The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Salilah's picture

Wanted to share a sonewhat strange experiment with you!

I was refreshing my rye starter from the fridge, so kept 75g and refreshed (back in the fridge after a while) and decided to boost what was left with some white flour and water to build into a baking levain.  I knew I could only do one small loaf, but the starter seemed so lively, I thought "Why not use all of this?"

Dubious recipe:
53og rye & white starter 100% hydration (roughly)
200g flour
50g warm water
8g salt
(to get to around 68% hydration I think)

Mixed up fine without the salt - autolyse for around 45m then S&F in the bowl.  Getting late so it went into the fridge for around 14 hours

Out again this morning, S&F, added salt, S&F.  It appeared to be getting more rather than less sticky with the S&F in the bowl, and I had a reasonably good windowpane.  Turned out onto a floured board and shaped roughly then one formal S&F and covered for 30m.  Repeated again and waited 30m.  Rough shape and waited 30m.  Final shape - it seemed fine, quite firm, getting a reasonable shape (though I am not very good yet).

Floured very lightly, then covered with oiled clingfilm to proof.  After about an hour and a half, I checked and saw - the cowpat!


The skin was tearing all across the loaf - in some places just gently folding away from the inside!  Finger-poking felt normal (some spring back) but I thought I ought to bake ASAP!

Oven 230, didn't bother to slash as it was splitting anyway - just a little bit of steam at 5m and 10m

It came out looking almost reasonable (if a bit still cow-patty):


It tastes quite nice!  Quite sour - which I guess comes from teh long retarding and the really high %age of sourdough starter.

I'm guessing the tearing of the skin comes from being well over-proofed?  It wasn't particularly long, but I assume the low amount of flour compared to the amount of starter meant the yeast ran out of food too early?  Any other thoughts?


gingersnapped's picture

[crossposted with much more detail from my own blahblahblah,]

A naturally leavened sourdough spelt is therefore HEALTHY (kinda!) and GOOD FOR YOU (mostly!) but most importantly it is EASY and AWESOME. 

My baking life is more of an after school special, which means that most breads don’t fit into my schedule unless I’m willing to be forgiving.  Sourdoughs especially require a long rise and need to be thrown in the oven right away to avoid the overfermentation/vinegar flavor.  This loaf proofed and doubled neatly overnight but lived in the fridge for the next 12 hours until I could get it into the oven.  It had an acid flavor that was just this side of a little overpowering to the nuanced grains (worked fine for me, cooking genius that assumes balsamic vinegar cures all ailments).

Really, what are you waiting for damn guy?

Recipe, lifted neatly from Breadtopia (instructions are my own, paraphrased for those who can’t manage the attention span necessary to watch a really nice video on the Internet [jerks])

530 grams (about 5 cups well fluffed up) whole spelt flour
350 grams (~1+1/2 cups) water
10 grams (1+1/2 tsp) salt
3 Tbs honey or sugar or 2 Tbs agave
1/4 cup sourdough starter

Disolve honey and starter in warm water and mix salt and spelt together.  Gradually add spelt+salt to water.  Cover and allow to autolyse for one hour (dough will be very wet).  Proceed with a series of three or four stretch and folds at fifteen minute intervals and allow to rise covered with saran until doubled in a container with a rounded bottom (depending on how active your starter is, may take anywhere from 4-6 hours).

Prepare oven for hearth baking.  Carefully move dough to baking sheet, cloche or clay bread crock (a more structured baking environment will allow for a prettier loaf).  Mist lightly with water and add seeds; or just proceed with slashing the loaf.

Bake at 450 for about 45 minutes until darkly browned.  Use your preferred method of steaming on the outset.  Allow to cool for at least an hour before cutting.

Bake at 450 for 45 minutes or until internal temp is 195-200.

Bee18's picture

No more blogspot, as my blog have been removed for a reason that I cannot understand. I still can fill posts and still can find my list of posts. I'm like still existing as far as to edit new posts and suddendly dead as nobody can be able to see what I'm trying to send to the air. This is the most incredible saga I ever had.

Too tired and upset to look further for help, I decided to transfer my blog to the Domain/Google Host and to pay $10 a year (if you pay surely it should work better ?) and of course I changed my URL. This time it will be

For the members who had took the time to search for my baby blog and will want to follow my adventures with this Gluten Free baking it's a little change that will hopefully make it work finally. Hold your horses, and wait few days before trying this new link. It won't work immediately.

