The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

Danni3ll3's picture

I haven’t posted very much lately because we went into lockdown/stay at home, came out of it for two weeks and we are back into lockdown/grey zone on Monday. People here just can’t seem to get the idea you should stay home and away from each other! Our Covid numbers have just exploded in the last week or so. We have had more cases in February than we did all of 2020! Ok rant over and back to bread!



Even though I’ve been making sourdough for a few years now, I keep tweaking and changing things. I’ve discovered that my starter is much happier with wholegrain flour rather than unbleached flour. So the first two feeds lately are all wholegrain flour and the last build is 50/50 wholegrain and unbleached flour. I don’t worry about doubling for the first two builds but that last build doubles in 4 and half to 5 hours. 


I’ve also discovered that using recently fed levain rather than refrigerating it for a day makes for faster proofing times. Now my dough rises ~30% in 3.5-4 hours, which is a huge improvement over the sometimes 5 hours I’ve had to wait. I also seem to get a better crumb if I keep the rise to no more than 30-40% with 4 sets of coil folds. 


And the last thing learned is to go back to ~10 hours of cold proof in the fridge. I definitely keep it under 12 hours now even though it means getting up at 5 am to bake. This combined with narrower dutch ovens seems to give me maximum oven spring. 


This loaf is a popular one. I even did a mid week bake of an extra 12 loaves in addition to my usual Sunday bake to fulfill all the requests. 



Makes 3 loaves



700 g strong bakers unbleached flour

200 g fresh milled Kamut 

100 g fresh milled Einkorn

75 g dry Wild Rice 

150 g dried cranberries 

700 g water

30 g yogurt 

35 g honey

22 g salt

250 g of 3 stage 100% hydration levain (procedure below)

Wholegrain and unbleached flour to feed the levain


The day before:

1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain flour. Leave at room temperature until bedtime. 


The night before:

1. I use homemilled flour so if you are doing the same, measure out the stated amount for each type of flour in berries or grain, and mill it on the finest setting of your home mill. If buying flour, get the freshest that you can and try to ensure that it is wholegrain. 

2. Place the required amounts of the wholegrain flours in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. 

3. Cover and set aside.

4. Cook the wild rice in plenty of boiling water for an hour, then soak in the hot water until tender. This took another half hour. Drain, add the dried cranberries, and refrigerate overnight.

5. Before bed, feed the levain 20 g each water and wholegrain flour and leave at room temperature overnight. 


Dough making day:

1. In the morning, feed the levain 100 g of water, 50 g of wholegrain flour and 50 g of unbleached flour. Place in a warm spot to double (I use my oven with the lights on). This takes about 5 hours. Take the wild rice and the cranberries out of the fridge to warm up.

2. Two hours before the levain is ready, in a stand mixer, mix the water with the flour, and mix on speed 1 until all the flour has been hydrated. Let this autolyse for a couple of hours. 

3. Once the autolyse is done, add the salt, the yogurt, the honey, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 7 minutes.  

4. Add the cooked wild rice and cranberries to the mixing bowl, and mix on speed 2 until they are evenly distributed. This should take about two minutes. 

5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with lights on). 

6. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 30%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and  bubbles on top as well. 

7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~830 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 15-30 minutes on the counter. 

8. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.

9. Sprinkle a  mix of rice and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10 to 12 hours. 


Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

isand66's picture

  It has been a while since I baked a porridge bread.  I am a big fan of the moist and flavorful crumb I get.  I added some onions directly into the porridge which helps impart a mild onion flavor.  I used some freshly milled whole wheat and rye along with KAF bread flour.

The cheese was a shredded sharp cheddar I picked up during my last visit to Vermont.  I think it would have been better if I added the cheese as cubes since the shredded melded into the bread more than I would have liked.  You can still see some of it melted on the top of the loaf but not enough in my opinion inside the crumb.

I used some mashed Yukon golds which had been baked and roughly mashed with the skins on.  I prefer to leave the skins on for some added flavor.

Overall, I was happy with the way this one turned out.  It was very flavorful and worth baking again.

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the cream called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the cream and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, potaotes, olive oil and salt and mix on low for 4minutes.  (Note: with my new Ankarsrum I mixed for about 10 minutes).  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 545 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

Lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

Benito's picture

So after having some luck with my first greater than 40% whole grain bake last week with the 75% whole red fife, I thought I’d push my luck and try another with a formula I put together.  Still chicken to go 100% whole grain I thought I’d inch it up a bit to 80% with whole Kamut and whole spelt.  The idea came to me when I noticed that Melissa had posted a Kamut spelt sourdough on Breadtopia, but that was 100% without any white flour. 

