The Fresh Loaf

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David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Decided to bake a loaf of bread for a colleague, and decided I ought to make two different versions, just in case one didn't turn out properly.

I made the whole wheat country loaf, without any modifications except that I reserved 50 grams of water to mix with the salt (he says to do that for the basic country loaf, but makes no mention of it in the whole wheat version), and, rather than mix the flour, water, and starter all at once, I opted to hydrate the flour and water overnight, while my levain was building.  The next morning I added the salt to the reserved water, let it sit for few minutes and then poured the mixture into the hydrated flours and added the levain.

For the rye bread, I did exactly the same thing, except that I used added whole wheat.  I have to check my notes to determine how much, and will update this post when I do so.

So, with four loaves of bread proofing, I decided to bake 2 same day, and 2 after overnight stay in the fridge. I baked one of each variety on each day.  I baked the rye in an 8" banneton and the whole wheat in a 9" banneton.  I also lined the rye baneton with a cotton towel because I was worried about sticking dough.

So, the same day bake (which was really a 2 day bake because I made the leaven the night before) had a long proof in the fridge - don't recall how long, but probably close to 10-11 hours.  It bloomed very nicely.  I can't be sure that the scoring was not the key here, but the next day's dough did not look as pretty to my eye. 

I gave away the same-day rye, froze one of the whole wheat, and am currently eating the second day rye for lunch.  It is very good.

The loaves with the oats on top are whole wheat. The ones without, rye. The photo up top is the Day 1 and Photo below is Day 2.

Here is the Rye Day 2 Crumb

The rye dough was a huge challenge.  A stick mess that I avoided by handled by using a lot of flour and by shaping with the bench knife.

victoriamc's picture

I am sure many seasoned bread bakers have made very similar loaves to this one, its super easy to make, I just love the style aspect to loaves formed in this way.  By splitting the dough into balls and then placing into a loaf tin, you can produce a beautifully even loaf every time.  This spelt sultana is also nice and sweet without being rich, there is no butter in the recipe!  If you are interested in more pictures and details please stop by


varda's picture

What happens when your must have bread fails repeatedly?   Other than tears and recriminations, a lot of head scratching and experimentation.  This generally leads to upping your game at all levels as you optimize each step of the process, but unfortunately the main problem can remain hidden.  

This happened with my Lexington Sourdough which started out as an almost white, medium hydration sourdough and became....  This little devil had the most annoying habit of coming out absolutely beautifully for long periods of time, only to start failing alarmingly and in many ways, particularly when I made large batches of it for sale.   So what to do?   People must have their sourdough.   

First off - I finally had to break down and put a steam pan in my Cadco oven, even though I'd been avoiding this like the plague, as it already has a handy dandy piped in vapor setting, and that SHOULD BE enough.   Wasn't.   Denial was getting me nowhere.   So I took my cheap cast iron skillet and poured water in at the beginning of every bake, as well as turning off the oven for long enough for the bread to open.   This helped.   It stopped the scores hardening over and the sides splitting, and the bread giving birth to a baby bread.   So all done?   No way!   Many more successes but still alarming failures especially when getting ready for a market where "I love sourdough, what do you mean you don't have any!" 

So what did these next set of failures look like?    The dough would be absolutely beautiful, shape beautifully, and then mysteriously collapse into a puddle during the proof.   How could this be?   So time to fiddle with the formula - raise the hydration, lower the hydration, raise percentage of whole grains, eliminate whole grains altogether.   Some of these efforts created beautiful breads.   But come time to scale up for a market?   Same puddle bread, same failures, same walking away customers who didn't get their sourdough.  

Next up - must be the dough development right?   Yes right.    Add stretch and folds, bulk retard, mix like hell.... Did it help?   Most of the time but never for those crucial moments when you need a lot of loaves.   

Then luck struck.   One day, when I was making a few loaves of one of the instantiations of the elusive Lexington Sourdough, I had a bit of extra dough.   I formed these into 3 pretty rolls, and sent them off to the chef at a restaurant that serves our bread.   I didn't expect him to buy them as I had given him many samples of this or that, and he never added to his order.    Surprise, surprise, he ordered 300 of these babies a week.   Now suddenly I had to start producing these never before made rolls in quantity.    And strangely this went fine.   This went on for a few weeks before it occurred to me what had happened.   Same dough, same oven, same everything except for size and shape.   What the heck?

Thinking this over, I realized these rolls not only had the same dough development process as the bread, they also got cut up and rolled and twisted into shape.  Hmmmm.  

On to the bread at hand.   If you take a breadsworth of dough, cut it in two and shape each half separately then your dough gets twice the workout, yes?   Yes.   The bread pictured at top is exactly that - an olive bread using (one of the) Lexington Sourdough base (medium hydration, 20% whole wheat, 20% prefermented white flour)   No puddles either of dough or tears.   Just behaved itself from start to finish.  And this was at least a medium sized batch.

