The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


DanAyo's picture

The following are links to our Community Bakes

Below are tips & ideas that you may find useful. 

For those in the US, the History of King Arthur Flour Company is very interesting and historic.

Although not listed as a tip, the links below may prove interesting for some.

Miscellaneous Blog Post

A compilation of my bakes during a Community Bake


I am trying to use a Table of Contents for my BLOG. Links to blogged bakes will be posted to this page. I plan to post a link to this page on all BLOG bakes, experiments, tips, Community Bakes, etc..

gavinc's picture


My first attempts at this bread were flawed in that I got very little rise. Debra Wink (DW) contacted me and suggested some tweaks. As a result, I introduced some Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) to increase the protein percent of my whole-wheat flour. I also pre-fermented 5 percent of the flour in a stiff levain. I wasn’t sure what effect the levain would have; rise, flavour enhancement, crumb or all. I’ve had a great result by incorporating both the VWG and the levain now for many weeks.

Today’s Experiment

I wanted to check what effect the levain was having on the rise, crumb, and flavour of the baked loaf. Today’s bake: I eliminated the levain and recalculated the formula.


I compared the rise, crumb, and taste of both loaves (my lovely wife was also a judge).

Rise: at all stages throughout the process, the rise hit the milestones. Picture 1 is at the start of the final proof. Picture 2 is at the end of final proof after 3 hours at 22C/71F. I concluded that the levain did not enhance the rise in speed or volume over time. The baked loaf had a good oven spring and baked with a nice golden colour. Pic 3.

Crumb: The crumb of both loaves was identical. I put this down to the low per-cent of pre-fermented flour. DW advised that 4-5% would not have a detrimental affect of the crumb. Both were soft as a sandwich loaf should be. Pic 4.

Taste: This was the only discernible difference. The loaf with the levain had an enhanced flavour. The loaf baked without the levain was very nice but lacked the flavour of the levain loaf.


I will continue to include the 5% PFF in the formula.



Yippee's picture


To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




After eating the entire gigantic (2.4kg) Pain de Rois I made during the holidays, neither my family nor I could stand to eat another slice of "orangey" bread. Hence, the idea of making lemon-flavored bread came to mind. Many thanks to Derek, aka yozzause, who inspired me to perfect Le Cordon Bleu's Kouglof recipe; his brilliant idea and my beloved CLAS took the recipe up a notch and transformed it into a super flavorful and refreshing lemony dessert bread that I can't wait to share with you!


Kouglof = Alsatian brioche

"OR" = original recipe

"tweak" = adjustment to OR




39% eggs

3% rye - CLAS, tweak

5.7% water - CLAS, tweak

10% sugar

5% lemon juice, tweaknone in OR

0.5% lemon extract, tweaknone in OR

0.25% vanilla extract, tweaknone in OR

97% Beehive AP




27% full-fat milk, boiled and cooled( tweak; no pre-processing in OR)



1.6% gold yeast, tweakOR uses fresh

1.5 % salt

zest of 1 lemon



29% butter, diced



40% golden raisins, rum-soaked, tweakOR uses much less


Total dough weight ~ 1140g





by Zojirushi bread machine


1. x10mins

+ A.

then gradually + ~ half of B


2. x10 mins

+ remaining B.

develop the dough to "medium-well" 


3. x10 mins

+ C.

The dough must be fully developed before proceeding to the next steps. 

+ D. gradually


4. x5 mins



DT 29C



32-33C until doubled ~ 60-75 mins


In the meantime


generously grease a 9” bundt pan with cold butter

Then coat it with almond slices, tweakOR uses very little 

Refrigerate the pan, tweak; not done in OR


Make lemon syrup, tweakDerek's idea; none in OR; 

juice of 3 lemons : sugar

1:1 by weight

microwave until sugar dissolves





poke a hole in the middle and dump it in the bundt pan



32-33C x 30-45 mins



preheat 350F, tweak; OR temp too high; no stone; my oven takes ~ 15 mins

egg wash, tweak; not done in OR (this part of the dough will become the bottom of the Kouglof)

sprinkle almond slices on top, tweak; not done in OR


350F x 30 mins, no steam

cover with foil

insulate the bottom of the bundt pan; I use a few pizza pans


350F x 15 mins



Glazetweak; not done in OR


Before inverting the Kouglof onto a wire rack, gently brush it with lemon syrup


Invert the bread onto a wire rack, which sits on top of a pan that collects syrup dripping


Gently brush or dab lemon syrup onto the bread


Let cool/dry overnight


Decorate with powdered sugar before serving


Glazed and dried overnight

















HeiHei29er's picture

I detailed the first bake with this recipe here.  I wanted to revisit it without the matcha powder and see how it worked as a hearth loaf.

