The Fresh Loaf

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Doughtagnan's picture

As I had a long weekend off I decided to make my 1st ever Croissants using my  Bourke St Bakery cookbook. The results were pretty impressive and I subbed Doves farm dried yeast for the fresh with no problems. I made half of their recipe and here are the results!



MarieH's picture

I have been reading this blog for many months now and have been inspired and educated by so many bakers. I have used many of the wonderful techniques that ya'll write about (Sylvia's steaming method - genius!).

While I'm impressed by postings of boules, miches, baguettes, and batards, I wonder if there is room to post about a humble sandwich bread made with Guinness, oats, and honey. The recipe is from KAF Whole Grain Baking and is a regular bake for me.

The crumb is good for sandwiches and toast.

Just so I can have some artisan baking street cred, I made Peter Reinhart's whole wheat focaccia last week and am on day 10 of developing a sourdough starter (thanks to the excellent guidance of Teresa Hosier Greenway of

Thanks to everyone who participates in this blog and to Floyd for running it. I look forward to hitting the Reeder icon on my iPad every day to see what postings there are. A little bit of baking sunshine...


rossnroller's picture

This boule version of DMSnyder's handsome miche is scaled down to 1kg, and I've altered the formula a little, hopefully while remaining fairly true to the spirit of the original.

The reasons for the mods are: I wanted a slightly more open crumb so increased the hydration a little; I do not have high-extraction flour; I wanted to include the toasted wheatgerm that was part of the SFBI formula; I prefer a less jaw-challenging, lighter browned crust. Heh heh - come to think about it, maybe the spirit of the original had flown by the time I made these mods! Anyway, using my usual biodynamic organic flours, I proceeded as follows:

435gm baker's flour
15gm wholewheat flour
325gm filtered water
14gm toasted wheatgerm
9gm salt
186 gm levain (100% hydration; 15% whole wheat/85% white flour)

Roughly mix all ingredients but salt and autolyse 40 mins. Cut salt into dough with dough scraper, transfer dough to oiled plastic oblong container, stretch and fold, then again every 30 mins for first hour, then bulk proof 1 more hour (total BP = 2 hours).

(Note: My BP was short because ambient temp was 27C/81F+. Extend BP if lower room temp.)

Preshape, rest 15 mins, shape, and transfer to fridge for overnight retarding period (final proof). Bake straight out of fridge next day after scoring.

15 mins with steam @ 225C/440F on pizza stone preheated in oven (turned to max for 45 mins)
18 mins @ 215C/420F
15 mins @ 200C/390F
Cool on rack for 2 hours before eating.

Looking at the pics, obviously my version was way inferior aesthetically. I never have managed to achieve the lovely even spread with the criss cross slash pattern that David's pic shows to such pleasing effect. Doubly difficult, I think, when making small bloues, and when the ambient temps are high - possibly my loaf was slightly overproofed, despite the vastly reduced proofing periods. The flavour of both crust and crumb was terrific, however. The crust, while clearly much lighter than David's, was nevertheless still full of caramelised character, and the crumb was open, spongy and had a nice cold mouthfeel. The wheatgerm added a nutty flavour note that was subtle but discernible. I always like to assess fresh bread with a thin spread of butter, and this one passed the taste test with distinction. All in all, a gorgeous bread. Thanks David!






wassisname's picture

 I love big, crusty, whole wheat, sourdough bread.  I may have mentioned that in a previous post... or two.  That flour, water and salt can transform into something like this never fails to amaze me.  My tired brain particularly appreciates that such simplicity can still produce such wonderful bread - anything more intricate just isn't in the cards right now.

I went with the Whole Grain Breads version this time, leaving out the instant yeast.  The flour was approximately 70% whole wheat / 30% bolted "Turkey" flour.  The bulk ferment was about 4 hrs and the proof was about 2 ½ hrs @ 70F, though it did get gradually warmer for about the last hour.

These loaves were larger, and had a more pronounced sourness than the last pair I made following the Local Breads method.  Crust and crumb were, however, very similar.  I did get my first real crackles in the crust this time.  Learning to trust that the bread won't burn is paying off.

The perfect topping for a hefty slab of this bread turned out to be some nice, ripe avocados I happened to have.  Highly recommended.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. 


breadsong's picture


Many thanks to Daisy_A for her wonderful posts:
Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread, and Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies!

I wanted to bring some flavors to the table that remind me of sunny places, as it's been rainy and wet where I live for quite awhile. Daisy_A's recipes seemed perfect and lovely to share with our dinner guests.

Here is the bread (made 4 loaves; two are pictured).
I added the zest of 5 lemons to Daisy_A's formula and the bread had a really nice lemon flavor.
My lemon-loaf-shaping was not as successful as I'd hoped for, and unfortunately couldn't give the bread as much fermentation time as I would have wanted - was a bit short on time yesterday and pulled these out of the oven just as our guest arrived!:

For dessert, I assembled Mexican ingredients from my pantry to make Daisy_A's amazing Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies. What a truly special cookie! I followed Daisy_A's suggestion to add orange, cinnamon and vanilla flavors, and wow, all I can say is I think this is the most delicious cookie I have ever tasted!!!  

Here are some of the ingredients. The piloncillo sugar is a Mexican cone sugar I purchased for making cafe de olla. Thanks to ehanner for his excellent inquiry about other ways to use this sugar (his post is here); I took his suggestion and used the sugar in these cookies - bravo, Eric!
I had some Mexican Ibarra chocolate and Mexican vanilla - I was pretty happy to have these ingredients on hand for this cookie bake! 


Daisy_A's Mexican Chocolate Crackle Biscuits (adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking), with orange and vanilla flavors; makes about 30 biscuits, 22grams each
(I doubled Daisy_A's quantities, to make enough cookies to give some to our guests as a gift to take home with them)

90g sliced almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
100g all-purpose flour
100g Piloncillo sugar, broken up into small pieces with a chocolate chipper

I whirled all of this around in the food processor, trying for a fine grind. The sugar didn't incorporate as finely as I would have liked; I sifted and whirled the larger bits around again until it was finer. Next time, I may chop the sugar even more finely by knife before processing.

To these ingredients I whisked in:
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Canela Molida) (equal to Daisy_A's original amount, and not doubled, as the Ibarra chocolate also had cinnamon flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder 
1/16 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I actually forgot to add this - so much for mis en place!)

The dry ingredients were set aside while the chocolate mixture was prepared.

In a double boiler over two inches of simmering water, stirred and melted:

40g unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Kahlua liqueur
2 discs (3.1 oz each) Ibarra Mexican chocolate, broken up into pieces with a chocolate chipper

(Didn't this smell heavenly as it was melting down!)
When smooth and glossy, the mixture was set aside to cool a bit. Once cooled, I whisked into the chocolate mixture:

20g very finely diced candied organic orange peel
3/4 tsp Mexican vanilla

In a separate bowl, I whipped 2 large eggs until lemon-colored and thickened.
The eggs were folded into the chocolate mixture, then the dry ingredients were folded into the chocolate mixture.
The mixture was chilled for 2-1/2 hours before forming the cookies. By the time I was finishing forming the cookies, the mixture was getting soft; next time, making this quantity, I may chill the mixture in two separate batches so one half can stay chilled while forming the first half.
I used a small ice-cream scoop to portion the cookies and they ended up weighing 22g each.

I rolled each portion into a ball then rolled each ball in icing sugar. The cookies were baked on a perforated baking sheet at 320F convection for 15 minutes:

These were so lovely to enjoy with after-dinner coffee!!! They came out of the oven at 2pm and they had several hours for the flavors to blend and develop by dessert time. So very yummy!

Thank you, Daisy_A, for a great introduction to Jan Hedh with this bread, and for your pretty, tasty little cookies.
From breadsong










GSnyde's picture


Last week I made San Francisco Sourdough, and learned a lot.  I decided to try it again this weekend with some variations relating to flour mix, dough handling, retardation time and loaf shape.

I again used the formula in Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb, and I again used primarily Bob’s Red Mill bread flour.  But this time, instead of 100% bread flour I used about 9% dark rye flour and about 11% whole wheat flour.  I used the rye and whole wheat in each of the three mixes: the liquid starter, the firm starter and the main dough.  I did not adjust the hydration (64%).

