The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


mely's picture

opening up my new bakery...... any suggestions ! very nervous

mimifix's picture

We visited Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord MA and had a chance to see the oven - up close and personal. It was quite an experience. We do bakery tours for fun but this was the first time I ever got close enough to touch the oven. (Yes, it was hot.)


Vermasw1's picture

Dear friends,

I have tried baking croissants a number of times in the past but just cannot get them right.

- When i bake them for 15 mins- as instructed, they are not golden brown on the surface.

- When i bake them for about 30-40 mins - they are over baked.

I ensure that the temperature of the oven is about 190 degrees centigrade. I also keep a small bowl of water in the oven to generate some humidity.

Please advise where am i going wrong.



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Wanted to share with you something that I have been working on for the past 2 days or so.  I was poking around my local Gristede's supermarket the other day and found Hodgson Mills Stoneground Rye Flour for $5.99.  I usually only go to Gristede's if I'm lazy or desperate as there are much better places to get groceries in NYC.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find what I did.  Also, I have some organic spelt berries that I'm trying to get rid of or use as it's not my favorite grain.  So, when I got home I consulted Hamelman's Bread book along with the Hofpfisterei München website looking for some inspiration.  I found the following.  If you click on the links on their website as follows: Sortiment => Natursaurteigbrote => Pfister-Oko-Dinkel-Grunkern-Volkorn...  It's a 92% spelt(dinkel) and 8% rye(roggen) bread...  I was inspired by this, but did the complete opposite and thought it was a 92% rye bread...  Anyways, my inspiration doesn't need to be correct, right?

Anyways, back to the 90% rye/ 10% spelt bread that I'm making.  I've tried to make a very detailed photo documentation for all of you.  So here goes!

This is what started it all.  The Hodgson Mill Rye Flour I found at the local Gristede's around the block from me.  $5.99 for 5 pounds.  Not a bad find...

My recipe page 1

My recipe page 2

8/25/10 - Stage 1 (Freshening)

16g Rye Flour

24g Water

8g Sourdough Starter (100% Hydration)

48g Total

7:00pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for 5 hours.

8/26/10 - Stage 2 (Basic Sour)

100g Rye Flour

78g Water

48g All of stage 1

226g Total

12:00am - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 17 hours.

Stage 2 after mixing a bit

Stage 2 smoothed over with water before covering and letting rest for 17 hrs.

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs - detail of what's inside

8/26/10 - Stage 3 (Full Sour)

270g Rye Flour

270g Water

226g All of stage 2

766g Total

6:45pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 3-4 hours

Stage 3 mixed

Stage 3 smoothed over with water before covering and resting

Hand grinding spelt grains for final dough with a hand crank grain mill

Spelt flour close up out of the hand crank mill

Stage 3 after 3 1/2 hrs

Stage 3 side view - gas bubbles

Stage 3 - inside texture

8/26/10 - Final Dough

514g Rye Flour

100g Spelt Flour (freshly ground)

408g Water

18g Kosher Salt

766g All of stage 2

1806g Total

9:15pm - Mix all, cover, bulk ferment for 20 minutes.

Stage 3 in pieces in large mixing bowl with pre-measured amount of water

All ingredients of final dough in mixing bowl

Mixing with rubber spatula

More mixing

More mixing and mushing...  Just mix well so everything is well combined...

For nice ball with spatula, smooth over with water...

Place in plastic bag, bulk ferment for 20 minutes...

Final dough after 20 minute bulk ferment

Inside texture of dough after bulk ferment

9:45pm - Divide dough into 2 equal weight pieces

Form into boule, dusting lightly with rye flour to prevent sticking

Place in linen lined baskets for proofing

Place in baskets in plastic bag for proofing, approx 1 hr.  Place baking stone on 2nd rack up from bottom, place steam tray, preheat oven to 550F with convection.

Boules after proofing.  Notice cracks on surface.

Close up of cracks

Turn out on to peel

Dock loaf with chopstick

10:50pm - Turn off convection.  Place loaves directly on baking stone, add 1 cup water to steam pan, close oven door.  Turn oven temp to 500F and bake for 10 minutes without convection.  Then remove the steam pan, turn oven down to 410F and bake for another 60 minutes or until internal temp of loaf reaches 205F or more.  Sorry for the blurry shot...

