The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


JonnyP's picture

(music starts) "Daddy's Little Baby Loves Sour-dough Sour-dough;

Daddy's Little Baby Loves Sour-dough Bread" (music ends).


Mebake's picture

This is my first take on Peter Reinhart's Levain based bigas in (Wholegrain breads). Instant yeast was added to the final dough, though. The flavor is clean, with no sourness at all! pleasent flavor, with soft crumb, and crackly thin crust.  I have baked an identical bread from this recipe previously with yeasted biga Here.

Ingredients: (Makes 1 medium loaf)

Soaker:       223g    Bran + coarse whole Wheat flour

                   4g (1/2 tsp)    Salt

                   173g              water


Total:          400 grams


Biga:      227g               Bread flour                                    50 % wholewheat

                10g (1 Tb)  stiff white starter                           50% Prefermented Flour

                167g                     water                                      Total Hydration: 75%

------------------------------------------                                  Bulk Fermentation: 45 min.

Total:        404 grams                                                  Final Fermentation: 45 min  

Final Dough:

                 400g                     All Soaker

                404g                     All Biga

                 9g  (2 ¼ tsp)          Instant Dry Yeast    

                8g  (1 tsp)              Salt


Total:       821 grams

For this loaf , i doubled the recipe, as i had no bread left in my freezer

In my opinion, the differences in flavor imparted by the stiff wild yeast biga, and the yeasted biga's are very subtle.

Very nice bread. i have lots of coarse whole wheat flour left over from my experiments with siftings, and this is the perfect recipe (with wild yeast or the instant yeast) for consuming the coarse whole wheat flour. 


txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Honestly, I do blame it on Eric. Firstly, he posted a mouth watering blog about his initial attempt at replicating the famous NO French bread (see here); then he emailed me and asked me to do futher investigation; just to make it final, he even fowarded me some links and pictures to get me started. After a few tries, my final version actually is not that different from Eric's original formula, with the following modification:

- To make crumb velvety soft
* Knead, knead, and knead, see this post for details. If your bread is too dense, too tough, knead more.
* Some enriching ingredients like sugar, powdered milk, and fat. However if there are too much enriching ingredients, the crust will become soft too. Eric's original formula provides a good balance.
* I used a combination of AP and Bread Flour. BF is there to ensure enough strength, so the bread can have a lot of volume, thus guarantee a soft mouthfeel, as well as some "bounciness". AP flour is used to add tenderness. You can certainly adjust the AP/BF ratio to get the crumb you like.

- To make crust very thin and crispy
* 10% of rice flour. I have made baguettes with rice flour before with very good and crispy crust, it does the same thig here.
* Bake with steam (Eric's version does that too).
* Brush the dough with liquid before baking. I tried different liquid with different results: cold water -> thin, crispy, probably the most "authentic" version; egg whites/corn starch+ water -> even crispier than water but thicker; olive oil -> still crispy but less crackly, very fragrant, my favorite
* Size matters. I tried to make them smaller, but the baking time ended up too short to create a very crackly crust. If the size is too big, crust would be baked too long , which means too thick. The size I am making below is smaller than Eric's original version, but still big enough to get the crust right.

New Orleans Po-Boy French Bread (adapted from Bernard Clayton's "New Complete Book of Breads")
Note: makes 2X400g loaves

Bread Flour , 225g
AP Flour, 150g
Rice Flour, 45g
Water, 300g
Instant yeast, 1.5t
Salt, 8g
Sugar, 10g
Powdered Milk, 5g
Butter, 10g, softened

1.Mix everything but butter, knead until gluten starts to form, add in butter, knead until pass windowpane test, see this post for details. Note that rice flour is pretty coarse, may interfere with gluten formation, so the kneading would take a while, and the windown pane would be a bit thick.

2. Bulk rise at room temp (75F) for 70min until more than doubled, S&F at min 50.
3. Divide into 2 parts, preshape and relax for 20min. For each dough, roll out to 14X6inch, get rid of all air bubbles, roll up, seal, roll out to 16inch in length.

4. Proof at room temp until double, 45min to 60min. Brush with water (or other luqid), score.

5. Bake at 425F for 20min with steam, lower to 375F, rotate baking sheet, and keep baking for another 20min. The last 5min with door cracked open.


Very crispy and crackly crust, crumbs everywhere when cut or torn


Crumb is velvety soft and shreddy, I could pull the inside out like this


I know the most popular Po-Boy sandwich is pulled pork/beef, but I love fried shrimp filling. This time I just rolled shrimps in bread crumb, then baked until done. Equally delicious.

