The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Today's Bread

Susan's picture

Today's Bread


130g starter (100% hyd.), 305g water, ~1/4 cup sesame seeds, 9g salt, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 400g All Trumps high-gluten flour, 50g coarse whole wheat flour.

The dough was kept close to 76F throughout mixing and fermentation.

Mix starter and water.  Add seeds and oil, mix.  Add flours and salt, mix just until flour is wet, rest 1 hour, fold 3x at 30 min intervals.  Let rise until near doubled (about 2 hours).  Shape, put in triangle brotform, and deposit in fridge for overnight.  Bake at 500->460F (after a half-hour out of fridge) under cover for first 20 minutes.  Let rest in oven for 10 minutes after bake.


inlovewbread's picture

Well done again Susan, that crust is unbelievable. 

I noticed you used a liquid starter with this loaf instead of your usual firm starter. Why the switch? Are you seeing better loaf volume with the liquid?


Susan's picture

I just can't leave well enough alone, that's all.  I'm a seat-of-the-pants baker and leave the engineering to my husband.  This loaf was ready to put in the oven when it came out of the fridge this morning.  Usually I wait an hour or so before baking.  More starter, and a liquid starter to boot, made it ready earlier.


shoey's picture

Hi Susan,

Thank you for documenting and sharing your talents. I have spent hours and hours reading and re-reading your (and others) blogs here.

I followed your formula exactally (except I didn't have seeds or oil) and have a question. How big were your loaves?

I made two loaves they look almost identical. Here is a picture of one. Were your loaves this small? It seemed small going into the oven. But I think/know I have been over proving my loaves unil this loaf. This time I bravely put a, still cold to the touch loaf in the oven after a 1/2 hour out of the fridge and this is what happened. The house temp is about 67 F here.

What do you think?

Thanks for looking.


LindyD's picture

Another masterpiece of crust and crumb!

What's the temperature of the room where your dough undergoes bulk fermentation?

Am curious because it takes mine anywhere from three to six hours.  I heat with wood in the winters so my room temp varies.  

Susan's picture

Don't forget that the dough was rested for an hour, then folded 3x with a half-hour between each fold, then rose for a couple of hours.  That's 4.5 to 5 hours, and I keep the dough in a small foam ice chest (accompanied by a glass of near-boiling water) whenever I haven't got my hands in it.  I also use warm water when mixing so that the dough stays around 76F.  Keeping the dough warm makes a huge difference.

Good question.


AnnieT's picture

Beautiful loaf once again Susan! I have a question - you say that you "folded" the dough three times with no mention of stretching. Here I have been dutifully stretching the dough on the counter, then folding and rolling it a la Mark to help strengthen the gluten. Have I been doing it wrong? I did have an aha moment recently and have been making my dough wetter as well as keeping it warm and I have noticed the crumb improving. Almost as good as yours, A.

Susan's picture

In answer to your question, no, I didn't stretch out the dough like Mark does, just sort of pulled it out a bit, and folded envelope-style.  Sometimes I even fold it a couple of times before I put it back in the bowl, depending on how it feels.  Maybe I should stretch it out more.  I'll give that a try and see if I get better "shoulders" and "haunches."



LindyD's picture

Yes, I overlooked the resting and folding time.

In most cases I go for a dough temp of 76F.  This past weekend I aimed for 75F - simply because I had read something Didier Rosada wrote, claiming 75F was an optimal temp.  Also experimented with using AP flour versus bread flour.

One boule was an AP and rye, the other, AP, rye, and about 30 grams of ground flaxseed (the flaxseed made for a sticky dough).  Both boules are in the freezer, so the jury is still out.

Susan's picture

Try not to worry about a gram or degree here or there--this is supposed to be fun!  The most absolutely important part, I've found, is using a happy starter.  Have you read all of Debra Wink's good info?  I feel we are so fortunate to have the benefit of her knowledge.

