The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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devil's picture

first try without experience:


this is the result

it's good looking but it's very hard.

second try with hope:

BUT,where is my rolling pin?

I use my hand to flatten the dough.And,I get these cutie shape croissants.

and finally,


yes, this is what I suppose to get(soft and crunchy croissant). YEAH!



Salome's picture

Gosh, my oven was running hot today. I was basically all day busy baking, which is a real threat. I spent the last two days hiking, walking around 14 hours in total, so I didn't feel like real physical exercise, the dough-kneading was just perfect.

I was like a bee. Once again, I made a new sesame version of the Whole-Grain Oat crackers (250 g ripe sourdough, made out of 120 g oat flour, 120 ml water and 10 g culture, 210 g whole wheat flour, 9 grams salt, 40 grams sesame seeds, 10 g sesame oil and water as required [probably another 100 ml].) It's pretty easy, actually foolproof. I let it ferment as long as it suits me (this time it was about two hours), then I pressed portions of the dough in either sesame seeds or oats and rolled it thinly with a rolling pin, cut it in pieces and baked it at any oven temperature between 180°C and 230°C until the endges were brown. Et Voila, that's it.

I've made these crackers many times now, using whatever had to be used. Great for leftover sourdough, which has to be used - then I simply use the wheat-based sourdough and add oat flour to the dough instead. I simply follow certain rules, when I "construct" the day's crackers recipe. Like, about 30% of the total flour amount is fermented (sourdough), 2% of the flour weight is salt, the hydration is around 60+ percent . . . It has always worked fine.

Secondly, I baked some whole-wheat Pita bread for todays lunch. Again, this is a classic at my home. We stuffed it with vegetarian burgers (Split lentil burgers, another favourite!), lettuce, tomatoes and Tzaziki.

And last but not least, I continued with my venture into the perfect Yoghurt-Whole-Wheat bread. Unfortunately, the loaves overproofed somewhat during their final rise whe I retarded them in the fridge. (I was out, driving with my dad, getting ready for the driver's license exam.) Luckily they still didn't collapse, just the oven spring wasn't as nice as I experienced the last two times.

Yoghurt-Whole-Wheat-Bread #2

175 ml water
250 g whole-wheat flour (I always use home-ground flour)
1/8 tsp yeast

Final dough
550 g whole-wheat flour
30 g vital wheat gluten
17 g salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
20 g malt
30 g butter
150 g yoghurt (I used 3% fat yoghurt)
300 ml water


I handled the dough pretty much like described in the last Yogurt Whole-Wheat Recipe. I let the preferment proof for about 12 hours at room temperature, let the remaining flour autolyse for about an hour, kneaded the dough well, let it double (2h), punched it down and let it double again (1.5 h), then, instead of shaping sandwich loaves I made two boules and had to retard them in linned bowls in the fridge (where they overproofed . . . So have an eye on your loaves, better don't retard them and don't go driving for more than two hours.). I baked them for about 40 minutes in 230° C with steam for the first 20 minutes, then lowered the temperature to 215° C for the rest of the bake.

Conclusion: The bread is tasty, but it's probably better baked in a tin at lower temperature. Although I did get a crust, it wasn't an extraordinary flavorful one. This dough benefits from the support it gets from a tin, this way it can become very light and fully proofed. As you can see on the pictures, the bread wasn't flat, but somewhat out of shape (shure, it's overproofed). The crumb texture is again light and pleasant, and the flavor is good! For instance with a piece of blue cheese . . .

What I'm gonna do: I'll keep this recipe in my recipe folder and take it out later again. Now I'm craving less plain breads again, maybe something with dry fruit, nuts, herbs? If I have a bread to often I get bored of it and don't appreciate it anylonger, that's definitely a sign that I should move on.

Very final conclusion: When I bake this bread the next time, then with exactly this formula, but in a bread pan. And I'll bake it at somewhat lower temperature, maybe something around 210°c? Or lower? This bread reminded me of another delicious tin bread, a recipe from Southern Tyrol. I'll have to get this out soon as well. It's a sourdough bread with rye and wheat.


JeremyCherfas's picture

Has anyone here come across the French wheat varieties known as Touselle or Touzelle? (I did search first.) Louis XI, gravely ill, thought that only bread made from Touzelle could restore him to health.

I ask because a friend has written about the rediscovery of these varieties, and wondered if anyone had access to the article L'homme qui plantait des blés by Isabelle FAURE in Nature & Progres No. 59 (Sep/Oct 2006).



tssaweber's picture

A week ago I came back from my camping trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It is not the first time that we are in Yooper country with our travel trailer, it was a little bit on the colder side but camping and fishing was great fun.

Before I left I forgot to feed my two starters (St.Clair, 100%, rye, and SanFran, 100%, AP) so all the tree weeks I was wondering if the two would survive and forgive my negligence. Coming home both had still a good smell but looked a little shaky. I started feeding them twice in 24 hours. The rye starter rebounded immediately and after four feeds I put it back in the fridge. SanFran took a little bit longer and after it tripled again as I was used too, I decide to bake some bread to make sure it is ok again. I was very pleased with the result and also SanFran went back in storage.



PMcCool's picture

This past weekend, I was looking for a sourdough formula that sounded interesting and just couldn't find one that tickled my fancy.  So, I decided to free-lance a formula of my own.  I had about 320 grams of well-fed levain that I pulled out of the refrigerator before leaving for church on Sunday.  On returning home, I found it to be warmed up and at peak expansion.  

Since I wanted to be able to use the bread for sandwiches, I determined to make a pair of batards and guesstimated that a pre-bake dough weight of about 750 grams each should work nicely.  Having had a run of whole grain breads recently, I was ready for a change of pace but still wanted something flavorful.  After consideration, I built a 70% hydration dough with 5% rye, 10% whole wheat and 85% bread flour.  At the last minute, I chucked in 30 grams of flaxseed meal because, well, because it was there and it seemed like a good idea.  

The water, levain, flours, and meal were treated to a 30 minute autolyse.  Then I did a double round of stretch and fold, after which the dough went back into the bowl to ferment.  I did 3 more stretch and folds at 40 minute intervals, only remembering after the second one that I hadn't added any salt.  (That should have been a clue.)  I slurried a tablespoon each of water and sea salt and worked that into the dough.  After the dough was nearly doubled, I turned it out on the counter, divided it in two approximately equal pieces, pre-shaped it and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  After the rest, I finished shaping the loaves into fat batards and set them to rise in a parchment paper couche.

When the batards were still a little short of doubling, I preheated the oven to 450 dF with a baking stone and a steam pan in place.  When the oven reached temperature, I poured boiling water in the steam pan, slashed the loaves (still need more practice with that) and loaded them onto the stone.  After turning the oven temperature down to 400 dF, I set the timer for 25 minutes.  A few minutes later, I came back to see how the oven spring was working (very nicely, thank you) and it hit me that I was seeing all of my levain/starter baking.  I had not remembered to reserve a piece for storage!  I've avoided making that bone-head move for almost 4 years, but it finally caught up with me.  At that point, there was nothing to do but swallow hard and let the bread finish baking.  When the timer sounded, I checked the internal temperature of the bread and the thermometer went to 210 dF very quickly, indicating that the bread was fully baked.

The bread, thankfully, turned out very well.  No single flavor stands out, but the levain, the rye, the wheat, and the flaxseed meal all meld for a very satisfying taste.  Here's how it looks:

On this particular loaf, the slash at each end of the loaf opened beautifully, allowing the crumb to expand fully.  The center slash, however, must not have been deep enough, because it didn't open very much.  As a result, the loaf has sort of a Bactrian camel appearance with humps at either end and a dip in the middle.  

All I have to do to duplicate this is get a new starter going and try again in 4 years ...



GabrielLeung1's picture

I sold my first sandwich loaf recently! I think it turned out quite nice. I also made some sweet white batards, and experimented a bit on sourdough. 

The sandwich loaf came out quite nicely, it was made using KA Bread Flour and SAF RED instant yeast at 70% hydration with autolyse and french folds. The batards were identical to these, but were made at 65% hydration with 25% AP flour and 75% bread flour. 

The truly interesting experiment was the sourdough. I have begun experimenting with commercial yeast spiked sourdoughs, and I have to say that I'm disappointed. What I have understood is that commercial bakeries spike their sourdoughs with instant yeast to gain a normal production schedule from an otherwise unreliable source of leavening. But if one were to do this, there would be very little time to develop the sour flavor. So I troubled building a very sour starter over the course of three days, and spiked the final dough 0.6% yeast in addition to 33% starter. I fermented the dough, degassed, shaped, proofed, and baked it right away. Sadly the flavor was lacking. I'll have to go back to the drawing board for my sourdough. 

I'm currently looking into JMonkey's tips on squeezing out more sour from sourdough. 

chouette22's picture

Finally I am finding (or rather taking) the time to post about my recent baking activities. And since I am still on vacation, but the semester starts next week, I'd better not rely on having more leisure then...

I have baked quite a bit with my sourdough starter (which is now about 4 months old, but has already spent five weeks straight in the fridge when I was in Switzerland - seems to have survived it well) and we all love the resulting breads. Here are some examples:

The classic Vermont Sourdough (Hamelman):

Susan from San Diego's "Original Sourdough":

Sourdough Walnut and Sultana Bread (recipe by Shiao-Ping):

This bread was absolutely delightful. I put all kinds of dried fruit (the big black spots you see are prunes). The only change I will make next time is to include a tiny amount of sweetness, a spoon or two of honey probably.

Pain de Provence (Floyd's recipe; herb bread, no sourdough):

Delicious! I made it with all sorts of fresh herbs from the garden, chopped very finely.

King Arthur's Monkey Bread (no sourdough):

By the time I got the camera, the kids with the visiting neighbour kids had already torn into it ...

And for good measure, two desserts.

Blueberry Pie with fresh Michigan berries:

And finally, Eclairs filled with Vanilla Pudding and fresh strawberries. They certainly didn't last long!


As I said in my introduction, I LOVE a certain Swiss bread and have been trying to recreate some kind of copy of the patented original. I'll do a separate post on how that is coming along.



Salome's picture

I liked the Buttermilk-Whole-Wheat-Bread which I baked just a couple days ago so much that I decided to continue with 100% whole wheat. The Buttermilk-Whole-Wheat-Bread was very soft and light, I have never seen a whole-wheat bread like this.

I adapted the recipe I used the last time. It was, for my taste, somewhat to sweet and it lacked a real crust. And I decided to substitute the buttermilk by a yoghurt-water-blend, because that's what I always got on hand here. (Whereas plain buttermilk is often hard to get.) And I increased the hydration by a lot. And I used this time a preferment, with sourdough - In order to get a deeper, less sweet flavor.

A lot of changes, you see. I wasn't to worried that anything could go wrong, because I think the reason why this bread came out so light is, first of all, proper kneading, and secondly, some acidic dairy products.


20 g mature culture
175 ml water
250 g whole-wheat flour (I always use home-ground flour)

Final dough
580 g whole-wheat flour
25 g vital wheat gluten
17 g salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
20 g honey
30 g butter
150 g yoghurt (I used 3% fat yoghurt)
320 + 100 ml water


  1. I mixed the ingredients of the preferment and kept it over night in a warm place (I put it into the microwave, with the door a little bit open - this way, the light stays on and I get a temperature of ~81° F)

  2. The next morning, I let the remaining flour autolyse for an hour. (I mixed the flour with the gluten first, then with all of the yoghurt and 320 ml water.)

  3. Then I mixed the preferment and the flour-water-dough with the remaining ingredients (not the last 100 ml water though) and I kneaded it by hand using the Bertinet method for 15 minutes. While kneading, I incorporated another 100 ml of water. The gluten was perfectly developed, even better than the last time.

  4. first fermentation: until doubled, it took me about two hours. Then I degassed the dough very well and shaped it into a boule again.

  5. second fermentation: until doubled, it took me about 1.5 hours.

  6. I divided the dough into two pieces, preshaped them and let them rest for a couple minutes. then shaped them into sandwich loaves, rolled them in rice flour (I use whatever I've got on hand . . . coarse wheat, bran, oats . . .) and put them into bread pans.

  7. final fermentation: until the loaves reached well over the edges of the pans, about one hour.

