Ken Forkish recipes

I baked two Ken Forkish recipes here, they are both the same except for fermentation. One is overnight the other same day. He calls these Saturday bakes…

Fun and tasty is what I call them.

crumb Double%20overnight%20Saturday ear


Bread is looking awesome. Don’t know much about Ken Forkish recipes but i am sure these breads must be very tasty and yummy.

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Which one is the over night one? I’m guessing the one with the burnt fin?

My question is, if the average person walked into a bakery to buy a loaf of sourdough bread would they want the one with a big burnt fin or the one that is a nice smooth evenly browned loaf of bread. I’m guessing from my experience growing up eating San Francisco sourdough bread, most customers would prefer the latter. So why do some people work so hard to make unattractive loaves of bread with a big burnt eruption, sporting huge holes in the crumb that allows for your butter, jelly or tuna salad fall through? They then congratulate one another for producing a loaf that I would be embarrassed to gift to much less try to sell to someone. I’ve been consuming and baking sourdough for more years than most and I’ve never understood the recent fascination some exhibit for ugly, burnt loaves of totally impractical loaves of sourdough bread. Just the ramblings of a very old baker and lover of good bread. I’m very proud to produce good looking great tasting sourdough loaves of practical bread.

We are talking about baking bread not saving someone’s life lol
It is dark but I wouldn’t characterize it as burnt though.
and nothing fell through the cracks, I have heard the large holes called a bakers bedroom lol
I will give you this I would buy your bread…


Well, if I were to enter your bakery, I would first admire all the beautiful loaves (and wonder how you can be so consistent!), but then I would proceed to buy the one in the upper right corner because I always would choose a well done loaf and it appears to come close. We all have our personal vision of the perfect loaf, and I prefer a thick, well done crust (yes, even borderline burnt!), which offers a flavor that cannot be achieved in anything less. As for the crumb, I strive for open crumb in moderation, with holes but not so big that things fall through. I find there’s a better chance of a chewy texture that way. Good thing we all don’t like the same thing or it would be a boring world!

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I understand what you are saying, too each their own. I just don’t think making a Frankenstein loaf of bread with a big burnt hard outcropping and a wide open crumb is something we all should strive for to be considered a successful sourdough baker. You guys go ahead and create your loaves of what appears to me to be deformed bread as you like… just please don’t try to make the newbies think they are failures because their bread doesn’t look like yours. BTW I also have never once ever floated my starter either, but it bakes fine bread. :grin:

Thanks! I haven’t ever had trouble with people not wanting or not liking my bread and I know it’s not the end of the world…my real concern is for the newbies who give up baking sourdough because they think their bread is a failure because it’s not over hydrated to cause huge holes, (I know they have no calories but they also have no flavor)…that somehow supporting a big hard burned ear makes it the perfect loaf???. Only because guys like me don’t speak up often to defend the plain looking normal crumb loaf. Realize that the new age bread snobs who rub two rare rocks together to grind their own grain from some obscure hillside in the South of France are the ones who usually dominate these type of sites. They try like the dickens to confuse people by making bread baking into some kind of rocket science. When it’s nothing more than four, water and a bit of salt, that with a little practice will create the healthiest most natural and to my the best tasting bread.


I share some of your concern for new bakers and for the expectation that unless the loaf has an ear and certain crumb, etc. … the loaf is not “as good”. There are a plethora of threads on ears and crumb and dark/light, crisp/thick/tender/thin crust.

On one hand, I think it is handy to know how to do all variations so you can experiment and see exactly what you and anyone you are feeding prefers.

On the other hand, a home baked loaf of bread - good golly - YUM! And enjoy the process and the learning.

I just commented to a new baker person with a question: the perfect loaf is the loaf that is perfect to you. We can get caught up in “all the cool bakers are doing it”.

Ultimately, the baker gets to decide and THAT, for me, is a big part of why I bake, cook and prefer my own goods to any restaurant or bakery. And, I enjoy “working” in the kitchen!


@easummers I love your post, Liz!

