The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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La masa's picture
La masa

Hello from Spain!

Hello all, I've been a long time lurker here, and at last I decided to join this community.

I've been baking for 2 or 3 years with more or less success, but now I'm getting consistently good results.

I bake mostly sourdough, and my everyday loaf recipe is:

190 gr whole rye starter (100%)

450 gr high gluten flour

270 gr water (68%)

8 gr salt

1/2 tsp (3 gr, more or less) home made wheat diastatic malt


This is the result, a bread I really like:



I've tried other recipes, yeasted white breads, sweet breads, but this is the one I always come back to. Hope you like it.

Shiao-Ping's picture

Celebrating the full moon?

In a couple of weeks' time I will be visiting my favourite tea houses in Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  Oolong tea has become a drug to me; the first sip of this green tea very early in the morning before the whole household stirs, whilst seeing the sun rise, is like heaven to me.  My tea is my ticket to heaven.

Today is one special day for all of the Chinese in the world - the Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival (more like the Mid-Spring Festival for me down under).  This festival has been celebrated since the 7th century in the Chinese Tang Dynasty.  None of the stories, or legends, as to how and why this festival came into being has ever sounded credible to me.  I hadn't thought of it before but now I think perhaps this festival began more as a way of showcasing the ancient Chinese excellence in astrology, because this day, the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese Lunar calendar, is considered the day when the moon is the fullest and brightest each year.

The Chinese poet, Lee Bai or Li - Bai (701 - 762) in Tang Dynasty, died from trying to scoop the full moon out of the lake while drinking and dancing to the moon, a drowned drunkard basically.  The following is one of his poems that I love the most; I had it written in mad running style Chinese characters for me; while he drank wine, I drink tea:




I made a sourdough, intending to have it with Chinese sausage in a sort of open sandwich tonight to celebrate the full moon.  I used the "trinity" for Chinese stock pot - soy sauce, sugar & garlic (and I threw in sesame oil too) to flavour this sourdough:




When I was stirring my starter in the soy sauce mixture trying to break it up, I thought I must have poisoned the little beasties - there was absolutely no sign of life.  And sure enough, the dough, after 4 hours of fermentation, was flat as a pancake, dead as a door knocker!  Fortunately, it sprang up in the oven, maybe by 50 - 75%.  The raw garlic was so potent that while it was in the oven baking, I felt sorry for my poor neighbours.  I couldn't even say I liked the smell.  I don't know why I put in so much raw garlic in the first place - maybe I was trying to make a statement.  It really is not good form to be biting into a piece of bread so full of garlic; I mean, not on a night of beautiful full moon!






My Formula

  • 350 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 350 g bread flour + 1 tsp Chinese five spices

  • 190 g water

  • 30 ml sesame oil

  • 15 g dark soy sauce

  • 20 g sugar

  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (two cloves should be plenty)

  • 6 g salt

Total dough weight 1.1 kg and total dough hydration 70%







ArieArie's picture

Newbie saying hello


Hi!   My name is Arie and I'm a breadoholoic..


I'm lurking around this board for a short while. Very interesting and tons of experienced people around here (and exceptionally civilized too :)..


I started baking bread over 30 years ago. I have no training and when I started this there was no Internet message boards to learn from.. ) 


I learned by trial and error (lots of those) and developed a couple of recipes which I liked. 


After moving to the San Francisco area I fell in love with sourdough dread and started to play with it, again from scratch, by trial and error. 


I ended up with a great recipe which I and all my family and friends really like. 

more and more people were asking me for the recipe, and I ended up posting it on my website ( )..


After reading this board for a while I realized that I am using the wrong terminology, and the process I follow is very different from traditional sourdough bread. But, I am baking this bread for over 10 years and I like it the way it is. 

Another Hobie of mine is beer, which I consider Bread in a liquid state.. in the past year I started to combine techniques and ingredients which make both bread and beer more exciting. 

I used my sourdough  starter to brew beer (I call it sourdough beer) and I use wort or DME (malt extract) for add to the dough.. And sometime I use malted barley as a crunchy topping on my bread.


I want to thank you for this great board and I hope to be able to contribute to the discussion.




OldWoodenSpoon's picture

How do you control temperatures

for fermentation, resting and proofing? Or, do you...

