The Fresh Loaf

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cpc's picture

I decided to try the Gérard Rubaud bread that so many people around here seem to be enjoying.  I followed dmsnyder's instructions using a single levain build.  I had quite a bit of trouble shaping this dough into batards; it was sticking to everything and didn't seem to have much strength at all.  I proofed the loaves in a (improvised) couche but during proofing they seemed to fall and spread out instead of rise.  Fortunately they sprang quite a bit in the oven.

My scoring mostly disappeared! This seems to happen quite a bit to me.  I think they might be under-proofed or not scored deep enough.  Maybe?

I'm not sure about this crumb.  Yes, there certainly are holes!  But I'm wondering if they are from poor shaping technique because the non-hole crumb is a bit dense.

Nitpickiness about scoring and crumb structure aside, these loaves taste great!  Thanks to dmsnyder and TFL for the formula for a fantastic loaf!

dmsnyder's picture


The Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain au Levain has been a smash success for all those who have made it. Thanks again to Shiao-Ping for bringing this remarkable bread to our attention after reading about it on MC's blog.

The most remarkable features of this bread are its fabulous aroma and flavor. How much they derive from Rubaud's very special flour mix and how much from his fermentation and other techniques has been a matter of some speculation. So, today I made my San Joaquin Sourdough using Rubaud's mix of flours. I did not use Rubaud's flour mix in the sourdough starter. I used my usual flour mix of AP, WW and Rye.

 Gérard's blend of flours comes through. It's my new favorite San Joaquin Sourdough version.

The aroma of the baked bread was intoxicating, and the flavor was wonderful. Rubaud is not a fan of cold fermentation, if I understand MC correctly. The San Joaquin Sourdough uses an overnight cold retardation of the dough before dividing and proofing. In comparison to the Rubaud pains au levain I've made, the San Joaquin Sourdough was noticeably tangier. I happen to like that, but others may not.

I also tried to use Rubaud's method of shaping his bâtards, which accounts for the “charming rustic appearance” of my loaves. I trust that, after another 40 years of practice, mine will be almost as nice as Gérard's. 



Flour Wts for Levain & Dough



Total Wt. (g)

Total for Levain




Total for Final Dough




Total of Flours for the recipe













Total Dough:

Baker's %

Weight (g)













Conversion factor





Baker's %

Weight (g)














Final Dough:

Baker's %

Weight (g)


















  1. Mix the firm starter (1:3:5 – Starter:Water:Flour). Let it ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

  2. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add the starter and dissolve it in the water.

  3. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let it sit for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes 2 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do a stretch and fold.

  7. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.

  8. After 45 minutes, repeat the stretch and fold on the board.

  9. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.

  10. Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.

  11. Cold retard the dough for about 20 hours.

  12. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately transfer it to a lightly floured board.

  13. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them into logs or rounds, depending on whether you want to make boules or bâtards. Cover the pieces with plasti-crap and let them rest for 60 minutes. (Give them a shorter rest if the kitchen is very warm. You don't want them to expand very much, if any.)

  14. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  15. Shape the pieces and place them in bannetons or on a couche. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded by 50-70%. (30-45 minutes)

  16. Pre-steam the oven. The transfer the loaves to a peel (or equivalent). Score, load them onto your baking stone and steam the oven again.

  17. Turn the oven down to 450ºF.

  18. After 12 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus. Turn the loaves 180º, if necessary for even browning.

  19. Continue to bake the loaves for another 15-18 minutes or until their internal temperature is 205ºF.

  20. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  21. Cool the loaves completely before slicing.



    Submitted to YeastSpotting

    P.S. If your scale doesn't measure to 0.01 gms, don't be concerned. I'm playing with a new spreadsheet which generated the numbers above. Feel free to round at will.


txfarmer's picture

2/14 is Chinese New Year this year, to celebrate the year of tiger, I baked the "tiger cake" above. Inside, it's a "tiger print cake", which is really a zebra cake in disguise. The Recipe is from:

Then I made Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream from"Rose’s Heavenly Cakes", a complicated recipe but so worth it. I don't know why some people dislike her method, she's so detailed and precise, I've always gotten good results following her instructions. Not necessarily the most authentic results, but always the results she promised. Finally I drew the little tiger and tiger prints on the sides. Honestly that's the most time consuming part!


Now for the Valentine's Day, I made Apple Caramel Charlotte, also from "Rose’s Heavenly Cakes". Again, tastes and looks great, even though the instruction was 7 full pages, and it took me 3 days to complete.

The creme was silky smooth, matches perfectly with the slightly tart apple topping

Matches perfectly with the roses I got from my husband!

rossnroller's picture

Hi folks. ABC Rural Radio's 'Bush Telegraph' program has a regular segment called 'Food On Friday', and last year they broadcast a feature on sourdough bread. This included an interview with John Downes, the so-called "father of Australian sourdough", who is currently spreading the love in the UK.  I found the whole program compelling listening.

Because of the time that has elapsed, the segment is no longer archived on the ABC Rural Radio site, but a staff member kindly made it available to me on request. I have now embedded an MP3 recording of the segment in my recent blog post, so it can remain a publicly available resource. Thought people here might be interested in having a listen. If so, you'll find the MP3 at the following link:

Sourdough Rising - The Artisan Bread Baking Revolution


Cheers all

ananda's picture


Caraway Rye Bread.

This is a favourite with my wife, and one I want to truly perfect in the next few months, for "Competition Bread" purposes.   It works as follows: 75% Strong White flour, and 25% Dark Rye in the form of a 15 hour sourdough culture.   Black strap molasses and caraway seeds for flavour; overall, just shy of 65% hydration.

Formulae, method and photographs shown below:

Rye Sourdough Refreshment and Final Dough for 2 large "Miche-style" loaves

Materials, etc.

Formula [% of flour] 

Recipes in Grams

1.First Refreshment: 11.02.2010. 20:30


Ferment, ambient for 24 hours [approx 18 - 20°C]

Leaven from stock [wheat: 100 flour, 60 water]

Flour: 7



Flour31, water19

Dark Rye









2.Second Refreshment: 12.02.2010. 20:30


Ferment, ambient for 15 hours [approx 22°C]

Leaven from above



Dark Rye






TOTAL @ 31°C




[Flour 100, Water 155.2]

[Flour 431, Water 669]

3.Final Dough: 13.02.2010. start mixing 11:30, finish 12:20



Rye Sour [from above]

64 [flour 25, water 39]

855 [flour 333, water 522]

Strong White Flour






Caraway Seeds



Black Strap Molasses



Water @ 40°C







Pre-fermented flour [all rye] 25%



Overall hydration 64.8%




  • Follow the refreshment timetable to create an active culture
  • My kitchen was cool this morning [13°C], and flour and sour very similar [sour actually 18] Addition of cold syrupy molasses, so the water I used was bath temperature; even then the final dough was only 21°C. This is fine, although I would have liked 25; end result 2 hour bulk instead of 1½ hours. Anyway, you end up with a very sticky mass, so here is how to combine materials relatively pain-free. Weigh the hot water, and dissolve the molasses into this. Add this to the sour, and add the salt and caraway seeds. Mix together til blended. Add the white flour and loosely mix. Autolyse 30 minutes. Mix on the bench top, and between the hands in front of you [Andrew Whitley's "Air Kneading"; Breadmatters, 2006]. The Rye and Molasses make it sticky, but the strong flour means it will mix into a strong and developed dough, so persevere. Do not add any flour; that goes without saying, of course!
  • Brush the bowl sparingly with olive oil, and store the dough, covered with plastic sheet for bulk proof in a warm environment. I do this on the hearth, just below and in front of our trusty wood-burning stove.
  • Stretch and fold twice, after 40 minute intervals; see photos.
  • After 2 hours bulk proof, scale and divide and mould. Set to final proof in bannetons, in similar conditions to bulk time.
  • Pre-heat the oven for up to 2 hours to store heat in the bricks. Add boiling water to the roasting pan of hot stones at the oven base, to create steam. Tip the first dough piece onto a pre-heated tray, cut diamond-shapes across the whole crust surface, and place on top of the hot bricks to bake.
  • Turn down the heat on the oven to 200°C after 15 minutes, and slide the dough directly onto the bricks. Use the hot tray to cover the roasting dish and thus prevent further steam formation in the oven chamber. I baked the first loaf [1290g weight] for 45 minutes, and the second loaf took 35 minutes [just over 1050g]
  • Cool on wires.

Photographs , in sequence, are attached below, but no video, as these were made at home.

I also made some Ciabatta with "00" flour, a wheat levain and super-hydration of 85%.   More details to follow; apologies for not quite capturing the full quality of this finished bread.   It is quite superb in terms of flavour.

Best wishes




turosdolci's picture

Torta di Ricotta e Riso

Torta di Ricotta e riso is an Easter specialty. Some might call this a calzone or pizzagaina, but this torta has no meat. Ricotta is the favored cheese for Easter dishes in Italy and is made into pizzas, pasta's, cheesecakes and connoli.




Freestylin's picture

So i really hope that someone out there can help me??????

For the past two weeks i have been growing a sourdough starter which i refresh daliy with 70g organic white flour, 30g organic rye flour and 100g spring water (disgarding most of the starter before feeding). I'm very pleased to say that my starter is ready to use, doubled in size over 24 hours, lots of bubbles and a thick layer of froth on top - only problem is i have no idea where to go from here!!! I have been reserching the net but dont seem to be getting anywhere so thought i would give this a shot!!!

