The Fresh Loaf

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trailrunner's picture

I had an abundance of discard yesterday so got creative and made some delicious treats. My discard is made up of "alto" and "sax" a white and a rye wild yeast starter. I add to it on a weekly basis. I regularly make the banana nut bread that I have posted before. I wanted to try a bread solely made from the discard. I used the 1-2-3 formula and 2% salt also added 2 scant tsp inst. yeast for good measure. The final dough was 500g starter discard- 1000g tap water-1500g GM bread flour- 30g Kosher salt. I dissolved the starter in the water and added the inst yeast. Mixed and autolysed for 30 min. Added the salt and did folds every 20 min x 4 times. Retarded overnight. where it quadrupled in the buckets. Removed this AM and shaped and let proof for about 1 1/2 hrs. While it was proofing I made the waffles that I had started yesterday evening from the discard. Recipe is on the KA site . It is a fantastic recipe and a great way to use discard. Photobucket Oven preheat to 500 and loaves were slashed and very heavily sprayed with water. I don't do any other steaming and have found the crust and oven spring are perfect. Bake 10 min and lower to 460 and bake an additional 25 min to 210 degrees. The loaves "sang" for 10 min on removal from the oven. The crust is very crisp and the crumb very tender and quite flavorful. Pleasantly sour and lots of grain flavor came through. I am well pleased with my experiment.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

hullaf's picture

I went to a local grist mill, called Fall's Mill in TN, and found some fresh cracked wheat. This is the bread recipe on the side of the bag: 

In a large mixing bowl pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over: 

2 cups cracked wheat

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup wheat germ 

Let cool. Meanwhile dissolve 1 package yeast in 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside to cool. 

Add 1 egg and 1 1/2 cups warm water to cooled wheat mixture. Add yeast and beat in 4 cups of bread flour. Work in additional 4 cups of bread flour by hand to make a fairly firm dough. Knead 5-10 minutes and turn into a greased bowl. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place. Punch down and divide into thirds. Form 3 loaves and let rise an additional 1-1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or more. Check often for even browning. Pull out pan, put back in oven for 1-2 minutes to crisp the crust. 

Now, my changes to the above were (don't we all tweak a bit?) -- I only made half the recipe as 3 loaves is way too much for just me and hubbie. I used half bread and half AP flours. I made a poolish with 6 ounces warm water + 6 ounces flour + 1/8 tsp of ADY and let it sit at room temp for 3 hours. I only kneaded 5 minutes by machine and 5 by hand. The final dough was shaped into one large loaf (9x5 pan) and a smaller (7x3x2). Total baking time was 45 min. and 25 minutes respectively. 

    cracked wheat    

The taste was very nice with the cracked wheat kernels soft and detectable. Next time I think I would put in a portion of whole wheat flour.   

Now I was so enamored with the cracked wheat that when I found a recipe in "Breadtime" by S.J. Cheney with sourdough I thought I'd try that too. The recipe is similar to the above, called Yeasted Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread and the ingredients are: 

3 cups spring water 

1 cup cracked wheat or rye 

1 cup sourdough starter 

7 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour 

1/4 tsp active dry yeast 

2 teaspoons sea salt 

2 tablespoons corn or other vegetable oil 

This time I made the whole amount, a lot of dough it is! I had been grooming my whole wheat starter a couple days before so that was used and I did soak the cracked wheat overnight with a pinch of salt. I didn't want a totally wheat bread so I used 1/3 whole wheat flour and the rest AP. I shaped the final amounts into one large boule which I baked in a preheated covered cast iron pot and the remaining into a 9x5 loaf (which turned out to be too big - next time I'll use an 8x4). Baked at 400F for 20 minutes, then uncovered with heat decreased to 350F for 28 more minutes. They both were removed from pans and set in oven with door slightly cracked for an additional 5 minutes to crisp the crust. 


This taste of cracked wheat with the sourdough was more tasty with a light sourdough flavor, but the cracked wheat was less pronounced. I think I should have not soaked it so long.  But, I liked this as well if not better than the non-sourdough one. 

I'm so pleased with my whole wheat sourdough starter. I know more and more every week how it reacts to temperature and technique, when it is ready and at it's best. It's nicely active -- which means every week I feed it, and each time I want to bake bread I "groom" it by refreshing/feeding it for 2 or 3 times every 12 hours beforehand. I do use the ratio of 1 part starter/3 parts water/4 parts wheat flour. Works for me. 

