The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


yozzause's picture

Mothers day here in Australia tomorrow  so I made a batch of dinner rolls by request from my daughter for tomorrow's celebration. I know its not mothers day  all over, and my mum used to think it was great as she lived in England and ended up having two mothers days. Sadly she is no longer with us, but I do have a super mother in law so to her  and  any of the Aussie mums  out there I do hope you enjoy your very special day.




Flour.ish.en's picture

I’ve been experimenting with sprouted whole wheat flour (KA flour, not the home milled varieties) wondering what’s the upper limit I can deploy, without compromising the decent open crumb texture. Started with 30% and then increased it to 50%, a few days ago. Mistakenly I put in 100 grams more water than intended. I had no choice but to add a little more sprouted flour. Unfortunately, at the stage after autolyze, the dough won’t be agreeable with that much more flour. Gritted my teeth and, reluctantly, I had to deal with a much wetter dough than I’m comfortable with.

Well, those are the situations, until you are tested, you don’t know how far you can go beyond the usual boundary, real or imagined. Can’t believe even bread making is a mental thing. Didn’t think I can handle a wetter dough than 80% for hearth breads. A siren would go off at that marker, screaming danger! I just don’t go there.

To my surprise, the finished loaf was much more open than the 30% sprouted bread I made and posted recently. See the side by side crumb comparison in the last image. (30% on the left and 50% on the right.) More pictures of the 30% are shown here:

The major factor was none other than the hydration level. No doubt, there were differences between the two bakes: flaxseeds addition to the 50%, preferment amount, autolyze duration, cold retard. They were not meant to be controlled experiments. To me, the key contributing factor to the better outcome of the 50% sprouted bread has to be the higher hydration, 84% vs. 65%.

This was a breakthrough for me, but just with the bread: I no longer fear a high-hydration dough. It’ll take me to some underexplored and rewarding territories, I am convinced.

I made pear and goat cheese crostini with the bread. If you need an idea what to make for mom as part of a breakfast or lunch spread on Mother’s Day, consider making this crostini. The sweet smoky flavor of the grilled pear and the creaminess of the goat cheese is a winning combination. There is no better way to show off the bread you’ve labored for a long time to perfect.




leslieruf's picture

This is my first attempt at this which is similar to one which my swiss sister-in-law used to make.  The recipe came from and is in german. I used IDY instead of fresh. 

Using my old Kenwood I. ixed together 300 g flout, 0.5 tspn salt, 40g sugar and 6 g IDY. my yeast is perhaps getting a bit old so I put a bit more than calculated amount.  Added melted 40 g butter. 150 ml warm milk and kneaded until dough was smooth and a windowpane was possible. left to double at room temp 21°c until doubled.  recipe called for dough to be rolled into a rectangle 42 x 55 cm but I could only get to 35 x 55.  spread 4 spoons apricot jam over dough then a mixture of 200 g coarse ground skinned almonds, 5 dspn sugar, 1 large grated peeled apple, zest and juice from half a lemon and half an orange,  cut dough into 3 pieces and Roll up dough. cut into 5 cm lengths and place in round cake tin. bake at 180°c for 50 minutes. glaze with lemon icing when still very warm.  enjoy.  

I took it out with me and it was gone in a flash. will definitely make this again.  I don't have much experience with sweet breads so this was a fun experiment.

Alan.H's picture

A long time ago, before I had ever baked so much as a crumb I had a sudden urge to make a loaf of bread, so equipped with the unshakeable confidence of the totally inexperienced, I bought a pack of whole-wheat flour. I read the instructions on the paper bag and followed them meticulously and baked a .................brick!

It wasn't a total failure though.  As members of this community know, in baking there can be many disappointments but very few truly inedible disasters.. This brick could, in polite company be called a hearty eat and it was certainly tasty and my family actually loved it and asked for more. So for a while I carried on producing what became affectionately known as "Al's bricks". By this time the bug had bitten and I started on the long process of learning more about bread making and developing some skills and knowledge.

