The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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trailrunner's picture

I followed the detailed postings and the bread was a success. It is very easy to handle and the shaping /scoring are a cinch due to the texture after all that chilling. I loved the crust and crumb. It exploded with crumbs when we broke into the loaf....just as the New Orleans French bread used to do before they ruined the way they make it. I will definitely be making this again and again. I used the 1/2 tsp yeast and didn't get much rise in the  fridge over the 24 hr period. I was a little worried but it did great in the oven. Here are pics.

pasta making: Photobucket fresh tomato topping for pasta and baguette: Photobucket finished with some lovely aged parmesan and a chunk of bread...broken  not sliced :Photobucket

AurorasBreads's picture

Well, here goes nothing! I have been baking for years (the usual...cookies, fruit breads, desserts, etc.) and recently decided to try my hand at bread baking. I baked a few using active dry yeasts from the grocery store and they turned out pretty nice. But I realized that I wanted to make my own starter so I took on an ambitious project of starting one of my own to capture the wild yeasts instead of using the packaged kind. My starter is going well (it's been about 7days) and I am ready to bake my first loaf of bread. My problem, however, is that I can't seem to find any recipes in my books that ask for a sourdough sponge...all they use is active dry yeasts and quick-rise yeasts. I have "Bread Alone" by Daniel Leader and "The Bread Bible" by Beth Hensperger (both great books!) but neither of them seem to have any recipes that call for a sourdough starter that I have made myself. Can you substitute the dry yeasts with the wet ones (the sourdough starter that I have made) and if so, what is the ratio? Any help that could be offered would be greatly appreciated! Thank you and happy baking :)

varda's picture

I continue to bake in my mud oven - in fact I haven't baked any bread at all in my "indoor" oven so far this summer.   It is a steep learning curve.   Since I last posted, I have added a thermometer and a door (essential) a peel (helpful) and have started to use parchment paper to keep things cleaner.   I continue to make my slow progress through Hamelman's Bread.   Today I tried Semolina with a levain.  (page 171)   I split it into three small loaves which are a bit more manageable.    Here they are. 

and the crumb

When I finished baking, I put tonight's dinner (chicken and vegetables) in a dutch oven into the oven and let it cook with the "leftover" heat for several hours.   And served with bread of course.

txfarmer's picture

This is another recipe from "A Blessing of Bread", while the last sourdough challah from that book (I blogged about it here) was very traditional and authentic, this one, is definitely not. 75% of the flour is whole wheat, no eggs, just some oil and minimal honey to tenderize, no egg wash on the surface (the recipe suggests a cornstarch wash instead, I used butter), and a very hot/long bake to get the dark crust. It's not as eye catching as traditional golden challahs, but the taste is wonderful. The dark and hard crust contrasts nicely with the soft crumb, and complex ww flavor is enhanced by sourdough and long fermentation - different from all the other challah breads I've made and tasted, but got major charm of its own.

The following formula makes a 900g loaf, which is scaled down from the book:


starter (60%), 22.5g

bread flour, 120g

water, 75g

1. Mix into a dough, cover and let rise for 8-12 hours.

-main dough

ww flour, 375g (I used King Arthur WW Flour)

water, 289g

salt, 9g

veg oil, 42g

honey, 15g

all of the preferment

2. Mix ww flour and water, autolyse for 20 minutes. Add other ingredients, mix well until glutens are well developed. About 12 minutes in my KA pro 6 mixer. See windowpane test below.

3. Bulk rise about 2 hours @73F.

4. Divide, round, relax, and braid. I tried two single braids in a 8inch squre cake pan.

5. Proof @ room temp until triple in size and do not push back. About 5.5 hours in my case.

6. Spray water on the surface, bake @430F for 45 to 1 hour, 50min was perfect for mine.

7. In the mean time, prepare cornstarch wash by mixing 1tsp cornstarch and 1/3cup water, boil until solution becomes clear. Brush onto loaf when it's hot from oven. Cool for 5 minutes, brush again. Note that I did NOT do this, I brushed the warm loaf with melted butter. The crust got a bit soft from it, but flavor was great.


Judging from the dark and hard crust, I thought the crumb would be like a hearth ww bread, nope, it's actually soft and spongy, contrasts nicely with the crust.


