The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


MickiColl's picture

some of the recipes here call for "old bread" ? is that old "cooked/baked" bread ? or it simply old uncooked dough (discard)

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

It's that time of the year again -- when I sacrafice sleep in honor of holiday spirit. Starting early this year since I am moving soon, and sourdough panettone makes a great goodbye gift. This recipe is from here: 53% butter, 36% sugar, and 50% egg yolks (that's 16 yolks for 2 loaves my friends, as I was seperating them, I was praying the breads would work out, I really would like NOT waste a whole case of eggs for nothing!)! It's rich, it's light as air, it's melt in your mouth, I am pretty sure my friends will remember me for a looooong time! I follow the recipe closely with the following notes:

- Yes, the link is in Italian, this is where we put Google Translate in good use.
- Instead of sultanas and candied fruits, I got inspired and add candied chestnuts. Recipe can be found here. Yes, it takes 4+ days to make, but hey, with this sourdough panettone thing, one should just ignore time spent, money spent, or fat/cholesterol content. :P I didn't make quite enough, so my add-in ingredients was 87.5% of what the formula specified for both sultanas and candied fruits, making the final loaves slightly lighter (but definitely not smaller, see below).
- I made 2/5 of the formla, which means I got 2 big loaves. If I had divided the dough evenly, each should be 1040g, perfect for the paper case. However, one loaf was a gift, the other was for ourselves, so I put 1100g in the gift case, only 980g in the other. From last years experience, I thought 1100g would fit, but OMG, this formula is much richer, which means the dough rose much higher. As you can see below, the 980g looks perfect, the 1100g one was threatening to spill over! Oh well, my friend had no objection with some extra yummy bread.

-Key #1 for a successful sourdough panettone, especially such a rich one, is an active Italian mother starter. I first kept my 100% liquid starter at room temp for 2 days (feeding everything 12 hours), then converted to 50% firm starter (20g 100% starter +20g Bread Flour+5g water), then keep it at 85F and feed it every 4 hours with following ratio: (starter: flour: water = 1:1:0.5). Did this for 48 hours, the starter more than tripled between each feeding.
-Key #2 for a successful sourdough panettone is a thorogh kneading. For the first dough, butter must be added little by little after the dough as come together, then I kneaded until the dough came together again and cleared most of the mixing bowl (no need for windowpane). Be careful not to overknead, with so much yolks and butter, it's easy to overknead. However, be sure not to underknead, otherwise, the 2nd dough would be much harder to knead. The following is first dough after kneading:

For 2nd dough, butter must be added little by little AFTER the dough has come together and clear the bowl. After butter is added, the dough must be kneaded until you can get a thin but strong windowpane. The dough literally felt like liquid silk, draping down from my hands.

-Unlike last year, the dough rose right on schedule this time, indicating an active starter and good kneading. After 5 hours at 30C, the dough came to the rim of the case. The chocolate glaze recipe I used was from AB&P.

- I hung the loaves upside down between stacks of books for 5 hours after baking.

- For my last years panettone post please click here, it also includes info on the paper case.

Definitely richer and lighter than last year's version

Shredding...the texture is literally like air, the flavor on the other hand, hits like a rock! If I can get my new kitchen in order before Christmas, I am sure I will make more of these.

PiPs's picture





Total dough weight



Total flour



Total water



Total salt



Prefermented flour






Starter build – 8 hrs 27°C



Rye starter @ 100% hydration



Sifted Wheat









Final dough 25°C






 Sifted fresh milled Spelt











  1. Autolyse 45 mins
  2. Knead 5-10 mins
  3. Bulk ferment 1.5 hours with stretch and fold at 45 mins
  4. Preshape and bench rest for 15 mins
  5. Shape and proof for 45 mins
  6. Bake in steamed oven for 10 mins at 250°C then 30 mins at 200°C

I have come to the realisation that I don’t enjoy working with large proportions of spelt flour in dough.  The flavour of the bread was ok, but considering it contained 75% sifted spelt flour I found it rather bland, left me wanting more from it. As the temperatures continue to climb here (yesterday was a hot and humid 32°C) I am finding the spelt breads ferment way too fast for my liking even when using cooler water.

I think I will stick with wheat breads and smaller proportions of spelt (30% is a favourite of mine)

… also looks like a busy weekend of baking coming up … and with Christmas fast approaching it seems just about all of our upcoming weekends have social events hopefully requiring bread :)

Cheers, Phil

ananda's picture

Two Leavens, Some Wholegrain and a Commercial Mixer

I wanted to use my new [very old!] 20 Quart Hobart dough mixer as soon as possible, so made a dough from the flour I had available today, after building both my rye sourdough and wheat levain over a couple of good feeds.