I did though miss the flavour of  100% wholewheat bread as did  my family so I was really pleased to come across Maurizio's "100% wholewheat sourdough" in his "Perfect Loaf" website  in which amongst other things he tackles the main problem of using 100% wholewheat, that of the bran damaging the gluten structure. He separates the bran from the flour and softens it with boiling water followed by a lengthy autolyse before adding it back again at a later stage. So thought I would have a go and this is the result.



I am quite pleased with this first attempt and hope to be able to get a slightly more open crumb next time. So thank you Maurizio for opening this door for me although I would guess that my family will still prefer the "bricks".

By the way, in order to get a bit more rise and less width in my bread I often use this useful trick, placing an appropriately sized cake tin without its base inside the dutch oven. It probably only works if the dough is proofed in and stays in a baking parchment lining when it is lifted into the dutch oven.


yozzause's picture

  I made a nice soft loaf the other day using milk in the dough, I wanted to make another similar loaf as my wife enjoyed it so much  So this time I enriched the dough with olive oil and cottage cheese along with an egg and added dried garlic flakes for good measure. I topped that by adding grated chedder and parmesan on top in the last 5 minutes of the bake 

 In the last shot you can see the softness of the crumb as the loaf is yielding under its own weight where I propped the loaf up for a better angle to the light picture it bounces right back, the taste is all there and I am sure it will make wonderful toast if it lasts that long , if the first slices for the pictures and taste testing are anything to go by

  It was the slightly misshapen one that got the chop, you can see some of the garlic flake in the loaf

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Hi TFLers! It's been a while since I last posted! That's because of my weight loss journey. I tried to avoid baking treats because it's difficult to stop once you have a taste and I need to limit my portion sizes or opt for foods with a high satiety to calories ratio so instead of eating a small piece of bread, I will just eat some rice which has the same calories but makes me feel full and contented longer. :) I also avoided stalking TFL because it will stimulate cravings!

Gladly, my efforts have paid-off; in almost 4 months from 39" I have trimmed my belly to just less than 35" and I even gained 5 pounds and when the scale goes up but the measurements drop, it is more good news! I have also brought my body fat percentage down to healthy levels form 26% to 21% the last time I checked, I hope it's at 19% now. Fat loss is very obvious in my legs and arms, some shadow of definition is even there but the fat just keeps holding on to my belly so I will still continue this journey which also means less bakes and visits to TFL. :( I'm nowhere as fit as some but I saw a huge huge improvement in myself and that's what is the most important I'm extremely happy with it. Also, my posts are usually picture heavy and long but this time I don't have much time to take pictures because of my workout and I'm keeping this short because I need to sleep to recover from my workout. :P

Today is my mom's birthday so it's an automatic cheat day! Yey! :D It is also an early Mother's Day treat. My mom and I like Korean food and I've been wanting to make this popular Korean street food for a long time so I think this is the perfect time to make Hotteok. Hotteok is like a rustic version of a cinnamon bun. Cinnamon bun was raised in a manor but Hotteok grew up in the streets. It is a simple but very delicious and comforting food. Yeasted dough filled with sugar then fried. The dough is crispy, soft and chewy and the sugar inside turn to syrup. Best and should only be eaten straight from the oil. Be careful with the burning hot sugar though!

Of course, I just don't want to make it the classic way. So I made some adjustments inspired by my various "baking" backgrounds: I made the dough flaky because I imagined the flavor combination would go well with other laminated doughs like croissants and Danishes. Then, after frying I "baked" it in a skillet preferably in an oven for extra crispness which is inspired by some Chinese treats. It seems I have a penchant for flaky treats for my mom's birthday; croissants and pains au chocolat last year and this flaky Hotteok this year. Hotteok is made with a very sticky dough for its signature rice cake like texture but I made my dough a bit drier for the ease of lamination. My filling is still the classic one; brown sugar, cinnamon, and sesame seeds though you could also use other or a combination of nuts like peanuts, walnuts, pecans but my biggest change is the use of sourdough which adds a wonderful nice tang that complements the sweet filling. Zhou Clementine also has this characteristic of making the dough taste buttery even though there's none!

