The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

PalwithnoovenP's picture

This is something that I made a few months ago when I wasn't actively posting. I almost forgot it until I saw it again last week so I thought of posting it. These were inspired by Kao Bao Zi, meat filled buns baked in a tandoor oven from a specific region in China.

As Chinese is our theme now, I would like to share a story; I hope I will feel a little better later. I just lost a friend (well not really a friend according to most standards) to the Big C just months after it was diagnosed. The cancer was an aggressive one that affected his blood and a tumor formed between his heart and lungs. I really could not believe it until we visited the family.

I just met him after a Chinese language proficiency exam and there was an instant connection. We were not even close, it's only the love for studying Mandarin (and languages in general) that connects us but I feel sad and still could not believe at what happened. He was the best in Mandarin in our university and he was an inspiration to us. Many of us dream to be even just a quarter as good as him. He knows many languages too; he can speak, read and write Mandarin (both simplified and traditional characters), Japanese (yes, all of Japan's 3 writing systems), Korean, Thai and Indonesian. As you can notice he has a penchant for Asian languages.
I was just a little shocked with one of life's realities of going to the wake of someone who is my contemporary. As usual I did not look at him for the last time as I want that the memories that will remain will be those from the time when he was a alive, enthusiastic and happy. I saw him last March and that's what I want to remember. The funny thing was even in his wake, us who were fans of studying Mandarin can't help but study and talk in Mandarin there. We said that if he was only there, he would be happy to teach and talk to us. We taught each other new vocabulary and learned many things.

Okay, I feel a little better now. Here are the buns.

The dough was made with a 48 hour retarded levain fed with AP, AP flour, water, sugar, salt and oil. The stuffing was made with ground pork, soy sauce, garlic and chili. I used a chili that's pretty spicy so I cannot put many so I did not get the red color that I wanted. I put the pork raw so the buns will be juicy. 

I rolled each one into a thin wide sheet then I spread the pork paste, rolled it into a cylinder and coiled it. I made it this way to evenly distribute the filling in the bun. I first cooked them on a dry pan 1 minute on each side then baked for 10 minutes on each side. One was extra boldly baked but did not taste bitter.

The buns were crispy on the outside and a little chewy that is perfect to hold the juice. The inside was so juicy and the dough-meat interface was nicely gooey but not so much that it makes you puke from soggy bread. The stuffing packs a great bold flavor but something you don't want to eat on a date. The heat kicks your nose, tongue and throat but it does not burn them so badly for you to grab a glass of ice cold water immediately. The only thing to improve here is to put more stuffing. Very delicious!

Look at that chili bit peeping from the dough.

I'll definitely make something similar next time albeit with more stuffing. I think I will also try different flavors in the stuffing. And maybe I will try browning the pork for some extra flavor. A chewier bun will also take this to new heights.

texasbakerdad's picture

550 dF convection bake with Pizza Stone.

  • 15% half whole wheat sourdough starter
  • 5% whole wheat
  • 80% all purpose flour
  • 70% hydration

Bulk ferment for 2 hours in fridge and 2 hours at room temp. 

used parchment paper to make sliding pizza onto stone easy. 

trailrunner's picture

Best yet with the method and formula that joze had posted....

I took to heart the discussion on over-proofing during both bulk ferment and retard. I also retarded my YW levain. What I consider my somewhat less optimal postings to his thread have tasted fantastic !  As has been noted YW bakes  while fermenting and baking and then when eaten have the fragrance of a rich pastry/cake. I used my tomato YW in the first two bakes as discussed in the linked thread. I hadn't used a vegetable before. This bake used my 6 yr old apple YW. It is SO active and triples in just a couple hours at a warm temp. 