Schrödinger's Other Cat's picture
Schrödinger's O...


Very long time baker, long time reader, first post.




Made this bread for  15 year or more, no written recipe. Use organic flour from Drabæks Mølle A/S  the Danish miller (3/4 all-purpose, 1/4 whole wheat), sea salt, L'Hirondelle yeast. High hydration, long ferment (18 hour), minimal knead. Bake in lidded Pyrex, 25 minute @ 500F, remove lid 20 minute @ 450F.

Next project learn how to score bread as many here are so successful and learn to bake Indian naan.

Best wishes,



dmsnyder's picture

The Basic Country Bread from Tartine Bread is among my favorites, but I haven't baked it in a while. After my positive experience with Central Milling's "Organic Fine Whole Wheat" flour used to make the whole wheat bread from BBA, I wanted to try it in the Tartine BCB. In summary, it was wonderful.

I shaped the loaves as bâtards and proofed them in cotton-lined brotformen. They were baked on my baking stone with my usual steaming method, rather than in cast iron dutch ovens. My starter was very frisky this weekend, and the loaves got somewhat over-proofed. The bloom suffered, but I got great oven spring and the crumb structure was nice. The crust was crunchy, and the flavor was delicious as always. 

I have made Maggie Glezer's "own" challah in the sourdough version several times. (See Sourdough Challah from "A Blessing of Bread") I really like the mild sourdough tang on top of the honey sweetness and eggy richness of this bread. Today, for the first time, I baked the challah as pan loaves. I decided to do this both to save a little time - this recipe requires a good 9 hours all together on the day the bread is baked - and because my plan was to use the bread for toast and french toast.

I divided the dough into six equal parts and shaped each as a round. Each pan got three rounds. When I was a child, the local Jewish bakery made what they called "egg bread" in this shape. I don't know if they used the same dough they shaped as braided challot, but the recipe for egg bread in Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker is less enriched than his challah.

The 470 g of dough in each pan turned out to be too little to fill the pans after the dough had tripled in volume. Consequently, the profile of the loaves is less high than what I had intended, even with very good oven spring. Otherwise, I count this a success.

Happy Baking!



GSnyde's picture

For the first anniversary of my bread baking and for my upcoming birthday, my darling got me a Bosch Universal Plus (how did she know!?).  I should have tried it out with a recipe I know well so I could start to evaluate mixing times and speeds intelligently based on experience.  But that would be too sensible.  I’d already decided it was time to try making Danish pastry dough, and that was the first thing my new BUP got to do.

Danish pastry dough is very much like croissant dough, but with egg (one whole egg and one egg yolk per three and a half cups of flour or so).   For a whole bunch of great lessons (mostly applicable to this dough), see Txfarmer’s post about her croissant quest (  The recipe for the dough and the pastries are from the Love To Bake Pastry Cookbook, by Ernest Weill, the founder of Fantasia Confections, a famous San Francisco palace of sweets that made happiness from the 1950s through the early ‘90s.  The cookbook, which Brother David has mentioned before, can be obtained in pdf format over the web for a $25 contribution (

This was my first time using that cookbook, my first time making Danish pastry dough and my first time using the BUP.  Surprisingly, there were no disasters (if no huge successes) and I learned a thing or two.

This cookbook uses volume measures, and sometimes shows weights, but I’m not sure they’re accurately translated.  (I’d promise to work on this dough and report back with a reliable formula, but I can’t eat this much sugar and butter again right away).  The dough formula in the cookbook called for too little flour (by weight) and too little mixing time.  I added both, but I’m not sure if I got it right.  I also departed from the procedures in the book somewhat.

Here’s where I ended up:

Danish Pastry Dough (yields 4 pastry rings or 32-48 pastries depending on size)


1 ¼ cups milk (120 F)

1 ¾ tsp instant yeast

heaping ¼ cup sugar

3 ½ cups AP flour (about 18 ½ ounces)

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp lemon zest

2 tsp vanilla

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

½ cube sweet butter, melted


Mix all ingredients except the flour on low speed for one minute.  Add 3 cups of flour and mix on low speed for four minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add the remaining ½ cup of flour slowly, then mix on low speed another 3-5 minutes (again, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary) until the dough forms a good ball.


