The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Giant Susans Boule

ehanner's picture

Giant Susans Boule

Early (really early)this morning I mixed up a big batch of Susan's SD. I planned to bake this 3 pound batch as a single boule under cover with steam which is what I do when I know Susan will be grading how I did on her recipe.

This turned out wonderfully IMHO. The oven spring is about all I could expect and the color is perfect for my tastes. It took 33 minutes at 450F (I lowered the heat to 400F at 28 minutes). At the end I followed my friend David's advice and left the bread in the oven with the oven off and the door cracked, to crisp up the crust. And, I added 1% diastatic malt (8g) to the final dough in hopes of enhancing the color just a bit.

The crumb isn't as open as Davids but then I didn't give it any retarded ferment time. The flavor is a mild sour and a great wholesome flavor. I wouldn't say that I can taste the malt but this is the best sourdough I have made-ever. That's saying something considering the many varieties I have tried. We like a mild sour and I like it a little more so but some people cringe when you get a full sour that turns your toes up. I have no doubt this would be really sour with an overnight retarded ferment .

I get the sense that there is something going on with the total mass of the loaf. This might not make any logical sense but all of the aspects of tastes I look at and can judge seem better in a larger loaf. It is just dawning on me that maybe this is a SD Miche. Any thoughts on that?


Susans Giant Boule
Susan's Giant Boule

Giant Boule-Crumb
Giant Boule-Crumb


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Eric.

That is just gorgeous! I love the reddish crust color.

Great minds, etc.: I was going to add some diastatic malt the next time I make Susan's Sourdough. I think it's biggest impact is on crust color.

I think you could call that "a miche." Going for 2 Kg next?

I have been dividing into smaller loaves recently, just because I don't like the freezer drying cut loaves. But there is something special about those big breads, even if they don't actually taste better.


Janedo's picture

Hi Eric,

Nice looking bread! Pictures never show how huge a bread is, but 3 lbs is pretty big! I usually do loaves that are around 1 kg, so 2,2lbs? It is sort of in between. I like the size, the crumb, the way it slices, it stays fresh longer. But here, in this house, a bread like that only lasts a day, max 2, so I can understand why people would make smaller loaves and freeze. 

You can make HUGE bruschetta with that!!! :-)


apprentice's picture

Your dedication is really paying off, isn't it? Helped by natural talent, I believe. The sheen, the crumb, the scoring....all of it.....just gorgeous.

On the question about whether it's a miche, I had a look at my formula from Ciril Hitz. He scales his miches at 2500 grams or 5.5 lb. But they were HUGE. He tends to use them as a base for display pieces. I don't think a boule has to be quite that big to quality for the name. But that's just my personal opinion.

Looking forward to trying some of the techniques you're perfecting, once I get through my barley phase. Meanwhile, the bar keeps getting set higher and higher. :)


ehanner's picture

David: The reddish tint is nice isn't it. It's just a little more red than without the malt I think. Actually next time I make the Italian I think I'll scale down some on the malt. It is browning a little to soon I think and ends up a little too reddish. Still tastes good but for appearances sake I think it will be better with less.

Jane: Monster Bruchetta! That's an idea. We have friends with 3 school age boys that see a bit of my bread each week usually. The 1.5 Lb loaf I usually send down is gone with one meal. I think maybe I'll start making these more often for those situations. Also we are approaching deer hunting season here and a nice 3 pound miche (?) would work in deer camp too.

Carol: I guess it is dedication. Nothing good comes easy I suppose. When I started down this road all I had was the memory of San Francisco SD and the last baguette I had in Paris. I set out to try and duplicate those breads about 2 years ago. Today my memory has faded but I think I'm pretty close on both accounts. I'm happy and enjoying my hobby and as far as I can tell so are those that live near me. Haven't killed any one yet!

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Bravo!  Your only limitation is the size of your oven!  The larger loaf does lead to a tighter crumb which looks good!  Are you thinking about an electric slicer for Christmas?   

I bought some "roasted flour" today.  it is 40% barley, 12 % corn, 8% wheat, 1% sesame and 9 other flours I can't quite figure out.  I think there are two more varieties of barley.  It smells wonderful and would make a nice addition to wheat bread flour in a loaf.  It tastes so good, I'll bet sticky rice treats are rolled into it for an outside coating.  Don't know if it reacts like malted flour or extract but it would be fun to try.

Mini O

Susan's picture

is A+, and you get a Gold Star! Fantastic!

Susan from San Diego

ehanner's picture

Awww thanks Susan. You are my inspiration.


gmask1's picture

That looks sooooo good. I'm discovering that there's a choice to be made upon taking photos of a fresh loaf (or boule!) - do I dare cut into it and lose the perfect, straight-off-the-page-of-a-book loaf? or do I carve it up and eat it, knowing I can just bake another one? Bread evokes that rare feeling in me where actually eating a slice is just as good as that thought of eating the slice - it lives up to (and exceeds) it's expectations. I don't find many situations these days where doing something turns out to be as enjoyable as that original thought of doing it. Which is probably why I stop thinking, and just eat the bread!

What I'd like to know more about is the different tastes and sensations that people experience with tasting sourdough bread. Reading your comment, 'We like a mild sour and I like it a little more so but some people cringe when you get a full sour that turns your toes up', I'm trying to imagine the different flavors, twists and turns that go with each bite, so that I can better understand what my own baking is telling me.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think they complement each other so well.  I can't remember a slice of rye so sour, I couldn't eat it but with wheat, it can get very sour tasting.  Just a thought. 

Mini O