The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Jacob Lockcuff's picture
Jacob Lockcuff

Hello everybody! I hope everyone is having a good day/evening. I figured I'd share my second artisan bread that I baked on Tuesday earlier this week. It's the recipe from a blog that goes by the name "ThePerfectLoaf." The recipe is titled, "My Best Sourdough Bread." I've followed the recipe pretty much to a T, but I have made a few changes related to the starter. Rather than create a levain as the recipe calls for, I just used 150 grams of my 80% all-purpose, 20% red wheat 110% hydration sourdough starter. I also bake it in my Dutch oven. Pictures. My whole family loves this bread, as do I. I've been making it every few days to have enough for breakfast, buttered, with my bacon and eggs, and I have it almost every day for lunch with homemade roast beef, cheddar cheese, a salad, and a great big pile of homemade sauerkraut. Delicious.

stu currie's picture
stu currie

This is my first attempt at sourdough. It's just a plain loaf proofed for about 20 hours in a round banneton, then adjusted a little bit to make a more rectangular shape. I was a little bit disappointed with the oven spring, but I think that was because I didn't leave my Dutch oven to heat up for long enough,  Because i was getting a little impatient. Other than  that  I'm very happy with it.

Please let me know what you think, criticism more than welcome, also, would I be better buying a rectangular banneton, or is it fine to adjust the shape just before baking?

Skibum's picture

To my honey corn bread recipe I have upped the jalapeno from one to two. Not a lot of heat from these peppers up here in moose country, but they added a nice crunch, as did the corn kernels I added. The final add was old cheddar diced fine.

Skillet honey cornbread with 2x jalapeno, diced sharp cheddar and corn kernels. My best corn bread ever!
1/ cup corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder...
1/4 tsp baking soda
2Tbs sugar
Mix dry ingredients.
beat 1 egg and add to 1/2 cup buttermilk
add 2 Tbs liquid honey and mix
Add wet to dry, then 2 Tbs melted butter, which I also use to coat the CI pan.
Bake for 16 minutes @ 400F, turning half way.

This bread has a nice sweet taste. The jalapenos bring no heat, but a nice crunch to go along with the corn kernels. My best corn bread yet!!!

Happy baking and eating friends! Ski

dabrownman's picture

Lucy started off to do a more complicated bread by getting the 5 grain sprouts going on Wednesday but we forgot about the new Fig Yeast Water we started last Friday from the re-hydration soaking water left over from last week’s bake.  We wanted to include it in a SD / YW combo bake but it took a day longer than planned to get up to full ramming speed.

It was also very cold again with the house hovering at 62 F overnight.  We were too lazy to get the heating pad out till this morning for the dough so both of the overnight levains were very slow with the SD one the worse for the cold.  Now I was worried the bread wouldn’t get out of the oven before the wife got home to yell at me again:-)   I only had 8 hours total from mix to cooling rack and it is still 62 F in the kitchen.

The YW levain had managed to double overnight but the SD one only managed 50%.  The levain mix was 30% whole sprouted rye, spelt, Kamut, red and white wheat in equal amounts.  The bran from the sprouted flour was used for the SD levain's first build since it is SD LAB that really benefit from the buffering effect of the bran and there isn’t any LAB in yeast water. All of the whole sprouted grains were in the two levains.

We incorrectly thought the YW would be slower than the SD so we used the bulk of the high extraction sprouted flour for the YW levain at 18% pre-fermented flour and the bran SD levain came in at 12% pre-fermented flour for a total of 30% pre-fermented flour – a whopping total amount for Lucy ......but it is very cold, the heating pad can only do so much and I’m tired of being yelled at for not getting the bread out of the oven in time!

We autolyzed the LaFama AP dough flour for 30 minutes with the remaining water that brought the overall hydration to 78%.  Once the levains hit the mix, we did 60 slap and folds to get it all incorporated and then did 2 more sets of 10 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds – all on 30 minute intervals.  We let the dough rest for a half an hour before pre-shaping and shaping into a boule for the rice floured basket.

