The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Nomadcruiser53's picture

         Hi. Here is a short introduction. I'm one of the newer Dave's on TFL. I'm 56, Canadian  and getting ready to retire. I spent my early years in open pit mining and oil field construction work. I spent a couple cold and interesting years in mine construction in the high Arctic. The last 16 years have been spent operating in the pulping and steam side of newsprint production. Now we're waiting for our house to sell in a slowing Alberta economy so we can move to our second home on Vancouver Island. My baking for now only happens on days off work so it's sporatic at best. Once retired, I'm hoping to settle into home renovations, time in the kitchen and recreational fishing. It's now time to start a blog so I can keep my bread and baking attempts in some sort of order. The bread machine used to be my home baking tool of choice, but since finding TFL I am discovering the joy of handmade loaves. I tend to have more failures than successes, but when the successes come I sure injoy them. Even the failures seem to get eaten at my house. Between my wife, 24 year old son and company, food doesn't last too long around here. I also have a 29 year old married daughter and 4 year old granddaughter living Regina so they don't get to enjoy the fruits of our kitchen as often, but we see them when we can.

         Today was a lazy day, but I did manage SD waffles and sticky buns. Both recipes came from the KA site.

These are a couple of left over waffles and they sat for awhile before I took a pic. Great with butter, syrup and a side of good old Canadian back bacon.

The sticky buns are wonderful and soft. I do think I pulled them out of the oven 10 mins early though. They were smelling more than done, but I was wrong. Next time I will wait.


Shiao-Ping's picture

I needed to revive my grape starter (I dried it using the method here) to make sure that it is still alive and happy.  And indeed it is.  I dried it a month and a half ago because it was getting too strong and active and I couldn't keep up with it.  It took me 4 days to bring it back from its sleep and on the 5th day (yesterday) I mixed up a batch of dough.

This is the sourdough that came out of my oven this morning:    

My daily sourdough with grape starter  


                         The crumb           

My formula:  

150 g grape starter @100% hydration (my original grape starter was fed with 1/2 wholemeal and 1/2 rye meal before it was dried; but for this bake I used only white flour to revive it)  

320 g unbleached white flour

12 g organic honey

22 g olive oil

170 g water

8 g salt

oat bran for dusting  

(final dough weight 680 g and dough hydration 70.6%)  


After 3 hours of first fermentation yesterday during which time 3 stretch & folds were performed, it went into the refrigerator of 8 hours cold retardation, then it was shaped and stayed out at cool room temp (15 C/59 F) for another 8 hours before it was baked at 230C/450F this morning at 7.   

This is the first time that I've ever got a meaningful "grigne" in my sourdough.  The oven spring I got this time was phenomenal.  The dough expanded nearly double in the oven - first the whole dough raised up to nearly double its height, then the centre line along where the score was made further raised up to 2 + 1/2 times its original height.   




I was trying to think back what I'd done to deserve this oven spring.  It appears to me from the very beginning when the flour was mixed with the starter, the choice of flour and the hydration that was used for the particular flour, the way it was mixed, right down to its fermentation, and how the fermented dough was handled, everything has contributed to this.  I know many users at TFL in the past have commented that bread making is a continuous process and that every link in this circle matters.  This is the first time that I am cognisant of this process and witnessed its pleasing result when done properly.  

Well, let's not get carried away.  White flour is easier to achieve a holely crumb, right.



                                                                                 i am dreaming of a WHITE ... sourdough ....


dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain Soudough made with rye sour is currently one of my favorite bread. The formula calls for high-gluten flour, but I have not had any for a while. I now have some KAF Sir Lancelot flour, and this is the first bread in which I used it. 

I followed the formula for ingredients exactly, as I had before. Using Sir Lancelot flour, the gluten developed a little more slowly. I think I could have given the dough another couple minutes mixing in the Bosch. I did a stretch and fold before bulk fermenting, but it could have used either more initial mixing or another stretch and fold.

The crumb was quite chewy. I'll be interested in seeing if this bread seems too "tough" when toasted.

BTW, you might notice in the first photo that the boule on the right has a duller (less reflective) crust. This was the first loaf loaded onto my baking stone, and I steamed the oven after the third loaf was loaded - maybe 45 - 60 seconds later. Even a few seconds baking without steam at the start has a pretty dramatic effect.


lammie10's picture

This is my first post ever! I am a graduate student who has a love for bread. I grew up in Hong Kong, and my favorite food as a child included 豬仔包 and 雞尾包 ("little pig roll" and cocktail bun). I have since immigrated to the US. As I grew older, my tastes have changed. I discovered the sourdough from Panera. Later, I would become acquainted with the wonderful spice that is cinnamon, which introduced me to cinnamon swirl and cinnamon raisin breads. When I visited the New York Chinatown, I became a fanatic for the raisin buns. Then, more recently, I fell in love with challah. I also enjoy eating the bread from my local food co-op, which gets its bread from Springmill Bread.