I only had around 40g of each culture in stock, but built each one with a feed Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to give me a working amount to build a great final dough today, Thursday.

Details are given below:



Formula [% flour]

Recipe [grams]

1 a. Wheat Levain



Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour












1b. Rye Sourdough



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour












2. Final Dough



Wheat Levain [from 1a.]



Rye Sourdough [from 1b.]



Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour



Carrs Special CC Flour



Allinson’s Strong Wholemeal



Gilchester’s Organic Pizza Flour



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour















% pre-fermented flour



% overall hydration



% wholegrain flour









    • Build the 2 leavens as described above
    • Firstly deposit the rye sourdough into the mixing bowl.   Add weighed and tempered water to this, then add all the remaining flours.   Leave out the salt and wheat levain, and mix for 3 minutes on first speed, using the hook attachment.   Scrape down the bowl half way through the mixing time.   Allow to autolyse for 1 hour.
    • Add the wheat levain and salt and mix for 1 minute on slow speed.   Scrape down the bowl, add a pinch of flour as needed, and mix on 2nd speed for 5 minutes.   DDT 24°C
    • Bulk ferment for 2½ hours, with one set of bold S&Fs after 2 hours.
    • Scale and divide as follows: 2 @ 480g, 1 @ 960g, 1 @ 700g and the remaining piece, just short of 1500g.   Mould round.   Rest and prepare 5 bannetons.   Re-mould and set upside down in the bannetons for bulk proof.
    • Bulk proof time between 3 and 6 hours to fit schedule
    • Bake in an electric oven with steam and on a stone.   Cut the dough surface just prior to loading.   I loaded each loaf to an oven pre-heated for 1 hour to 280°C.   I used steam by misting the dough surface with water, and adding boiling water to a pan of hot stones on the base of the oven.   The first 10 minutes the oven setting was 250°C, with the fan off.   After that I lowered the heat to 215°C  and switched over to fan convection on full power, and baked out each loaf.   The 2 small loaves were baked simultaneously.
    • Cool on wires


No wood in stock, which was a bit of a pain, given I had 5 loaves to bake off the same dough.   Some loaves were proved in front of the fire, and some were held in the fridge for an hour to ensure smooth production schedule…that worked.

The dough was splendid!   The mixer is a joy, and, the even fermentation at 24°C with gentle, but excellent development and generous hydration produced results as good as I could have hoped for.

Plenty wholegrain too!  


The taste?   I really rate this bread very highly.   Let’s see what other local people think now…


Nigel's November Baking Day

On Saturday I managed to get up early for a change, so I could pay a visit to my friend and long time baking colleague, Nigel.   It is actually all down to him that I ever got involved in the food industry, and baking in particular.   Both of us were founder-members of the Red Herring Worker's Co-op in Newcastle, a business which Nigel had pioneered single-handedly for a few years already before we came together to create it as a formal business entity.   That was way back in 1987!

Fast forward to our current situations, and we both seem to have wood-fired ovens built at our homes, and ready to use as an integral part to our imagined future destiny.   Nigel, thank you so much for helping me to get my oven built in the first place.   Apologies for not getting on board to help build your own monster; at the time I seem to remember having to defer my MSc for a year as teaching commitments at Newcastle College just about pulled me under a very big wave indeed.

Nigel's oven is a very big beast indeed.   It gave me several big lessons when I went to help out on Saturday morning.   Firstly there was well in excess of 100 loaves to bake.   We also made a range of sweet and savoury pasties.   Nigel had fired the oven hard the previous evening, and again from early Saturday morning [05:00]   I arrived at 09:00 [he lives over 40 miles south from my home], and the oven was sitting happily at just under 350*C.   We started baking at 11:00, just as we finished off most of the pasties, and moulded up a second batch of unbleached white loaves.

Well, it was a great chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.   Some folks I hadn't seen for around 20 years.   Other fellow "Herrings" came along, so too, Katie [of "Stout and Flax Seed Bread" fame] along with her Dad.   It was a lovely sunny day, and I managed to grab some photos of Nigel's burgeoning bakery den, and he kindly took some snaps as I had a chance to set his lovely loaves, and to pull them, baked, from his wonderful oven.

Here's a few photos; you can see more on my flickr site, here:



Very best wishes to you all



freerk's picture


When asked where, or who, or what I would turn to when in need of comfort, I blurted out:

"I bake" All around the table there were people nodding in agreement. Comfort, food, baking. A no-brainer.

