The Fresh Loaf

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Yippee's picture

I tried SteveB's double flour addition/double hydration techniques to make his ciabatta, one of the three beautiful breads I promised myself to learn from some of the most sophiscated, well-respected home bakers here at TFL when I first started making bread back in February this year. Since then I'd tried dmsnyder's baguettes and Susan's ultimate sourdough.  I've always tried my best to emulate the orginal formulas so that my breads would not 'disgrace' the beautiful creations by these bakers.  My ciabatta is no comparison to Steve's picture perfect creation, but at least I can say 'I've tried it'.  Thank you, Steve, for your inspiration of pursuing professional quality breads from a home kitchen.

Caltrain's picture

I'm relatively new to breadmaking and I've been lurking here quite a bit. I think it's about time I made my first post, but since I want to show off my bread, why not make it a blog post?

^ Whole wheat sourdough ready for their overnight retard. Obama lurks in the background, waiting. Some 14 hours later, the boule pops out of the oven.

Lately I've been increasingly obsessed with baking (well, eating) the best damn whole wheat sourdough. WGB got me off to a good start, as did Laurel's but, ehh... something was missing. WGB was an amazing read, but its hearth bread made with sourdough... it was dense, chewy, and not at all what I wanted. The flavor was maybe not the right kind of nutty. So what it came down to was me searching this site inside out. There's quite a bit of valuable information around these parts! This last link also saved my sanity once or twice. :p

There were plenty of flat loafs in between, but I think I've got it.


I used 100% hydration sourdough starter that's ~3 months old. The final hydration was 82%.

I'm happy with how the loaf turned out. The oven spring was far better than I expected. I think the final tweak that made everything "click" was to not flip the dough onto a flat board for scoring, but into a shallow, parchment-lined bowl. The curvature of the bowl angled the dough in such a way that I got a flat surface to score. It made the dough look somewhat deflated and scoring actually harder without the surface tension, but somehow the "liveliness" of the dough was preserved better in the end. I scored the dough, then lifted it out by the parchment and dumped the whole affair into a covered 3.6 quart wide-lipped casserole. The casserole was also another great discovery. I dug it out of a thrift store intending to use the flat lid as a base, but found that using it right-side up gave the loaf juuust the right amount of structural support while still being largely free standing. I baked the loaf at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, and that was that.

^ The crumb.

I also whipped up some 115% hydration dough/batter for a shot at ciabatta.

^ The ciabatta posing with the boule in the back.

Like the round, I made an overnight soaker containing half the final flour and all of the salt and water. The ciabatta soaker was so hydrated that the water and flour gave up and separated into their own sedimentary layers. Not pretty. The next day I added the starter and remaining flour and stretch-and-folded it in the container with one hour rests in between. After the 3rd set of folding, the batter started peel easily from the container and I decided to divide dough into two and placed 'em in the fridge.

I wasn't expecting much of the ciabatta. It was just a side experiment, and the open vent on my aging oven makes steaming futile. I've gotten around on the boule with the glass casserole, but for the ciabatta, I just cranked my oven up to as high as it'll go and chucked in the ciabatta on the tiles for 10-15 minutes. There still managed to be pretty good oven spring.

So, how'd it do?

^ Damn. Either it was under-kneaded or flour simply wasn't meant to be this hydrated.

I ended up getting a cavern, and over-floured it while trying to shape it. Oh well; that didn't stop the bread from being some of the most deliciously airy and fluffy bread I've tasted with just the right tang. Once the excess flour was vigorously patted off, anyways.

So, there you go. If anyone would like the full recipe for the ciabatta, I'd be happy to post it. I'm still tweaking the hydration and so forth.

^ One last shot of the crust. Btw, apologies if the pictures seem washed out, poorly composed, or whatever. I'm not a photographer by any means.

Whole Wheat Sourdough

Soaker grams
whole wheat flour 230 g
salt 4 g
water 340 g
Final grams
soaker 574 g
starter (100% hydration)
140 g
salt 3-5 g
whole wheat flour 200 g
total 917 g
  1. On the day before:
    • Refresh the starter and thoroughly mix the soaker ingredients.

    • Cover the soaker and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature for an overnight autolyse.

  2. Mixing and first rise:
    • Mix all final ingredients. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then stretch-and-fold in the bowl to ensure hydration is even. Cover the bowl, and let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.

