The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dmsnyder's picture

These were made with the San Francisco Sourdough starter from 

Vermont Sourdough on the left. San Francisco Sourdough on the right.

Please note the 3 distinct shades of browning of the Vermont Sourdough bloom. This is a sign that the blooming occurred gradually over a large portion of the bake. To me, this is an indication that the stars (loaf proofing, scoring, baking stone temperature, oven steaming, etc.) were all aligned propitiously. The oven gods smiled on these loaves, as you can see from their smiles' reflection on the loaves. (Eeeeew ... That's corney! Well, that 's what writing while listening to Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 does. Consider yourselves fortunate I wasn't listening to the Dvorak Cello Concerto!)

Okay! Enough, already! On to crumb shots ...

San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb" 

The crust was crunch-chewy. The crumb was a bit less open than expected. (The loaves were a somewhat over-proofed and collapsed slightly when scored.) The flavor was inoffensive but had no particular wonderfulness. It was mildly to moderately sour, which was what I'd wanted.

Vermont Sourdough from "Bread"

The crust was crunchy and nutty-sweet. The crumb was about as expected. It could have been more open, but I'm not unhappy with it. The crumb was quite chewy and the flavor was marvelous! Complex, sweet and moderately sour. It was close to my ideal for sourdough bread. 

The Vermont sourdough did have whole rye (10%) and the San Francisco Sourdough was straight white flour (except for a trace of whole wheat and rye in the starter feeding). Both of these formulas can make blow your socks off delicious bread. I credit the rye with the superior flavor in the Vermont Sourdough today. I certainly recommend a flour mix of 90% white and 10% rye to anyone who hasn't tried it. You don't taste "rye," but it does enhance the overall flavor greatly.


LuLu B's picture
LuLu B

             The Hungry Ghost Bakery is a wonderful sourdough bakery in Northampton Mass. Along with many sourdoughs they make granola, bake pastries and make a great double chocolate cookie. They sell local honey and organic and local fresh pasta. They attract kids (they are located next to the elementary school) and college students, Northampton is a college town. They opened the year I was in kindergarden and we made tiles for the brick oven. The breads they have are listed here:


a classic sour dough white, batard refers to the bread shape more stout than a baguette. It is delicious with most any dish as well as cheeses and dipping oil - organic white flour, water, sea salt

whole “grainy” bread, fantastic with soups, salads and chicken. It also is great as toast or as sandwich bread - - 60% organic whole wheat flour, 40% organic germ retained white flour, water, flax seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed, corn grits millet, soy flour, triticale flakes, oats, sea salt

popular with people who suffer from wheat sensitivities, this bread holds its own with very diverse foods such as spicy Indian or garlic and wine sauces. Try it toasted with orange marmalade - organic spelt flour, Chamomile flowers, water, sea salt

Truly an old world bread, beautifully dense and delicious. This is a great bread to have with soup, meat, eggs or as toast - 50%,rye flour, germ retained white flour (50%), caraway seeds, water, sea salt, topping is toasted black onion seed know as kalanji or charnushka

The tale of annadama bread states that a fisherman's lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Annadama Bread. - 60% Organic white flour with retained germ, 40% whole corn flour, molasses, salt starter

an aromatic herb bread made of white flour this is a classic bread perfect with Italian food and red meat. Toast it and spread on some blueberry jam for a real breakfast treat - organic white flour (50% germ retained), water, dried rosemary, sea salt
savory fold

Part stuffed sandwich, part calzone, savory folds are loaded with sundried tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions and spices. They come with a choice of either 8-grain or french bread. Try it as a one handed lunch if you've got a good appetite or share it or combine it with a salad or soup for a light supper. (usually available after noon time.)
olive and semolina fougasse

Totally addictive; crunchy, chewey, the scrumptious flavor of calamata olives and a hint of onion, it is entirely possible to nibble nearly the whole fougasse before you get home. What's a fougasse? Think foccacia, think flat bread, think delcious! -semolina flour, white flour, calamata olives, onion, water, salt, starter

semolina fennel

a unique and delicious bread with semolina flour and fennel seeds, it has the pleasant taste of licorice and works well with garlic and wine sauces or a more traditional tomato sauce. If you are really adventurous try it as french toast - 25% semolina flour, 75% organic germ retained white flour, water, fennel seed, sea salt

a versatile peasant bread great for sandwiches or toast and perfect with soup -90% organic white flour, 10% rye flour, water, sea salt, sesame seeds on top

double wheat

our most whole wheat offering. Not only is this loaf made with all whole wheat flour but it is laced with wheat berries as well. Light in texture it compliments just about anything you pair it with and kids love it, too - organic whole wheat flour, water, organic wheat berries, sea salt

This is more than Saturday morning toast, it’s true the raisins are a sweet treat when dripping with butter but dare to be different match this bread with a tomato curry dish or go ahead and layer on the Gorgonzola - organic whole wheat flour, water, organic raisins, sea salt

this is not your supermarket challah, made with eggs and honey it is slightly sweet with a crisp crust, available plain, with poppy or sesame seeds or a combination of both seeds and plain with raisins inside. Enjoy this bread for shabot or as a great start to Saturday morning – yummy French toast - organic white flour, honey, eggs, olive oil, water, sea salt

The owner Jonathan along with baking writes poetry. Here is my favorite of his poems:

Wet Cosmic Bloke
I am FLYing through the
soup of summer, doing
what? The backstroke, of
course… Mirroring birds and
bats here on the swimmer’s surface of
the pond. The ripples are my feathers
fluttering through this joke being told
by an immeasurably vast waiter. Maybe it’s
the blue of his eyes reflecting back the color
of water, paralleling the atmosphere’s trick. Just
like I’m echoing the customer’s incredulous query
-what is this bowl doing around my broth?

Once a year they have a bread festival.

The festival has local honey, jam, seaweed, cheese, butter, spreads and lots of freshly baked bread and sweets.

They are also involved in local wheat.

The Little Red Hen’s Wheat Patch Project The bread flour we had been using, as organically labeled as it might be, is road-weary and carries a carbon-heavy burden. Grown in the Dakotas, milled in North Carolina, trucked to us in Massachusetts, it is high-quality but high-priced (in more ways than one) and that is rising every day. Displaced by ethanol-bound corn and soybean crops, the price of wheat is growing in the way the grain should be. Local cultivation, though historically significant, is presently negligible. We need new strategies to address this. According to some records, Massachusetts was the site of the first wheat harvest in North America in 1602. Within living memory of Amherst resident Steven Puffer (age 93), farmers brought local wheat, rye and corn to his family’s mill on Old Montague Road (now Route 63). Thanks to some discussions and a local grain conference at Hampshire College last spring, two local farmers have seeds in the ground at present –rye and spelt- and some varieties of spring wheat. In addition to these efforts we are proposing a radical notion: that bread customers begin to grow a portion of the wheat they consume. Imagine receiving a handful of wheat berries along with your loaf of bread and going home to plant them in the backyard -or the front yard or the side yard! The concept is simple, participants with a small amount of garden space receive a specific variety of wheat seed and with simple instructions and some readily available helpful advice, these newly made micro-farmers will then be harvesting the fruit for local flour sometime in late July/early August.. Students from Hampshire and Smith Colleges under the guidance of Hampshire Farm Manager, Leslie Cox are ready to collect scientific data on the progress of the growing wheat. The goal of the Wheat Patch Project is more than a gimmick but a radical approach to food production, economic participation and agricultural re-integration. In experimenting with numerous seed types, dozens of different conditions and soils, we can collectively discover which kinds of wheat (there are tens of thousands) may best be adapted to our region. The project is long term and within a year or two the idea is to then enlist the participation of larger local farms to begin growing locally sustainable wheat. Pre-testing the varieties helps to reduce the risk a farmer takes in development of a new crop. The experimentation will continue into the fall when varieties of “winter wheat” will be trialed as well. Hungry Ghost Bread is proud to sponsor this project and we are currently distributing seed some of which are already in the hands, lawns or gardens of more than 70 bread lovers. The goal of the Wheat Patch Project is not just a gimmick of decentralization, but a radical approach to food production, economic participation and agricultural re-integration. In experimenting with numerous seed types, dozens of different conditions and soils, we can collectively discover which kinds of wheat (there are tens of thousands) may best be adapted to our region. If you have further questions or would like to pick up some seeds please contact us. We also appreciate any monetary donations large or small in order to facilitate the next step in the process, the development of a grain cleaning and milling facility. Coordination with a local nonprofit is underway to further establish this grain cooperative. Thanks for your interest and support.


Floydm's picture

While out running errands this morning I stopped at St. Honoré Boulangerie in NW Portland.  I took a bunch of photos but it was dark and crowded.  These are the only two shots that came out.

St Honore Breads

St Honore Sweets

The croissant, pain au chocolat, and pain au raisin we split were all good.  Nice treats on a rainy day.

In baking news, I just came *this* close to ruining a batch of Wild Rice Onion Bread I'm making. I'm using the formula from Peter Reinhart's new book but changing the rises to fit my schedule.  I did a preferment while we were out this morning and once we got back from errands I made the final dough.  It was running about half an hour or an hour behind dinner schedule -- I'd love to have the rolls with the pot of split pea soup I'm making, though I also got a ficelle at St. Honoré as backup -- so I put the bulk dough in the oven and turned the light on to try to speed things up a little bit.  I also turned the burner on for just 20 or 30 seconds to get some warmth in there, then got distracted and ran upstairs... Next thing I know my dough has been sitting in a 250 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.  Happily, aside from the very outer bits that stuck to the metal bowl, I think it is going to be fine.  I split the now quite warm dough into two loaves and they appear to be rising fine.  Fingers crossed.


Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

Okay, I admit this post has nothing to do with strumpets, but I couldn't resist the ridiculous rhyme!  

But this has everything to do with crumpets!  I've read other users' posts about Rose Levy Berenbaum's English muffins, and I know there's been debates about what the proper boundary between the muffins vs. the crumpets.  I've tried her English muffins, but her crumpets are in my bumbling opinion by far the finest of the two.  I love the wet batter and the stove top process, and the texture is so fluffy, classic, and moist.  We enjoy them with omelets and jam...  

The batter...

The griddling...

The finished display...

And darn it, I forgot the picture of the crumb, and the little red toaster that makes it complete!  And there were no crumpets left to tell the tale...

inlovewbread's picture

This year I hope to make Pain de Campagne shaped as pain de epi for the Thanksgiving table. I did a run-through to practice the cuts....

The one in the middle fit on my baking stone, the other did not- so I cut that one in two. Next time I will make skinnier baguettes before cutting and will probably make 3. Little individual epi rolls would be cute too.

The one in the middle also went a little long in the oven...but I'll say I was going for a more "european bake". 

inlovewbread's picture


I've become somewhat obsessed lately with Durum flour. It adds such a sweet, buttery flavor to the bread, which is good- because then I don't add butter when I have slice after slice of this bread!

The boule on the left is the sourdough with durum. The loaf on the right is a vermont sourdough (a la Hammelman's formula). The scoring pattern didn't quite turn out as planned...anyway, the percentage of durum flour in this particular boule came to about 15%. That's only because I am rationing out my durum flour until I can find a less expensive source :-) Otherwise I would have it at about 25%.


When I feed my firm starter, I take the "waste" and make a teeny-tiny little sourdough boule- it's so cute and fun to make because it's so small. It's also a good one because I bake it the same day I mix; skipping the overnight retardation step (forfeiting more flavor, I know, but sometimes it's nice to not have to wait). I think the formula ends up:

25g firm levain

130g bread flour

20g durum flour

103g water

3g sea salt

I baked this with the "magic bowl" method, same as for the loaves above. But for some reason, due to the size, it doesn't come out with much of a crust. It's more thin and chewy instead of thicker and well, crustier. Still good though. Perfect size for 2 people! Okay, perfect size for one person to eat- by themselves.....

The small size is also nice for experimenting with different additions/ formulas. For instance, I attempted a chocolate cherry sourdough (which turned out really yummy) and didn't want to waste the cherries and the time if it wasn't going to taste good. Now that I know it does, I will make a larger loaf.




GabrielLeung1's picture

With the completion of the laminated dough final, the next section begins. And it was a section that I had been anticipating for a very long time. It was the artisan bread section! Finally I would receive formal instruction on something I've been self-teaching myself (with many wonderful resources like TFL of course) for years. 

We made baguette dough, poolish, and a 40% whole wheat dough in the course of 5 hours. The baguette dough would undergo retarded yeast fermentation in the refrigerator for 2 days, but the whole wheat dough we ended up baking off.

It was definitely a great experience to work on bread. I had finally gotten used to working in a professional kitchen, I had just gotten used to working well with the other student bakers, and with bread, everything all came together. We formed a round loaf and round, knotted, and braided rolls. 

