The Fresh Loaf

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txfarmer's picture

Another formula from "Advanced Bread and Pastry"  - it's a yeast bread with nearly 40% of corn flour and corn meal, which yields a strong corn flavor. The formula uses both firm preferment and liquid poolish, the former for strength (since the corn flour/meal ratio is relatively high), the latter for extra flavor. There's no sugar in the dough, but corn flour/meal has a natural sweetness that shines through . I mostly stuck to the original recipe, but did increase hydration a little bit, even at 70%, the dough is on the drier side, next time, I might increase even more.

Bread Flour, 89g
water, 89g
salt, 1/8tsp
yeast, 1/8tsp

1. mix and leave at room temp for 12-16hours

Bread Flour, 195g
water, 128g
yeast, 1/8tsp
salt, 3.55g

2. mix and leave at room temp for one hour, put in fridge overnight

-final dough

Bread Flour, 67.5g
corn flour, 177.5g
cornmeal, 28g
water, 155g (about 30g more than original)
salt, 7g
yeast, 3.5g
butter, 4g

poolish, all

preferment, all


3. Mix and autolyse for 30min. knead at medium speed for 3 min, until gluten starts to develope.

4. Bulk rise at 80F for 1.5 hour, S&F at 30 and 60min. The dough is fairly strong.

5. Divide into two, round and rest for 20 to 30min. shape: for one piece I shaped into triangle, the other shaped according to this video. Proof at 76F for about one hour. The dough would've expanded noticably but not doubled, when poked lightly, it will spring back slowly.

6. Score , creatively. The dough is on the stiffer side, so it scores very easily.

7. Bake at 450F for 40min, the first 15 with steam.

LOVE how both loaves looked, I thought the exterior is as "corn-ish" as how it tastes.


Nice crackly crust, with good volume/ovenspring


Crumb is even, even a bit "fluffy", without big holes - as expected due to higher ratio of corn flour/meal, and relatively less water.


If you like quick cornbread or corn tortilla, which we do, you will love how this bread tastes. Not a "sweet bread" per se, but with a strong sweet corn flavor.


Easy and tasty, looks impressive too.


Sending this to Yeastspotting.

tssaweber's picture

Heading up north for some turkey and mushroom (morels) hunting. The only thing my family asked before they let me go was: Make sure we have enough bagels and multi-grain rolls! I believe I complied with this weekend's bake:

Happy baking!


dmsnyder's picture

I think I know at least 6 different ways of shaping bâtards. I often choose how I shape them on impulse. This weekend, I decided to be a bit more reflective and consciously chose 3 variations to try. I think I gained better control over bâtard shaping as a result.

I made two loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain from “Bread” and two loaves of my San Joaquin Sourdough.

The first loaf was shaped using one of the methods learned from the San Francisco Baking Institute. I can't recall seeing this method demonstrated elsewhere.

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread," shaped using Method 1.

Method 1

  1. Pre-shape as a log. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board with one short side closest to you. De-gas.

  3. Take the far edge and fold it towards you about 1/3 of the length of the piece. Seal the seams.

  4. Fold the left side 1/3 of the way towards the middle and seal the seams. Repeat for the right side.

  5. Starting with the far end, roll the piece towards you, sealing the seam with the edge or heel of your hand at each turn. Seal the final seam well.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side down and roll it to even out the shape and achieve the desired length.

This method is suitable to make a bâtard with a fat middle and little tapering, as pictured.

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread," shaped using Method 2.

Method 2

  1. Pre-shape as a log. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board with a wide side closest to you. De-gas.

  3. Fold the far side to the middle. Seal the seam.

  4. Rotate the piece 180º.

  5. Fold the far side 2/3 of the way towards you. Seal the seam.

  6. Grasp the far edge and bring it all the way over the piece, to the board and seal the seam. (Essentially, this is the method traditionally used to shape baguettes.)

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down and roll it to even out the shape and achieve the desired length.

This method makes a longer, thinner loaf with more tapered ends.

The two loaves of Pain au Levain after shaping and scoring - ready to bake. Note that these loaves were of identical weight.

San Joaquin Sourdoughs, both shaped using Method 3.

Method 3

  1. Pre-shape as a ball. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board. De-gas.

  3. Proceed as in Method 2, steps 3 through 7.

This method results in a loaf similar to that from using Method 2, except a bit thicker in the middle. It solves a problem I have had shaping bâtards with higher-hydration doughs with excessive extensibility. They tend to get too long and thin as I shape them, even before the final rolling out. Starting with a round piece of dough, rather than a log, helps me get the shape I want.  

Thanks for listening.

Happy Baking!


GSnyde's picture

Back from vacation, I needed to bake some sourdough.  Tartine’s Basic Country Bread has become my favorite.   Its crumb is my ideal texture for a hearth bread--just the right amount of chew, and airy and moist.  But, as I’ve noted before, large loaves just aren’t practical for our everyday use.   Last time I baked a batch, it was one large loaf and two small ones.  This time I made four half-kilo loaves, two batards and two boules.


I mostly followed the Tartine BCB formula, using Central Milling white and whole wheat flours.  But I departed from gospel in the following ways:

·      I only made as much levain as one recipe requires

·      I did the stretch-and-folds when convenient, five of them at intervals of between 30 and 45 minutes over a 3 ½ hour bulk ferment

·      I divided the dough into four loaves of about 490 grams each

·      I baked the loaves with steam on a baking stone, in two batches an hour apart, having proofed the second two loaves in the cool basement.

My hope was that these departures would not affect the result, and I was very pleased.  The crackly crust, the tender crumb and the subtly-sour complex flavor are as good as the one kilo loaves baked in a Dutch Oven, and we can have loaves of a usable size in the freezer.



To prove the point, we ate most of one not-quite-fully-cooled loaf for dinner, with a medley of melted cheese for the main course, and with a mix of peanut butter and passion fruit-jalapeno jam for dessert.

It’s great to be back and baking in my own kitchen!


honeymustard's picture

So, in the last few days, I have had a couple fails.

(Not fails. Just methods that don't really work.)

First, I started a sourdough starter. It was going fantastically but then I suspect my father-in-law may have inadvertently raised the temperature of the room too high (we have wood heat and he does adore a good roaring fire, even this late into spring), and I think it did terrible things. Not his fault, I don't think he had any idea I was making a starter and even if he did, he wouldn't have known the implications. If I have the motivation, I'll start anew tomorrow.

Then, I tried this durum semolina bread. Or is it a durum bread? Or a semolina? Lots of comments ensued discussing the difference between the two. The bulk supplier I got mine from was inconveniently titled, "Durum Semolina." So apparently it's both. I never really did figure out whether or not I was using the correct type, but the bread turned out all right. Problem was, I decided to try to use my unrefined sunflower oil in the recipe. It would have been okay, I think, except that I find unrefined oils impart a certain taste in the breads which would be excellent in some ways, but not in others. I don't think it was paticularly good in this bread, and it ruined it for me. For a couple days, I was down on my bread luck, and I just allowed my family to buy bakery-bought bread. (Mind you, it's pretty good. Should you ever find yourself near LaHave Bakery in Nova Scotia, it's quite lovely.)

But we just ran out of bread, so I put my kneading hands on and went back to the basics. I baked Tassajara bread from the cookbook of the same name.

It wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary, except that I used some yeast I found in the grocery store on my last trip. Just from Fleishmann's (that's all I can get around here), it was in a vacuum sealed package and labelled, "Bakery Format." A fair size bigger than the largest jar of traditional yeast but almost the same price, I gave it a go. Call me stupid but I wondered if it was some form of vacuum sealed fresh yeast because it was so tightly packed, it felt soft to the touch of the outside of the package. I opened it up and saw that it appeared to look like ordinary instant yeast. Slightly bummed but not deterred, I went ahead and made my Tassajara Bread.

My god, the results. They look incredible. This means nothing at the moment because I don't have photos up (camera is dead) but in the morning I'll post them for all to see.

Of course, nowhere near the most amazing loaves I've ever seen or anything, but these loaves have tripled in size at least. The rising times were cut in half, and if anything, I was afraid of over-rising/proofing.

Pending photos of course, I would be curious if anyone knows anything about this mysterious bakery format yeast. I'd never seen it before and Fleischmann's--at least the Canadian site--doesn't even list it among its products.

But in the end, I feel better about my baking. Turns out I'm not a total flop.

Photos to come!

msmarguet's picture

crackling country sister loaves

when these two batards crackled out of my oven they reminded me of my sister, marilyn, and me standing side-by-side in her kitchen over a pillowy-soft ooze of dough. i've been teaching her to make bread over the last 6 or 7 months.

. . . after 2 visits

• photos

• blog posts

• emails

• and back&forth sister chats 

• the result is the hand-over of my techniques to her, and a happy-homemade-bread-eating-khadr family.

kona sits in the kitchen with me every morning when i get up at my sister's to make the coffee and the bread. i think the khadrs should name the guest room the "patricia marie room" so that no one else gets too comfy in there.

on a recent visit to the bay, marilyn gave me the inspirational bread book from the legendary tartine bakery in san francisco, where chad robertson sells out of his bread everyday within one hour of opening. with chad's encouraging words, i adapted his basic country bread by mixing in my own experiences and techniques.

the crafting of my sister loaves 

(i always make two to share with friends and family) 

is the latest in my ongoing need to make bread.

this patty-cake starter is almost 2 years old. 

it smells like an over-ripe pear. it's milky, sweet and airy. 

i use it to make a leaven for my sister loaves based on the basic country bread recipe from tartine bakery.

GSnyde's picture

We’re back from our trip to the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawai’i.   Since we spent a lot of time in the ocean, and another large part out enjoying the sights and flavors of the islands, there were not a lot of occasions for baking.   Plus, though our friends’ house where we stayed has a well-equipped kitchen, it isn’t well equipped for baking.

The good news is that I had a chance to try baking some typical Hawaiian breads, which don’t require much specialized equipment.  I took along a thermometer, some parchment and my favorite rubber spatula, and I bought our friends a nice big glass mixing bowl and a large rolling mat.  It all worked out.


I’m not sure why a Middle Eastern flat bread is so ubiquitous in Hawai’I, but it is very common to see Lavosh included in bread baskets there.  And we have enjoyed it.  So I found a simple formula in Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and tried it out.  The dough is somewhat like a pizza dough.  After kneading, it had a nice silky feel.


The containers by the bowl are not ingredients, just indicators of the proper means  of fueling an Island baker.

To attain the proper crispiness of the Lavosh, it must be rolled very thin.  This may require letting the dough rest for periods during the rolling.  I found that a millimeter can make the difference between a cracker and a bready texture.

The results were satisfactory.  Next time I’ll use at least half whole wheat flour and maybe some wheat germ.



Portuguese Sweet Bread Rolls


I do know why Portuguese Sweet Bread is so common in Hawai’i.  In fact many refer to it as “Hawaiian Sweet Bread”.   The Portuguese influence in Hawaiian life is everywhere.  I found a promising formula here on The Fresh Loaf (  This is a highly enriched, buttery, yeast bread.  I have had this kind of bread many times, and had a definite idea of what I was going for.  It is soft, tender, semi-sweet, best for breakfast.  I had Txfarmer’s “shreddable” crumb texture in mind, and with extensive kneading I achieved it. 



I should mention that the bread had to bake almost twice as long as the recipe calls for (and the oven did have a thermometer showing the temperature was accurate).

The rolls made good sandwiches with spicy island chicken and Passion Fruit-Jalapeno jam, and the loaf was excellent toasted with jelly.  Here’s the chicken cooking (with soy, sherry, scallion, ginger, star anise, hot peppers and sesame oil).


After a thoroughly relaxing trip, it’s good to be home with my baking supplies and equipment and my kitty cat.  Sea turtles may be more unusual, but they’re nowhere near as fuzzy.





Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Well, I quite failed to get around to blogging last weeks' ciabatta attempt, and now here it's Saturday and I have another bake to describe.  

