The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


allisoninsf's picture

I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone here on TFL for helping me through my first two big bread baking adventures!

After being mesmerized by the promotional video for Tartine Bread ( I became obsessed with the idea of baking my own crusty yummy bread at home.  At about the same time I snagged the book, this cautionary column in SF Weekly was published (  A little bummed but still enthusiastic, I took to the web to search for pointers from those who had already tried the Tartine recipe.

After sifting through the wonderful posts from all of you, I finally felt prepared to take on the country loaf.  While my loaves were a little overproofed during the final rise, and I had some trouble scoring, they still came out pretty well:


Then, because I'd read so many comparisons to/recommendations for the No Knead Bread, I thought I'd try my hand at that too!

So, thanks again TFL members!  You helped me through my first two real bread baking experiences, and for that I'm very grateful :)

occidental's picture


I needed something to accompany Christmas dinner.  I went with something that doesn't take a ton of effort and produces a fairly reliable tasty loaf.  I found one of David's recent postings on his masterpiece formula: San Joaquin Sourdough Updated (thanks David) and went forth.  I followed the formula fairly close except that being away from home I'm lacking a few standard tools and supplies.  I substituted the rye flour with whole wheat.  I also did not have a stone to bake on so I went with my fall back method - no preheat.  The ready to bake loaf is placed in a cold oven with a pan of water on the lower rack.  The oven is turned on and the prolonged time the burner is on creates plenty of steam and enough intense heat to cause some good oven spring.  And boy did I get oven spring.  This is one of the most impressive looking loaves I have produced.  You can carry this loaf by the ear.  The taste was great, as usual, and I even got some cracking of the crust.  I hope you all had a great Christmas.  On to the pics....

The loaf


Happy Holidays TFL'rs!!

Happy Holidays TFL'rs!

Mebake's picture

This is my first golden raisin bread. I used Bread flour for both Whole wheat and White. I handeled the dough more than i should, and thus deflated it considerably. The house smelled of Raisins! Really nice bread, and i bet it would taste better toasted.

All in all, i like it! But i think it should taste better if yeast is left out.


ricardo Gonzalez's picture
ricardo Gonzalez

Hi i now use a Kitchenaid Pro series 6 quart mixer for my monthly bread making. It works but it really strains especially when i use wheat flour and i can smell the motor. I make about 6 loafs at a time. I use the whole 5lb bag of flour. Is there a mixer that i can use. Maybe the next level up. Any recommendations would be great.



dmsnyder's picture



Most of the breads we baked in the Artisan II workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) are found in Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” (AB&P) textbook. A couple of the breads I and the other students enjoyed the most are not, and one of them was a delicious Walnut Raisin bread made with a firm levain and a small amount of instant yeast.

The following is my scaled down version which made two loaves of 563 gms each. (The 26 g by which the dough exceeded the ingredient weights must be due to water absorbed by the raisins.) I incorporated an autolyse in the procedure which we did not use at the SFBI.


Total Formula




Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



KAF Whole Wheat flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Walnuts (toasted)



Raisins (soaked)














Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Stiff Starter






  1. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

  2. Ferment 12 hrs at room temperature.


Final Dough




Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour



KAF Whole Wheat flour



BRM Dark Rye flour






Yeast (dry instant)



Walnuts (toasted)



Raisins (soaked)













  1. Mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  2. Toast the walnuts, broken into large pieces, for 15 minutes at 325ºF. (Can be done ahead of time)

  3. Soak the raisins in cold water. (Can be done ahead of time)

  4. Add the salt and the levain and mix at Speed 1 until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).

  5. Mix at Speed 2 to moderate gluten development (about 8 minutes).

  6. Add the nuts and raisins (well-drained) and mix at Speed 1 until they are well-distributed in the dough.

  7. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead/fold a few times if necessary to better distribute the nuts and raisins.

  8. Round up the dough and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  9. Ferment for 2 hours at 80ºF.

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape as boules. Let the pieces relax for 20-30 minutes, covered.

  11. Shape as bâtards or boules and place, seam side up. In bannetons or en couche. Cover well.

  12. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  13. An hour before baking, pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them. Transfer to the baking stone.

  15. Turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes with steam, then another 15 minutes in a dry oven. (Boules may take a few more minutes to bake than bâtards.)

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 8-10 minutes.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  18. Cool completely before slicing.


Because of the water in the soaked raisins, The dough was wetter than expected from the 67% hydration given for the total dough. It felt more like a 70-72% hydration dough.

The crust was thinner and got soft faster with this bake than that done in the deck oven at SFBI. I might try baking at 460ºF and also leaving the loaves in the turned off oven for longer. Perhaps a shorter period baking with steam would help get the crunchier crust I would like with this bread.

This bread has a delicious flavor which is exceptionally well-balance between the grains, nuts and raisins. There is a very mild sourdough tang. Definitely a bread I'll be baking frequently.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


breadsong's picture

Hello, There have been so many beautiful Panettones baked and posted about here on TFL this Christmas season.
Thanks Daisy_A, SylviaH and others for your inspiration!

These Panettone are from Artisan Breads at Home by Eric Kastel. This is a sponge bread, mixed and baked today. They are flavored with orange zest, candied orange peel, chopped chocolate and chocolate ganache! Advanced Bread and Pastry has a chocolate glaze for Panettone so that's what I used. It is thinner than the glaze Sylvia used - next time I may try hers - it was so attractive.

Here are some pictures, before baking (one unglazed, one glazed), and two after baking.

We'll be cutting into one of these for breakfast tomorrow.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Regards, breadsong

breadsong's picture

Hello, and special thanks to Larry for posting about his Cheese Bread!
My husband loves cheese bread so I made this for him, shaped as a Celtic Knot, for Christmas.
I followed Mr. Hamelman's method for retarding the dough, to help with shaping with the strands.
Somewhere along the line I found this post on shaping, so tried it out:

The baked loaf:

The proofed and glazed loaf:

Husband's eager to cut into this and taste it!
Merry Christmas from breadsong



breadsong's picture

Hello, I wanted to have some good bread to make the turkey stuffing with. Mr. Hamelman's formula for Un-Kneaded, 6-Fold French Bread looked good so I wanted to give it a try. Instead of the 5 baguettes as instructed, I roughly shaped two big loaves. This dough was 73% hydration.
We couldn't resist and cut some to make sandwiches for lunch today.
Another really, really good bread from Mr. Hamelman!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! from breadsong

arlo's picture

The ramping up for the holiday sales started about two weeks ago, but this week was definitely the bulk of it all. Each day started at the crack of the middle of the night, 1 a.m. when I awoke to get ready for the big days of baking starting promptly at 2 a.m. all this week. That meant going to bed at about 5 p.m at night, and focusing on being rested for those 12 hour days of baking.

We (the four bakers) gathered around and tabulated sales from last year to decide what should be made for the day. When that was done, roughly taking thirty minutes, we began the mixing and sponge/poolish prep.

But for me, most of the time it started with the dry mixes for the scones and cookies;

Egg nog scone ready for the mixing, just add your liquids : )

Which an hour or so later led to some rum frosted and finished egg nog scones I was rather proud of!

Then I moved on to some pumpkin batter bread and muffins, the muffins ready to go in the oven;

Then to some Oatmeal Chocolate chip walnut jumbo cookies! Scooped and ready for the oven, made about 400 jumbo sized cookies, a bunch of small ones too!

Into the oven they go! Please don't forget to pin them to prevent burnt cookies : ( No one would want that!

In the mean time, I mix up some batter breads, including a candied rum batter bread, brownie, a few muffins, and did I mention very, very large cinnamon rolls!

While all that is going on, I am helping with the sponge and doughs for the day too, in fact the first dough was a large sweet white bread for swirls;

Which was mixed till shaggy, anyone ready for those stretch and folds? Trust me, it is difficult.

I won't bore you with all the pictures I took, but we did about twelve different doughs; the first seen here;

Those are going to be cinnamon swirl breads which I made about 200 of just today alone. But why did I chose to try and document this on the busiest day of the year? Because when the next dough is ready, it is ready regardless if you are not.

Seen there is the pecan bread being dumped and ready to be shaped, although I still had a good amount of swirls to go. Working in a bakery is about being efficient and effective.

Here are a small chunk of the swirl breads I did, later on during the morning. Sorry these were all taken on my phone.

I also made many rolls of so many kinds it is really hard to imagine. Even if I were to try and put it into prespective, it really can't be concieved unless you saw the amount personally. We would fill up a mixing bowl with dough just for rolls alone, then repeat it again later in the day. Repeat this with about six different doughs over and over again. People just love rolls.

Here are some cheese garlic rolls hitting the oven, it is one of the few breads I can still smell when at the bakery!

Of course with twelve hour days, you wonder, is it any fun? Well...I still manage to have fun with dough out of work and even at work!

I pretty much put my own little touch on the loaves you could say!


But in the end that was just a touch of my busy day today at the bakery. It would have been too hard on the other bakers if I stood around taking pictures of every dough, every kind of loaf and so on. Although I did make, cinnamon bread, cinnamon raisin, cheese, pecan, honey wheat, white, 9-grain, stollen, challah, lots of muffins and cookies and more today, and well everyday I am there! It's a labor of love and I am willing to go to bed at 5 p.m. to be able to work at 2 a.m. each day! Not many people can say that, but I certainly am glad I have found something I love! Next week will be a bit easier, bed time will be adjusted to 6:30 to 7:00 and work will start right around 3-3:00 a.m.

Of course, there is the part of the job no one talks too much about but anyone interested in this profession needs to be aware of, and that is the cleaning and lifting!

Those are easily 55 pound steel mixing bowls that need to be lifted up to a sink and rinsed, scrubbed and dried numerous, and I mean numerous times every single day. Also 50 pound bags of flour and ingredients being hussled left and right every second too.

So it is work, it really is. But I find it enjoyable and never a chore, and that is the secret I believe!

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

I thought:  I have just enough time to bake one more goodie.  With both our son and daughter coming home for Christmas, what could be better than a celebration?  Since I just got the BBA off the bookmobile, why not use Peter Reinhart's celebration loaf, the Cranberry Walnut Celebration Loaf to be exact?  Well, mostly exact.  I did not have any real buttermilk, but we have some powdered buttermilk in the refrigerator, so I substituted that instead.  I bought the orange extract for this loaf, deciding I would like that better than the lemon, and I am sure I made the right choice there.  I also decided to soak the dried cranberries before making this up, so I put them in a bowl with about 1/3 cup of brandy and enough hot water to cover them, for about an hour.  I mostly drained them before adding them to the dough.  I should have drained them a little better.

This was not a overly difficult formula but I had some trouble with the hydration.  At first the dough came out quite dry and I added several (4 or 5) tablespoons of water before it seemed right. I later realized this was because I used powdered buttermilk, and failed to adjust the water.  At least I failed to acknowledge the water required, but I did add it since I got to the prescribed dough consitency.  Then I added the cranberries that I should have drained more thoroughly and it got too wet.  A scant tablespoon of flour brought it around and made me happy.  The cranberries and walnuts were a little trouble to get well distributed too, but in the end it seems to have turned out well.

It took several minutes longer than the recipe called for to reach the internal temperature target, but the loaf developed beautiful color by the time it was finally done.  The aroma while cooking was redolent of oranges and cranberries mixed in with that "There's bread in the oven!" smell I imagine we all love so much.  It was a great house to go to bed in last night while this loaf cooled.  Here it is:

Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Loaf

And of course, the crumb:

We could not resist trying a couple of slices this morning.  It has a delightful texture with a tender and creamy crumb, plenty of fruit and nuts, and if anything, a bit too strong an orange overtone to it.  I think I will reduce the orange extract next time, or at least measure extra carefully to see if it was my mistake.  It is not overpowering, but it is a bit strong to our taste.  Regardless, we are planning to make sure there is enough left over for turkey sandwiches on Sunday.

Merry Christmas to all


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