The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


thirdworldbaker's picture

Hi Everyone. I am from Pakistan and the only bread we have here is the simple pan loaf that is super bleached and super cottony. i became obsessed with bread in 2014 while over at a breakfast at my friend's house in the UK. he cut out a little toast out of a far brown looking bread that him and i had bought the evening before from a small bakery in Coventry, UK. I wasnt expecting anything special as he buttered a slice for me but since that day i cant cant forget that little piece of bread. I finished my studies and came back to Pakistan but like my first love i cant forget that bread. I have been following this website for years now but have only registered since i have managed to get a deck oven and started baking. Ive been doing a lot  reading and research so "theoretically" i am not a novice but practically i cant even knead properly so i went ahead and bought a hobart style stand mixer but it has only one speed (not sure of RPMs). Ive made a few attempts but the white flour here is very substandard. I get it from a famous mill around here and they say that the gluten varies between 8-9 percent. But despite adding vital wheat gluten it still feels weak and slack. I have been making great thin crust pizzas at home with this flour without extra gluten. they turn out crisp and chewy at the same time and thats how i like pizza. but with bread the list of problems has forced me to register and now i admit that despite my theoretical mastery i suck. Also, i have noticed that many of the books that i have read are quite misleading and call for too much yeast and no retardation or prolonged fermentation which i think is the key with bread and pizza both. Enough said i hope some of you more experienced people here would take time out and help me get the same high again. 

list of questions:

1. is Gluten the only difference between weak and strong flour?

2. what is the best way incorporate gluten into the flour or should it be dissolved in water?

3. I know how to sprout and make Diastatic Malt. would it be as good as the one i order from abroad? (only one brewery in pakistan and they stopped making it 6 years ago)

4. when and how should diastatic malt be added to the dough? Can i long-ferment the dough in refrigerator after adding diastatic malt?

5. Should i use Ascorbic acid? when and how should Ascorbic acid be added to the dough? Can i long-ferment the dough in refrigerator after adding Ascorbic?

6. Cant get the temperature right. My oven is a deck oven with a stone base and the temperature can go up to 400 degree Celsius (750 Fahrenheit). where and how should i adjust? 

7. Oven doesnt offer steam so i use a heaxy cast iron tray and add stones to it and then add water to than as soon as i put my bread in. Is there something like too much steam? ive noticed that when i bake in dutch oven the surface isnt shiny enough but with lots of steam the crust becomes shiny.

8. what temp should the poolish or levain be allowed to rest? what temperature should the kneading be finished at? what temperature for first rise? what for the final? what temperature should the fridge be for long fermentation? (please mention Fahrenheit or celsius)(the temperature can get up to 50 Celsius in Summers (8 months in a year) and in winter falls to 10 Celsius or even lower) 

Please help me with this u guys as I am mental about this stuff and ready to experiment everyday

pasdedough's picture

An 85% semolina rimanciata, 15% strong wholewheat flour sourdough. 

24 hour retarded in the fridge. 

Lovely taste!

dabrownman's picture

The 2nd bread back from no bread for months, is similar to the one 2 weeks ago but the 20% whole grains were made up of only 7 different grains, the hydration was up a bit to 80% and we retarded it for 12 hours with no autolyse but did put the Pink Himalayan in the mix instead of on top of the autolyse.  We dropped the Emmer and Einkorn because Lucy said E’s are no longer the it in breadmaking anymore-  plus the pooches pantry was bare for them.

Lucy brought this recipe back from her 2 week trip to Meta Verse 1.0.  She has been in a funk since she got back but did say she loved it even with its flaws.  So…… I thought it was a good time to get her shots and teeth cleaned before the wedding - shots are done but teeth are next week.  The only one she hates more than bad pumpernickel bread or me is the Vet.


All I have to do is say let’s go to the Vet and she does a nose rip on me.  She is still too fast for me at 13 but she will get it back in spades when they clean her teeth.  She won’t let anyone brush her teeth and bites anyone who tries.  This is what she gets as a result - 500 bucks of pure hell.  At least they knock her out so she doesn’t remember too much if it.  It is fun messing with her while she is still loopy.

Short Ribs on butternut squash, carrot and sweet potato mash and St Louis Ribs

The 100% hydration levain contained all the whole grains and was single stage, stirred twice, over 16 hours.  It had more than peeked when it hit the mix.  3 sets of slap and folds over 1.5 hours and 2 hours of bulk were perfect before shaping and placing it in the rice floured basket.  Then in the fridge it went for the snooze. 

Green Chili Pork Stew and never eat soup out of can or Ramen when you can male your own chicken noodle soup from scratch

It looked a little low so t sat in the counter to puff itself up before unmolding, slashing and going into the 500 F DO for 20 minutes of stream.  Then it got 16 minutes of dry fan heat at 425F when it read 209.5 F and deemed done by Lucy.  It was a bit bolder than usual but we like it bolder.

It blistered, Sprang and bloomed well and it is nice looking loaf for sure.  We wrapped it in plastic after it cooled and let it sit till the next morning because SD always tastes better the next day and toasted.  This is about as good a SFSD you will ever eat and we like it a lot. 

The crust is the best but the crumb is tasty, soft and moist too. Made a great open face, breakfast sandwich toasted with butter, homemade jam, melted Colby cheese, hot Smithfield breakfast sausage and an egg on top.  Just delicious and way better than anything you can buy at Mickey D’s.  Had a P & J for lunch.

And Lucy reminds us all to never, ever forget the salads 


the hadster's picture
the hadster

Today I made bread from freshly milled Einkorn.  I can't really convey the glory of the flour.  I milled it on the finest setting and then put it through a 40 mesh and then a 50 mesh screen.  The resulting flour was the most amazing color of cream.  And the smell was more like a perfume than the odor of wheat.

The dough was similar to a 50% whole wheat dough, only not the sawdusty flavor that I associate with high percentages of whole wheat.  I think the absence of the bran contributed to that.

The bread has a texture and flavor I can't convey.  I only know I am going to keep working with Einkorn.



72% hydration

50% freshly milled Einkorn flour sifted through a 40 then 50 mesh screen

10% sprouted buckwheat flour

10% sorghum flour

30% ap flour

.18% sea salt

Tartine method: 1 hour autolyse, added salt, 5 hour bulk fermentation with 30 minutes folds.  

The dough did not really begin to move, so I retarded it in the fridge before shaping.

Shaped the dough at 9:30 straight from fridge.  Baked it at noon.  500 degrees, under a cover, 3 second steam for 12 minutes.  15 minutes at 400 with convection setting.  Internal temp: 207.  Let it sit in the cooling oven with the door open for 30 minutes.

The dough was smooth and elastic with nice gluten development, but it relaxed almost immediately.  My active starter really had to work hard on this flour mixture.  Maybe the Einkorn held it back a bit, or it could have been the sorghum flour.

Next time, 50% Einkorn, 50% ap flour.


Shutzie27's picture

Back in 2014, for the third time, I attempted to make pan pizza for guest. For the third time, everything seemed to be going perfectly and yet the crust came out far too hard. You can read about that here

After that, I literally hung up my pizza peel (though I took it off the kitchen wall for free-form boules and loaves). 

Recently, however, my neighbors insisted on me attempting again. So, I did, and was actually successful. I did change some things, but I'm not sure which ones made the difference, with the exception of the first two I'll list, which are pretty obvious. 

1.) We bought our first -- and hopefully forever -- home two years ago and it came with a not-awesome (but actually calibrated) oven. My apartment oven needed some serious bread-pan Jenga'ing to make loaves come out evenly. It ran so hot I had to put an inverted cookie sheet over the heating coil to keep the heat in check. 

