The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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amolitor's picture

I make English Muffins from time to time. Here's my latest, and some discussion.

First: I made English Muffins with dough, not batter. Usually, I use sourdough. Second: I consider english muffins to be a cooking technique (cook on a hot, dry iron skillet dusted with cornmeal) and not really a recipe. You can use pretty much any dough you like, as near as I can tell.

This time I used a sourdough dough, the recipe was frankly improvised since I changed directions midstream. In broad strokes: whole wheat starter into a fairly liquid sponge made up from KAF organic bread flour. This ripens, then I made up dough, with the sponge making up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the final dough (my kitchen is somewhat chilly these days, so I am doing sourdoughs fairly conservatively). Dough made up with KAF organic bread flour, appropriate amounts of salt and water to hit a quite wet dough. Say around 70 percent (You can't really "hold" a big lump of it with one hand -- it will eventually flow out, albeit slowly).

All dough development done by hand-stirring in the bowl, Joe Ortiz style. NO KNEADING. At this point there's some dough development -- it's balling up and cleaning the sides of the bowl, but it's still "shaggy". 1 or 2 S&Fs and then into the fridge overnight (this because it was getting late, there wasn't a plan here). 2-3 more S&Fs as it warmed, then form up balls. At this point it's no longer "shaggy" but just barely past that stage, I think. So, this dough is moderately underdeveloped (by now this WAS part of the plan!). The balls slumped pretty well, but there was enough development to hold them together with the gluten skin -- definitely more like a bag of warm jelly than a "dough" standing up on its own, though. Final rise quite long. Now the dough is underdeveloped and over-proofed, which by this time was my goal. I think for English Muffins, these are both good things -- not wildly underdeveloped, and not wildly over-proofed, but "distinctly" perhaps would be the right word. My handling all along was gentle, I didn't really make any effort to degas thoroughly at any point.

Cook about 8-9 minutes a side in a dry iron skillet dusted with cornmeal, and here we are (the black bits are burned cornmeal from the previous batch):



MadAboutB8's picture

Finally, I got over my procrastination of making baguettes and got on with making one.

My first attempt wasn't great and wasn't too bad either. There are things that I've learnt and will take them to my next bake. There were no issues with the taste and the dough strengths and extensibility. 

The issues I had with this bake were scoring, underestimation of the baguette size when it's fully-proof (i.e. it extended beyond my baking tray), baguette transfer from couche to baking tray.



 My home-made couche from an off-cut of IKEA curtain:)

Garlic and parsley baguettes with a mussels in white wine, yummy dinner!

You can also fine more details and photo in the below links.


SylviaH's picture

I was so inspired by Pamela's 'xiapete' post on the ZaZu resturants style Chanterelle mushroom and goat cheese pizza, she baked in Nov. of 09, I've been craving one ever since.  I finally found some lovely Chanterelle mushrooms.  I also baked a pizza Margarita style.  It was served with a lovely little organic chicken, I stuffed with fresh garlic, rosemary, lemon, s&p. and, some roasted peppers!  Roasted it all at the oven door while the fire was getting ready for the pizza's.

I made my version of Roman Pizza Dough from PR book American Pie, by adding Olive Oil.  I used King Arthur's Duram flour.

The crust is absolutely delicious.  My favorite way to have it is, stretched thin with a big blooming crown, that way I can enjoy this fabulous tasteing crust.  It can be stretched to a cracker thin crust.  My husband loved it, crust toppings and all...he said it was his favorite crust. 


                      Roman Pizza Dough

I made 4 large dough balls - or you can make six- 6- ounce balls

5 cups  (22 1/2 ounces) King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup (1 ounce) semolina flour - I used King Arthur Duram flour -

1 3/4 teaspoons salt or 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, I use sea salt

1 teaspoon instand yeast

1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cool water (65F)

I added 2 Tablespoons of unfilter extra virgin olive oil

1. Mixed all ingredients in my KA until combined, using the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.  Adjusting the hydration or adding more flour if needed.  The dough should pass the windowpane test. 

I divided the dough into 4 balls and placed each one into an oiled plastic tub and refrigerated them until the next day.  Removing them about 2 hours before making my pizzas.

I stretch the dough out thin leaving a thicker area for the crown...add my toppings and bake, either a pre-heated convection 550 oven with stone, or in my WFO 800F and up. until the crust browns with a little charring.

         First the Chicken stuffed with fresh lemon, rosemary and garlic and drizzled with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, S&P.  The oven omits so much heat the roasting is done at the oven door...which is very handy.

                                                            Oven getting good and hot for the Pizza


                                                     Fire Roasted Peppers - My Italian girlfriends moms recipe -

                                           Roast peppers, clean off charred skin, I leave a tiny bit of char for more flavor, add to bowl and cover with

                                   extra virgin olive oil, diced fresh garlic and sea salt to taste...refrigerate and keeps for a good week, delicious on

                        Sausage sandwiches or alone..I used to get grossed out watching my still girlfriend over 50yrs. eating her school lunch sandwich

                with just these peppers on it.  Little did I know!



                               Ready for the Pizza's



                                        Pizza with Chanterelles, Goat Cheese, EVOO, Truffle salt and a smidgen of Pesto, Shaved Parmesean Cheese.

                                      What a great combo of ingredients...

                                                                            On my tweeked Roman Pizza Dough - Fabulous tasting!


                      Crispy crust                    Submitted to  Yeast Spotting               


                                                                  Tomato and Cheese - Still my Favorite - My sauce, herbs, garlic and San Marzano 

                                                   tomatoes.  Fresh mozzarella -



                                                         Fabulous tasting's really a draw between the sauce and the crust, but I would have to pick

                                       the crust!  Fresh mozz makes all the difference!



                                                 Crumb of the Crown









txfarmer's picture

I swear I am not taking a cut from Chad Robertson (:P), I guess the formulas in the book just really works for me, so I keep going back for more. As I have mentioned before, it's not a cover-all bread book like "BBA" or "Bread", it only has a handful of base formulas (4 for lean breads to be exact), then some variations. Since I have posted about the Basic Country Bread and WW Country Bread, I am not going to post formula for this Semonlina loaf just to be fair to the author(s). if you like the breads, I think it's a book worth buying.


The procedure is similar to the other two breads, at 80%+ hydration, I am not suprised about the open crumb, but I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor combo - fennel seeds and black seame, both in the dough and on the crust, so frangrant! Both of those two seeds have such strong aroma on their own, I never thought they would mingle so well together! I was toasting them together before mixing into the dough, such heavenly smel! I knew it would be a winner then.


Open and colorful crumb, and trust me, it's an explosion of flavors in the mouth.


Recently bought a triangle proofing basket from here, I like the result. BTW, the basket is small, enough for 1lb dough probably. However, I did half the recipe this time since DH is out of town, so I had two 1lb loaves, one triangle and one oval, rather than the usual 2X 2lb loaves. I think it's actually better to shape into smaller loaves for two reasons:

1. High hydration dough tend to spread a bit on baking stone (Chad recommend to bake in a cast-iron pot thingy that I don't have), but it's much less noticable with smaller loaves;

2. The seeds on the crust came out just right after 35min in the oven, any longer, they would get burned a little, which happened to my bigger loaves before.


Last time, Sylvia wanted to see how my bastkets are floured, here's a picture of the oval one after being dusted with AP+rice flour - see the little bit of flour gathered in the left? I dumped those out after.


Needless to say, I will make this again, maybe try the other flavor variation in the book to combine fennel and raisin with semolina.

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

justinesmith9's picture

I do bake by hand but as I work nearly 50 hours a week,I sometimes have to resort to a machine - what are your experiences??On my way out to work this morning, I put a ciabatta style loaf on to cook.It's a great recipe which I'm willing to share if anyone is interested.Love putting the machine on timer overnight and waking up to the smell of fresh baked bread

Vogel's picture

I've baked several things during the last weeks and I really wanted to post some pictures here, but first I had a foodborne infection from bad olives, then my camera went to die. I hope I will be able to post more regularly during the next weeks.

