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Jul 31, 2014

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

This Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread is, to me, a revelation. I can't stop walking into the kitchen and slicing off a sliver, slathering it with butter, and taking another taste.

My theory is that if you eat it in tiny slices it doesn't count. It's practically zero calories, right?

When it was baking, the aroma was amazing. This is a sourdough that is both traditionally sour, and yet sweet because of the two feedings within a short period of time. The bread is moist and soft, and the crust is chewy and flavorful.

It still amazes me that bread that is unenriched (meaning no fat, no eggs, no sugar) lasts a lot longer than enriched bread. Sourdough bread, in particular, has an amazing way of staying fresh for several days. It's kind of magical.

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

I posted the photo above on the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page and someone casually commented, "it looks like a Forkish bread."

Um. Yeah!! Which means it looks awesome!

This person obviously does not know about my obsession with Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast (I am not a stalker. Even though I used valuable vacation time from my job to visit his bakery and restaurant. That's two different days people.)


Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread - An Amazing Sourdough Bread

Double-Fed Sweet Levain Bread

Adapted from Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast, by Ken Forkish

Note: This one requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator. Start the morning of the day before you plan to bake the loaves.

Tools I used to make this bread:
  1. 12 quart Cambro bucket (a large bowl would work)
  2. Kitchen scale
  3. Two 9 inch bannetons 
  4. Two Lodge combo cooker Dutch ovens
  5. Plastic dough scraper
  6. Metal bench scraper
  7. Bowl of water
  8. My hands 


First Sourdough Feeding

50 g active sourdough 
200 g unbleached all purpose flour
50 g whole wheat flour
200 g water at 95 degrees F

Second Sourdough Feeding

250 g sourdough from the first feeding
400 g unbleached all purpose flour
100 g whole wheat flour
400 g water, 85 to 90 degrees F

Final Bread Dough

660 g unbleached all purpose flour
40 g whole wheat flour
540 g water, about 95 degrees F
20 g salt
2 g instant yeast
540 g of the second sourdough 


  1. Mix the ingredients for the first sourdough feeding in a bowl large enough for the ingredients to double, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 3 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the second sourdough until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for for 4 or 5 hours. 
  3. From the Final Bread Dough ingredients list, mix the flours and water until just incorporated. I use a 12 quart round Cambro tub. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add the salt and yeast over the top of the dough, and then add 540 grams of the second sourdough. I place my tub on a scale and then add the sourdough until I have the correct amount. 
  5. With a wet hand (I keep a bowl of water nearby), mix the dough by pinching it and folding it alternately to mix in the salt and yeast and integrate the sourdough. 
  6. Let rise for five hours, with 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes the first two hours. (Take the dough, stretch it, and fold it over itself, from all four "sides.") The dough should be about 2 1/2 times its original size. 
  7. Gently remove the dough onto you work surface, and divide it in half with a bench knife. 
  8. Form the dough into two medium tight balls and place them, seam side down, into two floured proofing baskets. Cover with plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight, 12 to 14 hours. 
  9. About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack. 
  10. When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces. 
  11. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  12. Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then remove the Dutch ovens from the hot oven, uncover, and place the loaves on a baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself! Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early. 
  13. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
This bread has been Yeastspotted
Jul 27, 2014

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa with a Meyer Lemon Tom Collins

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa with a Meyer Lemon Tom Collins from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa is so easy to make and is perfect as a cocktail hour appetizer at the end of a hot summer day. The salsa is both smoky and spicy, and is wonderful with barbecue or carne asada.

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa with a Meyer Lemon Tom Collins from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I usually keep a can or two of chipotles in adobo sauce on hand because it is so tasty. I dump the entire can (it's a small can) into a mini food processor and keep the stuff in the fridge to add to quesadillas, beans, tacos, burritos, and scrambled eggs. The mixture also adds a wonderful smokiness to guacamole.

Meyer Lemon Tom Collins from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Since it's cocktail hour on a hot summer day, I chose this refreshing Meyer Lemon Tom Collins to go with the salsa. It helps that we have a raggedy Meyer lemon tree that is always (as in year round) loaded (to the point that I could sell them at a farmers market) with a super sized version of the fruit.