My starter reaches its peak at about 7pm and by the morning it has subsided sightly....what im really looking for is a great recipe for a large white crusty loaf and the same in granary or brown. I am wondering if i should use it when its at its peak, and if so can i leave the dough to prove overnight so i can bake in the morning???

I have spoken to people who suggest that you can use yeast along side your starter as this gives good effects....have anyone used this method? does it work well and how would i go about doing this (working out how much to use of each).

Also i plan to bake at least every other day so do i need to put my starter in the fridge or is it ok to leave it out, refreshing it everytime i use it..up until now i have left my starter out in the kitchen.

Wow so many questions!!! im really keen to get going, and i would love to get some help from people who have been there and done it!

Thanks in advance!


davidg618's picture

I've been baking artisanal bread only eight months. TFL has been my primary mentor, and inspiration. Prior, I baked bread, weekly, in our Zojirushi bread machine, dutifully turning out three loaves of sandwich white bread, or 40% whole wheat sandwich bread: machine kneaded and proofed, oven baked. For hearth-baked breads we sought out commercial bakeries--San Antonio in the winter months, eastern Connecticut in the summers. On rare occasions I'd buy a packaged bread mix, and bake it in our Zo; we were usually dissapointed.

Yesterday, I was rumaging around in a cupboard, looking for something. I didn't find what I was looking for, because far in the back I found a long-forgotten bread mix: 9 Grain, Hodgson Mill, at least a year old, likely even more ancient. Let me quickly add, I have never been employed by nor reimbursed in any way by Hodgson Mill--I don't even know what state they call home. Neither is it my intention to write this post to praise their mix, but as things turned out...

For the moment, I forgot what I'd been looking for. The bread mix caught my full attention. I opened it; the sealed-cellophane enclosed flour appeared bug free--hard to tell for certain among the ground seed specks scattered throughout. I was doubtful, however, about the yeast packet enclosed; I searched for a date stamp, but found none, and the label's ink looked...well, faded. I briefly considered tossing it all in the waste bin; my Yankee frugalness kicked in, and I considered saving the scant four cups of flour mix to incorporate into one of my future loaves.

Finally, I decided to just make it.

I got out the bread machine--we still use it every third or fourth week--to make our favorite sandwich breads, but it no longer has its own place on the kitchen counters. I tossed out the yeast packet, and substituted a tsp. and one-half from our freezer-kept IDY, known to be fresh. I put the machine on dough cycle, and bulk proofed the dough an additional forty-five minutes, for a total of one hour and fifty minutes. I panned it, and let it rise until slightly more than doubled, slashed it and baked it at the recommended 350°F. Other than replacing the yeast, extending the bulk-proofing time, slashing the top, and steaming for the first ten miuntes I followed the manufacturer's directions.

Nothing unrecognizeable (nor unprouncable) in the ingredients. I toasted two pieces this morning, and added a bit of butter and a dab of honey. Mmmm-m-m-m!

So what's the point?

For me, it was a reminder, and a little lesson in humility. I don't have to go to the obsessive degree I do to have good bread. Tasty and nutritious home-made bread is within reach of anyone willing to take a very few steps beyond grabbing a loaf in the bread aisle. I choose to bake because it's fun, and I get an ego boost proportional to the loaves' oven spring, its flavor, and my family's and friend's praises. But at the end of the day, I'm only doing what my ancestors have done, at times with only their hands for tools, and an open fire: baking our daily bread.

David G.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Another original idea. Lamb/wine braising liquid and ground rosemary mixed to about 75% hydration with KA AP flour. Stretched and folded in the bowl twice over three hours, left on the counter overnight at about 70 degrees. Further bulk fermentation of four or five hours due to the interference of a dentist's appointment. Back out on the counter for an hour, then gently plopped out of the bowl, stretched and treated like grissini, only fatter. Some were shaped with care. A crumb shot of one of these is shown.

This concludes the experiments with flavored liquids for the moment, as I have run out of stuff that needs to get out of the freezer. There is really no limit to what one could come up with. As far as I know, there is not much, if any, of this kind of thing going on beyond the pain marin at Ledoyen in Paris. High end restaurants could have a field day with this approach, and home bakers can dress up their dinner parties with something novel. Crackers and flatbreads are other obvious ways to go.

As always, comment and criticism invited.


submitted to yeastspotting

zoltan szabo's picture
zoltan szabo

Hello to everyone,

I would like to share with you guys my todays loaf.

I made it with brown flour feed 100% hydration sourdough starer.


375gr strong flour

127gr starter

245gr water

8gr salt

10gr vegetable oil

extra flour for dusting

1. first kneading time is for about 10minute by hand.

2. rest for 4-6hrs.

3. knead back for 10minute again by hand.

4. proof in banneton for 2.5hrs.

5. bake in 220C oven for 30min with some steam.

6. 5 minute on 180C with half open oven door.

7. rest on wire rack

By the way guys, I really like this site and I think some of you's have an absolute great talent for this bread baking!






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