The Fresh Loaf

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dabrownman's picture

Lucy and I were trying to remember the last time we made an all wheat bread and came up with the thought that it had been a really long, long time.  This week was a good one for several reasons so we decided to celebrate it with something we rarely do – make an all wheat bread.

What made this week great was that yesterday was my birthday and it was a special one – 65.  Wow! I am officially old and on Medicare.  The 2nd milestone happened today.  The Dow crossed over 20,000 for the 2nd time ever…. having hit it for the first-time last week and then retreating back into the 19,000’s.  If it can close over 20,000 today it would be a very good sign indeed.  Yea!  I did close over 20.0000.

Though not as old as so many others, I am still old, especially when my apprentice reminded me that I was investing in the stock market and saw the Dow cross 1,000 for the first time….. and have seen it cross every 1,000 point milestone, some several times, since that time so long ago – 44 odd years now.  It has been 44 years since I left Vietnam for the 2nd time as well.

It took the stock market 156 years to go over 1,000 from its founding in 1817.  The stock markets birthday is in early March and it will be 200 years old.  That isn’t a long time for European standards but the first stock market was formed in London in 1773 when the USA did not even exist.  Oddly, it was only 44 years before the New York stock market opened after the London exchange.  44 looms big this week for me.

It took 156 years for the NY stock market to get over 1,000 but only 44 years for it to get over 20,000 – Wow, what a ride it has been.  I have seen a lot in 44 years of investing but the speed of the markets huge advance over my investing lifetime just reflects the huge changes in wealth of the country over that time. 

In 1817 the few businesses of America, and America itself, just weren’t worth all that much.  The whole country was pretty poor by today’s standards.  Today, the businesses in America are worth astronomical sums of money even though the dollar isn’t worth what it once was in 1973 - not even close.

The US dollar wasn’t created until 1777 but by 1781 it was only worth 1/40th if its original value. The currency collapsed in 1782.  The first bank in the USA was opened in 1782 – the Bank of North America.  But, there was no money to put in it…… so the US borrowed money from France to open it.

Near the end if the Revolutionary War, the country was so broke the government could no longer issue bonds to fund the war.  Superintendent of Finance for the USA, Robert Morris had to issue bonds in his own name, that were financed by his own personal funds, to cover costs for the final months of the war.  Robert was a believer.

 In the 1790’s, US treasury bonds were being traded at 1% of their face value.  The dollar and US bonds were the most horrible investments.  The Revolutionary War had bankrupted the entire country.  We were terribly in debt to France and the country wasn’t worth the paper that was printed to fund it.

For last Sunday's football playoffs we had to have ribs, sausage and chicken from the smoker

Those were the very worst of times the US has ever faced financially.  They were way, way worse than the Depression or having the 20 trillion dollars in debt we have today.  But, if you aren’t a history buff or lived through it, you wouldn’t have a clue what really hard times are like, how far we have come or how blessed we are today because of people like Robert Morris throughout our short history as a country.

Made some smothered breakfast, chorizo, potato, onion and egg smothered burritoes for my daughter to habe during the week.

The moral if the story is clear.  If you are young, disciplined and insightful, learn to invest in yourself and our country's future today…… then there is a very, very good chance you can become very rich by the time you are old.  It has always been so and will always be so….. as long as there are enough people just like you who are willing to sacrifice for all the right reasons to collect the benefits later in life.  It pays to be a believer.

Do not listen to the many around you who say it can’t be done today.  Ninsense!  They are fools and are never to be trusted to do anything at any time.  Keep them far away from you.  If you want to have over $1 million in today’s money by the time you are 65 and you are 21 today, all you have to do is invest $6.41 every day in the S&P 500 index and increase that amount by 3% every year – that’s it.  You don’t have to know or do anything else it is that easy – no worries.  Be a believer.

On to this week’s bake: the levain was a 2 stage, 100% hydration one using a bit less than 12 % pre-fermented flour.  The first stage was half of last week’s rye levain; 38 g of while rye retarded for a week and then adding 12 g of red and white wheat sprouted bran for stage two and letting it rise again 50%.

