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Shiao-Ping's picture

Making breads must be a disease like any other addiction.  You don't want to stop once you get going.  


We just planted a baby avocado tree in our backyard.  A big storm last November uprooted one of our jacaranda trees and there was a spot available.  It will be years before our avocado bears fruit if it survives, but I am getting ahead of my game and practising my skill.  

Hass avocado is our favorite variety of avocado here in Australia.  Apparently in the U.S. it accounts for more than 80% of the avocado crop, including 95% of the California crop.  So, plenty is available.

I once made an avocado moose with orange cream and the kids loved it.  I haven't tried avocado in breads.  The tricky part would be how to let the sourdough shine - would the oil in avocado interfere with the sourdough culture? and, how to preserve the vibrant green color?  I know I will need the help of a little bit of instant yeast.  As well, I am pairing orange with avocado as avocado on its own may be a bit bland.  There may be one too many flavors but this is just my first try.



 250 g starter (refreshed last night at 75% hydration)

 485 g King Arthur Flour Sir Lancelot white bread flour

100 g water

100 g orange juice (about 1  1/2 navel oranges)

10 g very fine orange zest (about 1  1/2 navel oranges)

20 g honey

1.5 g instant yeast (1/2 tsp)


the avocado mixture

150 g roughly mashed avocado (about 1  1/2 medium size avocado)

10 g lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

11 g salt


I was aiming for a final dough hydration of around 63.5% and I figured the oil/liquid in avocado is anywhere from 40 - 50% its weight. 



              orange zest                                                                       mixing with avocado


I first mixed the starter, flour, orange and honey (for no more than 30 seconds), and while the sticky mess was being infused in orange flavors in resting, I prepared the ingredients for my avo mixture.  I chose the avocado slightly under ripe as I find if avo is too ripe it tends to oxidise too quickly once it's open.  I left it to the last minute to cut open my avo, mashed it with lemon juice and salt - the mixture is great to eat as is - then, chucked it right into my bread machine and turned it on at low speed.  I had to help the machine as the avo was swept aside and not being mixed in.


The rest of the procedure is pretty standard.  Today the weather was warmer than yesterday (around 21C); the first fermentation took 4 hours.  I divided the dough into two pieces and shaped.  Proofing was another 1 1/2 hours.  And here is today's bake:


The boule



The...(what do you call this shape?)



                                         The bread basket


The crumb was a little bit on the dense side, but the aroma!... the orange fragrance really comes through the crumb!  The avocado was also there. The crumb color was a pale olive green (somehow the crumb photo below does not show the color accurately but the open sandwich picture further down is more true).  We sliced the bread after 30 minutes from the oven (couldn't wait any longer), the first thing that hit us was orange, then a slight hint of avocado.  The interest thing was, after the bread rested for another hour and a half, the sourdough taste comes alive.   It was only then that all flavors and sourdough have come together nicely. 


The crumb


There is definitely room for improvement on the crumb.  I am sure Sir Lancelot flour was not the right choice of flour as it is a high protein, hard wheat flour.  I used it because I've only just received it from America and wanted to try it out.  For a more open crumb I should have used a lower protein and more balanced flour.   Nontheless, for the moment, I am happy to have it on its own or in a sandwich...


The open sandwich


The forefathers in 18th century Paris making sourdough breads in their little dark dungeons in the wee hours of the morning, had they had access to ample fresh avocado supply, and fresh oranges supply, would they not have tried the combination?

I've got to finish reading S L Kaplan's book before I get any older.                 




xaipete's picture

I made David's famous Pain de Campagne AKA San Jaoquin Sourdough today. I followed his excellent instructions exactly making one large batard. I baked the loaf on a stone in the center of the oven which proofed to be the wrong rung for my on-the-small-side wall oven as the loaf got a little too brown.

pain de campagne

The crumb is nice and open, and the flavor has a lot of sour and complexity to it. I'm not sure why I only have a hint of an "ear" but perhaps I didn't get enough surface tension when I was shaping.

pain de campagne

Thanks, David, for this and all the other wonderful variations on the theme!


weavershouse's picture

I was refreshing my starter to make pain de campagne when I saw this post. Your Italian bread is beautiful inside and out. I decided to try this and was VERY happy with the results. A really delicious bread, we ate half a loaf already.