My other departures from the C&C formula were:

  • Though the formula calls for kneading the dough, then letting it sit unmolested in a bowl for four hours, I gave it a four-way letterfold every hour.  The dough was firmer (less slack) this time, compared to last weekend when I did no folds.
  • I followed the formula’s specifications for ripening and then retarding the two starters, but I decided to test the effects of retardation after proofing and to test the attributes of different loaf shapes using this formula.  I scaled the dough for 3 mini-baguettes of 250 grams each and a boule and a batard of 615 grams each.  The baguettes I baked as soon as they were proofed; the larger loaves were put in the fridge overnight after proofing 3 hours as in the formula.

I should also mention that I proofed the baguettes and the batard on linen couche, and the boule in a linen-lined basket.  I did not spray oil on the loaves at the beginning of proofing as Reinhart specifies.  The baguettes were covered with a fold of couche fabric and a tea towel over that.

Here’s the fermented dough after a 3 ½ hour rise.


Here’s the proofing loaves. 


The baguettes baked at 450 on a stone with steam for 10 minutes, then without steam at the same temperature for another 10 minutes.   Then I left them to sit on the stone with the oven off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes.  The internal temperature was 209F.  They’re really pretty to look at.




The crust is darkish, and very hard.  Indeed, it is positively tough, as in hard to bite through.

The crumb is very good tasting and nicely chewy, not what I’d call tough.  Not a very open crumb, but not really dense.

It was a really good thing I had delicious Chicken Cacciatore to dip the bread in to moisten it (the bread made a fine mop).  Thanks for the recipe, David.


So, you experienced bakers, what caused the rock hard crust this time?

  • ·      Increased gluten strength from the folds during ferment?
  • ·      Baguette shaping?
  • ·      Baguettes getting too much air (not sealed in plastic) during proofing?
  • ·      Too low hydration?
  • ·      Too bold a bake or too much time drying on the stone?

Any help would be appreciated.  The boule and batard just came out of the oven, and I’ll report results later.




teketeke's picture

As I mentioned to Larry on the other his post yesterday, I made your cheese bread (   I was about to..).... but I found out that I didin't have enough sharp cheese although I though I had enough...   So, I made " Cheese sheet" to fold into the dough like making croissants instead.


It is not neat.. 

VERY TASTY! They will be our breakfast today :) Thank you, Larry!

There is one thing that bothers me.   I can smell any other breads with instant dry yeast more and more when I heat it up in a microwave since I have known sourdough bread and fruit yeast bread.  I also smell yeasts when I slice it when it is warm slightly( Shouldn't I do that?).    

Happy baking,


dmsnyder's picture


I am continuing my exploration of fresh-ground flour this week with another bake of Peter Reinhart's “100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from Whole Grain Baking. I baked this bread three weeks ago and found the flavor marvelous, but the crumb was somewhat dense and cakey. I had ground the flour from hard red Winter wheat at the second from the finest setting. I did like the chewiness from the coarser ground grains. So, looking for a lighter loaf overall but maintaining the chewiness, I modified the formula and procedures somewhat.

Reinhart's formula calls for half the flour in a soaker of flour, milk product and salt. For the liquid, I used ¾ non-fat Greek-style yoghurt and ¼ water. The rest of the flour is in a biga made with flour, water and instant yeast. The biga is mixed, kneaded and refrigerated overnight.

I ground the wheat for the biga at the finest setting of my KitchenAid Grain Mill. This resulted in flour that was still a bit coarser than KAF WW flour, for example. I ground the wheat for the soaker at a medium-coarse setting.

I thought that I could get a lighter crumb and higher rising loaf if I developed the gluten in the biga portion before adding the soaker to the mix. So, I added all the other ingredients (salt, yeast, honey and canola oil) to the biga in the mixer bowl. I mixed for a couple minutes with the paddle at Speed 1, then with the dough hook for 11 minutes at Speed 2. The dough was rather sticky, but it cleaned the sides of the bowl, almost cleaned the bottom and had window paning. I then added in the soaker, which was quite crumbly, and mixed with the dough hook until it was incorporated into the dough.

After a 5 minute rest, I briefly kneaded the dough on the board, incorporating another couple tablespoons of fine ground whole wheat in the process, then transferred the dough to an oiled batter pitcher for bulk fermentation. Fermentation, proofing and baking were according to Reinhart's instructions. Note that, three weeks ago, I baked this bread in a Le Creuset oval Dutch oven. Today, I baked on a baking stone and steamed the oven using the SFBI method I've described in earlier postings.

