Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread


Note: 1) this levain is tangy not sour, Thomas Keller may explain that a firm levain, a levain made with less water, is sour

Note: 1) in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller explains that the amount of flour or water to feed the levain is the weight of the levain multiplied by 1.67, 150 grams of levain x 1.67 = 250.5 grams, thus he would add 250 grams of flour and 250 grams of water to 150 grams of levain to feed the levain, if people wanted to feed 650 grams of levain, they would use 1085 grams of water and 1085 grams of flour to 650 grams of levain to feed the levain (650 grams of levain x 1.67 = 1085.5 grams)

Note: 1) I am probably going to feed levain stored in the refrigerator once or twice a week, at room temperature, the levain rises in a container, maybe once the levain rises to a similar height as a levain at room temperature, I will feed the levain

I have never had bread better than Thomas Keller’s sourdough bread. The flavor of this bread restored my faith in something. When I taste this bread, I know how much I enjoy life. No bread compares to the flavor of this bread!

This bread requires a someone to make a levain or sourdough starter. The translation of levain may be leaven. In contemporary terms, a person has to make a “leavening agent” using wild yeast. People use science to understand how water changes flour and to understand how wild yeast and bacteria work to make gas and acid. Knowing the mechanisms that make sourdough possible may invite someone to be more creative or passionate about baking. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to know (the story for) how fermentation works.



  1. Combine 250 g water and 250 g flour
  2. Wait 24 hours
  3. Combine 150 g (liquid) levain, 250 g water and 250 g flour to make 650 g levain
  4. Repeat step 3 every 12 hours for 2 weeks*
  5. Refrigerate or freeze the levain
  6. Restore the levain to room temperature
  7. Repeat step 3 for 2 days before using

* Notice that 500 g of levain is discarded every 12 hours. After 4 days, someone will have 500 g of levain to make bread every 12 hours.



  • 424 g all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 g yeast (1/8 teaspoon)
  • 403 g liquid levain
  • 181 g water (75°F/24°C)
  • 12 g fine sea salt


  1. Make the dough (add the salt after mixing the dough, knead the dough for 20 minutes)
  2. Stretch or knead the dough to make a ball
  3. Let the dough rise for 2 hours in a oiled bowl
  4. (Optional) Put the dough on a floured surface and pat it to make a rectangle and let it sit for 40 minutes (relaxed gluten probably “opens” the crumb)
  5. Shape the dough to make a boule
  6. Let the dough rise in bowl lined with a floured towel for 3 hours
  7. Use the towel “to flip” the bread on a floured peel or parchment paper
  8. Bake at 425°F/218°C degrees for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200°F/93°C


Download The Recipe:

Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan), 2009, 302, 303.

Croque Monsieur With Salmon And Bluecheese Mornay On Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread

Croque Monsieur With Salmon And Bluecheese Mornay On Thomas Keller’s Sourdough Bread


Note: 1) melt the cheese by putting the sandwich in the oven, not the broiler

This is my first croque monsieur [1]. Someone may translate croquet monsieur to be mister crunchy. This is a French sandwich. The inside of a croque monsieur encloses meat, usually ham, between two layers of béchamel or Mornay sauce. A chef would probably prefer less pungent flavors, but I enjoyed this sandwich. It was my new version of a tuna melt.

My next blog post will reveal the incomparably flavorful recipe for Thomas Keller’s sourdough bread. I have not tasted bread with flavor this exciting since about 1985. There was a brand of freshly made sourdough bread from San Francisco where I lived that had great flavor. This bread reminded me that I enjoy eating bread. The starter for this loaf of bread was about 6 days old. The smell of the bread was great. People should desire to toast sourdough bread with butter. The smell and flavor of toasted sourdough bread is very interesting. It reminded me of something important from my childhood.

