The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

This is a story not about recipies, how good is my loaf, hydration or bakers percentages or any thing to do with my baking ability(or lack of after reading some blogs on TFL....that is a compliment to others that I am in awe of).

I have a lovely natured 11year old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Beau. Besides his hobby of wanting always to be with us, sleeping and eating his nose will sometimes get him into trouble as I will explain.

For a long time now I have tried making without great success a baguette. They were only passable but not great. My sandwich loaves and sourdoughs were far more successful. Just before Christmas some one posted the recipe for  Anis Boabsa 2008 winning reciepe for baguettes(I think DMSynder was the contributor). I decided to try again but I was putting myself on trial here this night. We were going to dinner at a friends home where our French Rotary Exchange student from 5 years ago had come back to visit. My wife and I were his legal "guardians" so to speak back then. I thought why not try my baguette on a genuine Frenchman. The only way to find out.

I made 2 loaves using Anis's recipe with cold fermation as stated. The loaves were cooled on a rack and duly individually wrapped in a cotton T.Towel and placed on top of a ground vase about 20 inces high at the front door. The idea being we would not forget them as we walked out.

Now back to Beau the KC Spaniel  of mine whose love of all foods except onions and garlic is legendary. He literally sits on the entrance of our kitchen waiting to prounce on any possible dropping of food. So  Picture this...the old fashion movie or cartoon where the dog is sitting outside the butcher store, the butcher's back is turned and next the dog is running down the street with a trail of long skinny sausuges in his mouth and the butcher chasing him.

Now in real life......I heard a small commotion and the sound of my dogs paws on a hard surface floor running and slipping and generally being quicker than the normal. They are a lazy dog by nature. All I saw was this baguette disappearing around the corner into the TV room floating about 20 inches in the air. About the height of my dog.

So here is Beau, Baguette in tow with one end in his mouth and the other 18 inches floating back down his body scrambling for daylight and his eating mat where nobody touches his food. And me..........I was the above butcher.

Thank heavens I had two French friend thoroughly enjoyed my effort and baguette but was certainly more entertained by the above story as Beau was still a silly young dog when they first met.

Mind you Beau did demolish another exchange students Easter chocolates when she left them on her bed. I'm sure in his previous life Beau was a food critic.......A blessed 2011 to one and all.



louie brown's picture
louie brown

I always wanted to try these and now I am very glad I did. The flavor of the buckwheat is fantastic. Silverton uses a rye starter, the buckwheat, and white flour. She prescribes yeast, baking powder and soda. There is sifting of flour and separating of eggs, the whites being folded in. All this results in a very rich, tender product that is just delicious. What better way to start the year than with some of these topped with homemade creme fraiche and some American hackleback caviar! Happy New Year to all.

Mebake's picture

Just to finish off 2010 with a "cheerful ending , my starter has failed me twice. Having ventured on to bake Hamelman's Pain Au Levain with Wholewheat, My Doughs have twiced turned slack and headed to the trash bin instead of the oven, twice in a row? that is a killer. Add this to my lower back pain, iam not inclined to bake anytime soon. 

Iam a keen caretaker of my Starter, but lately i was unable to please it. Long story short, i have to keep an eye on it more often, inorder to revive the healthy population i always nourished.

Now i have to watch all the wonderful Year end bakes of my fellow TFl members, and drool on.

EDIT: Light Bulb On! I believe the reason behind my starter problematic vigor has to do with overfeeding right from the fridge. As Underfeeding reduces the number of viable yeasts that ensure fermentation, Overfeeding, seems, also overwhelms the starter, and the end result is same.


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

It seems like everyone is baking Raisin-Walnut bread of one kind or another.  Me too!  With the holidays drawing to a close, we are generally "sweeted out", and wanted a flavorful loaf that is not full of sugar, to go with morning coffee and all.  This seems to fill the bill nicely.  The recipe calls for minimal sugar, and gains most of it's sweetness from the natural sweetness of the raisins.

