The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
idaveindy's picture

Nov. 25, 2020.

2nd bake of the day. Started the dough in the morning.  Again, not much measuring, just 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast, which turned out to be too much.

Soaked some whole berry hard white winter spring wheat (Prairie Gold) for 18 hours. Around 9 am ran it through the blender with enough water to make a smooth paste. Emptied the paste into a mixing bowl. Had to use more water to get the remnants of the paste out of the blender container.

Added whole chia seed and old fashioned (ie, thick) rolled oats. Let it soak a while, then added some Deep brand semolina. Let it soak some more, then added more semolina. And 3/4 tsp salt.

Finally added some Gold Medal bread flour, a dollop of sourdough starter, and 1/4 tsp of instant dry yeast, all mixed/dissolved in spring water. Used a silicone scraper to fold it into the dough.

It seemed the right hydration, so let it bulk rise, doing at least 2 stretch and folds.

Went and did some other things, and it rose too much.

Did a final fold, a shape, put in banneton, put in fridge, and immediately pre-heated oven.

Baked in 3.2 qt  Lodge combo cooker. Lid on, 20 min at 425 F.  Lid off 25 min at 425 T.  Final internal temp 209.5 F.

Gonna wait until tomorrow AM to cut open. 

DanAyo's picture

Challah - Looking for related ideas

November 25, 2020 - 1:41pm -- DanAyo

I got lucky! Having never eaten or baked Challah before my first attempt aided by Eva of was a surprising success. Her instructions were thorough and well documented.

I would like to hear from other Challah bakers about their favorite formulas, methods, or anything else Challah related. It lends itself to such an array of artistic design, which is super nice, especially during the Holidays.

idaveindy's picture

Nov. 25, 2020.

A variation on the previous bake.  Sourdough starter, Deep brand semolina (gritty, not flour), whole  not-soaked chia. 

New to this: added whole not soaked not toasted yellow millet, some ground roasted malted wheat (Briess Midnight wheat malt, non-diastatic ), and some Gold Medal bread flour.

Bulk ferment with 4 stretch and folds, final fold shape and put in lined dusted banneton, 40 min room temp proof, overnight proof in fridge.

Bake covered 19 minutes at 425 F, and uncovered for 19 minutes at 425 F. 

Internal temp: 208.0 F.

The brown color is entirely from the dark roasted malt wheat. This particular one "Midnight," from Briess, lends a coffee flavor. This product comes already malted and roasted, all I did was run it through a coffee grinder.

The crumb is dense, likely from not enough hydration.

The centers of the millet seeds are uncooked, so they should have been soaked or toasted prior to adding to the dough. 

I don't like the mild coffee flavor added by the roast-malt wheat. Perhaps it would be better with an added sweetener. Or, toasting the bread, and eating with jam.

The millet seeds pop out, roll around and make a mess as the bread is sliced.

texasbakerdad's picture

Nutrimill Broke, Fixed it Myself

November 25, 2020 - 6:26am -- texasbakerdad

I thought someone might find this useful.

My wife was milling some hard white wheat the other day. On the second batch of berries, she went to turn on the mill and it wouldn't work. I had heard that Nutrimill has a great warranty, so I called them and the lady I talked to was really nice. I admitted that I had received the Nutrimill used as a gift from my grandfather and she informed me that my Nutrimill was no longer eligible for free warranty repairs.

texasbakerdad's picture

Another great baking day. The crust was crunchy, crisp, and super flavorful. Too many good bakes in a row, I am due for a disaster :-)

We were having a friend over and decided we wanted to make pizza. We are making pizza at least twice a month now, but usually we throw the pizza together at the last minute, which enables a tasty pizza but just not as good as one where the dough is started the day before.

But, this time, I had enough fore warning and I had a guest to cater to, so I got to put in the extra effort. I really wanted to use commercial flour, but unfortunately, all we had were unground white and red hard wheat berries. Which I knew were not ideal for making pizza dough. However, my wife loves anytime I can make whole wheat work and I enjoy the challenge.

I went on the hunt for an (a) overnight, (b) 100% whole wheat, (c) high hydration, and (d) sourdough pizza dough recipe. I couldn't find any recipes that had all 4 desired traits, so I ended up combing 2 recipes and 1 youtube video into my own recipe.

My biggest concerns for this bake were:

  • The whole wheat dough breaking down during the night in the fridge.
  • Getting the timing wrong with regards to warming up the dough early enough to get a good rise by bake time
  • Getting the hydration wrong, I didn't want dense and chewy dough

I had no issues with the dough, except for the hydration. I should have increased it even more. I chose 80% hydration based on this video:

But, Mr. Iacopelli was using refined and fine flour. So, I realized pretty early on that I should have chosen a hydration between 90% and 110% for my freshly milled hard white wheat. I was able to improve the situation substantially by adding water while working the dough during bulk ferment, but I probably only upped the hydration to 85%. In the end, the crust was fantastic, but shaping the pies was difficult and I think the crust could have been much more supple and easier to shape had I had a higher hydration.

