The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


sam's picture


As a newbie, I've begun paying a lot more attention to my starter + preferment ripeness levels, timings, keeping a log, etc.  Today I baked a big (for me) single loaf of 3lbs (68% overall hydration, 1/3 of the flour pre-fermented, all white KAF Bread Flour).   Yesterday, I caught both my starter and subsequent levain at just their peak of ripeness, mixed the final dough, and bulk fermented at 50F for about 14 hours.  I intentionally under-mixed the dough in my stand mixer (I did appx 770 revolutions of the dough hook, normally would do mid-900 revolutions), because I wanted to see if the extended time spent in the chiller would complete the development by itself.  After the 14 hours in the chiller, the dough was plenty extensible, but not so much elastic.  I did a couple S&Fs, which brought some elasticity (strength?) to the dough, but I think it was still a little under-developed.  I went ahead with it anyway to see what would happen.  I took the entire 3lb dough and shaped it into a large log / roll, let it rest for 15 mins, scored one long slice, then baked it on my oven baking stone, with 8 seconds of steam, vented after 20 mins.  I initially had the oven at 500F but backed off to 460F and further to 425F, about 45 mins total baking time.  Bread temp was 206F after coming out of the oven, maybe a little low.  I've never baked a single loaf this large before.

The entire downstairs of the house filled with a wonderful aroma of baking sourdough bread.  I think I got a pretty good oven spring, but the crumb isn't the most open in the world.  I only cut it once vertically for the picture -- not going to cut it horizontally to check the crumb because I'm keeping this for eating.  It has a nice sourdough flavor, and good chewing texture.  Will make a perfect dinner bread.  :-)








Next time I will mix a little bit longer, my normal ~950 revolutions.


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I just made the best loaf of bread that I've ever made in my whole life! 

For so long now, I've wanted to be able to make bread, and feel happy with what came out of the oven, and in the past I was easily dissuaded.

This loaf is about the 4th one I've made - and only about the 7th one I've ever made in my life, and it - is - gorgeous!

I made a bit of a mistake - I was busy - and it got a bit overdone - but I took (I think Daisy_A's) advice and brushed it with "butter" (margerine) and covered it whilst it was cooling - I was expecting it to be like a rock, but no, it's got a beautiful dark crust that crisps and melts, and the inside is so beautifully soft, I can't believe it. 


Am I getting too carried away by bread? haha I don't care, I love it!

It was a very simple recipe (if I can remember it - I just make it up, I don't weigh anything);

strong flour


1 egg

small amount of olive oil 

demerera sugar 


dried yeast

small amount of honey


I just mixed some warm milk and oil and honey in a pan, and poured it in to a bowl with the yeast, salt and sugar - I left it to bubble - took a while though.

I then mixed more flour in it, and left it alone again 'cos it didn't seem to be working, but apparently I was being impatient. 

It rose nicely, I then mixed in more flour, until it was possible to knead it.

Kneaded it for about 10 minutes or less - left it alone until it had risen again - the rise didn't seem very big - again apparently I was being impatient.

The oven was on for a long time, and was very hot.

I went away - came back a bit later and thought I'd ruined it - let it cool down with the melted margerine on the top, I sprinkled some flour on the top for good luck, and covered it with the tea towel - came back just now 05:30 - I can't sleep - 


and - it - was - gorgeous!


I put some margerine on and some of the honey - and bloody hell it was nice.

I am so very excited to try again soon - next time I wont keep it in for so long - I also want to try a half and half mix, where I bake one half upon the first rise - and then bake the second one after I've "punched" the air out of it then let it rise again, just to see if letting it rise a 2nd time is worth it - Jamie Oliver said it wasn't, but to be fair the recipe I tried from his book tasted s***e.

I've wanted to be good at making bread for so long, I can't believe that I'm getting good at it now, I'm over the moon :D

I can't tell you how happy I am about it! 


Oh god, I have just imagined eating this bread with my home made chicken soup - which is - a chicken (haha) ginger, garlic, some veg like carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and chilli peppers, salt and pepper............


I need to lye down :)

You know what it is? You all probably make far superior bread to mine, but I can't say how happy I am that I've reached this point - it's encouraging me to keep baking, the more I do it the more I love it.

I wish I could share it with you.

In the near future I'm going to make a video for the beginners so they can be encouraged too.

cranbo's picture

So I've been baking breads for some years now and experimenting with various recipes. 

Today I've been working on these English Muffins as well as my version of Theresa Greenway's Griffin's Bread.

The versions I'm making are 62% and 68% hydrations respectively. 

Most of the time I use a KA mixer with C-hook to knead.

