The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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DanOMite's picture

Focaccia/Rustic bread from PR's WGB


Hey guys, last weekend I made the whole wheat focaccia rustic bread from Peter Reinharts Whole Grain Breads.

here is the recipe...

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups plus 2 tablesppons of water at room temp.
1 1/2 teaspoons honey agave nectar sugar or brown sugar (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
extra flour for adjustments

1 If mixing by hand place all of the ingredients except the extra flour and the olive oil in a bowl and mix for 2-3 minutes. Keep a bowl of water hand and dip the mixing spoon in the water from time to time to keep the dough from sticking. Use a plastic bowl scraper, also dip it in water, to continually scrape down the bowl. You can also use wet hands to mix the dough. The dough will be sticky but fairly smooth; adjust the water or flour as needed. dd the olive oil and mix for another 14 seconds, long enough only to coat the dough. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes, uncovered, and then mix again for 1 minute. the dough will be smooth and stronger, but it will still be sticky. If it is too wet, meaning it won't hold shape, add some additional flour.
Place the dough in a oiled bowl and and allow it to ferment for 8-12  hours or within 3 days. The next day pull the dough out of the fridge and allow it to thaw for 4 hours before turning out onto a heavily flour work surface for shaping.

I choose Ciabatta shape and it makes 2 ciabatta, although I made 4 mini ones. (if anyone wants shaping instructions just ask and i'll type them up too.) After shaping allow them to rise for about 45 minutes or 1 1/2 times its original size.

Prehead your oven to 500 and put them in on a peel or using parchment paper onto a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet. I used a upside baking sheet with parchment. Once the loaves are in drop the temperature down to 450 and steam the oven using a spray mister or 1 cup of hot water.

bake it for 20 minutes and rotate the bread 180degrees and then allow to bake for another 15 to 30 minutes unitl its golden brown on all sides and sounds hollow when thumped and registers atleast 200F in the center and pulls away clean.

Cool for 1 hour....thats if you can handle it...

There were a few things I had to alter and did differently  in this and i'll list it for you.

I was short of flour for this ( I weighed by grams) So I ended up using maybe 20 grams worth or handful or two of all purpose flour for adjustment. I also added some vital wheat gluten and ascorbic acid as well. I figured hey its so wet its not like this is gonna dry it up at all. I'd say a few grams of each for the AA and VW.

Also....I did 3 stretch and folds before putting it in the fridge for the overnight fermentation. I did them at 20 minute intervals after the first 45 minutes of the initial mixing, although i'm sure after 20-30 would be just fine. I did it on a watered surface rather than using flour.

I hope that covers it guys....the ciabatta tasted great the crust was nutty and the inside was just sweet enough but not too sweet for a hearth bread. Great taste and wonderful texture...

Oh Another note...I did use some agave nectar it recommends 10 grams worth but I only used half so 5 grams. I'm not sure how much that would equal to in terms of teaspoons...I'm thinking maybe half a teaspoon. It wasn't all that strong in the final product just sweet enough to take off the somewhat bland or bitter edge of whole wheat

oh yeah....








Floydm's picture

Coffee with Peter Reinhart

Peter Reinhart is in Portland this weekend.  I was able to get together with him for coffee this morning at little t american baker in SE Portland.

Tim Healea, the head baker, was kind enough to show us around the bake room. 

It is a small space, but they have an awesome 5 rack oven and bake many types of bread every day.  While we were there they were making naan and pulling... plank bread out of the oven (I think that is what they called it... It was something like a focaccia, sprinkled with thyme, rosemary, and sea salt and full of olive oil).  We tried a rustic ciabatta-like roll with carrot and polenta in it while we were there that was wonderful and one of their pastries, which was delicious too.

I, however, was a space cadet and left my good camera at home (well, I had the camera but I forgot the battery), so these phone pictures were the best I could get.  I will, however, try to come by Tastebud tomorrow around 11:30-12 to see Peter and any TFLers who show up there, and this time I'll bring a real camera.


Bread_Slavery's picture

Pierre Nury's Light Rye is the best bread ever...

Discuss. I haven't put anything better out of my kitchen, i'll put it that way.

Pictures to follow, hopefully tomorrow.

baltochef's picture

Long, Slow, Bulk Fermentation--Please Critique This Recipe

Below is a recipe I created for a intensely cinnamon, Cinnimon Raisin Bread that is made using a long, slow, bulk fermentation..This is my first attempt at a 24 hour refrigerated ferment of a very sweet dough..I am asking those members familiar with long, slow, bulk fermentations to troubleshoot and critique this recipe..Any and all feed back will be greatly welcomed..My goal is a full 24-hour ferment instead of the 2.5-3 hour ferment that I generally use when I make similar breads using a sponge method..The ingredients are listed below in the order in which I added them to the DLX's mixing bowl..

