The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

MadAboutB8's picture

I made Tomato, Parmesan and Basil flatbread from Bouke Street Bakery cookbook this weekend with our home-grown peach tomatoes.

The tomato resembles cherry tomato in size, only with yellow colour. It tastes sweet and mild acidic with a beautiful aroma.

I tweaked the recipe a little by using sourdough starter instead of pre-ferment, which I believe give extra flavour.

The recipe is here.


jschoell's picture

I'm a homebrewer. One of the best smells in the world is a boiling pot of wort, and I've always wanted to somehow "eat" that smell. Well, this is what happened on my fist attempt at a "brewer's bread".


Day 1: 3/4 c KA bread Flour

  3/4 c Whole Wheat flour

          1/16 tsp instant yeast

  enough water to make a very sticky dough

mix well and let sit at RT for 18-24 hrs then refrigerate for a day.


Day 2: Go to your local homebrew store and pick up a pound of your favorite malted barley (or wheat). I used 3/4 lb caravienne and 1/4 lb belgian aromatic. Mash at 150F for an hour with one quart of water. I used a crockpot and a thermometer. Strain the wort into a bowl and sparge with a cup or two of boiling water. Process the spent grain in a food processor until it obtains a paste-like consistency. Refrigerate the wort and the grain paste overnight. 

Day 3: Cut up the biga into 10 pieces. Combine:


1 1/2 c bread flour

3/4 - 1 c spent grain paste (depending on how much "whole grain" you want to taste

2 tsp instant yeast

2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1 tsp canola oil (or whatever you like... try melted lard!)

1/2 c wort ( adjust as necessary... my final dough was very sticky)

Stir with a fork until you get a ball, then knead with dough hook on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Rest dough 20 min, stretch and fold in bowl, repeat three times. form into loaves or boules, proof 2 hours. Set oven to 500f, pour 1 1/2 c hot water into steam pan and place loaves in oven. Reduce to 425f and bake for 15 min, rotate then bake for 10 min or until dark brown and center reads 200f.


I was expecting to get a dark, heavy brick, but I was pleasantly surprised by how light and crispy it turned out. Next time I'll add some hops!



Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I do believe I am closing in on my goal of a tasty, presentable and above all reliable baguette, folks.  At the very least, the results have been reliably tasty of late, which will do for a start!

Anyway, here was last week's bake.  Still a lot of bursting between cuts despite loading the steam pans a couple minutes before loading the loaves.  Great ears though.


Crumb (For the loaf on top, I believe)

Moments Later, as BLT



For this week's bake I switched over to the King Arthur Bread Flour (instead of AP), primarily because my wife did the shopping last week and that's what she picked up.  Worth a try, anyway.  I also threw a cup of water onto the floor of the oven after loading the baguettes, to get some extra steam.  Also, by accident I forgot to take the steam out of the oven, so I had steam for the full 26 minutes of the bake.  Oops!




Not bad, eh?  Not as much ear as past weeks--probably at least in part because of the flour.  But only a little bit of bursting.  The baguette on the bottom is just about perfect (this one is pictured in the crumb shot).  Though I'm also quite proud of the one in the middle.  It won't win any beauty contests, but the plastic wrap stuck to the top of that one during the proof, leaving a sticky, slack surface.  The fact that I got any kind of regular looking score on it is a victory I wouldn't have had a few months ago (this victory brought to you by TMB baking ).

Crust was good although a little...leathery, for lack of a better word (this sounds worse than it was).  Probably because of the excess steam during the second half of the bake.  Crumb was fantastic: open, creamy, flavorful.  If I could bake baguettes just like this every time, I'd be happy.  I could bake them like this but with the ears from last week, I'd be in home bakers' heaven.