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa with a Meyer Lemon Tom Collins from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This cocktail is refreshing and thirst quenching, and not at all like the sticky sweet concoction made with Collins mixer. It's typically served in a highball glass, which I do not have (oooh, time to go shopping!), so I served these in water goblets.

Save the zest from the lemons to make shortbread cookies!

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa with a Meyer Lemon Tom Collins from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I found both of these recipes on the wonderful blog, K & K Test Kitchen, my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club. The blog is a collaboration by Kim and Kelsey, a mom and daughter team. How cool is that? I decided to make two of their recipes because there are two of them!

I have bookmarked their Tortilla soup, Corn Fritters and BLT Salad, and their French Dip, among many of their amazing recipes. I finally settled on this cocktail and appetizer to go with our warm summer evenings. 

Note: Kim and Kelsey are no longer publishing so I have removed the links. 

Tomato and Corn Chipotle Salsa

Adapted from K&K Test Kitchen


1 C diced Roma tomatoes
3/4 C whole corn kernels (original recipe calls for 1/2 C)
2 chipotles in adobo, minced
1 T adobo sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Meyer Lemon Tom Collins

Makes 2 cocktails


3 ounces gin
3 ounces juice from Meyer lemons
2 tsp sugar
Chilled club soda
Two Meyer lemon slices


  1. Combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar in a small measuring cup and stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  2. Fill two highball glasses with ice. 
  3. Divide the gin/lemon/sugar mixture between the two glasses and fill each glass with the club soda. 
  4. Garnish with lemon slices. 
Cheers to summer!

Jul 26, 2014

Panmarino - Italian Rosemary Bread

Panmarino. Italian rosemary bread. Rosemary and olive oil and a biga to develop flavor make some pretty awesome loaves.
Jul 22, 2014

Indoor S'mores Bars

Indoor S'mores Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These Indoor S'mores Bars are ridiculously decadent. They are also super easy to make. The second best part? They don't require baking.

Jul 19, 2014

Banh Mi Rolls

Banh Mi Rolls

These Banh Mi Rolls are Part One of my quest to create the Viet street food that is a fusion of French baguettes with the amazing sandwich fillings from Vietnam.
Jul 9, 2014

Section Challah

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

What is "Section Challah" you ask?

It's actually just a way of taking a challah recipe and baking it in a loaf pan. I've actually taken challah braids and tucked them into loaf pans, but when I saw this method in Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking, I thought it would be nice to actually give my family a challah disguised as a sandwich loaf.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

They've been pretty patient with all of the bread shapes I've made and the precise slicing instructions I've given for boules, baguettes, and batards, so the least I could do was give them something with which they could make a chicken salad sandwich.

Besides, I've only mastered the three strand braid at this point.

Here's a shot of the dough prior to baking. It's amazing what happens when the dough hits the oven.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

You can use any challah dough you like to make this bread. I used a dough that is enriched with 7 1/2 egg yolks and enough sugar to give it a faintly sweet taste. The bread is just amazing when it's toasted, and is excellent slathered with peanut butter and jam. It's also perfect for chicken salad sandwiches.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

For more challah recipes, check out these posts:

Demerara Sugar Honey Challah, Italian Challah, and Whole Wheat Challah with Apricots.

Section Challah

Makes two 24 ounce loaves


795 g (5 2/3 C) bread flour
85 g (1/3 C plus 1 T) granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
130 g (7 1/2 large) egg yolks
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 1/2 C warm (90 degrees F) water
1 beaten egg white for glazing
Poppy seeds for sprinkling


  1. Whisk the first four ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks and oil. Add the water and whisk again. Add to the dry ingredients. 
  3. Stir with a dough whisk or mix with your hand in the bowl until you have a "shaggy dough." 
  4. With the dough hook, knead for about 10 minutes on low. The dough should be smooth and shiny. You can also knead by hand for about 12 to 15 minutes. 
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour. 
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle. Cut the dough into two equal pieces, cover one piece with plastic wrap, and set it aside. 
  7. Cut the dough piece into six equal pieces (about 4 ounces each) and form each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls and place them into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan as shown in the photo. They will not fill up the pan at first, but will when the dough expands. 
  8. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap. Repeat with the second dough piece. Let the dough rise until it doesn't spring back when you poke it with your finger, about an hour. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  10. When the loaves are ready, brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. 
  11. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves are browned and reach an internal temperature of about 190 degrees F. 
  12. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. 
Sharing with Yeastspotting
Jul 7, 2014

