The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


Bruce46's picture

First time attempting croissant dough. Any help with butter or margarine bread flour  yeast.   I have new sheeter 

any advice appreciated

Benito's picture

We are having a mediterranean fish stew tonight for dinner and leftovers tomorrow so I decided to bake these spelt sourdough baguettes, which I haven’t done for almost 2 years.  Since I baked them last I’ve made some changes to how I develop the dough.  I now use my Ankarsrum Assistent which I find is as gentle as hand developing dough and I do much more gluten development than I used to.  The idea is that if I develop the gluten more than I used to, the dough should be able to be fermented for a longer time allowing better flavour development.  Where I used to aim for 30-35% total dough rise as the time to bake, I am now aiming for around 60-65%.  I am hoping that the spelt at 9% will allow a nicely open crumb.  I was video recording my scoring, when I knocked my iphone onto one of the unescorted baguettes causing quite the deep dent.

Overnight levain

Built and fermented at 76°F to be ready in 10-12 hours.


Fermentolyse - mix 356 g water with all the levain, salt 10 g and diastatic malt 5.3 g to dissolve, then add AP flour to combine.  Slap and fold x 100 then add hold back water 27 g gradually working in until fully absorbed then slap and fold x 100.


Bulk Fermentation 82*F until aliquot jar shows 20% rise.

Do folds every 30 mins doing 2-3 folds

Could do cold retard at this point for  up to overnight. (Aliquot jar 20% rise)


Divide and pre-shape rest for 15 mins

Use spelt flour for couche

Shape en couche with final proof until aliquot jar shows 60% rise then cold retard shaped baguettes en couche for at least 15 minutes for easier scoring. 


Pre-heat oven 500*F after 30 mins add Silvia towel

Transfer to peel on parchment

Score each baguette and transfer to oven and bake on steel.


Bake with steam pouring 1 cup of boiling water to cast iron skillet dropping temperature to 480*F 

The baguettes are baked with steam for 9 mins.  Decrease the temperature to 450°F and continue to bake with steam for another 4 mins.  The steam equipment is removed venting the oven of steam.  The oven is left at 450ºF but convection is turned on and the baguettes bake for 8 mins rotating them halfway.  The oven temperature is then dropped to 375ºF and the baguettes rotated again if needed and baked for another 3-5 mins to achieve a rich colour crust.


My index of bakes

foodforthought's picture

…and when you make ice cream, you end up with a lot of unused egg whites. And when you have a lot of egg whites, @txfarmer’s super soft sourdough sandwich bread calls my name. So I whipped up 2.5 kg of her dough substituting buttermilk for her specified whole milk. And when it’s ice cream season, it’s also burger season so a quarter of the dough went into burger buns topped with @nbicomputer’s onion roll topping. Interestingly, the onion topping kind of turned the buns into coronavirus look-alikes. The rest of the dough went into what I’m now calling my White Buttermilk Brioche. The buttermilk causes a much darker crust than I usually get on this super light, shredible sourdough crumb. Buns worked great for our burgers and just had an excellent egg salad sandwich on the brioche. Good to be back home and baking.


fredsbread's picture

My wife wanted these sausage and pepper sandwiches for dinners this week, so I made a batch of "Italian bread" as sandwich rolls from Bread Baker's Apprentice. The only deviations I made from the recipe were to let the biga retard in the fridge for about 36 hours, and to retard the proof again for about 9 hours while I was at work. Both changes were due to not having time to plan the bake properly over the weekend after getting back from a work trip. Despite the changes, the rolls turned out great. I expected them to be longer, but the sausages only stuck out the ends of the rolls slightly, so it worked out fine.

Benito's picture

I hadn’t baked a cake in quite sometime and wanted something to share with the staff of our building.  I had this saved from quite sometime ago and never made it so it was overdue.

I unfortunately forgot to take a photo of the crumb.  It was nicely studded with the orange zest and was a lovely yellow colour.  I loved the orange glaze, it was thin and crisp and really enhanced the eating of this loaf.  It had wonderful orange flavour with hints of cardamom.  Cardamom is pretty citrusy so it really goes well with orange.

