The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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when I first read "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" by Ken Forkish I was amazed to read of a Boule weighing three kilos.

the mighty loaf is mentioned on Page 162 in the Chapter 9 - Hybrid Leavening Doughs.
I began to dream of baking such a monster. I started with scaling up my usual recipe to produce a 2 kilo boule.
this proved very successful, but the 3 kilo version had some production problems for me.

I decided to step away from a levain and would go for a basic recipe using Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast.
I decide to use Marriages Strong White Bread Flour, Marriages Wholemeal Flour and Light Rye Flour.

I magnitude of the volume persuaded me to construct the dough as three pieces of dough.


I split the formula in three and mixed them in sequence. The danger of this is that the first ball of dough was more developed than the last. To combat this I took half of each ball of dough and kneaded them together to make two balls of dough.

three S&Fs at ten minute intervals were followed by 30 minutes to complete the bulk development.

I kneaded the two balls together after the bulk proving and produced one large ball of dough that I placed in a banneton until it doubled in size - this took about 30 minutes.
the oven was pre-heated to 230°C with the baking stone and steaming tray of pebbles.

after slashing the top of the loaf and with a tumbler of boiling water was on hand the monster loaf was slid into the oven on the baking stone.
I poured the boiling water onto the stones in the steamer tray and shut the oven.

after minutes I rotated the stone 180 degrees and baked it for a further 30 minutes.
after the total baking time of 60 minutes the internal temperature was 96°C


3kg 1



after cooling on a rack the loaf was weighed and slide in half to reveal the crumb and crust.
the loaf ended up 14 inches / 35 cm across and 6 inches / 15 cm tall.
the final weight of the loaf is 2.7kg - some loaf.
I cut the loaf into quarters for ease of storage and distribution.

3kg 4

the crust and crumb are superb.

this was well worth the effort.
it would be great to see others bake a 3kg monster loaf.

The Baking Bear

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from my last posting i have the formula and some pictures.

this loaf was designed to use the regular SD formula i was given and with a Hamelman type scald.






Scald added at first Stretch and Fold after 20 minutes.

there were two more Stretch and Folds one at 40 minutes and the final one at 60 minutes.


After second S&F.


After Third S&F.


At end of bulk proofing after 2 1/2 hours.


Scored and ready for the oven.






This has a great crust and crumb with plenty of grains and seeds.




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Having read a recent post by Dabrownman I noticed that he added his sprouts etc at the first stretch and fold.

I wanted to bake a Sourdough with scalded grains and seeds using a recipe that I had been given for a basic SD formula.

My last SD bake was successful as my starter was vigorous, with this in mind I went for a three-stage build with an overnight final maturation.

The final product was reward for time and effort.

The Baking Bear.


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So we got snow again - ho hum. My wife having previously built a snowman,
snow lady and a snow cat built me a snow hamster.

I have been thinking of making Hamelman's 5 Grain Levain. I took 10g of my mature starter at 60% hydration from the fridge to give it a feed. The last time I baked with this starter I noted that I needed feeding two days running to improve its potency. So today it has had its first feed to get it to 92%. After it has risen to double its size I will feed it to get back to 60% hydration. Tomorrow I will build it for the 5-grain levain recipe and soak the grains.
I have used Hamelman's baker's maths to scale up the recipe to 1500g, this will be a boule.

After our last successful test bake of Hot Cross Buns we plan to make a batch for family over Easter. Luckily I have a good reliable recipe I was given by a friend. I will pre-soak the fruit in some dark rum just for a bit of pep. This is in preference to pre-soaking in tea. I wondered what others use to pre-soak?

As an aside I am interested in the history of Sourdough baking in North America. Can anyone help direct me to any reliable source material? I am interested in the origins and developments.

The Baking Bear.




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Today's bake was kind of an emergency.
my wife ran out of bread so it was full steam ahead.
no time for starter build so out came some fresh yeast.
i have been trying to perfect my 50% White / 50% Whole Wheat tinned loaf.
these were 1500g of dough in my large tins.

Nice Bottoms!

i was twitching between making one 3kg boule but failure and experimentation was not an option today.

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One of our favorite bakes is an Old Fashioned Dundee cake.