I doubled the recipe to make four batards. The only thing I did different is I used Barley Malt Syrup instead of the powder because that's what I had. Next time I'd mix it with the water first because it was hard to mix in. I don't have a mixer so I did stretch and folds and a couple of minutes kneading. My crumb is not as open as yours. The first two loaves overproofed a little because my grandkids were getting ready to go home just as the loaves were ready to go in the oven. By the time we said our goodbyes I knew the bread had gone too long. You can see which two they are. The second two had time to sit and ferment while the first two were baking and by the time I formed them they had lots of air bubbles. I formed carefully and only let them proof for a little more then 30 minutes. Absolutely delicious! After all the lean breads a litte bit of sugar and oil were very tasty. I like the lean breads for toast and this Italian will be a favorite sandwich bread. Thanks for the post. 

Jw's picture

I have been making a lot a lazy bread lately. Takes me 20 minutes (incl. cleaning up, excl. baking time) for two breads. I always add seeds, makes the taste much better.

For flour I use 2/3 white, 1/3 rye or 1/3 five grain flour. I have tested the different percentages, mostly I go with 1/3 en 2/3.

The round bread: I was trying to make a bread for a bigger party. This would make cutting a bit easier (and it did).

The eary bread is pain de provence (I believe). I used wild yeast instead of instant for these.

I like this close-up!

The piggy bread is full rye. Very heady and solid, didn't rise very much. Great taste with a brettlejause! (just a table with good food, bread, sausages, cheese etc),

I'll have some more exiting pictures next time, finally got a new camera.

Happy baking!


xaipete's picture

I tried those pot stockers featured on this week's Wild Yeast blog. I was amazed how incredible easy they were to make and roll out. This was my first time and I noticed they were a little chewy where they were sealed. I think this was because I didn't roll them out quite thin enough, but the chewiness could have also come from my choice of flour (see below). I sprinkled them with a little cornstarch to prevent sticking. I will never used purchased won ton wrappers for pot stickers again!

pot stickers

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (I used KA AP but next time I will use a softer flour, e.g., Guisto's Baker's Choice)

1/2 cup (113 g) warmish water

Put flour in food processor. Pour in water and run until combined. Form dough into a ball and divide into 4 sections. Roll each section out into a log and cut into about 10 pieces. Flatten each disk into a round and roll out with a pin until you have a round that is about 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Cover unused dough logs to prevent drying out.

I used Hugh Carpenter's Santa Barbara Pot Stickers recipe for the filling. I doubled the sauce recipe per batch and ended up with extra filling mixture. I'm going to make some more today and freeze them.

pot stickers


12 ounces spinach trimmed (or use one box of frozen chopped spinach)
2 green onions
2/3 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 egg
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (you may want to leave this out until you make sure the dish isn't too salty but I put it in and it seems fine to me)
24 homemade pot sticker skins
cornstarch for dusting
2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

Drop the spinach leaves into 1 quart rapidly boiling water. when leaves wilt (about 10 seconds) drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze out water (if you are using frozen spinach, squeeze it dry), then mince by hand. Mince green onions. Combine spinach, green onions, pork, ginger, orange peel, egg, soy sauce, chili sauce and salt. Mix thoroughly. (I think it is best to make the filling in advance so it can firm up a bit in the refrigerator.)

Within 5 hours of cooking, fold filling into dumplings.

To cook: place a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat (I used my 12-inch stainless All-clad without any issue). Add oil and immediately add dumplings (I add the oil, then the dumplings, then place the pan on the stove). Fry dumplings until bottoms become dark golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in orange sauce. Immediately cover pan, reduce heat to medium, and steam dumplings until they are firm to the touch (about 2 minutes).

Remove cover. Over high heat, continue frying dumplings until sauce reduces completely (about 1 minute). While cooking, shake the pan so that the dumplings are glazed all over with the sauce. Tip out onto a heated serving platter.