Tuesday night. I refreshed my sourdough starter which has also gone meal less for the past 4 months. Starters are really difficult to kill, they are like villains in movies! Then I made the levain Wednesday morning and made the dough in the afternoon, 6 hours bulk fermentation then to the fridge. I divided it into 6 pieces and laminated each one by one before filling. I fried them until golden on both sides the crisped them on a skillet 5 minutes on each side. 

The result; very crispy and flaky and not at all greasy on the outside, slightly chewy and tender on the inside with a sweet, nutty, lightly spiced gooey filling! The best with a cup of black coffee.

Look at all the melted sugar inside! Just pools of gooey dreams!

Happy Birthday Nay!

My starter will also be one year old on May 15, so also Happy one year of commercial yeast-less baking! And..

Happy Mother's day to all moms out there! I hope you enjoyed this post! See you next time!

lecksee's picture

Hi Fresh Loafers! 

My name is Lexie Smith, and I'm a baker and artist, and a general advocate for real bread. I've worked as both a bread baker (albeit briefly in the "pro" capacity) and a pastry chef, and am now spending a lot of my time writing and building awareness around regional bread types from all over the world, the benefits of sourdough (in the GF age!!), and heirloom grains. I know that sounds like a vast assortment of bread related topics, but it ultimately comes down to a study of the place bread has held in society for millennia, the way it's shaped us and we've shaped it. The pendulum swing is comin! Humans want their bread. I've got a little site in the works on the matter called Bread on Earth, and would love the input of all my bread mentors aka y'all! The first component will be a Bread Web, which will be an interactive map that charts as many regional bread types as we can collect, and link them to their relatives around the globe. I'm hoping it will serve to highlight our similarities as much as it does our differences. If anyone has any bread type they'd like to suggest, I'm all ears. 

I'm finally saying hello because so much of the last decade of my bread baking has been bolstered by the TFL community, and I thought it was time I voiced my gratitude and affection for such a dedicated and diverse group of likeminded folks. I wanted to let you know that I did a live segment online with the New York Times today (I'll be happy to link to it if anyone is interested!), in which I'm making some sourdough parathas and talking all about why bread matters, and it's received such an immensely positive reaction from the public. I doubt I would have gotten to this point without the inspiration and wealth of information I've found here over the years. So, again, thanks to TFL for keeping me awake and troubleshot and feeling all around supported through this journey. I'll fight the good fight of gluten advocacy til the day I die, right beside ya. 

So finally, my first contribution! Here's a loaf I baked off today. It's an easy breezy 50% whole grain, a mix of whole spelt (from Champlain Valley Milling), Farmer Ground rye, and Olands whole wheat, the rest is KA AP. 80% hydration, 17% leaven, 2.5% salt. Gave it a 1 hour autolyse, 5 min hand mix, and a couple of S+F over the course of just two hours (I was rushed!), then shaped after 3.5 hours total out at room temp and popped in the fridge for 13 hours. The process had to be quick for a number of reasons but the loaf doesn't seem to have suffered much. But it'll all come down to flavor, which will have to wait until morning. I need to use this as a prop in a photo shoot tomorrow (I'm shoving bread in everyone's faces, I mean it!), so a crumb shot will come later.

And this is a glamour shot of some of the SD paratha dough rolled with redbud flowers I picked off the trees outside. I live in Queens, NY, so that's about the best kind of urban foraging I can do around here. The flowers are nice and tangy with a little chew, but subtle. 

That's all for now! Looking forward to talking more with you all down the road. 

swissbake's picture

Eggs are wonderful. They are used in so many baked products and in so many ways. Most cakes are not possible without eggs and cookies are also difficult to make without eggs.

An egg is composed of three main parts plus membranes and two white strands called chalazae that hold the yolk in the center of the white.

The shell that contains the egg is fragile and porous. It is important to remember that eggs absorb flavors and odors through the shell and therefore they must be protected from strong smelling substances and unsanitized surfaces. When baking, make sure that your eggs are odor free. A tainted egg will spoil your product.

The yolk is high in both fat and protein and is a natural emulsifier. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains cholesterol. The color of the yolk varies depending on the diet of the chicken but the color is not an indicator of food value or quality.