Dundee cake

175g/6oz softened butter, plus extra for greasing
175g/6oz soft light brown sugar
3 tbsp orange marmalade
3 free-range eggs, beaten
225g/8oz self-raising flour
25g/.9oz ground almonds
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
400g/14oz mixed dried fruit
75g/3oz glace cherries, halved
2 tbsp whisky or milk
40g/1½oz blanched almonds to decorate
1 tsp granulated or caster sugar, to decorate (optional)

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Grease and double-line a 20cm/8in loose-based deep cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Beat the butter and sugar in a food processor for 3-4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.
Add the marmalade and mix for a few seconds more. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour, almonds and spices to the batter. Mix slowly until well combined, then stir in the mixed dried fruit and cherries with a large metal spoon. Add the whisky or milk and mix until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smooth the surface and carefully arrange the blanched almonds in circles on top.
Bake for 1½-2 hours, or until well risen, firm and golden-brown. (Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.)
Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the tin, peel off the lining paper and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Store in a cake tin and eat within 4-5 days.


my wife guards it - you have to be royalty to get a slice.

with a cup of Tea or Coffee it goes down a treat.
i have to say i soak the fruit and mixed spice with either dark rum or whisky for two days.
this allows the fruit to soften and it avoids those teeth breaking hard bites of dried fruit.
its also a good way of using up things like dried apricots that are too dry to eat raw.
that's my excuse and i am sticking to it.
Happy Baking.


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i posted this yesterday and as i have had no replies i am posting it here.

I need a recipe / formula for Soda Bread baked in a Dutch Oven.

it is so i can bake a loaf for my neighbour who has an intolerance of yeast.
i need the list of ingredients / method / baking times with lid on/off.
buttermilk is in short supply so i was going to make my own with milk and Cream of Tartar.
does anyone have any experience using this method?
The Baking Bear

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I know it's a bit early for Hot X Buns, but after the sad ones we produced last year we wanted to get an early practice in. that's our excuse and we are sticking to it. A kind friend - anonymity preserved, gave me a recipe.

The original recipe was for 72 buns so I made a spreadsheet with bakers percentages then applied the resizing formula from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes p378.

We went for 12 buns and using the Desired Dough Temperature calculation I was given we aimed for 28°C.

We proved the dough for 45 minutes rather than the 1 1/2 - 2 hours from the recipe, I think was due to the proofing storage place was at 27°C.


They came out very well - they are cooling on racks, my wife is circling, waiting to try one. I will let you know how they look inside and more importantly how they taste.


The Taste and Texture

Well here it is - lovely and fluffy - light - a good chew and nicely spiced.
A good distribution of fruit with a great buttery taste.

The Baking Bear

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Yesterday was a hell of day - it had its ups and downs.
The ups were that my friend of over 20 years and his daughter came to lunch. My grand plan was to bake two breads to have with soup. After my trial rose I went for dual rose - made from one strand of tomato and basil and one strand of rosemary and garlic oil. My old fall back was a Parmesan crusted rosemary and garlic focaccia. The soup was made and the breads begun. I have been have oven problems - to my horror, my main oven, after an hour of pre-heating the internal thermometer showed 110°c, but the oven was telling me it was 250°c. I turned on the small conduction oven to max and prayed for heat. I was also baking a whole-wheat loaf for a neighbour - the pressure was on.

Fortune smiled and it was a good bake in the end.

My local electrical repairers have identified that after testing the element its the thermostat - one is on order - could be two days. So what do you do when you can't bake bread? Well the first job was feed my very neglected Rye starter - I removed 10g from the fridge and fed it, I also fed my white starter. Cleaning out the fridge and checking through the freezer are the next jobs.

Our visitors had a good time - lunch was yummy.
Good food - good friends - good times - you can't beat it.

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We have a soup and bread party on new years day so I am making a trial loaf today. When I say party - around this time each year we go to the beach and my friends and their dogs and search for the fossilised sharks teeth.

I heat the soup up in his land rover. When they are suitably chilled from exploration on the beach they return to the land rover to devour my sweet potato and chorizo soup with breads.
I normally make a Parmesan cheese crusted garlic and rosemary Focaccia; I am hoping to make a rose as well. Today's one was superb with Taramasalata, Houmous and Garlic And Onion Dip. I made mine with one rope of Garlic, Olive Oil and Rosemary. The other rope was Tomato Relish with Basil.

it was very tasty - i will roll it out thinner next time to get thinner layers.


The Baking Bear



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