And for those of you who are still awake ---- Have I tried a big batch of straight up Lexington Sourdough?   Haven't dared yet, but by Jove, I think I've got it.

alfanso's picture

Almost went for another round of the sesame semolina batards, having promised one to my cousin just the other day.  But suddenly had an itching to bake my take on his Country Blonde.  These are not the same as in FWSY.  

Overall hydration at 78%, scaled at ~475g each.  Very slack and sticky.   And had to add more flour to the couche than I care to.  This is due to the long retard that allows more transfer of moisture to the linen than had it been proofed on the counter.  This bread blisters beautifully.  Still have to improve on my scoring batards when there are multiple scores.  At least it has no "waistline" so I'm sufficiently overlapping the scores.  

Live, learn and practice some more!  But pretty happy overall with this one.

dabrownman's picture

Lucy was going to  come up with a sprouted ciabatta sandwich thins this week but after a shopping trip to Sprouts where she got some dried figs and olives, that ciabatta went in the trash like a stinky pair of old slippers.


She thought she would hit most of the taste buds with this one; something salty, something sour, something sweet all rolled into one flavorful taste bag.  At least that was the plan but sometimes Lucy’s plans can go awry like a cart with a wheel gone missing.


She has been stuck on the long retarded rye starter, double low extraction fed levains, short slap and fold sessions, long 21 hour bulk retards and short final proof method for the past few bakes too. 


This time the rye starter had spent 13 weeks in the fridge and one 3 stage levain was much larger than the other and was fed the 23% extraction of the sprouted 9 grains and the much smaller one was fed the 23% extraction of whole wheat.


After 21 hours of bulk retard.

The two levains were mixed together before the 3rd feeding so they could get to know each other.   If you want to increase the sour of your bread this is the one thong you can easily do to make the LAB crank out the acid .  The combined levain was retarded for 12 hours in the fridge.


Pre-shaped as a boule.

We did a 1 hour autolyse of the dough flour and water with the salt sprinkled on top.  Once the levain was mixed in with a spoon, we did 30 slap and folds 4 times on 30 minute intervals. The figs were cut in quarters, re-hydrated and the excess water squeezed put.  The Kalamata olives were cut in half and the large green ones cut in quarters.


Shaped as a squat batard, fully proofed, slashed and ready for the Mega Steam.

The figs and olives went in with the first of 2 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points.  The stretch and folds were done on 45 minute intervals.  Once all the folding was done the dough was shaped into a boule , placed in a oiled SS bowl and bulk retarded for 21 hours.


Once it came out of the fridge the next day it was gently pre-shaped into a boule and left to warm up on the counter for 1 hour.  The dough was then gently final shaped into a squat batard and placed into a rice floured basket seam side up for 45 minutes of final proof before being un-molded, slashed and peeled onto the bottom stone for 15 minutes of  Mega Steam..


We turned the oven down to 425 F an continued to bake for another 20 minutes until the bread thumped done on the bottom and was removed to the cooling rack.


The bread bloomed and sprang well under steam, blistered and browned up nicely once it came out.  Can’t wait to taste this one to see if it tastes as good as it looks but we will have to wait for lunch for that. This bread is very tasty.and just as complex. .One bite is salty olive the next is sweet fig followed by one that has both and then one that has neither where the sour and sprouted grains really shine.  it made a fine sandwich for lunch and will be great for toast too,  We like this one very much but look forward to a ciabatta sandwich thin sometime in our future,






SD Levain Build

Build 1-3

Build 1-3


13 Week Retarded Rye Sour




23% Extraction Whole Wheat




23% Extreation 9 Sprouted Grains




















SD & YW Levain Totals




Sprouted & Non Sprouted Whole Flour








Levain Hydration




Prefermented  Flour








Dough Flour




77% Extraction Whole Wheat




77% Exaction Sprouted 9 Grain








Total Dough Flour












Dough Water








Total Flour w/ Starter












Total Hydration with Levains




Total Weight




% Whole & Sprouted Grain




















9 Sprouted grains are equal amounts of:




 Kamut. spelt, buckwheat, wheat, Sonora



White, rye, Pima Club, barley, oat





 The Monsoon has arrived for some fine sunsets again!  Don;t forget that salad with those ribs


isand66's picture

This is an interesting bread made with both roasted sweet potatoes and roasted purple and red potatoes.  I used freshly milled whole Durum flour along with some fresh milled whole wheat and a nice helping of olive oil.

The end result was a tasty bread with a nice sour tang.  Of course the addition of the cheese didn't hurt either.




