The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Really?  Week 24?  Something like that, anyway.


Yesterday I made yet another batch of Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish, continuing my baguette quest.  For those of you who have been following along, two weeks ago I made a batch which I didn't get around to blogging about, and last week I was busy on Saturday and forgot to make a poolish for Sunday.  In past weeks, I've gotten good results in crust, crumb and flavor, and decent to excellent grigne, but my scores keep bursting in the oven.  This week I was influenced by the video BelleAZ posted of Cyril Hitz slashing baguettes.  Hitz says in the video that the scores should overlap by a full third of their length, something I don't think I was doing very well, or at least not very consciously.

Ahem.  To the breads!



Y'know, I think I could be pretty happy with this. It's not perfect.  There's still some bursting, especially on the baguette on the bottom.  But that one just wasn't scored very well in general.  No bulging in between scores like some past weeks. Flavor and mouthfeel were quite good, as they've been for several weeks.  Crust was a little chewy, although I think this has more to do with the fact that the baguettes came out of the oven at noon, rather than later in the after noon.  Longer sitting seems to correlate to chewier crust.  No biggie.

I'm going to stick with this formula a few more weeks (I'd like to try it as two mini-batards or one large batard, just for yucks), but I think this quest is nearing completion.

Happy baking, everyone.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

It seems as if there is no end to the riches of this website. I'm learning things about German breads that will keep me busy for years. Who knew?

Still looking to use up the buckwheat flour I've had around for a while, Karin's loaf looked and sounded awfully good. I made a couple of changes to suit my taste and method, but this is Karin's bread and it is one of the tastiest I've ever baked. The buckwheat and rye, balanced with a little sweetness and spice, is just unbeatable. Recipients gobbled it up right in front of me, not even waiting to take it home.

I eliminated the yeast, only because I am stubborn. To compensate, I increased fermentation and proofing times a little. I used dark rye flour because that's what I had. I used barley malt syrup instead of honey because I'm not crazy for honey in my bread. I cut the anise down to a smidgen, added some ground fennel along with the cardamom. This spice mixture stays nicely in the background, where it is a real contributor without being distinguishable on its own.

I baked it as one loaf about a kilo pre baked weight, with every kind of steam I could think of. It took 35 minutes to finish after 15 minutes of steam.

Not just a keeper, but one to work into the more regular rotation. Thanks, Karin, for the beautiful example, the inspiration, and the lesson.


cranbo's picture

Sometimes two + two = five, and you roll with it.

Reading a thread earlier today got me looking at the book "Bread Builders", including a section about about L. sanfranciscensis and dental plaque. Very weird. This got me thinking about some travel show I saw (Bourdain? Zimmern?) I saw a while back, where the host drank chicha somewhere in South America.

Sure, starters get going in all kinds of ways: wholegrain flours, whole fruit, pineapple juice. Now I've been reading with interest about fruit waters lately. 

This got me thinking: what would the outcome be of a chicha-inspired starter?

So goes my experiment:

  • 25g whole wheat flour

  • 25g rye flour

  • 25g spring water

Mix all ingredients until it's a firm dough (50% hydration seemed right). 

Tear off small quail egg sized pieces of starter. Chew each piece for 30-60 seconds...yep. Really was not unpleasant, kinda gummy, but becoming slightly sweeter as I chewed. Place each chewed piece in a small container. 

I let it rest for 2 hours, then added 25g more water and mix to make a 100% starter. Seems to me that 100% hydration starters are more conducive to certain bacterial growth, so this should be interesting. 

Gross? Yes. Interesting? Absolutely.

Day 1: It's been probably 12 hours or so. Not much activity yet. I wonder how different this will be from my usual starter, which was built about 2 years ago using the Silverton organic grape method.

Will the chewing have an effect? As a control, I'm going to do one using the same feeding, the same schedule, but without the chewing. We'll see what happens. 


breadsong's picture

Today's bake was an experiment with multigrain, to see the difference between baking in a cold dutch oven, versus baking on my firebrick baking stone.
I've seen so many successful dutch oven bakes here on TFL - I wanted to give it a try!

The result: Very tasty! if not exactly pretty.
The baking stone loaf rose up an extra 1/2" compared to the 'cold dutch oven' loaf, which spread out more & didn't have as much oven spring/bloom from scoring.
Other variables: shaping was harder for the dutch oven loaf (fighting a sticky dough), and the dutch oven loaf was baked at a slightly lower temperature.

Crumb shot is from the 'cold dutch oven' loaf. The bottom loaf was baked on the baking stone.

I tasted a heavenly sourdough bread with sunflower, poppy and flax seeds this past week - I wanted to try and recreate that flavor - so this is the combination of seeds I used for this multigrain. The sunflower seeds were not toasted prior to soaking.

