The Fresh Loaf

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Sesame Sourdough - 1st loaf with new baking steel and new starter

HeiHei29er's picture

Sesame Sourdough - 1st loaf with new baking steel and new starter

Lots of firsts in this loaf, so not sure any conclusions can be drawn from any one part of it, but overall, the combination produced a really nice loaf (for me anyway).

- New recipe

- New shaping technique

- New DIY baking steel

- New starter (not really done yet, but I got impatient)



Something simple with toasted sesame seeds.  Developed gluten like I normally do, but this time I left the inclusions out until I had decent gluten development instead of adding to the initial mix.  Tried folding them in as part of my final sets of kneading.  It worked OK, but in hind sight I should have laminated them in.  I did two or three extra S&F in the first 90 minutes of bulk to try and further distribute the seeds.  In the end, I think lamination would have been faster and definitely would have produced a more even distribution.



I've had trouble recently with the seam opening on my boules.  For this one, I abandoned what I was doing and followed Danni's description on her technique.  Love the look of her natural scored loaves and decided to see if I could duplicate it.  I think it went well.  I only had one seam open, but I'm guessing each loaf will look a little different if I continue using this method.  Regardless, the shaping technique worked well, so will continue to use it whether I proof seam side up or down.


DIY Baking Steel

Picked up a piece of 1/4" plate from a local machine shop.  Had them cut it 15" x 20", which fills one of my oven trays with about a 1.5" air gap on either side.  I filed down any sharp/rough edges and sanded off any corrosion products.  Applied a thin film of canola oil and baked it at 400 deg F for 1 hour.  For my oven set up, I have a large cookie sheet to act as a heat shield/steam tray on the bottom shelf, the baking steel two spots above that, and another large cookie sheet as a heat shield on the top tray.  1 cup of boiling water goes into the steam tray at the start of the bake.



Working on a new starter that you can read about here.  Wanted to try out the new baking steel, so decided to use some of the new starter as it's developing.


Loaf turned out great!  I'm pretty sure it's the tallest hearth loaf I've ever made, and it is definitely the tallest round loaf.  First slice was right down the middle, and it looks like I trapped a big bubble either during final shaping or with one of the S&F.  The next slice into the loaf is the crumb I like to see, so overall happy with how the loaf turned out.  Too many firsts for me to say any one item had a certain effect, but hoping I can reproduce the overall result on the next bakes.  The low whole grain flour content  probably helped in the loaf height department too.  :-)




happycat's picture

Great looking loaf... and I love sesame. 

Interesting use of trays and steel sheet... getting to replicating a commercial oven / old stone oven.

I recently tried preheating my insulated cookie sheet in my oven at 500 then sliding a pizza onto it with parchment paper. Worked way better than my old technique. Interesting to see what you're doing! I wonder how important it is to have an upper shield not just from the element but for disrupting the convection, moisture, etc.

HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you!  The toasted sesame does add a nice flavor.  Almost added toasted sunflower seeds too, but decided to keep it simple with this one.  :-)

I used a Granite Ware roaster pan prior to this.  It worked well, but I was limited to two loaves.  I'd like to be able to do 3-4, and I think this set up will do that.  I haven't tried a pizza on it, but I expect the crust will be nice and crisp!

I use the upper shield primarily to prevent radiant heat burning the crust.  I can't turn the upper element off with my oven.  I haven't tried convection after steaming yet, but I will have to do that one of these times to see the difference.

Benito's picture

Nicely done set of new firsts Troy.  Sesame is always a winner in my books.  Allowing the natural bloom looks great and worked well for you.  Bet this loaf tastes great.


HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you Benny.  Now the task of figuring out what really had the most impact.  :-)

JonJ's picture

Love the height, you're a great advert for "Danni's shaping technique". Also the new starter looks like a winner.

HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you Jon.  The new starter is coming along nicely.  Made three loaves yesterday and I was happy with all of them, so for now, I'm calling it a winner!

Danni3ll3's picture

That’s a great looking loaf! I can’t claim to have invented the shaping technique I use. I got it from Sarah Owen in her Honey Spelt bread. The only thing I added was the pulling and spinning at the end. 
I think you got a great natural score on your loaf. They are all unique. There are also times that the loaves just rise in the oven snd I don’t get much or any score. I attribute those to overproofing so that’s why I try to limit my fridge time to under 12 hours. 
Love your loaf and I bet it tastes amazing with the sesame seeds in it. 

HeiHei29er's picture

Fair enough, but I picked it up from you, so it will always be Danni's shaping technique to me.  ;-)