The Fresh Loaf

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Breadifornia's picture

This is a nice dinner bread I like to make when the herb garden is in full swing.  The thyme and sage give it a wonderful savory touch that is not too heavy.  You can adjust the herb amounts to taste. Dried herbs are more concentrated, so I use smaller amounts than fresh.


60 g 100% hydration starter (active)

300 g water

300 g bread flour

90 g whole wheat flour

8 g salt

2 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh sage

2Tblsp. finely chopped fresh thyme


Combine starter and water until dissolved.  Add flours.  Rest 1/2 hr. Add salt and fresh herbs, ensuring even distribution of herbs.  Bulk proof 2.5 to 3.5 hrs with stretch and turns every 35-40 mins. (25-30% rise.) Shape.  Retard 8-16 hrs. Bake 25 mins covered @ 232C/450F.  Continue baking uncovered until desired crust color. Enjoy! 

sourdough.burr.ead's picture

I am having trouble deciding if this is a good crumb or fools crumb. I have underfermented breads before and they were very dense, but this loaf was not dense. Light and airy. It just has a unique pattern of bubbles. The bulk ferment was 4.5 hours at 76F. Followed by a cold proof for 14 hours. Any feedback or tips would be great. Thanks

Grant Y's picture
Grant Y

I made a new sourdough starter a few weeks ago and this was it's inaugural loaf of bread! I went with a no-knead method for this first one instead of my typical bread with stretch and folds. I was going for simplicity on this one and I wanted to make a video about my no-knead process. Below is the video and the process:


KA Bread Flour - 450g

Rye Sourdough Starter 100% hydration - 74g (Was going for 70 but overshot)

Water - 300g

Salt - 10g





15:00 - Around three o'clock PM I took my new starter out of the fridge, about a tablespoon of starter, and fed it 50g rye flour and 50g water. I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour.

21:00 - When the starter had risen and just started to fall a little bit (I caught it past its peak) I mixed all four of my ingredients together until fully incorporated. I covered up the dough with a kitchen towel and let it bulk rise overnight. No stretch and folds or anything.

06:00 - The next morning I shaped the dough into a boule on a floured counter and placed it into a towel-lined bowl. I chose not to use a banneton basket this time, but that's what I usually use. I let the dough proof for two hours at room temperature.

8:00 - Two hours later I transferred the dough to a sheet of parchment paper, scored it, then set it in my dutch oven, which had been preheating to 500°F for 30 minutes. I baked it for 20 minutes with the lid on, then 20 minutes with the lid off.

The bread turned out great for a no-knead loaf! Could definitely have had higher oven spring, and a more open crumb, but I'm content with how this turned out for a no-knead bread. It was delicious and perfect for about three days of toast :) 

Rajan Shankara's picture
Rajan Shankara

...just kidding, there's no butter sandwich. But, I baked another loaf this morning. I made A LOT of starter for some reason, and went on a long weekend. The levain was put in the fridge and three days later it was a pile of bubbly mush. 

"I'm tired of believing I need to ferment sourdough with a fresh levain.." I thought to myself. So, I decided to bake a loaf of bread with 3 day old, cold levain—without refreshing it one little bit. 


I stuck with a safe 75% hydration recipe of mine and trusted my beast of a starter. 

First image is always sideways...?


450g flour (5% buckwheat)

324g water

10g salt

150g levain...yup. My recipe called for 81g (18%) but I had so much extra—and it was cold and unfed—I decided to throw in an ungodly amount in the name of science. (33%) Percents for total dough formula...I think. 

Hydration ended up at 76%. 


The next stages went well, and I gave it a nice long BF, from 1:45pm to 7pm with one hour in the fridge because I wasn't home. 

Shaped at 8:30pm, thrown in a basket and cold retard for 12 hrs. 


Mucho happy with the bake. I woke up, preheated to 450F for a few minutes (our oven is incredibly fast) and plopped that sucker onto the dutch oven and closed the lid. The dough was like a soft airy pillow, held shape very well and was incredibly light. 


The final product ended up being so light and airy that it is hard to cut without holding on for dear life. Great earthy flavor thanks to the buckwheat, not too sour considering a third of the weight was levain!

So, does anything matter? Do "rules" of baking apply? Yes and No. My bakery believes in science, but also intuition, and feeling what is right and when is right. Talk to your dough, make sure it's happy and ready for the next step regardless of what a recipe says the timeline should be. And, if you have a strong starter, you might be able to get away without feeding it for 3 days, throwing it cold into some dough, and baking a damn good loaf. 


Happy Baking, and most importantly...Relax!


Cedarmountain's picture

This is a strange and turbulent time...a viral pandemic upon us, the world in an ongoing struggle to survive and the best and worst of humanity on display every day. There is little comfort to be found anywhere as the debates, misinformation, disuptes and yes, death and suffering as a result of covid-19 fill our days. The reality of life with covid-19 is simple  - until there is a vaccine or effective treatment we are constrained by it, our 'freedoms' and personal 'rignts' are superceded by the needs of the greater common good, if everyone stays apart, wears a face mask, washes their hands then ALL of us will be ok.  It's not that hard.  And for any of you with lingering doubts, personal grievances, disuptes with the best advice from the health authorities, I encourage you to volunteer your time at a local hospital ICU/ER, offer your help to first responder paramedics, nurses, doctors....perhaps first hand experience will convince you, help you understand what's really going on!

 It's a habit I have, when things are wierd, challenging, just do what I know and then try to figure out the other stuff. So in these strange times I fall back on this, more of the same old, same old...what I know. Stay well, stay safe.

Seeded Sourdough Bread 

  • fresh milled sifted rye, Marquis and khorasan 30%
  • organic all purpose flour 70%
  • filtered water 80%
  • young levain 28%
  • sea salt 2%
  • toasted sunflower seeds 3.5%
  • toasted pumpkin seeds 3.5%
  • toasted sesame seeds 2%
  • soaked flax seed 3.5%
  • sifted bran coating

2 hour autolyse; 3.5 hour bulk ferment (the dough was very active, it's really hot this week) with 4 series of stretch/folds over the first 2 hours; pre-shaped/final shaped and cold proofed overnight 10 hours; baked 500F covered for 20 minutes, 450F covered for 10 minutes and 450F for 19 minutes directly on the baking stone.




Hotbake's picture

So I got a bag of Bob's whole wheat flour for the first time since it was super on sale, and I was surprised how fine grounded it was! Again I've never had the patience sifting bran or do long autolyse these days.

So this is my usual faux autolyse procedure, dough was at around 92-93% hydration and I was surprised how fluffy it turned out at 100% whole grain with add-ins.


alfanso's picture

I guess this V3.0, or V2.1, or V1.2.  Who's knows, and more importantly who cares?

Plans and results laid out the other day, I thought I could do better.

Changes from last time:

  • Shorten BF from 70 min to 45 w/folds at 25 and 45 minutes.  Because...
  • Place BF vessel into retard for about 6-8 hours.
  • Divide and placed on couche, back into overnight retard.
  • Exhibit even greater gentle care in handling the dough both onto and off the couche.
  • Scored the slightly stiffer dough with my regular lame other than the other day's ceramic blade. 

Otherwise, all other aspects of the process were the same.


  • Better and more consistent shaping
  • Darker crust
  • Much less raw flour on surface
  • Some amount of oven spring, these are certainly a little more robust than prior
  • Noticeable bloom, although still relatively slight.

Unsure of whether the flavor profile was enhanced due to extended BF and retard.  But I think that this is the method I'll use when these come up on my "what shall I bake next" wheel.

Formula is in the link the top.

The "cover" photo is just prior to bake, what they look like on my new wide oven peel (used for full length baguettes).

Today, vs. the other day.  Richer crust coloration.


Today, vs. the other day.  Due to lack of any surface tension, these are delicate and more difficult to score.


950g x 8 dinner / hamburger rolls



texasbakerdad's picture

This bake was new territory for me for 3 reasons...

  • Heaviest recipe I have ever made... 12.75 lbs of dough (5796g).
  • Recovered from 2 potential catastrophes during the bake
  • First time using Rye, even though it was just a little bit.

The almost catastrophes?

(a) I doubled the recipe on accident. I meant to bake 2 large loaves (12"x"4.5"x3.125" pans). I misread the king arthur recipe and made enough dough for 4 large loaves. I progressed 60% of the way through making the bread thinking... this seems like A LOT OF DOUGH. I loaded the shaped loaves into the pans and after looking at how full the pans were already, I thought I better double check my math. Sure enough... I made enough dough for 4 loaves. I dumped the dough back out of the pans, cut it all in half and reshaped everything. 1 last thing... I thought I was being smart before I realized my mistake with the recipe... I told myself... "This King Arthur recipe must be wrong, this is too much dough, I am going to make 3 loaves instead of 2." Then, when I realized my mistake, I just decided to keep my 3 loaf modification, so I ended up with 6 loaves (2 long pullman loaves, two 12x4.5x3.125, and two 9x5x3).

