The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Two-Dough Bread from When French Women Cook - Measurement Caution

pdurusau's picture

Two-Dough Bread from When French Women Cook - Measurement Caution


I made my first attempt on the two-dough bread from When French Women Cook today. Both doughs age at least three (3) days so this was just a mixing day.

A caution on the measurements, they aren't consistent. For example

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (100g) (WRONG) as are all the flour measures except for all purpose flour. 

I had mixed all five flours by weight when I discovered the mistake. As is the dough looking more like dry concrete mix than dough. :(

For your future reference:

1/2 cup of all purpose (64.5g)

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (60g)

1/2 cup of corn flour (65g)

1/2 cup of rye flour (51g)

1/2 cup of whole wheat (65g)

Anyway, I will have another go at it again tomorrow. It looks interesting.

Hope everyone is at the start of a great week!


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

While you listed the flours, there are no listings for the weight of the water, salt, and yeast.

cranbo's picture

Thx for sharing those weights.

So how did the bread turn out? I was reading the recipe on Google Books but it's a bit strange. 

Dark dough hydration is around 46% (775g flour with 354g water aka 1.5c water)

Light dough hydration is around 63% (375g flour with 236g water aka 1c water) 

Yeast lists 2.5 envelopes, which could easily be 17.75g, which is 1.5% yeast by weight of flour. 

I think at 3 days in the fridge it will almost certainly overferment. With this amount of yeast, first doing 2 rises at room temp and then refrigerating for 3 days and THEN AGAIN shaping plus final proof will leave no food left for yeast & certainly some heavy brick bread. Maybe that's the intent of the recipe? 

Plus the recipe is squirrely with the "starter", which says make starter from some of water + 1c of AP flour + all of the yeast, add it to an unknown quantity of water until it floats, then add it back to the dough. This will affect the hydration somewhat.  

Maybe it's me, but it seems like this recipe needs some help...a lot less yeast, a good bit more water

pdurusau's picture

Apologies for not including the full recipe yesterday. There are two doughs, one dark and one light.

Dark dough:

All-purpose white flour 375g

Yeast - 1 1/2 envelopes

Water - 1 1/2 cups

Buckwheat Flour 60g

Corn Flour 65g

Rye Flour 51g

Whole Wheat Flour 65g

Salt 15g

Walnut oil 1/4 cup

Walnut meats chopped fine 1 cup


Light dough

All-purpose white flour 375g

Yeast 1 envelope

Salt 7 1/2g

Walnut oil 3 TB

Water 3/4 to 1 cup


To bake the bread:

Butter 1 1/2 TB of butter for baking sheet


1 egg while

1 TB water


Prep is the same for both doughs:

Use 125g of the all-purpose flour and the yeast with enough of the water to make a soft ball of dough as the starter.

Immerse the starter in a bowl of water at 110F and prepare the bulk of the dough while its starts fermenting.

For the bulk of the dough, mix the flours (or the all-purpose flour for the light dough) with the salt and for the dark dough, the chopped walnuts. Make a well in the flour and add the remaining water and walnut oil. Gather into a ball.

****Departure from recipe - I use King Arthur AP and I added 6 tsp of water to get a nice ball of the dark dough pre-starter.****

When the starter floats to the top of the water (about half of it will be above the water) pick it up by hand and let the water run out between your fingers. Add to the bulk of the dough and knead for a full 10 minutes. Dough should retain a thumbprint well. 

Brush the top of each dough with a bit of oil and let double. Pinch down and let rise a second time. Punch down and cover loosely with plastic and keep refrigerated for at least three days. 

After at least 3 days, punch each dough down and knead them together. Shape them into four 1 1/2 pound loaves. Grease and sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal. Set loaves on the baking sheet and cut deep slashes into each loaf. Let proof until doubled in bulk. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 425F oven.

Mix egg white and water lightly. Bake over the surface of each loaf and bake another 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Excellent with all cheeses and with plain unsalted butter.

This is getting long so I will report my experience so far in another post.


PS: The recipes are corrected and the text is sometimes the same and sometimes a paraphrase as I try to keep the book open and type at the same time. ;-)


pdurusau's picture

I made the dark dough today with much better results, so far!

I had to add 6 tsp of water to get a good ball on the dark dough main flours. But then I am using King Arthur AP and that isn't unusual. 

In an hour the dark dough more than doubled in size and it is rising again. 

Given the aging process and limits on how long I can stand I am going to make the light dough tomorrow. 

So, probably looking at Friday to take one-half of each dough making the final loaves. Then I will repeat with the other half of the dough on Saturday, mostly to see what I need to do about the cooking time.

It may just be me but 425F for a total of 25 minutes seems a bit short. Not that I will stop there Friday if the internal temp isn't at least 205F or so but I make want to go for a "bold" bake on Saturday. ;-)

Hope everyone is having a great week!




pdurusau's picture

A quick update on the 2 dough bread. 

I made the light bread dough today and the hydration was perfect as specified in the recipe. Dough is in the first rise now and after one more, it's off to the fridge. 

This is my first time through the recipe so keep your fingers crossed! Given the long time frame and space in the fridge required, working out the kinks may take a while.

Hope everyone is having a great week!


pdurusau's picture

I made all four loaves of the two-dough bread this past weekend and it was great! 

I did bake it about 5 minutes longer than the recipe's 25 minutes, until internal temp was between 205 - 210 F. 

Actually doubled after forming the loaves and even had a bit of oven rise.

Two-Dough Loaf

Here is a close up of the crumb:

Two-Dough Crumb Closeup

I suspect but don't know that mixing the light dough with the dark as the last step before making the loaves accounts for the tender crumb. Great crust BTW.

Definitely one that I will be making again!

Hope everyone is having a great day!


cranbo's picture

Looks good Patrick. Looking at your notes again, the recipe makes more sense with your corrections. 

With your corrections, dark dough hydration is around 57% (616g flour with 354g water aka 1.5c water) instead of 46% (big difference!)

Calculated in total this puts the dough at around 59% hydration, without accounting for the extra water that's added by raising/floating the starter in the water. So my guess it probably ~60% hydration. 

425F for 25 minutes may be a bit short for 1.5lb (680g) loaves. Then again, they are not very large loaves, and they do not have a very high hydration. 

pdurusau's picture

Sorry, one more correction, the loaf weight should be about 16 oz per loaf. Or at least that is what I scaled when dividing it up for baking. 

Appreciate the comments on hydration. 

Despite it taking a week, I am looking forward to baking this bread again!

Hope you are at the start of a great weekend!