Artisan Style Breads

Earlier this year I started  making all my breads by hand using 
the autolyze, pinch, stretch and fold method.
I had been using the autolyze (resting period) for a number of years, but the 
pinch, stretch and fold technique was new to me.
It was adopted from Ken Forkish.
I’ve included links at the end of this post to 
Ken Forkish’s videos.
This is my basic every day bread recipe and if I never make 
another style of bread other than this one, I’ll be very happy.

It is versatile.

Add cranberries and pistachios for a slightly sweeter loaf that
goes great with Brie.

Or make a savory loaf adding olives, or roasted garlic and cheese.

Here is the basic recipe with a number of options.

Basic Dough

I use this dough for Baguettes, Batons, Boules, and pizza.
1000g flour
680g to 720g water (68% to 72%) (Can go up to 92% hydration for Ciabatta bread)
5g yeast
26/27g salt
This basic recipe can be cut in half for a 500g version.
Hand-mixed instructions
Weigh out flour and water into a 12 quart container.
Mix well using hand.  Wet hand to prevent sticking.
Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes (Autolyze)
Mix yeast with 1 to 2 tablespoons water.  Let sit for a couple of minutes.   Add yeast and salt to flour mixture.  Mix well using pinch and fold method.  Cover and let rest for another 20 to 30 minutes. (Second Autolyze).
Now the dough is ready to stretch and fold.  Do this at least three times ( or more) during the first hour. (Every 20 minutes)  (again wet hand to prevent sticking). 
If not baking same day, the dough can now go into the fridge for an overnight fermentation.  (Can be left for two or three days before baking.  Just take the dough out of the fridge two to three hours prior to shaping.  Dough needs to come to room temperature and start rising).

If baking same day, after the last fold, set aside until the dough has tripled.    Now it is ready to shape and proof.  Shape into two large rounds or four baguettes/batons.  Or make 8 to 10 small rounds or small baguettes.   Perfect size for two.  Freezes well.


Bread can be baked on a stone or in a Dutch Oven.
Preheat oven with baking stone to 500°F.  If using Dutch Oven, preheat DO in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.
When proofed, slash loaves and slide on to stone.   Provide some steam: Spray loaves with water every three minutes for the first nine minutes or toss a large cup of hot water into a pan on the floor of the oven.     Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Longer if a darker crust is preferred.
If baking in Dutch Ovens:  Slash loaf and place seam side down, or place seam side up, (do not slash)  for a more rustic look.    Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake another 20 to 30 minutes , depending on crust preference.


This dough also makes the most wonderful pizza crust.


This recipe can be adjusted to make a sourdough version or one made with a preferment
(Biga )
225g flour
225g water
2 g yeast
Mix together and stir well.  Cover and leave to double overnight.
Add to the Basic Recipe.

Sourdough Version
225g flour
225g water
60g starter
Mix together, stir well.  Cover and leave to double overnight.
The sourdough preferment can be added to the above basic recipe without the addition of yeast.  Give the dough at least an overnight fermentation in the fridge.   Or if baking the same day, add 2g of yeast.

