The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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ananda's picture


This is my first ever attempt at a blog.   I have been a member of the Fresh Loaf just over a couple of weeks; that's all.

By way of introduction, I am from the UK, and I lecture in Bakery in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North of England.   I have industrial experience as a craft and artisan baker going back to 1987.   I gained distinction in my bakery qualifications in 2005, and then went on to gain full teaching qualifications as well.   Currently I am studying for a Masters Degree in Food Policy.

I planned to post a series of blogs using content and materials I share with my students in college.   I have tried to pick recipes which will be of interest; if anyone has a particular request, please let me know.

First  Product is......  


[Plaited Festive Bread]










Strong White Bread Flour




Water @ 38°C




Fresh Yeast




















Strong White Bread Flour




Milk Powder
































Oven profile: bake in the deck oven at 175°C, top heat 6, bottom heat 5 for 28 minutes.   No steam, draw the damper for the last 5 minutes 


  • Whisk all the ingredients for the ferment together in a steel bowl.
  • Cover with cling film and set in a warm place for half an hour.
  • Mix all the ingredients, together with the ferment, in an upright machine with a hook; 2 minutes on first speed, then scrape down; 6 minutes on 3rd speed. A spiral mixer is a good alternative.
  • Rest, covered, for 15 minutes, then scale into 970g pieces and divide each into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 equal sized pieces, depending on the number of strands in your plait. Try to avoid using any flour on the bench during this and subsequent stages.
  • Mould round, cover and rest 5 minutes.
  • Line trays with silicone paper. Roll out strands to 9" and plait according to instructions.
  • Double brush with beaten egg. Top with poppy seeds. Set to prove.
  • Prove 50 - 60 minutes at 35 - 40°C, 85%rH.
  • Bake as oven profile.
  • Cool on wires.


This is a video demonstration I used with my students to assemble an 8 strand plait:


hansjoakim's picture

Some dough this week, but no loaves!

I wanted to indulge in something special, and found a delicious recipe for salmon en croute in a cookbook. The recipe called for shortdough, but I wanted to pack the fish in puff pastry instead. I didn't have any leftover puff in the freezer, so I had to get an early start and haul out the rolling pin. I tend to opt for five single turns whenever I make puff; two single folds back to back immediately after enclosing the butter block. The dough is then chilled approx. 45 mins., before a series of three single folds is given. I usually give the dough 45 mins. resting time between folds, perhaps up to an hour before the final fold. Below I'm in the middle of the fifth fold, giving the dough a brief rest before finishing.

Rolling puff pastry

And below's the completed puff (*phew!!*), right after the fifth fold. I try to keep a 1cm thickness of the rolled out dough during lamination.

Completed puff pastry


Some hours later (giving the pastry a chance to relax), I roll 400 gr. puff pastry into a rectangle, 3mm thick. Two salmon filets, sandwiched with herb butter and coarse mustard, are placed smack centre:

Salmon on puff pastry

...and the dough is folded around the fish. Get the seams underneath, then chill briefly to relax the pastry:

Salmon en croute


The package is baked for approx. 30 mins. at 200dC. I enjoyed the salmon with broccoli and herbed potatoes:

Salmon en croute

Absolutely delicious...!!

liza2's picture

This was my third attempt at this bread and my best result.

I again followed Susan's recipe exactly, except I used a 100% hydration starter rather than a firm one. I used 300 grams of Pam's flour (New Zealand - 11.0% protein). I followed Eric's recommendation to lightly slash once across the top of the bread. Instead of using scissors I used my newly sharpened knife. I think that was good advice about the slashing; thanks Eric.

I retarded the loaf in the fridge for 8 hours. After taking it out of the fridge I let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I baked the loaf for 40 minutes at 190 degrees celsius (fan bake). I used two cookie sheets - one pre-heated in the oven and then the second one with the loaf on it on top of the pre-heated one. I followed Susan's advice and covered the loaf with a pyrex bowl for the first 20 minutes. The oven spring was very good this time.

I was very pleased with the way this loaf turned out. The crust was crispy and slightly blistered. Once again the texture was light, springy and spongy and the flavour was very good with a slightly sour after-taste.


ericb's picture

Pain Rustique with Whole Wheat

The inspiration for this formula derives from Hamelman's Pain Rustique, which is a high hydration dough made with a commercial yeast poolish. The crumb is very open and moist, much like a ciabatta, perfect for dipping in olive oil.