Serves 6

pot stickers
These dumplings can be frozen. Cook frozen dumplings over medium heat until dark golden (about 3 minutes). Because they take longer to cook, you may have to add a little water to the frying pan during the steaming stage.

Notes on ingredients:
Chinese chili sauce: best brands are Cock Brand Delicious Hot Chili Garlic Sauce and Szechuan Chili Sauce
Hoisin sauce: no oriental condiment varies so much in quality from brand to brand. Buy only Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce
Oyster sauce: Lee Kum Kee Oyster Flavored Sauce (best) or Old Brand Oyster Sauce
Light soy sauce: Superior Soy Sauce (not Soy Superior)


Shiao-Ping's picture

You can see it a mile away, right?    

This time I am trying it with fresh shallots.  The result is refreshingly different; I felt I was back to my childhood when my mother made us swirl shallots pancakes in winter time.  The other version she used to make with shallots were steam buns - you cannot get anything more Northern Chinese than that!  The interesting thing about food is that the same ingredient in different parts of the world is prepared differently and cooked differently.  Chinese would steam their dough, whereas Europeans bake it; Chinese have their noodles with soy sauce whereas Italians have it with tomato sauce; and so on and so forth.     

With this bread, essentially my ingredients are the same as my mother's; where we differ is in the procedure - she steams but I bake; where she uses the instant yeast, I use sourdough culture.    

My formula:  

250g sourdough starter prepared last night @75% hydration  


This morning  

all of the starter

297g strong white flour @13.6% protein

167 g water*

a small pinch of vitamin C  


shallots mixture:

150 g chopped fresh shallots* (about 3/4 cm pieces)

19 g sesame oil

8 g salt  

*The tricky part here is to determine the moisture that will come out of the fresh shallots.  My past experience is that at least 35 to 40% of its weight is liquid.  I aimed to have a final dough hydration of around 79%.  For the sake of calculating how much water I would need, I used 38% of the shallots weight as the hydration coming out of them.  To be sure, I held back some water for adding later until I felt my target hydration was reached.  

Before I started the dough process, I prepared my shallots mixture by adding salt and sesame oil to the chopped shallots.  The salt in the shallots helped draw the liquid out of the green (the liquid is like an intense shallot "juice").   I then mixed the starter, flour and water; autolysed for 20 min, then put the shallots mixture in and kneaded for 3 min at low speed and 3 more min at medium speed until all were combined.    It is important to try to resist the temptation of adding more water as the dough will further hydrate while it rests because of the shallots.  It will not feel hydrated enough when mixing stops.   

The rest is standard.  



It was very cool today; it seemed to have taken forever for my starter to work - 5 hours bulk fermentation and 3 1/2 hours proofing. 



Here are my first ever ciabatta:  

Chinese Sourdough Ciabatta with Shallots  

The crumb  

This sourdough is delightful to taste (to a Chinese, that is).  The sourdough starter has made it exceptionally moist - it feels heavy in your hand and yet it is so light to the taste.  I think the flavor is beautiful (a Chinese would not complain about that).  It is definitely much healthier than the last one I made.  The vitamin C in shallots and vitamin E in sesame oil - how better can it get!

I am indebted to my mother.  Many things I have learnt from her unknowingly when I was a kid are finally making an impression.  


ArtisanGeek's picture

By trade, I'm a .NET web programmer....who happens to be a former professional artisan baker. I decided to create a tool to make life a little easier. I have seen many questions posted here in regards to volume, weight, and baker's percentage in bread formulas. The tool I have created allows you to convert a "recipe" where the quantities are expressed in volume  to a formula where the quantities are expressed in grams, along with the baker's percentage of each ingredient. This is a database driven tool. I have added the most common bread ingredients and the most common volume measurements (US, Metric, and UK). Once the baker's percentage is calculated, you have a total weight and total baker's percentage you can work with to create any batch size. Right now, the tool resides on my home testing server. I will be moving it to one of my hosted websites in the future. For now, just go to and click the link for the tool. Keep in mind, this server is in my home so I can't guarantee it will be up all the time. I will be creating another tool soon (where weights are known) for creating formulas for breads with up to three preferments.