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Thomas Keller’s Croque Madame | Dish

Daniel Bouluds Bar Boulud Croque Monsieur

Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques Inspired By Thomas Keller

Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques Inspired By Thomas Keller




Attempting to make French bread with a mixer can be frustrating. A mixer will only knead my current recipe sometimes (on a humid day). This can be fixed by observing the work of Thomas Keller and Jacques Pépin. Jacques reminds people that firm dough should be kneaded by hand. Thomas Keller reminds people that slack dough can be kneaded with a machine. Someone makes slack dough by increasing the amount of water in the recipe (by increasing the percentage of water). My new recipe is based on information from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. He gives people enough information to use algebra and arithmetic to create recipes intelligently (rationally).

There are four things someone should know about making bread with a mixer:

  1. Firm dough must be kneaded by hand
  2. A mixer can be used to mix firm dough, but it cannot knead firm dough
  3. A mixer can mix and knead slack dough
  4. Someone must start and stop the mixer to push a firm slack dough in the bowl while kneading the dough with a mixer

This recipe uses advanced bread baking techniques while preserving the speed and simplicity for making bread with basic baking techniques. Someone may have to stretch the dough of bread made with advanced baking techniques several times to give slack dough structure. Stretching the dough develops gluten that uses the gases made during the fermentation process to make the bread rise. People probably do not have to stretch firm dough because firm dough has enough gluten to make the bread rise during the fermentation process. The recipe in this blog post makes firm slack dough using contemporary techniques for making slack dough. The flavor and texture of bread made using these techniques are exciting. The bread is nutty and slightly sour. The texture is soft and slightly chewy.

To make this bread, I used Thomas Keller’s ideas for creating a humid oven with a constant temperature. He recommends using a pizza stone, and putting rocks and a chain in a pan in the oven. These things can create a sauna by putting water on hot rocks. I used oven mitts and a glass measuring cup to put water on the rocks. Putting something cool in the oven decreases the temperature of the oven. The hot rocks and chain add a source of heat to the oven that reduces the effect of putting something in the oven. Baking bread on stone browns the bread differently and makes a crispier crust. Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques has the ideas I remember from my childhood for using quarry stones. Some people believe that this may be dangerous. I read a Safety Data Sheet for the stones I used to bake this bread. The information did not suggest the tiles were toxic. I believed that I would prefer to use a pizza stone since pizza stones are made for cooking. While using the tiles, I put the bread on parchment paper.


  1. Where the ‘Weight of Flour In Dough’ equals x, 2/3*x=’Weight of Poolish’ (Keller, p. 270)
  2. A poolish has an equal amount of flour and water; divide the weight of the poolish by 2 to know the amount of flour and water


Choose the weight of the flour, x. My original loaf uses 550 grams of flour. Since x equals 550 g, the weight of my poolish is 366 g. Make a poolish with 183 g of flour and 183 g of water.


flour 183 g
yeast 0.2 g (1/2 teaspoon)
water 183 g

flour 550 g (100%)
yeast 2 g (0.2%)
water 275 g (50%)
table salt 14 g (3%)

Mix the ingredients for the poolish in a bowl, cover loosely, and let stand for 12-15 hours in a place that is about 75°F/24°C.

Put half of the flour and the yeast in a mixing bowl. Pour room temperature water into the poolish. Pour the poolish in the mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients to make very thick batter. Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time. Once someone has created smooth firm slack dough, add the salt. Knead for 20 minutes. Use a spatula to push the dough off the hook every 2 minutes. Put the dough in an oiled bowl to rise for 2 hours. Put the dough on a floured surface. Pre-shape the dough. Form the dough to make a large bâtard by hand (I will have to make a blog post for making a bâtard in the future). Bake the bread at 400°F/205°C degrees until the bread has an internal temperature of 200°F/93°C, about 20 minutes.

Download The Recipe:

Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan), 2009, 270, 254-285.