I love how WW breads taste, sourdough starter and long fermentation add yet another dimension to the flavor profile, definitely recommend it.

rosiePearl's picture

laurale's picture

Hello, all you bakers.  I stumbled upon this fabulous website while browsing KAF.  I was given an Artisan KA mixer as a gift and JUMPED  into the art of bread baking.   Baked ciabatta (a moderate failure, but taste was good), baguettes (witha correct pan-you know-the one with the holes), which we turned into brushetta), and parker house rolls.  I find that all you bakers have so much knowledge I'm not familiar with.  Can you recommend a book or website that speaks to me in primary school terms?

trailrunner's picture

I was preheating the 2 Dutch ovens I use for the San Joaquin  Sourdough. All was great and the oven was at 500. I took out the 2 pots and placed a loaf into each one and misted lightly with water. When I placed the covered  pans back into the oven the oven had a new code F06 and it cut off. Oh NO !! I quick turned on the upper oven to preheat to 460 and left the covered pots in the lower oven while I waited and swore and worried. I moved the pots to the top oven as soon as the temp was up . Then I long to wait??? When to remove the lids...more worry and swearing LOL. After 20 min. in the upper oven I decided to peek...OH wow...they looked wonderful. I left them in till they were good and brown and then checked internal temp...210. Done. Probably the prettiest I have made and they sang to me when they came out.


Moral of this story. If I hadn't been using the preheated pots I would not have had any success at all in averting a disastrous failure . The pots are the best. Here are fresh out of the oven loaves. Crumb to follow much later :)  I am waiting now for the Miele repair folks to come. Thank goodness for extended warranty. This is the 1st time I have needed service in the 4 years of use. 

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

siuflower's picture

What is bakery  pantent flour? What kind of bread uses patent flour?



lief's picture

I got an awesome fathers day gift from my daughter this year. She is going to New York University so she has been running around the Big Apple for a couple of years now. One of her favorite spots to pick up bakery items is Amy's Bread, which sells a book with some of their recipes, and that was my gift :-)

I have been slowly going through it, reading about their general take on the art of baking bread and perusing the recipes trying to decide what to bake first. I've been on a bit of a spelt kick lately, so I decided to start out with the Organic Whole Grain Spelt with Flax and Sesame recipe.



Notice the white streaks on the crust? I have been having a problem with this for a very long time, but it has only shown up intermittently. I have made all sorts of adjustments to my methods, ingredients, and physical baking apparatus to try and figure out the source of the whitening of the crust to no avail. This book may have the answer!!!! In fact, at the end of this very recipe the book states that white streaks can occur due to INSUFFICIENT STEAM. Hallelujah! Definitely makes sense because the results were never consistent... perhaps I'm depending on how quickly I manage to close the oven door after applying the steam or how long my steaming apparatus was preheated? I got very excited after reading this and when I baked this bread, I made a number of adjustments to my steaming method to try and increase the amount of steam that I got. I definitely got more steam than usual, but the bread still has white streaks. Looks like I need to make further improvements. I also bought a large foil roasting pan to try the covered "self steaming" method, but it wouldn't work for this bake, which included two large loaf pans. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, how did you solve it?

Whitening aside, the crumb was quite dense, moist, and had a nice whole grain taste. However, it was also quite sour... almost too much. This is undoubtedly due to the modifications that I made to the recipe. The original recipe called for commercial yeast along with a levain. I've been spurning commercial yeast lately, so I decided to leave it out. However, I left everything else the same. This necessarily meant that the time tables would be stretched out by quite a bit. Also, in the original recipe, the bread is baked on the same day that the final dough is assembled. I said nuts to that! I'm sure that the long retarded proof that I gave it was the main reason for the kick that it had. It is 100% whole grain after all! If I were to do it over again, I would probably bake it on the same day. I may even add commercial yeast. I guess the recipe was written that way for a reason ;-)

Neo-Homesteading's picture



I know there have been plenty of entries on the subject of English muffins here on TFL, but I actually just made them for the first time recently. Somehow or another the thought just hadn't crossed my mind but these were delicious! I almost feel guilty buying those 100 calorie whatcha ma-call-its for so long! This is one of the only things that I've made that came out looking so identical to a store bought product. Although they came out looking the same the flavor and texture was out of this world! 

External Linkn to blog post and recipe:



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