The Bread Thread

That’s Chad Robertson and Ken Forkish also do for their country breads.

Your crumb looks so soft and fluffy. :slight_smile:

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Thank you. Sorry I couldn’t contribute to your question about starter hydration. As I have said before my wife doesn’t like sourdough so I don’t make it. We are coming up on 35 years of marriage and, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that I can’t change her tastes.


I don’t know Chad’s technique, but Ken has you do three folds in the first hour. Zingerman’s (highly recommend the book) has an hour rest after each fold.
So the poolish is only an eight hour rise rather than a twelve as Ken’s formula is, but the final dough is around a five-and-half to six hour rise rather than a two hour. Baking time is 35 to 40 minutes.
I am going to try Zingerman’s baguette recipe soon. I love Ken’s so I will post about comparing the two.
Thanks for keeping up on this. Wish I could help you with the sourdough questions because I love sourdough!

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In Italy, “Paesano” just means villager, or more commonly by extension something like “homie,” someone from your hometown or home region.

Might have a southern connotation here in the US since in most parts of the country Italian immigrants came from the south.

Do you find much of a difference btw, say, 20 min rest vs. an hr? I’ve tried toying w/ that slightly (20 vs. 45 mins), and I didn’t find much of a difference. But there’s also so many other variables which could’ve affected my results (like ambient temp). The pain de campagne on King Arthur says no specific or freshly made starter needed (!) and that doing the folds relatively quickly (eg., 15 min rest) may yield the same results.

Do you go more by time or by height of the dough? I normally go by the height (I try to use the same container w/ markings each time) since the temp in my kitchen can vary a good bit. I’ve had better results w/ that.

I’m actually in the mood to bake some bread, so I’ll give the longer rest time a try (I don’t think I’ve ever gone as long as a full hr). :slight_smile:

I think the Forkish recipe (for the overnight country blonde) can yield spectacular results, but I’ve never been able to get it exactly like the picture. :wink: And, a few times, it’s gone really, REALLY wrong, and I don’t really know why.

I read somewhere on The Fresh Loaf that Forkish apparently likes to push dough to its max, so I feel better about the failed loaves.

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Good questions! I think the major difference between Forkish and Zingerman’s is the amount of time spent in bulk fermentation after the final dough is mixed. Forkish’s poolish has four to six more hours than Zingerman’s but his final dough fermentation is a third of Zingerman’s. The results, at least in this case gave Zingerman’s Paesano bread a much more open crumb that Forkish’s baguettes or ciabatta. Both breads had excellent flavor and I like them both.
Sometimes I go by time and sometimes by volume. I also use the touch test; pressing the dough to see how much it springs back.
Good luck with your bread and let me know how it turns out!

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Will post more details later, but I was a bit worried when I took off the dutch-oven lid b/c there wasn’t a ton of spring. But the crust browned beautifully and very quickly, which usually doesn’t happen when I’ve overproofed.

I baked it last night and cut into today.

It may be on the flatter side, but, holy sh*t, I don’t ever think I’ve had such a beautiful crumb before!!!

Was it the 1 hr rest per fold??? Or was it the Central Milling flour that I used for the first time??? Or the 26 hrs cold final proof??? Or all 3???


Looks great!!!


Looks fantastic! Wow :slight_smile: Yum. Any thoughts on the Central Milling flour, where did you end up picking it up?


I’ve only used it this one time, so I don’t know if it was just random and if this experience is representative of how this flour normally responds. Having said that, this stuff is DREAMY. The elasticity is unreal, and it’s so… supple? Satiny? Not sure what the word for it is.

Surfas. I looked at shipping costs (even from Surfas or direct from Central Milling), and it like doubles the price! Getting to Surfas on a weekend isn’t bad, so that was the obvious choice.

Thank you so much for alerting me to existence of this stuff!

To the prep: so I mainly used Forkish’s directions for his overnight country blonde, but I subbed Central Milling for Forkish’s mix for both the starter and the dough itself. The directions are to let the dough triple (!!!) or let is go for 12-15 hrs. This is perhaps where @ebethsdad’s comment about using volume or time is pertinent. I let the sucker go for 20 hrs (!), and it didn’t triple (but def was more than double). And then I thought, “Oh, Forkish’s recipe uses AP for the white flour, so maybe mine won’t triple…”

The smell was SO sour (not unpleasantly so, but I was wondering how much of that would make it into the final product) when I pulled it out to shape. Despite the super long bulk ferment, I was shocked at how well the dough held its shape. I was seriously thinking, “Is this how easy it’s supposed to have been this whole time??? Why didn’t I know about this flour earlier???”