2. Jacques Pépin: Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001), 553-560.

Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Thomas Keller’s Bâtards – Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Bastards – Made Spontaneously

Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Thomas Keller’s Bâtards – Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Bastards – Made Spontaneously


Note: 1) analyze a sauce using the idea of baker’s percentages; analyze using percentages, 2) another point in this blog post is that there is a fast method for shaping a loaf of bread with hands; there is a method for shaping a loaf that does not require a rolling pin

This was the best chicken sandwich that I have ever made. The recipe for the sandwich is from Tastemade Español, and the bread is from a recipe by Thomas Keller. Some of the recipes from Tastemade Español are by a man that travels in Patagonia, a mountainous region in South America and Argentina. He usually barbeques or cooks food in pans over fire. His style is spontaneous.

To make the sandwich, I put all the ingredients in a pile on the counter in the kitchen. The chicken was marinated in the juice of 1 lemon, adobo, and red pepper flakes. In a cast iron skillet, I sautéed onions and jalapenos with sugar. I made a sauce with equal parts of course mustard, Dijon mustard, and honey with Spanish paprika and cayenne. To make the sandwich as exciting as possible, I also put slices of tomatoes and slices of Fontina on the sandwich. A popular cultural style in Argentina is probably to be European in America. Studying French cooking techniques makes this style rational.

This is Thomas Keller’s master bread recipe. The recipe appears to use all of the advanced baking techniques for making bread that I have seen on the internet. I am excited to learn these techniques. Some people have to go to school to be introduced to these techniques. There are recipes and instructions at Fleischmann’s Bread World for making bread with advanced baking techniques.

This bread is exciting because it is soft but it appears as if it should be tough. This bread is perfect for making a European style sandwich. The flavor of the bread is very nutty. Thomas Keller might describe the flavor as being similar to hazelnuts. The flavor is primarily created by making a poolish. Using a poolish is a technique for fermenting yeast. This technique adds flavor to the bread and considerably reduces the amount of yeast that someone must use to make bread. This is exciting because yeast can be very expensive.

The recipe only uses about 4 cups of flour, despite having the appearance of being made with 6 or more cups of flour. I do not have a pizza stone and other baking tools required for making this bread using the exact instructions in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. If I did have all of the things described in the book, I believe that the bread would have been completely browned on the outside. Browning bread adds more flavor and texture to the bread.



Making The Bread


Baking The Bread


Preparing To Make The Sandwiches

Making The Sandwiches

Download The Recipes:

Thomas Keller’s Bâtards (Recipe) (See Artisan French Baguettes At Fleischmann’s Bread World For Similar Instructions)

Thomas Keller’s Bâtards (Baker’s Percentages)

Sandwich de Pollo Deshuesado Asado [1][2]

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan, 2009), 276-285.

Blind Baking A Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Blind Baking A Deep Dish Pizza Crust


Note: 1) there should be a picture showing that I moved the raw crust over the pan with a rolling pin, 2) the best cutting technique for trimming the dough was holding the knife 90° outside the pan, 3) increase the proportion of an ingredient by 25% by multiplying the weight of it by 1.25

My previous goal was to use a springform pan to make a deep dish pizza. I had to abandon the springform pan for now. My new goal is to make a normal deep dish pizza. This blog post shows how to blind bake something using Thomas Keller’s advice. He uses rice because the beans leave indentations in the crust. I do not have a picture, but I believe from my own experience that this is true.  I used parchment paper because Jacques Pépin uses paper in his book of cooking methods and techniques. I used a tape measure to measure the bottom and sides of the pan, and I added some length for having overhang.  I added 1 additional tablespoon of flour to this recipe. Substituting corn oil with butter created an exciting flavor. I am not going to make flaky or laminated dough for this particular recipe. I am going to increase the proportions of this recipe 25% to determine if I can make the crust thicker. If the crust is too thick, the crust will be chewy. A thick chewy crust may be exciting to feed to a hungry family or as a substitute for chicken noodle soup when someone is ill, but Chicago Deep Dish pizzas sold in public do not have thick chewy crusts.

