The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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HokeyPokey's picture

I've been baking for a while now - started as a kid, but serious baking and sourdough for about 10 years now. What I love about baking is that I am still learning new things, every week I find something new to try. 

I've created a post to summarise a few things I've picked up over the years - its all my own experience, not scientific or book explained, all I know it works for me. 

Do read and ask questions -



Perchè fare il Pane in casa? I motivi sono tanti......

Adoro il Pane, sono felice quando lo impasto, quando lo mangio e soprattutto quando lo condivido.

Questa tipologia di Pane è spesso sulla mia tavola, di facile ed appassionante esecuzione, consistenza e complessità di aromi straordinari.

A presto, Anna

isand66's picture

I just returned from the annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage to North Carolina and needed to make some bread.  I refreshed my trusty AP starter and decided to incorporate some of my freshly milled and sprouted whole wheat flour with some Durum flour and some good old KAF Bread flour.

The results are in and this one is a keeper.  A nice moist and open crumb with the nutty taste of Durum along with the unique flavor of the Sprouted Whole Wheat really makes this one worth baking and eating.



Durum Sprouted Wheat Bread (weights)

Durum Sprouted Wheat Bread (%)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.

Levain Directions

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 usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and olive oil, and mix on low for 6 minutes.  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.

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.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  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 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 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.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Well, it's been almost 6 months since I last baked any bread.  I made some pizzas during that time, but no bread.  The hot summer months just curb the motivation to get the oven on for hours.  The itch to bake bread got almost as unbearable as all that store bought bread.

Since the season calls for it, I decided to try my first go at a fruit & nut levain.  I grabbed a variety of mixed dried fruits - apricots, prunes, pears and peaches.  For nuts, I used half walnuts and half pecans.  The dough formula was derived from a few walnut loaf recipes I found on various blogs, and simply added the fruits.  The other loaves I baked were not as inspired, but much missed - typical country levain loaves.  Never gets tired.

Making all these loaves was quite time consuming but it sure satisfied my creative itch. 

Now to get some excellent cheeses and wine to pair nicely with a fruit & nut loaf by the fire...

Tartine ala B&W

squarehead's picture

So I'm going to attempt to post more frequently, assuming my kids allow me the free time and I can get the photos to post. (As I type this the baby just knocked over my cup of coffee across the table)

alrighty then, so I'll make this one quick, reduced the Levain seed down to 16.5% from 20%, the whole wheat (15% flour weight) is a local mix from the bin at the co-op (different ranch from the last loaf I believe). 10% flour weight is whole grain spelt, and the remaining 75% is my usual bread flour. Hydration 80% (Not including soaker). Salt 11g.

soaker: 30g cornmeal, 20g flaxseed meal, 50g dried dates (pitted) diced small. 50g boiling h20.

mixed all but salt, autolyzed 1hr, added salt, pinched, stretch n folds at 10m, 20m, 30m 1hr. Rested till doubled, preshaped n shaped as usual, retarded 12 hrs. 

450 Dutch covered 20 min, uncovered 23 min (turned it down to 425 for the last 8 min - got a bit too dark, I'm guessing from the extra sugars from the dates)

 just tasted it's good, the dates are nice and sweet. 


squarehead's picture

hello everyone it's been awhile since my last post but I've still been baking 3-5 loaves a week and have been having more consistent results and I was quite happy with this bake. The formula was fairly simple:

I started the Levain with 20g active and ripe starter, fed 10g of my mother mix (80% AP, 15% WW, 5% RYE) and 10g H2O, then about 6 hrs later fed again 20g mix and 20g h20 and was left to rest until doubled (about 4 more hours).

The ripe levain was dissolved in 300g h20, then went in the 80g local whole wheat, a variety called Marquis, from an area about 2 hours to the south. I was quite happy with this flour and will be seeking it out again. Anywho I added an additional 320g bread flour (Central Milling company Artesian Organic from Costco) to bring the total up to 400g. Autolyzed for a hour and added the 11g salt and an additional 40g H20, pinched all together, stretch n folded at 30m intervals 3 times, doubled (hourish? I wasn't watching the clock) then preshaped, 30 min rest, shaped, into the basket and bag and into the fridge for 12 hours. 

