The Fresh Loaf

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Skibum's blog

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My first YW bake had amazing spring and crumb but was a little bland flavour wise, so I borrowed Josh's idea of using half YW levain and half of my sweet levain. I really like the flavour of my sweet levain and have sunk into a comfortable groove with it. I keep 75g sweet levain and every day or 2 use 50g to bake and refresh @ 1:1:1. I am going on 2 weeks now with a healthy fizzing yeast water culture and after another week after another refresh tomorrow and I can begin refrigerating it, I will try another 100% YW bake.

I proofed this in a SS wire mesh collander lined with 2 layers of well used linen, dusted with rice flour. I didn't score this time as it looked like the seams would open.

I try very hard in my shaping to ensure I get a tight seam and pinch my seams tight. I also try and get a tight skin on the loaf, gently shaping with my hands ans pulling the loaf across the counter while rotating with my little fingers. Richard Bertinet has an excellent youtube video demonstrating this. Despite my best efforts the seams were already coming apart after proofing.

And despite my best shaping and dough handling efforts I still have the 'hole where the baker sleeps.'

Total flour 300 grams

Total water 231 grams 77% hydration

YW levain 25 grams

Sweet levain 25 grams

Coarse sea salt 8 grams, 1 tsp

Thirty minutes autolyse with 90 degree water, filtered and absolutely de-chloriated. Mix in Levains @ a dough temperature of 78 - 80 degrees F. Rest 20 minutes, with salt on top. Mix well, rest 5, then mix again and rest 20 minutes. Four sets of S&F's with 10-15 minutes rest and a final fold after another 30 minutes. I retarded in the fridge immediately and let it finish bulk proofing for about 6 hours the next day after removing from the fridge, pre-shaped, rested for 10 then shaped, proofed as described above for 40 minutes and baked @ 500F in hot Lodge cast iron combo cooker.

I had a real 'skibum' moment yesterday. Two days ago, I had mixed a sweet levain dough enriched with all milk, egg and lots of butter. My plan was to bake off pull apart dinner rolls. Anyhow, yesterday when it came time to pre shape and shape I had my 'skibum' moment. I had forgoten thta I was making dinner rolls and shaped up another Forkish style boule.. The enriched dough baked too hot and too fast and despite being nearly blackened on the outside, not cooked on the inside and of course I didn't bother to check the internal temperature. Definitely a skibum moment. Some would say senior moment . . . So now, rather than just writing out a list of ingredients I am adding SHAPING AND BAKING INSTRUCTIONS DUMB SKIBUM! This is the prettiest loaf I have ever had to throw straight into the trash! :-(

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Well I got a successful yeast water culture going and it is bubbling and fizzing like a can of Vernor's ginger ale! A big shout out to dabrownman for pmi'ng me detailed instructions, followed to the tee. I baked this exactly as the last sd boule only using YW to build the levain. The dough felt immediately different -- more extensible and felt nearly fully developed after the second set of S&F's. Nice volume, nice open crumb and very mild flavour and great chew - almost too mild, so I guess I have come to appreciate the flavour profile of my sweet levain!

I think this is some of the nicest looking crumb I have baked. Anyhow here is my new tool in the kitchen, a nice healthy fizzing yeast water!

Thanks again dab!  You are DMAN!!!

Happy baking folks! Brian



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This bake was done almost exactly as the last boule bake with a couple of exceptions. I upped the hydration to 77 from 75% and compensated by autolysing for 40 minutes and proofed for 50 instead of 45 minutes.  I also increased the bake time in the covered cast iron DO from 10 to 11 minutes and finished with 10, convection, turning often.


Ken Forkish seems to like to push the limits on his bakes and it is fun pushing things up on my baking!I I proofed this one Forkish style, seam down and prior to baking decided to once again score a deep half moon across the seam I thought most likely to case the seams didn't open. Well, I got great spring and the seams also exploded and created perhaps the most interesting looking loaf I have ever baked. Among other things I like is Ken Forkish's bake seam side up for that 'organic' look. 

Well the slash opened nicely and the seams burst to create this interesting KF style 'organic' loaf!

I am getting a great kick in pulling stuff like this out of my home oven!

I really love the crumb, crisp crust and flavour of this bread and I have found feeding my starter daily and baking off half has improved my breads. 