My answer caused a growing feeling of unease within myself though. As the rest of us came up with their ideas (books, photo albums from the attic, secret benches at water fronts) I counted the number of times a week I throw something into my oven, and started to get slightly worried. I must be in need of an awful lot of comfort...

Ever since, every time I bake, I ask myself; why am I baking?

Sometimes the answer has indeed something to do with comfort. A missed job that had my name written all over it will spark a very comforting autumnal frangipani.

Last week I found myself baking Dutch crust rolls after I shattered two (!) plates I really liked. At times, it is about a passion for new things and learning. Croissants, ensaimadas, macarons, complicated sourdough breads that take up to 36 hours to make, bring it on!

Most of the time the answer seems way more trivial. All the bread eaten in this house come from our own oven. I bake because there needs to be bread on the table in the morning. Simple as that, or is it...

Sharing as a disease The best part of baking, especially when baking bread, is eating it together. Sharing bread is right up there with the big boys when it comes to what is ingrained in our very genes from the start of humanity.

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the ground."

No sooner were we kicked out of paradise, or bread came into our existence... It is at the heart of what makes us human and has stayed with us till this very day!

I heard a wonderful story of a guy, here in Amsterdam, who has made it his mission to GIVE in life all that he can, without ever asking anything in return. He helps complete strangers to a new bike, finds lost photo albums and brings it back to the rightful owners, things like that.

One of the people, a radio journalist, who was touched by all this - he himself got a new bicycle after complaining on a radio show that it was stolen from him - dug around a little and found out the guy was operating... from a mental institution.

He was diagnosed mentally ill. His own words; "over here they consider sharing a disease".

The disease that is called sharing... Personally I hope it is airborne and viral, very contagious and practically incurable. This world could do with a bit of sharing.

This recipe for Swedish Kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls) came to me by way of a baking friend. She got it from a new food channel, who got it from somewhere else, etc. Along the way tweaks were made in the recipe, and what you end up with are some really stunning, very tasty cinnamon rolls that are real easy to make. Maybe something for at the coffee table on Thanksgiving? For me, any old day will do to make them; they have become very popular quite fast in this household.

Swedish Kanelbullar

For the filling:

150 g almonds
150 g sugar
100 g unsalted butter
8 TS cinnamon
4 TBS water

For the dough

500 ml milk
150 g butter
12 g instant yeast
120 g sugar
13 gr. salt
1 TS cardamom
850 gr. bread flour
1 egg
(pearl) sugar for decorating

Warm the milk and melt the butter into it. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and bread flour. Make sure the milk has cooled enough before adding the yeast. 35° C is okay. Mix on low speed until the dough is nice and stretchy, around 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Pulse the almonds together with the sugar and the cinnamon in a processor until fine. Add the water and the butter to it and mix until well incorporated.

Rest your dough in an oiled container until almost doubled in size. The warmer it is the quicker it goes. About one hour or so. Next, roll out the dough to a big rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Make sure it doesn't stick, it makes working this dough much easier.

Put the cinnamon paste on half of the dough and fold it onto itself. Roll out again to even it out and cut the dough into strips. Form the rolls by stretching and winding the strip of dough, loosely, around your hand twice, go over the width of the roll and tuck in the end. No matter how you do it, it will always look lovely, so don't get too over zealous in trying to get them to look all the same!

Let the rolls proof until they are nice and plump, about 45 minutes. In a warm kitchen they might be ready within 30 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 200° C. Take out all the racks and prepare to bake on the second lowest rack.

Give the rolls an egg wash with the slightly beaten egg (use only egg yolk for a deeper, richer shine and a more dramatic contrast) and sprinkle with small sugar pearls if you have them. Normal sugar works as well, but won't look as classy. Bake for about 20-25 minutes with convection until they turn a deep golden brown. Let them cool on a rack and.... SHARE!

happy baking!


Szanter5339's picture

I Can Not Get Enough of her beauty!

I watch with wonder this beauty! Simply unbelievable that I baked. As I have already written most of the occupation of the bread baking. I always look forward to baking bread in the days and completely turned off by molding. They are not pre-plan model, and then point at the moment is the idea.