Thanks to Ron and Pamela my water yeast is working well and I'm please that Pamela got to the conclusion that one kind of water yeast is enough to suit any bread you want to do. I'll stick to my apples/sultanas formula.
True my SD rye is feeling better when I feed it with flour and water yeast. So why not ? I don't think that at this stage I will try to make a bread with only the water yeast.
I will keep on making levains following the last calculations he gave and may be I will make a white levain (as he recommanded) for my rye bread and then put more rye flour...

Anyway I will see my Computer Ing. next Saturday and try to find with his help how to get this Bar upon that window.


Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

After forty plus years of baking breads I decided to create "fun buns" for my grandchildren.  Each weekend I would make a batch of buns.  I kept notes about what worked and what didn't.  Since I wanted the option of using the buns for sandwiches I started with ones that were basically round in shape.

My first attempt was four turtles.

I then wanted a pig.  I thought it would be cute to serve pulled pork on a piggy bun.  Ironically, the pig proved to be the most difficult for me.  Even now I'm not confident the ears and nose will stay in place.  I tried to cut the ears in but couldn't secure the tips.  And then the nose . . . but for now I'll post pictures and talk how to's in a later post.  I did finally find a design I liked . . . but it's a rather difficult one.

At one point I got so frustrated with trying to make the quantity of buns I needed to feed a group that I even considered making heads and tails . . .

Since dough is a living organismI decided I needed some easy designs so I could make some difficult and some easy in the time frame I had to work in.  I created a chick and hedgehog that are relatively easy.

At this point I was using whole wheat dough.  I decided to try sweet roll dough for Easter bunny and chicks.  The dough raised so much after shaping that the designs were distorted.

Snails worked okay, the center raising up was actually desirable.

I continued on with the bunny and came up with options.  One has cut in ears and the other is basically two pieces, body and head with the ears cut with scissors.

Then came the fish.  Since my sons had aquariums I decided to start with tropical fish.  I wanted texture and tried grated cheese on top . . . but, I got "ick" . . . for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a fungus.

Being a Minnesotan, I needed more fish, lots of fish.

Then it was football for the guys.

I love frogs . . . one easy, one difficult.

Want to ruin my day?  Ask me how to keep ears on the mouse.  I sure don't know how . . .

Ahhhh, bears!  Who doesn't love bears!

How about a family of bears?

At this point I started looking on the internet for ideas.  I found the book Kids' Ideas with frozen dough by Rhodes.  I made several of their designs and learned some new techniques.

I especially liked the cat for Halloween.

And now the reason I bake.  My grandson's first batch of "fun buns".  HE LIKES THEM!




teketeke's picture

Actually, Japanese call this "Tomato pretzl", I think that is come from pretzel. So, I will write it Pretzel here that is understandable for everyone, even though it doesn't look like pretzel that I usually get here. The texture is very crispy and keep the crispiness for days as same as Ron's *sourdough cracker. They all gone within a couple days. So I don't know the thing exactly. Ron's great formula

( *Here:

and ,I made a Japanese snack, Pocky recently ( Here: ) After I posted strawberry pocky,  Robyn (RobynNZ )who gives us great information on TFL told me the great link of the pocky that we can make at home.  Thank you for all your help, Robyn. ( Bowー お辞儀)  ( Here : )  That motivated me to make thinner strawberry pocky. Although I was intrigued to make healthier one because my daughter tends to suffer with irregularity.  My brother and mother who are in Japan love Tomato pretzel which is used tomatoes and vegetables..   Tomatoes? Yes, I made tomato pretzel with tomato yeast that I used jump-start with my raisin yeast water.It is very thin sticks that I really wanted to make.     Here is the recipe: Ingredients: Levain:
  • Smashed ( 20g raisin yeast water + 80g grape tomatoes by FP )+ filtered water =100g
  • KA AP 100g
  • Honey 16g

* Note:  After I smashed the tomatoes with raisin yeast water by FP and taking them out, the actual weight was 82g around. So I added 18g filtered water to get total 100g.

