The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rgreenberg2000's picture

Got my weekly bake done today, and all went smoothly.  The only real adjustment to my usual process was due to an early dinner that we had scheduled to celebrate our youngest daughter's birthday with her grandparents.  Instead of my usual 1.5 hour final proof at RT (before retarding for a few hours), I only let it proof at RT for .5 hours, then into the fridge for about 6 hours.  Everything came out well (no crumb shot yet, but I expect it will look the same as usual, perhaps a little tighter based on the dough feel, and how it looked out of the fridge.)

950g AP flour (Gold Medal)

80g WW flour (KA)

80g Semolina (BRM)

40g Dark Rye (BRM)

760g Water

250g active starter (100% hydration)

26g salt

The other minor change to my process was to try to replicate Kat's perfectly vertical ear from her blog post earlier today (HERE).  I dropped my scoring further down on the side of the loaf, whereas my usual scoring is just a bit to the side of the center line.  On the first loaf, I think I was a bit hesitant with my slash, and this resulted in a bit of a wavy ear:

I approached the second one with a bit more confidence, slashing in one motion (I also move the slash location up just a bit....more toward center), and I got much closer to a "soldier" ear (standing at attention):

Other than that, I got good spring, nice color, and some good blistering, too.

I'll keep working on this scoring technique, as I find it somewhat visually appealing.  Thanks for the inspiration, Kat! :)


isand66's picture

I have not made pretzel rolls in a while and wanted to try a new version.  I added some fresh milled purple corn flour, and rye flour along with some maple syrup to add a little sweetness.  Beer certainly goes well with pretzels so adding it to the dough was a no-brainer.

They came out very nice and you can really taste the beer flavor.  They are a little more dense than ones made with only white flour but certainly are tasty!

Download BreadStorm Files here.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters (1836 grams) of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals

Make the Levain

Add your seed starter to the indicated amount of flour and water and mix until incorporated.  Cover and let sit out at room temperature of in your proofer until nice and bubbly around 6-10 hours depending on your temperature.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a few days until ready to mix the main dough.


Add the diastatic malt powder to the beer and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the beer mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the liquid.

Next add the salt and maple syrup and mix for 6 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 1 - 1.5 hours.  Next divide the dough into pieces that are 110 grams each or 155 grams for larger rolls .  Shape as rolls and place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 435 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.  I actually use my Silpat non-stick sheets which work like a charm.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt and your topping of choice (I used sesame seeds and cheese and some poppy seeds).  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 200 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

Note: you cannot store these in a plastic bag or covered really otherwise the salt will react with the moisture in the air and you will end up with soggy tops.  I place them in a paper bag and leave it open so the air circulates.


Some more photos from the gardens this week.





not.a.crumb.left's picture

I have not been posting too much as might get too repetitive for your folks and also have been visiting family in Germany...

So being back nurtured that starter and tried to bake with a different Shipton Mill Organic Semolina Durum flour as the Caputo Semola Rimicinata is not easy to get hold off where I live...and I looooove that flour....

It is very fine but the glutenins seem to be 'weaker' than the Caputo and I use less water...less of an autolyse and less of slap and folds to protect the gluten that I want to develop...

This was just using what I had so about 15% Shipton Mill Semolina, 15% WW and 10% Spelt and the rest Strong white Organic Marriages.. at 76% hydration with a 100% hydration young starter using half WW and half White...

This loaf was trying a more sideways score to get a different ear rather than my usual down the middle score...and I forgot to turn the Rofco down which would have resulted in overglazed loaves but thankfully realized after 2 min without too much damage done......but I did this a lot in my early Rofco days without realizing...too much steam can also have that effect I noticed....


Then my weekly bake of five with a tiny test loaf on top....You can also spot the yellow tinge of the Semolina and white and black sesame seeds on the that combination of sesame seeds and durum. A shame that the black sesame seeds are so expensive in the UK. A bit of gold dust! ha. ha....

I tend to make a mini test loaf as all the other ones go to friends!

I also still experiment what my favourite banneton size conclusion yet...and to be always a bit of a menagerie...

trailrunner's picture







Husband always bakes the cookies in the family and I’m the bread baker. But he has begged for baggies forever! So I looked up some saved formulas and we picked an easy one. Well easy I so far as baguettes can be easy! 

These are hybrid . Use a tiny amount of starter to make a preferment and then only a 1/4 tsp ADY the next day. I directed and he manipulated the dough. We opted for “ rustic” shaping since I noted that other TFLers had done so . One baggie was retarded a couple hours and baked same day. Two were bulk retarded and baked today. I don’t like bulk retard because you lose all that lovely expansion in the shaping and there is only so much ooomph in the yeasts. 

The shaping and baking were easy.  One hour 500 preheat with baking steel and transfer dough  on parchment with a sheet pan . Steam was easy just boiling water poured into a hot pan beneath the steel left for 10 min. 

These loaves sang their little hearts out when they came out of the oven. The crust is shatteringly crisp. The holes are respectable for a first ever baggie baker😊. 

Since we grew up in New Orleans making a ham and cheese po boy was mandatory. Delicious! Wish we had had some fried Gulf shrimp! These are way better than anything we’ve had in recent memory in New Orleans and not anywhere as wondrous as some we had in tiny village boulangerie in France a few years ago. 

There are three more loaves shaped and retarding for a bake tomorrow. Will see how that goes. Husband is happy so I’m happy.

TomK's picture

I’ve been making this bread every  weekend since mid-April with the goal of entering it in the county fair, which has a sourdough division this year. The theme of the fair this year is “Over the Moon”, hence the stencil. 

I made 3 batches of 2 loaves each so I’d have plenty to choose from, this one looked the nicest.

The bake was really darker than what the lead photo shows, and the crust was nicely blistered. I was surprised that the judges only cut a small triangle from each entry, it seems hard to judge the crumb from that.

I suspect the crumb of the loaf I submitted wasn’t nearly as open as I hoped, of course I don’t know because I couldn’t cut that one, but this loaf is from my first of the 3 batches:

I wish I was able to get that crumb regularly. Unfortunately I’m still quite uneven,  I don’t know whether it’s variables in my shaping or proofing. I’ll keep experimenting and hopefully next year try it again.

Here’s my recipe for Multigrain Sourdough with Cracked Rye and Barley:

Soaker (night before):

100 g. freshly cracked rye 

100 g. freshly cracked barley 

4 g. salt

400 g. boiling water. Leave on counter overnight.

for the dough:

700 g. Artisan Baker’s Plus (Central Milling)

149 g. freshly ground Red Fife wheat, #40 sifted

26 g. freshly ground rye, #40 sifted

465 g. Water

250 g. levain, 3-stage build from NMNF starter, partly bran fed, 100% hydration. Many thanks to dabrownman for the NMNF scheme!

20 g. salt

I’ve been finding it easiest to mix the soaker with the water first because the soaker is so firm and lumpy, then add the flours and mix until shaggy, then autolyse for 90 minutes before adding salt and levain and mixing for 6 minutes (Ankarsrum) , rest 15, mix 3 more , rest 15, another 3 minutes and then transfer to my bulk container where I did 5 sets of stretch-and-folds on 30 minute intervals. I judged the dough was ready to divide after about 3and a half hours total bulk ferment at 82df. Preshape, rest 30 minutes, and shape (stitching). The loaf that went to the fair got 20 minutes proofing at 82df, then 15 hours in the fridge and into a hot Dutch oven with only enough delay to score and stencil.

 The loaf with the nice crumb got 1 hour warm proof and 30 minutes in the fridge while the oven warmed up to 500.

I’m very happy with the texture and flavor of this recipe but after a couple of months with it I think I’ll make some white bread next. ;-)



ifs201's picture



I followed Hotbake's lovely recipe with my own process and I also increased some of the amounts to get a larger loaf (in the future I'll probably make the loaf even bigger)


340g bread flour

30g whole wheat

20g rye

325g chai concentrate


60g honey

60g salt

80g starter



1. Mixed 26g starter/26g water/13g bread flour/13g whole wheat flour to make levain and let it sit for 4 hours at 85 degrees

2. Make the Chai concentrate

- 300g milk

- 100g water

- 1 cinnamon stick

-1 tbsp ground ginger

- 3 slices fresh ginger

-3 cardamom pods

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 English breakfast tea bags

-20g sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, black pepper

Put everything but the teabags together and bring to a simmer, turn off heat, add teabags and 60g honey, and cover for 1 hour

3. Autolyse the flour and chai concentrate for about 3 hours

4. Do 70 slap and folds, wait 30 minutes and do 40 slap and folds (incorporating chocolate chips and 1 tea bag), wait 30 minutes and do 10 slap and fold. Now do 3 sets of stretch and fold over the next 1.5 hours. Total bulk fermentation of 4 hours.


