The Fresh Loaf

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Shiao-Ping's picture

We made olive bread at Artisan II course, SFBI, using double hydration method (see this post for a description of double hydration).  At the time I felt the bread came out a bit dense because, with the double hydration method, you actually end up mixing the dough for quite a long time.  The method is supposed to help build up the dough strength before any add-ins are incorporated into the dough. 

With this Olive & Rosemary Oregano Sourdough, I wanted to experiment if I could first build up the dough strength with stretch & folds by hand, then incorporate the olives and herbs.  What I did was after the usual autolyse of 30 minutes, I did the first set of stretch & folds, waited 3o minutes, then mixed in the add-ins by way of the 2nd set of stretch & folds.  Perhaps because this dough was lower hydration than my usual dough (which is well over 70%), I found that some strength and good elasticity had already developed towards the end of the first set of stretch and folds.  So, I was happy to incorporate the olives and herbs at the 2nd set of stretch and folds.  

My kids are on school holiday this week; it's a week day today but felt like a Sunday for us.  Here is the sourdough we enjoyed at today's lunch table.     





My Formula

  • 704 g starter @75% hydration

  • 412 g water

  • 60 ml or 4 tbsp of olive oil (note: 4 tablespoonfuls of olive oil is 60 ml but not 60 grams; it is about 40 to 44 grams in weight. The SFBI formula that we worked on at the Artisan course does not use olive oil.)

  • 704 g bread flour

  • 17 g salt (I used only 1.5% of total flour because there is also salt in olives.)

  • 280 g pitted kalamata olives, rinsed in water and drained (I used 25% of total flour)

  • Chopped rosemary (I used only a sprig of 20 cm in length; this turned out to be on the light side, you could easily have 2 to 3 times amount of what I used).

  • Chopped oregano (I used only 3 sprigs; this also turned out to be too little, you could at least triple the amount I used. Also note the SFBI formula uses Thyme, not rosemary or oregano.)

  • Extra Whole Wheat flour to coat the olives (just before olives are to be incorporated into the dough); this is said to prevent the olives from being meshed during mixing, but I don't find it necessary.

Total dough weight 2.16kg (to be divided into two pieces); total dough hydration 70% (note: SFBI formula is 66% hydration) 



  1. Mix all ingredients (except the olives and the herbs) by hand

  2. Autolyse 30 minutes

  3. Do the first set of stretch and folds of 30 - 40 strokes

  4. After 30 minutes, incorporate all the olives and herbs at the 2nd set of stretch and folds

  5. After another 40 minutes, perform the 3rd set of stretch & folds

  6. After another 40 minutes, divide the dough to two pieces and pre-shape to tight balls

  7. Rest for 20 minutes

  8. Shape to tight balls

  9. Proof for 2 hours then place in refrigerator to retard (I did 18 hours)

  10. Bake next morning with steam at 230 C for 20 minutes and 220 C for another 20 minutes







Some thoughts on this bake:

(1) The dough was slightly over-fermented as there was not very much oven spring.  From the time the dough was mixed to the time it went into the fridge, it was 5 hours.  Adding the 18 hours retardation, total fermentation was 23 hours.  This normally would not be too much, but I wonder if my active starter has meant that I should shorten the proofing time before the dough gets into the refrigerator.

(2) 5% olive oil increases the keeping quality of the sourdough; the bread stays fresh longer and toasts beautifully.  The oil gives the crumb a very light texture.



SumisuYoshi's picture

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Sunday again, at my house this time. And once again I need a pan loaf for sandwiches! I started flipping through Bread Baker's Apprentice looking for my next target. The Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire caught my eyes, without so much as a picture! People who know me probably wouldn't be surprised by this, because as much as I love various artisan breads, whole wheat or multigrain anything will make me sit up and take notice. And no, I don't eat cardboard in my spare time.

The first step was to figure out what grains I was going to use in the bread. The recipe called for 3tbsp of either corn meal, amaranth, millet, or quinoa; 3tbsp of either rolled oats or wheat, triticale or buckwheat flakes; and 2tbsp of wheat bran. I decided to go with 2tbsp amaranth, 1tbsp millet, 2tbsp rolled oats, 1tbsp buckwheat cereal (not as small as flakes, but who's counting?), the 2tbsp of wheat bran, and 1tbsp of flax meal.

Grain Soaker

I'd also decided to deviate a bit from the recipe and make it sourdough. I already had my starter out to refresh (Friday night), and I had some leftover that I wouldn't be able to use for anything else, so why not right? I used the starter to make a small stiff levain (which I meant to build Saturday, and forgot). I wasn't particularly following a recipe for that part, so I wrote down the amount of flour and water I used so I could account for it in the recipe for the loaf.