The dough started flattening out a bit after I pulled put it on the parchment paper b/f tossing it into the dutch oven, but I’ve seen far worse before.

My last few loaves using bread flour have had SUCH thick and kind of tough crusts. I love a good chew, but it was seriously excessive. So, based on what @lectroid had mentioned previously, I left the lid on longer (30 mins). Loaf browned up very quickly, so I put the lid back on for a few mins to prevent burning b/c I wanted to go about 50 mins total bake time. This crust is thinner than my last few loaves, but I I would like to be even thinner. I’ve been spraying water on the loaves b/f baking; maybe I should skip that?

The taste is surprisingly subtle and not hugely sour (IMHO; I like a sour, though). I’m kind of shocked it’s not more sour, since such a long bulk ferment would normally do that, I would think.

Crumb is probably a touch more moist than I would like (and this is 12 hrs after baking), but it does not seem gummy to me. :slight_smile: This will go great w/ a good butter or EVOO or a stew. I’m kind of sad we don’t have any french butter at home right now.

I also am very interested to see how long this loaf stays good for…


Add fat. Not even a lot. like, 5-7% in baker’s percentage. Basically, about 1.5-2 tblspoons of olive oil / veg oil / melted butter per 400-500g loaf. Throw it in during your initial mix before autolyze or, if you’re strict about that sort of thing, add it along with your salt. Or just add in everything all at once, because for home baking, it probably doesn’t make much of a difference.

It didn’t change the taste of my sourdough at all, nor did it make it any less sticky to work with. But the crusts came out MUCH thinner and crisper than my previous attempts. I eventuially went so far as to keep the lid on my dutch oven almost the ENTIRE bake (removing it only the last 5-6 min for some extra color), but more than anything, adding that little bit of fat has made my crusts MUCH more manageable. It goes against the sourdough bro-dude orthodoxy (NO ENRICHMENT!) but I want to be able to have a sandwich that doesn’t shred my upper palate.


Yes, you (and @Nemroz?) had mentioned that b/f! Okay, I shall try it. I think the higher gluten flours result in a thicker crust, so maybe I need to cheat a little. :wink:

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Btw Vicente Foods has French butter. Both Isigney and Frentel!

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Pick up central milling flour and other whole grains from Kings Roost in silver lake. Get a mock mill to really up your whole grain flour game.

I’ve been using central milling and picking it up at Kings Roost for years, it’s great. T85 is great way to ease into whole grains. These are all variations of whole grain, T85, and bakers craft plus.


Your loaves are mind blowing. What percentage whole grain are you using?

After eating more of the loaf this evening (heh), I need to edit my previous post. There is a noticeable (and very pleasant) tang. Also, the center portion of my loaf didn’t have the same gorgeous crumb structure. Wonder if I actually should’ve just let it go unscored, after the loooong fermentation.

I also posted my pics on another forum (not food related, but they have an off-topic thread… heh). Someone responded w/ pics of their loaves that have the same huge burst at the scoring as @hppzz’s (but fewer bubbles in the crust).

That poster said that they only do the series of folds and then one ferment (!) in the fridge over night. @hppzz, is that what you do, too? Their dough is also 68% hydration, which I assume would result in more oven spring. And only a little less than 10% starter.

Edit… Addt’l info about the flour: despite appearing mainly white, the finished product has the lovely brown-ish hue and the more complex flavor that I got when mixing in some whole wheat flour to white. Still not as complex as when I add some rye, but much easier to work w/, so…

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i usally do 10-20 percent whole grains, 10-20% T85 and rest is artisan bakers craft.


Focaccia Barese 80% Hydration 40% semolina. Straight dough method.


I can never seem to get big hole structure, not sure if I’m over proofing. Purposely was more gentle in degassing before putting in the basket for it’s rest in the fridge. Deflated after scoring but popped back up in the oven thankfully!

74% Hydration, Old world bread flour and rye. Dry cured olives and herb de Provence. Tastes great.


Looks beautiful! I have found the big holes come with higher hydration. Another factor is the rye which has no gluten so it doesn’t hold the structure.
In the end it’s the flavor that counts and you scored there!

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