The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

breadbakingbassplayer's blog

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Here's just a quick list of my favorite bread books:

A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman

Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective by Daniel T. DiMuzio

The Art of Handmade Bread: Contemporary European Recipes for the Home Baker by Dan Lepard

Good Bread Is Back: A Contemporary History of French Bread, the Way It Is Made, and the People Who Make It by Steven LaurenceKaplan and Catherine Porter

Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, The Bakers, The Best Recipes by Maggie Glezer and Ben Fink

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1.  It's OK to screw up and start over.

2.  Your 1st fermentation is finished when your dough as approximately doubled, and holds the impression of your finger when you poke it...  If it's not ready, keep waiting...

3.  Full sourdoughs are unpredictable and very dependant on some of the following factors: the strength of your starter, and the temperature of your kitchen...

4.  Sourdoughs can take a long time to rise...

5.  Things change when you change your flour, hydration, amount of yeast, temperature, etc...  Basically things change when you change things...

6.  It's still OK to screw up and start over...

7.  The more mistakes you make, the more you learn...


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Hi All,

This is a little out of order, but it will have to do.  Here are some pics of a 100% Hydration Whole Grain Muesli Bread that I baked on 1/21/10 in response to Vincent Talleu's post here:

I will try to post the recipe when I get home tonight.  The basic proportions are 95% WW, 5% Rye, 15% Muesli, 100% hydration based on the WW and Rye flours.  Enjoy!

Recipe: 2540g total dough weight

95% WW Flour - 874g

5% Rye Flour - 46g

15% Muesli - 138g

15% Raisins - 138g

6% Agave Syrup - 54g

10% Firm Sourdough Starter - 92g (60% hydration)

2% Kosher Salt - 18g

125% Cool Water - 1150g

3/8 tsp Active Dry Yeast


0:00 - Measure out and mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, place into well oiled plastic container and cover.  Dough will look like a gloppy batter.

0:05 - Cover and let rest (autolyse) 1 hr 55 minutes.

2:00 - With wet hands, turn dough (stretch and fold) in oiled container, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

2:30 - With wet hands, turn dough (stretch and fold) in oiled container, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

3:00 - With wet hands, turn dough (stretch and fold) in oiled container, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

3:30 - With wet hands, turn dough (stretch and fold) in oiled container, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

4:00 - Turn dough out onto well floured surface, divide into 4 equal pieces (635g each), place in lined baskets well dusted with coarse wheat bran.  Proof for approx 45 minutes.  Place baking stones on 2 levels in oven (top rack should be on the 2nd space from top, and botton rack should be on bottom space), place steam pan in appropriate place in oven, preheat with convection to 550F for 45 minutes.

5:00 - Place loaves directly on baking stones using a wooden peel (2 per stone), add 1 cup of boiling water to steam pan, close door.  Turn oven down to 450F, turn off convection, bake for 18 minutes, rotate loaves between the stones, bake for another 18 minutes.  Loaves are done when internal temp reaches 210F.

Notes: I used Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour, Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour, Bob's Red Mill Muesli.  Also, I think I lied a little... The hydration is actually 125%...

Good luck!  Please let me know if you have any questions...


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Hey All,

This is my 15% breadcrumb bread from my 1/15/10 bake.  I had a some baguettes left over from a previous bake, and didn't want to waste them so I made bread crumbs with them, and made more bread...  Enjoy!




Total Dough Weight: approx 998g

Yield: 2 loaves at 400g weight after bake

85% AP - 470g

15% Breadcrumbs - 70g

10% Firm Sourdough Starter - 47g (straight from fridge fed day before)

100% Water - 470g

1.8% Kosher Salt - 8g

0.4% Active Dry Yeast - 2g (1/2 tsp)

Notes: I used breadcrumbs made from baguettes that I had made earlier that were sliced and dried out.


Day before:

Feed sourdough starter, or convert liquid starter to firm starter.  Leave on counter at room temp for 4 hrs, refrigerate until ready to use.

Bake day:

1.  Measure out all ingredients, grind breadcrumbs by hand or in a food processor.

2.  Place all water and bread crumbs in large mixing bowl, mix well, and let stand for a few minutes to let the crumbs absorb the water.