I should note that I forgot to add the honey as indicated in the recipe.


I also finally got around to using the BBA based spreadsheet that Dan so kindly shared with me a while back.  Hope you like this new format.

Do overnight saltolyse and levain build.


In the morning add levain to saltolyse dough, mix to incorporate with Rubaud mixing.


Slap and fold to good gluten development.

Rest 30 min then bench letterfold ferment at 80ºF removing 30 g of dough for aliquot jar

Rest 30 min then lamination

Then every 30 mins coil fold


End bulk when aliquot jar 60% rise

Shape then bench rest until aliquot jar 90% rise. 

Then cold retard overnight


Next day

Preheat oven 500ºF with dutch oven inside.

Once over reaches temp, turn dough out of banneton, score and bake in dutch oven for 20 mins at 450ºF with lid on.  Drop temperature to 420ºF and bake 10 mins with lid on.

Remove lid band bake for 20 mins or until done with the bread out of the dutch oven on rack directly.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Today is the day have been waiting for: homentaschen day! I already shared my sourdough adaptation of my grandma's recipe for homentaschen (, and this time I actually shaped them properly. As usual, I had more dough than poppy seed filling, and turned the extra dough into mini cinnamon buns.


Mini cinnamon buns:

I rolled the dough out thinner than I did previously when I made them with yeast ones, and pretty sure thinner than what my grandma does - and I quite like it! On top they get crispy, almost cookie-like, but still have a bit of softness on the bottom. The buns are very soft throughout.

idaveindy's picture

(From comments to another user.)

I too experienced what you call the bubble gum effect. I called it "gooey gluey paste".

If I may...:

There are three steps needed:

1. don't give it all the hydration at once. If you give it all the water at once, the finer particles or the bran locks up the water, and it will never leave the glue state.  However, even with the lower hydration, it will be gummy/gluey, but only temporarily so.

My WW durum (store bought, roller milled, Sher Fiber Wala) is like this:

a) if I give it 85% water up front, it becomes _permanent_ gluey paste. Nothing will then change it to workable _dough_.

b) If I give it 77% water up front, it becomes gluey paste (bubble gum), but in about 3 hours it absorbs the water and becomes workable dough, to which I can add 12% more water in 3 steps of 4% each.

2. Wait 3 to 8 hours. Durum is glassy, glass-like, aka vitreous, which slows water absorption. Its flour is not powdery like wheat, it is glass-like shards. Tiny shards, but not a "powder" like red or white wheat. 

3.  Add the final water slowly, in 2 or 3 steps, or it will enter permanent glue state again.  Add, wait, add, wait, add, wait.


I think you are possibly operating under three misunderstandings:

1. What you are sifting out might not be the bran.  The seive only knows the size of the particles, not where they come from. What if the larger particles are the hard glass-like endosperm, and the small particles are the more easily broken down and softer bran?

Suggestion: don't sift, at least for now.  Sifting is just adding another variable.

Durum is not the same species as wheat.    same genus, different species.  NOT just a different variety/strain like red/white or hard/soft.    Therefore..... as we learn to use it, all assumptions about how the flour should behave have to be abandonded because it is not "common wheat".  It is Triticum Turgidum Durum, not Triticum Aestivum.

Therefore, don't assume  that what is retained in the seive is mostly bran, or most of the bran.   

In other words:  Durum does not and can not mill and break down like red/white wheat because it is not red/white wheat.  It is a different species of plant.

2. To get rid of the gummy gluey paste, the solution is not less water. The solution is time time time, and more water added slowly in stages.

3. Being whole grain, the flour you and I are working with needs more water than the other bakers who are using endosperm-only durum.  Our hydration will need to be in the 85% to 90% range.

Side note: semolina and semolina rimacinata does not behave like this, so the "culprit" must be the bran.  The bran is somehow interfering with how our flour hydrates, so we need to figure out a different approach to how we hydrate our whole grain durum.

Note:  bran absorbs water differently (different speed and different amount) than endosperm.  You already know this:  WW just hydrates and handles differently than white endosperm-only flour.

again, Note: Durum bran is going to behave differently than red/white wheat bran. If durum is not red/white wheat, then durum bran is likewise not red/white bran.  How is it different?  Let's abandon assumptions and explore!