Happy to say that it turned out great!  Made loaves for friends as well (needed independent tasters) and everyone really liked it.  The ginger really stands out (but isn't overpowering) and there are also noticeable aromatics from the jasmine rice.  It has a crisp texture when toasted, but my favorite way of eating it so far is a simple PB&J with raspberry jam.  Something about the aroma you get from the ginger as you take a bite combined with the sweetness from the peanut butter and jam makes a really good combination.

Very happy with how these loaves turned out.  Not sure what happened with the crumb in the center of this loaf.  Don't think it's under/over proofed.  The overall crumb looks good and even.  Guessing it was a lack of degassing during the final shape.  Crumb shot is of the tallest loaf.  Not sure what the cause of the lack of bloom is with the other two loaves.  I think it's just lack of consistency in my shaping/scoring technique.

Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I will bake at a slightly higher temp to try and get better spring.  Reduced the heat a little because I was worried about burning the loaf bottom with the milk in the recipe.  Bottoms looked good, so I will bump it up a bit.  That being said, I do like the thin, soft crust with the lower temps.


Makes one loaf and assumes a morning bake with hand mixing/kneading.

Pate Fermente (early evening before bake)
72g - AP flour
48g - Bread flour
72g - Water
2.4g - Salt
0.2g - Active Dry Yeast

  • Dissolve yeast in water. 
  • Combine flours and salt in a separate bowl and create a well. 
  • Add water/yeast to flour well and mix until flours just wetted. 
  • Saltolyse 15 minutes. 
  • Fold/knead until dough is just smooth with no lumps. 
  • Form into tight ball and place in covered, oiled bowl. 
  • Ferment for 12-16 hours at 70 deg F.


Porridge (night before bake)
40g - Jasmine rice
6g - Ginger root (minced)
20g - Honey
60g - Water
60g - Whole milk

  • Combine all ingredients in covered saucepan and cook over low heat until wet ingredients are fully absorbed by the rice. I have an electric cooktop with burner settings of Lo, 1-9, Hi.  I set the burner on 1 and it takes 60-90 minutes.  I don't bring the mixture to a boil.  Just a low, slow heat up.
  • Stir periodically to insure rice doesn't burn and set up too much.   
  • The milk fats will coagulate fairly early in the heat up (I think from the acidity in the ginger), so don't be alarmed by that. 
  • When done, cover and leave out overnight to fully cool.  Refrigerate if not using within 8 hours.  Alternatively, make this just before the bake, but allow it to cool enough to be used in the final mix.


Final Dough
148g - AP flour
112g - Bread flour
20g - Semolina flour (remilled)(can replace with white flour if unavailable)
220g - Water
20g - Hold back water
5.6g - Salt
5.4g - Active Dry Yeast

  • Dissolve yeast in water.  Combine flours in separate bowl and make a well. 
  • Combine water/yeast mixture with porridge and break up the porridge chunks.  Mix until uniform.
  • Combine water/yeast/porridge mixture with flours.  As mixing, add small chunks of pate fermente to evenly distribute it into the dough.  Mix until flours are just wet.  Add Hold Back Water (if needed) in small amounts to desired hydration.  Dough will be somewhat sticky and should feel something like a 65% hydration white flour dough.
  • 15-20 minute fermentolyse to hydrate flours
  • Develop medium to high gluten strength.  Dough may still be a bit sticky from the rice, so use wet hands or food service gloves.  
  • Bulk ferment in oiled bowl at 76 deg F.  One fold at 30-45 minutes.  Dough should be roughly double at 60-90 minutes.
  • Pre-shape into a boule
  • Bench rest 20-30 minutes
  • Final shape for banneton and proof at 75-76 deg F (roughly 45-60 minutes)
  • Preheat oven to 425 deg F.  Bake with steam for 10 minutes (425 deg F), 5 minutes (400 deg F); vent oven; 20-25 minutes (375 deg F); Final temp target of 208 deg F

justkeepswimming's picture

I have never had much luck making crumpets. I came across this recipe elsewhere,and decided to give it a try. Success at last!! There used to be 8 (I scaled the recipe down a tad), but two were eaten hot off the pan. The rest have cooled and are frozen.

