The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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alfanso's picture

Came across this  YT video and thought I'd give it a whirl.  Trying to spreadsheet a formula from the video's posted percentages and amounts, and nothing really meshed, so I had to massage the spreadsheet for a while to get the amounts into percentages.  And he is off by more than a very small amount on the hydration and minor amounts elsewhere.  

Once that was saved and printed, off I went.  The formula creates a quite sticky dough which should, according to the baker, double and become soft and billowy within ~2-3 hours of BF time.  Mine barely moved.  So I threw it into the refrigerator, for "later".  

And went back to the formula, changed a few parameters and ran it again later the same day.  This time I cut down on the hydration, bumped up the WW to 20% and upped the PFF to 20%.   Less sticky, but same BF result, only with a little more volume, but nowhere near doubled.  Another into retard.

Both were shaped this morning and sent back to retard once more.  The second batch was less sticky and easier to shape.  2 consecutive bakes as these are too large to place all 4 across my oven deck.

The pair with the double score is from the first batch, the single score is the second batch.

The "original" formula:

The 20% WW version on the left has a more pronounced flavor than the "original" on the right.  Due to the higher hydration the right loaf would seem to be more open crumbed throughout, but I haven't cut beyond this yet.

725g x 4 batards

alfanso's picture

Here you will find all five breads that I’m promoting for the current CB.  All of the “rules” and general instructions can be found in the CB.

To avoid overwhelming the CB posting with too many selection of choices, I’ve included the two additional suggestions in this post.  All formulae here are my own take on the breads. 
============== the first three ===================


 Semolina "Pain au Levain".  This Jeffrey Hamelman version has a 60/40 mix of semolina/bread flour, employs a 125% hydration bread flour levain, and carries an overall hydration of 67%.

1) One of TFL’s resident Kiwis, leslieruf offers her version.

2) My own take for one of my go-to breads, on this marvelous winning delight.


Tom Cat Semolina Filone.  Maggie Glezer’s version of this on again/off again occasional TFL favorite will challenge you due to its very high hydration.  I found this bread difficult to wrangle, but it makes some of the finest toast I’ve ever had.  55.5/45.5 semolina/bread flour, 130% hydration Poolish, 89% overall hydration. 
NOTE: Due to a misunderstanding of American English/Transcription error, the original Tom Cat formula that previously was posted below carried an absurdly high overall 89% hydration.  Thanks to an email conversation with Abe, it was determined that the Poolish was incorrectly stated.  The corrected version is now in its place, with an Poolish hydration of 90% and an overall hydration of 75%.  The 45/55 % or AP/Semolina still remains.

1) semolina_man baked a delightful version of this bread.


2) As does dmsnyder, David's interpretation.

Pane di Altamura/Matera. These two neighboring towns, in the heel region of the Italian peninsula, produce rather uniquely shaped (or mis-shapen) breads. 

Altamura is 100% semolina including a 66% hydration biga, with a relatively low overall hydration of 65%.  


Matera is also 100% semolina including a 50% hydration levain / lievito madre with a 66% overall hydration.

1) Our own breadforfun’s Brad did a field trip there several years ago, and reports on his experience and bake.


2) Baker anonymous, better known as Abe, offers us his version.

EDIT.  Build 3 above should read 150g Sem., 75g Water

3) I tried my hand at this one as well.

 4) Brad (breadforfun) pointed out this Michael Wilson beauty and I thought that I'd include it here, where it seems to belong!  Michael is as serious and accomplished as it gets here on Isle TFL when it comes to Italian breads. 
============== Additional formulae ===================
Semolina Challah.  Looking quite afar, my playful merging of the enriched goodness of Maggie Glezer's popular version with my own 50/50 semolina/bread flour mix. This (heavily dosed) IDY bread carries an overall hydration of 78% when taking into account the eggs, water, neutral flavored oil and honey.  I tried variations of semolina percentages up to 100% with a levain, but personally settled on one that is a 50/50 mix with IDY.  This will also provide an opportunity to introduce you to braiding, as it did to me.  Demonstrated here by Jeffrey Hamelman with a six strand braid.
1) Early TFL star, zolablue provides a magnificent looking levain bread flour version. 
2) Recent rising star baker benito, Benny's, take on Ms. Glezer’s levain bread flour.
 Semolina with pine nuts, sultanas and fennel seeds.  For “extra credit” and for those longing to have a fruit, nut or seed to incorporate, this one has all three.  Based on a mix of both the Amy’s Bread  bakery in NYC and Susan's wildyeastblog versions.  59/41 semolina/bread flour, 100% hydration Liquid Levain, 65% overall hydration. 1) dmsnyder's version of this superb “afternoon wine and cheese” bread. 


