The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
turosdolci's picture

 Zeppole were first made in Naples by a baker who sold from a street stand.Today they can be found in bakeries and in stalls. They are usually eaten with sweet wine or dunked in warm honey.



Pablo's picture

warmer fermentation = more sour flavour...?

April 23, 2010 - 11:52pm -- Pablo

I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.  I like the sour flavour and want to maximize it.  I've tried multiple long fermentations at lower temperatures and I have pretty universally been disappointed.  The other day I ran out of bread altogether - eek!  emergency!  So I made the whole loaf in just a day, which is unusual for me.  I did all my fermentations in an 85 - 90F environment.  The bread came out more sour than when I had done 2 or 3 12 hour fermentations at lower temperatures.

bread10's picture

Mixing Spelt and Quiona Flour - Bread

April 23, 2010 - 9:46pm -- bread10


I am about to bake my first loaf bread in the oven. I will do sourdough soon but for now I wanted to just bake something up quickly.

I am looking at spelt flour bread recipes on the internet. I have a big bag of wholemeal spelt flour.

I am just weighing up whether to use half whole half white for lighter bread, or whether mixing quinoa and whole spelt would work??? If so how much (50/50??)



Kroha's picture

Light (white) vs. dark (whole) rye flour -- what are the differences aside from nutrition?

April 23, 2010 - 5:17pm -- Kroha

I baked Dan Lepard's Whole Grain Rye today.  It includes whole-rye sourdough starter (80%), whole rye berries (160%), and light rye flour (100%).   Also, some salt and optional yeast, which I used because my starter was over-ripe.   I am not sure how it came out because it has to sit for 48 hours before I cut into it, but my question is -- how would the loaf change if I substituted whole rye flour for light rye flour? 

Thank you!


wdlolies's picture

Flours of Ireland

April 23, 2010 - 11:47am -- wdlolies

This forum is for all of you who, like me, live in Ireland and face daily challenges with the choice of flours.  I hope to find other people in Ireland who share their experience and sources.

I would like to start by sharing my experience with Irish flours and will tell you what I can find in our supermarkets and health food stores.  I need to add that I live in a little village in County Wicklow, namely Blessington.  I don't live too far from Dublin and would be more than happy to head to the Capital to cover my needs.

The flours I've found so far:

sortachef's picture

Small fires over time make all the difference


Most woodfired oven owners only use their oven once a week or so to bake pizza or bread at fairly high temperatures. There's another level of cooking available, at lower and constant temperatures, which requires pulsing the oven with small fires. This is useful knowing about both to protect the oven from unnecessary cracking from cold firing and also to expand your cooking repertoire.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when many home ovens were fueled with either wood or coal. These ovens were used every day, and never lost their warmth. My father remembers his mother stoking the fire at the crack of dawn to bake the daily bread. Even today, I hear through this website of people in Greek villages and Eastern European towns using wood or coal as their main source of cooking fuel.

In order to replicate this method of everyday cooking, you have to commit some time. In order to roast a chicken today, I had to find three different times yesterday - in amongst a busy schedule - to light and maintain fires. If you can find the time, however, the benefits are astounding. When I was ready to roast the chicken (see Woodfired Roast Chicken), my oven maintained a stable temperature in the 350º range for 2½ hours with no active flame throughout the cooking time. With this ability, all kinds of baked goods (including dinner rolls and pastries), casseroles, roasted meats and fish become possible.


Pulsing your oven: The trick is to 'pulse' your oven with small fires over time, in order to slowly heat all of the masonry components - the walls, the floor and the bed of sand beneath the floor. The operative word here is 'slowly'. After a cold spell in which your oven has lain dormant, this will prevent the components from cracking. For more normal cooking or baking operations, this will raise the temperature of your oven into the range of a conventional oven, with very little charring or direct smoke.

Here's what to do:

  • Use a piece of newspaper, a handful of kindling, 2 or 3 pieces of hardwood the thickness of your thumb and 2 thicker pieces of hardwood that weigh about 1 ½ pounds each (2 ½ inches thick) to build successive fires in the center of your oven. Maintain the fire for an hour, relighting and adding a bit more kindling if necessary.
  • After the hour of active fire, put the door in place as tightly as possible. You may have to put a wood wedge under the handle, as I do. Let the oven rest for 3 hours. This rest time can be variable in length.
  • Light another fire using the same amount of wood as above, and maintain for an hour. Let rest again.
  • With each subsequent fire, there will be more unburnt wood from the previous fire. Leave this in the oven and continue to add to it, building your fires on top.
  • Light a third fire in the early evening, maintain for an hour and let rest. During this rest period, you can move the coals to one side in order to cook beans or a casserole, if desired.
  • Close up the oven and let rest overnight.
  • On day 2, start a fire with the same amount of wood, maintain for an hour and let rest. By this time the parts of your oven are hot enough to maintain a temperature of about 350º. From here, you can safely and quickly take your oven much hotter (for pizza, say), or you can build another small fire to maintain low to moderate heat for roasting or baking.


Here are the temperatures I measured in my oven. As atmospheric conditions and your oven will likely be different, you will probably have different results, particularly during the first few fires.

Starting temperature: 52º, which was approximately the overnight low air temperature in Seattle (measured with an accurate thermometer).

After the first fire: 150º (measured with oven thermometer, as are all others)

After the second fire: 225º

After the third fire: 350º (I baked a pot of pinto beans for 2 ½ hours when fire was almost finished)

Starting temperature, 2nd day: 160º

After the fourth fire: 375º (I baked dinner rolls after this fire)

After the fifth fire: 425º (I let the oven cool to 350º and roasted a chicken. After 2 ½ hours, the oven temperature was 325º and the chicken was perfectly cooked.)


Final note: I just checked (10 a.m. on the third day) and, with no active fire since yesterday's noontime fire, the temperature of the oven is 160º. Hmm. I could just keep this whole thing going. Flame on!

varda's picture

Sometimes baking bread seems to be about the challenge and developing the skills and trying new things and so forth.   And sometimes it is all about making what you want to eat.   When I started bread-making in earnest in January, I suddenly lost my taste for the supermarket bagels I'd been eating happily for several years.   Since there is no good bagel place in my immediate area, I simply stopped eating bagels.  But then many of you just kept posting and posting and posting your various bagel bakes, and I couldn't stand it anymore.   So I decided to try Hamelman's approach, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it relatively simple, but geez, it tastes like the bagels that I used to eat way back in the day, when a New York baker moved to St. Louis, got in a taxi cab and told the driver to take him to the Jewish section of town.   This was back in the sixties, and such a thing had not been seen in St. Louis before.   My father used to come home with dozens and dozens of bagels, and somehow we managed to eat them all.   Usually when I make something, it doesn't come out just how I like it, and I fiddle and fiddle or switch approaches a half dozen or so times, and possibly make something better over time, and possibly not.   But unless someone has a compelling argument that their bagel formula is better than Hamelman's I'm just going to stick with it, and focus on learning how to shape better.   Thanks for all the inspiration to you bagel bakers out there.   Now I have what I want to eat.   -Varda

And all ready for creamcheese.

sheri_b's picture

Help for Sore Fingertips?

April 23, 2010 - 8:39am -- sheri_b

I have developed a bad case of eczema on my fingertips from working so much with dough (probably the yeast).  I have tried the hydrocortizone creams and even the tape.  The dermatologist says the only thing to do to get better is stop baking bread.  I can't bear the thought of giving up baking (and eating!) bread.  Has anyone else had this problem?  Did you find something (anything) that helped?   


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