The Fresh Loaf

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Chausiubao's picture


I had the good fortune of being placed on the bench this morning, which translates to many, many baguettes. Here for your viewing pleasure were the best (probably) and the worst (probably) of the bake. My beastie caught underneath the loading board as it was being slid into the  oven, so its back end got tucked underneath itself on the loading.

In addition, because it caught underneath itself, it glued itself to the baking stone, and didn't slide in on ball bearings of flour as it should have, so it was a bit warped. Add imperfect shaping and scoring and what we've got is quite the beastie looking baguette.  But despite all my heavy handed-ness, the crumb wasn't too badly torn up inside.

I blame elderly dough! The older a dough is, the harder it is to work with, whether dividing, shaping, or scoring. A more relaxed dough with much acids built up in it will be elastic and have little extensibility, sticky and difficult to handle, sticking to hands and blades alike. On the one hand acids toughen up the dough increasing elasticity and on the other hand the dough is starting to break down (if this hypothesis is true, the dough has probably reached its limit of fermentation products, which work to break down the gluten, maybe)

I do hope I'm finally getting the hang of scoring, particularly with a lame. I'm getting less "breaks" between the openings of the scores, and I was actually able to notice the grigne opening up properly, due to the angle of the blade. All in all, not a bad bench day. Now I just have to master bench-work with a miche, heavy shaping, and a busy store.


Jimmygarr's picture

the wild yeast sourdough starter recipe says to keep 1/4 cup and discard the rest then add 1/4 each of flour and water --repeat several times--- it seems I end up with 1/4 cup of starter. most recipes say use 1 1/4 cups of starter????? Am i reading this right???

Kingudaroad's picture

I had some apprehension after seeing that this is almost an 80 % hydration dough and being somewhat of a rookie, and not owning a mixer. I made the women and children leave, just in case, and went for it.

   I used the recipe and technique exactly as in BBA with the exeption of mixing by hand, which I accomplished by mixing in the bowl with a big wooden spoon and a plastic bowl scraper. I mixed it for about 20 minutes adjusting the water until it felt like it was barely coming off the sides of the bowl.

   The shaping was actually very easy using Reinharts great instruction and pictures, but the scoring was another story. I guess I'll get it down someday. I got some great color and oven spring, the holes were nice and big. The crust was hard and crunchy like I like it, and the taste was outstanding. Really a real easy dough to make. I can't wait to use it for pizza.


A nice baguette with a real

nice Beefmaster fresh from the garden. 



dmsnyder's picture


These rolls are a riff off the test recipe called "Seven Sisters" from Norm Berg and Stan Ginzburg's much-anticipated New York Jewish bakery history/cookbook. I cannot divulge the whole recipe, but I think it's okay to say those are basically cinnamon rolls made with babka dough and baked in a cluster.

After eating some (I'm not telling how many.) of the Seven Sisters, my wife made a number of suggestions: 

1. Make them again!

2. Make them less sweet.

3. I like them more nutty. (That's why she sticks with me. It's not 'cause I'm so sweet.)

4. Make the rolls separated. The browned outside is the best.

Made up, egg washed and ready for the final proof

I had found that, at least in my oven, the rolls' tops browned too quickly, while the sides were still quite pale. So, in addition to complying with request #4, I also baked them at 25ºF cooler than the Seven Sisters.

I used the same filling, except I used over twice as much pecans. I borrowed a trick from SusanFNP and left half the pecans in large pieces and finely chopped the other half.

Just out of the oven. Ready to rack and glaze.

In compliance with request #2, I glazed the rolls much more sparingly after baking. In fact, I left two un-glazed, as specified by Version 1.1 of the above fix list.

I think both versions - "Seven Sisters" and "Eight Distant Cousins" - are pretty darn good. My wife loved the less sweet and more nutty version, even with the glaze.




JoeVa's picture

Finally THE sister approved my "100% Rye Sourdough". She does not spend a lot of word about my bread but this time she said: "uhhhmm it's more ..." stop.


Overall Formula
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 500g
[96%] Water - 480g
[2%] Gray Salt - 10g


Soaker (20% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 100g
[100%] Water (room temperature) - 100g
[2%] Gray Salt - 2g

Rye Sourdough (30% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 150g
[120%] Water (room temperature) - 180g
[10%] Active Rye Starter - 15g

Dough (Desired dough temperature 26..28°C)
Whole Rye Flour - 250g
Water - 200g
Gray Salt - 8g
Soaker - 202g
Rye Sourdough - 345g


  • Prepare the rye sourdough (you want it ripe when you'll mix the dough, based on your room temperature this could be 6 to 16 hours before). The soaker can be mixed at the same time.

