The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


audra36274's picture

This is a very important cake. My best friend in the whole world is having a birthday today, and I'd like you all to be at his party! Happy Birthday Eric Hanner!!!!  

   Eric, you have been a friend, and mentor, not only to me but many, many, people here on TFL. You help so many and since I found it impossible to get the whole internet full of your fans together any other way, we meet today, via internet, with our glass held high. A toast to you and your birthday. You have helped me not only with my breads, my pictures of them, my computer, you have  listened to me go on and on and on about my cakes. I feel like a part of the family, as do so many of the people here. So what else could a family do, but have you a party! So everyone, give your friend and mine ehanner a Big Birthday Cheer, and sit down and have a slice of cake. It will be fine, there are no calories in here! Oh, somebody bring the candles! See y'all there!





Avie93309's picture

New at this baking. I do love this recipe. I can not really tell the difference between the Kosher Salt and the Fleur de Sel. However, I'm going to try the Irish Butter and see if that will. Sacaduros

white_poplar's picture

Okay, I have wanted to create this checkered bread - two tones. Wanna capture the 'cubic' shape idea as well (Asian bakers have access to a square bread mould - very cute and handy!). Although the bread is not cubic, I love the effects!

+ The green color is from Pandan paste (which is made from a leaf native to South Asia. It has sweet vanilla fragrance)

Instructions here.

I think I may have enuff of Asian bread. Opting to make some proper sourdough now. It's been months I've made any!!





Chausiubao's picture

Its been a few months at the bakery, and I've got to confess that I've come home from a shift compelled to write and describe my experiences, yet I've never had the willpower to take up the pen (or keyboard, as it were). All those times were of difficulty, bad days caused by plenty of effort and a healthy amount of optimism, with the outcome being less then what should come out of so much desire and "try".

Its been about three months now, and I have to say, its been a hard three months. For the most part my bread education has been self taught (both theoretical and practical) so adjusting to professional baking hasn't been easy. On the bright side I think I've learned a good deal about mixing, the next challenge is shaping, and proofing and baking. I can follow a recipe like nobody's business, but organizational skills and planning are so much more important to working in a bakery then your ability to make the product. That of course is important too, but it is what sets us apart from the home bakers. A home baker can be every bit as good as a professional baker, yet the home baker has no explicit need for organization, a necessity volume requires of us.

These three months have been tough, difficult, hard months filled with much learning, mistakes, and the consequences of those mistakes, levied by myself and by others. But this is the price we pay for the trade we ply. We can do nothing but shoulder the burden and move on. If we can't do this much, what will become of our passion, our curious interests? I started out on this path because of misgivings about my previous career beginnings and because I believe that, "a man should enjoy the works of his hands", combine that with my passion for bread and baking and here I am.

Through the pain and the hardships of being trained, I think I have slowly and permanently gained some of the skills that success in this field require of us. I really feel like its all coming together now; its hard for me to deny that all this was inevitable. So many people talk about working in a bakery or how great it would be to own a bakery; theres nothing great about working in a bakery, yet it can be fulfilling. Seeing your product come out of the mixer or out of the oven, and most of all, being able to cross item after item off your list of tasks can be such a satisfying and gratifying sensation; it is progress.

It is the feeling that in the struggle is the slow accumulation of skills and instincts that lead us to success.


gcook17's picture

This just came out of the oven a few minutes ago and I thought it looked too good not to take a picture.  It's Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters.  It has two levains: a wheat and a rye.  It's not cool yet so no crumbshot.  It didn't feel over-proofed but after slashing and sliding it into the oven it seemed to get awfully flat.  It certainly sprang back though.  I made a loaf of volkornbrot that came out about 15 minutes earlier and because of the strong, sweet rye smell I didn't expect the smell of this bread to be very noticeable but its smell filled the kitchen.






breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Haven't posted in a bit and wanted to share with you something I baked for the Yelp 2nd Annual Bake-Off on Saturday, 5/15/10 in NYC.  I was up against some stiff competion with a dizzying array of sweets and savory baked goods...  I figured that I wouldn't win against those, but I took comfort that everybody went back for 2nd and 3rd helpings of my bread...

Here's what was left the Cranberry Apple Cider Bread with Walnuts that I baked:

Sorry I don't have a shot of the whole loaf...  It had this cool leaf pattern slashing...  Anyways, here's the formula below:

90% AP

10% WW

37% Water

37% Hard Apple Cider (alcoholic)

2% Kosher Salt

30% Stiff levain (60% hydration)

15% Dried Granny Smith Apples

15% Dried Cranberries

15% Toasted Walnuts

1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast per 500g of flour


12:00pm - Peel and cut apples into 3/8" cubes, mix with a little lemon juice to prevent browning, place on parchment lined pan, dry in 250F oven for 1 hour.

3:45pm - Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl with wooden spoon, hands, cover let rest for 30 minutes.

4:30pm - Knead in fruits and nuts (no more than 1 minute), cover let rest.

5:00pm - Turn dough, cover, let rest.

