The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
alfanso's picture

I've been a little lazy about posting this but here is the third and final installment of trying to satisfy my curiosity.  Both of my earlier postings of these tests can be found on my blog here. 

I’ve reached my own, albeit impure and unscientific (neither calipers nor micrometers were used), conclusions with a little further testing about the effect of cold proofing shaped baguettes rather than letting them prove at room temperature.  At least for me, I am convinced of the effects in two ways.  Firstly, the cold proofing provides what I would refer to as a false positive. And secondly, cold proofing can be a useful tool in the service of the time/temp realm - as long as one takes the first point into consideration.  

My early finding and initial conclusion was that the cold proofed shaped dough took no longer to prove than had it stayed on the counter, which seemed to make no sense.  What I mean by false positive is that as the dough cooled down in the refrigerator, it retarded slower, as should be expected.  And the dough also chilled back to the point that the reliable finger dent test was what produced the false positive.  As we can basically agree, an underproofed dough should spring back faster that a proofed dough.  But as the chilled baguettes sprang back in the “standard” amount of time that we expect for proofed dough, it seemed ready to score and bake.  But it wasn’t.  My belief is that the chilled dough acted as though it was ready, due to the delayed spring-back, but in reality it was just reacting to cold and the spring-back was also retarded and slower.  And that gave the impression that it was properly proofed.

My second point is that as long as one can keep the false positive issue in mind, the cold proofing can be used to control the time element, and delay the finished proving of the dough.  Thereby allowing freedom to schedule a bake.  For instance, if there is only one baking deck in your oven, but you have two decks worth of dough to bake, the cold proofing can allow your oven, deck and steaming apparatus to recover to its next baking cycle while keeping the dough from overproofing.

Fromartz levain baguettes – these two photos are from the cold proofed test.

Fromartz levain baguettes – these next two are from the room temperature proofed test.  It is fairly evident that these had better oven spring and an improved overall look to the crust vs. the cold proofed version.

Bouabsa IDY baguettes – these three are the results of cold proofing.  The third photo is when I decided to really investigate a cross section of the bread.  Based on the excellent pictures from Ciril Hitz, and provided on TFL by Maverick last fall, I would have to rank the baguette as underproofed.  
Here is that link:

This baguette usually get a great oven spring and a nice open crumb, but you can see that neither happened here.  Bouabsa baguettes almost always produce a better oven spring than these and are typically chubbier in appearance.

I certainly can’t say I’m sorry that I did this work.  Anything but that.  It helps me to understand the process better, and gives me a chance to spread my baking wings (ugh, not a pretty picture taken literally) a little more.  And hopefully someone reading this on TFL will have benefited from this experiment as well.


greedybread's picture


IMG_0503 (1024x768)

This beauty has been about 5 years in the making!

Dark, moist and so flavorsome.

Delicious with cheese and strong meats.

Gorgeous with soups and even better with salted butter and Rose’s Apricot conserve.

Full of big apricot chunks!

Fabulicious with hot meat on sandwiches…Don;t even get me started…

Plus being a rye, easier on those who don’t tolerate gluten well.


Tomorrow I am having a piece with a falafel, avocado, tomato and Egmont cheese!!

How Greedy is that?

This needs about 5-7 days at least for making the sour cultures.

I have had about 5 fails with this bread BUT do not give in, persevere!!

This was due to me trialling many types of rye flours and then not getting the coloring right.

I ended up leaving the sour over a week in the fridge!!

Gorgeous and sooooooo flavorsome!!

You are going to love this!!

IMG_0488 (1024x768)

We start making a sour which we will refresh daily for 3 days

We will use this sour in many recipes and it will form a base for future sour doughs.

70 g of Rye Flour.

55 ml of warm water.

Combine ingredients and mix to a stiff dough.

Place in a bowl, cover with gladwrap and leave 24 hours.

Mark a time on the top!

Serious, it helps…

Day 2,

 Add 70 g rye flour and 55 ml of warm water to existing mix and mix well.

You wont have seen any activity as yet but soon!

Day 3,

Throw out half the mix, it should be spongy underneath.

Add in 70 g rye flour and 55 g warm water.

Mix well, cover and leave fOR another 24 hours.

IMG_0490 (1024x768)

 Day 4: Begin making the bread.

Use the 1/2 the sour that you have made above.

Save the rest for another bread in the next few days or keep feeding it , using the same amounts above and discarding 1/2 every 3 days for another 9 days and then you will be able to store it in the fridge and feed it once a week to have a sour ready when you need it.

Add into 3/4 cup of Coarse rye meal (if you can get pumpernickel use it).

Add in 1/2 cup of warm water and mix well.

Cover and leave for 6 hours in a warm dark place.

