The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


txfarmer's picture

My favorite 36 hours Sourdough baguette and its many variations:

Other baguettes:

Sourdough breads can be very soft and fluffy:

100% whole wheat breads can be very soft and fluffy too, SD or not:

My obsession for laminated dough:

Other stuff made with starters:

Other non-sourdough stuff:

JC1957's picture

Yesterday I was researching various rye bread formulas and techniques trying to come up with something I could make with what I have on hand (dark rye flour and from a sour dough culture). I was thinking of a Jewish or a German Rye. The Bread Baker's Apprentice was a little help but still didn't have a formula to go on. Several years ago a friend (he was the head baker in the first bakery I use to work at) gave me his formulas, study guides and notes from when he attended Dunwoody Institute back in the early 1960's. I pulled those formulas out and found one for a Sponge Dark Sour Rye.  Here are the results.  2 of the 3-1 1/2 # loaves.  Baked 2 tonight and will bake the 3rd in the morning.


breadsong's picture

Franko was travelling in Europe recently, and thoughtfully sent me a gift from Vienna, Austria - an organic rye bread baking mix, called Holzofenbrot Backmischung (translates to: woodstove breadbaking mix).
To say that I was tremendously pleased with this, would be an understatement!
Thanks again, so much, Franko, for your kindness and generosity!

Here is the bread, baked from the mix. It looked like the mix had a good amount of rye in it, and some bread spice (brotgewurze). I tried scoring before proofing, as we were taught in my recent Guild class.
We haven't tasted this bread yet but are looking forward to it very much!
Thinking of Franko's travels, I was looking at pictures of folk art today and tried to paint a design on the bread reminiscent of eastern European folk art. (It's the thought that counts, right?! :^) I'm not a painter! and wish I'd been able to keep it more on center!).
The mix was a 500g size, to which I added 350g 90F water and 2 teaspoons (7g) instant dry yeast. The dough moved along just as the instructions said it would: 45 minute bulk, 30 minute proof (no longer!):
scored before proofing:  
              after proofing:

I'm really happy with the quality of the mix and how nicely it baked up. Such a lovely gift! :^)

Still inspired by Franko's travels!, I tried making Mr. Leader's Czech Country Bread from his book Local Breads.
I found a nice writeup about this bread here.
I used dark rye for the levain and 75% sifted rye, and unmalted bread flour, in the final dough.
This bread has a mild, but very good flavor, and an exceptionally soft crumb - almost as if a water roux were employed.
I mixed using stretch and folds in the bowl, with lots of rests, and two folds during a 2.5 hour bulk ferment; one hour proof.
I docked one as instructed, and painted the other:

Crackles and crumb:

Here are the two painted ones, side-by-side. I will keep practising this technique, for obvious reasons :^)
It was a took a little bit of time, but was fun to try.

With thanks, once again to Franko, and to Janknitz, for letting me know about Chef Tess Bakeresse and her lovely, decorative loaves. The instruction I found on Chef Tess' site re: painting bread was so helpful!

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong



holds99's picture

A few years back I was testing English muffin recipes on TFL.  After I posted a recipe I received a comment from Dan Lepard who provided a recipe for excellent English muffins.  The other day I decided to give the recipe another try.  The only thing I changed was a couple of stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals after the dough came out of the refrigerator, after reaching room temperature.  This is a really good recipe which produces a light, flavorful muffin, and it's easy to make.  They take about 7 minutes per side on a medium low grill or in a cast iron skillet.  Don't try to hurry them or the outside will be brown before the inside is done.  I used a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature.  These reached an internal temperture of 202-204 deg. F.  Incidentally, I quadrupled the recipe to make 4 times the amount of dough, which is the reason the dough amount in the first photo under the recipe is fairly large.

Edit: I also added 3 Tbs. ripe 100% sourdough starter to the dough mix.

Below is the recipe that Mr. Lepard published in the Guardian newspaper.




Cider vinegar English muffins

What the Americans call an English muffin we used to call, well, a muffin. But since those little cakes in paper cases have invaded the supermarket shelves and stolen the name, our own little plain bread muffin has become neglected in Britain. In the US, bakers have raised the quality of their English muffins to something close to perfection. Crisp on the outside, sour and holey inside, and chewy when toasted and slathered with butter. Make these and you'll see what we've been missing all these years. In this recipe, the dough gets mixed and lightly kneaded the night before and is left in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly. You can even leave it until the following evening if that works better for you.

Makes 8-10 muffins

50g unsalted butter

100ml warm water (by weight: approximately 4 oz. or 116 g.)

50ml cider vinegar [by weight: approximately 2 oz. Or 58g.]

