The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ehanner's picture

I have been baking a batch of Bagels every other day for a week, trying to figure out how get consistent results and decide which shaping method to use and recipe to use. Most recently my goal has been to incorporate onions in the process and make a batch of half onion and a few poppy seed and a few "everything".  In another thread I had asked the best way to add onions on top so I could split the batch up and change the topping using the same dough mix. For these, I re hydrated the dry onions with hot water and once cooled, spooned them onto the tops prior to over turning them onto the Bagel Board. The onions didn't burn and the flavor was good. This is a work in progress.

I like the Hamelman recipe and method so far. I'm patiently waiting for my copy of  "Inside the Jewish Bakery" which I will consult when it arrives. I've gotten the feel for rolling the snakes (Glenn's usage lol) and have finally embraced the concept of shaping and retarding overnight. I like to retard in bulk for other breads but there are a few reasons why it works better in this sequence. Here are the results.

No burned onions this time.

A little Lox and Capers cover the bread.


inkedbaker's picture

this whole bread thing gets more fun by the day!!

GSnyde's picture

I tried two very different doughs in my new Bosch Universal Plus this weekend.  The machine performed very well, and the breads were all good.

I made a batch (three pan loaves) of Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread.  The machine handled the dough very nicely, and kneaded it to a moderate window pane in about 5 minutes (with a couple stops to scrape the bowl and shaft).  This formula calls for high gluten flour, along with whole wheat and rolled oats.  I had previously used bread flour, but used Sir Lancelot this time.  The resulting bread has a slightly firmer chew (a good change), but is still tender and moist.  The flavor is wonderful.  It was perfect for roast turkey sandwiches.

Then I put the BUP to the real test…bagels.  One major reason for getting this mixer was to let a motor knead stiff bagel dough, and save me from the sweat and strain.  In about 14 minutes of mixing/kneading on low speed, the BUP turned out a beautiful, silky dough.  I used 75% Sir Lancelot and 25% BRM enriched flour (a bread flour), and otherwise stuck with the Krakowski recipe in the upcoming Inside the Jewish Bakery.  After fermenting, the dough was very elastic, and it took quite an effort to roll out the strands.  After having experimented both with diastatic malt and honey in the boiling water, we’ve settled on honey for superior flavor.

The flavor and texture are very pleasing and they look nice too.

 So far, I love mah BUP.


pmccool's picture

It was a busy baking weekend here in Pretoria.  My lease for the house is up at the end of September, which means I'll be in temporary quarters for the last two weeks of my stay here.  Since I don't know what I might have for kitchen facilities during that time, I'm trying to fit in the baking that I need/want to do while I can.

On Friday evening, I mixed the liquid levain that the Vermont Sourdough formula calls for, plus enough extra for sourdough pancakes on Saturday morning.  Never one to leave well enough alone, I also set up a soaker consisting of cracked rye at 10% on flour, with an equal amount of water, to include in the bread.  I need to use up what I can, right?  And I haven't been wrong yet about choosing which breads to grace with some cracked rye.

On Saturday morning, I assembled the final dough for the Vermont Sourdough and put it through its stretch and fold regimen.  A formula for this bread, posted by zolablue can be found here, with corrected metric weights here.  The day was a bit cool, with temperatures only getting up into the mid-60s, so both the bulk and final ferments were leisurely affairs.  It's a lovely dough to work with.  Initially, it's a bit sticky (probably accentuated by my use of the cracked rye soaker), but it transforms with each S&F into a dough that that is elastic and self-supporting.  The final proof after shaping was done on parchment on a baking sheet.  Scoring was a bit ugly (I miss my knives!) but one loaf still developed a respectable ear during baking.  The other loaf exhibited a small blow-out along the bottom edge, which would probably have been prevented if the scores had opened properly.  No pictures, I'm afraid, as the bread is already in the freezer.

After getting the sourdough to the bulk proof stage, I started a batch of Sweet Vanilla Challah.  I've blogged about it previously, so won't repeat myself here except to say that I really like this bread.  Much of my baking involves lean whole grain breads, so working with an enriched white bread is like driving a luxury sedan after driving a pickup.  Everything is so much smoother.  Again, no pictures since both loaves are in the freezer.  One will be gifted later this week and the other will be consumed at a bread class I'm conducting at a friend's house next Saturday.

After getting home from church this morning, I started a batch of the honey whole wheat bread that the class will be making next Saturday.  I wanted to give the formula a shake-down to ensure that everything worked the way I expected.  Good thing, too.  The flour was much thirstier than I expected, so hydration needs to go up.  I also wanted to show the class the effects of a couple of techniques.  Because of time constraints, we'll only use a 15-minute autolyze in class.  For this batch, I extended the autolyze to 60 minutes.  I also extended the kneading time to about 25 minutes.  All things considered, this bread should be more tender and less apt to crumble than the batch that I made a couple of weeks ago.  As the picture below shows, matching pan size to dough quantities properly results in a prettier loaf.