I am trying to learn so I read a lot about building bread, but one (well, one at a time) thing I keep seeing, I don't get.  For example, I was just reading about making Scali on SteveB's web site at Bread Cetera. Thank you Steve, that is a great site, and the breads are gorgeous. There are multiple references to rising and resting at different and very specific temperatures for a specified time.  I see resting the biga overnight at 70F.  I see the ferment at 76F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and I see proofing at 74F for 1 1/2 hours.  I see all this, and I understand it, but how do you do it?

How do you manage to control your temperatures so precisely in order to follow those instructions?  My house has variable and not all that well controlled temperatures.  They rarely, and never predictably, match the requirements of any given recipe at any particular time.  Is it as simple (not to say easy) as learning to vary the times to compensate for the temperatures?  Cooler takes longer, and warmer takes less time?  Those variations have to have an impact on the results though.  Can you compensate for that as well, or do you just take what comes of it?  I need help getting my brain around this so I can start trying to practice it.


ericjs's picture

Pugliese followup

Here's loaf number two which after shaping went into the fridge, came out 24 hours later and proofed for an hour before baking. Pretty similar to the last one.

(Apologies for the terrible picture...I only managed a couple of attempts before my batteries died and I was stuck with trying to adjust an over-exposed flash shot.)

That extra bit in the front is the last bit of yesterday's loaf...I'd forgotten there was still a piece in my bag which I'd brough back from work.

(P.S. I've just color-corrected the image to show the yellowish crumb (yes the color of the stone it's on is yellowish also)

LouisDeMa's picture

Anyone have a recipe for Italian Pepper Biscuits?

Hi all - I'm new at this but I am looking for a recipe for Italian Pepper Biscuits - I used to live in Astoria NY where there was this great Italian Bread shop and they always had them - I have retired to the Philippines and as you can imagine - I can't find anything like them here.  This is more like a twice baked bread - done in the style of a biscotti - baked once then cut into slices and baked again - not sweet and does not have anylthing but lots of cracked black pepper!  I have been searching (on the net) for days now and can not find anything that sounds close.  Anyone out there know what I am talking about and have a recipe?  Thanks in advance, Louis


davidg618's picture

Dough Handling?

The photo's below are from a recent bake, but I've seen the same phenomena on multiple previous bakes. The first photo shows the bread's crumb at the very center of the boule. One can see it's relatively closed. The second photo shows the crumb nearer the edge of the same loaf. The crumb appears much more open, to me. I'm not certain the photos illustrate it as much as my eye perceives the difference.

I think the difference is attributible to the way I preshape, and shape the boules, but I'm not certain. I shape boules following the instructions I've learned from watching multiple videos, and recently at KA Baking Center. On every boule I recall shaping the center of the loaves have been more closed than the periphery. Any comments re alternative causes, and, more importantly, how I might achieve a more homogeneous crumb will be appreciated.

Thanks, in advance.

David G.

davidg618's picture

Vermont SD and DiMuzio Pain au levain twained

I recently made Hamelman's Vermont sourdough, and especially liked the flavor layer contributed by the ten-percent whole rye flour. However, my favorite bread in this genre remains Dan DiMuzio's Pain au levain formula. I think the stiff levain and the ten-percent whole wheat flour create a more complex flavor profile. So I took what I like from both, and baked a couple of loaves yesterday.

The formula:

480g ripe starter (67% Hydration)

Final dough weight: 1700g

Hydration: 67%

KA Bread Flour: 90% (we like a chewy crumb and crust)

Hodgson Mill Whole Rye Flour 10%

H2O: 67%

Salt: 2%

I ripened the starter, using my usual 3-build method, over the 24 hours before making the dough: 4 minutes, speed 1; 30 minute autolyse; added salt; 3 minutes speed 2 (Kitchenaid stand mixer)

Bulk proof: 2 hours and 15 minutes with S&F at 45 and 90 minutes.

Pre-shaped two boules, 750g and 925g--I have two different size brotforms--rested 15 minutes, final shaped.

Final proof: large boule, 1 hour 45 minutes, small boule 2 hours 15 minutes--I baked them serially; I need a bigger baking stone:-(

Initial temperatute. 500°F; 10 minutes with steam, lowered temperature at 5 minutes to 450*F; at 10 minutes vented oven, baked 18 minutes and 15 minutes more respectively.

I also used dmsynder's before and after steaming procedure see Sourdough bread: Good results with a new tweak of my steaming method

The results: We like it! The difference between this and a pain au levain true to DiMuzio's formula is subtle, a slightly more accented note from the rye flour than whole wheat flour, and the stiffer levain lends its more complex flavor profile.

and the crumb...

