The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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We've started making Greek yogurt at home, which leaves us with lots of eft-over whey. We've made ricotta, and I've started experimenting with using whey for some portion of the water.   

Here's the formula I used:


100 g 100% starter

100 g KAF AP

70 g Water

30g Whey (yogurt-making byproduct)

16 hours


All of the starter

700g KAF AP

300 g Sprouted whole wheat

722 g Water

20g Kosher salt

Mix all but salt - autolyse 20 min

Add the salt and knead 10 mins

Bulk proof in fridge 8 hours

Next morning, out of fridge, stretch and fold every 30 mins for 2.5 hours (this dough was slow to develop)

Shape and proof 1.5 hours

Bake in cast iron 40 minutes at 485F. Covered for 20, then uncovered.

Taste is amazing. Not at all sour, but full-flavor. Browned up more with whey - because of the sugars? 


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We were visiting friends when their daughter asked if I'd show her how to make some burger buns. In her mid-20s, she's a great cook, and knows a bit about baking. So we made these brioche buns to accompany grass-fed organic beef burgers. The fun part was when the buns came out, and looked so pretty, the "student" bakers immediately Tweeted and FB'd and texted the results to their pals.

The sandwich bread is my variation of Ben Chaffee's whole wheat recipe you can find on this site. I use half honey and molasses, add in whole flax seeds, sunflower seeds and wheat berries, when I have 'em. Today's bake used whole wheat flour from Stop & Shop, which I find fairly coarse. The ratio is 5C AP and 3C whole wheat. Always great flavor and texture.

Admiring and Tweeting the brioche!

Today's Whole Wheat sandwich bake

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Wanted to use some of the lavender that's growing like crazy in our garden. Inspired by the Provençal formulae by Karin et al. Taste is different - complex, bready and savory. It's semi-sour because I used 2.5 g yeast to get this done in a day. 


120 g 100% starter

436 g Bread flour

400 g water

32 g whole wheat

32 g Rye flour

2.5 g active dry yeast

17 g salt

1 TBS chopped lavender leaves

1 TBS chopped Rosemary leaves

40 g creme de cassis liqueur (any sweet liqueur will do I'd imagine)

Dissolve yeast in some of the water

Mix starter, liquor, water and yeast

Mix dry ingredients , including herbs

Mix em up

Knead 10 minutes

Proof 90 mins with stretch and folds at 30 and 60 mins

Pre-shape and shape. Proof 60 minutes

Preheat oven to 500F form last 30 minutes of final proof

Bake 40 minutes in cast iron (20 covered, 20 uncovered)

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Wanted to share this success. Like you all, I hate discarding so much starter, so I've been experimenting with uses - pancakes, english muffins etc. Got the English Muffins to where I'm happy - more batter-like than dough is the secret. Emboldened by English Muffin success, I wanted to experiment with some bread. I tried this formula:

2 days before baking:

Fed  25g of my 100% starter with 50g each KAP and water = 125 G.

Day before: saved 30g, and used 50g in a levain (discarded the rest).


50g starter

68g AP flour

12g Rye

100g water


Baking Day

Dough - about 68.5% hydration

650g KAP

480 water

All of the Levain (230g)

85G White Whole Wheat (KA)

45G Rye

20G Oat Bran (Bob's Red Mill)

10g salt

7 g flax seed meal (Bob's Red Mill)

Mix all but salt. Autolyse 90 minutes. Add in salt and knead 10-12 minutes by hand. 

Bulk ferment 2.5 hours with S&F at 50 minutes

Preshape; rest for 10 minutes, then shape.

Final Proof 90 minutes (my house was a cool 68F, while outside was about 20F)

Then, my usual baking regimen: 500F preheat with cast iron dutch oven/combo cooker; 20 minutes covered at 475F; 20 minutes uncovered (final 10 minutes with parchment paper removed).

This bread came out great! The flavor was really sublime - slightly nutty and sweet - I guess from the oat bran/flax seed meal combo. Not much sourdough tang at all, which was fine with me.  The crumb was a little too open, owing I think to not enough kneading/development. We demolished the first boule with some homemade minestrone and grilled cheese. 

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My wife got me the Kettle Pizza cooker for my BD (discussed in this thread here). This is the 18.5" model, MSRP $129.95. This is my first try. Not bad, but need to tweak techniques: the timing - how long to heat the stone for ideal crust; how to spin it around; when to yank parchment paper; ideal temp to start cooking, etc. The trick is to balance cooking the crust with the top. I missed it by that much on this go-round. 

I used parchment paper to ease the transfer off the peel. Hardwood added was maple - in abundant supply in my woodpile. (Tried it subsequently with cherry, and it was slower to burn, but reached a much higher temp. In fact, I left the top on after cooking batch #2, and 2 hours later the temp was 400F with the cherry wood.)

The crust was underdone. You can see the thing heats the Weber to 700 easily - took about 12 minutes once the hardwood started burning. Total cooking time was about 6 minutes. Using it again tonight and will report back. Very happy with this, and don't see why this can't be used for loaves of bread.

And call me parochial, but I like it that this is made by a guy about 15 miles from me (in MA). 

Crust was sourdough from KAF's website, minus the yeast. I also did not use the starter straight from the fridge; instead I refreshed it to make a cup, let it ferment 8 hours, made the recipe, and it rose just fine in about 2 hours.


