The Fresh Loaf

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txfarmer's picture

I am so glad that some of you tried and liked the 36 hour sourdough baguette formula. I am still making it every week - it's our Friday "treat". Of course, I just can't help messing with a good thing, so I modify the original formula a little bit each time, some turned out really well, the following 3 are my recent favorites:

1) Pumpkin baguette - a.k.a. I don't care it's still nearly 90F out, it's FALL!

The idea came from this blog post, but I used pumpkin instead of butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds, and my basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula.

AP Flour, 425g

pumpkin puree (I used canned), 165g

ice water, 223g

salt, 10g

starter (100%) 150g

pumpkin seeds, 50g, toasted and crushed a little

-Mix flour, pumpkin puree, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starter, and seeds, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.


I find pumpkin puree generally makes bread moist but "sticky", which does make the crumb of these baguettes less open than the basic formula, but I think the brilliant golden color makes up for it, how very autumn-like.

Pumpkin seeds are bigger than sunflower seeds, so I crushed them a little before adding into the dough, they still "blocked" some holes, but the crunch and flavor they add to the bread was great.

I counted 50% of the pumpkin puree weight is water, which turned out to be a good assumption. The dough felt similar to my usual 75% baguette dough, and I think I am getting better at scoring this wet baby.

2) Wheatgerm baguette

This is inspired by a formula we did at the SFBI baguette workshop. I love baking with wheatgerm, even my hands smell nice after touch the dough.I noticed at the workshop that wheatgerm tends to absorb extra water and make the dough a little dry, so I added extra water to compensate. The hydration ended up being 78%.

AP Flour, 425g

ice water, 315g

salt, 10g,

starter (100%), 150g

toasted wheat germ, 11g

- Mix water, flour and wheat germ, autolyse for 12 hours. Then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.


The increased hydration worked, I got very open crumb AND fragrant wheat germ flavor.


If you really look, you can see the wheat germ grains on the wall of those big holes

After making, and photographing so many baguettes, I was excited to find a new way to present it - in a paper bag!

I was in love with the flavor, and thought it ahs become my favorite variation, until I made the next one...

3) Rye starter baguette - MY FAVORITE SO FAR!

I have been wanting to add rye or other whole grain flour in the 36 hour baguette for a while now. In order to keep the open crumb, and the classic baguette mouth feel, I know I can't add too much. However, I do want to add enough to really taste the whole grain taste I love. This past weekend, I had a thought: instead of adding rye in the main dough, why don't I "add" it in the starter? Why not just use my rye starter instead of the white one? Since the formula has 30% of starter, which means the dough would have 15% of rye. The result is fantanstic, rye starter reallly adds noticable flavor even though rye ratio is low, at the same time, the crumb remains open, and crust is still thin and crisp.It's now my official favorite variation of 36 sourdough baguette, I am very happy that this experiment turned out so well!

Note that I did increase the hydration to 80%, mostly because I have been making breads from Tartine Bread Book, and its ww and semolina dough are both 80%+ hydration. Only that I forgot baguettes are a lot more tricky to shape than boules, oh, don't forget the minor details of scoring. I can now tell you first hand that scoring 80% wet baguettes is punishingly challenging. Crazy. Both I and the damn dough!:P


AP flour, 425g

ice water, 325g

rye starter (100%), 150g

salt, 10g

- follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.

Such open crumb

One can get lost in these holes. Can't you just see the rye? YOu can taste it too! From the wall of the holes, yu can really see how moist the crumb is.

But the scoring left much to be desired, no matter, I know I will have plenty of opportunities to practice!

We usually eat these baguette as is, or simply with some butter or cheese, but I actually "loosely" followed a recipe from Tartine Bread Book and made a sandwich out of these rye baguettes. Tuna confit, roasted sweet pepper, fresh spinach, Yum!

Submitting to Yeastspotting.

hansjoakim's picture

I recently dusted off my old John Coltrane records, and I've been listening to them pretty much non-stop this weekend. Coltrane's one of those artists that I listen to intensely for weeks on end, before I need to pause, put the records down, and breathe a sigh of relief. For me, the intensity of the music itself seems to induce this kind of listening. Even though I'm generally partial to the fire and cinder of his late Impulse! records, "Giant Steps" is probably the record that's closest to my heart. Not only was it the first Trane record I bought, but it also opened my eyes to so much timeless music. It was also the soundtrack to a great, great summer...

After a rough week, I decided to indulge in baking some of "my favourite things". The first was a pain au levain, a bread that I never tire of. It's also one of those formulas that easily fit into my weekday routine. Here's my formula.

I mixed the dough Friday afternoon, and pulled the baked bread from the oven Saturday morning:

Pain au levain

I really like the simplicity of the bread and formula. A crisp crust and a chewy crumb - it's a bread that's flavourful enough to be enjoyed on its own, with some butter, or a slice of Brie de Meaux.

