The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Trio of High Extraction Loaves

albacore's picture

A Trio of High Extraction Loaves

It's been abnormally hot in Deepest Lancashire (as with most of the UK) these past couple of months. So much so that my normal 900g batardes are going stale before we finish them. The obvious solution was to make something a bit smaller, so I split my usual dough quantity, based on 1kg flour, into three loaves, each around 670g unbaked weight.

I'm also currently exploring retarded bulk fermentation, so I incorporated that into this bake.

Flour mix

  • 5% Aldi whole grain rye passed through a fine kitchen sieve
  • 32% Marriages white wholewheat sieved the same
  • 32% Mockmilled Priors wholewheat grain through a #40 sieve
  • 31% Waitrose strong Canadian BF


  • 22.5% young levain at 56% hydration, 30% of flour is Rubaud wholegrain mix


  • True hydration 75%
  • Salt 1.8%


  • Levain made in a 2 1/2 stage build at e5, e11, m8. The half build is a small top up one in the morning 1:0.21
  • At m11, autolyse whole grain flours in all water for 15mins. in mixer
  • Add BF, mix in, stand 10mins
  • Add levain, mix in, stand 10mins
  • Add salt, mix in
  • Mix on high speed 2mins 15secs
  • Turn out of the mixer into a bowl, dough temp 27C
  • Bulk ferment at ambient (about 24C) for 1 1/2 hrs with in bowl S&F at 45mins and 90mins
  • Transfer to fridge for retarded bulk
  • Out of fridge next day (22 elapsed hours)
  • Rest 1hr at ambient
  • Preshape to 3 rounds, BR 20mins
  • Shape to 2 boules, 1 bat
  • FP in woodpulp brotforms for 1hr 25min
  • Boules baked with steam for 10mins, bat baked afterwards with a metal cover over the loaf on the bakestone


  • I was pretty pleased with these loaves - they had a great flavour, good loft, open enough crumb for me and kept well.
  • I definitely think that the retarded bulk gives a good, complex flavour to the loaves - as soon as you turn the dough piece out of the retarding bowl onto the dough board you can smell some good interesting aromas.

A nice fresh levain:

The loaves:

And the crumb shots:



Doughty's picture

Nice bread making.

Very difficult in our winter with low temperatures in the kitchen  to get a loaf done in the day.

Bulk fermentation, retarded in the refrigerator overnight here in winter with ambient temperatures of 15-18℃ makes for more developed flavours.

Being a resident of Australia with high temperatures and humidity most of the year, keeping bread from going state and mouldy is always a problem.

Very difficult to keep the hard crust for more than a day or two.

Keeping loaves in large brown paper bags slows down the deterioration. Wrapping in plastic and freezing gives you more time before baking the next batch.

Lots of recipes for using stale bread and it makes great toast.

leslieruf's picture

and a really open crumb. a very nice bake Lance.  It is good to try different methods every so often, I reckon. sometimes we discover a better way quite by chance.


not.a.crumb.left's picture

and the bread is outstanding! Second Leslie's comment about the double ear! Brilliant bake......with regards to keeping bread..I have not tried this out but a very good sourdough baker in Germany gives advice to his customers to put bread in paper bags or wrapped in kitchen towel and then in the cold oven as that maintains an even temp...I keep bread in cotton bread bag but have not tried the oven trick yet.... Kat

albacore's picture

Many thanks for all your positive comments.

Doughty, I think crust crispness life is a balance with crumb moisture. I reckon if you bake bolder and longer (well over my normal 95C target internal temperature) you will get a crust crispness that lasts longer, but it will be at the expense of a soft moist crumb.

It will be fine for a couple of days, but will then stale quickly. Personally, I prefer to bake to 95C and have a soft, moist crumb, accepting that the crust will go soft quickly.


dabrownman's picture

it is very cool here at 103 F today but is supposed to be 115 F next Tuesday so the monsoon needs to strengthen a bit and we could use the rain.  Your bread looks grand inside and out.  Before you know it the Damp and Dreary will return to mold your bread before you can slice it and you will miss the heat:-)

Happy baking

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Beautiful outside and a very nice open crumb. I always retard the bulk ferment because it means less work. I don't know if it has something to do with my bread's keeping qualities. We always have ample time to finish it before it gets stale and bread is not even our staple food and it's crazy hot and humid always!