The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Today's Bake - And A Shout Out To Trevor J., + Others

JamieOF's picture

Today's Bake - And A Shout Out To Trevor J., + Others

Good morning!

Anyone who's read a few of my posts knows I've struggled with any hydration over 70%. While I've had great success with doughs between 65-68% hydration, I knew my "handling skills" were lacking so I have been making a conscious attempt at higher hydration doughs to challenge myself to improve. I started using as high as 5% VWG to strengthen the gluten, but some fine folks here talked me into ditching that and working with regular AP flour only, which I did.

So, in my "studies", I've noticed, for one thing, that I was being too gentle with my doughs, especially in early sets of S&Fs, I wasn't working the gluten hard enough. Now I'm learning to feel the dough better and learning to recognize when "enough is enough". So, to those of you who talked me into stopping the use of VWG, I wholeheartedly thank you.

Now, that still left me with the issue of handling, forming and shaping a sticky dough. Because of the stronger gluten structure I was getting, it wasn't as bad, but it was still sticking to the board and there were mornings and evenings when I certainly didn't want a member of any clergy close to me. Frustrating wasn't the word, and I'm sure many of you have been there, if not ALL of you at one point or another.

So early last week, I found Trevor J. Wilson's YouTube channel. I watched all his videos, watched them again, and then went back to watch some more, repeating certain segments numerous times to learn his handling techniques, especially in his "Champlain Bread" video. Well, to call what I experienced a revelation would be an understatement.

The dough for the loaves below was the plain and simple 1:2:3 method, which brings it to just a tad under 72%, and using Trevor's technique of almost exclusively using a bench scraper for shaping was by far, the easiest I've ever done. Literally nicely tight clean floury feeling balls after pre-shaping, simple and easy final shaping, and (to me, anyway) a marked increase in the oven spring.

So Trevor, thank you for your videos, and I mean that sincerely.

So, basically, the recipe for the loaves below are:

8:00 AM - Make a levain with 50 gms active whitestarter @ 100%, 100 gms water and 100 gms WAP flour. Leave in cool room temp, ~ 65 deg, to ferment for 8 hours

4:00 PM - Mix all levain, 500 gms water and 750 gms flour, rest 30 mins.

4:30 PM - Mix  in 14 gms fine sea salt.

5:00 PM - S&F

5:30 PM - S&F

6:00 PM - S&F

6:30 PM - Bulk ferment for 2 hours @ moderate room temp, ~ 70 deg

8:30 PM - Divide and preshape and rest 15 mins (this was actually a pleasure)

8:45 PM - Shape and place in floured bannetons

9:00 PM - Proof for 1 hr at room temp

10:00 PM - Into the fridge for cold overnight proofing

8:00 AM - Bake in a combo cooker one at a time right out of fridge in preheated 450 deg oven for 25 mins covered and then 20 mins uncovered.

I left them fairly light as they're for a friend who's wife and kids prefer this to nicely caramelized crusts, so unfortunately no crumb shot.

So again, these beautiful loaves are more a result of the work and knowledge of the fine members here than it is to me or anything I bring to the table. Yes, it was with my hands, but they'd be useless without your input. I know it's been said before by many, but there's a reason most Google searches in bread, especially sourdough, has a list of hits from The Fresh Loaf at the top.

In closing, a huge thank you to Floyd for providing us with The Fresh Loaf!

Happy baking!


Ru007's picture

I've been obsessing over Trevor's videos lately too. I totally agree, they're incredible. 

Well done, so glad you're getting great results :)

Happy baking


alfanso's picture

Yes, Trevor definitely has a way with dough.  For even higher hydrations, when the desire or mood strikes, check out the now well published video from SFBI on handling them with a drywall taping knife.  The ace home baker SteveB posted his rendition and experience on TFL a few short months ago, which spurred me to do the same.  It makes handling 80% hydration seem like child's play.

really beautiful and really well done!


dabrownman's picture

one for 95% hydration sourdough ciabatta and one for 120% hydration SD glass bread!  If anyone can do it... Trevor can.  Then he can squeeze in a Pain di Altimura with 100% durum at 80% hydration too.

JamieOF's picture

120% hydration SD glass bread

I had to Google that. Never heard of it before and can't imagine working with that.


dabrownman's picture

Well done and happy baking 

leslieruf's picture

I have watched a couple of Trevor's videos but I need to re watch and look at some more too. my shaping skills aren't good on higher hydration doughs either.

well done


phaz's picture

Spreading the word, and videos of a fellow Vermonter

joc1954's picture

I must admit as well that when I started using Trevor's scoop & stretch method to develop the gluten I got much better results. The flour with the highest gluten amount I can get here in Slovenia is probably between 11% and 12%, most of the time I am baking with flours ranging between  10% to 11.5%. Watching Trevor's videos was really a joy and very instructional.

Before I started to use his technique I had always problems with runny dough when trying to push hydration over 75% or 80%, but now I can go much higher while getting better results. I was strictly following the instructions in Tartine book one and three, but with the gluten amount of an AP flour I had to lower the hydration to get decent results.

Well done JamieOF and happy baking!



hreik's picture

loaves.  Just gorgeous!


Danni3ll3's picture

I am going to have to go back and watch Trevor's videos again! That oven spring is huge!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Those are beautiful, and it sounds like they were a pleasure to make as well. You must feel great, giving something that lovely to friends. Well done putting all the advice together and coming up with something wonderful!

Arjon's picture

I still remember the first time I made a loaf that was basically as good as it could be. You should be very pleased with yourself.