The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I tried to mimic Abel's Roggenmischbrot which looks quite pretty.

I like to add rye flour to the mix because of the flavor it imparts to bread. Typically, I add around 10% rye but in this version the rye content is higher. This bake has been based on 50% AP flour, 50% rye flour, 2% salt and 78% hydration, leavened with yeast water. I autolysed the dough for about one hour, but then I actually forgot about it, and ended up applying only one set of S&F after the mix. Since I started the process too late, I had to put the dough in the fridge to complete the bulk fermentation. The next day I shaped the small loaves and proofed for about 45 minutes before baking at 250C for about 15 min and then 230C until finished for another 15 min. It yielded two small loaves since the total flour used was only 260 g.

The loaves were baked seam side up to give a rustic look. Great taste and an unbelievable crispy crust. The next time, I will use less fermented flour in the levain, which was 23% for this bake.

 Happy New Year!

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Here is a sourdough loaf using 100% semola rimacinata by Caputo. It resulted in a mildly flavored and soft crumb, but  a very crisp crust, which is the perfect combination.

The process to render this loaf included building the levain using a regular starter and semola rimacinata at 100% hydration. The amount of fermented flour in the levain accounted for 12% of 340 g semola flour for an overall hydration slightly above 75%. The semola was autolysed for about 40 min before mixing the levain in. Salt has been added during the first stretch and fold of a total of 3 sets. After 3 hours at room temperature (18C), the dough was bulk fermented overnight at 12C in a wine cooler. Once out of the cooler, the loaf was shaped and proofed for another 90 min at room temp (14C), and baked in a clay pot dutch oven for a total of 30 min at 240C. Long overnight bulk fermentation at lower temps (12C) has been yielding good results and consistency. It is worth trying this approach.



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Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to share two nice loaves that came out of the oven this morning.

The first loaf is a 100% semolina sourdough and the second is a yeast water raisin and sunflower loaf, both at 75% hydration. Both loaves were mixed up at about the same time, fermented and baked together.


Yeast water raisin and sunflower loaf

It took about 24 hours to build the yeast water levain. A bit sluggish in the beginning, so I had to put it in the oven with the light on. The flour mix was 60% bread flour, 30% whole wheat and 10% rye. I used 16% pre-fermented flour for the inoculation, and limited the amount of raisins and sunflower to about 20% combined. For this loaf, I mixed all ingredients together, including salt, without any autolyse, kneaded well to mix all ingredients. The rest was a standard process with 2 sets of stretches and folds, bulk fermentation for 2 hours on the counter and then into the wine cooler (12C) for the long bulk fermentation overnight. The result was a soft airy crumb and crispy crust with the traditional raisin sweetness notes in the flavor.


Semolina loaf

Since the yeast water took more than I expected to mature, I decided to build a regular levain using my sourdough stater. It took about 10 hours to mature the sourdough levain, built with 80% hydration. I had no idea what to bake while building the sourdough levain, but finally decided for semolina. For this one, I used only semolina flour, autolysed for 30 min, with 75% overall hydration. The flour in the levain accounted for 16% of the total. The dough was quite nice to work with, silky but firm at the same time. Also applied a good 2 min hand kneading in the beginning to mix all ingredients, and later I did two sets of stretches and folds, 30 min apart. The first bulk fermentation took 2 hours on the counter, and then overnight in the wine cooler at 12C. In the morning, shaped and proofed for about hours before baking. The result was a nice open crumb and crispy crust. Good oven spring on this one and a subtle sour taste in the crumb. As a general notice, I think another option would be to use the sourdough levain for the raisin bread and the yeast water levain for the semolina loaf, so the semolina won't have sour notes.




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First time trying 100% semolina bread using yeast water for leavening. I used a basic recipe with semolina, yeast water levain, salt and water. Because semolina is a bit coarse and hard, I decided to autolyse it for 12 hrs with added salt. This was the same time it took for the levain to mature. At the end of the autolyse the semolina was soft and held to its structure.

Levain (12 hours to mature)

40 g semolina

40 g yeast water (grapes)


282 g semolina

187 g water

5 g salt

The overall hydration was about 71%, but I felt the flour could not take much more water. The dough was mainly developed by 4 sets of stretching and folding after initial mixing and kneading. Bulk fermentation took about 3 hours, shaped and retarded in the fridge for about 5 hours. Removed from fridge and let rest on the counter for about 2 hours before baking. I thought the dough was over proofed because it looked like a pancake when it hit the baking vessel. Fortunately, oven spring was great and crumb not too bad, even though I see some shaping issues. The crust came out nicely with a red hue color, while the crumb is a traditional golden color. The flavor has some sweetness, delicate crumb that goes very well with butter.