I had some neglected starter in the fridge which I decided to use in place of the yeast in the poolish. I suspected that it wasn't strong enough to raise an entire loaf, but I knew it would add a little extra flavor. Also, I used whole wheat flour in the poolish. I think this lends a mild sourness without covering up other flavors. This is especially true in bread made primarily with white flour.

The end result was as you would expect from a high hydration dough: open crumb, soft crust, and almost-buttery overtones. It was very much like a no-knead loaf, or Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne.

Bread Flour 21 ounces 84%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 16%  
Water 17 ounces 68%  
Salt 0.5 ounces 2%  
Yeast 0.35 ounces 1% (2.7 tsp)
Total 42.85   171%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 100%  
Water 4 ounces 100%  
Starter 1 ounces 25%  
  9   225%  
Bread Flour 21 ounces    
starter 9 ounces    
Water 13 ounces    
Salt 0.5 ounces    
Yeast 0.35 ounces    



1. Mix poolish and ferment in a warm place for 8-12 hours. Should be bubbly.

2. Autolyse: Mix poolish, flour, and water, let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Mix final dough: add salt and yeast, mix well until gluten strands form. I did a few impromptu "slap and folds" in the mixing bowl. This requires wet hands.

4. Primary Fermentation: 70 minutes. Fold at 25 and 50 minutes.

5. Turn out dough onto well floured bench. Cut in half and shape loosely. I make boules, but you could also just leave the dough as rectangles.

6.a Preheat over to 500F.

6b. Proof: Let dough rest for 20 minutes. I placed my floured-side down (seam side up) on a proofing towel, and covered with mixing bowls to prevent drying out.

7. Carefully turn dough onto parchment paper, seam side down. Score with a simple square or single cut.

8. Slide into oven, steam, and turn oven to 460. Bake for 15 minutes. Open oven to let out steam, bake for another 15-20.

HunterS's picture

Greetings Freshloafers. . . 


I've been lurking on this site for way too long without making a post and for the first time I took a pictures of a bake I had this past weekend!  The loafs are 10% whole rye 10% whole wheat 80% general mills gold medal bread flour.  There were all leavened with a 100% hydration sourdough starter made with bread flour.  This is the first time I used white rice flour to dust my bannetons/baskets and I it worked wonderfully, no sticking at all after proofing overnight!


 I proofed the loafs overnight at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours and used cornmeal for dusting the peal.  I am lucky enough to have family members that have a 50+ year-old Baker's Pride stone lined pizza oven in the their kitchen which I cranked up to 500-600 degrees to bake the loafs:

Oven closed

The Oven takes about 3 hours to get fully heated and can get as hot as 800 degrees. . . great for pizzas! 

Oven inside

Since it is a pizza oven it only has a height of about 12" so no huge loafs. . .   In order to create steam I placed a tin bowl filled with river stones in to which I poured into after the loafs were loaded.  I was also sure to bake all four loafs off at the same time since a full oven produces its own steam.

unbaked loafs

Two of loafs were proofed in cheap 1 dollar baskets:

and two were proofed in nice willow bannetons.  The dough was made using only one build.  I mixed all the ingredients in a 20 quart hobart mixer on speed 2 until the dough was ready then I let the dough rest for a few hours folding it every hour or so.  I used 2 lbs of dough in the cheap baskets and 1.5lb in the nice willow bannetons.  I forget to mention that I added some soaked wheat berries into the mix as well to give the crumb some texture.  Before presenting you with the next pictures let me explain that I have never had the opportunity to bake directly on stone in a very hot oven and therefore was not prepared for the crazy awesome oven bloom I got on my loafs!  I only put very smalls cuts into the loaf which led to this:

This loaf was the most affected by the heavy oven bloom.  


In case you are wondering I baked them this dark because I like my bread that way.  

Here are the rest:

circle cut FAIL haha

Super bloom!  Next time I will make deeper cuts. . .

Oh yes. . . 

