The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Please critique my method

Teukros's picture

Please critique my method

I have been baking once or twice a week most weeks since October. I feel I have learned a lot and I'm
looking to improve my loaves.

I have a stand mixer but I don't use it - I'm not that good at mixing myself, but I have never been
happy with the results when I have tried to use the stand mixer. I don't worry that much about gluten
development - I never try the windowpane test - mixing and three sets each of stretch and folds, and
then envelope folds is all I do. But I think I am getting good results.

Anyway here is my formula and method from last Wednesday and Thursday (all ingredients were at room
temperature when mixed or incorporated).

360 g KA AP Flour (540 g total, 16.7% fermented)
090 g Whole Foods Whole Wheat flour
345 g Poland Spring Spring Water (405 g total, 75% hydration)
150 g 66.7% hydration starter (90 g KA AP flour, 60 g Poland Spring Spring Water)
014 g Morton Non-Iodized Table Salt (2.5% of the mass of the flour)
959 g (2.09 lb)

0800 Final feeding of 66.7% hydration AP starter (36/99/66, approximately 1/3/2)

1720 Mix together 360 grams AP flour, 90 grams of WW flour, 345 grams spring water, AND 150 grams 66.7% hydration AP starter.

Autolyze (35 minutes in oven at 85 F (oven light off)).

1755 Incorporate 14 grams of non-iodized table salt.
Stretch and fold in the bowl (with wet hands) #1 (double set).

*In between stretch and folds in the bowl, dough is kept in 85 F oven.

1835 Stretch and fold in the bowl (with wet hands) #2.

*In between stretch and folds in the bowl, dough is kept in 85 F oven.

1910 Stretch and fold in the bowl (with wet hands) #3.

*In between stretch and folds in the bowl, dough is kept in 85 F oven.

1945 Envelope fold #1. Placed into very lightly oiled large bowl (olive oil).

2020 Envelope fold #2. Closed one seam.

2055 Envelope fold #3. It ended up being something like a double set. I was worrying too much about trying to make the loaf round (without shaping it into a boule).

2105 Placed into a seasoned large banneton, covered with a towel folded twice (the top towel was misted), and placed into a large plastic bag and then into the refrigerator.

0535 Started preheating oven and stone with inverted stainless steel mixing bowl to 500 F. Removed banneton with loaf from plastic bag and then set on room temperature counter for one hour.

0640 Flipped out from banneton onto lightly floured peel. Still quite cold to the touch. Underproofed. Slashed and placed on hot stone under hot inverted stainless steel mixing bowl.

0658 Bowl removed. Impressive oven spring. Oven temperature reduced to 470 F.

0706 Loaf rotated 180 degrees.

0714 Removed from oven, oven turned off. Loaf placed into bamboo steamer tray to cool.


Questions: Since I can't leave any later for work, should I proof in the banneton for an hour (or two) BEFORE placing it in the fridge?

In this example, was my starter too "diluted", in other words should I strive for a final feeding of 2:3:2 or even of 3:3:2?

Should I jump start fermentation by nuking the water (for a few seconds) used in the mix?

Am I waiting too long between S&F and envelope fold sets?

Should I go back to using 11 g of salt (2% of the flour) to shock the LABs a little less?

Am I doing anything stupid? ;-)


Here are the pictures:


(Why "Quarter to Four" loaf? I had been using the same flour amounts (450 g in mix, 540 total) for some time and there would be no problem remembering those numbers, 150 g of starter was also a familiar number. But I needed some way to remember the amount of water to add to the mix. 345 = "quarter to four". Besides, when I got up at 5:25 that morning it FELT like a quarter to four!)

leslieruf's picture

are you happy with the flavour? if yes, just keep on fine tuning as you go. you bave a system that is working for you.

it is a lovely crumb!


Teukros's picture

Thanks Leslie!


I have been relying on TFL during the last six months (has it only been that long?) It is a real treasure trove.