I got great bloom and ears and the fragrance is intoxicating. Will post a crumb pic when I let it cool . 


 pic just before baking. I have gone back to baking direct from the fridge....I am fortunate to have a dedicated refrigerator in the basement so I set it at " 7" which gave me a 47 F temp. for retarding. 




my trusty granite wear roaster. I put it in the oven at 500 and just let it  preheat till oven beeps ready. No extended preheat with this metal. I baked the 540g loaf at 500 lid on for 10min then lowered to 475 for 5 more min. Removed lid and finished at 475 for 15 min to 209 internal temp. 


crumb shots. Shattering thin crisp crust, very wheaty flavor and a beautiful crumb. No giant holes in spite of the huge bubbles and pillowing during the ferment stage but that's OK. 



Danni3ll3's picture

I don’t usually bake mid week, but I had requests from family and friends who needed bread ASAP! I was also asked to repeat the 5 grain levain loaves but since I like to try different combinations, I thought I would take inspiration from Frank’s Let’s Blame CNN bread and Hamelman’s 5 grain levain. 

I was going to retard the levain it since time was of the essence, I ended up going for a young levain. It seemed to be quite active and rose nicely in spite of short timelines. 

I also tried something I have never done before and that was to proof the boules seam side up. In the past, even if I scored the boules, which I rarely do, I still placed the boules seams side down in the bannetons. I thought that maybe I am missing out on a  secret on something seemingly so simple so why not! Maybe I’ll get nice ears. 😁



Makes 3 loaves 



50 g sunflower seeds

25 g sesame seeds

25 g chia seeds

50 g old fashioned oats (large flake)

Soak in 150 g hot water 



50 g high extraction buckwheat flour (mill 75 g of buckwheat groats)

100 g high extraction rye flour (mill 125 g of rye berries)

200 g high exraction red fife flour (mill 250 g of red fife berries)

650 g unbleached flour 

50 g freshly ground flax

12 g vital wheat gluten 

11 g diastatic malt (mill 11 g of row 2 barley malt berries)

775 g filtered water at 89F (divided)

30 g yogurt 

20 g salt

200 g bran 3 stage Levain


The day before:

  1. In mid afternoon, take a teaspoon full of your refrigerated starter and feed it equal quantities of filtered water and unbleached flour. Let it activate for the rest of the day.
  2. Mill the grains (red fife, rye, buckwheat) and sift out the bran. The buckwheat had practically no bran to speak of. I ended up with 30 g of bran.
  3. Mill and sift the malt barley berries to get diastatic malt powder. 
  4. Grind the flax seeds in a bullet (Komo recommends against milling oily seeds like flax in their mills).
  5. Weigh the high extraction (sifted) flours needed and place in a tub. To the tub, add the diastatic malt, the vital wheat gluten and the ground flax. Stir well to distribute the malt and the VWG, cover, and reserve.
  6. Save the bran and the extra high extraction flour for the levain. I was a bit short so I needed another 5 or so grams of unbleached flour to make up the difference. I needed a total of 100 g of bran and leftover flour for the next two stages of the levain.
  7. Before going to bed, add 30 g of water to the revived starter, stir and add the bran. Let sit overnight.


Dough making day:

  1. In the morning, do the last build of the levain by adding 70 g of the extra high extraction flour/unbleached flour and 70 g water. Place in a warm spot. The levain doubled in 4 hours. 
  2. Two hours after doing the final feeding of the Levain, add 725 g of warm water to the flour tub and autolyse for 2 hours or until the levain has doubled. 
  3. Toast the seeds and oats for the soaker in a dry frying pan and soak them in the hot water. 
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt and the levain as well has 50 g water, and mix well to integrate. Do 50 in tub folds and let rest 30 minutes in the oven with the lights on and the door cracked open (~82F). 
  5. Do one set of 8 stretches and folds. Place back in the warm spot for another 30 minutes.
  6. Do another set of folds in the tub and then take the dough out of the tub onto a barely damp counter. Spread the dough out in a large rectangle and sprinkle with part of the toasted seed mixture. Fold the dough into envelope folds and sprinkle more seeds on the bare spots. Do gentle coil folds until the seeds are well integrated. Place the dough back into the tub, cover and place back into the warm spot. 
  7. Do one last fold 30 minutes later. At this point the dough should be holding its shape for a while after folding. Let rest. Bulk fermentation is done when you can see small and large bubbles on the surface. This dough took about 4 hours. 
  8. My dough then went into the fridge for 4 hours due to another commitment. It had risen significantly when I got back to it. 
  9. Remove the dough from the tub into a bare counter. Sprinkle flour over the dough and divide into 3 equal portions of about 790 g. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the portions and round the boules using a bench knife. Let rest 20 minutes. 
  10. Shape tightly into boules and place seam up into rice floured bannetons. Cover and let rest at room temperature (73F) for about an hour and a half. Then place in a cold fridge (38F) to proof overnight.


Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, score the boules and gently place the dough seam side down inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 22 minutes.

Well, I am not sure what is going on but this is the second bake this week that is a bust. I just opened a new bag of flour for both of those and I wonder if that is the problem. I think though that the raisin fennel bread was from the same bag and it was fine. Not a happy camper these days!


I am redoing this bread on Sunday so any thoughts on improving this are welcome. I will retard the bran levain and maybe do 150 slaps and folds at the start to get the gluten going. Although it did seem quite well developed to me. 🙄

dmsnyder's picture

Multi-grain Sourdough Bread with home-milled flour

David Snyder

August 8, 2018

Today's bake is another variation on the multi-grain sourdough breads I have been baking for the past few years. This one has a bit more whole grain flour – 40% versus 30%. Some fresh-milled spelt was substituted for some AP flour. The whole grain flours were milled in a MockMill 100, just before mixing. Because of the higher percentage whole grain flour, I also bumped the hydration up from 78 to 83%.


Total Dough




Wt (g)

Bakers' %

Bread Flour



Whole Wheat flour



Whole Rye flour



Whole Spelt flour

















Wt (g)

Bakers' %

Bread flour (hi protein)



Whole Wheat flour






Active starter






  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Transfer to a clean container, cover and ferment until ripe (6 hours for me.) If you don't use it immediately, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Final Dough



Wt (g)

Bread flour (AP)


Whole Wheat flour


Whole Rye flour


Whole Spelt flour


Water (85-95ºF)




Active levain






  1. Mix the flours with the water to a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 45-120 minutes. (Autolyse)

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough surface and add the levain in 4 to 6 portions.

  4. Mix thoroughly. (I start by folding in the salt and levain with a silicon spatula. Then, I use the method Forkish specifies – squeezing the dough between my fingers alternating with stretch and folds in the bowl. I wear a food service grade glove and dip my working hand frequently in water.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clean bowl large enough to accommodate doubling in volume. Cover well.

  6. Ferment at 80ºF for 2.5 – 3.5 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. The dough should have nearly doubled in volume and be quite puffy.

  7. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board. It will be quite sticky and needs to be handled quickly with well-floured hands, helped by a bench knife.

  8. Divide the dough as desired and pre-shape in rounds. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in floured bannetons. Place these in food-grade plastic bags sealed with ties and let proof for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate 8 hours or up to 36 hours at 40ºF.

  10. The next day, pre-heat the oven. Let the loaves sit at room temperature while the oven pre-heats. You can bake on a baking stone, with steam for the first part of the bake, or in Dutch ovens, as you prefer. The oven temperature and length of the bake will depend on which of these methods you choose and on the weight and shape of your loaves, as well as on how dark you prefer your crust. When done, the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on their bottoms. The internal temperature should be at least 105ºF.

  11. Let the loves cool completely on a rack for 1-2 hours before slicing.

These loaves were baked in Cast Iron Dutch ovens at 475ºF for 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes un-covered.

I tasted this bread about 6 hours after baking. It had a wonderful aroma. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was nicely aerated. It had a cool mouth feel. It was mildly chewy. It tasted moderately sour with a complex flavor and some grassiness. I expect it to mellow considerably by tomorrow.