My baking adventures truly began when I wanted raisin buns but they were nowhere to be found within driving distance in the US. I began baking raisin bread as an undergrad, on occassion venturing into the naan. My dad is a wonderful chef, and sometimes, we would make "man tou" or "veggie buns" at home (I'm lacto-ovo vegetarian). Lately, I have been trying to perfect the challah. I think I'm doing okay. Today, I am baking my first loaf of sourdough... which explains why I have been browsing this site obsessively. Hopefully all turns out well!

Some pictures of my previous baking adventures:

First loaf - Raisin bread  no knead cinnamon raisin

Shiao-Ping's picture

My formula for the dough:  

220 g organic stonegournd wholemeal starter @75% hydration 

400 g organic stoneground wholemeal flour (protein 14%+)

25 g water

270 g fat free butter milk

9 g salt   

(final dough weight 924 g and dough hydration 74% ) 

formula for the semi-liquid dough for brushing on the dough please see here.  (I would however increase water to 50 grams from 44 grams for future renditions.)


Mottled 100% Wholemeal Sourdough  


                                                                                            The crumb  

(1) The edges of the mottled surface were burned.   Because of the size I had to bake it quite long and the mottled surface cannot take high heat for a very long duration.  Next time I would lower the heat as soon as the dough is loaded.   (But, if the dough size is only half and baking time is shortened, the high heat for the whole duration is still the way to go to produce the golden brown crust.)  

(2) The mottled crust is nice and crispy, the best shape for it however is not a boule.  (I know now.)  The benefit is best felt in a baguette style or thin long bread such that you slice it length-ways.

(3) 74% dough hydration using butter milk is different from 74% hydration using water. The hydration would have been fine had it been water that I used given the high protein level in the wholemeal flour.   This sourdough turns out to be quite dry (ie, under hydrated) as the crumb is somewhat dense.   

(4)100% wholemeal flour gives a strong bitter note to the taste that my family doesn't care for.  Don't do it again.  



GabrielLeung1's picture

Further improvements on my white bread included three changes.

1.) Salt-less autolyse period

2.) Decreased amount of preferment

3.) Decreased hydration

Because an autolyse is meant to increase extensibility, salt would be a bad addition, this would counter the decrease in extensibility of a drier dough. However, I should be able to score these loaves because they are drier.


Purpose: To improve on a sandwich loaf with good crumb and flavor.



 100%   Bread Flour        (13.5 oz)

 66%     Water               (9.0 oz)

 0.8%    Instant Yeast     (0.11 oz)

 1.33%  Salt                   (0.18 oz)



Day 1-preferment

 6.750 oz Bread Flour

 9.000 oz Water

 0.055 oz Instant Yeast

All the water is combined with half the flour and half the yeast and fermented for an hour, then retarded overnight in a refrigerator.


Day 2-main dough

 6.7500 oz Bread Flour

 0.0550 oz Instant Yeast

 0.1800 oz Salt

 15.805 oz Preferment

Autolyse- Combined the preferment with the flour and autolyse for 20 minutes.

Knead in the yeast and salt, and developed

Bulk Fermentation- 45 minutes at room temperature

Folded the dough

Secondary Fermentation- 45 minutes at room temperature

Divided the dough into two pieces, shaped them into batards.

Final Proof- 60 minutes

- Preheated oven to 450F after 30 minutes

- Scored loavves, filled slashes with sesame oil before the loaves went into the oven.



- The fermentation was too quick. I can easily cut the yeast to stretch out the fermentation.

- If I quarter the amount of yeast, the fermentation should take 3 hours, a more reasonable time.

- It wasn't as difficult to knead in ingredients after the gluten was developed as I had thought.

- It was possible to score the loaves, 66% hydration is a good number, but it can still go higher I feel.

- Sesame oil is a good addition in terms of fragrance and flavor. It isn't too powerful.

- I need to work on the volume.


- I must shape the loaves to maximize surface tension

- Slashing the sides may improve volume

- less yeast, or several folds to slow down the yeast

- experiment with increased hydration, return to 70%.



GabrielLeung1's picture

A good white bread was made yesterday. This was my attempt to bring together all the techniques I've been learning about from books and this site.