Durum Mixed Potato Cheese Bread (%)

Durum Mixed Potato Cheese Bread (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


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 usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours,  and 400 grams of the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), olive oil, mashed potatoes skins and all and balance of the water, and mix on low for 5 minutes.  Add the cubed cheese and mix for one additional minute.  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.  (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).

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.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  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 550 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.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 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.


Some photos from my gardens.


my namesake the "Sandman" Lily










KathyF's picture

Teresa Greenway has a recipe for "Extra Sour Sourdough" in her e-book "Discovering Sourdough: Part II Intermediate Sourdough". So I thought I would give it a try.

You start out the evening before preparing your starter at 166% and leaving it on the counter overnight. The next day (she says at noon, but I got ahead of myself and started at around 9 am.) you mix everything together except the salt and let it rest for 20 minutes. You then knead in the salt for a minute. She uses a mixer. I hand mixed the first mix and put it all in my bread machine to mix in the salt. I ran it for about a minute. Then I put it in a bucket for the bulk rise.

The recipe calls for a 6 to 8 hour bulk rise at 80F. with 4 rounds of stretch and folds. Our weather has been a bit cooler so my room temperature was more like 75F. I let it rise for 6 hours. It was really puffy even with the stretch and folds so I didn't leave it out any longer. I also tend to worry that it's going to over ferment and I'll have a pile of goo. It probably would of been alright if I let it ferment for a couple more hours, especially as it was cooler.

Then I scaled, pre-shaped and bench rested for 10 minutes. I then shaped, put in bannetons and right into the fridge. Since I started early, they stayed in the fridge for about 16 hours.

I have to say, they did come out more tangy than my other loaves. If I had been able to bulk proof at a higher temperature, I bet I would of had more sour. Also, I forgot the diastatic malt and I believe that it helps with increasing the sour also. All in all, I call it a success.

Here is a crumb shot:

George_AZ's picture

The process of making this loaf moved me from a sense of worry and frustration at the low point to a state of surprise and wonder at the finish.  I baked the rice porridge loaf from Tartine 3 this week (25% whole wheat, sourdough, brown rice).


  • Wednesday AM: Mixed levain, mixed flours and water for a long autolyse
  • Wednesday PM: Mixed all ingredients, bulk fermented 2 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes, retarded in fridge
  • Thursday AM: Bench rest, shaping into boule, second rise (3 hours time from fridge to oven)
  • Thursday Noon: Transfer to peel, disaster, reshape, bake

The bread making procedure went as expected until i transferred the dough to the peel.  The dough partially stuck to the basket cloth, and it spread out immediately on the peel.  Feeling optimistic that the dough would regain it's shape and height during the bake, I vigorously shook it off the peel onto the preheated stone.  However, it lost even more shape and spread into an amorphous blob about 10"x12".  After looking at the mess of dough for a few moments, feelings of frustration, confusion, anger surging through me, I decided to reshape the dough.

I floured the counter, pulled out the stone with mitts, and scraped the dough off the stone with a metal spatula.  After picking off a 1/8" thick layer of baked dough that had touched the stone, I reshaped and scored the dough and put it back in the oven with a roasting pan cover.  I expected that the bread would be dense, but at least it would look like a loaf and would still taste good.  When I removed the cover, the dough looked decent and didn't appear to have risen much.  After baking it until it looked decent, I let it cool and didn't cut it open until the next day, Friday.  I feared that the loaf would be so dense inside that it would be practically inedible.

Big Surprise:

This is one of the best looking crumbs I've attained for a loaf with whole wheat and mix-ins.  The loaf isn't perfectly round, and the scores (a square shape) didn't open at all.  However, I am pleasantly surprised that the crumb is so open and the shape pretty good for a dough with no proofing time after the second shaping.

The end of the matter, the bread tastes amazing and I'm glad with how it turned out. :)

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

A simple white sourdough. Add 170 g coarsely grated beetroot. Three folds and risen in the fridge overnight, as always. The aroma and taste of the beetroot is subtle, but definitely there. And look at the colour of the dough, just gorgeous!


Dry mix:

370 g bread flour, 8 g salt, I added 3 tablespoons rye flour because I thought the dough was a bit too wet.

Wet mix:

220 g white sourdough starter (bubbling after a feed some hours before) mixed with 200 ml lukewarm water, 10 ml olive oil and 5 ml honey.

squarehead's picture

Hi everyone in TFL land, I haven't posted in quite some time, but I have been baking as much as ever and am including some pics from the last few months. I hope to start posting more frequently and will include my formulas for wharever turns out well. All of my formulas are naturally leavened only and use organic ingrediants whenever possible. Thanks everyone, I look forward to catching up with what everyone has been baking.



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