The white is primarily albumin protein. It is clear and soluble before it is cooked. It contains sulfur and becomes odorous when old.

About 3/4’s of the egg by weight is water, hence when you add eggs to the batter you add a great deal of water into the product. The remaining portion is nearly equal parts of fat and protein.

So what role do eggs really play in the process of baking Here is a list of nine different functions of eggs in baking:

Structure: As eggs cook, the protein coagulates and provides stiffness to the product.

Leavening: Eggs help in leaves by trapping air cells in whipped eggs or egg whites. Angel food and chiffon cakes are often entirely leavened using eggs.

Tenderizing: The fat in the egg yolk shortens gluten strands in batters and dough to tenderize the product.

Moisture: Since eggs are mostly water, they moisten the products to which they are added.

Wash: Egg whites and egg yolks are used as washes on baked goods like croissants and Danish pastries to give them a glossy finish and on rustic bread to hold sesame seeds and other accouterments in place.

Emulsifying: Eggs act as natural emulsifiers that help in making the batter smooth.

Flavor: They add a unique taste and flavor to the baked goods.

Color: Most lemon meringue pie recipes rely entirely on egg yolks for color.

Nutrition: They add nutritional value such as protein, Vitamin D, and choline (an important nutrient for the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system).

jakenderek's picture

63% Whole Wheat

37% bread flour levain/poolish (i'm new to this, not sure if i'm using the right terminology or not - my starter :)

65% hydration

2% salt

my technique:

i mixed flour, levain and water to shaggy set and let autolyse for 45 minutes.  mixed for 2 minutes and transferred to a board to ferment for 2 hours, folded twice at 50 minute intervals.  shaped into oval and put into oiled le creuset dutch oven to proof for 2.5/2.75 hours.  baked at 450 for 25 minutes with cover on, cover removed and left for add'l 20 minutes.  not sure if i under proofed it - tried to score top, but it also cracked.  

love this site - whomever directed me to the Bread book - thank you!!!  I'm completely obsessed.  Want to perfect this loaf but really want to add whole rye flour to it - make it half whole wheat and half rye, but i know that adds a whole other wrinkle.  

Any feedback would be so greatly appreciated!!


giancaem's picture

First of all, hi guys! I'm sort of new here. Have been lurking around for about 6 months and absorbing as much information as I could, so I guess it's now time to give something back.

On Friday, I was (for like the hundredth time) looking for tips on improving the openness of my crumbs when I stumbled upon Benjamin Holland's post. There he mentioned that it's mixing time when his levain reaches a 2x volume increase. He seemed to have gotten great results so I decided to give it a try.

Early saturday morning made 2 levains. The first one I let ferment to 2x volume, and the second one I watched closely to determine the exact point in time where it reached its peak height. I also made two pre-mixes (autoluyse+salt) that rested for as long as each of the levains lasted (4 and 8h respectively).

I decided to bulk both of them for a 4h period to minimize variablity. The dough made with the young (2x) levain increased by a factor of 0.3x by the end of the 4 hour bulk. Shaping this dough was an experience unlike anything I've had in my many months of baking, it was the lightest, softest dough. It was super easy to shape since it was extremely extensible. I proofed this one for 30min and then into the oven. Needless to say, this resulted on the best looking crust, spring, ear, basically best everything I've gotten so far.

 The crumb was excellent as well, although at 30min it was still a tad uderproofed, still delicious though.

After getting that bad boy out of the oven I thought It couldn't get any better, but oh I was wrong. Shaping the second dough was a bit harder (it was both much gassier and I was trying a new shaping method too). It turned out a bit misshapen, but nothing major. This time, I proofed for 40min and popped right into the oven. Again, amazing everything on the outside!

But the real kicker for this one was the crumb, it was perfectly proofed and the overall hole distribution was much better.

Disclaimer: I know that the pre-mix times were not the same for both loaves, which could be what caused the difference in crumbs. I might re bake the first one with a longer pre-mix sometime soon to test this. An when I say soon, i mean it. I made some amazing sandwiches with these two on Sunday and I'm almost out of bread!


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