The Fresh Loaf

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blackhatbaker's picture

Hello, everyone. I thought it was time that I should try out a new bread making process, as I've been baking a lot of tartine bread and have made enough small changes that I feel comfortable with the formula. So, I decided to scale down the formula for traditional 3 stage pain au levain from The Bread Builders to make a little over 4kg of dough. I did make a couple of very small changes, for convenience's sake: I let the levain seconde ferment for 10hrs instead of 8 (but mixed it with cooler water) so I could get a better night of sleep, and I increased the hydration to 68% and utilized a 1hr autolyse so I could knead it in the bowl instead of having to transfer it to the counter to knead for a long time. I also used 25% whole wheat flour to try to simulate medium-extraction flour, but I think I'll use 50% next time for "high-extraction".

As you can see, they are scored like pain poilane

Crumb shot

Another thing I baked but didn't take pictures of (oops!) was a sourdough pizza crust that I used for fennel pizza and mushroom pizza. It followed a similar procedure from my last pizza post, but used 200g of 100% hydration starter, 400g of flour, 10g of salt, and 5g yeast. I also refrigerated the preshaped dough for 24 hours, as suggested by David Esq.


Kiseger's picture

"That's the sort of nonsense I loathe!" cried Irma, suddenly becoming passionate.  "Are we going to talk about the party, or are we going to listen to your silly souffles?  Answer me, Alfred.  Answer me at once!"
"I will talk like bread and water.  What shall I say?"
He descended from the chairback and sat on the seat.  Then he leant forward a little and, with his hands folded between his knees, he gazed expectantly at Irma through the magnifying lenses of his spectacles.

Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake

And so it came to pass that, having properly knackered his face in a spectacular fall, The Husband was due to have a quick operation to set it straight.  I also felt that it would be "right and proper" to have a bread ready and waiting for him when he got back.  I have to say, at the risk of making myself even more unpopular at home, that menfolk do look particularly silly in a hospital paper gown and compression stockings.  When I went to collect him, the doctor gratefully delivered him to me with a look of sheer relief - The Husband was commenting that he still didn't look like George Clooney.  "I'm afraid that kind of operation isn't available on the national health service yet," she says and smiles wanly at us.  And so, he returns home with a splint on his nose, looking rather like Tycho Brahe (only this one isn't silver, gold or brass - depending on who you believe as to Tycho's prosthetic nose) and, luckily, he also doesn't climb up on the roof to observe the night constellations.   "Let's watch something fun!" he says, as he whips a DVD into the machine.  This one is a Ukrainian film about a fallen Orthodox priest who is seeking redemption.  This is when I go and pour a glass of wine and sit down with TFL to contemplate what I might make next.  At this point, I notice that the add banners on TFL are inviting me to explore financially friendly funeral arrangements.  Hmmmm.  Someone is trying to tell me something? 

1.  Karin's Einkorn & Hazelnut (this time properly)

To fortify said schnozz'd up Husband, it was only fitting that I make him Karin's (Hanseata) Einkorn & Hazelnut bread, but this time with hazelnuts instead of my prior unfortunate attempt with macadamia.  Here is the link   I followed a slightly different timing by doing the BF on the counter for about 4hrs and then overnight retarding in the fridge, as this suited me better to allow me to bake first thing in the morning.  Otherwise, ingredients and method were entirely as instructed!!   Just do what she says, this was by far The Husband's favourite bread ever.  It really is outstanding.  I discovered something that passes for "cool" in our house (the bar is pretty low).  If you have a piece of this bread with some fresh butter and solid honey (eg. not the amber runny type, but the more set blonde honey), then the overall flavour you get is nutella!  I did a blind test with a friend who immediately identified nutella, then was surprised to find nothing of the sort on opening his eyes!  It is also fabulous with stinky runny cheeses and on its own with a glass of dry Rieussec.  I should warn you that this bread, however, does nothing to improve a film about redemption in which there is no daylight other than snowstorms, no smiling, lots of long silences, lots of dramatic cymbalum music which is accompanied by the sound of howling wind.  This is not a problem with the bread.  This is because not even a general anaesthetic could improve this film.  The bread, on the other hand, is glorious.

2. David's San Joaquin Sourdough

As The Husband was busy nixing his brain cells with said depressing film, I went off in search of my next bake.  This was to be my "starfish" bread.  I finally tried to make David Snyder's San Joaquin Sourdough (based on his 26 June 2011 version)!  No crumb shots as this was devoured before I could get to take a shot - suffice to say that it had a lovely open crumb, evenly distributed holes but not too big.  