Rich Cinnamon Raisin Bread w/  20.5 Hour Refrigerated Bulk Ferment

480g (17 oz.) 2% milk, 45F

285g (10 oz.) dark brown sugar

2.66g (0.09375 oz.) SAF Gold instant yeast-- (3/8 teaspoon)

170g (6 oz.) enriched eggs, 45F-- {7 large egg yolks = 115g (4.053 oz.), plus 55g (1.947 oz.) egg whites}

170g (6 oz.) salted butter, room temperature

1250g (44 oz.) bread flour

14g (0.50 oz.) table salt-- (2 teaspoons)

10g (0.3525 oz.) coarsely ground cassia cinnamon-- (4 1/2 teaspoons)--(sticks ground in spice grinder)

285g (10 oz.) dried raisins, soaked for 60 minutes in 50F water, drained, then refrigerated for 60 minutes to 45F--thus absorbing....

60g (2.11 oz.) water

EDIT: The refrigerated items in the recipe were actually at 45F, not 35F--My Bad!!

Dough Making Notes:

Bowl of my DLX mixer was placed in freezer for 10 minutes before mixing and kneading the dough..The sugar was dissolved into the cold milk in the DLX's bowl..Yeast was added and whisked in..Eggs were whisked in next, followed by the warm butter, which naturally formed small globules as it chilled..The salt and cinnamon were whisked into the flour as evenly as possible..The dough was mixed and kneaded for 6 minutes on medium speed on the DLX using the roller and scraper..The cold, drained raisins were added during the last 2 minutes of the kneadind process..Dough was hand kneaded for 15-20 seconds on an oiled bench after removal from the DLX's bowl..Bowl was washed in cold water, dried, and sprayed with pan spray..Dough was returned to DLX's bowl, flattened, covered tightly with 4 layers of plastic wrap, and placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator..Final dough entered the refrigerator at 1:50 PM EST on Wednesday, 02-25-09..

Final Dough Temperature: 68F

Yield: 2,698g (5 lb. 15.1 oz.) final dough

Baker's Percentage Formula

Milk---------38.64 %








Raisins----- 22.73



Total-------218.33 %

My main questions to those more familiar with overnight, cold, bulk fermentation are, "How do my salt and yeast percentages appear to you??"..I originally figured out the percentage of salt for a recipe containing 1,135g (40 oz.) of bread flour..Which was a percentage of 1.25%..The 170g (6 oz.) of butter also contains salt, although I do not know at what percentage..It is my intention to bake this bread in my 8.5" Pullman pans, and to perhaps even ice several loaves with a vanilla frosting..

Thanks in advance to anyone able to critique this recipe, and to possibly offer suggestions for improving it..




AndyKornkven's picture

"The Dough Should Pass the Windowpane Test and Register 77 to 81 Degrees....."

This sentence, or one like it, occurs throughout the Formulas section of Peter Rinehart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  I know what the windowpane test is.  But I don not recall the author explaining why the temperature of the dough should rise so significantly after being kneaded for 6-10 minutes; nor do I recall him instructing what to do if your dough does not make it to the prescribed temperature range.

I always stick my trusty digital thermometer (bought from King Arthur Flour) into the kneaded dough, and not once yet has my dough registered above 74 degrees.  I've tried kneading for additional minutes, and that seems to raise the dough a degree or two.  Am I doing something wrong?  Do I need to turn up the thermostat in my house?

Any comments are appreciated. Thank you!

MikeC's picture

Semolina experiment

I am still extremely new to this forum, as well as to bread baking in general.  I am enjoying reading all of your posts, and appreciate greatly the opportunity to learn from your successes and/or tribulations.  I am sticking with straight doughs for now, and working them only by hand, in the hope that I will develop my feel for the dough. 

For these loaves, I used the following recipe:

400g KA Bread Flour

200g Semolina Flour

12g SAF instant yeast

1T Diastatic Malt Powder

2t Salt, dissolved in

420g water at 125 degrees

I mixed the dry ingredients together, then added the water/salt.  I let this rest for 20 minutes.

I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and kneaded conventionally for approximately 10 minutes, did a windowpane test to determine dough development, then returned the dough to a lightly oiled bowl to rest until almost triple (which took only about 1 hour)

At that point I folded the dough and returned it to the bowl to rest for an additional hour, at which point it slightly more than doubled.

