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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. 

alfanso's picture

Rustic/Country Baguettes with Sunflower Seeds.

Abel Sierra (Abelbreadgallery) sent a DM to me last week with a link to his new video where he makes this bread.   I asked if I could post this and he said yes.  And of course I wouldn't post it without giving it a whirl myself.  In this case, three whirls to get a version of the formula that I was satisfied with.

On the first run I soaked both sunflower and flax seeds.  Attempting to incorporate during the tail end of 200 French Folds the sliminess of the flax seeds created a problem, and I wasn't happy with the outcome.  For the second run I eliminated the soaker part as well as the flax seeds, and bumped the hydration up a few clicks.  Still not content, I ran this third time, dropping the FFs down from 200 to 125, incorporating the toasted seeds at the first and only Letter Fold.  I also combined a 20 minute proofing on countertop and 2 hours of retard.

Abel's formula is posted at the bottom.

My changes to his formula:

  • 100% hydration WW levain instead of Abel's AP.
  • French Folds - limited to 125, split in two.
  • No soaker, just toasted sunflower seeds.
  • Combine countertop and refrigerator proof.
  • Rolled out to the longer 20 inch version, 50% longer than my standard long batards.  Lost 1 inch during bake.

Note, these don't like to exhibit a dark and rich color on the crust.  For a 27% WW flour mix, these had a moderately open crumb.  The flavor is quite nice and rich and the crust is thin and quite crunchy.  Still working on shaping, a bit more difficult due to the seeds.

Baguette Rústica con Semillas de Girasol       
Abel Sierra, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1100 Prefermented9.10%   
 Total Formula   Liquid Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%583.7 100.00%53.1 Final Flour530.6
 AP Flour72.70%424.4 0%0.0 AP Flour424.4
 Whole Wheat27.30%159.4 100%53.1 Whole Wheat106.2
 Water cool72.70%424.4 100%53.1 Water cool371.2
 Salt1.90%11.1    Salt11.1
 IDY0.25%1.1    IDY1.1
 toasted Sunflower (soaked)13.60%79.4    Sunflower Seeds79.4
 Starter (in final dough)2.28%13.3 25%13.3   
 Totals188.45%1099.6 225%119.5  1099.6
     1 stage liquid levain build @100% hydration
Toast sunflower seeds.   Stage 1    
Autolyse Flour, cool Water.  20 Min.   AP Flour0.0   
Levain Salt, IDY.   Water53.1   
FF: 75, 5min., 50,   Total53.1   
Bulk ~2 Hr..  LF@60 min. Fold in seeds on LF.        
Divide, pre-shape, 15 min rest, shape as baguettes       
Shape as Baguettes @350g each        
Moderate flour on couche, seam side up       
Proof 20 min. coutnertop, ~2 hrs. retard.       
Pre-heat @500dF.        
Steam, bake @480dF. 17 min with steam, 6 min more at 430dF.      



350g x 3 baguettes. 

Here is a screen capture from Abel's video.

And the formula as given to me by Abel.



700 gr bread flour, 300 gr wholewheat flour, 700 ml cool water (10-12ºC), 200 gr liquid levain, 21 gr salt, 6 gr fresh yeast, 150 gr of soaked seeds (toasted sunflower + raw flaxseeds + water)


- Make autolyse mixing bread flour, wholewheat and cool water, just 1-2 minutes in slow speed. Let rest 30 minutes.

- Add levain, salt and yeast. Mix 7-8 minutes in slow speed, and then 3 minutes in second speed. Add seeds at the end of the mixing process.

- The temperature of the dough should be around 24-25ºC at the end of the mixing process.

- Let the dough rest 1 hour. Make one fold and let rest 1 hour more. 

- Divide in pieces of 350 gr. Preshape and let rest 15-20 minutes.

- Shape baguettes and place over linen couche with the seam up.

- Let proof 45 minutes to 1 hour.

- Bake at high temperature. I suggest 17 minutes at 260-240ºC, then release the steam and reduce temperature to 230-210ºC the last 6 minutes.

alfanso's picture

I guess this V3.0, or V2.1, or V1.2.  Who's knows, and more importantly who cares?