Shiao-Ping's picture

The first day driving kids to school since I got back from Taiwan last weekend was the first day of listening to Emma Ayres on a fine classical radio show, ABC Classic FM, the familiarity of which filled me with delight which was quite uncharacteristic of me.  That day I counted the flowering trees that I had missed by the road side while I was away.  The flame trees were alight with their chilly red color flowers, the Chinese favorite color.  The vivid colors were like endorphins to me, sending me into fanciful thought of the depth of my memories.

Memories are like ghosts.  I think of Sting's The Hounds of Winter.  His new album, If on a Winter's Night ... has just been released, "an acoustic meditation on winter."   For me trips to Taiwan are trips down memory lane.  While I was there, my mother told me of her youth over many days and many morning Oolong teas.  When she was two months old, she migrated to a Taiwan that was occupied by the Japanese, 73 years ago.  She would have learned to speak Japanese if she were a better student.  Back then, the Japanese encouraged the Han people from China to develop Taiwan - the land was open for grabs to anyone who was strong and had an able body, not unlike that of the New World more than two hundred years ago.  My late grandfather was a strong man, who occupied a big piece of land towards the eastern seaboard of Taiwan. His younger brother was not so able and he occupied land up the mountain, ill-suited to crops.

How memories have faded and how Taiwan has changed.  73 years is a short time indeed.  In this period of time, Taiwan became a very affluent society.  People embraced new ideas, new trends and were afraid to fall behind.  The same thing happened across the Taiwan Straits in Mainland China - today, there are 50 million young kids learning to play western music instruments, 30 million of whom learn piano, which is why you get a Lang Lang, the modern day Mozart in China, as some believe.

We are all co-incarnates.  Don't get caught up in the word that has mystical, and for the most part, superstitious connotations.  It means we are the results of our forbearers, our cultures, and our surrounds as we in turn influence other people.  It has always been in Chinese blood, throughout our history, to learn from other people, to adapt, and then, to call it our own. 

Whenever I go back to Taiwan to visit folks and friends, I see a dazzling array of new stuff, half digested but always presented in a unique way.  Sourdough is one such example.

Inky bread is not most peoples' 'cup of tea.'  When my mother saw a sample of it, she uttered "pee-yew" instinctively (sorry that's an Australian sound, I forgot what she uttered.)  We walked into a humble looking bakery in a busy street in downtown Taipei; and a big tray of inky batards stared at me.  There was a cut-up sample on the side and as I looked closer, the description said "Squid Ink Chicken Bread."  Just when you need a camera, you don't have one.  That is annoying.  I had been carting a camera around the whole week and I had not found anything to shoot.

Savory breads like the "Squid Ink Chicken Bread" are quick lunches you can find easily in the streets of Taipei and most cities in Taiwan today.  I didn't buy one to try, but I think the chicken in the inky bread that I saw was done the Chinese way; that is, with a little soy sauce and ginger, or perhaps honey and ginger.  I wanted a little green color (unsuccessfully as you can see from the pictures below), so I made mine with spring onion and pesto. 

When I did my last inky bread in honor of Sting's song, A Thousand Years, I had no idea that it could be found in the market place.  I used squid ink to color the bread to make a statement - to express the grief and suffering from thousands of years of wars and killing, the subject of that song.  But this time, I am doing this inky bread because I think it is fun and unusual.   Here we go: 


My Formula for Inky Savory Pain au Levain 

Final Dough:

  • 1,223 g ripe starter @75% hydration (5% rye)  This was refreshed three times over 32 hours from a seed starter of 36g from the fridge.

  • 1,223 g flour (5% rye flour and the rest white bread flour, 11.9% protein)

  • 700 g water (divided into 600 g and 100 g, see squid ink below)

  • 4 + 1/2 tbsp or 65 ml. of olive oil (approx. 5% of total hydration)  Try not to use the scale for this. See note below*

  • 7 - 8 g of squid/cuttlefish ink (to be pre-mixed in 100 g of water as above)

  • 35 g salt

  • Sesame for dusting

Pesto and spring onion mixture:  mix the following

  • 100 g pesto sauce

  • 100 g chopped spring onions

Chicken: pan-fry the following in 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 500 g diced skinless chicken thighs (do not use breast)

  • 4 - 5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch (as meat tenderizer)

  • salt & pepper to taste

Total dough weight 3.2 kg and dough hydration 67%  (I was aiming for the standard baguette hydration)

The dough was divided into:

  1. 230 g x 3 (rolled in sesame seeds) and 800 g x 1, baked last night (pictured immediately below) for pre-dinner drinks and dinner (note: I left the large one plain without incorporating the pesto or chicken); and

  2. 900 g x 1, 500 g x 1 and 350 g x 1, baked this morning.