I followed the BBA formula with only a couple of exceptions.  I am still trying to use up some powdered buttermilk from the fridge, so I substituted that here and adjusted the water accordingly.  Also, Mr. Reinhart does not instruct to plump the raisins for this loaf, but I prefer the results I get when I do so.  I soaked the raisins in about 1/2 cup of brandy and enough hot water to cover them over in the bowl.  I thoroughly drained them before hand-kneading them and the walnuts into the dough.  I hand-kneaded the nuts and raisins so they would not get torn up by the Bosch, where I did the main work of mixing the dough.

I baked the dough as two panned loaves, in 8.5" x 4.5" pans, prepared with my pan release.  The house has been much cooler these past few day, so proofing took an extra 45 minutes or so.  Baking, however, was done a bit sooner than expected, probably because I left my baking tiles in the oven.  The crust is not adversely affected, however, and the crumb is very nice.

As you can see, I did not do a perfect job of shaping these loaves for the pan.  The crumb does not seem to show the obvious lines you might expect, given the exterior appearance.

These two loaves are the end of my 2010 baking year.  Tomorrow starts a new year, and I have the rye sour working already for the BBA Pumpernickel to kick off the new year.  That is another story though.

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy New Year!

dmsnyder's picture


I've read with great interest discussions of home milling flour since I first joined TFL, but not wanting to get into the more arcane techniques of grain tempering, multiple graduated sifters and the like put me off. My interest was boosted by MC's interviews with Gérard Rubaud, who uses fresh hand milled grains to build his levains. (See Building a levain "à la Gérard": step 1) My recent experience chopping rye berries by hand did it though. I ordered the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid Accolade mixer.

I'd been looking at grain mills for some time. I considered the Nutrimill, but I don't need to grind pounds and pounds of flour, and, from what I've read, it does not grind as coarse as I'd like to make cracked and chopped grains. Hand-cranked mills look cool, but my tiled kitchen counters don't work with appliances attached by vises. So, the KitchenAid attachment was a nice solution. I used it today for the first time.

KitchenAid Grain Mill

Based on my reading of reviews of this device, I ground some hard red winter wheat and some spelt berries by putting each through three passes of increasing fineness. I just ground about 200 g of each. There was no indication that this strained my mixer motor in the least. Each pass took 30 seconds or less. The resulting flour was a tad coarser than what I buy already milled, but finer than, say, semolina.

Fresh ground spelt flour

Fresh ground hard red winter wheat flour

My formula and procedures take off from Chad Robertson's “Basic Country Bread” in Tartine Bread.


Total Dough




Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour*



Fresh-ground WW



Fresh-ground Spelt












*Note: The small amount of WW and Dark Rye in the levain are not calculated separately in the Total Dough.






Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour






BRM Dark Rye






Ripe levain






  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight).


Final Dough



Wt (g)

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour


Fresh-ground WW


Fresh-ground Spelt


Liquid levain


Water (80ºF)







  1. In a large bowl, dissolve 200 g of the levain in 700 g of the water.

  2. Add all the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly.

  3. Autolyse for 25-30 minutes. (Longer would be okay.)

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add 50 g of water.

  5. Knead in the bowl by squishing the dough between your fingers until all the water has been incorporated and the salt is well-distributed. Then, still in the bowl, fold the dough over itself a few times.

  6. Transfer the dough to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl or other container, such as a rising bucket. Cover tightly. If possible, place the dough in an ambient temperature of 75-80ºF.

  7. After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough in its container 15-20 times. (By the end of this, the dough should be smooth, and it should pull away from the container easily when you stretch it.) Re-cover the dough. Repeat this at 30 minute intervals for two hours, then one more time an hour later. (The dough should have expanded by 25-50% and be light and full of small bubbles which you can see if your container is transparent. If it has been fermented at a cooler temperature, give it another hour, or even 2 hours.)

  8. When the dough is fully fermented, transfer it to a lightly floured board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  9. Pre-shape the pieces as rounds. Cover with plastic or a towel and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as boules or bâtards. Place in bannetons or en couche and cover.

  11. Proof for about 90 to 120 minutes, depending on ambient temperature.

  12. Pre-heat your oven to 500ºF. If not baking covered, pre-heat a baking stone and prepare your oven for steaming. (I baked these boules in Lodge Combo Cookers.)

  13. If baking uncovered, bake at 460ºF with steam for about 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust. If baking covered , bake at 480ºF for 15 minutes, then at 450-460ºF uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  15. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Boules after baking 15 minutes, covered

Boule, cooling


Chewy crust and tender crumb. Whole wheat dominates the aroma of the bread sliced still warm but the flavor is sweet and mellow without any perceptible sourness. I'm looking forward to tasting it toasted tomorrow morning.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


GSnyde's picture

As the year ends, and I look back, I see the start of my baking experience. And it’s Pizza! Making pizza is part cooking and part baking. Pizza is a good segue, a path for a cook to start becoming a baker.

My last bake of the year was two pies: a main course pizza of sausage, fresh Mozzarella, and two sauces, and a “dessert pizza” of Bosc pear, Walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese, drizzled with a Balsamic reduction.

The sausage pizza features a dough made with Stan Ginsburg’s personally imported Tipo 00 flour, fresh homemade pesto, the tomato sauce from TFL’s Pizza Primer, and homemade Turkey sausage from a recipe Brother David provided to me some time ago. I hadn’t planned on two sauces until I saw the beautiful fresh basil at the store, and we already had pine nuts and fresh Parmesan, so what was I to do?

I painted a “tricolore” pizza.


Then added sausage and Mozzarella.


And baked it on the stone for 10 minutes at 500F.


The other pizza was really special. Beautiful pears, walnuts and delicious mild Gorgonzola. After baking, it was drizzled with Balsamic syrup I made by boiling down some good Balsamic vinegar.


Both pizzas were enjoyed with good friends and good wine. I look forward to more such meals in the new year. And I look forward to sharing baking ideas and experiences with all of you, my TFL compadres. Thanks for all the good times, the support, and the guidance.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year, as the sun sets on 2010.




GSnyde's picture


Continuing my bread baking jag on the North Coast, yesterday I baked the best-looking breads I’d ever produced. The formula is the same “San Francisco Country Sourdough” I’ve posted before (—take-two), except I used Central Milling Artisan Baker’s Craft flour in place of KAF AP, and I rolled the three mini-baguettes in KAF’s seed mix. I also made a 800+ gram batard.

I have gotten comfortable enough with this dough that I could focus on visual aesthetics.  I took care to divide the dough ball so that part of the taut surface formed one side of each piece. I was able to shape the three mini-baguettes so all were about the same size and shape, and the scoring was pretty good.  My very happy starter and my magic SFBI linen helped provide good grigne. The downside of good open cuts with seeded baguettes is you don’t end up with as many seeds on top…a small price to pay.


I’ve got to find a stronger glue for the seeds.


The batard was preshaped as a boule, then shaped as a tight oblong, not a long torpedo shape.  In baking, it opened up and sproinged hugely. It has a really nice moist chewy crumb.




Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the Challah, the pastries, the rye breads, and the other sourdoughs I’ve learned to bake this year, this bread alone would make all my baking efforts worth it. I wonder how I’ll tweak it next.

Pictured below is the bread bowl shared with our dinner guests last night—seeded SFCSD baguette, SFCSD batard and SFBI Walnut-Raisin Sourdough. Sourdough can be pretty sweet.



Submitted to YeastSpotting (

GSnyde's picture


When Brother David finished the Artisan II course at SFBI a few weeks ago, he didn’t have to plead with us to take some of the products of his craft off his hands. All of the breads were good, but two stood out—the Miche and the Walnut-Raisin Bread. I’m sure he will get around to baking the Miche at home, and I’ll try to be patient waiting for that recipe to be shared.

Happily, he baked the fabulous Walnut-Raisin bread at home the week after his course, and posted the formula ( The texture and flavor of this bread are very similar to Acme’s Cranberry-Walnut bread, which is one of our very favorites.