(the first assumption to abandon is that what was retained in the seive is bran. So to simplify, do.... not..... sift.)

I think I figured this out with Kamut which is closer to durum than to red/white wheat. Kamut is also vitreous / glassy like durum.

I have made home-milled Kamut, but not durum.

And what made my home milled Kamut "bakeable" for me was.... soak time.


Your stone ground whole grain durum will have larger particles than my roller milled whole grain durum.  So... that initial wait time after you add the first water at  77% could be as high as 8 hours as opposed to my 3 hours for roller milled whole grain durum.


What I suggest is ___establish a hydration baselne__, like how I discovered my 77%.

Take 4 bowls. Put 100 grams unsifted durum, and 2 grams salt, in each.  Hydrate each one differently: 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%.  

Cover and let stand 8 to 12 hours.  Then... knead each sample... and see which ones are now workable dough, and which ones are still gluey paste.

The highest hydration that is workable dough is your first iteration or approximation of a baseline.

Forget, toss out, the higher hydration samples that are still gluey after the 8 hours. In my experience, something happens, where you can't "undo" the gluey nature. Again, the notion that we can "correct" the glue situation by adding flour ..... comes from our experience with red/white wheat, and durum is just not going to act like red/white wheat.  (Maybe there is a "fix", but I haven't discovered it yet.)

Now... Add 4 grams water to the lower hydration samples that became workable dough.

The samples will all likely turn to gluey paste, which happens to me.  but as before... give them time. Say 45 minutes.

The question now becomes....  how high hydration can you go and still have the "paste" revert to "workable dough" after giving it time to absorb?

so.... 77%, wait 8 hours, add 4%, wait 45 minutes, add 4%, wait 45 minutes.

But now, don't throw out anything that is still paste after 45 minutes. Just set it aside and see if it just needs more time. Your magic wait period might be 60 minutes.

My answer for roller milled flour is 30 min wait times and a max 92%.  But I can still get a good loaf at 89%, which is what I shoot for now.

Yours could be more or less, as your durum grain might have more or less native moisture.  And your time-to-absorb will be be longer than mine due to home-milling likely creating larger particles than roller-milled.


Benito's picture

Sacrilege I know, focaccia is Italian but I wanted feta today on my focaccia.  So this really is just a simplified Greek salad on bread, what’s not to like?  Cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, shallots, feta cheese, salt, pepper and oregano are the toppings.  The feta is buried under each pair of tomato and olive, I wanted lots of toppings.  I followed Maurizio’s sourdough focaccia recipe again however, I did adjust down the dough weight so I would end up with a more “normal” thickness of baked focaccia in the end.  Because of scheduling, I had to do a cold retard of the dough overnight for the bake today.  I wasn’t sure how long to let it final proof for and I’m not sure if it is over or under proofed.  I was hoping to have lots of big bubbles, which I also didn’t get on my last focaccia.  

9” round skillet

Total dough weight 450 g

Levain 19%

Hydration 76%




Baker’s Percentage


All-purpose flour 10% protein



High protein bread flour 13% protein



Extra virgin olive oil









Levain (100% hydration)



Total flour 247.5g


Levain build 1:6:6 75ºC 8-9 hours

4 g starter + 24 g water + 24 g bread flour


Mix – 9:00 a.m.

This dough can be mixed by hand (I would use the slap and fold technique) or with a stand mixer like a KitchenAid.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add both the flours, water, salt, and ripe sourdough starter (hold back the olive oil until later in mixing). 

Mix on speed 1 for 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated. Then, mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes until dough strengthens and clumps around the dough hook. Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.

Next, turn the mixer on to speed 1 and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while mixing. Once all of the olive oil is absorbed, turn the mixer up to speed 2 for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough comes back together.

Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

This highly hydrated and enriched dough is  wet and loose , it won’t strengthen to the same degree as a typical bread dough.

As you can see below on the left, immediately after mixing the dough is still very wet and chunky. However, it’s not falling apart or soupy. Resist the temptation to add more flour at this point, as you can see below in the image at the right, by the middle of bulk fermentation it’ll strengthen after several sets of stretch and folds.


Transfer the dough to a covered container for bulk fermentation.


Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Give the dough 4 sets of stretch and folds, starting 30 minutes after mixing, and a set every 30 minutes thereafter.