2.) I give all baker demi-gods on this site permission to laugh and poke fun at me for this: I used to think you had to use a pizza stone no matter what. So I'd put the stone under the pan pizza pan, which I think (correct me if I'm wrong) multiplied the heat. This time, the pizza stone was used only for serving. 

3.) Instead of the sprinkle method, I did not sift the flour at all and just straight scooped it. Obviously, this means I used more flour. 

4.) At the same time, this time I didn't blind bake. When the crust felt far too dry, I remembered the author of the cookbook lived in Chicago, where there is humidity, and I live in Arizona, where there is none. I've actually cut out as much as a full cup of flour on some loaves with good results. So this time, I dipped my hands in ice water and "wet kneaded" until it felt right

5.) I parbaked for only 3 minutes, not four, on the bottom rack and pricked way more holes in the dough. 

6.) I left it to the bread gods. I didn't oven peek, I didn't even let myself turn on the light and look through the window. I focused on making appetizer veggies and the salad with the stoic determination of a Spartan heading into battle. Nothing, but nothing, was going to make me check this pizza. 

7.) I pre-sauteed the toppings (turkey Italian sausage, green peppers, onions and mushrooms). This is not a step I would do again, as I did end up with excess liquid. The previous fails were not topping-related, so I don't think mushroom moisture is an issue for me. 

Whatever the difference was, I do believe I have, at last, made peace with pizza. I shall attempt this art in other forms. Stuffed, thin crust, the possibilities are endless! 




trailrunner's picture

Boy I thought I was really doing something great. Took several large pieces of fresh pineapple peeling with the meat on it and dropped them into my AYW . It sure did get it to bubble and ferment and smell loverly....but oh boy. I never even thought about the enzymes and protease breakdown. Turned my bread to GLUE....I mean it was almost impossible to get it out of the bucket and into the garbage , never mind trying to get it off of my hands and the counter and the get the picture. I tossed almost all of my YW and added apples and more water....will do this again and then put some of it in plain flour and wait and see what it does. If I have to toss 8 yr old AYW I will be really bummed. So be warned. Pineapple juice from a can is fine as it has been heat treated but DON'T use fresh. Lesson learned.


suminandi's picture

having seen several beautiful porridge breads here lately, i resolved to try it for my Sunday bake. 

Mixed last night

200 gr active rye sourdough 

300 gr porridge ( 50 gr oatmeal, 50 gr quinoa, 200 gr h2o)

600 gr fresh ground spelt, ww mix

200 gr ap flour

10 gr wheat malt flour 

200 gr chopped pecans 

16 gr salt

450 gr h2o

for a total 1000 gr of grain and 750 gr water. 

After an hour rest, knead to medium dev, leave out overnight ( covered and in cool conditions, 65 degrees F). 

In morning ( 10 hr later) it had tripled, but it was still dough and not soup. So i preshaped, shaped and baked, as two loaves, pretty much with little proof time (perhaps 40 mins while oven heated). with steam for 20 mins, 20 min dry to internal temp of 205. 

Small holes in the probably overfermented loaf, but a nice uniform airy and pillowy texture. And not very sour. A hit with the family. 

Notes for next time- either reduce innoculation, or get up earlier. Increase porridge amout. Also, some raisins or other dried fruit would go great with the pecans. 

kendalm's picture

To an extent I'm now pretty content with basic loaf baking and find myself craving pastires more. Its funny how this obsession arose after finally giving up trying to find a baguette in usa that tastes like the real deal and finally figure well why not just learn how bake the darn things myself (this is typical behavior for me btw as ive countless other replications of foods that can only be found wherever it was they were invented - take the famous lebanese kanafe for example - wow ! what a treat). I find that if i havent baked bread for a few weeks I am always surprised what I was missing - the point being that your taste buds seem to take flavors for granted after a while and such is the case with good bread. Although the last few months have been concerned with shaping i do think flavor-wise I very closely nailed the authentic flavor months ago and much of that has to do with the flour I sourced from I will say it again, it is in incredible - there is no substitute - french baguettes made with T65 flour grown and milled in france taste a thousand times better, and, if the crumb nice and developed with a long cold ferment its very difficult to distinguish from the real thing. So that brings my taste buds to the next challenge - viennoise pastries - looks like a long haul ahead but lets see how it goes ...