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Made this today in my new Cajun dutch oven

120 g 100% hydration starter (fed night before)

202 g KAP202 semolina (fine)25 g rye25 g oat bran10 g salt300 warm waterMix all but SaltAutolyse 30 minKnead 10 min w/saltProof 2 hours room temp with stretch and folds at 30 and 60 minutesPre-shape, shape, and proof in refrigerator 2 hoursPreheat oven to 500f with Dutch oven insideTake loaf out during preheatBake 475F for 20 covered, 25 uncoveredNotes: this was very wet, 72% or so. Starter is so active it's proofing like IDY. Temp today is >85F. Had to put it in fridge to slow it down. Could have baked right out of fridge. It's delicious!
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Made G Snyder's San Francisco Country Sourdough version 3-13-11 modified with long bulk and shaped proofs. Came out great.

This month has been a milestone for me in my year of baking. After reading the post "the basic problem with my sourdough" and the comment thread, I revised my starter routine. Combined with newfound revelations around patience and proofing (more like what I call "duh-piphanies"), I've been able to create very nice loaves without commercial yeast. Which has been a goal of mine from the beginning, inspired by the wonderful breads I see here from experienced folks and newbies alike. 

Another goal has been to reduce the "tyrrany of the bread" on my family schedule. So I've been pushing proof times for both bulk and final proofs to see what happens. Trying to get the bread to work around MY schedule, instead of vice-versa. 

For this bake, I used G Snyder's formula with this process:

Monday night: made the levain, left at room temp 11 hours (NB - my starter is 100% hydration)

Tuesday morning: made the dough; 30 min autolyse, 45 minute room temp proof, then in the fridge for 11 hours.

Tuesday night: out of fridge, 1 hr room temp, then pre shape and shape; 1 hour at room temp then in the fridge for 22 hours

Wednesday night: out of fridge, 1 hr room temp, then slash and bake in 500F preheated oven, lowered to 475F, covered for 20 mins and uncovered for 25 mins.

 Reminds me again how awesome this site is. Thanks to all who share their experience, advice and passion. 


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Top: The boule

Bottom: A sloppy turkey and jack w/mayo and dijon on seeded sourdough

Made a modified sourdough (with 1/8 tsp active dry yeast for timing) with toasted sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds. Came out great. Thanks to TFL'er Jay and the "The Basic Problem with my sourdough" thread contributors for guidance on my starter.



102 g KAF AP

108 G water

43 g 100% hydration starter

5 g Rye

Fermented overnight (12 hrs minimum) at room temp.

Final dough:

417 g KAP AP

100 g Whole Wheat flour

310 g water

All of the levain (258 g)

1/8 tsp active dry yeast

13 g salt

20 g each sunflower, poppy and sesame seeds, toasted and cooled

Comes out to ~70% hydration, but feels wetter to me.

Mix all but salt, seeds and yeast. Autolyses 1 hr. Add salt, seeds (cooled) and yeast. Knead 10-12 minutes until moderately developed. Ferment 2-3 hours w/2 S&Fs.

Divide and preshape for 2 boules. Rest 20-25 minutes. Shape as boules. Proof for 90-120 minutes (watch the dough, not the clock ;-)).

Preheat oven 500F for 30 last 30 minutes of proof. 

Bake in cast iron covered dutch oven 20 mins covered; 20 minutes uncovered until 190F internal. (I use a parchment paper "sling" to load the dough, which I remove for the last 10 minutes.)



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Built off a "Country Semi-sourdough" yeasted bread, I made this bread on Saturday. 



339g H2O

138g 100% Starter

31g Rye

31g Whole wheat

12 g salt

2.25 g active dry yeast

85g manchego cheese cubed

85g oz parmesan grated

50 sun-dried tomatoes

Mix H2O, starter and flours

Autolyse for 1 hour

Add salt and yeast

Knead for about 3-5 mins

Add in cheeses and tomatoes, adding flour as needed

knead for 10 mins

Bulk proof 1.5 hours with S&F @ 30 and 60 mins

pre-shape and rest for 15 mins

shape and into bannetons for 1 hour

Preheat to 500F

Sprinkle 1 oz grated manchego on top

Bake in dutch oven 20 mins covered at 475F, 25 mins uncovered @ 475 F

Loaf weighed 1.2 kilogram before baking. Crumb was finer than usual, but very soft and very flavorful. Great taste and texture. Start to finish in 4 hours.



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Made Floyd M's Honey Whole Wheat today. For the 1 hour whole wheat soak, I used 9 oz KAF White Whole wheat, 3 oz Hodgson's Whole Wheat, and 4 oz Bob's Red Mill Spelt. I use active dry yeast activated in 3 Tbs water. ~10 oz. total KAF bread flour. Added 1/3 C roasted unsalted sunflower seeds and 2 Tbs canola oil. Having read through the comments, I heeded Jmonkey's and others advice and did 2 stretches at 30 and 60 mins of the total 90 minute bulk proof. 75 minutes in the pans (afraid of overproofing with 3 Tsp of yeast), then 45 minutes in preheated 375 oven.

The crumb is ragged because it cooled for a grand total of 3 minutes before our son had a sandwich emergency brought on by a Chemistry II quiz! Tastes delicious! Thanks Floyd and everyone!




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