Every 30 minutes for the remaining 2 hours of bulk fermentation gently stretch the dough, with wet hands, toward the corners of the rectangular container. The dough will resist stretching and spring back (especially with the oil underneath), but don’t force it—each time you stretch it’ll relax a bit more and eventually fill the container.


Proof – 11:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Transfer the dough to a deep rectangular pan that’s been greased with olive oil. If you don’t have a pan with a silicone liner, make sure to heavily oil the pan’s interior so the focaccia doesn’t stick during baking.

At 76-78°F (24-25°C), the dough will proof for 4 hours. This time period is flexible and dependent on the temperature: if it’s cooler, let it proof longer, and conversely, if it’s warm, you might be able to bake sooner.

Every 30 minutes for the first hour, uncover the pan and gently stretch the dough with wet hands to the pan’s edges to encourage it to fill the pan. The dough will naturally spread out during this proofing period, so it’s unnecessary to spread the dough aggressively. Once the dough is mostly spread to the edges, cover the pan and proof for 4 hours.

OVERNIGHT OPTION: After two hours in proof, cover the rectangular pan with an airtight cover and transfer to the fridge. The next day, take out the dough and let it come to room temperature, and continue with the Top & Bake step below.

The rectangular pan I use fits perfectly inside my B&T Dough Proofer. I keep it inside the proofer, covered with reusable plastic, and set to 78°F (25°C) until ready to bake.

About 30 minutes before you anticipate the sourdough focaccia dough being ready, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) with a rack placed in the bottom third (a baking stone is not necessary).

Top & Bake – 3:15 p.m.

First, dimple the unadorned dough with wet fingers. Make sure the dimples are evenly spaced and go all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Then, drizzle on 1-2 tablespoons of your extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and coarse sea salt. If using other toppings, add them now as well—I like to press them into the dough gently.


Bake the focaccia in the oven at 450°F (232°C) until deeply colored on top, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pan front-to-back halfway through this time. Keep an eye on it during the last 5 minutes and pull it out if it’s coloring too quickly, or leave it in longer if you’d like it a little darker.


Let the focaccia cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s fantastic warm from the oven, and best on the day of baking, but it’ll keep well for a couple days loosely wrapped in foil (reheat under the broiler before serving).

JonJ's picture

The last few loaves have been an experiment in varying the flour that is used together with a white bread flour base. All of these breads are 80% white bread flour; the experiment is in varying the remaining 20% to be either chakki atta (Indian stoneground wholewheat), unsifted wholewheat (without germ), wholegrain spelt, semolina or rye.

All breads had a hydration of 80% and were made according to the Full Proof basic open crumb recipe, however a machine mixer was used to incorporate the levain and salt. The remaining steps were true to the recipe, including lamination, coil folds and waiting for the dough to rise to a volume increase of between 55 and 85%, followed by overnight cold retard. The white bread flour used was "champagne valley" which has a protein content of 11.7% by itself, so vital wheat gluten was used to increase that protien content in order to support the 80% hydration (final protein was 14.9%). The levain used for all was 90% white bread flour and 10% rye.

Some flours were much harder to work - the spelt dough was extremely sticky. The semolina was particularly tiny, had a glossier texture than the others and made the best toast. The rye was super soft and spongy (and maybe the atta, wholewheat and spelt would fit into the spongy group too). A tighter shaping seemed to have been achieved with chakki atta and wholewheat, probably because they absorbed more water, and my personal favourite was the unsifted wholewheat, but it is hard to remember and it might have been more accurate to compare side by side rather than relying on my fallible memory of how they tasted.

All of these breads were lovely to eat, and weren't as different from each other as I'd originally figured. It has been a good learning experience knowing what each flour brings to the bread by itself, and also I realise that 20% can change the bread, but not as much as a higher percentage does and so they are all still white breads, albeit with a uniquely different twist in each case.

justkeepswimming's picture

@hanseata 's Aroma bread has been on my "need to bake" list for a while, and it seemed like a good time to give it a try. I scaled it down to make 1 loaf. My version: 

340 gm home milled spelt

107 gm home milled rye

57 gm medium grind cornmeal

67 gm mix of pumpkin and sesame seeds, toasted1 Tbsp poppy seeds

7 gm fine sea salt

1/4 tsp instant yeast

475 gm water

Baked in a small pullman pan with the lid on at 425F for 30 min, then lid off for another 25 min, to internal temp of 201F. Cooled in the pan for 5 min, then onto a wire rack for about 5 hours. And as per the comments, after it cooled completely, it was wrapped in plastic wrap and set aside until the next day. 