Pain au levain crumb


I've mentioned it before, and it's probably not something I'm the only one to think, but as the autumn and winter approach us, my preference swings towards wholesome breads. July's crusty baguette is replaced by a dense, filling rye come late October. Yesterday I baked a dense rye loaf based on Hamelman's "80% rye sourdough with rye flour soaker". I made some small changes to the formula, and you can find my adaption described here.

This is a dense, 80% whole rye bread, where a third of the flour comes from a ripe rye sourdough, and a fifth of the flour is scalded with boiling water. The scalding process increases water absorption, provides the bread with just a hint of sweetness, and lends the crumb a soft and moist mouthfeel. Here's the baked bread:

80% rye with rye flour soaker

... and a "24 hour later crumb shot":

80% rye with rye flour soaker crumb

Just what I'm looking for this time of year.

As the title of the blog post warns: There are no apple tarts this week. I hope all's not lost, and that there's still room for Sunday dinner... Another favourite of mine is quiche. I'm not sure if what I made yesterday qualifies as a quiche - according to Robuchon, there's no onion nor grated Gruyère in a proper quiche lorraine. Adding grated Gruyère is supposedly something the posh Parisians did - and the onion? Well, if you put onion in there, it's an onion tart. It's a minefield, I know, so I'll call this my favourite Sunday bacon-and-onion tart. Below's the mise en place: Prebaked tart shell, a custard (in the white bowl, center-top), cooked onion and bacon, and Gruyère. I like a crisp tart crust, and due to the rather liquid filling, I try to give the tart shell a full 20 mins. prebake before filling it.

Quiche mise en place

Voila! Here's the tart after 35 mins in the oven:


Bon appetit!


GSnyde's picture

Sports fans are notoriously superstitious.  Whatever they do on the day of a big win somehow becomes the cause of that win, and must be repeated in order to assure the next win.  So, I guess I have to bake Babka again today, Tuesday and Wednesday or the Giants are bound to face defeat.  Well...if they don't make it to the World Series, I'll take the blame cuz one Babka bake is enough for now. Yesterday, my first attempt at Babka (Chocolate-Cinnamon-Pecan) led to a thrilling one-run win in the Giants first NLCS game against the Phils.

Babka preparation is quite a big deal.  As Emperor Joseph II might have said to Mozart if he were a baker, there are just too many ingredients.  (No, I'm not comparing myself to Mozart; when he was my age, he'd been dead for 20 years).  Flour, yeast, salt, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, grated baker's chocolate, sugar, butter, pecans, flour, sugar, butter....and butter and sugar. There are also lots of steps.  But the results are worth the effort.




Now that I've mashed together themes from Baseball and Classical Music, here's the recipe, an adaptation from Glezer, as told by Stan Ginsburg:

Cinnamon-Chocolate-Pecan Babka (Adapted from Glezer via Stan Ginsburg)

Makes 3 loaves.

Dough Ingredients (measured in ounces)

BreadFlour 36  

WholeMilk 17.25

Unsalted butter 6.75 

Egg Yolks, large 2.5 - approximately 4 yolks

Sugar 9.75  

Instant Yeast 1.0 

Salt 0.25 

Vanilla Extract 0.65 

Ground Cinnamon  .30

Filling Ingredients 

Sugar 11.5  (1 ½ cup)

Unsweetened baker’s chocolate, grated 4.50 (1 ½ cup)

Toasted and chopped Pecans,   8.0 (2 cup)

Unsalted butter, melted (also for greasing pans)   6.00 (1 ½  stick)

Streusel Ingredients

Bread Flour 3.0

Sugar 1.50 

Unsalted butter, room temp 1.50 


  1.   Warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F.  Stir instant yeast into milk. Meanwhile, melt the butter for dough and allow to cool.
  2.  Add half (18 oz) of the flour to milk and yeast and mix until smooth. Allow to ferment about 30 min, until very foamy and volume triples.
  3.  Add remaining ingredients and blend using hands. Knead in the bowl until gluten forms and dough comes away from sides of bowl. This is a very rich, slack dough and it will take time for the gluten to form, but it will happen, so be patient.
  4.  Allow to ferment 45-60 min, until more than doubled in bulk and very gassy. Grease three loaf pans with butter. Turn dough out onto a generously floured board and pat firmly  to degas. Divide the dough into six pieces (two for each loaf).
  5.  Roll the first piece of dough into a very thin sheet, preferably less than 1/4". Using a silicon mat helps. Otherwise, make sure you have enough flour on hand to prevent sticking. When you finish rolling the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it evenly with one sixth of the sugar,  chocolate and pecans. Roll it into a spiral, jelly-roll style. Repeat for other five pieces of dough.
  6.  Preheat your oven to 325 and set rack in lower third of oven. Twist two rolls of dough together to form a double helix, a/k/a a spiral, and arrange in the pan.  Repeat for other two loaves.  Allow to proof for 30-45 minutes, until the dough extends above the rim of the pan.
  7.  Brush top of babka with melted butter. Blend flour, sugar and softened butter into a coarse mixture and sprinkle generously on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is a rich, dark brown and it sounds hollow when tapped with a finger. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before tapping it out onto a rack to finish cooling for an hour.
  8. After cooled, enjoy Babka during final innings of Giants' victory.
These Babkas are a delicious moist coffee cake, not too sweet.  The only change I'd make is to add cinnamon to the filling as well as the dough.
Go Giants!  Go Nuts!

