The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Pablo's picture

A friend asked me about my bread baking technique and so I made a Youtube video.  It's pretty homey and casual.  Maybe someone will get something out of it.

Errors: "baguette" should be "batard", baking time 525 10 minutes, 470 20 minutes.


ehanner's picture

Last week nicodvb posted his most recent trial of 100% Rye flour bread. He declared it as good so I thought I would try it out and see if I could follow his steps.

I did stray off the green line just a wee bit when I used boiling coffee to scald the rye the night before. I also added some rye meal and some boiled rye berries that had been rinsed and strained after a 30 minute softening on the stove. And I just couldn't help myself from adding 2 T of German bread spice. So my version is a little darker than nico's due to the coffee.

There was so much going around the house today that I missed the step where he covers the dough for the first 20 minutes. I gave it an extra steam injection to help move the bar in the right direction. It smelled wonderful during baking. Rye has a deep full healthy smelling aroma when baking. I checked the internal temp once at 45 minutes and found 160F so I gave it an additional 15 minutes at 350F.

My loaf doesn't look as pretty as nicodvb's but let me tell you, it is tasty. A very sweet and full flavor. I think once the moisture settles down it will be perfect but slightly dense. Thanks nico for posting your results.


Proofed and ready to bake.

Just out of the oven. It isn't as dark on the top as this.

The crumb is a little dense, but delicious never the less.

trailrunner's picture

I am biking from St. Augustine FL to SanDiego CA. I am using this as an opportunity to raise awareness of hunger in this country . My local Food Bank, Food Bank of East Alabama, is helping me by placing barrels in local spots in my town of Auburn/Opelika AL. I am trying to raise 3100# of food as well as $ 3100 since the trip is 3100 miles. We will take about 60 days to do this so it is also a personal celebration of my 60th year on this earth. I am in Day 7 today and we are in Marianna FL. at the library. I will check in periodically. Here is my log so far . If you want to follow my progress you can get on Face Book for the Food Bank of East ALbama and see the updates. It would be wonderful if any of you would like to make donations to your local food banks in honor of my "Pedaling for Food". Caroline Donnelly


here are the updates to today. We decided that since it is so cold and windy STILL we would take a short day and a break. Only 22 miles today. Here is the log. 

Day1 Feb 26th-44 miles/avg 11 mph with loaded trailer from St Augustine to Palatka FL. windy and cold. camping in the cold.

Day 2 Feb 27th -61.34 miles/avg 10.7
wind and cold for the first part till the last 14 miles and then the sun came out and we hit the lovely bike path into Gainesville. What a treat. The overlook of Lake Alachua was beautiful. Stayed at the Zen Center Hostel.

Day 3
Feb 28th we in rode from Gainsville to a campground Ichutucknee Springs.. instead of Live Oak.
Was 45 miles/avg. 10.2. mph w/ trailer loaded. Head wind was 20 again to today with gusts.

Day4 March 1st----Great ride 57.69 miles/11.8 mph avg.we are staying Perry Fl/Days Inn.

Day 5---First 1/2 of day was wanderful heading out of Perry then HILLS/RAIN/ WIND WIND...50 miles/avg was a very hard day into Tallahassee. Days Inn again as it is supposed to get very cold again at night. What happened to warm flat Florida !!????? Had Sonny's BBQ and it sure tasted good.

Day 6 --started so hard as we took ONE HOUR to cross Tallahassee...there is a wide shoulder for part of but not all of it. T..hassee drivers DO NOT like cyclists. I "took a lane" and Pete and I simply made them stay over and out. It worked great as they can't crowd you to the curb. It is an essential riding technique I learned in NYC...thank goodness. WIND WIND all day and hills and more hills...50 miles and only 8.8 avg. It was so bad for one of our riders she gave up and went back to the hotel and called her husband to come from KY to get her...sad sad day. We didn't find this out till we were at the end in Sneads FL. . I had been carrying her tent and drop cloth ( 9#) she had the poles and so I abandoned the tent in the post office w/ the drop cloth ( postmaster said someone will want it) and I emptied and sorted and mailed 7.5 # of stuff home ! I am so LIGHT now. Yeah! Motel Seminole Inn in Snead FL.