 2) A personal favorite, it has incredible flavor and has delighted all whose tonsils have come to know it. 
============== end ===================
alfanso's picture

Here you will find the three formulae for the three NY Jewish Bakery/Deli Rye Breads from the Community Bake for rye breads. Refer to the CB for details.

Aviso! For the first two breads do not proof the loaves directly on a couche.  They will stick mercilessly, the clean-up will be significant and may ruin your couche.  I have no experience using a dutch oven type of vessel with these, so I cannot advise what you should or shouldn't do.

Eric Hanner's Rye Sponge Rye Bread



David's detailed Rye Sour walkthrough

This is what the completed 3rd stage of the rye sour should look like

David Snyder's Rye Sour Rye Bread (12/05, updated from original post)

(12/07 formula updated to reflect David's updated Rye Sour 3 stage Build)

You can use a loaf pan for proofing.  The pans are sprayed with a light coating of oil and then floured, seam side up.


I prefer the following method...Blocking the sides of the loaf to avoid the dough spreading out laterally.  This will maintain a consistent shape and provide some loft.  Used on both the Hanner as well as this dough.

The key to getting a good score was to use my serrated bread knife (which I didn't use on the above breads).  These first two doughs are hell-bent on having your scoring blade get stuck and drag.  The bread knife with a swift motion will teach that dough a lesson!




Alfanso's AP Levain Rye Bread

This dough, although basically the same percentages of rye and hydration, will provide a completely different experience.  As can be seen, it is easily formed into baguette shape.


And's your turn!





alfanso's picture

Last week Stephen (Brotkraft) posted his first blog entry.  A short video on how he recommends getting an open crumb.  Okay, after a very few back and forth Qs & As with the engaging Signore Brotkraft, I decided to take the plunge.

His method generally involves a 3 hr undisturbed autolyse from shaggy mass to window.  I couldn't quite replicate his level of window, but it was successful.  At the same time, his second build of levain is timed to meet the 3 hours set aside for autolyse.  So, what did I do that was different from my standard Hamelman Vermont SD?  The first 4 on the list were my changes from my standard M.O.

  • Bumped the hydration from 65% to 72%, else the autolyse would be way too dry.
  • With no first build, used existing refrigerated starter.  Mixed all of the rye flour in the 100% hydr. levain to get a more active build within the target 3 hr. window.
  • Hand mix levain & salt to incorporate, 5 min rest.  40 French Folds, 5 min rest, 20 FFs.
  • Bulk Fermented for 2 hours with only a single Letter Fold at the 60 min. mark.
  • Retard.  Divide, pre-shape w/30 min rest, and shape somewhere in the middle of the 12-14 hr retard.
  • Bake w/ steam 460dF 13 min, rotate loaves, 10 min more, 2 min venting.

A different approach than my usual usual!  But for a first time out I think that the evidence is at least compelling to start. When I next replicate this method, I'll form a shorter pre-shape as the dough was quite extensible and just about rolled itself out.

The open crumb? The proof is in the pudding.  Or in this case, the bread...

Thank you Stephen, your input was put to good use within a week of your posting.


300g x 4 long batards.

At this rate, I might catch Benny!

alfanso's picture

A second run at Danni's semolina cranberry/wild rice levain.  With some obvious changes afoot compared to my first attempt.  The wild rice didn't float my boat so I 86'ed it.  The quick and dirty on this version's mods:

  • hydration now at 72%
  • Semolina boosted to 35%, AP flour dropped to 65%
  • added pecans, and a hint of orange peel
  • eliminated 2 of the 4 Letter Folds, now down to 50 & 100 min with final 20 min rest before retard.

These were begging to be baked dark, and who am I to argue?  Although I adore semolina based breads, the orange peel and cranberry combination, while delicious, overwhelmed it.  May try using a whole grain next time instead.

Gerhard suggested the orange peel, and he was right on the money, as it adds a distinct flavor that marries well with the cranberry.