5:30pm - Turn dough, cover, let rest.

6:00pm - Turn dough, cover, let rest.

6:30pm - Turn dough, cover, let rest.

7:00pm - Turn dough, cover, let rest.

8:00pm - Divide, shape, proof.  Arrange stones in oven along with steam pan.  Preheat to 500F.

9:00pm - Turn loaves out onto lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place directly onto stone, add 1 cup water to steam pan, bake for 15 minutes at 450F, rotate and bake for 50 minutes at 420F, or until internal temp reaches 205F.  Cool completely before cutting.

**Notes:  I used 1270g flour for this recipe which gave me a dough yield of about 3250g.  I divided this into 2 equal pieces and formed boules.  Your baking time may be different if you make a smaller quantity.



nicodvb's picture

Recently I received a lot of cracked rye (actually I hoped it would be a batch of rye chops, but unfortunately it's not the case...).

I put it immediately to work to prepare my preferred rye bread, something in between frisian rye and this one done from my friend Gi.


The night before I prepared a soaker with:

-320 gr of cracked rye (there are a lot of barely broken berries and some very coarse flour)

-80 gr of old bread broken dried in the fridge  and broken in the mixer

-340 gr of boiling water

mixed very well, but quickly, and left to rest in a closed plastic container enveloped in a pile.

At the same time I would have generally prepared prepared a poolish with

-200 gr of dark rye flour

-170 gr of warm water (40°C)

-10 gr of rye sourdough

but this time around I prepared (1 day in advance) a three-stage leaven as in my post of Detmolder rye. For this kind of bread a three-stage is not necessary, but I tought I should mention it for the chronicle. Total hydratation is the usual and magical 85%.


After 12 hours I mixed the two compounds and added 12 grams of salt, kneaded well and put the dough in a 12 inches plum-cake form, left to ferment for threee hours at ~28°C. This kind of douh doesn't rise a lot, generally never more than 1/3 in height, but the acidity developed will improve the flavour of the bread and protect it from molds.


I cooked the bread totally enveloped in aluminum foil (3 rounds) at 120°C for 10 hours, then I put the bread in a linen sheet and waited 2 days before cutting it.

The taste is fantastic, sweet and sour with a remarkable caramel intensity; moreover -and contrary to my previous long bakes- there's something remembering a faint taste of liquor that I never tasted before, it's totally new to me.

The crust is absent and the crumb is moist as it should be. Contrary to most my other breads it dosn't even crumble when sliced thinly.


I also noticed that when sliced in advance the taste seems to improve sooner and seems to get sweeter in shorter time. Does it make any sense?



Candango's picture

I have just finished making a loaf of Rose Levy Beranbaum's "Levy's real Jewish Rye Bread", from "The Bread Bible."  I had made variations of her formula noted in other blogs and only recently obtained a copy of the book which has her original recipe.  With all the waiting (autolyses) and rising times, this bread was almost a 24 hour project.  I started the sponge at about 3 pm yesterday and took the finished loaf out of the oven at 3 pm today.  It has now cooled and I sliced it in order to give half to friends.  As I don't have a cloche, I shaped the dough into a batard and gave it "spiral" slashes.  It worked.  I know I should have weighed the ingredients but last night and this morning I used measuring cups for the flour and liquid.  I will have to try this again using the scale, as Rose says that the finished dough should weigh about 965 grams and mine weighed in at 860, about 3 oz. lighter.  Because of this, I shortened the baking time just a bit.  The crust came out a nice golden brown, and the crumb is "rye bread dense" without being pasty.  (I cut off the heel on one side and tried it with butter.  Yum.)  I will do this one again.


I just tried to insert two photos of the crust and the crumb and seemed to run into a problem.  The site replied that the max size is 600 x 800 and that my files were too large.  Can anyone help?  Thanks in advance.  Candango

jsk's picture

A few nights ago I made the rye with sunflower seeds from Hamelman's "Bread". Its is a 33% rye with 80% hydration (the rye includes a cracked rye soaker). The day I made the dough I immediately saw it was very very wet but I let it work in the mixer so I let it work in the mixer for 10-12 minutes instead of the 5 that Hamelman says. A huge mistake! The dough was over kneaded and like over kneaded rye dough, it went from wet and sticky to extremly wet and sticky! Anyway' I adedd a bit more flour and let it ferment for about 30 minutes then I folded the dough (another mistake) and let it ferment for half an hour more.

Eventually I manage to shape it int two nice batards and proofed and baked as written in the book.

The results were good after all. The crumb was not as open as I hoped so but it was very light and had a great bite to it due to the seeds and the cracked rye. The bread had a wonderful taste to it with a slight tang and some sweetness as well. Here are some photos:

And the crumb:


I have some experience with rye but still, I have much to learn. If I learned something from this baking is not to over knead rye doughs, not to fold them and to be gentle when handling them. Does anyone from you rye experts have other tips about handling rye? I'm sure a lot of members here would be glad to learn from your experience.

Happy baking to all of you!



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