I decided to not use soaked wheat berries for this one, mostly because I didn't remember to start soaking them in time. I couldn't find whole coriander for the bread spice blend, so I used about half as much ground coriander. Since I had never tried it, I figured "why not". I think it over powered the other 2 just a bit, will use less next time. Oh my, sooooo good! My husband loved it!! I can see there will be more seeded breads and rye breads in our future. Oh and random discovery: poppy seeds apparently are not unlike glitter that comes on some greeting cards - it's amazing how far they both get around, lol. 



albacore's picture

My Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Here is a hot cross bun recipe I worked on last year, as I felt many recipes I looked at had room for improvement.

It combines elements from two classic commercial breadmaking books (Manna by Walter Banfield published 1938 and Kirkland's The Modern Baker published 1908). Other sources of inspiration were Rossnroller's TFL recipes and a few of my own ideas.

Key points are:

use of a true flying sponge to get the yeast nice and active
careful selection of flour for soft crumb and good flavour - ideally an 11% protein (UK measurement) bread flour plus a bit of high extraction spelt for flavour (optional, of course). Suitable bread flour is T500 (eg German or Polish) or Italian 0 or 00 low W pizza flour at 11% protein
use of egg yolk without egg white, panettone style
replacement of the sugar syrup glaze with an egg yolk wash - I really have no time for the glaze; it makes the buns very messy to eat and to store.
use of a plain flour/rice flour piping paste for the crosses to give good texture and low gluten for "pipeability"

Here we go:


62g currants
21g sultanas
10g peel

Pour boiling water over fruit (minimum to cover), cover container and leave for an hour or two

Flying sponge

79g milk
79g water
8g sugar
5.6g idy (SAF Gold osmotolerant if available, but standard also works)
19g bread flour

Mix in a Kenwood or KA with balloon whisk to get plenty of air in. Aim for a 28C sponge (you will need to prewarm the bowl and whisk).
Store at 28C for approx. 25mins. Ready when head begins to break.

Main Dough

250g bread flour 11%
50g mockmill spelt fine kitchen sieved
2g diastatic malt flour
2g salt
47g white sugar
40g egg yolk
24g soft cubed butter
20g olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground green cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Mix flours, salt, sugar and spices in a bowl.
Sponge in Kenwood bowl fitted with dough hook
Add egg yolk
Add flour mix
Mix slow then faster until mixture leaves sides of bowl. Check for good windowpane
Slowly add in cubed butter bit by bit till mixed then oil bit by bit till mixed.
Add in drained fruit on slow.
Turn out, stretch and fold and shape into a round.

Bulk proof approx. 1hr 28C – should be well risen.
Divide into 7 x 92g buns. Best to weigh them out, so you get uniform buns. Shape into balls, pin to flatten slightly, and arrange on a greased baking tray. The buns should be close together but not quite touching each other or the sides of the baking tray.
Final proof approx. 1hr 28C – buns should be doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 210C (T&B heat, no fan, no steam, no baking stone, but close vent if poss). While preheating, make mix for crosses.

Cross mix to pipe (combine and mix well):

32g plain (cake/pastry) flour 9%
13g rice flour
13g canola oil
32g water
1 heaped teaspoon sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Brush egg wash on buns – 1 egg yolk, pinch salt and 1 tspn icing sugar dropped directly onto yolk, mix with a spoon, then add about 10 ml water and mix all together.
Then pipe on the crosses


Top and bottom heat
Bake buns on double sheet:
Preheat 210C
210C for 7m, bottom heat only
190C for 7m, top and bottom heat
175C for 7m, top and bottom heat

As soon as possible, get buns off baking tray and on to cooling rack.



HeiHei29er's picture

I was encouraged to try this bake, and with the recent activity in the 5-grain Levain CB thread, I decided to give it a go.  Wow, learning curves galore on this one.  First time baking the bread.  First time using inclusions.  First time using a soaker.  Mistake transcribing the formula to my spreadsheet caused a big mess in the first attempt on Saturday.  A few curveballs today.  It was a weekend of ups and downs, and won't have the verdict for at least another few hours. :-)

Levain: Went as planned for the most part.  Formula calls for 12-16 hours at 70 deg F.  My basement is running about 72-73 deg.  Despite being 125% hydration, the levain had doubled by the 9 hour mark and actually had the slightest bit of a dome.  At 11 hours, the dome had flattened and actually looked like it was starting to sink just a bit.  Moved to mix stage at that point.

