The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
rainwater's picture

Italian "00" flour continued..... is the final chapter...maybe/probably in the Italian "00" imported flour Saga.  I have made the "00" pizza crust with pretty much the same consistency as the crust made with King Arthur Unbleached bread flour.  The "00" flour makes the crust with a bit more bite (al dente?), but it's barely noticeable, but mentionable.  I used the same formula for both crusts, but the Italian "00" uses one Tablespoon of olive oil instead of two like I use with the King Arthur.  I'm not sure the Italian flour likes olive oil added??? I have to say......the Italian flour does have flavor and scent that is noticeable.  Especially when the baked product reaches that point in the oven when the aroma drifts into the house....The Italian flour has an aroma that is unique.....These pizza crusts are 75% hydration. 

When my stash of Italian "00" flour is finished, I probably will not order any time soon in spite of the's a bit expensive to mail order the Italian flour......

The first photo is the Italian "00" crust, the second photo is the King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.  I have to say....I haven't tried all the European flours (of course), but I'm not sure they have any advantage over our American flours in texture of finished product.  The perfect crust would be King Arthur texture with Italian "00" must be something in the soil..or maybe it's the particular strain of wheat that's used.  Caputo states in their website that they use flour from many places to mill....maybe it's not just Italian soil, but maybe the strain of wheat.....This would be a great study for a company like King Arthur to research.....maybe get American farmers to use some European strains of wheat to produce or coax some different qualities from our flours.

dmsnyder's picture

Advice regarding sourdough baking in hot weather

Janedo currently has a nice entry on her blog about sourdough starter feeding and sourdough baking during the heat of Summer. (It's in French, and I haven't checked the English version.)

Anyway, Jane offers some good things to think about as the weather heats up. (It's 106F where I am today.)

Here is a link:



PeterPiper's picture

Retarding Dough How-To

I had great success with overnight retarding of my ciabatta dough.  The flavor was sweet and nutty, the crust turned to a beautiful golden brown, and I got great big holes.  I thought that trying an overnight stay in the fridge for my rustic bread would yield similar results.  But I tried it this Saturday and my dough ended up with small uniform air pockets, and lacked in the rich develoepd taste of the ciabatta.

So I'm wondering what's the secret to overnight retarding of dough?  How long does it need to warm back up?  Should you knead once then put in the fridge, or knead twice and form?  Should you use a poolish, as I did, or just mix all the ingredients and then retard the dough?

I think this method has a lot of promise, but I'm wondering how everyone else does it.  Many thanks!



dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-Grain Sourdough Rye with High-gluten flour

Hamelman's 5-grain Soudough made with rye sour is currently one of my favorite bread. The formula calls for high-gluten flour, but I have not had any for a while. I now have some KAF Sir Lancelot flour, and this is the first bread in which I used it. 

I followed the formula for ingredients exactly, as I had before. Using Sir Lancelot flour, the gluten developed a little more slowly. I think I could have given the dough another couple minutes mixing in the Bosch. I did a stretch and fold before bulk fermenting, but it could have used either more initial mixing or another stretch and fold.

The crumb was quite chewy. I'll be interested in seeing if this bread seems too "tough" when toasted.

BTW, you might notice in the first photo that the boule on the right has a duller (less reflective) crust. This was the first loaf loaded onto my baking stone, and I steamed the oven after the third loaf was loaded - maybe 45 - 60 seconds later. Even a few seconds baking without steam at the start has a pretty dramatic effect.


jhespelt's picture

Questions About First Sourdough Loaf

Hi all,

I'm new here and I'm still at that stage where I'm excited by oven spring (despite my lack of pizza stone) so if this is something obvious, bear with me. In other words, I've only recently graduated from baking bricks ;).

Ok, I've tried this recipe several times but I can't seem to get rid of this swirled look. Those spots are a little tougher than the white areas and tend to feel doughy when you pull of the crumb and roll it between your finger. I"ve had this happen with my other breads lately too. Also, it was much chewier than expected, almost too chewy for my tastes. Is sourdough supposed to be like that?

