The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


  • Pin It
Just Like Bread's picture
Just Like Bread

Hey guys, 

I’m looking for 10 bakery owners to join me in creating their ideal piece of software to manage their bakery. 

It won’t cost anything to take part - all I’m looking for are people that are happy to answer a few questions about what their ideal software would look like, and to test a few prototypes as time goes on.

Everything can be done remotely, via Skype or google hangouts.

Drop me a line if you’re interested, or if you know anybody that would be.



Why am I doing this?

Over the last few months, I’ve had an influx in irritated bakery owners in the UK ask me to create them a piece of software.

It seems most of the solutions out there are either overpriced or horrible to use, or both!

So here we are… I’ve got a team of designers and developers on hand to create something beautiful, simple and intuitive, which people actually enjoy using.

Let me know if you’d like to get involved or forward this on to anyone that might be.

Many thanks





nonnaluna's picture

At least once a week, I bake bread.  One of our favorites is the ciabatta (slipper, in Italian).  But, yesterday, I decided to revisit a book I purchased a while back and baked boule (ball, in French). The last bread I baked from that book was an Italian Semolina Bread.

boule I

t's a 5-Minute Artisan Bread riddled with holes and full of flavor. This bread is "quick, easy and rustic" using only white flour, yeast, salt and water. There is no need to knead the dough. But after seeing how easy it is, you may need to need it more often than not. You mix the dough in bulk then stash it in the refrigerator until ready for a chewy, delicious loaf of homemade goodness.

The trick lies in not kneading the dough but instead mixing the dough in bulk, stashing it in the fridge, and then forgetting about it until the craving for freshly baked bread descends upon you. When that happens, simply take the dough out of the fridge, lop off enough for a loaf, shape it, let it rest, and then take a moment to slide it in the oven before you casually go about your life. And then don’t come forget to come back later to retrieve the best artisan bread of your life from the oven.  --For the recipe and to read more visit:  Leite's Culinaria 

After looking at the recipe you might find it a little intimidating since the directions seem to go on and on.  But, I assure you that it is easier than it looks.  Rather than mixing my dough in a container, I used my standing mixer. It mixes as easily as 1-2-3.  Then, I put the shaggy dough into a plastic, loosely covered, container for the 2 hour rise and to store in the refrigerator.  I let mine rise 3 hours.  The book say up to 5 hours is ok.

boule raised dough

The dough lasts up until 14 days in the refrigerator.  Therefore, be sure to use it up before the 14 days are over.  In the book, it says that the dough can be frozen in 1 lb. portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.

It's important to note that when the dough is rising and when it is stored in the refrigerator, make sure that the lid, on the container, isn't airtight. The trapped gasses my cause a ka-boom!

When you are ready to bake, all you do is cut off a piece of dough, (follow directions for this) shape and let rest for 40 minutes before baking.  Instead of using my pizza peel, I used a pizza pan lined with parchment paper.

boule before baking

The results are a chewy,  delicious loaf of homemade goodness riddle with holes.  The prefect bread for dipping and sopping up sauces and gravy.


The book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) which includes this recipe and many more can found here.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Once again, I'm experimenting with baking high hydration sourdoughs in loaf pans. This time I did the Country Blonde from FWSY. I did it mostly to make customers happy (some of whom, for some reason, find it difficult to cope with slicing a boule), but I also wanted to make it easier for me! It's not bad shaping and then transferring a very wet dough when you're doing one loaf at a time, but when I'm trying to cope with a large puddle of dough for 8 loaves, it's just too much trouble!

And this was a large puddle of dough. Tipping it out from Max's big mixing bowl onto the counter / work bench, it spread to the point where I almost had no more room to scale and shape the individual 'blobs'. It was also annoyingly sticky so I had to flour everything just to be able to cope. I loosely folded and rolled each piece, then plopped it into greased bread tins. After about 3.5 hours I managed to score the loaves (though still wet, soft and sticky) and put them in the oven (450F for a total of 45 minutes, with a spritz from a spray bottle at the start).

They actually turned out quite lovely. I kept one loaf for us and just had a piece with butter. The crust is definitely a lean bread crust - chewy and thicker than an enriched sandwich bread would be, and the crumb is really, really nice. Very pleasant flavour with a slight sour tang to it. I like this! :)

I had to flour the tops just so I could score them.

Nice burst and blistering; good colour.

Beautiful crumb, texture and aroma. This loaf is a little small - I kept this one for us because it scaled about 30 grams less than my normal market breads (due to the loss from all the wet dough that stuck to my hands and everything else!)