Mix:  The recipe calls for bread flour, but I thought I read somewhere that Mr. Hamelman refers to AP flour as "bread" flour.  I wasn't sure, so I hedged my bet and used 50:50 KAF AP and Bread flours.  Because of the transcription error the previous day, I was meticulous with measurements this morning and was thrown the first curveball of the day.  The dough was really stiff and dry.  Added water in 5g increments (7 additions needed) until I got what I thought was a workable consistency.  The 35g of water I added would take the final dough formula to 65% hydration versus the 57.5% shown.  Should there be free water in the soaker?  Mine had no free water after 12 hours covered at room temp.  With all the additions, the dough received a lot of kneading and was fully developed (as best as I could tell).

Bulk ferment:  All my doughs to-date have relaxed and flattened during bulk ferment and then I'd fold to build them back up.  With that, I had some idea on how fermentation was progressing.  This dough pretty much stayed a ball throughout bulk.  So, it didn't really rise.  It swelled.  The method called for a 2 hour BF.  I went for almost 4 hours.  By my best guess it had increased approximately 50% in size, but had stopped swelling for the last 45 minutes (as far as I could tell).  Wasn't sure how much it could increase in volume with the weight of the inclusions.

Shaping:  Maybe because the dough started out so dry, but I had a heck of a time with pre-shaping and shaping.  I tried doing the pre-shape that Mr. Hamelman uses in this video, but the dough wouldn't stick to itself and just formed a big air pocket.  In the end, I had to unfold it to get it flat and then do a letter fold followed by rounding to get a decent boule.  I had to stitch/pinch the bottom closed and let it sit seam side down for a few minutes to get it to seal.  Was able to get good tension in the dough without tearing it though when rounding.  I see two shaping errors after baking 180 degrees from each other.  Can tell it's where the dough wouldn't stick to itself.  No flour was used during shaping, so that's not it.  Hopefully, this doesn't have a big, hollow center.

Final proof:  Wrapped the banneton in a wet towel as I knew there was still a way to go on final ferment (or at least I thought there was).  Wanted to keep things damp to give it the best chance to rise (pretty low humidity in the house right now).  Banneton placed in proofing box set at 80 deg F.  Saw a bit of a rise after 1 hour.  Didn't notice much (if any) change at 2 hours.  At 2.75 hours, I did a poke test and it looked ready.  Not sure if a poke test works with inclusions in the dough, but I ran with it.  Into the refrigerator for 45 minutes while the oven pre-heated.  I kept the towel wrapped around the banneton in the refrigerator as well, but the dough seemed to have a pretty dry skin when I put it on the parchment paper.  I think the banneton pulled a fair amount of moisture out of it.  I sprayed it with a mist bottle after scoring to try and moisten the dough.

Scoring:  One thing I kind of dislike with boules is the small edge pieces you get.  They make decent toast, but I'd prefer not to have them.  Decided to try a scoring pattern that would open up and fill out the edges, as well as, get good spring up.  It looks like mission accomplished, but in hind sight, this may not be the easiest bread to slice now that I see it baked.  :-)

Bake:  Baked in my turkey roaster and with a bread pan full of water (towels also) inside the roaster for extra steam.  Worked well.  20 minutes with steam at 460 deg.  30 minutes at 425 deg with no steam and lid off.  The last 10 minutes at 375 deg but with the lid back on (no steam).  Internal temp was a little low (about 198 deg) and I didn't want the outer portion of the loaf drying out too much, so I put the lid back on to let it cook but keep some moisture in the roaster.  Guess we'll see if it worked after the first slice.  Final temp was 205 deg and the loaf had a nice hollow thump.

Quite a few curve balls today, and I had no idea what to expect.  To be honest, I still don't.  Smells good though!  The color from my phone to what's uploaded changes a lot.  Crust is actually a much more golden color than what you see here.


EDIT: Crumb shot added.  Everything considered, we’ll call the first bake a success!  Still a bit moist.  Could have used another 5-10 minutes, but that’s getting picky with everything that went on yesterday.


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries