The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


  • Pin It
Catomi's picture

I made these from the following post by kjknits:


I used:

almost 1/2 cup of starter (needed to reserve some to propagate)

2 cups white whole wheat flour (the closest I had to all-purpose)

1 c whole milk

Mixed and left the dough, covered, at room temp overnight. I estimate room temp was probably about 70 degrees.  

In the morning the dough did not seem to look much different undisturbed, though it had acquired a distinct sour smell. I added:

1 T granulated sugar

3/4 t Morton coarse kosher salt (the recipe did not specify type and I thought they might be under-salted, but they taste fine to me)

1 t baking soda

I also measured out the additional 3/4 c of flour, but wound up only using some of it during kneading and rolling. I mixed them well (lots of air bubbles when I peeled the dough out of the bowl) and kneaded for about 4 min, then rolled out to somewhere between 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Older Child and I cut them with a 3 3/8 inch biscuit cutter. We wound up with 6 muffins and a tiny bit of scrap (I'm sure I could have just smooshed on the remaining dough, but Older Child would have been very upset). They were placed on cornmeal-dusted parchment paper and allowed to rise 45 min, then cooked on a cast iron skillet brushed with oil. The first side cooked on medium heat in about 8 min. The second side overcooked on just over medium heat in less than 6 min (I'm still getting used to my new cast iron skillet). 

Here is half of one biscuit with another for reference (OC had already made off with the other half), cunningly arranged on a stylish rocket ship plate. Yummy. Tender, wheaty, not really sour. I'll make these again. 

isand66's picture

   I wanted to make a Semolina bread for my Father-in-law to take back home with him to North Carolina so I figured he would enjoy a porridge version.  I've been making some version of porridge bread a lot lately since I love the creamy and moist crumb you get from using this technique.

I created a starter using AP flour and Semolina flour and in the main dough I also added some Kamut flour.

I followed the same basic technique I have been using for this style of bread and cut the water down a little from the last multi-grain version I made.  Apparently I didn't cut it down enough since the final dough was very hydrated.  I made a mistake and let the dough over-proof slightly and when I went to put them in the oven both breads were very flat.  This caused a problem for me since I now couldn't fit both on the bottom stone of my oven so one had to go on the top.  The one on the top ended up getting malformed due to trying to fit in on the bottom shelf first.  I used this loaf for the crumb shot.

The color of the final baked bread is not as dark as it should be since I ended up letting some steam out of the oven when trying to figure out how to bake both loaves at the same time.

Nevertheless, the bread tasted great and had a wonderful creamy texture inside.  An added benefit of this style of bread is that it really keeps fresh for at least 5-7 days.

I added some photos from my gardens below, as now is the time for most of the summer flowers are in bloom.




Semolina Oatmeal Porridge Bread (%)

Semolina Oatmeal Porridge Bread (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Levain Directions Build 1 (Using AP Starter at 66% Hydration for Seed)

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my Proofer set at 81 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Levain Directions Build 2

Add the remaining flour and water to the step 1 build and let set at room temperature of at 81 degrees in your Proofer until ready to use.  You can refrigerate it overnight or use it immediately in the main dough.  The Levain is ready when it has reached its peak and doubled in size with lots of activity.

Oat Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the water called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the water is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the water and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.


 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours   and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).  Note: this is a pretty wet dough so you may need to do a couple of additional stretch and folds.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.











AbeNW11's picture

Simple and Delicious.


150g Whole Spelt

150g Whole Rye

230mls Milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (this was my substitute for Buttermilk which may be used if desired)

1 tablespoon Honey

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds

0.5 teaspoon of Salt



In bowl mix together flours, baking powder, caraway seeds and salt.

Portion out milk and add in lemon juice. Mix.

Drizzle honey onto flour. Followed by milk and lemon juice.

Knead into dough. Will be quite sticky.

Fashion into rough boule and bake.


Ideally bake in oven however I don't have one so I use my breadmaker. It is very sticky so after fashioning into a rough boule I dropped it into the breadpan and baked for 45min on medium crust colour. Should you use an oven then preheat and bake for less time. Or until golden brown. It is quite a loose dough so you might need to use a breadpan.

Easy, quick and delicious.


Catomi's picture

When it starts getting hot and muggy out, my husband and I start grilling more. Today was hot and muggy for sure. Grilled pizzas sounded like just the thing. I've fixed the Cook's Illustrated version several times before, usually with white whole wheat flour (that being what I had). Today I had the bread flour the recipe called for, so I went ahead and used it. I'm blaming the difficulties I had on that change in flours. 

Here is the dough after I mixed it up, plus what was stuck to my oiled hand. 


The dough seemed pretty wet and sticky to me, but it's always a bit of a pain, and besides, I've been getting a tiny bit of experience with high hydration doughs. How bad could it be? Unfortunately I forgot to take into account that I can handle my loaf doughs with parchment paper, but the pizza dough would need to be picked up and put directly on the grate. It's a good thing my son wasn't outside riding his bike while I cooked, he might have picked up some choice words. 

I mixed the dough together, "kneaded" with a spoon for about a minute, and attempted some folds. Then I poured it into an enthusiastically oiled bowl (forgot I was oiling a bowl and not starting a stir fry) and allowed to rise at room temp of 80 degrees for about 2 hours. Then the dough was divided into four parts and shaped into approximately 10-12" ameboids. 

During the last 20 min of rise I started a full chimney of coals. Once they were going well I poured them evenly over half the grill, leaving half bare. I heated and cleaned the grate and was ready to go. Each piece of dough was carefully detached from the parchment paper and transferred to the grill surface directly over the coals. During this process, the dough generally acquired a significantly different shape. It was grilled until the bottom was done, by which I mean anywhere from "cooked through enough to handle" to "extra crispy." Then each piece was transferred, cooked side up, back off the heat to have toppings added. 

The pizzas were brushed with olive oil flavored with crushed garlic and Aleppo pepper. Then they were topped with tomatoes (chopped, tossed with salt and drained in a strainer for 30 min or so to keep them from making the crust soggy), a mix of fontina and pecorino romano cheeses, and fresh basil (added after cooking). They went back on the cooler side of the grill, with the lid on, to melt the cheese and finish cooking the crust. The addition of toppings did hide some of the minor irregularities, but there was no hiding some holes. Pizzas were served with tabbouleh and a grilled ratatouille salad, and consumed with gusto by my family. 

This being my first grilled pizza venture of the summer, I found it a bit stressful. I had to remind myself of the number 2 rule of making grilled pizzas, "go easy on yourself."  The number one rule is, of course, "have a place for everything to go, and everything in its place." Things move quickly once the dough hits the grate. 

Here are some finished pizzas. These weren't the best, and weren't the worst. 


How I made them: (amounts are from CI, but I tweaked the technique slightly)

Mix: 260 g warm tap water

22 g olive oil

4 g active dry yeast

10 g sugar

Allow yeast to foam (I did this because mine was old and I wanted to make sure it was active). Meanwhile, mix:

312 g KA bread flour

15 g white whole wheat flour

12 g table salt

Add the yeast mixture when ready and stir thoroughly to combine. "Knead" (stir) for about 1 minute. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (mine may have overrisen). Divide into four balls, flatten slightly and let rest 10 min. Shape (using lots of extra flour) and transfer to the grill to cook as above. 

Crust: soft and chewy in parts. Crunchy and cracker-like in others. A few holes charred straight through. 


Up next, I may have to try baking bread in the dutch oven on the grill. My husband successfully roasted a chicken in there over the weekend, and I get tired very quickly of heating the house when it's already warm out. Has anyone tried this?

emkay's picture

Every June I eagerly await the arrival of John Driver's CandyCot apricots at the farmers' market. The apricots that he grows are unlike any other apricot I have ever eaten including the Blenheim. They are sweet and complex with a very concentrated flavor. According to their website, they measure between 26 and 32 on the Brix (sweetness) scale, while most supermarket varieties of apricots register in the low teens.

The growing season for these amazing apricots is short, and even shorter with this year's drought in California, so they're available for only 3 or 4 weeks. On their final market day, I got a great price on 25 pounds of "cosmetically challenged" apricots which are perfect for making pie, jam and ice cream. Here's a glimpse of what I did with all those lovely apricots.


Fresh apricot pie (with an all butter crust).



Refrigerator apricot jam (no pectin, no canning).


Macaron (filled with apricot Swiss buttercream and a dab of apricot jam).


Apricot sorbet.


Make ahead pie filling. Quartered apricots tossed with lemon juice, flour and a tiny bit of sugar and then frozen in the shape of a pie tin. Peel off the plastic bag and the frozen filling is ready to be dropped into the rolled out pie crust.




Of course I had to use some of them in a bread too. I bought some pressed barley (oshimugi) at the Asian supermarket earlier in the week, so I baked a barley porridge bread with fresh apricots.


Flours, water and levain were mixed into a shaggy mess. I let it rest for 40 minutes and then squeezed in the salt. Bulk fermentation was at room temperature (68F) for 4 hours with stretches and folds during the first 3 hours and undisturbed during the last hour. The barley porridge was added to the dough during the second S&F. The apricots were added during the third S&F.



Final proof of the batard was done at room temperature for 3 hours. Sadly, the dough stuck to the brotform so I had to pry it out. The top of the loaf was a bit wonky and wavy, but I tried to hide the damage with some creative snipping and scoring.



I shape retarded my boule in the refrigerator for 15 hours and the dough came out of the brotform easily. No crumb shot of the boule since I gave the loaf away.



There were nuggets of barley and apricot throughout the bread, but I think the dough could have handled even more barley. The apricots paired well with the earthiness of the barley.



The apricots chunks were soft, but not mushy, and bursting with flavor. It was almost like having dried apricots in the bread, but the fresh were super moist and without the chewiness or hardness of dried. I probably wouldn't use supermarket varieties of apricots in this bread as they tend to be a bit too watery, bland, and fibrous. But if you have some excellent apricots, then I highly recommend adding fresh apricots to your dough.




Kiseger's picture

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

 (L.Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter).

London finally had one really glorious sunny day, it shined and shined and everyone came out like the little oysters (with their clean shoes, even though they hadn't any feet) and lay laconically on the grass in the park, basking in the sun pretending that they would blissfully turn from green to brown ….but instead, all returned home looking rather more like lobsters.  What a lark!!  So, instead, I stayed in to bake and to clean up The Husband's occasional dump of bike, swim and run clothing as he progressed through his training programme.  On Sunday, luckily the weather reverted to its standard behaviour and all Londoners were reassured that they should not be flummoxed by two beautiful days in a row - after all, what to do with yesterday's sunburn??  So again, I baked a bit more….and was rewarded with the most beautiful pair of rainbows in the evening - one above the other with crystal clear colours.  I did not take a photo, let's be honest - who can compete with DABrownman's magical sky shots???  

Bread 1: Tartine's Basic Country Loaf.

This seemed to work better than I expected and I seem to have managed a passable oven spring, a "decent for a beginner" scoring and an acceptable crumb.  This felt like I was getting somewhere.  Used my 100%H 50/50 starter, retarded in the fridge for about 10 hours before baking straight in the DO.

Very good flavour, only a very very mild SD tang and then only just slightly there if one is looking for it.  It went well with cheese (Comte and Crottin de Chavignol), a strawberry/cherry jam, some excellent chorizo, some Austrian Speck and just plain old olive oil (we are in love with a Croatian company called Oleum Viride, which they sell at Borough Market, with this bread I had the sort called "Istarska bjelica"). 

I still prefer KF Field Blend 1 in flavour to this, and then prefer the WW + Spelt below to the FB1. 

I baked both in my Le Creuset DO which really works perfectly.  My oven is older than I am (not in a good way) and so achieving reliable and constant temperatures is an "aspiration" rather than a reality.

Bread 2: Tartine 3: Wholewheat and Spelt with Wheat Germ

My kitchen temperature yo-yo'ed through the bulk ferment from 20C (68F) to 25C (77F) and then back to 19C (66F) - typical London weather, on/off, on/off etc.. 

With this one, I felt like I didn't quite reach proper gluten development during the bulk stage- it was almost like soup when I got to pre-shape and again on shaping.  (Well, it wasn't really like soup, but I was quite grumpy at this point - not helped by finding that The Husband's bicycle was standing in our salon propped against a beautiful old chair and puddles of water graced our entrance hall....). I didn't quite pour it into the banneton, but it almost felt like it.  I started with the "Bertinet" method of slap & fold on the counter and after the second time, I moved on to the gentler stretch & fold for the next 3 folds. It "sort of" rose during proofing and then just spread happily into the DO rather than springing up!  So lots to learn, but it's super fun (and thanks to all the TFL guidance and advice).

That being said, this was, of the two breads, the best in terms of taste - rich and nutty and warm.  That sort of warmth that Hildegard of Bingen speaks about when she writes about spelt, which was (for her) the best food and medicine.  The spelt and wheat germ certainly gave it depth, it smelled of hazelnuts and wheat fields in the summer.  I have to say that, after the second slice, I didn't care what it looked like - this is the kind of bread I want to eat all the time, as long as I don't tell The Husband it has spelt - I do not think I can withstand more witticisms about orthography.

It was excellent across the board with cheese (St. Felicien, Beaufort, St. Maure and Cashel Blue), with salmon (made a salad with barley, poached salmon, fennel, fresh broad beans and dill) and it loved mopping up the haddock "provencal" (with black olives and tomatoes).  It was also simply excellent with shards of parmiggiano and a glass of good Barolo.  



"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

PMcCool's picture

Two weekends ago, I brought some Portugese Sweet Bread dough home from a class I had taught about sandwich breads.  One weekend ago, I baked the bread.  This weekend, finally, I have an opportunity to post about it.

The class itself was about sandwich breads.  We made ciabatta into ciabattini, or ciabatta rolls, and made the Portugese Sweet Bread into, um, rolls for hamburgers and hotdogs. The length of the class was long enough to allow us to bake the ciabattini on site but the Portugese Sweet Bread dough was taken by the participants to bake at home.  Since my work schedule has been unusually busy of late, it was the following weekend before I had the opportunity to fish the dough out of the refrigerator and bake it.  I opted to shape it in two loaves, rather than rolls.

I am often asked by students whether dough can be held in the refrigerator for baking at a later time.  That question gets a confident "Yes".  The follow-up question is usually "How long can it be held?"  The answer to that question is a less-confident "It depends."  Generally, it is safe to say that a 2-3 day hold won't hurt anything.  Beyond that, it becomes a question of how quickly the dough was chilled, how long it took to get from classroom to home, and how cold each participant's refrigerator is.  In this case, in a cold refrigerator with temperatures in the 34-37F range, I got away with a full week's delay and no appreciable degradation in the quality of the finished bread.

During it's long stay in cold storage, the dough had approximately doubled in volume so I started to shape it immediately after removing it from the refrigerator.  That didn't go so well.  The dough was so stiff that it balked at my attempts.  So, I covered it back up with plastic and let it sit out at room temperature long enough to regain some flexibility.  Once it had, it was shaped into two boules and placed in rice-floured bannetons to rise, with plastic wrap draped over the exposed surface of the dough to prevent drying.

The dough took nearly two hours to double in the bannetons; most likely because it was still warming during that time.  Given the long hold in the refrigerator and the lengthy final fermentation, I was concerned that most of the free sugars in the flour might have been consumed by the yeasts.  As a result, I applied an egg wash to the loaves before slashing them and then baking them in a dry oven.

I needn't have worried.  As you can see in the photos, the slashed areas that are free of any egg wash are nearly as dark as the crust which has the egg wash.  Oven spring was good but not explosive.  The crumb, which I did not photograph, is very typical of this bread: fine textured with even distribution of small alveoli and slightly golden in color.

One thing you should know about me: if it were possible to rank artistic capabilities on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd score somewhere around a -2.  Nevertheless, I played with some decorative scoring on these loaves (the results support my previous statement) and I am pleased beyond any reasonable expectation with the way that they look.  Foolish, I know, but whoever said pride was reasonable?

One unanticipated result of this of scoring pattern, bi-lateral symmetry on two axes, is that it turns a round loaf into nearly a square loaf.  Look, Ma, no pans!  Yes, I'm aware that scoring affects loaf shape, but this was an outcome that I hadn't observed in previous bakes.  Maybe it is because the others didn't have the secondary slashing between the primary axes.  Or sunspots were especially active that day.  Or...


AbeNW11's picture

Question: What is the recipe you use for bread at the moment?


3lbs wholegrain wheat flour
4 tablspoons of salt
2 and a  half cups of warm water
3 quarters of a cup of oil
3 quarters of a cup of sugar
 2 oz yeast
Three tablespoons of sugar
Almost one cup of warm water

Mix all above ingredients together and mix and mix and mix and mix and let
then mix all ingredients well together and let rise.

My reply:

All I can say is odd recipe.

Problem is 3lbs of flour is an exact measurement but cups doesn't mean any old cup. That is an exact measurement too. When you get a recipe from an American book and they say cups it is standardised. If the whole recipe from the beginning to end is all cups then no problem. It will be all in proportion with any cup you use. But here you've got lbs, cups, oz etc. All over the place. Another thing to remember is the secret to great bread is hydration. The hydration you have here is 60% which is Ok for white flour but not good for wholegrain. You really need to increase the water. Too much salt will inhibit rising and oil should be just right too.

Here is what I would do if i wanted to use 3lbs of flour...

1360 grams flour : Same

897 mls water = 897 grams : instead of 840 mls

4 teaspoons dried yeast : instead of 20 (how many packets is that?)

5 tablespoons oil : instead of 9

13g of salt : instead of 68.25g

Sugar won't inhibit or make much difference. It's yeast food and according to taste.

Method :

Split flour into two equal parts. 680 grams each.

Mix salt in one half and put to one side.

In a bowl add rest of flour, yeast, sugar and all of water. Mix into paste. Cover and leave to rise for about 40min ish. Remember to use a big enough bowl. It will bubble and rise.

After about 40 min add the rest of flour with salt and oil. Knead into dough, shape (remember it will be higher hydration so different texture), and leave to rise.


golgi70's picture

After reading Varda's post and finally learning what Tzitsel is I figured I might as well give it a whirl.  

I adjusted my NY Rye Formula to match up a bit with Varda's formula and made a couple of adjustments.  First I decreased the total pre-fermented dough to 12% since I'd be finishing the proof overnight in the fridge.  I also added a cornmeal soaker to the dough. I realized at the shape table I had bought medium ground cornmeal and went ahead and used it.  A finer cornmeal would probably be a better fit but the crunch from the coarser grind is quite nice.  

Overall Formula:

30% Freshly MIlled Whole Rye (12% Prefermented @ 80% hydration with 5% seed for 15 hours)

70% Central MIlling Baker's Craft 

74% H20

2.25%  Sea Salt

2%  Caraway

15% Corn Soaker (5% Cornmeal 7.5% H20, boiled)


Build Sour (15 hours @ 73F) Make soaker 

Straight dough to medium development

Bulk 2:20 (3 folds :20, 1:00, 1:40)

Divide, presheape, rest 20-30 minutes

Shape and coat in cornmeal.  Retard 8-12 hours @ 45F

Bake 500 steam for 15 and vented for 20-25



And for the Tuesday Bake I continued working on the Sourdough with Fresh Milled Wheat. 

I increased the Pre fermented flour from 9 to 12% (this will be the next change up to 15%) removed the scant amount of Rye and increased the hdyration from 80 to 85% hdration.  Decreased the bulk from 4 to 3 hours and did three folds @ 20, 40,  60.  

And while I was at it I wanted to make some baguettes as its been a while.  Boubassa style with levain/IDY and 20% T85.  These were amazing. 

some plum butter on 100% Wheat I also tinkered with this week.  (cover photo loaves)

Cheers and Happy Baking 



ExperimentalBaker's picture

Found the recipe from TFL (from JMonkey) using "discarded" starter.

Changed the melted butter/vegetable oil to coconut oil. Added a bit of vanilla extract as well.

Used a stovetop waffle maker from HappyCall (a Korean brand).

1st time making them. Not too bad. But because of the high humidity here, they turn soft very fast. Enjoyed eating a few pieces off the cooling rack while they're still crispy.

Happy Sunday.



Subscribe to RSS - blogs