The Fresh Loaf

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leslieruf's picture

Yesterday I did the 2nd part of my experiment to see how degree of proof affects the crumb. First part was done using 4 deg C  final proof – here is the link

Now part 2 is a repeat but using a warm over night proof.  Well, warm proof is a bit of a challenge – my proposal was to do it at about 8 deg C.  Forecast overnight temperature was to be 5 deg C, a bit cooler than planned, but inside I though ok, it will be a few degrees warmer.  So here goes.

Method and formula are exactly the same as part 1.  I added an extra 30 g water.  I only made enough dough to do 4 x 400 g loaves as I decided not to do the 120 minute bench proof.  I started 2 hours later in the day so that I would do the shaping and bench proof after dinner when temperatures were dropping. 

So 4 loaves preshaped (actually ended up at 450 g each)  and left for 30 minutes, final shape and bench rest for 0, 30, 60 & 90 minutes.  Kitchen temperature was 21 – 22 deg C throughout.  As I placed shaped dough into my conservatory the temperature was 12 deg C - at the start of the 0 bench proof @ 7:30 pm. By 9 pm it was 11 deg C, 10 pm it was 10 deg C, 2:30 am it was 8 deg C and at 6:15 this morning it was 6 – 7 deg C.  Outside it was a toasty 3.5 deg C!! 

Pre bake photos:

0 bench rest

30 minutes bench rest


60 minutes bench rest (is that overproof? Some degassing when I scored


90 minute bench rest (definite degassing when I scored.)


These were baked side by side in 2 DO at 240 deg C convection for 11 minutes lid on, 12 minutes lid off.  Internal temperature was 208 deg F at least at end.

First set of loaves – 0 bench rest & 30 minutes. Loaves have flattened, spread out a bit but not much in length. Oven spring, ok not too bad


Second set of loaves – 60 minutes & 90 minutes.  Definitely flatter. Loaves have spread lengthways and only a bit of oven spring. 

 I also made up a small batch (same formula) to see how different the oven spring/crumb would be if I did 60 & 90 minute bench proofs, with dough constrained in my small bannetons, then overnight retard in the fridge.  These loaves were 550 grams each.

60 minute bench proof, pre back



90 minutes bench proof, prebake

These are looking much better. They were baked 15 minutes lid on @ 240 deg C and 15 mins lid off.

Now if I compare to the warm proofed ones (the cold proof is about 100 g more dough but still..)

Wow! huge difference in oven spring

Now 90 minutes comparison.  warm proof is definitely flatter

I was sitting across the room and glanced at the kitchen, had to laugh as it is so obvious.

Crumb shots will come as we eat them.

Conclusion so far - don't think I like warm proof overnight, will stick to my cold overnight proof.  Just took the last of part 1 out of freezer (90 minutes) and when comparing size and shape of loaves there is not much difference.  I also realise that my choice of warm proof  spot was a bit dodgy - I don't have a proofer but this was a warmer proof than the fridge, even if the temperature was not ideal to start with, and that is probably why some overproofed, but it has shown me a few things.  Homebakers must often come up with a work around. 

Anyway, love your feedback on this and the other post.  The final crumb shot for part one will pop up shortly.


Lightsofroy's picture

Hello everyone.

I’ve been baking sourdough now for about 2 months with varying degrees of success....I’ve certainly learned the hard way that a 100% wholemeal rye sourdough is probably not the easiest loaf to eat!

I’m currently using white rye in my starter (I haven’t gone to the effort of properly measuring/ managing the hydration levels yet.....I am yet to figure that out!) and dove foods organic strong white bread flour for the bake. This has been reasonably stable and whilst the loaves are starting to look and taste good, I’ve not yet had a really hole-y crumb structure....there have been a few popping up but nothing to shout from the rooftops about.

I think the problem lies in my timings so i’ll Continue to experiment with those. My shaping skills are also in need of work but are much better than they were a couple of weeks ago. 

I write this whilst I have two bannetons filled with dough and very little rise coming after shaping. For the first time, I shaped with wet hands rather than floured and things got a little stickier than I would’ve liked so we’ll see what happens in the next hour!

Anyway, just wanted to say hi...i’ll be sure to post more as I improve and will no doubt ask for more specific advice as I start to figure out what I need to ask!

Thanks :-)




solano's picture

I tried to get a strong flour last week, but I could not, I only found 25kg packages, which is a lot for me, hard to keep at home and I use only a little every weekend, I would end up losing a lot of that flour. So I found an organic flour that I had used a while ago and decided to try it again, I also found a different, non-organic brand, and I decided to make a loaf of each one of them. Interesting that the two brands claim to have 10% protein. The results, however, were very different. The organic was very easy to work, the other was almost impossible, since the mix I already realized that it would be complicated, did not develop gluten in any way and in the end did not hold shape, it was very difficult to get the shape and put in the banneton, The next day it stuck to the banneton and took a little work to leave. The bread looks well fermented, it just seems like it can not maintain a structure. I was very happy with the result of the organic, happy level dancing in the kitchen hahaha. Anyway, the pictures speak better than me and my poor English.

The two loaves were my usual recipe, 1000g dough, 100% white flour, 65.03% water, 2.19% salt, 18.58% levain (100% hydration). Final hydration, 68%. Temperature in my refrigerator was about 3 ° C and in my kitchen during the day ranged between 25-27 ° C.


- mix (flour, water) - 30 min autolyse

- add levain - 30 min rest

- add salt and mix (slap and fold for the organic and rubaud for the other)

- coil folds every 30 min (total time of BF, 5 and a half hours)

.- pre-shape, bench rest 30 min, shape

- 1 hour proof on the counter

- Final proof for 13 hours in the refrigerator.

- Direct to the oven, 20 minutes with lid, 25 without lid, temperature always at 250º C

alfanso's picture

A bit of a come-on, but for comparison the lead photo is my standard 84% hydration ciabatta crumb, as is this next of a full loaf.

Friends soon visiting asked if I could bake ciabatta for them.  I had to re-aquaint myself. Rather than make my old standby ciabatta at 84% hydration, I wanted to try another option.

A video by The Artisan Crust’s Scott MeGee has an interesting take on this bread.  In response to two separate comments, Mr. MeGee quotes the hydration first as 66% and later as 76%.  If you’ve ever made ciabatta yourself and then watch this video, I doubt that the huge billowy pillow of dough that he folds and then divides is anything like your own personal experience. It certainly wasn’t and isn’t like mine.  If you can duplicate his dough’s characteristics I’d surely be curious as to how.

The 76% version makes a fine ciabatta with one glaring exception - it does not produce the large hole structure that we associate with this bread.  I'm personally not too enamored by large holes.  Beyond an open crumb, I really don’t care.  This 76% version otherwise maintains that true ciabatta look, smell, feel and taste.  That’s good enough for me.

 The 66% hydration version was next.  Amazingly, at divide time, the jiggly blob of dough that tumbled out of the container could just as easily be mistaken for a dough with hydrations of 10% and even 20% higher.  Once out of the mixer it was near impossible to tell this dough from the 76% or even an 85% ciabatta dough when it came time to fold, divide and bake.  On the downside I didn’t detect the same ciabatta smell and flavor from this 66% version.  Maybe it was just playing with my head (and nostrils).

My takeaway is that with little, if any, additional work the 76% was the superior version.  And I anticipate that my shaping of these, although already pretty fair, will continue to improve over time.

I like how he shapes the dough and then refrains from stretching it until moving from the well-floured couche to the baking peel, neither of which I had ever done before in this way.  With the jelly-like quality of both versions, shaping is a task but doable.  The dough just isn’t what you see in his video.

I agree with dabrownman when he says that the holes have no flavor and you can’t eat them.  If you are in the market for a ciabatta with those giant holes, this is not the bread for you.

For both versions, I differ from Mr. MeGee’s formula in that I used an overnight 40% prefermented flour biga instead of making this a direct dough.   Prior to the double-hydration bassinage of water and olive oil, I removed the dough from the mixer and gave it ~100 French Folds, with a 5 minute rest halfway through.  The 66% dough is much stiffer as it isn’t a full 66% until the bassinage has completed, and therefore I had to add some of the second hydration to make it workable on the bench.

Then back into the mixer.  Both the timing of the mix and the speed of the mixer were far far different from what is in the video.  Mr. MeGee’s stated mixing time is with his large commercial rotating bowl spiral mixer. I have an old Kitchen-Aid planetary stand mixer where the dough hook and action of my mixer leaves a lot to be desired.  I’ve never been satisfied with its performance the few times that I use the dough hook.  The speeds of my mixer varied from “2” for incorporation of the second hydration, up to “6” and finally to “8” to thoroughly finish the mix.

The mix with this dough hook is done when the dough provide that familiar slapping sound and goes though successive phases of being pulled up off the bowl and onto the hook and then dropping back down to the bowl again.  There is an awful lot of mixing friction that raises the dough temperature, hence the use of a cold biga and cold water.

The 76% hydration ciabatta





 The 66% hydration ciabatta




My version of his 76% hydration ciabatta using a biga formula.  2x ~500g loaves:

Ciabatta w/Biga @76% Hydration       
Scott MeGee, alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Prefermented40.00%   
 Total Formula   Biga  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%550.4 100.00%  Final Flour330.2
 Bread Flour100.00%550.4 100%220.1 Bread Flour330.2
 Water,cold76.00%418.3 66%145.3 Water218.4
 Olive Oil3.00%16.5    Olive Oil16.5
 Salt2.10%11.6    Salt11.6
 IDY0.60%3.3 0.14%0.31 IDY3.0
 Totals181.70%1000 166.14%365.75  1000



Elsie_iu's picture

Mid-Autumn Festival is around the corner! In Hong Kong, lotus seed mooncakes (and other non-traditional varieties e.g. egg custard mooncakes and snowy mooncakes), stuffed glutinous rice dumplings in sweet soup and fruits like pomelo and star fruits are served. In case you’re wondering…No, we don’t celebrate it with pineapple char siu buns! The thing is, this Chinese festival triggers my craving for Chinese food.


HK Style Pineapple Char Siu Buns


Dough flour:

150g   100%   Whole wheat flour (I used extra finely grinded Indian atta flour)


For homemade char siu:

~250g   167%      Pork, cut into 3 pieces (pork shoulder is traditional but I just bought regular “lean pork”)

50g      33.3%      Store-bought char siu sauce

10g      6.67%      Shaoxing wine

-g              -%       Honey for brushing


For filling:

~120g    80%        Char siu (1/2 of homemade char siu above or sub with store-bought), cubed

~70g      43%        1/2 onion, finely diced

5g          14%        1 tsp cooking oil (I used peanut oil)

-g              -%        Reserved marinate

~70g   46.7 %       1 fresh pineapple ring, cut into six chunks       


For tang zhong:

15g        10%        Whole wheat flour

75g        29%        Water


For pineapple crust:

55g    36.7%      Whole wheat flour

30g      20%       Sugar

20g    13.3%      1 large egg yolk

20g    13.3%      Ghee (or 25g butter)

15g       10%      Water

-g             -%      1 tsp baking powder


For bread dough:

135g        90%      Whole wheat flour

37g       24.7%      1 large egg white

42g           28%     Water 

~90g         36%      All of the tang zhong

15g          10%       Sugar (optional. I don’t like sweet bread with sweet filling and crust so I skipped it)

2.5g      1.67%       Salt

0.79g    0.53%      1/4 tsp instant yeast


For egg wash:

-g               -%       Egg yolk


150g      100%     Whole Grain (bread dough part only)

150g      100%     Total hydration (including tang zhong)


Marinate the pork overnight or for at least 6 hours. Remove the pork from the fridge, letting excess marinade drip off. Reserve the remaining marinade. Preheat the oven at 400°, bake the pork on a rack in the middle/top layer depending on the size of your oven. Place an aluminium-foil-lined baking sheet at the bottom layer to collect any drip off. After 10 minutes, flip the pork and brush the side facing up with honey, bake for 5 more minutes or until charred on the edges. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Make the filling. Cube the char siu into your desired size and finely dice half an onion. Heat oil in a pan/wok. Fry the onion at medium heat until lightly caramelized. Pour in the reserved marinade and cook until thickened. Dissolve 1 tsp of corn starch in 1 tbsp of water and add to the pan to thicken if necessary. Mix in the cubed pork then remove from fire. Refrigerate the mixture until needed.

Mix together the flour and water for the tang zhong and heat over medium-low, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Mix thoroughly all dough. Combine roughly all dough ingredients except for salt and yeast, autolyse for 30 minutes. Mix in the reserved ingredients then slap and fold the dough until gluten is developed, around 10 minutes. Let ferment for 2 hours at room temperature then retard for 8-14 hours.

Make the pineapple crust by combining all ingredients and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes at a minimum. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Divide the cold dough into 6 equal pieces. Let them rest for 20 minutes. Place 1/6 of the filling into each dough piece then top with a chunk of pineapple. Bring the edges together and lightly pinch to seal. Let proof on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5 minutes before baking, take the pineapple crust dough out of the fridge and divide it into 6 equal balls. Working quickly, flatten each ball with you palm then place it on top of the buns. Brush the crust with egg yolk.

Bake the buns at 400°F in the middle rack for 15 minutes or until the crust is browned to your liking. Let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.


The crust is quite crumby but not as much as those sold in Chinese bakeries. I guess that was the consequence of leaving baker’s ammonia, which traditional recipes call for, out of the formula. Another change I made for the crust formula was subbing ghee for lard, shortening or butter. I love the aroma of ghee but feel free to use the alternatives listed above.

Since I didn’t seal the dough properly, much of the juicy sauce leaked out onto the sheet pan…I’m certain that most of you can do a better job to yield an even juicer centre!


Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Gilles Ted's picture
Gilles Ted

Hi All,

To save time and bake Professionnal Bread I propose my French Bread Recipes Android App for free this week.

No more worry about Bakers Math including Sourdough, water temperature, raising time Timer, etc.

App Web site:

Google store:

Enjoy and let me know what do you think about the App.



The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

While we all love a nice crusty loaf of bread. Pillow soft buns with nary any crust at all have a place too.

Friday night dinner.
Mississippi chicken on fresh, home made pillow soft buns.

The Roadside Pie King


Pequod's picture

This is my second loaf with fresh milled flour. Once again, I turned to Maurizio for inspiration and went with his Sourdough Spelt formula. My loaf used 30% fresh milled spelt, 30% fresh milled high extraction hard red spring wheat (Maurizio calls for Central Milling T85), and 40% Giusto's Artisan. I used a 40 mesh sieve to sift the whole grain red wheat down to high extraction (about 85%). This loaf was 85% hydration. It was proofed in the refrigerator in a linen-lined oblong banneton and baked in an oblong clay baker. The result:


This is an incredibly delicious bread and am very happy with the result. Next time I'll replace a bit of the high extraction wheat with some rye, but otherwise really loving the flavor of spelt. 

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum


This is a recipe  that I have adapted from Sarah Owens book Toast and Jam. It uses a rye tangzhong and has the option of making it with a combination of sourdough starter and commercial yeast or just using sourdough starter. I have done it both ways and it always comes out great.  If you are not using commercial yeast you will need to use 150 grams of starter.


I have found it is best to grind your 45 grams of buckwheat flour in blender. The little bit of extra effort is worth it. I use a bullet blender.




For the tangzhong

45 grams

Rye flour

115 grams


115 grams





In a saucepan combined these ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Then place the pan over medium low heat stirring constantly until it thickens  about 3 to 4  minutes. It might be pourable and its ok if its thickened beyond that. 




Put this mixture in a 6 qt kitchenaid or large bowl if hand mixing it will be hot to cool it  your milk and butter should be cold

60 grams

Buckwheat honey or wildflower honey

230 grams


85 grams

Unsalted butter,Cut up into cubes

Stir to combined then take the temperature make sure you get this mixture  to 90 degrees F or less before adding the other ingredients.

630 grams

Bread flour

100 grams

Active starter

45 grams

Buckwheat flour

1 tsp

Active dry yeast

100 grams 

2 eggs beaten

Combined all of these ingredients until you cant see any streaks

Let the dough rest covered in the bowl for 20 -30 minutes.

Then add

15 grams of fine sea salt *

*I also add seeds at this point

Knead thoroughly until a smooth dough is achieved, Let proof  till tripled in size. 3 hours if using commercial yeast longer if using sourdough. Watch the dough not the clock


Grease two small pullman loaf pans . Divide dough in half . Form loaves   Watch dough. Anticipate when dough will  almost come to the tops of the loaf tins, so you can preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.



roberte's picture

P. Reinhardt 's recipe


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