The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

Elsasquerino's picture

Every week I bake a loaf to take to work for lunch each day. The last couple of weeks I've used a recipe from TFL's own Trevor Wilson, for a great loaf with a 65% hydration see here...

I want a loaf that tastes great, (obviously) and that can be great for sandwiches as well as make the ultimate toast and soup soaker upper - a good all rounder. I like that the sourdough loaf will keep easily so I could still use it for a sandwich on Friday if that took my fancy... It rarely does I treat myself to the UK delicacy of beans on toast most Fridays --

65% is not a particularly stiff dough using my local mills flour, UK flour in general is not as thirsty as US or Canadian flours it seems. I have seriously struggled with tartine style recipes and Trevor's write up makes a lot of sense. Master the lower hydration first and build up from there. I'd advise a UK beginner to drop the hydration a little further in fact and if it's not midsummer, people in the north could happily forget using the fridge at all in the first steps, I just use cold water and leave it out on the side.

I baked this one in my Romertopf for 20 mins lid on then 30 mins lid off because I like a good crust. Thanks Trev!

leslieruf's picture

Well I finally gave in, the temptation was just too much.  Today I had other tasks in the kitchen so thought I could work this in around them.  The recipe I followed was txfarmers baguette, just a simple yeasted dough.  I started with much trepidation, followed her recipe as closely as I could.  Here are my first baguettes ready to proof

The shaping actually went better than I thought it would and I baked at 230°C for 10 mins with as much steam as I could, then 15 minutes without. 

Couldn't resist and had to cut one to see how it was for afternoon tea. so here is crumb shot.

It was still warm  but I thought it tasted good.  Shaping has a long way to go I think, would appreciate feedback on crumb as well as shaping.  

Next time I might make the baguettes a little larger (thicker) - these were 220 gm each.

Wanted to insert link to txfarmers blog for the recipe but don't know how to do that.


sadkitchenkid's picture

This bread is great! I've made it three times this week. It's 50% wholewheat flour but it's still very most and airy. 75% hydration, it's very easy to handle and make. 


Though there is a good amount of whole wheat in this, it yields a very chewy moist crumb with a crisp crust. Love this bread!!



330grams bread flour

208grams whole wheat flour

326grams water

50grams starter (I've used both whole wheat starter and my regular starter)

6grams salt


Mix the flours and water together into a lump and let autolyse for a couple of hours. Sometimes I let autolyse in the fridge overnight then let come to room temperature the next morning. Plop on the 50g of starter and fold into the dough. After the starter is incorporated, set aside for an hour and then proceed with a series of stretch and folds every hour. The amount of stretch and folds I do depends on how busy I am. I try to aim for 6. Sometimes I do more, sometimes I do less, sometimes more than an hour goes by before I proceed with the stretch and fold. It always comes out well. After the last fold, I take the dough out of the bowl and tightly shape into a boule. Place in a floured bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight, then let proof for 2-4 hours outside of the fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 500F with a dutch oven in there. Bake with the lid on for 22 minutes then off for another 24 minutes. Let cool for an hour minimum. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

It's always worth posting a photo when a loaf (finally) turns out to look like the picture in the book. :)

dmsnyder's picture

Italian bread with currents, fennel and pine nuts

May 6, 2017

David M. Snyder

When I started baking sourdough breads, Susan Tenny's “Wild Yeast Blog” was, along with The Fresh Loaf, a major source of inspiration. Susan was also very active on The Fresh Loaf as “susanfnp.” Well, sadly, Susan has not kept up her blog, but it does remain accessible and worth a visit.

In November, 2007 Susan blogged on a somewhat accidental bread (You just will have to read her blog to understand.) It was a 50% semolina bread with currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. I was starting to explore sourdough breads with various nut/dried fruit combinations at the time, so I gave this one a try. I liked it a lot, although my wife doesn't like fennel or pine nuts as much as I do. So, I only made this bread the one time.

Today, I attended a pot luck at a home that has a very large wood-fired oven. The group is mostly Italian, so Susan's semolina bread came to mind as one they would enjoy. I have had good success with an “Italian Bread” based on my San Joaquin Sourdough, so I used that approach rather than Susan's for this formula.

Final dough




Wt (g)

Bakers' %

AP flour



Fine durum flour









Active Liquid levain



Olive oil



Whole fennel seeds



Dried currents



Pine nuts (lightly toasted and cooled)







  • I know the table above does not fit current BBGA conventions. So sorry. I hope this doesn't place my membership at risk.

  • Hydration is 73%, taking into account the levain.

  • The liquid levain is my usual 100% hydration levain made with a flour mix of 70% AP, 20% Whole Wheat and 10% Whole Rye flours. 9% of the total flour is pre-fermented.

  • I generally mix the levain late at night and ferment it a 70-76ºF overnight, and mix the final dough in the morning. If I mix the levain early in the day, I ferment it then refrigerate it until an hour or so before mixing the final dough. If it is still cool, I compensate by using warmer water for the final dough.


Procedure (using a stand mixer)

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water using the paddle at slow speed.

  2. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover and rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Switch to the dough hook. Add the salt and mix at Speed 2 for 6-7 minutes or until there is moderate gluten development.

  5. Add the olive oil and continue to mix. The dough will first come apart and then reform a ball incorporating the oil.

  6. Add the currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. Mix at low speed until they are evenly distributed – 1-2 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and ferment at 70-76ºF for 3-4 hours with stretch and folds on a well-floured board at 50 and 100 minutes. The dough should have increased in volume by half and be filled with small bubbles and feel puffy, although it will also remain a bit sticky.

  8. Refrigerate the dough 8-12 hours.

  9. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Pre-shape as balls, cover them, and let them rest for 1 hour.

  10. Shape as baguettes.

  11. Proof on a couche for 45 minutes.

  12. Bake at 460ºF for 20-22 minutes with steam for the first 12 minutes.

  13. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

This bread was very well received. Actually, they loved it. In my estimation, while the taste was really good, there is lots of room for improvement. The dough was underfermented. I haven't yet been able to adequately humidify this huge WFO when baking such a small amount of bread. My next step is to make this again, probably using the same formula, fermenting the dough more completely and baking it in my familiar home oven. Stay tuned!



dmsnyder's picture

This was a busy baking week (for me). I baked for two potluck dinners and for my wife and me.

Thursday, I had a committee meeting in the evening. I brought a San Joaquin Sourdough.

I bake a SJSD for home as well, but also a 90% rye bread, my currently preferred base for cream cheese and lox.

Today, I had another opportunity to bake in wood fired oven. I baked a Forkish Field Blend #2 pair and a newly devised formula for an Italian-style bread with currents, pine nuts and fennel seeds. I will blog on that one in a bit, but, meanwhile here's a photo of the bake:

As you can probably tell from the dull crusts, our biggest problem was humidifying the huge oven with only four loaves loaded. On the other hand, this is the first bake I've done in this oven where the temperature was not too hot. So progress is being made.

Happy baking!


Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

Weekends I mix 1200 grams of flour at 69-74% hydration, 2% salt.

Its fermented, all my bread is made without commercial yeast. The first dough goes in on sunday afternoon and the other part of the dough stays in the fridge till thursday when we make pizza or saturday when I make a loaf that ends up looking like this. Getting on in age it tastes so good. 

No flour is thrown away in my process, I use the same bowl the dough rises in to get the new starter going. Just add flour and water and keep the ball rolling.

Same strain of starter since 2009. Grams of flour thrown away to feed this starter-zero. One summer when I got real busy with work I put a cup of the starter in the freezer and in fall when I got back to the bread biz I woke it up. It took a while to get the rhythm going again. If you dont have bread going all the time its hard to hit the marks when you start from zero or almost zero.

alfanso's picture

On May 1st BreadBabies posted her SJSD batard twins.  And they were lovely.  But her post started off with a lament on her rye levain.  After being built and "ready" her resultant bake yielded the comment "Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough was more like a Vermont pancake". 

I suggested that her rye levain was the issue and that it was way past usefulness, having expired all of the yeast's food by the time she got around to employing it.  It was in the throes of death at that point and therefore she shouldn't throw in the towel so soon on trying to use rye levains.  

As her SJSD was so nice, I provided a bastardized version of it replacing David's 100% mixed flour liquid levain with a 125% all rye flour liquid levain.  She replied along the lines of - after you.  So be it.  I guess that was the bee in my bonnet that I needed!  And so BreadBabies - here it is:

One other point that I want to re-emphasize.  Is once you / I / we make a mod to someone else's formula, it is no longer their formula that we are making, it is our own version, a one-off.  And again, to me, a good thing.

First order of business is to know what a ripe and ready 125% rye levain should look like.  Doubled in size from when it was fed, it started out at the horizontal "gelato" line.  This took 5 1/2 hour in my 78dF kitchen:


Changes from David's SJSD formula for this run:

  • the obvious switch to the 125% rye liquid levain
  • incorporated the levain with the water and flour up front.  Otherwise it would have been a little difficult to incorporate the post-autolyse levain by hand.
  • Bulk rise with letter folds at 40, 80, 120 and 150 minutes.  Then whisked into retard for ~16-18 hours.
  • baked straight out of retard without a bench proof.

The dough was incredibly extensible throughout the letter folds.  Soft and quite pliable for final shaping.  With a  modestly floured couche they released quite easily, with no sticking although they shed a fair amount of moisture onto the couche.

Baked at 480dF.  Steamed for 13 minutes.  Rotated and baked for an additional 10 minutes.  Vented for 2 minutes more.

375g x 4 baguettes.  

Crumb shot added.  Preparing for my morning toast...

Floorman's picture

After about a year of my last post, I thought I share this one. I have been baking lots of bread past year. Average of 25 loaves a week. Trying to start up my own business from home. As a stay at home dad with 2 kids under 5 it seems to be quite a balancing act. Luckily I only do sourdough bread, and I find it very forgiving... And the fridge became a very good friend. At the moment I am sitting on 45 loaves a week that I am selling, but would like to get to about 80... Then I can say I sell enough to justify a new and bigger oven :)

 This one is a experimental loaf. As I usually bake in tins, just to utilise the space in the oven, it was quite nice to do a free form again. Also usually my doughs are too wet to hold their shape. I really enjoyed baking this one. The dough fermented just over 48 before I shaped it and let it rise for another hour. Then in the oven for an hour with lots of steam.

For those interested: (from memory)

150g white starter, 50g rye starter ( both 100%), 450g water, 20g salt, 200g wholemeal rye, 500g strong wheat flour, 150g kibbled wheat, good sprinkle of caraway seeds (probably 8g). Baked at 250c, turned down to 220c after 20 min.


dabrownman's picture

This is the last of the series end up at with 100% sprouted grain bread.  We started at 30% then 40% than 50% and last week was 75%.  What we learned last week was that the dough was getting very fast and it over proofed in the fridge during a retarded final proof.  So we cut the pre-fermented flour in the bran levain to 10% hoping to slow the dough down but did retard the levian for 24 hours after it doubled after the 3rd stage.

Rather than retarding the final proof we let this bread bulk ferment on the counter for 5 hours in our warmish kitchen after the 2 hours of gluten development using slap and folds and stretch and folds.  We kept the 1 hour autolayse.  The hydration ended up at 80%, 5% lower than last week because  it was so fast and over proofed the week before with 25% less whole sprouted grain.

Look how this proofed seam side down in the basket.  I've never had a loaf proof and crack like that on the smooth side before - weird!

The bran levain was so small that some of the bran ended up with the high extraction dough flour this time so not all the bran got the full immersion and softening in 100% hydration and the acid of the SD for 36 hours.  It was 78F in the kitchen overnight.

The 7 sprouted grains, in equal amounts, remained the same: red and white wheat, oat, barley, spelt, rye but this time we doubled up the Kamut hoping for that color to come through more.  This dough was really fast because we fermented it on the counter.  In 5 hours it had tripled!  I thought it was over fermented for sure but I degassed it and pre-shaped it and then 10 minutes later did a final shape.

This week was Hamburger Once a Month Day with home made buns. And we love grilled shrimp kabobs with grilled veggies

We plopped it into a rice floured basket seam side down because we knew we didn’t want to slash this giggly mass after it proofed in the trash can liner.  We checked it at 30 minutes and it was already 50% proofed so we fired up the oven to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.  In an hour it was 95% proofed. Over proofed for sure but not horribly so.

We also love grilled Ahi Tuna.  Yummy!  The cherry tomatoes from the back yard make killer bruschetta for lunch

We quickly un-molded it onto parchment on a peel and slid it right into the hot cooker and in the oven it went as we turned the heat down to 450 F for 18 minutes of steam.  When the lid came off it had cracked OK but no huge spring.  We turned the oven down to 425 F convection for 6 minutes of dry heat.

We then took the bread out of the cooker completely and finished baking it on the bottom stone for 6 more minutes.  At that point, the bread read 208 F on the instant read thermometer and was fairly brown but we turned the oven off and left the bread on the stone with the door ajar to see it would take on some more color.

Well it didn’t so 5 minutes we put it on the cooling rack.  The Kamut color did come though too.  Now we wait on the crumb shot for lunch.  I would expect it to nit be as open at the 75% but still very nice since it proofed up so well.  With the longer bulk ferment that tripled, I would expect a very nice sour coming through with this one.  It smelled wonderful coming out of the oven so early this morning.'

Yes it is Cinco De Mayo a fresh blackberry margarita is in order. Have a Fiesta!

This one did come out a bit more sour than usual which is fine for a whole grain bread.  It is pretty tasty overall and the crumb was open soft and moist.  It is hearty and healthy too.  So a whole sprouted grain bread is possible but you really need to watch it since it lightening fast and I was not fast enough. 3 hours bulk and 45 min proof is enough already!

A prickly pear margarita  is the perfect chaser for the blackberry one


10% pre-fermented 7 sprouted grain bran levain 100% hydration

90% of the remainder of the bran and the High Extraction 7 sprouted grain flour

80% hydration overall

Lucy says to not forget the salad with all other good stuff




Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries