The Fresh Loaf

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chouette22's picture

Last weekend I gave Susan’s Sourdough Boule another try after it had come out with a crumb that was too dense the first time around. Since the ingredients were exactly the same as in one of Susan’s recipes (I used KA bread flour and pre-soaked flax seeds), the culprit could only be the starter. This time I made sure it was up to speed and strength after feeding it twice before using it and it happily produced the desired results:




It tasted wonderfully and I'll certainly make it again!

The other bread I made was the Sourdough Seed Bread (“Bread” p. 176). There had been two recent posts about this great recipe and I really wanted to try it. We absolutely LOVE it. My husband thought that my loaves should be bigger than the recent ones I made, thus I baked the entire recipe into one huge loaf, it weighed in at 1.7 kg (3.75 lbs)!!




A bit of a challenge to slice... This bread will be a staple in my repertoire, no doubt!


JoeVa's picture


Ok, here I am with my first post!

I am a new entry in TFL, but I have been reading your Blogs, Receipts and Q&A since about 1 year. I am italian, I live in the north of Italy and I love bread and baking.

My first blog entry is about my very basic Sourdough Loaf. I named it "Pane Fermento" and it is a "Pain au Levain" style loaf. It's a lean dough, with just good flour (white wheat and whole rye), water, salt and sourdough (translation of pasta acida but I usually say lievito madre). I prefer to retard the shaped loaf overnight. I really love this bread, the rye (and the cold proofing) contribute a particular flavour, it has a light "sweet" crumb and a great crust.


From now on remember my % are related to italian flour and ingredients; so pay attention to water %, it's about -5% the amount you need with "American AP/Bread flour".

Overall Formula

Bread Flour 90%
Whole Rye Flour 10%
Malted Flour* 1.5%
Water 59%
Gray Salt 1.9%

*I add a small amount of malted flour to get a better enzymatic activity, my flour is not malted from the miller.


15% Bread flour is prefermented at 80% hydratation (12h / 14h at about 21/22°C - with a 20% inoculation).

Dough consistency

Medium soft, a little bit sticky at the beginning (hydratation rate with my flour 59%:61%)


  • Mix all ingredients except salt (desired dough temperature 25/26°C).
  • Autolyse 00:30, then add salt on top
  • 10 stroke (stretch and fold)
  • Repeat 3 more times at 00:10 intervals (10 stroke or until the dough starts to oppose resistance)
  • Bulk fermentation 02:00 with 1 fold
  • Divide and shape (I use a banetton)
  • Proof 01:30 at 25°C
  • Retard 12:00 at 4°C
  • Bake on stone at 230°C 00:40, first 00:15 covered, last 00:10 with the door ajar.


    Crumb shoot


      Bread slice (1cm width)


        dmsnyder's picture


        My San Francisco Sourdough starter from is now two weeks old. I made another pair of my San Joaquin Sourdough breads with it yesterday. I modified my formula somewhat. I used a 60% hydration starter fed with AP flour only. I increased the amount of starter by 50%. I used KAF AP flour for the dough. I used no added instant yeast.




        Baker's Percentage

        Firm starter

        150 gms


        KAF AP flour

        450 gms


        BRM Dark Rye flour

        50 gms



        360 gms



        10 gms




        1. Mix the firm starter (1:3:5 – Starter:Water:Flour). Let it ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

        2. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add the starter and dissolve it in the water.

        3. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let it sit for 20-60 minutes.

        4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

        5. Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes 2 more times at 30 minute intervals.

        6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do one stretch and fold.

        7. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Note the volume of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

        8. Repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.

        9. Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.

        10. Cold retard the dough for about 20 hours. (The dough had more than doubled and was full of large and small bubbles.)

        11. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately transfer it to a lightly floured board.

        12. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them into logs or rounds, depending on whether you want to make boules or bâtards. Cover the pieces with plasti-crap and let them rest for 60 minutes. (Give them a shorter rest if the kitchen is very warm. You don't want them to expand very much, if any.)

        13. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

        14. Shape the pieces and place them in bannetons or on a couche. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded by 50-70%. (30-45 minutes)

        15. Pre-steam the oven. Then transfer the loaves to a peel (or equivalent). Score them, and load them onto your baking stone.

        16. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

        17. After 12 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus. Turn the loaves 180º, if necessary for even browning.

        18. Continue to bake the loaves for another 15-18 minutes or until their internal temperature is 205ºF.

        19. Turn off the oven, but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for another 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

        20. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

        21. Cool the loaves completely before slicing.


        The loaves were already singing when I took them out of the oven. The crust developed crackles, which can be credited to the use of AP rather than higher gluten flour and the drying in the oven (Step 19., above).


        The crumb was nice and open.


        The crust was crisp when first cooled and crunchy/chewy the next morning. The flavor was sweet and wheaty, like a good baguette, with the barest hint of sourness. This was po

        ssibly the best tasting San Joaquin Sourdough I've made. I think I'm going to stick with this version. Next time, I may use this dough to make baguettes.


        Submitted to YeastSpotting



        davidg618's picture

        As most, if not all, of you know Italians traditionally dip biscotti into their coffee or wine, i suspect, in part, to soften it a bit before chewing. October, November and December of year, along with holiday baking, we're putting the finishing touches to plans for our annual January open house wherein we serve only our homemade wines, homebrewed beer, and a cornucopia of food, all made from scratch.

        This year's theme is Wine and Bread.

        Technically, biscotti is not a bread, but it fits so well, we've added it to our list that includes sourdoughs (wheat and ryes), pain de mie, ciabatta, lavash, fougasse, and of course baguettes. I'm also going to try Hamelman's Vollkornbrot; if successful it too will join the list. It should pair well with a pilsner finishing its fermenting as I write.

        Today I experimented with a parmesan-black pepper biscotti thinking it will pair well with white wine, especially the sauvignon blanc we're offering this year. My wife and I shared the small corner pieces, and froze the rest. We opened a bottle of sauvignon blanc. It pairs wonderfully.

        We're also planning a dried-cherries and pecans biscotti to pair with a Cabernet Franc ice wine (sweet)--a first; always dry wines prior--and a craisins and pastachio biscotti that should pair well with both reds and whites.

        David G

        SisKam's picture


        Lesson 1

        I started to do the lessons and my bread came out lovely. I am so pleased; my husband and I enjoyed the first loaf.

        Thanks for this helpful site.

        I wanted to include a picture but don't know how ..... :-(

        I am anxious to try lesson 2 :-)

        SumisuYoshi's picture

        Baked Méteils au Bleu

        This recipe comes from Pierre Nury via Daniel Leader's Local Breads, this is the second recipe I've made from the book (and it went a lot better than the first, which I still need to write up). I picked this recipe because it looked like it would make cute little loaves, and one of my friends is a fan of blue cheese. It had also been a while since I made a bread with a significant amount of rye flour, and that one turned out a bit brick like. I had some trepidation starting this recipe because I had heard of many errors in the book (and experienced some of them in the first bread I made), but I didn't notice any glaring errors in this recipe.

        This recipe is built on a stiff levain, which I definitely prefer, seem to get better results from it, and I already keep a stiff levain so no conversion needed. Once you have the starter build for the recipe you mix the bread flour (55%) and fine ground rye flour (45%) with the water and let the mixture autolyse for 20 minutes. After the autolyse the small portion of starter is incorporated into the dough and the salt sprinkled on top and kneaded in.

        Flours and Water for Méteils au Bleu

        Autolysed Dough and Starter

        Sea Salt

        Méteils au Bleu Dough

        Méteils au Bleu Dough ready to rise

        This was a dense and very sticky dough to knead, thanks mostly to the rye flour I would imagine. The new (large) cutting board I got to handle dough on seems to help make the sticky doughs easier to handle than the plastic mat I used previously though, I was able to get this dough kneaded well enough with minimal flour use. I wasn't expecting a huge rise with the dough, both from comments seen online and experience with how my starter likes to rise, and it was good I wasn't expecting much!

        Risen Méteils au Bleu Dough

        I couldn't find the cheese called for in the recipe locally so I picked out an interesting looking selection at my local Whole Foods, Hook's Cheese Company Blue Paradise:

        Hook Cheese Company Blue Paradise

        It was a little tricky getting the 4 separate pieces of dough evenly sized because the dough was so sticky! A little dusting of flour to control that stickyness for weighing and I got my 4 roughly equal pieces, and preshaped them into little rectangles (it called for squares, but the dough didn't want to go that way). Each of the 4 got stuffed with cheese, rolled up into little loaves, and put in the loaf pans. I was initially surprised that this recipe calls for scoring before proofing, but I guess that helps it to open up a bit more to make a cavity for the cheese you place on top.

        Preshaped Dough for Méteils au Bleu

        Shaped Méteils au Bleu

        Slashed Méteils au Bleu

        When it came time to bake, I changed up the instructions a bit. I preheated the oven to 500, used nearly boiling water instead of ice cubes, and then turned the heat down to the suggested temperature as soon as the loaves were in the oven (the ice cubes just don't work so well for me). These loaves smelled really great as they were baking!