 Csodálkozva nézem ezt a szépséget! Egyszerűen hihetetlen,hogy én sütöttem.  Mint ahogyan már írtam a legszebb elfoglaltságom a kenyérsütés. Mindig nagyon várom a sütési napokat és teljesen kikapcsolódok a kenyér mintázásával. Előre nem tervezek mintát, pont akkor és abban a pillanatban jön az ötlet.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Floyd,

Just recently, about 3 to 4 weeks ago I think I started getting two lots of the daily forums on my email from you. . All entries are the same and they are about half an hour apart from each other. Is this normal or is this the way it is done. Could I possibly be listed twice in your system? Don't get me wrong I look forward to them daily but I am wondering if twice a day of the same forums is normal? If it isn't what can I do to correct this situation? 

Keep up the good work............Cheers Aussie Pete.

Chausiubao's picture

Hamburger buns, finally; again

My last journey into the recesses of my memories of pride and egotism brought out many a story of my declarations with respect to hamburger buns. “White bread is easy,” I declared to the world, but my heart having been shattered into a million pieces I return here to accomplish now what I could not then! That subsequent attempt resulting in a consecutive shattering of my heart, I return again undaunted in my quest for a good hamburger bun!

What I will say about my last attempt at hamburger buns via pain de mie was that the buns were both improperly proofed and slightly overbaked. The final product was both dense and tough. It is also possible that skinning over of the dough during the oven pre-heat cycle also hindered oven spring, contributing even more to the problem. That in mind, I've made a few changes to both my formula and my approach.

Here is my hypothesis: enriched white bread doesn't rely on fermentation for flavor, therefore focusing on flavor in the production of aforementioned enriched white bread is wasteful. Rather, these breads rely on the ingredients they contain, namely sugar, dairy, and other additions, so these ingredients should play first fiddle in the formula and the method of preparation. I have doubled the yeast in this particular incarnation of pain de mie to this end, no doubt I will need to refine this change over time.

In my previous attempt I was cold proofing the final shapes. I was hoping the sealed space of my oven was enough to facilitate the proofing of the buns. I believe I was wrong! So I'll throw in a boiling pot of water and see how that helps things along. Additionally, I baked the hamburger buns for 18 minutes at 400 F. This might have been excessive, considering the dough has much higher surface area compared to before, the dough will bake much faster. Perhaps, 400 F for 12 minutes, or 350 F for 20 minutes. Then again, I would imagine, a lower temperature would dry out the dough, so a fast, hot bake seems like the better option. I'll try 400 F for 10 minutes and see where that takes me. A secondary note to add to that is that a full bake doesn't mean the dough should be fully colored, as you could see in the last batch of hamburger buns. Ultimately what I am saying is, more yeast, warmer proof, and a shorter bake should give me better results compared to last time!

After an hour of bulk fermentation, division, rounding, and a rest, the shapes are flattened, maintaining the round shape.

This is about 30 minutes of final proofing in my oven with a steaming pot of water to provide heat. In the end, the dough was proofed about 45 minutes before they went into the oven.

A little less then 10 minutes in a 375 F oven, baked with steam, and double panned to prevent overbrowning on the bottoms.

And the final product, once out of the oven, brushed with heavy whipping cream and allowed to cool. Much better then last time, the first picture posted.

I admit, 3% yeast might have been overkill, and it was. But the results were quite attractive. Somewhere between 2% and 3% will get me where I want to be. Additionally the proof temperature definitely helped a lot, as did avoiding the skin from forming on the dough while it was exposed to the dry air outside the oven. This time, it took a mere 10 minutes to bake at a temperature of 375 F. I had to double pan the buns in order to prevent excessive browning on the bottoms, but it was well worth it. I declare this a success! I'll have to make burgers tomorrow.


suzyr's picture

Reinhardts Ciabatta

Ciabatta- 3 small loaves or 2 large

3 1/4 cups of Mature Poolish ready for final dough

3  cups of bread flour

1 3/4 tsps of salt

1 1/2 tsp of instant yeast

6 tab to 3/4 cup of water room temp

In mixing bowl add poolish with all of the ingredients.  Blend well til flour is hydrated well. Continue to mix for 5 minutes with paddle, til dough comes away from the sides.  This is very sticky dough, if it isn’t you need more water.  They suggest starting with 6 tab and up to 3/4 cup of water.  I used it all.

Prepare counter top with flour, add dough on top and pat down with floured hands. Let rest 2 minutes and then proceed to stretch and fold procedure. Then cover for 30 minutes and repeat process.  Then cover again and proof for 1 and half hours to 2 .   Then proceed to cut into 2 pieces and place in a couche. Proof for 60 minutes then bake in preheated oven with steam at 500 and then turn down after 30 seconds. Bake for another 15 minutes.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

Last night brought the fourth in this series of attempts to bake a proper loaf of this wonderful tasting bread.  In short, this bake offered only incremental improvement over previous efforts, but the essential problem still remains unresolved.  In this bake one of the two loaves promptly caved in upon removal from the baking pans for cooling.  This happened within 60 to 90 seconds of removing the loaves from the pan.  It happens quickly enough that you can watch the sides pull in.  In this bake, however, only one of the loaves did this.  That might be progress.

