The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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xaipete's picture

Suas' San Francisco Sourdough

I've been experimenting with various method of making San Francisco Sourdough for some time now. Suas' SF Sourdough loaf came out pretty well. I baked it with steam instead of under a cloche and didn't get as much oven spring as I hoped for. This loaf underwent bulk fermentation on the counter and was proofed in the refrigerator. It isn't quite as sour as I would like. I achieve the degree of sourness I'm looking for only when I do both the bulk fermentation and proofing in the refrigerator.

Suas San Francisco Sourdough

                      The crumb of this loaf is medium open and doesn't have a glisteny wet look about it.


2 1/2 oz. bread flour

1/8 oz. rye flour

1 1/4 oz. water

starter (stiff) 2 1/8 oz. (50% hydration)

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65º - 70º).


Final Dough:

14 7/8 oz. flour (I used bread flour)

10 7/8 oz. water

3/8 oz. salt

6 oz. levain (all of the levain)

My Method: mix water and levain in mixer with paddle to loosen levain (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients and mix for an additional minute. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes so flour can hydrate. Resume mixing with dough hook for about 4 - 5 minutes to achieve a medium consistency (gluten structure is developed, but not fully--window pane forms but breaks upon stretching). Put dough into an oiled container with a lid. Let ferment for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Do a stretch and fold. Let ferment for another 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Form into a ball and let rest 20 minutes. Shape into batard, put into a banneton, cover with a plastic bag sprayed with pan-spray and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. Turn out onto pan-sprayed parchment and bake on a stone in a 450º preheated oven for about 25 minutes with steam.

Makes a single two pound loaf (weight before baking).

Below is a picture of a loaf I baked several days ago. This loaf underwent overnight bulk fermentation in the refrigerator after the stretch and fold, overnight proofing in the refrigerator, and was baked with a cloche; it got much better oven spring and had better sour flavor. I'm sold that this is the way to go. I don't think it is so much the particular formula as the method. Additionally, in my experience, loaves that undergo this much refrigeration, tend to be pretty wet (slack, extensible, whatever you want to call it), but seem to bake up well in spite of this characteristic. I'm not sure how you go about successfully scoring such a wet loaf, but perhaps that isn't as important as the taste. Yesterday I read in Local Breads that wetter doughs have bigger holes. Based on my experience, I'm a believer.

San Francisco Sourdough

                      The crumb of this loaf is very open and has a glisteny wet look about it.


Nim's picture

bread knife and matters slicing

How can we slice bread so that in the end we are not left with a piece that is too wide on one side and just enough for a single slice on the other. All of my loafs almost invariable end like that, at which point, I just cut it into squares and share it with my 3 yr old who doesn't care that it is not a slice anymore.

Also, what do people here recommend for buying a good bread knife? Till now, I have just been using the serrated knife from my very ordinary set of knifes on a wooden block. I think after three years of never buying bread from a store and baking at least once a week, I should buy a good bread knife. (I tend to be a minimalist in the kitchen!) Don't want to spend a fortune though...

noyeast's picture

My turn to post a pic or two...

I thought it about time I started reciprocating with photos after all the awesome shots I've been viewing from you all since I joined The Feash Loaf three weeks ago.


I've been concentrating on getting my sourdough starter up and running and baking ciabatta loaves which my family have benn devouring ravenously.  But there has been a complaint from one of my daughters that she has no sandwich loaf with which to make her lunch.  So here is my first attempt at a plain white SL (two loaves: a Boule and some kind of regular loaf too )

I might take another pic of my ciabattas later and post them below.


janij's picture

Pizza Night- Thank you Peter Reinhart!

Tonight I tried two new pizza doughs out of Reinhart's American Pie.  Let me say YUMMY!!!  The crust on both were thin and very tasty.  I have not made dough that had that much flavor ever.  I made the Neo-Neapolitan dough as well as the Roman dough.  The Roman was thin and had a nice cruch to it.  My husband really likes thin crust and both of these delivered.  For all of the doughs in American Pie you make the dough the night before and retard over night in the fridge.  I made on mistake and used AP flour in the Neo dough instead of bread flour.  I am wondering is that is why I didn't really get a bigger crust.  But I am really anxious to try this dough out in my wood fire oven this weekend.  We are still curing it.  I cooked the pizzas in a 550 deg oven on tiles.  I am very happy about pizza night tonight.

