The Fresh Loaf

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PalwithnoovenP's picture

I hope this is not late for homemade bread day. There was no internet connection for several days, finally there is a connection now. I may not post for a while because our internet service provider scheduled a wide repair and maintenance, we're not sure if we will be affected. I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, the connection could be cut off anytime! I will surely repeat this bread and make a more "dramatic" post in the future. I missed uncle Dab's Mandela challenge last time and I don't want to miss this one now.

This is the bread of the countryside, of our yard. I named it yard sourdough because like many breads named after a place,; the starter was made here, the bread was made here and the baking method was based on primitive cooking styles from here.

What characterizes this bread? No measurements, all by feel, a super long autolyze (longer than 16 hours), a firm starter (or a starter that favors acetic acid production), and a long cold proof. It is baked in a clay pot on a banana leaf over heated pebbles. Our place is famous for it's vinegar all over the country so that's why I emphasized the use of a firm starter or one that favor acetic acid to keep the connection to our home.

I autolyzed some AP flour and water longer than 16 hours in the fridge. Unlike others who use ice water for a cold autolyse, I just use room temperature water to jump start the enzymatic reactions and just let the dough catch up with the cold in the fridge. I let the dough warm up for an hour before incorporating the 12 hour old levain (fed with BF, it smells lovely vinegar already) built using 2 builds. I incorporated it using gentle folds and let it rest for an hour. The dough is dry that you can pick it up in one hand or even just 3 finger and it won't droop or tear. After an hour, I gave it a stretch and fold did the same for the next 3 hours, 1 hour apart. After the stretch and folds were done, I let it rest for an hour at room temperature then an hour on the fridge.

I've been wanting to bake seam-side up for the longest time so I did not miss the opportunity here. For me it makes the loaf look more rustic, and rustic is what our home is all about. After the 1 hour rest in the fridge, I pre-shaped it into a tight boule and let it rest for 30 minutes and shape it this way. Place the dough seam-side up; give it a light degassing; give the edges an extra degassing/flattening and fold the edges as shown here starting at 0:32. Put in the cloth lined proofing basket dusted with corn starch and flour seam-side down and put it straight in the fridge for a 12 hour retarded proof.

I know, triangle proofing baskets are rare, I can't even find round ones in my area so I made a makeshift proofing basket from a legal size folder. I used "trusted" origami skills and made a tetrahedron and it worked!

Here is the dough after 12 hours in the fridge. I think it is just proofed right. It is already seam-side up in the photo. It is baked on the clay pot for 20 minutes over a live fire and the next 10 minutes on embers. I "skewered" it on a fork and the top now facing the pebbles browned for an additional 10 minutes.

This is what I'm talking about, baked on a banana leaf over heated pebbles. This photo was taken after 20 minutes. The seams have started to open although one didn't and instead a weak spot on the side opened. The crust is nicely gelatinized. am I using the correct term?

I underestimated the thermal mass of the pebbles (they are even gathered from our yard) so the bottom and a little of the top got a little burnt, I should have used the embers earlier to avoid this but I think it's okay because I've seen some more charred breads like Jim Lahey's Truccione Sare.  If you look closely at the bottom, you can clearly see the pebble marks.

Some close-ups of the crust. The crust was crunchy for the first 6 hours then softened at night. It was flavorful with caramelized notes. It even had some blisters!

Some of the crumb shots are out of focus so I just included all of them. The big hole in the middle came from the fork I suppose and not from the shaping.

It was so good this is what was left in just half a day!

The crumb reminds me of David Snyder's old school San Francisco Sourdough. It is tight because of the low hydration but its is moist and soft with a little bit of chew. It is my favorite crumb texture so far. The aroma is heavenly, toasty and sweet with the unmistakable scent of the banana leaves. The flavor is super sweet like there is some added sugar and although made with only white flour, I could still taste some notes of the wheat. From all of the sweetness is a background of a mild tang. It is mild in my taste but definitely tastes like vinegar.

Definitely a bread worth repeating. I'm gonna tweak this bread further and I'm sure it's going to be a regular in the house. Gonna check your entries later. See you all!

Happy Homemade Bread Day!!!

leslieruf's picture

This has been a challenge in so many ways. Yesterday was the first chance all week to bake.

Friday am built my  levain

100 g refreshed 100% starter

100 g water

30 g wholewheat

70 gm higrade flour

Friday mid afternoon made hot water soaker with grains

20 g black chia

25 g sesame seed

54 g pumpkin seed (all I had)

50 g sunflower seed

34 g kibbled rye

11 g salt and 310 g hot water.

thought I could start an hour later but no, wasn't to be so put levain and soaker into fridge over night.  Yesterday morning ground my sprouted, dried rye.  This was one of my challenges- I tried the Breville blender ( not good) then used the electric coffee grinder to break it down then finished it using the old fashioned hand grinder. Flour was 80°F when finished.  couldn't reposition photo today. Grind wasn't superfine but ok.


250 g sprouted freshly ground rye

667g higrade flour

all the soaker

332 g water 

Autolysed 1 hour then thought because of grains I should add a bit of gluten so I sprinkled the following over top

20 g gluten flour

20 g honey

10 g water

10 g salt

left for a few minutes then added 220 g levain and an extra 40 g water as dough was quite firm. 4 stretch and folds, (added another 30g water as felt dough was too firm), 5 hour bulk ferment and then preshaped, rested 30 minutes, shaped and retarded overnight.

 Baked this morning.

will have to wait for crumb shot - really wonder how it is. this is my first bake with high percent of sprouted grain.

Bakers % calculation including levain not sure if calculation is correct but here it is.

Ww flour 2.2%

sprouted rye 23.9%

Higrade flour (incl gluten)  74%

water 75.6%

seeds etc 17.6%

salt 2%

honey 2%

The surplus levain from my build was made into a simple white 1:2:3 loaf.


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

I love Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread!  It offers many recipes that could qualify as my favorite, so I just don't bother to choose. Often, what I bake is driven by how much time I have, and for Homemade Bread Day I did not have a lot of time.  Because of that, I chose Country Bread.  It uses a biga that provides 50% pre-fermented flour for flavor, but also includes only a short prep cycle that fit my schedule.

I used even less yeast in the biga than the original formula calls for so it could ferment for a long time, enabling me to set up the biga late at night and not have it mature until late on the next afternoon, when I would have time to bake.The strategy worked out well, and the loaves came out of the oven late that night, just in time for bed.  Don't you just love slipping into bed with the aroma of fresh baked bread filling the house!?

These loaves are destined for gifting so I won't be able to get a picture of the crumb.

Happy Homemade Bread Day!

Mebake's picture

Hi, fellow TFL members, old and new!

I've been meaning to write about my career change, and where it has lead me, but I have been too occupied with settling my family and was lazy to post anything. 

Following the brief apprenticeship at a local pastry shop in Beirut, I travelled to Seychelles for a job opportunity at a French Bakery there; or so I thought. I worked for a total of 1 month at the Bakery, learning valuable tips and tricks from the Bakers there. However, at the end of the month, the owner of the Bakery had suggested that I travel back to Lebanon to work at his flour mill up in the north, on the outskirts of Tripoli- Lebanon. I now work at the mill, in a Bakery attached to their Lab. I like their bakery; it is both spacious, and well equipped.  Basically, my job is to test their flours for quality, and consistence, and do controlled bakes to compare their flours to those of their local competitors. I'm also involved in testing new products and help improve current ones. 

In case you were wondering, I have not abolished my plans to start an Artisan Bakery. I just need to gain more knowledge, more experience and broaden my horizons. In the meanwhile, I'm testing the market here by baking artisanal breads everyday, especially sourdough and giving them away to friends, and family. At first, not many have appreciated the subtle sourness of naturally leavened breads, but slowly they are developing a taste for it. Lebanese, in general, have been raised on Industrial, mass produced flat bread, or khobez. Their everyday "French bread" is the "Sammoun" or mini baguette; an improver, sugar laden white fluff (or brown for that matter) with a crust. You get the picture. i know I'm not the only one who is trying to change all that, there are a couple of Artisan sourdough bakeries/ cafe's in Beirut and other cities who are doing a wonderful job at bringing back nutritious, flavor packed bread to the table. I plan to visit those bakeries soon, talk to their owners, and try to get to know them upclose. 

I don't know what life has in Store for me tomorrow, but I'll do my best to be prepared for it.

If you're interested in viewing my photographic journal of my progress, please follow or v my Instagram account: mebake_33 




joc1954's picture

After a long time I used 100% kamut white flour for making this bread. 76% hydration,3 hour bulk ferment, divide,preshape, bench rest for 10 minutes, shape, immediate retard, baked after 16 hours.

Crumb is very soft and not too much opened, crust is just great and brings a big contrast to relatively wet crumb. I have baked this bread today for my grandchildren.

Happy baking, Joze

ruthhiller's picture

I am somewhat new to sourdough baking and spent the first month or so working on my starter. When I eventually felt that my starter had become active enough to start baking I perused recipes and watched videos and filled my head with everyone else's sourdough expertise. I have made many breads which were okay and tasted good but I felt my dough was too wet as it didn't hold its shape and the crumb was a little gummy. So I started reading through many sourdough blog posts and decided to tweak the recipe I have been using. 




50/50 blend of AP white flour/rye flour with 100% hydration.


100 g active sourdough starter

450 g all purpose white flour

50 g whole wheat flour

300 g warm filtered water

10 g kosher salt

25 g warm filtered water


Mix 100 grams starter with 300 grams warm filtered water until starter is thoroughly incorporated into the water. Add 450 grams AP white  flour and 50 grams whole wheat flour into the bowl. Mix ingredients together with hands until you have a uniform but ragged blob. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for up to 60 minutes (autolyse). 

Mix 10 grams of salt with 25 grams of warm filtered water and pour into the bowl. Mix everything together with your hands by squeezing and folding until the dough is smooth and uniform.

Cover the bowl again and let sit for 30-60 minutes. Then wet your hand and turn the dough by pulling from bottom and stretching and then folding on top of itself. Do this in a 4-quadrant manner once. Let rest 30-60 minutes and repeat process 6 times. It takes about 4-5 hours (bulk fermentation).

Carefully pull out the dough onto a lightly floured surface (AP white flour) being careful not to break strands of gluten. Flour your hands and shape dough into a mound and cover for 20 minutes (bench rest).

Fold the dough over itself by stretching and folding in 4 quadrants and pull along table to tighten folds and create a smooth dome. Do this several times and each time smooth a little flour over the surface. 

Flour a banneton with or without a linen liner with mix of rice flour and AP white and place dough in the basket and cover for final proofing. Proof for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees with cast iron pot and lid in the oven. Then remove pot and place dough in and score the surface with sharp knife or razor. Reduce heat to 450 degrees. Place pot with lid on into over and bake for 30-45 minutes. Remove lid and bake for further 10-20 minutes until crust is a nice deep brown color.

Remove from pot and cool on wire rack. Do not cut into it until totally cooled down as baking process still continues.





Cedar Mountain's picture
Cedar Mountain


Ever since Dabrownman issued the official Homemade Bread Day Challenge several weeks ago I have been trying to think of something to bake...and here is what I came up with, no claims to being original or unique, but it is a little different for me, something I have not tried before, so I think this bread qualifies as a legitimate Homemade Bread Day Challenge entry - and apart from that, "....there ain't no stinkin' rules..." so it is what it is!   

I really enjoy a nice cold oat porter beer, the creamy texture and delicious hints of oats, chocolate and coffee. I wanted to get some barm from my favourite local craft brewer but timing and brewing schedules conspired against me; I instead had to sacrifice a perfectly good bottle of Chocolate Oat Porter to the cause. Now, as I said, this is something different for me and I wasn't sure about using beer instead of barm to make a starter or as a liquid for the dough...I wasn't sure about the alcohol in the beer affecting the organisms in the starter. So, a week ago I mixed some oat porter with some crushed up hulless oats, rye berries, steel-cut oats and rolled oats along with some water; my thinking was the water would counter the alcohol in the mix enough to allow for a vigorous starter to develop.  I kept it warm in the furnace room, feeding it with a rye/oat/red fife flour mixture twice a was bubbling, oat porter-ish smelling and vigorous in 5 days!   

So, the bread...I wasn't sure how much flavour the oat porter starter would produce in the bread so I decided to add a few ingedients I thought would have complimentary flavours. I autolysed a mix of 50g rye, 50g khorasan, 50g spelt, 50g red fife with 800g all purpose unbleached white flour using 500g water and 200g oat porter (room temperature); the initial dough hydration was 70%. I thought this mix of whole grains would create an easy to handle dough and contribute a nice background flavour. After an hour I added 220g of the oat porter levain (I am using "starter" and "levain" as the same thing here), 20g sea salt and incorporated it with a series of vigorous stretch and folds until the dough developed some elasticity/extensibility.

The bulk fermentation was 4 hours at room temperature (21 C) with a series of 4 stretch and folds over the first two hours. The additions were mixed in between the first and second folds; 10g toasted sesame seeds and 25g dark roasted barley and rye berries all fine ground in a mortar; 100g sprouted hulless oats; 100g wet ground sprouted rye berries and 100g steel-cut oats/flaked oats porridge. With the moisture in the additions, the final dough hydration felt like about 78%. At this point the dough had a beautiful chocolate-mocha colour and smelled faintly of oat porter - so far, so good!  

At the end of the bulk fermentation I pre-shaped the loaves, bench rested them for 1/2 hour and then did a final shaping, transferred the loaves to linen-lined baskets and retarded them overnight in the fridge.  I baked them this morning directly out of the fridge, after a 10 hour cold-proof, in a pre-heated Creuset and a combo cooker; covered at 500 F for 20 minutes; 450 F for 10 minutes and then uncovered, de-panned and directly onto the baking stone for another 18 minutes. I was very happy to see how these loaves looked when I removed the lids and the aroma was incredible! The art and skill of scoring is still a work-in-progress, especially with the higher hydration dough and sprouted bits getting in the way but I did manage to get the rice flour dusting in the proofing baskets right this time. And the results... 

A fat batard.... 

 And a boule...


And the crumb...


I think next time I will add more  dark roasted ground barley and rye to the worked really well with the beer starter and beer in the dough to further enhance a subtle sense of the same oaty, chocoate, coffee taste of a good oat porter. And the photos don't really capture the true colour  - the crumb is actually a nice chocolate mocha colour, nice and chewy, soft like a good porridge bread.


dabrownman's picture

Lucy wanted to make fruit cake so bad she could taste it and then Danni ruined her party.  Poor thing! She feels so sorry for herself.  What did she do to deserve this pain and misery?  After crying for a whole day and not being able to face the world, she finally came out of her pantry to say that it would be bagels instead.

It has been a while since we made bagels so she had to think long and a-hard about what kind to make.  Sourdough and sprouts – yes.  Bran levain and a low hydration dough.  Bread flour – no high gluten flour. No barley malt syrup either, since we worry about diabetes, but she did add in some red rye malt to spike the color and the taste.  No NMNF starter either, but Lucy did use a new, 1 week retarded wheat one instead.

The 8 sprouted grains were red and white wheat, barley, spelt, rye, oat, Kamut and buckwheat.  These sprouted grains made up 34% of the flour.  The bran was sifted off the sprouted grain, home milled flour and used for the 1st of the 2 stage, 100% hydration, levain build and the 2nd stage was some fo the the high extraction sprouted flour that remained.

Deflation nation.

This levain was very active.  The first stage was 3 hours and the 2nd one 4 where it easily doubled.   The levain utilized 12% prefermented flour.  There was no autolyse of the dough flour for the first time in about forever.  We just mixed the 2% salt, 3% red rye malt, levain, dough flour and dough water to bring the whole mix up to 60% hydration-  Higher hydration than usual for bagels but not bad for a 34% whole grain bagel that need a bit more water.

We kneaded the old way by hand for about 6 minutes until the dough was mixed and fairly smooth. We let the dough rest for 30 minutes and then did about 15 seconds more kneading followed by 2 hours of rest.  The dough had nearly risen 50% when we knocked it back divided it into (6) 115 g balls.  These were then made into ropes and left to rest 10 minutes.

We then made the roped a bit bigger so that they were long enough to form bagels over the knuckles.   Once they were formed they were placed on parchment paper on a baking tray, bagged in a trach can liner and placed into the fridge for a 10 hour retard.  We usually retard our SD bagels for 18 hours but the levain was so active we cut it short.


I's nio all bagels - how about a lunch of herb SFSD, dipping sauce cheeses and a smoked rib?

To compensate for less retard time, we let the bagels warm up in the counter for 30 minutes before starting the preheat of the oven to 500 F.  Once the oven was at temperature we started he boiling process where the water had Barley Mat syrup and baking soda in it.  We boiled for 30 seconds a side, then a quick dry on a kitchen towel and then into the mix of sesame and white poppy seeds which are beige and darker in color than the sesame seeds.

The first salad of the winter using home grown arugula, red / green lettuce and spinach.  Cherry tomatoes aren't ready yet but we will have them by Thanksgiving

I'm always amazed at how deflating the boiling process is and how well they recover in the heat of the oven.  We placed the seeded bagels back onto the parchment on the baking sheet and then slid the whole shebang onto the bottom of the two stones.  Before closing the oven door, we tossed 2 cups of water into the large, preheated lava rock pan for 8 minutes of steam as we turned the oven down to 450 F.

After 8 minutes, we took the steam out, the bagels had recovered their height by that time and we turned the oven down to 425 Convection to finish baking.  Once deemed done, they were removed to the cooling rack.  They looked fairly brown but no blisters like normal for some reason.

Safeway has pork ribs in sale till next Wednesday - buy 1 and get 3 free - which works ou to $1.99 a pound.  Time to stock up!

We will have to wait for the crumb shot but I would guess they are our usual open but still a bit dense bagel crumb we shoot for.  Yes, the crumb is soft, moist and open for a bagel.  Have to wait on the taste till tomorrow.  Happy Homemade Bread Baking Day.


12% pre-fermented flour, 100% hydration bran levain using 27 g of wheat SD starter.   First stage is 8 grain sprouted bran and 2nd stage is high extraction sprouted 8 grain – 7 hours total for the levain build.

34% sprouted 8 grain

66% Albertson's bread flour

3% red rye malt

60% overall hydration

The prfect chaser for any election - a prickly pear margarita!

merlie's picture

This is a favourite in our house . Jeffrey Hamelman's Toast Bread. 1lb 9oz dough in each of two Pullman pans . (enough left over for two rolls) when toasted it is crisp on the outside and soft in the middle - love it !

I did not dare make anything that needed to be slashed for homemade bread day. Still have not mastered this art despite the many lessons and videos . Want to cry every time Alfonso posts his baguettes !


FrenchNyonya's picture

Hello Loafers,

Here's my bake for homemade bread day. As the title suggested "no rule" so it's mostly by feel. I use WW Kamut (500gm), AP (300gm), a few table spoons of Rye, salt and water plus of cause a piece of old dough (AP+Rye). I did throw in some black sesame seeds to the proofing basket so it wouldn't stick. 

Turn out to be a very soft, sweet, caramel colour crumb and very fragrant too. Luckily the crumb is not too dense cause that was my first worried that was why i added in 300 of AP. Next time will try to reduce AP to see the different. 

 Happy baking folks 


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