The dough white flour was half Smart and Final high gluten from the bins and half LaFama AP, which works out to a bread flour I suppose, and the remaining 76 g of high extraction sprouted red and white wheat.  We autolyzed the dough flour and water with the 2% salt sprinkled on top waiting for the levain to rise – about 2 hours.  The overall hydration was 78% but it could easily have taken 5% more water.

We did 50 slap and folds to get the levain and salt mixed in and 2 more sets of 6 slap and folds all on 30 minute intervals.  Then we did 2 stretch and folds from the compass points only on 45 minute intervals.  We shaped and pre-shaped the dough into a boule, placed the dough seam side up in a rice floured basket and bagged it in a trash can liner for 12 hours of retardation in the fridge.

When the dough came out of the fridge we fired up the oven with the combo cooker inside to the preheat temperature of 550 F.  The dough was unmolded onto parchment, on a peel, slashed tic-tack-toe style and placed in the cooker for 6 minutes of steam at 500 F and 12 more minutes at 450 F.

Once the lid came off we lowered the temperature to 425 F - convection on now.   We then removed the bread from the bottom of the combo cooker after 6 minutes and continued to bake on the bottom stone for another 12 minutes until the bread was nicely brown and 207.5 F on the inside.

It sprang, blistered and bloomed well under steam but we will have to wait to see how the crumb is when we slice it for lunch.  Since it is only 33% whole and sprouted grain, the crumb should be pretty open - fingers crossed.  The crumb came out, soft, moist, and glossy.  But once again, it is the taste that is amazing.  Our new favorite white bread. 

Let's have another salad for Lucy



Levain – 12% prefermented flour, rye and sprouted wheat bran levain – 2 stage and 100% hydration retarded for 1 week after whole rye stage 1 doubled.


21% high extraction red and white sprouted wheat

33.5% Smart and Final high gluten

33.5% LaFama AP

Water to bring the overall hydration to 78%

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt.


Benjamin Holland's picture
Benjamin Holland

Been experimenting with scaling up a bit lately. Not quite as successful as when making one or two loaves, but we're getting there. These are "Complet" sourdough loaves. 70% true, total-grain flour, 30% white.

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture

As usual, one thing leads to another in the kitchen. I was not entirely comfortable publishing a Kouign Amann recipe because I live a sugar-free life and those delicious pastries contain a fair bit of the white stuff. I even tried laminating the dough with honey to see if it might make a good sugar substitute (it almost always does). But working with soft butter and runny honey made the lamination process very messy. The honey-filled pastry also didn’t turn out as flaky as it should. It had a cakey texture, which I suspect has to do with the hygroscopic quality honey has. So I decided to leave the sugar out of the recipe entirely to find out what a savory version of this pastry looked like. I figured the result should be a reasonable stand-in for puff pastry.

A few days ago, finding myself with a bag of Kenji Lopez-Alt’s excellent Neapolitan pizza dough fermenting in the refrigerator, I gave it a go. Using 100 grams of dough I followed the recipe for Kouign Amann in my last postsans sucre. It worked like a charm, puffing up beautifully in the oven. I rolled out the leftover scraps very thin and sprinkled them with seeds and salt. Those crackers were so deadly I asked my husband to hide them somewhere. (He ate them.)

So if you are like me and don’t like the idea of a sugar-laced pastry,  just leave it out and enjoy some of these savory preparations. The possibilities are actually pretty endless for this pastry. NeopolitansBouchées à la reinePain au chocolatPalmiers? Turnovers? Apple dumplings? CroissantsPourquoi pas


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leslieruf's picture

Yeast water experiment #2. supposedly a repeat of my first yeast water bake.  so on 30th Jan during the morning mixed up 67 g yw & 67 g flour to make a poolish for a 575 g loaf.

on 31st Jan about 5 pm mixed the flour and water oops, very very dry, can't understand why as last one wasn't like that. decided to add yeast water rather than water and added 20 g then another and on and on until I had added105 g and dough felt alright. left to autolyse while cooked dinner. Added poolish and salt and boy, what a job it was to combine. so I looked at recipe and scratched my head, looked again then went to computer and looked at recipe there rather than what I had written down. I had used 267 g flour instead of 100g g + 100 g ww + 67 g rye. ooops........ recalcalculated and added anther 20 g water (this time) and 3.3 g salt to bring total up to 10g. still a bit dry so added 20 g more water. Happy now, carried on with slap & fold 4 x @ 40 minute intervals then left to bulk ferment on bench overnight.  At 4 am it was close to double so i refrigerated until 6:30. am when I took it out to warm up.