IMG_0496 (1024x768)


After 6 hours, add into the sour , 1 &1/2 cups of warm water & 1 1/4 cups of coarse rye meal..

Mix well, leave covered for 5 hours until all soupy and bubbly and then refrigerate overnight….

See you tomorrow for Part two….

mr greedy

 Recipe is from one of my favourite books!!

INSIDE THE JEWISH BAKERY by Stanley Ginsberg & Norman Berg.


victoriamc's picture

I thought I would have a go at decorating my "everyday bread".  It was surprisingly easy, a cardboard cut out leaf stencil, egg wash and dusting with flour.  It worked out quite well.

dabrownman's picture

Lucy decided to go whole hog with this one claiming that she wanted to do a 100% sprouted whole grin bread just to see what it would taste like…. even  if it would too easily over ferment, over proof and become Frisbee in the end.  She is way more interested in taste than form or structure it seems.


She started digging around in her pantry to come up with the 9 grains used for this bread – 50 g each of: oat, spelt, buckwheat, Pima Club, Sonora White, rye, emmer and barley with 100 g of wheat.  How long can it be before she tries a 15 Grain, No More Than 30 Ingredient Challenge Bread using sprouted grains?


There was so much sprouted grain in this one, 500 g dry, that she had to use 2 sprouters to hold them all and 4 trays to dry then m in the dehydrator.  She soaked the grains for 4 hours and then sprouted them for and additional 24 hours.  She fried them at 105 F for 4 hours. When dry, the sprouted berries and grouts weighed 510 g. 


The rye starter was refreshed last week and the final feeding included some white flour.  Normally it would be 100% whole rye but this batch has 10% KA bread four in it, so technically there is probably 1 g of white flour in the final levain and total flour mix.


We did our usual 3 stage levain build and it doubled at the 6 hour mark during the 2nd feeding and again at the 10 hour mark after the 3rd feeding.  We then refrigerated the levain for 12 hours.  We fed the 33.4% extraction sprouted hard bits to the levain per our usual to get them wet the longest with the final levain being 14.15% of the total flour pre-fermented..


We upped the baked scald to 30 g of 33.4% extraction sprouted grain with 5 g each of red and white malt making the dry portion 40 g total.  Since this loaf was 100% whole sprouted grain, we upped the liquid portion of the baked scald to 80 g of water making the total 120 g.


The bake for the scald was 2 hours at 140 F and it was stirred every 30 minutes with the water topped up at the end so it weighed when it went into the autolyse.  We did a 2 hour autolyse of the baked scald, dough flour and dough water with the salt sprinkled on top while the levain was warming up on the counter.


Once he levain hit the mix we did 6 sets of slap and folds with the first 3 sets of 8, 1 and 1 minute and the last 3 sets of 4 slaps and folds each.  The walnuts and the sage went in on the first set of 4 slap and folds


All slap and fold sets were done on 20 minute intervals.  After a 20 minute rest, we pre-shaped and the shaped the dough into a boule, placed it into a rice floured basket seam side up, bagged it and placed it in the fridge for a 12 hour retard.


The dough proofed well in the fridge so when we took it out of the fridge to warm up the next morning, we allowed 1 hour before firing up BO Betsy to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.


When the oven beeped it was ready, we un-molded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed it and dropped it in the hot DO which was covered and immediately loaded into the oven for 20 minutes of steam at 450 F.


Once the lid came off we turned the oven down to 425 F convection and continued baking another 5 minutes when we took it out of combo cooker to finish baking on the bottom stone.  When the bread read 208 F, we turned the oven off and left the bread on the stone till it read 210 F.


Tuscan Chicken.

The bread did not spring or bloom much but it did blister a bit under steam.  It did brown well when the steam came out.   It looked just OK on the outside but we will have to wait on the inside until after lunch.


 Slow roasted beef taco.

I’m not sure why the upward oomph was missing under steam…… other than that it is pretty easy to over proof 100% sprouted grain bread and many of the grains used aren’t known for their gluten content.  In any event, it has been a while since we have baked a heavy Frisbee.  This bread needs to be baked in a pan like a 100% rye bread.  it acts just like it and the moisture needs at least 24 hours to redistribute itself. before cutting  it made killer toast.  The crumb was not as open as it should have been but it was soft and very moist..  The taste was deep, complex, intense and twice as tasty as a 50% sprouted multigrain bread..  


SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



8 Week Retarded Rye Sour Starter






33.4% % Extraction Sprouted 9 Grain
























Levain Totals






33.4% % Extraction Sprouted 9 Grain












Levain Hydration






Levain % of Total Flour












Dough Flour






66.6% Extraction Sprouted 9 Grain






33.4% Extraction Sprouted 9 Grain






Total Dough Flour






























Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter


















Hydration with Starter






Total Weight






% Whole Sprouted Grain


















The dry scald / Bake is 40 g: 30 g 33.4% extraction sprouted 9 grain, sprouted

flour, 5 g each of red and white malts and 80 g of water - 130 g total - 9.43% of

the total sprouted flour












Whole 9 grain sprouted flour is 50 g each: emmer, barley, spelt, rye.,


Pima Club, Sonora White, buckwheat and oat with 100g of wheat









2 T of fresh Purple Sage was included












Hydration with baked scald is







 And don't forget that salad

a_warming_trend's picture

One of the most intriguing questions in my (admittedly short!) sourdough adventure thus far has been: How do I create a loaf that I can consistently proof in the refrigerator and bake straight from that cold environment, without it under or over-proofing? While the length of bulk fermentation is important in this calculus, it’s not the only part.

The following is the formula I've developed for one large loaf that is created specifically for a long proof in the refrigerator. The instructions are for a boule, but it could easily be shaped as a batard. Roughly 20% levain (by total weight, 40% by baker's percentage) seems to be my sweet spot for a long, cold-proofed loaf that can be baked straight from the fridge (i.e., proofs fully in the fridge at about 45 degrees F, but doesn’t over-proof!).  I’ve baked this formula five times with great can be modified to include more mix-ins, and even a significant percentage of whole grains.

The 78% hydration, long autolyse, chill during bulk fermentation, and long, cold proof yield a custardy, open crumb! The long autolyse also contributes to gluten formation, which make the final dough much easier to handle.


200 g active 100% hydration white starter (however you want to create that levain)
400 g all-purpose flour (I love King Arthur)
290 g cool water
11 g (sea) salt
15 g sugar
5 g malt powder


1) Mix together flour and cool water, and set aside to autolyse at room temperature for anywhere from 6-12 hours. Make sure to mix the water and flour very well before this long autolyse; don't be afraid to really mash the dough down with a wet hand. You don't want any dry bits lingering, because they will be difficult to incorporate later. If you mix it well, it will be such smooth sailing when you mix in the levain, I promise!

2) Combine autolysed flour and water with the starter, salt, sugar, and malt powder. Squeeze the dough through your fingers to fully combine for the first two minutes or so, then stretch and fold for 2-3 minutes more. 

3) Fold the dough every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. When I stretch-and-fold, I like to give it as many turns as I feel the dough “needs.” To perform a fold, I reach under the dough and pull it over itself, rotating 90 degrees every time. At every 30-minute interval, I stop when the whole mass of dough begins to pull up out of the container. This is anywhere between 4 and 20 folds (that is, between 1 and 5 full stretch-and-fold turns). 

4) Allow the dough to rest at room temperature between 2 and 4 hours, or until 70-80% increased in size. I realize that this is a bit more increase than is called for in some formulas, but it is my preference in this case!

5) Place the container of dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour, and up to 6 hours.* 

6) Remove the container from the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough and spread it. Loosen the dough from the sides of the container, allowing the flour to fall around the edges of the dough. This will create a nice floured gluten cloak at the bottom of your dough. 

7) Pour the dough onto a work surface so that the floured surface is on the bottom. Pull the edges of the dough towards the middle to form a very loose boule -- this is the pre-shape. Rest for ten minutes. 

8) After ten minutes, pull the edges towards the center and pick the ball up, twisting in your hand to create tension. Form a tight boule, however you’re most comfortable doing that. 

9) Place the boule seam-side up in a floured banneton or brotform of some kind, and cover in plastic. 

10) Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

11) Place in the refrigerator to proof for at least 8 hours, and up to 22 hours. The longer it proofs in the refrigerator, the more open and gelated the crumb will become. 

12) Remove the banneton/brotform and release it onto a piece of parchment paper. 

13) Score the boule, and bake at 475 F for 20 minutes with steam, then 20-25 minutes without steam.

*Alternatively, you could place the dough in the refrigerator directly after the two hours of stretch-and-fold, and then remove it later to sit at room temperature until increased 70-80%. Either way works great; I do stand by having a chill on the dough at some point during bulk fermentation.

Some loaves for which I've used this formula:

The Basic Formula (As Torpedoes and Boules):


80% Whole Wheat with Toasted Seeds and Cranberries:


Brown Ale and Spent Grain Torpedoes:

Everything Bagel Seasoning-Topped (Crowd Favorite!):

Thanks to all for your wonderful photos, formulas, and advice. TFL has just been the greatest resource as I navigate my first year of baking!


AbeNW11's picture

I don't understand the method but the instructions for this Italian bread are as follows... 