Happy baking, everyone.

teketeke's picture

Updated: 3/31/2011 


 Aki san no Baguette
I want to introduce one of amazing Japanese home bakers Aki who makes great baguettes that I have been trying get the crumb like hers.  I really thank Aki who let me post her great baguettes here. Here is  her blog and baguette's formulas.   And, Please leave a comment for her if you think that her baguettes are great. She will be happy to hear it from you, guys. :) 

  Aki's strawberry yeast baguette:
Ingredients:  (straight method) Lenth about 40cm

  •  Flour  100% -( About125-150g for 1 baguette)( she uses flour for French bread like Lys Dor, Maison Kayser Traditional and so on. )
  • Water + Strawberry yeast water (10%)= 70-75%
  • Salt  less 2%

Method:   1. Mixing the ingredients. DDT: About 23℃ ( I mix the ingredients except the salt and  take autolyze for 30 minutes then I add the salt in it. I am not sure how she does)   

2.Bulk fermentation: Punch down every 20 minutes for 2 times at 23℃   

3.  Rest for 4 hours at 23℃  

4. Transfer the dough at 15℃ , and rest for 16-18 hours. * She put the dough in a refrigerator to keep the dough temperature down. If she keeps the dough at 15℃, the dough will be ready in 12 hours.  

5.  Divide  

6. Bench time  ( It is vary depends on the room temperature and the wild yeast's strenth that you use)

 7. Proof  at 23℃ ( It is also vary depends on the room temperature and the wild yeast's strenth that you use.)

8 Bake at 230℃ for about 20 minutes ( She uses steam)

* She also uses instant dry yeast ( She has used SAF blue instant yeast ): About 0.04% instant yeast as to 100% flour

* She degas the dough very well before shaping


I have tried her baguettes about 10 times so far. Although I am not successful yet.  I hope that I am able to get close to her baguettes soon. 

This is the one that is my best one so far.    I made 2 baguttes.

KA Ap 180g / Rasin yeast water 36g/ Water  100g  ( 16℃)/ Salt 3g

I bent the dough when I transfered it into the oven.   You can see the black spots in the crumb because I used alcoholic raisin from the raisin yeast water.  Aki doesn't use them.    I just punched it down once before I put the dough in the place at 14℃。 And I divided it in two after 24 hours ( yes, it took for a long time until the dough was doubled that was actually tripled! I realized it after I found Juergen's exprement  Thank you, Juergen) Then   I did a letter fold then took a bench time for 30 minutes, and I hit the dough onto the work bench twice and  I did fold 1/3 from the bottome line, then I pinched the top and bottom sides and closed the seam very well, and I took 30 minutes for proof. Preheat 470F for 1 hour, using Syvia's steaming method and bake it at 470F for 7 minutes with the steam, and take the steaming towels and pan after that, decreased down to 450F  and bake more 3 more minutes, then I took the baking sheets out of the baguettes then baked 10 more minutes at 450F. Shut off the oven then left them in the oven for 5 more minutes.  


Next :  This hydration is75.8% 

KA AP 120g  / Raisin yeast water (20%)+ water = 91g / Salt 2g 

I waited the dough until doubled.  It came out denser than the above.  I degased fliping the dough twice.


In the same time, I have made my baguettes ( ) for updating.  I updated it in Japanese version here:


2 baguettes:


 KA AP  125g  / Water  DDT 20℃  93g / Active dry yeast 1~2g

Final dough

KA Ap  125g  / Water DDT 23℃ 93g / Active dry yeast 1~2g

Salt  3.8g


 1. Poolish (  Let it ferment until doubled)  I preferment the yeast and the water for 15 -20 minutes before mixing all the ingredients.

2. Adding the yeast and water into the poolish-- Rest  for 20 minutes --- Add the flour and salt

3. Knead for a few minutes --2 times  Strech and fold  every 20-30 minutes   

4. Bulk fermentation    at 25℃。

5. Continue to rest until 1.5 times in bulk at 25℃

6.Move the dough in the place at 14℃and rest until 2-2.5  times volume

7. Divide  in two:   1) A letter fold       or   2) Degas: hitting the dough on the work surface 2.3 times and make a rectangle shape.

8. Bench time   30 minutes at about 23℃.

9. Shape :  1)Degas like the above (2)-- 1/3 fold from the bottom.- Pinch the both side and close the seam very well.  or

                 2) 1/3 fold from the bottom, if you can fold it again toward to the middle.--- Pinch the both side and close the seam very well.

10. Proof  25 - 30 minutes  at 23℃

11.Bake :  Preheat 470F for 1 hour :  Bake at 470F with steam ( Sylvia's steaming method) for 7 minutes --- Take the steaming out-- decrease down to 450F and bake 3 more minutes - Take the parchment paper out --- bake more 10 minutes ---  Shut off the oven and leave it in the oven for 5 minutes.

I am testing about degassing a lot or not :

These are that I didn't degas a lot, just little.  Left: (2) version     Right(1) version   I took 30 minutes for proof.  The taste was awesome.


Today:  I did degas a lot


But I took almost 1 hour for proof..  Left:Shorter one - (1) version / Right: Longer one - (2) version.  These reminds me of Juergen's experiment:    Yes, they are over proofed.. I also thank Eric who examine an excellent job on Juergen's post.  They didn't taste good because of the over proofed.  The bad thing was that I had to drag when I scored because the dough was really soft.

Now, I am going to test that the one is little degas and the other is degas a lot..   


2/20/2011  I couldn't bake my 2 baguettes to compare the test above.  But I baked Aki's baguette in the morning.

Here is the result:

 Aki san no baguette 2/20/2011


KA AP  120g   

Raisin yeast water 18g  ( 20%)   

Water   71g( 16℃)   

Salt 2g

2/18  6:30 am - Mix all the ingredients except the salt.-- Autolyze --         

        7:05 am- Added the salt--- mixing for 10 seconds by FP         

       8:00 am--  S&F   ( 23℃) -- I forgot to do it in 30 minutes---     

       8:30  am -- S&F  ( 23℃)         

      Rest----  23℃

    1:00pm -- Moved the dough in the basement  at 14℃.  

2/20  6:00am  3 folds ( a letter fold) -- bench time (The dough rose 2.5 times in bulk. )         

        7:05 am  Shape    Degas a lot ( Flipped over the dough twice and slapped the dough many times) and  fold 1/3 from the bottom and pinch the both sides then close the seam very well.-- proof---       

        7:50  Bake


Now I am thinking:   

1. dough temp should be warmer before shaping to get the airy crumb or wait until the dough tripled.   

2. Degas a lot or less

3.  How to score it straightly without dragging. -------------- I used to put some shortening on the lame  before scoring. I better try it again to see how it works.




Degas test:

  After I wrote that I didn't bake the other my baguettes to compare the test of degassing, I changed my mind, then I started to bake them to test.  Here is the result:


 KAAP  125 g     

 Water  (16℃)      100g   (  I recommend to use less water around 94g water ) Now, I am testing to use 68% hydartion  3/2/2011  Because I want  firm strong gluten in the dough as same as Aki's baguette. 68% hydaration is the same firmness as 74-75% high hydration baguettes with natural yeast in my opinion.

  Active dry yeast  1/32 tsp     (  I took 19 hours to ferment)


Final dough:  

 KAAP    70g  /  Pillsbury ( all flour ran out except this) 55g   

Water (16℃)   100g   (  I recommend to use less water  around 94g maximum) 

 Active dry yeast  0.1g

Salt    3.8g

 1. 2/19  Punch down every 30 minutes.  

2. Rest  :  1+2 =3 hours in total..( It was too short) at 23℃  

3.  Rest  at 14-15℃  

4. 2/22   Divide (  The actual dough weight was 408g   I divided it 204g each. The dough rose doubled.  

5. Bench 30 minutes  6. Shape and Proof for 30 minutes at 22℃


Left: Degas a lot : Flipping over twice and slapped the dough a lot. 

Right  Gentle degas : Just little pat to make a rectangle to shape.


Today 2/21/2011


Left : Version 1 (started from a letter fold) with gentle degas 

 Right Version 2 (Started to make a rectangle shape to flatten) with gentle degas.     *  My lame was without the chop stick. I was holding it by my left hand. I didn't put shortening on it.

The actual weight was 425g  I divided it 212.5g each.  Yesterday, it was lighter because I used the other flour or today's dough took 2 days to ferment ??  I don't know...


These are on the left one.   I cut it when it was still hot.  My husband and my dogs were eating it when I saw them.

So, I cut the other one when it was still warm. My son and daguther wanted to eat, too.

Hmmmmm.... I will practice more... 

Thank you for reading, everybody!



Updating 3/1/2011

I got a book that AKi learned how to make the amazing baguettes from yesterday.  I can't tell everything of the method unfortunetely.

Here is the book.

As Eric mentioned, You can degas firmly that is the key.   Flatten the dough - 3 folds -bench 30 minutes- shape - proof 30 minutes or so.- bake 

Luckly, You are able to see how to shape the dough on the sample of the book!!

Completely flatten the dough!

I used

260g KAAP

52g Raisin yeast water ( from refrigerator)

143g Water 16℃

4g Salt  (  1.5-1.8% as to 100% four... As you like)

  Mix except salt -- Autolize 30 mintues--- Fold interval 30 minutes x 2 times---- 5 hours buk fermentation  at 75F until the dough rose 1.5times

-------Move the dough in a colder place around 13-14℃ for over night (12 hours)--- divide-- preshape--bench 30 minutes -- shape -- proof 30 minutes-- bake

 on the left crumb : I prooved at 21℃ without any dump towels. Right crumb: At 21℃ with dump towels

 I prooved at 26℃ with dump towels.    I still test about this. But I think "With dump towel" make thin and crispy crust? 

It have more big holes when I proof it at colder place? I don't know.. I just keep testing..

About taste: That is absolutely amazing.



Updated 3/2/2011

I made 68% hydration of my poolish baguette today.


  • KA AP  70g
  • Water 48g ( 16℃)
  • Active dry yeast  0.07g

Final dough

  • KA AP 70g
  • Water 48g ( 16℃)
  • Active dry yeast 0.07g
  • Salt  ( I always use kosher sea salt)  2.3g (  I used 1.6% salt as to 100 % flour this time)


1. Mix the poolish ingredients ( DDT was 65F /18.3℃) Fermented at 76F/24.4℃ for about 15 hours.

2. Mix all the ingredients. After mixing ( folding?) for a few minutes with a dough cutter, The dough temperature (DT )was 65F/ 18.3℃

3. After 20 minutes: 1st S & F ( folding several times with a dough cutter)  DT was 68F/20℃    The room temperature was 76F/24.4℃- I used a light to warm it up

4. After 20 minutes : 2nd  S&F  ( folding several times with a dough cutter) DT was 65F/18.3℃  The room temperature was 76F/24.4℃ ( I don't know why the DT went down.)

5.Bulk fermentation:  2.5 hours at 78.8F/26℃ until doubled  ( If you want  light and softer crumb, you better let it rise at 82F/28℃, the time will be shorten) DT was 70F/21℃ when it is doubled.

6.Put the dough in a refrigerator ( the temperature was 6℃)for 5 hours.   DT was 48F/8.8℃ when I took it out of the refrigerator.

7.Preshape:  Degassed and made a letter fold. I waited until the dough temp got to 50F/10℃  just a couple minutes or so.( I have been successful when the dough temperature was 50F/10℃)

8.Shape folding  1/3 fold from the top side, lift the other side to cover that I already feld. Pinched very well.  DT was 65F/18.3℃ when I was about to shape.

9.Proof : 30 minutes at 70F/21℃.  I put the dough in a gabage bag to avoid to get dry.

10.Bake : Preheat 470F/243.3℃ for 1 hour ( I can't use maximum temperature. If you can, you better use maximum temperature for better result)

              Bake  7 minutes with steam (I used Sylvia's steaming method) at 470F/243.3℃-----> Take the steaming tool out and decreased down to 450F/232.2℃, bake 3 more minutes--

------------->Take the parchment paper and bake 10 more minutes-------> Shut off the oven left it in the oven for 3 minutes.

I am so glad that I had a lot of holes in the crumb, however, I am not a big fan of thick crust and too chewy texture.  I should have let it rise at higher temperature until 1.5 times in bulk, then let it rest at 50-57.2F/10-14℃ for overnight, Or I better use more water in the dough around 70-74% hydration.   I like the taste but it was sweet less than I usually get.   Now, I realize that I don't want to let the dough rest below 50F/10℃ anymore。I tested it before...

3/3/2011  Next day:  The crust and crumb are much better. The top's crumb is better texture than the bottom. The bottom's crumb was little wetter when I chewed it. I will make 68% hydration again, next time I will frement the dough at 28-30℃ around and let it rest at 10℃ for overnight or less.



I changed a little bit of Aki's method, but I finally could manage 10% raisin yeast baguette.


 KA AP 130g

Rasin yeast water 14g

Water 76g  ( DDT 69F  /20.5℃)

Salt  2.1g


Method: ( I always set up at 6pm around so I can bake at 6am next morning)

1.  I mixed all the ingredients except the salt for a minute, then add the salt, mix it again for a few minutes with my hands  (Dough temperature(DT) 69F)

2.  S&F x2  every 30 minutes   ( I did in the air with my hands) ( DT was 70F both after the S&F)--Rest at  roomtemperature was 26-28℃ /78.8F-82F  for 4.5 hours until the dough is little flat and the surface is slightly bumpy.


3.I moved the dough at room temperature around 18-19℃ for about 8 hours

4. The dough in the morning:  I saw a lot of bubbles on the bottom. ( DT62.5F/16.9℃)

5. I put the dough on the floured wood board very gently. The bottom is face now. 

   Strech the dough X way to make a rectangle around 35cm x11cm is better ( I streched too much this time I did 41cmx11cm)

6.Using a ruler, make a fold like the picture. Pat the dough gently and

 Put tightly squeezed dump kitchen towels on the dough and take a bench time for 15-20 minutes ( I took 15 minutes )

7. After the bench time,

8. Using your finger tips, pat the dough gently... ( I feel like that I can shape the air in the crumb at this time) 

9. Puch the edge little harder and  Pat the rest of the dough with your finger tips again.  ( If I didn't do this process, the crumb was tight... I think that both sides dough need some space to have airy crumb when you roll. )

10. Brush off the excess flour and roll and pinch the seam very well.( This picture is a different one. I just want  show you how I pinch the dough)

11. Proof :  I pust a tightly squeezed dump kitchen towels on the linen, then I put it on the top of the refregerator for 35-40 minutes at 70-71F /21-21.7℃

12 Prepare the steaming towels ( Sylvia's steaming method), Scroing, then bake.

  I practice to score baguettes a lot using playdough playing with my daughter because I am not good at it. I used to drag so much.. A couple of my Cookpad friends gave me g reat advices. I am still afraid of it....

1. Score the right angle on wet dough.. ( 80-90 degrees)

 2. Slice the dough the same speed and depth  ( This is difficult for me... because my scoring is always deeper in the middle, then the top and end is shallow.. I RE-score the top and end lines from the other direction where I score first.)


This is my way.. You can make up other ideas to score the same depth each lines.   

 I recommend you to use bamboo skewers to detamine the length  ( probably 10-11.5cm?)and make a mark with a tooth pick or so. --This is from the book.

How do you slice when you score the dough? 

I found out that I can score very straight when I use No.1 way. My cookpad friend suggested me the way. That is very helpful.. I don't think that my way fit everybody but, It may help some TFL members.



Here is the best crumb that I got on 27th. 


 Raisin yeast water 14g

 Water    14℃              74g

KAAP                     130g

Salt                    2.1g



4:40pm: Mix all the ingredients except the salt--- Autolize for 10 minutes--- add the salt -- mixing by hand for 2 minutes.

4:55pm Bulk fermentation   DDT 70F   Room temperature 79F

5:40pm S & F  in the air    Room temperature 79F

6:00pm-  S&F   in the air    Room temperature 79F  

8:00pm Transfer the dough at the colder place ( 62.6F)-- Overnight

Next day

7:30am  Transfer the dough in the basement  ( 50F)  until  3:20 PM

3:20pm  Preshape ( Strech to make a rectangle shape, hold 2/3 ) 

Bench time 20 minutes

3:40pm Shape ( Roll it and close and pinch ) 


4:00PM  Bake

Recently, I score the line differently. I used to slice very straight, now I  make a curve to score like Tartine book's baguette. ( A crescent shape)

Best wishes,



tssaweber's picture

I just finshed my blog entry about our trip to the US Virgin Islands. Nothing bread worthy happend during this week, but I still would like to share one picture:


The story behind this sugar plantations is not that great, here the Danish played the exploiters, but to have something like this in my backyard... well on a island like this dreaming is permitted!! BTW they still use this WFO.


(Click here to see more

teketeke's picture

I made SteveB's croissants today. Here is his formula and method.  Thank you, Steve!

I highly recommend it! It was absolutely delicious! Although I used my raisin yeast water instead of the instant yeast, therefore I decreased the amount of sugar.  It is very easy to make raisin yeast water which means fruit yeast water.  I recommend to use orgainc ones that is much better taste than the others.  Here is the link of fruit yeast water that Ron and Daisy and I had worked on.   and   You can read Wao's post that is helpful, too.   Ron and Karin made some great breads using apple yeast water. Daisy and I have raisin yeast water that is one of powerful fruit yeasts.  If you are not fond of soury bread, or you are looking for a new thing, you may enjoy it.


 Here is my ingredients that I change are Bold letters.


145 g I used KA AP flour

145 g Raisin yeast water


Final dough

335 g I used Bread flour

115 g Water

65 g Milk

36 g Sugar

10 g Salt

20 g Butter

290 g Poolish (all of the above)



225 g Butter


I replaced new pictures that I took them in the morning. They look clear and nicer.


I will practice to shape the croissants more...  I have a problem when I let put the dough in a refrigerator before shaping because the dough is always dry when I take out the dough from the refrigerator so that I can see some crack when I am about to strech the dough to roll it into the croissant shape.  So I didn't put the dough in a refrigerator this time, I put the dough in a basement that was around 15℃. That is why these croissants look little shaky. 

 Brush your teeth after eating,please :)

Happy baking,




I tried this croissants again. My goal is like Mrs London's croissants that are totally art. Of course, the taste was wonderful.

You can see Mrs.London's croissants here.

Here is the pictures of Mrs London's croissant that I bought.

Here is my croissants that I tried a couple days ago.

My problem is shaping... Hmmmm..


3/31/2011  I tried again..

 After I cut the dough triangle shapes, I put them in the refrigerator for a couple hours to shape nicely. I can't get such a length to roll many times.   I saw other Japanese home bakers shaping very well..  hmmm

While the dough was at proof, I had to leave the dough for 2.5 hours.I wanted 2 hours proofing time though. I can't tell if the tast is good or not because I haven't eaten it yet.

Next time, I may not put the triangle dough in a refrigerator because I saw some crumb are not flaky but doughy.  I don't know if the method produce doughy crumb..

I hope that it is good.  They will be our breakfast.. Giant croissants.

Best wishes,


jsk's picture

A couple of weeks ago i got that feeling in my stomach that I have to bake bread again. I used to bake quite a bit until six months ago and I felt it is the time to start baking again. For this I had to create a new sourdough starter as I sadly found my old one molding in the back of the fridge. I started it with some rye flour and water and converted it gradually to a white flour stater. When it was active and vigorous enogh. I decided to bake with it. I chose to try David's San Joaquin, wich I've been wanting to try for a long time.  

As I didn't have a dough scraper in hand (lost it somewhere in the house), I didn't use the S&F in the bowl technique, and kneaded the dough for a few minutes in the KitchenAid and had two folds during the bulk fermentation, wich developed the gluten well and the dough was strong and elastic. I retarted the dough only for 15 hours because of tight schedule. I shaped it into two batards, proofed and baked as in the formula.    

The Loaves

The Crumb

The results were great! The crumb was delicious and open with a slight tang and a wonderful presence of rye. The crust was quite thin but crispy and had a great flavor.

I highly recommend this one!

Have a great weekend,


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

One of my favorite breads from Hamelman's Bread is Pain Rustique (comes right before "Country Bread" and "Rustic Bread").  The bread is unshaped like a ciabatta, although it only has 69% hydration, and is scored before baking.  When I get it right (as opposed to, say, forgetting the salt and yeast following the autolyse, as I did the first time I tried the formula), it produces a toothsome crust and a flavorful, moderately open crumb.  As a bonus, the time from first mix to pulling the breads out of the oven is under 3 hours (not counting preferment time).

Anyway, the last week I was talking with my mom about the sourdough starter I brought her on our crazy baking day , and the subject of converting pre-fermented, commercially leavened formulas to sourdough came up, as did the Pain Rustique.  This got me thinking--why not try Pain Rustique as a sourdough?  And the more I thought, the more I had to try it.

Pain Rustique as written by Hamelman has 50% of the flour in a poolish, so I simply replaced this with a liquid levain.  I usually scale Hamelman's "Home" quantities by 2/3 since I can only fit 2 loaves on my stone at a time.   Here's what I did:


  • 100g ripe starter at 100% hydration. 
  • 250g King Aurther All-Purpose Flour
  • 250g water

*Note: I needed 600g of ripe levain, didn't get around to mixing it until 10:30 the night before, and needed to start the bread be 7 the next day.  For a longer sitting time, I'd do less starter and more flour and water.

Final Dough

  • 300g flour
  • 120g water
  • 600g levain (all) 
  • 12g salt


  1. The night before, mix the levain, cover and let sit overnight for 9 hours (but see note).
  2. Mix flour, water and levain by hand until all the flour is hydrated.  Autolyze for 25 minutes.
  3. Add salt, mix in the stand mixer at speed 2 for 2 minutes.
  4. Do 30 stretch and folds in the bowl with a rubber spatula, rotating the bowl with each fold.
  5. Ferment for 150 minutes, giving the dough a stretch and fold on the bench at 50 and 100 minutes.
  6. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide in half to make 2 510g (18oz) pieces, placing any scraps on the rough side of the dough. Then place each piece on a floured couche, smooth side down.
  7. Start pre-heating the oven with a baking stone and any steaming apparatus. Proof the loaves for 40-50 minutes.
  8. Flip the loaves onto a sheet of parchment on the back of a sheet pan.  This can be done by hand, but I've taken to pulling a bit of the couch over the edge of the pan, then flipping the loaf couche and all onto the parchment.  This avoids the problem of finger-shaped indents on top of the loaves, which fill in while baking, but make scoring difficult.
  9. Score longways, load into the oven, and bake for 35 minutes, with steam for the first 15 (I've been using the popular "towel method", placing rolled up towels soaked in hot water in two loaf pans below the baking stone.  After 15 minutes, the pans are removed).
  10. Turn off oven, open door and loaves in for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


The results looked very much like my previous attempts at Pain Rustique (and why not?  It's still an unshaped, 69% hydration dough).





The flavor, however, was surprisingly different.  A nice, mild sour flavor in the crumb, with a stronger sourness in the crust.  Crust was more sourdough-y than the poolish version, and the mouthfeel of the crumb was subtly different, but I don't know how to describe it.  The flavor evolved a little over time--on the first night the tiny amount of whole wheat from my starter (which is fed 25% whole wheat, 75% white) was detectable, but by the next day (and with the second loaf, pulled from the freezer a couple days later) that had mellowed and the sourness had increased.

A very, very tasty bread, all told.  I'd say better than the poolish version, although as I've noted the two are quite different in flavor.  I'll definitely make this again!

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

Twelve days ago I posted this topic about my troubles with an all white flour version of my successful whole wheat and rye starter.  Since then I have been nursing that starter with multiple daily feedings, and keeping it quarantined from my other starter to avoid cross-contamination.  Based on research, and excellent direct advice, the issue was diagnosed by David Snyder and Debra Wink (Thanks to both of you!) as thiol degradation and I proceeded to try to "feed through it".

I started out by stepping up the interval but maintaining the 1:1:1 (s:w:f) ratio I had been using.  That proved too hectic, and I could not count on getting even the brief mid-day work break I needed to stay on schedule.  Even though I work at home, I seemed to end up on the phone for an hour starting just before the starter should be fed.  It felt like I was not going to be able to make it work that way so I increased the food supply by going to a 1:3:3 ratio and reduced the frequency to every 12 hours.  I also reduced the initial inoculation from 30 grams to 10.  I thank Eric Hanner for his valuable input that led me to this action.

