The Fresh Loaf


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The Fresh Loaf
Sometimes things don't go according to plan

Sometimes things don't go according to plan

but that's why you watch the dough and not the clock. I usually like to give my starter 2-3 feeds before I work with it, but this passed weekend I rushed it and was only able to feed it once. This messed with my fermentation time table, but I was still able to produce a sourdough with great flavor and a wonderfully textured crumb. 

Moral of the story, trust your eyes and the feel of the dough. 

Doughy center

Doughy center

Hello all.  I am very much hoping you good folks can assist me in sussing out my recent loaf troubles.

I've searched the site for gummy and doughy issues and clearly it has not helped.  So it appears time for some person to person interaction.

Here is what is going on.  I've am no stranger to baking.  Been doing it 25+years.  The last couple years have been very successful with high hydration doughs ala Tartine.  I successfully, albeit not perfectly, made it through all of Chad's recipes.  No real issue except the basic learning curve of high hydration shaping.

I have what I believe is a healthy 100% whole wheat culture started over 18 months  ago.  I say believe as it's the one rock I have not overturned trying to diagnose my current issue.  In the time since I started it I've kept it fed and it seems fine based on activity and aroma.  I've baked little in the last year with it.  Since I started again about 2 months ago, I have one recurring issue regardless of recipe.  The inside of my loaves are gummy/doughy.  Regardless of flour or recipe.

As everyone seems to say, my belief is I've changed nothing.  But of course something has changed.  Details.  Let's go with yesterday's loaf.

50% whole wheat loaf.  Numbers in baker's percent.  Total flour was 500g

50 Camas Valley whole wheat flour (local mill) hard winter wheat

50 AP flour

75 water

1.3 salt

20 levain (1T starter to 50g WW/50gAP 100g water, overnight proof)

2 hour autolyse of flour and water (minus 25g)

Mix in remaining water and salt.  Fold, stretch, turn every half hour for 2 hours.  Bulk rest 3 hours.  Pulled away nicely from bowl and had plenty of tension post fold.  Pre-shape and bench rest 20 minutes.  Final shaping and rise for 1 hour in floured bowl, seam side up.

Oven pre-heat to 500 F.  Cast iron skillet and lid heated 10 minutes.  Load loaded and slashed.

20 minutes with lid at 500 F

40 minutes without lid at 450F

No internal temp taken...but for goodness sakes, after an hour at that temp...

The interior:


I am happy enough with the look but the texture is doughy still.  You can see the shine and gloss on some of the surfaces.

A run down of things I've checked.  I'm sure I've missed some.

Oven temperature accurate

Bake time 40-60 minutes

Tried with previously successful flours and recipes.

Starter floats well.

Tried retarded over night bulk rises

Tried overnight autolyse

Any and all questions and suggestions welcome.  Let me know what details I can fill in.

 I'm tossing around ideas about enzyme issues, trying a lower temperature and starting a new culture. 

Thanks in advance.

Hello from Oregon

Hello from Oregon

Hello all.  What a great place. I've been baking bread 30+ of my 45 years.  In the last couple of years I have discovered natural lavains and high hydration doughs ala Tartine like so many others.  My current goal is is a 100% whole wheat loaf inspired by this:

This is yesterday's progression loaf at 50% whole wheat

Off to find a little input about a couple issues.





125% Levain

125% Levain

Gurus,  Is this ready to use?  It is 125% hydration levain and I'm wanting to do Hamelman's Vermont SD.  It didn't rise at all after 10+ hours but it looks happy to me. Next step is flour / water / autolyse and then salt.  Can I proceed with this now?

Thanks in advance


Hybrid loaf

Hybrid loaf

I am learning to bake bread at home and enjoy experimenting.

Would it be possible to make a hybrid loaf with wholemeal flour in the centre and white flour on the outside? Like a Scotch egg. Maybe wrap a layer of white dough around a ball of brown dough. Then you would have the flavour of the wholemeal and the crust of the white, combining the best of each. Just a thought.




Some tips on sourdough and Danish rye bread

Some tips on sourdough and Danish rye bread

Hi all,

I just started up a blog about Rye as the main focus. To start with a have added a recipe for real Danish Rye Bread (that we eat tons of here in the cold Denmark), some tips to sourdough and also a recipe for making a no knead wheat flour bread added som rye. The recipes are with videos as well. You can see it here 

Hello all bread lovers

Hello all bread lovers

Nice to see this site. Why havent I come across this before? :-) Great idea!

Catch-up Weekend Bake

Catch-up Weekend Bake

I've been following everyone's posts and successes, but life in the fast lane has kept me busy (and away or in the office). I've baked, but less frequently and the freezer was finally sighing with relief. But a (promised) rainy weekend was perfect for catching up. Saturday's bake was a Seeded Multigrain (Hard) Cider Loaf, with Rye, WW, Whole Spelt, BF and KAF's Harvest Grains. You can smell the cider and detect a bit of apple-y sweetness, the crust is thin and the crumb soft and hearty.

Next up was a revisit to the land of sprouted wheat. I've shied away for a couple of months after a couple of disappointing attempts and generally overdosing on whole wheat - needed a break. So back at it by sprouting some berries - farro, and incorporating them into a 50% WW dough (half of which was sprouted WW flour) and tossing in some chopped dates, as well. I worried about overproofing, but watched carefully and managed to catch it in time. The crust was thin and rough with bran, the crumb soft, glossy and open, the add-in wheat berries and dates maybe a bit sparse, but were well distributed. This will be great toasted for breakfasts.

Olive Boule

Olive Boule

It's been a while since my last post. The day job has been keeping me quite busy and I haven't had the bandwidth to bake bread as much as I would like. I'm baking every third weekend to keep the bread box full and the freezer stocked. My go-to bread has been Ken Forkish's overnight country blonde (just like I posted here: It's mostly hands off and seems to work well especially with the mild San Francisco temperatures we've been experiencing lately.

I decided to shake things up and bake something else. This weekend's bake was an olive boule made with 50% liquid levain and 60% water in the final dough. That gave me an overall hydration of 68%. Hydration-wise, 68% is pretty much as low as I go for a lean dough.

The resulting crumb was not too open which was a good way to keep in those delicious olives. The complex tangy taste of my bread was due to the age of my starter. I keep my stiff maintenance starter in the refrigerator unfed and then feed/build it using dabrownman's no fuss method whenever I want to bake.



Olive Bread

  • 80% AP flour
  • 20% whole rye flour
  • 60% water
  • 2.4 % salt
  • 50% levain (100% hydration, 20% rye)
  • 30% pitted Kalamata olives
  1. Mixed all ingredients by hand.
  2. Bulk fermented for 3 hours at room temperature (about 70F) with 4 sets of stretches and folds during the first 2 hours and untouched during the third hour.
  3. Preshaped and bench rested for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape retarded in the refrigerator (40F) for 12 hours.
  5. Baked at 450F for 35 minutes (for 600 grams dough).

:) Mary

Hawaiian Hilton bread

Hawaiian Hilton bread

Up until a couple of years ago the Hawaiian Hilton made a breakfast bread with coconut and pineapple flavoring.  It was a bread  you put in the toaster or ate as is. 

I would really like to be able to recreate this bread.  Does anyone have any knowledge of such a bread and/or any ideas on a formula for such a bread?

Thx in advance.

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