Sourdough Starter – Amy’s Bread
This starter is begun with rye flour because rye just LOVES to
ferment and is an easier starter to get going than a wheat
starter. When I first made it, it had a bubble or two within a
couple hours.
The procedure is to start it with rye flour, then transform it by
changing what you feed it. The original rye will dilute to nothing
over time and you’ll end up with a white flour (or whatever other
grain you choose, it could be whole wheat or pumpermickel, or you
could leave it as a rye starter) and water based starter, but it
had the advantage of beginning it’s life from highly fermentable
rye flour.
Start it with organic rye flour and spring water. Once you have it
going well you can switch to all-purpose white (or other) flour as
you choose. The use of spring water is recommended for
maintenance, however, as tap water may contain elements (such as
chlorine) which may be detrimental to the health of your starter.
I also recommend that you use a container that you can mark the
volume levels of starter each time, so that you will know when it
has doubled. Use a marking pen or tape or any other means to
indicate on the container the starter levels each time you feed.
Phase 1 – Combine 2 oz organic rye flour (room temp) with 4 oz
spring water in a clear container. The batter should be about the
consistency of very thick pancake batter, add more water or flour
if necessary. Cover & let it sit for 36 – 48 hours at 75 – 77
degrees (a little cooler is okay but over 80 you will incubate the
wrong kind of bacteria and your culture will have an unpleasant
bitter taste). You should start to see tiny bubbles forming after
about 24 hours. By the time it has doubled, there will be a
noticeable network of small bubbles throughout the batter & it
will be foaming & bubbling on top. (If the batter has not doubled
within 48 hours, feed with 2 oz water & 2 oz flour (add more of
either if necessary for the consistency) and let it sit another 24
hours or until you see some definite activity.)
Phase 2 – Stir the culture down, notice how soupy it’s become. The
batter should have a noticeable sour smell & a mildly tangy taste
at this point. Add 2 oz water & 2 oz flour and stir vigorously
until well-combined. Let it sit for 12 hours. It should be showing
a fair amount of activity at this point. You should see lots of
foaming & bubbling through the sides as well as on the top. Don’t
be concerned if the culture deflates & loses volume. This means
the yeast has exhausted its food supply, but it will continue to
increase in acidity. Don’t worry if your culture dramatically active yet.
As long as there is some noticeable activity going on and the mixture
 smells & tastes sour, you’re on the right track.
Phase 3 – The culture should now have a pronounced, sour, fruity
taste and smell, it should not taste musty or bitter (if it does,
discard and start again, paying close attention to the temp of the
culture at all times). Now you can start “transforming” it into a
white (or other) flour based starter. Use 6 oz of the starter, add
3 oz water & 3 oz flour, stir vigorously. Let it sit for 12 hrs at
75 – 77 degrees F.

Refresh it again, setting up a maintenance level of 12 oz of
starter. This will be your “mother” starter that you use to build
the sourdough starters/sponges needed in individual recipes.
Each time you take part of the mother out to build a starter, you
must refresh it with equal weights of flour and water to bring it
back up to its maintenance level.
To maintain – Use 6 oz of the mother culture (discard the rest),

add 3 oz water & 3 oz flour, stir vigorously, let it sit at room
temp until doubled in volume.
A strong mother will double in 8-12 hours. If yours doesn’t do
that, let it continue to sit out until it has a nice tangy taste
and smell; discard all but 6 oz and repeat this procedure. Repeat
this procedure as many times as necessary until the mother doubles
within 8-12 hrs. It may take several days. Don’t get discouraged,
it’s worth the effort.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Just great..I think I'll Pin:) Always have right where i want it.You are the master bagueete/bread maker..Happy Holidays Ann..To you and the 2 M's in your life!

  2. the Muze says:

    AnnThank you for all the beautiful pictures, the effort you put into all of your post and the thought behind it. You have inspired and armed me with enough courage to attempt baking again. Ciabatta here I come . .

  3. Great post. I pinned. Do you use a specific brand of yeast?

  4. Thanks Monique. Happy Holidays to you and Jacques and your lovely family.

  5. Thanks Muze. Go for it. I'm sure your Ciabatta will be wonderful.

  6. Madonna, I just use the yeast I buy at Costco. It comes in one kilo packages. I think it is Red Star Active Dry Yeast. I always empty it into a mason jar and store it in the freezer so I don't keep the packaging. I'll be in Costco between now and next Monday and I'll look just to make sure. ~Ann

  7. Unknown says:

    Awesome post

  8. Unknown says:

    Really great! Will try to make it this Friday

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi ann awsome pics can I ask how do you shape them? I cannot attain the airy crumbs like yoursthanks

  10. Pompom says:

    If adding the sourdough version of biga (610g total) to the basic dough recipe wouldn't that change up all the other percentages for the recipe? Do you add all of it or just a portion? Thanks!

  11. 225g flour,225g water and 60g starter is 510g total biga. I add it all to the basic recipe (minus the yeast). Just makes for a larger batch of bread.

  12. Jo says:

    Basically a biga used at the start isthe same as an autolyse dough….any comments?

  13. Yes, I have a comment or two. A Biga is a preferment, not an “autolyse”. An autolyse is a rest period. Used between adding the yeast/starter/biga/salt. And the rests between the stretch and folds. I prefer a number of stretch and folds with rests between each.

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