The other day, in my kitchen on the North Coast, I tried to replicate that wonderful bread. And my first attempt at a Suas formula was highly edible. Kinda purdy, too. It is an almost 30% whole grain bread made with a firm sourdough starter that accounts for about 15% of the final dough. The substantial volume of toasted Walnuts in the bread seems to complement the sourness of the dough, and the raisins add a nice bit of sweetness. My only departures from David's formula were to use Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft Flour (which includes a bit of malted barley) and our unique Mendocino Coast high-hydration well water.

The dough was very sticky and not easy to hand-mix. I tried to follow instructions, but I have to say that mixing at “Speed 2“ for eight minutes gave me serious tendonitis. As evidence of my very active sourdough starter, the dough rose very nicely in two hours.



I had made 150% of the amount in David’s formula to have a loaf to eat, one to freeze and one to give as a gift. I formed two batards and one boule, and proofed them in oval willow brotforms and a round linen-lined basket.


The batards were baked in our electric oven with the proven combo of Sylvia’s magic towels and lava rocks in a cast iron skillet. The boule was baked in the gas oven in an old Magnalite Dutch Oven (does that brand even exist anymore?).


As you can see from the top photo and those below, the loaf in the Dutch Oven came out with a lighter crust. I can’t tell you what the texture difference is, since the boule has been frozen for future enjoyment. The batard we cut into had a nice thick crust. Not very crunchy. The interior is wonderfully complex, with fairly-dense chewy crumb, crunchy walnuts and juicy raisins. The flavor is outstanding, nicely sour and well-balanced with wheat and rye.




The flavor is enhanced with Cotswold cheese or cream cheese.


This is a bread I will make many times again.


ananda's picture


Finishing the year with what seems to have become our "regular" House Bread of late.   There is one loaf at just over 1500g scaled dough weight, and one at 1000g.   Crust, crumb and all round flavour are just as I like and aim to achieve.  


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sourdough



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye









2. Final Dough



Rye Sourdough [from above]



Organic White Bread Flour












Overall Hydration



% Pre-fermented Flour




  • Build the rye sourdough over 2 elaborations across a 24 hour period.
  • For mixing I used the "bassinage" technique, by holding back 75g of the water. This was to counter the lack of apparent willingness on the part of the flour to take up as much water as I was hoping for. Starting at 63% and I ended up with a respectable 68%, which seemed perfect in the final dough.
  • I let the dough stand for half an hour during the mix cycle, and thereafter it came together as a really good strong dough; given 25% Dark Rye.
  • 2 hours bulk proof, with 1 S&F after 1 hour
  • Scale, divide and mould. Final proof in bannetons. I held one back in the fridge for half an hour. Proof time for the first loaf was around 2 hours.
  • Tip the dough out of the bannetons, and cut accordingly before setting in the oven at 250°C. Bake with steam on a hot brick base. I turned the heat down to 220°C after 15 minutes, then down to 200°C after a further 30 minutes, baking out for 1 hour in total.

I measured the weight loss for the big loaf, and did the following calculations:

Finished Baked weight of 1325g, meaning weight lost 222g.   As a percentage of the moisture, this means 35.83% of the original moisture was lost, thus, 64.17 was retained.

Photographs of the finished breads are shown below.DSCF1601DSCF1598DSCF1600DSCF1601DSCF1602DSCF1605DSCF1608DSCF1609DSCF1607

There's a bit of illness in our home tonight, so NY will be low key.   However, I just want to wish everyone at TFL a very Happy New Year!   All the best for 2011


GSnyde's picture

The Winter Solstice and the Year-End/New Year is a time for re-collecting the events of the year, and also a time for renewal and reinvention. It’s a time for tradition and a time for new things, too. A good time to look back and look forward.