Last week I made another stab at SteveB's double hydration ciabatta.  If you recall in week 1, I got very nice flavor and crust, but an unimpressive crumb.  I also found the process, which involves almost 30 minutes of mixing, rather cumbersome.  The first time I modified Steve's process to add a French fold halfway through the rise, and I figured this time I either needed to modify the recipe more, or stick strictly to Steve's directions.  I went for the latter, cutting down the mixing time, and adding 2 stretch-and-folds to the rise.  The results, however, were quite similar to week 1:



Crumb was perhaps a little better, flavor a little worse.  So much for modifications.

Anyway, this week I took a shot at Craig Ponsford's ciabatta, as interpreted by Maggie Glezer, as interpreted by these two blogs (the first has better directions, the latter had weight measurements).  This formula involves a very stiff biga with a little bit of whole grain and just the teensiest bit of yeast, which is fermented for a full 24 hours (28 in my case).  Hydration is just north of 80%, and it takes 4 stretch and folds to make it behave.  

The results, however, were phenomenal

And here's the kicker:


You may notice the loaf on the right is a little funky looking--it stuck to the couch a bit, and I failed to get it all on the parchment when flipping it over, and so I had to manhandle it a bit to clear the couche and slip a scrap of parchment underneath.  

As you can see, nicely caramelized crust (nice and crispy too), crumb wonderfully open (nicely chewy too), and the flavor...oh the flavor.  This was one of the best tasting breads I have made, period.  The combination of a big dose of poolease-y nuttiness, a tinge of sour, and notes of whole grain in the background was just heavenly.  

I think this formula is a keeper.  Beyond getting fabulous results on this occasion, I enjoyed making it.  I like doing stretch-and-folds, feeling the dough and watching it mature and come together.  Even if it gets the same results, I'd take a recipe with stretch-and-folds over one with none and a long mixer time any day.  Just a matter of personal taste there.

There's still some work to do--I still need to work out my flipping technique, and I still have some kinks to work out in the formula itself, in order to get the exterior shape more even (enough kinks that I'm going to refrain from posting my take on the formula just yet).  But this is a positive step for sure!

Happy baking, everyone,


breadsong's picture


I wanted to try making this bread for Mother’s Day.

I was reading about an ale and cheddar bread on TFL, and someone replied to that post about making bread using a cherry wheat ale.
This seemed like a great idea to me!

I’ve been holding onto this idea, waiting for cherry blossom season.
Our Kwanzan cherry tree has just come into blossom, just in time for Mother’s Day; what a welcome sight!

Shiao-Ping just posted a lovely flower-stenciled miche; she wrote a beautiful introduction to her post,
about plum blossoms, and using flour to paint. This got me thinking, wondering if you could successfully stencil (‘paint’) a colored image on bread.
I decided to try using a mixture of flour, beet powder and water, to try to make pink cherry blossoms.
Here is a picture before baking; the pink color held for about 20 minutes. While finishing baking, the blossoms turned brown (not ideal!), so I re-stenciled with flour after baking:

I wanted the bread’s crumb to be ‘soft as a cherry blossom’.
With thanks so much to Syd, for his post on how to get soft, tender-crumbed sourdough:
Although this bread is not a sourdough bread, I followed his helpful suggestions.

I made this bread with a water roux, cherry wheat ale poolish, a combination of bread, all-purpose, whole wheat, rye and spelt flours, a bit of almond oil, 72% hydration, with the addition of these beautiful! BC dried cherries:

This dough was very wet and I did stretch and folds to develop the gluten.
If the crumb had turned out to be really open, I might have been tempted to call this bread 'cherry ciabatta'.

I am grateful for these posts, also; they were helpful for ideas for the ingredients, and water roux (thanks again, Syd!):

I baked at a lower temperature, and a shorter time period, as Syd recommended.
The crumb certainly was soft – just what I was hoping for, and the crust is nice and tender too:

Happy baking, and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
from breadsong

Floydm's picture

I upgraded the WYSIWYG editor on the site today.  It now has a spellchecker (yay!) and should work on newer versions of IE.  I think.  

Please let me know if you run into any trouble.  If you can include browser and platform information in your comment it would be most helpful.




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