The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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davidg618's picture

Yesterday, I transferred six gallon of new Sauvignon Blanc wine from its primary fermenter (food-grade plastic bucket), into a secondary fermenter (glass carboy), leaving behind billions of yeast cells that had done their job beautifully.  I was diluting the slurry of yeast collected on the bucket's bottom, to make it easier to pour out when I thought, "I wonder if it could bake bread?".

I scooped out 60g of the much diluted slurry--looked like slightly muddy water--and added 60g of first clear flour, and one-eighth tsp. of diastatic malt powder. Well stirred, I put it in the microwave, with the door propped ajar to keep the light on. (76°F). I chose first clear flour for its ash content, and added the malt powder for a little bit more sugar boost. Champagne yeast is expecting a very sugary environment. Six hour later it peaked, I fed it twice more (no additional malt powder), at approximately six hour intervals; the last six hour spent at 55°F in the wine closet while I got some sleep. I baked a single batard this morning with 300g of this 100% hydration "poolish?", 45g whole Rye, 138g each of AP and Bread Flour, and 9g of salt--this is essentially my weekly sourdough formula with about 4% more leavain than usual. I fermented and S&F'd the dough as always. Bulk fermentation was one-half hour longer than with my usual levain, and the final proof took two hours, again about one-half hour longer than usual. Baked: Pre-heat 550°F, reduced to 450°F immediately following loading, steam for 15 minutes, finished at 430°F an additional 15 minutes.

The wine yeast, Lalvin EC1118, is an old friend. As I understand, it was first isolated to make champagne. It is very alcohol tolerent (18%) and ferments cleanly and completely, In addition to fermenting white wines, I've used it over the years for finishing high alcohol beers like Imperial Stout or Barley Wine, and restarting stuck fermentations. I've characterized it to fellow brewers, "If there's sugar in old tennis shoes, this yeast will ferment them."

Here's the loaf

I guess, at the end of the day yeast is yeast. The taste of this bread, obviously, lacks the slight tanginess we experience in its sourdough form, but the wheat flavors, and rye base note come through cleanly.  I'm curious what beer yeast might do. Beer yeasts are especially noted for contributing flavor to beers. There is a beer yeast especially isolated to ferment wheat beers, that contributes a banana-like flavor to the finished beer. I wonder what it would do in bread dough: yet another thing to put on the list to try; it keeps getting longer.

David G

benjamin's picture

I'll confess, I am a 'glory poster', as such, I only post bread on my blog when I am reasonably satisfied with the result. That being said, last week I made a batch of baguettes using Hammelmans poolish recipe, suffice it to say, the final bread looked so amateurish that you would think I had never touched flour and yeast before. Sadly, this is an all to common event when I make baguettes. It is the only type of bread in my common repertoire that I can't get some level of consistency with. With no false modesty, I can routinely produce a pretty darn good looking sourdough batard, or nicely scored boule. Yet the baguette for me is an ever elusive quest for perfection.
Dismayed by my results last week, and ever a glutton for punishment, I tried the Hammelman baguettes again last night. The results were a million miles away from last week! No blow outs, nice opening of the cuts, retention of a uniform diameter the length of the loaf... I don't get it! I swear I did everything the same.
Anyway, that's my story for today, I just wanted to savor this moment, because I probably have a month of blow outs and non-opening ears before I see a decent baguette again.

Happy Baking




daysi's picture


Hello everyone, I have been following this site for the last couple of months, I learned about sourdough starter and though of giving it a try. The first recipe I used called for 4 days at room temperature and then keep it in the fridge, it was bubbly up to the point when I put it in the fridge then I tried baking with it and the dough didn't rise. So I discarded it. a couple of weeks later I decided to try again, so I used another recipe I found here which called for 8 days at room temperature, I saw bubbles and "active" for the first three days and then nothing happened, the bubbles disappear and by day 7 I added white wine vinegar (what I had available at that moment) so the following day it was alive, then I decided to start baking bagel (recipe found here as well) it called for 100% hydration, now I am not a baker at all, I love homemade, and that's why I am here (in fact I'm a nurse, so I do not understand this hydration language) anyway I did my Google research and understood what I had to do, so I took 1/4 cup of starter and mix with 1/4 cup of unbleached AP flour and 1/4 cup of filtered water. Next day my starter was dead...  :( I went ahead and baked with it but cheated by adding yeast (ha-ha!) because I knew what the result was going to be. anyway even with the yeast my bagels came out very hard like a rock, at first the dough was way too wet, when I boiled them one of them fell apart, and the baking was supposed to take 8 min, mine took like 1 hour.

What am I doing wrong? I discarded the rest of my dead starter, but I see the pictures of perfectly and delicious looking breads I don't want to give up, please give me some advice.

By the way one thing that kills me really kills me about starter is the fact that I have to discard so much flour and I am not the type of person that would do it, I actually collected it and tried baking with mine but the same thing happened, it  didn't work. Also I don't own any baking books, I see many of you praise somebody call Reinhart, sorry I don't know him. I guess he is an excellent baker, I should buy his books.