Plans and results laid out the other day, I thought I could do better.

Changes from last time:

  • Shorten BF from 70 min to 45 w/folds at 25 and 45 minutes.  Because...
  • Place BF vessel into retard for about 6-8 hours.
  • Divide and placed on couche, back into overnight retard.
  • Exhibit even greater gentle care in handling the dough both onto and off the couche.
  • Scored the slightly stiffer dough with my regular lame other than the other day's ceramic blade. 

Otherwise, all other aspects of the process were the same.


  • Better and more consistent shaping
  • Darker crust
  • Much less raw flour on surface
  • Some amount of oven spring, these are certainly a little more robust than prior
  • Noticeable bloom, although still relatively slight.

Unsure of whether the flavor profile was enhanced due to extended BF and retard.  But I think that this is the method I'll use when these come up on my "what shall I bake next" wheel.

Formula is in the link the top.

The "cover" photo is just prior to bake, what they look like on my new wide oven peel (used for full length baguettes).

Today, vs. the other day.  Richer crust coloration.


Today, vs. the other day.  Due to lack of any surface tension, these are delicate and more difficult to score.


95g x 8 dinner / hamburger rolls



alfanso's picture

Another back burner bread I'd wanted to get around to.  I've made the Weekend Bakery version a few times, but never in the "true" rustique spirit of things - basically a simple nearly unshaped AP bread.  Dump the BF dough on the counter, square it off nice and neat, and divide into rectangles or squares.  Nothing more.

The Hamelman version also uses a 50% fermented flour poolish but is a few clicks wetter at 69% hydration.  After the second of two folds during the 70 minute BF, it's time to ensure that the oven is fired up and preheating as things move fast. A final 20 minute rest after the second fold, then divide and another mere ~25 minutes before bake time.  

I made this yesterday, but was: 1) learning the error of my ways, and 2) underwhelmed by the basic blandness of the bread.  In fairness, this is a pretty unsophisticated dough as the name and description suggests.  

Time to do a reset and a V2.0.  Last night, in an effort to drive up the flavor, I dosed the poolish with all 10% of the swapped in rye flour.  Divided into "dinner / small hamburger roll" sized portions, rather than the suggested big rectangles in the Hamelman formula,  I ensured that they had a good roll in the flour to ward off yesterday's problems with sticking.  The dough at this point is so soft and fragile that the quick diagonal score across the surface looked good going in, but only allowed for the dough to expand a little.

Baked at 460dF with 13 minutes of steam and an additional 10 minutes, they plump up nicely with a crisp crust and opened well for an under 70% hydration dough.  The added rye gave the anticipated boost to the flavor.  Although they have a distinctly ciabatta-like appearance, they are definitely not the same bread.

The kids nestled in for their short nap.

Just another mini lunch sandwich.

1000 g x 9 dinner rolls.

Pain Rustique w/IDY based Poolish       
Jeffrey Hamelman, mod alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Prefermented50.00%   
 Total Formula   Poolish  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%583.1 80.00%233.2 Final Flour291.5
 AP Flour90.00%524.8 80.0%233.2 AP Flour291.5
 Rye10.00%58.3 20.0%58.3 Rye0.0
 Water69.00%402.3 100.0%291.5 Water110.8
 Salt2.00%11.7    Salt11.7
 IDY0.50%2.92 0.12%0.28 IDY2.64
 Totals171.50%1000.0 200%583.4  1000.0
Mix  poolish and allow ~12 hours.       
Mix  poolish, flour and water.  Autolyse 30 minutes      
Add IDY & salt.        
100 French Folds, 5 minute rest, final 100 FFs.      
70 minute bulk rise. Letter Folds at 25 & 50 minutes.      
Divide into squares or rectangles.  Onto well floured couche seam side up.   
Proof 20-25 minutes        
Preheat oven to 480dF        
Onto oven peel seam side down.  Score.       
Bake at 460dF till browned.  ~13 minutes with steam, 8-10 more and 2 minutes venting. 



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