If this were a production bread, the cost of it would be fairly high as the inclusions here are quite costly compared to a FWS version.

I was pleased that the scores went well, as sometimes these types of baguettes, laden with fruit and nuts, will get oven bloom, but not a decent enough ear.  I also find that, in general, these breads in baguette form are less likely to display an open crumb for me.

A modestly intermittent problem is the even distribution of inclusions.  As I mix by hand, the add-ins don't arrive until the first Letter Fold, and as often as not wind up being unevenly spread across the length and breadth of the dough.

A thin crust with a distinctive snap/crack to the bite.  Just my style.


Semolina Cranberry Walnut Levain w/ Orange peel      
Danni, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1100 Prefermented15.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%541.9 100.00%81.3 Final Flour460.6
 AP Flour65.00%352.2 100%81.3 AP Flour270.9
 Durum35.00%189.7 0%0.0 Durum189.7
 Water72.00%390.1 100%81.3 Water308.9
 Salt2.00%10.8    Salt10.8
 Walnuts, toasted15.00%81.3    Walnuts81.3
 Dried Cranberries13.00%70.4    Cranberries70.4
 Orange Peel1.00%5.4    Orange Peel5.4
 Starter3.00%16.3 20%16.3   
 Totals203.00%1100.0 220%178.8  1100.0
Autolyse Water, Levain, Flours 20 min. Hold back 10% water for bassinage.    
Bassinage salted water.  Incorporate, rest 5 min.       
20-30 French Folds.  Rest 5 min.  20-30 FFs.  Into oiled tub.      
Incorporate inclusions at 1st LF.        
BF 2 hrs: LFs at 50, 100.  20 min rest.  retard       
Retard 12-16 hrs. with divide and shape somewhere in that time.      
Preheat 480dF, Bake 460dF with steam for first 13 min.  Then rotate to finish bake ~13 min more. Final  2 min venting.

365g x 3 long batards

alfanso's picture


Danni's recent post of a SD wild rice and cranberry boule had me intrigued.  However changes were in store.

  • Subbed out the kamut & einkorn for semola rimacinata 
  • Dropped honey and yogurt, replaced by an equal amount of water.
  • Dropped overall hydration to 75%.
  • Added bassinage of 10% of the water after the 20 min autolyse.  5 min rest.
  •  2 sets of 20 French Folds with a 5 min rest between.
  • Letter Folds at 30, 60, 90 and 110 min.  Rice and cranberries added at 2nd LF.
  • Bulk ferment limited to 2 hours in my warm kitchen.  Retarded overnight.
  • Divide and shape in early AM, back to retard.
  • Baked with steam at 460dF after ~14-16 hrs of retardation.
Wild Rice Cranberry Levain        
Danni, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1250 Prefermented15.00%   
 Total Formula   Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%634.7 100.00%95.2 Final Flour539.5
 AP Flour73.20%464.6 100%95.2 AP Flour369.4
 Durum26.80%170.1 0%0.0 Durum170.1
 Water75.00%476.1 100%95.2 Water380.8
 Salt1.96%12.4    Salt12.4
 Wild Rice 6.65%42.2    Wild Rice42.2
 Dried Cranberries13.32%84.5    Cranberries84.5
 Starter3.00%19.0 20%19.0   
 Totals196.93%1250.0 220%209.5  1250.0
Soak Wild Rice in Hot Water overnight. Cook & drain, add dried cranberries, refrigerate until mix time. 
Autolyse Water, Levain, Flours 20 min. Hold back 10% water for bassinage.    
Bassinage salted water.  Incorporate, rest 5 min.       
20-30 French Folds.  Rest 5 min.  20-30 FFs.  Into oiled tub.      
BF 2 Hrs.  Incorporate rice and berries on 2nd Letter Fold. .      
LFs at 30, 60, 90, 110.  10 min rest.  retard       
Retard 12-16 hrs. with divide and shape somewhere in that time.      
Preheat 475dF, Bake 460dF with steam for first 13 min.  Then rotate to finish bake ~13 min more. Final  2 min venting.


I don't perceive any advantage to the wild rice save for the unique look it gives the bread.  However, the cranberries add a more robust flavor and the bread is just perfect with a soft cheese.

4 folds is a bit much in my book, but I followed this aspect of Danni's post.  On making this again, I'd increase the percent of durum, but tried to faithfully follow Danni's percentages here this time.