Mendocino Sunrise 12-23-10


As I look back on this year, one major event was the start of my bread-baking passion in August. By chance, my sister forgot to take the sourdough starter David had brought to my house to give her. So I adopted it, and the rest is….delicious. I recall some rookie mistakes and some great bakes. No question, I’ve learned a ton … and have many tons more to learn. Looking forward, there are a thousand things I want to try: some totally new things, and some tweaks to make the tried and truer even better. The year draws to an end, with family visiting our weekend house on California’s North Coast (Mendocino County). It’s been a nice break from the usual hectic schedule. And I am baking. Some “old” favorites, and some new experiments.

Our year-end tradition is to gather with my wife’s family in our warm house while the inevitable Pacific storms rage outside. And eat and drink. A lot. We have dined on Chile Verde with Red Rice (later reprised as enchiladas), Roast Goose with stuffing from (my) old bread, Charcoal-grilled butterflied leg of lamb with bulghar pilaf and pear-pecan salad (leading to lamb sandwiches on still-warm Challah and, later, lamb curry). But you probably want to hear about the baking. With all the sweet tooth’s around, and a “we-can-diet-next-year” attitude, I baked some sugary stuff. Some new things, and some old favorites. All were very nutritious—with fruit or nuts.


Some Fruit

For dessert after the Christmas Goose, I made Apple Crostada from trailrunner’s recipe ( My first try at this a few weeks ago didn’t work out—too much liquid in the dough made it tough. This time, using only 9 Tbsp of buttermilk, the pastry was flaky, as promised. The apple filling was spiked with a shot of Pyrat Rum and quite a bit of lemon zest. It was very nice with Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream.


Thanks, Caroline. This one’s a winner!

Some Nuts

Since reading Txfarmer’s blog entry about pecan buns made with brioche dough (, I knew I was a goner. My wife and I both love nuts, sugar, cinnamon and butter. And these gooey brioche balls are as good as it gets.

I’d never made brioche dough before. I settled on Peter Reinhart’s “Middle Class Brioche” from A Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The book describes the process very well. Hand-massaging a half pound of butter into the dough was almost too sensual. It poofed up hugely in the fridge over night. And the next day, I formed 24 airy butter balls, dipped them in more butter, rolled them in cinnamon sugar, plopped them on a bed of yet more butter and pecan parts, slathered them with a paste of cinnamon sugar and—yes—even more butter, and baked them, with my nose pressed against the oven vent. The results were absolutely heavenly! Melt-in-the-mouth dough encased in cinnamon-sugar, sticky with caramel and crunchy with nuts. As we say around here, “what’s not to like?”


With the last bit of brioche dough, I made some nice muffins.


A nice healthy breakfast.


Thanks for the great buns, Txfarmer!

Some More Fruit

Many years ago, we were invited to lunch at the home of one my senior partners. His wife was quite a cook, and baker! She made very tart lemon bars. You know, the kind with short bread topped with a lemon curd. They were the best I’d ever had, and I asked her for the recipe. I used to make them fairly regularly, but it’s been years. Having gotten a bag of beautiful lemons, these lemon bars just popped back into my head and would not go away. Though they have almost as much butter as the pecan buns, they taste so fruity, they have to be good for you.


Some Bread (Still a Little Sweet)

Though the sweet things I baked all have a bit of flour in them to hold the butter together, it was time to bake bread! And we had a large quantity of leftover leg of lamb. So I baked my absolutely favorite sandwich bread—Challah. This was my second try at Glezer’s “My Challah”. And, again, it came out nicely. A couple new twists (pun intended) this time: I used Central Milling Co.’s Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft flour and filtered water from our trusty well (the higher-hydration kind of water from our very wet Winter). The malted barley in the flour may have added a bit extra crunch in the crust.


And the Challah was perfect for sandwiches of sliced lamb, sliced cucumber, and lemon-garlic-mustard sauce. I’ll leave the sheep head to Hansjoakim.


The Challah-making process is now becoming familiar, and I feel ready to try a sourdough version, and maybe one of those beautiful round braided things.

Serious Hearth Bread To Follow

In the last couple days, I have been baking a couple hearth breads. They, too, made be very happy. My report will follow in the next blog post.

Wishing that you all enjoy the sweetness of good memories. And that the new year holds more.



Subscribe to RSS - blogs