The Fresh Loaf

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Heikjo's picture

My starter has been alive for three months now and I've made a few loaves since then. I've learned about many things and gotten some experience with how temperature affects the entire process. Summer has arrived and I can expect 25-30º C (77-86º F) room temperature. I do have a basement which I might be using for overnight fermentation now. I need to measure the temperature, but expect it to be around 15-20º C.

Yesterday I bought some new equipment! Two bannetons and a small Römertopf. I've been wanting the bannetons for a while and got a good price on the Römertopf. So far all my loaves has been made in a Le Creuset, which works great, but I would like to have the option of baking batards (oblong loaves). Will try it out tomorrow.


It took a while getting into sourdough baking and once I got there, I've been pretty happy with the recipes I've been using. Very simple and very little care taken to how the starter is maintained. I would like to explore more of the sourdough baking styles now that I got a good start.

My care of the starters so far has been as such: I keep them in the fridge (one 100% white wheat and one 100% organic wholemeal spelt) most of the time. Now I keep a small amount at all times and feed it up early in the day on the same day I'm using it.

I want to make a bread next morning. I take the starter out of the fridge at 12:00 and feed it whatever I need for the recipe. It sits in room temperature until evening. At 21:00 I take what I need for the loaf and put the rest in the fridge where it sits until I need it again.

I've looked at Dab's No Muss No Fuss guide and might try it. Need to look into if it works with other types of flour since I want to avoid rye.

The reason I haven't tried anything different so far is a combination of many other things going on in life and that it can be difficult to find all the information and recipes. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there and in TFL, with all these skilled bakers. It can also be hard to find ordinary loaves with few ingredients. All kinds of pastries are found here. I need to go through my bookmarks to see if I've found some before that I can try.

Danni3ll3's picture

I was surfing this site and saw the idea of 1-2-3 sourdough and thought "Why not?" since I had some levain left over from my other bake. I built up what I had left in two builds to 288 g of 100% unbleached flour starter.

I autolysed 540 g of water with 64 g dark rye, 128 g whole grain spelt, 50 g buckwheat, 200 g whole grain whole wheat and 422 g of Rogers unbleached no additives all purpose flour. This sat for an hour or so. I then added the 288 g of starter and 20 g of salt. The dough was pretty stiff so I added the 36 g of reserved water plus additional water until the dough felt like I thought it should. That came out to be a total of 60 g additional water. I guess the whole grain absorbed more water than the formula allows for.

I took a page out of DAB's method and did 3 sets of 30 slaps and folds 20 minutes apart, then 3 sets of 4 folds 20 minutes apart. The dough rested until it was about 30% risen. 

I pre-shaped using the letter fold method and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Then I shaped it and put it in my proofing baskets. It proofed for about an hour and a half. I may have under proofed it a bit but the poke test told me it was ready when it looked like it was about there. These loaves were smaller than usual so it was a bit hard to judge if they were ready.

I baked it not quite as per my usual method because I was busy doing something else and lost track of time. It was baked at 500 degrees for 25 minutes, 5 minutes at 450 degrees and then I took the lid off for another 17 minutes until nice and dark.

I don't have a crumb shot but apparently it was quite good according to my daughter who took a loaf to work. They devoured it. I still have one loaf left but I may be giving it away so I might not have a crumb shot at all. 

Overall, I am happy this turned out so this is one more trick up my sleeve if I want a loaf in one day and have left over levain.

Danni3ll3's picture

This was inspired from the Tartine 3 porridge breads. I decided to try doing my own thing and to let go of watching the clock and watching the dough instead. It actually worked pretty well.

My starter is a 66% rye starter that is kept in the fridge as per DAB's method. I started with 11 grams and did 3 builds before using it with my dough. The flour used was high extraction flour from a local miller.

The day before making the dough, I toasted 200 g of Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal in a frying pan and then cooked it with 400 g of water. I ended up with 500 grams of cooked grains which cooled overnight.


As to the dough itself, I autolysed 100 g light rye, 100 g whole grain spelt, 100 g whole grain gamut, 200 g high extraction flour and 500 all purpose flour, which is similar to american bread flour due to the high protein content, with 700 g water. This sat for a couple of hours. 

I then added 200 g of 100% hydration levain from above and 23 g of salt. I folded the dough for a few minutes to incorporate everything. About 10 minutes later, I added the 500 g of cooked grains as well as 50 grams of water. Mixing it using the pincer as well as the fold method didn't seem to be distributing things evenly so I resorted to the slap and fold method until everything as homogeneous. I let it rest for another 10 minutes and then did another set of folds. I rushed the folding times because I had to go out. The dough was left at room temperature for a couple of hours to start rising and then it was put into the fridge until the next day.

The next day, the dough had risen about 30%. I did a cold pre-shape, let it rest for about an hour, shaped it and then let it proof in my proofing baskets. When it looked about 50% risen (wild guess on my part), I baked it in a covered dutch oven for 20 minutes at 500 degrees, then 10 minutes at 450 degrees, and then took the lid off. It continued to bake for another 30 minutes before I got the colour I wanted.

I am pretty happy with the crumb. It is nice and moist and the crust was nice and crispy. We dove into one loaf about an hour after baking and the toasted flavour really came through. Here is the required crumb shot.

I think that I am getting a better crumb by using the letter fold method of shaping. I used this for both the pre-shape and the shaping and seemed to get a better skin on my boules. 

I will definitely be making this again.

pmccool's picture

Back in March, Stan (elagins) posted about a Lithuanian black rye bread that he had made.  It looked absolutely lovely and worthy of a bake.  However, my baking over the past three months has gone in other directions.  Worse, I've taken about as much bread out of my freezer as I have out of my oven.  It's a wonderful tool, the freezer, but baking is much more satisfying than thawing.

Originally, I intended to follow Stan's schedule for the bread but two things conspired against that plan.  First, I didn't think to refresh my starter Friday morning.  Second, temperatures in my kitchen were 77-78F, several degrees higher than the room temperature in Stan's write-up.

Plan B, then, was to set up the sponge and the scald on Saturday mornining, make up the opara Saturday evening and refrigerate it overnight, then allow it to warm up Sunday morning before making up the final dough.  That all sounded good until I realized that the warmer temperatures in my kitchen were effectively halving the fermentation times that Stan had noted. That led to Plan C.

Plan C was "Maybe this will move so fast that I can bake Saturday evening."  Plan C1 was "Man, I'm going to be up really late by the time this comes out of the oven. Maybe I should go back to Plan B."  Plan C2 was "I'm going to cheat a little and add a gram of ADY to the final dough."  As it happened, Plan C2 carried the day.

Another difference that I encountered with the final dough was that it behaved slightly differently than Stan's did.  Mine never did clear the sides of the mixer bowl.  It just formed a layer around the interior of the bowl as thick as the gap between the dough hook and the bowl wall.  The inner surface of that layer received a good massage from the dough hook but there was very little kneading going on unless I used the spatula to nudge the dough back towards the center of the bowl.  Why mine behaved differently than Stan's will be a matter of conjecture.  My guess is that the flour I used (Hodgson MIlls Whole Rye) behaved differently at that hydration level than the flour Stan used.  Two other potential differences are that I made enough dough for two loaves, rather than one, and my mixer has a 7-quart bowl.  A different size dough mass in a different (?) size bowl could have behaved differently, too.  In the end, it really didn't matter.  The dough, paste really, got enough mixing/kneading.   

Following directions, I dumped the dough onto a dry countertop, portioned and shaped it into two roughly equal-size loaves.  [Stan, we need to talk about the definition of "slightly sticky".  This is almost pure rye.  By just about any baker's experience, that translates to "really, really sticky".  'Nuff said.]  I chose to put the shaped loaves on a Silpat in a half-sheet baking pan instead of playing with parchment and peel and stone.  Because the evening was drawing on, I took the covered loaves to an upstairs bedroom that was even warmer than the kitchen.  At about the one-hour mark, they started showing some pinholes in the top surface even though there were no cracks yet evident.  I took that as the cue to preheat the oven.  While I think that was the right decision, I may have been able to get away with another 15 minutes of fermentation.  Maybe.  I just wasn't brave enough to find out.

This bread smells sublime while baking!  If someone could figure out how to bottle and sell that fragrance, they would be very, very rich.  The only thing better is the flavor of the bread.

As you can see, Stan's shaping beats mine:

The cracks occurred during baking, which is why I think the final fermentation might have safely gone a bit longer than I allowed.  The coloring isn't quite as dark as I expected, although some of that may be due to the pictures being taken in sunlight.