NGS1018's picture

I have friends from Bosnia that have a huge lamb roast every year, and every year there is a discussion about the Somun and how the store bought bread doesn't live up to fresh made.  I've decided to break my own rule of not attempting to compete with a childhood memory and take up this challenge and attempt to get something close or at least better than the store bread for next year's lamb roast.

My biggest challenge is I've never actually had the original bread, so I will be guessing.  Also, I was already contemplating with the no knead bread the week before the 2016 lamb roast when several ppl encouraged me to give this a stab.

I'm not a baker by nature as I've always been told you must be precise in measurements and you cannot tinker with recipes too much.  This goes against my instincts since I know nature is not consistent.  The ingredients change flavors and textures depending on the earth, the rain, the wind the sun. What makes the ideal mix today is unlikely to be the ideal mix tomorrow.  Despite this, I have started the process and will document it here.

My first attempt has influence from several websites, I definitely want the very long fermentation time no matter what as it's the healthiest option that develops the most flavor in bread. 

  • 100g bread flour
  • 100g A/P flour
  • 4g (1 tsp) Kosher salt-fine
  • 2g baking powder (for extra lift to form the pocket)
  • 3g yeast (regular)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 140g water

Yeast and sugar were stirred into warm water and set aside, the remaining ingredients were mixed in a large bowl.  Once fermentation begins in the yeast mixture it is added to the dry goods.  Everything is mixed until a shaggy dough forms.  The bowl is covered with plastic and left to rest 12-16 hours.  (In full disclosure an appt ran late and the dough was left closer 18 hours.) The dough is currently in the fridge for 3-5 days, keep your fingers crossed!


Laowai's picture

Recipe #1193 in M. Hoffmann, H. Lydtin, "Bayrisches Kochbuch" Birken publising, 53 Ed., 1986

Simple yeast dough (ok, I don't have milk or butter in my household, so I substituted it with water and peanut oil, which according to my sister would make it a pizza dough and according to my wife it's a cake since it has eggs and sugar).

Wikipedia tells me that Rohrnudeln are also called Buchteln and originate from Bohemia, Austria, Slovak, Slovenia and Hungaria.


Skibum's picture

I have been struggling for months with batards, scoring and getting proper bloom. Well, I have had success two bakes in a row now as a result in two new procedures. I would like to do a shout out to alphonso for the video he posted a while back. Thanks alan, your video has been most helpful to me!

The two small changes were to put the loaf into the fridge for the last 10 minutes of proofing and dipping my lame in water prior to scoring. Ear on the first bake at 200 grams and a half ear on this one at 370 grams. I will call this loaf VanGogh as it only has a half an ear.

Great oven explosion on this bake. the fully proofed loaf was about as long as the baked one, but only about 2 inches in diameter, so I am super happy with the bloom! This batch of dough was 350 g total flour @ 75% hydration. I used 25 g durham semolina and the rest strong bread flour, 50 grams liquid levain and 5 g salt. I will note that I had fed my levain three days in a row. It sure made a difference in oven spring, ah explosion. Very satisfying.

Here is a crumb shot:

I find the addition of a little semolina adds some real snap to the crust and a nice subtle flavour add in a lean loaf.

Well is the May holiday long weekend here in Canada. Naturally here in my mountain town it is 4C with steady rain expected to turn to snow as the temperature drops. This is normal. It is also a great day to bake some stuff! With the terrible fires in the north east of my province, I pray that some of this rain gets to Fort McMurray and area! I great this rain with great relief as the area had been tinder dry and this takes the wildfire risk down to low. There are still nearly 90,000 people from the fire area. Prayers!

Happy baking! Ski

PalwithnoovenP's picture

My dad is now a septuagenarian! He just turned 70, thank God! We're truly blessed! I've been busy this past two days preparing for and celebrating my dad's birthday.

I inherited many traits from my dad. His nose, his height, his huge veiny hands, his hair that grays early, his love for all things vintage (What 21 year old would love to listen to Elvis Presley, Jo Stafford, Connie Francis, Engelbert Humperdinck; to drive and gaze at vintage cars; to collect old cutlery and kitchenware?), his creativity, his resourcefulness, and his fiery temper! Just joking! He will be very mad if he reads this!!! Again, a joke!

We love to drive. On his birthday last year, I got my student license to learn driving. A year later, only 3 trips on the national highway; my license is already expired but I had a lot of learning. I already know the vehicle well though not as well as dad. He also maintains them well, all of our "cars" are 30+ years and still well conditioned ready to go head on with brand new models. They also have unique parts that allow them to travel on mountain paths and rough terrain.

Our International Harvester Scout 1972. This is where I first learnt to drive.

A jeep that dad himself assembled in 1978. This is my practice vehicle in the highway.