It's great that you are experimenting with different flours.  My preference is obviously hi-gluten.  It gives me the chewy stretchiness that I look for in a sourdough.

Let us know how you like your AP/rye loaves when they come out of the freezer.


LindyD's picture

Hi Susan, yes, I've read Debra's great writings and enjoy them very much.

Happily, I have a strong starter whose taste I love - created a couple years ago.

It's always fun to experiment with bread... more fun to eat it!

Paddyscake's picture

as always! My goodness..the addition of the sesame oil just sends me!! Have to make this one!!


smasty's picture

We see a lot of pics of loaves every day...but every so often there's a really spectacular yours! 

rayel's picture

Beautiful breads Susan. I have a packet of "San Francisco" starter, and wondered if I should use pineapple juice for it. This will be a first for me. I hope this is the right place to ask. Thanks,  Ray

Susan's picture

Thanks for the compliment.

I have not made a starter in years, but if I wanted to, I would follow Debra Wink's instructions here: 

Sourdough Starter - Long Post
Marni's picture

Your pictures always bring that response followed by wow!


Susan's picture

It's bound to be.  I don't see anyone else using a sawhorse! 

Actually, right now I refresh my starter in the evening, leave it on the counter all night, then feed it again in the morning, bringing the total amount to more than I need for my dough so I'll have enough to feed again.  This regimen has made my starter jump up when I'm ready to start a dough in the late afternoon.  Of course, all this will be disrupted when the weather warms; then I'll have to figure out a new regimen. 

Sourdough keeps life interesting.



P.S.  Yesterday, after reading MC's post, I used the recipe above (~72% hydration) but mixed, rested one hour, folded, rested one hour, folded, rested three hours, divided in two, very gently folded in thirds, rested 5 minutes, shaped into boules and put into little colanders for proofing in the fridge overnight.  I baked them after 1/2-hour out of the fridge.  And now, here are the little twins, still warm from the oven:

Marni's picture

I've got to get one of those sawhorses! 


Chode's picture

I thought I would take a whack at making your sesame sourdough. I followed your measurements and method, except I did not proof overnight in my brotform. I've had trouble with loaves sticking in there if I leave it for extended periods so I am a little gun shy about proofing in the brotform for more than an hour.  So, I pulled the loaf out of the fridge and formed a boule and proofed it in the brotform for 1/2 hour.  I baked at 475F for 15 min covered and about another 30 uncovered.

Here is the result:


The taste was great and I got really good spring from the bread, but the crumb was not nearly as open as yours. Why do you suppose this is? I would have expected this tight crumb if the loaf was a manhole cover, but with the nice spring I got from it I surely thought it would be more open than it was.

I had fun at any rate.  Thanks for your post. (Sorry if this was posted twice, I didn't see the first one show up)



Susan's picture

Your bread looks lovely, Michael.  IMHO you should let it rise more and slash it.  And don't be afraid to proof it overnight in your fridge. 

1.  Did you let the dough ferment until you could see bubbles rising under the surface?  The total fermentation time from mixing should be 4-6 hours, depending on dough and room temperature.  Be gentle with the dough after fermentation.  Do not knock it back, or press out the bubbles.  Turn it out on your counter, then pull the edges toward the center to shape it into a boule.  Gently turn it over and let it rest for a few minutes.  Turn the boule against the counter to tighten it up.  Turn it over into your brotform, put the whole thing into a large plastic bag and slide it into the fridge for overnight.  Assess it in the morning--is it fully risen, or does it need an hour or two more on the counter?

2.  Slashing gives the dough a place to go--hopefully up!  Use a bread knife or a tomato knife.  When you slash, you should be able to see bubbles but the dough shouldn't collapse.

As far as proofing in your brotform, I sift a generous amount of flour all over the brotform, fill up those ridges!  Then a light sifting of rice flour over the wheat flour.  Some people mix the rice and wheat flour together and use that. 

