The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


GSnyde's picture

I didn’t want to steal Brother David’s blog post title without due credit.  Last Fall he told of his scissor-happy bake of epis and dragon tails (  And today I pursued a similar adventure.

Twenty-two years ago today, my wife, Cat, and I were married.  We scheduled the wedding for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend because Sunday afternoon was the only time available for a private party at Green’s, a wonderful restaurant on the Bay in San Francisco, and we wanted to give our guests a Monday holiday to sober up and/or travel back to their homes.   The happy bonus was we almost always get a three-day weekend for our anniversary.

So, the goal today—of course—was to bake something to broaden the already broad smile on my beloved’s lovely face.  Her favorite is Cinnamon-Raisin-Pecan bread, and I’ll bake some of that tomorrow.  Her second favorite—always good for a swoon of pleasure—is proth5’s “bear-guette” ( which is now my usual baguette.

Having had success with this formula, including shaped as marguerites (’ours-flower-bear-and-other-goodies), I decided to work on my scissor skills and try some new shapes.

The poolish and levain were made up last night, and the dough was mixed this morning.  I let it ferment two hours, gave it one stretch and fold, and left it in a chilled cooler while we went to a fabulous lunch at Café Beaujolais (duck confit Cobb salad with warm bacon lardons has spoiled regular Cobb salad for me for the rest of my life).

On our return three hours later, I split the dough ball into two, put half in the fridge for tomorrow, and shaped three baguettes from the rest.  I studied the excellent videos on forming epis ( and dragon tails (  I am pretty pleased with my first attempts, though this dragon doesn’t have a very long tail.

And, as always with the bear-guettes, the flavor is superb, the crust is crispy and the crumb is a nice balance of chewy and open.

Anniversary dinner was excellent.  You might not think meat on a stick stands up to the elegance of baguette and Champagne, but charcoal-grilled pork satay with home-made marinade and home-made spicy peanut sauce is pretty tasty

I’ve been working on Thai cuisine.   A meal of satay and baguette is my version of crust-asian. [sorry]


tssaweber's picture

For quite some time now I gave up trying to find the European type flour “Ruchmehl” or “Halbweissmehl” here in the US, even though I still believe that the farmer’s style breads and rustic hard rolls would need this flour.

Two days ago browsing through Costco I found this flour and reading the label I felt this could be it.



 Two 10 pound bags for a little bit more than $6 was also a very good price and it is unbleached and not enriched, so let’s give it a try!

Coming home I prepared a preferment and later in the afternoon mixed the dough. No cold retardation for this time because I was too curious to taste the rolls and didn’t want to wait. The result was and tasted awesome!


Happy baking!



For the interested bakers:

Update from my trip up North:

dstroy's picture

I ran across this today and had to come over and post about it here!


The Breadou® Loaf baguette is designed to look like a loaf of bread but is, in fact, made from flexible polyurethane foam and meant to be used as a computer keyboard wrist rest. The site also says they smell like the real thing too.

How many folks are thinking that the person who came up with this idea was having some tough times getting their doughs to work out right? XD

Also, I'm intrigued by the idea of a baguette "custard caterpillar" - kinda would like to see a recipe for the non-foam version!

Those loaf thingies can be found over here, by the way.


pmccool's picture

There was a bit of frost on the grass here in Pretoria overnight and the temperature inside the house at 6:30 this morning was a bracing 55ºF.  By 3:30 this afternoon, the indoor temperature had rocketed all the way up to 57ºF!  Another day or two of this and the granite counter tops in the kitchen should be chilled enough to handle laminated doughs with no risk of butter breakouts.  That, of course, assumes that the butter block is soft enough to be malleable.  I may have to set it out in the sun for a few minutes...


teketeke's picture

  I wanted to thank Syd who gave me good information to shape a boule. I have had a trouble with it.

Syd's comment here :

I made Susan's Norwish Sourdough with raisin yeast water.  I wanted to use multi-build levain to get close to sourdough crumb, but I was really motivated to practice shaping a boule..

Susan's Norwish Sourdough here:  This is my favorite, too. Thank you, Susan!

Here is how I made:



  • 113 g  KA AP
  • 68 g  Raisin yeast water with alcoholic raisins

Final dough:

  • 450 g  KA bread flour
  • 58 g    rye flour
  • 331 g   water   DDT 74F
  • 10g    Salt


  1. Make the levain  mix and leave it at room temperature 70-72F for overnight.
  2. Mix with final dough except the salt.
  3. Autolyze 30 minutes.
  4. Add the salt  and knead until pass a window pane.
  5. Bulk fermentation   4 hours ( 1 time S&F after 45 minutes)  at 73-74F.  * When I saw the dough in 45 minutes, the dough rose doubled already ( I would do S&F even the dough didn't rise much ), I did punch down and make a ball shape like doing S&F in the bowl gently because my family doesn't like to taste strong gluten developed in the crumb.
  6. Preshape 
  7. Bench time  20 minutes
  8. Shape
  9. Proof  1 hour at 76F
  10. Retard  4 hours  at 42.8F.
  11. Proof again at 76F for 40 minutes.
  12. Bake  465F 12 minutes with steam, decreased the temperature to 420F, continue to bake 30 more minutes.