At 8:45 am i preshaped, rested, shaped and left to proof. Had a meeting at 10 so told hubby "if it gets to the top of banneton threw it in the fridge" and he did. At 11:15 I slashed and baked 20 mins at 250°c lid on then 20 minutes lid off at 230°c. It was 209°f so left another couple of minutes with oven off. 

Really really pleased with how it has turned out especially when you compare to the 1st bake. I wondered how it would be as I used staight YW but it was fine.  Also I didn't have sprouted wholewheat or rye so just used store bought.  The loaves had about 30 minutes refrigeration before I bakrd and I don't think it was overfermented!  A happy baker. - it looks good!

crumb shot - moist but not wet, crunchy crust.



Juju's picture

Hi everyone

I followed very carefully a recipe to make chocolate croissants. I was very proud to see how they looked when they came out off the oven, but I sliced them in half and you can see why I need your help

Here is what I did:

1. I mixed some water and the yeast and some of the flour, let it rest for 1/2 hour to make a "polish" 

2. I add the rest of the flour, the the sugar, milk, butter and salt, let i rest for 1 hour, and overnight in the fridge

3. I incorporate the butter and did 3 "tourage" with 1 hour rest in the fridge between each "tourage"  

4. I shaped the chocolate croissants, the dough is about 1/4" thick 

5. I proofed in a proffer with humidity at about 80 degrees for 2 hours 

6. I baked them in a convection oven at 400 degree for 12 min.

Any thoughts? Thank you 

Dana D's picture
Dana D

and make something you are proud of.

Basic pain au levain, just posting to share in my triumphs as well as my failed attempts.
78% hydration
90% AP
10% White Whole Wheat

12 hour overnight retard

Dana D's picture
Dana D

Followed the Tartine WW formula verbatim, used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat because it's what I had on hand. Final retard in the fridge for approx. 10 hours. These passed the poke test, but my instincts were still telling me they were underproofed? Above was the last loaf baked, and I let it proof on the counter for 30-40 minutes prior to going in the oven.
It was definitely the best loaf with the most spring. Any advice for me here? Is less noticeable oven spring indicative of an underproofed loaf?

First loaf: I don't think I scored deeply enough, or at enough of an angle. Should have let it bake longer instead of just being obedient to my timer.

Working with whole wheat is completely untread terrain for me. I only cut a small butt off one loaf (I'm giving them away as gifts) but the crumb seems much denser than other white loaves I've done. I love a nice, open crumb so I'll have to research how to achieve this with whole grain flour.

All comments and criticism are welcome!! I am here to learn and improve my baking techniques.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

It's a non-baking day (i.e. I don't bake for customers on Mondays), so of course what I end up doing is baking. I usually try out new recipes or variations on Mondays. Given that I got a lovely Pullman pan for Christmas, I decided to try Pain de Mie. This was a recipe from America's Test Kitchen "Bread Illustrated". I followed it exactly, but if I make this again I will cut the amount of yeast in half. I didn't take a picture, unfortunately, but the dough was at about the 1.5 litre mark in the proofing container when I put it in there, and in an hour it was puffed over the rim of the four litre container! That's a little too quick. Then, after putting it into the Pullman pan, it was trying to climb out the slightly open end of the lid after less than an hour again.

Haven't sliced it yet, but it looks very interesting! Crustless white bread - just what all those picky children want! Or people wanting to make a tray of perfect cucumber sandwiches for the bridge club luncheon... :)

Any other suggestions for loaves in a Pullman pan? I've already got a nice-looking rye loaf recipe in mind.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

This is the continuation of my sourdough viennoiserie series. This time I used AP flour for the dough. I also have some milk that is going to expire so that's what I used as the liquid. For all the levain builds I also used milk as the liquid and fed it with AP. 