Not EVERY loaf I bake looks “perfect.” It may not rise as high as I’d hoped. The crust may be a bit darker (or not dark enough) or a bit thicker or a bit thinner, etc. But oh my! Every loaf is delicious and I love every bite and it thrills me more than I can say to know that I baked that bread because I know EXACTLY what is in it. And like you, Liz, I prefer my own bread to any other! Since I discovered this site and began baking with my own sourdough (Cyril) in April 2018 I haven’t bought bread in a store! I’ve baked all my own!

I wholeheartedly agree that there is no “one, perfect method” for successfully baking bread. The “perfect” method will be the one you devise for yourself, your lifestyle, how you want to incorporate baking bread into your personal schedule, the baking equipment/appliances you have, etc. In short, as you bake you’ll discover what works best for you!

Just keep on baking! I’ve got a loaf of cranberry-pecan coming out of the oven in just a few minutes!

Enjoy the journey!



@easummers Liz, here’s today’s bake just out of the oven! Eric’s cranberry-pecan sourdough which is one of my personal favorites! Now to wait until it cools. YUM!


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@arzoochaudhary, This is a personal favorite bread of mine and I tend to make it often. I love it toasted with some unsalted butter or toasted with a dab of pure fruit spread and some almond butter. It makes a great quick breakfast or a lovely snack.


My feelings exactly

For the most part I’m in agreement but bread from home milled wheat is so different that it justifies buying a mill

Hey, that’s terrific for you I’m glad you are happy. I bake far too much to be going through that much effort. I make a darn good loaf of sourdough bread for about 35 cents a loaf and I bake them a dozen at a time. I can only imagine what the cost be to get bags of grain delivered here and the added time to process it. That’s for people who in my opinion are obsessed with the whole process. Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, but I’ve worked too hard to streamline the process to go backward by making more work for myself. I like simple and I believe too many people give up baking sourdough because they think it’s rocket science due to folks who go out of their way to make it sound complicated, I weigh nothing, my starter doesn’t float, I never discard even one drop of starter, I never bulk ferment overnight in the refer. I don’t want big gaping holes or a big black burnt ear sticking up, because my people would think I screwed up and wouldn’t want the bread. Remember this, uneducated people have been baking sourdough for thousand plus years, and after all, is said and done,… it’s still just flour, water and a bit of salt, if you have it, for taste…

I’m a fan of Ken’s books. Question: what temperature did you back those at? I did several loaves at his preferred temp of 475 and got the dark brown crust he loves so much. I have opted to do mine at 450 and get a bit less darkness. I know his method is supposed to drive a more complex flavor into the crumb but taste is subjective and I like the lighter version. Just curious what you did and how you like the outcome.

Ken Forkish’s book ‘Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast’ gets into the idea that a dark crust generates a deeper and more complex flavor in the crumb. He spent a lot of time getting people to try his bread (he held ‘bread tastings’ similar to wine tastings) and appears to have generated a lot of converts to this idea.

Having said that, I use his book and drop the baking temperature from 475 to 450 so I get a lighter crust. Taste is subjective and I prefer the lighter version. OTOH, when I do buy artisanal bread, I tend to go for the weirdest looking/sounding loaf on the shelf…I like to challenge my taste buds!

Your loaves are lovely.

That’s fine for you, but average people don’t buy ugly bread. I give my bread to average people not to Breadies like yourself, I also eat my mistakes because I made them. I just have more pride than to push ugly bread onto others.

I’m the same way. If I’m going to buy bread or even when I go out to eat, I like to try things I don’t know how to make, or haven’t tried yet.

I think ugly and average aren’t concepts that are set in stone – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all – and there’s no one right way to bake bread.

If your customers like a certain style, then of course it makes sense to make that style and not force them to change their preferences.

By the same token, if someone likes the Galician bread with the burnt knot on top, that’s great too and doesn’t mean your customers are wrong for not wanting it. I use that knot bread as an example because it’s strange to me and I’m dying to try it. I hear family members vie for who gets the knot.

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