* One tablespoon of water is 15 g but one tbsp of olive oil is not 15 g.  It's 12 - 13 g for me if it is scaled on its own, but 11 - 12 g if scaled on top of water or something else. 











                                                                          The above were all baked last night.


  1. Mix squid ink in 100 g water.

  2. In a large bowl, mix starter with 600 g water first, then add flour, then salt, oil, and squid ink (in that order), mix until just combined. (Take down the time when this is done.  Bulk fermentation is approximately 2+1/2 hours if dough & room temperature is roughly 22 - 24C / 73 - 76F.  Note:  almost all bread books calculate bulk fermentation time from when kneading finishes, whether or not autolyse is incorporated.  Because I use my stretch and folds as my kneading, technically this means I should start counting my bulk fermentation time from the end of the first set of S & F's.  But as long as I am getting the results I want, I will continue to do what I have been doing. )

  3. Autolyse 20 minutes; in the mean time, pan-fry chicken and prepare the pesto spring onion mixture (the cooked chicken should be completely cooled down before use).

  4. First set of stretch and folds in the bowl, 60 - 70 strokes.

  5. After 45 minutes, another set of stretch and folds, 20 - 30 strokes.

  6. After an hour, divide the dough as you please.  Pre-shape the dough to a cylinder; rest 15 minutes.

  7. Incorporate the savory mixture and shape the dough into a batard (see pictures below).

  8. Proof the dough for approx. 2 hours if dough & room temperature is roughly 22 - 24C / 73 - 76F.  (Note: I moved my dough into the refrigerator immediately after it was shaped as it was a very hot day, 30C; ie, my dough received no floor time after it's shaped.)

  9. I baked 4 loaves (250 g x 3 and 800 g x 1) after 4 hours in the refrigerator last night at 230C / 445F for 15 minutes and another 20 minutes at 210C / 410F.  I baked the rest of the loaves this morning (16 hours retardation). 




  1. place some pesto spring onion mixture and chicken on the top one-third of the dough

  2. fold the top 1/3 over and turn the whole dough 180 degree

  3. place some more savory mixture on the top one-third of the dough, and fold it over again

  4. fold again and seal it tight





                                                               The above was baked this morning.


The bread was delicious.   This was one of the best breads that I have made.   When it came out of the oven, my husband said that the bread looked sensational; but when I said, it's squid ink bread, he said, Oh, I changed my mind.  He ended up having his lion's share and couldn't stop raving about it.   This bread was a hit with my family. 

As I was finishing my draft for this post, Lang Lang was playing Yellow River Piano Concerto on my hi-fi.  The instrument is western, but the sentiment expressed in the music is incredibly Chinese.  What a piece of pure Romanticism.  With that, I am going to indulge myself with something I have always wanted to do - to paint abstract with flour:



                 flour abstract painting on my black marble work bench 1



                                                                                                          flour abstract painting 2


SylviaH's picture

This is Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pugliese recipe from her book 'the bread bible'.  I hand mixed this recipe.  I made them once before ' photos are posted on my blog'  and in a little lighter roast.  This time I did a little darker roast...simply because I loved the aroma!  The flavor starts with a great aroma and is delicious, creamy, nutty, buttery with a nice little chew.  Just what you expect from Duram flour!  I made these with a 17 hour biga that was kept cool and unrefrigerated for the ultimate full flavor.  They are made with Duram flour..this recipe is not suited to the semolina pasta will not work with this recipe.  I triple the recipe and it makes two nice sized loaves.



GabrielLeung1's picture

I suppose I was too worried about the section final that I had today. Despite many problems that happened when it came to forming my croissants and danishes, everything came together in the end!

It was an extremely interesting experience, fourteen bakers all trying to use a single proof box and two ovens in mostly the same space of time. Perhaps this is similar to what working in industry is like? 

It was extremely necessary to get organized, and organized fast in how our products went into the proof box and in and out of the oven. It was interesting, we spontaneously organized ourselves with people in charge of the proof box and the ovens both in an official capacity (we announced we would) and in a casual one (we happened to be passing by and announced that things needed to go into the oven, come out of the oven). 

But overall, everything got done, and it was a gratifying experience that was tiring but rewarding, and made me hungry for more of the same.


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