The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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HeidiH's picture

00 & Semolina Rosemary Olive Focaccia

Quoting Niki Singet's The Flavor Thesaurus:

"OLIVE & ROSEMARY. A hearty combination to put you in mind of Italy. Scattered with olive and rosemary, Focaccia becomes an edible postcard of the Maremma, the irrigated flatlands that span southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. A bite of olive gives the salty tang of the sea breezes that sweep in from the west, rosemary a hint of the maquis, so thick in places that there are local vineyard owners who claim you can taste it in the wine."

Yes, I had to look up "maquis." It's a dense growth of shrubs in areas around the Mediterranean.  Imagine the smell out West when the wind blows through Wyoming sagebrush mixing with the olives.  Or waves crashing against the pine treed Maine coast.  It smelled a bit like that at my house this afternoon.

We cut some breadsticks off it to have next to chicken Caesar salad.  And it was pronounced a good supper.

The formula for the focaccia was

400 g (67%) Italian 00 flour

200 g (33%) Semolina flour

Handful of fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped

Handful of oil-cured olives, finely chopped

9 g (1.5%) Salt

9 g (1.5%) Instant yeast

30 g (5%) Olive oil

480g (80%) Water

Put flour, semolina, rosemary, olives and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk to mix thoroughly to coat the olives with a layer of flour.  Whisk in the yeast.  Add the water to the oil and pour into the flour mixture.  Mix with a spoon or your hand until all the ingredients are incorporated into a loose dough the consistency of a very thick batter.

Cover and let sit 45 minutes.  Do one stretch and fold and return to the bowl.  Repeat for twice more and end with a fourth 45 minute rest.

On a cookie sheet or sheet pan, stretch the dough into a rectangle about 12" x 18".  Moisten the top of the dough with a thin layer of olive oil.  Poke holes about 1/2" apart all over the dough with your fingers.

Preheat oven to 425F and allow the dough to proof about 20 minutes.  Place in the middle of the oven and bake 20 minutes.  Remove the now stiff but not quite done bread from the pan and return to the oven shelf without the pan to continue cooking for 10 additional minutes.  This will make a loaf that is crunchy both top and bottom.



slogerot's picture

Acetone smell in well-fed starter

I've been working on my first sourdough starter for almost two weeks now (it'll be two weeks on Sunday). Things were going well initially, and around day 3 or 4 I started feeding it every 12 hours. It got that nice, tangy smell but never rose much at all. I just kept feeding it every 12 hours, waiting for it to start doubling, and two days ago it started to smell strongly of acetone. I know this is common, and from my searching it seems that it is usually a symptom of a hungry starter. I fed it as usual yesterday at 7:30 am, and called King Arthur Flour's baking hotline yesterday afternoon around 3 pm. They suggested to go ahead and feed as usual right then (dump all but 4 oz and feed with 4 oz of unbleached AP flour and 4 oz of spring water), and see if the smell went away by that evening.

It did not. I'm in central Texas and it is still quite warm here, so my kitchen gets up to 77 during the day, and we keep the a/c around 70 at night. I thought that maybe the warmth was causing the yeast to consume all the flour nutrients too quickly and that giving it a third feeding during the day would help, but it doesn't seem so. I then thought that maybe I could add a tablespoon or so of whole wheat flour to my usual AP flour (still keeping the total at 4 oz), in the hopes that it would help the yeast become active enough that I could start storing it in the fridge. I did this last night, and it did indeed rise a little more (maybe 50%), but it still smells like acetone.

Any suggestions? Should I just keep feeding as usual and wait it out? I'm happy to be patient and am in no hurry, but I'd just like to know if I need to do something in addition to my usual feedings to get this smell to go away.

Justkneadit's picture

Monstrous Bloom Again...Need help

Well, I did it again. Crazy bloom that has me scratching my head. I will list the process I used to make this Lavender Hazelnut Sourdough Boule, but could this bloom be a product of my stater being young..(12 days)? I will say the taste turned out much better than I anticipated. The hazelnut gave a smooth nutty flavor and the lavender didn't creep in until close to swallowing (well it did reach the nose first). Neither ingredient was overpowering, which was pleasing. Would be fitting to slather with honey!

First the Recipe.. and please feel free to critique my recipe because I am only 6 weeks into baking and I will take as much advice as everyone is willing to give.