Flour (fine Semolina) 100%

Final hydration 60%

Salt 2%

Levain 20%



  • Form dough
  • Knead for 20min
  • Bulk Ferment 1hr 30min [I know! and only 20% levain. I cheated and did 2hrs but still...]
  • Shape and bench rest for 30min
  • Shape again and bench rest for 15min
  • Bake for one hour. First 15min with oven door open, 40min oven door closed and last 5min with oven door open [I just baked normally till ready].

Verdict: lovely soft crumb with no sourness at all. Great crust with loads of flavour. 

PetraR's picture

The bread is our fav. Wheat and Wholemeal loaf.

I also tried my hand on Tang Zhong custard buns , but I failed.

They tasted GREAT but they are misshapen , I could not get the technique right. pfff

Never mind, I thought I show them anyways, since I baked them. ha

Hubby wants me to make them again. wahhhh

Maybe in time I get the technique right

Here goes * runs and hides under desk *


They also turned out to be share an tear and my eggwash is not the best either. 

Yep, the custard spilled out of some of them. sighhhhhhh



victoriamc's picture

my recipe for whole wheat honey bread is easy to make at home.  The bread is very nutritious and even enjoyed by kids.  for details please visit

WoodenSpoon's picture


Over the last few days I took my first crack at sprouting grains. It was a resounding success that I feel has probably opened the door to more experimentation and exciting flavors in my bread. This one is primarily sprouted rye flour, sprouted rye berries and seeds. It's a great loaf of dense hearty bread. It smells super malty and sweet and the flavor of the seeds come through nicely.

Here's how I made it

192g Sifted fresh ground hard red (34%)

343g Whole fresh groung sprouted rye (61%)

54g Rye Levain (5% water, 5% rye)

341g Sprouted rye berries (61%)

84g Toasted sunflower seeds (15%)

28g Toasted sprouted pumpkin seeds (5%)

14g Salt (2 1/2%)


30 minute autolyse

mix and rest for 45 minutes

shape and ferment for two hours at room temp

16 1/4 hours in the fridge

5 1/4 hours warming up on a heating pad

bake at 450 for 45 minutes then at 430 for 50 minutes

cool for 24 hours and slice.



adventuress-in-baking's picture

I've been taking books from the local library to see if any are worth spending money on.  Since there is a wealth of information on this site and the internet in general, I hesitate to spend money until I know whether or not it will be a useful reference.  One of my recently borrowed books is Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish...which will also probably be a keeper.  The Pain Au Bacon recipe caught my eye so I decided to bake it the Wendy way...meaning take a recipe for a guide, and adapt it to my way of baking and hope for the best!

Last night I created the levain/starter as follows:

7:00 pm.
100 gr Wheat Sour Starter
100 gr. Rye Sour Starter
200 gr. Whole Wheat Flour
200 gr. Water

Mixed it all together and let it ferment and at 11:00 p.m, I added 50 gr. WW flour and a splash of water, mixed it and went to bed.

This morning it had almost doubled in volume and looked pretty lively.  I then put together 600 gr. of KA bread flour with 300 gr. warm water and let it sit for about 30 mins.  I then added the starter, 12 gr. of salt and while the original recipe doesn't call for it, I added 12 gr. of yeast (being some impatient and can't wait days for a rise), mixed it in the Kitchenaid until incorporated and let sit another 10 minutes before I added a pound of bacon, minus 3 slices my husband ate, that had been cooked crisp and chopped up along with two tablespoons of the bacon fat.  I then mixed it again in the mixer until it started to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  You could see the strands of gluten developing though it was still quite sticky and moist.

I tipped it out onto the floured counter and kneaded it with wet hands a few times and covered it with a bowl for 15 minutes.  I then did a stretch and fold every 15 minutes for an hour before splitting the dough between two bowls that had been lined with flour dusted towels.  I let the loaves proof a little less than an hour using the finger poke test.

Today I had to make do using an aluminum Calphalon dutch oven.  I have ordered a Lodge and 2 bannetons.


Since the recipe made two small loaves, I cooked the other on a heated stone to see how the two compared.

I set the oven for 475 degrees f and  heated both DO and stone together.  I tipped the DO loaf out and put it in and covered it.  The other loaf was put on a cornmeal strewn parchment covered cookie sheet and slid onto the stone, parchment and all.

Cooking time was 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.  Stone loaf was done in 30 minutes and the DO loaf was done in about 15 more minutes....doneness checked with a thermometer.  The Calphalon performed very well.


Meanwhile my husband is salivating and hovering over the bread with the knife.   When we finally cut into the loafs, the one done in the dutch oven was much loftier with an incredible crispy crunchy crust...and while both loaves were really excellent the loaf on the stone while extremely nice and tasty, paled in comparison.  I probably should have used some steam on the stone boule for a crispier crust.


This was a real successful bake and I'm very pleased with the results.


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries