The Fresh Loaf

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txfarmer's picture

Yes, miracle can happen, I actually decreased hydration in my 36 hour baguette dough to make country loaves out of it. Of course I had to also try a few baguettes just to see how much crumb gets affected. I had wanted to keep it at 70%, but the new whole rye flour I am using is very very very dry/thirsty. My 100% rye starter was usually a wet paste, with the new flour, it's actually a firm dough! Had to increase the hydration to 73% just to make sure the starter can be evenly distributed, the dough handles like a 70% (or maybe even 68%) "normal flour" dough.

AP flour, 425g

ice water, 290g

rye starter (100%), 100g

white starter (100%), 50g

salt, 10g

- to make the dough and do bulk rise follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here

- divide dough in 4 parts, each weights around 230g, preshape and rest for 40 min, two of them were shaped into baguettes, one was shaped into boule, the last one was shaped into batard

- proof for 30min, score, bake with steam at 460F for 25min.

Nice and open crumb for the country loaves

Baguettes aren't bad either. It shows that even though higher hydration help with a more open crumb, but you can still achieve a hole-y baguette at moderate hydration.

Submitting to Yeastspotting.

RonRay's picture

Yeast Water Examples with Photos TFL Links Only [Updated: 110605-0720]

This is a follow up on my Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math) posting at the link below:


I wanted to provide an easy way, for those interested, to find visual examples of what has been done by TFL members using Yeast Water Levain (YWL).

The intent is to list links to any TFL posting that meets two criteria:

1/ The baked item used Yeast Water (YW) as one of the levains, and

2/ The posting shows some photographic material of the baked item.


I have searched the TFL index, and have gone through Threads, which I thought might have such postings/comments with in them. There is no intent to exclude any material that meets the two criteria given above. Therefore, if you know of any existing posting not list below, that meets the criteria, please, provide me with the link, and I will attempt to add it to this index. This is not intended to be a continually updated posting, however, for those new postings in the very near future, I will try to get them added, as well – if they are reported to me.

There are 17 categories – 15 Yeast Water type groups, 1 group of mixed &or unclear types, and the first category which is not the baking, but rather the making of YW or YWL.


Within each category, I have tried to list them from oldest down to the most recent. I hope no one finds it odd that many of the examples are my own postings, but the world does have those who get upset by nearly everything.


01 *** Making YW &or YWL...

02 *** Apple YW examples...

03 *** Apricot YW examples...

04 *** Blueberry YW examples...

05 *** Cherry YW examples...

06 *** Clementine YW examples...

 07 *** Lemon YW examples...

 08 *** Mixed or Type-Unsure YW examples...

09 *** Peach YW examples...

10 *** Potato YW examples...

11 *** Prune YW examples...

12 *** Raisin YW examples...

13 *** Rice YW examples...

14 *** Strawberry YW examples...

 15 *** Tea YW examples...

16 *** Tomato YW examples...

17 *** Yogurt YW examples...



amolitor's picture


I am on a quest to duplicate, or at least create a reasonable facsimile, of the Arizmendi/Cheese Board corn-blueberry muffins. I have The Cheese Board Collective Works which does not contain this recipe, to my irritation, but which can serve as a useful guide! My most recent attempt is documented here:

Preheat oven to 425. Thoroughly oil or butter a muffin tin. This makes 6 large or 9 medium muffins.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (relatively fine stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt (scant)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 1 T brown sugar

In a separate smaller bowl, mix these:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2T milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Cut in to the dry ingedients:

  • 4 T unsalted butter

Whisk in to the milk/yogurt combination:

  • 1 egg

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the well-stirred liquid ingredients. Mix gently, just to moisten the dry ingredients evenly. Portion evenly between the greased muffin tins, bake for 25-30 minutes.


These are not the Arizmendi corn muffin, but they're not far off. They're slightly salty, and not short enough. Next time: reduce salt to 1/2 tsp, and increase butter to 6T and/or use sour cream instead of yogurt. The yogurt used was low fat, which probably did not help. Anyways, go up to 5-6 tablespoons of butter, depending on how fat your yogurt/sour-cream is.

Also probably increase leavening a little to compensate for increase shortening, say 3/4 tsp soda and 2 tsp powder.

Also, 2T sugar, 2T brown sugar.



Winnish's picture

CHALLAH made of white flour mixed with semolina flour.


Soft, rich and lightly sweetened CHALLAH



Recipe and more photos - please check my blog at this link

Google translator is available on top left side-bar



teketeke's picture

Here are my experiments of David's miche that is absolutely delicious and became my most favorite hard bread. I, who was not a big fan of sour flavor in the bread look for sourer taste in this miche now. I think because of my raisin yeast water doesn't get so sour like acetic acid, it is more like malic acid when I retard it.

 David's miche here:

How I made these miche:

No 1. 4/19( Started at 8 AM) to 4/21:

  1. Step1 Mixed 26g KA AP/3g raisin yeast water +23g water → fermented for 10 hours at 76F.
  2. Step2 Mixed the step1/94g KA AP/94g water → Refrigerated(42.8F) as soon as I mixed them and fermented for 24 hours until doubled.
  3. Final dough: 586g KA bread flour/398g water/18g toasted wheat germ/15g salt



  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes 
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane 
  3.  Bulk fermentation 10 hours ( S&F 2 times interval 45 minutes)
  4.  Shape→ Proof in a refrigerator( 42.8F) for 12 hours 
  5. Next morning: Proof at 72-74 F for 1 hours 45 minutes-
  6. Bake I used the 2 pans like Dutch oven method.   

baked 20 minutes at 450F with steam, took the 2 pans and transfer the bread in the rack on the baking stone to bake more 40 minutes at 420F.

 It was little bit sour ( fruity) in 12 hours , but I did taste sour ( fruity) in 24 hours. It was a shocking moment to taste this wonderful bread. After we ate all this bread,I wanted to make more of this bread.


Then I did!

No.2  4/22( Start at 8:15am)-4/24:

  1. Step1 : Mixed 22g raisin yeast water/ 22g KA AP--- That was a mistake. I was about to make 26g KA AP/ 26g raisin yeast water.--Fermented it for 6 hours at 76F until doubled. I should have waited until tripled.
  2. Step2 Mixed the step1/94g KA AP/94g water- refrigerated as soon as I mixed them and fermented for 88 hours (4/26  6:12 AM) until doubled. I had to wait for long hours...
  3. Final dough: 586g KA bread flour/398g water/18g toasted wheat germ/15g salt.


  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane.
  3.  Bulk fermentation 11 hours ( S&F Once after 45 minutes)
  4. Shape
  5. Proof in a refrigerator for 12 hours ( I put the shaped dough in a back pack and then kept in the refrigerator (50F) after I stored the dough in the refrigerator (42.8F) for several hours)
  6. Bake 20 minutes at 446F with steam, took the 2 pans and transfer the bread in the rack on the baking stone to bake more 40 minutes at 400F.

The taste was sweeter. When I tasted it in 12 hours, I didn't taste any sour from the raisins. 24 hours later, I tasted fruity sourness slightly.  I rather sourer for this bread. I baked at lower temperature to get brown crust, but I found out that I liked darker crust for this miche.


No.3  and No. 4

5/2 (Started at 7pm)-5/7: I made 2 miche: One (R)- Retarded , the other one (NR)--not retarded.

1. Step1 Mixed 26g KA AP/26g raisin yeast water x2 ---

                  (R) Fermented it in the refrigerator for 59 hours(  5/5   6 am) until doubled.

                   ( NR) Fermented it at room temperature ( 68-70F) for 12 hours until tripled.

2. Step2 mixed the step1/71g KA AP, 23g KA whole wheat/94g water x2

            (R) Fermented it in the refrigerator for 47 hours until doubled.

            (NR)Fermented it for 4 hours at room temperature (70F) until tripled

3. Final dough: 586g KA bread flour/398g water/18g toasted wheat germ/15g salt


No.3 (NR)

  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane
  3.  Bulk fermentation 11.5 hours at 68F ( S&F 1 time after 45 minutes)
  4. Shape
  5. Proof for 1 hour at 68F 
  6. Continute to proof for 3 hours at 60F
  7.  Bake 12 minutes at 465F with steam, took the top pan and bake 8 more minutes at 465F, took the bottom pan and trasfered the bread on the camp stove toaster  and continute to bake more 40 minutes.

24 hours later, The taste was sour ( fruity) slightly. I also tasted more flavor from the whole wheat that I put in the 2nd levain.  The crumb was not as moist as the others that I retarded, however it was delicious.


No.4 (R)

  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane
  3. Bulk fermentation 10 hours at 70F ( S&F 1 time after 45 minutes)
  4. Shape 
  5.  Proof for 1 hours at76F
  6. Retarded (42.8F) for 6 hours, decreased the temperature to (50F) and continue to retard for 7hours.
  7. Bake 12 minutes at 465F with steam, took the top pan and bake 8 more minutes at 465F, took the bottom pan and trasfered the bread on the camp stove toaster and continute to bake more 40 minutes. 

I didn't degas much before I shaped.   24 hours later, I tasted sour ( fruity) like the first one. but I tasted more flavor from the whole wheat that I put it in the 2nd levain.

 The top (NR) : The bottom (R)

I liked (R) more than (NR). Retarding over night gives the crumb moist very well. 



1. Step1 Mixed 26g KA AP/10g raisin yeast water +16g water for 12 hours.

2. Step2 mixed the step1/71g KA AP, 23g KA whole wheat/50g water+44g raisin yeast water.

    Fermented it at room temperature for 4 hours at 70F , decrease the temperature to 68F and fermented it more 6 hours .

   ( Yes, it became really sour ( acetic) !)

3. Final dough: 586g KA bread flour/ 190g raisin yeast water +208g water /18g toasted wheat germ/15g salt  I added 2 tbsp homemade rum syrup that I have kept alcoholic raisins which in my raisin yeast water with sugar.  I hoped that this yeasts which I used more raisin yeast water in the final dough and the rum syrup overcome the acetic bacteria...



  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane
  3. Bulk fermentation 6 hours at 68F ( S&F 1 time after 45 minutes) until doubled
  4. Shape
  5. Proof for 6 hour at 68F
  6. Bake 12 minutes at 465F with steam, took the top pan and bake 8 more minutes at 465F, took the bottom pan and trasfered the bread on the camp stove toaster and continute to bake more 40 minutes.

It turned out pretty good. I only tasted fruity sourness ( sweet and sour) which was stronger than others above. but it was really good bread.


No.6 ( 5/11-5/15)

1. Step1 Mixed 26g KA AP/10g raisin yeast water +16g water for 11 hours until 2.5 tims in bulk.

2. Step2 mixed the step1/71g KA AP, 23g KA whole wheat/25g water+ 42g raisin yeast water.

             Fermented it in the refrigerator for 12 hours until doubled.

3. Final dough: 586g KA bread flour/398g water/18g toasted wheat germ/15g salt .



  1. Autolyzed for 40 minutes
  2. Added salt and knead until passed a window pane
  3. Bulk fermentation 9 hours at 68F ( S&F 1 time after 45 minutes) until doubled
  4. Shape
  5. Proof for 1 hour at 72F.
  6. Retarded (42.8F) it for 11 hours.
  7. Bake 12 minutes at 465F with steam, took the top pan and bake 8 more minutes at 465F, took the bottom pan and trasfered the bread on the camp stove toaster and continute to bake more 40 minutes.

24 hours later, The taste was very cloese to the one that I baked in 5/14.   But I like this better because the crumb had more moist.  

I still continue to play with this bread. :)

Thank you for sharing your wonderful miche, David!!  Thank you so much!

I also thank you everbody to read such a long story.

Best wishes,


Syd's picture

Thanks to JoeVa for this detailed recipeI have made it three times now.  The first time my hydration was 60% as per JoeVa's recipe.  I didn't stick closely to the mixing instructions and worked the dough more than JoeVa recommended.  The crumb wasn't as open as I had hoped.  On the second time I upped the hydration to 63% and followed JoeVa's recipe to the letter. The crumb was nice and open.  On my third attempt, I once again increased the hydration: this time to 65%.  There wasn't much difference between the second and third attempts.

I retarded for 12 hours. It had a mild tang and it was delicious fresh on the first day.  It was similar in texture to a baguette with a razor sharp crust and soft interior.  I really like that contrast. 

On day two it made a good BLT, although that crust was dangerously hard and sharp after being lightly fried in the bacon renderings (and, yes, I know it isn't healthy, but it is delicious :).  I am wondering if that diamond crust has anything to do with the hard nature of semolina. 



sortachef's picture

I baked some lovely loaves in my oven the other day, and as I slid that smoky, crusty bread out and onto cooling racks, I couldn't help thinking of those old European bakers, who've been baking with fire for hundreds of years. The limited size of my oven, however, has led me to adopt some measures that may or may not be part of that tradition. They work for me, and they might work for you too.  

To make it simple, I’ll break it down.

Overview: To bake 4 loaves in a 40” diameter woodfired oven, you'll need about 7 pounds of dough. The free-standing loaves will bake in a semi-circle around a hot but barely flaming mound of coals pushed to the back. Key to success in this kind of baking is to have the floor evenly heated before the loaves go in. I have a loose-fitting metal door for my oven, which acts as a damper and which I close when the loaves are baking.

The Dough: Unless you have a complicated steam-injection system as some French bakers have for their brick ovens, you won’t be able to get enough steam into your oven to make much of a difference in the bloom. Either the masonry will absorb the humidity almost at once, or you will be splashing on water, which can crack the hot base. Instead, in order to get a big round loaf, a good crust and a soft, well-textured crumb, you need to create a dough that is wetter than we Americans think is normal.

I’ve been working with wet doughs in the 65-70% range for longer than I’ve had a WFO, ever since I saw a Roman baker literally throw the dough out of a bucket and onto a long wooden peel at Forno in the Campo dei Fiori. While I don’t recommend a dough quite that wet (it had to be 80-85%), I do recommend bumping up the hydration a bit for woodfired baking.

Joe Ortiz in his book The Village Baker has some excellent tips (page 55) on how to do this. Making a sponge, letting the dough sit overnight, and using less yeast are all good advice. I would add to this letting the dough hydrate for an hour before kneading and having a good dough scraper handy for bench work. For one recipe that follows this technique, see Lago di Como Bread.

Slow Rising: Once you’ve made a wet dough, you need to let it rise for an ample time. I’m being deliberately vague, because temperature and time become fluid at this stage. With less yeast or a starter, at 50° the first doubling can take 5 hours or more. I let this part happen in its good time, and then slowly warm the dough for the next phase, because once the dough is active, it’s very important to have the oven heated to the right temperature at the right time.

Gradually raise the dough temperature to 70° in the second rise, giving the dough a fold after an hour or so. Now is the time to get your oven hot. In another hour, once the dough is showing springiness and a few big bubbles, you can make the loaves.

The Loaves:  Bannetons are lovely to work with but are expensive. Instead, I use plastic bread baskets lined with cloth napkins or dish cloths, with a coating of coarse flour rubbed into the fabric. These work beautifully as proofing baskets for my finished loaves.

Once the dough has nearly doubled in size again, turn it out onto a floured surface. Deflate about half of the gas out of it and cut it into 4 pieces. The perfect weight for me based on oven size is 27 ounces per loaf, which allows some leftover dough for another day. Form your loaves and put them into the cloth-lined baskets to rise. At 70° this will take 45 minutes.

When ready to bake, turn the loaves out onto floured peels.  Shape lightly, tucking edges under without deflating the dough and slash a design with a lame if desired. 

The Fire:  There are so many variables inherent in making a fire in a woodfired oven that I’m loath to give specific directions. Atmospheric conditions, the length of time since your oven was last fired, the type of wood you’re using and how it was cured all play a role. If your oven is outdoors, as most are, you’ll want to baby it when the weather is cold. See Moderating Heat in a Woodfired Oven for more on this.

Generally speaking, though, your fire should be at least 2 hours old with a good base of coals by the time you put in the bread. In the last hour, push the fire around from side to side to make sure the base of the oven gets heated evenly, adding small branches and an occasional wrist-thick log as necessary to keep a good fire going. During this time, using a set of bellows to fan the flames is optimal.

The Oven: As the fire pulses and flames, you should be paying attention to the oven walls, floor and door. I check the heat of the door handle, the amount of flame, the amount of whitening ash on the ceiling and walls and the floor temperature about every 10 minutes after the fire is going full force.

In the first hour, if the fire is raging and throwing flame on the oven ceiling, I slow it down by closing the door all but 2” to stop it ‘overfiring’. Otherwise, I leave the door off as the fire matures, and put it in place cocked about 4” open toward the end of the first hour. By then, the door handle should be warm to the touch but not hot, there should be a small amount of whitening on the ceiling, and near the doorway the floor of the oven should be warm to the touch.

In the second hour, move the fire side to side so that the floor heats evenly. Toward the end, the door handle should be quite hot, the ceiling of the oven should be half white and the floor of the oven near the doorway should be too hot to touch for more than a second. Now you’re ready to bake.

Push the mature coals to the back center of the oven, near the wall, and brush the ashes off of the floor.  There should be 6 to 8 fist-sized chunks of glowing hardwood coal and a good bed of embers, but little or no flame when the loaves go in.

The Baking Procedure: Make sure each finished loaf can ‘slip’ on its peel. Slip each loaf into the oven to have a long side parallel to and 10” from the coals. Close the door. Use this rough timeline for baking:

  • After 20 minutes, turn loaves so the other side faces the fire.
  • After 20 minutes, turn loaves so one end faces the fire.
  • After 10 minutes, turn loaves so the other end faces the fire.
  • After 15 minutes, remove loaves to a rack to cool.


Trouble-shooting: Besides the obvious problem of getting the oven and the dough ready at the same time, I’ve encountered two main difficulties in baking perfect loaves in my woodfired oven: a stubborn fire and a cold floor. Often they coincide.

When the atmosphere is damp and heavy, the fire is stubborn as a result. I counter this by keeping some ultra-dry wood on hand inside my house, adding it to give my fire the extra boost it needs. Even then, under certain conditions, it can be a real challenge to maintain a good fire.  

The other is when the oven hasn’t been used in a while and the floor is slow to heat. In dry conditions, you can usually overcome this with a bit of extra time. However, if this happens when you’re dealing with a slow fire as well, the floor may not get hot enough to put a firm base on your bread. Be very careful when turning your loaves in this condition. To counter, warm some quarry tiles or a pizza stone to 450° in your indoor oven to finish off the loaves for 10 minutes after WFO baking. It may not be the ‘purist’ thing to do, but it works!

Suggested reading:

The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, Copyright 1993 by Ten Speed Press, Berkeley

The Italian Baker by Carol Field, Copyright 1985 by Harper Collins

Also see for more tips, techniques and recipes. Flame On!

rossnroller's picture

I have a must-try list of sourdough breads and other goodies that I'm constantly working my way through, yet the list never seems to get any shorter. Trouble is, you guys on TFL keep posting irresistible pics, and the recipes go straight on to my list (and waistline).  O the trials of the home artisan bread baker! And of course, we wouldn't have it any other way...

When I'm not trying new breads, I fall back on my trusty repertoire of favourite breads that I do again and again. I'm sure we all have these, tweaked to personal taste. Every so often, I realise I haven't done one of my faves for way too long. So it was with Shiao-Ping's 'House Miche': I baked this again recently after somehow neglecting it for months, and it was like revisiting an old friend - familiar, but stimulating as well. I couldn't quite remember how it turned out (too many loaves ago), but I just knew it was a standout. Well, memory duly refreshed, felt I wanted to share this one with y'all. Blame it on the crumb:


And yeah, it's not a miche. I prefer batards - and the beauty of home baking is that you are free to customise as you please. I also like to take the option of adding a proportion of rye to the dough.

This crumb is spongy, which I really like, with a cool mouthfeel, nice structure and elasticity, a lovely creaminess about it, and nutty flavour tones that develop in depth and complexity the day after the bake. The crust has character, but is not so robust as to be tooth-endangering (conscious of this at the moment, having recently needed a crown due to chomping over-zealously on a pizza and breaking a back molar that had been sending me warning signals that all was not right for many phobics have unlimited capacity to ignore such signals).

This 'House Miche' - er, batard -  is an old friend that I'm going to make more effort to stay in touch with from now on. Well worth inviting to your table, if you haven't already.

Thank you again, Shiao-Ping!




GSnyde's picture

We had guests this weekend, and they’re bread lovers.  So the bread sort of became the centerpiece of the weekend.

Friday night I made the two very different levains, one for Tartine Basic Country Bread (50% whole wheat and 50% white at 100% hydration) and one for the SFBI Walnut-Currant Bread (95% white and 5% rye at about 55% hydration).  The Walnut-Currant bread is my variation on the Walnut-Raisin Bread Brother David posted about last December (

Saturday morning I mixed both doughs fairly early.  The timing worked well, since the Walnut-Currant bread has shorter primary ferment time and shorter proofing time.  Because I knew we’d eat a lot of it, and because I wanted to continue my experiments with loaf size, I made two full size (975 gram) loaves of the BCB and retarded one in the 50 F garage to bake the two sequentially (previous experience having shown that two slack loaves of that size don’t really fit on my stone).

I made the Walnut-Cranberry breads—two 550 gram boules—with about 10% pumpernickel flour, which gave it a slightly deeper, richer flavor.  This bread made a very nice appetizer before dinner Saturday and was wonderful toasted for breakfast with cream cheese.

Walnut-Cranberry Bread


Walnut-Cranberry Crumb


The two Tartine loaves ended up looking quite different from each other.  The first one was browning too fast, and I covered the top with aluminum foil and reduced the temperature to around 450 F (with convection) for the second half of the bake.  Attempting to reduce the char, I baked the second one—the one proofed more slowly at lower temperature—at 475 F with steam for 20 minutes and at 450F (with convection) without steam for about 17 minutes more.  The second one had a nicer crust color and better grigne, and slightly more upward expansion.  The two loaves' crumb texture and taste are almost identical.  That is to say, delicious!

BCB Hotter Bake


BCB Cooler Bake

 BCB Crumb


For dinner Saturday, I wanted to serve something that would compliment the Basic Country Bread.  I settled on a Daube a l'Agneau (lamb stew in a Provencal style), marinated 15 hours in wine, cognac, herbs, spices and vegetables and then braised slowly for four hours.  Nothing could have made better gravy to sponge up with this wonderful bread.  Delicious with a well-aged Oregon Pinot Noir.

I continue to be very happy with the crumb texture of this Tartine bread, but I think next time I bake it I’ll go back to the Dutch Oven method.  In my four or five bakes of this bread, that method resulted in the best crust color and grigne.


freerk's picture

Today I passed my windowpane test with flying colors.


The strawberry season around here starts early this year. We had a nice spell of dry sunny spring weather. That is all any decent strawberry asks for to taste as delicious as they do in these perfect circumstances.


I am making a dessert involving a toasted piece of brioche, strawberries, black pepper mint and honest vanilla ice cream. It's a Belgian recipe. It's name caught my attention. It translates into "Lost Bread" and I found that to be a captivating image. In Flemish it sounds way smoother; "verloren brood"


Basically it's French toast with strawberries and ice cream. And that is just the perfect dessert to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, as well as the fact that we booked our tickets to a sunny beach on the wonderful Spanish Island of Ibiza. I am already hunting the net for info on where to find some bakeries over there. Any tips from locals or savvy travelers are appreciated.

Anyhow. I was particularly proud of my window pane test this time. I should thank Kitchen Aid for it anyway ;-) I love my new baby!


happy baking every one


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