100ml plain live yoghurt [slightly less than ½ cup]

1 large egg

1 level tsp salt

375g strong white flour

2 tsp easy-blend yeast [I used instant yeast and it worked fine]

Oil for the bowl

The night before, melt the butter in a saucepan [use stainless steel with the vinegar], then remove from the heat and beat in the warm water with the vinegar, yoghurt, egg and salt until smooth. Measure the flour and yeast into a bowl, tip [pour] in the butter and vinegar mixture and stir to a thick batter. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Lightly oil the work surface and knead the dough gently for 10-15 seconds (see Basic techniques). Scrape the bowl clean of scraps of dough, wipe the inside with a little oil, place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plate or cling film and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning (or evening), lightly oil a dinner tray and upturn the dough on to it. Stretch and fold the dough in by thirds (see Basic techniques), then cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1-2 hours until it warms and begins to rise again. [It takes a full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.]

Line a dinner tray with a tea towel and dredge the surface liberally with flour. Gently roll out the dough [on a work surface] about 1½ cm [approximately 5/8 inch] thick, trying not to knock too much of the gas from it. Cut the dough into discs using a 12cm-diameter [approximately 4 ¾ inches] cutter (yes, that large, as they'll pull inwards as they bake), or take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 6 rectangles or something close to that. Carefully lay the cut dough on the floured cloth. Dust the tops with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 1½-2 hours [they’ll take the full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.] or until doubled in height.

Get a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with a snug-fitting lid if possible. Place on a moderate heat until the surface is hot but not scorching.

Uncover the muffins and flip them one by one on to your hand with the cloth, then slide them into the pan. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 in at a time. Cover the pan with the lid to create a bit of steam to help them rise and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then check to see that they're not burning. If the bottom is a good brown, flip them over using a spatula. Cook on the other side for about 3-4 minutes. [I used an electric skillet with a lid, set at 340 deg. F. cooking them in a dry pan for 6 minutes on side 1 and 4 minutes on side 2 until they reached an internal temperature of 190 deg. F.] When done, remove to a wire rack, drape a tea towel over to keep them soft, and continue with the remaining muffins. Freeze in a zip-lock bag as soon as they're cold.

varda's picture

Franko's projects have a way of capturing my imagination.   His Altamura bread did that in spades.   Then to top it off when Sylvia showed her Altamura loaf sitting on her WFO floor, I couldn't resist.    Today I followed Franko's formula to the tee.   The only problem was I didn't have the Giusto fancy durum flour - just my Golden Temple Atta.   I took Franko's advice and did the 4 Stretch and Folds in the bowl.   I wouldn't call them regular in the bowl stretch and folds though, since I used my hands and just gently manipulated the dough.   I had watched the clip of the Italian housewife (in the comments of Franko's post) handling the dough, and I tried to channel her, even though there is a big gap between us.   I also did all the mixing and initial kneading by hand.   The dough is very easy to handle and not sticky so this was fine.   It is the first time since forever that I haven't mixed in my Kitchen Aid. 

I hadn't really thought about baking with fire in, door open when I built my oven but it worked fine for one loaf.  


I didn't get quite as much oven spring as I would have hoped for, so I think there's plenty of room for improvement.   But I'm pretty happy with this bread.   Of course, my title is a misnomer.   This isn't Altamura bread since it's made with Atta - whole grain durum flour, most likely sourced from just about every country but Italy.   Maybe next time.

moma's picture

I just started on this site but I have been baking for a long time.

one of two identical weddingcakes. Regular and chocolate sponge with rasberry and tobleronemousse filling, iced with buttercream. Covered with marcipan and a fondant pearlborder. (30 servings on photo).

1yr. birthday cake. Banana and chocolate marble spongecake with semi-sweet chocolatemousse (the smaller children do not like the bitter ones). Buttercream icing and fondant cover (8 servings). Figurines, lettering and pearl border of fondant with tylose powder (to make the consistensy as gum paste/sugar parste) to harden it.

My daughters 1yr birthday Elmo Cake. Filling and cake identical to the one abowe. (20 servings)




JC1957's picture

Light work week has given me time to bake at home.  First batch was the 1,2,3 formula again and then I did a sour dough baguette batch for today.  Here are the results:


And then today:

I love the exchange of ideas and formulas on this site.  I'm going to try the cocoa, cranberry walnut sour dough very soon.

glora's picture

Hi All,

I am making Russian rye bread that has aproximately 50 % whole rye starter 83% hydrated.  My problem is that it is to sour and the top split before I even baked.  I think that the yeast % is to high and it has fermented to long.  I am using high gluten flour and all but 7 % of the rye flour is prefermented.  Also does anyone know what S500 does in a a bread dough?  It is a preservative and would it change the overall texture?  Any feedback would be appreciated.



lumos's picture

As I said in my first blog entry, I made a new WW sourdough for the friend, this time with CORRECT amount of salt. And this is how it came out.

 …..with a better ear…..


I also baked two other breads; cocoa flavoured sourdough with cranberry and walnuts (top right) and my friend’s favourite sourdough (top left).