The next morning it was slashed and baked at 450 in a Dutch covered for 20 then uncovered for 20 more.

As I said earlier I was quite happy with the taste of this one, it had a pronounced sour without being overwhelming and the rise and crumb didn't seem to have any problems either and I tend to be a crumb critic. 

I'd like to thank everyone on TFL with an extra thanks to DBM, Golgi70, and the long lost TXFarmer for all of their in depth posts, they've helped shape the bread I bake today.

Skibum's picture

After a long absence from baking due to visitors, travel and so on, I have gotten away from baking my own bread. With the winter months and some insanely cold weather in these parts it seemed like a good time to fire the oven up. I used 2 Tbs of dehydrated onion and enough water to make the dough plus some which will get absorbed. the soaking water was used in the dough -- of course! As I am in a very dry environment I upped the hydration to 70% and used a little more egg than recommended, but this dough made great tasting buns and was a dream to work.

Nice crumb!

Despite pressing these to about 3/4" thick, for the second bake in a row the just exploded up in the oven. This was a yeasted bake as both my YW and sweet levain didn't survive my alst travels. My first try with Debra Wink's pineapple juice solution failed as did my first YW re-try. I have a second YW starter started and am starting another pineapple juice try so please cross your fingers crossed.


I baked some of P. Reinhart's soft pull apart dinner rolls last week. I was going to do the butter flake rolls in a muffin tin but instead placed tightly formed boules into the muffin pan and still got pull apart rolls. this worked well but a squar pan give a better pull apart product.

My interest in baking breads and rolls is now re-kindled. I love the recipe for Norm's onion buns and have it book marked. It is an easy search on this site for the recipe. today I am doing a take off using both dehydrated onion and garlic, fresh rosemary and potato to see where this takes the savory profile. Happy baking Fresh Loaf friends. I baaack. Best regards Ski

Joyofgluten's picture

The nights are getting colder here, my thoughts have been turning to overnight outdoor proofing schemes. 
For this bread, I started with a 45 min. autolyse, then minimal machine mixing in stages. The bulk  ferment was in the five hour range.
The loaves spent the night, seam down in baskets, and coved up inside of a large plastic box outside in the cold.
Outside the temp. dropped to +5c, I suspect that inside the box it was closer to +9.
At 3am, i got up to plug the oven in, at 6am, I felt sorry for them, brought them into the house and pealed them directly into a good hot 250c oven
They were clearly proofed to a delicate state, scoring them wasn’t a consideration, one did a stick and collapse on me, the other three were fine. 
The flour bill was quite simple on this one; 80% swiss bread flour (Halbweissmehl), 20% rye flour.
The rye built the levain, roughly half of it was fresh off the mill, unsifted.
0.5 % fresh yeast went into the final dough, the total water was around 75%, salt 2.1
Flavour wise, the acidity was somewhat up front but still polite, the crust was well caramelised and it’s aroma made itself known deep into the crumb. 
The crumb was well gelatinised and held it'd freshness well dispite the high white flour content. 
It was a decent enough batch and gave me a few ideas for the next round.



Cari Amici,

volevo condividere con tutti voi questo delizioso dolcetto con il quale molto spesso io e la mia famiglia, facciamo colazione.

E' un prodotto dal gusto straordinario ed i colori dati dalla frutta secca e candita, ne rendono accattivante anche la presentazione.

Durante le festività natalizie è mia consuetudine metterli in sacchetti trasparenti, chiudere il tutto con un bel nastro e farne dono alle persone amiche.

Mi auguro che piaccia anche a tutti voi.

Vi auguro una buona giornata, a presto, Anna

leslieruf's picture





Revisited this recipe which was posted on TFL by Dolf I believe.  I substituted 50:50 wholewheat:bread flour as I cant find white wholewheat flour.  I also reduced honey a little.  Very happy how it turned out. First time I have rolled top of loaf in grain too. 

Oatmeal was the theme today.  Also made Golden Honey Oat bread (Rose Levy Beranbaum).  This always turns out well even though I have reduced honey in this one too.  This has flaxseed in it as well.





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