Stiff Levain

I gathered together the rest of the ingredients:

MilkFlour, Salt, Brown Sugar

And not shown here: honey, cooked brown rice, and water. They went in after the levain descended on the milk.

Attack of the stiff Levain!

Mixing time! The dough was much gummier and stickier than I was expecting. I think a lot of that gummy/stickyness came from the starches in the soaker. As I emptied the grains into the dough I noticed the somewhat stringy goop of starch conglomeration on the bottom of the container.

Mixing the dough

After a bit more mixing, adding a little bit of flour, doing some stretches and folds, the dough finally reached a point where I could actually handle it. It still was quite sticky and gummy though, definitely unlike other doughs I've dealt with so far.

Mixed dough

Folding the dough

As I mentioned, I forgot to do a build of the stiff levain I made for this loaf. So it took a very long time to rise, in fact, at one point I wasn't even sure it was going to rise. What made it especially hard is that my sourdough starter really doesn't do most of the rising until the oven. So, I gave the dough plenty of time and a few more folds, it had finally grown some and didn't spring back on a poke test, so I shaped it into a loaf and plopped it into a pan.

Ready to proof

In the loaf pan it didn't take quite as long for the second rise, but it was getting late and I really needed to get to bed, so that was all the rising it was going to do!


Into the oven it went, it did get a nice little bit of oven spring (but not as much as I was hoping for, and nowhere near as little as I was dreading). I think next time I'll make it with regular yeast, or make sure I remember to have a build of levain before I start the loaf! It smelled really wonderful when it was baking, in fact it smelled amazing when it was rising too! Never had a loaf that smells that good during bulk ferment and proofing. It was a great combination of yeasty, sour, sweet, and grassy/grainy. I assume the aroma must have come from all the grains in the loaf, but I don't really know for sure. This is definitely one bread I want to make again, and soon! I'll probably experiment with switching it over to whole wheat too, if that turns out well I think I may have found my dream sandwich bread...

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge


SylviaH's picture

This is a delicious tasting bread, even with all my mess up's making it...I forgot to put in my was sitting under my arm and I kept ignoring it..until all was mixed.  Then I added it .....  Yikes!  Well, it seemed to be okay.  I could have just started over with a fresh batch of ingredients.  I will have to lower my oven came out a little dark and about 5 or 10 minutes longer in a lower temperature oven..I Think..might have been better...Anyway, Im going to blame it all on the ill feeling I have been having all day since we ate out last night!!  We won't be going back to that resturant!  The best thing and only thing I have had all day is the cantelope and a slice of this still slightly warm bread.  I love the oatmeal in this formula and I used KA organic white wheat.  The levain definately adds a lovely tone!  I can just imagine how good this bread will be next time around!  :) 


chouette22's picture

Inspiration from these boards

On Saturday I baked two breads that have been on my list for quite a while. Hans Joakim has posted on one of his favorite breads several times in recent months (here, here, here, and here) and I really wanted to give that Pain au levain with whole wheat a try (Hamelman, “Bread” p. 160). And as you know, when Hans Joakim presents something, it always looks so very enticing.

We really love it! The taste is excellent, the crust strong and the crumb wonderfully open.

Amazing that the kneading time is only about 2 minutes, and then just two folds at 50 and 100 minutes! That’s it!

I will definitely make this again!


I couldn’t have chosen a more different bread to be its partner: the Buttermilk-Whole-Wheat-Bread that JMonkey (here's the recipe from Laurels Kitchen Bread Book - I used the biga approach) and Salome have posted on (here and here). This dough, in stark contrast to the above Pain au levain, needs to be kneaded for a very l--o--n--g time. It  turned out very well, even though I over-proofed it (when I scored it, it made pouf, and the loaves sank somewhat; I think I should have skipped the slash altogether).
The problem is always the timing. To make Saturday’s loaves (4 of them), it took about 8 hours, and to always be around when the next fold or shaping, etc.,  is due, is very difficult. Despite my careful calculations, when my son’s soccer game went into over time (i.e. got delayed), my schedule was pouf, gone as well, and my proofing went into over time too… (by about an hour!).  Also, I have basically never baked bread in pans, but for the school sandwiches, I guess that is a good shape.

My changes to the recipe above:
I used 100% white whole-wheat flour (from Trader Joe, first time I bought this) and cut the honey in half. I also added two Tbsp of ripe starter, as Salome suggested she might do in a further test.
The taste was excellent.

mrosen814's picture

For the most part, I was pleased with the results.  