David G

Shiao-Ping's picture

Olive & Rosemary Oregano Sourdough

We made olive bread at Artisan II course, SFBI, using double hydration method (see this post for a description of double hydration).  At the time I felt the bread came out a bit dense because, with the double hydration method, you actually end up mixing the dough for quite a long time.  The method is supposed to help build up the dough strength before any add-ins are incorporated into the dough. 

With this Olive & Rosemary Oregano Sourdough, I wanted to experiment if I could first build up the dough strength with stretch & folds by hand, then incorporate the olives and herbs.  What I did was after the usual autolyse of 30 minutes, I did the first set of stretch & folds, waited 3o minutes, then mixed in the add-ins by way of the 2nd set of stretch & folds.  Perhaps because this dough was lower hydration than my usual dough (which is well over 70%), I found that some strength and good elasticity had already developed towards the end of the first set of stretch and folds.  So, I was happy to incorporate the olives and herbs at the 2nd set of stretch and folds.  

My kids are on school holiday this week; it's a week day today but felt like a Sunday for us.  Here is the sourdough we enjoyed at today's lunch table.     





My Formula

  • 704 g starter @75% hydration

  • 412 g water

  • 60 ml or 4 tbsp of olive oil (note: 4 tablespoonfuls of olive oil is 60 ml but not 60 grams; it is about 40 to 44 grams in weight. The SFBI formula that we worked on at the Artisan course does not use olive oil.)

  • 704 g bread flour

  • 17 g salt (I used only 1.5% of total flour because there is also salt in olives.)

  • 280 g pitted kalamata olives, rinsed in water and drained (I used 25% of total flour)

  • Chopped rosemary (I used only a sprig of 20 cm in length; this turned out to be on the light side, you could easily have 2 to 3 times amount of what I used).

  • Chopped oregano (I used only 3 sprigs; this also turned out to be too little, you could at least triple the amount I used. Also note the SFBI formula uses Thyme, not rosemary or oregano.)

  • Extra Whole Wheat flour to coat the olives (just before olives are to be incorporated into the dough); this is said to prevent the olives from being meshed during mixing, but I don't find it necessary.

Total dough weight 2.16kg (to be divided into two pieces); total dough hydration 70% (note: SFBI formula is 66% hydration) 



  1. Mix all ingredients (except the olives and the herbs) by hand

  2. Autolyse 30 minutes

  3. Do the first set of stretch and folds of 30 - 40 strokes

  4. After 30 minutes, incorporate all the olives and herbs at the 2nd set of stretch and folds

  5. After another 40 minutes, perform the 3rd set of stretch & folds

  6. After another 40 minutes, divide the dough to two pieces and pre-shape to tight balls

  7. Rest for 20 minutes

  8. Shape to tight balls

  9. Proof for 2 hours then place in refrigerator to retard (I did 18 hours)

  10. Bake next morning with steam at 230 C for 20 minutes and 220 C for another 20 minutes







Some thoughts on this bake:

(1) The dough was slightly over-fermented as there was not very much oven spring.  From the time the dough was mixed to the time it went into the fridge, it was 5 hours.  Adding the 18 hours retardation, total fermentation was 23 hours.  This normally would not be too much, but I wonder if my active starter has meant that I should shorten the proofing time before the dough gets into the refrigerator.

(2) 5% olive oil increases the keeping quality of the sourdough; the bread stays fresh longer and toasts beautifully.  The oil gives the crumb a very light texture.



SylviaH's picture

Jeffrey Hamelman's Golden Raisin Loaf

This is a delicious tasting bread, even with all my mess up's making it...I forgot to put in my was sitting under my arm and I kept ignoring it..until all was mixed.  Then I added it .....  Yikes!  Well, it seemed to be okay.  I could have just started over with a fresh batch of ingredients.  I will have to lower my oven came out a little dark and about 5 or 10 minutes longer in a lower temperature oven..I Think..might have been better...Anyway, Im going to blame it all on the ill feeling I have been having all day since we ate out last night!!  We won't be going back to that resturant!  The best thing and only thing I have had all day is the cantelope and a slice of this still slightly warm bread.  I love the oatmeal in this formula and I used KA organic white wheat.  The levain definately adds a lovely tone!  I can just imagine how good this bread will be next time around!  :)