The Fresh Loaf

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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.

abqhudson's picture

How do I make Liquid levain for the Kayser Monge recipe?

How do I make liquid levain for the Kayser Monge baguette recipe?  Will it keep, or do I have to make it a day or two before it is used?  I'm a newbee, so, please be easy.  Thanks for any help.

audra36274's picture

Well Sylvia started it ! The meatball sandwich rolls on....

    I couldn't let Sylvia and Pamela have all the red stained shirts! I did use Sylvia's meatball recipe, but instead of rolling the out by hand used and ice cream scoop to put the meatball in the bread crumbs. NEXT time I will only use a cookie dough scoop. They were way too big! I was scooping, rolling and putting them straight in the oil when I stopped to count. Sylvia had 18 or so and here is 10,11, 12. Uh oh. Too late. Good thing I have a big mouth. They were great ya'll. Thanks for the inspiration. My bread crumbs vanished somehow, but they were great.

hansjoakim's picture

Plat du jour

Here's one of my favourite rye loaves:

70 percent rye with hot soaker

The loaf is a 70% rye with a hot rye meal soaker. The hydration is around 80%, and I put approx. 15% of the total flour in the soaker. The pre-gelatinized flour contribues to a very soft, moist and tender crumb, and gives the loaf excellent keeping qualities. The rest of the flour is whole rye (about 55%) and ordinary bread flour (30%). I make it with a firm white starter and a tiny speck of fresh yeast, about the size of a small pea (just under 2 gr.), so the loaf develops a nice, round flavour during a 2 hr bulk fermentation. Final proof is approx. 1hr 15 mins.

70 percent rye with hot soaker

This loaf is a decent compromise: It has the nice flavour of rye, and the added bread flour contributes significant strength and  lightness to the loaf. You could add different bread spices or herbs to it, but I think I prefer it plain.


For dinner, I opted for the feuillete with salmon tartar from Roux' pastry book. Well... I have been out of puff pastry for a couple of weeks, and I needed a good excuse to make some more ;-) Besides, I'd just seen a video of a chef making the quick/blitz/rough version of puff pastry, and I would like to have a go at it myself. I've made the classic version before (and I'm still blown away by the puffing power of classic puff), but never the quick version. The procedure is simple enough: Basically a buttery pie dough that is given turns, and brief rests in the fridge in between. One shouldn't do too many turns with quick puff, as that tends to break down the rough layers and diminish the volume of the end product. Enough of that... so I did four single turns on the pastry while the rye bulk fermented. No pain at all, and I was thoroughly surprised over how quick (and dirty) the method is.

I cut off a bit of the dough this afternoon to make dinner. The dough is rolled into a thin circle, and this is then rolled in granulated sugar. The sugar caramelizes in the oven, and adds a unique sweet crunch to the feuillete at each bite. Sweet sugar crunch, fresh salmon and buttery feuillete went down remarkably well in my book :)

Feuillete with salmon tartar

Roux writes that the rough version bakes up to about 75% of the volume attained by correctly rolled classic puff. Doing the rough version felt a bit like cheating, I'll gladly admit it, but for such savoury applications, I don't think it matters that much. I'll definitely go with the classic one for any ambitious dessert, but the rough version is very handy and comes together very quickly.

The inevitable: Left overs and scrap puff. Oh boy. What to do? Can't throw it away, can you? It's all butter and flour-y goodness, innit? My local grocery store had some perky raspberries the other day, so I thought a mille-feuille would finish off a long day.





Added June 27: I still had some of the rough puff pastry in my fridge, and figured I could use the rest to make some apple turnovers and a dessert this weekend. I picked up a nice batch of Royal Gala apples at the local grocery and made an apple filling. Instead of the usual vanilla/cinnamon flavoured filling, I tried a recipe flavoured with lemon juice and a liberal sprinkling of Calvados. *Yum*

Apple filling

So, for the turnovers, I sprinkled them with sugar and some chopped almonds just before baking. I think they turned out alright, but you can see that the rough puff version doesn't puff up as much as the classic one. Still tastes good, though.

Apple turnover

For the dessert this weekend, I opted for a recipe in Friberg's pastry book that I've been drooling over for a long time, but not had the opportunity to make before now. It's something he calls puff pastry apple points, and it's an interesting variation on the usual mille-feuilles. The puff pastry is baked as a thin sheet (i.e. weighed down by a second baking sheet on top for the first 15 mins.), and is cut into three consecutively thinner strips. The points are then made by stacking layers of puff, the Calvados apple filling and a Calvados cream. The whole thing is iced with ordinary whipped cream, and decorated with crumbs of left over baked puff. I think it turned out alright! It tasted great anyway, with a marked Calvados taste due to both the filling and the Calvados cream. By the way, here's how it's supposed to look: Photo from the book. Note that I took the photo before cutting into individual servings... slicing these mille-feuilles tend to become... messy. Pressing through the cream and cutting with a serrated knife through the pastry strips should do the trick.