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Made some yeast water using fresh grapes. Really easy to make, just crushed the grapes coarsely and let ferment for 3 to 4 days in room temperature until the foam on top reduced activity. Once it is done it will look like rose wine, you may even taste if you like. Next step is to mix that liquid and some fruit with flour to make the levain, which took about 12 hours to peak. I actually had to put it in the oven with the light on to speed up the process as I wanted to bake in the same evening.

Autolysed flour and water for 30 min using KA-AP flour mixed with whole wheat and rye to a proportion of about 10% ~ 15% (total flour was 320 g). Mixed the levain (~70 g at 100%) and kneaded for about 1 min, with 60% overall hydration. Let rest for 30 min, added salt, and kneaded again for 1 to 2 min. Applied 3 stretch and folds in 30 min time intervals. From autolysing to the end of bulk fermentation, the elapsed time was 5 hours. Shaped and final proofed for 1 hour before baking in clay pot at 240C for 20 min, then reduced heat to 230C for another 15 min with lid off.

The recipe is just like any pain de campagne, adapted for yeast water with no efforts. Oven spring was great, all baked in one day without retarding dough. I am not a huge fan of retarding dough in the fridge. I don't really think it noticeably enhances any flavor, and the crumb is always more dense. Retarding also results in too many blisters, so whenever I can, I won't retard.

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I had not made Hokkaido-style dough for some time. For the fluffyness of it, I decided to have a run yesterday and was pretty happy with the rise and softness of loaf and buns. The levain was built in two stages throughout a combined 12-hour period, where the first stage was 100% hydration, and the second stage was a stiff 50% version. All ingredients are supermarket off-the-shelf, and I realize now that I am running out of AP flour!


Tangzhong Weight Percent
AP Flour 35g6%
Water 150g25%
AP Flour 499g84%
Salt 5g1%
Sugar 30g5%
Egg 40g7%
Milk 253g43%
Butter 25g4%
Malt (optional) 8g1%
Levain @ 50% hydration 90g15%
 Total dough1135g 
 Total flour594g 
 Total water + egg473g 

From my point of view that are two success factors to observe. The first factor is related to the sequence how the ingredients are mixed, and the second factor is that it is very important to develop gluten so that the dough has strong structure to fuel enough rise during proofing and baking.


The Tangzhong is prepared upfront by mixing flour and water and heating on the fire. Steer the flour-water mixture continuously avoid boiling and let it cool. Once cooled, mix it with milk and levain, whisking gently to break up the stiff levain. Add the egg and mix well to combine all semi-liquid ingredients. At this point start adding the dry components and mixing then into the liquid one after another in the following sequence: malt (optional), sugar, salt and AP flour. Mix everything in a soggy mass and knead to develop gluten. I kneaded for about 10 min on the counter (I guess french slaps could be efficient, but I did not want to create a mess in the kitchen). After gluten is developed, let the dough rest for 20-30 min and then incorporate the butter into the dough. Make sure sufficient kneading is done after the butter is incorporated. You should be looking for a silky skin dough. That is pretty much there is to it. I still applied three sets of stretches and folds spaced by 1 hour from each other. Total bulk fermentation lasted around 5 hours. Once the bulk fermentation is complete, divide the dough into 4 parts, pre-shape as boule and rest for 30 min on the counter. I used 3/4 of the dough for the loaf and 1/4 for the buns.

Baked the buns for 25 min on a 180C / 350F oven, then baked the tin loaf for 35 min on 180C / 350F. Prior to baking, basted buns and loaf with egg wash and sprinkled some sesame seeds on the buns. The rise has been phenomenal, probably a combination of the process, active levain, timing and luck. Will enjoy the results for few days to come.


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Just wanted to register the results using a stiff levain. I took some of my 100% hydration starter and built the levain in two steps. The first build was also 100% hydration while the second build was a stiff version with hydration around 50%. I think the results have been better than expected based on using AP flour, since it does not have very strong gluten. Let me walk you through the method used:


60 gr stiff levain @ 50% hydration (20 gr water; 40 gr flour)

30 gr whole wheat stone ground flour

30 gr rye

180 gr AP flour

184 gr water

3 gr malt

splash of honey and olive oil

5 gr salt


Levain build 1

15 gr water

10 gr starter @ 100% hydration

15 gr flour

Ferment around 8 ~10 hrs (at 21C temperature)


Levain build 2

All levain from build 1 (40 gr)

20 gr flour, all mixed well and light kneaded

Ferment for another 8 hours



1) cut the stiff levain into small pieces, add water and leave it for 10 min to dissolve and smooth out some of it