In considering what to do with some apples that might not be used otherwise, it occurred to me that someone had posted an apple variation to the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid that Floyd initially posted, so I went looking.  For once, my memory concided with reality.  The apple filling formula is about two pages down from the end of Floyd's post.  So, I set the sponge, peeled the apples and cooked the filling, made up the final dough and set it to proof, then went to the stoep to read the Sunday paper.  Well, part of it anyway.  When I came back in to check the dough, I found that the dough had doubled so I mixed both the egg glaze and the cream cheese filling, then rolled out and assembled the two braids.  I am not a natural-born braider but I'm really pleased with these two attempts in spite of the obvious flaws.  Dunno yet how they'll taste but they make the eye happy.  Here they are:

And a closer view:

Odd.  I'm not seeing the images that I've linked to.  Ordinarily they pop into view immediately.  Maybe it's just my slow connection here.  Hopefully they will show up once the post is submitted.

 All in all, a very satisfying baking weekend.


suzyr's picture


Great weekend for rest and relaxation and baking. I had been wanting to make Brioche and try my hand at new French Baguette recipe. The Brioche was truly pretty easy but, to me it tasted like Challah without the braid. The Baguette recipe came from another source, Cooks recipe, “The New Best Recipe Book”. I took the time and followed the whole recipe through. At 12 noon I started my “sponge” and at 6 PM it was ready according to the directions. After the first rise which was around 8PM I was able to form and out in refrigerator.Then the next AM took the bread out of the refrigerator and then baked. So almost 24 hours for this one.
If you have the time to do this it is a great and easy recipe with nothing special called for. Meaning no special yeast or flour and it doesn’t even call for 6 cups of flour like a lot of recipes.

Sponge Recipe First:

1/8 tsp of yeast
3/4 cup of warm water
1 cup of white flour plus 3 tab

Mix and cover with plastic wrap with a few holes in the top of wrap. This will take around 6 hours. It will double and have little holes all over. And it will depress in the middle when it is completely ready.

Dough Recipe:

1/2 tsp of yeast
1/2 cup of water, warm
2 cup of flour
1 tsp of salt


1 large egg white
1 tab of water

For Dough put your water and dry yeast into the sponge. Mix well with fork and add to dough mixture in mixer bowl/ Mix well and use dough hook for several minutes. Remove from bowl and knead with hands til good feel of elastic. Place in well oiled bowl for 30 minutes and then reform in a ball. Now is the time when you let this double in bulk. Probably about 1 and half hours. Take out of bowl and cut into 2 pieces. Start forming into baguettes. Needs to measure at 12 inches by 2 or 3. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet and put a clean trash bag over these and refrigerate now for 12 hours, no longer than 16. Will rise in frig, take out 1 hours before baking and get glaze ready. Have a VERY sharp knife handy or razor blade . You need to cut 6 diagonal slits on top of each loaf. Apply glaze with a pastry brush. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Serve with butter and jam….These are very nice and wonderful texture…wonderful smell and success…


davidg618's picture

Tomorrow morning, at the ungodly hour of 4AM, I'm heading off to catch an airplane, the first leg of a trip to Sedona,  the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, and Bryce and Zion National Parks. My wife, who suffers from acrophobia, is staying home. My friend of 48 years--we met as Ensigns on a USN destroyer in 1963--is joining me in Phoenix. Two years ago, sharing our Bucket Lists, we discovered neither of us have seen Grand Canyon. We'll be away nine days.

Before leaving, I needed to refresh/replace my seed starter. Following Ms. D. Wink's recommendation, I now maintain a starter by making extra levain each time I bake, and replace my refrigerated seed starter with refreshed ripe levain.  I baked last Sunday, and didn't want to let my starter languish for more than two weeks untouched. I hadn't intended to bake again this week, so yesterday I started to build just enough ripe levain to handle my starter needs. Watching levain builds ripen is in the "watching grass-growing, or paint-drying" fun category, so in the moment I decided to make enough to also bake one loaf.

Back to the trip: Although it's an organized tour, we'll have most hours free to roam as we wish, especially in Sedona and Grand Canyon Village. If any TFLer has favorite sites, sights, diners, drive-ins, dives, brew-pubs or bakeries in those areas to recommend, please do.


David G



Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

In a comment to my "Holiday Bake" blog Andy posted a formula for the Welsh tea bread Bara Brith, which I made today according to his formula with great success.

The formula mentions nothing about the baking profile - I made a 1300 g loaf in a tin, and baked for 50 minutes, starting at 230C and gradually turning the heat down to 170C after 40 minutes.

And I didn't use all of the tea. But the formula gave us a really great tasting fruit bread with a slight aftertaste of black tea.

Looks like it has no chance to age ... (Some sources say this gets even better over time.