One picture of the crumb:

And another:

Before you get all excited about the big holes, the largest are less than 1/4 inch or 6mm across.  This is a dense bread with a tight crumb, which is perfectly fine for a 90% rye bread.

I mentioned the flavor.  It is extremely complex.  Due to the shortened fermentation times, this batch is undoubtedly less sour than if it had fermented longer in the temperature range mentioned by Stan.  That said, there is an underlying hint of sourness that provides structure for the rest of the flavors.  The sweetness of the malt and the honey really shine.  The natural spiciness of the rye takes a back seat but is still very much there; Stan mentioned licorice while I perceive allspice.  There are also hints of coffee and toasted almonds and a lot more that beggars my vocabulary for flavors.  This is seriously good bread.  There's an enormous range of foods that could be paired with it, from salty ham or sausage, to tangy marmalades, to mellow or sharp cheeses.  I think it would play nicely with witbier/weissbier, or a shandy, or a maibock, too.

This is definitely on the "to bake again" list, although I may wait for cooler temperatures to see how they change the flavor profile.

Thank you, Stan!


dabrownman's picture

Six Sprouted Grain Sourdough With Toasted Buckwheat Porridge – A Great Everyday Sandwich Bread

Bread Baking Day #84 is sandwich bread – hosted here is kochtopf’s monthly bread challenge  Sandwich bread means different things to different people and can even mean different things to the same person over the course of their lifetime.

When I was kid growing up it meant Wonder Bread – for sandwiches at lunch and toast for breakfast.  My dad worked at Continental Bakers in KCMO so we got day old Wonder Bread for free.  Even day old it was just great and a week later still fresh as could be – a real wonder.  It was the king of white, enriched, yeast, sandwich bread – nothing was even close or sold nearly as well.  Kids all over America grew up on it for decades.

With the onset of age, diabetes and learning how to make SD bread, sandwich bread is something totally different than Wonder Bread for me now.  But, one thing remains the same, most all of the bread I make today is still made for sandwiches and toast.  Amazing how some things change like the kind of bread we eat and some things remain the same like eating sandwiches and toast.

Poor health can really make a person change their food choices for the better.  No more white, enriched, yeast, sandwich breads for me – it just is not allowed.  The most important thing for diabetics is to avoid carbs and sugar of all kinds, exercise and use portion control to lower body weight.  After losing 50 pounds by walking 4 miles a day, I can have 1 slice of bread per meal as long as it is the right kind of bread.

The right kind of bread is whole grain, sprouted, sourdough bread that lowers, spreads out and slows down the blood sugar load of yeasted white bread for diabetics.  You still can’t have more than a slice so, if you are like me, you just learn to cut it in half and have half a sandwich for lunch and 1 slice of bread for breakfast toast.

It’s no big whoop since you have to eat less to keep your weight down anyway and exercise is the most difficult to actually do…… especially when it is 115 F outside like here in Arizona.  Still, this bread isn’t really one that would fit the bill.  It is only 30% whole grain.  Even though the whole grains are all sprouted and there is another 10% whole buckwheat in the porridge, at 40%, it doesn’t meet our usual standard of at least 50% whole grains for what we call white, sandwich bread around here.

For many folks, this bread would be a suitable white, sprouted, multigrain, sourdough sandwich bread that would be a healthier and heartier choice for toast and sandwiches.  The 6 sprouted grains were white and red hard wheat, rye, spelt, oats and barley.  Barley is a great choice for diabetics because it has the lowest GI of any cereal grain.  They were sprouted for 21 hours before drying and milling.

The 24% extraction hard bits were used for the 2 stage bran levain where the hard bits were used for the first 4 hour stage and the high extraction 6 sprouted grain flour was used for the 2nd feeding.  The levain was stirred down at the 8 hour mark, doubled at the 12 hour mark and was retarded overnight.  The SD seed was 10 g of 26 week retarded NMNF stiff, rye sour.  The levain was 100% hydration with 14% pre-fermented flour

In KCMO we gew nup eating Wonder Bread with ribs.  But now we can have this bread with them and a salad too!

We stirred down the levain when it was taken out of the fridge the next morning.  The dough flour of the remaining high extraction, sprouted, 6 grain and Winco bread flour, was autolysed with the dough water and 2% Pink Himalayan sea salt sprinkled on top.  We then toasted the 10% buckwheat groats in a dry pan until golden brown.  Then we added twice their weight in water and simmered it for 5 minutes before turning off the heat, covering and letting the porridge cool.