The other two recipes I consulted in coming up with my recipe were:


  • 6% starter (50:50 hard red wheat:water) (100g)
  • Hard White Wheat (I chose white because it has a milder flavor than red) (1500g)
  • 80% Water (1200g)
  • 2% salt (30g)
  • 2% oil (30g)
  • 2% molasses (any sugar would suffice) (30g)
  • 5% Ooopsie Water (trying to correct for less than ideal hydration level) (75g)


  • 9p night before: By hand, mix all ingredients except for the oopsie water into a shaggy mess. The goal here is to get the flour to absorb the water for 15 minutes before spending too much time trying to build any gluten.
  • 9:15p: Knead dough by hand for about 5 minutes, basically to get the ingredients to be evenly distributed and start some gluten developing. I really didn't work the dough very hard, just folded it over about 10 to 20 times until the the dark molasses spots in the dough disappeared. In hindsight, I should have mixed the salt, water, and molasses together first, before added it to the rest of the ingredients. No negative side effects to the end product, it only meant I had to work a bit harder to evenly distribute everything.
  • 9:20p: When done kneading, transfer to a clean container, cover and throw in fridge.
  • 9a next morning: Pull dough out of fridge and set on counter to slowly warm up and let the sourdough start to do its job. At this point, the top of the dough was kind of dried out from being in the fridge. The top of my plastic container wasn't tightly sealed enough. I added about 10g of oopsie water at this point and worked it into the dough. Did about 5 folds.
  • 10a: Added another 20g of water, folded about 10 more times to work the water in. Dough was still cold at this point and the sourdough hadn't really done anything.
  • 11a: Added another 20g of water, folded about 10 more times. Dough was almost room temp, no signs of sourdough activity yet.
  • 12a: Added rest of oopsie water (25g), folded about 10 more time. Dough might have been showing signs of life, but nothing terribly noticable.
  • 4p: Dough had more than doubled and looked good. Using a scale, I divided the dough into 9 equally weighted pieces. Did my best to preshape  into a ball, but the dough was  a bit hard to work with because of the low hydration, so I did my best. Let the preshaped balls rest or 15 minutes.
  • 4:15p: Put preshaped balls on to pizza peal sized sheets of parchment paper. Tried to shape the dough into pizza pies. The gluten was strong with this dough, the dough kept trying to go back to its original form. I overworked the first pie by forcing it into shape... I was too firm with my insistent pushing a prodding. That pie didn't come out as beautifully as the other. For the rest, I decided to shape the dough in two steps. The end result needed to be a pie with a 14" diameter, so for the first step I gently worked the dough into a 9" diameter pie, then let it rest for 10 minutes. In the second step, after the gluten had relaxed, I worked the dough the rest of the way to 14". This worked well.
  • 4:30p: gently worked dough a second time to get it to 14". (If anyone other than me actually reads this, when I write gently worked dough, I mean, gently pull and push the dough in your hands, never nearing the point of tearing the dough or squishing the life out of it, and absolutely never use a rolling pin. If you overwork the dough, you will squish out all of the air bubbles and won't get a nice airy crust.)
  • 4:30p: Preheat oven to convection 550dF. The hotter the better, 500dF is as high as my oven goes.
  • 5:00p: One at a time cook pies on pizza stone. 4 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and cook another 3 minutes.


  • Pizza sauce: Crushed tomatoes (uncooked) mixed with olive oil, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh minced garlic, and salt
  • Ground pork mixed with dried oregano, thyme, basil, and salt
  • pickled jalapenos
  • mozzarella cheese 
  • Take it easy on the cheese and sauce, too much and it will make the dough soggy.

kismetbagels's picture

Bagels in Commercial Convection Oven - Electric vs Gas?

November 25, 2020 - 5:24am -- kismetbagels

Hi all - 

I've been baking boiled bagels for 6 months in a commissary with a Garland Gas Convection Oven. Everyone has loved the bagels, it's been fantastic. I just opened my own facility and purchased an electric Bakers Pride Cyclone Series Convection Oven, and it's been a nightmare. Steam shooting out the front, wet bottoms, burnt tops, no luck. Tried several tests. 

Have y'all had experience trying bagels in both gas and electric convection? I wouldn't have thought there would be such a large!

Thank you :)

joekh06's picture

Slap & Fold Help - dough falls apart

November 25, 2020 - 4:30am -- joekh06


Looking for some direction from anyone on here!

After autolyse, adding the yeast/salt and mixing, sometimes I opt for the slap & fold technique.


What i face is bit by bit i can feel the dough strengthening (let's say 1 minute in) but if i continue, the dough completely falls apart into an unstructured blob it feels like everything that happened so far has been completely obliterated. This is why i usually tend to fall back on just folding the dough in the bowl.