 100%  Bread Flour

 70%    Water

 1.33% Salt

 0.8%   Instant Yeast



Day 1-preferment

 9.0000 oz Bread Flour

 9.5000 oz Water

 0.0275 oz Instant Yeast

All the water was combined with an equal weight of the flour and a quarter of the yeast to be used here. This mixture was fermented for one hour, then retarded overnight in a refrigerator.


Day 2-primary dough

 4.50000 oz Bread Flour

 0.18000 oz Salt

 0.08250 oz Yeast

 18.5275 oz Preferment

The preferment was warmed up at room temperature for 90 minutes. The flour, salt, and yeast were then added and kneaded in.

Autolysed for 20 minutes.

Fermented for two hours, the fermenting dough was folded half way through. 

Shaped into a round boule, and proofed for 60 minutes.

Baked at 450 F with steam until it reached 200 F within, and was golden brown on top (probably around 25 minutes).





Here I combined the preferment, autolyse, secondary fermentation, folds, and final proof to maximize gluten formation and flavor. The autolyse and folds should have enhanced the gluten development, while the preferment and secondary fermentation should have enhanced flavor. The final proof was 60 minutes long to achieve maximum volume.


Next Time-

*I can probably still push the maximum flavor by scalding the flour in addition to retarding a preferment overnight.

*I can also increase the openness of the crumb by increasing hydration.

Oddities- scoring loaves is essential to maximum opening of the crumb, yet its difficult with high hydration doughs.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I think I forgot to post in the Introductions Forum, so I'll make up for that here...

I'm Keith, and I live in Long Beach, CA, near the Orange County border. That puts us about 40 ft. or so above sea-level, if you find that interesting!

I have one adult son from a previous marriage, and am currently a stay-at-hom pop with a 3 yr old boy (Patrick Keith aka Bunka Bunka) and a 4 month old precious little girl (Samantha Jeanne aka Tweety Bird). I retired from a business telephone systems installer to my computer, where I design websites and write web scripts in PHP. I also do a fair amount of database work in MySQL. This transition took me out of the field and into my home, where I'm afforded the opportunity to care for my children. When my adult son was growing up, I was obsessed with career and the usual rat-race stuff, and didn't really get the chance to enjoy fatherhood. This time around, I enjoy every minute of it, every day.

I've approached my daily cooking and baking from both a hobby perspective and one of necessity. The health benefits are also factored in. I was raised by a grandmother who meticulously cooked all things from scratch. The memories of the smell of fresh spaghetti sauce simmering all day are well-branded into my gray matter. As I went on into the rat-race of young adulthood, I became a fast-food junkie. It was never satisfying to drive through some place, toss whatever I bought down the gullet, and move on to the next event. Food became an annoying necessity. After 5 or 6 years, I grew tired of this, and started slowly learning to cook on my own, unfortunately without the help of my grandmother who had passed away. She left me several old (1950's) Better Homes and Gardens Cook Books and a recipe box stuffed to the brim with chicken scratched recipes on them. Everything that comes out of my oven to feed my family and friends I lovingly dedicate to her.

It has been a long journey to bread baking. Although from pie crusts to specialty cookies, I was very flour-friendly, I always avoided any recipes that contained that dreaded word 'yeast'. How easy all of this eventually was underscores the silliness of my avoidance of it for a good 20 yrs or more. What eventually got me to break down and buy a packet of Active Dry Yeast was my obsession with the common waffle. I had this recipe for a State Fair type of belgian waffle, and it stared at me for probably a year or more before I decided to give it a go. It went wonderfully, they were excellent, and thus I realized that yeasted recipes aren't voodoo at all... but it still took another 2 or 3 years before I tried my first loaf of bread.

Fast-forwarding, and skipping the chase altogether, today I bake almost all of the bread our family consumes. I maintain 3 active sourdough starters, and it is the sourdough journey that eventually brought me to,, and here to TFL. While both of the previous sites and owners have tremendous gold mines of information respectively, the interaction between them and the fan base was very limited. TFL was obviously setup for the specific function of user-to-user interaction, so I found myself posting and getting involved. My inability to afford hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on bread making equipment led me to a belief that making good bread was not possible without these things. The internet proved me wrong, and challenged me to try. I was amazed to find that by perfecting my technique, I easily bypassed all of that expensive equipment to begin turning out wonderful healthy breads. It never really dawned on me that 'technique' was the only tool available to our ancestors, but I completely understand all of that now. My only real 'technological' tool is my digital scale. The rest of my equipment is rather sparse... my mixer cannot accomodate any attachments other than standard beaters, so I have no use for it in bread making. I use bowls, spoons, and a 14" x 18" pastry board. I recently went out and bought a Wilton dough cutter/board scraper, but that's about it. I also could not afford a $40 or more baking stone, so a $12 box of Saltillo tiles came in to line my oven. I couldn't be happier with the changes it made to my oven, as those changes taught me to actually 'operate' an oven versus just turning it on. My wife's not so happy... heheh

I have to close this first entry... Tweety Bird has popped an eye open and will be expecting a bah-bah within about 2 mins, or nuclear warfare will ensue. She likes her food. ; D

Thanks Floyd, for TFL.