Here a couple of pictures:


codruta's picture

Recently, I bought a flour with a confusing romanian name "alac". The seller told me that is spelt, or something similar with spelt.  It was a very expensive bag of flour and I decided to use it with care. After the first bake, I was surprised by the flavor: I never felt such a deep wheaty nutty strong flavor in breads made with spelt. I thought is pure luck to find such a good flour, or maybe just an impression. I made another loaf, with AYW, using same flour, in the same ratio as before (60% "alac" flour, 10% rye flour and 30% white flour). The same wonderful result: deep rich wheaty taste, with a vague hint of bitterness. All this time I was convince I'm using spelt flour. I made a third bake, with sourdough, roasted fennel seeds and anise seeds (inspired by Hanseata and her post linked here) - this loaves were the best I've ever tasted. After that, I decided it's time to find out more about "alac" and, surprisingly, I found out that "alac" is not Spelt, but Einkorn. So... I used Einkorn flour all this time without even knowing it. That made me sad, somehow. I went back at the shop, and I bought another bag. That made me happy again.

back to bread

For the last bake, I used this formula:

Overall Formula:
- Italian white flour type "0", bio (corresponding to French T65, if I'm correct): 185 g ……………………………… 28.5%
- Einkorn Flour: 400 g ………………………………… 61.5%
- Rye Flour: 65 g ………………………………. 10%
- Water*: 495 g ………………………………………………………….. 76.1%
- Fennel seeds, roasted and crushed: 5 g ……………….. 0.77%
- Anise seeds, roasted and crushed: 2 g ……………….. 0.3%
- Salt: 13 g ……………………………………………………………… 2%
dough: 1165 g ………………………………………………. 179.2%
*I used 80g water in the levain, and 415g the water in which I boilled some beet roots, that's why the red-orangish colour.The stiff levain was build in two builds:
first build:
- White flour: 35 g
- Water: 35 g
- Sourdough (100%): 10 g

second build:
- White flour: 30 g
- Rye Flour: 40 g
- Water: 40 g
- Levain from first build: 80 g
results 190 g stiff levain 72.7%For the final dough:
- Italian white flour type "0", bio: 115 g
- Einkorn Flour: 400 g
- Rye Flour: 25 g
- Water: 415 g * see the note
- Stiff levain: 190 g
- Fennel seeds, roasted and crushed: 5 g
- Anise seeds, roasted and crushed: 2 g
- Salt: 13 g

I let the dough autolyse for 40 minutes (just water and flour, without levain and salt), Than I added the levain and the salt, I knead by hand using folds in the bowl technique and in the end I added the roasted seeds, and knead again, a few folds. The dough temperature was 24-25C. I transfered the dough in a oiled container, did 2 S-F at 50 minutes interval, for a total fermenattion time of 2h:30min. I divided the dough, shaped it and let it proof 1h:40 min, then I baked it on a baking stone, with steam for the first 15 min.

When I shaped the batard I used Khalid technique, illustrated here. I like it.

Batard: While I transfered the dough from the linen to the parchement paper, and while I scored it, I was talking on the phone. I wasn't paying attention to what I'm doing, and the batard sticked a bit to the transfer board. That's why is a little asymmetrical and the scoring is not perfect.

Round loaf: I proofed it with seams side down, hoping for a nice pattern to form while baking. Instead, I got a dome with no cracks. I have to practice more.

Here are the photos:


The bread I made before with AYW was 60% Einkorn Flour, 10% Rye Flour, 30% White Flour, 73% Hydration (2/3 yeast water, 1/3 water) and here are two pictures:


The first try with this flour was a sourdough bread. I didn't used seeds, but I used rolled germinated ryes. 60% Einkorn Flour, 10% Rye Flour, 30% White Flour, 10% rolled germinated rye, 80% Hydration, 16% prefermented flour. Photos attached below:

I never wrote a text so long in english. I hope my text is readable and comprehensible, and please correct me if some words are wrongly used.

If you'd like, you can check my romanian blog, Apa.Faina.Sare.



proth5's picture

for Challah


It has been awhile, but recently I was reminded that there is more to making bread than baguettes.  A cold front in the Rockies also gave me a window to bake.

Still can't take those photos so good...

3 pounds or so of Challah dough.  A base of a flat 6 strand braid (6 ozs per strand) with a 5 strand braid (4 oz per strand) on top.

Happy Baking!


Salilah's picture

Stout in both senses of the word!

I decided to have a go at a sourdough version of Katie's stout & linseed loaf - waiting for the barm to ripen, I wondered what to do with the rest of the beer and decided "sort of baguette but a bit bigger!"

150g 100% white starter
25g rye flour
290g strong white bread flour
200g beer (Thwaites Very Nutty Black bottle conditioned, Tesco)
8g salt

I didn't have time to do an overnight retard, so just autolyse without salt for 30m, then a thorough S&F at 30min intervals, shape roughly, shape for batard and proof in couche (the skin hardened a bit too much I felt here).  Baked under a cover for 15mins (220C) then 10+10 I think...

Not bad flavour - quite rich and full, not tasting of beer, a good medium brown colour

Not bad!  The stout & linseed is in the fridge, need to get it out and shape (dinner interfered with this last night) and final proof - will try to post that later


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