HeiHei29er's picture

Keep going or start over

November 24, 2020 - 3:32pm -- HeiHei29er

First time trying to make a starter from scratch.  Used all King Arthurs Whole Wheat for the first 24 hours.  Did a 1:1:1 refeed after 24 hours with a 50:50 mix of King Arthurs Whole Wheat and Gold Medal Bread Flour.  For the first night, I left it in my kitchen which is on the cool side.  So, I moved it into my home heating room for the second 24 hours, which is definitely on the warm side.

ciabatta's picture

It's been a while since I've made this ciabatta that is based on Reinhart's Poolish Ciabata recipe in The Baker's Apprentice.  Happy to see that it's as reliable as ever for me.  This is based off of Reinhart's Poolish Ciabatta.  modifications include addition of oil and process changes.

320g bread flour
340g room @70F  (or cooler if in warm climate)
pinch of Dry Instance Yeast (I literally, use two fingers to pinch some yeast for this. it doesnt register on my scale)

For a long overnight build of the poolish, not very much yeast is used.  dissolve yeast in water and add in flour and mix using a silicon spatula. due to high hydration, very easy to mix.  cover and rest for about 8 hours.  Nothing will happen for the first few hours. but when done should be a bubbly slurry.  

Final Dough

660g Poolish
380g bread flour  (12% protein Harvest King flour used here for both poolish and final)
15g salt
5g Instant Dry Yeast
165g water

15g extra virgin olive oil (added to lube proofing container)

Mix in KA mixer for 5 minutes - 165g water, 5g yeast, 660g poolish, 380g bread flour, 15g salt - I add the ingredients in that order

-add 15g evoo into container and spread
-dump mixed contents into proofing container, cover (i use a pyrex glass bowl)
-cover for an hour, dont mix or fold yet, oil will stay on bottom to keep from sticking

(after an hour)
- do a set of stretch and fold, pick up from all sides to fold towards middle, this should get olive oil coated over entire dough
- do a set of coil folds after that

do two more sets of coil folds every 50 minutes, about 68F here (30 mins if warmer) to relax and build glutten. 

after first set of folds here, already have some air pockets, but dough surface tears easily

after second set, noticeably more air bubbles in there and gluten is developing

after 3rd set, surface tension is good, stronger and shiny. its a bag of bubbles.  very jiggly.

Rest for 30 minutes and the divide.  The total  dough was about 1230g. so i get 3 doughs of 410g each.

Handle delicately and don't deflate.  it's ok to chop little pieces to get the weigh right but minimize that as much as possible.

the dough is super light and airy. you can see the bubbles bump up throughout.  pop and bubbles that are too large.  I try to use as little dusting flour as possible. do an envelop fold and get the dough balls into a nice boule shape. If you want more of a flour streaked crust, roll in a lot of flour now.  i just dust the bottom a bit.

at this point it still looks a lot like the traditional ciabattas with some reminants of the letter fold. Preheat Oven at 500F. I let it rest for about 30 minutes to an hour.

after resting, pop any large bubbles on the surface. and tuck ends and sides to a better rectangle shape. roll them over onto parchment.

stretch and nudge each into a flat rectangle.  dimple it down gently. dont worry about flattening it, it will bounce back.

Prep the oven for steam.

this is my setup.  couple of steam boxes on the stone and also flat pan underneath stone on oven floor.

I pour hot water into the steam boxes, load the dough, and add hot water to steam pan underneath. a few spritzes of water into oven and close door.

(I did a timelapse of the oven rise... have to figure out how to load it on here...)

about 20 minutes later i oven oven door to vent moisture.  10 minutes in you should see some darkening of the crust where the bubbles are. that will darken over time.

change temp to 450F and bake another 20 minutes or until consistent crust color.

when done, the crust is very very delicate, puffy and crispy.  it will soften and shrink as it cools. you will notice the air pocket bubbles bump up.

the loaves should feel very light.  my 410g dough bakes to a 350g loaf. (It loses ~1g of steam as it cools!) maybe because it is so light and airy, they actually cool in about 30 minutes.

Super light and airy and bouncy crust.  if you cut it after 30 mins of cooling you'll still get a little crunch on the crust.
I could have stretch this and flatten it a bit more to get a better sandwich loaf.  But i like this too, but no taller.

Grilled pork and egg sandwich.

I had used AP flour previously with success for an even more delicate version.

I love this bread for how light it is and that you can squish it down and it will bounce all the way back up. The crust is thin and crispy (if you eat shortly after bake) and the crumb is soft and creamy.

Hope you like it and give it a try.

Sourdough hybrid version to come.





Tom M's picture

Salt in sourdough cultures

November 24, 2020 - 2:02pm -- Tom M

Sometimes people here on The Fresh Loaf have wanted to favor yeast growth/activity in their sourdough cultures.   A particular scientific study of the effects of process conditions such as temperature and salt concentrations on lactic acid bacteria and yeast has been discussed numerous times in this context and others.  Gänzle’s 1998 publication reported on studies of two strains of Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis and one strain of Candida milleri yeast, each in isolation.  These were in grain-free liquid culture.


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