I find that dough laden with add-ins as this one is, mostly provide for a modest grigne and ear in baguette form.  As this one is.

Thanks for posting this formula Danni - even if I ran off the rails on a few aspects. 

420g x 3 long batards.

alfanso's picture

Last week I posted about Abel's Semolina with pistachios, and I wasn't all A-Ok with my results, so back to the drawing board for me.  MTloaf correctly pointed out that I had miscalculated the overall hydration at 70%, rather than the 75% it would seem to be.  The correction to the formula sheet was made.  

I still stubbornly stuck to my tritordeum T150 levain but decided that the pistachios weren't the ticket for me.  Pistachios were subbed out and replaced by an equal weight (not percentage) of toasted pine nuts.  While reliving the occasional problem child my parents found in their stead, I also went whole hog and added both fennel seeds and soaked (and drained) golden raisins.  Also decided to roll the two baguettes in sesame seeds for the coupe de grâce.  The third in the line-up is a batard.  Still filled with the same internal goodies but no sesame seeds.

The baguettes are somewhat flat, potentially from the amount of fruit and nuts.  As before, the additions create a problem however minimal, for getting a straight barrel on the baguette.   Minimally open crumb, again the suspected culprit may be  the amount of additions.


Regardless, this is one delicious bread, a fantastic combination of seeds nut and fruit with a great flavor profile, almost like a dessert.  A perfect bread to slather a soft cheese across and break out a bottle of wine.

As of now, I still haven't cut into the batard to review the internal workings.  I've been on and off experimenting with proving the dough on the couche seam side up, something that I've virtually never done until very recently.  As promoted by Abel and a few baguette compatriots here.  So far I'm not sold on the change. 

340g x 2 long batards, 720g x 1 batard. 


alfanso's picture

Abel Sierra (abelbreadgallery) posted a new creation of his the other day.  Liking what he posts, as well as semolina breads, I knew I'd be jumping right on it.

Instead of his recommended Caputo #1 for the levain I used some remaining tritordeum flour, which seems to have WW character.  With no step by step to go by, I relied on my standard sesame w semolina methodology.

  • 3 stage levain build
  • Autolyse with levain 30 min.
  • Basinage with salted water, ~10%.  Rest 5 min.
  • 50 French Folds, 5 min. rest, 50 FFs.  Into covered oiled bowl.
  • Letter folds at 50 & 100 min.  Final 20 min. rest.  Pistachios incorporated at first set of LFs.
  • Divide, pre-shape, 20 min. rest, shape & onto floured couche.  Cover and retard for 16 hours.
  • Preheat oven 480dF, pre-steam, load dough, oven to 460dF for bake.
  • 13 min steam, release steam and rotate loaves, 12 min. plus 2 min venting. 

The crumb is curiously dense.  The population of pistachios is significant, for a baguette shape the nut seems a little too large.  For whatever reason not overly impressed with this one, although the shaping and scoring seem fine. When fruit or nuts are incorporated into a slender form, as these are, the sleek barrel shape is more difficult to achieve.

They could have been baked a half shade darker, but being semolina based, they exhibit a golden color naturally.  I'll leave it to Benny to show us how bake this with an open crumb.



300g x 4 skinny long batards

alfanso's picture

MTloaf touted this bread to me recently and while I didn't immediately get on the stick, I kept it off the back burner.  So here goes.

MT was right.  This is a fantastic tasting bread.  As I hand mix, it was a bit of a fight to perform French Folds, adding  two Letter folds at 50 & 100 min of a total of 150 min BF.  

Immediately divided and pre-shaped using my very recently acquired Abelbreadgallery method.  A 20 min rest and shaped.  Very easy and the dough, for all of its semi-stiffness, was a simple pleasure to roll out.  Couched and retarded for about 16 hours, and baked from retard with just a 15 minute warm-up.

Being a new formula, especially one with lot of seeds, I didn't know what to expect, but it baked just beautifully.

I kept to my brand new regimen of a 3 stage build for the 100% hydration all AP levain, limited my FF total to 125 with a 5 min. rest halfway, and continued to exhibit kid gloves on the subsequent handling of the dough.

This bread is surely a keeper.



~340g x 3 long batards, plus two teeny batards.  Just for fun. 


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