It had risen about 25% during gluten development and bulk ferment stage.  It sat on the heating pad for 1 1/2 hours proofing away before it was time to preheat the oven and combo cooker to 500 F.  We unmolded the dough onto parchment on a peel, slashed the top tic-tack-toe style and slid it into the CC and then into the oven between the top and bottom stones for 18 minutes of steam.

Yes it is a half pound lamb burger with cheese - only ate half at a time though!

After 5 minutes, we turned the oven down to 450 F.  When the lid came off, the bread had bloomed and sprang well enough and now it was just a matter of 12 more minutes of dry heat at 425 F with the fan on.  It browned up nicely and hit 209 F on the inside when it was removed to the cooling rack.


It was 5 hours from mixing to being out of the oven for this bread.  Can’t wait to taste it and see how it fares for a fast bread without commercial yeast.  We will have to wait on the crumb shots until tonight's gumbo requires sopping up!. It turned out to be what we thought it would be.  Moderately open. very moist and slightly sour bread .

Perfect for sandwiches and sopping up the gumbo.... and the gumbo was killer lots of Swai, shrimp, Andouille and chicken with that dark roux.  We couldn't stop eating it.


12% prefermented flour SD Bran Levain using 5 grain sprouted flour and NMNF rye starter at 100% hydration

18% prefermented High Extraction 5 grain sprouted flour at 100% hydratiom


70% LaFama AP 

enough water for 78% ovderall hydration

2% PH sea salt

Here is the Recipe Queen when she isn't resting.  She wnats to taste that Naan real bad.

Naan Recipe

2 g of Instant yeast

400 g of LaFama AP Four

280 g water with 20 g NFDMP

8 g PH sea salt

25 g of butter - don't incorporate the butter until the dough is fully hydrated.

25 g of sugar

Lucy says to have a salad with that Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan made on the grill - both were fantastic.

sadkitchenkid's picture

Born and raised in Brooklyn if you were to shoot me I would literally bleed bagels. 

Anyway these are perfect authentic bagels, the kind you would get from a small Jewish bakery in Brooklyn, and when you make them at home they're SO much better because you get to eat them in their softest fresh out of the oven stage. Again, I recommend playing Leonard Cohen's entire discography while making these it is crucial to the rising process. 



270grams bread flour

270grams water

1/4 tsp. yeast


rest of dough:

275grams water

3/4tsp yeast

6grams diastatic malt powderOR 1tbsp molasses or leave this out entirely who cares

17grams salt

655grams bread flour


Mix together the sponge and let rise for 4-8hours or until bubbly and doubled in volume. Mix in the remaining ingredients and knead till you have a firm heavy dough. Leave to rise for 4-8hours again. Take dough out of the bowl, roll into a long shape and cut into 18 relatively even parts (traditional new york bagels aren't supposed to look identical to eachother so don't spend too much time weighing). 18 will make medium sized bagels. Decrease the number of dough pieces for bigger bagels. I also don't make too wide of a hole in each of mine because I don't want a hole in my sandwich, so this makes mine look smaller as well. Roll each part into a tight ball with the seam pinched under. By the time you are done with all the balls, the ones you started with will be rested. Take each rested ball and either roll into a log and pinch the ends together to form a ring, or push a hole into the center, then press down with the palm of your hand inside the hole and roll to stretch it out. Line some baking sheets with corn meal and place each bagel down. 

Preheat your oven to 435F. Place 5liters of water in a large pot and sprinkle in 20g of baking soda (do this before the water boils) and add either a tablespoon of molasses or two tables spoons of malt syrup. I used molasses in this batch cause I couldn't bring myself to walk 3 blocks to the supermarket to buy some malt. Turn the stove on and bring the solution to a rolling boil. By the time the water is boiling, the bagels will have rested and risen some. Place about 3 to 4 bagels at a time in the boiling water and boil for about 30-50seconds per side.

Take them out of the water and place on the baking sheet either lined with more cornmeal, or parchment.