Addendum 8/9/2018: As expected, after a day, the flavors have melded. It was good freshly cooled. It is significantly better a day later. In fact, it's pretty wonderful. I think the 40% whole grain mix is a "sweet spot." I'm going to be playing with the proportions of the different grains. My expectation is they will all be delicious.

Happy baking!


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

After some inspiration from recent posts about different kinds of yeast water folks are making, I revived one I'd had neglected in my fridge for about a year. It was originally made with plums from my back yard, but I ended up maintaining the apple one I made at the same time and ignoring the plum one, until now. I took it out - it looked and smelled fine, so I scooped out the depleted plum pulp and dumped in a handful of fresh blackberries. After two days it was beautifully fizzy and smelled great!

I followed Hamelman's recipe for Swiss Farmhouse Bread (from "Bread"), more or less. The first build was a bit of a disappointment. After sitting for most of the day it was stretchy but had no perceptible rise at all.

Given that result I deviated from the recipe and used yeast water (rather than plain water) for the second build as well, and left it overnight. Much better results - this morning it was billowy and smelled lovely.

I made the dough as per the recipe except rather than raisins I used chopped prunes (it did start as plum water, after all). Also, I don't really like nuts in bread so didn't add the walnuts. The dough was very strong and I found it a little stiff so added a bit more water while mixing (in the Ank). I did two stretch & folds 30 minutes apart as the fruit wasn't quite evenly distributed. Very strong, smooth dough. I put it in a clear container so I could look for bubbles. YW dough seems to ferment / proof differently. There seems to be very little action for the longest time and then, suddenly, it's ready! Bulk ferment was a little longer than Hamelman's instructions though the dough temperature was almost identical to his. I divided into three loaves rather than two, as we like smaller loaves for just the two of us (so, three loaves at around 640 grams each). Pre-shape was a dream; this dough is so soft and silky, and has terrific gluten development.

After proofing the loaves were still holding their shape perfectly.

I baked it in cast iron pots at 440F to start, then down to 425 after the lids were removed. I'm glad I used a slightly lower temperature than normal so it didn't burn at all. When I took the pots out of the oven they looked so good I couldn't wait to take a picture. :)

The loaf maintained its beautiful shape throughout, with great oven spring.

And the crumb is absolutely wonderful - moist, light and creamy, with a delicate flavour and a thin tender crust. The texture of the best sourdough with no sour! I'm very, very happy with this bread and will maintain that plum/blackberry yeast water now for sure!

yozzause's picture

It was  a Great day to have the oven on last week with a cold blustery day outside,  decided on a fruit loaf as the grand daughter was having a sleepover that night. i had a new bread tin that has a sliding lid in the cupboard so it was going to have its maiden bake and here it is sweet dough with 50% Pitted Prune Pan Loaf. hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

yozzause's picture

Yesterday i gave good old Black and Gold flour a run. The sour dough culture was revived from its slumber (2 months away) and was good to go. i decided it was time to try Chad Robertson's Tartine Country loaf. The formula differs from my normal 3:2:1 which has the levan @33% CR uses 20%.
I didn't have any wholemeal flour on hand so substituted that for Kakulas Sisters Multigrain flour i also added some wheatgerm too but other than that it pretty much followed the formula in his book. i also used less water too.
The method was to combine the levan and the water first then to add the flours and bring together into a cohesive mass leaving the salt aside for the Autolyse (rest) period, Mine lasted an hour, you then sprinkle over the salt and work it into the dough with a squeezing action until it dissipates the dough is then set aside in a good sized container and allowed to rest covered for an hour, the dough is then given a series of stretch and folds each hour and set to rest again each time i did S & F's over 4 hours, on the 5th hour the dough was turned out onto the bench and divided into 1 piece @750g for my regular Banneton and the other @ over 1100g for my longer larger Banneton. The dough pieces were pre shaped and allowed further bench rest of around half an hour, they were then shaped and inverterd in the bannetons (seam side up) they were placed in the much maligned single use plastic shopping bag (no longer single use) to protect from droughts and skinning, it also catches transpiration gases and moisture and maintains a moist environment for the dough piece to expand. The kitchen was quite cool @19 deg C so i used the Subaru wagon sitting outside in the sun with a very pleasant 31 degrees C Just about perfect. After just over 2 hours the proof was now ready the oven was pre heated to the max the tray with boiling water and a terry towel hand towel was doing its thing in the bottom of the oven the first loaf was tipped out onto a hot baking sheet and scored and into the oven the temperature was set at 210 C. The idea of cranking up to max is that a lot of the hot air is lost when the door is opened for loading plus the steam generation is also lowering the temp as steam is formed at 100.
the steam tray is pulled from the oven after 10 to 15 minutes once the crust is set and there is no more oven spring taking place. the bake takes 30 to 35 minutes to complete.
On this occasion the second loaf followed the first, i had placed this in the fridge whilst the first loaf baked just to slow its development. 
Over all very happy with the result and will be trying this one again quite soon, It will be a good swap for some caper bush cuttings and possibly some caper seeds too from Fiona

