The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

My latest attempt at the Tartine #3 White Bread (Ode to Bourdon) on page 46 was equally disappointing.

Though in a different way this time: lack of rise.

Two images attached: the flat loaf; the crumb.

I halved the quantities Chad Robertson suggests; and used the flour types - as discussed here.

In bowl 1:

  1. 125g All Purpose
  2. 125g Whole Wheat
  3. 125g Whole Grain Wheat
  4. 125g White Whole Wheat
  5. 35g Wheat Germ

In bowl 2: 

  1. 350g filtered water; less than the 375g specified because of the advice given in this thread.
  2. 75g of a very healthy, bubbly, lovely-smelling, beautifully risen KAF AP leaven which was poured off from my kept starter and fed at room temperature twice (1:2:2) a day each day for two days before beginning this recipe - and doubled in size.

The starter originated with the KAF kit. But I have been successfully feeding it for a couple of months with KAF organic All Purpose. Usually 1:1:1 twice a week with Britta-filtered water and plastic/silicone tools. Stored in fridge. Always looks and smells what I take to be just right.

Yet it is tempting (to me) to think that - despite this - the starter is just not giving the bread the sustained rise it should… even though at warm proofing (see below) the dough rises very well.

Added contents of bowl 1 to contents of bowl 2; OXO stainless steel. Four hours autolyse at room temperature. Little sign of any appreciable rise. A couple of folds.

Added 13 g salt and just enough water mixed with more starter (room temperature) to make what seemed to me like a nice springy dough. Much more workable than my last attempt, which was far too sticky. I was able to pick up the dough from the bowl this time with two hands. Some tearing. But passed the Window Pane test.

Rotation-folded half a dozen times carefully as on pp 38-39.

Proofed at 80°-85°F in Bród and Taylor for six hours.

Rose significantly (60%-90%) between each fold.

Transferred to brown rice-floured cloth-lined banneton. Covered with cling-wrap. 

Transferred to lower shelf of fridge (< 40°F) for eight hours (overnight).

In the morning back to Bród and Taylor 80°-83°F for four hours. No real further rise.

Preheated conventional electric oven (elements top and bottom exposed) to 500°F with Challenger + lid on for 55 minutes.

Removed Challenger from oven. Closed oven door immediately.

Inverted loaf (by now no higher than 3") onto double-folded parchment paper. Dropped out of banneton with ease.

Placed onto shallower Challenger pan. Added three ice cubes. Sizzle sizzle. Put Challenger lid back on. Into oven.

Baked for 15 minutes at 435°F. Oven is 50°F slow. I have two thermometers in oven. Showing that my setting of '485°F' does give exactly 435°F.

Took Challenger pan out of oven; inverted cover/top below pan; back into oven for 30 minutes also at 435°F

Removed from oven. Load very flat. Not at all what I am trying to get.


Very grateful for any help anyone can give as to what I may be doing wrong, please :-)

SugarOwl's picture

This is my try on the "The Approachable Loaf using Commercial Yeast and Poolish" Community Bake from 2020.

Link here:


  1. Room temperature was 76F the whole time. It is not cool here.

  2. I am using molasses and brown sugar instead of honey (another poster did this so I am using their numbers). Another poster said honey can inhibit yeast and I wanted to try molasses (going for that Steak & Ale bread).


259g Whole Wheat flour (King Arthur)

259g Water

1/16tsp Yeast (a pinch)


Final Dough

259g Whole Wheat Flour

10g Salt

5g Instant Yeast

18g Molasses

13g brown sugar

100g water (instead of 93g, I had a 100ml line on my measuring cup)


45g Hold-Out Water (reserved for just in case) original recipe called for 52g, but I put 7g of that above,

I ended up using all the water, so 404g water total.


What I did:

  1. Mix 259g Whole Wheat Flour (KA), 259g water, and ¼ of a 1/4tsp (1/16?) of yeast. Let sit for 2 hours at 76F then put in refrigerator until 7am. Very thick, like tomato paste. I think I used too little yeast in my poolish since I thought I was making a 500g loaf instead of a 1000g loaf. I had my spreadsheet numbers wrong, again.

  2. 7am: took out of fridge and let sit on the counter for 4 hours. No bubbles, still super thick.

  3. 11am: I gently folded in 100g water with my rice cooker spoon, still pretty thick but better.

