The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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If you haven't subscribed to Jarkko Laine's Bread Magazine, do it! It's an amazing publication! (

Now for the transparency disclaimer: Dabrownman and I collaborated on this article for the winter 2014 issue. It was his formulas and photos that really made the article. Check it out here:

And, as a public service reminder - subscribe to Jarkko's creation! It's so beautiful, so informative, and so reasonably priced!!


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If you haven't tried Dabrownman's No Fuss, No Muss Starter - look it up right now. Amazingly simple and more energy and "oomph" than any levain I've tried so far... in my very short baking career...

This formula included a little bit of freshly ground purple barley and the crumb took on a slightly lavender tint from the grain. Love the way the levain perks up with the "little hard bits!"

Happy baking!!

Here's the crumb:



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The kitchen got a little festive after the bread came out of the oven; my husband cut some holly from the tree in our backyard. (Just a note: while the little red berries are really pretty, DON'T plant a female holly tree unless you're ready to sweep up bushels of them when they start to fall. And the prickly leaves are really nasty - the tree sheds 1/3 of its leaves every year!)

This loaf had 100gr Kamut, 300gr whole wheat, and 600gr unbleached white - 80% hydration. Until I remembered that I had left out the salt it was nearly unmanageable during the slap and folds. Once it had been given a 20 minute "time out" and the salt added, things progressed nicely. The crumb was not particularly open, but evenly distributed.

Here's the crumb shot from this bake:

We were running short of crackers, so I turned out a batch of sourdough crackers. They're quick, tasty, and help use up any extra levain that your recipe might produce. The starter hydration should be 100%.

Happy baking!



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It’s time to be honest; so I’ll lay it all out right here. I’m into my third year of my 5-year plan to learn how to bake good bread, and somewhere around March this year, I lost my baking mojo! Every loaf that came out of the oven fell into two categories: brick or curling stone!

Actually I didn’t lose my ability, I just got cocky and thought that I was getting closer to being a “real” baker so I started experimenting. And every scientist (and baker) will tell you that you don’t start experimenting until you’ve got the basics down. You’ll blow something up – or in my case, you’ll pull some spectacular flops out of the oven.

Read Good Flour Makes Good Bread and see how I humbled myself to good flour and good bread, and finally turned out some pretty fine loaves.

(Many thanks to all TFL members who have been so much help!)

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I've just received a few pounds of organic sprouted red winter wheat flour and organic sprouted spelt flour. Anyone have any advice before I dive into it?


Gluten strength?


I'm excited to try it, but I'm still novice enough to worry that it will be a challenge.

This forum has been an inspiration and is full of great advice! Thanks!

Gail N-K

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Today's bake: Forkish's FWSY Overnight Blonde

Did the bulk rise partially in a cool room, the remainder in the fridge. Pulled bowl out at 6:30 AM, let sit until 8AM, then shaped boule. Let proof 90 minutes then baked in dutch oven at 475, 30 minutes with lid, 15 minutes uncovered. Internal temperature approx 210.


Forkish recommends letting sit a few minutes longer in the oven to continue to bake crust - I should have, needed to be a bit darker. I also think it could have baked just a few minutes longer.


Is 90 minutes a long enough proof, when the dough is still pretty cool? I'm thinking I should try for 2 hours before I bake - FWSY recommends 3 1/2, but I'm so afraid of over proofing. Maybe that will give me bigger cells in the crumb?

Learning more every week!

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Just finished making dozens of yummy 100% whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. This recipe came from a young friend who made the adaptations (

Sharing for those bread bakers who are tempted to make something sweet today too!

The dough doesn't look like the "usual" chocolate chip recipe, but the finished cookies are just right.

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Yesterday I made FWSY Overnight Country Blonde (with chopped olives), and started too late in the day. I put the dough to rise - in a large bowl covered with plastic - in a back bedroom that is around 65 degrees during the day. At 8PM, I suddenly realized that it would be midnight when I should divide the dough, shape the loaves, and then have to let them rise another 4 hours. Not happening!

I shoved the bowl into the fridge and let it sit until 7 AM this morning. Pulled it out, let it sit for 1 1/2 hours, shaped the loaf (I cut the recipe in half for a single loaf), let it rise 2 hours more, and baked it in a dutch oven at 475 degrees, 30 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered. Checked the internal temperature, it was 210 degrees, so I pulled it out.

Lookee at dem ears! :-) Crumb still fairly tight - some day I'll have open crumb - but the taste is to die for!!

Bless my husband for encouraging my baking and eating everything that comes out of the oven - even the "less than perfect" loaves. We have given up buying bread at the supermarket and are now supporting our farmer and miller friends by using their products.

Couldn't be fresher, couldn't be more local!


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This forum has been my teacher and my mentor as I explore artisan bread. I've had some successes and spectacular failures.

As co-publisher and editor of GoodFood World, I often write about bread, flour, and grain. Here is the latest piece we've published on the subject of bread. Enjoy!

And if you'd like more there are links to selected original articles on bread and grain on the "slider" to the bottom of the home page.

Much thanks to you all for your advice and encouragement!

Gail N-K

(Photo taken by Ken Kailing, my very talented husband!)

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I've been experimenting with a 3-day ferment using a biga/poolish (what ever you call it) and finally have some loaves that are approaching what I'm looking for.

Unlike the folks who are looking for "lighter, fluffier" bread, we like nice chewy bread with body and flavor. I've been playing around with Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast, and here's what I've come up with.

(Sorry for the fuzzy iPhone quality, but you get the idea...)

Formula and processes:

Step 1 - Night of Day 1

500 gr unbleached white all purpose flour - Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill
340 gr water
1/2 tsp dry yeast

Mix together well in large bowl, cover and let rise on the counter until morning.

Step 2 - Morning of Day 2

250 gr whole wheat bread flour, fine grind - Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill
230 gr water

Add the water to the previous day's mixture, in the same bowl, blending in well. Then add the flour and mix completly.

Cover the bowl and let rise all day on the counter.

Step 3 - Evening of Day 2

Fold the biga over itself several times to de-gas, cover and put in the refrigerator over  night.

Step 4 - Morning of Day 3

250 gr whole wheat bread flour, fine grind - Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill
230 gr water
1 tbs salt
1 tsp dry yeast

Remove the biga from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature - about 3 hours

To make final dough, whisk the salt into the flour and dissolve the yeast in the water.
Blend the yeast water with the biga, mixing completely. Then mix the flour/salt mixture with the biga to make the final dough.

The dough is plenty sticky, and I use flour to manage my stretch and folds. In this case, 4 stretch and folds 8 minutes apart seems to work fine.

Bulk rise: 2 - 3 hours, depending on room temperature - should double in volume.

Shape into 2 boules, set rounds aside on parchement paper and cover them lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Oven temperature: 500 F

Place baking stone in the oven and turn the oven on to preheat 60 minutes before baking time. Place broiler tray on shelf below baking stone to heat for steaming.

I have a small-ish oven and baking stone so I have to bake these one at a time.

Slide the loaf - on the parchement paper - onto the baking stone. Pour 1 Cup of water in the broiler pan for steam and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the parchement paper after 15 minutes.

Bake the second loave the same way.

Let cool on a rack.


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