    • I pre-heated an insulated proofing box (a cooler) with a heat pad set to "low". The ambient temperature should be around 90 degrees.

    • Stretch-and-fold the dough 3 times, with one hour rests following each iteration in the proofing box.

  3. Shaping and final proof:
    • Pre-shape, rest 15 minutes, then shape. Place the dough in cloth-lined proofing basket and cover snuggly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

    • Place the basket immediately in the refrigerator for a 12-24 hour overnight rise.

  4. Baking:
    • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest for 90 minutes.

    • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 F with a baking stone and a covered 3.6 qt glass casserole.

    • Flip the dough into a shallow, parchment-lined bowl. Score the dough.

    • Place the dough in the casserole, cover it, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 450 F degrees.

tuneb's picture

This website is awsome!!  Eating homade bread is the best thing in the world. The bread I made before finding this website was junk, but now I'll give my bread away to anybody willing to eat it and feel proud. I've started the sourdough starter listed under "handbook" and everything happened as written. Its the 8th day , but on the 6th day it started smell beerey. About 30 min after I feed it it smells kinda nutty but as the day goes on it gets back to beerey. Is this normal?

alabubba's picture

A full cooling rack!

NOT pictured, 2 more of the small baguettes, 2 rolls, and a dozen Biscuit.

(please don't look at my sink full of dishes. I promise I washed them all after dinner)

Pictured, Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes, Water Roux Sweet Bread Rolls and Loaf.

Mebake's picture

I came back from vacation!

I made this Barley batard (1/3 barley , 2/3 Whole Wheat), hearth bread.

Al though i used volume measurements, it turned our more or less sufficient. here it goes:

1 cup naked barley flour (1/3)

2 Cups Whole Wheat flour (2/3)

1 table spoon salt

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1.85 Cup of water, so roughly the final dough is 62% hydration (i could not elevate the hydration further because of the barley flour which kind of hinders the shaping process).

I used peter reinhart's method of delayed fermentation: i.e. split the doughs of each flower into halves, one contains yeast and goes to the fridge for 24hrs, while the other contains salt and remains outside in a warm place for 24hrs.

24hrs later, i combine the Biga (yeasted one) with the soaker (salted one), and make the bulk dough , and leave it to ferment for 1.5 hours until roughly 1.5 X the size.

Then, i scrape the fermented dough into a workspace WITHOUT de-flating it, and formed a Batard. At this point i heated the oven to 500 F, or 260 C while the bartard is left to ferment the final fermentation.

Half an hour later I used lava rocks in a Teflon cake mold and pured hot water to creat steam, and put the batard onto a parchment paper, and into the oven. the batard streched sideways, but oven rise compensated!

50 minutes later : VOILA!        VERY TASTEY

The loaf


dmsnyder's picture

We're invited for dinner tomorrow at the home of one of my favorite high school teachers. He and his wife have become our good friends over the years. I offered to bring bread and decided to bake two different breads that I think they will enjoy: The Miche, Pointe-à-Callière from Hamelman's "Bread" and my own San Joaquin Sourdough. (This version)

My wife thought the miche would be just too much, so I divided the dough and baked two boules of 820 gms each.

Boules, Pointe-à-Callière

Rather a "bold bake" of these, but I expect the caramelized crust to be very tasty. 

Boules, Pointe-à-Callière crumb

Here's another photo of the boule that's going to dinner.


And the San Joaquin Sourdough. I think it was a bit under-proofed. The oven spring was ... exuberant. 

San Joaquin Sourdough 


Submitted to Yeast Spotting


inlovewbread's picture

The inspiration for this bake:  

Susan at Wild Yeast has incredible breads on her site and I've printed out quite a few to try. This was one of them. 

I didn't have currants or pine nuts at the time, so I baked with what I had. The colors went with fall anyhow, and cranberry walnut is a winning combination. I was drawn to this recipe also for the semolina- curious to see how baking with it (vs. durum flour) would turn out.

Susan's formula was followed except for thechange of the fennel, currants and pine nuts. I also had to make adjustments for the starter as the hydration of my starter is 50% instead of the 100% starter called for in the formula. The crumb is a lot tighter than in a regular baguette, but I was relieved to see the pictures on Susan's blog to be similar to mine :-) I don't know how easy it is to get big holes with 50% semolina...