Submitted to YeastSpotting (

Neo-Homesteading's picture




Recently my family visited quiet valley living historical farm in stroudsburg, pa. Although we went there for the "craft festival" it was the oven that really captured my attention. I talked with the ladies running the oven briefly and had a brief conversation about how I'm in the process of building my own oven. Well actually its been a few years in progress now. I was amazed at how well their oven looked and how well maintained it is. It really motivated me to want to finish my own.

So far, We dug a 4x4 foot hole, filled it back up, made the foundation with cinder blocks... filled the center with sand, purchased fire brick and now its still sitting there. I based everything off of what I read in kiko denzers book but something I really had an issue with was all of the rocks and trying to find the perfect soil to build with. While talking to the ladies at the historical farm I almost got the impression that rocks are ok? It was just a brief conversation however now I'm somewhat baffled. Dont rocks explode when they are heated? Living in the pocono mountains finding the perfect clay to use for my oven just seems impossible. Has anyone else done this in a similar environment? I'm really hoping to finish my bread oven soon, hopefully before the snow hits this season. I'm wondering if a masonry oven might be a better way to go however I did have my heart set on a cob style earth oven. Any helpful advice appreciated! For more on the historical farm please see my blog post. 


External Link to post:

Neo-Homesteading's picture




Recently I've been on a mission to really try and improve my food photography. Although I make sourdough pancakes quite often i decided to really take a stab at re-vamping my original post. The recipe is still pretty much identical however this time I topped each pancake with some diced lightly seasoned apples. They really reminded me of traditional german Apple kuchen. They came out delicious and perfectly fluffy. We topped some with home made blueberry and cherry compote and I also caramelized some bananas. 

Link to recipe :

Franko's picture




Pain de Campagne


This weeks bake is somewhat of a hybrid between Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with increased Whole Grain and a formula posted by JoeVa back in January of this year for a Pane a Lievito Naturale con Segale Integrale .


The final dough includes a ratio of 20% whole rye flour as well as malt syrup and nondiastatic malt powder. The malt syrup helps provide the natural yeasts with sufficient nutrition during the long fermentation of this dough (30+hrs) and the nd malt powder is used for added flavour, similar to JoeVa's formula. But where Giovanni's posted formula calls for a stiff levain, I used a liquid white levain as per Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with increased Whole Grain because that's what I had active at the time. Since the levain is a wheat based leaven I'll just call this a Pain de Campagne for now unless someone has a better suggestion for it. The bread has a good sour note to it that combines well with the malt for a balanced overall flavour. The crust is chewy and the crumb is even, which makes it a good loaf for sandwiches and everyday use, and a bread I'll be making often. Formula and photos included.

















Mature white Liquid Culture




Bread Flour
















Final Dough




Rogers Unbleached Bread Flour




Nunweiler's Dark Rye Flour








Malt Syrup




*Non-diastatic Malt Powder
















Total Hydration




  • non diastatic malt powder can be found online at KA


Mixing Time-5 minutes on 1st speed 7-8 minutes on 2nd speed

Desired Dough Temp-76F


Add all ingredients except the salt to the mixing bowl and mix on

1st speed for 2 minutes. Add the salt and mix for an additional

3-4 minutes on 1st speed, or until all the ingredients are combined.

Mix on 2nd for 7-8 minutes until the dough is cohesive but not fully

developed. Turn the dough out onto the counter/bench and work by

hand until the dough is smooth and well developed. The dough

should have a medium feel to it, pliable but slightly resistant to the


Bulk Ferment -2 1/2hrs at 70F

First stretch and fold after 50 minutes

Second s&f after 50 more minutes

After a full 2 ½ bulk ferment, round lightly, cover and rest for 15 min ,

then shape as desired. Place in floured banneton (if using) and place

in refrigerator or at a temp of 58F or less for 26hrs. After this time bring

the dough to room temp for 4 hrs or until almost fully proofed, slash, and bake at

500F for 10 minutes with normal steam then reduce the temp to 440F for

the remaining bake time of 30-35 minutes, rotating the loaf after 20 min

to colour evenly on all sides. Cool for 8 hrs minimum, wrapped loosely in

linen on a wire rack before slicing.





davidg618's picture

I've been immobile for the past two months with sciatica. With steroid treatment and physical therapy, it's nearly completely diminished. Fortunately, the freezer was well stocked with baguettes, sourdough loaves, and a couple of Jewish Ryes at the onset--now nearly depleted. 