(b) Had to make an emergency run to the store and totally forgot the bread was already in the oven. Thank god my kids heard the timer go off and told my wife... otherwise, the bread would have burned.

Started with the 'Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread' recipe from King Arthur. I had to make some small tweaks to the recipe and the process to fit my time schedule, the ingredients I had on hand, and my pan sizes.


Changes from KA recipe: The original recipe was for 9x5x3 (135 square inches) pans. I increased all ingredients to fit two 12x4.5x3.125 (168.75 square inches) pans. Also, I didn't have time for an overnight levian and my sourdough is fast, so I took the levian quantities and combined them with the rest of the recipe. I also doubled the recipe. 

  • 1836g Hard Red Home Milled Wheat
  • 1076g HEB Brand Bread Flour
  • 150g Rye
  • 100g Sourdough Starter (50:50 hard red:water, fed the night before)
  • 10g Table Sugar
  • 60g Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 2564g Softened and Filtered Well Water


  • 9a: In one huge plastic tub, using my hand, combined the hard red wheat, bread flour and water. Smushed it together long enough to make a shaggy mess.
  • Let autolyse for 20 minutes
  • 9:20a: Rubbed sourdough starter onto top of autolyze mass. Then evenly sprinkled rye on top. Then added sugar and salt. Folded over and over again until I felt like there was an even consistency with all of the new ingredients.
  • 10a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 10:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 11a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 11:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 12a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 12:30a: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 1p: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • 1:30p: Fold inside big tub about 4 or 5 times.
  • At this point, the dough was starting to feel quite full of air. I decided it was a good time to shape the dough and drop it into the bread pans.
  • Weighed the dough and split into 3 balls. 1638g for the smaller pan (9x5x3) and two balls of 2048g for the larger pans (12x4.5x3.125). Let the balls rest for 10 minutes before final shaping.
  • Prepped 3 pans by brushing with melted butter and sprinkling melted butter with AP flour.
  • Shaped the loaves and dropped in the pans. The PANS WERE TOO FULL. So, I reread the KA recipe and realized my mistake... the recipe was already big enough for 2 loaves, when I doubled it messed up.
  • Dumped the dough back out. Cut the 3 loaves in half by eye, preshaped them and waited 10 minutes.
  • While waiting the 10 minutes I pulled out 2 long pullman loaf pans (didn't use the lids) and one more 9x5x3 pan.
  • 2:30p Shaped the dough and dropped in the 6 pans. Put all 6 loaves inside of turkey basting bags and filled with air to keep them from drying out.
  • 6:00p Dough nearing 2x and poke test seemed to indicate it was about right. Preheated the oven to 500dF.
  • 7:00p Scored loaves. Loaded pans in oven. Dropped temp to 475dF, set timer for 20 min.
  • 7:25p (kids alerted wife to beeping oven). Looked pretty dark, wife covered with foil. Dropped temp to 450dF, set timer for 15 min.
  • 7:40p dropped temp to 425dF, set timer for 8 min.
  • Pulled out and set on racks to cool.

Take aways...

  • The crust was a bit overcooked on some parts. Not sure if that was the recipe's mistake or something else.
  • The 1024g in the log pullman loaf would have been the perfect size for a pullman loaf with the lid on. The pullman would have trapped the moisture and the bread would have just barely filled the size of the container. I am going to try that next time.

SusanMcKennaGrant's picture

Experimenting with yeast water. A marriage of my passions....wildcrafting, fermenting and 🥖 .direct mix. 80% hydration with wild elderberry fermented water biga. 


6 hour bulk,  4 stretch and folds, 6 hour proof  


I also made focaccia with the same technique. I discovered this method in a book by the brilliant Italian bakers Carlo di Cristo, Ezio Marinato, Cristian Zaghini and Pierluigi Sapiente


"Le Fermentazioni Spontanee nei prodotti da forno"


There is also a facebook group all about fermented waters, but I am not on facebook.



 the crumb shot



Elderberry water focaccia 

isand66's picture

This was a flavorful 40% rye bread made with left-over cooked polenta which had some cheese of course added to it.

The fresh milled rye flour added tons of flavor and the polenta as always made this a wonderfully moist and tasty bread.  I added some potato flour but if you don't have it just increase the amount of one of the other flours.

The crumb came out pretty open on this one and all in all this made a great grilled bread and also sandwiches as well.


Here is the link to the BreadStorm files:

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain,  cooked polenta and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes.  You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  (Note:  if you are not using fresh milled flours you may want to cut back on the water)  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 540 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to it in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

Lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




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