  4. 12:30pm: starting to see a few bubbles. Starting to think I need to use all the water. 352g+53g = 405g which is 87% hydration instead of 68%. I've already used 359g at this point, so only 45g left to go. We will shall see.

  5. 1:30: still only a few bubbles, I think it's needs more yeast, but the mixture is not sticking to the sides so I think I will go ahead and do the rest of the ingredients soon.

  6. 2pm: Mixed in the rest of the water(45g), flour, sugars, and yeast. Let rest 20 minutes(2:15pm). Starting to look like bread dough! Dough was super sticky.

  7. 2:35pm: sprinkled on 10g salt. After kneading it in, let it rest for another 20 minutes. Dough did not stick to my hands, no dry clumps either. I have it in a big bowl and I smooshed it so it reached the edges instead of being a big ball.

  8. 3:00: Wasn't able to really do stretch and folds/slaps, I think the dough was too dry. But I was able to stretch it into a rectangle on my cutting board (14x9) then do a tri-fold, then stretch the folded rectangle to meet the length of the cutting board and do another tri-fold. I put that back in the bowl. Dough seemed to be too resistant for anything else. Rest for 30 minutes covered by a tea towel. I'm wondering if I should've spritzed some water on it somewhere, it's not wet, but not dry. I'm worried that the dough has not been slack at all like the white flour I've used before.

  9. 3:40: Did a stretch and fold. Shaped into a loaf and put in a dark loaf pan to bulk ferment. Dough is very tight. I think it probably needs more water but I also have no idea if that's what's wrong (or if anything is wrong). Maybe next time I'll use hot water and autolyze the flour first like in the “Honey Whole Wheat” bread on the “Most Bookmarked” front page section.

  10. 6pm: Loaf has a dry top. I slashed it 3 times with a  serrated kitchen knife and then wet the top with a wet hand. Oven was already on for 425F (was cooking potatoes). Put the pan in and turned the oven down to 325F (dark pan). Timer set for 40 minutes.

Here are the pictures of after I shaped it and before it went into the oven. I'll update with another picture when it's done.

 Update 1:

Thermometer read 186.3F and it looks okay. The sides looked a little cracked. I'll slice into it later when it's cooled off. Probably as a midnight snack after the kids go to bed.

Here's the crumb shot. It is good with honey and butter on top. Without it the bread has a weird aftertaste, almost like a hint of bitter. So maybe more sweetness is due.

HeiHei29er's picture

I wanted to push my learning curve a little bit on this bake and used Benny's recent bake as my template.  This one turned into a definite learning curve.

Everything started well.  I used Raisin Yeast Water for the hydration in the levain and my whole rye starter from the refrigerator.  After 9 hours, it was 2.5x in volume.  I stirred it down, and it doubled in less than 2 hours.  Figured it was ready for the mix.  Added the levain to the final dough water for mixing, and it passed the float test with flying colors. 

Dough was higher hydration than I usually work with but manageable.  After mix and autolyse, I developed gluten using this kneading technique.  I used it on both bakes this weekend, and I can say it works quite well for me so far.

Wanted to try lamination for inclusions this loaf as I usually add them at final mix.  That went well also.  Maybe could have stretched the dough a little more, but I was worried about tearing it.  After lamination, things went in the opposite direction.

Even though the levain seemed active and ready to go, bulk fermentation took forever.  I started with coil folds every 30 minutes.  I lost count and did my best to do them every 30-45 minutes.  After 7.5 hours, the dough was getting jiggly, but the aliquot was only at 25%.  It didn't look like it had grown much, and I was using a Pyrex dish to make coil folds easier instead of my normal bowl, so I didn't have a point of reference.  The "jiggliness" threw me off, and I almost shaped it way too early.  After 12 hours of bulk, the aliquot was just over the 50% mark, but it was getting late in the day.  The plan was to shape, give it an hour in the banneton, and then cold retard overnight.  Dough was extremely jiggly at that point (by my standards anyway), and I didn't degas it very much (it was rising so slow, and I didn't want to lose anything).  It was very slack and hard to get any tension in it, but I was surprised how much it filled the banneton.  After the hour of proofing, the dough had pretty much filled the banneton.  That, combined with the jiggle, had me rethinking that the aliquot was off and that I would overproof with the cold retard.  So, I preheated and had a late-night bake.  Should have trusted the aliquot...  :-)

Flavor is good with a definite but not overpowering sour note.  Very happy with the blistering and color in the crust!  Unfortunately, oven spring was so-so, and the dough was definitely underproofed.

gavinc's picture

I wanted to post about baking three baguettes at the same time in our home oven and how easy it was to load the doughs onto the baking stone using my DIY dough loader.