Finding my chops . . .

Happy baking and best regards! Brian

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I would like to make a big shout out to dabrownman for pm'ing his detailed for producing and maintaining a YW starter. I have tried and failed twice and this time I was anal: boiled the glass jar, boiled the Brita filtered tap water and sat in the sun in a glass jar for the day to fully eliminate the chlorine. Next as per dman, 1/2 un-washed organic apple cored and minced and half crushed, ditto 20 organic raisins ditto. I am going to follow the dman's instructions to the tee and post daily photos. Another new fun project.

Thanks again dab, you are DMAN!

Regards, Brian

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Well after 2 disastrous bakes in a row, it was nice to get a good result. I have borrowed tips and techniques from Ken Forkish, Chad Robertson and Peter Reinhart. I prefer a sweet rather than sour loaf so use the levain when is quite your, like CR.

I autolysed for 30 minutes usiong 100F water, then added the levain, mixed, added salt and yeast and rested for 20. After a lengthy bulk on the counter and overnight in the fridge, I shaped and proofed in a wire mesh collander lined with  2 layers of rice floured linen  for 45 minutes and baked this @ 75% hydration in a hot cast DO for @ 500F for 12 minutes, then uncovered for another 10, turning. I am getting better at both pre-shaping and shaping and I proofed this seam side down, so it would bake seam side up ala KF. I was worried the seams wouldn't open so I scored a single crescent shaped slash. It also looks like the seams did burst as well.

I like the boule format for sandwiches and although this is only 300 grams of flour, a small loaf I am going to need a longer bread knife!

Final formula:

300 g bread flour, total

225 g water, total

Levain @ 100% 50 g

Coarse sea salt 7 g

instant yeast scant 1/4 tsp

So fresh baked bread, home smoked pastrami, smoked tomato and corn salsa and smoked carrot and squash soup. Rats, out of creme fraiche . . . but still mighty fine eating!

Happy baking folks! Brian


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This bake was based loosely on Norm's onion buns recipe and hey, the way the buns lined up in the Lodge cast cooker looked somewhat like the Olympic logo. I soaked 2 Tbs dehydrated onion and 1 tsp dehydrated garlic in boiled water until reconstituted, then used the resulting water for the mix and the onion and garlic for topping mixing salt and oil as per nbicomputers - I think. I used about 20% white levain, forgot to add the egg, but used lots of malt syrup and sugar . . . The house smelled amazing when these were baking, covered in the Lodge CC for 10 @ 450, then another 12 @ 425 convection, turning. Great crisp crunch to the crust! and really nice flavour!!  Just a schmear of butter is good when warm, but these are calling out for smoked meat, grainy mustard and Rene's garlic ceasar dressing!

I forgot to add fresh rosemary and sauteed garlic on this bake. Oh well next time. . . 

Happy baking, cooking and eating TFLoafers!

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I used 1/3 of the Forkish recipe and made a couple of change ups. First, I left the WW flour out of the levain, but kept everything the same. Second, the first 2 KF loaves I proofed in plastic mixing bowls lined with linen. When proofed, the linen was wet and stuck to the loaf. Ken proofs in wicker bannetons and I am going to have to get off of my wallet and order one.

The other change I made was mixing in a larger bowl 12" diameter rather than my usual 9 inch bowl.  I did 4 S&F's in bowl with 20 minutes rest and found it much easier to do the S&F in bowl in the larger container.  It did seem strange having this small lump of dough in the big bowl, but I did seem to get better dough development and KF uses a 12 quart container for his mix.

As has been suggested on this site, I handled the dough as little as possible.  I did 1 gentle letter fold and proofed on bakers parchment on a linen couche.  After an hour, I rolled the loaf over onto another piece of parchment as per PR in ABED and found the dough stuck to the parchment! The nothing sticks to parchment myth just got busted!

Baked it in my Lodge DO covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 10 @ 500F convection.

Happy baking! Brian

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Take 2 of Karin's challenge loaf almost ended in disaster, but turned out well.  I made more or less half of her Friesisches Schwartbrot recipe:

I halved the flour amounts but reduced the seeds to 20 grams each of flaxseed, sesame and pumpkin seed. I had a skibum moment of in attentiveness when toasting the toadies and nearly burnt them black.  I caught it in time, but the seeds toasted quite dark brown. The resulting loaf tasted almost toasted fresh cut -- quite a pleasing flavour.

