The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Strange Changes

proth5's picture

Strange Changes

I was away from home and baking for a long time, but now I'm back (at least in the way that I count as being "at home.")

I had the chance to be with one of my oldest friends and some of his friends the other night and it hit me like a ton of bricks that my time in Okinawa had changed me in some pretty profound ways and that I will never be quite the same person ever again.  I think it all came out on the plus side, but the changes are real.

 So why keep baking the same old bread?  So I decided to goose up some of my formulas.

 The bear is still getting me as I get my hand skills back (Will I ever be happy with my scoring? No.  I'm learning to live with that.) and of course, if you change everything, consistency (which is the bugaboo of little minds, but is something I like) takes a backseat.  But though I'm not a picture taker the levain baguettes this week were worth a snap.

Levain baguette 68

 Formula (I'm leaving the math as an exercise because so many people like grams and I'm an ounces an pounds kind of gal.)

 Using KA AP flour.

 Liquid levain from liquid seed (inoculation 20%)

12% of the flour pre fermented

Hydration - a whopping 68% (!)

Salt 2%


Flour, pre ferment, and water into the mixer (hooray I finally got me that mini spiral!) mix to shaggy mass.  Autolyse for 20 minutes.

 Add salt.

 Mix 5 minutes on the sole speed.  (could be mixed by hand using the "fold in the bowl" method)

 5 hours total bulk ferment, one fold.

 Pre shape (in oblongs - yes, I'm going rogue!)


 Proof on couche 1 or so hours - seam up.


Bake at 500F for 4 minutes with steam then 14 minutes at 480F with convection.  Remove from oven.


Bear is still getting me on the scoring, but that crumb is getting to look pretty nice (too bad I can't take pictures - it never was "my thing" and I'm thinking that part of me didn't change.)  The crumb is profoundly yellow and the taste as always.  Crust stays crispy even after cooling.

And I'm loving that new oven.  Singing loaves every time!


I'm also working with a commercially yeasted baguette with two pre ferments, but that isn't ready yet.  Stay tuned.

For any Marines out there - my best wishes as the anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps approaches.  Stay safe.  And if I may say it "oorah!"


Happy Baking!


LindyD's picture

Doesn't appear that you've lost any skills, Pat, judging from those lovely baguettes.

Good to know you're having fun with your new toys.

I'll pass on your good wishes to my USMC (ret) SIL.  Even up here in the boonies there'll be a Birthday Ball next weekend.

Semper Fi.

proth5's picture

there's a big ol' bear wandering around the kitchen - I just don't photograph those breads.

I think I'm getting back on track, though.

I knew there was a Marine connection there somewhere.  I was just the "pet civilian" for my Marines, but I think the connection ran pretty deep... I still miss them.

trailrunner's picture

My oldest son will appreciate the cheer. 

You haven't lost your " hands " at all ! Beautiful loaves . What kind of oven did you get ? I missed a lot of the TFL this past year while I too was away on a couple different jaunts. 

Do you use a stone ? What kind ? 

Also my maths are not good at all...I can do oz and pounds if you could give them....thank you ! Caroline

proth5's picture


.74 oz seed

1.1 oz flour

1.1 oz water

Final dough

Al of the levain

10.78 oz AP flour

6.86 oz water

.25 oz salt

I finally decided on a KitchenAid gas range with convection and a warming drawer.  The salesperson pointed out the proofing feature very proudly and I was forced to tell her that I would probably never use it.  But the oven has been great. 

I have a Hearthkit stone that I have used for many years.

Tell your son that one very grateful American thanks him for his service.  I understand and profoundly appreciate the warrior culture of the Marines.  I know that they are ready to fight.  But in the only maternal act  in which I have ever indulged, I told "my" Marines that they were to stay safe and I didn't want to see their names on "This Week."  I'm sure you feel the same.


wally's picture

Your bread doesn't look like you've picked up much rust during your time away.  Look forward to seeing more bakes from you now you're back at home.


proth5's picture


Trust me, the bear stalks the kitchen.  I think I went on too much of a bread binge and am just trying to do too much to make up for the time away.

I need to get my "mental mise en place" en place.  The "two pre ferment" baguette is coming along,though.

But thanks for your kind words!


trailrunner's picture

Will pass along to oldest and much loved son. He is a chef also so he wields a mighty knife to feed the fellow Marines. 

Appreciate the formula. Thank you.c