I also used my starter for Hamelman's Light Rye bread. It turned out so nice. I do think it is because of my sourdough starter and some newly bought whole rye flour from KA. But Hamelman's recipes always seem to work for me, too. 

   Hamelman's light rye 

So, my freezer is full of saved bread and I'm still eager to try some more recipes before the heat of summer makes me wish I had a southern outdoor kitchen out back. 




AnnieT's picture

Just in from a family dinner at a very nice bistro in town, our all time favorite. When the waiter brought the obligatory basket of bread the grandgirls fell on it like gannets as though they hadn't eaten in days. Imagine my delight when they announced, quite without prompting, that the bread wasn't as good as Nan's. Made my day! A.

Marni's picture

So, I've read David's scoring tutorial and now I have a question.  Knowing me, it was answered there and I've somehow missed it, but I'm wondering about different cuts.  I think it said that cutting a simple cross will help with upward expansion, my loaves here rose well, but I'm wondering if they would have risen more if I had cut at an angle.  These cuts were 90 degrees.  The tutorial said that straight angle cuts open faster and can halt the oven spring. 

So, should boules be cut at an angle, as a batard would be?  I haven't sliced these yet, so I don't know about the crumb, but my novice question is would a greater rise equal a more open structure or are too many variables involved (like hydration) to know.

sourdough scoring


The one on the left is a rosemary herb, and the right is regular sourdough, slightly undercooked to my taste.  They look flatter in this picture than they really are, they rose nicely, I just wondered if they could have risen even more.

proth5's picture

 Inspired by dmsnyder, I have been inching along on the challenge of making straight dough baguettes.

 I'm still getting over the fast action of commercial yeast, so I will try not to enthuse too much.

 This time I used my standard baguette formula (65% hydration) with 10% of my home milled high extraction flour and 90% King Arthur All Purpose.  Instant yeast was used at .5%.  I changed nothing else in the process - just the mix of flours

 I tried the trick of turning off the oven, but chickened out at two minutes.  The crust immediately out of the oven was very crackly, but did get softer as the baguettes cooled, but not nearly as much as the last batch.

 This time I was able to concentrate on my scoring.  The cooling baguettes are shown below.  I don't want to k'vel, but I think they look pretty nice. I love this oven spring with commercial yeast!  If anything they were a touch under proofed (gotta be me) but not by much.  Oh, OK, a little uneven on a couple of slashes and some tearing.

 Cooling Loaves

And here are the money shots.  The crumb.

 Crumb End

Crumb Tartine

Not bad.  So much depends on where the slice hits, but not bad.

 The taste? Again, lacking my little levain tang but pretty good.  I would say a tad better than all white.  The texture was fluffy.  I'm sure that toasted tomorrow they will be very nice.  Again, I would think this bread would be better in combination with "something else."  I feel that it has a sweetness to it that David didn't taste.

 Here are my observations on technique:

  • I add the salt at the beginning of the process.  I just don't think it makes a big difference and the voice in my head doesn't mock me about my irrational fear of salt.

  • Leaving the loaves in the oven for even two minutes had a significant effect on the "crackliness" of the crust.  Five minutes would be better.

  • I'd like to try these with even less yeast.  After 1 hour of bulk ferment these guys were definitely doubled.  If I pulled down the yeast a bit, the bulk ferment would take longer and I might get a better flavor (remembering that we want to get our loaves in the oven in 4-6 hours.)  My formula has about 1% less yeast than David's and this may have made a difference.  From past experience, I think it did.

  • I might (and I emphasize "might") up the hydration a bit.  The dough did feel a little stiff.  However I am standing firm that it is getting the fermentation correct, not just upping the hydration that creates the proper baguette crumb.  I only feel that the hydration should be increased ever so slightly to compensate for the whole wheat.

  • Folks who have watched me pre shape and shape dough remark on the quality of "the iron hand in the velvet glove" that I bring to my shaping (after years of practice).  I could be gentler I guess, but the voice in my head tells me that this is not the major factor (once you get to the "iron hand in velvet glove" phase - I mean if you are treating your baguettes like a stress relief ball, you need to back off) and I agree.  I think "gentle shaping" can be taken too far and this results in an unattractive end product.