Download The Recipe:

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough 3

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Deep Dish Pizza Crust



I made this crust with all-purpose flour by making a slack dough. A slack dough is a soft and sticky dough that cannot be handled with hands until just before it is formed into a shape on a floured board. The slack dough permitted me to use higher gluten all-purpose flour to make a large thin crust. The soft dough was not very elastic. Dough is elastic when it resists being pushed into a large shape. Very elastic dough contracts similar to something made of rubber. I provide the weights and baker’s percentages in the recipe. Someone can use the baker’s percentages to determine how many pounds of water to use when making pizza crusts with 80 pounds of flour by multiplying the percentage of water in the recipe by 80. This was successful. Now I need to substitute the corn oil with butter to determine if the flavor is more appealing. There is enough dough to make the crusts smaller and a little thicker. I like the flavor of the crust made with corn oil. I will make another blog post that shows the method for baking blind pizza crusts and trimming the dough inside a springform pan.

Download The Recipe:

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough 3

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Experiment Continued 4 – Mexican Style

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Experiment Continued 4 – Mexican Style


Note: 1) poke holes in the dough of the top crust, 2) I am thinking that I should blind bake crusts to solve my problem, 3) Maybe cooking at 350°F/177°C will reduce the thickness of the crust

I created a new pizza dough recipe! The recipe includes cornmeal. I need to add butter to the recipe, or replace the corn oil with butter. I created a new recipe to have whole or even numbers of cups by reducing the amount of water in an old recipe. Someday I will study the recipe by using baker’s percentages. Thomas Keller uses the idea of baker’s percentages in some of the recipes in his cookbook Bouchon Bakery.

Baker’s percentage expresses each ingredient in parts per hundred as a ratio of the ingredient’s mass to the total flour’s mass (that is, the unit mass): For example, in a recipe that calls for 10 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of water, the corresponding baker’s percentages are 100% for the flour and 50% for the water.

Baker percentage – Wikipedia

The final recipe will probably have to be made with slack dough (soft and sticky), because this dough is chewy, but it has an exciting flavor. I do not currently have the experience for making slack dough. Maybe I only have to use more water. Eventually, I will probably have to use cake or pastry flour (from someone similar to Bob’s Red Mill) to make softer dough. Cake or pastry flour supposedly has less gluten. Gluten makes the dough tough. Italian flour for making pizza dough supposedly has less gluten than all-purpose flour. If I try this, I will probably experiment with stone ground corn meal. I explained how to identify the amount of gluten in dough in my blog post Great Balls Of Gluten.

This is a Mexican pizza. I used taco spices and Mexican cheese rather than herbs. This worked well. If someone believes that my sauce recipe is too rich, the amount of herbs or seasonings can be reduced since the herbs and seasonings probably create the rich flavor. Also, the tomato sauce can be eliminated from the recipe. Mixing Italian herbs and Mexican seasonings creates a very rich sauce. Next time I will trim the dough inside the pan to mimic the effect for using a pan with a smaller height. The decorations on the edges of the crust were not extremely exciting. Someday I might use a different pan, but my goal was to use this springform pan.

My new procedure for making bread with a mixer in my blog post Thomas Keller’s Recipe For Making Breadcrumbs And The Ideas For My Improved French Bread Recipe works perfectly. The machine kneaded the dough well. I want to make a Chicago deep dish pizza using a recipe by America’s Test Kitchen. Also, I want to make a pizza that uses techniques from Thomas Keller’s cookbook Bouchon Bakery to make a sourdough crust. I finished reading this book yesterday, and now I am able to think more clearly while I work, my mise en place [1] is improving, and I will be a better consumer. One of my favorite things in a cookbook is being introduced to the author’s shopping experiences. Bouchon Bakery introduced me to so many things that I have seen and that I wanted to understand.

Using The Mixer


The Sauce


Making The Pizza Crust

Making The Pizza

Making Bread Sticks

Serving The Pizza With Salad



Download The Recipe:

Pizza Sauce

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough 2