Bread Flour   450g
Rye   25g
Whole Wheat  25g
Water 360g
Salt 10g
Levain  150g

Levain was 100% hydration with 95% bread flour and 5% whole wheat, fermented for 10hrs.

1. Autolyse with all flour, 320g water and all Levain for 45min.
2. Mix in salt and 40g water.  If you're watching a depressing film, just cry into a glass for the water & salt mix.
3. S&F 4 times every 30mins, then fold twice at 45 and 90 mins. Have a glass of wine.
4. Bulk ferment was a total of 3hrs.
5. Set in fridge for 20hrs.
6. Remove from fridge, preshape and bench rest for 20mins.
7. Shape and proof for 1hr15mins.
8. Bake in DO, oven at 250C.  Remove lid after 30min, reduce oven to 230C and finish bake for another 15-20mins.

This had amazing oven spring and was finally the first bread where I managed to score it (razor blade) almost successfully.  EVERYBODY loves this bread, it has a lovely mellow flavour and is a "universal" bread - scientific testing shows that this bread pairs perfectly with all accompaniments.  Please note that this scientific testing is a peer reviewed test with a number of highly trained bread testers (The Husband, the children, friends, the neighbour and me…..)!!  Ahem.  Anyway, thank you David, we love this and will make again and again……

The Husband has fully mended, the little nose bootie came off and he still doesn't look anything like George Clooney, but he looks more like himself and has gone back to his fandangled ironman training again.  More bread is being made as I write this.

Irma felt that for the moment she had a certain moral ascendancy over her brother.  The air of submission which he had about him gave her strength to divulge to him the real reason for her hankering for this party she had in mind…..for she needed his help.
Gorgmenhast - Mervyn Peake

Grobread's picture

I've been experimenting a bit with rye lately and the first thing I learned is that it has this weird quality that makes the dough very extensible, but not very elastic, right? So I was thinking to myself, where, oh where could I use that specific quality? And the first answer that came to my mind was Pizza! (The second idea is laminated dough, but I haven't had the chance to try it, I wonder if anyone has). 

I had already planned a pizza party with some friends and at the last minute decided to try that idea by adding 10% of rye flour to my pizza crust recipe. I had never done it with sourdough starter either. I don't make pizza very often, but I'm very happy with the results, I think this is my best attempt yet. They had a very nice oven spring, and the crust was crispy and golden, not super open crumb, but enough that it was really good and almost no edge leftovers, even with a rather picky and healthy audience! And as predicted, the dough balls were very easy to extend to make the pies very thin with a thicker edge. Needless to say, the flavor was great.

The formula was this: 


112 grams of sourdough starter at 100% hidration (30% whole rye, 70% whole wheat)

140 grams whole rye flour

354 gr. plain white flour

504 gr. water

I originally calculated this to be ripe in about 12 hours but in the morning, about 8 hours later, it was already quite ripe, so I degassed it, and put it in the fridge for the remaining 4 hours until mixing the final dough.

Final dough:

Levain ..................1120 gr. (40% prefermented flour)

Bread flour ............840 gr.

Salt..........................35 gr. (2.5%)

Sugar.......................40 gr. (2.8%)

Water.......................448 gr.

Total flour: 1400 gr.

Total water/hidration: 1008 gr. (72%)

I mix the levain with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl for about 4 minutes, then let it rest. S&F at 30 and 60 minutes, and then let it rest for about 2.5 more hours. Then cut and shape 8 300gr. balls and let rest covered. The first one was made about 2.5 hours later, and the last one about 5 hours later and they all came out very good. I bake them on a stone at 230°C for 9-10 minutes. The last one was something like a dessert calzonne with pear, pineapple and blueberries.

Happy baking!


amberartisan's picture

I'm going to follow in @joshfoxbreadco (Golgi70's) footsteps with my own Farmer's Market blog! I own Amber Artisan Bread, a cottage food operation located in Prosser, Washington.

After waiting an agonizing 4 months to get through the layers of beurocracy, I finally have my permit and am selling!

This week, I sold $100 worth of bread in 2 hours at my 8,000 head town's farmer's market.

Since I can only take individually approved items, I decided on only a few items: Country Levain, Wholewheat Levain, and Baguettes. Next week I'm going to do 100% Rye as well.