  • Mix the dough until all the ingredients are well combined, about 5-10 minutes by hand with a spoon and a spatula. The desired dough temperature is 26-28°C.

  • After about 1/2 hour prepare a baking pan. It should be lightly oiled and coated with whole rye flour. 

  • Move the dough into the pan and proof @28°C till rised about 50% (something like 1+1/2 hour to 2+1/2 hours). The pan can be filled for 2/3 its volume, when profed the dough will almost fill the pan.

  • Bake on stone with steam @250°C for the first 10 minutes then 45 minutes @220°C. You can remove the bread from the pan the last 10 minutes of this time to dry the sides and the bottom of the bread.


As usual "Pure Rye Sourdough" is great. The crumb is moisty and very open and the secret is a good dough hydration level. Look at this:


I think this bread can compete with two of the best rye I tasted in Italy: Delicatessen (P.zza Santa Maria Beltrade 2, Milano) and Andrea Perino (Via Cavour 10, Torino).

For Italian bakers: I used stone grounded organic whole rye flour from Mulino Marino.

2bamstrbkr's picture

Well I think I have officially decided to stop buying bread at the store and just start baking my own here at the house. For this (My 2nd Loaf) loaf I used the receipe in lesson two. I forgot to score it before baking, but it came out delicious anyway.


hanseata's picture

In Portland (the Downeast one) the unbeatable Number One Bakery is, without question, the Standard Baking Co. Their baguettes and pains au levains not only make droves of bakery customers happy but also guests of the wonderful "Street & Company" and the noble "Fore Street Restaurant".

Today they offered Vollkornbrot. Of course I had to get one, out of curiosity, though Vollkornbrot is not my favorite - being force-fed with it as a child - to compare it with my own products. It looked quite nice, and had the right consistency, too. But, as with all the Vollkornbrot I've so far tasted in New England, the taste was bland and lacked any complex flavor. Even without any additional sweetener German dark rye breads (Vollkornbrot, Schwarzbrot and Pumpernickel) should have a hint of sweetness from rye starch turning into sugar due to pre-doughs and long fermentation (mehrstufige Teigfuehrung).

On one hand I was disappointed and a bit sad that my favorite bakery didn't do a better job introducing their customers to this German specialty, but on the other hand I felt a nasty little bit of Schadenfreude. Their crusty, holey baguettes might be way superior to my modest pains a l'anciennes - but my Vollkornbrot could beat theirs anytime!

Dear Dana Street, for this immoral impulse I will shamefully atone - next time we're in Portland we will not only spend our dollars at "Street & Company" (wolfing down as much pain au levain with our fish as we can) but also by buying not only two baguettes AND a large miche, but also a bag of rugelachs.




dmsnyder's picture

The boules are Vermont Sourdough from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." I made these using a San Francisco Sourdough starter from that sat, without being fed, in the way back of my refrigerator for at least 6 months. It had been a firm starter, and while looking kind of gray on the surface, came back to life after 4 feedings at 125% hydration. And by then, was really, really happy to be making bread.

The Vermont Sourdough has a crunchy crust and chewy crumb. The flavor is just about perfect - moderate sourdough tang but not so sour as to mask the complexity of the wheat flavors. 

Vermont Sourdough Crumb

The bâtards are my San Joaquin Sourdough. No crumb shots or tasting notes on these. They are being frozen to take on a family vacation next week.


ejm's picture

Twisted Bread Rings

The first time that I made these twisted bread rings, we were sorry they were so large. It made it difficult to cook them on the barbecue because two trays were required. So this time, I made smaller rings and fit them all onto one tray.

I love these making these rings. They’re SO easy to shape!

I used sesame seeds for half the rings and kalonji (nigella seeds) for the other half. And we love the smaller rings!! But we can’t decide which seed covering we like better. What do you think? Here’s the recipe:


saumhain's picture

I am living at my aunt's these days and it has been a real pain in the arse getting used to baking in here. The kitchen is like twice smaller than mine, the oven is electric which is good, but feels just... weird.

However, I managed to make three loaves already, all Hamelman's: with olives, 50% whole-wheat sourdough

and whole rye and wheat sourdough.

They all turned out really good and delicious, but the one with olives was obviously the best. That's exactly why no picture of it - it was all gone before I could grab my camera.


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