I learned from this bake that baking good bread is most affected by the oven you are baking in then anything else in my opinion.  It is hard to beat baking a wood fired stone oven or even a vintage stone lined pizza oven like the one that was used in this bake.  Also cheap dollars baskets work just as well as imported german willow bannetons. . . . I forgot to take a picture of the crumb but it was very nice! Maybe I will add it later.




moxiemolly's picture

Day 3

I started with a poolish last night and today made another batch of KAF baguettes in boule form. I spent the morning reading blogs and watching videos on TFL and learned a lot. This time I headed some advise earned from my last blog and kept the dough very wet, handled it very gently, folded and stretched the dough every 45 min or so during the first rise and added steam to my oven. What a difference! They are tender, crusty and chewy all at the same time! Thank you to every one for the advise, I feel like I am well on my way already thanks to this site. Next up, eight hour exam tomorrow, baguettes on Wednesday!

The dough, autolysing:


The Loaves, Singing:


The wonderful,chewy crumb:

txfarmer's picture

Boy, my oven and I have been busy this holiday.


Firstly, the wreath bread. The dough formula is based on Wild Yeast's cranberry fennel bread here: ,but I used cranberries and pistachio instead for the festive color.

Crunchy crust and a crumb that's full of cranberries and pistachio, yum!


Pumpkin brioche apple tart. The dough formula is from Sherry Yards' "Secret of Baking", the tart concept is from Wild yeast again (

The dough is VERY soft and yummy, rich enough, but not overboard(butter ratio is about 28%). Perfect with the apple, pumpkin seeds filling. I used some fresh cranberries for added tartness. I had leftover dough and made other fun shapes as well.

Babka from Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread"

Fun shaping method:

Pretty looking and the chocolate filling is very good, if a little too sweet for my family

A rum chestnut pie with some very yummy ingredients: candied chestnuts, chestnut puree, chestnut cream, marscarpone and heavy cream topping with real villina beans... (loosely based on this recipe:

Also made a bunch of cookies to give out as gifts:

Rugelach (VERY loosely based on this recipe:

Linzer cookies (recipe from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: from my home to yours")

Candy cane cookies

Pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Espresso spritz cookies dipped in white chocolate and pistachio (from Carole Walter's "Great Cookies")

Shiao-Ping's picture

The 40-year old Swedish chef-owner, Mathias Dahlgren, has two Michelin-starred restaurants, Bon Lloc and Matsalen, the latter in Stockholm.  His style of cuisine is Swedish traditional as well as innovational (a fusion of Scandinavian, Tuscan, Californian and Oriental dishes). 

I saw a picture of his Swedish Rye Bread in Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs, page 101, and decided to give it a try.  The recipe uses a rye sourdough starter.  It also has a high percentage of instant yeast and molasses, which is 4.7% and 19%, respectively, of total flour, rye gains and seeds.  The approx. dough hydration is 84%. 

The bread is exceptionally moist and flavourful.  For a person who does not normally like a lot of rye flour in bread, I find this bread quite delicious.  The bitterness from the Black Strap Molasses that I used, together with all the grains and seeds and the fermented rye flour, formed a very interesting flavor and texture.

There is something, however, not quite how I would like it in a fully-loaded bread like this one that, if no changes were made to the recipe, I would probably not make it again.  As with the Chinese concept of ying (feminine) and yang (masculine), for something to be balanced, there has to be a ying and a yang element simultaneously.  For instance, the enjoyment of a fatty and salty pork chop (the yang) is enhanced if it is eaten with, say, apple sauce (the ying) - the sourness in the apple sauce cuts through the fat while the sweetness in the fruit compliments the saltiness in the meat.  Another example: the best chocolate lava cake would have some salt in there, or the sweetness would make you sick. 

The issue with this bread for me is: it is perhaps a tad too masculine (too much "yang") because of all the rye grains and seeds in the recipe.  I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who love this bread just the way it is.  I just have a difference taste.  To address the imbalance to my taste, I am adding apple puree as a hydration for the final dough.  Also, I have changed the formula to a sourdough version.   I find molasses an attractive ingredient to add to a bread full of rye, grains, and seeds but I cut it down in my formula (below) as too much molasses makes the bread bitter (which some people may find it an attractive taste).  Here is my Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree:



                                            SP's Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree


My formula for Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with Apple

Day 1 - soaker

  • 330 g water

  • 125 g crushed rye grains

  • 43 g rye meal flour (whole rye flour)

  • 83 g sunflower seeds

  • 53 g linseeds (flax seeds)

  • 11 g salt

  • 68 g rye sourdough starter (or any ripe starter) @100% hydration

Mix all the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or at least overnight. 

Also on Day 1 - rye sourdough starter (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe uses instant yeast and so there is no rye sour build.)