Ingredients for 1 loaf 

1.5 cups (187.5 g) AP flour

250 g granulated sugar (used 225 g and can be reduced even more try 200 g next time)

2.25 g kosher salt

3.75 g baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

180 g whole milk

112 g vegetable oil

75 g eggs (1.5)

1 tablespoons orange zest from one orange

3/4 tsp (3 g) vanilla extract




  1.   Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a (8/x 4/2-inch) loaf pan.
  2.   In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cardamom; make a well in center of mixture. Add milk, oil, eggs, zest, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Pour batter int prepared pan.
  3.   Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Drizzle with Orange Glaze.




For 1 loaf

120 g icing sugar

1 tsp orange zest

40 g fresh orange juice 


This turned out to be far too much glaze, half as much would be plenty.


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.

albacore's picture

Another Italian style bake using my DIY multi-cereal flour blend, as developed for my recent Pagnotta Multicereali bake.

It comprises 85% Dallagiovanna Manitoba flour with the balance being an equal parts mix of wheat, rye, barley, oats and rice grain all freshly milled together.

I've never had much luck with naturally leavened ciabatta - mine tend to be tough as old boots and with small alveoli, so I used fresh yeast in a 45% hydration biga. 100% of the flour is in the biga.

I made the biga in my Kenwood Chef with the K beater. I highly recommend this method as it is so easy. You just put the flour in the mixer, run at low speed and slowly trickle in the yeasted water and mix until all the flour is just hydrated.

It's important that all the flour is hydrated and I don't think some other methods of mixing do this.

The biga temp should be about 22c after mixing. It is then stored at 18-19C for 18-20 hours.

The rest of the bake was standard ciabatta method. Note that without a spiral mixer it is difficult to hydrate a 45% hydration biga and it might be better to make it at a somewhat higher hydration.

Here is my bake log:

Biga ready to put in mixer:




I'm happy with this bake - good crispy crust and open crumb.




hellen's picture

Nigella seeds add so much savoury depth to bread and works really well with sourdough. For anyone in Toronto, Blackbird Baking has a seeded loaf which uses a mixture that includes nigella seeds. Their seeded loaf was a staple for me many years ago. The defining feature of the loaf, I think, is definitely the addition of nigella seeds! Recipe here.

I did not think to bake with nigella seeds until very recently. I have made these seeded buns 2 or 3 times prior but this is my first time adding nigella seeds. I was super pleased with the flavor it brought. If you've never tried nigella seeds, they taste savoury, vaguely allium, slightly oregano-ish. Hard to describe!

For this bake, I was a bit lazy with the stretch and folds. I usually do at least 3 and sometimes up to 5 stretch and folds for this type of dough, but this time I only did 2. As a result the buns were not as open crumbed as they could have been I think. 

I also typically bake the following morning after cold bulk fermentation in the fridge. For this bake however, I did not form and bake the buns until more than 41 hours later. The buns were flavorful but I think the crumb could have been better - in previous iterations of the same recipe, I have had a much airier open crumb structure. I think it was slightly over-fermented, but some additional strech and folds could probably have fixed this.

I have heard that pizza dough is optimally cold fermented for 3-5 days. I am wondering if this also holds true for doughs like ciabatta or if that amount is way too long. In both pizza dough and ciabatta the goal is similar - crispy crust, open crumb, big air bubbles. They are both also relatively high hydration doughs. Does anyone have experience cold-fermenting high hydration doughs for 3-5 days? I would be curious to know the results. 

If you would like to try these seeded buns, the recipe is here. I highly recommend trying nigella seeds!

Below is a previous bake using the same recipe, but without the addition of nigella seeds and only 14 hours in the fridge.


tpassin's picture

I was looking through the Community Bake on ciabatta, and I didn't see that anyone had tried using the original recipe of the inventor, Arnaldo Cavallari.  It's available on line as a photo of the recipe (in Italian) in his bakery, and there is a faithful translation available, too (I know because I transcribed the recipe from the photo by hand, and translated it with Google Translate). I'll post the links later.  The recipe is very different from what us home bakers typically do, and also from most ciabatta recipes I have seen.