The day before I baked, I made the sponge, mixed, scaled, and formed the dough into the classic baguette shape.  I put in a lot effort in creating as much surface tension as I could, otherwise, the finished product could be quite flat and blob-like.  I threw the shaped dough in the fridge, and forgot about it until the next morning.

After the loaves were finished baking the following morning, I was happy with the shape, color, and most of all, the nutty aroma that comes along with freshly baked french bread.  The texture of the crust worked for me as well.  However, the crumb needs to be improved, as it was missing that light airy quality that is so essential for baguettes.  I will tweak this recipe next weekend and try to go for that cloud-like baguette crumb I am after.

mrosen814's picture

Time, or the lack there of, is a major issue for home bread bakers.  There is no doubt that more loaves of homemade bread would be produced if the process wasn't so time consuming.  The scheduling involved with some bread recipes can be very challenging.

My goal as a home baker, is to have my finished dough ready to pop into the oven first thing in the morning, while getting a proper night's sleep.  With bagels, I think this time table works really well.  I make the sponge, mix the dough, scale, and shape the night before, and the morning of, take the soon-to-be-bagels right from the fridge to the boiling water and bake.

Tonight, I will try the same process with traditional baguettes.  I'll also be experimenting with an European style bread flour order from King Arthur Flour.


Princeton's picture


proth5's picture

 Or: My Adventures at the Back Home Bakery.

 They all told me I was too old to start in any kind of professional baking.  "My teacher" said it.  Even the organizers of La Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie tell me I am too old to be eligible to compete (Oh, and I don't bake that well...)

 They were right.

 And I say this not in the spirit of complaining that Mark is a maniacal slave driver (although I did hand many customers at the Tuesday farmer's market small pieces of paper on which I had printed "Help me!") but rather to drive home how physically demanding this baking business can be.  I knew it in my head.  Now I know it in every aching part of my body.

 For those of us who work in offices spending many hours hunched over a computer, the first shock is the standing.  In my home kitchen, I can pull up a chair and rest while stirring the jam (for example.) In the world of professional baking, one stands.  I am told by a friend who went from information systems work to working retail (a story for which the world is not yet prepared) that in a month or so, standing becomes easier.  But what a month it would be!  I was barely able to hobble up and down stairs at the end of a day and I was sure that my feet were some kind of malevolent entity determined to make me suffer as payback.

 The hours, of course, are grueling.  Getting to work at 3AM is cake, but continuing to work until 6PM kind of takes it out of a person - at least us old folks.  Mark essentially works the hours of two people.  He tells me that he soon will be able to slack off a bit. But he does this for months at a time.  He previously worked construction.  He is a fit, strong sort of guy used to hard physical work.  The transition from "paper" work to physical work is quite a large one.  As we lose our regenerative powers, this transition becomes more and more difficult.  I won't say it can't be done - but it would take considerable effort for a "more mature" individual,

 One thing in particular was striking for me.  I have some problems with my right hand that are the result of injuries long in the past.  In my typical life - which does include some heavy-duty home baking/cooking and gardening - this is a minor inconvenience.  As the days passed at the Back Home Bakery, this little problem became a big one.  Mark may or may not have noticed, but I did mixing, shaping, egg washing, and was his faithful prep monkey with a right hand in such pain that it hurt to lift a fork.  I am sure that he may have thought that I had some unnatural compulsion to wash dishes (without gloves) but the real reason I was so quick to head to the sink was that the jet of hot water on my right hand was the only thing that reduced the pain enough to enable me to go on to the next task.  If I were to bake at these volumes week after week, I would have to have the hand thing "taken care of" - with the expense and bother that would involve - if it were even possible.  Winners play with pain, but a few years of that could be quite wearing.  Anyone who is seriously considering running that small bakery at an age where little aches and pains are tolerated as "just getting old" needs to seriously consider what the strain of daily, repetitive, hard work would do.

 I also found out how humbling it is for those of us who work with complex systems in our current profession to realize we can make a mistake weighing out water.  "How hard can it be?"  It can be hard - and left unnoticed the consequences could be dire.

 Not to say that the time spent was unpleasant.  While Mark may come off as a relentless, pitiless, heartless, cyborg who never sleeps and has no consideration for the well being of his interns - he is only doing what needs to be done to make his business viable. He is willing to put in stupendous effort (and so is his capable helpmate...) to make the vision he has for his life a reality.  In a sense, many of us have been willing to do this, but for many of us it is in the past and not the future.  I've reinvented myself at least twice in this way.  I know I will have to reinvent myself one more time.  What remains is the question of my willingness and ability to put in this type of effort again and what form that reinvention will take.  Further, to wax even more abstract, the incredible demands we put on the people who provide the most basic necessities of life are really something to think about when we grouse about the cost of food.