- Keith

Shiao-Ping's picture

My formula  

190 g rye starter @100% hydration

95 g Rye meal unbleached flour

95 g organic stoneground whole meal flour

95 g KAF Sir Lancelot flour

50 g water

204 g orange juice

7 g salt Quinoa for dusting  


final dough weight 640 g    dough hydration 67%  


Mixed at mid-day yesterday, stretch & folds 4 times (as the dough was very slack) at 50 min intervals, then shaped, then bulk fermented in refrigerator for 8 hours to around mid-night, then cold retarded at 15 C (59 F) for another 8 hours.  Baked this morning at 8ish.   

50% Rye & 25% Wholemeal Orange Sourdough  


                                            The crumb  


I am learning to resist using diastatic powder, Vitamin C, or any other similar ingredients that are supposed to help the sourdough bread.  I am learning to do sourdough as is.  In this try of a rye and whole wheat sourdough, I couldn't however resist using orange juice as part of the hydration.  In my younger days I've had many Jewish friends and was introduced to pumpernickel bread very early in my life.  I love the smell of caraways seeds, but find pure rye lacking in taste; hence, orange juice to redefine its taste somewhat.      

Well, I like the result, and therefore I am giving you ...  

more crumb.  


p.s. A bad idea to roll dough in quinoa; with their round-shaped body, they dance unprovoked - they are everywhere as the bread is being sliced.  Sesame would be smarter.  


                                                                                                                I fed all the dancing quinoa to my garden worms  



xaipete's picture

A good friend of mine sent me this recipe last weekend. She and her husband used to eat this excellent appetizer or meal at Sayat Nova in Chicago many decades ago. She was pleased to see that it is still on their menu after all those years!

To call this "pizza" really doesn't tell the story of either its base or topping. The base has crackerish qualities lacking in bread and its topping, rich only with meat, fragrant spices and herbs, and devoid of any cheese-like quality. We gobbled down these meat pides last night with astounding speed.

Yesterday, I found a video demonstrating how to make them on youtube. Before watching it you might want to mute the sound because the music, which they offer for sale, is a bit harsh for my ears.

The authentic choice of meat is lamb, but if you object you could substitute beef. I ground my own lamb with the grinder attachment of my KA, but mincing it with a food processor would also work nicely. Of course you can also just buy the product already ground, if you choose.

The flavor of the finished pide is greatly enhanced by a lot of fresh lemon juice.

I took a lot of pictures, but, alas, didn't have the CF card in the camera except for the last shot.



(Makes 12)

7 g instant yeast
227 g warm water
7 g salt
7 g sugar
56 g shortening (I used Crisco, but you could probably use olive oil with good results)
340 g AP flour

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground lamb
3/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or passed through a garlic press
1/4 cup tomato paste
14 oz. can pear-shaped tomatoes (you can also use peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Lemon wedges, fresh mint, and olive oil

Mix dough ingredients together adding enough extra flour, if necessary, to make a soft pliable dough.  Knead for about 5 minutes to make it smooth and non-sticky.  Turn into greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces, each slightly under 2 oz. Shape into balls, arrange about 2” apart, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450º with rack on lowest level, and prepare topping. Drain tomatoes and finely chop the pulp.  Add pulp to remaining topping ingredients and mix with a fork until completely blended.  Divide meat mixture into 12 portions of about 1/3 cup each.

Take 2 pieces of dough and roll each to a 7 to 8” circle (dough will be very thin).  Place them slightly apart on ungreased lipped baking sheet lined with either parchment or a silicon baking pad.  Using a fork, spread meat mixture evenly to edges of dough.  

Bake one sheet at a time at 450˚ for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom but still capable of being folded. Remove and cool on racks. Repeat until all are baked.

Serve with lemon wedges.  Armenians put pickles or salad on top, and fold in half to eat.  

Store in sets of 2, with meat surfaces together (I put waxed paper between.)  Wrap well, and refrigerate or freeze.

To reheat:  Thaw, if frozen.  Leave in sets of 2.  Bake at 450˚ for 5 to 7 minutes until piping hot.  Separate and serve with lemon wedges.

Notes: May be top with salad dressed with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt & pepper, and lots of fresh chopped mint.



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