This was a fairly sticky dough and I did very little kneading. I just mixed (by hand), let it rest for 30min, kneaded/folded for a couple minutes and let it ferment. I folded it twice during the ferment, pre-shaped (10 min) and then final shaped. I admit that I skipped the window pane test and a second fold might not have been necessary. I let it cool completely before taking this photo and at no point did it seem like my bread had a "skin" before baking. It was at 210F when I took it out of the oven (unless my instant read is off). The dough was super sticky going into the ferment, easy to handle during the folds and then sticky again by the time I was shaping it (under developed/over developed?). I used:

8oz fed starter, 12oz water, 2.5 tsps salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 2tsps yeast and 4 -5c flour (depending on the weather in NE Ohio)



(This loaf I handled too much during the shaping, but it's from the same batch)


Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I'm almost embarrassed to stick this up here since I've spent a good number of hours looking over the various posts and astonishingly holey bread on this website, but I guess I've got to start somewhere :).





venkitac's picture

Effects of fermentation and soaking question

I don't know whether this question is geeky, but anyway: most lean dough recipes I've seen call for a poolish/biga fermented for a few hours (or retarded overnight) and then mixed in with a significant quantity of flour (let's say half poolish and half fresh flour or some such) to create dough, which is then again fermented for a small number of hours and then baked. I've a few questions about the effects of these:

- What if I make the entire dough, yeast and all, ferment for a couple of hours (or not at all), then retard overnight, de-chill and bake, versus create poolish, mix retarded poolish with fresh flour to create dough and bake? (The "Gosselin Method" in BBA is like the former). Is there a difference in flavor between these methods?

- Instead of using a preferment, what if we just use the entire flour quantity called for as a soaker, and then mix the soaked dough (unsalted and unyeasted dough) the next day with yeast and salt and then ferment for 3 hours and bake? I believe this is the original  Gosselin method. What would be the flavor difference for this method vs the above two?

- I've read books where they say "too much preferment sours the bread". From my minimal amount of baking, this doesn't seem true if you retard the preferment quickly. In fact, the Gosselin method in BBA is basically all preferment. Does that sound right, or is my taste too undeveloped?:)

Essentially, the first two questions boils down to this: we can soak all the flour overnight, or some large percentage of it. We can add yeast to all the dough overnight, or some large percentage of it. If we're retarding, we can retard immediately after mixing the dough(if we do the BBA Gosselin)/poolish(most other things) or we can retard a couple of hours later. These 3 variables create 8 different combinations, and I'm wondering is there a marked difference between the various combinations. I suppose a better question would be about the effects of all the variables involved. Bread geeks, help!

I'm not a consistent enough bread baker to try all this and say that "the difference in taste is because of this method vs that method", nor do I have strictly controlled conditions, hence I thought I would ask.

Pablo's picture

will it be sour?

I've baked basically the same bread since I started here last August.  I think I've got it down pretty well.  I play with changing things a bit here and there, but basically it's working and we like it.  One of the things that I've had to do is to let go of the need to have a really sour loaf.  I moved to wild yeast after the first month or so and played with feeding 2xs a day and different hydrations and I can't say I could really tell a difference once it was expanded out into a loaf.  There is a nice, mild sour undertone, but I lived in the Bay Area for many years and came to expect sourdough to be San Francisco style sourdough, i.e. SOUR.  I imprinted on that and I like it.  I would like my bread to be much sourer than it is.  I've tried many things over the time that I've been baking it.  Here's the latest idea:

I started with 5 grams of seed culture and 10 grams of water and 10 grams of flour and let that double then another 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour.  So I had 125 grams of 100% hydration starter that was getting active.  I keep my seed culture in the 'fridge and it likes a couple of builds to wake up and get active.  Now I added 250 grams of flour and enough water to get a 50% hydration.  I've put it out on the deck to ferment overnight at cool evening temperature.  My plan is to elaborate that into a dough in the morning, also at 50% and let it ferment awhile in the garage where it's coolest during the day and then to work in enough water to get to a 68% or so hydration and perhaps a bit more fermenting, then proof and bake.