The changes for this bake were as follows:
1)  No malt at all this time.  I dropped the malt because I do not have non-diastatic malt on hand, although it is required by the formula.  There is considerable discussion of the topic of malt in the posts on my prior bakes if you want to catch up there.
2) King Arthur All Purpose flour (11.7% protein)  I concluded, correctly I think, that this is not a flour issue but I made the change to clear up a troubleshooting checklist item.  Other bakers (see previous posts) have produced excellent loaves of this bread with other flours.
3)  More careful attention to tracking dough temperature.  The initial target dough temperature of 78F was achieved after combining all the ingredients in the initial mix.  I was surprised at the "friction factor" input by my Bosch mixer though, and ended up with a final dough temperature going into bulk fermentation of 91F.  With a 14 1/2 minute mix that's almost a degree per minute.  It ended up much higher than I expected, and proves I do not use my mixer very often.  If I did I'd have been more aware of this beforehand.  In the end I don't think it mattered.
4) A thorough degassing of the dough by hand kneading several strokes on an unfloured board after 40 minutes of bulk fermenation that doubled the dough.  The dough doubled again compared to the initial post-mix volume in another 35 minutes.
5) Aggressive degassing prior to shaping, and shaped by tightly rolling up the dough and sealing only the bottom seam, tightly.
6) I preheated my oven for 45 minutes at 375F prior to loading, and reduced to 350F immediately upon loading.  I also verified my oven temperature as accurate prior to loading.  My oven holds the temperature set on the control panel.

The first and biggest point that I noticed, when rounding for the bulk rise, was that this dough seemed drier and stiffer than in previous bakes.  I wished I had added more water to loosen it up, but it was, I thought, too late by then.  This was even more apparent at the degassing during bulk, and I really paid for it in trying to shape the dough.

Shaping, especially trying to pre-form the dough into the requisite rectangles prior to rolling up, was made difficult by the lack of extensibility in this dough.  It was very like working with a big, heavy rubber band.  I could stretch it out, with difficulty, but it would pull back immediately if I let go.  It was very difficult to pre-shape, even after a 30 minute rest after dividing.  (Is this a result of holding out the malt, even the wrong type?)  Due to the dryness of the dough it was also difficult to seal the seams.  After finally getting the bottom seams to seal I elected to just leave the ends open.  I really missed the silky suppleness of this dough in previous bakes.

Final proofing took longer, as I expected, due I'm certain to the degassing and second bulk rise.  Instead of taking 45-60 minutes, these were not ready to bake until 75-80 minutes after shaping.  I proofed these on a bookshelf waist high and a few feet from the wood stove.  The thermometer on that shelf read 75F for the entire time period (good wood stove!).  This is the same place I proofed attempt #3 the previous evening.

Here is the pictorial record:

Shaped, panned and ready for final proof.

Proofed and ready for the egg wash and slash.

This shows the relative positions in the oven, and the uneven spring/shape and orientation.

Finished loaves.

The cross-section shows some much larger holes in the crumb than were present in previous bakes.  It also makes clear that the sides of this loaf caved in, one more than the other, once again.  This cave in only happened on one of the two loaves though.  This shot does not show it, but this loaf also had some side-wall compression expressed in a doughy strip just inside the crust, but not as much as previous bakes.  The other loaf looks quite nice, and I will gift it to a neighbor.  We have plenty, trust me.

So, some forward progress is made, but not a lot.  The dough did not seem dry during the mix as I checked the gluten development, but it certainly was apparent when I tried to round the dough for bulk fermentation.  I am unsure about why this dough was so elastic.    I think that if I can resolve those issues I can do a better job of shaping and so better control the spring of the loaf.  The degassing and second rise in bulk fermentation seems to have controlled the oven spring.  I think this bake produced far more normal spring in the oven than any of my previous attempts.  Thanks go to MiniOven and Andy for that!

I will bake this yet again, but not until next week.  I have other commitments for the next few evenings, and I need a break too.  Perhaps just some time to reflect and back up out of the leaves will give me a more productive view of the forest on this one.  I think I will bake some sourdough this weekend, just to do something different as well.

Thanks for stopping by!



Subscribe to RSS - blogs