Weights, in grams, for two big boules:






Baker's %

Bread flour






Red Fife 75% whole wheat flour






75% sifted rye flour






Rye meal
























Mixed seeds






Levain (7 hour build at 80F)






Soaker (7 hour soak)












*also added approximately 1 teaspoon of barley malt syrup when mixing this dough.
The ingredients are based on Chad Robertson's Tartine Whole Grain Seeded Bread as featured In The News here on TFL (page 3), and Didier Rosada's Whole Grain Bread as featured on I am grateful to both of these talented bakers for their formulas!

Mixing, fermenting and retarding were as per Mr. Roberton's method, except I held back 90g of water to mix in with the salt and seeds after autolyse (double hydration used in Mr. Rosada's method).
Ingredients (levain, increased whole wheat flour, rye meal) were inspired by Mr. Rosada's formula.
The dough was retarded in bulk form for 12 hours, after a 3.5 hour bulk ferment at 80F.
The boules were shaped cold from the fridge; both proofed for one hour (one loaf in the dutch oven and one in a banneton).
The dutch oven was covered and placed directly on an oven rack in an oven preheated for 20 minutes at 500F. Temperature was reduced to 450F after loading the oven. The dutch oven lid was removed after 20 minutes.
The other loaf was baked on the stone with steam after the stone was preheated at 500F for 1 hour. Temperature was reduced to 460F after loading the oven.
Loaves baked for 45 minutes, then were left in oven for 10 minutes with oven off and oven door ajar.

I think this is one of the tastiest breads I've made. I really like the energy savings the dutch oven baking method provides.
Next time I'll try preheating the dutch oven and see how the oven spring is.

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong
wassisname's picture

There will be friends, there will be skiing, there will be beer... there should be pretzels.

The recipe from Local Breads yielded beautiful results - highly recommended.  No mention of  an egg wash in the recipe, but I added one just to pretty them up.  A lump of WW sourdough starter went in too, just because it was there and in need of a home.  I can't wait for another occasion to bake these.  Does Tuesday qualify as an occasion?


SylviaH's picture

While spending time in the kitchen stretching and folding tomorrow's bread, I made a scone cake with some of my frozen cranberries and candied orange peel.  This is a variation on a recipe I have posted Here.     I used the same recipe exchanging the lemon zest for a cup of mixed, candied orange peel, and whole fresh frozen cranberries.  I tossed the cranberries and orange peel in a small amount, apx. 1 TBsp. flour before folding them into the mixed batter.  I like a scone cake shaping because it's attractive, whole or sliced and keeps well, with the added plus of less handling, which makes for a lovely tender moist crumb.  I baked this one about 8 minutes longer because of the added frozen cranberries.






HMerlitti's picture

Can someone find a monistery in Italy with a bakery that needs to be restored. ??

Who would like to go with me ??


bharonC's picture

There are countless small food recalls each month. These recalls are headed by, however not required by, the FDA. The federal government's financing of the Food and Drug Administration is not usually considered during these recalls. The 2011 Skippy recall, however, is bringing to mind the reduction in funding. Lawmakers are really considering cutting funding to the FDA and USDA, in spite of the hazard of unrecalled food. Post resource - Peanut butter recall 2011 highlights danger of cutting funding by MoneyBlogNewz.

Massive recall on peanut butter this year

In a move expected to cost about $50 million or more, Skippy has recalled peanut butter in 16 states. The Skippy Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread have both been possibly contaminated with salmonella bacteria. The UPC numbers 048001006812 and 048001006782 on the 16.3 ounce jar means that it is in the recall. These are only plastic jars. The FDA is working in cooperation with Unilever, the company that manufactures Skippy, to pull the possibly tainted product off the shelves.

Getting food safety covered

In a new bill signed into law last year, the FDA got an update. To be able to get a recall before, the Food and Drug Administration had to work with the business. Now the Food and Drug Administration can issue the recall itself. More money was put in the FDA budget so that food safety is closely viewed while new inspectors could be employed. The funding for these changes, however, seems to be at risk. Part of the funding is appearing from cuts to the USDA, which is responsible for the safety of the meat supply. The new food safety laws may never really be enforced though. This is because Congress is asking for FDA reductions. The lack of funding with consequences is very significant since tainted food causes over 3,000 deaths a year.

Biggest issue for food safety

The United States has to figure out something for financing food safety. It is hard to determine. The food and drug safety in the United States are taken care of by the FDA which means lots of stuff is going on. Food safety is also, alternately, handled by the United States Department of Agriculture or 14 other federal agencies. There are also many government officials that keep track of this in the state and cities. There are several challenges with the heavier regulation though even though it might help food safety. Small farms, farmer's markets, and other local food producers have currently expressed concern that increased regulation costs them a significant percentage of their sales. All of the food safety recalls means millions lost from the safety spending budget and economy. The political, social and economic changes might turn out to be too hard for every person to face.

Information from



Food Safety News

Government Accountability Office

bartwin's picture

I would like to put back some bran and wheat germ into my white flour bread recipes.  Does anyone know what that translates to in terms of additional water per cup of flour?


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