Final dough:
  • 216g levain
  • 108g KA AP ( Levain 216 x0.5=108)
  • 43g butter
  • 4.3g salt
  • 0.6g black pepper ( as you like)
  • 0.4g vegetable broth powder or consomme powder ( as you like)

Optional : Topping for sesami seeds

  1. Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until doubled   The grape tomatoes + raisin yeast water + filtered water mixture. After I made the levain.                             .  Doubled.           
  2. Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule.                                                                                       * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry                                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.                                            
  4.  Bulk fermentation: 4-5 hours until doubled at 73 F around.
  5.  Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some sesami seads both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .                                                                                                                             2mm thick.                                                                                                                    
  6.  Make the string: Cut the dough to make a string by a pizza cutter or a knife.                                        
  7. Make thin and long strings: Roll the string using both hands like rolling the pie dough.
  8.  Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 10-11 minutes until golden brown. Light yellow is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...                                                                                                                                                                                        
Note: When I make this tomato pretzel, I measure the levain's actual weight before mixing the final dough. I got this idea from Ron ( Ronray's great sourdough crackers) Thank you, Ron!Example:
  1.  Actual levain weight : 200g
  2.  200 x 0.5 = 100g -- Final dough's flour
    Threfore, Final dough:
  • Flour  200g ( 100g levain's flour + 100g final dough's flour which means the actual levain amount)               100%
  • Butter  40g                                                                                                20%
  • Salt  4g                                                                                                        2%
  • Black pepper 0.6g                                                                                    0.3%
  • Consomme or vegetable broth powder 0.4g                                              0.2%


Thin pocky turned out crackers:

 When I achieve to make thin pocky that I want, I made a mistake at the shaping process. It ended up crackers.. but I though it will be good and easy to make. 

Here is how I made:

#Strawberry mix yeast water#   Smashed all the 4 ingredients by FP               

  • Raisin yeast water                20g
  • Fresh strawberries              5 pieces
  • Fresh lime juice                  2 drops
  • Honey                                 27g   

After taking out the yeast mixture from the FP ----Total 160g  



  •    Strawberry mixed yeast water         160g 
  •     KA AP                                               160g

 Final dough

  • Levain  287g ( that was the actual weight from the total levain 320g)
  • KA AP  144g
  • Butter     72g
  • Salt       5.2g
  • Sugar    8g

For topping    Some walnuts ( as you like)  or you can use any kind of nuts you like ..



1.    Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until tripled.  * strawberry mix yeast will rise well.

*  Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule. * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry

2.  Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.

3. Bulk fermentation: 3-4 hours until doubled at 73 F around.   *It fermented faster.

4. Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some walnuts or any kind of nuts that you like both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .   ** This method for when you use tiny seeds or making crackers!   To make pocky shape with bigger topping, It should be shaped before using the nuts. ***

  Chopping the walnuts...

 Dipping the dough in the walnuts..   That is not for shaping a stick!!  roll the dough until it is 3 mm thick.

  So I cut it into cracker -shape.  I also tried to make a stick .. but it was really hard.. because the big walnut doesn't stay in the dough nicely.. 

 I made holes in the cracker to have some air to make it good texture ( crispier)when I bite.

5. Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Light color crust is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...  This oven temperature will be vary depends on your oven.  * If the crackers are not crispy enough even it is cooled, You can bake them again that will be super crispy. 

6. Place them on the rack to cool. When it is completely cool, put melted white chocolate in a ziplock and cut an edge like a triangle shape then drizzle it over the crackers.

 I still made the pocky but it was irregular shapes... I will update it when I am succeeded.

  It was the best flavor so far.. 


* In summer, This chocolate doesn't firm quickly, so I put them in the refrigerator. I also keep them in the refrigerator too when ants are looking for food in my house !   but, when I put the pocky with chocolate to firm in the refrigerator as soon as I drizzled, the chocolate didn't stick to the pocky. so I recommend to leave the pocky with the chocolate for 20 minutes before putting in the refrigerator.

Next day:  I tried another thin pocky again. Yesterday's crackers above were gone within the day I made. My son shared some of them with his friends.  I felt little guilty to give my daughter the kind of sweets..  Next time, I want to try Pizza pretz !! Thank you for reminding me! :P Great idea, Sue!

  Here is the result:


This ingredients are as same as the crackers above.  The method is almost the same with the cracker too except the shaping and   baking methods.

* Shape-  Roll it out until the dough thick is 3 mm around without any topping,and make a string shape, then dipping the string in the topping.

*Bake at 380F for 12-13 minutes until slightly golden brown. 


You can use any topping , any kind of chocolate for your taste and convenience.