        Baked Méteils au Bleu

        Méteils au Bleu Crumb

        After they had cooled a little bit, I brought one out to show the person I had baked them for more intending just that he could see and smell it, but it must've smelled really good because he took a big bite out of it! It was really good warm out of the oven like that, I also made a few slices into crostini the other day, topped them with pesto and chicken!

        fortarcher's picture

        I stumbled on this site almost a year ago.  I love making bread and Sourdough is one of my favs.  Yet, I have never made Sourdough.  I decided a couple of weeks ago to make a starter.  So, I gabbed my Joy of cooking cook book and found a recipe for "Sourdough Starter".  The recipe called for comercial yeast.  I come to find out the starter is not "traditional". If I am going to do something, I want to do it right.   So back in my memory bank was the fresh loaf.  Off I went......

        After reading quite a bit on this site(and wasting a week on my so called starter), I grew another "baby".  Just WW flour and water.  My baby is on day 8 and is doing well. ( I also made a firm starter with baby tonight). Baby already has a nice sour flavor.  I will leave baby out on the counter for about another week so I know she has a great sour taste.  I plan on making my first REAL Sourdough with the firm starter tomorrow night and using the liquid starter on Saturday.  Once I think I know what I am doing, I have some great ideas for adding goodies to my loaves.  I cant wait to turn the oven on and not shut it off for the next couple days! 

        Happy Kneading,


        DerekL's picture

        Three loaves


        Three loaves from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. The left two are Soft American Style White Bread (p204), the rightmost is Crusty White Sandwich Loaf (p43).

        SylviaH's picture

        This is from Peter Reinhart' BBA book.  Ciabatta, Poolish Version.

        I used 6 oz. half water and whole milk also added 1 TBsp. Olive Oil and KAAP Flour.

        I mixed by hand and did stretch and folds and did my shaping different and some adjustments in temp. with my convection oven.  I think I got about the same results with crumb not being as open as bakers here have posted about on TFL.  More liquid can easily be added as the dough at this hydration was easy to work with for a ciabatta dough.  The bread was still very tasty with a nice crust and perfect for sandwiches.  If I remember correctly I got 2 nice large loaves each weighing very close to 18oz.




        Debra Wink's picture
        Debra Wink

        I haven't posted to my blog in a while, so it's high time I do. I've been away on vacation for a few weeks, which is why I haven't participated lately, nor have I been baking either. My husband and I just got back from a road trip we took to Charleston, South Carolina. Beautiful town... ever been? Unfortunately for us, the weather was gray and rainy for a good bit of our trip, so when the sun smiled down on us for one whole day, we put on our walking shoes and headed downtown. We traversed our way through the streets, admiring the architecture and beautiful old mansions, the many small graveyards tucked in here and there, and dined on some pretty amazing seafood (something we miss here in the heartland). Just as the sun was getting low, we happened upon a sort of open-air market, where locals hawk their wares.

        We meandered through oodles of sweet grass baskets, art, leather, jewelry, spices, etc., until my husband zeroed in on cookbooks. He was on a quest to find gumbo recipes. The booth's owner directed him to a few of the popular ones, and then handed him Charleston Receipts, "America's oldest Junior League cookbook in print." I flipped to the copyright page to see when it was published and found that the first printing of 2000 was November of 1950. It must have been an immediate hit, because they printed 3000 more just one month later. And the thirty-third printing in 2007 brings the total to over 800,000 by my calculations. That's a lot of books. I haven't even looked at the gumbos yet, because I'm still flipping through the baking sections. I love old cookbooks. Anyway...  

        As we were packing up to leave Charleston, we had a couple bananas left from a bunch we bought at the beginning of the week. They were already past the point of good eating, so I threw them in the bag to cart back with us, estimating that they would be about perfect for making banana bread by the time we got home. And wouldn't you know it, there's a "receipt" for that :-)

        Banana Bread

        1 3/4 cups sifted flour (I still have some White Lily from a previous trip south, so I used that)
        2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Argo, of course)
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/3 cup shortening (I chose unsalted butter)
        2/3 cup sugar
        2 eggs
        1 cup mashed banana

        You mix this one just like a butter cake---cream the "shortening" and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time, sift together and add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid (in this case, the bananas). The batter is turned into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan and baked at 350ºF. The recipe says about 70 minutes, but mine was done in 45-50.

        I'm not at all sure who to give proper credit for this recipe, because the conventions used in the book aren't explained. I'm going to guess the contributor was a Mrs. Robert Wilson, Jr., but she got it from Gabrielle McColl... or, it might be the other way around. I really don't know. Thank you Mrs. Wilson and Gabrielle McColl, whoever and wherever you are!

        Now I must tell you, either the temperature was too high or my pan too dark, because the edges are a bit over-browned. I will bake at 325º next time, or 300º with convection, which I find is usually best for anything in a deep pan like this. Regardless, the crumb is just wonderful---moist, tender and fine-textured. I think a double recipe could make a fine bundt cake. It might even be a nice layer cake, made with cake or pastry flour. This is dessert.   -dw


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