The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sunday loaf

david earls's picture
david earls

Sunday loaf

I'm intimidated by the breads that appear on this forum, the creativity of the bakers, and then by how modest the goals i set for myself are. This flour/yeast/salt/water combo, for example, meets my goals - 

78% hydration, preferment started last night, dough mixed at 7:45 this morning, out of the oven at at 6:15 p.m. What I lack in skill and and imagination I compensate for with patience.


yozzause's picture

That my friend is no lack of skill, it may be a substantial reward as well, it is very very impressive. You need not feel intimidated,you have set the bar high and that is what we can all strive toward. Perfect open texture how was the crust. was the loaf put onto a couche  for the final ferment or perhaps you can elaborate a little more on your success for us to share

kind regards Yozza    

yeasty-loaf's picture

I can only dream of crumb texture like that. Well done! A beautiful Loaf. 



dabrownman's picture

perfect that any pro would die for.  Well done!

gmagmabaking2's picture

feed my sourdough and be very patient... I would love to have bubbles like yours... patience, patience, patience.

It is 1 pm... maybe a slow rise and then an overnight retard... p a t i e n c e... 

Thanks for the inspiration.


david earls's picture
david earls

to this old man. Two secret ingredients:

1. p a t i e n c e. Throw the clock away, Long, slow proofing that doubles or triples in size is what you want for great gluten development. I proof in translucent tubs and use my trusty proofing stick to track expansion. The proofing stick is a leftover piece of 1x2" that is marked with alternating dark and light bands at about 1" intervals.

2. Fire bricks. Yep, the ones you buy at the home improvement store to line an indoor wood or pellet stove with. These collect and radiate the perfect heat for oven spring. I heat mine up on an electric burner before putting them into the oven.

My inner contrarian says that radiant heat - not ambient air temperature - is what produces oven spring, and that, in a nutshell, is where that open texture comes from.

polo's picture

 Good name for a bread that is so holey............................hahahahahahahahahaha.

I know, I know...........keep your day job polo.

david earls's picture
david earls



Very simple loaf. For the preferment:

100g King Arthur Sir Lancelot (or equivalent) (50%)
100g water (50%)
1g yeast (1%)

Start the preferment the night before the dough. About eight hours of proofing is right.

For the dough:
100g King Arthur Sir Lancelot (or equivalent) (50%)
56g water (28%)
1g yeast (1%)
3.5g salt (1.75%)
all the poolish

Mix 9 minutes with dough hooks on hand mixer, paying attention to the gluten development. The dough will be very slack but should form a ball in the mixing bowl. Turn dough into oiled proofing container (I use translucent tubs so I can measure the volume).

First fold-and-stretch at triple volume - around three hours. After s-f, return to proofing container. Proof until at least double in volume. Second s-f. Return to proofing container and repeat proof.

After two s-f's, the dough should be developing good gluten content, so you can shape the loaf. I stretch the dough out just long enough to fit the fire bricks diagonally.. I place it seam-side up on a floured sheet of parchment. Cover with well-floured couche,

Secret ingredient 2 comes into play here. Heat two fire bricks on a burner (I have an electric hotplate for this). Preheat oven to 450. When oven temp is ready, place the fire bricks into the oven (careful here - they're HOT). Turn the dough onto a second sheet of parchment so the seam-side is down. The loaf will be quite flat, maybe an inch tall. Place the parchment on the fire bricks, spray with water, bake until done. My oven is very small, so I have to reduce the heat to 350 after about ten minutes to prevent scorching the top. If your oven is roomy, you may not have to do this. Baking usually takes about 30 minutes.

That's all there is to it. The holes appear as the loaf springs during baking.Just remember what they famously said in that old beer commercial:

"Practice, practice, practice."

 You can use the formula to scale up or down as needs be.