What trait I love most that I inherited from him and I think it really defines me as his son is his behemoth sweet tooth! We really love sweets! I remember when I was a child, we use to share a can of condensed milk for dessert! We also like sweet and rich desserts; other people will often tell that they will have a headache from the sweetness but it's fine for us!

We also love watching James Bond films. Watching it is our bonding aside from driving and making desserts. He loves the classic Bond films so his favorite is Sean Connery in Dr. No. My favorite is the latest Bond, Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. It also happens that it is the film where my favorite Bond girl appeared, Vesper Lynd! I really love how Eva Green played the character there. During his birthday we made a Pierce Brosnan marathon of Bond films.

Because we love sweets and James Bond is British (it's illogical, I know!), I planned to make a classic British sweet dish for his special day, Sticky toffee pudding! I really have a soft spot for British things. I also have a slight British accent when speaking English, just started about a couple of years ago which I must admit is a Harry Potter influence. The "standard" accent here is American but I sound like a drowning cat when trying so when I tried to apply the British pronunciation, I sounded smoother and it has become natural for me now. From watching a lot of British films, I have pretty mixed English vocabulary now but I still can't call fries chips, it will confuse my friends severely.

His best friend's son working in Saudi Arabia just sent us a pack of dates. It is one of our favorite dried fruits! Not sure what is the variety but it's perfect timing for the pudding!

We pitted the dates one by one and divided it among ourselves. Dad quickly packed half of it for him to snack on. Mom and I divided the rest between us. Though I want to eat them immediately, I really saved it for this day! I have to hide it from their prying eyes or my share will be eaten too!

I based this on many recipes online. Some call for mixed spice, coffee, and even malted chocolate drink such as Ovaltine! Ingredients common in all are flour, eggs, butter and sugar. I just noted their amounts and proceeded to work my magic in doing this without measurements. I used dark brown sugar for a lovelier colour and caramel flavor that complements the dates well. I creamed the butter well using just a spoon a bowl until fluffy. I added two eggs one at a time for easier mixing and mixed vigorously until mixture is super aerated. I folded in plain flour very gently at the very end.

The dried dates were softened in boiling water along with a bit of bicarbonate of soda. There's no other leavening agent in it other than that. It will react with the acid present in the brown sugar to produce a light sponge. Just after a few minutes and they're all soft and juicy!

I mixed it into the batter at the very last minute so as not to lose any of the carbon dioxide produced by the chemical reaction.

I deposit the gorgeous batter into greased and floured llaneras. For little cakes, I prefer to grease and flour my tins; not only does it makes the cake pop right out of the tin when unmoulded, I also love the slight crust it yields on the cakes.

I baked it in my pre-heated clay pot for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. I also made a bigger one for lovers, really for my mom and dad to share and it baked for 35 minutes, the last 10 minutes over embers. Because my clay pot doesn't have a flat bottom and I do not have a rack that fits inside the pot, I have to put them on top of another llnaera so all cakes ended up being lopsided. Still pretty and yummy for us! It is already fortunate that there are no spills that burnt.

The cakes rose nice and high in the pot. I can't explain the bubbles that broke through the surface, it always happens when baking cakes in my clay pot. No worries! More poking will be done later! Their look reminds me of a Madeleine with it's signature hump!

Here's how it looks like when unmoulded. I didn't bother to unmould it onto a plate for a better presentation, it is meant to be homey and rustic. The llanera also serves as the bowl where you eat it, less mess and less dishes to clean!

After cooling a bit, you must poke a lot of holes to facilitate absorption of the lovely silky rich toffee sauce (Just simmered cream, brown sugar and butter. I used whole milk for my sauce instead of double cream because I couldn't find it.) that will turn this into sticky toffee pudding. My chopsticks are perfect for this! It's pretty therapeutic!

A bath of toffee sauce and we're sold. Love the sweet comforting flavor. A little bit of cream or custard won't hurt, ice cream too is a nice touch, even some flaky sea salt to offset the sweetness but we like as it is. At least, it's getting cooler, we're eating this comforting cold weather dessert at 81F. We're really feeling the cold for a week now because it's always 93F for two months. It's also starting to rain now.

The sides and bottom of each cake are crispy. The crumb is fine and soft and full of caramel flavor. The dates also come through but not much of a textural interest because I chopped them too finely, perhaps I will leave them whole next time. Dad really loved this because he loves dates, caramel and sweet and rich things! I'm excited to try more British sweets. What's next? Jam roly-poly? Spotted dick? Or Sussex pond pudding?

Here is the Lover's Sticky Toffee Pudding!