Once I had a workable dough (moderately strong if still somewhat loose), the lamination process begins (as for croissant dough).  Scrape the dough onto a very well floured board and shape into a rectangle.  While the dough rests, pound/roll 2 ½ cubes of cold sweet butter into a 9” by 8” sheet and then refrigerate it while you roll out the dough.  With a well-floured pin, roll the dough out to 10” by 15”.  Plop the butter sheet on top of one side of the dough sheet, fold the unbuttered part of the dough over the butter sheet (it’ll half cover it), then fold the opposite (buttered) side over into a tri-fold (there are good illustrations—worth a thousand words--in the cookbook).  Seal the seams.  Then, roll the dough block out to 16” by 8”, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Put the dough again on a well-floured board and let it rest 10 minutes covered, then roll it out to 18” by 12”.  Then do a tri-fold as for croissants.  Then roll it to 16” by 8” and refrigerate 30 minutes again.  Repeat this process of rolling, folding, rolling and refrigerating two more times.  Then the dough (in a 16’ by 8” block) goes in the fridge overnight.

Pecan Rolls

The memory of Fantasia’s pecan rolls is what led Brother David on a search for the recipe, resulting in his discovery of the cookbook download.  I only vaguely remember them.  What I remember best are Fantasia’s opera cakes, Napoleans and eclairs.  These pecan rolls are a high-butter, high-sugar version of typical cinnamon-pecan rolls.  Half way between candy and bread.

Prepare a 12-cavity muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.  Then coat the bottom and sides of the cavities with glaze (see recipe below) and 1 ½ cups of pecan pieces. Take ¼ of the dough recipe above.  Roll out to 6” by 16”.  Slather on melted butter (about 2 Tbsp).  Then cover with 3 Tbsp of cinnamon-sugar and ½ cup of fairly finely ground pecans.  Press the filling into the dough and roll it up into a 16” log, jelly roll style.  Cut into 12 pieces and put one in each muffin cavity.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about 2 hours).  Then bake at 375 F for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool 10 minutes, then invert onto a baking sheet (and scrape the nuts and caramel goo left behind in the muffin tin onto the rolls).

Glaze:  Mix ¾ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup honey and 3 Tbsp of soft sweet butter until well blended.

The cookbook calls for almost twice that amount of glaze, and the result was way too sweet.  Otherwise, the pecan rolls are delectable: excellent melt-in-the-mouth pastry dough, and the ground pecan-cinnamon filling is outstanding.

  Start of proofing

  Out of the oven

Ready to eat 

Crumb shot


I guess I should freeze some for Brother David’s visit next week, though he’ll think they’re too sweet too. 

Bear Claws

I’ve always loved bear claws.  I wish my first attempt had been closer to my ideal.   These had way too much marzipan filling (I’m beginning to see a trend with this cookbook).  Next time I’ll cut it in half.  The following recipe cuts the marzipan to what I think would be a more proper proportion.

Take ½ of the above dough recipe and roll it out on a well-floured board to 10” by 15” (about 1/8” thick).  Cut the dough into two halves of 5” by 15”.  For each of these pieces, spread a narrow strip of filling (see recipe below) in the middle along the long axis.  Fold the dough in half over the filling and press the seam to seal.  Cut ½” slits along the seam every ½ inch.  Pull the ends of the log to spread it to 16-17 inches.  Cut each log into four pieces and bend each into an arc to spread the “fingers”.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sliced almonds and proof until doubled (about two hours).  Then bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes, then at 375 F. for another 10-15 minutes or so, until top and bottom are golden brown.

Filling:  Put ½ log of almond paste (3 ½ ounces) in food processer.  Pulse with metal blade until soft and smooth.  Add ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and ½ an egg white to the processer, and pulse until just mixed and not lumpy.  Keep covered until used.

As mentioned, the recipe had much too much filling, and was way too sweet.  The excess filling also expanded hugely and kinda tore some of the poor bear claws apart.  Once they cooled, their swelling subsided. And it turns out they were a bit underdone inside (probably due to the excess of filling).  I will try this recipe again some day, but even if all the proportions were right, I think the pecan rolls are the real winners.

Too much filling

Start of proofing

  Out of the oven

  Crumb shot

I have ¼ of the dough left over.  Maybe I’ll make something else tomorrow.

So that was my first try at Danish pastries.  It was a pretty good learning experience, and I have a lot more to learn.  I wish I could experiment on these regularly, but I’d have to take up running, and that would have to involve someone chasing me.


inkedbaker's picture

anyone have a good recipe I can try my new sourdough starter on, that doesn't use any unbleached flours? want it to be 100% whole wheat!

wassisname's picture

Baking for the county fair.  Or, what if they gave a bread competition and nobody came?  Well, I would win lots of ribbons, that's what!  I'm exaggerating a little, there were a few other breads but none were in the categories I entered (fortunately for me).  Makes the blue ribbons a bit less impressive but I still had fun doing it.