I'm tired...  To be continued...


This is about 10 minutes into the bake right before I remove the steam pan.  Notice the oven spring...


Loaves out of the oven 1 hr after removing the steam pan


Thanks for reading...  Enjoy!

Yippee's picture


I’ve been having lots of fun with my new tools.  They have brought additional peace of mind to the bread making process and have put an end to my frustration about oven temperatures. More importantly, they’ve delivered good results. Loaves in this bake all turned out crackly with a color that was neither too dark nor too light, and was just right to my liking. They were light in feel and the superb oven spring made them puff like a cute blowfish. 


I learned of the impact of subtle temperature changes on a loaf by baking several sourdough pain de campagne in a roll and established my reference.  I usually don’t make too much bread at a time. This was my largest production ever.  Not only did we have abundant slices to put on the grill, but I also had surplus to gift away to my friends who came to our end-of-summer BBQ.    


Again, I used a simple formula very similar to that  I’ve been playing with since the beginning of this year.  It was of 68% hydration, 17% prefermented flour from an un-refreshed pate fermente, which was also at 68% hydration.  I felt a big relief when all the old dough that didn’t make it to a bake long time ago was finally put to use.  My next bake will be geared toward learning how to utilize my new tools on dough that is leavened by systematically built levains.


Fermentation schedule

Bulk ferment:                                           86F – 3hrs

Final prove:                                              59F - refer to pictures of each loaf for timing



Oven preheated to 485F

Baking temperatures and timing:                also varied, refer to individual pictures as well.



Here are some pictures:




thegrindre's picture

Hi all,

I promised I'd share my honey white/wheat bread recipe with you so here it is.

What this recipe yields is one loaf of soft crusted soft crumbed sandwich bread that is really great and very easy to make and created for us old folks that can't eat hard crusted tough crumbed breads anymore.

Now, since I start with 3 cups of flour then add the liquid, it doesn't even need to be measured all that closely.

So, here goes;

I start with about 3 cups King Arthur flour in a large glass mixing bowl, (I say 'about' because all I do is grab a 1/2 cup measure and dip out 6 half cups of flour.), 2 cups all purpose white & 1 cup whole wheat. I then add 2 rounded teaspoons of Fleischmann's active dry yeast, 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt, then whisk all together well. (Nothing exact here. At this stage, all I need to be is close.)

Meanwhile, I'm warming up a scad short 1 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of real butter and 1 Tablespoon of raw buckwheat honey,. (My honey source is, Wonderful people who sell wonderful honey products, btw.)

When the milk mixture is warm, NOT hot, I slowly start pouring it into the flour mixture, stirring it with a wooden spoon until it forms the dough ball. (I like this part because there's no real measuring involved. I just add the liquid until the dough ball forms.)

I then knead the dough, right in the bowl for a few minutes until it all comes together nicely adding more milk mixture as needed. (I then drink the leftover milk mixture. What's that they say about milk & honey and the Gods?)

I give the bowl and the dough ball a flour dusting, cover it with a wet warm towel, then set it in my oven to raise for a good hour. (My oven warms up to exactly 100 degrees with the light on.)

When double in bulk, (It sometimes quadruples within an hour), I knead it again, right in the bowl for a few minutes to clean up the extra flour I used for dusting. (How easy does this get? Clean up as I progress along.)

Using a rubber spatula, I liberally coat the inside of the pan with lots of real butter then shape the dough to fit the pan using my fingers to 'squish' it into all four corners, (No smooth store bought looking bread here.), to raise again in my oven until it just peaks the top of the pan rim. (Maybe 30 minutes. Watch it! It'll get away from you.)

Using that same spatula, I now liberally coat the top of the dough and sometimes will even slit the top. (I also place a pot of almost boiling water in with it instead of covering the dough in the pan. The almost boiling water gives off plenty of warm mist to keep the dough from crusting.)