A simple pork tongue stew for dinner. My dad and I really like tongue! It's our favorite organ meat / sweetbread.

Some Dayang dayang. It's is dad's favorite among my original creations partly because he plays a huge part in it. He requested me to make some since he already made the coconut sweet. Here is my second time making it. The main change is I used plain flour for these for a softer texture which seemed counter productive. It didn't have the volume and lightness of the first batch because of the lower protein so it was denser and chewier.

I didn't fry it too dark this time so no bitterness, only coconut flavor.

Here is the coconut sweet I was talking about. Dad made this by himself over a wood fire for a good two hours.

Still the same. Lots of cake crumbs for coating. Very delicious!

Happy birthday daddy! I love you! Mahal na mahal kita!

Ru007's picture

This week as i was looking for a loaf to try for BBD #83 [] a lovely looking polenta sourdough recipe caught my eye.

My formula:



Weights (g)






Levain (100% hydration)








White Flour
















Add ins




Toasted Pumpkin seeds




Cooked Polenta  (40g polenta, 130g water)




Total dough weight



[I think hydration including water from the levain and the porridge is about 89%, including the flour from the levain and the 40g of polenta in the total flour ]


I built up my levain in 3 builds starting with 6g of my trusty 100% rye, 67% hydration starter.

The evening before mixing day I added 40g of polenta to 160g of water and cooked it gently over a low heat until the water was just absorbed. The porridge then went into the fridge for the night.

Early morning the day before I gave my levain its last feed. I mixed the flour polenta and water and left that at room temperature for about 7 hours (its only meant to be about 20 mins but I had to leave the house). I added salt to my dough, mixed and then added the levain.

I thought about adding more flour, since the dough was very wet, but that has never ended well, so I decided to push through. I managed to do 60 slap and folds (but I think I’ll be finding bits of dough on the wall for the next few days, I had fun though).

I did three stretch and folds immediately after the slap and folds and then one set of stretch and fold every 20 mins four more times and added the toasted pepitas on the 4th set of stretch and folds.

The dough was then left to bulk ferment at room temperature for an hour and half. The dough was close to doubled already.  Things seemed to be happening quickly!

I managed to coax the still fairly loose dough into an oblong shape and got it into my basket and into the fridge for an 18 hour retard.

Getting the dough out of the basket was a bit tricky, it stuck to the cloth in a few spots. By the time I scored it and got it into the oven it had flattened and spread a lot. I baked it at 250 dC with steam for 20mins and then turned done the heat to 230 dC for another 30mins (trying to be bolder with my bakes).


I was so surprised by the spring on this loaf since I upped the percentage of polenta  and pumpkins seeds quite a bit from the original recipe. I also didn’t think it would recover from the man handling I gave it before baking, you can see the spots where i had to wrestle the dough away from the cloth.


The crumb came out moist and open. The polenta completely disappeared into the crumb, I was hoping to see a few flecks of yellow, but I’m not complaining.


The crust is nice and crackly.

The taste of this bread is great, slightly sweet probably due to the polenta. The crumb is chewy but very soft at the same time.

 Overall, I’m very happy with this one! 

Happy baking!

STUinlouisa's picture

This loaf has sprouted flour that consists of Millet, Eincorn, Buckwheat, and Barley as well as a soaker of left over bolted rye flour from last week's bake and some fresh milled corn meal. Most of the hydration comes from YW and there is a small amount of starter added as well as some AP and VWG. The vital wheat gluten was added because last time such a mix was attempted there was not enough structure to the dough, we don't keep bread flour on hand and had to dig the VWG out of the freezer where it  had been languishing for over a year maybe two.. The dough was mixed, the gluten exercised, and allowed to ferment only about 30 min before retarding. After the warmed and slightly risen dough was formed and placed on a bran covered basket it proofed for about  4 hours. It was baked in a DO.

Bread had good spring and the crumb structure was just what was wanted. The taste is nutty and sweet with just a hint of the starter. The more YW is used and the technique is improved upon the more it is becoming a standard in my bread baking process.

leslieruf's picture


todays bake was my favourite multigrain sourdough (3 righthand loves). Looking at my notes it must have been at least 12 months since I last made this one. I winged it a bit but really happy with the result.  crumb shot

Just recently I have made several batches of the basic 1:2:3 sourdough and have been really pleased with result.  The first one I managed to burn the bottom but the next one was fine.  Todays effort has a very small amount of wholemeal flour as I ran out of bread flour.  The back loaf (lefthand loaves) was just over 900 grams, the other 2 loaves 550 gms. 

crumb shot.  All in all a good day's baking. I AM GETTING MY MOJO BACK. :)


Subscribe to RSS - blogs