2) add all flour, malt, honey, and olive oil. Mix all together and "fermentolize" for 30 min without salt

3) add salt and knead for 1 min; rest for 10 min

4) knead again for a min or two; and rest for another 10 min

5) stretch and fold three times every 30 min apart. In my case I used the double hand method

6) bulk ferment for few hours (about 4 hours or so) until some bubbles show up

7) pre-shape dough and rest for 30 min on the counter

8) final shape, place it in the brot form, and cold proof for few hours (8 hrs in my case) at 6C ~ 7C

9) pre-heat the oven to 250C, load the loaf, steam the oven and bake at 230 C for 15 min, and then remove steam to bake until golden (i baked on a stone and it took about 27 min to reach the point)

Cool down and enjoy. Considering it is not a strong flour with apparent lack of decent gluten, I am quite happy with the results, including oven spring and airy crumb. I believe the stiff levain has contributed to the results and for this reason I wanted to log the results. I plan on building levain in two stages from now on, and use the stiff version to bake.

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Hello Everyone,

This is a short writing about a 60% whole grain loaf baked this morning. The whole grain was a mix of stone ground whole wheat and organic rye, which was let to autolyse with all salt while the levain was building (~8 hours). The hydration during autolyse was about 67% (water to whole grain flour ratio), while the loaf hydration was 75%.  I bulk fermented at room temperature (~ 27C) for 4 hours, and then shoved it in the fridge for another 12 hours of bulk cold fermentation. In the morning, I took the dough out of the fridge, shaped and proofed for 50 min at room temperature, and then baked from a cold oven start and cold pot.

I am quite OK with the resulting crumb and crust. My whole wheat flour is quite course, so you can see bits in the crumb. A good autolyse is needed to avoid problems with the gluten network formation. This was a small loaf containing 300 gr total flour (180 gr whole grain), 8.3% fermented flour, 75% hydration, and a dash of honey.


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Let me share with you this nice flavored sourdough that came out of the oven this morning. It uses a mix of bread flour (65%), whole wheat and rye. I milled WW and rye in the blender, but did not sift out any bran this time.

The formula proportions are listed below. The levain was prepared 12 hours prior to mixing the dough. I also autolysed the WW + rye for the same amount of time. The kitchen was about 17C throughout the day, so I just left the autolyse to happen on the counter and added all salt together. Since I did not sift the bran out and the blender yields a courser flour, autolysing the WW + rye is a good idea.


WW starter18g6.00%
Bread flour34g11.33%
Mix WW + Rye88g29.33%
Bread flour169g56.33%
Total flour300g100.00%
Total water219g73.00%

 Autolyse + levain prior to mixing the final dough

After mixing the final dough and applying the usual S&F process (4 sets), I left the dough bulk fermenting on the counter for a total of 9 hours (including S&F) at about 16C overnight. In the morning I shaped the dough into a small batard and put in the fridge for an hour before loading it in the oven to bake for 30 min with lid on + 5 min with lid off (all preheated). Everything came out so fine with nice crumb and good crust. I have been playing with long retarded bulk fermentation and short final proofing. Even though I have not retarded the bulk fermentation in the fridge, I think the long BF on the counter in a cool kitchen had a similar effect, whereas the short proofing kept me away from the over proofing problems. It is incredible how many possibilities there are available for baking a loaf of bread. Even though I do not follow this procedure under a normal situation, it has been good to feel the dough and have some control on the results.




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I have been milling my own flour on a blender which is coarser than commercial flour. Following the suggestion from Dabrownman, Danni and others, I have sifted the flour and used the bran and large bits to build up the levain. First I soaked the bran for 2 days and left in the fridge to soften up before building the levain.

I do not have precise measurements, but the approximate quantities are:



25 g bran

30 g starter

30 g bread flour

80 g water



110 g fresh milled flour (whole wheat + rye)

120 g bread flour

130 g water

70% hydration (felt like 75% when handling the dough)


Following standard steps, dissolved the levain first and added the dry ingredients, 4 g salt, a dash of honey and a dash of olive oil. No autolyse, 3 stretches and folds in the bowl, 5 hours bulk fermentation, shaped and straight into the fridge for 4 hours. Baked from fridge in a cold pot and cold oven for 55 min at 230C.

I can tell that I experienced the best aromas ever when baking. The levain also had a sweet and nutty smell because of the bran. Tasting this morning, the crumb revealed softness, nicely aerated, and nutty. I also got a nice oven spring, which I think has to do with the bran levain since it looked more active than normal. Overall it has been a great experience worth while repeating whenever I mill my own flour.

Happy baking to ALL




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