Dip or sprinkle your topping onto them. I only had like one tablespoon of black sesame on hand so most of them were plain. Place in the hot oven as soon as possible so they don't start to shrivel up from sitting in moisture. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes then take out and let cool to warm/room temp before digging in. 

This is the classic New York bagel crumb. Dense and chewy but still incredibly soft and evenly aerated. Ugh good job, New York, I love you. Again, if you want a physical hole in the center, stretch out each ring to a little over double the size you want the hole to be. I like a closed bagel because it's more bready and holds onto the fillings. I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but I lost my dslr charger. Maybe I'll remake this post in the future with artsy pictures and a more structured recipe haha. Happy baking guys!


ps. turns out this dough makes killer soft pretzels. Just shape like pretzel and follow bagel boiling and baking instructions and once out of the oven brush with melted butter or ghee and sprinkle with salt. I brushed mine with ghee they were so good I shed a single tear.

p.p.s when you are boiling the bagel, you know it is ready/good if it floats to the surface of the water immediately after plopping it in,



Supreme33's picture

Hello TFL'rs on this late night! Wanted to share with you all my bake of the day. So I decided to make a "Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Loaf". I used K.A.F whole wheat flour and a little bit of K.A.F white whole wheat, this recipe I found used a "sponge" and what made the dough have great taste was the use of good raw and wild honey and melted butter and salt. I couldn't wait to slice into the loaf and taste the reward of a little patience (ate those slices in the picture right away with peanut butter on one slice ;p). Happy baking all!! . Here is the link.

Here are the pictures of my bake today 


sadkitchenkid's picture

I made these cookies using my great aunt's famous secret recipe. It feels like a betrayal to post it here but it also feels like a betrayal to post this picture without adding a recipe so if anyone is interested, let me know and I'll post in the comments. These are so good and highly requested that my aunt, no matter how old and tired she gets, makes over twenty batches during the holidays and gifts them to friends, family, and neighbor. Growing up I'd sit on the kitchen floor with her for hours and decorate and snack on hundreds of these. 

Anyway this is one of the platters I made for my friend's wedding tomorrow! Instead of a cake, they wanted tiers of cookie. Long night ahead!  Happy baking everyone! 


Jacob Lockcuff's picture
Jacob Lockcuff

I'm very ashamed to say I more than likely ruined a piece of bread tonight...on purpose...Just gotta get this off my chest. It's stressing me out!!

So I've been making an 86% hydration sourdough artisan bread every few days as of recently. It has turned out great and my family loves it, and I really feel like my technique has come along SO much. Things have just kept getting better- until tonight.

This afrernoon I made two loaves. All was great until the preshape. After it rested on the counter for the bench rest I went to shape it. I first shaped a round loaf and it turned out great. Straight to the fridge. Then came the rectangular loaf. It just turned into a wet, sticky mess no matter what I did. I finally got so mad I went to the flour cabinet, pulled out all purpose, dumped a big pile on the dough and started beating it everywhere on the counter and then just threw it in the basket. Into the fridge...

Clean up is going to be fun tomorrow morning...



MakingBreadBabies's picture

Making bread, great bread, takes some planning ahead and some dough babysitting. It's work worth doing, but sometimes you need bread fast. That's why I'm seeking the "minimum effective dose" for success. I heard this term coined in The 4 Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss. It's not a groundbreaking concept, but he revolves much of his life around its pursuit, which is intriguing. He wants to find the balance of the best you can do with the least amount of work.

So, that's my question for the bread veterans out there. What is the minimum effective dose for great artisan/hearth bread? There will be times when I am able to plan 2 days ahead and get a great loaf full of complexity and flavor. But sometimes I realize around lunch that I'd like to have bread by dinner. So, let's say 5 hours from concept to a loaf emerging from the oven. On those days, I also don't want to wait around and fold the bread 4 times every 20 minutes. So, I need it to be pretty hands off.