Both doughs clear the sides of the bowl reasonably well, but neither of these totally clear the bottom of the bowl. I ran them both for maybe 1 minute at KA speed 2 to combine, then about 3-4 minutes at speed 3. 

In the case of the muffins (which use about 70% preferment), there was about a 2.5" diameter circle at the bottom, and I added some additional flour (about 10g) and it shrank to about 2". 

In the case of the sourdough (which uses about 82% preferment), it stuck to a large circle at bowl bottom, probably 5-6" around. I had to add probably 30g of flour to make it clear the sides better, leaving about a 2-2.5" diameter circle at the bottom of the bowl. 

My questions are about hydration and mixing to clear the bowl: 


  1. Am I correct to assume that all 62% and above hydration flours will never totally clear the bottom of the bowl? 

  2. What hydration typically will clear the bowl bottom? 

If I was more accurate with my starter maintenance, I'm sure this would be less of an issue (I think my preferment hydration varies anywhere from 60-85%, because I eyeball it). I just want to get a better feel for the behavior of hydration and my mixing machine, so that I can make adjustments as necessary. At least I've learned not to add more flour to sticky ryes, I've ended up with quite a few bricks over the years. 


wtdog55's picture

Does anyone have a good recepe for a power bagel like Einsteins?

nycnaples's picture

I made the ciabatta bread yesterday loved how easy it was the only question that I have is that there was no information on the temperature for the water it just asked that you combine ingredients and mix then rest for 10 minutes then paddle untill the dough climbed the came out great but wonder if it could be better 

sam's picture


So a couple weeks ago, I began and have been maintaining my first sourdough culture, which has fortunately made some good bread so far.  I saved a couple days' worth of discards, chilled at 50F.  I found a few recipes both on this site and others for starter-based pancakes, but the ones I saw, all call for a preferment.  Well, tonight I had a craving for pancakes and didn't want to wait, so I loosely followed the sourdough starter pancake recipe on the KAF web site.  For the bulk of the flour, instead of all-purpose, I used fresh milled buckwheat.  No buttermilk was handy, so I used plain whole milk.  Used the whisk tool in my stand mixer to mix it together.  Initially it was too liquid, so I spooned in some AP flour to thicken it up a bit.   That's it, instant pancakes!   :)

I didn't get much of a sourdough flavor, probably due to the lack of prefermenting, but they still tasted very good.




I like my pancakes with peanut butter and syrup!  Yum!


tssaweber's picture

About a year ago when my in-laws from Switzerland visited, they brought a crown and plastic doll with them, accessories necessary for a "Drei Koenigs Kuchen" (3 Kings Cake).

Of course it was their expectations that I would miraculously produce one of these cakes. Even though never done before, I survived this challenge, but of course was not totally satisfied with the result. As my last consulting gig just ended and nothing new is ahead, this was now the time to tinker with this recipe and finalize it.

From my childhood memory I knew what I wanted to achieve, a "Wybeeribroetli" (raisin roll/bun) style roll, nicely brown and soft on the outside, with a nice yellowish spongy, regular, open and moist crumb. 7 of these buns with a large one in the middle would give then a 3 kings cake.

After only two trials I was happy with the result and my younger son approved the buns to be ready for prime time. 

Happy baking!




Have a look at the formula here: Rosinenbroetchen

breadsong's picture

I tried making Karin's Dinkel Walnussbrot and really enjoyed the texture and flavor of this bread.
Thank you, Karin, for your recipe and technique!!!

I wanted to try making Spelt bread again - I saw these recipes, that used blueberries (yum!) as an ingredient:
Shao-Ping's Caramelized Hazelnut and Blueberry Spelt Sourdough
and Farine's Apple Blueberry Bread with Spelt

Thanks to all of these ladies for their beautiful breads, and inspiration for this attempt, using spelt levain, spelt flour, dried blueberries, maple syrup and walnuts.

This is my second try. The first try I built up a spelt levain over three feedings, and the crumb was quite tangy, but offset by the sweetness of the blueberries. This time, the bread is not as sour and I like the flavor a bit better.
The tiny amount of maple syrup in the formula didn't contribute any maple flavor to the baked bread.