3.  Add sourdough starter cut in pieces and the rest of the dry ingredients at once, mix with wooden spoon until all is combined into a shaggy dough, transfer to well oiled plastic container, cover and autolyse for 30 minutes.  It will be very wet, but it will firm up as the breadcrumbs absorb the water.  Do not add any extra flour.

4.  After autolyse, stretch and fold dough in container with wet hands, cover and let rest for 30 mins.

5.  Stretch and fold dough in container with wet hands, cover and let rest for 30 mins.

6.  Stretch and fold dough in container with wet hands, cover and let rest for 30 mins.

7.  Stretch and fold dough in container with wet hands, cover and let rest for 1 hr.

8.  After rest, dough should have doubled in size.  To test, poke dough with a floured finger.  If impression remains, dough is ready.

9.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, divide into 2 pieces approx 498g, preshape and cover with cloth and plastic, let rest for 15 minutes.

10.  On a lightly floured surface, final shape loaves into batard shape, and proof for 45 to 60 minutes in linen couche and cover with kitchen towel and plastic so they don't dry out.  Arrange baking stone in the oven along with a steam pan, and preheat to 500F with convection.

11.  When oven reaches 500F and loaves are proofed, carefully turn them onto wooden peel, slash as desired and place in oven.  When all the loaves are in, pour 3/4 cup of water into steam pan (use oven mitts), close door and bake for 18 minutes at 450F with convection, rotate and bake at 450F with convection for another 18 minutes or until internal temp reaches 210F. 

12.  Cool for at least 2 hrs before eating.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hi All,

Here's some more catch-up blogging.  The top 2 are basically fat baguettes.  The bottom 2 are my made up version of bauernbrot with breadcrumbs.  Enjoy!


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This is for Floyd,

I think we should have a "The Fresh Loaf" T-shirt...  Have you thought about this before?  Lemme know...  I'd like to see what other Freshloafers think.


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Hey All,

A quick question for those of you using lava rocks to create steam...

I have been creating steam using a stainless steel pan filled with lava rocks on the floor of my oven...  I washed the lava rocks and sterilized them by boiling them in water for about 30 minutes, and then placing them in my oven to dry.  Also, the bottom of my steam pan is slightly rusted.  Not sure if this is a problem...

The results have been great, however, I have had this mineral taste in my mouth for the past week...  Has anyone noticed this when using lava rocks?  Could this be caused the the rust in the bottom of the pan?  None of my friends who have had the breads have noticed...  Also, my diet is the same, and have not eaten anything that I usually don't eat...

Anybody else have this experience?  Please let me know.  Thanks.


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Hey All,

More blogging ketchup...

Here's a sourdough from 1/5/10...  Enjoy.


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Hey All,

I'm just going to start catching up on my freshloaf blogging...  Here are some French bread loaves from 1/4/2010...  Enjoy!



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

So you want that thin crust that shatters when you cut/bite into it...  You also want your loaf to spring fully.  You've tried all of those other steaming methods, spray bottle, cast iron steam pan, crazy contraptions to get and keep steam in the oven...  I suggest you take a trip down to your hardware or home store and get a bag of lava rocks.  I got mine in Brooklyn for $5.34 including tax.  People in Manhattan don't know what they are...


Take the lava rocks, empty them into whatever pan you have just to get the amount correct.  I have a pan that is about 9"x13"x2".  Wash the rocks and put them into a pot of water and boil them for a while, 30 minutes to sterilize them.  Preheat your oven to 500F while you are boiling them.  After you are done boiling them, place them into your pan and put them into the oven and let them dry out.  You can turn your oven off and just leave them there over night...


So when you are ready to bake, place the pan with the lava rocks on your oven floor, if you ahve a gas oven, or on a lower rack if you have an electric oven and have it stick out a few inches from below your baking stone on the side.  This allows you to take a small cup, preferable with a spout, and just pour the water in with out moving things around...


So when you are ready to bake, your oven is preheated to the correct temp, before you load the oven, put 1 cup of water in the lava rock pan, and close the oven.  Prepare your loaves to be peeled into the oven, directly onto the stone...  Open the oven, put your loaves in, add 1 more cup of water to the lava rock pan, and close...  1/2 way through your bake, open the oven, let all the steam out, rotate your loaves, and finish your bake...


Also, having a convection oven helps too, especially if you are baking on 2 levels...


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