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tartlets

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tartlets from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramel Tartlets makes just two 4 inch tarts, but they are so decadent that just a quarter or half of a tart is plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth. The bits of sea salt sprinkled on top are a perfect balance to the chocolate and caramel. The flavor reminds me of the salted caramels from Fran's Chocolates in Seattle. So good!
Jul 5, 2014

Pain de Pecan

Pain de Pecan from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This Pain de Pecan recipe is the June Bread of the Month for the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook group. The recipe was contributed by David Wolfe of Hearth Baked Tunes, who was inspired by Richard Miscovich, the author of From the Wood-Fired Oven: New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire to adapt this recipe.
Jul 1, 2014

Skillet Pizza

Skillet Pizza from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This cast iron skillet pizza is so easy to make it's almost foolproof. Rather than juggle with a pizza peel and a hot baking stone, I placed this dough into a cold skillet, topped it, and then baked it near the bottom of a super hot oven. The baking time is about triple the time it would take to bake the pizza on a hot stone, and the crust is very firm.

Skillet Pizza from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The dough is ready in about 8 hours, with a 6 hour first proof and a 1 1/2 to 2 hour second proof after shaping. If you want to bake your pizzas the same day, mix the dough by 9 a.m. and you'll have pizza by 6 p.m. You can also keep the dough balls in the refrigerator for up to two days.

I divided the final dough into eight 200 gram pieces for a thinner crust pizza. You can also divide the dough into five 320 gram pieces for a thicker crust pizza.

This dough can also be used for Neapolitan style pizza or focaccia. For bread geeks, the hydration level of the dough is 70%.

Skillet Pizza from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The pizza pictured here is topped with a smooth tomato sauce (page 230 in Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast), whole milk mozzarella cheese, salami, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon. The resulting pizza got two thumbs up from the pizza lovers who tried it. The crust is super crunchy and flavorful, and holds up well under the cheese and meat. If you like a char on your crust, just turn on the broiler for the last few minutes (keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn).

I happened to have a 1 Kg bag of Caputo 00 flour that I picked up at Surfas in Costa Mesa (my Disneyland) for just such an occasion (you never know, right?). If you don't have 00 flour (who doesn't?) any good quality unbleached all purpose flour will work with this recipe.

Skillet Pizza

Dough Ingredients

700 g (3 C) 90 degree F water
2 g (1/2 tsp) instant yeast
1000 g (7 3/4 Cups) white flour (either 00 flour or unbleached all purpose flour)
20 g (1 T +3/4 tsp) fine sea salt


  1. Mix 3 T of the warm water and the yeast in a small container and set aside. 
  2. In a 12 quart container, combine the flour and the rest of the water by hand until incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. 
  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the yeast mixture. 
  4. Mix by hand, folding the dough over itself several times. Then pinch the dough with your fingers to make sure the salt is fully incorporated. Alternate between pinching and folding until the salt is incorporated and the dough is about 78 degrees F. 
  5. Let the dough rest for about 60 minutes, covered. Fold the dough from all four sides and re-cover it. 
  6. Form the dough into a ball, add some olive oil to the container, and roll the dough to fully coat it. 
  7. After 6 hours, the dough should be doubled in size. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. 
  8. Shape each piece into a ball. 
  9. Place each dough ball onto a floured baking sheet, spraying each ball with spray oil so that the balls do not stick to each other. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature. Next, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 days. 
  10. Remove the number of dough pieces that you will be baking from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 525 degrees F with a rack placed on the lowest rung. 
  11. Stretch one of the dough balls into a nine inch circle and place it into a 9 inch cast iron skillet. Depending on your oven size and the number of skillets you have, you can bake more than one pizza at a time. 
  12. Top with your favorite sauce, cheeses, and meats, and vegetables. 
  13. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is fully baked and the cheese is melted. 
  14. Remove from the oven, and using tongs, slide the pizza onto a cutting board, slice, and eat. 
  15. Repeat with the rest of the dough, or save it in the refrigerator and bake more pizza the next day!