Crumb shot from this attempt (boule), then from previous attempt (batard):


(for 2 x 650g boules):













Spelt flour





Spelt flakes















Maple syrup, Grade B





Yeast instant










Walnuts, coarsely chopped





Dried blueberries





Sourdough starter

























My sourdough starter is kept at 100% hydration; I adjusted the water in my levain to approximate the hydration of Karin's Biga in her Dinkel Walnussbrot.
I basically followed Karin's formula & instructions, but made some minor changes to accommodate the levain, & guessed as to how much yeast to include in the final dough:

In the morning, prepare the soaker. Leave at room temperature for 8 hours.
In the morning, mix the levain and leave at room temperature until double. At five hours, it had doubled - I put it in the fridge for 3 hours before mixing the dough. 
In the evening (after 8 hours), prepare final dough: Soak the dried blueberries in warm water for 15 minutes, then drain.
Mix all ingedients (except for the dried blueberries and walnuts) at low speed for 1 - 2 min., until coarse ball forms. Then knead at medium-low speed for 4 min., feeding the blueberries and nuts slowly to the dough. Let dough rest for 5 min., resume kneading for 1 more min. Transfer to lightly oiled container, and place in refrigerator overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using.                                                           
Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. Prepare for hearth baking with stone and steam pan. 
Shape boules, place in bannetons, and let rise to 1 1/2 times its original size. (At 80F, this took two hours, until the boules had visibly puffed up.) Turn out onto peel or parchment lined baking sheet. Slash. 
Bake bread at 350 for 20 minutes, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. Rotate 180 degrees, remove steam pan and continue baking for another 30 minutes (internal temperature should be at least 195 F, and loaf should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Let cool on wire rack.

We like this blueberry variation of Karin's bread.
Next time I might try adding a touch of natural maple flavoring when mixing the dough to see what that might add. Or, perhaps not - the spelt and other flavors are lovely as they are!

Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong

breadsong's picture

Awhile ago I'd found elra's post on about Bara Brith - I've been wanting to try making this lovely-sounding fruit-and-spice Welsh 'speckled' bread ever since.
I've got Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery on loan from the libary; there's a recipe for Bara Brith in her book too.
This is my variation of Bara Brith, based on elra's and Elizabeth's. 
I was delighted with the light, cakey, tender and flavorful! result:

Both loaves, and a crumb shot (top slice separated upon slicing...couldn't wait until it was completely cool to slice and taste!):


Ingredients (for 2 x 450g loaves)

Weight in grams

Baker's %




Bread flour



Red Fife 75% whole wheat flour






Eggs, whole (= 1 large egg)



Yeast instant, osmotolerant



Sugar, demerara






Unsalted butter, 70F






Raisins, dark



Raisins, golden



Orange peel, candied, diced



Sweet spice blend










(1) Soak currants and raisins overnight in strong, cold tea.

(2) The next day, bring milk, egg, and butter to room temperature. Drain the currants and raisins. Add diced candied orange peel to currants and raisins.

(3) Mix together sweet spices to your liking, to equal 2 grams. I used .7 g freshly grated nutmeg, .7 g allspice, and .2 g each of cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

(4) Whisk milk, egg and salt together to combine, in bowl.

(5) Blend flours, yeast and sugar in a larger, mixing bowl.

(6) Add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. I used a dough whisk to combine the ingredients.

(7) Kneaded on the counter until the dough windowpaned (improved mix).

(8) Kneaded in the spices, and then the butter in five additions, ensuring each addition of butter was kneaded in before adding the next. I tried to make sure the butter stayed inside the dough, so I wasn't touching/melting the butter with my hands while kneading. The dough became sticky as I was kneading in the butter. I dusted the counter lightly once or twice with flour and used a dough scraper to pick the dough up off the counter, as needed.

(9) Gradually knead in the fruit mixture until fruit is incorporated. I tried to keep the fruit within the dough and not have any pieces sticking out.

(10) Bulk ferment at 80F for two hours, with S&F at one hour.

(11) Shape, preheat oven & stone to 425F, proof for about 45 minutes to one hour at room temperature (70F).

(12) Score, bake with steam, 400 for 10 minutes, 375 for remainder of bake (30 minutes total). After 20 minutes of baking, I rotated the loaves and covered with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Let cool on rack before slicing.

I'm very happy to have discovered this bread!
Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong
Przytulanka's picture

Inspired by the recipe from the blog: Discovering Sourdough I baked my English Muffins with Feta.


Sourdough Starter:

172 g whole wheat flour

212 g water

122 g whole wheat bubbling sourdough

Combine the ingredients in a large mixing, cover and let ferment for 10-12 hours.


Final dough:

all of the  sourdough starter

256g water

505 g  whole wheat flour

Mix the ingredients and autolyse for 30-40 minutes. Then add 272 g crumbled feta cheese and work it through the dough.



Set aside for 40 minutes and knead the dough for 1 minute. Repeat the kneading after 40 minutes. Then let ferment for  4 hours.

Preheat your oven with a baking stone and a steam pan to 450F.Using a rolling pin roll the dough out to 11/4cm (1/2 inch) thickness. Cut the muffins out and place on the baker's peel  lined with parchment paper. Bake for  5-6 minutes each side.

I used a large band from a half gallon mason jar to cut my muffins. I baked 15 muffins.




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