5. Preshape, wait 20 minutes and did final shaping and put in fridge overnight (7 hours)

6. 1 hour fermentation on counter in the AM

7. 25 minutes at 450 degrees with lid on (on parchment paper on cornmeal as per the recommendation) followed by 20 minutes without lid and with dutch oven on a baking sheet


ifs201's picture



I took inspiration from this fig and anise levain, but then swapped out the mix-ins and followed

my own process:



50g starter

58g water

100g flour (50/50 whole wheat and bread) 


Final dough

208g levain

787g bread flour

138g whole wheat flour

375g Mix of dried cranberry/golden raisin, apricot/walnut

15g fennel

712g water

50g schnapps used to soak dried fruit

20g sea salt



1. Cut up fruit and soak in 50g of peach schnapps. Toast the walnuts. 

2. Mix levain and let ferment for 4 hours at 85 degrees

3. Mix flour and water and let autolyse over the same 4 hour period

4. Use pincer method to combine the flour, salt, and levain

5. Do 70 slap and folds, wait 30 minutes and do 40 slap and folds (incorporating fruit and nuts at this point), wait 30 minutes and do 10 slap and fold. Now do 3 sets of stretch and fold over the next 1.5 hours. Total bulk fermentation of 4 hours.

6. Preshape, wait 20 minutes and did final shaping and put in fridge overnight (7 hours)

7. 1 hour fermentation on counter in the AM

8. 25 minute bake at 450 degrees followed by 15 minutes without steam 


agres's picture

A better approach that seems less effort is a 4-hour long Autolyse  of fresh ground wheat berries at 90% hydration, then add ~10%  sourdough starter, a  4 hour bulk ferment including several stretch and folds with 2% salt added at the next to last stretch and fold,  a 12-hour retard, then form the loaves, and a final rise in baskets of about 3 or 4 hours.  Bake at 450F convection on a pizza stone. 

Working here in California at mostly room temperature, the whole thing took about 20 hours, noting that autolyse began while the flour was still warm from grinding - e.g., 115F, but the starter came straight our of the fridge.

The wheat was Red Winter Wheat, that had not been tempered, so the dough not as wet as it sounds, and was easy to work.  In fact, I added another 15 ml of water as I folded in the salt.

This is the best 100% whole wheat bread I have ever baked, so this is a procedure that I intend to repeat over and over, and someday perfect.

Danni3ll3's picture

I had quite a few people asking me for a redo so here it is. Minor changes were using only 50g of additional water, doubling the amount of bourbon, mixing the cinnamon with the raisins before adding to the dough and bulking for only 4 hours as the dough temp was quite a bit higher with this batch. Here is my prior recipe:


Once again I got nice oven spring. Hopefully the crumb is as nice as last time. 


isand66's picture

I needed to make some rolls for burgers and sandwiches and if you know me by now, adding cheese was a must :).  The main flour was Kamut with some KAF bread flour thrown in for good measure.  The eggs really added some nice moisture and flavor and the smoked Gouda cheese I used put them over the top.  Of course if you don't like smoked cheese (like my wife who hates it), use a more mild cheese.

I used chunks of cheese which unfortunately when I added them in to the dough did not distribute evenly so I ended up with some rolls with almost no cheese and some with the perfect amount.  It probably would have been better to add shredded cheese or to add the chunks when forming the rolls.  Oh well, I guess next time.

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.

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 used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, maple syrup, egg yolks, and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes.  Now add the cheese or wait until you form the dough per my comments above. 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.  After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 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 into rolls.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  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 475 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.

If desired, use an egg wash about 15 minutes before you are ready to bake them and sprinkle toppings of your choice.  I used garlic sesame seeds, everything bagel topping and smoked sesame seeds.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

Lower the temperature to 445 degrees.  Bake for 15-25 minutes until the rolls are nice and brown and the internal temperature is 200 degrees.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before eating.

Below are some more photos from my gardens.  The summer flowers are starting to bloom now.  Enjoy!










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