Lavendar Hazelnut Sourdough Boule

Flour 550g:

  • KA Bread Flour 450g
  • Arrowhead Mills Spelt Flour 100g

Starter: 110g 100% Hydration

Water: 308g

Salt: 12g Pink Himalayan 

Lavender: 10g

Hazelnut: Toasted, grated 15g


Mix ingredients, minus salt, autolyse 20 min. Knead approx. 10 min then rest 30 min.  4 S&F's with 30 min in between. After last S&F 10 min rest, shape 10 min rest, then into brotform, then into sealed plastic bag and refridge for 13 1/2 hours. Pull out of fridge, keeping in the bag, rise for 6 hours. Poke test was barely passing. Score, oven, steam. Bake at 450 for 30 min, turning 180 degrees. Then, after 30 min reduce to 400 and bake for 10 min. Here is the result.




Justkneadit's picture

When to refrigerate starter?

My stater is now mature and very active. In a few days I wont be able to bake for a week so I would like to store my stater in the fridge. When should I place it in the fridge? After I have refreshed it and it has double again? Thank you.


flourchef's picture

Blending flours for sourdough

Hi everyone,

I'm a chef, passionate about bread, doing my best to offer real good bread to the our clients in the restaurant.

I had a couple of questions I was hoping someone could answer.

Are there any advantages/disadvantages of maintaining a sourdough with a blend of flours? For example feeding a sourdough a mixture of wheat and rye flour - and I mean continuously feeding it this mix of flours.

Another similar question is: Is it common practice to build a dough with more than one type of sourdough, e.g. blending wheat and rye sourdough in the same recipe. Is there any pros and cons?


Thank you!

/ john

Graid's picture

How to convert recipes for French flour?

Hi folks,

I'm in the UK, and out of curiosity ordered myself some Type 55 French flour from Shipton Mill. I have already used the majority of it on a batch of the simple 'classic French bread' from Peter Reinhart's 'Artisan breads every day'. This does not use a sourdough starter, but uses cold fermentation, and I've had decent results with it in the past.

However, I was actually rather disappointed in the results of using the French flour instead of the UK or Canadian bread flour I usually use. I understand French flour has a lower gluten content than the flour for bread generally sold in the UK, and this seemed to manifest itself in making the loaf rather dense and tight, with regular, small holes, as opposed to the larger holes and more open texture I've gotten from this recipe in the past.

I was wondering, is there anything I can do to  modify the recipe to get better results from the French flour?

HappyHighwayman's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough

Can't wait to try it. Cooling now.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

My First Jeffrey Hamelman's 5 Grain Levain

Here is my first try at JH 5 Grain Levain - with actual levain from my sourdough starter.  My previous versions of this bread were with only commerical active dry yeast.  I was happy with it, except wished for more rise/height in the boule.

I think the seed topping is not part of the original recipe.  I just can't resist the toasted seed flavour the topping ads to these kinds of breads.

Just wish I got the same consistent open holed crumb in my same day's bake of the Tartine Country loaf.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thin Crispy Sourdough Pizza Dough Recipe?

Hey all.  Here in Vancouver, we have some great rustic pizza/flat bread restaurants that have my favourite type of pizza crust.  Thin, crispy, and slightly wheaty.  For the longest time, I have tried many recipes, attempting to recreate this type of crust at home.  I just had an epiphany while eating a toasted piece of my yesterday's baked Tartine bread.  The crust that I have been trying to recreate is very close to the texture and crispness of the crust on the toasted Tartine loaf!  That dark brown/black bottom crust, with a hint of sour.

Without having to make a Tartine dough just for the purpose of pizza dough, does anyone have a recipe that will create a very similar type crust?


sungmo kim's picture
sungmo kim

Country Bread


Country Bread with Prefermented dough
one day
Spelt flour      150g
Water              98.7g
Salt                  2.7g
Dry Yeast        0.38g

2.Rise   Refrigerator  approximately  12 hours. 

two day
Spelt flour       135g
Rye flur           15g
Water               97g
Salt                   2.7g
Yeast                0.52g

2.Bulk Fermentation    2 hours.  77F
3.Division, Shaping      
4.Second Fermentation     1 1/2 hours.
5.Baking                          30 min. 460F