Baker's Percentage Tool

Shiao-Ping's picture

Yes, made with sesame oil, shallots and shallot onions.   


I ask for indulgence to call this Chinese Sourdough.  Sesame oil to Chinese is like olive oil to Italians; it can work wonders if you know how. For instance, when you made Rustic Walnut Bread, if you drop a couple of teaspoonfuls of sesame oil to the dough you are mixing, you will get a more intense nutty flavor.  It has a delightfully surprising effect on the aroma of your bread.  Sesame oil is like a strong version of walnut oil, very compatible, both being extremely good for you.    

When I was growing up as a kid, we always had sesame oil in the house: a few drops in the noodles with soy sauce; a few drops in the stock pot for stews; a few drops in the soy sauce and vinegar mixture as a dipping sauce for dumplings (Chinese "dumpling" are like the Italian ravioli's); and so on.  In the traditional markets that we used to go to, the fruit and vege owners would always give us a bunch of shallots for free.  As far as I know, Chinese cook everything with a little bit of shallots and garlic.   

I was over-joyed the other day when I found a jar of sesame oil-fried shallots and shallot onions in the Taiwanese grocery store in Brisbane.  The small shallot onions, about an inch in diameter or even smaller, are often deep-fried in Southeast Asia to add to any dishes for extra flavor.   I had just gotten my starter out of the fridge last night (I needed to make my daily bread today) when I saw the jar sitting in the pantry....  Hmmmm.... sesame oil-fried shallots.... and daily bread?   YES, why not?  


So, here is my formula:  

250 g sourdough starter @75% hydration prepared last night, as well as

50 g linseed (ie, flax seeds) soaked in 60 g water  

For the dough this morning:

All of the above and

40 g organic stoneground wholemeal flour

40 g rye meal flour

20 g Phyto Soy L.S.A. mix (linseed, sunflower, & almonds)

500 g organic unbleashed white flour

400 g water

80 g sesame oil-fried shallots & shallots onions (with the oil drained off)

10 g organic honey

13 g Celtic sea salt

a small pinch of Vitamin C  


And here are the bread and the rolls:

Chinese Sourdough with Sesame Oil & Shallots


                                                                                     close-up of the crust


                               The Crumb  

I will be very happy serving this bread at my dinner party.  The aroma when it came out of the oven is something I've never had before.  The flavor is beautifully enrished by the sesame oil shallots mixture.  The small amounts of wholemeal, rye and L.S.A mix all add to the complexity.  There is an overall harmoney to my taste.  

A nice day ended.  



jj1109's picture

I have been aching to bake this bread since I first encountered the recipe months ago. However, I'm sure you all encounter the little things that fill your weekends and make well, a big mess of those best laid plans you make Friday evening. I set myself quite a task this weekend - two loaves of multigrain, and this new recipe!

OK, perhaps not such a large task. Especially considering how I have perfected the multigrain recipe... maybe. I'm yet to slice this batch and I have that slightly worried feeling that they aren't quite done in the centre...

(edit to add: I sliced them, and they're... OK. not great, right in the very middle they were very soft, but I think I just passed the test. Won't proof them so long next time ;) eg. err 4 hours instead of 45mins - 1hr.)

This turned out pretty darned nice. OK, I ignored the recipe that said this made two one pound loaves. That was a mistake... this turned into a monster, a good 30cm across. The dough wobbled like a jelly as I put it into the oven - I think I added a fraction too much yeast, the recipe called for 1 1/4 tsp, which I think it said was about 3 or 4g, I tipped some yeast in straight onto the flour (why? I never do it this way for this exact reason) tip tip tip I still have added 0g. That sure looks like a lot more than 1tsp. I must remember never to do that again!