A few notes of possible interest:

 - He appears to be in Australia, so when the recipe called for bread flour, I thought about it for a minute. I'm not always fond of the chew/texture US bread flour can give some things, but wasn't sure how US AP flour compares to AU bread flour. I decided to split the difference and used half of each (edit, half KAF bread flour, half KAF AP flour). That worked. I might try it with all AP flour next time, just to compare results.

 - He cooks them in egg rings, but we don't own any. While shopping on Amazon to see what my options are, they suggested this nifty little pan. I decided to give it a try. It was perfect, for this recipe and for our eggs this morning too. 

All successful experiment on all fronts. 




zestandfizz's picture

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Crumpets are one of my favorite things to make and eat, so it’s strange to think that I wasn’t a big fan of them growing up. I found the store-bought variety too dense and quite often stale. Homemade crumpets — on the other hand — are a revelation, and the sourdough variety are a cut above. They taste incredible slathered with marmalade, peanut butter, or a drizzle of maple syrup and served with a side of black tea

Many sourdough crumpet recipes appear to have been invented as a way to use up discarded sourdough starter, as if crumpets are some sort of afterthought, a support act for the more popular line-up of sourdough loaves, pizza and focaccia. While I’m 100% behind minimizing waste, I honestly believe that crumpets deserve their time in the spotlight. Because when they’re made well, they are up there with the best — as good as a plain croissant, or a slice of fresh bread slathered with butter.

That’s why I’d like to give you a recipe that’s specifically for these babies and not a way to repurpose a waste product. Well, that and everyone’s sourdough starter is different. For instance, I keep a relatively low-hydration starter, made up of a blend of rye and bread flours. If my crumpet batter was made up entirely of discarded starter, then a third of it would be rye. I’m a huge fan of rye in my loaves, but in crumpets I find it leads to a denser result.

A nice thing about this recipe is that there is little difference between a starter and a levain, or a ripe starter and a discarded one, so if you’d prefer to use your leftovers — or if your starter is already big enough to cover the quantities I’ve stated — then you can easily adapt it to your needs. Just make sure you aim for the right hydration level and you’ll be singing.

Speaking of hydration, the ratio in this recipe comes in at just under 140%; and paying attention to the batter’s consistency is of utmost importance. By all means, substitute bread flour with another variety, but pay attention to the amount of water your flour likes to soak up — you may need to be sparing with it. I highly recommend reserving some of the water first and only adding in the rest a quarter of a cup at a time if the batter looks dry. You’re after a consistency close to that of thickened cream; still a bit clumpy and thick, but just loose enough to pour off your spoon and conform to the shape of your egg rings. Check out my video for an example of what you’re after.

Even with a lot of care, it’s possible to go too far. If that happens, then a little bit of flour can be added to thicken the mixture up again.

Do also keep in mind that the longer your batter has been sitting around, the weaker it will be; and that means you won’t get as much rise out of your crumpets. That’s another reason I prefer to mix up the batter ad hoc and not use old starter — you have better control over the fermentation.

The sweet-spot for this recipe is somewhere between well-proofed and stale, a mass of batter that has more than doubled in size, in what you’d probably consider over-proofed-land for a loaf of bread. The nice thing about slow ferments is that you have some wiggle room. You can opt to leave this on the bench overnight in the milder months or in the fridge in summer and it should be just-right by morning. The timings below are a general guide for how long to leave the batter fermenting, but be patient and watch for signs of fermentation rather than the clock.

TemperatureApproximate Proofing Time (hrs)

Once you’ve left the batter sitting for long enough, mix up the baking soda, sugar and water and add them in. What we really want is an overripe ferment that has had enough time to develop nicely and reach the point where it’s started to sour; that twinge of acid is necessary for the baking soda to foam and generate small bubbles. If you use a younger starter, you may need to substitute some of the baking soda for baking powder.