Puff pastry apple points

dmsnyder's picture

San Joaquin Sourdough with White Whole Wheat

Today, I baked a couple of boules of San Joaquin Sourdough. The dough was 75% hydration. I used Guisto's Baker's Choice flour and 10% KAF White Whole Wheat. 

I baked the boules on a stone with my usual steaming setup. However, I poured more boiling water than usual over the hot lava rocks, because I wanted to see the effect of heavier steaming. As I had suspected from previous bakes, the effect was good oven spring and bloom but reduced grigne and a shinier crust.

The flavor is good, but I do think I prefer the rye over white whole wheat in this bread.


By the way, this dough makes very satisfactory pizza too.

Pizza made from a previous batch of dough, frozen for about a month.


davidg618's picture

Insanity can be defined as...

"doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome."

Then the counterpoint must be, "Sanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and getting the same results." If so, I'm sane! Well, maybe that's going a little too far.

Nonetheless, I am delighted, so far, with my results. I repeated D. DiMuzio's pain au levain formula, and my processes, and techniques as nearly as possible on two renderings seperated by a week in time. "As nearly as possible" is the key; for example I used up all the bread flour I had on hand the first week, so the second go used a new bag, probably for a different lot, but the same brand (King Arthur).

A photo of the two bakings: The loaf in the upper left corner is week one (we ate the second, and bigger loaf). The two front loaves are this week's effort. There are slight differences in appearance--nothing significant--the biggest being the difference in crust color between the two same week loaves. After 10 minutes baking, with steam, at 480°F I turned the oven down to 450°F for the left hand loaf (the smaller one, by weight), and 440°F for the right hand loaf, which had to bake an additional 10 minutes. (I'd done the same the week before, but the crust color was more nearly the same.)

This is the crumb from the first week's loaf. We haven't cut either of this week's loaves, but by the feel of them we expect the same degree of openess. The flavor of the first week's loaves is excellent: good sour from slowly building the starter (30% of the flour weight) over 24 hours, and overnight retarded bulk proofing; the whole wheat flour lends a distinctive base note, surpirsing because it's only 10% of the flour weight; and the high initial heat, and steam, give the crust a delightful toasted nuttiness. The final test will be the taste of the second week's loaves, but we don't expect any significant difference.

We entertain a lot; additionally, we live in a community that frequently comes together for potluck dinners. It's reached the point that I'm expected to serve or contribute a loaf or two of my bread, and a bottle or two of my home vinted (if that's not a verb it should be) wine. I want to be consistent, or nearly so, that's why I'm focusing, at the moment on only two formulae: DiMuzio's pain au levain, and Hitz' baguette's.

Next week: Baguette's for the second time.

Shiao-Ping's picture

Glorious Beetroot Almond Sourdough Bread (updated)

Colors excite me.  Often I buy a book because the cover page takes my fancy.   Eric Kayser's "Rund Ums Brot" is one such book.  When I bought it, I knew it was not in English; but all I want was to look at the pictures.   There is an expression in Chinese, your eyes want to eat ice cream too, very crude (or, in English, feast for the eyes?).   It was when I saw this page (below) that I went to google translator for help:



Eric Kayser's "Rund Ums Brot"                               page 108 (Pink Caramelised Almond Bread)


Google didn't seem to make sense, then I thought to myself how would it be possible that this book was in German but not in French or English?  My point was there should be an English or French version.  Then, it dawned on me, YES, this book is in English under a different title - "Beyond The Bread Basket."  This was not the first time that I bought same book twice, or same CD twice, or same clothes twice (or thrice, in different colors).   On page 130 of this latter book, it says the bread is a Pink Caramelized Almond Bread, using pink caramelized almonds (Oh, not pink pralines again!).  I cannot get my hands on these pink pralines because G. Detou has been politely avoiding my small order (more trouble than what it's worth to them). 


Eric Kayser's recipe has butter, sugar, milk, cream - the full Monty.  While the quantities are not large enough to qualify this bread as a brioche, I am not going to go that route again -  sourdough breads really don't need them.  The question remains - where would I get the red color?  Ahh, beetroot, my vegetable dye!  I once made a beetroot walnut chocolate cake that my son absolutely loved.  Think of a carrot cake that is full of walnut and chocolate pieces, then substitute beetroot for carrot!  You get an absolutely moist cake which guarantees you full degustation by the kids.  Beetroot is so good for them (and us). 


I thought it would be interesting incorporating this ingredient into a sourdough bread.  Walnut would normally be a good pairing except, hey, why not test out new choices (well, fine, almond is not new).  The white color of almond slivers is infinitely more attractive against the red of beetroot. 

So, here we go, we've got all our constituents lined up. 


