguette  from a standard sourdough to one fed strawberry yeast water.  The result was as to be expected, crunchy crust, moist crumb, not a hint of sour, and interestingly, a surprisingly dark color despite the exclusive use of AP flour in the dough.

Strawberry Yeast Water Baguette, and one with Peach Yeast Water - Same recipe, same flour.

I have also created a number of boules using Ron Ray's Darling Clementine recipe.  I've used that same boule recipe to create a strawberry, cherry and blueberry boule.  From these loaves I have come to some conclusions.

Once out of the oven, these boules are virtually indistinguishable in terms of color, crust, and crumb. The only distinguishing feature was the strawberry loaf aroma while it was still baking. So, my conclusions are that it matters little exactly what kind of fruit one uses to cultivate yeast (except of course for those containing actinidain or actinidin), only that the yeast exist. Fruit based yeast from these types of waters will alter the color and consistency of the bread but will not impart any fruit essence upon baking.  The reddish/purplish fruits that I tested will significantly alter the color of the crust and crumb, and the relative amount of sugar present in the water will also affect the taste (the blueberry water, made from a quantity of dried blueberries was quite sweet to begin with).

 Strawberry, Cherry, Blueberry Boules: Beauty Shots, Profiles, and Crumbs




 I think after this experiment, I'll retire all but the strawberry water, as it is the most pleasing in terms of aroma, at least when it comes out of the oven.  So, in conclusion, choose your favorite fruited yeast water and keep only one type. Also, don't forget to feed your sourdough starter too because what is life without a little tang?

Happy Baking!