Give it a really good mix; I find that the manual work of whipping up the batter ensures the baking soda is well distributed and gets the aeration really going. It can take a beating, but don’t stress — dough strength is not a huge factor here as the crumpet rings will make sure the crumpets hold their shape, much like a loaf tin.

A top down view of crumpets packed into a box

Now you’re all ready, so preheat your pan. When it comes to cooking these on the stove, use the heaviest-bottomed pan you have available; cast-iron is really the best option here — the frying time is quite long, so you need a slow and strong heat. You’ll likely want to aim for medium to high heat, but be careful — too high and you’ll burn the bottoms, too low and they’ll set before bubbles form. Getting the temperature right will take a bit of practice and I highly recommend you take notes (mental or otherwise) once you get things spot on.

Egg rings are also an essential part of making crumpets; otherwise, you’ll end up with pikelets, and sure, they’ll still taste amazing, but you’ll be missing out on half the fun. Be sure to grease your pan and the egg rings well. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cursed at a stray crumpet that gets stuck in its ring. My egg rings are 7cm in diameter, so an 80ml measuring cup makes light work of dispensing the batter.

All up, one round of crumpets should take about 10 minutes to cook on their first side. When their tops have started to dry and harden, flip them over onto the hot pan and leave them for half a minute or until their tops have browned nicely. This last step is another great thing about home-made crumpets, and guarantees they never look as insipid and rubbery as their store-bought counterparts.

Take them off the heat and wait 10 minutes or so for them to firm up; you’ll know that they’ve been successful if a finger pressed lightly into the middle gets some springy resistance. All that’s left to do is slather those griddle cakes with whatever takes your fancy. Honestly, though? Even 10 minutes is a long wait and I’ve been known to sneak in some plain ones at the stovetop. They really are that good; and if you haven’t tried them, then I urge you to put this recipe on your to-do list for next Sunday’s breakfast so you can give them a go too.

A top down view of a plate of crumpets

naturaleigh's picture

This was an experiment with walnuts and some purple barley that I had on hand.  I modified my everyday loaf to incorporate the nuts and soaked barley during lamination (after an initial 2 S&Fs).  Although I nearly let the fermentation get away from me while busy cooking dinner last night, I'm happy with the crumb all things considered, not the least of which was the weight of the walnuts.  The areas of the crumb that have more purple are actually from the barley and not the walnuts (since those got toasted first).  The flavor is really nice and the crumb is quite delicate and soft.  The barley compliments the walnut flavor very well.  I will probably up the honey in this by 10 g or so next time, but, all in all, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  This should make some awesome toast or would be great with some cheese.  The inside looks lots better than the outside--I decided to go with a natural 'score' and let the loaf do what it wanted (baked seam side up) but the results were not pretty, which the bold bake did not of the homelier loaves I've ever made, so it gets bottom billing ;-)

Danni3ll3's picture

It was time to revisit this one after taking a break for the holidays. 


Makes 3 loaves 


150 g Spelt flour (~150 g Spelt berries)

150 g Kamut flour (~150 g Kamut berries)

50 g rye flour (~50 g Rye berries)

700 g strong bakers unbleached flour

725 g of filtered water 

10 g Old Bay seasoning

15 g Pink Himalayan salt 

30 g yogurt 

250 g levain (procedure is in recipe and will need additional wholewheat flour and unbleached flour)



145 g of drained sliced mixed olives (50 g Kalamata, 50 g Manzanilla and 45 g Black)

130 g crumbled Feta 

72 g Seasoned Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained and 25g of oil reserved 


The night before:

1. Mill the grains on the finest setting of your mill. Measure the Spelt, Kamut, and rye flours and place in a tub. 

2. Add the unbleached flour to the milled flours and reserve.

3. Take 10 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night.  


Dough making day:

1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of unbleached flour. Let rise in a warm place till double. This took about 5 hours.

2. Measure the feta, crumble if needed, and set aside.

3. Drain (save the oil) and weigh the sun-dried tomatoes, (slice if not sliced), measure out 25 g of the reserved oil, and add both to the feta. 

4. Drain the olives, weigh, and add to the feta mix.

5. An hour or two before the levain is ready, mix the water with the flours and autolyse. This takes a minute or two in a mixer. Let autolyse until

the levain is ready. 