I took 18 baguettes, 4 Country Levain, and 7 Wholehweat Levain. Originally I made 10 levain, but 5 got lost because I thought my oven was on but it was not! Won't do that again. A lot of the difficulty was making my bread fit into my high school day schedule. So I used my lunch break to autolyze doughs and feed starters, then when I came home at 3:00 PM I basically baked straight until 11:00 PM. Next morning, it was get up at 5:00 AM and bake off the retarded Country Levain loaves.

My levain and wholewheat do draw heavily off the Tartine method, but it uses a firm starter rather than a liquid.


50% AP Flour, 11.2-11.7% Protein (I used Shepherd's Grain Low Gluten)

50% Central Milling Type 85 Flour

86% Water

2.2% Salt

17% Levain (Firm - 60% Hydration, 50% AP/ 50% WW, 50% Starter. 3.5 hours @81F)

3 hour Autolyze. Short Mix, DDT 81-83F. 3.5 hour bulk with 5 folds. Preshape Round. Shape Oblong. Proof 30 minutes. Retard 10-11 hours @45F. Bake at 480 with Towel Steam for 20 minutes, then vent for 30-40 minutes, rotating as needed.



30% AP Flour, 11.2-11.7% Protein (I used Shepherd's Grain Low Gluten)

70% Whole-Wheat Flour (Split 50-50 between Hard Red Wheat and Hard White Wheat)

95% Water

2.25% Salt

15% Levain (Firm - 70% Hydration, 100% WW, 40% Starter. 3.5 hours @81F )

3 hour Autolyze. Short Mix, DDT 81-83F. 3.5 hour bulk with 5 folds. Preshape Round. Shape Oblong by "Stitching" Method. Proof 30 minutes. Retard 10-11 hours @45F. Bake at 480 with Towel Steam for 20 minutes, then vent for 30-40 minutes, rotating as needed.



95% AP Flour (Shep Grain LG - 11.2-11.7% Protein)

5% Wheat Germ

75% Water

1.8% Salt

.16% IDY

Autolyze 30 minutes. DDT 65F. Mix. Bulk 1 hour with 3 folds. Retard for 21 hours @42-43F. Divide, Preshape Oblong. Rest 45 minutes. Shape in 2 stages, depending on tenacity. Proof 30-45 minutes. Bake with steam 18 minutes, then vented as needed until browned to a reddish tinge.


AND... PICUTRES!!! Which can be found on my instagram feed, @amberartisan.

Left: Preshaped dough. Levain on the right side, wholewheat on the left. 36 pounds of dough! Yahoo!

Right: Baguetes rising in their couche. Shaping still needs work, obviously!


Left: Wholewheat Cooling on Racks. Nice ears for such high hydration, if I do say so myself.

Right: Baguettes in the market transport tub.

Left: Levain cooling on the cooling rack.

Right: Wholewheat Crumbshot.

Left: Baguette Crumbshot.

Right: Levain Crumbshot.

Left: Giant gluten bubble!

Right: Dough covered hands, the photo button was pressed using my toe, so it is still a selfie!

alfanso's picture

I had some time constraints yesterday and still wanted to ensure that I’d be able to bake some Bouabsa Baguettes this morning.  I had just enough time in the early morning to mix the flour and water, but then had to place the goop on hold until I could return a few hours later to continue mixing the dough.

The Bouabsa baguette formula that I use (thanks to Janedo and DMSnyder) calls for the instant dry yeast to be mixed into the dry flour up front along with the first-hydration water.  Then set aside for about a half hour before adding the remaining second-hydration water and salt.  Therefore, this is not a true autolyse due to the IDY being part of the initial mix.  

I wasn’t about to leave the first mix out with the IDY already incorporated.  So I tried something new, at least for me.  I mixed the flour and IDY with refrigerated water, which is 37F in my icebox, and then placed the dough into the refrigerator to retard.  The idea being that I wanted the IDY to have as little chance to wake up as possible.

When I did return home I continued the remaining mixing and initial fermentation with stretch & folds proceeding from this point onward in the usual way.  The resuts came out of the oven a short time ago.  Although they look a bit short and stubby, they are not.  They are ~14 inches long, which is pretty much all that I can do with my oven depth.  They just open so much that it makes them look short.  I’m quite happy with them! 

dabrownman's picture

Here is the 3rd version of this bread.   Even though none of them have been exactly the same they were close and the main goal was to se if not aging home milled flour for at least 3 weeks would have an adverse effect on the bread if not used within 1 day of milling.