Sorry the picture is not better.  I need to read the info on taking food pictures on this site.  Will work on it!

Yippee's picture

20090503 Assorted Yummy Buns

Little Yippees have had all these sandwich breads that I've been testing for weeks.  They are begging for a change.   Here it is, something different on the table for breakfast:


Steph0685's picture


Ok so I am a fisrt time bread maker. I was given a bread machine without instructions. Not a problem. I looked up some general how to's online and found a general basis for making bread, using a machine, etc. I was lucky! Right on the machine it had instructuons on what to put in and when, ie, water then dry ingredients then yeast. Okay so all is well. I start out making a loaf of potato bread. Add the ingredients just as it said in the recipe. The bread turned out great. My boyfriend and I ate it and today we wake up and were both sick with stomach aches. I had to call off work today! What did I do wrong?!? So I start thinking back and rereading the directions. Then I start looking at everyone's blogs. We used active dry yeast in the recipe and just added it to the bread machine(the last step).I did not dissolve it first or add sugar or any of those things. Could this have caused us to get sick? Or is it just a coinscidence? I have another loaf I made and did the same thing and now Im afraid to eat it. Please Help!!

moreyello's picture

Sour dough bread holes

Hello everyone, well here is another question on bread holes. My sour dough bread tastes and looks great but I am still

not achieving those big holes. I am a little confused, on one message board I read they recommended folding and strecthing the

dough before the final rise to give the bread enough strenght. In another it said not to tamper with it once you deflate it so as no

to de gas it. What should I do?

Johnbbq's picture

Wheat Montana four is superior to just Organic Flour

Some serious mis-information has been posted about the products of Wheat Montana and their products.


To have a "Certified Organic" label a product must meet certain minimum standards.   The producers must be inspected and use only natural fertilizers and no chemicals to have this label.  Period!  

The law does not recognize those producers that go beyond that standard, that produce superior products.  This is why What Montana does not advertise that they are certified organic.   Their flour is certified to be chemical free of well over a 100 known chemicals after it is milled in the latest high tech flour mill.  They do not use chemical fertilizers.  In addition they use NO animal manure.  They will not risk the spread of any bacteria into their products at all.   (Remember some of the recent problems with organic products that had salmonella from manure?)   The grain produced by Wheat Montana goes directly to their own flour mill and directly to the consumer.   Few other flour producers can deliver any product this pure!!!

In addition Wheat Montana uses no Genetically Modified grain whatsoever.   Most flour millers try to achieve this but they have no way of really knowing the origin of their grain to grow the wheat.

This information is posted on their web site and on their menus and in their stores.   I quess if you cannot read and walk up and ask if they are organic, you will get a quick answer that they are not.   They are so much more than the minimum standards--Wheat Montana, in my opinion, if the Gold Standard of pure food.

I am a retired guy who loves to cook.  I do not work for What Montana.   I have been in a few hundred food production plants in my life.  The Organic label is a good guide for those that want food that is chemical free.   It is only a minimum guide and there are many marginal products on the shelves today that  survive only for their organic label, not for the quality of the product they sell.  

The food buyer should always be aware of the whole picture.   Many people pay extra for poor quality food that gets turned out under the shield of being organic.   Nothing in the Organic law says anything about the food quality or taste.   Always use common sense.

America is the land of plenty when it comes to food choices.   And there will always be leaders in food production and their will always be some that cut corners.   Witness the recent mess in peanut butter.

Wheat Montana grows, mills, bakes, sells their own product.  It is a marvelously successful family operation.   They only sell a few products.  The Prairie Gold whole wheat (whole grain) flour is a marvelous high protein, high fiber flour.   In a modern hammer mill, the flour is ground differently than most conventional mills.  Most people rave over the taste of this bread and are shocked to learn that it is whole grain.  I use it exclusively in all breads from Banana bread to Rye (I do add some rye flour) bread.   I challenge anyone to show me a better tasting product or healthy product.


Pster's picture

Can someone explain what a "soaker" is?

I've read about people using "soakers" - what exactly is that?

How do I incorporate that into making the bread?  When do I add it?


and also....

*why* would I use a "soaker" or that method?


If you could tell me all about it - I'd appreciate it! 


xaipete's picture

Why should a levain be used at the peak of ripeness?

There has been some discussion lately about how to tell when a levain is ripe, but why is it important that a levain be used when it if ripe? Why not use it when it is half-way ripe or 3/4rds ripe?