6. Once the levain has doubled, add the Old Bay seasoning, the salt, the yogurt, the feta/olive/tomato mix, and the levain. Mix for a minute on low until the levain is integrated, then mix on speed 2 for 9 minutes.

7. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.

8. Do 2 sets of coil folds with 45 minute intervals and then 2 more set with 30 minute intervals. Let rise until you see lots of small irregular bubbles through the wall of your container. The dough should have risen about 30-40%.

9. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~825 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 

10. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough towards you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.

11. Sprinkle rice flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. 

Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

Benito's picture

Still working my way through my 2 kg bag of stoneground organic spelt and hoping that I’ll figure this ancient grain out eventually.  I wanted to try again at using only spelt for a Hokkaido milk bread.  My first attempt was tasty but a bit squat for my liking.  Thinking that the gluten net just wasn’t strong enough to retain the pressure of the expanding gases during baking I though that I could improve the bake by increasing the VWG in this recipe.  I also increased the tangzhong to 5% and increased the milk.  

The pH data on the dough are interesting, at the beginning of bulk end of mixing the pH was 5.82 that is about 0.2 higher than a non enriched all spelt dough.  At the end of final proof the pH only fell to 5.71.  So again, using a stiff sweet levain has such a great effect on suppressing the LAB population in the levain and thus reducing their population in the final dough.  It is a great way to ensure that your enriched bread or other sourdough breads have less sour.


Sweet Stiff Levain

• 53g whole spelt flour (stoneground)

• 24g water 

• 18g light brown sugar 

• 18g sourdough starter ~100% hydration 

1:1.33:2.9:1  starter:water:flour:sugar


Tangzhong classic 1:5 ratio

• 115 g milk 

• 23 g Whole Spelt flour   (Stoneground)


Dough Dry Ingredients 

• 22 g vital wheat gluten

      · 424 g whole spelt four    (Sprouted)  

• 30 g sugar 

• 7g salt  1.6%


Dough Wet Ingredients 

• 204 g milk 

• 50g egg beaten (about 1 lg egg)

• 60g butter melted


Pre-bake Wash 

• 1 egg beaten

• 1 Tbsp milk



Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth. 

Press down with your knuckles to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At a temperature of 76ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.  For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak.  The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.  If you were to measure the pH you might find that the pH only drops  0.1-0.3.



In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.  Theoretically it should reach 65ºC (149ºF) but I don’t find I need to measure the temperature as the tangzhong gelatinizes at this temperature.   If you prepare this when you prepare the levain, allow it to cool a bit then place in fridge overnight to use in the morning.



 In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk, egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into smaller pieces.  Next add the flour and vital wheat gluten.  I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins the dough will seem quite stiff and dry.  Next drizzle in the melted butter a little at a time.  The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before drizzling in more butter.  Once all the butter has been added and incorporated increase the speed gradually to medium.  Mix at medium until the gluten is well developed, approximately 10 mins.  You can consider resting the dough intermittently during this time  You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat.


Interesting note, although the total hydration is relatively high, the dough handles as if it were low.  The hydration added in a tangzhong doesn’t seem to affect the dough handling.


On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2.5-3.5 hours at 82ºF.  There may be some rise visible at this stage.

You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape.  Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer.  Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.


Prepare your pans by greasing them or line with parchment paper.  


Lightly flour the top of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into four. I like to weigh them to have equal sized lobes. Shape each tightly into a boule, allow to rest 5 mins. Using a rolling pin roll each ball out and then letterfold. Turn 90* and using a rolling pin roll each out to at least 8”. Letterfold again from the sides so you have a long narrow dough. Then using a rolling pin, roll flatter but keeping the dough relatively narrow.  The reason to do this extra letterfold is that the shorter fatter rolls when placed in the pan will not touch the sides of the pan.  This allows the swirled ends to rise during final proof, this is only done for appearance sake and is not necessary.  Next roll each into a tight roll with some tension. Arrange the rolls of dough inside your lined pan alternating the direction of the swirls, seem side down, ends of rolls facing the sides of the pan and smooth side up.  This should allow a greater rise during proof and in the oven.


Cover and let proof for 6-8 hours, longer time if you chilled your dough for shaping. I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.


Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.



Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190ºF, rotating as needed to get even browning. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF. You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you wish at this point while the bread is still hot to keep the top crust soft.

Still more squat than I want, my formula needs more work!


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