i have attached a chart showing the differences from the Chad Robertson formula and mine






Alan.H's picture


I have a nostalgic childhood memory of a black or near black bread that used to appear on the table at family get togethers in the East End of London just before and after the war. Once in a while that memory returns strongly enough to encourage me to start yet another futile unsuccessful search to discover what this exotic bread was…….. futile that is until last month when I came across  This video on YouTube under the name rus brot.

 It is in Russian with English subtitles and it was the opening shot of the finished loaf which stirred those old memories. However I was surprised to see that the bread was actually Borodinsky bread created using a 1940 recipe, a bread I am familiar with from other recipes and from Stanley Ginsberg’s “The Rye Baker”, but always shown as a tinned loaf and a rather lighter colour. None of those had previously given me that Eureka moment that said “this is it”.

 So of course I had to bake one for myself. It is quite a complex recipe requiring a two stage levain build, a scald which has to be kept at 63-65°C for five hours, a pre dough and a final dough mix but my first problem was getting hold of the 50g of red rye malt flour called for in the recipe, which as others have found is rarer than hens’ teeth. But I happen to have some rye grain and my new toy, a Mockmill 100, so how difficult could it be to malt it myself?  A quick search on this site resulted in an entry from dabrownman dated March 2012 which gives the method complete with ample photographs, so thank you for that Dab.

After that I just followed the recipe using my own milled rye flour and Marriages Strong white instead of the 150g of first clear wheat flour called for which is unobtainable in the UK (unless someone tells me otherwise) and here is the result.


It is quite delicious although not quite as open crumbed as I would like even for a wholegrain rye loaf.

So having had my “Eureka” moment the doubts are starting to set in. I have now seen other loaves on the rus brot channel which might also have qualified as my childhood black bread and my own attempt turned out to be more mahogany than black so if anyone out there can suggest or guess at what bread might have been baked and sold to the largely Jewish immigrant families of London’s East end before, during and after the second world war I would be more than pleased to hear.

As a post script, for anyone interested, rus brot has a collection of 15 videos of Russian and German bread recipes including the Borodinsky which are in Russian with English subtitles.   They can be found Here


pul's picture

My starter has been living in the fridge since its creation, but last week it decided to die for some reason. Fortunately, I had some dry starter chips in the fridge, which I could revive and after two feeds the "new" starter was good to go, very active. 

I hydrated the dry chips for 4 hours, and then fed it twice over the next 20 hours. Notice that I used tap water directly and things worked out fine. I believe the tap water here does not have a lot of chlorine.

Baked a loaf made of 67% white + 33% mixed whole wheat and rye flour at 68% overall hydration and 9% fermented flour. I also added some 10% mixed seeds for texture (flax, quinoa, chia), which were soaked in cold water for about ten hours. Very pleased with the crumb and crust. The loaf had an explosive oven spring, tearing apart the scoring slit from side to side as never seen before in my loaves.




Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries