The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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kendalm's picture

Recently I posted the arrival of a new oven that I purchsed as a dedicated bread oven, and since then have been in setup mode and quickly realized this has become a project as opposed to a more plug-n-play scenario.  So with that, I am seeing some positive results and want to share them here.

This is a small 350g batard tester loaf to see how well this (relatvely) cheap import mini deck oven performs.  the oven I puchased is a 'xoeleo' from china manufactured primarily for pizza and as such has required some tinkering and tuning.  Danny ayo was kind enough to send me links to a seal for the door and dug up a rofco steam tray (despite them being out of stock).  To date I have applied a door seal but still seeing considerable leaking steam from some of the other seams in the body.  Despite the leaks I very surprised by the fast spring on this bake.  Another surprise is the paper thin crust on this loaf.  never had such a thin crust like this ever.  

Very little went into the preparation of this loaf - the bake was more a first 'wet' test (as opposed to dry steamless) test, in fact I originally did not even plan to load but rathet test the steam so this is a last minute loaf sort of thing.  Very interested to see whats next. 


alfanso's picture

Rustic/Country Baguettes with Sunflower Seeds.

Abel Sierra (Abelbreadgallery) sent a DM to me last week with a link to his new video where he makes this bread.   I asked if I could post this and he said yes.  And of course I wouldn't post it without giving it a whirl myself.  In this case, three whirls to get a version of the formula that I was satisfied with.

On the first run I soaked both sunflower and flax seeds.  Attempting to incorporate during the tail end of 200 French Folds the sliminess of the flax seeds created a problem, and I wasn't happy with the outcome.  For the second run I eliminated the soaker part as well as the flax seeds, and bumped the hydration up a few clicks.  Still not content, I ran this third time, dropping the FFs down from 200 to 125, incorporating the toasted seeds at the first and only Letter Fold.  I also combined a 20 minute proofing on countertop and 2 hours of retard.

Abel's formula is posted at the bottom.

My changes to his formula:

  • 100% hydration WW levain instead of Abel's AP.
  • French Folds - limited to 125, split in two.
  • No soaker, just toasted sunflower seeds.
  • Combine countertop and refrigerator proof.
  • Rolled out to the longer 20 inch version, 50% longer than my standard long batards.  Lost 1 inch during bake.

Note, these don't like to exhibit a dark and rich color on the crust.  For a 27% WW flour mix, these had a moderately open crumb.  The flavor is quite nice and rich and the crust is thin and quite crunchy.  Still working on shaping, a bit more difficult due to the seeds.

Baguette Rústica con Semillas de Girasol       
Abel Sierra, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1100 Prefermented9.10%   
 Total Formula   Liquid Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%583.7 100.00%53.1 Final Flour530.6
 AP Flour72.70%424.4 0%0.0 AP Flour424.4
 Whole Wheat27.30%159.4 100%53.1 Whole Wheat106.2
 Water cool72.70%424.4 100%53.1 Water cool371.2
 Salt1.90%11.1    Salt11.1
 IDY0.25%1.1    IDY1.1
 toasted Sunflower (soaked)13.60%79.4    Sunflower Seeds79.4
 Starter (in final dough)2.28%13.3 25%13.3   
 Totals188.45%1099.6 225%119.5  1099.6
     1 stage liquid levain build @100% hydration
Toast sunflower seeds.   Stage 1    
Autolyse Flour, cool Water.  20 Min.   AP Flour0.0   
Levain Salt, IDY.   Water53.1   
FF: 75, 5min., 50,   Total53.1   
Bulk ~2 Hr..  LF@60 min. Fold in seeds on LF.        
Divide, pre-shape, 15 min rest, shape as baguettes       
Shape as Baguettes @350g each        
Moderate flour on couche, seam side up       
Proof 20 min. coutnertop, ~2 hrs. retard.       
Pre-heat @500dF.        
Steam, bake @480dF. 17 min with steam, 6 min more at 430dF.      



350g x 3 baguettes. 

Here is a screen capture from Abel's video.

And the formula as given to me by Abel.



700 gr bread flour, 300 gr wholewheat flour, 700 ml cool water (10-12ºC), 200 gr liquid levain, 21 gr salt, 6 gr fresh yeast, 150 gr of soaked seeds (toasted sunflower + raw flaxseeds + water)


- Make autolyse mixing bread flour, wholewheat and cool water, just 1-2 minutes in slow speed. Let rest 30 minutes.

- Add levain, salt and yeast. Mix 7-8 minutes in slow speed, and then 3 minutes in second speed. Add seeds at the end of the mixing process.

- The temperature of the dough should be around 24-25ºC at the end of the mixing process.

- Let the dough rest 1 hour. Make one fold and let rest 1 hour more. 

- Divide in pieces of 350 gr. Preshape and let rest 15-20 minutes.

- Shape baguettes and place over linen couche with the seam up.

- Let proof 45 minutes to 1 hour.

- Bake at high temperature. I suggest 17 minutes at 260-240ºC, then release the steam and reduce temperature to 230-210ºC the last 6 minutes.

Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Before I show you my bread, let me introduce my new friends to you.       I've started a new hobby - vermicomposting - during the COVID quarantine.  These red wigglers will produce "black gold"  that will be very beneficial to my plants.

       Hopefully, I will show you more beautiful flowers from my garden next time.      Now, back to the durum bread.  My formula and procedures are straightforward, and the bread is very delicious.  By now you probably know my trick - CLAS.  I bought a bag of durum berries, which cost me an arm and a leg, to make a durum CLAS so that my bread is 100% durum.     Given the speedy one-day delivery and the successful outcome of the durum CLAS, I'd say the 13 was well spent.      I have lots of durum flour.  It would be nice if I can make CLAS out of it.  Then I don't have to buy another bag of berries that takes up storage space. I'm making a batch of CLAS using flour to see if it works.  
       I autolyzed the dough overnight. Therefore, it was very easy to handle. The rest of the procedures are just like making a regular white loaf.This loaf is 60% hydration. I don't think it needs higher hydration for the simple shaping and scoring that I did, but I probably will increase the hydration a bit when I shape it into a hat-like loaf next time.      




  Total dough weight ~ 1.1 kg  Autolysis  overnight at room temperature, 97% extra fancy durum, 55.5% water, After autolysis, the dough became very pliable, smooth, and silky after a few folds.   Dough Autolyzed dough, 3%  durum CLAS, 4.5%  water, 0.6%  yeast, 2%  salt,  Mix in KA 600 speed 10! x 2 minutes to fully incorporate all ingredients, a few folds to smooth and tighten the dough,  Bulk 88F ish x 150 minutes, Two sets of folds in between,  Shape,   Proof 88F ish x 20 minutes  Bake Preheat @ 550F, 482F x 10 mins with steam, 374F x 40 mins w/o steam,   
Annie's picture

Hi...newbie baker, and I’m ready to buy some bread books.  Since I’m doing sourdough, Tartine really appealed to me.  But I see there is an updated version, written by his wife (who I know is a pastry chef). So which one  should I buy?

would also love to hear from folks who suggest a favorite bread book for me to consider

Many thx!

Paul T's picture
Paul T


Hello everyone, 

So I’ve been successful in all the Ken Forkish recipes that I have attempted until this one. 

So my dough after final mix and folds is about about 1.5 liters in volume using the Cambro 12 quart.  It then rises overnight ( 10 hours this time ) to slightly under 5 liters - nearly tripled in size.  The dough is doming and producing huge bubbles. I used the dough at 10 hours. Shaped it - balls not as tight as they should be. Proofed  it - watched carefully - lots of poke tests - none seemed over proofed. Poke tests revealed that it was ready to bake. First loaf was an improvement over previous attempts at this challenging recipe but rise could have been much better. Second loaf on the right in picture was a disaster. As soon as I put it in the Dutch oven it collapsed. I must say - the flavors of the bread are incredible despite their sorry appearance.  Looking for suggestions. Feel like I’m very close to getting this. I like to give a way a loaf to a different neighbor each time I bake so disappointing that I can’t share. I just won’t give away these sad things. 😕



On the other hand - I’ve had great luck with the Tartine County Bread Recipe. 


Martha Effinger's picture
Martha Effinger

Mockmill  200 purchased 4/1/2019

Used only twice due to health issues.

This is a powerful mill that is

1.Easy to operate

2.Simple to clean

3.Stepless adjustment of the settings

4.Throughput of approximately 100g or 200g of soft wheat/minute

5. Sturdy industrial motor

6.Grinding mechanism consisting of corundum-ceramic bringing stones

7.Innovative casing made from renewable materials

8.Made in Germany



Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Continuing from a Russian "black" bread, so-called "baton" is another staple of Soviet and Russian shops. One of the most popular breads, it is delicious, with very slight sweet and buttery notes, and quite close, but very soft crumb. It sure was my favourite bread as a child.


Although not typically made with sourdough, after discovering a sourdough recipe I couldn't resist baking a couple of them. And my second attempt was rather successful! The recipe I followed is again from the Russian web site (literally - baking at home):


Here is the translation of the method. I made double portion for two batons, here the ingrediants are for just one.


30g mature wheat starter 100% hydration

30g warm water

40g flour (bread flour; if available, can replace 5g with rye flour for improved fermentation, which I did using whole rye)

Final dough

All preferment

245g bread flour

120g water (plus extra if needed, I used 15g extra for double portion)

4g salt

12g sugar

10g room temperature butter (or margerine)

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast (optional, I didn't use)


Make preferment by dissolving starter in warm water, adding flour and mixing. Leave to ferment for ~8 hours at room temperature (I just left overnight, for more like 12 hours I think).

Sift flour into a mixing bowl, add salt, sugar and instant yeast, if using, and mix. Make a well in the flour mixture. Dissolve the preferment in water (I used warm), pour into the well, and mix the dough. Add a splash extra water if needed to hydrate the flour. The dough should be soft, but not sticky and should generally hold its shape. Lightly knead in the bowl 3-4 minutes, and then mix the room temperature butter in the dough in small portions. When all butter is mixed in, knead on a work surface (no flour) until smooth. Round up the dough and place back in the bowl for around 1 hr 15 min (40 min is using instant yeast).

Very lightly dust the work surface with flour and perform a double letter fold. Place the dough back in the bowl for 1 hour (or 30 min if using instant yeast). At this point I started seeing some signs of fermentation, with a couple of bubbles appearing and seemingly slightly increased volume, however the dough is not wet, so it's no very obvious at this stage.

Then take the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin into a rectangle relatively thinly (~1/2 cm I'd say). Then tightly roll it, avoiding trapping air, into a sort of short/thick baguette-like shape. Seal the seem on the worktop and leave to proof covered, until doubled (or until at least clearly increased in size, I don't think I got doubling). Took me around 3 hours with no instant yeast, with them recipe says around 1.5 hrs.

Spray with water and score the dough with deep diagonal cuts. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C, first ~12 minutes with steam, around 30 minutes total. Optionally, cover with cold water or starchy gel immediately after takign out of the oven (I just used some water). Cool on a wire rack, for at least 40-50 min.

Mine don't have a typical look, for some reason the cuts didn't open up (perhaps should have cut deaper or given them a minute after scoring before baking, to avoid them sticking back?). A baton you can find in a shop in post-USSR countries looks like this (found on wikipedia): 

Nevertheless, the taste is authentic with very slight extra acidity from using sourdough (I imagine speeding everything up by adding a tiny amount of instant yeast would reduce that even further). Crust is much nicer than from a shop in Russia - thin, but crispy (as opposed to a very soft crust you get there). Delicious bread, that is also quite easy to make!


Benito's picture

This is a 25% whole red fife sourdough I baked today.  I made a double batch so I could give one away, unfortunately I think I’ve overproofed these, live and learn.

For two loaves 890 g 

748 g bread flour 75%

160 g whole red fife (total 252 g with the levain) 25%

688 g water gives 78% hydration - add levain and salt without reserved water

4.5 diastatic malt

18 g salt

184 g levain 1:2:2 starter 40 g, 80 g whole red fife 80 g water


These were given 150 French folds after the addition of levain and salt to ensure they were fully incorporated.  

Countertop stretch and fold and then divided into two for the rest of bulk.  Aliquot removed for the jar.

Lamination 30 mins later followed by coil folds every 40 mins.

Bulk fermentation ended at 60% rise in aliquot jar and shaping done and then left on counter at room temperature for another 30 mins.

Overnight cold fermentation.

Baked as usual for the batard in Dutch oven 450ºF x 20 mins then further 23 mins at 420ºF most of which was on the baking steel directly.

The boule was next baked with steaming set up with silvia towel and cast iron skillet.


The batard in particular show some collapsing and lack of oven spring which to me indicates that it had overproofed for this formula.  When I bake this next time I will end bulk at 50% rise.  I am still learning what fully fermented dough looks like and now I think I’ve seen over fermented dough which is a good learning experience for me.


The boule, having seen that the batard baked up showing overproofing, I slipped into the freezer for 10 mins before turning out onto parchment and then transferred onto the baking steel.  Baked for 20 mins with steam at 450ºF and then steam removed and baked for further 23 mins at 430IºF.  Strangely it had better oven spring.  I was more careful to score more shallowly to try to compensate for the overproofing.  However, an error in oven settings prevented one of the ears from forming.  The first 20 mins of steaming bake I had the oven set to convection, so the fan blew hot air on one of the ears and that prevented it from springing up and forming a good ear.  I didn’t notice this until 15 mins into that first phase of baking.

Danni3ll3's picture

I liked everything about these boules the last time except for their size. They were on the small side so I increased the dough by 10% this time and it did seem a bit better. I think I would go another 10% next time. 

By the way, Selkirk wheat is an old wheat from the 50s. I get it at Daybreak Mills. It’s their hard spring wheat.


Makes 3 loaves


350 g of freshly milled Selkirk Wheat flour

725 g strong bakers unbleached flour

725 g filtered water

30 g yogurt

23 g pink Himalayan salt

265 g levain (procedure in recipe)


Two mornings begore: 

1. Feed 2 g of starter, 4 g water and 8 g Selkirk wheat flour. 


Two nights before:

1. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of Selkirk wheat flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night.


The morning before:


1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of Selkirk wheat flour. Let rise until doubled (about 6 hours).


2. Place into fridge until the next morning.


The night before:


1. Place the required amount of each freshly milled flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it.


2. Cover and set aside.


Dough making day:


1. When ready to make the dough, take the levain out of the fridge to warm up before being used in the dough.


2. Using a stand mixer, mix the water with the flour, and mix on speed 1 until all the flour has been hydrated. Let this autolyse for a couple of hours.


3. Once the autolyse is done, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 9 minutes.


4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on).


5. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds (coil folds) at 45 minute intervals. Then let the dough rise to about 50%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and bubbles on top as well.


6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~710 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter.


7. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.


8. Sprinkle a mix of rice and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.


Baking Day


1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside.


2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.


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