We all loved the taste of these baguettes and couldn't get enough. It was actually sad when they were gone. I plan on making this same formula, but shaped as a crown instead- for the holidays coming up. It would be a beautiful centerpiece lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Hmmm..I may have to make a practice loaf for that....

Thanks to Susan from Wild Yeast/ Yeast Spotting for sharing this recipe!

inlovewbread's picture

I've been wanting to try "Pain Normande" ever since seeing it on SteveB's blog recently. Not only did I want to attempt to replicate his lovely bread, but I also conveniently have a ton of apples that I needed to use up. There are a lot of orchards around where I live so it's easy to come by (free!) great apples and fresh pressed apple cider. So, I threw a bunch of these apples in the dehydrator and got out the cider for this loaf. 

It's funny- I just read dmsnyder's blog about this very bread the day before I planned to bake. I'm glad I did because I took some of his findings/ comments into consideration. I wanted to avoid an "earthy" whole wheat flavor and instead taste more sweet apple taste. I've been baking Susan's Simple Sourdough almost every week and have been tweaking that recipe here and there and wanted to add some type of add-in, now that I have a good foundation for that loaf. Long story short, I basically disregarded the original pain normande formula and instead, made-up one based on Susan's Simple Sourdough. 

Here's what I used:

51g 50% Firm Starter

250g KA Bread Flour

40g Durum Flour

10g White Whole Wheat Flour (freshly ground)

6g Sea Salt

175g Apple Cider

25g Water

1/3 cup chopped, Dried Apples

I used the double hydration technique, mixing starter, and 110g flour (all flours mixed) for 3 minutes. THen added the rest of the flours and mixed in a KA for 3 minutes. 20 min rest, add salt, stretch and fold and incorporate apples. Then I did 3 more sets of S+F's at 30 min intervals. Into brotform and retard overnight. Take out 1 hour before bake and pre-heat oven to 460f. Baked 20 min w/ bowl ("magic bowl") and 25 min uncovered, last 5 min w/ oven door open.

Overall, I think it turned out pretty well. I was a little concerned at first when we cut into it that it was under-baked because it was a little tacky. I think this was caused by 1: not waiting long enough for it to cool (waited one hour, but it could've been more) 2: too much durum flour. If I use this percentage of durum flour again, I would use AP flour instead of bread flour for a little less gluten chew. Or, just use about half the % of durum and more WW flour. 3: The cider- it was really thick, so I think it helped to create a tighter crumb and chewier/dense texture. (i suspect, I don't know.) Anyway, I was very pleased the next day with this bread. It tasted so much better after an overnight sit in a brown paper bag. This bread was really good toasted. So next time, I would let it sit for 1/2 a day or more before cutting into it.

Oh, and as for the scoring- I wish I'd cut all the way around the apple stencil. Ah, next time...




breadnik's picture


I developed this recipe when I was missing my traditional Russian coriander-rye bread but did not yet have enough skills or confidence to try making it in its classic form, which requires both the sourdough starter and the soaker and includes no wheat flour whatsover. However, I was mindful of a different Russian rye bread (we have a few dozen of them), just as sweet and flavorful but made with caraway and wheat flour, a little less coarse, more tender, but still very full-bodied. This recipe combines some properties of both of them (while actually being neither), and has an important advantage: it is simple enough for a novice.

Here is the recipe (makes two ~1-pound loaves), all measurements in grams:

Dark Rye Flour 270
White Bread Flour 80
Whole Wheat Flour (as coarse as you can get) 80
Vital Wheat Gluten 80
Yeast 4
Sea Salt 12
Freshly Ground Coriander Seeds 4
Honey 60
Molasses 60
Water 280-300
Canola Oil 30

This is a direct dough designed for overnight fermentation (hence low yeast content). I measure and mix all my dry ingredients, then add my wet ingredients one by one, with water going in last. If the dough turns out too sticky, add a tad more wholewheat flour. You may want to knead it but I usually get by with 2-3 stretch-and-folds.

If I want my loaves to be sprinkled with flour, I shape the loaves on a heavily floured board. If I want them shiny I shape them on my tiled countertop, lightly sprayed with canola oil to prevent sticking, and spray them with water just before sprinkling them with coriander seeds and putting them in the oven. The baking is as usual: at 475, with steam in the first few minutes, for about 10 minutes, then decrease temperature (I usually turn it down to 325 with convection) and bake until the internal temperature reaches 185-190F.

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce



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