Day 7---- decided to have a short day today . It is COLD and WINDY and HILLS....huh...have I said this before !!??? Ah well 22miles to Marriana FL avg 10 mph. We are at the library catching up on emails etc. Will probably Days Inn again. It is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend and into next week. We are all still bummed by Diane's leaving the group. We are adding a gal in Pensacola. So rest and regroup today. Pretty little town. c

bakinbuff's picture

My husband and and small boys quite like whitish sandwich bread, and although they like my sourdough boules and batards for dipping in soup, it is difficult to convince them to eat sourdough in any other form.  I have read in a few places that the long fermentation times plus the lactobacilli in sourdough improve the digestibility and lower the GI rating of bread (in comparison to bread prepared commercially with the shortest possible rises, etc).  Seeing as the family like toast and sandwiches from time to time, and I always make a instant yeasted loaf for that, I thought it couldn't hurt to try a sourdough sandwich loaf and test out the family's reaction.  So, today I am baking a sourdough sandwich loaf which is all white bread flour except half a cup of fresh ground whole wheat flour.  Of late, my starter has been less sour than it was before, so perhaps that will help, too.  Anyway, here are the pics of the crust and crumb.  While it was baking it filled the house with a delicious almost buttery smell which I find utterly irresistable!  Let's hope they like it too....

A cool loaf and two slices of toast later...

The children gobbled it up!  It is not sour, is quite light and fluffy, and very much what I was after.  Success!


msmarguet's picture

          if patience is a virtue, then let's just say i've spent most of my life striving for it . . . this is an oxymoron, i know, because being patient is the exact opposite of striving. but, i am not good at sitting still, calmly waiting for anything. i go when i'm awake, and i stop when i'm asleep, and there is not much in between. so for me there is a lesson in making bread: it is the valuable, heart warming activity of tolerance and the acceptance of what is to come. it requires me to give up most of the control to the bread, which is basically making itself, and needs only my humble service to keep it comfortable and tend to its care. 

         still, i have not learned even after years of making bread, and anxious with anticipatince is how i spent a day at work after the morning i made a sponge from my own wild yeast starter. i was so excited to have succeeded in growing yeast with nothing other than flour and water, that i couldn't wait to see the end result. oh, but confucius says, "desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly". isn't that just the truth when it comes to baking bread with yeast that isn't "fast-acting". there are no short cuts, no quick tricks, no set timers that will make this bread rise any faster. it is like watching grass grow. you simply have to submit to the yeast and the dough until they tell you it's time to bake.

scored and ready for baking.

          my forced patience over the 24 hours that it took to bake these patty-cake loaves was a reward that filled our home with a comforting smell, and my heart with a sense of accomplishment. it feels like i have been an assistant in the creation of something good, and now i anticipate, with serenity, the opportunity to do it over again.

patty-cake bread

• 1 cup of ripe chef starter click here to learn how to make a natural starter

• 2 cups of lukewarm water

• 1 cup of whole wheat flour

• 2 to 2 1/2 cups of white bread flour

• 1 tbl. of olive oil

• kosher salt


1. mix all the ingredients in the bowl of the kitchen aid just until combined. cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest about 20 minutes–this is called autolyse and allows the flour to absorb the water and for the gluten to start to develop.

2. knead the dough on the first setting about 6-8 min. until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

3. cover the bowl with the towel and after 20 minutes fold it click to learn to fold a wet dough

4. fold it two more times after allowing it to rest for 20 minutes each time.

5. rub olive oil on the inside of a large bowl and put the dough in it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

6. gently remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter with the pastry scraper– you don't want to push out all of the air pockets that have developed.

7. cut it in half, and then each half in half again. cover it with a towel and let it rest 30 minutes.

8. gently form the pieces into rectangles with the long side nearest to you.

9. to form baguettes, work with one rectangle at a time and fold the top and bottom to the center. gently seal the two edges. fold the top edge to the bottom and seal. gently roll out to a long baguette shape, and put them seam side up onto a wooden peel dusted with corn meal. place rolled up towels or place-mats between the baguettes.

10. cover the shaped baguettes with the towel and allow them to proof until about double (that's when you make an indentation with your index finger and the spot holds instead of springing back).

11. raise the top rack in the oven to about 6-7 inches from the top and lay a baking stone onto it. put the bottom of the broiler pan on the bottom rack and fill it with water. preheat the oven for 1/2 hour to 450 degrees.

12. slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor to about 1/4 inch deep.

13. push the loaves off of the wooden peel just like you would a pizza crust with one clean jerk.

14. bake them for about 30-35 minutes until the tops are dark brown and crispy– rotate them about half way through to make sure they bake evenly.