Elsasquerino's picture

Maybe it's a coincidence but there are an awful lot of porridge breads cropping up on here... I like it!

I keep seeing such delicious looking loaves and seeing the word porridge in the description and I finally took the plunge and had a bash myself. I made an extra thick porridge from quinoa, milled flax and pinhead oats with half water half milk you can see the basic recipe here,  although I left out the ground almonds and cinnamon. As an aside it tastes great for breakfast sweetened with a little honey or brown sugar. Once that was ready it got amalgamated with two loaves worth of my go to sourdough right from the initial autolyse. 

 660g white bread flour

150g spelt flour

80g rye flour

500g water

250g of cooked cooled porridge

Leave to get acquainted for an hour, then add in 150g of levain (mine is 100% hydration whole wheat) and an extra 20g of water along with 20g of salt to help incorporate a little and work the dough with a bit of slap and fold to distribute the porridge.

I gave this 5 hours on the counter with several stretch and folds before bunging the bowl in the fridge overnight. After a preshape into a boule and a baton I gave it an hour to de-chill this morning before the shaping proper and bannetons.  Two hour proof seemed about perfect for once, I got a decent poke test result anyway. And into the Dutch oven they went.

I keep putting my Bayard shaped loaves in the oblong banneton crossways but I'm going to stop as I keep getting a weird shape, I saw it on a Chad Robertson video and it worked for him? Must be a top class baker or something ;-)

I am impressed with these though. They have such a soft bouncy crumb and taste very nice indeed. I see why so many of you go to the trouble, I certainly will be trying this again. Thanks for the inspiration you guys.

I'll finish with the obligatory crumb shot.

Danni3ll3's picture

This is a repeat of last week’s bread without the cranberries or pumpkin seeds. Bread1965, have no fear, I made you one with the add-ins unless you prefer one without. Let me know. :-D

Here is the recipe again so you don’t have to go searching for it. 

1. Toast 125 g of large flake oats in a dry frying pan. When toasted add 25 g of oat bran to the oats.

2. Mix together 345 g of water and 75 g of organic plain yogurt. 

3. Pour 3/4 of the water/yogurt mixture into the oats and cook on medium heat until water is absorbed. Add the remainder of the water/yogurt mixture and cook on low heat until creamy. Cool until just warm.

4. In a large bowl, place 650 g of unbleached flour, 302 g of freshly milled spelt flour, 50 g of freshly ground flax seed, all of the oat porridge, 50 g of honey and 550 g of filtered water. Mix well and let the mixture sit for a couple of hours.

5. Add 22 g of sea salt and 266 g of 80% levain. Mine triples in less than 4 hours. Mix in well using folding and pinching until you see some gluten development which takes about 5 minutes.

6. Let rest 45 minutes and do a set of folds. Repeat two more times and then let sit in a warm place until it has doubled. 

7. Divide into portions of ~830 g and do a loose pre-shape. Let rest 10-15 minutes and then shape tightly into a boule. Place boules seam side down in rice/unbleached floured bannetons (sprinkle some raw oats flakes for decoration in bottom of bannetons before placing boules) and cover with a plastic shower cap or bowl cover. Place into fridge overnight (10-12 hours).

8. Heat oven and Dutch ovens to 475 F for at least 45 minutes. Place parchment rounds in the bottom of the pots and put the loaves seam side up directly out of the fridge into the pots. No need to score! Bake at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove lids, drop temperature to 425 F and bake a further 25 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!


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