Thanks for any advice 


Sedlmaierin's picture

Ok, here I go again. I did try to take a few more pictures-semi succesfully.


Info about the actual bake and ingredients:

-I used Arrowhead Mills Organic whole rye flour and KA Bread Flour;no medium rye flour at all

-the freshening was done using my "old bread" rye starter-freshened with old bread,too

-I did not add the optional yeast

- the freshening fermented in my oven with pilot light on for 6 hours;basic sour on countertop for 24 hours(i figure the temp was around 68-70 degrees); full sour ripened for 3 hours in pilot lit oven

-bulk fermentation about 20 minutes; final fermentation about an hour, shaped into two loaves, fermenting on parchment paper

-painted the loaves with water, docked them and put them in the pre-heated oven on a baking stone with steam for 10 minutes at 490 and then 50 minutes at 410. i let them sit in the turned off oven for about 10 minutes.

-they rested for 36 hours before I cut into them

The taste of this bread  transports me back to my childhood-it is just like the bread I grew up on! This is the first time I feel that my bread actually tastes sour-which to me is a good thing! I mean it is very yummy-moist crumb, nice chewy crust, just the right density.I am very, very happy! The major thing I would do differently next time is to let the final fermentation occur in a brotform or lined/floured bowl-it might help the dough from spreading too much.

this is the fermented basic sour

full sour at mixing

full sour after it was fully fermented-I had to stir it down once during fermentation  because it rose too much(others might say because I put it into a too small bowl.......a small distinction ;p)

tadaaaaa, bread!

crumbiest, crumb shot

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you some recent bakes.  Enjoy!  Sorry no recipes.  Please bug me if you want any of them.


4/2/10 - Pane Casereccio di Genzano, Poilane style miche, Olive Bread.  The olive bread did not turn out well...  Sorry no crumbshots for these.

4/4/10 - Cottage Loaves

4/6/10 - Pane di Matera (Durum bread).  This is my poor attempt at this bread.  It's really difficult to shape.  Mine looked horrible, but they tasted pretty good...  More info here: and here:

4/7/10 - Breadcrumb Bread...  This is another attempt at doing the Pane di Matera shape, very slightly more successfully, but not quite there yet...

4/8/10 - Olive Bread...  Sorry no crumbshot...  My friends said it tasted really good...

4/11/10 - Pizza.  Mushroom, and Artichoke, and Jamon Serrano...

Kathy Summers's picture
Kathy Summers

Dear friends,


I have made handmade bread almost every day for the last thirty-nine years. We raised a family of nine children and they are mostly made of handmade bread. Being so busy with our children as they were growing up and having little money, I figured out a way of making bread that was not only nutritious and delicious, but also easy, fast and economical. I have taught our six daughters and hundreds of other people how to make bread. Many say it is the best bread they have ever eaten and the first time they have been successful making bread. Our twenty-four grandchildren all love our bread and some are now making it themselves. Our family now has three generations of bread makers who all use this method.


I have never seen bread made this way and have read hundreds of bread recipes and bread books. This method is unique and the bread is some of the best bread you will have ever tasted.


The instructions are simple and specific. All the yeast bread recipes are made with instant yeast. The ingredients are rapidly mixed together. There is a short kneading time and no first rising of the dough.  The bread is shaped, raises and then baked. Every recipe can be completed from start to finish within one and one half hours.


I really thought I was done writing bread books. I have written two, but the enthusiasm I have found from many people still wanting to learn to make bread has only increased. Times are hard now for many people. Homemade bread is inexpensive.


I have been blessed to create better and easier recipes, so come along and join me in a new book on handmade breads. You’ll find old friends and new friends and old ways and new ways to guide your bread-making journey.


All you need to do is to read and follow each individual recipe. All the directions are included in the recipe itself of the entire process of making that particular bread.

This book is available on It is called The Best and Easiest Handmade Breads From Start to Finish in 1 and 1/2 hours.

LindyD's picture


"A bagel is a round bread made of simple, elegant ingredients: high-gluten flour, salt, water, yeast and malt. Its dough is boiled, then baked, and the result should be a rich caramel color; it should not be pale and blond. A bagel should weigh four ounces or less and should make a slight cracking sound when you bite into it instead of a whoosh. A bagel should be eaten warm and, ideally, should be no more than four or five hours old when consumed. All else is not a bagel."

So wrote Ed Levine in The New York Times.  Having tasted (and baked) various bagels,  the elegant simplicity of Jeffrey Hamelman's formula, both in ingredients and technique, perfectly fits Levine's description.

Prep time is about ten minutes to scale the ingredients and complete the calculations for the desired dough temperature (76F).   Figure another couple minutes to very lightly oil two sheets of parchment (wiping off any excess oil), which are then placed on two baking sheets.  This is your insurance policy to make sure your bagels won't stick to the parchment after the retarding period.  BTW, these two sheets can be used over and over again.  Just let them dry out before storing them and lightly re-oil before using again.

The dough is then mixed for three minutes to incorporate the five ingredients, then five to six more minutes in a stand or planetary mixer.

Now, about mixers.   Over the past year I've been using my KA Artisan mixer to mix this 58- percent hydration dough.   It easily handled the first three minutes of mixing at speed one,  but began to heat up during the second mixing stage at speed two.  I resorted to strapping an ice pack on top of the mixer to keep it cool and even shut it down for a few minutes if I thought the mixer was straining too much.  That worked and my KA Artisan has survived mixing 30 pounds of Sir Lancelot high gluten flour for bagels, but I've paid very close attention to it every minute of the mix.  

Not wanting to push my luck any further because my KA grain mill and food grinder attachments are important tools, last month I found a Bosch compact stand mixer for sale.   After mixing two batches of bagels, I remain amazed that the little Bosch (which I can hold in one hand) doesn't even get warm while mixing this very stiff dough.  


Once the dough is mixed, it is bulk fermented for one hour, then divided into 13 (a baker's dozen) four-ounce pieces (roughly 112 grams).  Each piece is rolled into a log shape with blunt ends to a length of 10 to 11 inches.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video worth a million or more, here's a link to a great video by Ciril Hitz demonstrating the same shaping method described in Hamelman's Bread.

It takes about a minute to divide, weigh, and shape each bagel.  Divide the 13 bagels between your two lightly oiled parchment sheets, bag the pans or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.  I prefer at least 12 hours.  Retarding is important because it slows down the fermentation of the dough and encourages lactic acid to develop, as well as that lovely crust.  The bagels remain in the refrigerator until you are ready to boil and bake them.

The next morning preheat your oven (and stone) to 500F and add three to four inches of water to a large pot, which will be brought to a boil.   While waiting for the oven to preheat, assemble a large bowl to contain ice water, a plate and cake rack to hold the bagels after their ice bath, a spider or slotted spoon, and another plate to catch any droplets of malted water as you move the bagels from the boiling water to the ice bath. You'll also need a couple sheets of parchment and your peel.


Add enough barley malt syrup to the water (before it begins to boil) so that it's the color of dark tea.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, dump a tray of ice cubes into the large bowl and add water.  Remove one tray of bagels from the refrigerator, uncover, and place two or three in the boiling water for around 45 seconds.   They'll pop right up and float.  The syrup adds a touch of sweetness and color; boiling begins to gelatinize the starch and creates the glossy crust, but boiling too long (some authorities say a minute is too long; others say two minutes) can cause the dough to collapse or  develop patches of yellowed, thickened crust.   

Remove the bagels from the boling water and immediately place in the ice water bath to chill for a couple of minutes. I don't use bagel boards, so I move the chilled bagels to the cake rack for about a minute, then to the parchment on my peel (after adding toppings, if any).   Once all the bagels from that batch have been boiled, chilled, and moved to the parchment covered peel, into the oven they go for 15 to 18 minutes.  Proceed with the final batch and enjoy while still warm.

The results: authentic, elegant bagels that even Ed Levine would love.



This recipe is my first bake of The Bread Challenge

jrcharter's picture

Hello all.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with having a gluten allergy, or what is more commonly known as a wheat allergy, or Celiac's disease.  NO MORE Sourdough bread?    Time to go jump in the ocean.  So, I found some "sourdough" bread mixes, done gluten free.  Expensive and really dry.  Lots of Tapioca flour used, which in reality is a starch.  What to do?  Well, either keep buying bad bread for about $8 bucks a loaf or become a bread baker/chemist.

My breads have been tasty, have bend, but are peasant breads, heavy with little rise.  I use a sourdough starter and feed it Lecithan, ascorbic acid and ginger mix, and it has been okay, but does not cause the bread to rise much.

Since my goal is a gluten-free, taste-filled, fluffy loaf with a crisp sourdough crust, I have a ways to go, but will keep on trying.  If anyone has any information to make my chemisty experiment a sucess, let me know. 


Keep on baking!  Rene.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I lost track of the hydration of this loaf. It is somewhere between 85 and 90%. Prefermented flour (KA ap and a touch of Bob's Red Mill light rye) and water was added to a 100% starter. The dough was "folded" three times at 45 minute intervals, then fermented in bulk for about another 2.5 hours at about 75 - 80 degrees. It was then poured out onto a bed of rice and wheat flour, "shaped" by folding on itself in thirds, and quickly moved to a floured couche, where it proofed for about 2.5 hours more. At this point, the dough was very delicate. It was very gently flipped onto a piece of parchment, loaded and baked at 500 degrees, the first 15 minutes under a stainless steel bowl. The finished loaf had a height of about an inch and a half. The crust was crispy and not too thick. The crumb was very translucent and springy, with a honeycomb effect that brought to mind the Japanese baguettes of which we have seen photos. The taste was mild, with a slight tang.

Thanks to bwraith for his posts on sourdough ciabatta.





submitted to yeastspotting.

breadinquito's picture

Morning everyone, in the last few days here in Quito the temp dropped to a max of 19 (outside) and as a consequence, my starter looks like a drunk person doesn't want to "wake up"...suggestions appreciated...thanks in advance. Paolo


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