I tasted good sourness from the rye flour. The crumb is softer.  I wonder if I retarded it overnight? 

I finally got the crumb that I was hoping for.  Thank you so much, Syd!

Happy baking,


RonRay's picture

Time Lapse Video of Apricot YW LevainI started a new test Yeast Water culture. Yesterday afternoon, it look active enough to consider a rise test. In the past. I have spent too much time running back and forth checking and writing down the data. This time I just did a time lapse video of the process. The 1 frame every 40 seconds of real time.

cranbo's picture

To try to document dough development of a lean dough, I created a video of mixing some lean, 59% hydration dough in my KitchenAid 5qt mixer at speed #2 (the 2nd click).

I'm trying to get a better idea of knead times for my mixer with respect to different doughs. Hamelman in "Bread" says 6.5 - 7.5 minutes for moderate gluten development for KAid stand mixer. He recommends 900-1000 total revolutions for moderate dough development, so with some info from fthec and KAid:

#1 (stir): 40 rpm 
#2: 54 rpm 
#3: 79 rpm 
#4: 104 rpm 

 This means:

Time (minutes) Revolutions
0 0
1 54
2 108
3 162
4 216
5 270
6 324
7 378
8 432
9 486
10 540
11 594
12 648
13 702
14 756
15 810
16 864
17 918
18 972
19 1026
20 1080

According to the stats, I may still have kneaded for too short of a time (H. also says that doughs with hydration under 60% will take longer to develop, as will doughs that have high hydration). It really started smoothing out at about 8 minutes, even more substantially at ~13 minutes. I guess next time I'll have to push it further, and see what happens. 

breadsong's picture

Hello, I tried making Chive Blossom Bread this week.
A lucky venture to the local mill yielded a new-to-me flour product: purple wheat flour (sold as Anthograin).
Purple chive blossoms and purple flour are combined in this bread, with no resulting purple color in the finished bread whatsoever :^)

The baked breads (I tried scoring chives on one loaf and stencilled chives on another; the loaves at the front were scored to make them look like chive blossoms (the little one was snipped with scissors) – didn’t really turn out like I’d hoped!):
 The purple flour:


My chive patch is just coming into blossom, with pretty little purple flowers.
Individually, the chive flowers look like lilies to me :^)

Chive blossoms have a very delicate oniony flavor; I've infused vinegar with them and enjoyed the blossoms sprinkled over salads.  Not sure how their flavor would hold through a bake, I also added chopped chives to the dough.
These are the chive blossoms I added to the dough:
The base dough is Pugliese, from Advanced Bread and Pastry, using 20% purple wheat flour both in the sponge and final dough, an extra ounce of water, and a generous teaspoon of chive blossom vinegar (thanks to Karin for this idea; her recent post, using vinegar as an ingredient, is here).

The sponge and final dough had some nice purple color:

Here are some crumb shots. The flavor is nice and oniony!
 bits of chive in the crumb:  

see the little chive blossom peeking out?

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




kim's picture


My mid-week baked for the coming long weekend gathering/brunch. Daisy_A’s rye bread , I baked the bread before by using Guinness beer, they were delicious but I was hoping to improve more on producing thinner crust for the bread. I’m slowly getting to the point I want them – just right not too thick or too thin. I like dried fruits and nuts in my rye breads because I can eat the whole slice without butter/jam especially if I’m in the hurry for work. I like this bread so much because they are moist and keep nicely for about a week. I used freshly milled whole rye and sifted some whole rye roughly 60g in the total weight for this batch of dough. They turned out nicely.


I’m eyeing David miche for a long time till recently I read about his recent blog here. I used 500g AP flour and 86 freshly milled whole wheat flour in my final dough because my AP flour is not malted; I was worried my bread would not browning nicely after baked. I shaped them into two small bâtard per batch. I did double David's recipe so I had four small loaves. Two of them stayed to close with each other and as a result the edge was glue together. I love the overall flavor but prefer larger miche size in general. We are going to make sandwich from these breads with ramps pesto and homemade cured meats and sausages.



When Breadsong posted the blueberry maple walnut spelt bread recipe on the blog section, I wrote the recipe down immediately. I used freshly milled spelt flour for the recipe. My dough rose very fast and I had difficulties with freshly milled spelt flour before. I think they ferment really fast, anybody who has good ideas/suggestions about how to deal with freshly milled spelt flour please do give me any feedbacks. I thank you in advanced. I hope Breadsong doesn’t mind with my over proofed bread and I love to serve them with labneh that I bought from my favorite farmer market.


For the last batches of breads to bring with me for the upcoming gathering, I use Andy’s recipe - Faye's Award Winning Nettle Bread. Finally my CSA box has some fresh nettle so I use them in my bread dough. While the breads were baking, my apartment smelled heavenly; I will make a pot of curry to go with the breads. I think the flavor will go well together. Thanks Andy and Faye for the wonderful recipe.

Happy Weekend and Happy Baking,


fishers's picture

The LA Times is running a monthly Master Class series with this month featuring Nancy Silverton, a video, and her formula for basic focaccia dough along with savory recipes.  Great opportunity to watch a "Master Chef" in action:,0,1188913.htmlstorySharon


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