I was able to maintain the 12 hour interval successfully, and true to Debra Wink's assurance, on the 10th day things changed.  I did not know what I was looking for, but Debra was right:  when it happened it was obvious.  What I noticed first was a difference in the matured starter when it was time for the next feeding.  The viscosity of the "discard" was lower and it was much less sticky as well.  It dropped off my spatula almost of it's own accord into the discard jar and left the spatuala mostly clean.  Previously I had to scrape and wipe and eventually wash the spatula to get the stuff off.  The other change was the volume in the jar.  While the bad bugs were in charge there was little loft to the mature starter, even after 12 hours of obvious activity.  After the change it started nearly tripling in 12 hours. 

I decided to try some loaves, with high hopes for something better than the results pictured in the original post linked above.  I made another batch of dough by exactly the same formula and approach as outlined in that post.  Because I was not certain where it was going to end up I took pictures at many of the steps, starting with the dough made up, without the salt, and resting for autolyse:

After adding the salt and completing the first set of stretch and folds in the bowl:

I did a total of 3 sets of stretch and folds in the bowl, and here is the dough after the third set:

The original batch of dough that led me here in the first place had broken down almost completely by the time I got this far.  Results this time are obviously worlds better.  I decided to do a stretch and tri-fold on the bench to get a bit more development, (and because I wanted to get my hands on it and in it to reassure myself it was going to hold together!) so I stretched it out:

and then I folded it up:

At this point I knew I had a dough that was holding up well, with a smooth and supple consistency that had me quite excited, shall we say.  I put it into a dough bucket, let it ferment on the bench for about 30 minutes and then put it in the fridge to retard till I could bake it, what turned out to be some 20 hours later.  Here it is just before going in to retardation:

and again after the retardation, some 20 hours or so later:

I let this rest on the bench for an hour to take some of the chill off, then preshaped:

and then (45 minutes later) final shaped and put them to proof:

I failed to take a photo of the proofed loaves before baking them, but once ready I baked them sequentially in my La Cloche ceramic baker, at 525F for 7 minutes under lid, turned down to 475 for 5 minutes under lid, removed the lid and baked for 17-20 minutes more, until done.  Both loaves were baked to internal temperatures of roughly 205F-207F.

So, after all of that, I pulled these out:

and the crumb:

I found that I am so accustomed to my "other" sourdough that includes both a home-ground whole wheat flour component and a dark rye flour component that on first encounter this bread tasted somewhat bland to me.  As we worked our way through that first loaf though I began to detect subtle flavors that brought the bread to life for me.  It is still a much milder flavored bread than "my" sourdough, but it is also a very pleasant flavor that goes well with sandwiches, and as toast or french toast at breakfast.  Also, because it is almost entirely All Purpose flour, I find it almost too soft and fluffy in the crumb.  This also makes the crust somewhat insubstantial, and I will start increasing the bread flour to gradually work up to a crust and bite that is more pleasing to us.

It has been a rewarding journey, and it was nice to "win the battle" with that whatever-it-was nasty that took over my starter.  Interestingly, although I did have to significantly modify how I was feeding my starter in order to get to this point, I did not have to reduce the hydration.  I maintained the original 100% hydration in this starter all the way through, even to now.  Having gotten this far, though, I think I will split the starter into this original and a lower, perhaps about 60%, hydration version so I can experiment with the different flavors they produce.  The mildness of the flavor of this 100% hydration version may make the differences easier for me to pick up on my unsophisticated palatte.

I want to thank everyone that contributed advice on this issue.  The expertise shared, and the spirit of generosity with which it is so readily shared, here on The Fresh Loaf is a true blessing.  You are helping to make me a better baker.

Thanks for stopping by

Virtus's picture

I have just read some comments posted by 'Frelkins' about Jeffrey Hammelman's 'Horst Bandel's Bread' and a pumpernickel by Claus Meyer. The comments were posted awhile back, but the long, slow bake described sounded wonderful! I was hoping this baker could post a recipe using the long slow bake they described. Thank you.


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