This on was different than the other 2 in several ways.  Less levain was used for this bread.   We did a 21 hour final retard and a 1 ¼ hour warm up on the counter.  This bread had some additional whole grains getting it up to an 11 grain bread from the previous 7 and 8 grain version.


Since this loaf was so big, it wouldn’t fit under our largest DO bottom used as a cloche  so we had to bake it on the stone in BOB using Mega Steam.  We also included the 2 week soaked chia seeds in the autolyse this time instead of adding them in before the slap and folds. 


Lucy voted this the best looking rustic dough ball of the year so far. Another major change was making this larger loaf into a chacon.  The first version rolled out the dough to cut it into strips that were seeded and then twisted twice to make the shape.  All of this handling really seemed to hurt the openness of the crumb.


So we thought that manhandling 40% of this dough to make 2 sizes of balls, a knotted roll for the center and a braided twisted sister rope to surround them would give us a better base line for the crumb to compare to version 1.  We also dipped the middle knot, the smaller balls and the twisted rope in sesame and poppy seeds to give the design some extra character


The two previous versions are found here Cherry Yeast Water Sourdough Italian Bread with Apricots, Seeds and Nuts and here Cherry YW Sourdough Italian Boule with Apricots, Seeds and Nuts - Version 2 if you want to do some comparing.


We followed the same YW and SD levain builds, the autolyse and the gluten development as the previous 2 versions.  But we did the chacone design and final proofed it shaped for 21 hours.


We preheated the oven to 500 F instead of out usual 550 F and baked it under steam immediately at 465 F since the larger the loaf the lower the temperature – if you don’t want to burn it.  We also steamed it longer at 18 minutes rather than our usual 15 minutes due to its size.


When the Mega Steam came out, we continued to bake at 425 F, convection this time, for another 10 minutes when the bread read 208 F on the inside and we removed it to the cooling rack.  Total bake time was 28 minutes - pretty short for a loaf this size.


This bread smelled wonderful as it baked.  It also cracked lightly at the design points showing it was probably a bi over proofed but it browned up to that beautiful mahogany color we love so much   it was crunchy crisp as it came out of the oven too.


We love the outside but will have to wait for lunch to see what the inside looks like.  it looks pretty much like the last bake - version 2.  Open, soft and moist - is plain delicious for a bread that isn't plain at all.  We love the inside as much as the outside.



Yeast Water & RyeSD Levain

Build 1

Build 2



7 Week Retarded Rye Starter





AP Flour





MG 14% Extraction





Cherry YW & Water (RyeSD)















Levain Totals















Levain Hydration





Levain % of Total Flour










Dough Flour





86% Extraction Multigrain





KA Bread Flour





Total Dough Flour















Potato Water 225, Whey 151










Dough Hydration





Total Flour w/ Starter





Liquid w/ Starter










Hydration with Starter





Total Weight of Dough





Whole Gtrain %










Dried Apricots





Mixed Seeds





Hazelnuts & Almonds





Total Add Ins










11 whole grain mix is: rye, wheat, barley, Sonoran White, Kamut,

oats, spelt, buckwheat, einkorn, Hayden Farro and Desert Durum.






Mixed seeds are 13 G each of poppy, sesame, flax, chia, sunflower

and pumpkin.  Chia seeds soaked in 3 times as much water by weight

14 g  of poppy and sesame seeds were used to sprinkle into the basket.






Nuts were equal weight of Almonds and Hazelnuts.



Apricots weighted 104 g wet.





My wife cam home from work last night saying "Did you see tnight's sunset?" I did and took a picture of it

mwilson's picture

Piergiorgio Giorilli is a baker in a league of his own. His years of experience and effortless skills speak volumes. He is a true master! I have known of Giorilli for sometime now, yet I haven’t until now made a panettone in accordance with his methods and formula.

Processing of the mother dough is a skill that requires tuition and above all else, experience. Giorilli opts to maintain his madre in water during the standard 12 hour period. While as typical, before proceeding to the first dough three refreshments are made lasting 4 hours each time.

From I sourced his recipe. I adapted his formula to make two 500 gram panettoni, flavoured with the traditional sultanas, orange and citron.