15. let them cool completely on the grate of the stove top before cutting.


turosdolci's picture

Ricotta torta is a much lighter cheese cake then the traditional NY cheese cake. It is a traditional Easter dessert.



benjamin's picture

Last night I made the San Fransisco sourdough from 'Advanced bread and pastry' by michael Saus. Though this is a great recipe, the major point with this bread was the steaming technique I tried out. I have tried countless ways to efficiently steam my oven, including a moderately dangerous, self-invented water injection system... needless to say, results were not incredible, and most definately not worth the third degree burns.

Since then I have been using a steam pan in the base of the oven, placed there a couple of minutes prior to loading the bread. Unfortunately this is not the most efficient method, since my oven has numerous vents which allow most of the steam to escape.

I had read numerous times on TFL that a bowl could be used to cover the bread, utilising the moisture held within the bread to generate steam... so I decided to give it a try. I placed the bowl over the bread for the first 20 min of the bake, and then removed, I was thrilled with the results. The crust sang loudly fresh from the oven, and this is the first time that I have ever managed to maintain the little 'bridge' between the two ears, when scoring a batard with 2 slashes.

The bowl I used was an enormous metal bowl, bought from Ikea a few months ago, I forget the price, but it was certainly under $10.

A word of advice: when lifting the bowl after the 20 min, use something like a peel to lift the edge of the bowl to allow the steam to vent... I underestimated the amount of steam this technique generates and lifted the bowl with a tea towel... much to the displeasure of my hands.


Crumb image to follow tonight

Happy baking



sf sourdough side for TFL.JPG



sf sourdough top for tfl.JPG


As promised, a crumb picture! I wanted to wait until the loaf cooled, so I sliced into as soon as I got home from work...



lylebrandt's picture

I get very little oven spring. And I can't get a crisp crust. what ingredeants make this happen?

emunab's picture

Everyone wants to make the perfect challah. It's easier than you think. Try this recipe:

Perfect Challah with Sweet Crumble Topping

I make them in twisted rolls and bake them in a 12 cup muffin tray and they come out shaped well and with great height. You cannot eat just a bite so make a lot of them!

Makes 32 rolls

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
16 - 19 tablespoons oil
Mix flour and sugar. Add oil (start with 16 tablespoons) and add until consistency is crumbly.

Challah Dough
5 lbs sifted flour (sometimes need to add 2 or 3 more cups)
1 cup sugar
4 packets RAPID RISE yeast
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs
5 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil

Put 5 cups of flour in mixer. Add yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix in water, oil and eggs. Mix until well combined and it has no lumps. Add remaining flour one cup at a time. Knead in the mixer for 12 minutes.

Let dough sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch down dough and braid into loaves or use a few pieces and knot for rolls. Place in challah pans or in large muffin cups. Let rise 45 more minutes. Sprinkle generously with crumble topping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

For more great challah recipes, check out 

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey Pat,

I'm dedicating my latest batch of baguettes that I made last night to you...  These are very simple 58% hydration baguettes made with Gold Medal Unbleached AP Flour, water, Kosher Salt, active dry yeast.  The crust and crumb turned out pretty well.  The last one I put in was a little overproofed, but it turned out OK.  These are very simple tasting with a very light crumb and a crunchy crust.  I think next time I will put the yeastless Poolish in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out on the counter.  That might give them a sweeter taste...  Enjoy!


PS: I'm still grinding...


1366g - AP

792g - Water

28g - Kosher Salt

8g - Active Dry Yeast



Yeastless Soaker (Poolish)

683g - AP

683g - Water

8:00am - Mix all, cover, leave on counter for 8-12 hrs.


Final Dough:

683g - AP

109g - Water

28g - Kosher Salt

8g - Active Dry Yeast (2 tsp)

1366g - Yeastless Soaker


6:30pm - Mix all ingredients, knead for 5 minutes with wet hands in bowl, cover let rest for 25 minutes.

7:00pm - Knead briefly, place in oiled tub, cover, let rest for 25 minutes.

7:30pm - Turn dough.

8:00pm - Turn dough.

8:30pm - Divide into 6 equal pieces, preshape, cover let rest for 20 minutes.

8:50pm - Final baguette shape, proof ln linen couche for 30-45 minutes.  Place 2 baking stones on 2 levels in oven along with steam tray, preheat to 500F with convection.

9:30pm - Turn baguettes onto peel, slash, place directly on stone (3 per level) add 1 cup of water to steam pan, close oven door, bake for 10 minutes at 450F with convection.  Rotate, turn down oven to 425F with convection and bake for another 12-14 minutes or until internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool for 1 hr before cutting.



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