Since I was using my oven for rising the dough, I now simply remove the pot of hot water then turn the oven on to 350 degrees F. and bake it for 40 minutes. (Oops! I wasn't watching it. It got away. It rose a bit too much but still made a great loaf of bread. (That, by the way, was a 20 minute rise.))



As you can see, clean up is a dream come true, too. All I have to clean up is one bowl, one measuring cup, one spoon, one spatula, and one bread pan. No floured surfaces or flour scattered anywhere. It was all done in the bowl.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup milk heated up to about 100 degrees.
3 Tablespoons real butter.
1 Tablespoons raw buckwheat honey. (Or your favorite)
2 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour.
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour.
1 rounded teaspoon Sea salt.
2 rounded teaspoons Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast

And, there you have it. Simple and easy soft Honey White/Wheat sandwich bread.

Comments are very welcomed... I'm sure I'll get a few as unorthodox as this recipe is.



guro's picture

Love this blog and just wanted to share one of my latest creations.

This beautiful braided bread is made with a rich straight dough, layers of pesto and a generous sprinkle of Sumac. 

I made this bread a couple of months ago.  This bread is tender, rich, nutty, salty (evoo, toasted pine nuts and parmesan) and a little sour (Sumac).  This bread requires moderate braiding skills, time and attention.

I have been baking for quite some time now.  I love bread making.  I will gladly post the recipe if someone will show any interest.  I need to translate the recipe into English.


I hope I did a good job translating.  I will be making this bread again in about two weeks.  I will take notes and improve on my writing if needed.

1 loaf

Set oven to 210c (410F)


Baking Pan - 26cm (10") springform (no bottom), take a piece of parchment paper and crimp tightly around the bottom of the springform, oil the sides.  Place on top of a baking sheet.  Set aside.

Pesto - I use evoo, basil, toasted pine nuts, parmesan (consistency should be not too thin and not too thick). Keep refrigerated until needed.

Sumac - for sprinkling


Dough ingredients:

AP Flour 600g (21oz)

Fresh Yeast 28g (1oz)

Sugar 10g (0.35oz)

Salt 10g (0.35oz)

Canola Oil 50cc (1.7 fl oz)

White Vinegar 1 tbls

Water 300cc (10 fl oz) this is approximate


Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the water carefully as you start mixing.  Use the

dough hook 2-3 mins. on low speed and 2-3 mins. on medium speed.  Dough should be

supple and not sticky to the touch.  Add water or flour if dough is too stiff or too loose


When dough is ready, spray a bowl with oil and gently put the dough in the bowl.  Spray a

little more oil on top and cover.  Let rise (80%).  My kitchen was at about 22c (72F), 35-45%

humidity and proofing was about 40 minutes.

Lightly flour a work bench or a large table.  Put the dough on top and flatten gently with

your hands.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a very thin circle, as thin as you

can.  When rolling out the dough, try not to lift and move it too much.  You can try and

gently pull the dough to stretch it thin (like bakers do with Strudel dough), this requires some skill.

Apply a thin layer of pesto on top of the dough (leave the edge clear 1/4").  Sprinkle Sumac

generously on top of the layer of pesto.

Slowly, tightly and very gently roll the dough into a roulade (pinwheel ).  You will now have a

very long roulade .  Take a sharp chef's knife (not a serrated knife) and cut (not saw) the

roulade lengthwise trying to keep the knife in the middle so you end up with two equal parts

(you can cut down from the seam but it is not make or break).

Place the two halves crossing each other (open roulade layers facing up) to create and X

shape.  Gently pick up the two ends of the bottom half, cross them over the top half, and

place them back down.  Continue this process, taking the two bottom ends and crossing

them over the top until all the roulade has been used.  You now have a two strand rope

shape.  If for some reason some of the open roulade layers are pointing down or sideways,

carefully turn them so they are facing up.  Gently pinch the ends to seal.

Look at the braid.  If one end looks a little thinner make that your starting point.  If not, just

start from either end.  Slowly and very gently, roll the braid sideways (horizontally) without

lifting your hands from the table.  You should keep those open roulade layers facing up.

Pinch the end delicately.  The end result should look like a giant snail shell or a very large

cinnamon bun.