My formula

200 g sourdough starter @ 75% hydration refreshed late afternoon

286 g Australian Laucke's Wallaby's bakers unbleached flour

134 g water

60 g sliver almond*

100 g beetroot (diced 0.5 - 1cm cubes)**

8 g salt

1.5 g instant yeast (or 1/2 tsp)


* I could easily get fresh beetroot and slow-roast it in oven to cook it, but it would be more work than challenge at this stage.  I need to work out the moisture content of these red darlings in order to get my dough hydration right.  I am shooting for 67.5% dough hydration, not very aggressive.  My technique is as yet not very good for high hydration dough.   I am working on 50% weight in beetroot as extra hydration for dough.

*  I am working on a combined almond & beetroot ratio of 40% flour, which may seem high for some.  Other than these, I have resisted the temptation of using any flavor improvers.  (But salt? No, I'd like to think it is there for the integrity of gluten development.)  As for the instant yeast, well, call me a chicken.


It's like a mission impossible at first trying to knead all this in....

Then, all of a sudden, after 6 - 7 min of kneading, it all came together.


I just went and had a peep.  At this very moment, the dough is peacefully going through its first-fermentation.  I shall return after a short night's cap myself to report on its further development.


Day Two  

It sang when it came out of the oven for over 3 min!  My son said, "Why is it crackling?"  

My daughter asked me what bread that is; I said, "Beetroot and Almond."  She goes, "Pee-Yew!"  So, there you go - one person's glorious bread is another person's pee-yew.   

The dough just before going into the oven (little did I know the color was to disappear in heat)                            


                                        Voila! Beetroot Almond Sourdough Bread


                                        The crumb


1.  Shape and color: I am happy with the boule shape and scoring but am disappointed that the pink disappeared.  (It was hot pink throughout, inside and out, before it was baked.)  Nontheless, the color of the crust is what I look for in a well-cooked loaf, warm, like harvest in autumn. 

2.  Aromas: The aromas from the crust, as well as from the crumb, are pleasant but faint even though the crust sang loudly as the bread came out of the oven.  In truth, beetroot is not one of those vegetables that gives off strong odors. 

3.  Crumb:  To my surprise, the crumb is distinctly creamy (or even golden) in color, despite the red dots of beetroot scattered about.  Its texture is elastic, typical of sourdough breads, and at the same time, moist and tender. 

4. Flavors:  Beetroot has a very faint sourness, as well as sweetness, taste.  Its color not withstanding, it does not have a domineering taste.  So as slivered almonds.  As a result, the flavors of this sourdough bread are those of a classic white sourdough bread with a bit of interesting features thrown in; ie, red dots for visual, and crunchiness (of almonds) for extra texture and mouthfeel.   

Well, it's not a bad sourdough (but no where near what the subject title of this post has announced!) .  My son has already told me, "Oh, I am not eating that!"  I am sure if the red dots in the bread are replaced by brownish chocolate bits, he'd be racing to have a piece.  My kids know their mother is someone who likes to have her imagination run free.  Their constant complaint is their mother ceases making them something once perfection is reached; she moves on to something else.  


Memory does not condition my choices.  I like to try new frontier.   


Try next time:  

Beetroot Salad Sourdough (another "pee-yew" idea?).  Shred raw beetroot and marinate it in lemon juice, salt, and a little bit olive oil; use the resulting red juice as part of the hydration for the dough, and mix in the raw beetroot in the dough.  The long fermentation will moderately cook the raw beetroot and hopefully still give some crunchiness to the soft crumb.   



ArtisanGeek's picture

New tool in “The Bread Baker’s Toolbox” ready to go

As promised, I have added another tool to my "Bread Baker's Toolbox" for anyone to use. I call this one "The Custom Batch Formula Tool". You use this one when you have a bread formula with the ingredient quantities already specified by weight and you want to create a custom batch size. The software does the math, calculating the Baker's Percentages and displaying the results for your custom batch in both grams and ounces (US). I chose these units because they are the most common used in bread formulas by the home baker. Some large batch formulas will use pound (lbs.) and fractions of pounds. This is simple enough to solve; If you want a custom batch for 5  pounds so you can have 5 one pound loaves, just multiply 5 x 16 to determine total ounces for your custom batch. Anyway, I've put this tool through the paces...its very fast and accurate. Sometimes the final dough weight will equal 699 ounces when you specified 700...this is because each ingredient is rounded to 1/100 of and ounce or 1/100 of a gram. (you don't want to work with numbers that look like this: 234.34453040304004). Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for improvements. Trust me, I can take the critical comments. As a software developer, I know that the product is never good enough for everybody and I can live with that....I just do my best:) Go to and follow the link. You can now choose between the Volume Conversion Formula  Tool and this new Custom Batch Formula Tool.

Custom Batch Formula Tool