  • 20 g any ripe starter @ 100% hydration

  • 123 g medium rye flour

  • 70 g water

Mix the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or until ripe. 

Day 2 - final dough

  • 110 g medium rye flour

  • 123 g white flour

  • 713 g all of the soaker

  • 213 g all of the rye sourdough starter

  • 70 - 100 g molasses (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe has 140 g of molasses but I find at that quantity the bread is a bit bitter.)

  • 345 g of cooked Granny Smith apple puree or shopped-bought apple sauce  (To make your own apple puree, steam 320 g of chopped Granny Smith until cooked, then puree it with 25 g of honey)

Total dough weight 1585 g; estimated dough hydration 84 - 85%.


  1. Mix half of the apple puree with molasses and the other half with the starter. 

  2. Then, mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. 

  3. Grease two bread tins. Divide the dough by two and place them in the bread tins. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours (my room temperature was 28 - 30 C). 

  4. Pre-heat oven to 220C / 425F.  Bake with some steam for the first 3 - 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 185C / 365F and bake for a further 40 minutes. 

  5. Turn out the loaves immediately after baking and let cool on a wire rack (or the bottom will be soggy). 




My father-in-law and his wife came to stay for Christmas.  They are very discerning diners and both keep in good shape.  They have been told by their doctor to NOT have too much bread made of wheat flour and that if they must have bread, rye and spelt breads are the best.  Whenever they come to visit, I try to make rye and/or spelt sourdough for them.  For today's lunch I served this bread.  They loved it.






Tomorrow morning, when my father-in-law and his wife leave, they will have this little prezzie, all nicly sliced-up to go.





moxiemolly's picture

Day 2 of my year to master bread making. OK, maybe not "master" but at least get a firm grasp on bread making. I was the lucky recipient of a cuisinart this holiday and have decided to make good use of it. My mother is what I would call a master of the dough but she has years and years of experience. As a 30 year old, newly-wed, fourth year medical student I figure now is the time to start! 

These loaves are from the King Arthur Baking book recipe for baguettes, as you can see I am sticking to the boulle until I can get other things right, namely the sponge, or crumb of my loaf. So far everything comes out looking beautiful and tasting nice but looking like sandwich bread on the inside. These are my second attempt and they are made with a poolish and autolysing step. The flavor is much more developed but the crumb leaves much to be desired. Next attempt will be after I sit for step 2 of the board exams, an eight hour exam I have in two days. Any suggestions about developing the crumb are more than welcome!  I am excited to have found this wonderful resource to help me along the way. Thanks for reading, Molly


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Ready in 3 1/2 hours?  (Make it longer if you wish, use 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, add salt & caraway and use cold water to make it rise slower.)

Wheat shaped form ... White Bread   crusty

  • 450g hot water (you can just manage to keep a finger in it)

  • 7g instant yeast

  • 650 g Wheat flour (250g AP, 400g Bread flour)

  • 1 1/2  to 2 teaspoons table salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground caraway

  • olive oil for bowl & form

Pour hot water into a large 2.5 ltr. mixer bowl and sprinkle with yeast.  Add the flours and stir until all the flour is moistened and a shaggy dough has formed.  Cover and let stand 2 hours or until the dough has risen up to the cover.  Remove cover and scrape out dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle with the salt and caraway.  Fold or roll up the dough and knead to blend for about two minutes.  Shape into a tight ball and cover with the bowl.

Soak top and bottom of a Clay form (total volume 2 liters) 10 min in warm water.  Allow to drip dry and surface water to absorb, one minute.  Smear inside with olive oil.  Re-shape and tighten dough to form a loaf.  Rub with oil and place into bottom form.   Oil the inside of cover and place over dough.  Set in cold oven for 15 minutes.   Turn on oven to 225°c  (440°F) on Hot air (convection) and time for 45 minutes.   Remove form and brown loaf another 5 minutes in hot oven on rack.   Cool on rack for 15 minutes and serve warm with bread knife on cutting board. 


I was given this form for Christmas without any instructions.  As you can see the ingredients add up to just over a kilo of dough, about the right amount to fill this two liter volume form.  The loaf crust is very crunchy and thick.  The crumb slightly chewy and tender.  I removed the top for the last 5 minutes of baking but wished I had removed the whole form to let the bottom brown more as well.   Slices are almost round and crumb is fine.  The oil in the form adds to an almost buttery flaky crust.   This loaf was sliced warm.





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