After an hour of autolyse, the levain had risen 25%.  We stirred in the salt and then added the levain to it, stirred it in and did 30 slap and folds to incorporate the levain into the dough and begin the gluten development.  Overall hydration was 75% making the slap and folds just bit stiffer than normal.  We did 2 more sets of 8 slap and folds all on 20 minute intervals.

We did 3 sets of stretch and folds where the buckwheat groat porridge was added during the first set and thoroughly incorporated by end of the 3rd set.  Stretch and folds, of 4 stretches each,  were also done on 20 minute intervals.   After a 20 minute rest, the dough was pre-shaped and then shaped into a squat oval and placed seam side up into a rice floured oval basket.  The dough was bagged and placed into the fridge for a 16 hour cold retard.

Usually the bread fully proofs in the fridge but this one was A bit slow so we let it proof for 2 hours on the counter.  We preheated the oven with the CI combo cooker inside to 500 F. We un-molded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed it down the middle lengthwise and slid it onto the CC.  We steamed the dough under the lid for 18 minutes at 450 F.

Once the lid came off, we continued to bake the bread for 5 minutes at 425 F convection and then took the bread off the bottom of the combo cooker and continued to bake the bread on the bottom stone for 10 more minutes until it reached 209 F.  It bloomed, sprang, blistered and browned well.  It was also soft, moist and open on the inside.

The taste was the best part though and the highlight of the bread.  Earthy, hearty and healthy are the hallmarks of sprouted mult-igrain breads.  The Buckwheat Toadies providing the extra aroma and flavor.  As usual, this bread was a bit more on the sour side than a normal white SD bread due to the NMNF starter and the bran levain build.

Iy is almost monsoon season again.

The extra sour really stands up too the full flavor of the sprouted grains and Buckwheat Toadies. I t is about the most delicious white sandwich bread you can make…..and you can’t buy it anywhere so you will have to make it to enjoy this bread with your favorite filling as a sandwich!


2 Stage 12 Hour Levain - 14% pre-fermented flour at 100% hydration made from 26 week retarded 10 g of NMNF stiff rye starter, with 24% extraction sprouted bran for the first build and high extraction 6 sprouted grain for the 2nd build.  Levain is then retarded overnight when it doubles after the stirring down at the 8 hour mark. In our case we made 130 g of bran levain.


30% - 6 grain sprouted flour – red and white wheat, oat, barley, spelt and rye

70% - Winco bread flour from the bins

10% - Toasted buckwheat with 20% water made into a porridge.

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt

All of the bran levain  

Thanks to Job for posting the link to BBD #84


EllaFromChina's picture

I don't like sweet cakes or muffins(too much sugar is not good for me), so I decided to use my discarded SD starter to make a salty one so I can pack it for my work lunch. It turns out to be yummy (unexpectedly)!



Flour ( i used some Chinese dumpling flour. I feel normal bread flour is okay as well though never tried )100
SD starter ( mine was fed 3-5 days ago)40
chopped / sliced Vegetables ( eg. Leek, carrot)Some
baking soda1.5g



1. mix SD starter , flour , water,baking soda, salt. kneed a little till smooth. Ferment till doubled.

2. Roll in the vegetables. 

I made 2. One with leek and one with carrot. Both taste great.

3. Rest for 20min.

4.Add oil to the pan. fry it for about 10-15 min. 



Skibum's picture

This has been a very enjoyable baking project.  This was the second half of the last focaccia dough that had rested in the fridge for 3 days prior to baking.  I changed up the herbed evoo using dried basil this time. I found the fresh basil used in the last batches tended to burn and become a little bitter. This is not an issue with the dried herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano and Italian seasoning.

Last bake after dividing I pre-formed a ball and ended up with a square-ish loaf. This time I thought I would follow Peter Reinhart's lead and do a letter fold instead. This gave me a rectangular piece of dough about 268 grams.  After 15 minutes rest I was able to coax the loaf into shape in my long loaf pan, drizzling generously with the herbed evoo and docking firmly with my fingers to coax things into place. I also sprinkled fine sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and granulated garlic on to the oiled loaf. Yummmmmmm . . . .

I love this bread! Great snap to the crust and a nice soft crumb.

Fully proofed and ready to bake. Again baked 10 minutes at 500F with steam, turned and finished at 485 for 7 minutes. Okay, I promise this will be my last focaccia post . . .well maybe.

Happy baking! Ski

STUinlouisa's picture

Decided to experiment with some summer sausage and cheese. The dough was made with a combo of fresh ground  high extraction Red Fife, home ground corn meal, and AP. The leaven build was started at 5:30 AM with 30g starter, 50g Red Fife, 50g AP, and 70g water. At the same time started the autolyse with 114g Red Fife, 36g corn meal,100g AP and 170g water. The leaven moved fast because it is about 80F in the house and was ready after about 2 hr since I wanted to catch it still on the rise and very active. I mixed the two together added 6g salt and did 3 S&F about 15 min apart then let ferment which only took another 2hr. The dough was flattened into a rectangle, sprinkled with chopped summer sausage and sharp cheddar cheese, rolled into a log, and proofed on a sheet pan. It took only about 45 min to a little more than double. It was baked at 325F in the countertop convection oven that was a late birthday present and an interesting change from our regular gas oven. It was very quickly done, only about 20 minutes even at that low temp, of course the loaf did have a slim cross section.

The crumb has nice structure with a soft moist texture and a tender crust. The taste is good with the sausage and cheese not completely overpowering the bread like I was afraid it would. It makes a good novelty bread but not an every day loaf.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I made banana roti almost a year ago and we loved it! I also noted before that I will try this with mangoes come mango season and it's finally here! Banana roti is a famous  street food in some South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, from the name it's obviously made with bananas but I've seen some made with a different fruit like mango. Mango is my favorite fruit and where I'm from is famous for its mangoes so I'm sure I will love it.

This bread/snack is simple; an unleavened dough is stretched very thinly the cooked on a griddle for a few seconds then the fruit filling is deposited in the center then the sides of the dough are folded neatly like a handkerchief, a few minutes later it is flipped and when browned beautifully cut into small pieces then drizzled with condensed milk. Here is a newer video I found for this snack, jump to 1:52 for the actual cooking process. Both mango and banana were used for this roti.

Mangoes ripen in large quantities so we froze those that we cannot eat. Very juicy and sweet. For the filling, the mangoes were just mixed with eggs.

Here is the mango custard. Mangoes are already juicier than bananas but frozen mangoes are even more watery! I don't know if this will work as filling.

For the actual roti, I want to try a different folding method too like the ones in Malaysia but it's more difficult because the dough need to be stretched thinner and larger and this is just my second time to make this kind of bread so I stuck with the method I used before and tried to improve. I used the same dough but with slight modifications. Here are the dough balls soaking in oil.

I used AP flour (you can see in the white dough color) as uncle Dab suggested and it was more extensible than my dough before made with strong flour. I also made it wetter and softer this time. My technique may have improved too and I'm still using this plate as my work surface. I was able to stretch it thin without any holes.

Look! This is some serious windowpane!

I cooked them just like in the video. The mango filling is very runny and I have to be fast in folding the dough to contain the filling otherwise it will be a mess; mango flavored scrambled eggs instead of smooth mango custard!

It was much better than my banana rotis. More even square shape with good distribution of the filling.

I cut it into 9 pieces using my spatula just like how vendors do it! The mango filling is peeking.

Fully dressed and ready to rock & roll.

Condensed milk, salt and sugar. You know, half of the can of condensed milk ended up in my and dad's hands!

Crispy, soft with a slight chew and a fragrant sweet creamy mango custard filling! So delicious!  The texture is unique, like a crepe but like a tortilla too, only this method could achieve this texture. Even though mango is my favorite fruit, I still prefer this with banana. The mangoes broke down too much and the flavor is somewhat diluted quite the opposite of banana where the flavor and aroma gets concentrated. This dessert is still really good, with the crunch from the sugar and the salt playing very well with all the sweet flavors.

A mango-pineapple drink to accompany the rotis.

I got a little bit crazy too and made some homemade spring roll (popiah 薄餅皮) wrappers. We were craving for some spring rolls but we don't have the wrappers and it's too dark to go to the market so I experimented in making my own whether it will work or not.

Still a bit thick, I need to practice the dabbing technique (Here is a video so you know what I mean) more but again not bad for a first try making only a few pieces. This week is all about thin breads / wheaten products.


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