Pictured is my first attempt. I used commercial yeast (of course) but also added unfed starter to the dough, not for the rising properties, but for flavor. I kept the hydration pretty high, since I wanted that hearth, open-crumb bread just not the long autolyse that goes with it. I also used AP flour because I wanted the yeast to be able to blow it up quickly. Those choices plus my desire not to clean a mixer, meant I didn't quite get the gluten development I was after by just hand kneading. Since I was going for speed, I proofed warm, which made it a bit hard to work with but not impossible with an assertive bench scraper.  I think I can tweak those variables. It had good texture and decent crumb, and while not flavorless, I feel I can do better.

I'm considering America's Test Kitchen alternatives to Jim Lahey's bread. They add 1 tbl of distilled vinegar (for acetic acid) and replace 6 tbl of water with lager (for complexity). They do the long autolyse with a small amount of yeast. But I'm thinking to myself, if I'm adding the flavor in those forms, why not just use commercial yeast and save time? Wondering if anybody has tried this or has other tips on getting a loaf out quick.

I know there are folks who have already tread this path with wisdom to share!

(Not sure how to include an additional shot of the interior without separately hosting the image.)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Last Sunday I held my third annual Bread Tasting Open House. This year I focused on a couple of areas - 100% rye flour breads, and a series of sourdoughs using different flours. For the latter the formula / recipe / technique was the same for all six of the breads; the only variation was that 25% of the flour was different. The six were:

  1. Amaranth flour
  2. Corn flour (whole corn flour, not the UK version or North American corn starch)
  3. Durum flour (re-milled from semolina)
  4. Kamut flour (stone ground whole Kamut)
  5. Rye flour (whole, stone ground)
  6. Teff flour

The general formula was:

  • Bread flour - 75%
  • Other flour - 25%
  • Water - 72%
  • Starter (100 hydration) - 19%
  • Salt - 2%

With the starter, the overall hydration was 74%. Technique was to mix flours, water and starter and let sit for an hour, then mix in the salt (by hand and with very little mixing). All doughs fermented at room temperature for around 5 hours with 3 or 4 stretch and folds over the first couple of hours. The windowpanes on all of them were excellent - very strong and stretchy. Of all of them, the teff dough was the softest and the corn dough the silkiest. All doughs were then put in the fridge overnight and shaped / proofed in the morning.

The test batch I made first was proofed in floured oval bannetons, then transferred to peels and into the oven on the hot stones (pre-heated to 475F). The teff loaf was almost impossible - it was so soft and sticky that as soon as it was turned out onto the peel it spread into a puddle and stuck. Transferring it to the stones was very difficult and resulted in a bizarre shape!

All had good oven spring, but the corn flour loaf was the winner in this category - it nearly exploded in the oven! The rye loaf had much less spring than the others and the scores didn't open much (although when I made a second batch it had much better spring and burst).

Crumb on all of them was soft and moist, and quite open. The corn flour loaf had large holes and very moist crumb. The rye had a much closer crumb. The amaranth and teff had the most interesting aroma, with a sort of chocolatey sweetness from the teff and a lovely 'fresh hay' scent from the amaranth.

The results of the tasting were a bit surprising, actually. The corn flour loaf was the clear winner with the teff in second place and Kamut in third. The loaf made with 25% durum flour came in last! I asked people to vote for their favourite and their second favourite. Conversations indicated that people felt most strongly about both the amaranth and teff (they either really liked one or the other, or really didn't like it).

It was an interesting experiment! Here are some of the pictures:

25% Amaranth flour:

25% Corn Flour:

25% Durum flour:

25% Kamut flour:

Somehow I missed getting pictures of the Kamut loaf!

25% Rye flour:

25% Teff flour:

The Teff flour loaf was the mis-shapen one, so no picture of the whole loaf. :) When I made these breads for the actual bread tasting I baked the softest ones in the perforated Italian bread pans which made life a lot easier. These loaves not only looked lovely (crust and slashing was nice on all of them) but were easier to make more uniform slices. This photo shows (from top left to bottom right) two each of the Durum, Kamut, Rye and Teff loaves.

I just made a batch of the 25% Corn Sourdough for customers who ordered it after the bread tasting, and it turned out quite lovely!



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