Primo impasto

69g lievito madre mature
75g sugar
120g water
54g egg yolks
72g butter
240g flour

Secondo impasto

60g flour
66g sugar
4g salt
96g egg yolks
129g butter
2g malt
120g sultanas
60g candied orange peel
30g candied citron

aromatic mix x2

30g acacia honey
vanilla pod seeds
orange zest
lemon zest


For those wishing to make panettone this Christmas, this one should be your choice, it's a forgiving formula...

isand66's picture

    This recipe is adapted from the book "Inside the Jewish Bakery" by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg.  The original recipe is a straight dough made with yeast and I changed it up to use a white sourdough starter.

Bialys are mainly a New York kind of thing, and if you have never had one you owe it to yourself to bake some and you will never look back.

Most of the breads I bake need to rest 1 to 2 hours before eating, but with these you can feel free to slather on some butter or cream cheese when they just come out of the oven.

I am able to buy these from the local bagel stores on Long Island and I'm happy to say my version is just as good if not better using the SD starter.


Sourdough Bialys (%)

Sourdough Bialys (weights)

Download BreadStorm .bun file here.


Levain Directions

Step 1

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.

Onion Poppy Seed Filling

45 grams Dehydrated Onions

340 grams Boiling Water

14 grams Vegetable Oil

10 grams Black Poppy Seeds

4 grams (1/4 tsp.) Sea Salt

Add the boiling water to the onions and stir and let them sit for around 30 minutes or longer.  Next strain them out and spread them on a piece of paper towel.  Wring out as much water as you can.

Mix the onions with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the ice water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the starter and  salt and mix on low for 5 minutes and speed #2 for another 3 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  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.  Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size.  I used my proofer and it took around 5 hours.  (Note: I did not make a fresh starter but used part of my mother starter I had refreshed a few days before which is why it probably took so long.)

When the dough is ready, divide into 12 pieces that are 85 grams each and shape them into round rolls shapes.  Let them rest on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover with sprayed plastic wrap or a moist lint free towel(s).  Let the shaped dough proof until they are doubled in size and the poke test leaves a nice indent.  You almost want them to over-proof otherwise they will puff up too much which you don't want.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 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.

Once they are proofed sufficiently take each ball in your hand and place your two thumbs in the middle and stretch the dough so the center is paper thin and the outside has a nice thick rim.  It's almost like making a mini pizza.



Next, place a teaspoon of the onion filling in the middle of each shaped bialy and place in your oven.   Place the cup of boiling water into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the bialys are nice and brown.



WoodenSpoon's picture

  • 300g Dark Rye (48%)
  • 300g Pumpernickel Flour (48%)
  • 52g Rye Levain (4% Rye 4% Water)
  • 157g Cracked Rye (25%)
  • 40g Rye Berries (6%)
  • 626g Water (100%)
  • 13g Salt (2%)

Two days before starting this bread I started keeping my chef at room temp and refreshing until it was super active. On the evening I mixed I combined all the ingredients but the salt and let sit for an hour, then I added the salt and mashed it up until the salt was evenly distributed. After mixing with a spoon for 30 seconds or so I packed the paste into my pullman pan and smoothed the top with a wet bowl scraper kind of making the edges a little lower then the middle. Then I put the cover in the pullman and went to sleep.

13 hours later the paste had roughly doubled and was gently put in a 380 degree oven and baked for an hour. Then I turned the oven down and continued baking for five hours first at 300 for a half hour, then 275 for a half hour, then 265 for three hours then 245 for a half hour and finally 230 for a half hour.

At this point the loaf temped 210 in the middle and I turned the oven off  and allowed the loaf to cool with the oven for an hour and a half, then I removed it from the pan and let it continue cooling before wrapping it in a clean towel and putting in in a paper bag for a bit over 24 hours.

I just cut into it and the taste is great, like molasses and caramal and deep dark rye flavors. The aroma matches the flavor with all the spicy sweet that you'd expect from a good naturally fermented rye.

Thaichef's picture

Good Evening my fellow baker:

I dried my active sourdough starter and save it in a food save bottle before my trip. Now after about one month and two weeks away , I am trying to reactivated it.

I am now on the 2nd day of feeding(with mixture of rye and whole wheat flour, and at 100% hydration) my starter seemed to bubble nicely but when I tasted it, it is not sour! My first liquid I used in feeding it was fresh pineapple juice but now after the 3rd feeding in two days, I used water. 

Is my starter ready to be use or do I need to wait until it  is sour?

When do I know that my starter is ready if it is not sour but bubbles very nicely? Please help.

Thank you.

Thai chef.








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