Lightly sprinkle Sumac on top of the braided loaf.

Carefully pick up the braid and place in the prepared springform.  Keep it flat on the parchment.  The

 bottom of the braid should set nicely.  Cover.

Let rise until the braid hits three quarters the way up the springform.  In my kitchen conditions it

proofed for a little over 30 mins.


Bake at 210c (410F) for 5-10 mins., lower oven to 180c (355F) and bake for another 20-30 mins.

Their should be a decent amount of oven spring.  The bread should rise above the springform edge.

When the bread is out of the oven lightly brush evoo on top and sides.  Let cool on a rack.

paulm's picture

Has anyone else been receiving notification of new content for old blog entries?  I just received an email listing blog entries (78 new posts) the majority of which do not have current entries.  For example, there is an entry from zolablue about Clear Flour where the most recent post to it is March 18, 2010 (the posts range from May 9, 2007 to March 18, 2010).

turosdolci's picture


Spätzli is a speciality in Switzerland. It is a type of dumpling that is almost always served with game. The hunting season starts in a few weeks for about 3 weeks and restaurants and those of us who love game will be preparting a lot of Spätzli.


ejm's picture

This is mostly for amusement's sake.

Every so often, I want to make a recipe that calls for fresh yeast and I don't have fresh yeast. Of course, I have nothing against using fresh yeast. It's just not that easily found around here. Instead, I use the active dry yeast we always have on hand. (Why do I always choose active dry yeast? Because that’s what my mother always uses.)

In the past and quite recently, I have gone through various books and the internet looking for this conversion information. Here are some of the various formulae I have come across in my travels:

for every cup of flour in the recipe, use either of

    3 grams compressed fresh yeast
    2 grams active dry yeast
    1 gram instant active dry yeast

-Maggie Glezer, "Artisan Baking Across America"


Substitute twice as much (by weight) fresh yeast for the amount of dry yeast called for in the recipe.

-Daniel Leader, "Local Breads"


1 g fresh = 0.5 g active dry = 0.4 g instant

-Susan (Wild Yeast),


2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast

-Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"


A .6-oz [17gm] cube of cake yeast is roughly equivalent to 1½ to 2 tsp. instant yeast or 2 to 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast.

-Sydny Carter, Yeast: The Basics,


One .6 ounce [17 grams] cake is equivalent to 1 envelope [.25 ounce/7 grams] of dry yeast.

-Fleischmann's Yeast FAQ,


yeast, compressed . . . . 1 cake, 3/5 oz . . . . 1 package active dry yeast

-Irma S. Rombauer, Know your ingredients, Joy of Cooking


1 packed tablespoon of fresh or cake yeast=21 grams which=2-1/2 [8gm] teaspoons active dry (so for 100 grams fresh yeast use 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon or 40 grams active dry)

-Rose Levy Beranbaum,


If you are substituting active dry yeast for instant yeast in a recipe, [...] add about 20 percent more yeast to the recipe than what is called for. [...] If you encounter a recipe that uses fresh yeast, divide the weight by 3 to calculate the proper amount of instant yeast to use.

-Yeast FAQ,


Some years ago, with mixed up logic, I managed to work out the following formula. Remarkably, the bread I made rose beautifully.

2½ tsp (8gm) active dry yeast = 50gm fresh yeast

-me, my house

Depending on whose formula I use, to replace 50gm fresh yeast, I should use anywhere from 8 to 32.5 gm active dry yeast. (I think I have the arithmetic right with the various formulae: 32.5gm, 25gm, 22.5gm, 20gm, 17.5-20gm, 17gm, 8.3 OR 8gm active dry in place of 50 gm fresh yeast)

So. After all these contortions? I've decided that I'll use the higher amount of active dry to replace fresh yeast if there's lots of sugar in the recipe, but the lower amount if there's little sugar in the recipe.


Here is a nifty javascript that one of my sisters created after hearing about this:

edit: Ooops!!! I hit "save" by mistake. I MEANT to hit "preview". I think I've finished fixing things now. Have fun with the conversion chart!


Also may be of interest:


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