  8. I slashed the loaves and put them in the 220° C hot oven and steamed well. After 20 minutes of baking, I took them out of the pans and baked them until done on a baking sheet. (another 20 minutes.) I covered the loaves with aluminium foil for the last ten minutes.

I think the bread had about as much volume as the last time, I'm very pleased with that. It has quite a sour flavor. It's definitely a good flavor, but for my taste it's somewhat to sour for being a sandwich bread. I will change something about that. The bread did well with the higher heat and I think that I'll bake this kind of recipe in these settings in the future. It still didn't have a crunchy crust, but that's not what I'm looking for in a sandwich bread either. I will reduce the amount of water somewhat, because it simply was harder to shape with a hydration of 86 % and the result wasn't significantly better. Maybe something around 75-80% the next time? I'm happy with the reduction of sugar though!

I think, the next time I'll bake this bread with a yeast preferment and simply add a little of sourdough to the final dough. Or should I include some whole rye for a deeper flavour? I'd like to experiment with some further additions to the dough, like soaked wheat chops or some seeds (incorporated in the dough when the gluten is developed). I'll do some more experiments, I promise!


JeremyCherfas's picture

I thought I would introduce myself here, having been lurking, occasionally commenting and learning more than I thought was possible. (Most notably, sourdough pancakes. Wow!)

I've been baking bread almost since I can remember -- my mother used to make an amazingly sloppy wholemeal loaf that received no kneading and generally ended up brick like; I forget what it was called. Most of my baking was based on Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery and Bernard Clayton Jr's The Complete Book of Breads (with a hatred for volume measures every time I used it).

Sourdough called to me about 20 years ago, maybe less, when the food writer of the Independent newspaper, Jeremy Round, published a sourdough recipe that contained a mistake. Several people wrote to complain and the paper published a correction. I thought, if it is that important, I ought to try it. And I did. Round, who is tragically under-represented on the internet, died in 1991, and he was still alive when I made my sourdough, so it is at least 19 years old. The same one. We've been through some ups and downs, my sourdough and me, including a relocation from Somerset, England to Rome in Italy.

Round's approach was very simple. You made a starter, made some bread with it (as I recall 18 oz flour to 12 oz water) removing 8 oz of the dough after the first rise and kept it in the fridge to use as next time's starter. No feeding in between. And that suited me fine until this past summer, when my dough became horribly, horribly sticky.

That's when I came here first, and discovered that the problem was almost certainly a combination of too high a temperature, too weak a flour and too long a fermentation.

Since then I've gradually worked on each of the variables, feeding the starter, working with percentages, and am now once again making reasonable bread.

A recent sourdough loaf

But the dough is still impossibly sticky, even at 60%. I've read about stretch and fold, and French folds, and watched the videos, but I still cannot handle the dough without it sticking to my hands, the steel work surface, everything. I've got a batch rising now, but I really think this is going to be the last time I try to do without kneading, and enough flour to stop things sticking. I cannot believe that people go out to 65% and 70% dough. Mine wouold be a sticky, structureless, freeform mess.

Is there any way I can manage this sticky dough?

At the moment I stretch it and fold it with the help of a scraper, but it is impossible to shape and I end up just plopping it into tins to prove. I shudder what to think would happen if I tried a loaf in a banneton.

I already have a blog, where my I chronicle my baking;, and I see no point in duplicating all that here. So my second question is:

Is it acceptable to just post links here to my personal blog?

Thanks for listening.


97grad's picture


All credit for these go to DedeMed and her inspirational YouTube video

For the dough I've used about 2/3 cup warm water, 3/4 cup of SD starter left over from refreshments, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup wholemeal flour, 2tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, 1tbsp active dry yeast, 1tsp salt.

I mixed all ingredients with wooden spoon, did slab and stretch for a few minutes, proofed in an oiled bowl for 1hour or till doubled.

Divided dough into 8 balls, rested for 10 minutes, rolled out each ball on floured surface, stuffed as per video. Dough was so tender and very easy to work with.

For the stuffing, I didn't have enough spinach as per original recipe so I added chopped sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. Great recipe, very easy to put together and very versatile, my family enjoyed this and I think I'll be making it again with different fillings.


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