Also added to the mix was 11/2 tsp kosher sale, 2 Tbs malt syrup and 1 Tbs honey. Did I mention a very nice tasting loaf?

I think I will make this 'mistake' part of the process for this bread! I am loving this bread with stinky cheese and stone fruit -- thanks dab!  I also goes very nicely with smoked chicken breast and the smoked bacon, (store bought) placed on top the breasts while smoking.  Awesome flavour and texture!  So thanks again Karin for your idea of this challenge! It has introduced me to a new style of bread AND sandwich. My only trouble is I find a couple of glasses of red wine really help wash all of this down -- at lunch . . . Okay, today's lunch was after 2 pm and it was certainly after 5 somewhere . . .

This bread also pairs well with home smoked steelhead trout:

A special shout out to dabrownman for the inspiration of getting a smoker. I could not be happier with the results! Anyhow I have about 1,260 grams of pork belly in your maple cure for 2 days now and a brisket on order . . .

This whole business of baking bread and smoking food is WAY TOO MUCH FUN! It is a mighty tasty path as well!

Happy baking and GREAT eating!

Smokin' Skibum . . .

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Well I got delayed on my shopping today and this is a great example of an over proofed loaf.  It was ready to bake when I got home, but the oven and DO were cold, call this one 45 minutes over proofed.  It was the blob upon removing it from the plastic proofing bowl. The seam was totally sealed despite proofing in 4 layers of linen, so I scored and it was nearly impossible to get a clean cut -- WAY over proofed! I need to get off of my wallet and get a wicker banneton.

I love the flavour profile of this Forkish bread and well the crust and crumb didn't turn out shabby:

I will give this one another go and pay closer attention to my proofing. Ken recommends 4 folds, 3 in the first 11/2 hours or so and another later. I found the dough @ 78% hydration very slack and somewhat lacking in development. I did the s&f's in the bowl with a wet hand as he recs in this book. I am somewhat tempted to do a couple of more folds, but will hold off on that change until I bake at the perfect proof stage. Not all of my bakes go perfectly, but hey I am just an old skibum . . .

Regards, Brian

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The only twist was to add a scant 1/4 tsp of instant yeast after I added the salt to the top of the dough.  Ken Forkish recommends using a little commercial yeast for increased volume and a more open crumb.  Check on both points!

This bake used 300 grams total bread flour @ 75% hydration, about 20% 100% levain, 11/4 tsp coarse salt and 1/4 IY. This made some very tasty bread and is part of my loaf a day plan. I have good friends who were flooded out of their home in Exshaw last June.  After 3 weeks living in the local school, sleeping on cots, they were loaned a large travel trailer and are now in a local hotel -- not the best summer. . . Anyhow Marg said her son devoured the French style loaves and loved them. I always bake more than I can eat and frequently give bread to my neighbours, but for the next while, I will make sure Marg and her family have fresh bread every day, if I can manage it. Here is today's crumb:

I had a real skibum moment he other day. One could also call it a 'senior' moment . . . My plan was to bake 2 batards side by side, one using a levain fed 1:1:1 and the other with a 1:4:4 feed.  My object was to see if there was any difference in the flavour profile of the 2 breads.  So immediately the 1:4:4 mix felt different -- very slack with  little structure. Well it finally dawned on me that I had used all of the water in the second mix, forgetting to back out the h2o in the levain, so my slack dough was 85% instead of 75%.  Good practice folding in bowl with wet hand aka KF. I had a good laugh at myself when I finally realized.  For a bit I was thinking, wow it is incredible that a starter can make such a profound difference -- DOUGH!  There was no difference in  the flavour profile of either bread.

Here are yesterday's batard and boule:

Batard crumb

Boule Crumb -- should have done it as a ciabatta, next oops mistake!


Today's experiment involved mixing the same batch as above @ 77% hydration, bulk on the counter, which after 21/2 hours was at least 21/2 x in volume, the most volume I have ever seen from 300 grams total flour.  This has been shaped and will proof until morning in the fridge.  It is my first time trying this and it will be interesting to see the result.

Happy baking folks!



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