Here's a brief summary: 10kg flour, 50g brewer's yeast, 5L water. Mix in spiral mixer 5 minutes. Ferment 16 - 22 hours at room temperature. Add 2L water, 100g sugar, 250g salt. Mix 5 minutes slow, 8 - 10 minutes medium, desired dough temperature 25 - 27 C (77 - 81 deg F). Bulk ferment 30 - 40 minutes. Scale into 300g pieces and shape onto floured boards.  Proof 1 hour uncovered. Turn loaves over onto baking sheets, bake with steam "at a high temperature" for 30 - 35 minutes, releasing steam halfway through.

Wow! 100% pre-fermented flour.  50% hydration biga. 70% final hydration (modern recipes are usually 80 - 85%). Proof uncovered. So different.

The hydration seems very low but we don't know much about his flour mix.  He said he worked it out with a selection of five local flours of different kinds, and came up with a milling method suitable for the bread - he owned his own production mill.  So we don't know anything about the ability of his flour mix to absorb water, nor what the effective extraction was.  I was not able to find a picture of an original loaf nor its crumb so we don't really know about that either.

We do know that he was trying to produce an Italian competitor to the baguette for sandwiches, and that the bread is said to have had a thin hard crust and soft open interior.

Well, I'm not about to make a batch with 10kg flour, and if I wanted to I couldn't handle nor bake it.  So it will have to be scaled down, in this case to 300g flour for experimenting.  We know that larger batches of dough can behave differently, often needing less yeast and maintaining a higher temperature better.  The oxygenation during fermentation will be different.  Also, I'm not going to try to mix a 100% hydration biga with my old KitchenAide mixer.  In fact, I planned to do the final mixing and kneading by hand too.

So this effort won't be 100% faithful to the original but I'll try to come as close as reasonably possible.  Here are my going-in decisions:

1. Sourdough instead of yeast, so I don't have to guess how much yeast will act the same.  Maybe yeast in a later bake. I used 7% of starter.  I thought this should give me a fairly long initial fermentation, maybe 12 hours.

2. Flour mix: 80% KA Bread flour, 10% sifted stone-ground whole wheat, 10% durum flour.  Maybe this will be something like the original, but who knows?  At least it should taste good.

3. After working in the last 20% (hydration) of water by hand, do several stretch-and-fold sessions to replace the machine mixing of the original.

4. Let the dough ferment long enough to double or nearly so, instead of using the one hour specified in the original.  There are just too many unknowns to justify setting a strict time limit.

Everything went pretty smoothly.  The first fermentation seemed to be done after 11 hours, a little quicker than I had in mind.  Mixing in all that extra water by hand was tedious, and I let the dough rest several times to help it absorb all the water. Then I kneaded it in the bowl until all the layers had merged together.  I did two sets of 20 coil folds 15 minutes apart. After that I thought the dough was in good shape and wouldn't need any more.  Overall the dough fermented for about 2 hours after the last S&F before it had doubled.

The dough was light and airy, and easier to handle compared with typical 80 - 85% doughs I've made in the past, but it felt rather wetter than I expected for a 70% hydration dough. The final proof took an hour.  The loaves baked with initial steam at 425 deg F for 27 minutes.

Overall I found the process fairly easy except for working in all the extra water.  Shaping and moving the loaves was easier than I expected.  The finished loaves look like respectable ciabatta bread.  The interior is soft but not as open as we have come to expect.  The crust was thin and on the hard side but not too hard to bite through in a sandwich.  The flavor is rich, with a little sourness as you would expect after the long ferment with sourdough.

As a sandwich loaf, I used it for a chicken salad sandwich for lunch today and I thought it was very nearly the perfect sandwich loaf. I was able to slice the loaf lengthwise and leave a bit of a hinge on one side.  The hinge had no tendency to break open.  This helps squishy fillings to stay in place. 

 What's next?  I want to try it again, using yeast for the biga.  I'll probably also repeat with sourdough, but less, maybe 4% instead of 7%.  I'd love to see what someone else comes up with, trying the original recipe.  This might be a very good place for a low-acid Levieto Madre starter, wouldn't you think?