I divided the dough in half, and shaped two batards, covered them with a damp towel and a plastic bag, then let them proof. I preheated my oven to 525.  When the loaves were proofed, I scored them, then I added a cup of water to a preheated sheet pan sitting on the bottom rack of my oven.  I placed the loaves, on parchment, on the preheated baking stone on the middle shelf, turned the heat down to 470F and misted every thirty seconds for three minutes.  At ten minutes I removed the sheetpan from the oven. 

Semolina loaves

Here's the crumb, apparently I manhandled the dough...

I probably should have left these in the oven a little longer.  The crumb is not as open as I would have liked, but the texture is wonderfully soft and moist.  The flavor is everything I expect in an italian bread, and I think the ratio of semolina flour is ideal.

fsu1mikeg's picture

Stiff vs. Liquid--What's really the difference?

I ask this question because I had trouble converting my stiff starter to liquid recently.  I have a very active stiff starter that I refresh at 50% (per Dan Leader's formula).  It is very durable and always doubles within 8-12 hours.  I followed the advice I found on here to use 24g of my stiff starter plus 143g water/100 g flour to readjust the hydration to 130%.  It never rose even slightly, barely bubbled, and water appeared to separate and float on the top of the mixture.  I tried refreshing it for a few days at 130%, but same results day after day.  ANYWAY, I got to wondering if I wouldn't be better off just using my reliable stiff starter for all formulas calling for a liquid starter and just adjusting the hydration in the final dough.  My question is....

Is there a difference in the character of the finished bread when you use liquid starter as opposed to stiff starter?  In other words, aside from the inconvenience of having to re-calculate all formulas calling for a liquid starter, is there any legitimate difference in the resulting bread?





ericb's picture

"no-knead" bread with leftover starter

Due to a miscalculation, I ended up with 300g of leftover starter this afternoon. I decided to play around with this a bit, and used PR's Pain a 'lancienne technique to make the starter into a high-hydration dough. It worked so well that I thought I would share it with the group.

300g ripe starter (100% hydration)

75-90g bread flour

9.6g salt

Mix ingredients thoroughly with a spoon for a few minutes until gluten strands develop. I started with 75 grams, and added a few handfuls of flour until the dough was stiff enough to no longer be considered a batter. Cover and proof for 1 hour.

Prepare the counter with a thick layer of flour, about 8"x8". Turn out the proofed dough onto the flour. Flop the dough over to coat the other side, and fold in thirds like a business letter. Transfer to parchment paper, seam side up.

Set your oven to 450 and let the dough proof on the counter while oven comes up to temp. Bake on a bread stone or baking sheet for... well, I can't remember how long, but you'll figure it out. 20 minutes or so, I guess.

The resulting dough closely resembles the chewy texture and buttery taste of "no-knead" bread.

This is nothing to write home about, but it was kind of a fun, quick way to use up 300g of extra starter. 

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Sourdough pet peeve

I've been baking with sourdough for about a month now with good results, but most of the stuff I've made has been by feel, not a recipe. So I go looking for recipes online, my cook book collection being a little sparse right now, and I find tons of recipes.  I have one problem, though: they specify however much starter, but not what hydration that starter is.

What do you do in this situation? I've been assuming 100% hydration starter and going from there.

krekdayam's picture

garlic with little effort

Procedure for preparing a few days worth of mild garlic  

What you need

30 minutes of free time

the desire for garlic

As much garlic as you want, probably 3 heads, Minimum 50 cloves recommended. If you are going to the effort, make it worth the effort

Olive oil


a sharp knife

a frying pan

the top to a frying pan

a stove top,  BBQ, small thermonuclear device, or other controllable heat source

A spoon, or a fork, or chopsticks to stir the garlic in the frying pan

A preferred beverage

Optional: Bread & Cheese, maybe some jamon de jabugo 

If you prepare garlic , the accesories are probably available

Procedure Heat frying pan to "low to medium" heat, put in olive oil to  cover the bottom of the pan

Cut off the root end of each garlic clove.


Don't bother peeling

put the unpeeled garlic in the frying pan and cover it. Walk away to enjoy a cool refreshing beverage,

return occasionally to stir . The skins fall off with stirring. This is the equivalent of blanching tomatoes or peaches, but smells better. When all of the garlic is soft, they are done.  

Once cooled, add salt on the naked garlic. Or don't.   The result is good for everything from spreading on the good bread, to scrambled eggs, to spaghetti sauce, to any appropriate destination .