Onto the results:

The loaf came out of the oven beautiful and crisp, however shrank a little whilst cooling and the crust softened - I've never mastered a nice crunchy crust with my oven without using the "magic bowl" technique. This was the softest loaf of bread I have ever felt, and had good spring in the loaf itself. Sliced into nice inch thick slices, dipped in tomato and kidney bean soup, devine. Another recipe to add to the repertoire.



dmsnyder's picture


This bread is based on the Italian Bread formula in Peter Reinhart's “Bread Baker's Apprentice.” I substituted a biga naturale (sourdough starter) for the biga made with instant yeast in Reinhart's formula. I still added the instant yeast to the final dough to provide more predictable fermentation and proofing times.

Reinhart recommends this formula for hoagie rolls. I divided the dough to make 4 rolls scaled to 4 ounces each and shaped the remainder of the dough into one large bâtard.

I also employed the “stretch and knead in the bowl” technique during bulk fermentation, even though I used a KitchenAid mixer for mixing beforehand.


Intermediate starter (Biga naturale)

Active starter

3 oz.


9 oz.

KAF Bread flour

12 oz.


Final Dough

Biga naturale (Note: save the remaining 6 oz. for another bread.)

18 oz.

KAF Bread flour

11.25 oz.


0.41 oz. (1-2/3 tsp)


0.5 oz. (1 T)

Instant yeast

0.11 oz (1 tsp)

Diastatic barley malt powder

0.17 oz. (1 tsp)

Olive oil

0.5 oz (1 T)

Water at 80F

7 oz (¾ cup)

Sesame seeds for coating.

Semolina to dust the parchment paper.



Mix and ferment the biga.

Mix the biga naturale the evening before baking. Dissolve the starter in the water in a medium sized bowl, then add the flour and mix thoroughly to hydrate the flour and distribute the starter. Cover the bowl tightly and allow to ferment for 3-6 hours, until it doubles in volume. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the biga from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for an hour or so. Alternately, mix the biga late at night and ferment at room temperature overnight.


Mix the dough

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and malt powder in a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Add the biga in pieces, olive oil and ¾ cups of tepid water and mix thoroughly. Adjust the dough consistency by adding small amounts of water or flour as necessary. The dough should be very slack at this point.

I mixed the dough with the dough hook in the KA mixer for 10 minutes then transferred it to an 8 cup/2 liter glass pitcher that had been lightly oiled.



I stretched and folded the dough in the pitcher with a rubber spatula then covered it tightly. I repeated the stretch and fold again 20 and 40 minutes later. I then left the dough to ferment until it was double the original volume (45-60 minutes more).


Divide and form

Divide into 2 pieces and pre-form as logs. Allow the dough to rest 5 minutes or more, then form into bâtards. To make rolls, divide into 4 ounce pieces and pre-shape into rounds, then shape into torpedos. If desired, spray or brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Prepare a couche – either a floured piece of baker's linen or parchment paper sprinkled with semolina.

Pre-heat the oven to 500F with a baking stone on the middle shelf. Make preparations for steaming the oven.

Place the loaves in the couche, cover with plastic or a towel and allow to proof until 1-1/2 times their original size (about 40 minutes).



Score the loaves and transfer them to the baking stone. Bake with steam, using your favorite method. After loading the loaves and steaming, turn the over down to 450F and bake until done (about 20 minutes for a bâtard, 15 mnutes for rolls.). If you want a thicker crust, use a lower temperature and bake for longer.



Allow to cool before slicing, if you can.

Sourdough Italian Roll

Sourdough Italian Roll crumb

We had a couple of the rolls for lunch. They were very nice. The crust is chewy, not crunchy, and the crumb is also chewy. This is not your fluffy, cottony roll that seems standard in most sub shops and, unfortunately, most Italian delis.

I am pretty sure this is the roll I would choose for a meatball sandwich, oozing mozzarella and dripping marinara sauce. I don't think this roll would be the usual soggy mess after the first 20 seconds. However, in the interest of Science, I will volunteer to test this hypothesis. Of course, if additional volunteers were to pool their data with mine, we can be more confident of our conclusions.


Submitted to Yeast Spotting on Susan FNP's marvelous Wild Yeast blog



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