I use high-gluten flour, so if you are using bread flour or AP flour, you will need to use less water.  In that case, drop the water amount by 10 grams and see how that does.  Note that all my mixing is done by hand, and it really is minimal mixing, just enough to wet the flour.

Let me know how it goes.


Chode's picture

I tried to follow the timing of what I thought you had. I did an initial bulk ferment for 1 hour, then 3 folds @ 30 min each. So that would be 2.5 hours. At that point I put into the fridge for 24 hour rest in the proofing bowl. After 24 hours I pulled it out and tried not to degass it while I formed a boule as you describe. I proofed it in the brotform for 1/2 then into the oven.

So, it sounds as if it were a combination of not letting it proof enough and over-handling it. I've found that if I proof too long, I get no oven spring with it. I'm still trying to get the feel for what is the correct proofing.  

I've had really bad luck slashing high hydration loaves, so I'm trying to work up to doing it with a bread knife. Eric Hanner and a few others mentioned the bread/tomato knife. I had previously been trying to use a lame and single edge razor.  So, I'll give that a go.

With the brotform, I did give it a liberal dusting of flour and filled the ridges (so to speak) when I had trouble before. I can't remember if it was in the fridge or at room temp when I had the problem, but it seems like the moisture of the dough soaked through my flour in the brotform and made the whole mess stick. I'll have to look for rice flour, maybe that's the key to releasing it clean?

I used Gold Medal Bread Flour, which I thought was pretty high gluten, but maybe not as much as what you referenced. 



008cats's picture

Hi - 

The only high gluten flour I have access to contains 72% protein. What type of flour should I use to "amend" with this high percentage - UAP? WWW? Any suggestions?


subfuscpersona's picture

hi Susan

You've inspired me yet again!

Lately I've been interested in adding seeds to my bread (something I usually do not do). I love the taste of sesame seeds, so this is the seed I wanted to start with.

I came up with this recipe (before I'd seen yours). I used a combination of tahini (sesame seed paste) and unhulled (organic) sesame seeds (I toasted the sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet on the stove top and ground them to a very coarse meal using an electric coffee grinder.)

This is what I am using for my current bake. My sourdough starter is 100% hydration and fed with unbleached bread flour.


sourdough starter water 20.0%
sourdough starter flour 20.0%
unbleached bread flour 65.0%
finely milled whole wheat flour 15.0%
water 50.0%
toasted sesame seed meal 10.0%
tahini 15.0%
salt 2.0%
IDY (optional) 0.2%

The dough was baked in a (preheated) cast iron dutch oven at about 450 - 460 F. Here's the loaf...

Going forward, I think I'd increase the total hydration to 72%.


For those who are interested, one level TBS of sesame seeds weighs about 8 gm and 1 level tsp of tahini weighs about 28 gm.

tempe's picture

This looks like a lovely loaf, I love sesame anything and I have a couple of questions if any one could be so kind to as to help me out. 

If I wanted to make this loaf without the overnight retardation and instead proofing at room temperature till almost doubled, would the end result be the same? 

And would I need to do any extra stretch and folds at any stage to strengthen the dough in lieu of the overnight retardation? 

My fridge is quite cold and it took ages for the dough too warm up, after five hours inside and still cold to the touch and no rise whatsoever,  I took it outside on our covered deck to warm up, which it did in a couple of hours, when I made this yesterday, hence my questions.  Being that my doughs are overnighting in my husband's 'beer' fridge as there is no room in the one in the kitchen I don't have the option of turning up the fridge to a little warmer.

My starter is nice and active and easily almost doubles a loaf at about 76 degrees farenheit.  It is warm here at the moment I live in a subtropical climate.

Thanks in advance for any help.  

Thaichef's picture

Hello Susan:

  Wow! I am speechless. Your bread is beyond believe! Any way, what do you recommend for the flour when I can't find " All Trump" flour?

  Everything about your bread is perfect!