Developing the dough went well as did the shaping, proof and moving the dough to the loader. Trouble struck when I scored the dough as my lame was blunt. The lame dragged the dough rather than cutting neatly, resulting in jagged and ugly scoring. My concerns are evident in the baked loaves.

What did go well was the ease of quickly loading the baguettes into the oven, evenly spaced without too much loss of heat or steam. I have successfully maximised the capacity of the oven and baking stone. These baguettes are each 315-gram dough and 36cm long.

The crust was crisp, and I am reasonably happy with the crumb.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I guess I was due a pancake (almost)! Wanted to keep exploring the sourdough poolish idea after delicious (although ugly) ciabattas.

Decided to make a seeded sourdough with ~40% whole grain and a soaker, and made a preferment with all the whole grain in the recipe:

Probably overfermented the dough: flattened after scoring, and at the same time as I slashed the second loaf I noticed the skin was tearing in some places already, so I just shouldn't have scored it, and would have been much better, probably. Not used to such quick fermentation I guess! A lot of whole grain, and a very large inoculation.

Hopefully, it's at least tasty :) Will see when it cools.

alfanso's picture

"Ciabatta are like geodes, their true beauty is hidden until you slice them.".  Don, our superb baker MTloaf, provided this wise comment recently.  

Lately I've been on a ciabatta reign of baking terror, starting last month with the Kingdom Bakery version a pair of times.  Then returned to my levain version of Scott MeGee's ciabatta.  Most recently moved back to my biga version of same.  With 40% PFF at 66% hydration, I've had good results with these.

However, tinker I must and decided to double the PFF to 80% for the biga while maintaining the same 66% hydration.  Only once before had I used such a high percentage of PFF - a few years ago with Abel Sierra's 90% PFF very very stiff biga (think Piergiorgio Giorilli's ciabatta), but that was for his boule formula.  The major differences in those two bigas vs. this 66% hydration biga are the simpler initial biga mixing, shorter maturation time and ultimately a much much easier handling preferment and incorporation into the final dough.  This biga triples in about 12 hours, so the growth is easy to judge.

And I have to say that the dough felt better at every step of the way.  The first change noticed was a big one - during the mixing phase. 

Once all are incorporated I mix on high speed until I get a strong gluten development that slaps the sides of my 35 year old Kitchen Aid J-hook mixer's bowl.  This action may take somewhere about 15-17 minutes total with both the levain and biga versions, total time including the multiple stops to clear the sides of the bowl and the hook. With this 80% PFF mix, the entire phase including starts and stops, took just under 7 minutes.  Almost immediately I could see the gluten develop and when I emptied the mixer the dough strength was quite apparent.

All three folds in the tub indicated a stronger dough, as did the divide and shape.  The resultant bake showed a greater loft, few large holes, and a more delicate lighter sweeter crumb.  My taste-testing neighbor, an Italy born and raised gal, declared this version my best yet.  I might find it hard to disagree.

*With this 80% PFF version, the biga does not have to be chilled as the mixing friction is reduced greatly by the faster gluten development.

The lighting on this last picture is off, as the true color is more accurate on the previous pictures.

~500g x 3 ciabatta loaves

Danni3ll3's picture

I love sesame in bread. These make for very tasty bread.


Makes 3 loaves 


150 g rolled oats

300 g water

50 g honey

50 g butter



75 g raw Sesame seeds

75 g raw Sunflower seeds



600 g unbleached flour

200 g freshly milled Red Fife flour 

210 g freshly milled Spelt flour 

75 g flax, freshly ground

700 g water

25 g salt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

The afternoon before:

1. Mill the Red Fife and Spelt berries if using berries. Otherwise, use the freshest flours possible. Place the required amounts of flours in a tub. 

2. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. 

3. Grind the flax seeds in a bullet and add to the tub. Cover and set aside.

4. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g bran. Let rise in a warm place. 

The night before:

1. Add the water, the honey, and the buttet to the rolled oats and cook on low until the water is completely absorbed and the porridge is very thick. Put into the fridge for the night. This can be done in the morning if you wish.