I'm hoping for sour from the dry, cool fermentations.  Wish me luck.  I'll post the results.


Shiao-Ping's picture

Triple Apple Custard Sourdough

This sourdough was inspired by MC's fantastic Double Apple Bread at her farine-mc site.  My family is big on apples and when I saw her post I knew I would have to try.    

I used to wonder how apples in a good apple pie don't stick to the pastry.  Last November I was in New York  for a rare Chinese concert of Liu Fang and in one of my sleepless nights adjusting to the time zone difference, I was watching the American Iron Chef Boby Flay in a quest trying to find the best apple pie in America.   In the show, the brown paper bag apple pie won the contest.  Ever since then, my apple pies have seen great successes (I've tried it with frangipani built in, I've tried it with a custard centre, I've tried it with both - they are all good) and even my father-in-law loved it.   I admit this is a convoluted way to explain why I ended up with excess custard in my fridge and why it found its way into this apple sourdough.  To me, custard goes so well with apples.   

While I made my custard bread every now and then (I use custard to hydrate the dough) and my kids love it, I was not sure how my sourdough culture would react to custard.  One would say you don't need custard as sourdough is flavorful enough.  In making this bread, I also resisted using any instant yeast.     

I followed MC's instruction on fermenting the fresh apples for 5 days here with double quantity.  But I am scared of soaking muesli overnight as she did because it reminds me of the many failed gluten-free breads that I used to make.  So, I just used rolled oats in this instance.   

Here is my formula:  

200g rye starter @ 75% hydration

360 g Lucke's Wallaby unbleached baker's flour (11.9% gluten)

50 g rolled oats (and extra for dusting)

75 g shop-bought dried apple slices (chopped)

30 g water

120 g of the sweet , alcoholic juice from fermenting the apples

100 g cooked Granny Smith apple puree

55 g home-made vanilla custard

75 g of the fermented apples, chopped (the rest of the apples went with bacon under griller as part of yesterday's breakfast!)

 9 g salt  

I've been wanting to try David's beautiful San "waa-keen" Sourdough but there is a picture of a crown bread from Auvergne, France, in Leader's Local Breads (page 100) that really took my fancy.  I am not confidant if I bulk ferment my apple-loaded dough for 21 hours, as in David's method, that I would be able to shape it into the crown shape without deflating the dough too much.   So, before all is said and done, I mixed, did 4 stretch & folds in a space of 3 hours, shaped, and then put the dough into my refrigerator just before mid-day yesterday.  Here is the shaped dough before it went in:   


    the shaped dough  

I was however uncomfortable with the varying temperatures in my big old fridge, -1C to 7C (30F to 45F).  It was quite cold last night - the air through my kitchen window registered 14C (57F); I thought, perfect, that's the temp that I want my dough to be in; so at the last min I took the dough out of the fridge (it'd been there for 12 hours) and placed it right next to the window before I went to bed. 

I baked it this morning at 9 (21 hours altogether for proofing!).  And here is the Triple Apple Custard Sourdough (what a tongue twister):  


                           Triple Apple Custard Sourdough  


                                                                                                      close-up 1


                   close-up 2



                                The crust


I am very happy how this sourdough has turned out.  The crumb is as open as I could have hoped for.  The mouth-feel is quite heavy as it is very moist with loads of apples.  Thank you, MC, I know you are travelling at the moment, but you'd be happy with this apple sourdough, knowing how much you like fruits, dried fruits and all that healthy stuff!  And, thank you, David, for your ever detailed instructions in all of your wonderful posts.



foolishpoolish's picture

Neapolitan Style Pizza


Results of my latest pizza making adventures.

Recipe is on my wordpress blog for those who are interested.




ArtisanGeek's picture

I have moved the Bread Baker's Toolbox

I have relocated my Bread Baker's Toolbox (Volume Conversion Formula Tool , Custom Batch Formula Tool) to one of my hosting servers at Now I can finally shut down my server at the house. I hope you can get some use out of these tools and I will be making more of them soon. If you have any suggestions for formula or conversion tools that would make your life easier, just let me know.