Links :

The English translation:

The original recipe, in Italian -





albacore's picture

Following my recent post about posts (!), I thought I had better put my money where my mouth was and submit one of my recent bakes to the forum. 

This bake has a bit of a quirky origin: SueVT recently posted about several baking books in Italian and posted a photo of a random recipe showing the effectiveness of smartphone camera translation.

The recipe, which caught my interest, was for Italian baguettes made with a multicereal flour. I don't tend to bake baguettes as my oven isn't big enough, but I thought the recipe would probably work for small boule shapes or pagnotta as I think the Italians call them.

The flour used was Molino Grassi Linea QB Multicereali - not something most of us will have to hand. Looking at the W index compared to the W of the Manitoba flour used, I estimated there was about 15% of non-gluten grain in the mix, so I used 85% of a similar Manitoba flour (basically strong Canadian or American wheat flour) and 15% of a mix of wheat, rye, barley, oats and rice grain all freshly milled together.

And this is what came out the other end:






Unfortunately one of the pagnotta stuck to the banneton liner when I turned out, making a bit of a mangled shape. Other than that, I was pleased with the bread produced - quite a chewy crust, but soft, open crumb. Flavour was mild, with no sour notes.

I think this flour mix might also be good for ciabatta with a bit of extra flavour compared to all white flour.

Here is my bread log entry in case anyone wants to look at the process details (or even bake it!):


Benito's picture

I continue to tweak my bakes even if the formula largely stays the same.  In the case of my SD baguettes, I have gradually (very slowly since I don’t bake baguettes all that often) been working on the idea that with greater gluten development I can allow more fermentation.  When we did the baguette community bake ages ago we came to the conclusion that less gluten development and less overall fermentation gave us a great baguette with open crumb and good ears/grigne.  In fact, back then I believe it would try to get the baguettes baked once the overall rise from the time the levain was added to baking was only 30%.  Now I have been inching up the overall rise at time of bake.  I now more fully develop the gluten and for this bake targeted 60% rise in the dough.  This happened to correspond to a pH drop of 1.05.  Based on the good ears/grigne that this bake achieved I think I could still push further.

I also finally trimmed the excess metal off the razor blade I use to score.  I can’t believe I hadn’t done this before.  This greatly reduces the drag through the dough as you score giving you much cleaner scores.  Should have done this ages ago but better late than never.

Overnight Levain build ferment 75°F 10-12 hours

78°F 9 hours to peak


In the morning, to your mixing bowl add  water and diastatic malt  to dissolve, then add levain.  Use your spatula to cut the levain into small pieces.  Next add AP flour and mix to combine.  Allow to fermentolyse for 10 mins.  Slap and fold x 100 then add salt and hold back water gradually working in until fully absorbed by massaging and then Rubaud kneading the dough, then slap and fold x 200.  Can also use your stand mixer.


Bulk Fermentation 82*F until aliquot jar shows 20% rise.

Do folds every 20 mins doing 3 folds

Could do cold retard at this point for up to overnight. (Aliquot jar 20% rise)


Divide and pre-shape rest for 15 mins

Shape en couche with final proof until aliquot jar shows 60% rise then (optional) cold retard shaped baguettes en couche for at least 15 minutes for easier scoring.  I often do this for convenience as the oven is pre-heating.


Pre-heat oven 500*F after 30 mins add Silvia towel in pan with boiling water.

Transfer baguettes from couche to peel on parchment

Score each baguette and transfer to oven, bake on steel.

Bake with steam pouring 1 cup of boiling water to cast iron skillet dropping temperature to 480*F. 

The baguettes are baked with steam for 13 mins.  The steam equipment is removed venting the oven of steam.  Transfer the baguettes from the baking steel to next rack completing baking directly on a rack to minimize the browning and thickening of the bottom crust.  The oven is dropped to 450ºF but convection is turned on and the baguettes bake for 10 mins rotating them halfway.  The baguettes are rotated again if needed and baked for another 3 mins to achieve a rich colour crust.

My index of bakes.


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