2. Toast the sesame and sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan or in the oven at 350 F. They are done when lightly golden and fragrant. Reserve.

3. Before going to bed, feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough Making day:

1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 50 g wholegrain flour and 50 g of unbleached flour and let rise 5-6 hours in a warm spot. 

2. Two hours or so before the levain is ready, put 700 g filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for at least a couple of hours at room temperature. Take the porridge out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. 

3. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the porridge, the toasted seeds, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 9 minutes. 

4. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot. 

5. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals, then 2 more sets at 45 minute intervals. Let the dough rise about 30%. Dough is sticky so keep your hands wet for the folds. 

6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~900g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and I let it rest about a half hour on the counter. 

7. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities or big bubbles. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.

8. Sprinkle half rice/half AP flour in the bannetons. You can add oats flakes as well to decorate the loaves. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl cover or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10-12 hours. 

Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. 

2. Take the diugh out of the fridge and turn the dough out seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

3. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more. 

Kistida's picture

My starters were fed more than usual the amounts of ‘food’ just before my husband and I left for a family emergency in eastern Quebec. This morning I mixed both liquid and stiff discards to make 100% hydration, then recalculated the recipe for a cinnamon raisin swirl loaf recipe from KAB. I’ll probably attempt this again (the hubby loves cinnamon raisin anything!) with ripe sd and some spelt flour. 


Dough (all at room temp)

  • 160g sourdough discard 
  • 300g all purpose flour 
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 3g (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 6g (1 tsp) salt
  • 15g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 70g water
  • 80g 2% milk
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • Olive oil for bowl and counter 


  • 80g raisins (soaked and drained)
  • 50g granulated or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour 
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg + 1 tbsp water, lightly beaten

After baking

  • 1/2 tbsp butter, softened  

Proofing in my oven at about 28°C

Baked in a glass loaf pan at 160°C/325°F 


Soak the raisins: To plump the raisins, soak them in equal weight of hot water for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Drain and pat dry before use. 
Prep the loaf pan: Grease a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5”) loaf pan with butter.  

Make the dough: Combine milk, water, egg, sugar, sourdough starter, flours, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl and mix by hand or in a stand mixer until a shaggy dough forms.  

Then, add the softened butter and continue to mix and knead until the dough becomes soft and smooth - about 8 - 10 minutes.   

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough to grease all sides of the dough.  

Cover and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours.  

Make the filling: Stirring together sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Set aside.  

Shape the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased counter.  

Deflate, roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 15 x 50cm (6 x 20”) - the smaller figure being slightly shorter than the length of pan’s base. 

Brush the surface of the dough beaten egg wash. Then, sprinkle cinnamon filling all over it leaving about 2.5cm (1”) wide along one short edge bare - this edge will be make it easier to seal the rolled log. Sprinkle the drained raisins evenly on top of the filling.  

With a dough scraper, start rolling from the short edge (covered with filling), into a log. Pinch the ends to seal, and turn the log seam-side down on the counter to seal the seam. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.  

Next, gently transfer the log, seam-side down, to the prepared pan. Cover lightly and allow it to rise until it's about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes.  

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. 

Bake the loaf: Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 30 minutes.

Bake until crust is golden brown and the internal loaf temperature measures 88°C/190°F on a thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let it rest for a about a minute. Then, gently turn the loaf out - if the pan was buttered/greased well, the loaf will easily come out. Brush the top of the loaf with softened butter. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing - about 2 hours. 

HeiHei29er's picture

Did a variation on my regular recipe.  Swapped out all the WW for a mix of AP/Bread flour.  With all the non (low) gluten flours and the soaker, it's hard to keep this recipe from spreading flat when doing a free standing loaf.  This time I tried it with a round and seam side up.  I think it helped the loaf hold its shape with no score.  Spread just a bit on one side, but overall not too bad!

Combination of the spelt and buckwheat flours seems to give this loaf its reddish brown color.  Crumb turned out typical for this loaf.  It was still a little moist (should dry up a bit more over the next day or two), but it's perfect for sandwiches and toast.  The aroma from the toasted buckwheat really comes through.

EDIT: After having a couple slices, I think the white flour version might be a candidate for sourdough instead of the raisin yeast water.

Worthwhilebubble's picture

I've had a lot of compliments for this pic elsewhere so I thought it may be appreciated here too. 70% hydration, 20% wholemeal. I will expand on my method if anyone is interested.


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