  • I would make sure I concentrate on my scoring as this does have an impact.

  • I would steam normally.  The extra steam will probably just mess up the scoring.

Well, that's quite a binge of baguette baking.  I'm not prepared to give up my levains and pre ferments, but it's nice to know I can start a bread at noon and have it by dinner if I am pressed.

 David, I hope these observations are useful.

davidg618's picture

My wife and I love ciabatta, especially for soaking up soup, a handle for bruschettas, or a base for cheese. It was only natural I, obsessed with improving my bread baking skills (especially sourdoughs), would try a ciabatta.

I've been running a set of experiments trying to decide two things: 1) what hydration I should keep my SD seed starter at, and 2) is it worth the effort to do multiple builds to arrive at the formula starter I choose to use? This ciabatta was constructed with 250 gm. of 73% hydrated starter built with three intermediate stages. The initial seed starter was 10 gm. at 200% hydration. The target dough weight was 1050 gm. (three 350 gm. loaves) at 73% hydration.

My tentative conclusions are: 1) the 200% Hydration favors yeast, not bacteria, development. This results in short bulk, and final proof times, and good oven spring, but nearly indiscernable sourness. (This conclusion includes the results of two previous baguette bakes.), and 2) the three build starter time is worth it. This ciabatta has a distinctive, yet still mild, sour flavor: a nice compliment to bleu cheese, or French onion soup.

The crumb, is, to our needs, also near perfect. I expected an even more (undesired) dense crumb. I folded the dough more than its feel deemed necessary. However, neither I nor my wife are fans of the "more-holes-than-bread" crumb other bakers seem to strive for in ciabatta.

I've developed two spreadsheets:  The first helps us baker's calculate the flour and liquid for a target dough weight and target hydration, using (or not using) a SD starter, poolish, or sponge while also allowing choices re which flours ahd how much of each, as well as fluids--water isn't the only choice (i sometimes use beer). The second spread sheet calculates the required seed starter needed to create a desired starter weight and hydration, achieved with three builds--the necessary flour and water for each build is calculated also.. Each build triples the starter's beginning weight, and increases (or decreases) by one-third its hydration %. If anyone is interested, send me a message with your email address and I'll send you the spread sheets. They were built with Microsoft Excel (.xls extension.)

David G.

SylviaH's picture

I thought I would try D.T. DiMuzio's recipe from his book 'bread baking' for Sicilian Semolina Bread.  Everything went according to plan and the dough tested close to the goal Temperature of 77F.  Things could not have looked better...then I realized...Oh My Gosh!...I forgot to put in the Olive Oil...I knew I should have had it measured and ready to go....because if I don't have ingredients right in front of me...this happens!  I didn't even have the bottle of oil out on the much for earlier thoughts about the oil!  Oh it would probably be great even without the oil...but no...I wanted my oil.  No matter what!!  In it went.. all of it...slooooshing all around the dough...not mixing in very well ...what now!  I picked up about a Tablespoon of flour tossed it in around the dough and things seemed to come to together pretty good.  I don't think I will ever forget my oil again...lesson learned!  Things looked pretty good...other than I had a very puffy wet dough to try and form into an I did the best I could and made 2 with a backward S and one batard.  We had several slices with dinner and we thought the flavor was great.  So good in fact I thought I would take the one S out of the frig that I was going to retard for tomorrow.  I thought I would let it proof a little longer and see if that would help the S not to get so blown away as in the first loaf.  The first two were done on a pan with added steam>my new Lava Rocks!...I would do this last loaf in my Bell Cloche and see if there was any difference.  Well, not really anything that noticable..they looked pretty much the same both even had the S pretty much blown away...I think my dough was a little on the wet side...then maybe again it was the oil being added later on made the dough slack...Any comment on this will be greatly appreciated.  This was a first forgetting to add the oil and Im sure it must affect the gluten formation some any comments and advice are very much appreciated.

2 S Scrolls - One S and Batard baked with steamed oven - One S  in a La Cloche

Goal Temperature is 77F    This is when I realized I had forgotten the Oil! :>/

Olive Oil has been added and Temperature holding at 77.7   Im thinking I need these lucky numbers!