Yesterday afternoon, after a two month hiatus, I celebrated my new-gotten mobility by mixing dough for my Overnight Baguettes formula; shaped and baked them this morning.


Nice to know, I haven't gotten too rusty. Sorry, no crumb shot; these are restocking the freezer.

David G

Mebake's picture

I wanted to bake under a pyrex, and an ss bowl this time. The boule on the Right was under a pyrex bowl, and the Batard was under the stainless bowl.

My adapted recipe of Hamelman's Formula:

Total Formula:

Bread Flour: 1lb  (50%)

Whole Wheat Flour: 1lb (50%)

Mixed Grains: 5.8 oz (18%)

Water: 1lb , 10oz (78%)

Salt: 0.7 oz (1 T + 0.5Tsp) (2.2%)

Yeast: (1tsp) instant yeast (1%)

Honey: 1oz (1 T, 0.5tsp) (3%)


Bread Flour: 3.8 oz (100%)

Water: 4.8 oz (125%)

Starter: 1.5 T (20%)


Grains (Cracked oates, or wheat or Rye, Sunflower seeds, Flax seeds, Buckwheat): 5.8oz (100%)

Water : 6.9 oz (120%)

Salt: 0.5 tsp

Final Dough:

Bread Flour: 12.2 oz

Wholewheat Flour: 1lb

Water: 12.5 oz

Salt: 1 T

Yeast: 0.1oz  (1tsp)

Honey: (1T + 1tsp)

Soaker: All

Levain: All


Neat Results, but the chronic charred bottom remains a challenge i have to put up with in My gas oven.

The loaves could have used more proofing time, but i bet the premature levain i mixed in had something to do with it.


breadsong's picture


This bread is from Artisan Breads at Home by Eric Kastel. The original recipe calls for walnuts, but this is Hazelnut weekend in my kitchen.

These are hearty little loaves, loaded down with lots of goodies, and the sweetness from the apple-cranberry pairs nicely with the sourdough.

I want to try making crisps with some of the bread, as described by farine-mc on her blog:

I wanted to try and get a cracking crust, and went for a hot bake which is reflected in the 'colorful' crust.
I didn't get cracking crust, but the loaves did sing to me a little bit!   Regards, breadsong




Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

In this third installment of my weekly attempts to bake a passable baguette, conflict, drama, and a rather too hot oven arise.

Where we last left our heroes:

My weekly goal is to master (sort of) Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish. Last week's baguette possessed only a so-so flavor and texture, a crumb that was somewhat too tight, crust that was a tad chewy, and irregular scoring.  This week I added a few modifications:

  1. I fermented the poolish for only 9 hours instead of 12.  I'm making only a half batch compared to Hamelman's Home measurements, and it stood to reason that if 1/8 teaspoon of yeast in ~21 oz of poolish is ready in 12 hours, the same yeast in half the poolish would take less time
  2. By accident, I left the oven temperature at 535 degrees (probably more like 515 measured by a more reasonable oven than mine) for the first 6 minutes of the bake.
  3. After the baguettes had finished baking, I turned off the oven, propped the door open, and left them in for another 5 minutes, in hopes of a crisper crust.

The Results: External Shots


As you can see, the crumb was relatively tight, and the scores very shallow, and so in that respect this batch was pretty disappointing.  On the other hand, at least the slashes were a little more consistent?  However, the flavor was somewhat better, and although the crumb lacked big open holes, it had a creamier texture than past weeks.  The crust was also nicer--although a little chewy on the bottom, the rest was thin and crispy.

As for why this happened, I have a few thoughts, although if anyone else has some I'd love to hear it.  I think the poolish is still over-fermenting.  Although it wasn't as bad, I could still smell the alcohol, which isn't a good sign.  I can't reasonably let a poolish sit overnight for much less than 9 hours, so I'll have to either cut the yeast (tricky when I'm starting from 1/8 tsp), or make extra poolish and throw some away.  I also think that goofing up the oven temperature may have hampered the ability of the cuts to open, although I think primarily I just didn't slash deeply enough.  I also wonder if I might be degassng too much when I shape the baguettes.

I think next week I'm not going to vary anything except to change the yeast proportion in the poolish, and skip the goof on the oven temperature.  If I still get a tight crumb, then I'll examine other factors.



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