Work in progress: rolls

In German bakeries you can buy a wide array of different rolls. Unfortunately, since the wholefood movement became popular, a lot of those rolls, especially the darker ones with seeds, are made from whole wheat, often without long fermentation. For a lot, maybe the majority, of people whole wheat is pretty indigestible, because in contrast to rye the unwanted substances in the husk of the grain aren't fully decomposed by fermentation. I am one of those people and prefer white wheat flour.

Of course making rolls isn't much different from making bread, but I didn't really succeed in creating the thin and crispy crust of rolls from the bakery. Especially on the bottom side they were just too thick and bread-y. Now I used a perforated baking sheet for the first time and it really helped me to achieve this goal. The hot air and steam can circulate through the little holes in the baking sheet, giving a more uniform and thin crust at the bottom.

This time I made rolls with seeds and a little bit of rye sourdough. I didn't really follow any recipe and just threw some ingredients together, so don't take the following recipe as the final recommendation. Personally I liked them very much. The rolls are not shaped but just cut from the final dough, similarly to making Ciabatta. I chose this method because that's how seeded rolls are mostly sold here, too.


crum 1

crumb 2

The recipe makes about 16 medium or 12 big rolls. The dough uses a total amount of 600 grams of flour and has 70% hydration (just relative to the flour, seeds not included) and is made with both rye sourdough and a wheat poolish. It is really cold here in the house (about 65°F/18°C or even less), so you fermentation times might be shorter.

rye sourdough

  • Produce 200 grams of ready 100% hydration rye sourdough (so from 100 grams of medium dark rye flour / Type 1150) in a way you feel comfortable with. I usually do a three-stage feeding over the course of about 20 hours.


  • 100g water

  • 50g all-purpose flour / Type 550

  • 50g wheat flour Type 1050 (I think it is similar to "white whole weat flour" - you can just use all-purpose flour here too, if you want to)

  • 0,3g fresh yeast (a tiny splinter about the size of a pine nut)

Disperse the yeast into the water until you can see the water becoming slightly coloured. Mix in the flour, cover and ferment for about 16 hours at room temperature.


  • 200g rye sourdough

  • 200g poolish

  • 50g medium dark rye flour / Type 1150

  • 350g all-purpose flour / Type 550

  • 45g sunflower seeds, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 45g pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 220g water

  • 12g salt

  • 4g fresh yeast


  1. Mix sourdough, poolish, flour and water (except for 10-20g of it) until combined to a dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.

  2. Disperse the yeast in the rest of the water, pour this mixture onto the dough. Sprinkle the salt onto the dough. Knead until the windowpane test shows medium gluten development. The dough will be a little sticky at first, but become good to work with later in the process.

  3. Put the dough into a bowl, cover and ferment for 3 hours, with two stretch and folds after 1 and 2 hours, respectively.

  4. Lightly flour the work surface and put the dough onto it, smooth side down. Degas the dough with your flat hands (flour your hands if the dough sticks). Keep the dough in a roughly rectangular or square shape and stretch it more or less depending on whether you prefer thicker or flatter rolls. Now just cut out rectangular or square pieces by using a dough scraper or cutter. Try not to squeeze down the edges of the dough pieces from now on.

  5. Put the rolls smooth side down on a baker's linen or towel, slip into a plastic bag or cover in another way you like. You can also sprinkle the towel with untoasted seeds and put the rolls on them (brush off the flour from the smooth side or spray it with water so the seeds stick, or place the rolls smooth side up so the sticky side is in contact with the seeds).

  6. Let rest until fully risen. It took me about 3 hours, but will probably take less for you in a warmer kitchen.

  7. Pre-heat your oven to about 445°F (230°C) in the meantime and prepare for steaming your oven. Gently put the rolls smooth/seed-side up on a baking sheet, preferrably a perforated one. Bake with steam for about 10 minutes at this temperature, then reduce to 390°F (200°C) for another 10 minutes, depending on how fast the rolls are colouring. Bake without steam for the last 5 minutes or so.

  8. Let cool on a wire rack.


A side note: It could also work not to degas the dough in step 4, but just cut out the pieces, let rest for 20 minutes or so and bake directly, without a final proofing. I've heard of this method but haven't tried it out personally yet.

livingdog's picture

My old bread site,, is now down. I tried making bread and failed to get any real flavor into the loaf. I restarted making bread and am now trying to capture that amazing flavor which escaped me on my first try. Perhaps this will be the time and I can start astounding people with wonderful tasting bread.

foodslut's picture

I was inspired by those trying to improve the grigne on their bread by using metal bowls or aluminum baking tins to cover their loaves.  Since I was doing a batch of "local rye", I thought I'd give it a try myself.

Here's the formula I used (PDF) to make 3 x 750g/24oz boules using locally grown and milled Brule Creek Farms Dark Rye (40% of total flour) and Partially Sifted (60%) flours.  I used locally-produced cracked wheat instead of cracked rye because that's all I had in the house.

- Mixed poolish and let it ferment ~20 hours:  1/2 at room temp, 1/2 at fridge temp.

- Mixed fermented poolish with remaining ingredients, "autolysed" for 15 minutes, kneaded then fridge fermented the dough for ~24 hours (rose about 1.75x instead of double).

- Divided and shaped dough, followed by 90 minute proof at room temp.

- Sprayed water on the boules and slashed before I loaded them into the oven.

- Into the oven onto a baking stone (with a mixing bowl over one of the loaves) at 500F with steam for 5 minutes, followed by another 55 minutes at 400F - internal temperature ended up being 205F.

Here are the results - the uncovered loaves ....

.... versus the covered loaf

Crust on covered loaf was OK, but NOWHERE near as crusty as the uncovered loaves.  Also, note the broader grigne on the uncovered loaves compared to the more delicate pattern (as well as cracks in the crust) on the covered loaf.  These are all gift loaves, so no crumb shots from this batch.

I'm satisified with the look of the regular uncovered loaves (unlike my herniated ones in the past), and I'm not worried about the flavour based on previous batches, so they're all good enough to give away as gifts.  Any feedback to improve the look of the covered boule in this instance, though, would be greatly appreciated.

Wimmera Health Grain's picture
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breadbakingbassplayer's picture

This is a crazy looking bread from the town of Matera in Southern Italy made with durum flour and a natural sourdough starter…  I had tried making this bread before with the durum flour, but made the dough too wet so it wasn't very easy to shape.  This most recent attempt was reasonably successful.  What makes this bread interesting is that it is shaped after the final proof and dumped into the oven.  Please see the links below about this bread and how to make it...

Links about this bread in Italian:

My attempt is using my sourdough starter to make a biga naturale and AP flour.  I have also taken liberties in the processing of the dough, so the taste is probably not that "authentic"...

Total Recipe:
1250g AP
825g Water
125g Sourdough Starter @ 100% Hydration
30g Kosher Salt
6g Instant Yeast
2232g Total Dough Yield

Biga Naturale
250g AP
126g Sourdough Starter
144g Water
520g Total

Final Dough
1000g AP
682g Water
520g Biga Naturale
30g Kosher Salt
6g Instant Yeast
2232g Total

6:45pm - Mix biga natural and let sit covered for 3-4 hours.
7:15pm - Mix flour and water from the final dough.  Mix until combined well (2-3 minutes) and place in lightly oiled large plastic tub, cover and let rest.  This is basically a long autolyse.
9:45pm - Sprinkle the kosher salt and yeast over the flour and water dough.  Cut up biga natural and distribute over the dough.  Knead for a few minutes until well combined and the yeast and salt are dissolved in the dough.  About 5 minutes.  Do not add flour.  If the dough sticks, just wet your hands and continue.  Cover and let rest.
10:30pm - Turn dough (stretch and fold method), cover and let rest.
11:00pm - Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, preshape into boules, place each in it's own plastic bowl that is 2x it's size, seam side down.  Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
12:00am - Place baking stone in oven, preheat with convection to 500F.
12:50am - With a plastic scraper, gently scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape (Watch the video.  It's tough to explain this one…), slash, place on lightly floured peel and place into oven directly on the stone.  When last loaf is in, bake for 15 minutes at 450F with convection.  Then, turn off the convection, bake for another 15 minutes at 425F, then 30 minutes at 400F.  Turn off oven, and leave in for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

I made these for some friends of mine, who I hope will give me a crumbshot as I don't have a loaf for myself…  I saw one of them today, and it looked very good…



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