It is always a good learning experience as well.  Things I learned (or was keenly reminded of): 

Baking three batches of bread makes for a much longer day than baking one batch. 
Baking a loaf for a random, judgemental stranger is much more stressful than baking a loaf for myself. 
Baking an olive bread next to a plain bread makes the plain bread taste really funky. 
Pitting a whole jar of lucques olives by hand is a pain in the neck (and the hands).
Sourdough always seems to proof faster when the oven is occupied.
Taking photos of my own bread at the fair may give people (non-bread enthusiasts, anyway) the impression that I am a narcissistic weirdo.
Giving away a loaf of bread feels really good.
I sincerely hope that at least one person walks by my breads and says, "Heck, I can make better bread than that!" and brings it to the fair next year.

The breads:  a basic sourdough with 10% whole wheat, the same sourdough with olives, a 30% rye sourdough, and the same rye with walnuts and raisins The group photo has a couple of extra loaves because I doubled-up on two of them. 



This is the extra olive bread I kept for my own enjoyment:



arlo's picture

At work I make a 'Pain de campagne' style loaf that features a whole wheat preferment. The outcome is a delicious dough with a flubbery like feeling when it comes off the mixer. It is an all around good loaf of bread for toast, sandwichs, dipping and so on. I have come to enjoy the flavors offered by prefermenting whole grains which is why I decieded to formulate this new recipe featuring a whole grain preferment, but better yet, a whole-rye sour also removing any commercial yeast from the loaf!

Now, I live in the heart of the capital of Michigan...hardly the country. So I felt it wasn't right in calling this loaf a 'country bread'. So I suppose it is my Pain de Urban if you will. The formula for the loaf follows;

Rye Sour -

The night before or depending on how active your rye starter is;

3.4 oz whole rye flour - 24.3%

3.4 oz water (68 degree water for me at the time, my apartment was very hot with the 90+ degree weather outside before I went to bed) - 24.3%

1 tspn of starter

Combine to form a paste lightly sprinkle the top with rye flour. Let ferment until the starter is ready for use. The flour on top should form little islands.

Dough -

All of rye starter

10.57 oz all purpose flour (used KAF) - 75.8%

.25 oz salt (used grey salt) 1.7%

5.1 oz water (once again I used a bit cooler water since even at 4 a.m. my apartment was rather hot) - 36.5%


Combine all the ingredients in your mixer, holding back a little bit of the water. Mix till a shaggy mass forms, at this point turn off the mixer, reach inside and squeeze the shaggy mass. If the center feels a bit dry, add the water and continue mixing for another thirty seconds or so. Turn off the mixer if needed and check again. A bit more water may be needed at this point, but if you take a look at the doughs percentages, this isn't really a 'rustic' loaf, its around 60% hydration. Complete the mix till it cleans the bowl and forms a very low degree of window pane.

At this point though, the loaf should be fairly smooth, but not fully developed. The developing will come later with a stretch and fold on the bench.

This was my dough after mixing, I'd say very presentable!

Allow the dough to ferment for one hour, apply a stretch and fold and return to your proofing bowl/basket/bucket/ect. After two and a half hours, my dough became nicely fermented and was ready for shaping!

Numerous bubbles of all sizes all over the dough and easily doubled in size. The dough felt supple as I removed it gently from the container to begin with shaping.

I shaped the loaf into a boule and placed on linen and covered. An hour before you think the loaf is ready, pre-heat your oven to 450 and prepare whatever new wild steaming method you find to be helpful. For me today, since I was baking one loaf, I used the good old dutch oven.

The final proof lasted around two and a half hours. I then scored the loaf gently and placed under the dutch oven for twenty minutes covered. After twenty minutes, I uncovered the loaf and let it bake for another twenty minutes, then a final five minutes with the oven off.

Crisp, crackley crust, and a nice rye flavor to it.

It went well as a vessle for Dubliner cheese grilled and pressed sandwiches served with a side of some fancy french mustard as my friend and I brewed some more beer this weekend. Our ritual is now becoming beer brewing, discussion of new tattoos, and delicious sandwichs when all is said and done. I am ok with that.

inkedbaker's picture

just baked my first loaf in La Cloche that I made yesterday from items purchased at my local hardware store......I am a true believer in La Cloche....what a beautiful crispy chewy crust..


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