 All in all, I got the kind of practice that I wanted and needed. I shaped and scored more bread in a week than I would have in many months and that matters.  I learned a technique to form boules that is so good, that I will defy "my teacher" and even use it in his/her presence.  I learned that obsessive perfectionism is for home bakers - not pros (unless they intend to go into competition.) I finally mastered two fisted roll making.  I spent quality time with the sheeter (I do love me some sheeter.) I realized that I have the heart of a pastry chef and the starker realities of turning out "daily bread" are less appealing to me.  I learned that I get a kind of enduring satisfaction out of things like looking at the proofer - full at 6:30AM and thinking - "we really knocked that out today - got it done faster than yesterday" - or from simple things like beating Mark to the bakery in the morning (not an easy thing.) The Montana night sky must be seen to be appreciated.  Sharon (Mark's wife) is a lovely person who has much patience for all and deserves to be elevated to sainthood.  I learned to wrangle plastic wrap (yeah, you think it's simple...)

 Mark and Sharon learned never to give me coffee.  It may seem like a good idea, but it is not.

 Would I recommend it?  To vigorous, healthy folk of any age who want to deal in the reality of a small artisan bakery - yes.  Folk like me - at your own peril.

 But, I got through the week and I think I could have at least gotten through another.  Yes, I could have pushed myself more on my final Sunday to do some laminating, but at that point it would have been practicing a skill that I will not use again soon and to be frank I just would have slowed Mark down.  I sit (oh, lovely sitting!) here now in my somewhat cushier surroundings knowing full well that I like them - but do not need them. Baking aside, it's good to know that I own the things and they do not own me.

 Has it changed my thinking about working professionally?  Well, not really.  I've been messing about with various food disciplines for a long time and have some small skill in some of them.  I was never thinking about doing anything more than a "hobby business" after saving sufficient funds for retirement.  You know - have a hobby that pays for itself and maybe earns a little pin money.  I have been and still am searching for the right way to model this business.  My realization that pastry holds more appeal than pure bread baking is important, but not earth shattering.  I knew I would be taking a hit physically (not quite as much as I did during my internship) as I made the transition.  I have to give serious thought to the question of my right hand and what medical science may or may not be able to do for it.  I knew the economics of the food business would be harsh.  Fortunately, I still have a while to mull this over.

 I do have the shining memory of someone buying a bear claw, biting into it - smiling - and then handing pieces to his family.  "That," I said to Mark, "That, is why all us tech types want to be bakers."

 Thanks, Mark! Ya know we only abuse those that we deeply appreciate!  If I ever take leave of my senses again - I'll be back!

Jw's picture

I am only slowly progressing with Reinhart's Crust and Crumb, 'master formulas for serious breadbaking'. The universal rustic bread is now 'under control', I did add a bit more salt then the recipe mentions. After a first test, I did score the dough a bit (just a slice down the middle), it just does look better this way. The biga does notably contribute to the taste.

Next is the sweet rustic bread, it uses a spoolish style sponge, a bit more work. I found it a bit more difficult to control the result.

Here (above) I rolled the dough and cut it in slices, which stayed in the fridge overnight. It waited two hours in the morning, before I put them in the oven. Sweat!

San Francisco Sourdough is really becoming my favourite. I altered a recipe from Bread Alone (which you can find in Carl Griffith's Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter Brochure). A few pictures :

I have never seen this pattern before, so I named it zeesterbrood (starfishbread). From now on, it is pattented!

Happy baking!


Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

  I recently rewatched an old King Arthur baking DVD and thought, well, why not try it.  It was revelatory.  I had gone over to weighing everything (a la Peter Reinhart) and using my Kitchen Aid (a Christmas present four years ago from my son).  In the vid, Michael Dubinski measured all but the flour (OK, so he used cups).  He brought the mixture from liquid to dough manually, adding only as much flour as was needed.  i tried this and rediscovered why I started baking some 5 years ago (I'm an old, slow learner).  What joy, watching ingredients transform into a dough before my eyes.  In a production environment, machinery is necessary for survival.  At home, it is pure joy to watch the dough develop, ferment with only the warmth provided by sunlight and the moisture in the air (not a problem in Florida), being shaped and proofed (again by the warm air found here) and finally baked into a delicious bread.  I look forward to as many years as I am given to baking continually.


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