Zhou Clementine seems to like milk and AP! She was very active, maybe the hot temperature (29°C) could add to that too. She started at just a quarter of the container this was the result just after 4 hours! I'm not use to my  levain being white in colour due to the milk and the bleached flour.

The dough is made with AP flour, milk,salt and oil. I also made it wetter than before for easier handling and to use the last bit of milk. I bulk fermented it at room temperature for 3 hours. Most croissant recipes do not do this but I have to because from past experience, my starter does not want to be put straight into the cold. The dough will be underfermented and the final proof will be very very long and the results will just be not good.

The dough doubled, and it was shaped into a square and put an hour in the freezer and 3 hours in the fridge. I have made my butter block earlier. I gave it un tour double et un tour simple then an overnight rest. The dough is still a bit too strong but much more cooperative than the last 2 times. I wonder if it's the sourdough and/or the bulk ferment that made it strong despite the use of AP.

The next day, I divided the dough into 2. The divided both into 3. For the first batch I filled them with the leftover crème pâtissière from my last bake and simply folded them over without any crimping. I mangled one and it was ripped but I still managed to pull it enough to cover the pastry cream.

They were baked super dark almost burnt because I got sidetracked and forgot to take them earlier but they were still delicious with a very very little bitter aftertaste to cut through the rich sweet custard. The crumb is not still not that good but it was soft and the crust was super crispy, shattery and flaky. 

For the second batch, I shaped them into petits bâtons. 

I proofed them eggwashed really well and they reached this point in just 3 hours at 31°C. I think this is really the best batch, the layers were clearly defined and this is the most expanded and jiggly batch that I've made. Maybe the secret is the super active levain and high room temperature.

They were baked in my clay pot for 20 minutes over live fire; flipped after 10 minutes. Two of them baked darker maybe because they were directly above the fire. No butter leaked and the spring and shape were good despite being flipped.

The crumb is definitely better! More open but there are still layers that stuck together because my lamination struggle due to the still strong dough. Next time I will knead less and let time develop the strength. Both versions taste a little richer than my previous attempts because of the milk, they were a bit softer too but just as crispy and flaky! Of course, the taste can't be beaten. Tangy and so so buttery! As I've said the sourdough tang seems to modify the buttery taste and make it more buttery.

Look at how flaky that crust is!

I'm also happy that the honeycomb look is starting to form and be obvious especially in this photos.

The new Miss Universe is... France!

Félicitations ! Miss France won Miss Universe here in my country in Manila (and Steve Harvey got it right!) so I think these French inspired treats are a perfect way to celebrate this moment historique ! When our country was eliminated, may dad and I rooted for France. Also, as a someone learning the French language, I listened to her carefully to see if I can understand even a little of what she will say and I find it cool that I was able to understand about 50% of what she said even though it was fast with many "modern" glidings like with je + verb (sorry, language loving part of myself is just taking over here) like in the "je pense" part. We're still very proud of our very own Miss Philippines!

À la prochaine !

Hanggang sa susunod!

Until next time!

kendalm's picture

Oh %*#&@ what happenned to my oven

Are we allowed to swear here ? Today I immediately thought of this vid (see 1:10) as it took 30 minutes to bake these loaves.

Per yesterdays post I am experimenting with trying to get nicely browned ears and for whatever reason waiting a bit longer to build up heat seems to have had the reverse effect. So no wonderfully presentable ears but pretty decent loaves otherwise. Scoring looked spot on before shutting the door. 6 minute check showed decent spring but not many ears and a lot of stretches instead of blooms. This is such a mutlivariable undertaking as I think thst the waiting caused the stones to cool a bit too much. My stones are only 1/2 inch thick and I remove them entirely since docking full size baguettes sideways is near impossible.

Btw these loaves are all between 55 and 57cm and weigh between 255 and 275 g. Looks like we got about 4-5 decent scores out of 20. Flavor is as usual - very creamy with acceptable crumb. Crust is a bit pale but again 'merrrrde'!


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