Today, I’d like to share the recipe for the cocoa sourdough with you.


Cocoa Flavoured Sourdough with Cranberry and Walnut

(For 2 loaves)

Very active S/D (75% hydration)  120g

Strong Flour  300g*(See 'Note1' below)

Plain Flour  150g*(see 'Note1' below)

WW Flour  50g

Instant active dried yeast  1/4tsp

Skimmed Milk Powder  2tbls

Cocoa powder  25-30g

Salt 9g

Clear honey  1tbls (or more if you like it sweeter)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil  1 1/2 tbls

Water (Filtered or bottled)  370 - 380g

Filling … Dried cranberry and walnuts *(See 'Note2' below)  total 120 – 150g 

  1. Feed S/D twice during 8-12hrs period before you plan to use it.
  2. Mix flours, skimmed milk, cocoa, dried yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Put S/D, water, honey and olive oil in a separate bowl and mix to loosen S/D.
  4. Pour S/D water mix onto the bowl of flours and mix until no dried bits is left. (Cocoa powder seems to have a tendency to stiffen the dough, so you may want to add a little more water)  Cover and rest for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Stretch and Fold in a bowl for 3 times at 45 minutes intervals.
  6. Bulk ferment overnight (or 10-16 hrs) in a fridge.
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave for 30 minute-1 hr to bring it back to room temperature.
  8. Take the dough out onto a worktop and spread into a large rectangle.
  9. Sprinkle 2/3 of cranberries and walnuts (broken into small pieces) onto 2/3 of the surface of the dough. Letter-fold the dough, the part without the filling first. Sprinkle the rest of the filling onto 2/3 of the folded surface of the dough, again, the part without the filling first. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Divide the dough into two and pre-shape. Rest for 15-20minutes.
  11. Shape and put in banettons. Final proof.
  12. Bake in a pre-heated pot/pyrex casserole with a lid at 240℃ for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 210℃ and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

Note 1 :  I think US TFLers can use  450g AP flour instead of the combination of strong & plain flours like me.

Note 2 : I usually dry-roast walnuts in a frying pan before I use it to improve the flavour, but it’s optional.


Here’s a close-up pic of the bread.

 I sprinkle quite a generous amount of rice flour into a banetton, as you can guess from this picture. It’s partly to prevent cranberries from staining the banetton and partly to prevent the surface from becoming too dark and sometimes too bitter during baking because of high fat content of cocoa powder.

 This loaf was for the friend so obviously I don’t have the crumb shot, but I made another loaf for ourselves a couple of days ago (of which I forgot to take picture, of course…) and I miraculously remembered this morning to take some pictures of the very last few slices (phew….).


(Excume me for the blurred picture. It was very early in the morning...)

This bread has a really lovely deep flavour thanks to cocoa powder and, of course, you can enjoy many variations by changing the fillings;  another friend's children love chocolate chips (milk chocolate for them) in it while their mum likes only with walnuts.  White chocolate works very well to contrast the not-sweet-cocoa-flavoured crumb, and a combination of dark chocolate chips and almond is rather good, too.  In other words, the world is your oyster, you mix-in whatever filling you fancy! :)


Will post the recipe for the other bread (the friend's favourite sourdough) in a few days time.

Happy Baking!....with correct amount of ingredients.:p



yozzause's picture

We were invited to join friends on their caravaning holiday in Darwin this year, we did a similar holiday meeting up in Broome 2 years ago and had great fun. Bob and Joan are retired and are part of a large number of Australians known as grey nomads, they tend to travel north to the tropics  to avoid the cold weather and head south when the weather gets hot.

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory or the TOP END as it is often refered to, we flew up to Darwin on a flight that lasted 3.5hours and into a different time zone 1.5 hours ahead of Perth which is GMT+8. As soon as we landed it was time to break out the shorts and tee shirts, a far cry from the torrent of rain that bucketed down on us when boarding the plane from the tarmac (no covered elevated walkway) not even a brolley to be had.

Darwin is quite a nice city and fairly easy to get around with a good bus service and lots of places to eat at reasonable prices.

I did not dicover any particularly good bakeries or see any breads of note, pretty much the same old fayre that we would get back in Perth at shopping centres. We did visit the air museum that has a B52 bomber  inside and dwarfs everything else, we went on a sunset cruise too that was well worthwhile.


We also took a light plane flight over Kakadoo which was quite exciting as they had a record wet season just past, the top end is home to some very big salt water crocodiles

(sweetheart 4,5 metre exhibit in the museum) NO SWIMMING means NO SWIMMING


Kakadoo (world heritage listed) from the air, we landed and had a boat trip on yellow water billabong to see the wildlife up close. 

The bread was going to have to wait until we got to Adelaide the capital of South Australia (but here is a preview, to be continued)


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