The Fresh Loaf

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Flax and oatmeal soaker: revamping my entire process

tortie-tabby's picture

Flax and oatmeal soaker: revamping my entire process

Hi, for this bake I decided to completely change up my process. I did this in part to fit my schedule, since I decided to make the dough late at night on a Friday, and in part to try a longer bulk ferment and baking the loaf straight from the fridge. Oven spring wasn't as strong as in my other bakes, but it might've been due to 1. a sleepy starter, 2. an overly long bulk ferment, 3. shaping and proofing in a bowl as boule, instead of making a long batard.


240 g KAF AP flour
30 g KAF WW flour
30 g Arrowhead Rye flour
200 g water
6 g salt (1.5% salt, lowered to adjust for salinity from olives)
0.5 g IDY (roughly a pinch, to make up for the slow starter)
70 g starter (fed 8 hours prior with 3:1:4 AP:WW:water)


10 g oatmeal
10 g flax
10 g bran
26 g hot water (78% total hydration)

Levain build

50 g starter (100% hydration, fed 1:1 starter to feed 8 hours ago)
10 g WW flour
10 g Rye flour
20 g water



1. Feed starter, autolyse flour and water, autolyse for 1 hr
2. Fold in starter, salt, and soaker, rest for 15 minutes
3. 100 french folds
4. 5 sets of S&F in 30-minute intervals
5. Bulk ferment for 5 hours at 66˚F (I decided to go to sleep, this was 1am- 6am)
6. Shape then proof for another 40 minutes
7. Cold ferment for 10 hours
8. Preheat DO and oven to 500 F, line bottom of DO with foil, leaving one corner folded up
9. Score and load loaf with floured baking paper straight from the fridge
10. Slip 3 cubes of ice into DO, ideally under the folded-up corner of foil
11. Bake at 475 F, covered, for 25 mins
12. Bake at 425 F with convection, uncovered, for another 20 mins


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A lovely loaf and crumb.  What happened to the olives?

tortie-tabby's picture

I was hoping for a little more oven spring, but the taste is so wonderful it honestly doesn't matter. I decided to take a break from using heavy/chunky add-ins and work on my gluten development and oven spring first!

Danni3ll3's picture

Can you explain why you took that route? One hour seems kind of short and you also didn’t feed it very much. Your loaf turned out wonderful using that method and I’m curious where you got the idea. 

tortie-tabby's picture

Well, my reasoning is that the starter is most ready for baking when it is most heavily saturated with active yeast. Because I left the starter overnight and it seemed a little lethargic by morning, I decided to feed it a little more to revive it. I knew if I fed it too much the yeast wouldn't have consumed/populated most of the added feed yet by the time I went to use it an hour later. I was thinking that if I added a small amount of highly nutritious feed (1:1 WW to rye) I could get the kind of dense activity I wanted.

That was just my reasoning. I actually suspect things would have gone just as well if not better if I had just used the starter that was fed and left overnight haha. This is definitely something I'm interested in experimenting with.

Elsie_iu's picture

This kind of even, moderately open crumb is my personal favourite.  Using a soaker is a great way to soften the crumb. 

Interesting that you put foil instead of parchment... Did the loaf stick? It looks like a fair money-saving trick!