Batard was nearly all eaten! It had a very nice buttery flavor from the duram flour...we are not crazy on the seeds..but I wanted to stick with tradition and they did add a nice toasty flavor. Things had turned out better than I thought  adding the oil so late didn't seem to do to much harm.

S on the Left was Oven Steamed                                               S on Right was baked in the Bell Cloche and retarded for about 2 hrs. in the frig.

                                                                                             longer before baking.

Crumb on Batard





Baker_Dan's picture

Hey everyone! I'm an avid reader as of a few days ago and finally decided to add some content! I"ve been baking at home for a couple years, attended Oregon Culinary Institute for Baking and Pastry, and now work in a test kitchen, baking up yummy deliciousness. I, as many others, have high hopes of someday opening my own bakery right here in Portland and focusing on artisan breads.

Last night I took one of my favorite Italian bread recipes and simply changed it from one loaf to three smaller baguettes. At the time of the picture, one had already been consumed by my girlfriend and a friend that was visiting. I've been working on getting my slashing down on baguettes and think that I finally nailed it here. Let me know what you think!

proth5's picture

 What is this?  Loaves made with commercial yeast, no pre-ferment, and all commercially ground flour?  I'm flashing back. beads.

But I promised I would try this as part of the baguette surprise and challenge.  It was like riding a bike.  How fast those commercial yeasts do their little thing! (6 hours from scaling to bread and 2 of that was my slow mixing!)  How easy!

I made my standard baguette formula (65% hydration) adapted to commercial yeast.  I feel that my % of yeast - which was .5% - was a bit high, but looking at dmsynder's formula it seemed ok.

I did not use any whole wheat flour because I wanted to go "single factor" on this try - my sourdough baguettes vs. commercial yeast.

I've written up the technique and formula before and I followed it as only I can (like a maniac) - although I did have to adjust the timings for the bulk ferments (1 hour, fold, 1 hour) and proofing (40 minutes).  Shaping went "as usual" - I did not try to be especially light in my shaping although I have been told that I have a "light but firm" hand "naturally" (yeah, after years of practice...). I got a little distracted during the scoring, but steamed and baked as usual.

Oh my goodness!  The oven spring!  I remember when bread sprang quite like that!  This commercial yeast is the bee's knees! No wonder so many people use it!  Wow!

 Here' a picture of the cooling loaves where my haste in scoring is clearly evident.  But even so, the slashes opened well and have some nice grigne.  Alas, it seems that no yeast wild or commercial will improve my photography skills, though.

Cooling Loaves


I did NOT leave them in the turned off oven for 5 minutes, as again, I wanted to go all single factor on this.  When the loaves came out of the oven the crust was crackly and fragile.  I kept poking my fingers through it as I squeezed the loaves to test doneness and it came off in flakes.  As the loaves cooled, however, they lost the crackly quality somewhat.  I really think the slower cooling has some virtues and some role to play in that "crackly crust." (I also now think that excess steam is the culprit on cuts not opening...)

Here are a couple of crumb shots.  The crumb is not as open as my normal baguette, but it is not horrific.  The slashing flaws have a role to play there.

 Crumb End


The bread had a "fluffy" feeling when I bit into it.  Very soft  and springy as compared to my normal levain baguette.

And the taste?  Well, bland.  Nice, sweet, wheaty, no hint of yeast, but bland.  This would make a lovely "carrier bread" as far as I am concerned - some really good butter and jam would go nicely and is almost required.  I'd gladly toast it up for a breakfast tartine.  Remember that I haven't eaten any breads not produced with wild yeast in at least three years now, so my perspective is somewhat skewed.  But so easy! This commercial yeast is the best things since - well, since sliced bread!

 (Seriously, you can see why bakers, pressed to get bread on the shelves for morning customers, embraced this marvelous yeast when it first appeared.  Taste?  Close enough.  People will eat it if that's all we sell and if we sell it warm, who will know?  For my personal baking I would never forgo the preferment - even using commercial yeast - because it is just so easy to do and can be done during non working hours.  But for speed from mixing to baked loaf after long centuries of baking with wild yeast, this must have been viewed with tremendous enthusiasm.)

At some point I will try the 10% whole wheat.  I mean, why not? The whole process is so fast...

David, I hope my experiences are helpful to you in some small way.

 Happy Baking!

breitbaker's picture


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