The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Vacation baking

rushyama's picture

Vacation baking

We've been visiting my parents in the Pacific Northwest over the holidays, and naturally I wanted to bake bread. A friend of mine gave me some of her starter so I've been having some fun experimenting in a different environment using the tools available.

Normally I like to schedule my baking to a certain degree. But since it's vacation and I don't have a thermometer to measure water / dough temperature it's been a good lesson in "watching the dough, not the clock." My parents' place is quite a bit cooler than mine, so fermentation has been leisurely (usually 5-6 hours instead of my typical 3-4). I got a couple bags of Central Milling flour to use as a base (Baker's Craft and Type 85), plus little bits of einkorn, whole wheat, and rye to mix in. All loaves have been baked in a Lodge combo cooker. For the most part I've also been using a very long autolyse (~6 hours), simply for convenience: I mix up the levain and start the autolyse at the same time so I'm freed up for a longer portion of the day. I may do this more back home as I haven't noticed an adverse effect, at least with these flour types. Any thoughts / experiences with the long autolyse?

No specific formulae to share this time -- just a few thoughts and photos (many taken by my brother, an amateur photographer with a fancy camera).

Some basic loaves, ~25-30% whole grain, 75-80% hydration. I experimented once with bulk fermenting in the fridge and final proofing at room temperature (the opposite of what I normally do). I didn't let it final proof long enough, so the middle of the loaf was a little dense; but the flavor was great. I may do more fiddling with this in the future as it's nice to have that timetable as an option. No lame so scissor scoring it was!

Country loaf, scissor score





This loaf (and the top photo) was honey-lavender, about 15% whole grain / 80% hydration. I really liked the flavor of this one so it's a formula I'm going to work on back home. I broke down and bought a razor blade to practice some scoring.


This was a potato loaf that had some leftover roasted potatoes mixed in, along with a couple turns of olive oil. About 30% whole grain; not really sure about the hydration but probably in the lower 70's (wasn't sure how much water the potatoes would release, so started out conservatively). Didn't get a photo of the outside as it got torn into too quickly. Another formula I want to develop further; the potato really makes for a nice soft loaf!


It's not vacation without some sourdough waffles!

Happy new year and happy baking, TFL'ers!



Modern Jess's picture
Modern Jess

That's a really lovely loaf, and I really like the effect you get from scissor scoring. What did the original pattern look like? Cutting like the threads on a football, or...?

rushyama's picture

I'd never tried it before but I think it's something I'll use with loaves that are coated with seeds / flakes. I just snipped almost parallel to the surface of the dough -- I think some people call it "zipper" scoring? Anyways, it ended up looking like mountain peaks to me. :)

Ru007's picture

Everything looks wonderful. 

I'm sure your family enjoyed having you around just that little bit extra :)

Happy baking in the new year. 


rushyama's picture

Same to you, Ru! Not sure how they felt about having their kitchen turned into a microbakery but bread was certainly enjoyed by all! :D

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I could do with some of your vacation loaves. Looks amazing and what a lovely breakfast. You're welcome anytime.

Happy New Year.

rushyama's picture

Thanks Lechem -- you know, London is on my list of places to visit. Not sure when I'll get there, but hopefully sometime this decade. :)

PalwithnoovenP's picture

The looks, textures, and flavors are so captivating! The scissor scoring doesn't look like it was made by scissors to me, how did you it? If I have to pick a favorite, it would be the lavender honey loaf! Great photography too by your brother. I'm sure your family enjoyed your stay!

Happy New Year!

rushyama's picture

Happy New Year, Pal! I just made snips in a vertical line almost parallel to the surface. It really does make for a neat effect!

dabrownman's picture

30% whole grains at 78% hydration is a pretty good bread for sure.  Being home with family makes for good bread and a sibling with a fine camera really works for you:-)

Well done and Happy New Year!



dough dog's picture
dough dog

they look so beautiful --those little leaf patterns --so nice; how fortunate you had your brother there to take these gorgeous photos