The crust was crunchy, especially from the coarser pieces of wheat. The crumb reminds me of a 100% rye with rye chops. It's not what I was aiming for, but it is interesting. The crumb has two distinct textures from the different grinds of grain - tender and chewy-crunchy. The flavor is delicious.

I'd count this a worthwhile learning experience, but it's still not my ideal crumb for this bread. 

The other bread that I baked today was my San Joaquin Sourdough. I fed the levain with a 50/50 mix of KAF Sir Galahad and fresh-ground whole wheat. The final dough had 5% fresh-ground rye.

San Joaquin Sourdough breads with Julia Drayton Camelias

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb



bottleny's picture

I have been baking every Saturday since last December. While browsing in The Fresh Loaf, I noticed SylviaH's posts about Scali bread and decided that this would be this weekend's task.

The recipe is from King Arthur (here is their blog post). I didn't follow the exact recipe because I prefer leaner bread.


  • AP flour 120.5g
  • Water 75 g
  • 1/4 tsp yeast (1)

Mix to form a ball, refrigerate over 24 hr and then continue at room temperature for 9 hr.

Final dough:

  • All biga
  • AP flour 241 g
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • Milk 153 g (2)
  • 1/2 Tb Olive oil (3)

Mix to form a ball. Following Sylvia's method, I did S&F three times with 30-40min apart. Shape. Rest for 1.5 hr. In the last 30 min, I brushed the egg wash (egg white + 1Tb water). Then baked at 425F, first 15 min with cover and another 15 min without.


(1) KA recipe said "pinch". I didn't know how much the pinch is. I then checked The Artisan's Bread Page and went for 1/4 tsp. breadcetera used 1/8 tsp and 12 hr. Next time I'll use 1/8 tsp

(2) I didn't have dry milk powder so I used 1% milk instead. KA's recipe calls for 157.3 g. I used less because breadcetera used only 145 g. However, after this trial, I would increase the water a little bit, maybe 160g.

(3) KA recipe uses 2 Tb, which would be too much for me. Initially just wanted to use 1 Tb but forgot the correct amount. Next time I'll use 1 Tb.

Before baking


It's darker than what I expected. So was the bottom. My bread didn't have smooth skin... (was like that before baking :-( )

However, the crumbs looked good. I wasn't confident in kneading. But this time it wasn't too bad.


This time it took much longer than my previous baking. Therefore by the time when the bread was ready for my lunch, it's already nearly 1pm! I did my best to be patient! My bread has thicker crust than the ones you find in the supermarket, but it's not too bad. The crumbs were soft but also quite elastic. The leaner taste suited me well.

Every time my bread comes out with a dark bottom. Next time I would reduce the baking temperature by 25F.

By the way, I often see this kind of bread in the supermarket. I thoght it's called Italian Bread. Are they the same?

PS: The remaining egg wash and egg york became scrambled egg with tomato and onion for my dinner, accompanied with this bread.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I realize that there is a certain urge here on TFL to publish only the best loaves and the best photos of them. We all want to show each other the best we can do. But in this case, I am publishing what I consider to be a failed attempt at a beautiful bread in the hope that I will learn to improve it from the comments I may receive.

I followed Andy's procedure as closely as I possibly could, except that I halved the formula. To my knowledge, I was faithful to his prescription. I used KA all purpose flour and Bob's Red Mill dark rye. Given that there is low humidity here in New York City right now, the dough seemed just a touch stiff, but it did look like Andy's pictures at each stage.

The rye was allowed to sour for 30 hours, the wheat for 15. The dough came together and was bulk fermented as called for. The dough and room temperature were 78 degrees, 26 celsius. After mechanical mixing with a stand mixer, the dough showed a good window pane. Not a very strong one, but exemplary. One fold, preshape, shape and proof also as called for, one hour in the fridge, two out. The dough seemed absolutely ready to bake.

I used my usual steaming method and oven spring was as expected, quite strong, as the profile photo shows.

The loaf sang and cracked, but it did not feel light enough. Sure enough, when I cut into it, I could tell before seeing it that the crumb wasn't going to be what I was hoping for.

What went wrong with the crumb? I mean, it's perfectly nice, and the taste is delicious, but it isn't what was wanted. nor even close to what Andy showed. Troubleshooting and constructive criticism invited.


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