Happy baking,


yaunae1432's picture

Okay so my first starter was stolen. But, whoever thought there were goodies or some money in that bag were highly mistaken and very disappointed :) they got a healthy, 3-month-old, fermented sourdough starter and probably didn't even know what it was.  I've started another but this time I added milk. It called for half a cup but since I'm vegan I did 1/4 c dairy milk and 1/4 c almond milk.  I was scared almond milk wouldn't do what dairy does and might ruin the recipe. It's moving along very slowly and I'm worried it won't turn out but patience will tell. Since then, I've experimented with different recipes.  I got one of Paul Hollywood's books and made a brioche the other day.  It turned out pretty good but now how I wanted it to. Practice makes perfect! I'll just have to try it again. I want to try out a saffron bread and maybe invest in mastika or mechlebe but I'm hesitant because it's so expensive! Has anyone ever baked with mastika or mechlebe?

breadbythecreek's picture

Over the last couple of weeks I've been experimenting with the properties of fruit based yeast waters. Starting with a strawberry water, I've so far transformed Txfarmer's 36+ hr baguette  from a standard sourdough to one fed strawberry yeast water.  The result was as to be expected, crunchy crust, moist crumb, not a hint of sour, and interestingly, a surprisingly dark color despite the exclusive use of AP flour in the dough.

Strawberry Yeast Water Baguette, and one with Peach Yeast Water - Same recipe, same flour.

I have also created a number of boules using Ron Ray's Darling Clementine recipe.  I've used that same boule recipe to create a strawberry, cherry and blueberry boule.  From these loaves I have come to some conclusions.

Once out of the oven, these boules are virtually indistinguishable in terms of color, crust, and crumb. The only distinguishing feature was the strawberry loaf aroma while it was still baking. So, my conclusions are that it matters little exactly what kind of fruit one uses to cultivate yeast (except of course for those containing actinidain or actinidin), only that the yeast exist. Fruit based yeast from these types of waters will alter the color and consistency of the bread but will not impart any fruit essence upon baking.  The reddish/purplish fruits that I tested will significantly alter the color of the crust and crumb, and the relative amount of sugar present in the water will also affect the taste (the blueberry water, made from a quantity of dried blueberries was quite sweet to begin with).

 Strawberry, Cherry, Blueberry Boules: Beauty Shots, Profiles, and Crumbs




 I think after this experiment, I'll retire all but the strawberry water, as it is the most pleasing in terms of aroma, at least when it comes out of the oven.  So, in conclusion, choose your favorite fruited yeast water and keep only one type. Also, don't forget to feed your sourdough starter too because what is life without a little tang?

Happy Baking!





MadAboutB8's picture

 Inspired by Dmsnyder's SFBI Miche, I made another wheat germ sourdough weeks ago and loved it. This time, I wanted to increase hydration and include rye flour in the dough.  Instead of calling them wheat germ sourdough, I’d like to call it Pain au Levain with wheat germs (pain au levain is literally sourdough bread, only with fancier name). Taking the idea from Susan at Wild Yeast Blog, I shaped the dough into 3 Bs, three basic shapes; boule (round), batard (oval) and baguette. The bread had 2% toasted wheat germs, 72% hydration (amount of water comparing to total flour), mixture of bread flour (80%), whole wheat (15%) and rye flour (5%). I used the mixed flour sourdough starter (whole wheat & bread flour at 50/50 ratio) as I wanted pronounced acidity for the bread.  The bread didn’t disappoint. It was good all-round bread. It was great for toast, soup and sandwiches. I made Croque Madame using the bread and it was delicious. This recipe has now become my go-to plain sourdough bread.  It was also interesting to see the differences of the same dough into three shapes. Of all three shapes, I like the baguette shape the least. Baguette has high crust to crumb ratio and I am a crumb lover rather than crust. We froze the batard and haven’t got the chance to have it yet but I’m sure it will be as wonderful as the boule.  Full post and recipe is here.  Sue

holds99's picture


Thank you so much for your terrific formula: Pane con Semola Rimacinata di Grano Duro.  The only thing I did different than your formula was raise the hydration level to 68 percent.  I made 7.62 lbs of dough and divided it into two equal pieces of 3.81 lbs each, bulk fermented each in seperate containers, which minimized the handling of the dough during shaping. 


Here are some photos.



gingersnapped's picture

[crossposted to my general baking blagsite,!]

The day you find yourself laboring over a fine grained sieve sifting the bran out of otherwise a-ok whole wheat flour: might as well admit it you’re addicted to yeast.

relax piggybank, it's turkey

open up; sandwich time

Personal success: half batch + stretch and fold + autolyse with a hella wet dough and shaped! appropriately! neatly!  It looks like bread when it came out of the oven! (this is perpetually delightful and surprising)

Personal failure: forgot to score and got ants in the pants and pulled it out before the crust could fully harden.  The biggest advantage I’ve found to cooking in someone else’s oven — I tend to walk away and leave well enough alone (perhaps an important life lesson there).


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